Teenage sugar addict

Teenage Sugar Addict

In Episode 49, I answered a question from Tina about her pre-teen daughter possibly dealing with sugar addiction. This topic isn’t talked about much in parenting circles. Hence, I thought it would be good to dedicate another episode to it. This comes after the last two weeks of chocolates, candy canes, gingerbread houses and cookie decorating. So, let’s start the new year off with a teenage sugar addict.

Mia is a 17 year old who realized sugar was affecting her negatively and completely gave it up in middle school, ON HER OWN!

I wanted to know if there was anything her mom said or did that helped her come to this conclusion. Tune in, or better yet, have your sugar-crazed kiddo tune in, to learn HOW and WHY Mia completely stopped eating sugar.

You’ll learn….

-How she realized sugar was causing her problems.

-What it was like to completely go off and what it taught her.

-How she copes with peer and family pressure to eat sugar.

-What her parents did that was helpful, and what didn’t help at all.

Happy New Year!

kids calm down

Nothing I say gets my kids to calm down

Episode 51 – Nothing I say gets my kids to calm down

Dear Torie,

I have four-year-old twins that are delightful most of the time. They are full of energy and love to chase each other around the house, wrestle with each other, scream, etc. The problem comes when I need them to calm down.

It could be time for bed, I’m on a phone call or the play is escalating to the point where someone is going to get hurt. I tell them to calm down but nothing I say matters to them. I ask them to be quiet, explain why they need to come upstairs, threaten to take away a privilege, nothing I say gets them to calm down.

Last weekend I said, ”If you don’t calm down I’m going to walk out this door and leave you.” They laughed at me and told me to go away. I’m devastated. When they get like this, it feels like they don’t need me or want me around. How do I get my four-year-olds to calm down and listen to what I have to say? Hayley

Parent Educator Answer:

The fact that your kids are having so much fun playing together that they don’t want to stop is a good problem to have. There are many moms who WISH their kids ignored them because they are having so much fun together.

To answer your question, “How do I get my four-year-olds to calm down and listen to what I have to say?” you need to think like a four year old. They are having a FABULOUS time playing with their sibling. Why would they give up something so exciting to do something boring like calm down? Why would they WANT to listen to you? What’s their motivation?

You can imagine preschool teachers run into this all the time. The energy in a class of unsupervised 4 year olds would be combustible! How do teachers get kids to calm down enough to listen to them?

The top 5 tricks for pre-school teachers are: singing, playing music, physical movements, puppets and whispering.

Teachers know they have to create something fun and interesting in order to get a kid’s attention. If you really want to get your four-year-olds to calm down and listen to you, put some music on and start dancing. Once they join in with your fun, then you can slowly wind them down with slower music, singing, lead them into a game on the floor.

You can also try whispering secrets into one kid’s ear. The other child will want to know what she’s missing out on. Then you can whisper something silly into her ear. Both kids will be calm in 30 seconds flat.

But this won’t work for you until you do a little life coaching.

 

The Life Coaching Answer:

You’ve got this thought inside your head that “Nothing I say matters.” This is TOXIC and will keep you from implementing any strategy or tip. Think about if that were true; that NOTHING I SAY MATTERS. It’s awful. As humans we need to know that we matter, especially to the people that are closest to us.

You might say to me, “I don’t really think that nothing I say matters, I know I matter to my kids”, but that thought is in your subconscious. You might be able to practice the above strategies once or twice, and they will work, but you won’t keep it up.

We like to be right. When we have the underlying belief that “Nothing I say matters” we feel dejected, which makes us speak in a quiet, boring, self-defeated way that causes our kids tune us out. We get to continue to believe the thought “nothing I say matters.”

Confident Leadership

Children are sensitive to the energies we give out. They like to follow adults who have calm, confident leadership energy. In order to find your confident leadership energy, you’ve GOT to loosen the grip this toxic belief has on you.

As soon as we tell ourselves to stop thinking something, suddenly it’s all we can think about. Instead we wiggle the thought. We poke some holes in the theory that “nothing I say matters.” If you discover a toxic belief that you don’t want to believe any more, ask yourself these questions.

Are you absolutely sure that not one word you have ever said, has ever mattered to anyone alive on the planet? Of course not! Do a mother’s words matter to her children? Therapists have made careers out of helping people deal with the words their mothers said to them!

Is it kind? Would you ever say it to someone else? Hell No! It’s so mean!

Does it give you the results you want? Does it help you get attention and feel like you matter? It may have at some point in your past. Growing up, if you told your mom, “I’m going to walk out of this house and leave” she might have rushed over, given you big hugs and begged you to stay. Or maybe you had a boyfriend who you would threaten to leave if he ignored you and it worked. He would show up with flowers and apologies and tell you how much you meant to him.

Whether it worked in the past or not, the truth is the thought “nothing I say matters” is not giving you the results you want with your kids.

Can you see any reason to continue thinking it? Do you like believing this about yourself? What would you like to believe about the words you say to your kids?

How  the brain plays a part

What happens is the brain thinks a thought: “I’m not good enough.” “Nothing I say matters.” or “Nobody likes me.” It’s not thinking logically or scientifically, it’s just a random, self-defeating thought. But then we think it again, and again, and again.

This synapse in the brain is starting to myleinate. We’ve thought this negative thought so many times that it becomes a belief. It FEELS true, even if it’s not. The brain likes to be efficient.

When your children are ignoring you, your brain finds a convenient and efficient path to make sense of it. It doesn’t find the most kind, helpful, or truthful path, just whatever is most efficient.

In order to wiggle a toxic thought, we need to make this synaptic connection inefficient. We do this by pointing out all the ways in which it is illogical, unhelpful, mean, and misaligned with your goals and values. But we also need to discover its benefit. Why did you pick it up in the first place? How is it serving you?

Then we make a better thought right next to the original one.

Empowerment

You get to decide what you want to believe about yourself. Imagine for a minute that you truly believed that your words mattered to your children. Imagine you had tremendous power to hurt or uplift your children. How do you think you would feel? Important? Empowered?

If you are feeling important and empowered how do you imagine you might act? What might you say? I think you would speak louder and clearer. You would probably look them in the eye, maybe put your hand on their shoulder and turn them to face you.

Knowing you had the power to hurt or uplift, you might be very careful with the words you chose and the energy behind them.

If you were able to change your words, voice tone, eye contact and body language in this way, what do you think the result would be? Do you think your children might be more inclined to listen to you?

We always have more power than we think we do to affect every situation.

Supermom Kryptonite: Abdicating the throne

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine you have a chair inside the center of your head. This is YOUR THRONE. No one else has the right to sit inside the center of your head and dictate what you think and do with your life. Yet so many of us ABDICATE this throne to our children, our bosses, husbands, parents, religions, or society as a whole.

Abdicate means to fail to fulfill one’s duty or obligation. Supermoms get so busy taking care of everyone else, that we forget it’s our obligation to govern our minds. We take responsibility for our actions, but we forget to declare dominion over our brains.

Abdicating the throne in the center of our head makes us vulnerable to anyone with a strong will or opinion to take sovereignty over our lives. This drains our energy, making us feel like observers in our lives, or worse, victims.

To boost your energy, kick everyone out of the center of your head and declare dominion over your life. You get to decide what you think about, what to focus on, and your belief about yourself. Make sure you are thinking good thoughts that give you the results you want.

 

Supermom Power Boost: What do you love?

For an immediate boost of positive emotions, try this from Martha Beck’s book The Joy Diet. Do it by yourself in your journal or try it with friends or family to bounce off their ideas.

What do I LOVE to look at?
Mountain lakes, sunsets on the beach, pine forests, babies faces, rolling green hills, aspen trees blowing in the breeze, puppies and kittens.

What do I LOVE the sound of?
The laughter of children running outside, a mountain stream, a crackling fire, a babies laugh, piano music, my kids cracking each other up. Silence.

What do I LOVE the smell of?
Lemons, chocolate chip cookies baking, chocolate anything, pine trees, campfires.

What do I LOVE the taste of?
Fresh fish and prawns, yellow curry, chocolate chip cookies, croissants, donuts, a good latte, truffles, bundt cake.

What do I LOVE to feel against my skin?
Soft baby blankets, soft baby skin, warmth from a fire, a massage, a warm breeze.

Your mind doesn’t differentiate between experiencing these things in real life versus your imagination. Just thinking about things you love brings you into pure joy and pleasure. Try this with friends or family and see if it doesn’t elevate the level of joy in the conversation.

Quote of the Day:

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” Oprah Winfrey

Ellie Knaus

Attunement, Anxiety & Empathy with Atomic Mom Ellie Knaus

Attunement, Anxiety and Empathy with Ellie Knaus of Atomic Moms

Today on the Supermom is Getting Tired podcast, I’ll be interviewing Ellie Knaus of the Atomic Moms Podcast.

We’ll talk about how years of interviewing parenting experts has impacted her as a mom and the mindset that allows her to implement what she has learned.

Together we talk about attunement, empathy, and anxiety, and how they all interact to make parenting kids a challenge.

Do you worry about other people judging your children or your parenting? Then stay tuned for Ellie’s coaching question of the day.

Question of the day:

“It gives me so much anxiety when my two year-old calls everyone DUMB in a really mean way. It’s a word she learned from her six year old sister.  I get that it’s not personal. She’ll even say Minnie Mouse is DUMB. And Minnie is her BFF 4 Life. But other people get super wigged out about it. I tried not giving the word power by ignoring her name-calling for a few weeks now, but it’s getting old!” Ellie

 

Parent Education Answer: 

Ellie already knew not to give this word too much power and attention. She understood her daughter’s motivation for using it (attention and excitement) and that if she ignored it, it would go away.

 

Life Coaching Answer: 

When I’m coaching clients, I ask questions more than give answers. Because she was on the phone with me, I could ask WHY it bothered her. What was she making it mean, about her, that made it hard to let go of it.

For Ellie, it was her Nanny’s reaction and fear of being judged negatively by her. So many of us have this fear of being judged, but I’m going to let you in on a secret.

People judge.

That’s what they do. Some more than others and you have no control over any of it.

We think if we can do everything right, we can protect ourselves from negative judgement, but it just doesn’t work.

There may be times that kids embarrass us. Unfortunately, we can’t control them either. This thus leads to anxiety. Once you can allow the feeling of embarrassment to be there without resisting, there is no need for anxiety.

When I ask her how she WANTS to feel about her daughter using the word dumb, she struggles to answer.

I have her close her eyes and imagine two dials numbered 1-10. One labeled ME, the other labeled OTHER. When she adjusts the dials so that she pays more attention to herself than others, it feels better. It was great to get to demonstrate this live because it’s such a quick and easy way to feel better for empathic moms!

Ellie thought she had two emotions to choose from: anxious or apathetic. Once she realizes she is in the driver’s seat of her brain, she decides to think the thought “My nanny thinks my daughter is so funny”. This helps her feel peaceful about her daughter’s “dumb” word, which allows her to ignore it more easily.

Today’s Quotes of The Day:

“You bore me with normal” Ellie Knaus’s post-partum doula

“When I sense into my children, we can be in a more relaxed state together .” Ellie Knaus

“Trust in your goodness, live out your greatness, rock on Atomic (Super) Moms.”

 

Is my child a sugar addict?

This episode’s topic: Sugar Addiction in Kids

sugar addiction in kids Is My Child Addicted to Sugar?

I’m struggling with my daughter (age 14) being so ungrateful and unwilling to help out.
I’m thinking I need to stop making nice meals for her since she’s not willing to make so much as a piece of toast for herself. She’d rather sit on her phone and, if I let her, she’ll go without eating or grab whatever sweet snack she can find.

It was important for me to teach my kids how to prepare healthy meals for themselves and my son will do it on occasion. We give him lunch money because when he buys lunch it’s healthy. My daughter, however, will just buy rice crispy treats and pirates booty or won’t eat at all.

I’m worried about her addiction to sugar and have thought about her seeing a nutritionist but, with the attitude, I’m thinking family counseling could be useful. Could sugar addiction be the cause of so much negative behavior? Tina

Episode 49: Sugar Addiction in Kids

Parent Educator Answer:

Let’s talk about sugar addiction. Many people might minimize it or laugh it off, but it can be a real problem for many people. This isn’t just “OMG I’m addicted to peppermint mochas,” It is a physiological addiction that affects the brain.

I am not a nutritionist nor an addiction expert but my son had an experience with sugar addiction so I’m happy to talk about it in simple terms, from a mother’s perspective.

The way I understand it, sugar releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that floods the brain and creates cravings. When the dopamine high from sugar wears off, withdrawal symptoms set in.

Understanding the Brain

The brain requires even more sugar to bring the same good feeling, creating a craving for sweet foods. Without the dopamine inducing substance, sugar addicts feel tired, restless, anxious or depressed, making the craving even stronger to alleviate the unpleasant feeling.

Signs of sugar addiction can be: headaches, lethargy, fatigue, craving sweet and/or salty foods, insomnia, hiding sweets, making excuses or deals regarding sugar, avoiding foods without sugar, turning to sugar when feeling negative emotion, going out of your way to get sugar and feeling guilty about sugar intake.

Could Tina’s daughter’s negative attitude be a result of sugar addiction?

Absolutely.

But being ungrateful and unwilling to help, could also be a normal teenage state of mind. If you are seeing that she is constantly negative, fatigued, lethargic, fighting with her brother, avoiding emotions, and seeking out sugar to the exclusion of other foods, the root of the problem might be sugar addiction.

In a way, we were lucky. When my son was 12, he had a QEEG done of his brain and they told us he had the marker for addiction, meaning his brain was wired similarly to the brains of people who struggle with addiction.

We thought this was good information to know before he goes off to college and gets exposed to alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Later, when he developed a terrible sugar addiction, we had already prepared ourselves and could spot the signs of addiction.

Predisposition

I learned that some people have a predisposition for addiction but you don’t really know what will trigger it. Whether it’s sugar, alcohol, video game addiction, gambling, or porn, it’s all coming from the same place: dopamine.

Different brains react differently. It is not a character flaw nor a sign of bad parenting. Getting frustrated with your child for not being able to manage her sugar intake is like getting mad at your child for having dyslexia.

I found a quote about addiction by Luke Davies. He defines it like this: “When you can stop, you don’t want to and when you want to stop, you can’t.”

In the case of my son, my husband and I sat him down and told him, “We recognize this is a real problem.  We love you, we are on your side and we will help you.”  I remember his Dad saying, “It’s the three of us, against the addiction.”

Once he was able to experience life without sugar and noticed how much better he felt, he felt motivated to manage it and his eating habits more.

Life Coaching Answer:

It can be agonizing to watch our teens struggle with a problem. We want them to change their behavior so that we can feel better and stop worrying so much! We think, “If you could just DO better, then I could FEEL better.”

Step 1

The first step to helping you get out of your own way is to acknowledge your maternal instincts or intuition.

Thank your higher self for alerting you to the fact that something isn’t right.

What happens is our maternal instincts start sounding an alarm bell. We try to shut it off by changing our child’s behavior. This doesn’t work, so we try to make peace with an alarm bell constantly ringing in our heads.

Instead of that, thank it for doing its job. Acknowledge that your instincts are picking up on something that needs addressing.

Step 2

Accept reality. Instead of saying, “She shouldn’t be acting this way”, accept that this is exactly what’s supposed to be happening.

Allow your teen to have problems. The reason you haven’t been able to solve this problem is that it isn’t yours to solve.

Your daughter needs to be involved and motivated. She needs to experience the problem as hers, with you and Dad there for support, love, and guidance. Find the facts of the situation and deal with them head-on.

Step 3

Drop the Rope. Right now you and she are on opposite ends of the rope, playing a game of tug of war.

She wants sweets. You want her to eat healthily.

The more you pull in your direction, the more she will pull in the opposite. It’s hard, I know, but it is so helpful to drop the rope and walk around to her side of this tug of war game.

Let her know you are here to support her. Her guilt, although invisible, is a big part of the problem.

Once she knows you are on her side, and that it’s not her fault she has this predisposition, she can start releasing the guilt that is keeping her stuck.

Think about how you would handle it if you found out she had dyslexia. You wouldn’t be mad or expect her to fix it on her own.

You would help her find resources, outside experts, encourage her to be patient with herself.

Once you thank your intuition, accept this as HER problem that might be with her for the rest of her life, and get on her team, then you can move to step 4.

Step 4

Hold a higher vision. It is really easy to see problems our teenagers are dealing with and catastrophize and futurize.

It feels to us like an immediate problem we need to fix or else bad things will happen.  This intensity, however, will only make your daughter pull harder in the opposite direction.

Parents can help their struggling teen by imagining that their struggle has a purpose. I found it very helpful to believe that my son would use his challenge to help others.

Imagine she will overcome this someday. Communicate this belief with her.

Tell her that overcoming this will deepen her compassion for others and give her a broader understanding of the world.

Let your daughter know that you believe in her ability to do hard things, ask for help, and prioritize her health and happiness.

We aren’t meant to go through life without problems, but we are meant to grow because of them.

Let her know those good things wait for her on the other side, and you are there to support her every step of the way.

Supermom Kryptonite – “Putting on the cape”

Many of my clients are excellent at “putting on the cape.”

They see their child suffering in some way and they “put on their Supermom cape” and fly to the rescue.

We love feeling capable and saving our children from problems; we were made for this! But sometimes we don’t have the resources necessary to help our kids solve all their problems.

Expecting to be able to solve any problem your child ever has will drain your energy. You will know if this is your situation because everything you tried hasn’t worked.

It could be that it’s your child’s problem to solve.  All you need to do is drop the rope and join her support team.

It could also be that your child isn’t capable of fixing the problem on her own. It’s time to add outside experts to the panel. Just make sure it’s all of you, against the issue.

If we are dealing with addiction, we are dealing with a brain that has been hijacked. Getting professional help can be life-changing.

“Putting on the cape” and trying to do everything FOR our teens will drive us both crazy and exhaust us. Instead, hang up the cape, step into your daughter’s shoes and try to see things from her perspective.

Supermom Power Boost – Do something impossible

When my son’s Naturopath described the cleanse she wanted him to go on (no sugar, no gluten, no dairy), my first thought was “There is no way I could do that”.

Of course, there is nothing like the health of your child to motivate you. My husband and I didn’t feel right asking our 12-year-old to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves so we put ourselves on a cleanse. No sugar, gluten, dairy, no coffee, no alcohol, NO FUN!

But it was FASCINATING.

I learned so much about my eating habits. Something about the hormonal change made me feel weepy and wacky. I didn’t miss sugar at all, which surprised me, but I missed corn of all things.

My husband LOVED how he felt: clear-headed and energized.

My favorite thing that came from this experiment was doing something I never thought I could do. When you have the belief “I could never do that,” and then you do it, it makes you wonder “What else am I saying I could never do, that I’m fully capable of doing?”

If you want a boost of energy, try a cleanse. Or bungee jump, take a vacation by yourself, start a blog, something where you currently think, “I could never do that”. Do whatever crazy thing strikes your fancy just to prove to yourself how capable you truly are!

Quote of the Day:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” The Serenity Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous

Depleted and Burned Out Mom

Feeling depleted and burned out? This episode is for you.

Episode #48 What to do when you feel depleted and burned out?

“What do you do if you feel completely depleted as a parent and you feel like you are just kinda burned out as a mom? I have given so much to my kids, starting when my first son was born, and 6 years later I’m completely depleted. Now I don’t like the version of me I am. Somehow I feel like I’m not showing up as my best and I don’t know what to do to change it.” Carrie

My heart goes out to you. I have totally been there and I think it’s wonderful that you have enough self-awareness to notice how you are feeling, identify it, and ask for help. This is a big and very important first step.

It also gets me excited! I know exactly what to do to help you get back on track. I feel like helping moms find their way is my life’s calling, and I KNOW how much better your life is going to get from this point on. If you relate to Carrie, schedule your free coaching call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com

Parent Educator Answer

Conventional wisdom on this topic of what to do when you feel depleted and burned out as a mom leads me to talk about the two dreaded words for Supermoms: self-care.

To me, a Supermom is someone who goes ALL IN on parenting. We try super hard to do everything right for our kids, not realizing that our expectations are a bit perfectionistic. Our thought is that a good mom “does everything right for their kids.” There is no “it takes a village” for a Supermom! We assume a lot of responsibility (even if that means managing our nannies, husbands, housekeepers and grandparents while they help us!). If our kid needs us, we. are. there.

This type of vigilant, hard-working, self-sacrificing parenting can only last so long before it becomes depletion and exhaustion.

Caring for our kids makes us feel capable and responsible but when it comes to caring for ourselves, it’s a struggle.

Self-care can be defined as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness.

Self-care can be anything that gives your mental, emotional, or physical health a boost:

Sitting in the sunshine, folding laundry while watching your favorite show, yoga class, going for a walk, getting together with girlfriends for a “vent session”, scrapbooking, playing piano, or singing.

Self care is very individual but includes taking care of your body’s health (exercise, massage, and nutrition), your mental and emotional health (meditation or life coaching), social support (friends, online groups, even authors and TV shows) and most importantly, connecting with YOURSELF.

Here are examples of ways my clients take care of their bodies:

Yoga, swimming, dance class, running, soccer team, tennis, etc. Also, putting on favorite music and dancing while cleaning, walking the dog while listening to a favorite podcast, starting a hiking club, or joining a stroller walking mom group. Don’t forget about eating healthy, taking care of your hairdo, putting makeup on, receiving massages and mani/pedi’s. Going to the chiropractor, acupuncturist, esthetician, anything that puts loving attention on your body.

Here are examples of ways you can take care of your mental and emotional health:

Meditation, life coaching, counseling/therapy, online support groups. Even finding authors you resonate with, TV shows that light you up, movies that speak to you. Online support groups like Supermom is Getting Tired, venting with girlfriends (anything with girlfriends!).

Most right brained activities give our brains a break. Pick your favorite: doing puzzles, creating art, playing or listening to music, reading books or listening to audiobooks, cooking, decorating, designing, organizing, gardening, window shopping, crafting, planning a vacation, daydreaming.

You certainly don’t have to do all of these, but I have never seen a depleted mom who has a regular habit of prioritizing self care.

The most important self care you can do when you are feeling burned out and depleted is to RECONNECT WITH YOURSELF.

Most moms who find themselves in Carrie’s shoes say something like “I feel like I’ve lost myself.” If you have a life full of self-care activities, it’s hard to feel burned out and depleted because you have to pay attention to YOU and notice whether your activities feel good to you or not.

depleted and burned out mom

Life Coaching Answer – What gets in our way from self-care?

SO MANY THINGS!

Has neglecting yourself become a habit? Are you believing self-care isn’t important? Do you think you have to be with your kids 24/7? Are you “too tired, burned out and depleted” to do something that GIVES you energy? Are you unsure which self-care activity will help you feel better? Do you think taking care of yourself somehow takes away from caring for your children?

When I first started going through my life coach training program with Martha Beck, there were difficult questions that I could not answer.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”
“If you could not care what people think, what would you do ?”
“What do you really, really, really, really want?”
“What is your wildly improbable goal?”

I didn’t know how to dream about possibilities for myself. I didn’t know what I wanted.
Yes, I could tell you what my kids want, what my husband wants, what parents wanted for me. I could even tell you what I was SUPPOSED to want. But I had never asked myself those kinds of questions and so I couldn’t come up with any answers. I didn’t know how to dream about what could be. How could I ask for what I want if I didn’t even KNOW what I wanted?

The way I start my clients back into this journey is of connecting with themselves is this:

Imagine you had a secret bonus day snuck into the middle of your week. You fall asleep like normal but in the morning you wake up in a different bedroom in a different location. The rest of your family will stay asleep while you get to do anything you want to do, without anybody knowing. There are no rules and no judgements on this dream day. You can wake up next to Brad Pitt with Zach Efron massaging you and Justin Timberlake serenading. Even laws of physics don’t matter. If you want to wake up in Hawaii and fall asleep in Italy and the time zones don’t make sense, no worries.

Reconnecting with Self when Burned Out and Depleted

If Carrie was on the phone with me, I’d ask her to close her eyes, and before she opens them in this new bedroom, I would ask her to notice what the sheets feel like. Are they silk, flannel, or cotton? Then I would tell her to imagine opening her eyes and noticing what color they are.

I don’t want you to THINK about what color or texture you want them to be. I want to bypass your thinking brain and move into your intuitive brain that already knows what you want. Our brains block us from KNOWING what we want because we think “I can’t have that”, “It’s not practical”, “I’ve always preferred something else” or “What will people think”. Send your thinking brain away for a bit and just notice what you see in your mind’s eye when you think about your ideal, dream day.

Notice what the sheets feel like, notice what color they are. Put your feet on the floor and notice what kind of flooring there is: wood? Carpet? Tile? Then stand up and walk to the window, what do you see when you look outside? Describe the view.

What do you feel like doing? Do you want to go out there? Get dressed? Have a cup of coffee and sit on the porch? What would feel most delicious to you?

After you do your preferred activity, then what do you feel like doing? What would you eat for breakfast on your ideal day? Would you prepare it yourself or just have it magically appear?

When you feel ready to get dressed, notice what type of clothes are in your closet and what you feel most drawn to wear. Once dressed, what will you do or where will you go?

As my clients imagine this fantasy day, I am listening for themes. Is she craving solitude or company? Is she yearning for adventure or peace? Does she want recognition and validation? A way of expressing herself creatively? Sensory rich experiences, physical activity, or rest?

I have no idea what my clients need to feel better and enjoy their lives more. I just ask the questions to get them out of their own way so they can find out for themselves.

Once you start paying attention to the feelings and activities you are yearning for, take a look at the beliefs that are keeping you from going after them.
“I have to put my kid’s needs before my own.” and “I don’t know what to do.” are probably the most common and toxic beliefs.

Steps to Take

The smallest step I recommend you take is to set a timer on your phone 5 times a day asking yourself the question, “What am I feeling?” (Notice it’s not HOW). Try and come up with a one word emotion. Even if you don’t have an answer, just asking yourself the question will get you back on the path to reconnecting with you.

A bigger action step I recommend is right now, book yourself two nights in a hotel room by yourself. When you have a full day away from your daily life, to do whatever you feel like doing, and no one else around to distract you, ask yourself and answer the question, “What do I feel like doing?”

To be able to go where you want, eat what you want, go to bed when you want, read or watch whatever you want is HEAVEN and such a necessary step to get back to feeling like you again.

Supermom Kryptonite – Putting yourself last

It is a slippery slope. In order for babies to survive, we have to put their needs before our own. Toddlers will get into all sorts of trouble if moms don’t supervise them diligently and constantly. Taking care of our babies fills our brain with oxytocin which bonds us and feels amazing. We love making our kids happy and seeing the world through their eyes. There are moments when ignoring ourselves and focusing exclusively on our precious ones feel amazing. Taking care of someone else can give purpose and meaning like we’ve never had before.

But there is a cost to getting into the habit of putting the needs of your children before your own. When no one asks us “How are you feeling?” “What do you want for dinner?” “What do you feel like doing today?” We stop asking ourselves these questions. Our families and our friends start asking about the kids instead of asking about us. Over time, we feel depleted and lost because WE aren’t front and center in our lives anymore. We lose connection with our essence; our spirit. Getting it back isn’t difficult, it WANTS to come back, but it does take time and attention.

I created a Supermom Challenge to help moms who feel lost and depleted, reconnect with their essence. It’s 15 minutes a day of journal exercises to reconnect with yourself and what you want. Right now I share it with my clients but I’m going to open it up to everyone and do it as a new year’s resolution challenge inside my Supermom is Getting Tired Facebook Group.

Supermom Power Boost – Forward Momentum

A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. When you are feeling really burned out and depleted, it can be hard to make big changes, even if you really want to.
If you feel like you are drowning, the trick is to make one small change to start the momentum going in a positive direction. Let’s say you binge watch netflix and drink wine every night and you’d really like to go to the gym instead. This can feel really overwhelming and hard to do.
Start by changing one small thing, like watching netflix and drinking wine in the bathtub. Try switching to sparkling wine, going to a movie theater, or switching up your routine by showering and getting your pajamas on first.

Changing one small thing will get you out of your rut, create some new synapses in the brain, and give you some forward momentum. Once the ball is rolling in a good direction, your positive emotions will give you some confidence and motivation to keep you going.

Quote:
“Self Care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” Katie Reed

Mindfulness

This week’s podcast: Mindfulness

Episode #47 Interview with Hunter Clarke-Fields, Mindful Mama Mentor

Are you familiar with the mindfulness movement? Mama mentor, Hunter Clarke-Fields is here to talk to us about how to use mindfulness to become the mom we want to be.

She is the host of the mindful mama podcast and author of the soon-to-be-released book, Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting.

You can find her at www.mindfulmamamentor.com

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Starting Mindfulness

Using the words “I can’t”.

“I could never to take 2 nights away”

“I could never send my 9 year old to summer camp.”

“It’s my daughter’s soccer game and I can’t miss that.”

Try to eliminate the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary. When we say “I can’t,” we give away our power and authority over our life. Consequently, this makes us feel helpless and powerless.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Mindfulness as a Habit

Switch “I can’t” to “I am choosing”.

“I am choosing not to go on vacation by myself.”

“I’m choosing not to send my child to summer camp.”

“I’m choosing not to miss my daughter’s soccer game.”

This small change will get you back in the driver’s seat of your life. There is a cost to thinking “I can’t do what I want”. Reminding yourself of how much power you actually have is a huge boost of power.

mindfulness

Caught kid watching porn

Episode 46 – Caught kid watching porn

“Dear Torie, I am so upset. I just walked in on my 9 year old son. He was looking at our lap top and shut it as soon as I came in the room. I asked him what he was looking at and he said “nothing”. When I looked up the browsing history it was very clear he was watching porn. Not just any porn either, but 3-way super inappropriate born. I am so upset that this is first introduction to understanding what sex is. I know he will never be able to un-see the images he saw. How am I supposed to tell him about how sex is a special thing that happens between two people who really love each other? I want him to have a healthy sexual attitude but am mortified that this was his introduction to it. I feel like his innocence has been ruined.”     Tama

kid watching porn

Parent Educator Answer:

I have been teaching classes on how to talk to kids about sex since the 1990’s. It’s amazing how much has changed around this topic when sex itself has not changed at all.

The frequency with which kids seeing online porn is probably the most significant and disturbing change to have occurred.

Sometimes, kids seek it out, sometimes they stumble upon it by accident, other times friends share it with them.

Either way, it can be hard for a parent to know what to say and how to handle catching a kid watching porn.

In this situation, there are a few points I suggest you address with your 9-year-old son.

1. Acknowledge his curiosity.

When our kids ask us questions we don’t know the answer to, it’s pretty easy for them to “Google it” or “Ask Siri”. “What’s the capitol of Bulgaria?” “Ask Alexa”. “What’s the weather going to be like on vacation? “Look it up”.

So it’s no surprise when kids hear something about sex at recess, they take to the internet to find the answer. We know he was the one searching out sexual content because of the search history.

Letting your son know that it’s really normal at age 9 to be curious about the human body (especially the opposite sex) and how it works would help put him at ease.

Tell him it would have been ok for him to come to you with his questions and that you are going to buy him some books with factual, age-appropriate information and answer any questions he might have.

The message you want to communicate is there is nothing wrong with being curious about sex.

I have an online sex education class, “Time for the Talk” that I designed for parents to watch with their 9-12 year old son or daughter. You can purchase this class at www.TimeforTheTalk.com and also receive a list of books I recommend for different ages.

2. Make a house rule about porn.

Tell your child that there is something called pornography that he stumbled upon, that is different than what real people do in the privacy of their bedrooms. “Media sex” is fake. It’s designed to be shocking and exaggerated as a way to make money. It is very different than the kind of sex real people have who are in intimate relationship with one another.

Let him know that it is against the law to show pornography to a minor and a kid watching porn is thus not allowed.

You can tell your child,

“Allowing pornography to be viewed in our house by you or any other minor is punishable under federal law. Therefore, your Dad and I will not allow pornography to be viewed in our house. We understand that you can find all sorts of inappropriate content online and we hope you will make good decisions going forward. If we find out that you have been watching it here (or with friends), we will further restrict your internet access in order to keep you safe.” 

 

3. Tell him to follow his instincts. 

Instincts are designed to keep us safe. Tell him,

“When I walked into the room, you immediately jumped up and shut the computer. These were your instincts telling you that what you were watching was not appropriate. If it had been something interesting in a healthy way or funny in a healthy way, you would have said, “Mom, come here, you gotta see this!” Instead you shut it down like it was on fire and ran away as fast as you could. Your higher self knew you shouldn’t have been watching this and I want to encourage you to learn to listen to these instincts.”

 

Life Coaching Answer:

 

What gets in our way from being able to have this conversation? Nerves! It’s uncomfortable to talk about these subjects when we didn’t get great modeling from our parents!

Most of us didn’t have an example set for us that we want to emulate, nor did we have the issue of online porn to contend with. If we had seen our parents handle it a way that felt comfortable, it would be much easier for us to know what to do.

Many parents worry about doing it wrong. We don’t know what to say or how to say it, so we end up just saying nothing at all.

We get afraid that we will make it worse or cause our kid to react in an awkward way. It’s this fear that keeps us giving our kids the information they need to navigate this modern world.

Sex education at age 9 is mostly about science, health and respect for the body.

Kids are smart, they know food goes into stomachs and gets pooped out. When we tell them babies grow in mom’s stomachs, it doesn’t make sense to them.

I believe 9-12 year olds deserve to know all about reproductive anatomy and physiology, puberty, in a way that helps them appreciate and respect the human body for how magnificent it is.

Even if your child hasn’t started puberty yet themselves, their friends may be and they will want to make sense of the changes that are happening around them.

Open Communication 

If your kid hears other kids talking at a sleepover, you want him to come home and ask YOU, not google, for more information. You want your child to be able to hear gossip and think, “I don’t need to listen to you, my parents already told me what I need to know. I’ve got books and all the information I need at home.”

Rather than trying to have the perfect conversation at the perfect time, aim for authentic instead. It’s ok to say to your kids “My parents didn’t talk to me about sex or online porn so I might get nervous or embarrassed. Hang in there with me while I fumble over my words. It’s important to me that you know the truth, even if I’m a bit cringy.”

There will come a time in the future when we want our children to have an intimate, possibly embarrassing conversation with their partner. We want our kids to be capable of discussing things like birth control, monogamy, and condoms with their future partners.

When we model for them, feeling embarrassed and saying it anyway, we teach them the importance of intimate relationships.

With today’s culture of online porn and casual “hook-ups”, it’s great for kids to experience the benefit of emotionally intimate relationships, starting with these important but embarrassing conversations with parents.

 

Supermom Kryptonite – Expecting your teen to misbehave

Do you want your teens to watch porn, have sex, drink and do drugs?

There is one sure fire way to get your kids to do these frowned upon activities and I see parents doing it all the time. All you have to think and say is, “I know they are going to do it anyways,”

When parents have this belief, “I know they are going to do it anyway.” They subconsciously send the message to their kids, that “this is what you are SUPPOSED to do.”

In education, we have this saying, “Children rise to your expectations”. When a parent expects their child to drink, experiment with drugs, have sex or watch porn, that’s exactly what happens.

This expectation keeps parents from giving information about the risks and consequences, or advising them not to do it. It also doesn’t give room for the teens opinion to come into play.

He might be scared or disinterested but feel like he is doing it wrong if he doesn’t live up to his parent’s expectations.

It may be that you want your child to fit in and be popular and you think that’s the only way it’s going to happen. Figure out how you WANT your teen to behave and start expecting that behavior.

Expectations 

Do you want your child to be tempted but make healthy choices instead? Tell him you expect him to do that.

Do you want your child to have friends and romantic partners that have her best interest at heart? Tell her you expect her to find that.

Expect your child to listen and obey your rules around online porn. If he doesn’t, then take extra precautions and limit his access to technology.  However, always make sure you align your expectations with what you hope to see.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Teaching your kids about instincts and intuition

 

We are born with instincts designed to help us keep us safe. An instinct is a physiological response in the body.

When a giant spider surprisingly lands in your hair, you jump, scream and flail. Nobody taught you to do this, it’s just an instinctual reaction.

Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Or, a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.
Over time both of these senses evolve, picking up more information about what is normal and what isn’t.

I like to find examples of listening to instincts and intuition that don’t scare kids.

Trusting Instincts

I went on vacation on the French Island of Martinique. It was a tropical paradise: warm and beautiful with crystal clear waters.

As soon as I stepped into the warm sunshine, my instincts had me take off my long-sleeved shirt and walk to the water in my bikini.

Once in the water, I realized many of the other women were swimming and sunbathing with their tops off. One of these women came up and started talking to me. I felt so uncomfortable! My intuitive alarm bells were going off telling me this was not normal!

It was a physical feeling in the body of “uh oh” “weird” “wrong” but my brain told me to ignore it, look into her eyes and be polite.

After two days of seeing women without tops on, it felt totally normal to me. No more alarm bells going off, my intuition wasn’t telling me something was wrong.

Your son’s intuition was telling him that what he was watching was wrong. Pointing that out to him will help him learn to trust himself and his gut, keeping him safe in the future.

If he was continually exposed to online porn, like I was with the boobies, the alarm bells would stop going off and he would lose this sensitivity to knowing right from wrong.

Teaching your kids to trust their instincts and intuition can be a huge energy boost for mom. This is because you realize it’s not all up to YOU to keep your kids safe. They have a built-in mechanism designed for this purpose and are WAY better at listening to it than adults are!

Instinct and Intuition 

When I was a new mom, I hated the words instincts and intuition.

“Trust your gut” or “Listen to your maternal instincts” were so annoying. I had so much fear, anxiety and worry swimming around my brain that I couldn’t access the physical sensations in my body.

Kids are much more connected with their bodies. They haven’t developed the social skills to talk themselves out of what they know to be true.

Look for opportunities when your child listens to his intuition and point it out to him. Help him get familiar with this built in ability he has. Kids will often use words like “weird” “wrong” “funny” “uh-oh” or “cringy” to describe the feeling that something is off and their instincts have picked up on it.

Quote of the Day:

You have the gift of a brilliant internal guardian that stands ready to warn you of hazards and guide you through risky situations.
Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence