But awareness is where better starts. So here we go:
1) Doing too much for your toddler.
What I mean is, doing what they should be learning to do for themselves. An example would be picking up their toys for them as they flounce on to the next thing, instead of insisting that every time, they clean up first.
I’m guilty of this one sometimes. It just seems like too much work to make her do it, and she seems so happy and excited about the next thing. What’s the harm ,really?
2) The harm is the inconsistency. We’re teaching our kids all the time, even when we don’t realize it.
Behavior modification is a regular part of life. We’re teaching children how to treat us and others by what we pay attention to and what we ignore.
A basic rule of behavior modification is this: Behaviors that are intermittently reinforced are the most resistant to change. What that means is, if I tell my daughter to do something and I let her ignore me 20% of the time, then she might try to get away with it 100% of the time. She’s learning that it works sometimes, so why not try her luck? This could be one of those times.
That’s why it is important to have her put her toys away 100% of the time. It’s the rule; she has to follow it, even if I feel tired. Because I don’t want her to learn that when Mommy’s tired, she can just do whatever she wants.
And always remember, they’re smart cookies, these toddlers. Like I said, learning all the time, just not necessarily what we’re trying to teach.
3) Using redirection all the time, and avoiding a simple “no.”
It’s hard to say no to your toddler. For one thing, they often don’t take it well (tantrums and the like). For another, we like to see our kids happy, and “no” is not likely to produce that …
I’ve been spending a good percentage of my sessions with clients this past week talking about how they will deal with their families when they all get together for the holidays. While in theory the holidays are about good tidings and cheer, in practice for some people, they’re about stress and difficult personalities. I’ve got some suggestions for how to cope.
Yes, it can be the most wonderful time of the year. It can also be the most stressful. With stress can come irritability, and it can mean conflict with your partner just when you need his or her love and support the most.
I’ve got some ideas for how to pull out of this damaging cycle, so you can enjoy each other and the holidays.
It seems like life speeds up from November through January. And it’s easy to get caught up in the cyclone. But here are some suggestions for how to stay calm in the holiday storm.
1) Set realistic expectations for yourself.
If you have a new baby, for example, don’t plan to host Christmas dinner. Or if you do, make it a potluck.
Even if you don’t have a new baby or what you might think of as some other valid excuse but you want to scale back, give yourself permission. Generally, people are understanding of others. The trick is how to be understanding of yourself, and respect your own limitations.
2) If people want to be judgmental, screw ‘em.
This goes hand in hand with #1. Since most people understand that you’re sometimes going to do less, the ones who don’t are not your problem. Well, they are something of a problem, but it’s a manageable one. The way to manage it: Screw ‘em.
Sometimes we push ourselves too hard because we’re imagining what our harshest critics would say. Instead, think about what the majority of people would say, the ones who love and care about our well-being and sanity.
3) Organize, and prioritize.
If life is moving so fast that you feel like you just need to try to keep up and you don’t have time for organizing and prioritizing, rethink that. The time spent getting organized will be well worth it in the long run. It’ll save you unnecessary stress and trips.
4) Take advantage of the vast online retail world, with its ability to compare prices and the many free shipping deals.
You’re not being lazy; you’re being smart. And you’re being eco-conscious by not having to drive around.
5) Use coping skills.
Mindfulness and breathing exercises can be your best friends. Here’s a great quick guide: http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_relief_meditation_yoga_relaxation.htm
You don’t need to do it all. Rely on your partner. If your kids are old enough, ask them to pitch in. Other people like to feel valuable. And they probably like that you’re not getting as snippy because you’re not as stressed out and overwhelmed.
Sometimes people …
As a married mother, a therapist, and a novelist, I’d like to think my worst rejections are behind me. (Wouldn’t we all like to think that?) But small rejections abound every day.
We can feel rejected by our kids who, despite our best efforts, only want Daddy; we can feel rejected at work, where we’re not in with a certain clique, or where our contributions are not recognized; we can feel rejected by our spouses, who miss our cues or overlook our offerings; we can feel rejected by friends who get busy, or by people we wish would be our friends.
Most of us shake these off, most of the time. But how to handle the ones that prove unusually sticky?
You always hurt the ones you love, as the old saying goes. And the reason is, they’re the ones who see us at our worst–at our most stressed and, therefore, irritable–and we know that they’re not as likely to hold it against us in the long run. Snap at your boss, or at a client, and there might be no recovering. But your husband, he’s got to forgive you, right?
Well, it might look that way. But the effect of taking out your stress on others can be cumulative, and you might be doing damage you can’t immediately see.
So what’s a girl (or a guy) to do?
My daughter is currently receiving services to help her with her developmental delays. Her developmentalist (yes, there is such a title, and well-deserved, too!) observed my daughter having a meltdown. Several, in fact. And what she said to me was that the most important thing a parent can do in a situation like that is to attend to his/her own regulation.
What does that mean, exactly? How can we achieve it?
I am finally on Facebook. It’s a strange declaration for 2013, I know, but it’s time to start thinking about promoting my novel, which comes out in July. Time to bite the bullet and enter contemporary life.
Weirder still: My novel is about a woman who embarks on a social media campaign to find her runaway daughter. Art does not always imitate life.
Part of my reticence has been the time-suck of it. I fear going down into the rabbit hole of everyone’s musings and links and never being seen again. But the other part has been witnessing the negative impact social media has had on some of my clients.
So in this post, I’ll ask: How do you know, from a mental health perspective, when to stop clicking?
A long-time client came to see me and reported that she had been enjoying several “lazy days” in a row. And I was thrilled to hear it.
This particular client has perfectionist tendencies, and because of that, she has a lot of difficulty relaxing. So to say she’d been lazy–rather than using some euphemism for it, or getting down on herself for it–was something of a victory.
How do you know if you could use a little more laziness in your life?