Saturday, November 15, 2014

Secret Soup for the Sick

When children are sick, especially with the vomiting variety, you want to get some nourishing foods into them during the recovery period. But, whether from normal toddler finickiness or from recently puking their guts out, often children refuse to eat what could benefit them the most.

A mama asked me what I do when faced with children who refuse to eat healthy after being sick. I, too, have heard of the super-kids who beg for cod liver oil or happily chew on raw garlic like candy. I don't have children like this. My kids see a spoon of manuka honey and run screaming. My son says manuka honey tastes "like sparkles" for that matter. Garlic is spicy. Vitamin C is tart. Elderberry is eyed very suspiciously. And you get the picture.

So here's my secret soup recipe, tailored for tummy bugs:

1 can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup with a character they like such as Mario or Frozen. (Basically any soup you know your child loves.)

3 cups of bone broth

1 tablespoon manuka honey

4 large cloves of organic garlic: raw, peeled, crushed and minced or grated to activate the antibacterial properties

2g lipospheric vitamin C

Bring the soup and bone broth to a boil together. AFTER IT COOLS DOWN to a tepid/lukewarm level, stir in the manuka honey, garlic, and vitamin C.

If your children balk at garlic, grate it to reduce the size even more while still getting the crushed chemical reaction.

Remember to tweak according to your needs and preferences. For example, I can use one can of soup and several cups of bone broth, along with adding my own finely chopped veggies, to make a big enough pot for the whole family. The cup of soup is just enough of a concession to look appealing to the kids so they taste it, realize it's delicious, and slurp it up instantly.

You can also customize what you put into the soup. Soups will generally take a lot, such as DE for parasites, clay for detoxes, chia, fiber, flax, cell salts, elderberry syrup, OLE/OoO in powdered forms, etc. Choose what you need and mix it in to taste. The manuka honey, besides being antibacterial and healing also adds sweetness to cover any of the harsher things you add.

Are you exclusively breastfeeding a baby and want to nurse her to health? I also have a list of things to do in this case (along with links to studies on why these ingredients are helpful). Read here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

No Means No - Birth Rape Trigger Warning

We seem to have a problem when it comes to basic comprehension of what birthing women say during and after labor. Despite being sentient, adult humans who can usually speak or communicate in some way, people seem to think the definitions change once labor starts. Let's refresh some basics.

No means no mean no. No matter the circumstances or excuses.

No means no regardless of location. If she's birthing at home, at a birth center, at a hospital, in a car, no still means no.

No means no regardless of where she is laboring. If she's in the shower, or in a pool, or on a ball, or on the OR table, no still means no.

No means no regardless of her mood. If she's crying, or screaming, or angry, or scared, or at peace, no still means no.

No means no regardless of her pain level. If she's in a little pain, or searing, unbearable pain, or no pain at all, no still means no.

No means no when she says she'll consider a medical intervention later.

No means no even when you feel you have a good reason.

No means no even if you feel tired, rushed, or impatient.

No means no even if you think it's something she'd like.

No means no even during an emergency.

No means no when she asks to stop offering an intervention to her.

No means no when she crawls away from you during a contraction.

No means no when she kicks at you as you force her legs into stirrups.

No means no when she cries and screams as you force your hand into her vagina.

No means no when she tries to turn her head away from a spoonful of herbs or a syringe of medicines.

No means no when she squirms and pulls back as you attempt to pull on her baby or cut her body.

No means no when she's too medicated to talk and tries to moan and hit your hand away.

No means no when she says to stop touching her and you hold on tighter.

No means no when she pushes you away and you lean onto her with all your weight.

No means no when she screams out and you cover her mouth so as not to scare the other laboring moms.

No means no when she tries to get off the bed and the nurses hold her down.

No means no when she's rolling away from you on the bed and you're moving after her.

No means no when her partner tries to step in to protect her and you get annoyed.

No means no when she clearly has no written all over her birth plan.

No means no even if you scare her by claiming she's an evil mother or pulling the dead baby card.

No means no when she desperately holds onto her baby and you grab the baby without medical reason.

No means no when she screams that she can feel the scalpel or the needle and you keep going.

No means no when she gives you vaccine exemptions and you vaccinate anyways.

No means no when she writes no formula on his bassinet card and you give it to him in the nursery.

No means no. Always has and always will. Your excuses don't change it. Your desire doesn't change it. Your intent doesn't change it. Your medical degree doesn't negate it. The cost of your services doesn't reduce it. Your OR privileges or dedicated home visits don't entitle you.

No means no. Review and remember.

Photo credit: Kirsten Sargent

Kirsten shares her experience:

"Things changed very quickly after this photo was taken. This is my first baby, a home birth, hospital transfer due to a retained placenta and severe hemorrhage. I was held down by 4 nurses while the retained placenta was removed manually, without communication/consent or pain medication after a 28 hour long natural birth. Nothing was explained to myself or my husband. I was separated from my baby for 12 hours because he wasn't born at the hospital and therefore was a liability. This was a little over 4 years ago and I still have horrible nightmares of that night."

When Big Family Comments are Reversed

Photo credit: Joanna Higgins

If you have more than 2.1 children, chances are, you've heard something strange, rude, crude, or overall inappropriate. While the chuckle and elbow poke might have been funny the first 500 times, and while you try to forgive and forget, telling yourself that you're just being sensitive and that the other person means well, in reality, many of these unsolicited comments are disrespectful and wouldn't be tolerated in another scenario.

What happens when you take some of the common quips aimed at big families and reverse them? See how many you can recognize. When it's turned around like this, how do you feel? Do you think the person asking this mom is kind? Just trying to make a friend? Secretly loving her small family but saying something silly? Do you think they are acceptable comments to random strangers? Do you think adults should say these things in front of children?

Well, I bet you're an atheist now, aren't you?

He must've been planned.

I guess you're building a figure skating family, huh!

Maybe you should try taking off your clothes once in awhile.

Are you sure she is yours?

You only have sex with ONE man?

I bet you feel empty handed!

You hands sure are empty!

I bet your husband is one unlucky guy!

Why did you only have two children?

What in the world made you stop at two?

Don't you know how unhealthy birth control is for women?

Aren't you scared of dying from your tubal ligation?

You must be so bored!

I guess you read a book on what causes that.

Maybe if you told your husband yes once in awhile...

If you would just open your legs, you'd have a larger family you know.

Women's bodies weren't made to go years without children.

You aren't trying hard enough to impress others.

Did you stop because you got an ugly one?

Doesn't your child ever feel lonely?

Hey Kid, tell your mom to get to work with your dad!

Sleep naked, it will get him interested in you.

Try spending more time with your husband, your family is too small.

You must've stopped at one to protect the environment!

Are you sure you aren't an atheist? Maybe a satanist?

I guess the Lord didn't bless you!

You must laze around all day.

It must be really quiet at your home.

I can take care of 13 kids just fine, I don't know why you'd stop at 1!

At least you're not on welfare.

I'd go insane with only one child.

I'll say a prayer that God inspires you to have more children.

I know you're not busy, so could you....

Your child is SO well behaved for being an only child! I'm surprised!

Your child can talk well for being an only child!

Wow, only one child? You look tired!

Photo credit: Nicolle Young
Gonna build your own soccer team, eh?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

7 Ways to Prevent Homeschool, Stay At Home, Natural Mom Burnout

I'm still on the young side, and only have 4 children as a mother. But, I've been MY mom's helper since a child, raising 10 children to adulthood, going through countless experiences in the natural, SAHM, homeschooling worlds. I've grappled with things from ECing while teaching older students to changing math curriculums to help a struggling student, to juggling multiple dietary needs in one large family.

Basically, having been homeschooled in a large family and now raising my own children in a similar community, I've seen more than my fair share of parenting burnouts and wrong turns that lead to moms breaking down and families experiencing chaos. I've watched train wrecks occur in families while growing up, and I see some happening now as an outcome to those childhood experiences, too. And I've made my fair share of oopsies (sorry, little siblings!)

I look around sometimes and see a lot of people in the early stages of burnout. What can you do to prevent it?

1) Stop trying to fit you and your family into a perfect picture on a harsh deadline. It doesn't exist. Start loving you where you are right now. Start loving your children for who they are right now. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. Stop comparing your children to other children. Stop looking at other homeschool set ups merely for the goal of feeling emotionally negative. If you don't feel inspired and positive when looking at others, then it means you're in a damaging loop.

And if you're focusing on constantly comparing yourself to others, chances are you've said some things in front of or to your children which can be very harmful. Such as, "Look at the Smith Family! THEY all entered the science fair!" or "I wish you guys were like the Johnson family. Those kids are always studying." Stop. Just don't do it. It benefits no one and harms everyone.

Photo credit: Chrys Kirby

2) Change your goals from unattainable to realistic. For example, instead of saying you will have the family on hardcore GAPS for a year, try slowly moving each food group to a higher quality over a year, or testing the GAPS intro for 2 weeks.

Instead of wanting all the the kids lined up in homemade school uniforms at your kitchen table, happily studying 3 grades ahead, focus on providing enough time to transition from traditional school to homeschooling. Focus on each child and the individual needs. Focus on one lesson at a time if needed.

Feeling as if you are constantly failing can be a red flag that you need to change your goals. Taking on too much, too quickly, won't make you feel more accomplished. It'll make you feel more incompetent. Make small goals. Map out a large, end goal for inspiration, but ensure you have several small and realistic goals to get there.

3) Stop trying to do it all. Your value as a human being and your parenting are not measured by how much busywork you pound out in a day. Effective parenting and homeschooling is efficient and prioritized. It's not how long your to-do list is, but rather how you organize it and complete it. Start to question where your time is invested.

Several hours trashing the kitchen, yelling at the unsupervised kids in the other room while you cook for a party? Time to let go of your insecurity or pride and buy premade or request a potluck.

Are you spending hours each week organizing schedules, working out assignments, putting together a curriculum? Have you reviewed your state law recently to find out exactly what is required? Have you reviewed your homeschool family plan to see exactly what your goals are and what's required to meet them? Spending hours stressing out on paper pushing means hours not spent on your family.

And for what end? If you counted all the hours spent on making cute invites instead of emailing or pre-mades for a birthday, on all your home ec projects, on sewing instead of buying, on trying to make something instead of looking for something secondhand that will work, would you really feel your time spent in this way is truly beneficial to your family? Do your children really view it as beneficial, or do they feel second to the household projects and homeschool paperwork?

Photo credit: Kirsten Sargent
4) Speaking of focusing, focus. Focus on the task at hand. No more, no less. Don't accept new projects until your current projects are completed. If you find yourself constantly rotating through endless fermented recipes, the latest natural diet fad, the new canning idea you saw on Pinterest, ten different knitting jobs, five potential curriculums, a book report idea you heard from a mom at school, and you feel that familiar sense of whooshing along in the current of chaos, it means you need to stop and go back to steps 1, 2 and 3.

Remember your self worth. Remember that your children are lovable as they are at this moment. Less is more. Less ensures quality, not half completed quantity.

5. Address the anxiety. If you realize you're constantly in a loop of taking on too much, scattering it around in a mess, and then fighting with the kids, it's time to look for the root issue and address it immediately. Is it buried grief over the loss of a loved one? Is it something from childhood? A chain of mother-daughter narcissism or a mother-wound? A chronic physical situation such as thyroid issues or gut health issues?

Stop trying to climb out of a muddy hole with your bare hands. Reach out. Ask for help. Build a firm foundation. 

If you experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, stop pinning the plates faster and faster. You cannot distract these issues away. Life must be slowed down for self-care and restarting on firmer footing. Stop looking at your newsfeed if you constantly feel inferior or anxious. Stop browsing pinterest if it makes you get off the computer angry, ready to bark at the kids. Stop signing up for events and activities if you or the children end up with meltdowns, or even physical illnesses.

6. Enlist your partner. I'm not talking about a vague, inclusive idea here. I put this one on the list for a common and specific problem: married, stay at home, homeschoooling mothers who are slowly killing themselves and harming their children while the husband is at work all day and then comes home and sits in front of the TV.

He works too hard already? He can still help. He doesn't do it the way you like? He can still help. He complains? He can still help. The kids complain? HE can STILL HELP! (You're afraid to ask? Get marital assistance and domestic abuse help ASAP.)

Parenting, running the home, implementing natural practices, and homeschooling all your children on your own is not a recipe for admiration and success. It's a recipe for complete disaster, burnout, emotionally neglected children, and a trashed mom.

Stay at home moms tell me here, "But, I have a single friend who works and homeschools!" Yes, and she has help, such as someone to watch her child for 8 hours a day. Does your husband watch his children for 8 hours a day? (And if she doesn't have help, she can easily burn out, too, and that is a common concern for single parents.) At any rate, go back to step 1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

7. Evaluate. Just as children have minor regressions or go through stages, our homeschooling and parenting can have dips and go through stages. But, if that stage is lasting too long, impairing the health of family members, or otherwise interfering with your family life, it's time to take a second look. Don't tell yourself to just try harder when you might be beating yourself senseless against a brick wall.

Remember, the goal is to prioritize, to be effective and prudent. Throwing yourself into something for years because you are scared to admit a mistake, a perceived failure, or address financial or other costs wasted, etc, only means that many more years of damage to your family.

Please, stop the exhausting work of being a super mom. Stop the endless job of trying to make yourself feel as if you are enough. Good enough. Smart enough. Mom enough. Parent enough. Cool enough. Accomplished enough.

Stop letting this black hole of inferiority bleed its way into your children's hearts. Don't raise them worried that they aren't enough, that they can't be enough for you or others. Don't let a suspicion linger that somehow what's important is how we look in the eyes of others.

The busywork will always, always be there. The house will always need just a little more cleaning. The second you finish every scrap of laundry, someone will poop in a cloth diaper.

You can bury your nose in school schedules, but in 16 or 18 or however many years, when you're done making schedules, what will stand before you? What will be the sum worth of those papers?

Where are all your hours going during the day? Every strand of your life is woven deliberately, and it flows from you. Sometimes we feel helpless, as if we are blindly stumbling through the chaos, trying to pick up a cup here or put on a sock there. And yet, if we really could pause time and stand outside of it, looking at the entire tapestry for one moment, would we not quickly pick out the strands running towards some end? Would we not instantly see the pattern we're knitting daily, knot by knot, as precisely as the instructions we follow when making a pair of booties for a baby?

Every day is a fresh start. Every day is a new chance to put a knot in the link with our children. Each new morning is our chance to undo the knots chained down with anger, fear, anxiety, and inferiority. Each day that closes is a day we can close by putting one foot in front of the other, pointed towards our family and not away from them.

When you feel as if you aren't enough, when you feel as if you must do something more, rush instead to your children. Hold them, hug them. Play with them. Smile, laugh, and sit in the middle of the chaos. And be enough simply as you are in that moment. That's what your children need from you.

After all is said and done, the kids will learn. They'll potty train, believe it or not. They'll figure out how to read. They'll balance a checkbook. They'll even go out in clean clothes and matching shoes someday. All of that will happen, and it won't happen any sooner or better just because you pour your entire self and soul into those things. Instead, you'll miss the fleeting opportunity to connect with your children and build up your family.

There's a common warning about midlife divorces, that couples spend their lives overly absorbed in raising children and working, choosing to neglect their marriages. They choose to weave a tapestry, knots leading away from their relationship. You've heard the quip: "When your children leave the nest, your marriage still remains. Is there going to be anything left?"

Similarly, when school is over, the family still remains. If you spend your best talents, your brightest peaks of energy, your emotional investment and more by focusing on busywork, when your children graduate, will their family still be there? Their mom?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Does the voice in your head berate you or affirm you? Start noticing the good.

Ever have a day where you catch yourself thinking you've failed? Do you ever go to bed at night running through all the things you failed to do and all the things you messed up or skipped?

Although I can say I love motherhood, I still grapple with the general cultural messages that parenting is some kind of lowly, unproductive waste of our time. I have a doer personality and the grind of parenting young children can make me lose sight of what's most precious.

This past week, I took on too many projects and said yes too many times to too many people. Unsurprisingly, my house is a mess and most of the projects are overdue or half done. Let's not even talk about the activity of my blog lol. (Thank the FB Gods for the ability to schedule links at least?)

I was really feeling a good pity party coming on when I decided I needed to calm down with some mental affirmations. I decided to go to bed thinking about all that I had done, and all that had gone right.
Here's what I worked out:

I didn't list my box of items to sell last week. The box is still sitting here, staring at me. Am I disorganized and inefficient? That's what I could call myself, sure. Instead, I choose to remember that I committed to going on not one but three playdates with a new mom group, meeting new moms and introducing the children to potential new friends. I choose to call myself friendly and open to new experiences instead.

I didn't finish redecorating the living room. I had a whole plan, including new furniture, securing the TV to a different wall, building a table top for the train table, hanging photo frames, and more. Am I just flighty, unable to finish what I start? Or, could it be that I was prudent and went over the finances carefully with DH, and decided to halt the project until a later time? I choose to say that I can moderate my desires and communicate honestly with my spouse instead.

Once again, I forgot to pull out the fancy paints I bought ages ago and to do special stenciling with the children. I was going to go through the alphabet with them, and their numbers, and incorporate rhyming songs, and be a superstar home educator! I failed. But, did I? Today, we ran around the woods for hours, and the children excitedly ASKED to learn about tree identification. And we found an orb spider and talked about building spider webs and spinning silk. And then we climbed a hill to see a beautiful view of the lake. Learning happened, just not in the perfect and fancy way I was trying to create.

Another day went by and I didn't write the articles I promised to write for some people. I felt embarrassed. Unreliable. An annoyance to others. But, I know I answered some heartfelt PMs today and worked with someone who was really feeling alone and scared. I choose to remember that I can be trusted when someone is in need.

I barely skimmed over the house before bedtime, wiping down surfaces, shoving toys into piles, sweeping pathways. I started a load of laundry, but there are 3 more behind it. I washed a load of dishes, making room in the sink for the dishes waiting on the countertop lol. I could wallow in the self-loathing hatred of not being a primadonna housewife. Or I could realize that we painted Hallowe'en photos while waiting for their daddy to get home, and laughed together, and talked about costumes and made plans. The kids didn't go to bed thinking about laundry and dishes, so why should I?

No, I'm not saying to justify weaknesses or ignore mistakes. The thing is, when it comes to mothering and wearing all the hats women tend to don in their lives, the issue is not denial or justification, but rather too much criticism and a focus on failure.

If that voice in your head isn't motivating you to be a better you the next day, then it's time to change that voice. If you don't feel uplifted and inspired when you're talking to yourself or about yourself, then it's time to change the wording. Go to bed remembering all the good things and see how it changes you the next morning.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kids at play. Shoes not required. Why I choose the kids over your fears.

I've learned something, having helped my siblings from birth to adulthood.

You know how your child pulls his shoes off in the car? Someday, all on his own, he won't do that. Freaking out about it isn't going to make that time arrive any sooner, and only serves to stress you out and damage your relationship with him.

The same goes for the Christian audience and church. Take a look around the next time you go to church services. What do you see? Hundreds of adults standing, sitting, kneeling, hands folded, reading, singing, or being silent. ALL on their OWN. It will happen.

Neurotypical toddlers without underlying conditions grow into children who use underwear. You wouldn't believe it by the way your toddler screams at the toilet or hides behind a potted plant to poop, but soon enough, she will refuse to soil herself.

So, when my toddler is prancing with joy on the playground bench, I'm happy to oblige. When they throw off their shoes to better experience the park, I'll pull my shoes off and experience it with them.

When they get down on the ground to look at worms, I'll smile and remember what it was like to love insects instead of worrying about disease transmission, poison, stings, and the like. (Such as LYME LYME LYME! LOL).

An odd bug! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

You might give me the evil eye. You might call us uncivilized. You might suggest I'm a crappy parent. You might display stroke symptoms when my children run up the slide. You might loudly tell your children, "We don't do THAT" when mine all jump on each other, a huge pile of giggles and love.

Barefeet, breaking the posted rules, swinging AT ALL during infancy.
How will these kids survive?

We're busy exploring, learning, loving, and growing together. The thing is, when it comes down to choosing between a random stranger's approval or supporting my children in their joyful exploration, my children will ALWAYS win.

Soon enough, they will put on their shoes and leave them on for long periods. They will read the posted rules and (usually) abide by them. They will sit still in church and read the scriptures if they have the gift of faith. They will bake without throwing flour. They will walk quietly down a path instead of shrieking and throwing out cartwheels.

This time right now is ours. I will not threaten it for your emotional satisfaction.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Ways to Make Your Keurig Addiction Healthier

It turns out my husband is pretty crunchy. In some ways, he's got more crunch than I do, such as his continued attempts to do Elimination Communication and his constant research about electronics, environmental toxins, and IR/EMF exposure.

He remains super uncrunchy (is this oatmeal-y?) when it comes to one thing, though. Caffeine. Coffee, energy drinks, super-expensive-drive-thru-flavored-cups-of-cancer. He loves them. He appreciates the careful methylation support and b-vitamin tinkering I provide him, but still wants a hot cup in the morning on his way to work.

So, it didn't surprise me when he begged for one thing for his birthday. He wanted a Keurig machine. I laughed. I rolled my eyes. I pointed out, "You had a regular coffee machine and never used it!" He insisted this was different. He insisted it was perfect for lazies like him.

I obliged. (With this deal, who could really say no?)

Let's say you can't keep away from the caffeine. You might have methylation concerns or MTHFR, but you still reach for that cup. Adrenals and thyroid be damned, you want your coffee! What are ways you can make that Keurig machine a bit crunchy?

I mean, stop and think about it. Those disposable plastic cups aren't breaking down anytime soon. And they are filled with chemicals, endocrine disruptors, and all kinds of goodies that are more easily transferred to your body when activated by heat/steam. The coffee pods available are typically filled with "flavoring" and other junk ingredients. It's not exactly something you should be spending money on to consume daily. What can you do?

1. Clean it regularly. Use distilled white vinegar and water, and perhaps a drop or two of your favourite antimicrobial essential oils, to clean through the tubing and reservoir regularly. This will prevent mold/bacterial growth since some of the models cannot be adequately emptied or cleaned.

2. Buy a reusable k-cup filter. Actually, it's $5 right now on Amazon, roughly 50% cheaper than retail prices. (Not a referral link, just being helpful.) Then you can fill it with organic, fair trade coffee or teas.

3. Buy compostable and organic k-cups. If you don't want a reusable cup, at least upgrade your disposable ones to the compostable, fair trade, organic options. Especially if you buy them at a big box retailer such as Costco or Sam's Club, you can get them at a discount. (Or clip the numerous coupons, or wait for a sale and stock up.) The difference in price is not that extreme to ensure you are reducing pollution and avoiding toxins, along with supporting fair trade commerce.

4. Keep healthier ingredients on hand. DH likes to put a splash of raw milk and a sprinkle of stevia into his cup. Nix that cancer-creamer or fake sugar and use this area as an opportunity to boost your health. Think of what can go into a cup of joe. You could do your daily DE or clay without even noticing it. Or some raw honey if you feel under the weather. Organic protein mixes or powdered vitamins, too.

5. Brew healthy drinks. Get creative. The machine is perfect for brewing up your favourite herbal mix. You could make a quick cup to dump into a hot bath for nightly detoxing/healing. Or make organic herbal teas.

I guess with a little bit of legwork, convenience can still be crunchy. At any rate, I don't think I'm going to separate these two anytime soon, so I'll do what I can to work around it! LOL.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The day I told my husband to self-soothe

My husband arrived home from work, but as he stepped through the door, I could see that he was clearly upset. He shared with me that he was tired. He'd been dealing with some indigestion because his lunch was rushed. Then he sat down to share some more. He began talking to me about some concerns he had at his work.

That's when stopped him in his tracks. I shushed him.

He looked up at me with confusion, then started talking again. I cut him off again.

I told him, "Look, you need to take a time out. You need to sit in the other room and learn some coping skills and self-soothing skills." At this point, his confusion changed to anger. I could tell he was clearly upset now, but I continued to hold my position.

I was irate now. "You ate, right? The bills are paid? You have a roof over your head? You need to understand that your basic needs have been met. None of this whining about other things. You're on your own for those. You need to figure out how to deal with them alone."

His flash of anger had finally turned to hurt and sadness. With tears in his eyes, he looked up at me and asked me why I was doing this to him. He started to cry openly and reach out to me. I took a step back and set him straight.

"You need to stop manipulating me! You are way too old for that kind of clingy, whiny behavior! You need to figure out how to calm down by yourself. I'm just being a good wife. This is for your own good. What will the neighbors think? Stop crying now or I'll really give you something to cry about!"

Do you have a problem with the way I treat my adult husband? Do you see a problem with interacting this way in an intimate, caring relationship? Tell me, why is it okay to set these standards with our infants and children, even teens?

We demand that our infants and children do things that we don't expect from grown adults. We refuse to listen to them when they are having a bad day, insisting instead that they deal with it, and quietly!

We brush off their attempts to reconnect with us, sometimes physically pushing them away or removing them to separate rooms and time out spaces. We invalidate their negative emotions or punish them for expressing any sign of vulnerability and hurt.

WHY!!!???? If you wouldn't treat a grown adult this way in a loving relationship, don't force your infants and children to experience it either.

Relationships are about being there for the other person, not only during wonderful times, but most especially during the hardest and darkest of times. People find the strength to keep going when they are supported, validated, and respected. Their fears are soothed not by being hidden behind closed doors, alone, but rather by being welcomed with a warm heart and open arms.

How would you have treated your husband if he walked through the door upset today? And how will you treat your baby when she cries out in the middle of the night? Or your 4 year old when he whines for food? Or your teen when she gets angry to hide her hurt over a disagreement?

Instead of focusing on laying down the law and obtaining power over the other person, shift your focus to restoring the relationship. Stop focusing on invalidating the other person. Start reconnecting. Affirm. Uplift. Listen, truly listen with a caring heart. Empathize. Relate. Build rapport. Support. Share honestly if giving advice, but with kindness. Be there for the other person.

© 2014 Holly Paz

Holly Paz, mother to four, puts her mothering where her mouth is when it comes to perspective and experience. She's walked many roads including a c-section birth and VBAC. She used the CIO (Cry it out) method with her first child and has made a complete 180, learning the value of responsive parenting along the way. She wants others to also be inspired to change, to better their parent/child relationships and to raise children in tune with their needs and feelings.