Top Tips to beat Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry…Uggh!

(3 minute read time.)

Take two kids in competition for their parents’ love and attention. Add to that the envy that one child feels for the accomplishments of the other; the resentment that each child feels for the privileges of the other; the personal frustrations that they don’t dare let out on anyone else but a brother or sister, and it’s not hard to understand why in families across the land, the sibling relationship contains enough emotional dynamite to set off rounds of daily explosions.

(Adele Faber).

Sibling Rivalry…..Uggh, it’s one of the things that most parents struggle with knowing how to handle and one of the things that often causes us to reach the end of our tether, no matter how hard we try and stay calm.

Much of today’s popular advice about Parenting still ignores emotion. Yet emotion is what fuels all behaviours, including sibling rivalry and spats and it’s emotion that fuels our responses too.

The ultimate goal of raising children should not be simply to have an obedient, compliant child, but one where we as parents can empower them to problem solve and internally regulate their own emotions from a young age.

Therefore the secret lies in:

  1. Your perspective: how you perceive why siblings argue. If you can see it as a process and a natural part of their development,  a practice ground if you like, of your children testing the waters of  interacting and managing relationships, then you can encourage and empower them to learn problem solving techniques and the skill of co-operation.  But also to see all behaviours as a communication of a need. There will be a positive intention behind the poor behaviour always.
  2. How you manage the situation and react. Do you use discipline for learning opportunities and teaching values, or for punishment?

What are The Weller Way’s top tips?

  • Allow your children to have differences: Only step in if it gets out of hand and they are not able to sort it out themselves
  • Hitting, kicking, pushing etc is the result of a child having exhausted all the options of having his needs met. Because he doesn’t have the necessary brain development to control his feelings or think of ways to solve a problem, we can step in to help, but first:
  • Consider your attitude to conflict. Do you find it difficult and always want to shut it down?
  • Their argument is not your argument, therefore Don’t take sides: Make observations and describe what you see happening without judgement. This acknowledges each child’s perspective. Ask questions, rather than telling them to “STOP THAT”. Ask if they can come up with a solution, before you suggest one.
  • With older children, we can ask |”why do you think I am concerned about what I am seeing?”
  • Identify the need…”name it to tame it”.  Is it a need to protect something they are working on? Is it fuelled by wanting a sense of ownership? Or is it hunger, tiredness, frustration etc?? Understanding the need does not mean you agree with their behaviour.
  • Put the limit on the behaviour, not the need. A limit should be something you want them to learn, and must be something that you can carry out consistently. Limits tie into family values: e.g We don’t hit each other because we love and respect each other. This builds awareness of  the WHY  certain behaviors are wrong.
  • Don’t use guilt i.e “What is wrong with you”, or “I am so disappointed in you” or “why can’t you behave like your brother”.
  • Don’t use a withdrawal of 1:1 time as a consequence, as this will have a negative effect on self esteem. Remember the behaviour is not the person.
  • Work on your own mindset and internal state. If we yell , they will yell more. It is better to remove yourself for a moment to breathe and count to 10, before tackling the situation in anger and frustration.
  • Try games that build teamwork and boost sibling co-operation.
  • Offer 1:1 un-interrupted consistent attention to each child where you can slot it into your routine and which feels natural.
  • Highlight and praise the uniqueness of each child using statements like: “I love it when you…..”

From their struggles to establish dominance over each other, siblings become tougher and more resilient. From their endless rough-housing with each other, they develop speed and agility. From their verbal sparring they learn the difference between being clever and being hurtful. From the normal irritations of living together, they learn how to assert themselves, defend themselves, compromise. And sometimes, from their envy of each other’s special abilities they become inspired to work harder, persist and achieve.                  

(Adele Faber)

A Productive Guide to Positive Parenting

If I were to ask you what is your main hope for your child….would it be… “that they are happy?”

mother and child

It is a great responsibility don’t you think, to make that our No 1 aim of Parenting? I personally think that it’s too much responsibility to feel responsible for our children’s happiness but we can do so much to promote their own growth towards it. It is the difference that makes a difference. The clients I work with everyday worry about their child being happy, asking themselves, am I doing the right thing? But a Positive Parenting approach does lead to your child having a greater chance of Happiness amidst the current evidence of Mental Health statistics: Continue reading “A Productive Guide to Positive Parenting”

A Stress Reduction Guide for you and your family

It’s Stress Awareness Month

(A 5 minute read).

 

Stress can creep up on us silently, without us realising it, manifesting it’s creeping threads in so many different ways, triffid like.  A lot of people I know at the moment are suffering from Stress. The World Health organisation reckon that stress related illnesses will become  the largest health problem by 2020.

I recently gave talks at Tunbridge Wells Mums in Business about The Balance Act for Parentpreneurs, and at Tonbridge Mums in Business about Mum Guilt so I thought I would condense these into a shortened blog post. Having said that, I’ve realised that it’s not so easy to write a blog on a talk! But here is the essence!

The Author Alain de Botton said:

 “there is no such thing as work/life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life” .

Continue reading “A Stress Reduction Guide for you and your family”

Helping Children cope with Change

Change is the only constant

I feel like I’m re-living the lyrics of Paul Young’s hit Wherever I lay my hat at the moment, not because I’m breaking someone’s heart, but because I’m roaming about Kent stopping here and stopping there in holiday lets while our house is being renovated after a flood last year.

Having lived in our house since 1998, I now realise that I don’t do change in my home situation very well, probably because as a child I lived in 9 different houses before I was 18.  As a result I longed to put down roots after I was married and had my children.

Continue reading “Helping Children cope with Change”

Positive Parenting Guide on Toddler Tantrums

Are you at the end of your tether dealing with tantrums?

“Children in a family are like flowers in a bouquet: there’s always one determined to face in an opposite direction from the way the arranger desires” Marcelene Cox

 

 

 

How can a Positive Parenting approach help you deal with Toddler Tantrums?

Positive Parenting is not just a Parenting Strategy, it is a Parenting Philosophy and as such it is more of a holistic approach to the wellbeing of the whole family. In it’s “wholeness”, it embraces emotional intelligence, emotional resilience and nurtures the mindset and wellbeing of all. It is an approach that  looks much deeper into behavioural challenges such as Toddler Tantrums,  by addressing the emotions that are fuelling the behaviour and therefore giving children the opportunity to express their feelings and feel heard. Continue reading “Positive Parenting Guide on Toddler Tantrums”

The Saving Grace of a Garden

Salvias are their own saving grace hence their name being very aptly derived from “salvere”, which is Latin for “to save” or “to heal”.

The Saving Grace of a Garden

Caroline Arnold in her TEDxTunbridgeWells presentation talks about her idea of the Saving grace of nature, the benefits of being outdoors and noticing nature for our wellbeing and mental health.  I love the bit where she suggests that we all make an effort in our lunchbreak to go outside, and hug a tree. Caroline runs a successful project in Sussex called Grow to Grow, where vulnerable young people who have dis-engaged from school can participate in growing and selling produce alongside receiving education in core subjects.

The effects of being outdoors have been well documented and evidenced for looking after ourselves and a powerful remedy for stress, anxiety and depression. Continue reading “The Saving Grace of a Garden”

My type of Coaching: How I can help

The Pathway to my kinda  Coaching

It all started buying a new pair of glasses! I blindly (excuse the pun) expected to purchase a pair of glasses with little ado….eye test done, new frames chosen….voila! But then a protracted dilemma was drawn out by the choice and quality of lenses. I expect a pair of lenses to help me see, but I didn’t know that the quality of lenses, the thickness, the curvature, the coating, blah, blah, blah, would “enhance my sight even further, if I upgraded from the bronze quality to the gold quality. Whaaaat? The lengthy explanation that I would be able to see better for night driving…well yes, to see better would be most helpful! I started to feel anxious. In fact the whole process fed into my anxious brain…which presumably this selling psychology is supposed to do, to persuade me to spend far more money in upgrading from a lense that I might not be able to see the road in high definition, to one where I have super duper night road vision so that I don’t crash and die! Of course I ended up paying a stupid amount of money for the “premium” lense, as I long for the best vision possible, not to crash and die and I don’t want a pair of glasses that look like a pair of swimming goggles.

This process of what I now reflect upon as a form of insidious “selling” psychology seems to have permeated across the board . I think the official term is “upselling”. I have been busy trying to get into the “business lingo” while doing my business plan. Researching for my business plan….yes, I know I have started the business, but that’s me I tend to do everything backwards, leap in and learn along the way. Anyway, in my research I have been surprised at the amount of “business terminology” and upselling packages, in what is a people, not a product driven environment. I am quite baffled as to why anyone in the “helping people” sector are offering for example, the same models as for buying glasses, that is, a Bronze, Silver or Gold selection or a “VIP” package, because to me that gives the impression that the Bronze service is an “inferior” service to the Gold package or I’m not a VIP, because I can’t afford to be one. As a potential client I would be dismayed to think that a bracket of money would only entitle me to a part of a full service….again feeding into my “anxious” brain, that I could possibly be missing out on the advantages of the full  “VIP” or “Gold” package.  Using the very language of Bronze, Silver and Gold or anything similar has subliminal links with Competitive activities and the corporate world.

My Style, My Brand

During the last ten years of coaching vulnerable adults and children, they have always got the very best from me, there were all VIP’s in my eyes, people that needed extra TLC and support and I would constantly brainstorm in the most creative ways how to connect with each individual, no matter how challenging, to facilitate some form of “lightbulb” moments. Even when some told me to “f***k  o** I would wait for another opportunity, usually involving the art supplies.

I truly hope that you won’t feel the need to use expletives as my approach to coaching is that everyone gets 100% of The Weller Way, I have a flat fee for which in return I hope you will feel that you have gained personal reflection and a valuable insight into the most important job in the world.  There is no upselling with me, because that in my opinion is disingenuous. Generally people seek help from Coaches because they feel they are “not performing” in an area of their life, using competitive jargon in my opinion is counter productive. “Not performing well enough” is an indictment on our society’s fast paced, perfection seeking,  driven , ambitious culture and this is sadly filtering into our attitude about parenting. We strive to be the best parents that we can be, and that is natural, but not at the expense of beating ourselves up that we are not good enough because we are constantly making comparisons with others. Children are wonderfully forgiving, for most of the time, because they are hard-wired to seek a strong attachment with us, as long as we remember to apologise when we get it wrong. The Weller Way encourages and helps you to re-frame your thought processes from a stance of not good enough and feeling unable to juggle the demands of family life to feeling good enough, that you have a strong and secure connection with your child through which you can implement effective boundaries that are respected and can withstand whatever challenges are thrown your way.

 Parenting is Tough

as the Duchess of Cambridge reminded us recently , but it isn’t a competition, it’s a warts and all journey of unconditional love and building connection that can be strengthened by a little bit of coaching.

The Weller Way can guide you along a pathway, which encourages the following components to create a fully functional family:

P for Partnership

A for Authenticity

T for Trust

H for Heart.

Whether it’s a few sessions, or the full Circle of Security training,  I can help you feel more confident in ambling along your unique path. I hope that you can discover that being a real and not a perfect parent is something to aim for.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a     river moving in you, a joy.

Rumi.

 

How Mindfulness can help improve Family Life.

This article is written by Melissa Benaroya on her Mind Yeti blog published March 18 2017 and I have re-posted.

A child’s anxiety is stressful to the child and can also be stressful for the child’s family. Anxiety can actually be debilitating for kids. Children may spend endless amounts of time and energy fixated on things such as grades, family issues, peer relationships, and performance in sports, as well as disasters they think might happen or dangers that do not actually exist.

Understanding the different types of anxiety and the options for treatment for children and adolescents is really important. Over the course of the last 5 to 10 years, the practice of mindfulness has received significant attention and gained recognition as an effective means of treating and managing childhood anxiety.

Mindfulness is defined as the ability to pay attention to the present moment with kindness and curiosity and without judgment. The goal of mindfulness is to intentionally draw awareness to thoughts, feelings, or sensations as they happen from moment to moment. Mindfulness helps children pay attention to the here and now, which allows them to distance themselves from what is upsetting them.

And the benefits of mindfulness practice are significant! Here are just a few of the many benefits of using mindfulness with children who are anxious:

  • Helps bring attention back to the present, away from worries about the future
  • Reduces stress
  • Breaks the cycle of worry, where one fear feeds on another until it snowballs into full-blown anxiety or even a panic attack
  • Teaches children to identify and accept emotions, rather than feel consumed by them
  • Allows children to practice awareness and acceptance without judgment

Incorporating mindfulness into your family life can be quite simple. Parents don’t need previous experience to start using mindfulness with children. Begin by introducing your child to the practice and explaining how you will use it. You can let them know that mindfulness can be as short as three minutes or as long as an hour and that there are a range of styles and topics. My favorite Mind Yeti sessions for anxious kids include: Anchor Your Boat,  Candle Can Do and Tree In The City, but you should explore all the sessions and chose the ones you and your child like best.

Once you have discussed mindfulness with your child, come up with a plan together for how you will use this . You can offer some choices concerning the length of their first session or the topic. By allowing your child to choose and help come up with the plan, you increase their buy-in to implement and participate in the practice. The more consistently and frequently you practice, the better. By practicing at the same time each day, you ensure consistency and increase efficacy.

Want some more ideas on how to help your child manage their anxiety.  Check out these tips from my conversation with Karen Young, psychologist and Hey Sigmundfounder: 

5 Ways to help children who struggle with Self Control.

 

Children who struggle with self control and resort to challenging behaviours often have trouble coping with everyday tasks or situations. These are 5 ways to help them develop coping strategies to help control their emotions and reactions.

  1. Give Words to feelings: Name it to tame it.
  2. Find the triggers: Track and observe
  3. Anticipate transitions: Be one step ahead
  4. Use what they love doing as a coping strategy: Not bribes or rewards
  5. Be present and understanding: Use active listening and ask relevant questions.                                                                                                                                                                                                           If you would like advice on how to implement these strategies how about booking a one to one discovery session?  I can help you discover how to manage challenging behaviours in a more positive way which will strengthen the relationship between you and your child.

Letter from a Teenager

Another glorious piece of writing from The Circle of Security International.

The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You
by Gretchen Schmelzer

Dear Parent:

This is the letter that I wish I could write.

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end—while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are—they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back–I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.

And this particular fight will end. Like any storm, it will blow over. And I will forget and you will forget. And then it will come back. And I will need you to hang on to the rope again. I will need this over and over for years.

I know there is nothing inherently satisfying in this job for you. I know I will likely never thank you for it or even acknowledge your side of it. In fact I will probably criticize you for all this hard work. It will seem like nothing you do will be enough. And yet, I am relying entirely on your ability to stay in this fight. No matter how much I argue. No matter how much I sulk. No matter how silent I get.

Please hang on to the other end of the rope. And know that you are doing the most important job that anyone could possibly be doing for me right now.

Love,

Your Teenager

if you are confused as to how you can best support your teenager or are struggling to connect please contact me for some Wellerway strategies.

http://thewellerway.co.uk