6 Steps To A Sparkling You

More BIG News – The 2nd Edition Of My Book Will Be Available In A Week!

6 Steps To A Sparkling You
6 Steps To A Sparkling You

I’ve got some more great news!

The 2nd Edition of my book ‘6 Steps To A Sparkling You And Enjoying Being A Mum‘ is going to be available in a week!

Anyone who has already bought a copy will automatically get a chance to *upgrade (I love kindle!).

Remember you don’t need a kindle to read it.

It is still only 89p!!!

I AM going to put the price up though, so make the most of it.

 

Who is my book for?

Anything from when you are a mildly stressed mum, to the times when your life feels like it is falling apart.

It’s the kind of book that you can pick up over and over again.

(In fact that’s a hint to anyone who has bought it before – it’s probably time you read it again!).

I’m NO parenting guru.  I’m all about helping you to get stronger so that you can listen to yourself again.

You will get more:

Contentment

Health

Time

Space

Money

Sparkle

 

It worked for me

The book was created after Little Dimples was born.  I went through a tough time, where all the complicated therapies I had learnt really let me down.  I needed something much more basic, that didn’t require analysing my life to pieces.

Instead I found these 6 simple areas where I had the ability to control or change it and reduce the stress load massively.  I was amazed by the difference it made.

Ironically when I fell ill with Fibromyalgia I got to REALLY test my book.  I went back to it and followed my own advice even more deeply.  I improved on everything – my mindset (took much more care of myself), my health (really fine tuned my nutrition), my time management (dumped a pile of stuff), the house (made it work, even without me), finances (the big hairy northern one was made redundant again) and sparkle (I started to take regular time twice a month for ME).

It’s not just me, check out these testimonials.

 

Why 2nd Edition

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and after all the first book was my first.  I felt it could flow better.  Plus I want it to work for ‘Every Mum’, so it needs to be exceptionally clear.  I didn’t get any complaints, but I wasn’t totally happy with it.

An Agent gave me a big telling off, because she said that she could tell I had stopped pimping my book.  I had totally stopped, as soon as I knew that there would be a 2nd edition, which was daft.  So rather than wait until Sept (the original plan), we are going for it now – and just watch me pimp it!

 

Your Help

Please let people know about my book.

Next time you are talking to a mum who is unhappy, tired, stressed, lethargic, frantic about the house, worried about money and not looking after herself, tell her to get my book.

That way you are helping her, and then helping all the mums that she tells.

I don’t want to slag off parenting techniques, as they have their place.  But let’s get more books out there that helps mums to get stronger on their own, rather than relying on a book!

And when you get a chance, EVERY review on Amazon makes a difference.

Thank you guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you are going to upgrade, please be aware that the free chapter on weight loss will be gone.  That’s because I’m writing it up as a book, which will be available in 6 months.  But in the meantime, do not despair!  There is a lot more information on my ‘No Diets Or Bootcamps‘ pages than in the book, so you don’t have to wait.

Small stay calm and content

Guest Post – Ten Tips On How To Be A Great Dad

Small stay calm and content
Small stay calm and content

A guest post for father’s day:

Cat Williams is a relationship counsellor who qualified with the renowned UK charity, Relate, in 2007. She is also a British army wife and mother of two.  ‘Stay Calm and Content’ is her newly released book.  It was suggested by her clients and explains the ‘secret’ behind staying calm and content, no matter what life throws at you.  It is available via her site or on Amazon.

I don’t often take guest posts, but Cat and I have chatted on twitter and our blogs for a bit, and as I write ‘for mums’ rather than Dads, I thought that her post was a great idea.  I’d like to also mention a post over at Spencer’s about the furor about TV Dad’s putting real life Dads in a bad light.  I so agree with what he wrote, but didn’t write it because I’m a mum!

So over to Cat …..

 

Tricky For Dads

As a relationship counsellor I have come across many couples who, as well as struggling in their couple relationship, are also struggling in their relationship with their children.  It is often fathers in particular who find it difficult to build a close relationship with their children, or who find that relationship difficult to maintain as their children grow up.

Here are my thoughts and ‘tips’ on what it means to be a great Dad, and to build a great relationship.

 

Feeling Listened To

The main thing to remember is that children of any age (and their parents) want to feel listened to, understood, respected, and loved.  The key word here is feel, we might know we love our children, but if they don’t feel it then that love is almost pointless from their point of view.

(update from Lisa: Check out this post on how to make them feel listened to)

A good dad realises the great power and influence he has over his child’s self-esteem (a combination of self-confidence and self-worth), and that his child also influences how he feels about himself as a father.

(Update from Lisa: Check out this post on how to get your kids to do what you need them to do)

“fear makes strangers of people who should be friends” – Shirley MacLaine

If we (whether adult or child) feel unloved, disrespected, or not good enough in some way, then this is a threat to our well-being, and therefore our brain triggers our physiological ‘fight or flight’ response.  Our heart beats faster, we feel twitchy, or our stomach feels unsettled, and we describe this as feeling ‘negative emotions’ such as anger, annoyance, stress or fear.

If we are unaware that threats to our self-esteem cause our negative emotions, then we will also be unaware that our subsequent actions are attempts to protect or repair our self-esteem. We feel defensive and we do what makes ourselves feel better in some way; maybe criticise or judge each other and end up arguing, or stop speaking to one another, and then both think “I don’t know how it got like this, why can’t we get along?”

‘Tell me how a person judges his or her self-esteem and I will tell you how that person operates at work, in love, in sex, in parenting, in every important aspect of existence – and how high he or she is likely to rise. The reputation you have with yourself – your self-esteem – is the single most important factor for a fulfilling life.’ – Nathanial Branden

Children are usually fully aware of their parent’s expectations, and whether they are considered ‘good enough’.  Many of us go through life feeling in the shadow of an ambitious father or mother; or aiming to live up to our parents’ investment of hope, time, and money.  We usually have a natural desire to please our parents, if we can, and it may bring us happiness to achieve what they want for us, but what if we realise one-day that we cannot achieve our parents’ expectations, or that we want something different?

 

Ten Top Tips

 

The big hairy northern one
What is Daddy wearing?

1) Your Expectations

Look at where your expectations for your child come from; your parents, friends, ‘society’?  How do you define ‘happy’ and ‘successful’?  Why do you define them that way?

2) Ask them 

Ask your child how they define happy and successful, and whether they are achieving what they would like for themselves.

3) Accept them as they are 

Help your child with their self-esteem and self-belief by accepting them as they are; asking for and listening carefully to their feelings and opinions; and encouraging them to find their own way of achieving their goals.

4) Your Own Self-Esteem

Set a good example by working on your own self-esteem; make time for things which will help you to feel confident and positive about yourself as a parent e.g. exercise, time with loved ones, enjoying a hobby etc.

5) Quality Time 

Make it a priority to find positive ways to spend time with your son or daughter, doing something they, or you both, enjoy.

6) Their Friends 

Show your child that you accept and value their friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, children, etc by being open-minded and getting to know these people as individuals. Even if you don’t like your child’s friends, for example, there is a reason why your child does; these friends will be helping your child’s self esteem in some way.

7) Cut The Criticism 

Give encouragement and praise to yourself, and others, rather than being critical.  We all behave in ways which make sense to us as individuals at the time, this doesn’t justify ‘negative’ behaviour, but it does explain it. It has been said that ‘children need love most when they deserve it least’, and this is true, showing understanding and giving encouragement is much more effective than being critical.

Praise is like sunshine to the human spirit;  we cannot flower and grow without it – Jess Lair.

8) Show them your love 

Tell and show your children, partner and family that you love them. This is the most likely way that you will receive the same in return.  Find out from www.5lovelanguages.com what makes each of you feel most loved, and then act on it.

(Update from Lisa: here is a post about the 5 languages of love)

9) Mentoring 

Be a role model: speak daily about your thoughts, fears, frustrations, and weaknesses.  Demonstrating the self-confidence to speak openly about your own feelings, to apologise for your mistakes, and to listen to the feelings of others, even if they are different from yours, will help to build understanding, respect, love, and a positive relationship.

“How sad that man would base an entire civilization on the principle of paternity, upon legal ownership and presumed responsibility for children, and then never really get to know their sons and daughters very well” – Phyllis Chesler.

10) HAVE FUN!

Don’t forget to have fun!  Most of us parents are probably too serious a lot of the time.  Try to see the world through the eyes of your children, everything can feel new, interesting and fun if we approach it the right way, take every opportunity to try new things, laugh, giggle, and find the joy in every day life, even when it seems an up hill struggle.

 

What do you think about Cat’s tips?

Have you read my post on ‘How to be a good mum‘?  It takes a slightly different tack.

 

 

A scary monster!

Can a book festival really be fun? Does it encourage kids to read?

Beast Quest Monster
What a Beast!

Is a book festival fun?

I was worried.

My kids are used to going to festivals.  So turning up at a ‘book festival’ were they going to be severely disappointed?

Our first stop was to Beast Quest.  Very quickly my worries were calmed.  A crazy magician guy introduced the concept (I had no idea what it was all about), read a bit (very funny!), and then they played a beast quest version of bingo (chaos!).  Finally they all designed a new monster with Justin Bieber hair and every possible other ‘evil’ quality available.

Here is the monster that they created:

Curly Headed Boy is now very into the books and also the new ones ‘Sea Quest’ as the hero has the same name as him.

 

Authors we saw:

Helen Dennis – Curly Headed Boy adored her and we have therefore got a pile of her ‘Secret Breakers’ books.  Clearly she knows how to relate to kids in real life as well as in her books.

Jeff Norton – is now CHB’s new hero because having turned up early to the talk he got to talk to him lots beforehand.  His Metawars books really appealed to CHB’s very philosophical ‘what if’ nature as well e.g. What if we could upload ourselves into computers?  It covers some really modern problems/concepts and shows why we need new books sometimes, despite the old classics still being wonderful.

Jackie Morris – wasn’t very engaging for the kids to be honest.  Perhaps a little too ‘into her art’ and out of touch with the kids.  But her artwork and books are beautiful, especially for a child like Curly Headed Boy who is quite into nature or spirituality.

Missed:

Jonathon Meres – ‘World of Norm’ – who wrote the fab guest post on my blog.

David Melling ‘Hugable Douglas’ – who wrote the cutest guest post on my friend’s blog and therefore we had to by his book which is a firm favourite.

Lauren Child (Charlie and Lola) and Cressida Cowell (How to train your dragon) – one mum felt that it was really only useful for grown ups, but a mum with older children loved this talk, which was the big seller for the day.

 

Does it encourage reading?

I’m surprised.  It’s a resounding YES.  Even in Little Dimples (3yo).

Curly Headed Boy has been tackling much thicker books all on his own, even Meta Wars, which to be honest I think is aimed at much older kids (he is 7).  He has definitely suddenly moved onto books that are centimetres thick rather than just 20 pages.

It cost us a fortune!

Curly Headed boy insisted on buying any books related to the authors he had met.  Plus I LOVE books, and there were some gorgeous ones there that I’d never noticed on our more recent trips to book shops.

We definitely have years worth of books – so I see it as an investment *cough*

Here are my finds:

East of the sun
East of the sun
Wild Child
WildChild

Jackie Morris’s ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’ – it’s taking some time to get CHB to read this, but as it has a distinct hint towards the natural world or magical fantasy ideas, I know he will love it.  He just needs to get over the fact that he didn’t bond with Jackie herself.

Jeanne Willis and Lorna Freytag ‘Wild Child’ – you can see from the picture how gorgeous this book is!  It is truly gorgeous, can’t recommend it enough.

Lauren Child ‘I will not go to sleep’ – Little Dimples (3) adores this, and I will definitely be buying more.  Having an older brother and the relationship being similar means that she totally relates to it.  CHB loves it too – but don’t tell anyone!

Only down points

Willow Face Paint Hoo BookFest
Cheeky Butterfly

Facepainting – if you are going to have it with hundreds of kids, have more than ONE slow person, or only offer small quick options.  A great alternative is to have a face painting station where the kids and parents can do it themselves.  I queued with an INCREDIBLY patient Little Dimples (3yo) for must have been 45 minutes for the blinking face painting!  Hence I missed Helen Norris totally, which was a shame as Jeff Norton was on when Little Dimples needed a nap, so I missed him too.

More signs needed – parents with children do get easily confused and easily stressed.  I didn’t actually find the walled garden until I left because I followed a sign that said ‘EXIT’ – it actually meant exit from the walled garden.  Apparently I missed great cakes and tea in there.

There was a lull point, which I think was arranged to coincide with lunch and give people a chance to wander around.  But actually for people who had arrived later it meant that they got a bit bored.

The toilets ran out of tissue – the normal issue with festival toilets, but daft for just a one day event.

There weren’t enough toilets – very difficult for an event with lots of young children hopping round, desperate for a pee.

Directions at Luton hoo hotel entrance would have been great to send us further down the road.

 

Would I go again?

YES!

Would I pay for tickets myself (I went on press tickets) – Yes!

 

 

Great books for mums

Hoo’s Kid’s Book Fest: Meet Jonathan Meres and WIN TICKETS!

Great books for mums
Books, books, books …

What’s a book festival I wondered when I saw that Luton Hoo has a book festival on Sunday 21st April.

“I’ve been to music festivals with the kids, maybe I should take the kids” I thought?

Then they invited me, wicked!!  So I’m going to be able to tell you about it, but I’m also really hoping to convince lots of local people to come along too.

The reason being:

Children’s authors tend to be really funny and really cool, and they get the kids excited in ways that we as ‘boring parents’ can’t possibly do.

I know this because Bowmansgreen where Curly Headed Boy goes to school invited Timothy Knapman for World Book Day, he inspired CHB and SIGNED A BOOK for him and since then CHB has moved up from those skinny books you get at school to proper ‘take a few days to read‘ books.

Books are my escape, my rest, my rejuvenation, my sanity creator in a world of chaos.

Children need that escape.

 

But let me show you by introducing Jonathan Meres to you, the creator of ‘The World of Norm’.  He’s one of the authors who will be at Hoo Book Fest, along with a tent for Roald Dahl, Beast Quest and the Famous Five, plus an illustrators tent, and creative writing tent.

Read to the bottom because there is a COMPETITION where you could win tickets to the festival!!!

For more author intro’s checkout:

James Mayhew on Hertfordshire Mummy on Tues 26th March.

Guy Parker-Rees on Dorky Mum on Wed 27th March.

David Melling on Being a Mummy on Thurs 28th March.

 

****************

 

Hello.

Jonathan Meres
Jonathan Meres

My name is Jonathan Meres.  I write books and stuff and I can honestly say that I’m really looking forward to being part of this year’s Hoo’s Kids Book Festival. Bet you think I say that about every festival or event I’m invited to, don’t you? Go on, admit it.  You do, I know you do.  I’d probably think exactly the same thing myself if I was reading this.

Well you shouldn’t be so cynical.  OK, fair enough – so even if I wasn’t looking forward to it, I wouldn’t be so insensitive as to actually say so.  I’m not stupid.  I’d probably come out with some waffly non-specific guff about the festival’s growing reputation and the chance to meet some new readers and blah blah whatever.  But the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is that I’m genuinely looking forward to it.  And I’ll tell you why.

Firstly, I’ve never really been to Luton.  I’ve passed through it countless times – either on the train to and from London when I was growing up in The East Midlands – or nowadays when I fly down from Edinburgh.  Not to mention skimming past numerous times on the M1.  But passing through somewhere isn’t the same as actually going there.

When I left school and joined the merchant navy, I went to many different ports in many different countries all around the world.  The list of places I’ve set foot in is admittedly impressive.  Well, if you’re impressed by that kind of thing it is anyway.  The list of places I’ve actually been to, however – as in really visited and got to see – is considerably less impressive.  Technically I’ve been to Rio De Janeiro.  But I haven’t really seen Rio De Janeiro, other than the dockside.  I don’t intend to make the same mistake in Luton.  And yes, I know there isn’t a dockside in Luton, but that’s not the point.  The point is, I don’t want to look back on Luton in years to come with the same feeling of intense regret as I look back on Rio now.  And there’s a sentence I was never expecting to write.

The second reason I’m looking forward to coming to Hoo’s Walled Garden so much?  Well the clue’s in the name.  It’s a walled garden.  Not a fenced garden.  Not a railinged garden.  Not an open-plan garden.  An actual walled garden.  I love walled gardens.  No, really I do.  There’s something very special about them.  Something nostalgic and yes, something magical about them too.  Sun-dials glinting in the moonlight?  Clocks striking thirteen?  Edwardian children gallivanting about, being all…well, Edwardian basically?

Now at the time of writing I haven’t looked online to try and find any actual images.  I may be way off the mark.  Maybe it’s not that magical, or special at all.  Maybe it’s just a common or garden garden.  With a common or garden garden wall around it.  But somehow I doubt it.  So I’m going to spend the next month building it up and up in my head.  And right now, Hoo’s Walled Garden feels like the perfect location for a children’s book festival.  And frankly, if there isn’t a cantankerous old Scottish gardener waging an ultimately futile one-man war against the rabbits when I get there?  There’ll be trouble.

****************

Competition!

Win 1 family ticket (4 tickets minimum one adult) to Hoo Bookfest by adding a comment to say which event your children would love most.

The competition ends on Sunday 31st March at midnight.

You can enter again by tweeting, and following Hoobookfest and myself on twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: Isabel Thomas you are the winner!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

 

Competition terms and conditions

We have 1 family ticket (4 tickets minimum one adult) to give away and the lucky winner will be chosen at random.  

This giveaway closes on Sunday March 31st at midnight and the winner will be notified by email.

Make sure your email is correct in the comment that you add, otherwise we will not be able to contact you to send tickets.

– Within 7 days of notification the winner(s) is required to email confirmation of acceptance of the prize to Mummy Whisperer, along with a postal address in the United Kingdom to which the prize can be sent.  If the winner doesn’t provide such confirmation their entry will be disqualified and an alternative winner will be chosen.

-The winner(s) consents to their name being displayed on this site

-The prize cannot be transferred and no cash alternative is available.

-The decision of Lisa Pearson will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

 

Disclosure: I’ve been given a family ticket to the festival and this ticket for a competition for my readers.  But I was excited about it beforehand, so it hasn’t affected my opinion.

 

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

The importance of encouraging our children to be their ‘own people’

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

This is my review of Chapter 4 of ‘How to Talk so kids listen’ about ‘encouraging autonomy’.

This is an interesting chapter for me after Curly Headed Boy asked me a few months ago “when are you ever going to let me out on my own”.  As a 13yr old boy was killed on the crossing near school at Christmas my answer was very nearly “never ever ever ever”.

But despite that I’ve always been very keen on not over-helping him so that he can gain confidence in himself and learn from his own mistakes.

I’m very aware that a person who grows up dependent on another ends up feeling helpless, worthless, resentful, frustrated and angry.

Plus that being and overly supportive parent often creates a child who is an easy mark for bullies at school (not the only reason, but one of them).

In the book they recommend:

1) Letting the child make choices (clothes are a good example of that)

2) Showing respect for your child’s struggle (i.e. don’t rescue them, give them tips)

3) Don’t ask too many questions

4) Don’t rush to answer questions (e.g. ask ‘what do you think’)

5) Encourage them to use sources outside the home (i.e. other people/children or the internet)

6) Don’t take away hope

 

The only one I take issue with is ‘Don’t ask too many questions’.  A few more questions from my parents would have shown that I was bullied from 4-17 at school, and that I made decisions based on assumptions that were wrong.

For example I didn’t do French/German for A level because I thought it meant I would HAVE to travel and that my responsibility was to care for my elderly parents (both rubbish ideas).

I think it’s more about asking when they are in the mood e.g. at dinner time or bedtime (CHB becomes a very talkative little boy at bedtime; funny that!).

I’m not sure that answering without taking away hope is wise when CHB makes plans to become a werewolf either; but I did what they suggested and just asked him to talk about it, rather than saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Perhaps some reality is important to stop our kids becoming X Factor rejects.  But I get what they mean; after all anything is possible.

We have had a REALLY interesting conversation in the last 2 weeks though.  CHB asked me “Daddy doesn’t believe in werewolves, does that mean I can’t believe in them?”.  I’m so glad he asked, as I was able to explain that there will always be things that our loved ones don’t agree with and THAT IS OK.

Funnily enough we repeated the conversation about Skylanders the other day as he had spent some of his birthday money on one.  I explained that Daddy totally understood and agreed with the idea, but that I was worried that he would wish he had saved it for something else as he has a few now.  But that just because I wasn’t keen, didn’t mean he shouldn’t spend his OWN money on it.

 

Other tips they have are:

1) Let them own their own bodies (i.e. stop fussy over them)

2) Stay out of the Minutiae of a Child’s life (i.e. get off their back)

3) Don’t talk about them infront of them

4) Let them answer for themselves

5) Show respect for your child’s eventual readiness (i.e. explain that everything comes with time)

6) Watch out for too many ‘Nos’

 

Instead of No try:

1) Give information (see previous reviews)

2) Accept feelings (see previous)

3) Describe the problem (see previous)

4) Substitue a ‘yes’ (i.e. when it will be possible)

5) Give yourself time to think

I don’t think that this chapter is as ground breaking as the others, but maybe it’s just much more basic about stuff that we often forget.  What do you think?

I wonder how I will do in a few months time when the whole summer conversation happens again, and CHB wants to play outside without us watching.

 

Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch1: The importance of not disagreeing with their feelings

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch3: What to do when punishment or more discipline isn’t working 

Why I started reading the book. 

 

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

What on earth to do when increasing the discipline isn’t helping?

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

So I’m onto the ‘important’ chapter of ‘How to Talk So Kids Listen’, which is ‘Alternatives to punishment’.

This is the chapter that got me interested, because as I said, Curly Headed Boy turning 7 has been tricky.  Initially we succumbed to the fear that we hadn’t been clear enough with him and he ‘should be learning to behave by now’ etc etc.  But that just increased the anger, defiance and overall shouting levels in the house.

I’m not a fan of smacking, although sorely tempted!  We hadn’t really used ‘time out’ much apart from as purely a calming down mechanism.  We had associated ‘treats’ like TV, computer, chocolate snack etc to good behaviour that has to be earned.  But we’d started to have to ‘take away’ things when we couldn’t get through to CHB and we seemed to just not be getting through to him at all.

So far chapter 1 about stopping disagreeing with our kids feelings and chapter 2 on how to get them to do what we want, has made a big difference in my relationship with both kids.

Alternatives To Punishment

The idea seems to be instead of being a doormat or being too punitive, finding a way to be assertive and fair.

Here is what they suggest:

1) Point out ways to be helpful: i.e. what you want them to do, rather than what you don’t want them to do

2) Express your disapproval without being mean: i.e. don’t use the word ‘you’ (see previous chapter reviews)

3) State your expectations: what you want them to be doing

4) Show the child how to make amends: e.g. clear up the mess

5) Offer a choice: e.g. behave nicely or I split you two up (dinner time!)

6) Take action: i.e. don’t just threaten, do something about it and follow through

7) Allow the child to experience the consequences of their misbehaviour: e.g. because you were so naughty on the dog walk yesterday, I’m not bringing you today

 

I’m less convinced about ‘offering a choice’.  I remember an epic tantrum from Little Dimples when I explained she could either go in the pushchair or hold my hand as we were on a busy St Albans street.  She proceeded to throw herself on the pavement and scream for what felt like an hour, whilst I was powerless to do anything and apart from stand there as people with disapproving stares walked by.  I’d forgotten there was that THIRD option; create mayhem!  Obviously it’s only going to work where they don’t think of that clever 3rd option.

I like No7; so often punishments are totally unconnected from the misbehaviour.  It makes sense for the child to understand consequences of their actions, rather than punishment.

I know from personal family experience that use of the cane at school did not stop a child from being naughty; it’s more that the child looked on it like an excuse to do it again, because they could be ‘absolved’ by the caning.  Did you know that a large percentage of parents who use physical punishment, find the children turning on them when they are big enough?

My parents were much older than most and very strict with me.  I’m not sure that being well behaved out of fear is the way to go either.  If possible, I would prefer that our kids behaved well because they respect and love us; with only a dash of fear ;o)

From my training I know that ‘sorry’ doesn’t mean ‘I’m gutted I did it, I won’t do it again’, it more likely means either ‘I’m gutted I was caught’.  I teach my kids to say ‘sorry’ because society expects it, but I also know that it means very little.

 

Problem Solving

For more complicated problems they suggest a Problem solving approach.

1) Talk about your child’s feelings (see chapter 1)

2) Talk about your feelings and needs (see chapter 2)

3) Brainstorm together to find a mutually agreeable solution by ..

4) Writing down ALL ideas without evaluating first

5) Then agreeing on which suggestions you like/dislike and which you plan to follow through on

6) Don’t permit the child to blame or accuse you or anyone else at any point

Remember to chose a time that works for both of you to discuss it; there is no point trying when either CHB or LD are in a mood.

I really liked this statement “I’m not interesting in blaming anyone for what happened in the past. I am interested in seeing an improvement in the future”; I’m really sure that taking responsibility for their part in how their lives turns out is a REALLY important thing for our kids to learn for a healthy future.  Responsibility is very different from blame; it’s something that we can do something about.

Now this one I haven’t tried yet, so it will be interesting to see how it works, especially as it’s meant to help with problems between siblings.  At the moment it seems that if the Big Hairy Northern One and I happen to both be busy doing chores, the kids will ALWAYS kick off.

 

Have you been trying out the ideas in my summaries over the past few weeks?  I’d love to know if it has made a difference for you and if you’ve bought the book now?

Don’t forget to add a link in the comments if you have reviewed this book too.

Next week is ‘encouraging autonomy’; no problem of that with Little Dimples!

 

Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch1: The importance of not disagreeing with their feelings

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch4: Encouraging independence in our children

Why I started reading the book. 

 

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

Tips on getting our kids to do what we want/need them to do

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

 

So here are are onto Chapter 2 of ‘How to Talk so kids will listen’; ‘Engaging Cooperation’.

Backstory:

With a 7yo Curly Headed Boy and soon to be 3yo Little Dimples, life has become a little shouty of late and we were looking for some alternative options, as being stricter wasn’t cutting it.  So I decided to read, review and test out some books on my blog and last week was Ch1 of this fab book.

By now the kids are meant to be feeling more listened to, and therefore be opening up to us.  They will also be better at finding their own solutions to their problems.  (I’ll let you know how we are finding it at the end of the reviews in a few weeks).

 

Engaging Cooperation

i.e. getting the little blighters to do what you want them to do!

Two naughty children
Ready to cause chaos!

Traditionally we apparently tend to use the following tactics:

1) Blaming and accusing e.g. ‘How many times do we have to tell you not to wind up your sister when she is tired, are you just looking for trouble’; yep we are guilty of this one and there is way too much blame going on in this house.  It’s like a viscious circle.

2) Name Calling e.g. ‘How stupid can you be to do that again’; this I had a lot of as a child and really hate it as anyone who tries it on my kids quickly finds out.

3) Threats e.g. ‘If you keep doing that we will take away your toys’.  We’ve been trying the threat thing and it basically doesn’t work for us at all.

4) Commands e.g. ‘Hurry up and put your clothes away right now!’; we tend to be pretty polite in this house, but once it’s been asked once I get irritated, that’s for sure.

5) Lecturing and Moralising; basically a long description on why they shouldn’t do stuff that would bore anyone to tears.

6) Warnings e.g. ‘Be careful’ repeated over and over, which is an easy trap to fall into.

7) Martyrdom statement e.g. ‘Will you stop all that noise, you are giving me a headache!’.  I have to be really careful of this and that the kids don’t think my Fibromyalgia is there fault.

8) Comparisons e.g. ‘Your 3yo sister has better table manners than you’.  We aren’t too bad at this one luckily, but it is tempting!

9) Sarcasm: looking over at a certain Northern hairy one for no apparent reason ;o)

10) Prophecy e.g. ‘Those cats are not going to be your friend if you keep chasing them Little Dimples’.  Actually, the cats seem to be pretty forgiving, especially for a treat.

 

Instead

Getting our kids to do their chores
Hoover that floor child!

So here are the tips they give for what to do instead, I must admit some of them are great, time saving, and really easy to do.

1) Describe what you see or describe the problem e.g. ‘Your Pyjamas are on the floor’.

2) Give information: e.g. ‘If they aren’t put in the washing basket they miss getting washed’.

3) Say it with a word: e.g. ‘PJ’s’; THIS TIP IS PURE GENIOUS!!!

4) Describe what you feel: ‘I feel unappreciated sometimes when it seems that clean clothes are taken for granted’.  This one is tricky because we need to avoid the word ‘you’ in order for it to not be blaming or accusing e.g. “When you leave your PJ’s all over the floor I feel unappreciated, will you never learn?”.

5) Write a note: e.g.on a yellow sticky on the wall by the basket (I have got monster HUGE yellow stickies!).

 

In Summary

We’ve had a quick play with these ideas, but will focus on them a lot more this week, my favourite’s so far are (1) and (3).  I think that for us the most difficult is changing from being polite and then getting angry, to being more direct and talking about how we feel before we blow up.

They have a good tip about the word ‘Please’; funnily enough I’ve been saying to the big Hairy Northern one that he says please a lot to the kids when asking them to do something.  I suggested to say ‘please’ first time only.  They say not to use it at all, because when we think we’ve taken the time to be polite and the kids still ignore us, it leads to us feeling more angry.  They suggest you just use it for the simple little things like ‘Please pass the ketchup’.

Another tip is to make sure that the request is suitable for the kids age, reasonable and that we give them the flexibility as to when and how to do it.  It can be easy to want them to do something or not do something just because we are tired and grumpy, than for any real reason.

They also remind us to be really careful of the word ‘You’, which I talked about a lot in my old post about ‘do we teach people how to treat you‘ that you might want to read for more ideas on how to describe how you feel.  Remember, you aren’t trying to be constantly patient and calm; it’s fine to be angry, just not to use words that will hurt our kids and make them shrink.

A huge thing for us to change is the use of Curly Headed Boy’s name, which tends to end up a bit like this: ‘Oh Maaaaaaaaaaaax’; I realised we might be over using it when Little Dimples started copying us.  They always say not to use a dogs name when telling it off, I reckon that must be the same for kids

 

Have you read this book?

I’d love to hear what you think.  Or other books you think I could review?

If you’ve written a blog post about this book, let me know in the comments and I will put a link to it in my final review.

 

Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch1: The importance of not disagreeing with their feelings

Ch3: What to do when punishment or more discipline isn’t working 

Ch4: Encouraging independence in our children

Why I started reading the book. 

 

 

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen

Do we have a bad habit of confusing our kids so they don’t know what they are feeling?

How To Talk So Your Kids WIll Listen
Will this book help us?

The first book in my long list I’m going to review is:

How to Talk so your kids will Listen and Listen to kids will talk‘ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

To help me, I’m going to do an in depth review of each chapter, and then at the end of the 6-12 weeks it takes, I’ll write up how we did (if it’s good enough and worth keeping going of course!).  Hopefully that will be helpful to you guys too?

There are Six Steps:

1) Helping Children Deal with their feelings

2) Engaging Cooperation

3) Alternatives To Punishment

4) Encouraging Autonomy

5) Praise

6) Freeing Children From Playing Roles

7) Putting It All Together

My first reaction on reading it was that it feels like a brilliant book, although I have some reservations, after all is it really possible to NOT punish a child?  After all, surely consequences are important?  Plus, what happens when they grow up and suddenly go to prison (OK, slightly extreme worry there!).

I can’t believe I didn’t know about it before though as it’s been around for 30yrs; is it like some extremely well kept secret?

 

Three important things to remember when reading it:

They don’t expect you to be able to do these all the time; they themselves were human and know that we are too.

The objective is to make sure our children aren’t damaged by our words

It’s NOT about being calm all the time; in fact expressing how you FEEL is important, just not blaming or accusing them for it.

 

Although they say to read each chapter and do the exercises before moving on, I disagree.  Read the whole thing, then go back and do it step by step.  They have added extra bits after each decade and they are really interesting, plus they give added ideas on how to implement it and clear up misunderstandings.

 

So onto my review of chapter 1:

 

1) Helping Children Deal With Their Feelings

This chapter I totally LOVE.

They talk about the fact that we keep telling the kids that they DON’T feel like xyz, which must have a big effect on their ability to know themselves as they get older and deal with their emotions.

For example:

Curly Headed Boy: ‘I hate her’ (talking about his sister Little Dimples).

Me: ‘Of course you don’t, you love her’

 

Thinking about it, I think I’ve been told for years how to think and feel.  In fact I’m sometimes a bit confused about who I really am.

The other day the Big Hairy Northern One and I had an argument and at one point he said ‘that’s not what you are angry about, it’s something else’ and I totally flipped (see, we are a totally normal couple).  I now understand how come; because he was doing exactly what they talk about here and I hate second guessing myself; don’t we all?

 

Even when we don’t disagree with how they feel, apparently we try too hard to help them, rather than let them find their own solution.

They suggest that instead we try just listening and saying ‘mmmm’,  and show that we understand how they feel instead.  Apparently, they will often find their own solutions?

There are 8 options that we apparently tend to take:

1. Denial of feelings: ‘you don’t need to be so upset with her’

2. Philosophical: ‘sisters are like that’

3. Advice: ‘Maybe if you didn’t ignore her, she wouldn’t hit you’

4. Questions: ‘What do you think caused her to hit you?’

5. Defence of the other person: ‘I can see why she hit you’

6. Pity: ‘Oh dear, it must be awful to have a sister.’

7. Amateur Psychoanalysist: ‘Has it ever occured to you that you aren’t angry with her, but yourself?’

8. Empathetic Response: ‘It must be frustrating to have your little sister always wanting your attention when you are busy.’

They are suggesting that we should go for No 8 and be empathetic, just feeding back that we understand how they feel.

I do see what they mean that when we are being ‘helpful’ it’s not always so useful.  Being an agony aunt type of person I’ve definitely tried all the options they suggest are less helpful.  But, I’m not so sure that they will find their own solutions; that maybe because I have a tendency to ‘advise’ ouch!

I don’t quite agree with them on this, maybe if (8) doesn’t allow them to find their own solution, I would still use 2-7; but I’m definitely avoiding (1) as much as possible from now on, and only resorting to using the others after trying to use an empathetic response.  Yep, I’m definitely ‘feeling some resistance’ to this one!

 

So to help with their feelings we are apparently meant to:

1) Listen with full attention (i.e. put the phone down)

2) Acknowledge their feelings e.g. ‘mmmm’

3) Give the feelings a name e.g. ‘You are feeling angry and frustrated?’

4) Give them their wishes in fantasy if it’s about something they can’t have (do a bit of make believe ‘I wish I could send her to the moon for you to have a break for a bit!’).

 

They do appreciate that we can’t just go along with our kids hitting each other etc!  In that case they suggest empathising and then limiting their actions e.g. ‘I can see how angry you got with her, tell her what you want with your words, rather than pushing her’.

Remember it’s empathising, not agreeing with, so it’s not me agreeing with him disliking her.

If the kids say something horrid like ‘I hate you’, you don’t have to just sit there and take it, you can still say ‘I didn’t like hearing that, if you’re angry tell me in another way so that I can help’.

It also has a great tip of letting kids draw their feelings, especially young ones, or kids that have problems with dealing with their emotions.

I’ve briefly tried it so far and I can definitely say that:

It fails when I’m tired!

It worked amazingly on the ‘about to kick off the biggest tantrum known to mankind on way to school run’ with Little Dimples.

It some times works between the kids to stop it look like I favour one or the other.

It’s great to know that it’s not my job to make my kids happy; especially as I know they can’t be happy all the time, so it would be an impossible task.

It’s definitely worth spending some more effort on.

 

I’ll let you know more at the end of the 6 weeks (or more if it takes longer; you know what life is like!).

In the mean time I’d love to know if you have done a review of this book or what you think about it?

 

Here are my reviews of the other chapters:

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch3: What to do when punishment or more discipline isn’t working 

Ch4: Encouraging independence in our children

Why I started reading the book. 

 

Boy covered in mud

My Intuition Isn’t Quite Enough: A Seven Year Old Boy Is Too Tricky!

So Far …

Brother and sister
We Love Each Other Really!

 

For the last 7yrs since Curly Headed Boy arrived, I’ve been pretty much surviving on my intuition and dipping into the odd book for help every now and again for an adaptable tip.

I had tended towards the trying to be as respectful and fair as possible, but when Little Dimples came along 3yrs ago, my ability to have the time to explain why I wanted things done every time diminished, and things got trickier from then on.

Plus, just as I thought, having 2 kids is definitely harder in some ways than one; whilst I would never change it.

We’ve used ‘time out’, not the full length of time, but purely to actually give CHB some time away to cool down, rather than as a punishment, and only once he was old enough to understand it.

I’ve also been a fan of understanding consequences and that ‘treats’ like watching the TV, chocolate biscuits for snack and playing on the computer are things to be earn’t, not expected.  So if push came to shove we would start to remove ‘treats’.  Although this always fails when a child is in a huge trantrum as they don’t have the ability to stop it going into a complete disaster crash zone!

 

7yo Boy …

Boy covered in mud
I fell in!

 

But this 7yo boy malarkey is much more difficult.  So in the last couple of months I’ve been starting to read a pile of books that I’m going to review and test out here for you to see.

Our problems are many, without heading into the direction of anything seriously behavioural.

There’s been a lot of anger, rudeness, grumpiness, over reaction, disrespect and plain old refusal to do as we ask.

It was made worse by my Fibromyalgia diagnosis and me sitting down with the kids explaining that I need them to be a little more responsible for themselves; Nothing major, just that I really can’t be asking for things FIVE times over.

Then the Hairy Northern One’s contract was terminated early and it became even more obvious that we had a problem, as the two of them were constantly at each other.  Plus I felt that it seemed like I was constantly nagging CHB, in fact Little Dimples had started too.

Now some people have told me that this is a normal state of affairs; But I’m not so sure.

 

Previous Books …

 

Great books for mums dealing with depression
Books, books, books …

The books I’m mainly relied upon before were:

Dr William Sears: Attachment Parenting.  What I liked about this book was that there were several blocks, and you could ‘mix and match’ them.  For instance I ended up co-sleeping, but never got the hang of baby wearing; it was more like baby carrying most of the time.

Dr Elizabeth Pantley: No Cry Sleep Solution.  The downside to this book is that it doesn’t have an immediate answer.  The good side is that it had SO MANY ideas, that I could again mix and match.

I would have loved to be as scheduled as Gina Ford, and was expecting to be before Curly Headed Boy appeared.  But it just didn’t suit me, and I find it difficult to take anything seriously which is from someone without kids and based upon the feeding schedules of calves.  No disrespect meant to those for whom it worked, it just wasn’t my cup of tea, didn’t suit my kids and there wasn’t the added pressure to make it work, as I only work part-time.

I just didn’t get on with the Baby Whisperer either, again it didn’t seem to be flexible enough for me, although I know it’s well loved.  I did hear too that she left her kids with their grand parents in order to progress her career abroad.  Now being a working Mum is difficult, but considering the subject matter of her books, it seems odd behaviour.

I’ve watched Super Nanny and she seems to do a wonderful job turning families around, especially with explaining things like consistency.  However, there have been a few things that she has done which have been incredibly harsh, and again felt like they were only possible for someone who hadn’t actually had children.

 

All in all, I came away not liking Parenting Techniques as they just didn’t seem to take into account differences in Mums, children, circumstances etc etc etc.  I also felt that they created HUGE amounts of guilt and fear in Mums which just exasperates the situation by reducing their ability to listen to their own intuition.  Hence I wrote my own book centered on the Mum, based on the theory that when she is contented, the kids are as well.

Please note: Just because a book didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that I’m judging the fact that you liked it!  I’ve just mentioned these books so that you get an idea of where I’m coming from.

So What Happens Now …

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?I still believe that if the Mum is happy that the kids will settle around her, especially before teenage.  In fact Curly Headed Boy said something similar yesterday when he said that since I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I’ve looked much healthier and happier.  When I dug a little deeper it’s because I’m up and dressed and showered before Breakfast, so I’m ready to hit the day running as far as he is concerned.  In fact the truth of the matter is that I have so much pain in the morning, I literally can’t function without a shower; so I figure I might as well get dressed.  But he is right, as I am learning to put myself first EVEN MORE than I thought was necessary beforehand.

 

I’m going to review AND TEST:

 

How to Talk so your kids will Listen and Listen to kids will talk’ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

‘Love Bombing’ Oliver James

Christine Northrup ‘Mother Daughter Wisdom’

 ‘Raising Boys’ and ‘Raising Girls’ by Steven Biddulph (the problem with this is that Raising boys isn’t on kindle).

and maybe a few more on the way.

 

If you fancy testing them out at the same time and swapping ideas/experiences, I would love to hear from you or have you add your blog posts in the comments.

Got any you would recommend?  Feel free to add them to the list!

 

Here are my reviews of the other chapters for How To Talk So Kids Listen:

Ch1: The importance of not disagreeing with their feelings

Ch2: Tips on getting kids to do what we want

Ch3: What to do when punishment or more discipline isn’t working 

Ch4: Encouraging independence in our children

 

The Mummy Whisperer Blog is now available on Amazon Kindle!!!!

Oooooh, I’m a ‘proper’ writer, I’m a ‘proper’ writer!!!  Can you tell I’m a little excited?

Many years ago I did Maths, Physics and English ‘A’ levels, because as a girl if they saw any sign you could possibly do science, they heavily ‘encouraged’ you to do it in my school (there were still only a few of us though).  I loved English, but I would revise the other two more, because I felt guilty about doing the thing that I love.  How daft is that!  Now, I don’t regret the Maths and Physics, as that is what got me a 13yr career in IT as a computer programmer.  But even then I’ve been constantly writing.  I got an award from IBM for my thesis during my degree, and feel in love with the feeling of being on a roll when you are writing something.  All through my career I was always the one put in charge of writing training courses, or articles.  Then when I went all ‘tree huggy’, I would always write a workshop or something as soon as I’d learnt a new technique, so that I could share it.  Then along came the children, the arrival of ‘Mummy blogging’ and I discover that I love to write.  I might not be the best writer, as I didn’t go on to do a journalism or english degree, but I still LOVE it, and I’m pretty good I think at making things simple to understand.  This year, I decided that although I had recently understood the importance of having proper product launches and improving my sales/marketing techniques, I was going to put as a priority writing my blog for myself and my enjoyment, and now it’s paid off.

I read an article by Nickie from the Typecast blog on british mummy bloggers about the fact that you can now list your blog on Amazon Kindle.  Here is the article if you fancy having a go <click here>.  As I’m a bit bored/overwhelmed by my humungous list of blogs on the RSS google reader, this sounded like a fab idea, so I thought I’d have a go.  The article warned to be really careful you were happy with the result before pressing [submit], and that it might take a few days to be accepted.  Plus, it is Amazon that decides how much your monthly fee is going to be.  So last night at 8pm I pressed submit, and you’ll never guess what?  ‘What, what?’ I hear you ask!  They had accepted my blog by 10pm and put it up for the grand price of £1.99 (You’d probably guess that by the photo heh?  The big hairy northern hubby took this at the airport this morning where he found a Kindle).

So here it is.  Do you have a Kindle?  You get a 14 day free trial, so I’d love it if you would try it out.

There is one slight downside, in that it is only available for the Kindle at the moment.  However, it will be available for the iphone and ipad soon I’m sure, it’s probably just a matter of them encouraging Kindle sales and improving the formatting.  To be honest, it’s not really about whether I might make any money from it.  It’s just that I suddenly feel like a ‘proper’ writer, and like someone has said ‘yes, you are going in the right direction, keep at it with the blogging’.

I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a little favour?

I am passionate about making a difference for Mums, and I really think that I can, whether it is via my blog, or my programs.  But I can’t do it, unless Mums know about me and have heard about me in a way that means that they trust me.  So if you get a chance to check out my Kindle blog (even if you don’t have a kindle), and you like my stuff, could you leave a review, pretty please?  Or let your friends know about this blog?  Or let them know about my facebook fan page?  Or my twitter account, if they want to see my general ramblings?  Or encourage them to sign up for my newsletter.  I’ve got a big announcement coming on Feb 3rd, and it might just be the perfect thing for your friends, or for you (and it’s going to be FREE).

Oooh and ‘Thank you’ to all the lovely friends and Mums who have already been supporting this blog, I really appreciate it.  Right, I’m off to take Little Dimples to play with some baby friends for a couple of hours.  I’ll probably be floating on an excited cloud the whole way!