Humor: Day Fourteen Of Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering

(For those of you new to this blog, we have gone/are going through the series “Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering” for the second time; you can find the back posts under the “General Wisdom” tab in the header).

 

Humor is such an important tool in mothering and in generating positive outcomes in behavior that it had to have its own separate day! I think this is one place where many mothers, including myself, can fall short if we are not truly careful in cultivating this.

Is everything in parenting really that serious? So many times I think we see a behavior in a small child and feel we must somehow change it because otherwise our teenager will have this behavior. So many times I think the expectations we have for our children are so high for their age that it leads to joyless and humorless interaction with our children.

Using humor does not mean we never set clear boundaries. However, it does mean that we use warmth and love to set boundaries. We can say no gently, and stick to our “no” even through the persistence of a child. Boundaries are okay. Humor and playfulness does mean Continue reading

Day Thirteen: Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering

One thing that many Waldorf teachers do at night is to meditate on the children in their

class. I think this practice is absolutely vital as a parent, and certainly as a homeschooling parent!

In the discussion /write-up following Dr. Helmut von Kugelgen’s article “How Can We Find A Connection to The World of the Angels?” in the blue paperback book, “A Deeper Understanding of the Waldorf Kindergarten,” the question arises: Continue reading

Day Twelve: Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering

What lovely timing to have the first day of Advent beginning tomorrow, and to have our topic for Day Twelve be that of “warmth.”  I recently wrote about warmth on All Saints Day, one of my favorite days of the whole year, but today I really want to expand upon this concept of warmth as an inner quality that we hold for children.

I see many adults who do not seem to be convinced that the world is a good place, or that the people around them are good.  This can be particularly difficult to hold sometimes in this season of holidays and in gathering with relatives and perhaps even friends whom we might feel hold judgment against us or the way we are raising our own family.

Yet we must hold this warm and caring space for our children.  Our beliefs and our moods penetrate our children, and giving a child a “Christmas mood” year round is a fundamental foundation for the small child.  Our ability to cultivate and hold this mood should come back to the work we do in our religious and spiritual path.  Continue reading

Day Eleven: Twenty Days Towards Being A More Mindful Mother

This is a topic near and dear to my heart: making your home work for you. This whole Homemaking, and this notion of “What makes a home a home?” is profoundly interesting to me!

A house feeling like a home probably has more to do with the “intangibles” than the tangibles.  Many places have certain feel to them when you walk in.   Is there warmth, joy, laughter, playfulness – or is it all tense, anger, bitterness, misery?  Continue reading

Part Two of Day Ten: Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Parent

When you know about realistic expectations, what do you do with it all?

Every child is different, every family culture is unique and onto itself in many ways.

There is this guidepost -realistic expectations – they are much like finding a trail marker in the forest.  However, then there is the trail in between the trail posts and only you and your child can blaze that together. This path is called loving guidance.

Guidance and connection are both very important, and  the ability to guide our children wonderfully requires a balanced approach that includes aspects of thinking, feeling, and willing. Continue reading

Part Three of Day Ten: Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering

This is the third and final installment of “Day Number 10” of our series “Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother”. I just wanted to briefly cover the seven and eight year olds. These are ages that are often seen as “older” in our society, and I am here to tell you these ages still need protection and also require appropriate developmental expectations that may be a bit different than the earlier years.

Here is a prior post to ponder: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/04/08/the-seven-and-eight-year-old-still-a-need-for-protection/

Realistic Expectations for the Seven-Year-Old: Continue reading

Part Two of Day Ten Of Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

AGE FIVE: Often referred to as a “Golden Age” in development with five-and-a-Continuing on with our look at realistic expectations for  the ages three through eight, we are up to age five.  Age five and a half is a traditional time of  developmental disequilibrium according to most childhood development texts.

 

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE FIVE-YEAR-OLD: Continue reading

Realistic Expectations: Day Ten of Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering

In Day Nine of “Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering”, we looked at our abilities to set boundaries.  And, one thing I really wanted to hammer in was that boundaries work both ways – it is not something that we only set for our children, but something we also set for ourselves.  We need to set boundaries on how we handle the emotional things in life, especially the negative emotions in life that people hand us or that we think cause us to feel the way we do, because as we do this we model this for our children.  We must help our children rise up out of their own negativity as well, if they have those tendencies, and do that through the boundaries we set on how we allow ourselves to be treated.

A large part of setting boundaries for children is knowing what are the realistic expectations for each age. If you are setting a boundary based upon some idea that the child “should” be able to do this, but the child really is not developmentally capable of this, then this is going to be a problem!  It is one thing to help a child rise up to something that are capable of doing, but one must also be realistic and not expect ten year old things out of a three-year old!

This by itself could be a small book, but let’s point out a few highlights for realistic expectation for age three up through age eight in this three-part post!

 

AGE THREE: Three is very, very little.  Very TINY.  Say that with me!  TINY!   According to Waldorf parenting and pedagogy, the first three years are for the establishment for walking (which takes about two and a half years to be a very mature walker without needing the arms for balance, being able to run, stop and start suddenly, etc); then the development of speech and the development of thinking as first seen by use of the term “I”.  These are the main goals for the first three years. 

Then we start moving into other areas…

Some parents get very upset around the three and a half year mark as children start to exert some will and push against the forms of the day and the rhythms you have crafted. This is very normal.  Typical developmental things about the three and a half -year-olds include (this is according to the Gesell Institute, not necessarily my personal opinion!):

 

Age Three and A Half

  • Turbulent, troubled period of disequilibrium, the simplest event or occasion can elicit total rebellion; strong and secure gross motor abilities may turn more into stumbling, falling, at this age; new- found verbal ability such as “I’ll cut you in pieces!” and lots of whining   — Keep your ho-hum on! Continue reading

Part Two of Day Nine: Twenty Days Toward Being A More Mindful Mother

 

We last were talking about boundaries in this post:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/08/16/day-nine-of-twenty-days-toward-more-mindful-mothering/

 

Boundaries are an interesting thing; once attached parents realize that they and their children are not the same person and that boundaries are really necessary, it can be hard for some parents to know what to put boundaries around (hint:  if it wouldn’t fly out in public with other adults or children, if it hurts the child or others, if it destroys property, it shouldn’t fly in your home!) and then often even still harder to know how to put the boundary in place without yelling or communicating in other ineffective ways.  Knowing developmental phases are really important here, and there are many back posts on The Parenting Passageway about gentle discipline and the “how-to’s” of each age.

 

But there is another interesting consideration about boundaries, and that is how boundaries are a two-way street:  boundaries are not only for the benefit of the child, to help the child grow and mature into the kind of adult we and others would like to be around, but they also model for our children how to place boundaries on the negative energy of other people.  How do we deal with anger, guilt, blame from other people, whether it be our children, family members or others? Do we accept and carry it around like a purse or do we know how to set boundaries to keep ourselves sane? It is an important consideration to model this for our children.

 

If I model for my child that I do not accept a child yelling and screaming AT me with blame, accusation… but that I am so happy to listen when we can talk calmly and without that blame and accusation,  then I am showing my child  how I deserve to be treated and how we should all treat each other.   I am showing that I choose not to accept and carry around  the negative emotions of others toward me, but that I will work toward the opportunity of calm problem -solving. 

 

I have a dear friend who talks about how people, and even children,  can “machine gun” you down with their emotions – whether that be angry accusations and blame or screeching and wailing and crying and complaining.  We want to raise a generation of children who will not be machine gunners.  We want to raise a generation of children who can let their emotions out, in an appropriate way, without all the verbal spillage, blame,  and anger onto others.

 

In this regard, I think Non-Violent Communication can be a tool, an inner framework for you, the adult,  to use as a model in handling emotion.  The verbosity of NVC does not, to me at least, fit well into the developmental framework of the child under the teen-aged years according to Waldorf methodology (and this is a place where you will find Waldorf people with differing opinions, so take what resonates with you).    Here is a link to some free resources regarding NonViolent Communication:  http://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/freeresources/resources.htm

 

Take some time to meditate on the boundaries you set around yourself, especially emotional boundaries.  Being a parent does not mean you become the dumping ground for your family’s emotional negativity.  It is okay to have a boundary around that and to implement constructive ways to deal with negative emotions within your family. 

 

Many blessings,

Carrie

A Few Parenting Passageway Notes…Your Input Is Needed!

Well, this has been a fun month!  The Parenting Passageway has over 1,000 folks over on  its Facebook page, which is just humbling and amazing!  If you are on Facebook and  would like to be a grand part of that, I would be honored to be part of your Facebook world:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheParentingPassageway/posts/527264543957823?notif_t=feed_comment

One of the things I asked over there was now that we are oh-so-close to finishing up the book study where we went chapter by chapter through “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work” is what book YOU would love to see next!  What book do you love and feel could be very helpful to other mothers out there?  I look forward to seeing your input in the comment box.  (If you are wondering what books we have already done, click “Book Reviews” from the drop-down menu above; we have done some great parenting books if you are searching for good reading!)

This month we will also be going through the last half of the twenty posts of “Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering”, so look for those to brighten your parenting journey!

I am hoping to eventually have a sister site to The Parenting Passageway that will have all the book recommendations in one place on Amazon,and some more of my favorite goodies.  Right now we are in the midst of moving, but maybe after we are settled in and I am feeling inspired – perhaps right after the New Year!

I would love to hear what is going on in your world, what books and topics you would love to see covered here, and how I can be helpful to you!

Love to you all, thank you so much for being such a blessing to me every day,

Carrie