The COWCATCHER Answers Parenting Questions
With Insightful Advice, Personal Stories and Book Recommends
Here’s the first question. Thanks to Susan!
Because I’m growing my contact list, I’ve made an incredible offer here in this post. LOOK for it!
I understand how challenging it can be to express (or even feel) love toward a child that walks in the door with an “attitude” or bursts into flames at the drop of a hat. I’ve been through it three times and I’m here to tell you, Susan, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep in mind preteens are developing into adults, which means hormones drive their emotions and emotions drive their actions. As parents, we can see some outwards signs that tell us to beware, but we cannot predict the inner changes that make children feel extremely uncomfortable and often behave in defiant ways. These psychological and physical changes are a lot to handle.
With that in mind, I recommend adding compassion to the situation. When you add compassion to any equation, consistently and repeatedly, it will bring about immediate dramatic change. As Frederick Buechner says,
“Compassion is the capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”
In other words, parents should accept how preteens “act” as normal and appropriate for their age. This shift in our attitude makes room for compassionate thoughts and actions.
Practically speaking, I recommend you teach your children how to be accountable for their behavior by simply asking them to share what’s going on with them that is causing them to do what they are doing. Learn to resist the urge to analyze and fix. Once feelings are voiced (AND UNDERSTOOD), you two can come up with a solution. In my family, I tried to get my hormonal people into a game of Ping Pong. It was my way of distracting them until their body chemistry evened out. Ping Pong was an enjoyable physical outlet for venting their emotions – providing I let them win. Cough, wink.
Also, as long as my children, especially the two girls, were taking good vitamins, extreme monthly moodiness was kept to a minimum. Children, both boys and girls, need to get B12, magnesium and calcium into them. I swear by this. I regret that I never applied for a government grant to study my theory. It would have been short and sweet because the evidence would have come in very quickly, perhaps in a matter of three months or less. The difference was like night and day. Even my children recognized the difference vitamins made. (I can recommend great vitamins, if you don’t have a source already. Just email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org)
Most importantly, let your children know that you believe in them. Give them affirmation and positive encouragement whenever possible and stay connected.
— How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating Prickly Points of the Tween Years by Julie Ross. At the very least, you will laugh a lot and be comforted knowing that nothing you’re experiencing is abnormal. I would purposefully leave it out in the open for them to pick up and read. Yes, I would!
— Make a Difference with The Power of Connection by Mary Robinson Reynolds. Go to http://www.makeadifferencemember.com/idevaffiliate.php?id=731_5. You can read through the entire book online and watch an inspirational movie. It’s AWESOME stuff!
— Naturally, I recommend 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! The Checklist and Journal for Busy Families, by yours truly. The activities in the book cover all age ranges, 3 to 16, and I know you will find tons of things you and your tweenager can do together. Spending time with children makes a HUGE difference. Here’s the link for your convenience: http://www.201thingstodo.com .
I am currently working to expand my contact list. Susan, if you would feel comfortable forwarding my information to five or more friends who might also like to ask a parenting question, I would be happy to give you a FREE downloadable 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! ebook. I’ve attached a sample email that you could forward to people you know.
I’m sending you this email because I’ve discovered a great resource for parents.
Jodie Randisi is the author of 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! The Checklist and Journal for Busy Families, and she is hoping parents, grandparents, teachers and babysitters will visit her website. She is looking for people to send her parenting questions or concerns, which she addresses personally.
The question form can be found on the home page: http://www.201thingstodo.com. Make sure you include a question and “I found you at The COWCATCHER’S BLOG.” I’m confident you will enjoy hearing back from Jodie, The COWCATCHER.
The book is 70 pages filled with colorful graphics and creative space for journaling. The best thing about an ebook is that once you save the file, you can go back and print the pages as many times as you want. Mess-ups are not a problem. I recommend printing a copy for each child then putting the pages in a 3-ring binder. You can put my cover on the outside or ask them to create their own cover. It’s great gift idea for grandparents, teachers, and babysitters.
Thanks for the great question, by the way. I truly appreciate the opportunity to help.
Building better families,