Archive for February, 2012

Are You a Good Enough Parent?

February 21st, 2012

You may ask yourself, Am I good enough parent?

It seems like you are on a treadmill every day, trying to get the kids fed, looking for clean clothes, feeling overwhelmed by piles of to-dos, and struggling to get your child to sit down and do their homework without an argument. Oh yes, and don’t forget the last minute reminder from your child that you are supposed to bring in cookies for tomorrow.

There are moments you may wonder if you are doing a good enough job as a parent. Your heart may feel heavy, like you have failed as a parent. Here are 5 ways to be a good enough parent.

1. Let of comparing yourself to others. I bet you know at least one parent who looks so put together at the school meeting and car pick-up. You know, the person who has pressed pants, flawless hair, and lipstick. You made it out of the house with your hair in a ponytail and clean sweatpants, and all the kids have a lunch packed. At that moment when you bump into Wonder Mom you can easily start to criticize yourself for not appearing so put together. Let go of the self-critical thoughts, and replace these with some reminders of how you are rocking it just fine- heck, you don’t have a stain on your sweats and you didn’t forget anyone at home. Pat yourself on you back for what you are doing right and let go of the self-criticism.

2. Ask for support and let others help. There are so many things that need to be done throughout the day, and you may end up feeling like a workhorse. Let others help with household tasks. Have a list of chores that need to be done each day, put this on a whiteboard where everyone in the family can see it. Attach a specific reward to completing these tasks depending upon the age of the child. A 5 year old may be rewarded with an extra book at bedtime after cleaning up their toys, or your tween may earn computer time when they pick-up their clothes and make their bed, or you may give your teen an allowance for mowing the lawn. Ask for support and delegate household tasks.

3. Let go of doing things right. Many parents have a difficult time delegating out tasks because their child or spouse will not “do it right”. The secret is that many children (and spouses) know that is they do it “wrong” you will likely step in and do it for them. Yes, they will manipulate the situation, so let go of having things be a certain way. Plus, who want to hear nagging and criticism while your trying to be helpful? Ditch doing it the “right way” and welcome others to help out their way.

4. Model being good enough. I like to model when my “humanness is showing” and I use this phrase often when I make a mistake. Yes, we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all get upset, try too hard, mess up, misunderstand, miscommunicate- thank goodness! Let your child know that it’s okay to make mistakes, to try and fail, to be good enough. We ask children to try their best and let them know it’s okay of they didn’t make the team or get the grade they wanted. Can you model being okay with trying your best, even when things are disappointing and don’t work out the way you would like?

5. Be compassionate with yourself. Research suggests that those who score higher on self-compassion tests may be less anxious and depressed, and this may even impact eating habits and weight gain. So practice self-compassionate activities such as taking time for yourself, writing yourself a letter of support and understanding when you encounter a problem, making artwork that shows your positive traits, and ways you can be kind with yourself during difficult times.

You do not need to be extraordinary to be a good parent, you just need to be willing to communicate your needs and show respect and compassion for yourself and others.

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you would like more parenting support we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.


My good kid has gone bad

February 6th, 2012

What happens when a good kid starts to show some bad behaviors?

Your child or a child you work with all of sudden starts to act out in ways you haven’t seen before. Maybe it’s a refusal to listen, difficulties with peers, acting out or being aggressive, shutting down and saying, “whatever”. You notice they have begun to have an attitude, maybe they are getting in trouble, or perhaps their teacher is worried.  It seems sudden and a bit random and you aren’t sure what’s going on.

Here are 5 ways you can use art and creativity to understand a child’s negative behaviors and teach your child some tools to manage their behaviors.

1.     Use art as a self-calming and self- soothing tool. Before your child becomes so overwhelmed and acts out or shuts down bring in some art activities. Choose art materials that are calming such as chalk pastels, markers, or modeling clay. Have a basket of calming activities to choose from and take an art break before your child loses control of their emotions. As a parent or teacher you want to notice what triggers your child and redirect behaviors before they become full blown meltdowns or shutdowns.

2.     Use art to understand your child’s point of view. You may think that things at school are just fine, but your child may not feel that way at all. Sometimes children have a hard time identifying or articulating what’s bothering them. Use piece of paper and markers or crayons and ask your child to draw a picture of their classroom; then ask them to tell you what they created and listen. You may learn about stressors and triggers that upset your child. Make sure you fully listen without trying to jump in and problem solve.

3.     Use art to understand your child’s perception of home. Ask your child to create a picture of your family together. You’ll learn about your child’s point of view of your family when you listen without interruption as your child shares what they created. This is a touchy topic for many parents. Be aware of your response. If your child explains things that you feel are “not true” be aware of how this triggers you and what your initial response is.  Your child will have a difficult time safely expressing their feelings if you become upset when they share. Be open, curious, and ask questions help you understand.

4.     Use art to solve the problem. If your child identifies problems at home or at school (if age appropriate) ask your child to make an image of what they could do about that problem. Remember that you are encouraging your child to express themselves, therefore, they may create a silly or “inappropriate” solution. Don’t lecture. Let them know that’s an option and ask them about other options they could choose, and come up with a bunch. At the end of exploring options together discuss the consequences of each option by asking questions such as, what would happen if you did that?

5.     Use art as a way to teach positive social behaviors. Sometimes a child has a hard time getting along with their peers and siblings. You can use art to sneak in teaching positive ways to behave socially. Set up some play rules and have the children/siblings work together on a common goal, such as building or drawing something. When problems arise, point out the rules and use it as a teaching opportunity. Use the experience to help identify and label feelings and work together to create solutions. Children will learn socially appropriate behaviors while having fun.

Got a child who quickly goes from happy to meltdowns in less that the count of 5? Then it’s time to teach them new coping tools to help them become aware of their emotions and behaviors. If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you would like more support we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download and implement to help your child.

P.S.- CQ disclaimer: The CQ believes that there’s no such thing as a BAD child, just BAD behaviors and these tools can help.