Includes August Issue Sept. & Oct. 2014, Issue 22
Nurture Relations CONNECT WITH CHILD
EVERYONE ’ S RESPONSIBILITY
STOP WITH STEREOTYPING
Mindfulness GET A CHECK UP
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
Learn from Kids PERSONAL AWARENESS
Key to Heart
PARENT FOR PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL NEEDS
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FROM THE EDITOR
What is Halloween is all about?
Did you know that Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It's one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. October 31st is the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago. All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day, which was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic church honored saints on this designated day. Here where I live in Italy, we celebrate the first of November as a holiday and many people go to the cemetery to visit descessed relatives. Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead. Samhain signifies "summers end" or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one.
Sept. - Oct. 2014, Issue 22
Have a great autumn! Diana Dentinger, Editor Inner Peace Parenting Magazine
The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-ortreating. So to bring you some Celtic spirit, here in this issue you will find profound articles and even videos from parenting experts at an International Conference in Ireland. Enjoy the treats! 3
Parent Based on Needs From Physical to Spiritual By Diana Dentinger
What is parenting all about in your opinion? Here at the Parenting 2.0 Talks in Dublin we parenting experts examined the importance of Life Skills Education to raise more well rounded, happy and adaptable children. In our traditional education system many skills are not taught. At home parents are often too busy to take time to focus on certain skills that are vital to give a child the ability to solve problems and become a balanced adult. Enjoy the talks!
The world is becoming more open to holistic talk - meaning now we realize that we cannot just consider a person a physical body but rather so much more. It is the same in parenting. Parenting too has become more holistic. I find that a more complete way to parent is to understand your child on different “planes” of their experience. Of course, if you are aware of yourself in these “planes” then it is easier to interact with your child. I use the word “planes” because they are layers but not “levels”. A level would intend one being better or higher or lower in importance than another. Instead the word “plane” means these layers co-exist at the same time and are all equally important.
Plane 1: What does your child need to learn about physical care? This could be learning about choosing healthy snacks, brushing teeth more effectively, lifting heavy things without hurting themselves, making sure they are safe when navigating the internet. Plane 2: What does your child really desire to do? Do they have dreams to invent or become something that maybe you don’t understand? Can you feel how important it is for them? Plane 3: What emotions does your child live mostly? Are they happy? Are they able to express their anger or frustration? Are they sad? Plane 4: What kind of thoughts does your child have?
There are 5 planes of existence: The physical plane of the body, The desire plane of sexuality, The emotional plane of sentiments, The mental plane of thoughts and The spiritual plane of the soul. For more holistic parenting, ask yourself these questions. And answer them for your needs too.
Are they positive and supportive? Do they think well about themselves? Plane 5: Do you see your child as a spiritual being? Can you see your child is here for a reason? That they have a purpose? By focusing on all planes you create a deeper and more profound relationship.
Diana Dentinger Take Diana’s free video QUIZ to discover your innate needs and talents for a happier, more fulfilling life. Use this tool to support your children in their choices and evolution. Sign up now: www.themeaningoflifeschool.com 5
Each child is born an original. Donâ€™t raise yours like a copy. 6
PEACE IN CONNECTION
Connect with Your Child The 3 Keys to Nurture the Relationship By Deanna Hewitt
Do you find yourself wondering who is this strange little person that lives at your place? We can often find ourselves feeling like we need a pinch to see if it’s all real. We live under the same roof, they are our flesh and blood. But as they grow up it becomes more and more apparent that they are their own person. And we need to learn how to manage that, and how to stay connected. In our modern world of “To Do” lists, careers, adult responsibilities, and more, the important things in life seem to slip through our fingers. The darling baby that you used to cradle has grown into a person who resembles more of a mini adult than the chubby fisted person you first met. Instead of the nightly gibberish conversations of “goo” and “gah” your little one is now bursting full of tales about their day at the playground or in the classroom.
While we were checking off items on our “To Do” lists, creating weekly reports, and fighting traffic, life stepped in the way of our relationships. The baby who’s every cry we once knew sometimes feels more like a stranger as the emphasis of nurturing the infant gave way to other tasks. Just like with any relationship, the more that you stop nurturing and feeding it, it stops growing and begins to stagnate. However, it doesn’t take much to reconnect with your child. 7
They can see that you’re more engaged with your phone or the television than you are with them. When they do share things with you keep in mind how you react to whatever secrets they share with you.
To find that loving, harmonious balance that the two of you once shared here are three keys to help you connect and reattune yourself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually with your child. KEY #1: COMMUNICATE One of the keys to a successful relationship with anyone is to communicate. This includes both talking and listening. One of the easiest ways to connect with your child is to just listen to them. Pay attention to what they are saying to you. Show them that you care about them and what they have to say by fully engaging in the conversation. Put your phone or device away and turn off the television. Give your children your full attention through eye contact and responding to what they say. Anybody, especially your children, knows when you’re only half listening to them. While it’s understandable that you might be distracted while driving, it’s another thing when your child is sitting right in front of you.
Never brush away or dismiss their fears. It takes a lot of courage for someone to expose and share their vulnerability with others. If you give them a negative reaction to them sharing something so personal, they are less likely to share with you again in the future. Key #2: INTIMACY Normally the word intimacy is brought up when people discuss romantic relationships. Intimacy goes beyond that. It’s the small things that we do for each other that help to build closeness with each other. It could be something as small as leaving a note in your child’s lunch box to randomly taking them to their favorite park to play. The idea is to show them how special they are to you. While giving your full, undivided attention does that, its random small acts that really make people feel appreciated. Even if it’s sharing moments of gratitude at the dinner table together, quality family time will not only reconnect you to your children but reconnect your family as a whole. An easy way to make sure that you are creating a deeper level of intimacy with your child is to spend one on one time without distraction for 10 minutes.
Try and do it before work and school time as well as afterwards in the evening. It can be a crazy game of spinning around in circles out in the yard or quietly reading a book inside. It could be something as small as talking while doing your daughter’s hair. Just make sure to put aside at least twenty minutes a day. The more time the better but aim for twenty. So turn off the television. Grab some board games, go out on a nature walk, or go out to the beach. Whatever you decide to do with your child, just remember the little things. They will help bring all of you closer together. Key #3: PLAY Playing is just for kids, right? Wrong! Somewhere along the path from childhood to adulthood, we’re told to stop kidding around, get serious, and act like an adult. We lose the playful child like qualities that made life so fun and carefree. Children need to play. Not only does it help them learn but it helps them to release and deal with complex emotions like stress, humiliation, anger, and disappointment.
Don’t forget all that energy they have as well. The best thing you could do to help them would be to jump right in there and play along. Jump in mud puddles with them. Make dirt cakes and mud pies. Play a game of tag. Wrestle on the living room floor. Instigate tickle wars! Have fun. Giggle at the silliest things. What’s great about playing is that it destresses you too. The laughter and the expending of energy fight off the ailments of stress and make you happy. So get in there and go crazy. The more fun your children see you having, the more fun they’ll want to have and the more memories you’ll create. It may seem daunting trying to get to know your child again but it can easily be done. By integrating these keys into your daily interactions with your child, you can forge a new connection that will continue as your child grows. All of these things will strengthen the bond between you and your child, both emotionally and energetically. It is up to you to put in the time and energy required to build a lasting positive relationship with them.
Deanna Hewett Private consultant and Speaker, as a Licenced AMT Trainer and an experienced, qualified Educator, Deanna offers certified training courses in EFT Master Practitioner, Positive EFT and EmoTrance (Emotional Transformation). Deanna has 3 children aged 13, 9 and 7. http://tapintoenergy.com.au/energetic-relationships/ https://www.facebook.com/TapIntoEnergy
PEACE IN COLLECTIVE
Raising Children It is Everyone’s Responsibility By Elly Taylor
Elly Taylor is an Australia based relationship counselor, educator, researcher and author. Fifteen years counseling new parents - often only after crisis surfaced impressed upon Taylor the value of proactively educating couples on the challenges that commonly surface during pregnancy, birth, and toddler years. Taylor’s first book, “Becoming Us” blends cutting edge research with front line stories in an effort to bridge the gap between expectations and reality and improve new parents prospects for success. Taylor’s candid style has made her a popular contributor for multiple publications, including Australia’s number one selling “Practical Parenting Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and Melbourne Age.
Elly Taylor Elly also presents at numerous national and international conferences. When she is not empowering others, Taylor continues “on the job training” with her firefighter husband, three children and multiple pets at their beachfront home in Sydney. Visit her at: http://www.parentsupportonline.com
PEACE IN CAPABLE
The Clown is Sometimes Serious Stop Reinforcing Stereotypes By Shoshana Hayman
The clown, the astronaut, the chatterbox, the complainer, the 'slob' (and many more stereotypes) all appear in our families and in our classrooms. These are the characters that can disturb, annoy, frustrate and anger us because they interrupt and spoil our agendas. We are convinced that this is how they always are. They make us worry, "what will be with him?!" We wonder if they were born this way and if they are destined to stay this way. Sometimes "the clown" is also serious and sometimes he is sad. Sometimes the "astronaut" is also attentive and focused. Sometimes the "chatterbox" is also pensive and quiet. Sometimes the "complainer" is also appreciative. Sometimes the "slob" is also orderly. But their stereotyped behavior seems so dominant and convincing, that we can't see anything else. In fact, we're not even looking for anything else. When we think of a child in a certain way, we lock him right into the way we perceive him.
Without intending to do so, we imprison children into patterns of behaving. Sometimes when others stigmatize a child, we continue enforcing the pattern, even though we don't mean to. Johanne Von Goete said, "If you relate to a person as if he is already capable of what he can be, he will be what he is capable of being." What children really want and need from us is to be understood and known. Instead of identifying the child with his behavior, we want to convey these following attitudes. 1) Believe in the child, knowing that as he grows up, the character traits we long to see in him will come to fruition; 11
2) Trust in the child's good intentions and his desire to be good before you try to influence; 3) Desire to truly understand who he is and what he needs from us. Rabbi Nachman of Breslav taught that every person should be favorably judged, and if we do so, we elevate that person to a level of favorable judgment. We may apply this to adults but forget to do so with children. Are our hearts soft enough to see our children in a favorable light? A change in the child's behavior will result from a change in our own perception of the child. When we realize we are seeing only one aspect of the child and that there is so much more that we are not yet seeing, we can begin to appreciate this child for who he really is. Instead of trying to cut out a behavior that might irritate us, we can help bring out other intentions and qualities that we do not as easily see in the child. It's not "this or that," but "this and this" co-exist together. I remember a story of a boy who was labeled "careless and irresponsible." He "broke everything he touched." Fortunately, even though his teacher was "warned" about his behavior, she did not see him as careless and irresponsible.
She knew he had the potential to take responsibility. She gave him small jobs â€“ and then bigger jobs -- that would help this potential grow. When a child feels confident within the relationship with his parent or teacher, he can rest in this relationship. This rest frees him to take responsibility, venture forth into new experiences and feel confident. The parent or teacher conveys "I am here for you. I care about you. I believe in you. Your very presence is a source of delight. I am your answer and you can always count on me. When things don't go the way you would like, I am here to offer you comfort. I do not want to shape you but to accompany you on your journey of discovering your many abilities." This is the nourishment that a relationship of secure attachment provides. We all have the capacity to be a clown, to be forgetful, to be irresponsible, to complain sometimes, and we all have the capacity to be the opposite of all these things sometimes. We are all human. Surely if we can see this in ourselves, we can accept this in our children and students, and develop the necessary patience to support their development and wait for the qualities of maturity to develop in their right season.
Shoshana Hayman Shoshana Hayman is Director of Life Center for Attachment Parenting www.lifecenter.org.il and International Director in Israel of the Neufeld Institute www.neufeldinstitute.com 12
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PEACE IN LOSS
The Loss of a Child Everyone Suffers Differently (Part 1) By Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M.
“To lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself.” Dr. Burton Grebin There is no greater grief, than when a parent losses a child. As a person, I had never truly experienced such a gutwrenching heartache, until the day that my wife and I lost a child. As a therapist, some may think that I am trained to have “all the known answers,” but the truth is, there are no answers, quick fixes, or remedies to mend the heartbreak around the loss of a child. The loss of a child is an inconceivable and it is an unimaginable experience. While my wife and I never had an opportunity to get to know our child by physical touch, perception, or smell; we had already bonded with our developing child.
At the time, my daughter was a mere 5 years of age, but her cry and her mournful spirit penetrated the very nature of my being.
My Daughter’s Heartache
At that moment, I recognized not only the impact that this loss had on myself, my loving wife, but the dire impact that it had on my precious daughter. For me, the loss was like an ocean of emotions consuming my person, but it was further deepened by witnessing the breach of my daughter’s innocence.
The day that we were told that our child had passed on, was the most egregious experience of my life. On this very day, not only had I lost my child, but my precious and tendered hearted Delilah experienced the loss of a sibling.
Furthermore, it was the tenderness of my daughter’s cry that pierced my heart and my soul. It was like I had experienced yet a second loss, a loss of my precious daughter’s innocence and my inability to protect her from harm that broke my spirit. 14
My Love’s Pain “Generally women are more expressive about their loss, and more likely to seek support from others. Men may be more action-oriented, tend to gather facts and problem solve, and therefore often do not choose to participate in support networks that consist of sharing feelings. This does not mean he is not grieving. Often men bury themselves in work when they are grieving.” American Pregnancy Association The day that the love of my life and I lost our child, was one of the most heartbreaking experiences within the context of our relationship. My wife, my love and my best-friend was devastated, and I felt helpless, without an ability to provide complete comfort. I knew that I was incapable of offering a word or providing an offering that would have removed the pain from her mind and her person. I felt broken, dismayed, and guilty that I was incapable of protecting my wife from an egregious experience. Moreover, my wife was conveying feelings of regret, blame, shame and guilt over the loss of our child.
Despite all of my formal education in psychology, I felt at a loss and puzzled how to proceed. Notably, while I am formally trained, I have long ago realized that my humanhood remains a vital part of my person. Clinicians often are expected to remain professional in “all” circumstances and events, but the truth is, we are human too. The Loss from a Father’s Perspective “When a woman miscarries, the experience of the father is often forgotten. But men grieve pregnancy loss too…” Author Unknown The loss of my child broke my spirit. I do not feel that I have ever weeped so deeply or so intensely. While my wife and I never had an opportunity to celebrate the birth of our child, our loss was just as profound and genuine as the loss of a birthed child. As a father and a husband, I felt incapable of protecting both my daughter and the love of my life. I felt such an emptiness and hollowness that even to this day I am incapable of fully expressing the loss of my precious child. “Men are often relegated to a supporting role during pregnancy loss. The focus usually falls on the mother–her physical and emotional needs, her experience, her recovery. But fathers are deeply affected by pregnancy loss.” (Czukas, 2014, Online) As a clinician, I had no real idea or fathomable comprehension of the authentic pain that occurs when one losses a child. The loss of a child burrows deep into your soul. 15
While the words may be sincere, the message of sincerity may have had a shortfall. As humans, we have all encountered, or at least witnessed, someone receiving words of comfort. We ourselves may have been the individual responsible for offering the supportive communication.
As a father, I personally felt my emotions and feelings had been dismissed by my friends, family, and my professional associates. I am not an attention seeker, but in my time of need, I felt abandoned and as though the urgency of my pain was unimportant. As a clinician, I had heard these words, but it was not until I had this experience, was I capable of completely understanding the pain associated with the loss of a child. Well Meaning Words and Untimely Statements â€œLosing a child is unspeakably painful, so finding the right words to say to those grieving can be difficult.â€? Kira Brekke The day of our loss, brought with it many well intended words. Many of the words brought warmth and comfort, while others fell sadly short. Have you ever experienced words of comfort and condolences? Did you feel that the individual offering the sympathetic expressions were authentic in his or her communication? Many well meaning words often fall short of their target message.
The words may have been met with acceptance or rejection, but either way, you felt compelled to share your heart. Speaking words of comfort is a balancing act teetering on empathetic and sympathetic. While empathetic words are an ability to understand and share the feelings of another; sympathetic words are frequently met with pity and sorrow for another. Unfortunately, sincerity is not always the best approach to helping someone deal with personal loss. In some cases, a silent word, a warm embrace or the simple knowledge that you are present is the best approach to offering comfort. Even if our words of comfort and condolences were a sincere attempt to provide an expression of sympathy, we may have missed the target of being empathetic. It is extremely important that our words are always balanced with sincerity and empathy. My wife and I experienced a variety of communications. In some cases, the words were thoughtful and encouraging, while a few words were unfavorable. Either way, my wife and I were encouraged by the willingness of others to connect with us during our time of heartache.
GREIF “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” C. S. Lewis Loss has no friend, no allies, no benefit to the human spirit. The loss of a child exploits the emotions of each individual it encounters. “Everyone suffers loss in different ways depending upon their beliefs, culture, family history, and relationship with the person who died. It doesn’t mean that others care less if they mourn differently than you do. Grief can also vary greatly depending upon how the child died. While some losses are less visible, such as miscarriage, other experiences of loss are more traumatic, such as an accident, illness, murder or death during war.” (Weiss, 2014, Online) The loss of a child is a heart wrenching experience. If you have encountered such a loss, you will relate to the fact that no words bring complete comfort to the pain that lies dormant within the interior of your person. The loss of a child is liken a scar, while the wound has already occurred, the reminder remains with you throughout the entirety of your life. Unfortunately, in some families the loss of a child will not be the only loss experienced. For some parents, the indescribable pain is too much for the couple to endure, thus leading to ultimate demise of the relationship. As an individual, you are entitled to your time of grief, process of grief, and right to grieve. You should not be forced to call an end to your grief.
The grieving process should have no timelines or guidelines. It is seldom that two individuals grieve identically. The process of grief and loss is as unique as your personal DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid); no two individuals will have the same experiences or relationship to grief. Most importantly, it is of critical importance that you be allowed to grieve and process the loss of your child. Normal Grief Reactions “Unfortunately, there is no expiration date on grief.” Elizabeth Czukas The process of grieving any loss is dependent upon your relationship to the person. However, the age of the individual whose life was cut short will often effect your perspective on the loss. The reactions to grief will vary as does the process of grief and loss. The following grief and loss reactions are some of the most common, but not an absolute measure or determination of one’s reactions to grief and loss. 17
1. Do not be dismayed if you cannot concentrate. 2. You may feel sudden and uncontrollable emotions. 3. It is very common for those who have experienced loss to feel as they are â€œgoing crazyâ€?. 4. Do not feel bad if you are experiencing elevated feelings of anxiousness or stress. 5. As a parent, you may feel a extreme remorse and guilt over outliving your child. 6. You may, and most certainly will experience, times of lethargy (fatigue, a lack of energy and personal motivation). 7. For many parents, you may feel misunderstood, or that your grieving process lacks empathy. 8. Parents often have a strong desire to escape. 9. You may feel as though you are an alien, living isolated from your known world. 10. For many parents, the rejection or questioning of oneâ€™s faith and spiritual belief system may occur. 11. Parents often feel bitterness towards the medical and scientific communities. 12. It is very common to have dreams that your loss was simply a dream.
While the above is a list of some of the normal experiences around grief and loss, it is not an an absolute or an exhaustive list of the related experiences and expressions of normal grief and loss. Cherish and Keep Positive Memories Whatever stage you have lost a child; whether you have lost a child during a pregnancy, youth or into adulthood; the loss remains the same. The loss is an intolerable experience that words, nor deeds, are capable of eliminating. As parents and family members, we must keep the positive memories alive. Do not avoid talking about your loved one, rather take joy in the positive memories associated with the person who you have lost.
Asa Don Brown Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., N.C.C.M. Author, Speaker, Professor, Clinician, and Advocate asadonbrown.com Credits for the article: Canadian Counselling and Psychological Association
PEACE IN CDANCE
The Collecting Dance The Key to the Heart By Shoshana Hayman
We were having dinner with friends when I noticed how one of the toddlers who was unsettled and whiney, settled down contentedly in the arms of his grandmother. The other adults commented on how magical this seemed. Recognizing the collecting dance between grandmother and grandchild, I described how this grandmother was able to bring her grandson to safety and comfort. She looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes and a giggle, as if to say I had exposed her secret. The collecting dance is no secret. It is an ancient dance of all cultures, connecting people throughout time. We have always known it intuitively and have danced this dance with those we care about without giving it a second thought. We dance this dance a few seconds here and a few seconds there, throughout the day. We have never needed to be conscious of this dance, until now, that is. What is the collecting dance?
The collecting dance is a ritual that is part of the social graces of society. It is part of the repertoire of manners that convey thoughtfulness and respect for others. It is the intuitive way we connect with people by politely waiting for an invitation to exist in their presence and extending this same invitation in return. The first step of this dance begins with moving into a personâ€™s space in a friendly way. We have an instinct which lets us know if we can come close to this person and how close we can come. We can sense whether or not we have been invited into this space. 19
If this invitation exists, the next step is to collect the eyes. We cannot demand a personâ€™s attention, but rather we attempt to collect his attention. When we have the eyes, we continue the dance with a smile. Smiles beget smiles, and when we receive a smile in return, we then exchange courtesies that bring us both to nodding our heads in agreement. We can then proceed to the next step, giving a touch of proximity. We convey the warmth we feel towards this person and the enjoyment and pleasure we feel in being in this personâ€™s presence. We have now engaged deep attachment instincts that exist in all of us. As in every dance, one leads and one follows. One is in the alpha position and one is in the dependent position. The person in the alpha position moves to take care of the other, to lead with sensitivity. The person in the dependent position feels cared for, secure and significant to the other. To allow another to care for you is a very vulnerable position to be in, and so the one leading must be careful to protect the other from being hurt or shamed. These are our attachment manners and they allow a deep and secure relationship to unfold. Why is it important to bring this dance to consciousness in our day, particularly with regard to our children, teenagers and students? While children and teenagers are growing up into adulthood, they need to be in right relationship with adults who are responsible for them in which the adult leads and the child follows.
This gives the parent or teacher the power he needs to guide, instruct, influence and take care of the child. In our day, adults are missing this power. Parents work long hours and are distracted by the demands of many responsibilities. They often lack the time and energy needed to keep children close. Just as the quarks of the atom rush to attach to other quarks when they are separated from each other, so, too, children rush to attach to other influences which compete with parents and teachers. Friends compete with our influence when children and teenagers dress like, talk like, and act like their friends, pulling each other out of orbit with their parents and teachers. Children and teenagers often seek out the company of each other rather than with the adults in their lives. The internet and other tools of technology have become a powerful competition, pulling children away from us. 20
If these competing forces were helping our children and teenagers grow up, they would not be so dangerous. But they are causing our children and teenagers to stray from the path of maturation and true independence, and our children are getting stuck in immaturity. So we must become conscious of the collecting dance. When a parent puts their baby in the arms of a caregiver, the parent needs to make sure the caregiver knows this dance. When a parent sends a child to first grade, he needs to make sure the teachers know this dance. When a parent watches his teenager go off to junior hi school, high school or a dormitory, he needs to make sure that teachers, principals, and counselors know this dance. When a child is in a setting away from home, there needs to be an adult that collects him.
The child or teenager must know someone is present who cares about him, that there is someone who he is important to, that there is someone who is his compass point so that he will not feel lost and alone. If we were to implement one change in our classrooms that could make a significant difference in the atmosphere of our schools and our children’s and teenager’s ability to concentrate, learn and grow, it would be to make sure that children and teenagers are collected regularly. We cannot demand that they listen to us and accept our direction. We must collect their eyes, their smiles, their nods, and harness their instincts to attach to us. We must pay attention to whether or not they are giving us an invitation to exist in their presence so that we can invite them to exist in ours and depend on us so that we can guide them. This is an essential key to helping our children and teenagers grow up. As the brilliant theorist Dr. Gordon Neufeld who has given us the words to describe this dance has said, “If we want to reach their minds, we first must have their hearts.”
Shoshana Hayman Shoshana Hayman is Director of Life Center for Attachment Parenting www.lifecenter.org.il and International Director in Israel of the Neufeld Institute www.neufeldinstitute.com 21
World Parenting Conference Dublin, Ireland September 14 - 16, 2014 July - August 2014, Issue 21
A S CHOOL P ORTRAIT
Change Focus Entertainment
NUTRITIOUS DIGITAL LEARN TOGETHER
Becoming Us Focus on Desires
Your Child’s Soul
Mother the Mother
KNOWLEDGE IS YOURS
Getting the Yes
NOURISH THE INNER PART
MOMS SAY YES TO YOURSELF
Needs Quiz GET POSTPARTUM SUPPORT
THE KEY TO TRUE HARMONY
The Key to True Harmony Tips for a Happy & Understanding Family By Diana Dentinger
I never stop learning... and especially from my children! As a family goes, we are facing lots of changes this summer and fall. And I must admit the “tension” is a bit high. I don’t remember feeling tense like this for years. Everyone of us - myself as a single mom and each of my 4 kids - are stepping into new experiences. My second son just finished college and needs to decide between graduate school or an internship abroad. Another son will start a middle school with a tough curriculum. My daughter became a “young lady”. Then there are the moves! The older sons need to move out of their city apartment and bring their things to our house while my younger kids and I decided to move out of our country home with a big yard back into a city apartment. There seems to be so much going on and the choices made are not everyone’s favourites. It’s in moments like this, when our family really needs to be united so the stress does not take a toll on our relationships.
It’s in moments like this that each one of us is elaborating “change” in his or her own unique way. I made a few big mistakes these past weeks and I ask myself how I could have! For the past 20 years I have been a corporate trainer, team building specialist and even personal growth coach so I live and breath all the techniques for “effective results and cooperation”. But darn it... I forget THE KEY, the secret to best supporting and nourishing each one of my children. I was so busy weighing the pros and cons of the decisions, planning and organizing.
When it’s time to make decisions and get things done, I excel. I love being active. I love change. It all excites me. None of my kids are like me in this. They prefer stability. They prefer a gradual pace. They were raised here in Italy, home of “Slow Food” and street front cafés. They are Italians and like to talk, discuss, gesture, discuss again, fight then make peace... the complete process to getting to a decision.
We have been through worse times. The sudden illnesses, accidents and hospital stays over the years though seemed to bring out more compassion in each of us . Maybe then there was one of us who was obviously the “weaker” so we all shed our love and attention on that one person. Instead in the changes we are facing, there are not “survival” fears, but there are other fears that each one needs to express, get out and work through.
I didn’t have a lot of patience to go through their process and it cost us all some emotional hardship.
There is: Will I make it, Am I smart enough, Is there enough time, Is there room for me, Will I lose my friends...
The Key to Harmony is Asking about Everyone’s Needs!
I love harmony, flow, conversation, making things simple and meaningful. My kids were keen on pointing out how my approach these past weeks was not up to par... and I dearly appreciate it.
In all my training classes I insist on the importance of asking questions. In certain professional contexts the usual 5 W’s could suffice. But in a family the questions are more about individual NEEDS. They are deeper. The answer to “what do you need now from me” or “what do you need to feel happy with this choice” is surely not a spreadsheet of statistics! I forgot to ask these kinds of questions. I forgot to feel their “instability” and listen to their “cry” for understanding.
So here are THEIR TIPS on how to best relate the next time: When you are “explaining your reasoning” don’t preach us about the why. Since you are the “final decision maker” just blend your explanation with both kindness & firmness. Remember to ask us how we feel!
Diana Dentinger Take Diana’s free video QUIZ to discover your innate needs and talents for a happier, more fulfilling life. Use this tool to support your children in their choices and evolution. Sign up now: www.themeaningoflifeschool.com 24
PEACE IN CHOICE
Unlimited Energy for Moms? Say Yes! By Blanca Vergara
The greatest lessons come from moments of profound darkness. I have been blessed to have been inspired by very courageous people, very courageous women, very courageous mothers. I have learned a lot from them. And today I would like to honor one powerful story on self-love, so that its blessings go further. She moved from the warm tropics to the cold north of Europe. She did not have friends in the city and to make new ones was very challenging as she did not speak the local language. She became a mother for the second time. Pajama Days - wearing her pajamas from morning to evening - were plentiful. All her family was affected by her blues, especially her youngest daughter. The daughter just stopped eating. It was so serious her food dejection that she needed to be admitted into an institution to support her healing.
The womanâ€™s eldest son did not understand what was going on. Her husband was very concerned for her. She touched rock bottom. We met in this profound darkness. With courage and curiosity, she changed her entire life in one second. In those shadows, she realized that every moment of life she had two choices: -
Surrender to a downward spiral of negativity.
Have the courage to choose for herself â€“ choose from love.
Now? Now she is ready to take her risk to a new level. She is ready set up her own business. Was she so special? What made her so different from other women who end up in the dark night of the soul? Nothing and everything! The difference is simple, yet powerful.
The difference is in the power of choice. When she saw this simple pattern in life, she started playing with it. She started placing stickers on a calendar to mark every non-pajama day. Once the non-pajama life became a habit, she started choosing other possibilities. She started a journal. She learned the local language. She joined a public speaking club even though she had never spoken in public. She volunteered for the school of her children. Her first friends in her new city started to appear. She created a cooking club. While playing with the irrelevant, the fundamental changed. Her daughter healed. Her son and husband were also vibrantly happy. She became the sunshine of her family.
Every single moment of our life we can choose between a life that expands us and a life that destroys us. Every single time with have the golden chance to choose for growth, fun, contribution, enthusiasmâ€Ś or to choose neglect, boredom, sameness. Self- love is the key. When we make decisions and we ask the question: does this expand me? Itâ€™s easy to choose. Just what is it that contributes to you becoming more of yourself. This is the only way to a really vibrant life. Every single choice we make is very clear. Our accumulated choices build who we are. Where you are right now is an accumulation of your past choices.
No matter rain or shine, she always had a playful possibility for the family to be happy. From building snow men, to playing beauty parlor, her imagination never stops creating brand new experiences that keep her and her family vibrantly enthusiastic, vibrantly alive. 26
The great thing is that you can start accumulating decisions towards the future person you want to become. Even more astonishing for parents is that this is of direct influence to your children. In this case it was directly seen in her children, in her daughter. The mom was teaching her how to neglect herself, so the daughter started to do exactly the same. She was just repeating the pattern of not loving herself. Our actions speak louder than our words. Our example is always heard. It is always followed and every time it is taken to a higher level.
Blanca Vergara is founder of Parenting the Gods and author of "Women Work Wonders." She connects mothers with their courage, compassion and (self) approval. Coming from a long lineage of Toltec Female Healers, Blanca felt herself being called to let go of her path "climbing the corporate ladder" and reconnect with the wisdom of her ancestors. Motherhood ensured her complete transformation.
Let us chose for a vibrant, enthusiastic, creative and compassionate life. Let us chose for ourselves and not simply be a victim of the circumstances, not simply be at drift. Let us be a daily relevant example of what we want to see in the world. Our children will surpass us. Let them outshine us in love.
Blanca Vergara Based in Amsterdam, Vergara offers online workshops to mothers around the world. Her larger goal is supporting the shift to a Heart Centered Economy by stopping the chain of fear and pain passively inherited generation after generation. Visit her at www.blancavergara.com.
PEACE IN BIRTH
Mothering the Mother Collaboration for Postpartum Support By Diane S. Speier, PhD
As a birth professional for more than a generation, with a special interest in the postpartum period, I have been dedicated to helping families get off to the right start for ages. So when my daughter Mariel became pregnant, I made plans to be there with her in the first weeks after my grandson was born. Growing up with a mother who taught natural childbirth classes, I thought that some of that would have rubbed off on her. I had to accept that she had her own ideas about birth and parenting. She struggled through the transition to parenthood – a baby who lost weight and didn’t regain it for several weeks and the concern that she was not producing enough milk for him, played into her anxieties about being a parent. I watched her sense of defeat grow larger and did what I could to support her however she needed. During that time we talked about how little information there was about the postpartum period, and that there needed to be a book about it.
It was something that I had been pondering myself, and I decided to write the book, which is in progress called The Handbook for the Postpartum Period. A couple of months later Mariel called and said, “You know that book you’re writing, I want to create an app for it.” What a 21st century idea! I loved it, recognizing that now women are getting their information from the internet and social media, and our postpartum app, Digital Doula, was launched in November 2013. We collaborated on the project, bringing knowledge and experience of different generations and different perspectives together to assist new mothers and fathers move through the postpartum period as smoothly as possible. It’s an exciting platform for sharing wisdom. 28
There are six ‘Empowering Chapters’ full of information about the fourth trimester, breastfeeding, hormones, attachment and bonding, and nurturing the partner relationship; there are also more than 75 ‘Hot Topics’ that include articles, the latest research, and videos that are relevant to new mothers and fathers making adjustments to their identities and to their lifestyles in new parenthood. New sections are in development now to make it even more user friendly and interactive. Collaborating hasn’t always been easy, as we have different styles of communication and don’t always see eye to eye.
Yet, it has helped us understand each other in ways beyond what the mother/ daughter relationship has been. It also tuned me in to this generation of childbearing women and the differences from when I taught childbirth education for twenty years at the end of the last century. I have learned to be more tolerant of choices that vary from my teachings, and to appreciate that freedom of choice is defined by the women who are making those choices. I am grateful for the opportunity this collaboration has created in expanding my awareness of women’s (and of their partners’) needs during the vital childbearing year.
Dr. Diane Speier Dr Diane Speier, a certified childbirth educator and doula since 1978, is also a birth psychologist healing birth-related issues. Digital Doula is the postpartum app co-created with her daughter. Visit her at www.dianespeier.com
PEACE IN SOUL
Your Child’s Soul is Showing How to Nourish their Inner Workings By Ilene Dillon, MSW
A spiritually-aware father recently told me about his 5 year old son running to a classmate who had fallen and scraped his knee, saying “I can help you; I have healing hands!” The teacher stepped in, saying “Healing hands are not possible. Medicine and a bandage strip are what will help your friend heal.” Later that night, the boy shared the story with his parents, struggling with why he had been told his healing hands were “not possible.” His father, who both fully respected his young son and was helping him to fit into the world, said “In this case, you know more than your teacher! It is possible to have healing hands. Sadly, she just doesn’t know it yet.” This 5 year olds’ experience highlights a growing issue that has not yet been addressed: Most children of today have abilities and talents that we adults are not used to seeing—or acknowledging—in young children.
Driven more by “inner knowing” and intuition than previous generations, today’s children are showing their bright inner light and coming equipped with amazing talents, expressed early in life, that deserve both respect and acknowledgment. Instead of limiting our children to work within our own beliefs, we parents need to open ourselves to possibilities that may be difficult for us to accept. This is why our paradigm for parenting children must change. Because we have children whose inner workings are different than even 30 years ago, we must develop new ways of parenting that nourish and guide children with unfamiliar abilities. 30
While this may not be easy, a great gift for your child is to support what may actually be possible, rather than what you learned is possible.
What Does This Mean for Parents?
Previously, parents emphasized children fitting in to this world, following societal rules, and obeying.
Acknowledge and live an understanding of children as Souls who arrive on earth bringing talents, a personal plan, past experience and lessons to be learned.
When newborns arrived, they were seen as “new citizens of earth,” often with scant acknowledgment given to the inner soul of the child, especially as the child grew and revealed the ways they differed from expectations. Increasingly, we’re noticing there is more to us than “just” being a human being. As human consciousness increases, we’re realize we’re Souls who’ve come to earth to live a human life. A child’s Soul Self needs to be nourished as much as the human self. This requires adjustment in our parenting approach and within ourselves. Today’s children are pushing adults to open themselves to new possibilities and perspectives. Will we accept their powerful invitation to grow?
1. We need to open ourselves to new perspectives.
Our child is more like a well-traveled “visitor” than a brand new being who has nothing to offer. 2. We need to partner with our child, as equals in all but age and size. Instead of assuming the responsibility to teach our child everything, shape his/her life, or instruct on the “right way”, we need to see our child as a visitor, a partner who accepts our protection and gives us feedback (by reacting to us honestly), love, challenge and new information. We can ask our child to help us grow, and assist the child’s growth. We can accept that our child may not wish to become the person we think s/he “should” become! 3. We need to enlarge our scope, accepting all human beings as a combination of mental, physical, emotional AND spiritual elements. Each person is a whole person. Parents have the opportunity to welcome the whole person to this earth, and assist him/her to develop all the parts equally. In addition to school subjects, children need to learn life skills, such as how to care for their own bodies, learn from their emotions, or manage finances. 31
We clear away the detritus of debilitating beliefs and incorrect self-identity gathered during our years here on the earth, and the Soul Self is there. Parents can communicate with the Soul Self of their children (even prior to birth*); and children can be enabled to communicate with their own Soul Self.
Previously, parents urged children to quarantine emotions and connect with their soul at bedtime, in crisis, or on the Sabbath. Children need support in staying connected—in all four areas—all the time. 4. We need to update our skills. Just as parents have needed to learn technology, we need to learn to connect with our own emotions, end codependent patterns, live by our intuition, and manifest our dreams. We need to recognize and develop all four areas of life in ourselves, too.
The Soul Self has answers tailored to that individual. To best parent children, we must bring the spiritual (not religious) element back into the parenting equation, but in a new way. 6. We need to welcome and embrace enormous change. Lazaris, of Concept Synergy, once said: “Before change, there is chaos. After change, chaos.” As a 42-year psychotherapist, I’ve observed that most people don’t like change, and so wait to change until the pain of where we are/what we’re doing gets so great we think it couldn’t be any worse. The Truth is that, on earth, “change is the name of the game.” Parents need to accept, and actively embrace, change.
5. We need to learn to communicate with our own Soul, AND with the Soul of our child. One of the most miraculous things now available to all humans is the ability to communicate directly with their own Soul Self. This is accessible without assistance from a holy person, a particular religion, or even significant ritual.
Practical Suggestions Consider including some of these suggestions into your parenting: 1. Parent by Principle; teach children principles like “Energy follows attention,” or “Each person is individually responsible for his/her own life.” 2. Consider our Earth a Giant School, to which we’ve all come in order to grow and learn. Help yourself and your child to learn. 3. View all your child’s experiences as opportunities for learning, and help them do that learning.
We are all in the midst of incredible change and transformation. We parents can help our children transform into the new ways of being human and living on this earth by welcoming their Soul and allowing it to show, supporting the whole people who come to earth, gifting us with their willingness to share their experiences, learning and lives with us! *Look at Natural, Pain Free Birth…A Soul’s Journey to Earth, by Sonja and Oliver Rechnitzer (2010: Griffin Press, Australia), ISBN 978-0-9807827-0-7
4. Allow yourself to learn from your children; being in a small body doesn’t limit who they are as Souls 5. Treat children with the utmost respect, as if they were visitors from another place. Set limits, discipline and teach, but with much greater respect. 6. Recognize your self as a Soul, with all the attendant appreciation and respect! 7. Love every aspect of this amazing life! 8. Learn to communicate directly with your child’s soul, actively recognizing and supporting that Soul Self
Ilene Dillon Ilene Dillon, MSW, LMFT and LCSW (California) has been supporting families and children for over 40 years. A certified Accessing Universal Intelligence Mentor, Ilene helps parents develop their ability to make direct contact with their child’s Soul Self. Visit her work at: www.raiseincrediblekids.com and www.emotionalpro.com
PEACE IN CAN DO
Getting the YES! Child’s Needs & Individual Education Program By Vaughn K. Lauer
The best way to get the yes at an IEP meeting is to avoid getting a no, but how to do in you do that? There are some who feel that the best approach to take at an IEP meeting is with the intentions of negotiating for the services they want for their child. But by the very nature and definition of negotiations, it means that you are willing to give up something in order to get something else. When it comes to a child’s needs and the IEP that’s driven based on those needs the question becomes: Which of your child’s needs are you willing to sacrifice in order to have others met? In all likelihood, you are unwilling to give up any of your child’s needed services. Many articles are written about collaboration as an effective manner to approach problem-solving but, unfortunately, collaboration is an infrequently applied activity—probably because few know how.
How does a group of people, often times with healthy differing ideas, establish collaboration much less put it into effect? Especially, if that group of people only meets a few times over the course of a school year. Below are 6 questions to ask during an IEP meeting that will ensure collaboration if each is answered by all members of the IEP team and answered in the order provided.
1. What do we know? Where are we? What don’t we know? (If you don’t know where you are how can you possibly know how to get to someplace else?) Think of it as a GPS. When you first turn it on and key in, say Washington DC as where you want to go, the GPS cannot respond until it first knows where it is. In other words we are seeking to know the child’s present levels of academic and functional performance (PLAFPs). 2. Where do we want to go? What is it we want to accomplish? Once the previous question is answered, the GPS can, accept the destination as your goal, much as we do when writing the goals in IEPs. They are based on the identified and agreed upon needs or PLAAPFs. 3. How will we get there? What do we need to get there? The GPS provides us with the actual road names, directions to take (left, right straight) and more information if we want. All of it is designed to aid us in our goal of reaching Washington, DC. In the case of the IEP what we need to reach the goal, question 2, are the specific special education services, the amount of time for each and the setting where they will be provided to meet the child’s needs as identified in question 1 and established in the IEP goal statement determined in question 2.
4. How will we know that we are getting there? When goal statements are written properly, they will be stated with a welldefined behavior (academic, social motoric, etc.) that is to be increased or decreased as a result of implementing the IEP. Along with the behavior, there is to be a condition to be stated under which the behavior is to be observed and a measurement of expected behavior to be achieved at the end of the IEP. Periodically, the GPS will tell us where we are and how close we are to our destination. Schools are to periodically send to parents progress reports indicating the degree of movement toward reaching the goal and will let us know if we are getting to the goal written in question 2, with the services noted in answering question 3. 35
5. How do we know when we have arrived? The GPS will actually tell us when we have arrived. The progress reports and annual review will serve this purpose IF question 4 was properly provided. 6. How do we keep what we have? Or, where do we want to go from here? With the GPS we simply key in another destination based on where we are (question 1). We do the same at the annual review having collected answers to questions 4 and 5, we know the answer to question 1 and can begin the IEP process again.
It is important to know that each question requires a group discussion and agreement with the team answer—the definition of collaboration. The end product is much stronger, because a team of people have created it, agreed to it and committed to its implementation—and success. If your school does not apply the structured collaborative IEP process, you can take the lead on putting this process into practice. It is, after all, the child’s needs that are to be programmed for and met, and not those of an individual or institution.
Vaughn K. Lauer http://www.IEPHelp.com Thirty years of experience, Pre-K through post-secondary, as a teacher, professor, building, district and state administrator of special education and various private organization directorships in professional development and test development. His latest work includes a book on collaborative IEP development called When the School Says No… How to Get the Yes!, parent presentations, regional, state, national and international36 conferences and writing articles published in parent magazines and the web.
PEACE IN BEING YOU
Let’s Give Children... The Ability to Be Who They Really Are By Alan Wilson
I was a selfish, money motivated workaholic until I was bankrupt in 1993. In the same year I had a messy divorce, separated from a new born and had a nervous breakdown. My world just crashed. Looking back now I can see my life wasn’t in balance. Like many people today, I was just on a roller coaster, lurching from one problem to another – not ever stopping to look deeply inside myself. The crash was the best thing that happened to me. I realised that material possessions and money were not what life is all about – it’s about love, relationships and family. I acknowledged that I hadn’t been the best Dad to my two older children. Whilst I was providing for them, I hadn’t spent quality time with them. These awareness’s started me on a path of personal growth. I worked with professionals psychiatrists then counsellors - and enrolled on a marriage guidance course called “Relate counselling”. What I took from this education was a shift in perception.
Instead of blaming the world for everything that went wrong, I learned I was responsible for my own happiness. We are all connected I moved in with a mate who was very spiritual. Sometimes we would be up all night just chatting. He introduced me to books like the Celestine Prophesy, which helped me to see my life and myself in a new light. I grew increasingly appreciative of the fact that we are all energy and we are all connected. I also learned about the value of Life Coaching for increasing personal empowerment and improving self-esteem. 37
Do we expect too much? We expect parents and schools to prepare children for life, but the fact is parents are only doing the best they can with what they know, and schools are often hands strung by the academic curriculum. Children get the message that they’re not good enough, they’re not capable enough, they’re not smart enough, they’re not ANYTHING ENOUGH. What on earth went wrong? In 2002 I was relaxing in my favourite cafe in Maidstone enjoying my cup of coffee and watching this little bundle of new-born joy, love and pure energy, at a nearby table. With Mum instinctively knowing what that little cherub wants, even before the baby cries out.
During my years in business, I’d learned about a concept called USP (Unique Selling Point). I saw a parallel with human beings. Every person has something unique, something that distinguishes them from everyone else. Something positive, something wonderful and an awareness of this is the basis of self-esteem.
This beautiful picture was smashed by an angry teenager shouting, swearing and arguing with his Mum, and she was giving it back in equal ferocity. The transition was so dramatic, I thought what on earth went wrong.
In contemplating how to better prepare children for success in life, I felt it was critical someone affirm this fact. So I created a programme that combined the USP concept with self-empowerment.
Before children go to school, the majority are naturally fun; creative, imaginative and laughing all the time, then they are pressured by multiple forces - school, puberty, work, relationships - to sacrifice their uniqueness and conform to the expectations of others. In that moment in the cafe, the “Big Question” for me became “How can we better equip that beautiful bundle of pure potential, to manage in this highly demanding, ever-changing world? How can parents better communicate with angry teenagers to defuse volatile exchanges?
Scary stuff! I discussed my idea with the Head Teacher of my children’s school. He agreed to give me the freedom to work with a group of eight-year-old ‘underachievers’ as I refined the components of the programme. If right now, you are all thinking, “that’s scary,” I agree. I was afraid myself. What if it didn’t work? What the heck was I, a businessman by profession, doing in a classroom? I was surprised myself how easily everything just came together. It was as if I was providing the missing piece of a puzzle. 38
The administration welcomed me, the children were wholly engaged, all of this confirmed for me I was on the right path. Statistics proved me correct. My programme resulted in a minimum of 15% improvement in test scores, over the year group as a whole. This process resulted in my first Life Coaching programme; it was for children – called “Go for Goals.” Help for struggling parents In 2003 whilst coaching some teenagers it became apparent that children who were struggling, often had a parent that was also struggling, so I turned my attention to parents. I took a parent coach-training course in the US, then became a Parenting Tutor for the local Adult Education college in the UK for 6 years. During this time I created a personal development programme for parents called the Parent Champion Programme. Fantastic results This programme has been independently evaluated over 2 years by Canterbury Christ Church University, with parents from 'dysfunctional' families in deprived areas with the following outcomes: - 67% identified a significant increase in self-worth and confidence. - 36% progressed into education, employment or training. - 21% came from social services and they ‘stepped down’ their intervention from child protection orders with significant savings and social impact. - Everyone reported significant changes in their lives through trusting their instincts or gut feelings or intuition.
- A year after the training, the majority of these parents had sustained the change and integrated the learning into their lives. Whole school coaching programme I recently began teaching the same programme in schools for parents, teachers and children together. We call this programme the Ethos Empowerment. The core of these programmes involves teaching how to change your emotional state by looking at your life circumstances in a new light - how to be the architect of your thoughts rather than the victim. Parents notice that their children are far more sensitive than themselves. Some parents have noticed their children know what they are thinking. Children ‘labelled’ ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, etc. are especially sensitive. For example, one mother of a 7-year-old diagnosed with ADHD had been sending loving energy to her son whilst he is at school. Her sons teacher pulled her to one side when she went to collect him and said how much of a fantastic day he had, she explained that at one point when his usual group of friends became disruptive, he took himself away from them and played with another group of children.
Mum proudly explained that he now even makes eye contact with new people he meets. Another mum had a 4-year-old son who was diagnosed with global development delay. He couldn’t communicate or interact with anyone. After taking our course, and simply increasing her awareness of her son’s emotional state, she reported, she can now communicate with him non-verbally. This not only transformed their communication but has huge impact on the whole family unit. How to have a positive influence When you feel good about yourself everything feels easier – your children are happier and more content, but when you’re angry or stressed the opposite is true. When your emotions are up in the air or you’re focusing on your problems, you’re very unlikely to have a positive connection. Most parents know when they’re happy their children are happy, but what very few know is that their children, being sensitive to a parents emotional state, also take responsibility for that emotional state.
Children don’t have the confidence or communication and emotional skills to express their concern, so they kick off in the only way they know how to get attention. That might be screaming, hitting out or storming out of the room shouting “you don’t understand me” as they slam the door. The cost of this crisis in the UK, as an example, there are 120,000 families that cost the taxpayer over £9 billion a year because the Government are trying to ‘fix’ the problem using the same old techniques that aren’t working, and just creating a growing problem of dependency. The most crushing cost, is not the crisis, but the loss of human potential and the impact on our society. The children in prisons could be the next Gandhi, Einstein or Bill Gates - who will ever know. We teach parents about how their energy affects their relationships. And when they combine new ways of thinking about themselves and their children – they literally transform their families and their communities. By prioritising children’s emotional state – they gain the ability to be who they really are.
Alan Wilson Alan Wilson is the creator of “The Parent Champion” and “The Ethos of Empowerment” programmes. Core to each is the prioritization of culture and connection over content. Wilson’s path to becoming a Life Skills Empowerment Coach was anything but conventional…. Visit Alan at: http:// www.parentchampioncommunity.com 40
PEACE IN LEARNING
Knowledge is Yours Focus on Your Desires By Jean Harris
In high school, there was a time where I doubted my mom’s guidance. One of my teachers had a reputation for giving African Americans low grades. At the start of the semester, I complained about this teacher’s unfairness. Mom had a conversation with me about the instructor and asked me these questions: Mom: When you are in the classroom; who in the room has all of the information? Me: Thought about it briefly. I said, “the teacher!”
She closed this discussion by saying: “Always stay focused on gaining as much information as you can, do not lose sight of that. Once you have the information, remember no one can take it from you!” Using my imagination, I made a game of improving my note taking and study skills. Unfortunately my final grade was ‘F’ for Fair’, a grade between 70 and 79. Her mantra replayed in my mind. ‘Once you have the information, remember no one can take it from you’. I still had doubted whether she was right.
Mom: What is your job, when you are in the classroom? Me: Guess it is to learn the information.” Mom: “Well, if that is the case, then going forward, you want to learn as much information as you can. Keep in mind the reason for doing this is so that after you finish this class you will have the information and no one can take that away from you.” 41
I attended University of Maryland in College Park, MD. I was among the 30 African Americans in a population of 32,000 students. We used ‘Blue Books’ for our exams. On the front cover of my first English exam, I saw a ‘B+’! Then I noticed a written comment under the grade, ‘Please see me after class.’ I was puzzled as to why the professor wanted to see me. He explained how I had not fully developed the premise, which prevented me from getting an ‘A’. Then he asked questions about my birthplace, my parent’s occupation, and the name of the high school I attended. I am thinking – how can this information be pertinent to our discussion about my grade. He closed by saying he was curious about my background and wanted to acknowledge my excellent command of the English language.
I ran back to dorm to call mom. After our conversation about the professor’s comments, mom said, “See that is why it was so important for you to learn the information because no one can take it away from you!” Having a different perspective on situations where there was bias, allowed me to flourish in future life situations where I was among the first or among the few… as a chemistry instructor, in a Jewish high school and among the few females in sales with three Fortune 500 companies. In dealing with prejudice in male dominated situations, I focused on the results I wanted and how best to achieve them. Amazingly, it worked practically every time!
Jean Harris Jean Harris Owner, Launching Life Strategies. Visit her at this website: http://www.launchinglifestrategies.com/ Author of forthcoming book: “When It Snows, All You Need is a Broom Life Lessons According to Pearl and Dan” 42
PEACE WITH DIGITAL
Digital Natives Nutritious Entertainment and Modern Archetypes By Dave Room
Is your child’s entertainment more like McDonalds, a white tablecloth dinner, or a home cooked meal? The Potential of Entertainment is Immense Imagine a possible future where entertainment is inner-trainment. Where all parents and children have access to age appropriate and culturallyrelevant entertainment. Where entertainment trains children to better understand themselves, their interdependence with nature, and how to make better choices. Where entertainment exposes children to new ideas and interests, and safely connects them with real world activities. Where entertainment inspires children to bring their dreams into reality, and create the world they want to live in. Entertainment has the potential to be a positive influence on kids and the world. We’re living in an unprecedented era, where children are emerging as youth leaders with the social power to make a real difference. This new archetype, a dream-into-action type of kid, is popping up all around the world.
Avalon Theisen, for example, is a 13 year old who started an amphibian protection organization at age 9, and is now winning tons of awards alongside her own TV show. The organization Youth-LeadeR, a UNESCO project, is working with Avalon and dozens of other young who are trailblazing the world they want to live in! Imagine if children’s entertainment glorified these stories rather than fame, fashion, and fortune. The Reality is Sobering Today’s kids are considered digital natives, growing up with unprecedented access to media, through a multitude of devices that keeps them glued to screens an average of 7 hours per day. 43
They spend far less time outside, in natural settings, and communicating face-to-face, than previous generations. As reported in Treehugger.com, children are also getting less exposure to the natural world in media. Unfortunately, most children’s entertainment is like junk food. It may satisfy cravings, but it’s making kids sick. Much of what children experience on screens is vapid if not violent, misogynistic, or glorifying consumption and addiction. For example, in 75% of the TV programs when U.S. children are most likely to be watching, the hero either kills people or beats them up. The American Academy of Pediatrics has repeatedly stated that such content can be detrimental to a child's healthy development. We now know everything we experience rewires our brains. It’s time to leverage children’s entertainment to support their healthy development. Below is an example of what I call “Nutritious” children’s entertainment that you and your kids can experience and enjoy right now.
Pacha, the lead character in the musical Pacha’s Pajamas and a budding youth leader, has an awesome dream in which everyone on earth was connected and dancing to make the world a better place! Through the dream, Pacha understood that we are connected in the most basic and practical sense by the Earth that we live on. She also understood that we are connected by our common ancestry and shared destiny. After her dream, Pacha tells her mama about her dream and they make a video with kids across the planet dancing and singing “We Are ALL Connected”! Now Pacha can’t wait to share her video with YOU and your children and students! Watch the video on the next page...
Dave Room Dave’s most important identifier is Melia’s Papa. He is also co-creator of Pacha’s Pajamas and CEO of BALANCE Edutainment, a social enterprise that produces nutritious children’s entertainment.Visit his work at: http://pachaspajamas.com 44
PEACE IN ENTERTAINING
We Are All Connected A Children’s Musical Written by Nature
Pacha’s Message to You Pacha’s Message to you! I would love to see all my friends across the world sharing their own version of the Connected Dance or speaking about connectedness so that we can make the world a better place. My friend Avalon and I say the more we are aware of our connectedness, the better we will treat one another and nature. Doing a dance party video is a fun and meaningful activity for families, homeschoolers, classrooms, teams, and youth programs. It creates great pictures and videos, and increases awareness of and interest in connectedness.
To get started, download your free MP3 at http://weareallconnected.us and use it to make a dance party video with your kids. I can’t wait to see your video! 45
PEACE IN COUPLE
Becoming Us Loving, Learning & Growing Together By Elly Taylor
I have a picture of us posing as a new family. It looks awkward. I’m holding our four month old, his legs dangling, they keep growing more than my arms are used to containing. Although my husband has his arm around me, he leans a little away, perhaps to make room for my elbow, perhaps not. There is a new gap between us. What speaks to me most though, is that my gaze is not at the camera, nor at my husband, as it would have been in photographs past. My eyes are for my - for our - son only.
complete and stronger in some ways and yet more tentative and vulnerable in others.
This is not unusual, there are many more pictures like this. But this one takes me back to the moment I made, but didn’t realise I made, a decision.
I didn’t have the words to share what was unfolding inside me or to draw my husband in.
I remember thinking “life is not about me anymore, so I won’t look at the camera, life is not about me and my husband anymore so I won’t look at him. It’s all about the baby now”.
Life wasn’t about my husband anymore either and so immersed was I in my new mother responsibilities, I didn’t even stop to think what, if anything, was happening inside him.
Life wasn’t about me and yet there was so much going on inside that was confusing to me: as a new mother I felt more
This became a wider space between us. I ignored my needs, his needs and continued to focus on my - on our - son. 46
I became a relationship counsellor at the same time we had our second child so I started researching what was happening to us and I was shocked to find that 92% of couples report increased conflict in the first year after baby and 67% declined relationship satisfaction in the first three.
It’s acknowledged that parents need time, space and support to find their feet and adjust to the different stages of the transition: letting go of the old way of life, facing the confusion and fear of change and emerging with a new sense of themselves.
Looking beyond the statistics, I discovered parenthood has a dramatic impact on a couple’s relationship that they are completely unprepared for it tips both mothers and fathers into a new life stage – often at a different time to each other, sends them into a new relationship stage and involves multiple transitions – psychological, financial, emotional, sexual and spiritual – that they are often blindsided by.
In our first world we don’t facilitate the transition into parenthood, we focus on the romantic and materialistic aspects, leaving couples disillusioned and unequipped for the challenges that lay ahead. Imagine what a difference it might make if we did.
And yet at the same time I was working through the issues with my husband and finding that this was binding us deeper and in ways I’d never even imagined. Another child later and we really were becoming a new “us”. In traditional cultures parenthood is honoured as a rite of passage: a stage of transition between one stage of life and the next.
Elly Taylor Elly Taylor is a leading Perinatal Relationship Researcher, therapist, columnist, and author of the book Becoming Us. Her passion is supporting whole family bonding – the foundation for family. Visit her at: www.ellytaylor.com 47
PEACE IN GREAT
The School Portrait How to Change Your Focus By Sherlyn Pang Luedtke
Have you ever had your child sit for portraits, only to be disappointed in how they turned out? The instant he walked through the door, my 4th grade son plunked his backpack on the floor, dug his hand inside it, and pulled out a large white envelope. “Here, Mom,” he said, and ran off. It was his spring school portraits. His last set of portraits were taken in the fall with his school uniform. Spring portraits were our opportunity to score an 8 by 10 trophy worthy of framing by his grandma. I was hoping that they came out well but wasn’t concerned because I knew we could return them without charge if we were not satisfied. I gently slid the portraits out of the envelope. The 8 by 10 was on top. At first glance it was fine. Eyes open, nice seated pose, serene woodland background; but then I saw it. His navy blue pants were ripped, exposing his entire left knee.
I groaned and shook my head in disappointment. We were not keeping these. I called my husband over and showed him how bad the pictures were. If only our son’s pants were not ripped. I put my hand on the portrait to block our view of the gaping tear, and we found ourselves doting over our firstborn’s sweet smile, cheerful eyes, strong posture, and cooperative hair. 48
Time stood still for a moment as I was lost in love with my child. Suddenly I snapped to the realization that this portrait was teaching me a lesson: When I change my focus, I change my experience. When I focused on the torn pants and vulgar exposed skin, I condemned myself for failing to get a good portrait. I should have chosen sturdier pants. I should have coached him about my expectations so he could have done better. I thought about the countless snapshots I took of my son over the years, rarely getting a decent picture. My sadness, frustration, and anger were churning. I wanted to blame my son for ruining the portrait and then bury all the evidence. It was sickening. But when I focused on the other 90 percent of the portrait, especially my son’s joyful, enthusiastic face, I felt his joy. My eyes traced his neck and stable, relaxed shoulders, and I sighed at how care-free childhood can be. I remembered our best moments together and imagined the man he would become.
I returned to the present moment when I heard him shuffling around in his bedroom, singing happily to himself. I decided to keep the portrait. Anaïs Nin said, “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Instead of focusing on where we fall short, where our children fall short, where life falls short, focus on what is highest and best in yourself and your children. Focus on what is great in your life, your work, your relationships. Notice how your life increasingly gives you more to appreciate. As you do, give thanks for the wondrous, loving experiences you create. ___ Ten years ago, Sherlyn Pang Luedtke became a stay-at-home mom. She lost her identity and was sacrificing herself for others. But when she reconnected with her goals and dreams, she launched PresentParentTraining.com, became a speaker, had a second child, and her book, The Mommy Advantage, became a #1 best seller.
Sherlyn Pang Luedtke She is a Founding Member of the Global Presence, Parenting 2.0's Humanitarian Arm. Through virtual and live events, she coaches moms to harness their inner power and reach their highest goals while raising their kids. Visit her at: PresentParentTraining.com 49
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