Sunday, October 26, 2008

A comforting ritual

This past week, I had a friend visit from Australia.  On the first day, she asked about making some tea.  I have a teapot that I occasionally use, so I dusted it off, dug out my tea cups, and found my tea bags for her to use.  Every day, several times a day while she was visiting, she would go into the kitchen and make some tea, always offering to make me or my boys some tea as well.  So, I started joining in on her ritual.  Each morning before breakfast, in the afternoon, and before bed, she would go through this ritual.  I thought it was a wonderful way to nurture oneself and just take a few moments to pause in the day.  As Americans, we are constantly on the move and rarely do we stop to indulge in taking time like this on a regular basis.  I know that this is not something I had really ever seen anyone do on a regularly like this and I soon found myself looking forward to this time.

The week ended and she went on with her journey.  And I found myself thinking about tea.  But mostly about taking that time for me that goes along with having that cup of tea.  This evening I went into the kitchen, found the teapot and all that goes with it and took some time for myself.  Such a simple thing, but such a powerful message to myself.  I have value and I'm worth taking that time for me.  

Do you have any rituals that bring you comfort like this?  Do you have a cup of tea, or do something else on a regular basis to nurture yourself?  To slow down and just breathe in the moment?  I'd love to hear how others are nurturing themselves through rituals.  Did your parents or grandparents have anything like this that they passed along to you?

I'm off now to drink my tea.  Cheers!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Connecting to Our Children, Connecting to Ourselves

I've settled on a title for my upcoming book and wanted to give you a peek as a thank you if you are managing to find my blog and actually read it!  :-)

The full title is Connecting to Our Children, Connecting to Ourselves: A Relationship-Focused, Research-Based Approach to Parenting with Unconditional Love and Respect

The book is organized by 9 guiding principles and I thought I'd share the first one with you right now.  If you have feedback or examples of these principles, I'd love to hear about it!  

Principle #1: Behavior reflects the internal state of the individual and the relationship's level of connection.  All behavior is a communication.

We, as parents, tend to take our children's behavior personally.  If our child refuses to do something, we may automatically find ourselves upset at our child.  Let's explore an example that happened at my house today.  (I'm full of examples of all of these principles!)

My older son was dysregulated this morning because he was worried that he was going to be late for school.  I think my track record is quite good for getting him to school before he needs to be there, but my son wants to be there as soon as he can be dropped off and for that my track record is less than stellar.  He was anxious and dysregulated.  I found that he was sometimes staying calm and other times he was yelling.  His behavior was really reflecting his internal state.  

Some mornings, he'll be in this same place and I'll be totally dysregulated myself.  When I'm struggling, he struggles more.  Other mornings, I can stay present with him, truly feeling that this isn't about me.  I can help him shift out of his dysregulation and help him get ready for his school day.  When we are generally connected, this shift happens relatively easily.  When not connected, I'm distracted with everything I need to do to get 3 people out the door on time in the morning and things don't go as smoothly.  All behavior is a communication and an opportunity to connect or to create disconnection.  By focusing on the behaviors, you'll get more disconnection.  By focusing on the relationship, you'll create more connection.

Next time, we'll take a sneak peek at Principle #2.