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CONTAINING YOUR OWN TANTRUMS
By Rachel Watts A few thoughts on how parents can manage their own feelings when children are feeling out of control.
By Angela Gioffe An introduction to the benefits of choosing organic over conventional produce.
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Barefoot magazine is produced by Budding Iris Publications. It seeks to inform, challenge, support, respect and inspire mothers, fathers, grandparents, carers and communities to live more consciously and value the importance of children and family life.
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Disclaimer: The comments and opinions expressed in Barefoot are not to be considered those of the editors or publisher, who accept no liability of any nature arising out of or in connection to the contents of Barefoot Magazine.
Editorial Team: Rachel Watts, Charlotte Young Anna Foletta Design:
Rachel Watts Angela Gioffe Sylvia Neubacher Jenny Chapman Raphael Siket
By Raphael Siket An introduction to the science of Building Biology or how our choices regarding our homes can impact on our health.
By Charlotte Young Charlotte writes on how she rides through the difficult, chaotic & loving relationships her children have built.
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barefootmagazine.com.au for information about: subscriptions, our magazine launch party, advertising, distribution, a sneak preview of our forthcoming issue, contributing to 2
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CONTAINING YOUR OWN
There are days when we all throw or feel like throwing tantrums at our house. When thing s are calm and gorgeous, i find it helpful to think about the important role that tantrums play in helping young children to develop and grow into themselves. We all learn to control rage , frustration, disappointment etc by having the experience of these feelings in a safe relations hip with someone who is going to continue lovin g us no matter what. However, this knowledge often disappears whe n i’m faced with my usually beautiful, creative, funny 2 year old having a tantrum. The thing i have found most confronting and shocking about parenting a 2 year old is what i have discovered about myself. People who know me well describe me as dreamy, gentle and even tempered; and certainly that’s been my view of myself, too. However, (My anxiety about ‘fessing up to these feelings is lessened somewhat by knowing that this is the secret experience of all mothers). As i’ve struggled to understand this i’ve turned to something i know well in search of wisdom.
“parenting has taken me to places where I’ve felt full of rage or out of control or blind with frustration.”
I have worked as a psychologist for more than 15 years and in that role have been exposed to extremely potent emotions of rage, sadness, anger, grief and frustration. So, i’ve wondere d why it’s been difficult to maintain my composu re when faced with the rage and frustration of a 2 year old? I’m not suggesting that as pare nts we can be therapists to our children, and whil e there are huge differences between being a full time parent and therapist who sees a clien t once each week, there is wisdom in the role of therapist and the role of parent which can be useful to the other.
One of the concepts from my practice as a therapist i have found helpful is that of being a ‘container’. The idea being that we as parents provide containment or almost a ‘second skin’ for the raw, primal emotions of childhood. By containment i mean the provision of a safe, ‘holding’ environment. Through that containment children are able to safely experience strong emotions and also have an experience of having the emotions subside. Over time they learn to hold and mediate these feelings themselves. In practice, providing a containing environment might mean actually holding an out of control toddler, or soothing them in some way. Parents are amazingly resourceful and creative when it comes to providing the right sort of containment for their child.
into my thoughts abou t motherhood or i beco me more irritable i know i need to slow down an d nurture myself…for my sake as well as the sa ke of my family. How do any of us do this when there are the demands of babies and toddlers to be attended to?
The scary part is when the ‘container’ has a few leaks! That is, when we as parents feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry and/or frightened by the emotions we are trying to contain for our children (perhaps because of our history of being parented, life stressors or just simply a lack of sleep). In my paid working life i know that i will burn-out if i do not have regular supervision, good peer support and time to de-brief. All of these things provide some containment for the container! Likewise in parenting i am finding debriefing at the end of the day with my partner, or seeking out support from others extremely ‘containing’. Of course, taking care of oneself emotionally, physically, and spiritually is a vital part of this as well.
“I have been tryi ng to establish little moments each day whe re i can nurture myself .” This might mean spendin g 10 minutes in the su n, mindfully and calmly en joying a cup of tea fro m a pot, rather than hang ing out washing and the n resentfully drinking a co ld cup of tea. The activ ity itself doesn’t seem to matter (it could be pu lling weeds, reading the pa per, yoga) but approach ing the activity with an aw areness that it is importa nt, nurturing and containi ng seems the importa nt factor. These little mo ments of mindfulness ha ve been helpful in assistin g me to be the kind of mother i want to be to my beautiful children.
When i am working as a psychologist, i know i am ‘burning-out’ when i start becoming cynical and negative about the work, or when i am secretly pleased that a client misses an appointment! In my role as parent i am trying to become more aware of early warning signs that i am ‘burning-out’ and in need of some ‘containment’ for myself. When negativity and cynicism creep
Written by Rachel Wa tts Rachel Watts is a mother, psychologist and part of the team that produc this magazine. es
WHERE TO START, WHY
ORGANIC? Our health is our vitality, our energy, our lives. Without our health, we have nothing. So, it makes sense that in order to encourage our own health we must encourage the life that sustains us.
neurobehavioural and neurotoxic effects, possible birth defects, carcinogenic (cancer causing) cells, and allergic and other immunoregulatory disorders.
In 2005, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked pesticide residtues among the top three environmental cancer risks!
The plants and animals, the foods that we consume give us vitamins, minerals, nutrients, energy, protein and fats, which are the basic building blocks for sustainable and healthy living.
Most recently, a study published by the national institute of environmental health sciences on children’s health and pesticide residues, revealed more unsettling facts about the effects of conventional produce. The study of 195 children aged between 6-7 years old found that 95% of those who ate conventional produce had alarmingly high levels of pesticide residue in their urine, some of which exceeded ‘safe’ levels as set by the government.
It’s no secret that fresh food is the most nourishing for our bodies, but what some people don’t realise is that conventional produce (grown with the use of pesticides) can have adverse effects on our health. Specifically, it’s the highly toxic pesticides that leave residue in and on conventional produce. Once consumed these pesticides can wreak havoc on healthy vital organs and lead to long term damage.
So it makes perfect sense to limit our exposure to foods that can have this impact on our bodies.
Enter organic food...
In an alarming study conducted by the British Medical Society in 1995, they linked pesticide residues with possible
Organic foods are untainted by artificial chemicals, herbicides, chemical pesticides, waxes, free from genetically modified organisms, they are real foods, and in turn they offer our bodies more nutrition and no toxic pesticides or chemical residues. Organic foods offer increased vitamin and mineral content;t study after study has concluded that fresh organic foods contain more vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and phytonutrients than conventionally grown crops. A report released this year by the organic centre, has confirmed across the board significant increases in the nutritional content of organic produce, some up to 88% higher. 6
What about the environment? The current agricultural practices of conventional farming, the use of pesticides and artificial chemicals are contributing greatly to the erosion of our topsoil and pollution of o u r waterways. Going organic means that soil structure is enhanced, wildlife is encouraged, and less carbon is produced. Organic farming is sustainable farming. It supports the environment, instead of depleting it. Organic farming gives back what it takes. It protects our environment, our farmers, and us.
How do you ‘go organic’? Organic farming is labour intensive, the growing is slower and generally there are smaller yields per hectare, hence the higher prices. It’s quite easy to make a positive impact both in terms of your diet and the world without radically increasing your cost of living. Like anything in life if you make changes in small increments, you are most likely to sustain them. Try changing one product that you normally buy each week to an organic product. Then before you know it, your cupboard and fridge will be stocked organically! Start with a product that you use moderately, that your children enjoy. Make a positive change; it only takes a decision to be more conscious of the foods we eat, take responsibility for what we support in terms of farming methods. Here’s to your continued good health. Written by Angela Gioffre
When people first become parents, few think about how their choices about fitting out their child’s bedroom and home will affect their child’s future health and well being. Many commercial paints, new mattresses, linen, pillows, carpet, underlay and toys contain a cocktail of synthetic chemicals that have been shown to increase allergic sensitisation in children.
Plastic baby bottles, made from polycarbonate, contain bisphenol a and phthalates which are both linked to harmful health effects. These bottles are often placed in the microwave where these chemicals are known to leach from the plastic with the increase in temperature. Heating glass bottles with boiled water in the pot is a safer solution, or adding boiled water to the bottle.
Glues and resins used in some wooden cribs, foam mattresses and most pressed wood products off-gas chemicals over a long period of time. A simple solution is to purchase second hand toys and products (over 18 months old) as off-gassing of any potential hazards would have already taken place. Buying second hand also promotes the re-use of products which means less needs to be manufactured and even less ends up in landfill. This is one small step towards decreasing allergies and asthma in children.
Without realising it, electromagnetic radiation can be easily introduced to the home. Cordless phones and wireless internet are the 2 main culprits. By simply changing to corded phones and cabled broadband or adsl this problem is easily averted. Electric blankets, meter boxes on the outside of bedroom walls and nearby powerlines are known to have a harmful effect on the development of young children. By keeping the bedroom as electrical free as possible our bodies have a better chance of resting and doing the repair work required for optimum health.
Vacuum cleaners can also pose risks as most disperse 80% of the particles they collect
Even though we are exposed to an ever
The human body is an amazing thing but many of us become accustomed to levels of fatigue and ill health that we believe are normal.
How does the home environment impact on a child’s health and well being? Building biology is a new health science in Australia, which concerns itself with creating healthy buildings and lifestyles and in so doing enhancing the health and wellbeing of everyone in the building and the planet as a whole. Building biology assesses indoor environments and considers the impact of harmful chemicals and microbes in the water, air and products that we consume and use. Building biologists visit homes and businesses and work with health
practitioners to ensure a completely holistic approach. Building biologists believe that your child’s behaviour, development and state of well being is heavily dependent on the health of the home in which they are raised and spend a majority of their time. Solutions are often very simple and it is just a matter of being educated about your own home. 8
straight out the back of the machine. This means that dust and allergen particles are now airborne and in the breathing zone of your child. Children breathe more rapidly than adults and inhale 50% more air per pound of body weight. This makes them a lot more susceptible to air contaminants than adults. By purchasing a good quality vacuum with a hepa filter you are reducing the amount of allergens your children are inhaling.
growing number of synthetic chemicals and electromagnetic radiation our bodies try to adapt and cope. We all have different constitutions and can therefore tolerate different levels of exposure. The human body is an amazing thing but many of us become accustomed to levels of fatigue and ill health that we believe are normal. Waking up in the morning after hours of wonderful rest, feeling refreshed and maintaining a vibrant level of energy and clarity throughout the day and night is normal. Yet those of us that experience this are now in the minority. By taking one step at a time and making simple changes to our lifestyle, this experience is within our reach.
Many baby care products (creams, oils, powders etc.) contain toxic chemicals like propylene glycol and sorbelene. By taking the time to read the list of ingredients on the packaging of some baby products and with minimal research you will find that many ingredients are petroleum based and toxic. Many natural alternatives are now on the market which are healthier and better for you and your baby.
Written by Raphael Siket Raphael siket is the director of ecolibria - the leading building biology service company in australia. He is a qualified building biologist and has completed the most comprehensive course of study currently offered in this field.
Womenís Health Naturopath and Midwife
w The whole expanding family thing is one
when to stand back and when to
and when to stand one’s ground are
big, happy, messy, wonderful, chaotic
provide guidance. Physical hurting
all rich grist for the sibling’s mill. As
conflict of feelings and behaviours –
and psychological hurting (i.e taunts
Nancy Samalin says in her book
for all of us - as we shuffle and scuffle
and put downs) are not ok with us. So
Loving Each One Best: “…rivalry has
our way into different dancing shoes
if I witness or am aware of either of
a positive place in the lives of children.
on a bigger, busier stage.
these I step in. On the other hand if
Simply put, it provides a way, in the
there’s minor bickering which turns into
safety of their own home, for them to
“We have to rip off one of her toes,”
a big hullabaloo, but each are holding
test their limits, assert themselves, and
my five year old rages, on the verge
their own, then I stay out of it, tuned in,
learn to negotiate for what they want
of tears, and only just managing to
and on the alert for transgressions, but
and need. It also brings them closer.”
contain the violent impulse to strike his
quietly going about my own business.
fifteen month old sister. He is in certain
A lot of the time they resolve their own
The boundaries of them (the kids) and
need of payback and feels amputation
issues, using the family values as their
us (their folks) are of course, not as stark
would be only fair after discovering
own set of guidelines.
as I’m making out and the parent/child
that the headlights have been torn off
Suite 401, 89 High St South, KEW VIC 3101. & 96 Jumping Creek Road, WONGA PARK VIC 3115 www.digbyhealth.com
his colourful masterpiece that took him
Their relationship is their own and the
connections too. Generally speaking
hours to create.
less I butt in the better. The other day
though, if I’m/we’re managing to meet
there was a spat over some lemons.
each of our children’s needs (as much
My role? To ensure the safety of
Both boys had picked three lemons
as is humanly possible!) then harmony
my toddler, bear witness to my son
each for their Nana and put them into
prevails (eventually!) when our children
being tossed about by his thundering
the same bag. When she arrived my
are left to their own devices. The one
emotions and console him when he
five year old handed them over to her,
thing I attempt every day is to connect
becomes consolable, encouraging him
only to be given a sharp shove by my
individually with each one and ideally,
to use his words.
Finally, I need to
seven year old who then stomped off.
I seek them out before they seek for me.
remember to breathe and keep sight of
This is what she saw. What she didn’t
This sounds simple but is not easy. For
the bigger picture – they are learning
see whilst she was waiting on the porch
my children it may mean a cuddle, a
and learning (hopefully!) is good.
was them both racing for the bag with
rough and tumble, or a book, to name
my first son shouting urgently, “We
just a few. I try not to make a big song
One of my own impulses is to hush
picked them together, we’ll give them
and dance that this is their ‘special time’
his mouth - how could he say such a
together”. So adults became involved
but inwardly I am holding them dearly
thing? And how could he suddenly be
with ‘sorting them out’, which took a
in this special time. We don’t have to
sounding so psychopathic? But I have
lot longer than had they been left to
go out of the house or the garden or
to allow him to be in his whirlwind
themselves to establish that shoving
away from the others to achieve this
which is very real for him and which
is not ok and neither is ignoring or
will also pass, if I let it blow through.
disrespecting another family member’s
this can be special and may need to
This is the biggest lesson I have learnt
happen more often, the older they get.
about parenting three children – to
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Phone: 03 9852 7880
Secret Garden Clinic Eltham Clinic
0408 327 993
Too many breastfeeding mothers encounter mastitis and suffer unnecessarily when it can be prevented
and they can be supported. For further information contact Charlotte Young
relationships are in the mix of the sibling
Interested in advertising in
Time will tell.
allow them to ‘be’; to let them mix it in
Conflict resolution is a big part of
and up and all about with one another,
having a sibling and if I’m constantly
and for me to interrupt them as little as
stepping in with my own skewed
possible in the process.
opinions to do the resolving, how will
they learn this valuable skill? Learning
Pre-defined family values act as a
to share, to shout, to not overstep the
useful parental barometer for knowing
mark, to say sorry, when to walk away
Written by Charlotte Young
w w w
(03) 9722 2701
t o o f e r ba
ng in bare feet? asked to write about livi What did I think when spent outdoors: of a carefree childhood I immediately thought running; and the d and sand; bee stings; summers by the lake; mu h doggie doodoo… occasional mishap wit more closely, as a the notion somewhat Then, on considering ries to other ways I turned from my memo parent of a small child, we tend to fear the as it were. These days of seeing, or standing, convinced of the and germs, and we are slightest contact with dirt protection. Is and siological development NEED for shoes for phy by shoe companies clever, advertisements this a consequence of live in, or is it s of the world we now pointing out the danger earth; our natural of connection with the a symptom of our loss ellers who think tively affluent culture dw habitat? Is it only us rela all sorts of podiatric only ones who suffer like this? Are we the
ailments? cuss the notion of se issues together: dis Let’s venture into the ness) to our natural tedness (or disconnected spirituality and connec
world; debate the research that argues for and against the need for shoes; and travel through cross cultural, historical and economic experiences of shoe-wearing. Most of all, let’s explore the symbol
of Barefoot as childhood, play, and an unconscious way of being in the world. Tree-climbing, rough bark gripping. Creek-crossing, slimy stones slipping! Hopping on hot sand, or in cool grass laying. Barefoot, childhood replaying. I remember it. We just were. Barefoot. Most of the time. Want to read more about living barefoot? Get the full transcript of this article in the launch issue of Barefoot Magazine. Due out March 2009! Written by Jenny Chapman