"Hold On to Your Kids. Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" by Gordon Neufeld, Ph. D. and Gabor Mate, M.D is hands down the best book I have read in a long time!
I skimmed over this book in one evening. I am now re-reading the entire book slowly, gaining more and more insights into a way of being and a way of parenting that makes BUCKET LOADS of sense to me.
Did you know that science has shown that a baby, child and teenager's brain is wired to attach and connect to someone?
Is that person a loving and influential adult or is that person someone in their peer group?
Think about this for a moment.
Either a child or teenager is attached to his/her parent or care giver, a relative, a wonderful teacher or a coach, possessing a desire and an ability to follow their lead and learn from them
a child or teenager is taking cues on how to behave in the world by other children or teenagers.
Wouldn't that be like the blind leading the blind in experience and maturity?!
Yes, pretty much.
The authors explain that kids more than ever are looking to their peers for direction - their values, identity and codes of behaviour.
"This peer orientation undermines family cohesion, interferes with healthy development and fosters a hostile and sexualised youth culture. Children end up becoming overly conformist, desensitised and alienated, and being 'cool' matters more to them than anything else"
I first watched Gabor Mate's video on youtube and I thought, yeh, that sounds kinda nice in theory but how am I meant to do that in a modern world?
I wondered if the book would offer concrete examples and solutions to stay connected to my kids now and in the future?
The resounding answer is YES!
Instead of fearing the next stage of parenting when my children will be predominantly away from me, I feel empowered and hopeful. Neufold and Mate offer both scientific evidence and practical advice on how to maintain connection with your children or how to 'reattach' to your sons and daughters if they are drifting slowly but surely away into a peer oriented culture.
The book also offers ways to help foster meaningful connections between your kids and other adults who can take the place of the primary caregiver when you're not around ie. during child care or school.
Some of the issues that peer orientation contribute to include defiance, emotional immaturity, lack of empathy, aggression, bullies and victims and an inability to learn. All of these problems are explained in the book with a positive slant that family/adult influence can be maintained and restored.
If you are a parent or a caregiver or a loving grandparent or relative, this book is for you.
If you are a teacher or an adult who cares for and interacts with children, this book is for you.
Hang it, if you have blood running through your veins, this book is for you!! :-)
This book is phenomenal.
Yesterday I had a Kinesiology session with my friend Robyn from Synergy Health & Healing in Kadina, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia. She is currently studying her Diploma in Neuro Linguistic Kinesiology (NLK).
Robyn is amazing. Beautiful inside and out. Compassionate and caring and so suited to this healing work.
NLK is a branch of the holistic healing system known as Kinesiology and aims to identify and correct imbalances within the body/brain system that may be related to physical/structural, mental/emotional, environmental/chemical and even spiritual issues.
It is based on the science of energy balancing and combines a range of gentle but powerful techniques to address a variety of health conditions or to enhance performance. Including, but not limited to, pain, digestive issues, stress, anxiety, learning difficulties, personal development, emotional problems or sports performance .
We ended up addressing some niggling health issues around my skin and diet. It was excellent.
I also wanted to address a real fear of standing out and being looked at, a deep fear of drawing attention to myself.
And I can safely say that we made LOADS of progress on this one. I feel excited and hopeful.
You see, I have a little goal to sing in public again. I haven't since my early twenties in church where I had the safety net of a band and other singers and a very accepting congregation! I did see some pictures of me in that band though recently and my body language was screaming, "I am not comfortable! Please don't look at me." :-o
Drawing attention to myself is not something I have felt comfortable doing for a long time. It feels safer for me to blend into the background.
And I'm taking baby steps to overcome this fear. I'll get there.
It feels good to make progress :-)
I can't do it.
There, I said it.
Apparently women, and particularly mothers, are meant to be good at it.
Maybe there are mums out there who are good at it.
I am not one of them.
Well, I can do it, and I often have to, but 'sumfins gotta give'. It's either my presence and my calm mood, one of the tasks (ie, overcooked eggs.....nooooooo!) or usually, and most importantly, my connection to my children.
My aim is to do one thing at time as much as I can. It's a revelation really. I am finding parenting a little less daunting if I am not trying to do 50 other things at once.
If I'm playing with my kids, I'm playing with my kids. If I'm doing a job with the kids, or by myself, I'm in the moment. If something happens in the moment that requires me to do something else, I do what is required of me in that moment.
At least, that is the plan.
It's mindfulness at its best. There is a spaciousness around what I do, especially when we are communicating with each other...there is nowhere else I want to be.
I am in the now.
The best and most powerful description of mindfulness and living in the now that I know of is by Eckhart Tolle. He has written The Power of the Now and my favourite, the sequel, A New Earth. I return to these books again and again.
In light of my new way of being and my desire to do one thing at a time as much as possible, today's schedule for this busy mum is....be with the kids, stretch, nap and meditate, a couple of household jobs, make some cupcakes (Master 5's request for the day), ensure everyone is fed, watered and cuddled and visit Robyn for some kinesiology....hmm, that sounds pretty sweet to me!
This week we made some new play dough. I love playing with it while it is fresh and warm!
Master 5 played with the shop-bought stuff....how cute is this?! I love the shadow in the background too.
PS. I don't have a schedule for posting so if you're checking back regularly for my new posts and feeling a little, oh you know, downhearted that there wasn't something new, perhaps pop over to my facebook business page and LIKE me and you'll be sure to get the updates! :-)
I have been having a massive few weeks, a massive year really.
More recently though I have had a desire to withdraw and retreat so I can work out what sort of life I want for my family.
Not what other people want for me. Not what other people expect of me. Not necessarily what the majority of people are doing but what I want.
I kinda feel like I'm in a cocoon as this new persona changes and grows. I haven't come out the other side yet but I will.
And I'm close.
One thing I know for sure right now is that I am grateful for my life.
I am feeling IMMENSE gratitude.
It hasn't come from nowhere. It has come from facing some of my fears and beliefs about life...and coming out the other end on some of these issues,
Saying that, I am aware that I will never truly 'get there'; there is no where to get, other than further along than I am. That is the beauty and puzzle of life.
What I do know for sure is that I have moved from feeling mostly overwhelmed to feeling mostly gratitude.
There is space here for me to enjoy this for awhile. It is important for me to enjoy it and for my family to enjoy it too. The next step from here, I think, is a greater love and service to others. If my cup is full, I am more able to share all that I have.
The kids were at each other this morning for no apparent reason.
It lasted about 2 hours.
I was Chief Referee and Chief Thinkofsomethingtoseparatethesechildren!
Eventually the kids did separate, I think they may have worn each other out with their bickering. Miss 2 went to play in the bedroom and Master 5 to potter around outside.
I washed the dishes during the peace treaty, pondering what we could do next that would keep us all engaged and happy.
Master 5 had been asking persistently in the last few days to make some orange juice. I remembered juicing with him when he was younger and the activity consisted of me juicing the lemons, him getting in the way and things getting very, very sticky. I wasn't exactly excited about the prospect.
In the end I thought I would give it a go. While he was outside gardening I found the juicer and I cut up some orange halves in preparation.
When he came in from outside he was very pleased to find the juice making scene prepared! He immediatly got to work, standing on a chair to put his weight into it, and he did a wonderful job!
And he juiced for a very long time, filling the container 3 or 4 times over! Miss 2 came for a look but she decided that her pretend food and kitchen were more fun for the moment.
I was kinda glad...she is of the age of sticky messes.
My son and I went outside and picked another basket of oranges. That boy really does love helping.
Peace treaty extended and yummy, fresh juice with a our lunch.
I'm excited to think of little ways that my children can contribute to the running of the household, even if the activities take a little longer or there is a little more mess.
PS. Miss 2 came back and promptly spilled the cup of juice we gave her :-)
Please welcome my very first guest, Karina Ladet.
Spirit is Everywhere
When I think back on my life I realize that I have always been connecting with Spirit. If
by Spirit you mean all that is alive - and I do : ).
As a child I used to climb trees all the time and I remember feeling their energy. Of course I didn’t think about it in this way back then but when we are young we feel the energy around us all the time. It can be from trees, animals, places or people. I believe this is something that is natural for all human beings. But
then as we grow up we forget and we start shutting off this natural capacity to tune into our
environment and to ourselves.
If you wish to live a more spiritual life, a first step can be to go outside and just stand in a
place that you love. It can be in a forest or by the ocean. It doesn’t matter as long as this place
speaks to you. Slow down and start breathing slowly. If you feel more comfortable closing
your eyes you can do that. Now take your shoes off and dig your feet into the earth. Feel how
you are connected to the earth and how firmly you stand on her.
Start breathing in the earth’s energy through your feet. Breathe in the earth and breathe out
any tension or pain in your body. Stand like this for as long as it feels good. When you feel
ready stretch out your arms and feel the air touching them.
Breathe in the energy from the sky through your arms and feel how this energy fills your body
all the way down to your toes. Breathe like this for as long as you like and feel how your body
is starting to feel really balanced. When you are ready, thank the elements, open your eyes
and notice how you feel. How does your body feel? And how does your soul feel?
I love this simple practice because it makes me feel so balanced and full of energy. It’s such
an easy way to get back into your body and to recharge yourself. You can use it whenever you
feel tired or disconnected. And if you feel like taking this a step further you can stand next to
a tree or a rock or something else that calls you in nature and lean into it. Touch it and open
your heart to its energy. I love hugging trees (surprise ; ). I kindly ask them to fill me up with
beautiful energy and then I open up my heart and breathe it in. This is a very powerful way to
become more sensitive to different energies and to start communicating with the nature that
When I do intuitive readings, I visualize a beautiful bubble of light and invite my guides and
angels into it. As soon as I feel/sense/see them I can ask them questions and they always have
very loving and wise messages for me and for the wonderful people I work with. You can try
it yourself, if that feels right. I believe that we can all communicate with our guides and
angels. All we need to do is to open our hearts and listen. If you would like to be guided
through this journey I will start my Communicate with your Spirit Guide e-course on
Sunday August 19th and I would love for you to join us.
And remember, you are always loved and your guides are always by your side.
Today was another delicious slow day.
Two in a row. I think I might be on to something here. No rushing, a less cranky mum, no time constraints, no massive 'to-do-list', just a little list with a "we have all day to do these jobs together' attitude.
I really like it.
I'll write more soon about this 'go-slow' lifestyle I'm trialling. ;-)
However, it's nearly bed time. I've had a sick little girl so I must go to sleep soon in case she is restless again tonight.
But first, a little story.
After breakfast this morning I set the kids up with watercolour paints and cereal box cardboard crowns at the kitchen table. I did the dishes and we chatted. They were creating so well together, calmly and happily, so I decided I would check my email in another room for few minutes and leave them to it.
After about 10 minutes, the internet really is a time warp, I returned to the kitchen.
And this is what I found.....
I bet you thought I was going to show you a picture of a huge mess. Hahahahaha.
We have them too. It's a rare painting session when Miss 2 doesn't come to show me the rainbow war-paint on her arms or legs... at the very least!
But not this time.
Master 5 had found a glue stick in the drawer and some beads and sequins from his treasure tin and stuck them on to his delightfully coloured crown. Miss 2 had got some stamps out of the same drawer and had managed to stamp them just on her crown; not the wall or her skin.
I love these kids. They are such a blessing in my life.
And I love going slow.
Next up, master the 'go slow' outside the home..this might be a bit trickier.
Until next time xx