Thursday, 18 August 2016

Book Review: “21 Days to a Happier Family” by Dr Justin Coulson


I’ve been hearing some buzz about Dr Justin Coulson’s newest book “21 Days to a Happier Family” so I decided to give it a read for myself. I found it quite an interesting read, it’s always fascinating to hear people’s opinions on raising children as everyone comes at it from a different angle and perspective.

I’ve taken away a few good pointers and tips for when it comes to raising Star Boy as he ages. The discussion around discipline was quite good it talks about discipline as being teaching and instruction not punishment, our aim should be not to punish but to teach our children good ways to act. Punishment and rewards ignore the root of the problem and focus only on short-term results. Instead, seek collaboration, perspective, understanding and problem-solving.

Children emotions can become quite contagious, we can and do catch our children emotions and they can catch ours. So to effectively discipline – that is, effective teaching and instruction – we cannot do this when emotions are high so we need to wait till the heat is out of the situation before we tackle that side of things.

One point that really struck me was young children are prevented from doing something they want to do every few minutes – of course this is understandable for safety – but the most common reason we say ‘No’ is what is convenient for us as parents rather than our children’s protection. I know I’ve done this with my niece and nephews at some points, I’ve said no to them doing things because I was tired or just couldn’t really be bothered with what they wanted to do.

I don’t feel all the points in this book would work for every family as everyone is different and have different circumstances in life but I do feel it gives you a good insight and tips into what could help your family become happier. If there is only one point from the book to take away it’s this: “If you can only do one thing as a parent, be emotionally available”, because really that’s all that our children really want/need is us, they just want our love and attention.

What parenting tips have you found helpful with your family?

This post isn't sponsored or anything, I just wanted to share my thoughts.

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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Dust off and try again


I struggle when meeting new people. I need to psych myself up, I prepare myself by thinking of questions to ask, topics to discuss, how will I present myself etc. Once I'm there and talking I'm okay and I can be myself but the lead up can be extremely painful and full of anxiety.

The other week Star Boy and I went to our first playgroup day at church so we could be meet some other mum and babies. I'd been preparing for several weeks and was as prepped as I could be. The day arrived and first up we were late getting out the door then got stuck in traffic (why do people feel the need to slow down and stare at car accidents). We arrived about 40 minutes late, which I thought that's ok it ends at 12pm and it's only 10:40am so there's still time. Once inside we ended up in the wrong room with a music group and we got directed to the right group thankfully. There were 3 other parents in there, I felt terrible I couldn't understand 2 of them when they spoke, I tired really hard but struggled. The lady I could understand was more interested in her phone than anything else but we did try which is good. Then at 11:10am the organiser goes let's pack up and go home. I'm thinking "what - I've only been here 30 minutes". I asked "what time does it normally finish?" "Oh 12pm but some days we finish early". It was so much effort to get there for only 30 minutes of awkwardness - I cannot do that every week, if it was only up the street fine but not a 20 minute drive away.

I felt so disappointed and discouraged afterwards as I had been prepping for so long and it just fell to the floor on me, I may have even teared up a bit - okay a bit more than a bit - but I let myself feel that emotion, I didn't push it away, I let it happen (once I was home of course). Then afterwards instead of my usual "that's it never trying this again" attitude I can have, I took a deep breath and started looking for another group. Which I did, there's one just 5 minutes away from home, so I rung up and got the details and we'll be going next week to see what that one is like.

Yes I've been prepping myself again for this new meeting but I'm willing to put myself through this fear again and again, to get up and dust off and try again. I need to show Star Boy that not everything goes well and yes you can have fears and worries but you can push through and keep going. We never know what might happen at this next group, it could be great or not great but we'll only know if we try and turn up. Star Boy needs to learn how to interact with people and the only way he can do that is if I teach myself how to interact with others and show him what confidence is. It's a tough gig being a mum when you have such fears yourself that you don't really know how to handle but I'm willing to learn and teach myself so that I can pass on these lessons to him and he doesn't need to teach himself at the age of 31.

Fingers crossed for next week, wish me luck.

What fears or challenges have you had to teach yourself to face as an adult?

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Where's the compassion?


Since the invention of the Internet troll I've noticed compassion is falling to the wayside. You only need to read the news websites to see that half the articles now are Twitter comments of people demeaning each other in 140 characters or less - it's become a competition of who can slander the fiercest.

A child is hurt - "where were the parents?" "how could the parents be so dumb" "why were they watching them?"

A girl is assaulted - "why was she walking there?" "what did she say to them?" "what was she wearing?"

A car accident - "I bet it was a P-plater"

A TV personality is struggling - "That's what you get for being famous, serves you right"

We are all so ready to tear each other down at the click of a keyboard. Would you say those things to the person face-to-face? Would it be so easy to tell someone to kill themselves while looking them in the eye? You can so easily type horrible messages to a woman who has lost her child to a crocodile attack but could you say it to her in her lounge room while watching her mourn? Why do we think we can say these things via a message and they not cause harm? Or do we know they cause harm but just don't care?

Growing up we were told "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" - where did that disappear to? Is it left in the past with our dignity?

We all have different opinions but why is it when one differs from another there's an explosion of hatred and words like bigot and racist get thrown around like confetti. Let's debate but at the end of the day we all need to agree to disagree. We are not all going to think the same but express your opinion with consideration not bitterness.

Are we all just so hurt in our own lives that we need to spit that hurt onto others? Spread the bitterness around so we not the only ones bitter?

I stand here today ready to start a compassion revolution. I want to help reverse the cycle of hate and start a cycle of light instead. So who's with me? Who's ready to start spreading some more compassion today?

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Asking & Begging


Recently I've been reading "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer, it turns out to be a biography, I've never read a biography before and it's different to read actually. Her main theme is about asking as the subtitle declares "How I learned to stop worrying and let people help". It got me thinking about "What's the difference between asking and begging?" - are they different or are they the same thing?

I was out walking the other day and it came to me "Asking is hoping for a yes but okay with a no. Begging is demanding a yes and refusing a no".  When you ask for help of course you want a yes but you can live/survive with a no, whereas begging you want a yes but you refuse a no and demand a yes.

Asking is a hard thing to do in our society as we don't want to be seen as not enough or weak and we don't want others to think we are begging, so we hold back, close up and remain silent. We are so frightened as being seen as weak but I believe it takes strength to ask for help because you are putting yourself out there and showing your vulnerability. "It's better to ask and be told no, then to never ask and not know".

I do struggle to ask as I have had it used against me "oh but I helped you", but I'm starting to see that shouldn't stop me because not everyone is like that and some people are just jerks. By asking for help I have gotten to be form new relationships that I never thought possible.

The more you ask the more you give others permission to ask and open up and starting showing people that asking isn't weak at all but in fact quite empowering. As a collective we can achieve greatness we just first have to ask for it.

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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Welcome Star Boy


Well it's been 6 weeks now since the miracle that is our little "Star Boy" entered into our world. What a 6 weeks it has been, our lives have been completely rearranged and I'd have to say for the better.

Star Boy, is such a good little boy. For us all this being a new thing he's doing well at coping with life. He has the most amazing smiles and then his shifty eyes as he's trying to work it all out.

We have all learned so many lessons and I know there will be many more lessons and trials to come, but we wouldn't change any of it for the world. I'm still pinching myself to see if this is really real or just some magical dream.

We've discovered a strength inside ourselves we didn't know was there and a heart of love we could never have imagined in a million years. The feeling of love is an amazing sensation, one that cannot be describe even with all the words in the world.

Every day is just going with the flow and establishing some form of a routine so as to keep a hint of reality and normalness into our lives. Sleep is gotten when possible as it's too hard to resist just starting at him all day.

I will still be keeping this space open here on 30 Days of Smiles, I'll post when I can as there are new habits to be formed now with a little one in tow, but I still want to keep my voice alive and keep a sense of me existing. I will keep writing about anything and everything as I have no boundaries or limits on my writing. I'll occasionally share snippets of Star Boys life but it will not be the main focus.

Looking forward to my new life and seeing where life takes us now, not as a couple but as a trio.

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