A Brief Intro
Greetings from Lori Sugarman… This is my disciplined opportunity each week to share thoughts that usually center around three topics- parenting, reflections as a hypnotherapist, and ideas to encourage love of language and written expression for the children in your lives… and thank you for taking the time to read this.
This week I silently thanked my firstborn 31 year old son Matthew for all the ____ he put me through! I cursed many a nights “WHERE IS THAT PARENTING MANUAL?” His episodes made Dennis the Menace look like Arcangel Michael. We are so emotionally involved with our children, it’s hard to step outside without emotion to assess the situation and determine a clear headed response, minus our children’s PERSUASIVE ability to convince us of their position.
This week I saw a 14 year old teenager who in June of this year picked up a bad virus requiring hospitalization, multiple doctor and specialist visits, lab work, tests, pokes, procedures…. As a result, after the virus was gone, the teen picked up some fears, anxiety and panic attacks. Now the teen was refusing to go to school, with outbreaks of panic and pain. Camp arrangements over the summer resulted in the drive up, refusal to get out of the car and back home.. The same with a planned vacation. The mother (single) was beside herself with the behavior and worry of his pain and panic. (The docs had cleared him of all physical illness)
As I saw it with objectivity (and all the stuff dearest young Matthew pulled on me) the teen was in complete control of every situation; camp, vacation, and now school. The mother relinquished her authority ( I did too). I suggested the mom show a two word response when he expressed panic or pain… ” I’m sorry” and then turn her back and walk away and get busy doing something else. He had refused to consider starting school. She said, “Once he turns the TV on he won’t get out of bed.” (Another control thing he was doing). To make a long story short, when she stopped reinforcing his behavior with a lot of sympathy and attention and retook her authority back, he responded appropriately… and went back to school. Children need their parents’ boundaries and authority. If you waver or show doubt, your children will grab that tone to wear you down. Kids do not need parents as friends. They need us as boundary setters.
I laughed when my friend told me that his son, when asked to clean his room said, “No thank you.”
At least the child had manners! It got me thinking. It used to be so repetitive, all the no’s. No you can’t, No don’t do that, No it is not time, No not today. Try saying “No thank you” when there is a no involved- and then leave the room, distract, but cut off your child’s ability to continue begging. It adds a little humor and may keep your spirits from becoming a growling tiger that No No No’s tend to do.
Here’s a productive lesson with No’s-
Play Hello Goodbye by the Beatles.
Play the Opposites game- I say this- You say the opposite
Draw ears! Elephant ears, dog ears, cat ears, people ears. Remind the children in our lives that ears hear wonderful sounds. Songs and music, piano chords, guitar strings, drum beats, violin vibrato, birds chirping, windy trees rustling, bells that mean school is over… AND our parent’s voices. Be silent for a few minutes and walk inside and outside. Write down all sounds heard.
Go through some scenarios of when no is the right choice of words- and when it is the inappropriate choice. After all, no is helpful when in a peer pressure setting.
No kidding, I learned from the best, the smartest, the most intuitive and determined people in my household… and yours…. our children -who become bound and determined to have their way! Gear up on your distractions from their persistence. Music is such a fantastic distraction..it changes the atmosphere and it changes your energy. Sing, grab the headphones, or just start dancing…My go-to song … that started when baby Matthew took a nap and gave me time to regroup was Flashdance. That song energized me day after day after day for years. Even when I play it now, I’m reminded, ‘Take your passion and make it happen, I’m dancin for my life.”