Friday, November 2, 2018

I am "that" mom

As someone who works with parents and kids, I have the privilege of a third party perspective. I always see the positive and am optimistic about my students' journeys. As an academic coach, it's my job to remain calm in difficult situations where parents might otherwise explode.  However, when it comes to my own child, mama bear comes out and this thinking goes out the window in the heat of the moment. I have had several moments recently that made me realize I am now "that" mom. We all know "that" mom. My only saving grace is that I am aware of my intense reactions and that gives me hope that I will have fewer "that" mom moments in the future.

When it's my child that has something go wrong, all I can do is ruminate about all the various outcomes and often I focus on the "what ifs" in a negative way. Even small problems seem like disasters. How can I curb feelings that come up so naturally and intensely? I guess I need to acknowledge my feelings, take a few deep breaths, and pretend like I'm an objective third party in the moment. My reactions affect my daughter and I see this day in and day out in my work. Reacting calmly is so much easier said than done, but I'm confident I will get there for the sake of my little pride and joy.

I feel like a much better academic coach now that I have a child of my own because I can better relate to parents. I'm not only part of the mom club, but part of "that" mom club:) My daughter is the world to me and I would love to change "that" mom from a negative to a positive. I aspire to be "that" mom who goes to the end of the earth for her daughter, who remains calm for the sake of my kiddo, and has faith that my daughter will be just fine at the end of the day. I love you Z.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Different Approach?

Parenting is challenging. I think we can all agree on that. However, when our kids are not meeting our expectations, we often blame them, when in fact, we as parents need to take some responsibility. Now this is not a blame game because both kids and parents have a part in creating a solid and positive relationship, but I think we are too quick to put the focus on the kids and not ourselves.

When you are frustrated with how your child is behaving, ask yourself, "What could I be doing different to help my child react more positively?" The answer most likely might be, "I don't know" because when you are in the trenches it's hard to see things clearly and objectively. Let me share with you just a few small tips about setting expectations without nagging from the book Parenting ADHD Now: Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD by Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster. These tips work for all kids, not just those with ADHD!

The authors explain, "More than likely, when you generate negative responses from your kids there are two things going on. First, kids with ADHD often hear neutral comments as criticism because they are hypersensitive to negative feedback. Second, there may well be an underlying message that you are not saying directly but they are hearing loud and clear, like, "You've messed up again." Even though our intentions are good, kids often hear our comments as judgmental, which puts our kids on the defense, making them feel like failures. So, instead of asking, "Why can't you ever remember to....?" or "How many times do I have to tell you...?", remember there is a valid reason they can't remember things (executive function, working memory, distractions, etc.) and shift your expectations. Perhaps you could say, "It seems like you might need a reminder about this. How would you like me to remind you?" If your child is unsure, you can work together and come up with a solution. If it doesn't work, just revise your ideas and keep trying! And an added benefit, is that as your child gets older, she will learn to set reminders for herself as she takes on more responsibility.

Meeting your kids where they are, and understanding that how and what we say to them can change their responses and self-esteem, can positively impact your relationship and make for a calmer household. Try it out and let me know how it worked!