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Connection Plans

We make plans for our dental health. Plans for our money. Plans for our meals and shopping. Something Parenting by Connection puts in the spotlight is the idea that our relationship with our kids requires thought and planning too! We use a tool called a Connection Plan. A Connection Plan can be as involved or as detailed as you like. It is tailor made by you, the expert on your family. Some of the questions and ideas you could use when thinking about how to connect well with your kids include: What are the kinds of things your kids struggle with? It might be transitions (going from brushing teeth to putting PJs on to getting into bed), it might be playing well with siblings, it might be separation anxiety that comes out whenever you aren’t in the same room. Thinking about our day, where do our kids get stuck on their big feelings? Is it at the breakfast table? Is it getting out the door for school? Is it after we meet up again at the end of the day? What is our relatio
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Games to help family life go more smoothly

Parenting by Connection starts with the assumption and the understanding that you are good, and that your child is good.  We know that children's brains work best when they are in loving, responsive communication with a trusted adult, and that when things are not feeling safe for them they either show off track behaviours or release their tension by tantruming, raging, crying, sweating or laughing. Playlistening is a wonderful tool taught in the Parenting by Connection approach. Playlistening is a special way of focusing our listening and attention on our child. We take the less powerful approach in play and we follow the giggles - this lights our child up!  It also helps them process various tricky feelings and counters any feelings of isolation, overwhelm and powerlessness they may carry. Before my children transformed my views on this, I worried that playing would encourage off track behaviour. For example, the idea that having a blast together shouting out rude words might he

Supporting your Teenager

My kids are yet to wear the label 'teenager', but I have worked with and known teens throughout my adult life, and I have always felt they get a bad rap. The teens I have tutored recently, for example, have been delightful, smart, interesting people to spend time with. Their energy and curiosity impresses me. Another example; the skate park, where I have been consistently astounded by the level of support for smaller kids and the kindness that I've witnessed from young adults there. This experience is in stark contrast to how teenagers are represented by the media and in popular culture, where they are presented as being moody, belligerent, selfish and rude. Why the disparity? And how can we support our teenagers well so that they can grow into their best selves? Parenting by Connection offers some key considerations for parents, caregivers and those wanting to be allies for teenagers.  It's good to keep these in mind as we aim to support our precious kids. 1. The s

7 Things to Consider for New Mums and Dads

First time parents face a special set of circumstances. The changes a new baby brings are nothing short of life changing. Some of these changes are beautiful and wonderful. Some can be incredibly challenging. Parenting by Connection has some useful ways to view these changes and the emotional work that parenting brings with it. Here are seven things to think about if you are a new parent: 1. Your birth story is an important moment in your life. Whether you are Mum or Dad, the birth of your baby is a hugely important moment and one that will require lots of processing. Finding someone who can listen well to you as you recount your experiences and feelings is very important. Science shows that it is not WHAT happens to us that dictates our experience of life, but HOW we make sense of what happens to us. The narrative we weave about our experience is incredibly important in helping us feel capable and resilient. So whether your birth experience was blissful or barbaric, talking it thr

Setting Limits with Love

Parenting is full of challenges we may never have guessed at. Today some of the limit setting I faced included my children swearing at one another, throwing a shoe on the roof, and refusing to eat the dinner I had cooked. Despite feeling like crawling under the couch and letting someone else deal with all this craziness, I know that what my kids need when they are having an off track day like this one is connection. On a good day, I approach these signals they are sending me with a wish to connect and with a wish to help them with whatever is driving their behaviour. On a harder day, and at times today was that, I lecture them and appeal to their sense of reason until I literally scream! In my many and varied conversations with parents, a common thread is how frustrating it is that we spend much of our day appealing to logic and reason in order to change behaviours. We say, 'No, please don't do that!' over and over again. We give good solid thinking around why not to beha

What's the best response to aggression?

Aggression from our sweet children knocks parents for six. It is a highly emotive and very difficult situation. When you have the challenge of dealing with a regularly aggressive child, you have so many big feelings to deal with from everyone. Image by Patrick Fore from Unsplash The usual response to aggression is to meet it with, at best, a 'do not mess with me, I mean business' tone, and at worst, to meet it with further aggression. It isn't a surprise that this is often the only way we know how to respond to this pattern of behaviour. After all, it is highly unlikely that we ever saw or experienced any other response. If you have been trying these responses to your child's aggression for a while now, it's time to try something new. Something that seems counter-productive but actually works. With aggression, we need to keep our eye on what is really going on. So firstly I'll explain a little brain science. Our brain can be basically viewed as having

New baby? How to help your older child feel special

This post was inspired by a wonderful mum I know; in the midst of holiday madness and a new baby, plus two older kids, she managed to create the most beautiful and inspiring art space to make her daughter feel special. These acts of kindnesswe do for our kids, especially at times when our own resources are stretched, can really resonate in their hearts and let them know how precious they are to us. Image by Isaac Del Toro from Unsplash A new baby in the family means new dynamics, new routines and new challenges for everyone. For some older siblings a new baby can literally be like a bomb exploding in their lives; everything changes and they are left feeling at best disoriented and confused, at worst pushed out and unloved. Parenting by Connection provides you with a way to focus on what can really help at times of change like this. The two things that can help most are - Lots of support and resources for parents - Lots of connection with our kids so they can weather the chan