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    3 weeks ago · · 0 comments

    Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    Four keys to successful parenting. I believe in the four keys so much, I think this is the best tool in my parenting toolbox.

    Want to talk about the best parenting skill you can absorb and take on board and live by? It’s the four keys to successful parenting!

    As a parent you are likely to be focusing on so many things that are not relevant. These things often lead you to feeling more stressed, more anxious and to develop unrealistic expectations for your children. In turn, these feelings lead to stressful parenting, rather than more successful parenting.

    A Happier Child

    In order to parent more calmly, we really only need to focus on four key parenting outcomes. These four outcomes end up resulting in a:

    • happier child
    • happier home life
    • more successful child
    calm parenting and successful parenting

    So what are these 4 key outcomes that lead to successful parenting?

    1. HEALTH – Is is my child healthy?
    2. SAFETY – Is my child healthy?
    3. HAPPINESS – Is my child happy?
    4. SECURITY – Is my child feeling secure?

    How you manage to achieve these four outcomes is up to you!

    Where is your parenting focused?

    We shouldn’t be focusing on what other people think about our children.

    We should be focusing on what our child needs in order to feel healthy, safe, happy and secure.

    YOU know your child best. You can take advice, read books, watch shows and seek professional help. BUT…. at the end of the day, as long as your goal is to end up with a happier, safe, healthy and secure child. You can know in your heart you are achieving successful parenting!

    As I’m sure that you’ve discovered, people are quick to tell you their opinions on how best to parent. However, every child is unique and what works for one, is not guaranteed to work for another!

    The Development of the Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    I developed the four keys to successful parenting as a system to achieving Calm Parenting. I realized very early on as a parent that most parenting books focus on the steps to achieving particular outcomes, like getting a baby to sleep. But what happens when your child does not follow the steps to achieve the desired outcome. For example, your child won’t sleep in a cot alone!

    Parenting books are good at proving guides to achieving an outcome – like safely swaddling a baby to sleep. However, there is a gap when the steps do not lead to the desired outcome. Such books just focus on a behaviour – SLEEP. So, the result is many parents, like myself, end up feeling stressed focusing on the sleep outcome without dealing with issues controlling sleep, like mood, temperaments etc.

    What we should be focusing on how to help our child feel happy, safe, secure and healthy – so that sleep will be much easier to achieve?

    Successful parenting and Calm Parenting
    successful parenting

    The 4 Keys: Detailed in the Book Perfect Mum: How to Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood

    I wrote in detail about the 4 keys to successful parenting in my book – Perfect Mum: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood. At the time of writing that book I detailed a range of experiences I had in motherhood.

    One time my daughter and I went to the library. There was a little girl there. In the middle of looking at the books, my daughter decided to hit this little girl who was playing beside her. The girl began to cry. I apologized profusely of course to the mother and child and left wondering what was going on with my child.

    We returned to that same library a few weeks later. The same mother and child happened to be at the library again. My daughter spent no time repeating the same behaviour with the same girl. The girl began to cry. I apologized again, however, this time the mother berated me, saying I must be a terrible parent and that this child has a problem.

    The interesting part was, I went back to the library and I saw the same mother and the same girl and guess what? This time, the little girl hit another child and left her crying. I laughed a little bit to myself because by then I had research that little kids often hit other children to get attention because they don’t know how to express that they actually want to be friends.

    Coming back to the four key outcomes for successful parenting

    As a parent, I could have started to question myself, my child and my parenting by simply focussing on the outcome – the hit! However, once I started to evaluate my child’s behaviour based on the 4 key outcomes to successful parenting, I calmed down and was able to deal with things in a much calmer and proactive state of mind.

    Evaluating Events Based On The 4 Keys To Successful Parenting

    1. HEALTH: I researched childhood behaviour and realized this was normal. Yes it was something to address and change, but it did not reflect that my child had anything ‘wrong’ with her as the mother had originally suggested.
    2. SAFETY: The hit was not hard and did not cause any physical damage. It was definitely a shock for all of us and not nice for the poor little girl. However, no-one was hurt.
    3. HAPPY: I realized my child needed some teaching in how to make new friends. Being an only child at the time, we organized many more play dates after this. Needless to say, this hitting behaviour never happened again.
    4. SECURE: I made sure I separated the behaviour from her as a person. The behaviour was not acceptable, but she was still a good person at heart. This made it easier for her to listen, absorb and learn.

    Above I have analysed the 4 keys with simple questions

    Is My Child:

    • Health
    • Safe
    • Happy
    • Secure?

    These four simple parenting questions, led me down a much calmer and proactive parenting path. The outcome was a success and I learnt something very valuable about my child’s behaviour in the process.

    Becoming a More Rational and Calm Parent

    successful parenting

    When you look at the four keys to successful parenting, you can start to be more rational about how you respond. You can be more rational about your views on your child’s behavior and look at them in better perspective too.

    Hitting can mean a range of things. In this instance, my child was trying to get attention. In another instance, it might be that the child’s observing aggressive behavior and role modeling. It might be that the child’s feeling neglected and is acting out to get any attention. The key is looking deeper than on the surface.

    Regularly ask yourself these four key parenting questions

    The most important thing about these four keys to successful parenting is to assess and then only address when these 4 keys are not being met. For example, if your child is eating too much junk food which is causing tooth decay, it’s time to change eating patterns. If your child is often anxious, it’s important to address this and so on. However, if someone tells you off for giving your child the phone in public. Ask yourself, “is my child healthy, happy, safe and secure”? If yes, dismiss the comment!

    Your child is not going to be happy all the time. That’s not normal. Your child is going to have emotional reactions. But generally speaking, happy kids are talkative, they’re affectionate, they’re smiley, they’re playful, they get excited about things, and they generally engage with you. If a child is disengaged, then it’s time to adjust your parenting in order to support higher happiness.

    successful parenting

    Wrapping up the Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    So these four key outcomes to successful parenting are where you want to focus on in order to be a consistently calm and confident parent. It’s really simple. Regularly ask yourself … Is my child healthy, happy, safe, and secure? If something’s not working, just try something else until you get back on track.

    3 years ago · · 0 comments

    Good Parenting Advice – The No.1 Thing Every Parent Should Know

    Are you engaging in good parenting?

    Good ParentingThis question of ‘good parenting’ is a common one every parent asks themselves from time to time. As a parent of a child (of any age), you can quickly begin to doubt your parenting skills when you hear the latest parenting news that contradicts what you thought you were doing well. For instance, your parents were most likely taught to sleep a new baby on it’s tummy. However we now know this is dangerous and SIDS advice is to sleep a baby on it’s back to avoid the potential for sudden infant cot death.

    So how do you know if you’re doing a good job?

     

    Besides the basics of ensuring your child is safe, secure, healthy and happy, there is one key ingredient to effective parenting

    The No.1 Thing All Parenting Should Know Is How To Parenting With Consistency (including learning from mistakes & starting again)

    Consistency has two elements:

    1. Being consistent with your parenting approach
    2. Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

    Let’s break these down a little further

    Being consistent with your parenting approach

    Good ParentingOne of the most important (yet challenging) aspects of being a parent is being consistent. Consistency provides security and boundaries for children and helps them to develop healthy self esteems that are not dictated by your moods. When you parent inconsistently, your child becomes very insecure and riddled with self-doubt. This outcome of inconsistent parenting is often seen in older children who find it very stressful to make decisions, out of fear of making a mistake.

    Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your child’s ‘pester power’, your moods, your child’s moods and the influence of others – all can impact on your ability to parent consistently. Children have a way of finding a parents weak spot and pestering until you let go – often after a few minutes of arguing. This behaviour of course makes being consistent a BIG challenge for parents.

    You may have decided to be a calm, rational and reasonable parent, who is supportive and caring to your child. But… how does this parenting style hold up against a tantrum in public? How do you remain calm when you’re exhausted from work, or you’ve had a really bad day? These are the times when it is really hard to be consisten and yelling or raising your voice can become the norm. Contrary to your explicit desire to be calm and rational with your children. So what’s the answer?

    The key to being consistent in your parenting style is trusting in yourself and in your methods of parenting. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a consistent parenting when you have low self esteem.

    Let’s say, one very hot afternoon, you finish work, pick up your child from school and decide to buy her an icy pole on the way home from school. You enter the service station store and she asked to have an ice cream. You are concerned about her recent weight gain, so you say “no” and offer her the icy pole again. She continues to pester you and begins to stamp her feet and get angry with you when you won’t give in. This scenario could go a number of ways:

    Scenario 1: You ignore the tantrum. You continue to calmly ask her if she would like an icy pole. You finally tell her if she doesn’t want the icy pole, you’re happy to leave with nothing. She finally calms down and takes the icy pole. Later when things calm down you explain that her behaviour was not respectful and ruined a nice gesture from you. Next time, you hope she can be more gracious. She apologises and you move on.

    Scenario 2: You get angry over the tantrum. You start yelling at her and telling her she is being very disrespectful and selfish. She responds by saying you don’t care about her and only think about yourself. You start to feel guilty for saying “no”. You give in to the tantrum and buy her the ice cream. She is so happy, but you feel terrible for giving in to something you things is unhealthy for her. She has also learnt to just keep pestering you until you feel guilty and cave in.

    You can only engage in Scenario 1 when you feel self confident and self assured in your parenting decisions. If you feel doubtful or insecure, then you will give in when your child hits the right note!

    Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

    Good ParentingThere will be times when you are consistently trying an approach to parenting, but it just isn’t working. As a result, it’s making you frustrated and causing you to derail your  desired parenting style. For instance, let’s say you have decided that your child should be in bed by 8:30pm every night (unless it cannot be avoided). Your method of getting your child to bed is by providing a routine you follow every night. However, when it comes to ‘lights out’, your child begins to perk up. Every night is takes longer and longer to get your child to sleep and you end up having to yell to get him to sleep. By this time it’s ridiculously late and you all wake up emotional and tired the next day.

    Believe it or not, many parents will just continue with a routine like this that isn’t working, because they believe the method MUST be right. Yet all children are NOT the same. When a consistent parenting approach isn’t working, it’s time to tweak something so that you get the desired outcome without having to get upset. In this example, a reward chart could work really well, or a written list of things to do before bed might work. This way your child can physically be involved in the routine. You could trial different methods until you found the one that worked best. Then be consistent in your parenting approach with this new approach.

    So, there you having it. The No.1 good parenting tip for all parents is to learn how to be consistent and to tweak this consistency as needed for your specific child.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

    Author of Perfect Mums & Refresh Your Life

    3 years ago · · 0 comments

    Child Development: Coping With The ‘Kid Temper Tantrum’

    Do you have a problem child, or could you expecting too much from your child’s behaviour?

    child developmentAs a parent you want the best for your child. But today there has never been more expectations on how a child should behave and on the best ways to parent. Parents judge themselves too harshly, judge other parents too harshly and judge their children too harshly.

    A good example of this is when a child misbehaves in public. Parents are usually mortified because they are:

    a) worried about what other people might think of their child or their parenting skills

    b) worried there must be something seriously wrong with their child to act in this manner

    c) worried about the outcome of the tantrum.

    However, often we as parents often don’t stop to think about why our child is acting out.

    Dealing with challenging behaviour

    I have 2 children. My eldest daughter is generally pretty well behaved. However, whilst generally delightful, my toddler has developed a habit of running away in public and throwing huge tantrums in public on occasions. Until recently I tried my usual tactic of remaining calm during the incident, removing my child away from the environment and then calmly addressing what just happened. Of course this did nothing to stop the behaviour from happening again. So this led me to think a lot deeper into what might be going on.

    Research tells us is that children are attention junkies. They do not have an off switch. They have a thirst for knowledge and play and want to always be the centre of attention. This is interesting, because here I was expecting my 2 year old to be well behaved in situations she would obviously find boring, unstimulating and find herself not the centre of attention. So I thought back to all these episodes. Being the second child, she is often forced to do things that are not suitable or fun (such as collecting her sister from school). So this is always going to be a ‘danger zone’ as we are navigating the school children, passing by the playground and paying attention to when her sister exists class.  Being with our friends is another ‘danger zone’ because we need to share our attention. Shopping is also a hot spot as we are distracted by shop assistants etc. Now, of course I do not want to create a monster who needs attention every minute, because no-one can provide a child undivided attention every minute of the day. However, I soon realised there are much clever ways to engage her in the activities we were are involved in, so that she feels valued, entertained and important, because at 2 years of age she can’t understand “mummy can’t talk or play right now!” – this conceptual understanding comes late in childhood development.

    Back to the answer to deal with her toddler tantrum

    Through some analysis of the situation, I realised the answer was not to work out ways to change her behaviour, but rather what I could do to involve her so that she felt her ‘attention junkie’ was being fulfilled?

    So we trialled my new approach during our weekly market shop. Normally, I am chasing after her at least once. So first I needed to tire her out and then I needed to get her involved. The first thing we did was visit the animals at the market. This satisfied her energy levels enough to get started on the shop. Next we grabbed her a cane basket and spoke about all the veggies we were collecting. Then she was in charge of the money and the shop was completed without a glitch. The method was relatively simply, but it just took some thinking through.

    Step 1: Being physical

    Step 2: Being involved

    A new approach to toddler behaviour

    This experience taught me that the pressures placed on parents to be perfect lead us to assume we must be doing something wrong if our child misbehaves, or that our child is just really naughty. But I don’t believe this is true. I believe children are sponges and love to be the centre of attention. We can’t always give it to them and there are times we need a break, but if we take charge and involve then in our activities as much as possible. They will generally reduce their outbursts, feel much more relaxed and be much happier too.

    So the next time your child has a temper tantrum in public, ask yourself what might be going on in terms of energy levels and engagement. Ask yourself questions, such as: is my child bored, over tired, unengaged, craving attention and so on. The answers to these questions will provide great cues as to what’s really going on and will give you a starting point to strategically and successfully move forward.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

    Personal Development Coach & Author

    Help For Mums

     

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    4 years ago · · 0 comments

    What to do when you lose your self confidence as a new mum?

    Boosting Self Confidence As A New Mum

    When you become a new mum, your self confidence and self esteem can quickly take a dive, particularly when things don’t go quite as well as planned. One of the major issues new mums face is shifting from being in control of your child during pregnancy to feeling completely lost as your child begins to develop and grow into this new life. When things such as breastfeeding and regular sleep do not go well, new mums often begin to question their parenting methods and begin to assume they must be doing something wrong. Add to this the opinions of friends, other mothers, family members and health  professionals, its no wonder so many new mums begin to feel like failures.

    So what can you do if you begin to feel like a failure, or begin to self criticise yourself ?

    Reduce the pressure you are placing on yourself.

    One of the first big mistakes new mums make is to stop listening to their instincts and to begin listening instead to everyone else’s advice and opinion on how best to parent their new baby. As a new mum, it’s very easy to begin to doubt yourself when things you try (like breastfeeding or placing a baby in a swaddle to sleep) simply do not work, particularly when you have been told by experts that these are the best ways to feed or get your baby to sleep. What no-one seems to tell new mums (or perhaps as new mums it’s hard to believe), there is no 1 manual of parenting that works for every child. Each baby is different and also has a mind of his/her own. Some babies will easily soothe, for instance, whilst other will not. Some babies will sleep for 2-3 hour stretches at a time, whilst others will only power nap for 30 minutes at a time. If you begin to place too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, you will quickly begin to start feeling overwhelmed and self criticism will begin to seep into your mindset and quickly reduce your self confidence. So, the key is to have a parenting plan and then to just go with the flow. Sometimes your parenting style will work wonders, but other times it won’t (for instance if your baby is feeling overtired or unwell). These are the times to take a brake and just try something new when you are feeling more calm and rational.

    Trust that you know your baby best

    As a primary carer, no-one knows your baby better than you. Other experts and parents can provide you with support and advice as to what they have observed or perhaps trialled successfully with their children, but ultimately, you know your child best. You will know if your child will respond well to new environments, people and parenting styles. you will be able to assess whether sleeping methods such as controlled crying are right for your child and your family. Trust that you have your child’s best interests at heart and always look at things from the perspective of ensuring your child is safe, healthy, happy and secure (eg living in a harmonious environment).

    Catch yourself in moments of negative self-talk

    If you begin you hear yourself speaking negatively about your parenting style, try to catch yourself in the moment and refrase your words. For instance, if you catch yourself saying things like “I’m never going to get my baby to sleep”, alter this to “Every baby eventually sleeps, we just need to keep adjusting things until we get things working well for our family”. Reducing negative self talk will go a long way towards boosting your confidence and ensuring you maintain a healthy self esteem throughout motherhood.

    4 years ago · · 37 comments

    Why We All Need Parental Unconditional Love – Regardless of Our Age

    unconditional loveEvery Child and Adult Craves Unconditional Love

    Regardless of age, every individual desires (and benefits immensely from) having consistent support and unconditional love from parents. The role of a good parent is to guide, support and nurture each child into being a confident, strong, independent and motivated adult. However, one never loses the desire to be nurtured and to feel as though there is a bond and guide there when needed.

    Over the years in my Marriage Counselling practice, I have heard parents say they believe their children are too old for hugs. I have also heard parents say that once a child reaches a certain age they no longer need parental support. However, this could not be further from the truth. Affection is a basic human and animal need. This need was shown experimentally in the 1960s via the Harlow psychological studies into the effects of love and deprivation on development. In these (often cruel) experiments, Harlow found that when young rhesus monkeys were provided with a choice of a ‘dummy’ mother made of wire (who provided food) and a ‘dummy’ warm/cuddly mother who provided warmth (& thus emulated the feelings of being with their real mother), they chose the warm mother more often. Hence these studies showed the monkeys would choose feelings of love and affection over the basic need – to eat.

    Studies like these altered the way many babies were treated in hospitals. They also helped to shape new adoption policies (e.g. trying to pair parents with babies as young as possible to enhance this bond). These studies also helped in the deinstitutionalisation of orphans and the mentally impaired. Nowadays babies are held by mothers immediately after birth and rarely taken into the nursery, unless necessary. Thus, these basic human needs are well recognised (but sometimes forgotten once a child grows up) today.

    Impact of Unconditional Love

    As a parent of a child, or an animal, you can see the influence affection and unconditional love has on those you care for. If you neglect an animal, for instance, it will most likely cause emotional harm to the animal. I can remember in high school a friend’s brother kept his dog in a large cage at the back of their house, while he trained it to become a ferocious guard dog. Apparently, the dog was nice to the brother. However, strangers were never allowed near the dog, for fear it would attack. Thus, keeping this animal caged significantly impaired the dogs natural instincts. It was no longer loving, affectionate and playful with other members of the family, let alone strangers.

    Whilst as an adult it is important to be your own person and live an independent life, it is always nice to know there are others you can rely on when you need it most. These people do not have to be your parents. They can be close friends, a partner, a mentor, or other family members. The key to this special relationship is feeling secure. A close friend that thinks of your needs, is supportive, loving and affectionate, can provide the same needs of the supportive, loving and affectionate parent. These relationships are very important and deserve your time and dedication to ensure they remain healthy and ongoing throughout your lifetime.

    Providing Unconditional Love At Any Age

    If you are a parent, don’t assume your role is no longer as important once your children ‘grow up’. It is just as important to provide unconditional love, only different. The desire for unconditional and consistent love, support and affection is innate. Therefore, it should not be provided based on age. If you are a carer of an animal, make sure you take time to treat it with regular, unconditional love and affection. Not just when you’re in the mood. Animals are sensitive and intelligent creatures and will also give you the same love and affection in return. Regardless of whether, or not you have children or animals in your life, take the time to be affectionate, loving and supporting to those you care about most. Ask for this unconditional love in return when you feel it is lacking.

    Finally, think about who you are asking this of . Assess whether or not they are capable of providing you with your basic needs. If not, you may need to re-think where you are placing your energy and desires. If a parent, friend or partner is unable to provide you with these basic needs, it doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them. Rather it may require you to put your energy into seeking it from those most willing and capable to provide it to you consistently.

    Never forget that everyone needs and deserves affection, love and support – especially YOU!

    If You Are A Parent & Would Like To Find Out More About Boosting Your Self Esteem visit: https://www.helpformums.com/home/how-to-build-self-confidence-and-self-esteem-online-course/

    unconditional love - lizzie o'halloran

     

     

     

     

    unconditional love - lizzie o'halloran