Conscious Parenting Q&As March 2020

? Any ideas for helping a 10 and 15 y.o. become more independent in the morning?

? I find it triggering to be ignored by my 3-year old. Can you help me unpack my feelings?

? Any advice on connecting family-night activities? How often should I be intentional with implementing that connection?

Any ideas for helping a 10 and 15 y.o. become more independent in the morning? Specifically waking up to an alarm.

Troy: I have a white board with times written down of when things needs done. I would offer them a routine …But be open to them developing their own. I let my kids struggle some …like with cleaning …because that’s how they will find what works best for them . If they have showered dressed and have eaten by the time you put up they keep a privilege ( example..time on xbox) if they miss the deadline they miss that privilege. I go after the most favorite things first … in the end the problem seems to fix it self better that way . 
I also have a group goal …like EVERYONE needs to be ready by this time or everyone goes to bed 30 min early . Seems unfair ..yes . But it creates positive peer pressure and encourages helping. Had a friend in the military and they used group punishment effectively. Ultimately forcing a team to be formed even if they are not happy with each other. That’s what works for me 🙂 Good luck .

Juliet: For my daughter, the kind of alarm was important. So I got one which mimicked the rising of the sun (it turned brighter progressively) so that before the alarm went off, she felt ready to wake. It also had lovely nature sounds (and she loved being able to choose the sound). It also helps to have them prepare as good as possible the night before (clothes chosen, backpacks complete, etc), this way, it is easier to move through the tasks.

Dani: How about natural consequences that don’t involve you driving?
How about if they had to pay for their own cab to get to school?
Took a later bus or public transport?
Didn’t make it to school at all? (Maybe age dependant, like whether they can stay home alone or not. This would likely look different for the 10yo to the 15yo, as you may prefer to delegate a different level of responsibility to them at these ages.)

There would then be knock-on consequences they’d have to face at school: being late or not attending and what this would involve. 

You could have a clear conversation about what you’re willing to do, and also define clearly your limits and what is now their responsibility (ie, I will no longer be driving you so you need to make sure you do what it takes to get to school on time). It will be freeing for all of you!

Allow them the freedom to explore what both sides of this responsibility feels like: “woohoo mum will no longer tell me what to do/badger me to get up!” But also: “uh oh, now I get to deal with my teachers and feeling the discomfort or being late”. 

It’ll also probably be uncomfortable for you as you undoubtedly watch them struggle or fail at being on time. A great learning for everyone ?❤️

Rachielle: Maybe it’s just me but i love waking up my 10yo son in the morning with a hug and a kiss then after that he gets ready himself. He sleeps at 8pm and wakes up 7am so he’s not tired.

Nicki: Blast the stereo….. they’ll wake up. I have the opposite problem. The kids won’t sleep in, in my household and we work nights.

Hello, would you help me unpack my bad reactions to my son please? The things I find triggering are being ignored by him, having to ask many times to do something and him hurting me or his dad. I find it almost impossible to keep my calm at these situations, which happen a lot with a 3 year old. I know it’s from my own stuff but I can’t seem to access it by myself. Anyone else have any ideas?

Mick: I think most parents could relate! For me, I started to train myself to not react. Once we’re in the moment and we’re already reacting, it’s very difficult to think our way out of it. With this in mind, I think prevention is better than cure. Just like athletes “mentally rehearse” their races, parents can mentally rehearse their daily battles, triggers and defensiveness. I encourage people to take a few minutes each day (usually at the end of the day) to go back over the moments when they were reacting. Picture the whole scene in your mind as objectively as possible as if you were a bystander who wasn’t emotionally involved. See yourself starting to get triggered and if possible run the “movie” backwards. Go back to the moment when you lost control of your own emotions. Doing this regularly by yourself or with support (I coach people on this stuff) helps to make you more aware of the triggers before they happen. And then you can make a new choice in each moment about how to react (but it can take time and practice!). One day, you find that when it happens, you’re able to “catch” it before it takes you over… and it gets better and better the more you practice. Good luck!

Shumalia: Observe yourself like you are watching someone else and start journalling about what you notice. Over time you will recognize when your ego is taking over and when you start to be triggered. This method helps you understand yourself on a deeper level which helps massively as a parent.

Malcolm: Meditation and regular yoga practice should really help calm you down and make you less reactive and more able to embrace your child’s tantrum moments with more love and compassion. Also I found an emotional release type therapist helped hugely when my own emotions seemed like they might get the better of me. A Core Energetics or Radical Aliveness therapist, or any really who actually do emotional release work. Talk won’t cut it

Dawn: He’s just 3 so his capacity for understanding is more limited than you realize, what are your expectations of him, where are they from (learned?) And what is it that he’s triggering in you? What’s the feeling, because that’s the ‘my own stuff.’ It’s also a projection of what he’s feeling that resonates with your stuff that he can’t express and so projects onto you in order to communicate it through you’re feeling it too. You can’t fight anger with anger, you’re teaching him in those moments how to manage his emotions and if you’re not managing yours he certainly can’t be expected to manage his. Start with the feeling, what is you’re really afraid of that you think he behaviour is saying about you?

Julia: Love the advice given here. ❤️ On a very simple note, I also felt triggered by “being ignored” but came to realize I wasn’t speaking in a way he heard. To me, the room was quiet but to him, his mind was busy. So if it’s important/requires a response, I address him more intentionally before asking something. Eye contact is helpful when he’s particularly engaged in something else. It also made me much more aware of what/how often I was asking something of him when I couldn’t just call it out but had to stop and give it more intention. ❤️

Any advice on connecting family-night activities? How often should I be intentional with implementing that connection? I know after I have been working all day and they have been in school, we all want to decompress but also be able to not check out mentally or emotionally with each other.

Mary: How about a card game after dinner? We like a quick game of Sleeping Queens (my oldest is 4). Just leave the cards out and sit down and connect and play when you can. ?

Kholiswa: My kids are 5 and 7. We make a point of reading before bed every night. Its a lovely opportunity to snuggle when the day has been busy. We also do a family movie night on Sundays where i make popcorn and cut up some veggies. Thats our Sunday dinner and we all look forward to the simplicity. ?

Margaret: What comes to my mind is free play. It might be a wonderful thing to destress your kids if they are still adjusting to the new school and changing family. Free play gives the little ones a sense of control over their world and a sense of empowerment.

My kids loved it when they were little: I’d just tune into whatever they were doing after dinner and participate in it without suggesting anything or trying to direct them. The structure for the activity would just reveal itself organically. We’d start with playing with plush toys where I was just reaffirming what they wanted and by the end of the night we’d have a well set up plush pet store. When I did it for the first time with my oldest son, he was so empowered to be treated as an equal partner in a game! Before, I’d try to direct him within play to make it more “educational”.

Also, we like to play board games, but probably not Monopoly because it seems to be set up to produce some unpleasant vibes. We still play Catan or Clue.