Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Website!

I wanted to let you all know that our new website was launched this morning. We know that this will make things much easier to find. It has been divided into three main areas on the homepage: Building, Maintenance, and Repair of Relationships. Each area has different information, classes, and resources to guide you according to your current parenting focus. For example, if you are just starting out as a new or expectant parent, Building Relationships would have pertinent information for you. If you want to create more connection on a day to day basis with your parenting decisions, Maintenance is an excellent place for you to visit. And if you are dreading waking up in the morning because of what might happen with your children, and if you're dealing with severe behaviors, then Repair is the place for you.

Remember that we have the forums for all of these areas as a free resource. Forums are moderated and you can ask any question you have about any of these main areas.

The three sections are based upon my upcoming book, Parenting Outside the Box, to be released sometime this fall.

Check out the new website and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Coloring into regulation

We're really adjusting right now. School has let out and my older son is now home for the summer. We've had some pretty big ups and downs over the past week as we all work toward our new normal. Summer provides many opportunities to learn those things we all still need to learn: regulating ourselves (calming ourselves down) after stresses being perhaps our biggest lesson right now. Some of us are more reactive than others. I'll leave it at that.

Today I woke up at what I'm calling a yellow light. Green light would be all completely calm and ready to face the day. Red would mean that I need to just stop everything because I'm completely overwhelmed. I was aware of it as soon as I pried my eyes open when my son woke me up. Self-awareness is a wonderful start, but by itself is not regulating. I spent some time focusing on my breathing, working to settle my body's stress so that I could enjoy the day with my boys. I was open and honest when I shared with my boys that I was on a yellow light and that we all needed to go easy today.

Best laid plans aside, I soon found myself on a blaring RED light and gave myself a mommy time-out to calm down. Everyone was dysregulated (way not calm) and the shift needed to start with me. If I couldn't calm myself down- yes, as the adult- how could I expect them- the children- to do it?

A friend had photocopied several pages of mandalas for me- those circles with the intricate designs- and given me colored pencils. Truly a gift. I found myself impulsively picking them up to color. My son came in and asked what I was doing. "Regulating" was all I replied. Soon, he picked out his own mandala and began to color, too. My youngest son walked into the room, looked to see what we were doing, then walked out and found something quiet to do by himself. In the space of just a few minutes, the house was quiet. But not quiet in the way I remember when I was growing up when something awful had just happened- that painful silence along with fear of making noise. This was a peaceful quiet. We had all began to move back into yellow and maybe, just maybe, toward that green light.

I was modeling exactly what I wanted them to do when they were overwhelmed and I hadn't intended for it to happen. This wasn't part of some great plan I had. It just happened. The rest of the afternoon was much more calm. We all had more patience with each other. And it was all because I had followed that impulse to color.

Perhaps we need to remember that solutions aren't going to be complicated or come in boxes with ribbons and bows, but rather in the simple things that are right in front of us. The answers are inside of you. It comes in the form of what may later seem like divine inspiration. And perhaps it is. Open your heart and you'll see the light.