Disrespectful kids leave stuff everywhere


Disrespectful kids leave stuff everywhere.

Question of the Day:

“My kids are so disrespectful! From the second they walk in the door, they throw their backpacks, shoes, jackets all over the house. They KNOW they are supposed to hang them up and put their lunch leftovers on the counter but they don’t. They leave it in their backpack until the food starts to smell disgusting. I am constantly on them to pick up their stuff, it’s exhausting. What do you when your perfectly reasonable requests are constantly ignored?” Jane

 

Parent Educator Answer: 

My first answer is to come to the Raising Responsible Kids online workshop on Saturday, February first! Here, I’m going to go over everything you need to know to delegate effectively. 

 

You didn’t say how old your kids were, but I’m going to guess they are school aged and clearly old enough to master the task at hand. 

 

With little kids, you would want to be more instructive, “Put your sandwich bag in the trash and rinse your lunch box out in the sink.” With older kids, ask them before you get into the house if they know what your expectations are for their backpack, shoes, jacket, and lunch. If they say the

y do, then remind them with just one word. 

 

If you are like most Supermoms, we use way too many words. We nag, lecture, complain and it just makes our kids tune out and ignore us. It also annoys them, which makes them NOT want to do what we are asking. A simple one word reminder: “shoes” or “lunchbox” should do the trick. 

 

If you watch them walk into the house and remind them with a word as soon as they drop their stuff on the floor, soon it will become a habit and they will do it automatically, If not, go back to the first step and ask them before they walk into the house, if they know what to do with their stuff. 

 

Simple, easy, boring. So why is it such a challenge for SOOOO MANY OF US?

 

Life Coaching Answer: 

The reason these simple instructions are so hard to follow is because you are pissed! 

When we perceive our children’s behavior as disrespectful, we get MAD. The positive side of anger is to help us notice injustice. But to get kids to clean up, we need to be calm, patient, and confident. So what gets in our way from teaching our kids how to manage their belongings is our perception that the kid’s behavior is disrespectful. 

Are you absolutely sure that your kids are trying to disrespect you by dumping their stuff? If a handyman walked into your house and dumped his toolbox and coat by the front door, would you think it was disrespectful? When you were lugging around a baby in a car seat, did you ever dump your diaper bag and car seat by the front door when you walked into someone else’s house? If s

o, were you trying to disrespect the homeowner? Of course, not. 

 

When you think your kids are disrespecting you, you get mad. You are short with them, you yell, nag, your tone and posture changes. You lose the leadership energy that makes kids do what you ask. 

 

So often we want to quickly switch to a better feeling thought. We think, “anger is bad, patience is good. From now on, I will be calm and patient until they learn the routine.” and you do it for a day or two, but a week later, you are right back to feeling disrespected. Has this ever happened to you? 

 

If so, it’s time we honor the anger. It is true that the distribution of duties in the home is unjust. You have WAY more on your shoulders than anyone else, and it isn’t fair. When we learn how to turn the dial up on our anger and allow it (away from the kids), then we also learn how to turn it down. Trying to suppress anger can last forever, but allowing anger to move through y

our body in a physical way, can only last for 90 seconds. 

 

Think about a toddler throwing a tantrum. Notice how PHYSICAL it is for them. They cross their arms, scrunch their face, clench their fists and stomp their feet. Find a private place and do it with me now. Anger is a healthy and normal human emotion but, societally, women are not given permission to feel it or express it. Put your body into a position of anger: stand up, clench your fists, stop, hit the pillow on your bed. It is 100% unfair that you do so much for these kids with so little appreciation in return. They will never know how much work you do for their lazy butts all day long. Really let yoursel

f go there, feel the fire in your belly, swear, let it all out. 

 

After 90 seconds you might notice you feel better. Emotion is energy in motion. When we suppress it and try not to feel it, we distance ourselves from ALL the emotions. When we can fully allow a

nger, disappointment, and shame, we also get full access to joy, love, and peace.

 

This is what we are trying to get when we complain to our husbands. We get annoyed because they tell us how to fix our problem when really we just want to feel felt. We want to feel like he gets the struggles and frustrations we went through that day. When we vent to our girlfriends or cry or go to a kickboxing class, we feel better after because we processed the emotion and moved it out of our system. 

 

Teaching kids to take responsibility for themselves is really quite simple. The problem is there are a lot of barriers that get in our way from delegating to them. 

  1. We label their behavior as disrespectful.
  2. We think a good mom should be able to do all the work.
  3. We don’t want to watch our kids struggle or suffer. We’d rather rescue them.
  4. We want them to do it “right” the first time without the learning curve.
  5. We feel bad putting more on their to do list. 
  6. We resist relaxation. We pride ourselves on being busy and overwhelmed. 
  7. We want to feel needed. 

 

We will be working on these at the Raising Responsible Kids workshop, so please join. You will leave there with a clear strategy and an experience of being in calm, confident energy. You will learn how to talk to kids in a way that makes them want to obey you! 

Go to: www.lifecoachingforparents.com/workshop

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Over-parenting. Doing too much for our kids. 

I ran into my friend at the hardware store the other day, she was buying light bulbs for her son’s bathroom after noticing they were out. I asked if she was going to replace them herself or have him do it. She paused and looked at me incredulously, “Should I have HIM do it? I should! I shouldn’t even say anything, I’ll just leave the lightbulbs on the bathroom counter!” 

Mamas, her son is 20 years old. 

When our kids are little, we show we love them by taking care of them. Care and love are intertwined. As they grow into adolescents, we need to separate the two. We need to stop caring FOR them so much. Continuing to do things for them that they are capable of doing themselves can delay their maturity and lessen their self esteem. 

When we continue to take care of them, we treat them like the child they were instead of the adult we want them to become. Many teens will push back against our over-parenting and show us that it’s time to back off, others will not. Many teens will continue to ask for our help because they lack confidence in their own abilities. Confidence comes from competence and the only way to build competence is to make lots of mistakes. 

If my friend’s son was living in a house with other 20 year old men, they might live in a dark bathroom for weeks before someone thought to change a lightbulb. They might light a candle or use their cell phone flashlight before one of them decided to take action. This seems ridiculous to us as responsible adults! The problem is so easily solved with a simple trip to the hardware store! But here’s the thing: something magical happens on that day he decides to go to the store, buy a light bulb, and screw it in without anyone telling him what to do or how to do it. The magical thing that happens when our teens do things by themselves without our input is self-efficacy. 

 

Self efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments. It reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment. 

 

Self-efficacy is a superpower. We know. We’ve got loads of it. We are super responsible and capable and it feels good! But, without even realizing it, we can rob our kids of self-efficacy because we aren’t willing to let them live in a dark bathroom, or get a bad grade on their report card, or go away to summer camp, or make a mess trying to cook something in the kitchen. 

 

Supermoms don’t like to watch their kids struggle. We feel like we have to do everything right, and having kids who suffer and struggle doesn’t seem right to our perfectionistic brains. Combine that with our need to feel needed and our love of taking care of our babies, it becomes really easy to stay stuck in a habit that feels good to us but is problematic for our child’s self-efficacy.

Over-parenting drains your energy because it keeps all the burdens of responsibility on your shoulders. It also creates this nagging voice in the back of your mind that says, “Shouldn’t my kids be doing more by now?” 

Learning how to watch your kids make mistakes and not make it mean anything has gone wrong, is one of the things we’ll work on in the Raising Responsible Kids workshop this weekend. 

If you think you err on the side of over-parenting, you need to join my workshop this weekend. 

Supermom Power Boost:  Get sneaky to restore balance

I have a client with a husband who loves golf. She gets annoyed that he takes off for 5 hours on a Saturday to go do his own thing. When we dug deeper, we discovered that if she was to take off for 5 hours on a Saturday to do something she loved, she would feel guilty. She had the belief that a good mom should want to be with her kids every weekend. So instead of taking turns with her husband to do activities she loved doing on weekends, she just wanted her husband to be stuck at home with her. If she isn’t going to have fun, then he shouldn’t either. 

The problem with this belief that “self-sacrifice is good and self-indulgence is bad” is that Supermoms end up totally out of balance. Our instinct is to restore balance so we end up sneaking our indulgences, behind our own backs. Since we struggle to proclaim, “I’m going to a spa for 5 hours every other Saturday” we indulge unconsciously by drinking wine, eating sweets, and staying up later than we mean to binge-watching Netflix. We mindlessly scroll through our phone as a way to give ourselves a break, instead of saying, “I’m going to order myself DoorDash and face time with a girlfriend for an hour.” 

Instead of letting our subconscious try to restore balance in a way we don’t actually want, I recommend an illicit affair. I’m not saying to go cheat on your husband, but go have an affair with your creativity. Call it “Mommy’s special time” but don’t tell them what you are doing. Explore an interest, write your novel, paint or draw, wander around the city with no agenda, visit museums, eat whatever you feel drawn to, indulge in something frivolous and nourishing to your soul. The key here is it cannot be noble. It must feel indulgent in order to restore balance. 

Tell your family you are traveling for work, but really just enjoy the quiet cleanliness of a hotel room by yourself. 

Put your kids in the gym day care, then lie in a lounge chair and read a book. 

Go on a silent retreat or yoga retreat. Take 5 hours and go dancing, skiing, or golfing. Park your car somewhere, write in your journal or listen to an audiobook while looking at a beautiful view. Tour open houses in a beautiful neighborhood.

I walk my dog on a popular trail near my house. Sometimes, when no one is looking, I start skipping. You cannot skip as an adult woman, without also laughing at yourself and feeling joyful. Or, if I’m listening to some catchy music, I’ll sneak in a few dance moves when I think no one is looking. 

I’m hoping this three hour online workshop will be a stepping stone for you. If you can carve out three hours for a workshop on a Saturday to do something that is good for you and your kids, maybe next time you’ll take thee hours to do something fun and frivolous just for yourself. 

Deliberately sneaking in an indulgent pleasure will help you feel balanced. When we feel some equanimity, we don’t need our husbands and kids to suffer along with us. They can have frivolous fun and so can we. Next time you go to a hotel room, try dumping your stuff on the floor, kicking off your shoes and not caring where they end up and see if it feels like indulgent fun to you. 

Quote of the Day:  “Do anything, but let it produce joy.” Walt Whitman

How do I help my “differently wired” kid make friends

Today’s Topic: How Do I Help My “Differently Wired” Kid?

Here to help me answer this question is Debbie Reber, author of Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World

Differently Wired author Debbie Reber

 

Debbie Reber is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and the founder of TiLT Parenting, a website, top podcast, and social media community for parents who are raising differently wired children. Her newest book, Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World, came out in June 2018. After living abroad in the Netherlands for the past five years, Debbie, her husband, and 15-year-old son recently moved back to New York City.

 

Words to Ponder on from Debbie Reber, Author of Differently Wired

  • Remember that there is no one right way to be a teenager or have a social life. Check your expectations and don’t compare to yourself at that age or other kids.
  • Play the odds. Try different interest-based camps and classes. They may not go well, but you never know what will click.
  • Focus on the long game.
  • There’s nothing wrong with socializing online.
  • One friend is all they might need.

I took the opportunity to ask Debbie about a few other common scenarios my Supermoms struggle with.

What advice do you have for a mom who is just starting on this journey? Her 5-year-old is getting into trouble in kindergarten and the (private) school is talking about asking him to leave? 

 

Do you have advice for moms whose child got through elementary school but now that in middle school, they are having difficulty. They’ve been diagnosed and have trouble managing the complex workload and now mom feels like she has to sit with them for hours after school to help them focus on homework?

 

 

Supermom Kryptonite:

Thinking that your son’s friendships should look like your own. Not only might there be a brain-centered difference, but there may also be a gender difference.

Boys, as they grow into men, tend to be more project-oriented. They might have one or two friends they get together with for certain activities: online games, working on a project, and that’s enough.

Girls and women can sit around and talk for hours without needing to have something to show for it. Be sure to check your expectations and realize there are many ways to feel socially satisfied and your son’s might be very different than your own.

 

Supermom Power Boost:

Go for a walk, learning and listening to (my suggestion) Debbie’s self care podcast!

Quote of the Day:

“I can predict that life with my differently wired kid will be unpredictable.” Supermom of an adult daughter with autism. 

My kids are staying up too late!

Today’s Topic: Kids Staying Up Too Late

Dear Torie,

“I am wondering what type of consequences to set for my 10-year-old daughter. She shares a room with her 12-year-old sister. I am having the toughest time with them falling asleep at night. From the moment my husband and I kiss them goodnight, it is almost an hour and a half before they are asleep. The repetitive getting out of bed and coming to us with all sorts of things: “I am scared about a show I saw or snakes under my bed”, or whatever! They have twin beds and will try to get in each other’s beds to “help calm each other down but rarely this works”. My girls are thinkers and thus when they lie down both of them are ruminating about the day, etc. 

I am getting to bed too late and unable to have downtime. This frustrates both my husband and myself.

I struggle as to either take away things (what would those be—don’t want to take away play dates as those are important for building social skills for her right now) or reward (marble jar, or no?). I like to intrinsically motivate my children but this is affecting the whole family and I’m unsure what to do.” 

I asked Andria what she has tried that worked or didn’t work and she told me what consequences her kids currently valued. She also added: 

“The 10-year-old wants to use my 12-year-old as a coping mechanism to help her fall asleep. My 12-year-old being the compassionate, nurturing person she is, will go and lie with her. And then….they start bickering about the stuffed animals on the bed, etc.”

 

Parent Education Answer: 

How to get kids to fall asleep at night? 

Let’s take a look at what you have control over, and what you don’t. 

You cannot make your children sleep. You cannot stop them talking, climbing into each other’s beds, or coming to find you. You cannot turn off their brains for them or make them feel tired and peaceful. 

Knowing What You Can Control

You can control what you do when they come to your bedroom asking for water, attention, etc. You can help them create an environment that is conducive to rest and relaxation. You can HELP THEM problem solve THEIR issue of busy, overstimulated brains and a sister who sacrifices her sleep to try and help her sister. 

This is such a classic Supermom question. I define a Supermom as someone who is very involved with their kids, loves mothering, and tries really hard to do everything right.

We tend to think every problem our kids have is ours to solve. If you find yourself banging your head against the wall, unable to effect the change you want, chances are, it’s because you are trying to solve something that is not your problem to fix. 

Anxious Environment

We live in an anxious, overstimulating culture, visual and auditory information coming at us all hours of the day, without enough physical movement to process, purge and rest in the non-verbal, creative part of our brains.

Generalized anxiety is highest in rich countries like the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.

You could solve this problem by moving your family to a country with lower levels of anxiety, relaxed people, reduced mental stimulation, and an abundance of nature and watch your daughters drift peacefully off to sleep at the end of a day.

If that isn’t on your bucket list for 2020, let’s move to something else you have control over. 

Helpful Tips With Kids Staying Up Too Late

You could help your daughters create an environment that is more conducive to rest and relaxation. For example: 

kids staying up too late

-No media input an hour before bed. 

-Time for the girls to sit, talk, and process the day with each other. 

-Do yoga stretches together to get them out of their heads and prepare their brains for sleep. -Meditate together or listen to a guided visualization designed to help prepare the brain for sleep. 

When it’s time for them both to sleep, it sounds like having something for their brains to think about would help.

Because you mentioned your girls are “thinkers” you might try a bedtime story podcast like Be Calm on Ahway Island or the Stories Podcast. (Listening to things like podcasts and audiobooks doesn’t count as “screen” time because listening activates the areas of the brain that are good for us.)

The idea is to address the core issue of your daughters’ busy brains at bedtime, rather than seeing it as a discipline issue that requires consequences, and to empower THEM to experiment and figure out what works for them and what doesn’t.

Making sure they get enough exercise in the day time or doing calming yoga stretches before bed can help get us out of our brains and into our bodies. 

You might consider giving your 12-year-old permission to ignore her sister. Can she wear noise-canceling earphones and read a book in her bed? She is trying to be kind but her “helping” isn’t working. It’s teaching the 10-year-old to look to someone else to solve her problems instead of learning that she has the ability to calm herself down. Just like Momma thinks this is her problem to solve, older sister might be thinking the same thing. 

 

What else do you have control over? 

You get to decide what time YOU go to bed and how to handle it when they get up and come to you. You can model for your 12 year old what it looks like to ignore the 10-year-old. Not in a mean way, just a way that makes it really boring and unrewarding for her to get up and come to you. 

If your kids are getting back up after bedtime and coming to find you, the trick is to be non-reactive. You don’t want to be overly kind and affectionate, or overly annoyed and exasperated. If getting up to see mom is as boring as staying in bed, they will lose motivation.

Now if your daughter comes to you and finds your door locked, you taking a shower, reading, or sleeping, it’s going to naturally steer her away from getting up out of bed. If you say you prefer your children to be intrinsically motivated, this is how you help create it.

 

Life Coaching Answer: What to Do with Kids Staying Up Too Late

What will get in the way? 

End of the day fatigue and the feeling of losing control. 

At the end of the day, we are TIRED. All we can think about it is “When am I DONE?” 

We want to have nice, quality time with our precious ones, give love and cuddles, and then pay attention to ourselves for the first time in 23 hours. 

It is REALLY HARD to implement these strategies at this time of day. 

Under stress, we regress. Most of us default to either overly authoritative or overly permissive. 

When Andria is tired, her default seems to be to look to consequences, “What can I take away” which is another way of saying, “I want there to be an action I can take to feel in control.” If we think, “There’s nothing I can do, I have no control over when they go to bed.” isn’t going to feel good either. 

We think, “I just need to get them to sleep and then my husband and I can relax.” 

We put our ability to feel relaxed and enjoy the evening in the hands of our ruminating, chatty children. This doesn’t work very well. Any time we try to control something that we don’t have control over, we will get frustrated. 

Focus on the things you DO have control over. 

What time you go to bed.

How you feel.

How you respond to their problem.

Whenever a mom is wanting to change up a bedtime routine, I suggest practicing it early in the day. Make a game out of it.

Walk through the steps of the new routine before everyone is exhausted. Take pictures of the kids: brushing their teeth, getting their jammies on, doing yoga, etc.

When night time comes, you just have to remind them of the new routine that they already have a positive association with. 

Supermom Kryptonite – Thinking every problem is ours to solve.

It is so easy to get stuck in the habit of fixing our kids’ problems. When they were younger, it seemed like everything fell on our shoulders.

This is too much weight for one person to carry, especially since problems will increase as life becomes more complex. When kids’ adolescence starts, it’s good to practice letting go of trying to fix things. 

You might notice moms start to lose their status as the one and only “She who must be obeyed”. Kids give more credence to teachers, babysitters, coaches, YouTubers, often even Dad’s status gets elevated over Moms.

You might give your daughter the same advice as her gymnastics coach, but your words fall on deaf ears while the young, pretty teenager’s words get put on a pedestal. 

Trying to maintain that “mother knows all” status can drain your energy when, developmentally, your kids are more interested in guidance from peers, older teens, young adults, or relatives who aren’t so involved in their daily lives. 

In Andria’s case, she can encourage her daughters to solve their own problems (ask an older cousin or babysitter for suggestions). She can also delegate to an external resource like an app or podcast designed for tweens.

There are many: Calm, Insight Timer, Simple Habit, Headspace, that have bedtime stories, progressive relaxation, or other auditory ways to facilitate sleep. The goal is to cultivate your children’s resourcefulness, and show them that many people can help them accomplish their goal. 

 

Supermom Power BoostDelegate!

Want to know how to get your kids to eat broccoli? So did social scientists.

They discovered one of the most effective ways is to sit your child down at a table and have them watch an older teenager (of the same gender) sit across from them and happily devour a bowl of broccoli. No talking, just role modeling. 

You can use this natural tendency kids have to listen to outsiders to your advantage. 

Email your pediatrician before an appointment. Ask her to mention the importance of vitamins, sunscreen, or exercise or whatever you are tired of nagging about.

Email your child’s teacher or coach.  Ask him to please praise your son for making mistakes and trying new things because you are working on developing a growth mindset. 

Ask your friend to compliment your child on something her new haircut if he is feeling insecure. 

Find a YouTuber or “influencer” who preaches self-love and care. 

Ask your niece to come over and help your daughter organize her bedroom. 

Have an uncle you trust, talk to your son about safe sex and respecting women. 

You do not have to be all things to your children! Utilize your village and expand your child’s circle of trust. This encourages independence, resourcefulness, and a feeling of safety as your child grows into adulthood. It also frees up your time and energy, helping you feel supported by your village.

 

Quote of the Day:

“Embrace it. Especially because of the lives we live, a lot of times other people have to care for our kids and you have to have that mommy time. Get your sleep!” Jennifer Hudson

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

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