{real life} self-sooth and get your pants dirty

Today, I'm sharing some photos from our recent outside adventures with a few parenting and life tidbits thrown in for good measure. Happy day after "ball day" {what Ezra calls it now}.
I participated in a parenting webinar the other night, hosted by Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. Good stuff. Want a peek at my notes?
Children have plenty of needs {hah! don't we know!} but above physical needs like food and clothing and a safe place to sleep, they have these higher level needs that affect their behavior:
     --they need to feel emotionally connected
     --they need to feel significant
     --they need age-appropriate power {independence, control over their lives}

Children DON'T KNOW how to get these needs met. They will try negative behaviors to try to get power or significance or connection -- whatever works. They need training and guidance to learn appropriate ways to get these needs met!

Three parenting strategies that often backfire:
      --time out {becomes a power struggle}
      --counting 1-2-3 {teaches the child that they have three chances before they are expected to obey}
      --rewards {trains children to be externally motivated, they may not do what you ask if the reward isn't enough}
So at this point, all the parents attending the webinar were up in arms saying "what do we do instead?! you're taking away our only tools!" and of course, Amy has paid curriculum that she is hoping to sell so the webinar didn't provide all the answers. One takeaway {that we've already put into practice} is the "When--Then" strategy. "When your toys are put away, then you may go play outside with your friends." "When you eat the rest of your meal, then you may have a dessert." This works in many situations. Not all, of course, but many.

Above all -- try to avoid power struggles, teach delayed gratification based on internal motivators, try not to argue or negotiate, and expect obedience at the first request. We sometimes count down if the child needs a few seconds to wrap things up and needs an auditory reminder that time's a-wasting! Last night, the mess wasn't being cleaned up fast enough so story-time went from three down to two, then down to one. They will begin to realize that with fast obedience, their privileges remain intact.

I'm so crazy. I spend days unmotivated, bored and without one creative thought, then I'll wake up one morning with a thousand ideas and exciting things I want to do. I make long lists and draw out ideas on paper and think about how to fit it all in. I can do it all, right?! And then I remember I need to change the laundry and wash the dishes and teach the doogas and sweep the floor and make the meal plan and get some exercise and take the boys outside. And so we do all that.

And my ideas wait patiently for me. Mostly.

But sometimes I let the really dirty dishes soak and run off to work on my dreams.

I guess that's the way this season of life works.

We had our Valentines Day date early this week -- Tuesday night was Thai food and walk-n-talk while our kids played at a friends house. This weekend we have the special privilege of an overnight {or two} away and have great plans for moonlit snow traversing.

And what comes with time away from the cute little distractions? Time to talk. I do love a good conversation. It's one of my top two love languages. But so often talk is fraught with disagreements, conflict and misunderstandings and I'll admit to fearing that a little. And sometimes my fears get in the way of experiencing true and deep relationships.

Here's something I'm learning at this point in our marriage {and while reading Captivating} -- "If you look to another person to provide fulfillment, you will begin to focus on the failings of that person as the cause of your own disappointment." -- Corey from Simple Marriage

There is great truth in not expecting your spouse to meet all your needs. Some are for God alone to fill. Some are for female friends. Sometimes we just need to learn how to "self-soothe".

How to self-soothe when you're in a difficult situation:
       --stop the negative self-talk, replace with gratitude-talk
       --practice self-control, you don't have to act on all your feelings
       --be conscious of your physical needs for fresh air, sunshine, water, food, vitamins, sleep
       --keep things in perspective, think about how your current troubles line up with the big picture
       --don't take things so personally, let others have time and space to eventually understand

I highly recommend these free resources from Simple Marriage. Lots and lots of helpful info on marriage and family life.

Peter and I are training for an upcoming kids marathon -- him running and me photographing. :) I'm still learning how to capture action with clear, sharp focus. He's a fast runner and definitely gets the award for silliest faces.

Happy weekend! 5 Minutes for Faith post coming next...

OH, and I brought comments back. Thanks for being patient with me while I work out my own issues. hehe
Comment away...if you feel so inclined. :)