November 26th, 2011 7:37am - Posted By: Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S
Access tools and processes are so beneficial to kids and families. Conscious Parents Conscious Kids shares some of their stories. Read on for the experience of 15 year old, Claire:
"It was cold outside; I remember that. My mom was going to an Access energy workshop like she did all the time. She asked me if I wanted to go. She said it was weird, but I might like it.
Normally I would have said, 'I don’t want to go hang out with you somewhere where there is a bunch of old people. It’s my winter break. No.' But something made me say, 'Yes.'
I went, and I was like, 'What is all this stuff? It’s weird.' But I felt so good afterwards. I felt so light and no one was judging me. The adults talked to me like I was a real person, which was a shock. I was like, 'I want to do this over and over and over again.'
I had been really depressed. I wanted to make changes in my like but I didn’t know how. I kept choosing things that made life harder for me.
Once I started going to Access workshops, I stopped being so depressed, and I started making different choices. 'You know what? I don’t want to go smoke and drink with these people. I don’t want to hang out with these people anymore.' Within a couple weeks, I had completely changed all of my friends. I stopped doing all of the things that were bad for my body and me. I decided to make choices for me instead of choosing what everyone else was telling me I should choose."
Would you like to learn more? Click here to check out my upcoming Bars workshop, scheduled for December 11th from 10am – 6pm.
Posted in: Access Consciousness, Tools and Techniques
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November 20th, 2011 4:51pm - Posted By: Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S
Parents would like to create loving, caring, joyful connections with their children - connections that last. When we become parents, we bring with us issues from our past that affect our ability to parent. The following tips on how to build bonds with babies and kids presuppose that as parents, we are willing to look within ourselves to gain an understanding of who we are and the experiences that helped form our present state of being. How were we parented? What kind of bond existed between us and our parents? Which traits of our parents have we taken on, either intentionally or unconsciously? Were we given permission to be who we are, or were we expected to become someone else, in order to validate our parents’ points of view? Were we heard? Did we have permission to speak? Did we strive to be like our parents, or did we swear we would never ever do/say the things they did/said?
In his book Mindsight, Daniel Siegel states: “Research has revealed that the best predictor of the security of our children’s attachment to us is our ability to narrate the story of our own childhood in a coherent fashion.” (p. 74)
Before looking at ways to build bonds with our babies and kids, it’s important for us to have this sense of who we are, in all aspects of ourselves. Not from a fault finding perspective, not from a judgmental perspective, but from awareness and recognition. Take care of yourself! If you don’t, how will your child know how to take care of herself?
The following is a list of ways to build bonds with our babies and children:
~ Acknowledge your baby/child! By this, I mean see him, not what he does, but who he is. Be grateful that he is in your life. Thank him for being who he is. Let him know that he is just fine the way he is – the good, the bad and the ugly. You may not always like his behaviors, but reassure him that who he is, is just fine. Ask him: “How did I get so lucky to have you as my son?” You can do this with babies as well. They will get it energetically, even if they cannot yet speak.
~ Be attuned to your baby/child. Learn her non-verbal cues. Is her cry a tired cry, a hungry cry, a wet diaper cry, a frightened cry, an over stimulated cry? When you pick her up at day care or come home, notice in what space she is and meet her there. Don’t demand that she meet you in yours. If behavior is a form of communication, and she is “acting out”, ask yourself: “What is this? What is she telling me? What did I miss?”
~ Give both you and your child the benefit of the doubt! Assume that he is doing the best he can with what is available to him in the moment! If he is 5 years old and throwing a 2 year old tantrum, know that he is functioning emotionally as if he were 2. Know that in that moment, he cannot meet expectations appropriate for a 5 year old. Treat him emotionally as if he were 2! And, No! It is not rewarding bad behavior! What if it is giving him exactly what he needs in order to soothe himself, and, to move back up the developmental scale – back to 5 years old?
~ Make sure that every day (this includes in the morning, after work/school and before bed,) you spend time with him – 10 to 20 minutes each time will do. This means time when you give him your undivided attention. Don’t think about work, dinner, weekend plans, laundry! Instead, pay attention to him. Let him lead. Play if he wants to play; read if he wants to read; cuddle if he wants to cuddle. Don’t force yourself on him. Just be present with him! It works wonders!! It is well worth the time! Chances are pretty good that this will fill him up emotionally, which will leave you free to do whatever else you need to do. If you can’t do 10 minutes, try 5!
~ Ask questions of yourself, and don’t answer them. See what comes up. You’ll be amazed at the awareness you can have, simply by asking. For example: What can I do right here right now to improve my relationship with my child? What energy could I be that would allow my daughter to know who she truly is? What does my child know that I am unwilling to know? What if I treated my child the way I should have been treated, rather than the way I was treated? What would that look like? How can I create more ease here? What would it take for this to be easier and more fun?
~ In the morning, get yourself up, dressed and ready to go, before waking up your children. You will find you have more space, more patience, more ease, more energy, than if you are all competing for the bathroom, breakfast, etc. Especially if you do not spend your days together Monday through Friday, having “quality” time in the mornings will benefit all of you. “Quality” time means time that is expansive, easy, peaceful, loving, when you are attuned and present. Remember, if you are rushed, irritable, tired, cranky – they will respond accordingly!
~ When you get upset, when you say things to them that you regret, or do things you wish you hadn’t, apologize to them! Mean it! One way to get there is to ask yourself: “If this were the last 10 seconds of my life, how would I want to be?” Probably not yelling or angry or blaming! It gives you the chance to choose a different way to be with them.
~ Learn the language of play. Most children love to play. Since young children’s verbal and cognitive skills do not allow them to express themselves the way we do, play is the way they communicate thoughts and feelings. For young children, toys are words and play is language. Enjoy the play! Enjoy your child! Have fun! Be silly! Laugh!
~ When you play with your child, let her set the rules. Do what she tells you. Let her lead. Pay attention to your experience as you follow her rules and do as she tells you. The way you feel in the play today is probably the same way she feels. If you reflect this feeling back to her, she will know that you “get it.”
~ Plan fun times together! Look forward to them!! Don’t be serious all the time! Lighten up! Be flexible when it makes sense! Don’t blame yourself! Breathe!! Breathe some more!!
Posted in: Parenting Techniques, Tools and Techniques
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November 10th, 2011 6:44pm - Posted By: Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S
Hi, Anne! I'm a new mom and I am finding myself overwhelmed with caring for this little one. I continually find myself falling short as a mother. I hear about how critical the infant and early childhood years are and I worry that I'm just not capable of doing it right! Thoughts?
What if your childhood experiences, and how you make sense of them, effects how you parent your children? What if the pressure to “do everything right” is exhausting, requires constant judgment of yourself, and eliminates your capacity to see what works best for you and your baby/child? What if “doing everything right” is a picture, a fantasy? What if it is not a reality? What if you can choose something different? When everything is “right” and “perfect”, how comfortable are you? What happens when something is out of order? Is that upsetting – to you and to those around you?
What if you could parent from a completely different place? A place of trusting yourself, of choosing in the moment what seems right for your baby and for you, regardless of what you’ve been told, regardless of what everyone else is saying.
Where does the need to “do everything right” come from? From your mother? From your father? Whose insecurity or sense of inadequacy was that? Growing up, was doing everything “right” a requirement in order to receive approval, affection?
When you have a need to be right, it puts lots of pressure not only on you, but on your baby as well. Your baby has a heightened sense of you and how you are, and, if she picks up constant stress and pressure from you, it is going to be harder for her to be soothed by you. Having a Mom who is at peace with herself is reassuring to babies.
Making sense of our early childhood experiences (both positive and negative) helps us come to peace with how we got to where we are right now. We can’t change what happened to us, but we can certainly change how we see it. Anything we are willing to look at we can change.
As a new Mom, are you getting lots of advice? Is it unsolicited? Is it well intentioned? Do you feel inadequate because you don’t have the “right answers?” What if you actually know more than anyone about your baby?
What if parenting is less about having the right answers and more about asking lots of questions, and seeing what shows up? I view behavior as a form of communication. So, when she is crying, you can ask: What is she telling me? What does she require from me right now? Is there anything I can do to alleviate her distress? What is contributing to this? Can I change it? How can I change it?
What if parenting your baby has to do with you listening to your baby, to learning her language, to reading her cues? What if she needs more/less sleep, food, stimulation, interaction than other babies?
Posted in: Parenting Techniques, Parenting Questions
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