Supermom is Getting Tired
Not coping well with online school

Not coping well with online school

January 26, 2021

Not coping well with online school

Question of the Day: 

“Yesterday our superintendent said the re-opening plan for January isn’t going to happen, I’m just feeling sick this morning. Private schools have been on a hybrid model for months. At this point there are no more acceptable excuses. This is horrible for our kids. 

A few months back in march when nobody knew what we were dealing with, a national health emergency, totally understandable and fine but it’s been 10 months now. I wake up with a headache almost everyday because I too am bearing this as I am continually advocating for a child of mine who’s totally anxiety ridden, has no outlet, no activity, isolated and has a learning disability and an IEP. She should be getting the education she is entitled to. 

Getting our children back to school should be a TOP priority. Give the teachers what they’re asking for to go back safely. Find the money to do it. Who decided education wasn’t an essential business and our educators are not essential workers?”

Melaine

Parent Educator Answer:

First let me acknowledge how hard this pandemic has been, especially on teenagers. When you are feeling this overwhelmed, the first thing a life coach would do is to help you separate the facts so it feels more manageable. 

The facts are: your daughter has an IEP, a diagnosed learning challenge, and hasn’t been getting the educational support you expected her to receive this year, is that right? You also mentioned your daughter has anxiety and lacks a social outlet. It has been announced that your public schools will continue distance learning for winter of 2021. 

These are neutral circumstances. Distance learning. IEP. anxiety. What’s causing your frustration are your thoughts ABOUT these circumstances. 

When you can separate these things out, it’s easier to notice that in-person school with masks and plexi-shields, probably won’t fix her anxiety, or give her much social outlet. It might not even help her catch up academically. 

Like many kids have discovered this year, online school is not a great fit for her learning style. I imagine every kid will ‘fall behind’ in some way or another. 

If I was to choose one thing to focus on based on my education and experience, the most important thing for your daughter is her mental health and self identity. 

Developmentally, teens should be pulling away from mom and dad, and spending more time with their peers. This is the age where they learn how to adapt and fit in with their culture. Typically this age is about development of the ego. “Who am I?” “How do I fit in?” “How do I identify myself?” 

Teen identity is one of the most important developmental milestones to achieve during these years. Identifying with a group helps create a safe space to move away from the familial nest. Without this safe group, independence can feel scary and overwhelming. 

Adolescent identity comes from trying out different roles in different situations. Typically, kids have school, home, social settings and jobs to provide environments to explore their values, belief systems, sexuality, gender and personal ethics. 

Although school is OFTEN an avenue for teens to figure out who they are, it is not the ONLY place for teens to figure out who they want to be. 

Social media is a double edged sword but it can be a great place to find people expressing values you like and want to align with. When you remove teens from the social constructs of middle school, they might find they identify as a non-binary, anti-racist, born again Christian who advocates for the environment and loves jazz. It doesn’t matter if the identity sticks, she just needs a group where she can feel safe to help her bridge the gap towards independence. 

For me, high school was very overwhelming. I survived by making myself invisible. The environments that were more helpful in forming my identity were babysitting jobs, volunteer work, and teen romance novels. I was a highly sensitive extrovert so I found socializing easier within the context of work. Tell me what to say and I’ll say it. Surround me with children and there is less pressure and more acceptance. 

I would help your daughter focus on building a healthy ego and identity. 

Every experience in life is here to teach us more about who we are. What has online school taught her that she needs more of, and less of? Does she need more structure and less computer time? More accountability and less sitting? 

Can you help her identify her learning style? How does she learn best? What does she find herself gravitating towards? What have been her favorite TV shows and why? Does she find herself using her hands to create? Does she love having her pets with her all day? What does she miss? 

This year is an incredible opportunity for all of us to step away from cultural programming and get really clear on who we are and what we value. 

As she learns more about what she likes, she can start looking for activities and opportunities that align with the identity she wants to grow into. 

 

Life Coaching Answer:

You cannot do this work for her, or save her from her negative emotions. 

I remember when my son was struggling with strange symptoms that no one could figure out.  I felt lonely and scared. I tried so hard to help him but spent a lot of time feeling powerless. I often slipped into the Karpman triangle, otherwise known as the drama triangle. 

The drama triangle has three players: villain, victim, and hero

I saw my son and I as victims. Western medicine was my villain since they couldn’t diagnose him. I was DESPERATELY looking for a hero. Each new practitioner brought renewed hope that he or she would be able to rescue us from victimhood. I was mad at my husband for not being the hero. 

I remember the day I switched roles from victim to hero. I was racing to pick up another prescription from yet another doctor, certain THIS would be the answer to all our problems. When I got to the pharmacy, I found out it was called in to the wrong pharmacy and I had 15 minutes to drive across town and pick it up before it closed. I was LIVID. My heart was pounding as I ranted and raved in my car, racing to get there on time. 

On the drive there, a thought popped into my head. “I was made for days like this.” I left my victim mindset behind, put on my Supermom cape and set out to “rescue” my son from his problems. Feeling like the hero who was rescuing her son felt WAY better than feeling helpless so I decided from now on, I would be the greatest, most resourceful mom on the planet. I would figure this out and be the hero. 

But in order for me to be the hero, my son had to become the victim. Luckily, he did not tolerate this role for very long and “fired me” when he turned 14. 

Once I was no longer allowed to play the role of hero, I felt lost and confused. Until I took all the lessons I was learning and turned it into my class called “Leading Your Teen”, helping other moms who get stuck in the drama triangle with their teenagers. 

You can see this drama triangle playing out in politics, in fairy tales, in friendships. It makes for compelling storylines and dramatic reality TV shows, but it’s exhausting and pulls us into our lower selves. 

To solve problems from your higher self, you need to shift out of the drama triangle and into the empowerment triangle. The empowerment triangle has three roles: Creator, challenger and coach.

Change the role of victim, to that of creator. Creators take responsibility for the circumstances they have control over and use their creativity to make something new that may have never existed before. Instead of seeing your daughter as the victim, believe in her ability to rise to the occasion. Hold a higher vision for her, believing she can create the life she wants, no matter what is happening with school. 

The villain becomes the challenger. If online school becomes the challenge, it offers healthy pressure to create a breakthrough. In sports, there is no blame placed on the opposing team, no matter how dominant they may be. You just focus on the challenge in front of you and utilize what resources you have. Kids often learn what they DON’T like and want, before they learn what they DO like, so if nothing else, this challenging year has helped with that. 

The hero becomes the coach. Coaches don’t try to fix anyone. They see everyone as fully empowered creators of their own lives and support them in taking responsibility for what they most want. It can be very frustrating to try and play the hero in your kids’ lives because there is so much you don’t have control over and teens don’t like to be disempowered in that way. By becoming the coach, you get to support, encourage, offer guidance and have a lot more fun.

 

Supermom Kryptonite: The drama triangle

Today’s Supermom Kryptonite is the drama triangle because it can be so draining, frustrating, exhausting and keep you stuck in it. We get so used to living with high drama that it seems boring or empty to live without it. This makes us hold onto it and find new avenues for us to get the adrenaline rush of heroic drama.

We can feel a sense of belonging and righteousness by aligning with an extreme political party who believes in the victim, villain, hero mindset. 

We can have conflictual family relationships when we are looking to stay in the drama triangle. We quit our jobs, hoping to find something better, only to end up right back in the same situation.

Learning to let go of the victim, villain, hero mindset and shift into creator, challenger, and coach may feel weird and different, but the energy you gain by being empowered is worth the trade off.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Conversation Cards

Are you getting bored of your family dinner conversations? Or maybe you eat in front of the TV because dinner conversations are so unpleasant. Or maybe you dread dinner time because everyone ends up bickering. 

If any of these sound familiar, I’m going to recommend you buy a box of conversation topics. There are many different brands but you can keep a box on the kitchen table or take them in the car. It’s a great way to get to know more about your kids, how they think and open up new topics of discussion. 

If you are wanting to be a part of the solution for the political divide in our country, this is a fun way to do it. The goal of conversation cards isn’t to come to consensus and agree, it’s to explore topics with no right or wrong answer. 

Would you rather live in a tree house or on a boat? Do you know how both sets of grandparents met? What was the best part of your day? What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten? 

When you use conversation cards with your kids, it shows them you care about who they are, what they think and how they feel. The basic need all kids have is to feel seen, heard and felt by their parents. Plus, it makes dinner time more interesting and teaches your kids good conversation skills. 

Quote of the Day:

“Part of the adventure here is not just developing creativity in kids, but thinking about school in a different way.”   Sir Ken Robinson

I don’t want to be lazy and self indulgent by hiring a housecleaner

I don’t want to be lazy and self indulgent by hiring a housecleaner

January 12, 2021

Torie, 

I'd love to have a monthly house cleaner. I'm just not all that good at keeping the house clean. I mean, I can keep it tidy and I try to stay on top of the house cleaning to-do list, but it never really looks all that clean. At least not all at once. I never finish the job, and I just don't enjoy it. But it seems too indulgent for several reasons. 

The reason I always use is: "It costs too much money." But honestly, our finances aren't that tight any longer, and we could afford it. 

The other reason has to do more with the perceptions of class and some harsh judgmental attitudes I was raised with concerning people who have things like house cleaners and gardeners. The perception is that having people do the work for you makes you lazy and spoiled, and well, self-indulgent. Because if you can't clean your own house, what good are you? Are you even pulling your own weight?

Jamie

Life Coaching Answer:

What you’ve got here is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. Part of you would love a housecleaner. You like the idea of having the whole house thoroughly clean at one time so you can enjoy it.  But the other part of you doesn’t want a housecleaner because if you had one, you would think negative thoughts about yourself like “I’m not pulling my weight” and “I’m lazy, spoiled and self-indulgent” and “What good am I?” 

You did a great job of identifying all the reasons why you haven’t hired a housecleaner. This is the first step. The second step is to QUESTION these beliefs you were raised with. 

Are you pulling your own weight? How would you know? 

What percentage of your day is spent giving, versus receiving? 

Most people who have your belief system tend to GIVE 95% of the time and RECEIVE, 5%, not a healthy balance if you ask me. 

“Lazy” is probably the last word people would use to describe you. How would you know if you were being lazy? Well, you probably would have a messier house? You might spend hours a day “self-indulging” on Netflix.? Think of a mom you would label as lazy. What percentage of her day is spent relaxing? If you hired a monthly house cleaner, does that mean you would suddenly spend 85% of your day lounging around? 

These beliefs you have don’t hold up to scrutiny. I don’t think a monthly housecleaner is going to dramatically change your personality or your values. You will still be YOU, just with a cleaner house. 

Many of us grow up thinking that every thought we think is truth. Look what’s happening with the extreme democrats and the republicans, both parties think their thoughts are the TRUTH. They will adamantly stand by their convictions believing they are the only ones fighting for freedom and democracy. 

You could call this “lazy” thinking. 

It’s important to question our beliefs, especially ones involving such harsh judgment. 

I want you to think of another mom you really like and admire, who has a housekeeper. Do you think she is spoiled and lazy? If I told you that I have a housecleaner and a gardener, would you think to yourself, “What good is she?” Most of us reserve these harsh judgements for ourselves. We use these self- critical comments to keep us locked in a prison of our own making. They show up everytime we try to change or go outside our comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen. 

Are people who clean their own houses more valuable members of society than people who don’t? What about men? Are they lazy and self indulgent if they let their wives clean their house? 

Sometimes it’s embarrassing or amusing to uncover these programmed beliefs that entered our brains without us even realizing it. You just need to give your brain an update like you do with software on your computer. 

 

Step 1 - Notice what you want. 

Step 2 - Ask yourself why wanting it is bad and wrong. Write down all the thoughts that keep you from getting what you want. 

Step 3 - Question those beliefs! Are they true? Do they apply to everyone? Are they kind? Do I like these thoughts? Are they aligned with who I want to be?

Step 4 - Who would I be without those thoughts? Ask people with housecleaners what thoughts they think to make it ok in their mind. Did it turn them into self-indulgent people? What do I really value?

 

If you have a housecleaner, go into the Supermom is Getting Tired Facebook Group and tell us how you justify it. 

Here is how I think about it: 

As a life coach, I want people to do work they love. I believe we all have special skills, talents and inclinations and when we listen and obey those callings, it fulfills our purpose here on Earth. How do you know if you are on the right track? It feels amazing. 

I know that cleaning houses is not my life’s mission and calling because I don’t enjoy it. But you know who does? House Cleaners! They LOVE restoring order to a big mess. Transforming a house, moving the energy in a home, bringing new life into a place. They love the physical rigor, listening to music, talking with their friends while making people’s living environments more beautiful. 

If I clean my own house, I am taking away an opportunity for others to do work they love. I take time away from my mission and purpose and spend it on an activity that lowers my vibration. I CAN clean my own house, I just prefer to encourage people to follow their passions. I CAN color my own hair, but I would rather support my hairdressers passion. 

Who would you be with a little self indulgence in your life?

My hunch is you would be a little more relaxed. A little more balanced. Yell at the kids less. Appreciate your partner more. Laugh easier and play games.

I mean really, what good are you then? 

Supermom Kryptonite - A fear of relaxation 

Those of us who grew up with the old Protestant work ethic "all work and no play is the path to heaven" or  “If you have time to LEAN, you have time to CLEAN”, can develop a fear of relaxation. Sprinkle a little Catholic or Jewish guilt on top and sitting still can cause a panic. The reason for this is because as soon as you kick up your heels or indulge in a relaxing activity, in comes this mean drill sergeant/nun voice in your head telling you how lazy and self indulgent you are. 

 

Instead of talking to our inner nun/drill sergeant, we avoid them by working to the point of exhaustion. But here’s the thing. Our higher self KNOWS we are meant to live in harmony and will try and restore equilibrium by SNEAKING indulgences behind our own backs. Staying up later than we want watching TV, inhaling potato chips in the car before we even get home to unpack our groceries, or getting sick or having body pains are all ways our higher self will try to restore balance without asking permission first. 

 

It’s better to purposefully indulge and relax. Start off small. 5 minutes of relaxation in the middle of the day. Talk to your inner drill sergeant and remind her that it’s ok, no one will die if you just relax a little. Remind her how important it is to refuel your tank, that it will make you MORE productive if you are more rested. The more evidence you can give your brain that relaxing doesn’t kill you, the easier it will be to enjoy it. 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Sacred Chocolate Time

 

When the pandemic hit and we were all staying home for days on end, I found myself in need of rituals. I always had school schedules to give structure to the day and without it, I needed something to help me anchor my day. I discovered Sacred Chocolate Time. 

I went and bought my FAVORITE chocolates and told my family these were MY sacred chocolates and no one was to touch them but me. Every evening, I take out the box and smell it. I put my full attention on the chocolate and I savor the taste, smell, texture all of it. It started to become my favorite part of the day. 

So I started to play around with the word “sacred” and began wondering where else I could apply it? I tried "Sacred Teeth Brushing” but it didn’t work too well. "Sacred Dish Washing" was really nice the one time I put music on and lit a candle while savoring the warm soapy water, but it was hard to maintain. The one that has stuck around the most is “Sacred Pet-the-Doggy Time” which just makes me smile every time.

Instead of having your higher self create balance by sneaking in indulgences, do it deliberately by adding the word sacred to it. “Sacred Watch-The Bachelor-While-Facetiming-Best-Friend Time” “Sacred Bath Time” “Sacred Coffee-and-Journal Time”. Your inner drill sergeant/nun can’t argue as easily when you use the word sacred in front of your relaxation. 

 

Quote of the Day:

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Mary Oliver

Is 2021 looking dismal….or wonderful?

Is 2021 looking dismal….or wonderful?

December 30, 2020

2020 has been...well.....interesting...and A LOT was of the burden was dumped on MOMS!

It has taught us that anything can change on a dime and we are more adaptable than we thought.

Let's make sure we use these lessons to make 2021 the best year yet.

If it feels like your family, COVID, schools and work have more say over your calendar than you do, it's time to take charge.

If you are tired of feeling tired, like your to-do list is DRAGGING you through your days, then I have just the thing for you.

If you are watching family members struggle, you NEED to be able to hold a higher vision for them, and yourself.

On Saturday, January 9th, I am holding an online event called "Higher Vision: 2021"

This workshop will tune your attention to a positive future.

It will teach you how to listen to your instinctual intelligence and follow this higher self towards a life that is right for you.

If you feel like you lost yourself a bit this year and you want to reconnect with the best version of you, click here to learn more and register for this fun, easy, inexpensive event on January 9th.

 

HIGHER VISION 2021 - CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Why am I doing all the work?

Why am I doing all the work?

December 15, 2020

Why am I doing all the work?

Dear Torie,

Why am I doing all the work? I know I do too much for my family but December is pushing me past my breaking point. I am so overwhelmed trying to shop, clean, finish up my work projects, help kids with school projects, and make the holidays special for my family. I know I should require more of my kids and my husband. He SAYS he is willing to help but I hate having to ask him and I don’t have the energy to deal with complaining kids. I don’t like believing that I’m controlling or micromanaging, I WANT them to step up, but it just feels easier to do it all myself. How do I break the habit of doing all the work myself, getting resentful and then losing my cool? I feel embarrassed and guilty when I break down, yell and cry, but it seems to be the only way my family steps up to help me.

Thank you, Torie!

Stephanie

Parent Educator Answer:

What we have here is a co-mingling of chores and emotions. What will help this tired Supermom is to separate out her emotions from the distribution of labor in the house.

If we had a group of attorneys sit down at a boardroom table, they could work out who does what with no drama or emotion. Even if it’s not fair and equal, they could still come to an agreement without yelling, crying, or getting resentful. 

Let’s talk about “emotional childhood.” When you are a young child, you are completely dependent on your external environment to feel an emotion. You need your parents to act a certain way to make you feel safe and loved. You needed a stimulating environment to keep you from boredom. When you are lonely, you want instant attention and companionship. 

Emotional childhood is a normal and appropriate state for children. It is a powerless, helpless, dependent state that wants immediate gratification. No matter how old you are, if you are blaming others for your EMOTIONAL STATE, you are coming from emotional childhood.

It becomes a problem when we carry emotional childhood into adulthood. As moms, we blame our families for how we FEEL. 

We think “If they would help me out more, I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed.” We put our emotions in the hands of others. 

We say things like, “I can’t relax until all my work is done.” When we do this, we blame our to-do list or our messy kitchen, for feeling anxious. 

In order for Stephanie to feel better, she’s got to take responsibility for her emotions. 

Emotional Adulthood is taking responsibility for our own emotions. We feel powerful. Instead of blame, we take ownership over how we feel. We can delay gratification because we are in our frontal lobes instead of our reactive emotional brain. 

The answer to Stephanie’s question, “Why am I doing all the work?” is because she is operating from emotional childhood. If she switch emotional adulthood, she would have an easier time advocating for herself, asking for help and cutting herself slack.  

When we ask for what we want with no apologies, we have to believe we are worthy of receiving it. It comes from knowing you are deserving of help and support. Stephanie would probably feel shame admitting she can’t do it all and vulnerable because she might not get what she asks for. 

These are some uncomfortable emotions that she doesn’t want to feel so it’s easier to stay stuck in the blame and resentment that goes along with emotional childhood. 

To get out of this cycle, Stephanie would need to take responsibility for what feelings she is creating inside her own mind. 

 

Life Coaching Answer:

What gets in our way is cultural programming that a good mom should be able to do everything and never ask for help. I don’t know where and how this programming infiltrated into our psyches but it seems pretty universal. Admitting you need help feels vulnerable.

Requiring more of your children means you have to believe you are deserving, and tolerate their negative emotions without making it mean anything about you. When we make our kids do chores and they grumble or complain, we think thoughts like, “I can’t handle this” which sends us right back to emotional childhood.

We want our families to step up and help us without being told. We want them to notice when mom is working hard and immediately jump in and rescue us from our negative emotions. We don’t want to ASK for their help because then we’d have to be in emotional adulthood, asking for what you want without shame.

When we try to control and micromanage things, it’s always because we are scared. Scared of what our inner critic is going to say to us about our worthiness. We think the only way to feel safe is to “do everything right”. We don’t realize that the feeling of safety comes from being an emotional adult. When we are in emotional adulthood, we can allow things to be done imperfectly, we can wait a day before doing the dishes and it doesn’t derail us. We can hold our kids accountable and not have to yell and “lose it”, because we know it’s good for kids to do chores.

What gets in our way from emotional adulthood are thoughts like, “it’s too hard” or “I’m too tired”. We think that believing in our worth, asking for help, being vulnerable and willing to be rejected is too hard. This thought will kick you right back to helpless victim every time.

The best way to shift into emotional adulthood is to ask yourself, “How do I want to feel and how do I want to think about this situation?”

It’s December, Stephanie has a lot on her plate. How does she WANT to feel about all the things going on? Excited about the holidays and a break from school? Grateful to have something to look forward to? She gets to decide.

But if Stephanie is like a lot of my clients, as soon as she hears this podcast she will go down a shame spiral…”Oh no, I’m in emotional childhood! I’m doing it wrong! I should be in emotional adulthood! I’m terrible and failing…”

THIS IS NOT HELPFUL.

In fact, it’s the GUILT that keeps her stuck in the same “I’m not worthy of  help” place. If you can’t get yourself out of the guilt-shame-unworthy spin cycle, get yourself into life coaching right away.

In order to get her kids to help out, Stephanie needs to….
1. Step into her power and authority with calm assertiveness.
2. Feel worthy and deserving of help.
3. Ask for what she wants with no minimizing or justifying.
4. Be ok with an imperfect result.

This will feel uncomfortable. She might tell herself she’s being “mean” or “rude” or “selfish”. She might decide it’s not worth the effort. This is not true. Emotional Adulthood is ALWAYS worth the effort.Taking control of your emotions and believing you are deserving of what you want, will free you in ways you cannot believe.

 

Supermom Kryptonite:

I notice there are certain people around whom I am more likely to shift into emotional childhood. When I am near someone with strong, competent, “alpha” energy, it’s amazing how quickly I will revert back to emotional childhood. I get weak and confused and I just want them to come and rescue me.

Whenever I’m teaching or coaching, I’m always in emotional adulthood. It doesn’t matter if I’m teaching children or adults, I will step outside my comfort zone and take full responsibility for the energy I create.

It’s really helpful to look at yourself with curiosity and notice when you slip into emotional childhood and when you stand in your power and emotional adulthood?

 

Supermom Power Boost: 

Are you surrounded by people but craving alone time? Do you need a break but can’t figure out where to go to get one? Many of my clients are learning to make their car their sanctuary. I have clients who sit in their parked cars in their driveway to take their coaching calls. Sometimes they drive to a beautiful park or place with a nice view, sometimes it’s the Target parking lot. 

If you have a car, you have a mobile sanctuary at your disposal. Keep your journal in the glove compartment and a cozy blanket in the back. Listen to your favorite song or podcast. Linger outside the grocery store and play solitaire on your phone. Have a heart to heart phone call with your friend. Watch a movie or show that is inappropriate for kids but fun for you. 

Once you believe you are worthy and deserving of rest and relaxation, you will be amazed at how creative you can be in making it happen. 

 

Quote of the Day:

“Give yourself permission to want what you want.” Torie Henderson 

My teen is using marijuana to cope with stress

My teen is using marijuana to cope with stress

December 1, 2020

Question of the Day:

Dear Torie, 

“My oldest son just confided in me that he has been using marijuana to cope with COVID anxiety, the stress of online school and the sadness of missing so many things. How do I respond? Is he telling me because he’s concerned? Does he want me to set boundaries? I’m not sure what to say to him, can you help?” 

To help me answer this question is my best friend and youth educator, Marlene Mahurin.

Marlene works for the Nevada County office of education to bring prevention education into classrooms by educating teachers and peers at middle and high schools. 

Marlene suggests asking for more information. Most teens use marijuana for fun and to party, or to help cope with stressful emotions. This mom’s son has already said he is using it to cope with stress. 

What are healthy alternatives to managing stress? Are you modeling healthy alternatives to managing your own stress? If Mom is using a glass of wine to manage her stress, it may be a good time to brainstorm other ways to wind down that may work for both of you. 

Face timing friends, going for a walk, exercising, meditation apps, journaling, bedtime story apps, are all healthy alternatives to managing stress. 

What teens should know about marijuana:

  1. In the 80’s marijuana had 3-5% THC in a product. Now marijuana plants are closer to 30% THC. Edibles and oils can be up to 90%. 
  2. Introducing a brain altering substance before the age of 25 can have long term negative effects for youth. The longer they can wait to try them, the risk of addiction goes down. 
  3. Marijuana has been reclassified as an addictive substance now that the potency to THC has gone up. While the PERCEPTION of harm has decreased, the reality of today’s marijuana is that it’s more harmful than ever. 
  4. While the brain is in a rapid growth state, any substance you introduce can cause the brain to grow around it and become dependent on it. 

 

Can you appeal to your child’s sense of independence and not wanting to become dependent on a substance? 

Can you talk to your child’s desire to be healthy or his ambitions for the future? 

Make sure you are looking at the long term effects of marijuana use, not just the short term. It might help you fall asleep in the short term, but the sleep problems didn’t start until marijuana use began. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way?

Watching our child be stressed! It is really hard to live with anyone stressed or who has anxiety and depression. When it’s your kid, and you are a Supermom, it's especially hard! We get highly invested and work really hard to get them to feel better so we can feel better. 

It can be difficult to watch our kids feel uncomfortable and sit with their suffering even when that’s exactly what needs to happen. 

It’s important to use the stress to learn more about ourselves. We need to dig into the root cause of anxiety, not cover up with a quick fix. What has this year taught you that you want more of and less of? When you cover up the longing, the sadness and frustration, you miss the opportunity to make your life better. 

Listen to the discomfort and stress and use it to become a better version of yourself. 

Consider hiring a life coach for your teenager. You wouldn’t let them play a sport without a coach. Why not get them a coach to help them with life? Therapy is great if they are clinically depressed and unable to function without drugs. If they are functional, still doing school and socializing, but want to feel better, life coaching is a great fit. 

We want our teenagers to have lots of experiences of feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable towards a long term goal. As moms, we can encourage our teens to allow their discomfort and take emotional risks that will give them the long term results they want. Courage doesn’t feel good but it’s a feeling we all need to practice right now. 

Before you talk to your teen: 

The energy you are in when you talk to your teen is very important. Make sure you have fleshed  out all your fears in a journal, with a friend, coach or counselor. Write in your journal and be on the lookout for catastrophizing and futurizing. Release those fears and come back to the present moment with clean energy.  Don’t try and talk to your child if you have any sense of urgency.

Ask yourself “Who do I want to be when talking to my child about marijuana?” “What emotion do I want to be in?” 

 

When you are ready to talk to your teen: 

Thank them for bringing it up. Stay calm and neutral in your tone. Ask questions that open up communication. Encourage them to share their experiences with you. Not only might your conversation be helpful to your child, you empower your young adult to be a resource and help roommates, friends or neighbors who might be struggling. 

 

Ask your teen: 

How often are you using? 

A year from now, how will you feel if you are still using it to cope with stress? 

At what point would you get concerned about your marijuana use? 

 

Err on the side of caution. Seek help from teen clinics, Narcotics Anonymous or other services in your community who specialize in addiction. 

www.nevco.org/tupe

Should I push my child if I think it’s good for her?

Should I push my child if I think it’s good for her?

November 17, 2020

Episode 86 - Should I push my child to play at a higher level?

Question of the Day:

Should I push my child to do something uncomfortable if I think it will be good for her? 

“My daughter is one of the best athletes on her team. She is good enough to try out for the more competitive traveling team, but she’s afraid of the commitment and the travel. 

Believe it or not, she would rather be the best player on her current team than challenge herself to play on a better team. She just wants to have fun and play with her friends. By almost 13, I feel like it has to be her decision; but then it makes me feel like I’m encouraging her NOT to push herself in life and that makes me feel like a bad mom! 

I worry so much that this will transfer to other things in her life! She’s such a great athlete, it’s a shame seeing her play low. I feel like it’s a confidence thing, but I don’t know how as everyone tells her she’s the best player. Do I let her decide what she plays, or do I push her into something new and uncomfortable?”

Elana

Parent Educator Answer:  

It sounds like your daughter is pretty clear that she just wants to play with her friends. If she doesn’t have that competitive spirit and drive that makes her want to be better, there is nothing wrong with that. 

If she is choosing NOT to play up out of fear, that is another matter. 

A good rule of thumb for kids and parents is to live on the edge of your comfort zone. 

We like to stay inside our comfort zones because it feels predictable and safe. If we ONLY stay inside our comfort zones, life gets pretty boring. When we AVOID things that feel scary, we can develop anxiety sensitivity. We become afraid of feeling afraid. 

It’s important to purposefully put ourselves in uncomfortable situations on a regular basis. This is how we slowly expand our comfort zone, making the uncomfortable, comfortable.

It sounds like your daughter is comfortable with where she is now. You can encourage her to try things that are slightly new and different, rather than completely new. Maybe she can talk to the coach about ways she can improve or about becoming team captain. 

An almost-13-year-old is already living outside her comfort zone. The push and pull between childhood and adulthood, the hormones and changing body, the precarious friendships, the compare and despair of social media... it’s a really difficult time to take on something new, scary, and different!  Just being an almost-13-year-old IS living on the edge of her comfort zone. 

Here’s what I suggest you do to support your nervous athlete: celebrate doing scary things together. Each day, brag to each other about ONE little thing you did that scared you. 

“I ordered a new drink from Starbucks” 

“I invited a new neighbor over for backyard social distancing”

“I asked a classmate if she wanted to study together”

“I talked to my coach about more play time” 

“I signed up for life coaching”

Instead of thinking fear is something to avoid, she will start to view it as something to be proud of. When she sees her mom taking risks, it takes the spotlight off of her (which most tweens are uncomfortable with). Then she can be the encouragement and cheerleader for her mom and not be the only one doing scary things. This feeling of solidarity makes facing fears more comfortable. 

The next thing I would do is ask enough questions to really understand what she’s scared of. What has she heard about the traveling team that makes her think she wouldn’t love it? Why does committing make her nervous? Is it the unknown? Is she afraid of disappointing the coach? When your energy is relaxed and neutral, ask questions to see if you can learn more.

After she gives you more details, use your imagination to create her ideal situation. 

“So, in a perfect world, you would get to play at a higher level, with the friends who are currently on your team, two days a week, but no tournaments, with a super nice coach?” 

When you reflect back what she is saying, she will have mental clarity and a sense of calm. 

Then ask her:

“If you don’t try out for the competitive team, what would be the reason? Do you like your reason?”

“If you do try out, what would be your reason? Do you like your reason?” 

 

Whichever choice she makes, encourage her to have a reason she feels proud of. 

My answer to the question of “Should I push my child?” is absolutely yes, unless she has a good reason not to. 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in your way from trusting your instincts and what’s best for your daughter? 

FUTURIZING and CATASTROPHIZING 

“I worry so much that this will transfer to other things in her life!”

You are taking her behavior at 12 and thinking it symbolic of who she is going to be at 23. Nobody tops out at 12. Every year after this she will get wiser and braver, especially if she has your support.

 

HIGH EXPECTATIONS: “Believe it or not, she would rather be the best player on her current team than challenge herself to play on a better team.”  

  • I absolutely believe it! I would love to just play with my friends. I’m not a fierce competitor. I don’t like pushing my body to perform at its most optimal. I’m guessing you do, Mama? She’s 12. She wants friends who like her. She doesn’t want to stand out.
  • It could be helpful to take a look at any ideas you have about success, ambition, and competition that make you surprised by this. How would your parents have reacted if this was your decision? I’m guessing either you or a parent of yours was very competitive.

 

PRESSURE and GUILT:

 “I’m encouraging her NOT to push herself in life and that makes me feel like a bad mom!”

 

SHAME:

 “It’s a shame seeing her play low.” 

  • What are you making it mean about her and about you that makes you feel shame about this? 

 

OVER IDENTIFICATION:

 “I feel like it’s a confidence thing.” 

  • Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s separate out her stuff from yours and focus on getting YOU to feel confident in your parenting. What if you knew for certain that the way you were parenting was the perfect way? How would that change the way you handle this situation? 

 

Moms are not always the best at knowing what’s right for our kids because we have SO MANY things that block us from having a clear view of what is right for them. We are too focused on safety. We want our kids to be safe and for us to not be embarrassed or make mistakes. Life coaching clears up the confusion so you know in your gut what is right and how to help. 

Have her talk to older athletes or family who played sports at a high level and get their take on it. Get advice from people other than mom, who have been there. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Thinking your job is to make kids comfortable

When babies are little, it’s our job to make them comfortable. To make sure they are happy because happiness is a sign of being well fed, well rested, adequately stimulated and having their needs met. If our babies are unhappy, it’s a signal for us to step up and take care of them.

As children grow older, our job changes. We love to see our preschoolers happy, but our job is more about holding boundaries: making sure they eat and sleep even when they protest loudly, teaching them not to throw their food when they are finished, how to get along with others by sharing and taking turns, how to ask for what they want. We do want to pay attention to their unhappiness or discomfort, but sometimes we sacrifice their desires for our values. We say no to cookies and yes to veggies. We teach our kids that a temporary discomfort (going to the dentist) is worth a long term goal (clean, healthy teeth).  

If you are trying to make your TEENAGER happy and comfortable all the time, you are going to fail. Nobody is supposed to be happy all the time; especially not teenagers! Growth feels uncomfortable. They are changing their identity, taking risks, putting themselves out there to fail or be rejected….it all feels terrible! Your job as a mom of a teen is to be their soft place to land. Be their cheerleader and coach. Support their goals, interests, and passions. 

If your child’s passion is hanging out with her friends and enjoying recreational sports, you can encourage that. If your child is passionate about playing at a higher level and pushing herself outside her comfort zone, you can support her in that. 

You aren’t failing if your kid isn’t living up to their potential. Nobody lives up to their potential. 

You aren’t failing if your kid is unhappy and uncomfortable. Growth involves taking risks and facing fears. Adolescence is a messy time. Parenting is a messy job. There is no right and wrong. 

 

Supermom Power Boost: Constructive Adversity

Adversity is defined by Random House Unabridged Dictionary as, “A condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress.” Constructive is defined as, “to improve or promote further advancement of.” 

I got the term “Constructive Adversity” from a school called Tahoe Expedition Academy who uses adverse environments to expand a student’s comfort zone, develop real-life skills, and create lasting knowledge. 

When I think of constructive adversity, I think of purposefully putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations for the advancement of creativity, character, and growth. 

Once your kids reach the tween years, taking care of kids has become our comfort zone. Putting our children’s needs before our own and focusing on their well being has become easy and familiar. 

If you are asking your kids to embrace risk and go outside their comfort zone, make sure you are doing the same things. 

Deliberately doing things outside your comfort zone has so many benefits:

Taking small, daily risks can prevent anxiety, depression, and the trap of perfectionistic thinking. It keeps life exciting, helping you feel fully present and alive.

It fosters resilience and grit, making you more willing to try new things.

It helps you trust your gut and teaches you to differentiate between fear and intuition. 

It gives you practice in managing your brain.

It encourages perseverance, builds problem-solving skills and creative thinking. 

The benefits are tremendous. 

So go out there and take a risk in alignment with your values and who you want to become. 

 

Quote of the Day: “If it is still in your mind, it’s worth taking the risk.” Paulo Coelho

 

P.S. A note from my son the editor and reluctant superstar athlete: 

DEFINITELY the mom should push her daughter to try out. The daughter should probably feel like it's her choice but the mom definitely should push her. Since everything is so uncomfortable at that age, you're ALWAYS going to try to take the easy path. 

This is basically the most important year for her if she wants to have a chance of playing in high school. Worst thing that happens if she doesn't like it is that it is too much and too competitive and she realizes really early that she only wants to play casually and then she can do that and not waste time. The alternative of staying on the team she’s on will probably just see her interest slowly peter out as her friends from that team drop out of the sport or she doesn’t make the high school team. At that age you have no sense of what more competition looks like and the idea of having to make new friends is always scary so the daughter almost certainly will say no, even if she does like being a competitor. If she didn’t like the sport or didn’t like to compete, she wouldn’t be the best player on her team. I agree with all the ideas about the mom taking risks alongside her daughter to support her, but she definitely should push her daughter.

Disappointed Daughter

Disappointed Daughter

November 3, 2020

Last week, in episode #84, I answered a question from a mom, Elana, whose daughter had outgrown a friendship and wanted to move on. The problem Elana was dealing with was pressure from the other girl's mom, who was desperate for help in maintaining their daughters' friendship. Elana wanted to be nice and do the right thing, but also wanted to support her daughter being able to choose who she wanted to hang out with.

The day before this podcast was released I received an email from another mom, Tracy, who felt desperate to help her daughter with her friendships. The synchronicity was too perfect to pass up so I asked Tracy if she would let me coach her on the podcast so we can learn what it's like to be on the other side of things.

I want to be clear that Tracy is not the same mom Elana referred to in episode 84. Just another mom in a similar situation. My hope is that by listening to both sides, all Supermoms will grow in compassion and understanding to help deal with these types of situations.

Hi Torie

"My 11 year old daughter wants to break into a friend group and it's tough. One of the girls she is good friends with and they have played together, but with the remaining 5 girls, we ask for playdates after school and to ‘do online school’ together and it seems like there is always an excuse. These girls are in her ‘class’ this year, but there is no relationship yet. I text their moms and ask for them to play, but it is one-sided. I am not in this social group. I feel desperate when I am texting them and kicking myself for maybe not making my daughter do soccer so that we would be in this group!"

"How do you explain to your child that we are sounding desperate?!?!!?!!?"

"In the meantime, I encourage her to branch out and play with and get to know other girls in her class. She is not interested in doing so. So heart-breaking. She is super outgoing and very social. Yes, she sees her older sisters having friends over and making their own playdates, so it makes it extra hard for her."

"I would love your advice. I listen to you weekly and think you are the BEST!!!"

Thanks, 

Tracy

Dealing with daughter’s friendship drama

Dealing with daughter’s friendship drama

October 20, 2020

Episode #84  Daughter’s friendship drama

Question of the Day: Hi, how do I navigate my daughters friendship problems! I have a 13 year old daughter who has a nice group of friends, but recently she’s been on the outs with her best friend who just happens to live in our neighborhood and we are friends with the parents. Every time my daughter hangs with another friend without her “best” friend, she gets mad and posts on social media things like “thanks for not including me”.  When my daughter has a different friend over, the mom and daughter walk their dog and circle in front of our house to see who is over. It’s incredibly annoying and makes my daughter even more upset with her.

My daughter has had it and doesn’t want to be friends. The mother keeps pushing, trying to get them together. When my daughter says no, the mom will text me saying why is my daughter doing this? I have had it. I would think by 13 they are able to decide who they want to be friends with right??? 

 

I have tried to say to my daughter that in life it’s better to forgive people and give them a second chance and to try and be empathetic so then she feels bad and when her friend keeps pushing and asks her to go for a bike ride or hang out she caves and says yes but then comes home and tells me she doesn’t like her anymore and doesn’t feel comfortable around her. Finally today I said to her you have to trust your gut and if that’s really how you feel you deserve to be with friends who make you happy and that it’s ok to just say no. She seemed relieved. But, the mom doesn’t stop. She keeps texting me asking how we can get them back to being best friends. 

We keep saying no thanks and she keeps inviting, making my daughter look like a mean girl. 

 

Parent Educator answer: 

As a parent educator, I like to start with what is developmentally normal and appropriate for the social development of 12-13 year old girls. At this age, it is very common to see a disruption in friendships. Just like trying on outfits to see which one fits best, girls try on friendships to see which is most comfortable. Do I like creative, imaginative friends? Bossy friends? Friends who are into boys and TikTok? Friends who like playing outside? Girls are changing fast during these ages, so it makes sense that friendships will change too. Tears and friendship drama are to be expected.. 

 

It sounds like your daughter’s biggest struggle is the last line where you wrote: “We keep saying no thanks and she keeps inviting, making my daughter look like a mean girl.” 

 

Nobody wants to be labeled a mean girl, but this label is TOXIC for middle school girls. EVERYONE I HAVE EVER MET is a nice person who sometimes says or does mean things. I have never met a “mean girl.” They do not exist. We are complex creatures who go through life doing “mean things” and “nice things.” How else are we supposed to learn? 

But avoiding the mean girl label has imprisoned many girls into not trusting their gut. 

 

The simple truth is that your daughter doesn’t want to be friends with her best friend anymore. The friend does not want to let her go and her attempts to hold on are driving your daughter further away. 

 

I would tell your daughter to be as clear as possible with this friend. “I want to take a break from our friendship. I would like 30 days (or 60 or 90) without any expectations of texting or seeing each other. If you invite me I will say no. If you text me, I will not text back. At the end of this time frame, we can re-evaluate and see what works best for both of us.” 

 

Life Coaching Answer: People pleasing

I am as big a people pleaser as they come, and my heart goes out to you trying to navigate this situation in a way that maintains your relationship. It seems like the same thing that is getting in your daughter’s way is also getting in your way: fear of being perceived as mean. 

 

It would be wonderful if this mother/daughter duo would pick up on your hints and peacefully let this friendship die a natural death. If they could let your daughter make her own choices and do what she wants without repercussions, you wouldn’t have to be involved. But they aren’t. 

 

Which means you and your daughter are going to have to give them permission to think poorly of you. Give the friend permission to post rude things on social media. Give the mom permission to talk about you behind your back. This is their business. They are free to be themselves just like you are free to do what you want. Might as well give them permission to do what they are going to do anyway. 

 

Just like this mother/daughter duo is keeping you tied on a short leash, trying to manipulate you into following their agenda, you are doing the same. You are keeping them on a short leash, hoping they will continue to believe in your goodness. This act of trying to control someone else’s perception of you is exhausting. Better to let go and give them permission to think whatever they want to think. You and your daughter are good people. Every person in the world doesn’t have to agree with that in order for it to be true. 

 

Sometimes we have to surrender to the reality that is presenting itself to us. This mother/daughter duo doesn’t want to let your daughter go. Your daughter wants to go. The question to ask yourself is, “Do I want them to like me or do I want ME to like me?” 

You can be nice and also set clear boundaries. THEY might not think you are being nice, but that’s not your business. In the long run, it is kinder to set clear boundaries than it is to be wishy-washy. 

Does your daughter want them to think she is nice or does she want to be free? 

Be clear, be firm, be loving to everyone involved. This is an important life skill for your daughter to learn. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: The Pygmalion effect (aka self-fulfilling prophecy) 

 

The Pygmalion effect is a sociological idea that says that the way you treat someone has a direct impact on how that person acts. When you believe something will happen, you can consciously or unconsciously make that happen.

 

In this situation, this mother/daughter duo is RESISTING letting go of the friendship, holding on with a very tight grip. Their desperation and jealousy is causing your daughter to push back even more, making the friendship hard to tolerate. If they could be more relaxed and open about the friendship changing, your daughter wouldn’t NEED to separate so strongly! 

 

This possessive mother/daughter duo is making it really difficult for your daughter to make any choices OTHER than to cut ties completely. They are creating the very situation they are trying to prevent. 

 

Whenever you see someone trying to control other people, it’s because they feel scared and vulnerable. You can let your daughter know that it’s ok to feel compassion for her friend. Her friend is scared. She doesn’t want the friendship to end, but she’s going about it the wrong way. 

 

Let’s hope that by suffering the natural consequences of their actions, this mother/daughter duo will learn it’s ok for friendships to change. Ihope they learn that controlling others doesn’t work and that there is enough acceptance, love and friendship to share with many people. 

 

Power boost - choose two things

A little life coaching tool I use to help clients move from overwhelm to clarity is to choose between two things. 

“Do you want to be nice or do you want to be free?”

In last week’s episode about the competitive kid, I would have asked, “Do you want to win or do you want to be happy?” 

When I’m deciding what to order off a menu, I may ask myself, “Do I want to lose weight or gain weight?” 

When I’m thinking about exercising, I might ask, “Do I want to be active or do I want to be sedentary?” 

The two choices tool cuts through all the mental drama and makes the answer much clearer and easier. 

 

Quote of the Day:

“It’s a woman’s right to control her own destiny, to be able to make choices without the Big Brother state telling her what she can and cannot do.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Super competitive and a sore loser

Super competitive and a sore loser

October 6, 2020

Episode 83: How do I deal with my super competitive sore loser?

Torie, 

“I have 2 kids, 7 year old girl and 1 year old boy. I’ve always noticed my oldest has a hard time losing when we play board games. When she started jujitsu and swimming she would get easily upset if she didn’t get it right the first time and would easily get frustrated and give up. This year is the first time she’s done a team sport. She started soccer and would be so upset when the other team scores and says “I’m the reason why our team lost” and wants to give up. I know she’s enjoying her herself but as soon as there’s some doing better or winning she wants to give up. I’ve explained to her it takes practice and hard work to get better, etc etc. But she still pouts and is a sore loser. She is especially competitive and jealous with her little brother.  I’ve tried talking, explaining, spending one on one time with her etc. Today she told me “I feel like I don’t matter” and it broke my heart.  This makes me frustrated, sad and exhausted. I honestly don’t know what to do.”

Ann

Parent Educator Answer: 

Dr. Stuart Brown identified the competitor as one of eight play personalities in his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul. Some children and adults enjoy setting goals and competing against themselves and others as a way to make an activity more interesting and exciting. 

First ask yourself, is my child ENJOYING the fight, frustrations, and fierce play that goes along with being competitive? In Ann’s example, it is clear she is not. 

When our child says “I don’t matter” or “You love the baby more than me” it hurts our mommy hearts. We don’t want them to think these things, so we try to convince them they aren’t true. We appeal to their logic. We explain how we really feel. We tell them their thoughts are wrong and to listen to our thoughts instead. 

This doesn’t tend to work very well. Kids feel misunderstood instead of feeling seen, heard and felt. 

When we see our child engaging in behavior that feels unhealthy and looks morally wrong, we spring into action. We tell them to be a gracious winner. We explain that losing is no big deal and they should focus on being a team player. We may even punish them for “misbehaving”. 

Traditional parenting advice is to reward the behavior you want to see more of, and ignore, discourage, or provide consequences for the behavior you want to see less of. But this isn’t a behavior problem. 

If you focused on your daughter’s behavior, she would learn to not SHOW you her feelings. 

She would still have them, she would just keep them inside. 

That voice inside that says “I’m a loser” or “I don’t matter” or “I know I’m going to fail so why try” will not go away. You will teach her to mold her behavior but not her emotions or inner dialogue. 

You have already tried reasoning with her, you have said all the right mommy things,but it hasn’t changed her beliefs about herself. For this, we need a little life coaching. 

 

Life Coaching Answer:

The first thing we need to do in order to help our children change their beliefs about themselves is to recognize that this isn’t a morality problem, a behavior problem, or a parenting problem. There isn’t anything you did wrong to create this belief in her. 

We all pick up erroneous thinking. For a while, I had the mantra “I can’t be me.” Who else am I supposed to be? It makes no sense, but I picked it up and carried it with me for the first few decades of life. I also had the mantra, “If I know I’m going to fail, why try?” It wasn’t until my life got really, really boring that I decided to change it. 

Life coaching helps you discover the beliefs that need changing, and helps you change them to ones more aligned with your values. 

There are correlations between unhealthy competitive behavior and early trauma, hospitalizations, severe illness, or separation from a parent. Life is messy and things happen. I didn’t have any early traumatic experiences but I still picked up some awful beliefs about myself. We cannot prevent our children from negative emotions or experiences, nor should we. 

What you can do, is recognize it’s her issue not yours and help your daughter create a different identity.  

One of many things I love about kids is they often tell you exactly what they are thinking. In the example of Ann’s daughter, she comes right out and says, “I don’t matter”.

Your daughter feels like she doesn’t matter. Who knows where she picked up that idea? Kids pick up all sorts of crazy things. Almost every client I’ve ever talked to has had a core belief that they are unworthy. The key is being aware enough to notice you are believing unhealthy thoughts, and then learn how to disbelieve them. 

We want to make it really hard for her to continue to believe that thought. We can do that in three ways. 

  • Help her identify as a winner. 
  • Give her the attention and affection she craves. 
  • Help her discharge negative emotions. 
  1. When a child wants to be in charge, in control, to be the best, to win, to have the most, they are trying to make themselves feel better. Let’s give it to them! Create a game where you lose, again and again and again. Purposefully make yourself “the loser”. Act upset. Let’s say you are racing up the stairs and she beats you. Be dramatic about your failures. Playfully keep trying: “This time FOR SURE I’m going to beat you.” “This isn’t FAIR!” “I can’t STAND this.” Watch for your child’s laughter and delight. When your child identifies YOU as the obvious loser, she has no choice but to identify herself as a winner. 

 

2. Use her competitiveness to fill up her love tank. Right now, every time you fill up her love tank with attention and affection, she drains it with these negative beliefs she is carrying around. Play games where you are chasing her with hugs and kisses. “I need 5 hugs every day and you’ve only given me 1. I’m coming to get you and steal another hug. You can’t hide from me! I’m the hug monster!” 

Every time she does something that her baby brother can’t do, you reward her with playful affection. “You buckled your seatbelt all by yourself! You get 5 kisses!” 

When we are desperately trying to give attention and affection to our kids, it makes it hard for them to believe they don’t matter or they aren’t getting enough love. 

 

3. Sometimes we just need to get the yuck out. Your daughter’s been carrying around a lot of negative emotion and she might look for opportunities to release it. Maybe you pour orange juice instead of apple and she has a meltdown on the kitchen floor. Maybe her team loses and she blames herself. Maybe a referee makes a bad call and she goes into a tirade against him. See these emotional meltdowns as a healthy discharge of negative emotion rather than misbehavior. Be there with her. Hold her. Allow her to feel devastated, like the world is unfair. Reflect what you see and hear her saying, “It’s so hard to lose a game when you tried so hard to win.” Do hold your boundaries but do it with kindness, “I won’t let you back in the game until you’ve apologized to your teammate for yelling at her.” 

 

What your child needs is your steady confidence that her life will be good. To know that these emotions are real and valid, but temporary. That you aren’t going anywhere. That her emotions matter to you. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite - Believing the first six years of your child’s life determine their future. Have you heard these statistics? 

“90% of your child’s brain is developed by age 5!”

“A child’s experiences in the early years (positive or negative, nurtured or neglected) have long term impacts on the child’s health, ability to learn and succeed.”

“The amount of quality care, interaction and stimulation they receive in early childhood determines which brain connections develop and last for a lifetime.”

Statements like these turned me into a hyper-vigilant, freaked out, perfectionistic and very stressed out mom who would not take a break!  Being with my baby at all times, giving the right amount of nurture and stimulation, saying and doing all the right things, felt like a life or death situation. 

I believed my child’s success was in my hands and I sacrificed my mental, emotional and physical health for it. 

One of the great byproducts of life coaching for me was realizing how easy it can be to change one’s beliefs, feelings and actions. Discovering how to use life coaching to create a great life, took all the pressure off of ME having to do everything perfectly in order for my kids to be happy and successful. 

Nothing is set in stone. Neuroplasticity is amazing and learning how to change your brain in any direction you want is so empowering! If my kid is too perfectionistic or anxious and it’s stressing him out, he can change it anytime he wants! If my kid struggles to learn, but wants to get good grades, she can hire a coach to help make it happen. 

The tools of life coaching are amazingly powerful. When we start making important and helpful changes in our own lives, it gives us the confidence to see how our children can do the same. 

Believing that your kids brains are locked in by age 6 is today’s Supermom Kryptonite. 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Get your kids on the same team

When your child is competitive with their sibling, try to find opportunities to get them on the same team by making yourself the loser. 

“You BOTH beat me to the car! I lose and you WON? Oh, MAN!” 

“Let’s play the silent game. Who can be quietest the longest? Oh shoot, I just TALKED!” 

Lay down on the floor to wrestle with them both. Only let them pin you if they are working together. Then say, “Oh, no! You pinned me to the ground! Together you are too strong for me.” 

Another way to cope with sibling jealousy is to be mindful of balancing your attention.

Older children constantly hear us say, “I’ve got to get the baby.” We stop playing to pick up the baby. We ask our kids to hurry up so we can tend to the baby. 

Make sure your daughter overhears you saying to the baby, “I’m sorry baby, you’ll have to wait, your sister and I are playing now.” or “I’ll get you in a minute baby, I need 5 more hugs from your sister first.” 

 

Quote of the Day:

“The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior. The sign of truly great parenting is the parents behavior.” Andy Smithson 

Unfocused mental spinning

Unfocused mental spinning

September 22, 2020

Unfocused and mentally spinning

Question of the Day:

Torie, 

"So often, I find myself spinning in circles. Not physically, but mentally. When I’m in my house with my kids, there is so much going on, so many demands, so many to-do’s, I feel overwhelmed. I want to feel focused and productive, but something happens to me when I’m in my house. I’m constantly doing things, but not feeling like I’m accomplishing things. This mental spinning is my Supermom Kryptonite. How can I snap out of this mental state so I can feel like I’m riding the wave instead of drowning in it?" 

Carina

 

Parent Educator Answer: 

This is a common problem for Supermoms, especially these days. We are stuck in our houses amidst messes, tasks, people and pets demanding our attention. We are constantly working but feeling so scattered that we don’t get the BENEFIT of work: accomplishment, productivity, and satisfaction. 

We believe we can’t stop or more work will pile up so we just keep spinning around in circles inside our own head. We think we can’t go outside to clear our heads or we’ll risk exposing ourselves to COVID. 

This is NOT a rewarding way to go through life! This “zombie mommy” mental state of not feeling fully ALIVE is stage 2 on the 4 steps to Supermom Burnout! Stop tolerating this unfocused mental state. You deserve to feel better than this! 

Everybody needs a life coach during this crazy pandemic year. Now is the perfect time to learn mind management techniques; which is what Carina needs. She needs to be the BOSS over her BRAIN and tell it what to focus on so she can feel better. 

Try a few different techniques and choose the one you like best. 

  1. Breathe while focusing on your breath. 
  2. Present Focus - Bring your attention inside your body and/or your immediate surroundings. 
  3. Get moving - Every time you catch yourself in that negative spiral, do 5 burpees and 5 jumping jacks. Go for a walk or quick jog. Dance for 2 minutes. The movement interrupts the mental spinning and acts like a reboot for the brain.
  4. Write things down. On my website I have daily journal questions to get you focused on YOU and your goals. 
  5. Take a big picture perspective: 
    • Pretend you are on camera being filmed for a TV show. 
    • At dusk, go outside and look back into your house from the outside with the lights on. Notice how peaceful it seems to a stranger looking in.
    • Imagine being beamed up to outer space and seeing your life from above. 
    • Ask yourself, “Will any of this matter 10 years from now?” Or, “If today was my last day on Earth, how would I feel about this moment?” 

 

Left unsupervised, our mind will take us into many unpleasant directions. We’ve got to discipline the mind like it’s a naughty puppy. It’s chewing up shoes and peeing on the carpet, it’s annoying, but it’s innocent. This is just what puppies and brains do. 

 

Be firm with yourself. Say to yourself, “No, we are not going to go down that negative thought spiral about what a terrible mother I am. I am a good mom who is feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I’m going to walk away, take a break, refocus, and start again.” 

Use your calm, assertive energy on yourself. Discipline your brain.

You are in charge of it, don’t let it be in charge of you. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way? The Hebbian Theory 

The Hebbian theory is a neuroscientific theory claiming that an increase in synaptic efficacy arises from a presynaptic cell’s repeated and persistent stimulation of a postsynaptic cell. 

Better known as “What fires together, wires together.”

If you tragically lose a loved one in the fall, the feeling of crisp autumn air or the color of changing leaves may trigger a grief or stress response. This feeling of sadness can arise without any conscious awareness on your part. 

Whenever I sip my favorite cocktail, I am transported to the beaches of Hawaii. The taste, smell and texture of a Kahlua Colada immediately relaxes me. If I was to drink one of these cocktails at home, it would undo the wiring. 

I would ask Carina, or anyone else who finds themselves mentally spinning in their home, how often do you find yourself focused and clear headed in your house? Is it possible that mentally spinning has wired together with your home so that it’s hard for you to separate one from the other? If you were to recreate the same trigger (kids, house, school work, pets) in an Airbnb, would it be easier for you to prioritize and focus? If so, it’s time to rewire your home to become a place of relaxation and peace. 

The way to do this is to find ONE SPACE inside or outside your home that can be a place of clarity and calm. This can be your bathroom, a closet, a chair outside under a tree, or your car. Some 3 x 3 foot space to call your own. Make sure there are no visible tasks in this spot. If you are sitting under a tree looking at weeds that need pulling and lawn that needs mowing, turn around and face the tree. It needs to offer a sense of peace. Decorate your space with your favorite scented candle. Have a pretty journal there. Create a mini sanctuary in your home that is just for you to anchor yourself into peace. 

When you catch yourself feeling unfocused and overwhelmed, leave and go to your sanctuary to ground and re-group. Eventually, your calm, focused energy will rewire your brain so you can feel as calm in your own home as you do sipping Kahlua Coladas on a beach in Hawaii. 

When you catch yourself feeling unfocused and overwhelmed, leave and go to your sanctuary to ground and re-group. Eventually, your calm, focused energy will rewire your brain so you can feel as calm in your own home as you do sipping Kahlua Colada’s on a beach in Hawaii. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Multitasking 

Multitasking is today’s Supermom Kryptonite because it weakens our power. Trying to focus on two things simultaneously makes us move slower, reducing our efficiency and lowering IQ. 

This isn’t to say that you can’t DO two things at once, you just need to focus on one thing at one time. If folding laundry is easy and automatic, you may be able do it WHILE helping your son with his homework without any negative consequences. Doing the dishes may be a mindless activity that frees up enough attention to simultaneously cook dinner. But if you try to follow a new recipe, while helping with homework, you may find your attention getting pulled too thin resulting in decreased productivity, focus, and sense of satisfaction. 

 

Supermom Power Boost: A peace trailer

With COVID, many families have invested in RV’s and trailers for fun summer getaways. Well, just because fall is here does not mean it’s time to put away that trailer. My clients are discovering that having a trailer parked outside your house makes an excellent sanctuary for mom. 

One client called hers the “peace trailer”. In true Supermom style, she designated it as a place for her KIDS to go to regroup and find peace. I think it’s the PERFECT place for MOM to go to find peace. The trailer is easy to keep clean, is devoid of to-do lists and tasks so it isn’t triggering for mom. Memories that emerge in the trailer are (hopefully) from relaxed summer vacations.

 

Quote of the Day:

 “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi

Play this podcast on Podbean App