Yes to crying!

We encourage crying in our family.  Not alone but with someone providing ‘love’ at the same time.  This might be a hug, labeling how they feel to show empathy or even just being there with them.

Crying is a physical way of releasing the energy from emotions that you feel.  And as emotions are ‘energy in motion’, it is very important to let these feelings out so that they don’t get trapped in the body.  Children innately know to do this.  It is only by adults telling them not to cry that we as adults forget how calm and clear your head can be when you’ve cried all the feelings away.

Of course we then talk about the situation that lead up to these emotions to understand better what just happened.  All in the name of better emotional intelligence!

Control, guilt, shame, anger

Speaking from first hand experience, it is much easier to work on yourself staying ‘cool’ when your kids try to steal your calm than trying to pick up the pieces, for your kids and you!

So how do you do this?
– Being ‘mindful’ is one way (link in comments to post about mindfulness).
– Dealing with your own emotions is another. Anger, control, guilt and shame, amongst other emotions, can all stem from not receiving enough love when we grew up, (even when we thought we did) OR particular events. This all affects how we respond to our own children when we get our ‘calm’ taken from us.


It will always be easier to deal with any type of tantrum or emotional turmoil your child can throw at you, when you are not holding onto negativity from your own past.

How do you let go of this?
In a simple answer, getting to the source of your anger or your controlling issues or whatever it is AND THEN expressing it, will release that energy. You can express emotions through screaming (in an appropriate place!), writing it out, crying or even moving (say yoga poses).

Once you have released your what’s holding you back from the past, you will be amazed at the patience, understanding and calm you can have with your own kids. Then it just involves being mindful, to keep on top of your emotions.

Let me know if you want more information on this! 🙂  Heidi

I have an emotionally sensitive child

I have an emotionally sensitive child. And it is sometimes hard not to wear his emotions too!

Rather than ‘brush off’ his feelings with comments like ‘it’s okay’, ‘don’t worry about it’, ‘just let it go’, it works much better to identify with his strong feelings. I might say ‘you are really disappointed aren’t you?’, ‘that must’ve worried you a lot’ or ‘I know you wanted a turn first’.

Instead of firing him up more, he relaxes because he feels understood and supported.

This is one of the first steps in helping him to calm down and regulate his emotions. Without an understanding adult on his side, he is pretty much sure to ‘flip his lid’, where he can’t think straight, won’t let anyone in to help him and struggles to calm down for what seems like an eternity.

And of course, a hug to go with it brings even more success!

Who else can identify with one of these little sensitive ones?

Eliminating the elimination diet…with kinesiology

When it becomes obvious that your child is reacting to something, be it a food or an allergen or even an emotional issue, it can be overwhelming to know what to do and where to start.  You might be worried about your child’s skin, their inability to sleep well or a recurring redness in their genitals, their behaviour or a low immunity or many other symptoms that just aren’t ‘quite right’.  Most people will visit their doctor to begin with but others may be in need of further answers.  Many don’t know about the benefits of kinesiology in achieving balance in the body, particularly for children.

What is kinesiology?

Kinesiology, the study of movement, is an alternative and holistic therapy, combining both Eastern and Western medicine.  It is holistic in that it looks at health as a whole and addresses the physical body as well as the environment and psychological state of each individual.  By monitoring muscle movements or biofeedback, kinesiologists can determine where there is a block in energy be it structural, chemical or emotional, within the body.  This allows kinesiology to address stress, allergies and food sensitivities, nervous disorders, muscle, bone and joint pain, headaches, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, insomnia, and emotional issues.

And so kinesiology becomes extremely useful in determining exactly what is giving your child a reaction.

Benefits of kinesiology

  • It is non-invasive.  It can be done through a ‘surrogate’ and thus your child may not even need to visit the kinesiologist with you.  But otherwise, testing of food sensitivities or emotional issues is all done whilst the child may be sitting, holding their parent’s hand.  The kinesiologist pushes downward on your extended arm to reveal a strong or weak response with your child’s biofeedback.
  • Anything and everything can be tested for sensitivity.  This means you can see for yourself how different brands of food may react differently for your child.  You will also be able to see the difference between organic and non-organic foods.  You can test everything from children’s medicines to sunscreens to allergens such as latex (and whether this differs between balloons, bandaids and bananas – yes it is quite common for those with sensitivity to latex to have a banana sensitivity too).
  • It can save wiping out a whole food group if it is only some products that are the issue.  For example, organic corn thins and corn chips giving a strong response but organic corn cobs and tinned corn giving a weak response.
  • It is less mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting than starting an elimination diet from scratch.  The kinesiologist can test your child with a large range of food groups straight up and from there can hone in on different products and items involving chemicals in your child’s environment.
  • It can shed light on emotional issues impacting your child’s system and thus how their body reacts to different foods when under different emotional stress.  This may involve emotional clearing and allowing parents to become aware of the stressors in their child’s life.
  • It helps parents to question what is in the food they are serving their children and to use their own resources in determining the culprits.
  • You can claim it through private health insurance or make it more reasonable by accessing a kinesiologist who is also a chiropractor.  Chiropractors tend to do shorter sessions, so whilst it may not be as thorough, you won’t be paying for longer sessions (but you will get a chiropractic check up for your child too, making it even more holistic).

So yes, kinesiology is controversial as it is not visible to the naked eye as to exactly how it works and it is not under the medical profession however, it can be a very helpful way to achieve balance in your child.  The only difficult thing is… you will have to be prepared to eliminate foods and chemicals or discuss any emotional issues with your child, to help them achieve balance.

If you need answers for your child but are unsure, why not give it a go and see it for yourself.  Alternatively, you can access an IgG blood test through an alternative medicine practitioner which will test your child for intolerances to many foods.  But not to be confused with an IgE blood/prick test which will test for allergic reactions.

Please let me know if kinesiology has helped your family.  🙂 Heidi

The more love you put in, the more you get back..just like with our children!

Just a few months ago I realised our veggie patch wasn’t giving us as many veggies as it had been.  So we gave it some love and a few weeks later it is nearly overgrown!  It got me thinking about the times when our children might need a bit of ‘extra’ love for whatever reason.  And just like with the garden, before you know it they are flourishing!

The extra love might be hugs, time spent together or some nice words. You will know what your child needs!

growing with love

growing with love

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.. WRONG

What nicknames or words have you ever used to describe your child (even if they’ve just been in your mind!)? Are they positive and ‘selling’ words a marketing company would be proud of? Are they words that make everyone look at the positive sides to your child? Do they make you glow with pride? Do they make your child feel worthy and positive?

The thing is, it can be just so hard to always see your child in a positive light and use words to reflect this (especially in the heat of a MOMENT!).  But, there is a good reason for trying do so.  Here’s why…

Labels can and will hurt.  They set up what’s called a Pygmalion Effect.  That is, your child takes on the labels they are given.  So the child labelled ‘naughty’ begins to live up to her name and the ‘wild one’ allows himself to ‘be’ wild, as this is simply what they’re being told they are!  Children learn about who they are from others in their lives, particularly what is said about them.

A child who is told that they are loving, creative and curious, will have an ‘inner voice’ reflecting these positive labels.  On the contrary, a child who is told they are stubborn, impatient and aggressive will have an inner voice struggling to create a strong self esteem.

You might have a child that is quite simple to view in a positive light, but next thing you are given a ‘spirited’ one (see My Child is Wearing Me Out… to find out more about what entails a Spirited child!)…. Sometimes these children just BEG for less than desirable names and titles as they can be more energetic, perceptive, sensitive, persistent and intense!

Taken from the book ‘Raising Your Spirited Child’ by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, here’s a list of a few tags and labels that some of the parents she dealt with had come up with for their kids…

Agressive, angry, never stops, chatterbox, argumentative, explosive, demanding, noisy, nosey, loud, whiny, easily frustrated, picky, wild, single-minded, disruptive, easily bored, self-critical, obnoxious, manipulative, up/down extreme……

But what about if we could see the positive side to each of these terms?  What if we could start to educate our child with a positive term for each of these qualities and help them to understand how it might be helpful to them one day?

The nosey child might be instead called ‘curious’.  The wild one would be called ‘energetic’, the loud one ‘enthusiastic’ and the stubborn one ‘persistent’.  These labels not only change your child’s inner voice and help them to understand their traits but also make you as the parent feel much more positive about your child.  And by changing your own attitude to a positive one helps to increase your tolerance and love for your child!

It is nice to know that it is not all ‘bad’ or ‘your fault’ for having negative feelings for calling your child any of these names.  It usually means you are dealing with a difficult child and behaviour.  And as the book Raising Your Spirited Child explains, dealing with these children can bring up raw and strong emotions for parents – fear, confusion, resentment, shame, embarrassment, exhaustion and anger, in having to deal with these traits.

Whilst it can be quite confronting to actually think about the negative labels you might have used or even thought of towards your child, the next step is to then think about how this trait might be positive for your child as an adult and give it a new name.  Then explain this to your child – ‘remember how I once called you ‘naughty’, how about we change this to ‘curious’ – do you know what this means? Curious means you like to learn about everything, you have lots of interests, it will help you to keep learning throughout your life’.  And then catch yourself when inevitably ‘naughty’ will sneak out at the heightened moments!  But by catching yourself, you will hopefully remember better for next time!  (and it also allows you to explain to your child how you make mistakes too).

And if you get this far, remember to spread the word to the other family members to get the whole family working on focussing on each family member’s strengths and potential!

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The ex-perfectionist in me butted out!

This is the work of a 22mth old and not an ex-perfectionist mum! Whilst I still have a tendency to straighten things and show my children how to do things even better, I know my ‘fixing’ these pieces for my son would only suggest to him ‘you didn’t do it quite right’. And right now a 22mth old should be allowed to do it as his brain sees it and be proud of his own work!

hooray! you did it!

hooray! you did it!

Just a couple of things I’ve really learnt from the excellent Emotional Anatomy of a Yogi workshop I attended – excellence over perfectionism (we can never achieve anything perfectly according to quantum science) and enough of the martyrdom (let them lead their life, stop stepping in). Still on my to-get-better-at list!

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Taking the time to be myself…and a parent

Is there anything you would change about the way you parent? Is there something you wish to do for yourself that would make you an even better parent? It’s not too late to make changes!
In the name of inspiring others to LIVE LIFE in order to help your kids LIVE LIFE, I’m putting myself out there & sharing the piece of paper I went to town on with (hopefully) all of the things that matter to me PLUS 2014 ‘goals’ & ‘aspirations’ (I feel these terms mean business more than ‘new year’s resolutions’).
this is me on paper! what will the kids think?

this is me on paper! what will the kids think?

I’ve never done this before & have been surprised with the clarity it’s given me of what I aim to be, grow towards and model for my kids. It’s also helped to talk about this TOGETHER with my husband to increase unity, motivation and direction.
And of course, in good time, I’ll slowly be working away at defining each of the words in age-appropriate language to the kids & reminding them of how I am achieving these goals.

Will you take a piece of paper and an hour out of your schedule to write down what will matter to you in 2014? 🙂 Heidi

I just wanted a map Daddy…

At our recent trip to Underwater World (see Man..door… – other adventures whilst there), Master 3 announced as we were arriving that he’d like an Underwater World map.  This was no surprise as even though we have an annual pass, he likes to collect one each time.  He also has a map from Australia Zoo and about anywhere else we’ve been that has maps. It’s the symbols, the letters/numbers down the sides, it’s the stories he can create himself after the trip…


When we got there, we were surprised to see they had cordoned off the front section for renovations and the lady explained the different entry.  Master 3 called out for a map however the lady at the desk had none left.  I knew this wasn’t great for Master 3 but I had distracted him other times with ‘let’s not waste more paper/you’ve got more at home’.  Today we distracted with a shark stamp on his arm instead.  Off we went.

We had a good time and upon leaving, my husband noticed that Master 3 was quiet and appeared sad in the car.  My husband asked if he was okay and Master 3 replied ‘yes’.  However, it was unlike him to be seeming so sad, especially after Underwater World.  So he probed again.  Master 3 replied, ‘I wanted an Underwater World map’.

We had been so focussed on the trip and what we thought was the point of the outing, that we had not seen what was important to Master 3.  Being persistent, he could not forget about what he had set his mind on.

By this stage, I felt that we had done enough ‘brushing off’.  Option A would be to respond ‘but we had a good time, don’t worry’.  But this was telling Master 3 that his interests didn’t matter.  It was telling him that ‘everything is okay’, even when it’s not.  Option B was to help him to face the situation and the feelings that went along with it.  We talked about how he was feeling disappointed and that this feeling won’t last forever.  We talked about the map situation further to help him to understand, to work through his disappointment.  The truth was, they were most likely not giving out any maps as quite a chunk of the attractions were closed off.  Presenting a map to patrons would show them how little was actually left to see!  And then, we helped Master 3 to work through the disappointment by reminding him he could look at a map when we got home, which was easier for him to accept now that we were halfway home.

Moral of the story – remember to notice what your child’s interests are and sometimes when they say something, they REEAAALLY mean it!  If they can’t have it, explain to them and talk them through their feelings until they are happy to move on.  By ‘brushing off’, it is like we are telling them we are not brave enough to go there and experience their feelings with them.  We obviously brushed Master 3 off too soon and he was left with his feelings of disappointment to deal with.

🙂 Heidi

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It’s National Children’s Week!

[National Children’s Week] Whilst I am all for taking the opportunity (when your child presents it) to encourage language and cognitive development, I hope I also balance the posts here on I Raise My Kids with suggestions on developing your child’s emotional well-being, making the most of being a parent, encouraging interests and just having fun with your children.

If you haven’t already seen this post around on Facebook, please take the time to read it…. ‘What should a 4-year-old know?’. It says everything that this Facebook page and blog started for! Heidi