Tag Archives: Conflict

The Slow Christmas – How to Stay Zen Over the Holidays

new-years-eve-1909061_640Back in the beginning of our lives as parents, my husband and I tried to keep up with what had become our traditional family Christmases. Both of us have split families, and people we needed (wanted) to see in different towns. As a result, we would take on a full three days of celebrating each year, starting Christmas eve and ending on Boxing day, with each of the parties going on until late at night.

At first we brought our newborn son along for the ride, and exhausting though it was, we never considered doing anything differently. Then when he was a few years old, my dad’s side of the family somehow added an extra day to the festivities. They wanted to have a sit down evening meal at a pub 45 minutes drive from our house on the night of the 23rd. Three days of madness turned into four days of exhaustion, and though we loved seeing everyone, we were too tired and stressed to really enjoy any of it. Our son suffered, missed out on sleep and became utterly overstimulated by the constant chaos.

Then our daughter came along and with most of her medical needs being taken care of in the early evening, we were suddenly provided with the perfect excuse to slow down. In doing so, we have discovered how rewarding slow family Christmases can be. In this article, I will share the big changes we made, along with the ways we help our little people cope with the intensity of Christmas celebrations.

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When Taking a Backwards Step is a Positive Thing

20160216_130424About a year ago, my four year old son decided that he was ready to start brushing his own teeth. I was hesitant. Dental hygiene is obviously very important, and I had read some great Steiner Waldorf based articles which stated that tooth brushing is a skill very similar to writing. When a child can write (typically a skill acquired around seven years old in Waldorf education) they can also manage to brush their teeth competently.

However, despite my reservations I had no desire to tell my son what he could and could not do with his own body. And so, we started a gradual process of handing over the task of tooth brushing with my role becoming less and less until after around a month, he was doing it all by himself – and very well too.

He was excited with his new found skill and taking on the responsibility of his own personal care. Yet, as the months passed by, this excitement waned. I began to notice that he was wandering around chewing his toothbrush, but not actually brushing his teeth. I felt frustrated. I knew he could do it well, but he just wasn’t interested.

I went back to reminding him how to brush every tooth. I tried brushing my teeth alongside him. But it didn’t work.

He lost interest to the extent that he didn’t want to clean his teeth at all, and mornings and evenings became a time of stress and nagging. He would whine, “Can you help me? Can you do them for me tonight?” and I would reply, “No, you are perfectly capable, please go and brush your teeth. I know you can do it darling.”

He wouldn’t, and I would get more and more frustrated at having to ask again and again.

Every single time became a battle of wills.

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Reminding Yourself That You ARE a Good and Capable Parent

I’ve had a terrible week. Little Cat (3) has been very hard work indeed, angry, blaming, purposefully contrary and just not very pleasant to be around at all. I have been tired, hormonal and reacting in ways which are very out of character for me. There have been moments where I felt utter despair and wanted to run away and hide.

Today I had one of those moments. I felt so stressed and angry. I couldn’t understand why he was being so very horrible to me. I stormed upstairs for a moments peace and quiet and caught sight of my book (Trust Me, I’m a Toddler) sitting on the bookshelf. Suddenly, I wanted to remember the calm and loving parent I know I am capable of being. I wanted to remember what I know deep down, to get some perspective and see the world from his point of view.

I spent half an hour reading and breathing, then I heard Little Cat crying. He was having a dispute with his Daddy (who was also very fed up) over changing the t-shirt he had been wearing for four days straight. I walked in and somehow, everything had changed. I felt calm and in control. Rather than an angry and disrespectful child, I saw my little boy, tired, and comfortable in his t-shirt, not understanding why he needed to get changed.

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Hold On to Your Kids – Inspiring Excerpts and Review

Watch my latest video to see what I thought of Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, written by Gordon Neufeld PH.D and Gabor Maté M.D.

Watch The Video Here.

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