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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