Category: family

Positive Parenting: How to Achieve Great Behaviour by Raising Your Words Not Your Voice | Guest Writer Leonie Clements

Parenthood can be extremely rewarding, enlightening and enjoyable. Yet at times it’s hard to see the rainbows and fairy dust through the thickness of thunderstorms and hail. Parenting can be demanding, frustrating and exhausting. As parents we have the most important role of raising the next generation, yet most of us begin our parenting careers with little preparation through trial and error. The challenge for us all is to raise healthy, well-adjusted children in a loving, caring environment.

Positive parenting is an approach to parenting that aims to promote children’s development and manage children’s behaviour in a constructive and non-hurtful way. Positive parenting is based on good communication and positive attention to help children develop their skills and feel good about themselves, isn’t that how we all like to feel? Children who grow up with positive parenting are likely to develop their skills feeling good about themselves; they are less likely to develop behaviour problems.

There are five key points to establishing great behaviour through positive parenting.

First Key Point

The first one is ensuring a safe and engaging environment. Young children need a safe play environment, especially once they are on the move. Accidents in the home are the leading cause of injury in young children. By providing a safe environment means that you can be more relaxed about allowing your child to explore and keep busy through the day. An environment that is safe and full of interesting things will promote brain development and other sensory skills which will then reduce the likely hood of misbehaviour. Bored kids look for trouble. Supervision is always a must.

Second Key Point

The second point is creating a positive learning environment; parents need to be available to their children. This doesn’t mean being with your child consistently, it means being available when they need your help, care or attention. When your child approaches you for help or to show you what they have done in their play; Stop what you were doing and spend a few moments with them. Encouraging your child to try to do things on their own will help them to become independent. I’m now talking about the pre- schooler who can pack away their own belongings not an infant that needs you to feed them safely….so no bottle propping. Encouragement and positive attention will help your child to be motivated to learn. When you see your child doing something you like, tell them, praise them. By showing your child you like what they are doing they will be likely to do it again.

Third Key Point

The third point is using assertive discipline. Assertive discipline involves being consistent, acting quickly when a child misbehaves and teaching the child to behave in an acceptable way. When parents use assertive discipline, children learn to accept responsibility for their behaviour and develop self-control. Children are less likely to develop behaviour problems if their parents are consistent and predictable all the time. You can value your child’s individuality and still expect reasonable behaviour. When your child is misbehaving or having a tantrum/meltdown; it’s best for you to remain calm and avoid yelling, name calling, threatening and smacking.

Fourth Key Point

The fourth point is having realistic expectations. Parent’s expectations of their child will depend on what they consider normal for children at different ages, remember a two year old with limited language will not have the same understanding or physical skills as a four year old. Children are individuals and develop at different rates. Children need to be intellectually and developmentally ready before they can learn new skills, such as toileting on their own, feeding, or dressing themselves. Seek professional advice if you are unsure. Problems can arise when parents expect too much too soon from their children. Don’t expect your child to be perfect, we all make mistakes and learn from them. Most mistakes aren’t intentional.

Fifth Key Point

The fifth point is taking care of you! Parenting is easier when your own personal needs are met. Being a good parent is not about being with your child 24/7/, your child should not dominate your entire life. If your own needs as an adult are being met, it’s much easier to be patient, consistent and available to your child. It’s important for parents to have realistic expectations of themselves. It is good to want to do your best as a parent, but trying to be a perfect parent will only lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Don’t be hard on yourself, everyone learns through experience.

Leonie Clements

Registered Mothercraft Nurse, Sleep Consultant, Lactation Educator and Creator of Motherhood Coaching Services

Gently guiding and supporting you on your Motherhood Journey

About Leonie

I’ve loved every minute of my journey of over a lifetime of experience with the unique families I have met and their individual bundle of joys. I started from humble beginnings as a Child Care Assistant then progressing towards my Mothercraft Nurse Training at Ngala. From the amazing education I received at Ngala I was able to sit state exams and become registered with the Nurses Board of Australia (now known as APHRA) to have a formal National and International Qualification of caring for Antenatal & Postnatal mothers and their children 0-6yrs old. I am qualified in all areas of child development including sleep behaviours, feeding and nutrition along with communication.

I have been privileged to work with Child Protect Agencies, Women’s Health, Education Department, Disability Services, Mental Health & Well Being and the Department of Health. I have continued my journey by obtaining a Cert 1V in Training and Assessment that enables me to run parenting groups and lecturer in the areas of knowledge that I have. I recently received a Certificate in Lactation Education which is assisting me to reach the level of IBCLC. My life wouldn’t be complete without my supportive family of three beautiful children and an amazing husband.

References to this article have been taken from Triple P Positive Parenting Program

 

Third Child

The Third Child

Finding out that I was pregnant with my third child, left me feeling deflated and a little lost with my identity to a baby who had just turned one. The thought of having two under two (with an existing 5 year old with ADHD) frightened the shit out of me. This little baby wasn’t planned for, we were twelve to eighteen months too early. But I guess that is what happens when you play with fire.. you will get burnt.

I guess you could call me Fertile Myrtle, I could probably easily fall pregnant by sitting on a dirty toilet seat. I don’t know if it is the combination with my husbands super sperm, but honestly, all it took was one Wam Bam Thank You MAM. Especially with my last two pregnancies. I remember after sex, fear would grip me, reminding Chris that this could make me pregnant. And you betcha, before my period was even due I had two little pink lines confirming that I was pregnant. Each time I can remember the shock on his face, informing him that he is going to be a Dad, again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am elated to be pregnant because I get to experience the newborn fever again. Those snuggles, the smell, it’s all extremely intoxicating.. It’s just, like I said, a little too early for me and the family. You see, I am currently enrolled in a course that I have been wanting since forever. Something I am passionate about as it allows me to be creative in my own way. After being in the human services field for 10 years, I was done, dusted. I needed a change. So off I went to try and rebuild a new career in something completely different. I guess it can go on hold.. Right?

“First child eats dirt. Mother calls Doctor. Second child eats dirt. Mother cleans out their mouth. Third child eats dirt. Mother wonders if she needs to feed them lunch.”

I think the biggest single factor of having a third child is the conversions. No longer can you have a standard family car. We currently own a Mitsubishi Outlander and I can guarantee you that a third child seat will not fit in the back row. So, our options will include a people mover (sorry but that is a no from me; no offence) or a four wheel drive. Obviously we are going to opt for a four wheel drive, but lets face it, they are not exactly a cheapish option.

The next exhausting thought I have is the idea of purchasing some kind of pram that could fit a newborn and a toddler, or do I just baby-wear until Flynn is old enough to walk to stroll by my side? I remember a little while ago whilst scrolling through Instagram, my favourite fit mum Chontel showcased her newest pram and it looked amazeballs. My only concern is, is it really worth the money? Flynn will be shy of two years old by the time this baby comes along. The real issue is that I truly dislike being disorganized. So I’m likely going to have to wing it.

And finally, the babies room. Eeeeeeeeeek. Do you know that the “baby room” is actually our spare/junk/hidden room of our home. Currently it is so disorganized that I don’t even know where to begin or declutter. We (meaning me) haven’t even thought of what colour to paint the walls, or if the room will have a theme, and I am currently 20 weeks pregnant. Does this make me a bad Mum? Or this just real life?

“Congrats on your third child. You are officially outnumbered. Way to think things through…”

So putting all these things aside, one big thing that excites me about falling pregnant for the third time is that our family will finally be complete. Flynn and Lucas will have a little brother or sister to dote on. I will begin my breastfeeding journey again, and Chris can finally be on his way to getting the snip.

We are the Face of Motherhood: My Story on Postpartum Anxiety

Generally when people think of Mental Health, they think of the stigma that’s attached to it. “Insane, Incompetent, Pity.”   So, I reckon it is fair to say that Mental Health is something that you never like to admit to having.

“Living with Anxiety is like being followed by a voice. It knows all your insecurities and uses them against you. It gets to the point when it’s the loudest voice in the room and the only one you can hear.”

I have always battled some level of anxiety, even from a very young age, that was caused by a situation that was out of my control. Growing up, it’s safe to say that I had a terrible dysfunctional family who exposed me to terrible things like alcoholism and violence. So typically with any form of family violence, it would come in waves of good and bad periods. But what always remained the same was the continuation of the cycle. Looking back, I never really thought that I had anxiety. I was just conditioned to feel that what I experienced was normal. I never approached a general practitioner or psychologist, and my parent’s probably just thought I was an oversensitive child.

So when I found out that I was pregnant with Lucas, the thought of having a child terrified me. I was 27 years old when the pregnancy was confirmed, so I thought I was mature enough to be able to manage becoming a Mother. I was in a stable and solid relationship, content with where my career was heading, and I considered myself a responsible person. But for some reason it did not sit right with me. I remember being told by my Dad to never have children, so there was always this self doubt. Also, I had never been around babies, never changed a nappy, never burped a baby, never taught how to hold them the correct way. So I felt out of my depth!

“More than 1 in 7 new mums and up to 1 in 10 new dads experience postnatal depression each year in Australia.” ~ Panda

By the time Lucas was born, he absolutely without a doubt terrified me. I didn’t know what to do with him. I kept asking myself, “when am I going to love him?”, “why am I struggling?”, and “what is wrong with me?” In all honestly, I just didn’t know how to be his Mum. I was living day to day, with the hope that something might just click. Around ten days postpartum, I developed an extremely high fever, body aches and heavy bleeding; so I instinctively knew that I had developed an infection. I ended up being readmitted into hospital with a bad case of endometritis, which is an infection or inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus. Plus to top things off I had a bladder infection and mastitis. After a consultation with the ED gynaecologist, I was going to be administered a high dose of IV antibiotics and was advised not to breastfeed Lucas. I was told that it would be unsafe and harmful for the him. I was devastated!

My husband remained brave through it all. Even though I was struggling,  Chris was amazing. He just got stuck into parenthood, and kind of carried the load. He managed the task of nursing a ten day old baby on his own whilst I was recovering in the hospital. I remained there for about three days recuperating, and once I finished my course of antibiotics I could start breastfeeding him again. So for about a two weeks I was pumping and dumping and it had a huge effect on my supply, and this caused my anxiety to spiral. In the end anxiety drove me to quit breastfeeding, which is my biggest regret because breastfeeding is something I have such passion for now. A part of me was crushed and I accepted that I had failed as a Mother.

“When you find yourself locked in the bathroom, sobbing on the floor because you’ve just had enough, that does not mean that you have failed as a mother. Being a mother is hard. That is not failure. This is fact. Remind yourself of that.”

When I returned to work, Lucas was about 6 months old, I was unable to fulfil my role. I would spend the morning crying when it was time to drop him off. I remember when I was having buddy training, I ended up bursting into tears because of my inability to cope with the changes. It was pretty embarrassing! Things began to calm down when Lucas became a toddler, but I was still a helicopter parent. Forever holding him back for fear of him hurting himself. Whenever he got sick I mollycoddled him. I was taking him to the doctors for the smallest things. I was just constantly under duress, my poor brain must be fried by the constant arousal of neurons. I constantly doubted myself as a Mum.. But.. I need to remind myself that there was a few challenging factors that most (term used loosely) families don’t face. My husband was away.. ALOT! Most of Lucas life he was absent, which at the time was awful but we had to create a means to an end. We also live in a state which is thousands of kilometres away from family, so being able to reach out for support was impossible.

But it was only within the last 18 months where I have been formally diagnosed by my GP. There were days where I was barely able to function. My worst symptoms were heart palpitations and panic attacks. Honestly, it would literally stop me in my tracks. It was truly an awful experience, but I am so thankful that my husband came with me as support to speak with my GP. These days I manage my anxiety with medication, and blogging has helped ease my stress. It can be very healing.

“Recognising the signs of anxiety is not always easy, as you can have anxiety without the symptoms of having depression. Some symptoms that stood out to me was. Heart palpitations, irritated easily, nausea, difficulty sleeping, dizzy spells, trembling, dry mouth, sweating, feelings of dread.”

So.. let’s stop the stigma of mental health and start supporting each other. If you recognise these signs of a friend or loved one, talk to them about it. Make it apart of conversation, because you never know.. they may have been reaching out to you but never had the courage to start the conservation.

Much love

Melanie xoxo

{Do you or someone you know may be struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder? Please contact your health provider including your obstetrician or family doctor. Need more information? Visit PANDA for great information on maternal mental health disorders and more. If you fear that yourself or someone you love may be contemplating suicide or facing a mental health emergency, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 and/0r visit your nearest emergency department.}