Thursday, November 18, 2010

Discipline Techniques

Last Thursday I went to a session with a local Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist that was set up through my mom's group. We had her come to talk with a small group of us regarding discipline techniques. Although she works with married couples as well, her specialty seems to be working with children ages 0-5. She teaches her discipline strategies from the "attachment parenting" theory.

While I didn't agree with all that she had to offer, I will say that I came out of there with a better understanding of the toddler mind and different strategies that I can throw into my "bag of tricks" to pull from when I need to.

I wrote down a whole slew of notes from what she said. And since there were 8 of us there, there were some questions that pertained to what each of us may be dealing with a this time. So, even though I did get some specific questions of mine answered, I think I would still love to do a one-on-one session with someone like her to evaluate our specific family/children and offer advice.

Here are some notes that I took from the session:

  • The stronger the attachment is with your child the more kids will be open to listening.
  • Throwing food on the floor (at 12-15 months-ish) is a normal part of development.
  • Always say what you want your child to do. Example: "You may walk," "You may touch nicely," "You may eat a treat after you finish all of your dinner." Instead of, "Don't run." "Don't hit" or "No snack/treats right now."
  • Don't use contractions: Don't, Won't, Can't, etc. Children only hear "hit," "run," etc.
  • Through preschool/early kindergarten age kids hit and push as part of their development. It's totally normal.
  • Young children (through early kinder) don't have impulse control. Time outs probably won't work because of this, instead re-direct or separate them. (Notice how you give time outs for the same thing over and over and over again?!?!)
  • Verbalize emotions for children. "I can see that you are mad/sad/bored, etc."
  • Saying, "I know you are mad but we don't hit. You may hit this pillow instead."
  • Toddlers may only get every 3rd or 4th word you say. Keep it brief...1-2 sentences.
  • 5 yo+ can start to "manipulate" since they have more brain development at this age. Before this they can't.
  • As soon as our tone starts to elevate children hear nothing of what you are saying. They just focus on your body language and face and see you getting angry.
  • It is scary for a child to see their "go to person" (this is what she kept calling parents) mad.
  • Teach repairative acts. Example: If they push someone down take them over to the person they hurt and give them an ice pack.
  • Reward after 2 or 3 times. (this was in response to my question on reward charts) But don't use reward charts for everything cause then they will think that they are going to "get something" for everything they do. Try to use a lot of praise!
  • Toddlers have no concept of time. We can't expect them to wait for long periods.
  • Be available. It's hard for kids to tolerate time alone if they are put in their rooms as discipline.
  • Young ones really do need CONSTANT attention.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Help them calm down when throwing a temper tantrum. It is scary for them to be out of control like that and they don't have the know how to always calm themselves down. When there is distress we look to someone to help us. She gave an example of adults even. When we are upset we call a friend or spouse to talk it out and help us feel better. Same (or even more so) with kids.
  • You will have to repeat yourself 1000x's for kids to do something. "Go get your shoes, etc."
  • Children want to feel in control somewhere so let them have lots of choices when you can. "What color plate do you want to eat off of?" "Would you like to wear the blue shirt or the green shirt." "Would you like to put your shoes on or do you want me to help you put your shoes on?"
  • Future relationships, learning, etc. all depend on the attachment they have with their "go to person."

Like I said, I didn't agree with everything that she talked about mainly the part when she discussed giving time outs as I do believe there needs to be some form of discipline even if you have to do it over and over and over again. (*Side note: She didn't say don't discipline, but she did say that it doesn't usually work. So, if you need to do a quick time out then do so as to calm yourself down or the child down then follow up with a "time in" in which you explain what went wrong and offer an alternative to the punishable behavior*) I did agree with her on the level of expectations. I fully believe that I often expect too much from Kaiden and Madelyn. I often think that they should "get it" by now but after speaking with her and realizing what goes on in the toddler mind, I can see that mentally they just aren't capable of some things. After all, they are only (just turned) 3 and 17 months old! So, this has helped me to lower my expectations slightly (I am a work in progress!) and realize that I will need to repeat myself (a million times), stay calm and help them through different situations better.

It's all a learning game. No one has the "correct answer" to parenting. But maybe somewhere along the way if we have enough tools to pull from we will one day get it right! Happy parenting!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Veggie Pot Pies

We struggle to get our kids to eat their vegetables. Shocking. I know. So I have aspired to find better ways to "encourage" healthy eating. Last week I was searching out some recipes online and came across a pot pie recipe. I have never actually made a pot pie (but always wanted to) and remembered seeing an episode of "Take Home Chef" many moons ago where he made individual pot pies for a group of kids and moms. I have a few Ramekins stowed away in the back of my cabinets so thought I give it a go.

I used this recipe as my guide since I didn't want to spend all day in my kitchen but made some adjustments.
  • Can of condensed Cream of Potato soup (or Cream of Mushroom would work too)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • pinches of dried parsley and basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper (this was actually too much pepper...I would probably cut it down to 1/4 tsp next time)
  • prepared pie crusts (I only used one and divided it into quarters for the pie topping
  • Veggies. I sauteed a bunch of what I had on hand and threw in some frozen veggies as well.
  • Chicken *optional* I kept mine just veggies but threw in some cooked organic chicken cubes in the kids and hubs' pies.
Mix it all together and fill the pies. Top with the pie crusts and bake @ 350 degrees for 30ish minutes or until crusts are slightly browned. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rock-A-Bye Baby: Kaiden Style

Just when I feel like I wanna give up, they go and do something completely cute! Love you bunches you two goober-pies.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Flashbacks to Some of My Favorite Posts

Every once in awhile I will go back and re-read some of my posts. Today I went WAY back to the very beginning of my blogging days. Can you believe it's been 2 years already?!?!? My goodness. Anyways, thought I would share some of my favs:

-This post makes me laugh every time I see it. And since lately I have been feeling like I need a major Mommy attitude adjustment this makes me feel a tad bit better.
-How about the 101 most random things about me.
-Re-living the 80's.
-My first bloggy award.
-Kaiden's first birthday.
-The crazy Googlers out there.
-51 things I have learned along the way.
-Finding out a little GIRL was on the way. Then her finally arriving!
-Why I love my mother.
-Two years of marital bliss.
-Can I tell you that these made it back to the store and then were mysteriously re-purchased. We have currently used ONE. Out of 16. So glad we made this purchase.
-My baby turns a year old.
-My sweet babies.
-I still catch myself saying the most outlandish things.

After reading these old posts, I am SO GLAD that I have a blog. I don't keep up with it nearly as often as I would like to and have missed a few milestones along the way, but it makes me so happy to re-read fun things that have happened over the past 2 years.

Thanks for coming along with me on my journey!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where I Have Been

Oh. My. Goodness.

The past few weeks have been INSANE around here. I don't know what happened. October was going all smooth and non-eventful like and all of a sudden WHAM! it turned into YOUHAVEGOTTOBEKIDDINGME mode in no time flat. Whew. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

But seriously. I have taken on some other hobbies that have caused every second of my "free time" to get eaten up. Couponing. It may just be thing that kills me.

It all started about a month ago when a gal from my mom's group wrote on our message boards that she is interested in starting to use coupons. From there we had newbie couponers, expert couponers and coupon flirters all respond that they were also interested in getting together to share tips, learn from the pros or get some motivation to get back in the couponing scene. Who isn't up for saving a buck or two here and there? So, I decided to go to the "class" that we set up to learn a thing or two about it.

Since I buy 80-90% organic products (or make most of my stuff from scratch) I never thought that I would ever benefit from using coupons. Until now. I quickly learned that I too, can save a pretty penny by just taking the time to clip some coupons, check out the sale ads and meander through some couponing websites. Now, I won't ever save as much as the people out there that are buying conventional products per se, but now that I am aware of what is out there, I too have found that I can save with just a little planning and researching.

I am still learning. And while it is taking me what seems like FOREVER to figure it all out, I know that as I get more comfortable with this whole new endeavor (and stockpile!) that I will become more comfortable and it will seem like second nature. But in the meantime, I am finding it fun to go to the store and seek out the sales, stack my coupons, bust out competitor coupons and double my coupons to walk away with killer deals!

For instance, on Sunday, I went to Fry's and bought $54.00 worth of groceries and after sales and coupons I only paid $13.00! And most of it was organic! It's a start!