Conscious Parenting Q&As February 2020

? What do you do when your toddler hits another child?

? I’m feeling overwhelmed with the ongoing divorce and the kids switching from home schooling to a public school. How do I go through this and stay connected to my kids?

? My girl (2) and has now got that new habit that she doesn’t want to stop reading books for bedtime. She refuses to go to sleep!

? What is the appropriate action to take when a child is angry and breaks his toys?

? My daughter (7) had started getting upset because she wants to have a ‘problem’.

? How to talk to a toddler about not throwing food or cups from their high chair?

What do you do when your toddler hits another child?

Anita: Apologies don’t mean anything to children that young. They’re only used so the adults feel okay. And hitting can be the result of so many things. The most important thing is to figure out the root cause. What need wasn’t being met?

Laura: I bend down to his level and gently say I wont let you hit. Then maybe explore why they hit. Eg. Maybe someone ripped a toy out of their hand. If this is the case, I try and empathize and say it made you feel really frustrated/angry when they took that toy from you. You must feel mad. Would you like a cuddle? Then reinforce. I know it made you feel mad but it’s not okay to hit.

Sarah: it’s hard being little. i remember hearing that most of their “acting out” is actually a test to see if we will still love them. when i put this into practice and used my calm and empathy to show them that, while i’ll set boundaries for everyone’s safety, i will always love them no matter what, it really changed our dynamic and did so much to put them at ease and help feel more cooperative. <3 we take it for granted because as parents we know our love is unconditional, but they don’t feel secure in that as kids. we have to show them, repeatedly. when i realized how uncertain and scary that must feel to them, it just clicked and the empathy came naturally.

Clair: I would first give all my attention to the person that was hit by showing concern and asking what we can do to help them feel better. After that I would speak to my child about what happened and how he was feeling.

Catherine: Let them know that’s not ok. Understanding behaviour means something emotional is taking place. Never make a child say sorry but ask what they could do to make it better – they usually hug. A sorry is best done sincerely than forced. Focus more attention on the child who has been hit rather than the child displaying negative behaviour.

Juliet: I used to simply saw “Oww. Hitting hurts. ” Lots of explaining and talking for a 3 yr old doesnt reasonate with them.

Russell: I guess we did 2 things really: 1. Try and understand the circumstance and why it happened. 2. Explain that there was another way to respond in that circumstance and hitting is never, never the answer. We had to do this a couple of times and she got the message ultimately.

I need advice. My homeschooled kids are now 3 weeks in public school and it’s been hard to connect and get a rhythm down. Homework with 3 kids is brutal, dinner is chaos, ex husband and I still live together until I can get on my feet ( triggered daily) I feel absolutely insane and overwhelmed. I’m not even sure what I need…..:( editing since I have the top stressors. So, I feel like I cant find quality time for each of the kids. Between dinner and homework, spending anytime with my kids is almost non existent. Such a HUGE adjustment for everyone…my kids are 10,9 and 7 yrs old, being gone 8 hours a day is hard for everyone and I’m struggling with missing them and feeling connected.

Sarah: sorry to hear you’re having to go through so many transitions all at once. that must be hard on the whole family.
would a family meeting be possible (maybe on the weekend)? or a sit-down with your ex? maybe if you were able to set some specific times for things like homework and one-on-one time that would help? and some sort of easy meal plan? do you have friends or family close by who could be of any help?

Jennifer: I’m so sorry. I help parents with things similar to some of what you’ve mentioned here. You may want to just pick the top 3 things that aren’t working right now and put your full focus there. I get that this is a tough time for you and reasonably so. Take it easy. Good for you for reaching out! A daily new routine may help…who’s where in the house at what times of each day also. Find your zen place I suggest also. When mom is happy, everyone is happy. ?

Dawn: Drop the homework. We don’t do it. Home is for fun, connecting, play, relaxing. Etc. There’s no shortage of research to support that homework is a dated and unnecessary concept that can be counter-productive to learning More and more schools are even offering an opt out. I send an email outlining why we won’t be doing it, that research supports not doing it and that it doesn’t align with our values at home and it’s more important for me to teach honoring values and being in integrity with what you believe than doing meaningless home work.

Leets Bee (to Dawn): totally agree with this. We don’t do homework in our family. Google “Justin Coulson Homework”….he’s a parenting expert and has a template letter you can give to teachers if required which explains your reasoning and he also outlines research against homework. Life is busy. Find ways to slow down. Homework was first to go for us. Then brutal with activities ie. We don’t do many at all. Good luck. Breathe. Big deep breaths. Get yourself out of fight/flight/freeze mode a couple of times a day. Legs up the wall before bed. Hugs

Jen: Uh I’m sorry. I found myself in a similar situation five years ago. What I’m gonna say is just try to shift all the sad things about the kids into little grateful moments.
Much is going to happen that you can’t control now and much will change for the kids. Every moment spent feeling bad about not getting time is moments you could have grabbed with them in gratefulness.
Do what you gotta do but try and learn to let go of prior ideas and flow with it all

Chris: I think eating together and trying to speak to each of them at the table, and bed time routines can go a long way. It is not the amount of time but the quality. I am not a homework fan. I think after 6 hours at school kids have reached their limit. (…)If we teach JOY in learning through teachable moments & fun engaged educational activities rather than the stress & obligation of homework I think it will nurture kids minds more. Obviously we want to teach them how to determine WHAT responsibilities to take very seriously with commitment from a heart level too.

Karen: Lots’ of things happening at once Bo Ho Baker so no wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Some great advice already here 🙂 Love the idea of shifting your focus and remembering to find gratitude for things, as Jen says, those little every day things we take for granted, be thankful. Aim to be more present in the now and enjoy that (not easy I know) . Remember that we are always communicating energetically and your ‘state’ vibration of stress, worry, overwhelm will be affecting the children too. Start with you Bo. I use an EAM Energy Alignment Method to re-balance emotions and re-align to positive emotional states so we can deal with our problems, challenges, issues or whatever you want to call them. When you are really taking care of you, you will feel more able to cope. As Chris said it really is the quality of time spent together rather than quantity. Good luck, let us know how you get on <3 x

Oskar: I can’t even imagine how hard this must be for you. I bet it is overwhelming and stressing. My advice would be to find someone you can talk to who really listens, try to find someone who can see you in your pain and suffering. It is always relieving to share what one is going through. Try to be honest with yourself with the way you feel right now, if you can. Admit to yourself that you feel total despair right now if that is the way you feel.. It is okay to feel that you can’t take this if that is the way you feel. Go to the toilet and have a good cry, if you can.

Juliette: I completely hear you as I was in a similar situation living with my ex and feeling unable to cope. It wasn’t until I started working with Angels and energy that I began to realize that my energy was affecting my children and being the sensitive beings they are even more so. It does start with you and how you perceive everything happening too. If you feel, say and repeat how you fee, you will by the law of attraction draw more of that to you. Taking time for yourself to breathe through this and get everything down that you are feeling is a start. Start seeing the beauty in the children and what they are showing you, maybe a new way of being. There is always a nugget of gold in everything that happens. I have dropped most homework too unless they want to do it for example. Home is for play and to rest, not an extension of school in my opinion but I also believe all children are different and it depends on what works best for them, not necessarily what you think they need. Children and so amazing, left to their own devises, they often surprise us when they feel free to choose. I wish you tons of love and blessings. You’ll get there 🙂

Anna: I am so amazed by all the wisdom, love and care in this thread! There is hope for this world when you are in it! <3

Help please! My girl just turned 2 and has now got that new habit that she doesn’t want to stop reading books for bedtime. Sometimes I can persuade her to only 1 or 2 books but she doesn’t allow them out of her bed and she tucks them in with herself. Most times she gets up again to read when I leave the room. She refuses to sleep. I try to put her to sleep with 1 book at 7pm but most days she is still awake at 9.30pm which is so tiring. Is this just another phase? How can I get her to sleep easier? Experiences or ideas anyone? My discomfort is that I think she is too young to go to bed at 10pm. I think I’m doing something wrong so she doesn’t want to settle. Hmm what is my ‘something’ that I could change in myself?

Jo: This is amazing!!!!! I say let her read and fall asleep with her beloved books when she’s tired enough.

Margaret: Maybe, if that seems ok, feel into that guilt and perceived inadequacy as a parent (you said “I think I’m doing something wrong”). If you sit with it for few minutes and allow for all feelings that want to be expressed, something else might come out or the feelings will intensify. In either case you are getting closer to setting yourself free and with that extending freedom to your child. It’s a beautiful process.

Vanessa: I’m sorry mama the struggle is real. Talk through everything that is going to happen. Find the number of books you are comfortable w and tell her in advance and then after stories we will say good night. A solid routine really helped my kids when they were little. Dinner 5, tidy up and baths or washing up and brushing teeth & hair and picking stories, 6-7 lavender lotion foot and hand rub and stories- try to keep room dim (we read by light of salt lamp), I always announce when starting last book (now last chapter) and then good-night at 7. There is always a little push back but a calming routine can really help.

Laura: A longer and very consistent bedtime routine could help. Although I’m not sure what yours consists of, perhaps after reading you do a meditation or prayer together (plenty of teachings on how to at that age), then sing a soft song together, then a minute or two of rocking before finally laying down.
The longer her brain has to prepare for bedtime, the easier it is for her to lay down.
Hope this helps ♥️

Leets Bee: Set a firm but loving limit, let her cry, hold space and keep it up. “It’s bedtime. We read 2 books and then lights off. If you feel upset, that is ok, I will listen to your emotions /cry. “ Read the book. Set the limit. Take it from there. If you can hold space for a big cry, no doubt she’ll be tired after. I remember this stage you are in. I look back now and think how adorable it is. What I would do for my boys to be babes again. But we all need our rest. Google Aletha Solter “crying in loving arms” for more details on value of crying. Hugsxxx

Kendall: Theres something called sleep chronotypes. I wonder if she would be in the “wolf” category. (Which in this society can be a hard thing.) Basically, dating back to most of human history, for safety reasons, in tribes there was always someone who stayed awake to keep a look out. Certain people stay up late and sleep in. Others go to bed really early and wake up super early. Then the vast majority of the population ebs and flows with the sun set and rise. A wolf is someone who stays up late. As a child I always had trouble with this. Laying in bed trying to sleep tends to make it harder, so I would say the book could possibly be really helpful.

Quintin: Set and communicate a limit. A number of books or an amount of time. Remind them as you progress:
“Ok, we can read two more books tonight, which one do you want to read?”
“There are fifteen more minutes until bed time. What should we read next?”

What is the appropriate action to take when a child is angry and breaks his toys? Details: My son made a lego car the other day. Today he noticed a piece was missing. We looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. By the time his father found the piece he had taken his car and angrily dismantled and threw it around until all the pieces were everywhere. I have no idea how to approach this.

Anita: He’s releasing his energy in a way that feels correct for him without harming anyone else. I actually see this as healthy.
Perhaps you could ask if it would feel good for him to pound his fists on his bed, in the future as a way to release it. Or ask him if he has any other ideas for ways to move the energy through his body.
And validating his emotions would also be helpful. ?

Anita Jane: I would practice empathy in this circumstance. He had built it himself and destroyed it out of frustration. Maybe have a chat with him about how frustrating it must’ve been to have a piece missing after all that work building the car, and then ask him how it felt to destroy all that work. Then discuss ways to deal with the frustration next time, ie: he could put the car in a safe place until the spare part is found. Then ask if he’d like help rebuilding the car. He’s only a child and doesn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with such frustrations if he hasn’t been taught (and even then he’ll struggle due to his age).

Sarah: we have gone through the same thing many times. we’re working on feeling our feelings (naming and describing them) without acting on them in harmful ways, but it’s a process and most of the time things like you described still happen. in these cases, i stay as calm as i can and narrate what i see (name and describe their feelings for them). once they’re out of fight or flight mode and back to being reasonable, we talk about how the way they acted on their feelings actually created a new problem instead of solving the initial one. then we discuss things we can do differently next time.
There’s a TON of value in us understanding that we all sometimes have emotions that feel HUGE and impossible to handle, but in reality, we CAN handle ANY emotion we are capable of feeling. there is space inside all of us for them, and if we can practice breathing and watching our emotions pass without judging them or giving in to our desire to act on them, they will eventually subside. once we are back in that calm state, we can appreciate the message our emotions were sending, and we can address whatever they were calling our attention to from a place of reasoning and compassion, rather than just reacting out of pain or anger. <3

Not sure quite how to broach this because I find it quite triggering.
My nearly 7 year old daughter who is fairly high sensory in general, had started getting upset because she wants to have a ‘problem’. I wear glasses so she sees that as my problem, her half sibling was recently diagnosed autistic so she sees that as her problem. She gets so upset that she hasn’t got a thing. I find that usually she strives for perfection especially to do with her looks, clothes, school work etc and fears getting things wrong. I’m confused. I’m find doing this hard because as a child I had very very little and I was soooo grateful. I find it frustrating that she doesn’t recognize how lucky she is. But I know I mustn’t transfer that to her, just trying to work out how to respond to all this.

Kholiswa: My 7 year old also has identified family members ‘things’. Basically categorizing each of us by some characteristic.
My first thought when i read your post is that she sees these things (‘problems’ as you said) as something unique that you have and she doesn’t. She may be trying to figure out what makes her stand out, what makes her unique, within the family (and also in the world). It sounds like she may be trying to organize her world.
I don’t have specific advice except to maybe help her identify what is special and unique about herself.

Sarah: There is a beautiful company called mama sing my song. They create personalized songs for kids with their names and characteristics. Maybe talking about what makes her unique and special could be helpful. You could also tell her not to wish for problems bc some people have many some people have few. Some get them early in life and some later on. Not sure if youngish are religious? I believe in divine timing and reviving your problems when you are ready. Perhaps she doesn’t have a problem because she is supposed to be available to help you and her sister for a while.
I would look into her perfectionist tendencies at school and see where that is coming from. Does she want to fit in? Does she think perfect = good? There’s many ways to go with this.
Good for you mama for reaching out.

Oceane: Maybe a sign that she needs more attention or feels like she is at risk of getting less attention bcs she doesn’t have “a thing”? Diagnosis of a sibling can be a very big deal, she might feel or might be afraid to be left out? A child wanting more attention isn’t ungrateful but in the contrary showing how much they care and thrive on your attention. Maybe make sure she knows she will always get the attention she needs? (…)I could feel in your post how commited you were to your kid, which is why I wrote “she might feel that she is at risk of being left out” (and not “she is left out”), which has nothing to do with how much you love her or how much time you spend with her, but is a very logical fear for a kid, that someone else might take away the attention, either if she thinks she needs to compete for it, or if she feels she doesnt have what it takes to sustain your attention (no “things” of her own). I think that the fact that she is expressing this desire of hers is really beautiful, it is such a great opportunity for you to open a dialogue, and shows that she trusts you to do so. You must be an amazing dad, I understand it is never enough 😉 . Did you think about role playing? My mom used to do that when we were kids to help us formulate what we needed, she would play the kids or use the dolls to play the kids, and we (kids) would be the parents. Anyway, great job and good luck with your loving daughter

Nicole: You could help her list the wonderful things about herself. It will help her to see a positive way of acknowledging her traits. When my 5 year old daughter says” i wish i could be 7, i wish i could have that” i stop what i am doing and remind her of the great things in her life, like how independent she is, how smart she is, and how being a kid is so fun. I hope this helps

Richelle: I was the same. I wanted to be in a wheelchair with glasses and braces. The solution for me was to keep busy, get outside as much as possible, be creative, and have new projects on the go / always be learning. School is the antithesis of this.

Hi there mamas and dadas, wanted to see if any of you have insight into how to talk to their toddler about not throwing food or cups from their high chair. My daughter has recently been doing this and laughs after and makes like its a joke. Hows a good way to explain and talk to her about it?

Chris: Keen to hear other parents speak about their own experiences with this. I don’t react when my son does this, my partner gets upset with him and he does it more…

Jade: I heard some advice that really helped. First time say ‘ I see you are playing with your food. It must mean you are done. If you continue I will take it away.’ If it continues ‘ you must be done I’ll take that away from you.’ And do so. End mealtime and if they are still hungry wait a while before trying again. Happy to share where I got this advice if it feels interesting to you x

Di: You can’t. It’s developmental and no amount of talking will stop it. I do agree with Jade ^^ that you can say that they must be done and remove the food. But talking about not doing it won’t actually change anything.

Julie: I just cleaned up my sons mess and he eventually grew out of it. It’s not really something they need to learn it’s an impulse to throw which they grow out of and can’t control

Will: Simply show her good behavior and this stage will pass. It’s extremely hard. Another thing you can do is use this as an opportunity to heal/grow yourself. Do self work to figure out what is going on within yourself that causes this to bother you etc and the fact that she won’t stop doing it. Our kids are a blessing and are here to elevate us to our highest potential, if we allow that.
Whenever my daughter is doing something that aggravate me, or gets me to a point where I feel I am going to yell or scream at her it’s a sign that I have to stop and say to myself what’s she doing that is triggering me? Then I do self work and heal myself. At the end of the day she don’t know any better, she is learning and does not deserved to be shamed, yelled at so on.
So self work, read books or videos on child development and what’s normal and support groups like this to help get through these times. Good job and keep up the great work at attempting to raise a decent adult one day like we all here are doing. ?. An example of my own is my daughter bringing all her toys out her room around the entire house and just leave them would get me so upset and angry. Well I looked at why this gets me so upset and I learned that in my very own childhood my mom was always trying to keep everything clean and perfect shape. Well a fact of life is everything is not perfect. I leaned to relax a little, Allow her to have the play time she needs to grow and be herself and so on. Yes, I have a area and limit and I redirect her but I don’t get as nearly frustrated as before I done self work.

Karen: 🙂 the testing times with toddlers eh? It really is a natural phase for them, like Di said – developmental I like to remember the ‘Five ‘E’s’ that our children are here to do … Explore, Experience, Experiment, Express and Enjoy 🙂 In fact I think we are all here to do that!
Also remember to use only positive language, saying what you do want and not what you don’t. When we say ‘Don’t’ we actually help to focus our child on what we don’t want them to do, so state what you do want and direct that way.
Totally agree with what Will says look at what it is that triggers you, where else are you triggered because someone isn’t behaving the way you expect or want? and yes like Julie says She will grow out of it, difficult when you are going through it, I know. Good luck and let us know how you get on 🙂 x

Julia: My thought for anything my toddler would do that wasn’t “appropriate” was to affirm the behavior but modify or redirect. So for throwing food I might put something throwable beside him at the table that he could safely throw in the ground. “I see you want to throw! That sounds fun. Here’s something to throw and your food is for eating.”) Or I might put a stool next to him with a bowl on it (or a large bowl on the floor) for him to throw it into as a game that didn’t ruin the food. The biggest point of this for me was to show him that I’m never looking to argue but to problem solve. Looking to say yes before no. We entirely skipped tantruming, etc by affirming his needs/impulses. He was also much more willing to listen when we insisted on things (“you need to wear your seat belt in your car seat”, “you need to hold my hand in a busy street”) because we had modeled listening to him and he understood this idea of working together.
It’s a trying time! And also so fun and special! Choose carefully what you say no to or make a big issue about for your own sake and theirs! I love the five E’s that Karen mentioned! So true!!

Shea: Find out what she wants and then teach accordingly. Like if she’s done and throwing so you’ll take it away teach her to say or sign all done. If she just wants to throw things give her something/somewhere appropriate to throw. Or maybe she likes the noise of the things falling so meet the sound need. Or maybe she wants to laugh and joke with you so engage in something that’s funny without making a mess or wasting food.