What Having Twins Has Taught Me

The Twins turned three last month.

And let me tell you what having twins has taught me.

Three is significant to me because:
a. They are no longer toddlers or babies.
b. This is the time that all of our other boys magically became “daddy’s boys” and left my side to follow him around everywhere.
c. Life just got easier.

It makes me sound like a horrible mom, I know.

My twins – my youngest two boys – my babies – just turned three, and I’m thrilled.

I should be sad, I know. I should be missing the smell of that sweet baby shampoo (I don’t, because I still use it, even on my five year old!) and their coos and giggles.

But I don’t.

Those two bouncing little bundles of joy skidded in to our world – my world – picked it up, flipped it upside down and dumped all the pieces out.

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How to Tell if Your Child is Being Bullied

It’s that time of year again! 

Back to School!  I don’t know about you all, but three of my boys headed out the door this morning!  The long summer days of family togetherness are over.  Most kids, mine included, are excited to get out of the house, back to the school, and away from their siblings.

But that might not be the case for everyone.

Back to School may mean Back to Bullies for some kids.

How to tell if your child is being bullied?

Bullying does not look like it did when we grew up.  When we were young, someone maybe took your lunch money, pushed you around a bit, or teased and harassed you in front of all of your friends.  Maybe they’d tape “kick me” to your back, lock you in a locker, or throw your textbooks in the garbage.

While these forms of bullying may still go on, they aren’t as common anymore. 

Social media and cell phones have opened up a whole new world of bullying, and I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around it.

We’ve all heard horror stories of kids hurting each other with social media; pictures going up on FaceBook or being passed around that were not meant to be shared – that should never have been taken in the first place.   I’ve just recently learned how to use SnapChat, and I can see how that would be the perfect breeding ground for bullying, because the pictures disappear after opening. 

If you are like me, and oblivious to the different forms bullying could come in now-a-days, then how do you even know if your child is being bullied?  

Without the tell-tale signs, such as black eyes or bruises, it can be difficult. 

What makes it really hard is some children won’t disclose the bullying.  If your child is being bullied, she might be embarrassed about it. 

She might think that she is doing something wrong, socially, and in a sense, ‘ask for’ or ‘deserve’ to be bullied. 

She might be worried about the repercussions of disclosure; maybe the bully has threatened her and upped the ante if she told. Or maybe your child is just worried about how you will react to the bullying.  Some kids may think their parents will over-react and some may think their parents won’t act at all.  Whatever the reason, your child might be slow to disclose.

 So how can you tell if your child is being bullied at school? 

KidsHealth.org offers these signs to look for:

  • Your child acts differently than normal
  • Your child seems anxious
  • Your child is not eating well
  • Your child is not sleeping well
  • Your child is not doing the activities that he or she usually enjoys
  • Your child is moodier than normal
  • Your child gets upset easier than normal
  • Your child has started avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school

If your child exhibits any of these signs, and you are concerned that he or she may be experiencing bullying, talk to them about it.  Take care to be gentle.  Ask open-ended questions (as opposed to questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’) and hold your tongue.  Don’t be quick to judge.  Validate your child’s feelings, letting your child know that it is okay to feel what he or she may be feeling. 

If your child does not disclose the bullying immediately, don’t push it.  Let your child open up when he or she is ready to.  Use ‘teachable moments’ to encourage conversation.  For instance, if there is a scene in a show about bullying, touch on that scene.  Ask your child how that person in the show might be feeling.  Look for natural ways to start a conversation.

While you may not immediately have all of the answers, promise your child that you will work it out together. 

Get in touch with someone at the school, such as a trusted counselor, teacher, or the principal.   They will know what steps need to be taken and will guide you through that process.  If your child is being threatened or physically harmed, contact the police as well.

In the meantime, encourage your child to use a ‘buddy system’, so that he or she is never alone, if the bullying is physical. If the bullying is happening on or with any kind of technology, contact the content provider.  Cyberbullying.org has an updated contact list of all providers at cyberbullying.us/report.  “Cyber bullying violates the Terms of Service of all legitimate service providers (websites, apps, internet or cell phone companies)” according to cyberbullying.org.   

If you need more information, Pacer.org is a great place to start.

And as always, go on the offensive.  Start building a good, solid relationship of trust and respect with your child now.  A good relationship will open the door for all communication down the road, not just with bullying.  If your child becomes a target, she will feel more safe and secure, talking to you about it, if you have a good relationship.

 

Making It Real…….

Start this school year off on the right foot!  Make a point of building your relationship with your child every day.  Just like a friendship or a marriage, your relationship with your child takes daily work.  You are never done; use every day moments to show your child you care.  You child will come to you when times get tough if he feels he can trust you.

Look for ways to casually discuss bullying, even if your child is not being bullied.  Talking about it now, when it is not happening, will make it easier to discuss when it is happening.  Maybe there was something about it on the news, in a movie or online?  Maybe a friend has recently been bullied.  Or maybe the school had an assembly or a class on bullying.   Use these naturally-occurring moments to discuss bullying with your child.

Has your child ever been bullied?  What did you do about it?  And did it stop the harassment?  Let us know!  Leave a comment below or head on over to Making Mommas on FaceBook to join the conversation!

 

 

Seven Steps to Bonding with Your Baby

seven steps to bonding with your baby

Seven Steps to Bonding with Your Baby

 

Your little bundle of joy has finally arrived! You look at him, lovingly, as he snoozes in his little bassinette, oblivious to the world around him. You notice his sweet breathing patterns, the little baby noises he makes, his cute little cheeks, adorable little dimples, perfect little lips. Your heart swells with love.

But you can’t help but wonder….

Now what?

I remember that very same feeling, when my husband and I brought our oldest home from the hospital. He was asleep, wrapped in a blanket on the living room floor. My husband was stretched out in front of him, face propped in his hands, just admiring his brand new son. He looks over at me with a goofy smile on his face and says “Now what?”

Now what indeed!

Parenting starts the same way nearly every adventure begins….by building a relationship.

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Seven Steps You Can Take To Build A Better Relationship With Your Teenager Today

We don’t know how it happens.

But somehow, our bouncy little boys or sweet little princesses grow up.

And grow away.

How do we go from being their whole wide world one minute, to barely being allowed in to it the next?

It’s a hard pill to swallow.  But it is normal and natural; in fact, we want our kids to move away from us and create lives of their own. It is what they are supposed to do.  (If you are still their whole wide world at age 17, then Houston, we have a problem…)

Still, we need to stay involved in their lives, not only for supervision and guidance, but also because we love our children, and want a (gulp!) adult relationship with them in a year or two.

So how do we step back in to their worlds, after being gone for so long?

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Listening To Your Child

Technology, particularly computers, cell phones and social media, has taken the “personal” out of inter-personal relationships.

It makes listening, particularly listening to your child, hard.

It’s hardly arguable that folks are more comfortable posting their thoughts on FaceBook or Twitter than they are in holding an actual conversation with another person, face to face. It is far easier to quick send a text, tweet or message than it is to carve out time for coffee and a personal visit. It can be argued that in today’s culture, people are losing the ability to be social.

As parents, we may have seen evidence of this in today’s teens. How many times do we hear “Teenagers today! They have no respect!”

In fact, you can take the phrase ‘teenagers today’ and end it with almost anything –
‘they have no boundaries!’ ‘
they don’t know what hard work is!’
‘they have no idea!’

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Seven Reasons to Play With Your Child

reasons to play with your child

We hear it time and time again…..”Mommy, plaaaay with meeee……”

I can give you seven reasons to play with your child.

But it’s hard to remember those reasons while you are washing the dishes, doing the laundry, making supper or scrubbing toilets.

It’s hard to remember seven reasons to play with your child while you are helping another child with homework or preparing to leave the house.

And it is especially hard to remember seven reasons to play with your child when you first come home, after a long day of work.

 

There is always a million other things – grown-up things – that need to get done.  The chore list never ends.  In this crazy, busy lifestyle we all have, there is little precious time to pay the bills or change the oil on the car.  So when we hear those four innocent little words, “Mommy play with me,” we cringe.

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15 Ways to be an Authoritative Parent

We’ve all done it – screamed at our child in a moment of frustration.  Even if we weren’t yelling, we’ve said some damaging things, such as “Because I told you so, that’s why!”, and “Well, when you are the dad then you get to make the rules!”, or my personal favorite, “Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!”

These statements are more harmful than good.  They do nothing to help a child work through whatever was the issue in the first place, but instead, they give an ultimatum:  I am right, you are wrong, end of story. They also undermine any discipline you will provide down the road.

It is almost painfully obvious that the best style of parenting is authoritative parenting.

But what if we are a long way from being an authoritative parent?  What if our parenting style mimics permissive parenting? What if we relate to authoritarian parenting, and bark orders at our children like a drill-sergeant, rather than a loving momma?

It is not easy to parent.  It is self-sacrificing.  It is time-consuming.  It is repetitive.  It is exhaustingContinue reading

Parenting Style Affects Your Relationship With Your Child

parenting style
It’s the first week of a new year – 2017.  This is the time when we often find ourselves making goals or resolutions….we look for ways to make this year even better than the last.  So how about improving your parenting style?

Your parenting style affects your relationship with your child.

To make good goals or resolutions in your parenting, you first have to know how you have parented in the past.   What did you do well?  What do you need to do better?  And how can you get from where you are at to where you want to be, as a parent?

The best thing a person can do to be a better parent is to focus on personal development.

Lisa Firestone, Ph.D, explains in Psychology Today, “So much of the information out there about how to be a better parent focuses on techniques for modifying your child’s behavior. But it is missing the mark. Research has shown that the one thing a person can do to be a better parent is to focus on developing him or herself. This is where a person has to start in order to be a nurturing, attuned mother or father. When it comes to parenting, there are many reasons for us to look inward and understand ourselves as people if our goal is to become a better parent.”

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