SZ Connect: Helping Community Singles Split the Sea

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By: Tammy Sassoon, M.s.ed

Dear Open to Ideas,

Many parents get consumed with feelings of guilt as they are not so kind to their children when their minds are filled with to-do lists or worries about the future.

Here’s a quick, meaningful way that you can balance the workload, while feeling good about giving your children what they need.

Be a “PRESENT THINKER” (Be Mindful, Not Mind Full). 

A “PRESENT THINKER” is someone who is really focused on whatever is presently going on around them. The opposite of being a “PRESENT THINKER” is a “PAST or FUTURE THINKER.”

We make the mistake of assuming that if we think about what needs to get done while we are engaging with our children, things will happen faster. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Though we all get caught up in past and future thinking sometimes, it is ALWAYS unhelpful.

Try to focus on whatever you are doing in the present. If you are talking to your children, it will NEVER help for you to be thinking about events that passed, or things that need to be taken care of in the future. It won't help the kids, AND it won’t help other things to get done faster.

When you find yourself really lost in your thoughts or feelings, STOP and use all your senses to embrace whatever you are doing in the moment. You will go from: “Joey, why aren’t you cleaning your room!?!?!” to: “Joey, I need you to clean your room.” This way you can keep your relationships healthy, and stay connected to your children, even during super busy moments!

Instruction Ladder

You may be wondering, “But what if I am calm and present and my kids are still not listening to me.”

If your kids don't listen when you give a basic instruction, you can move up what I call my “Instruction Ladder”:

First say, “I need you to…” and walk away as if you know your child will listen. The task must be small and easy for the child. (For example, don't say, “Clean your room." Instead say, “Clean the up the Legos." Then give another smaller instruction.)

If you don't get a response, come back to the child and say, “Is everything okay?
I just asked you to...”

If you still don't get a response, say, “You can either clean up the Legos within three minutes or …” (State a natural consequence that the child cares about. For example the “or” can be “you might be busy cleaning while we are having our ices, reading a story,” etc.) Remember that whenever you have to administer a consequence, you show your child that you are with them AND that you are 100% confident that it's actually good for them. We all need rules and limits in our lives to feel safe! Parents often get stuck on this rung because they are not confident about setting limits. Once your children see that you consistently mean business, and that it is only coming from a warm and loving place, their compliance should increase tremendously!

Dear Tammy,

The summer is approaching, and I am so nervous about juggling all of the end-of-year responsibilities. I know I am no different than anyone else, but I am just wondering if you have any advice on how to get it all done, while being kind and loving towards my kids, especially when I am truly overwhelmed inside. I like to write thank you cards to teachers, I have preschool workshops for my little ones, graduations for my big ones, and a huge getting ready for camp list. I know from previous years that with all these on my mind, I am not always the nicest mother to be around.


Open to Ideas

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