Monday, April 29, 2013

Tantrums... not just for tots (Free call tonight) and NEW I Heart Parenting community

I'm excited. Super excited.

Tonight, I'm hosting a free call about handling tantrums and emotional upsets. And on Wednesday, I'm launching my new I Heart Parenting community!
I'm over the moon excited.

I haven't gotten much sleep lately getting this all ready for you. Really, it is a dream I've had for many years that is finally taking form. And the super cool thing is that even I could afford to join this. And recently, money has been incredibly tight for me as a new single mom. (You can read about that here if you missed that story...)

While I've always been somewhat frugal, I had an experience recently that made me feel even more dedicated to getting some resources up that everyone can enjoy and still supports the work that I'm doing. A few months ago, when I couldn't afford to buy toilet paper (I did get it worked out, so don't worry), I didn't go into a place of despair. I knew that this was a very temporary place as I adjusted to being the sole income provider for myself and my boys. But I really began to appreciate every little thing that I did have. When I could put gas in my car, I rejoiced. When I had a little extra money and could do something nice for my boys, I cherished it in a way that's hard to describe.

I began to think even more about all the parents who are scraping by every month, just trying to feed their kids and wanted to do more to offer help. After all, I couldn't afford anything other than the most basic of things and if I needed parenting support, it wasn't going to happen no matter how valuable I felt the information was or how much I valued my relationship with my kids. I've always had lots of free resources on my website and blog. I regularly offer good sales and discounts. But those periodic things aren't enough when you're really struggling. Or even if you just want it to be better than it is.

I made a deal with myself about 7 years back when I was really struggling and someone supported me at no charge. Since then, I'm always trying to find ways to pay it forward.

And this feels really good.

So tonight, I'm hosting a free call about an alternative view of tantrums and emotional upsets. This call isn't just about toddlers. Every day, I hear from parents with toddlers to teens (and yes, many times the parents) who are having emotional outbursts or upsets and aren't sure what to do that feels loving when we just want it to STOP. When it is us, we may beat ourselves up because we should know better or we're sounding just like our parents did with us. When it is our kids, we may resort to bribing them or maybe we just shut them out. How can we find our way into handling these emotionally charged moments the way we want? How can we handle these times in a way that helps our children have fewer of these moments as they grow older? And how can we grow ourselves up if we're still having more of those moments ourselves than we'd like to admit?

This is a huge topic and I've chosen it to launch the very first month of my new intentional community. I'll be sharing information and resources with you and we'll be getting to know each other, to support one another on the journey that sometimes feels really lonely as a conscious parent.

I hope you'll consider joining us to play in this new playground. Let's find some joy together! Let's inspire each other to be the best we can be without judgments as we find our way on our own unique path of parenting consciously. Let's learn together and create a community of support. It does take a village, even if it is virtual.

There's something powerful for me to hear parents from every corner of the globe are all feeling the same way. I want you to see that, too. There is magic in the common ground, how we are all more alike than different, and in watching families move from struggle to deep connection. I want you to have a window into that and learn from each other.

Have a question for me for tonight's call? Please comment below. Excited about the new community? Have ideas to make it a better place? I'd love to have you comment below. Or email me directly. I'll try to get back to you soon.

Hope to hear from you on the call tonight! And I can't wait to meet you in our new parenting playground, I Heart Parenting. You can check it out by following the link. We're still under construction, but we'll be up and running completely on Wednesday, May 1, 2013!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Struggling with Tantrums and Emotional Upsets?

It seems like we're all there at one point or another. I've noticed that it is more likely to occur when I'm least able to handle it.

One of my clients described his daughter falling apart and laying in the middle of the sidewalk like a starfish, sobbing and screaming.

Other clients relay situations where it is a fight to get out the door every morning. Or every time they need to get buckled up. At bath time. Or when their child needs to get dressed. Or when it is time to eat. Or when anything changes, unexpectedly or not.

I hear about these situations so often. It seems that we're all looking for sensitive ways of handling these overwhelming moments with our children. But we're not always sure how to respond with love, especially when it is overwhelming for us. Or when we've been taught that they should just "get over it."

I'm going to be hosting a f.ree call coming up on Monday, April 29 at 8:30pm eastern on this very topic. And the BEST part is that I am going to answer YOUR questions! I need your help, though. I need to know what you are struggling with when it comes to your children's tantrums and emotional upsets.

While I can't offer you a magic wand (as many of you have requested), I can offer you an alternative way of looking at what's happening with your child when things are falling apart.

Please join us for the call by signing up here.

And please submit your questions in the comments below. I'll also be pulling questions from my blog post, An Alternative View of Tantrums and Emotional Upsets from reader's comments there, but I really want to hear from YOU.

This call will be recorded, but it is always best to join us live when you can. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rebecca's No Good, Very Bad Day Turn Around

I woke up one morning last week and before I had even rolled out of bed, I realized that my day was going to be completely different than the one I envisioned before I went to sleep last night.  A series of text messages greeted me with things I needed to take care of that I just hadn't anticipated. That followed by several emails I wasn't expecting with more things I needed to do.

My head began to spin. I wanted to just go back to bed.

My house hadn't burned down. There was nothing catastrophic. But I was rattled. My to do list had just more than doubled and I had challenges I wasn't sure how I was going to work out yet, including needing the Harry Potter wizardry required to be in two locations 25 miles apart at nearly the same time. At rush hour. During tourist season. On the Gulf coast of Florida.

Now normally, I am a really good problem solver. I take pen to paper and write out everything that needs to happen and I work it out. Or I just stare at Facebook for a while until I'm ready to move forward.

But I had a full day planned already. Between clients and work with colleagues and events with my kids, I didn't have time to just stare idly at my computer. Drats.

One of the things I've learned through all the years I've been teaching brain-based, relationship-centered information that is now in my book Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families is that when we're dysregulated (not in a calm, rational place), we need connection and contact with other people. There was a very, very long time in my life where it was just too painful for me to reach out when I was having a hard time, so I've had to learn how to do this. It doesn't come naturally for me. But I've had enough practice now and had enough wherewithall to pick up the phone and reach out to a good friend to talk it through once I finally admitted that I was getting nowhere with the piece of paper. (Or Facebook)

I found myself lamenting, as I often hear my clients do, about how there was nothing catastrophic, so why was I feeling like such a mess? Why couldn't I do this by myself? I didn't see the reason I was so out of sorts. Why couldn't I just pick myself up and move on? I hadn't had breakfast and it was nearly 11am. My thinking was cloudy. My desk was a mess. I couldn't find papers I needed. But my friend didn't judge me. He didn't tell me that I was being unreasonable. He simply said, "It sounds like you're on that yellow thingie you talk about in your workshops."

Yes, yellow light. Emotional brain. I couldn't think clearly because I wasn't firing on all cylinders. When someone is on a yellow light, I advise everyone slow down and just stop for a little while. Going full speed ahead, while it is what we cognitively think is the best idea, will only lead to more trouble, more dysregulation.

Just yesterday, I had a mom who shared a story about when her daughter was on a yellow light. She knew it was best if they just stay home because her daughter was having a hard time, but that "rational" brain took over and she found herself, with her child now in a full-blown tantrum, getting on the bus to go to their scheduled activity. They didn't make it far before she realized it was not going to work out and they got off the bus to walk back home.

I listen to my clients and learn from their examples. Well, I'd like to think I do, anyway.

I found myself asking out loud, "What do I need when I feel like this?" My wise friend simply said, "I'm not sure what you need." And then he was quiet and he waited.

Finally, in that silence, I knew that I needed a hug. I needed to be in direct contact with someone who cared about me. It's always a risk to reach out to someone else. I found it interesting that Lissa Rankin wrote about this very topic that same day in her newsletter (vulnerability vs neediness). I knew what I needed and I knew there was a chance that the person I decided to ask may or may not be able to meet that need at that time. But I've learned over the past few years that it is important to ask. If I don't ask, no one knows what I need and no one is going to meet that need.

So, I held my breath and asked.

Turns out it was doable. I got my hug, was held for a little while, and then I was able to go on with my day, fully emotionally present. Not just getting by or compensating, like I would have otherwise done.

Connection really does heal.

I write about how there is nothing more important than relationships. But I live it, too. Sometimes it isn't very pretty, but that's not what is most important. The most important thing is that I embrace myself and my journey and all the messiness that goes along with it.  After all, this is Consciously Parenting, not Perfectly Parenting.

What an important experience this turned out to be for me! As I think about my kids and the bad days they occasionally have, it does help to remember that sometimes we all just need some quiet time with someone who cares about us. A hug, some down time, a snuggle, a nice foot rub, like my 9 year-old likes after a hard day, can all make the difference and completely turn a "bad" day around. It's like an emotional band-aid. Balm for a wound.

What do you do when your life gets messy? What do you do that turns your day around? Please share with us in the comments below.