Posts Tagged ‘coping’

Moms spend so much time with their newborns, babies and children that it can be really hard to separate yourself or vice-versa for the children to let go of you not being with them. I know certain moms who have never even used a baby sitter! Crazy! Parents, especially stay at home moms, need to get out of the house and have time for yourself too in order to have a balanced and healthy life. Often times a mom can think, “How could anyone else know to take care of him and fix things like I do?”

Separation anxiety is a natural part of development for babies and kids, but as many parents know, they aren’t the only ones who feel uncomfortable when mom or dad leaves! It can be especially intense in the first year – parents worry about safety, sleeping and so-on.

If you find yourself struggling with separation, here are some tips you might want to consider:

1.    Allow yourself to feel anxious.
Separation anxiety is the other side of the attachment coin. A healthy bond with your child means a certain degree of discomfort.

2.    Know that other caregivers do things differently.
After being so close to your baby and children, you have fine-tuned your approach on how to handle your child. One of the tough parts about leaving your child is the fear that no one else knows the ‘secrets.’ That is true – but kids are surprisingly adaptive. Grandparents, dad or a babysitter, those people will find their own way and might surprise you with the tricks they invent to watch your child.

3.    Separation is an important part of attachment.
It is healthy fory our baby to be taken care of by multiple caregivers. Allowing kids to trust and be cared for by other people only boosts their feeling of community and sense that the world is a safer place. 

4.    Taking time for yourself isn’t just for fun, it’s for your health.
In the early months, if leaving your wee baby makes you miserable, don’t’ force it. But as he or she grows, it’s natural and healthy to start putting pieces of your own life back into its old schedule. This means, take time to go work out, meet with a friend for coffee or lunch, have a date night with your hubby, etc. Taking care of yourself is important to you and your child too.

5.    Look beyond the guilt!
Guilt is a common go-to emotion for parents, but it’s not a very useful one! Feeling guilty over being away from your child can be a way of not dealing with things. Acknowledge your guilt, but don’t let it become your emotional crutch, excuse or hideout.

Overall – just know that attachment doesn’t just mean physically being there, and that separation anxiety will eventually diffuse over time. 🙂

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Last week I went over all of our memorable child bad habits from nose picking to twirling your hair – sound familiar? We have all experienced bad habits as children or experience it with our kids or even your friends’ kiddos.  So what causes a “habit”?  I explored and here is a little info from me to you.

What Causes a Habit?

Some might ask, “Why do my son’s fingers appear to be an extension of his mouth, and why is there always a propeller of hair circling above your daughter’s head?” Experts confess that the causes of a bad habit can be hard to pinpoint, but that it is a learned behavior.  Habits may develop as entertainment for a bored child or, more commonly, as a coping mechanism to soothe an anxious one. The next time you see your child nail-biting or hair-twirling, try to identify if your child was recently stressed from an event or experience. If so, the behavior might be your child’s attempt to relieve tension just as you would by working out at the gym.

Other common reasons kids start/engage in bad habits are:

  1. When they’re relaxing, such as before falling to sleep or listening to music.
  2. Left over from infancy – Infant thumb sucking is a universal self-comfort behavior that has pleasurable associations with breast-feeding and fulfillment of hunger; hence, sometimes this bad habit continues through childhood up to age 5 because of its positive associations.
  3. Studies suggest that nail biting may have a strong genetic component.
  4. Lastly, some kids will engage in habits to draw attention or manipulate their parents. Sometimes if kids feel that their parents are ignoring them, they may attempt an irritating habit because they know that it will provoke a reaction from Mom or Dad.

Coping With Your Child’s Habit
Getting depressed that your child won’t break his or her habit? Not to worry!  Most habits disappear or by the time a child reaches an age when he or she enters school, they will outgrow it!

Still unconvinced the habit will disappear? Here are some quick tips:

1.      Calmly point out what you don’t like about the behavior and why.
Don’t yell or lecture your child.  Instead increase awareness of the problem in a calm way.

2.      Involve your child in the process of breaking the habit.
Ask your kids what they think they could do to stop the habit or if they want to stop the habit. Come up with solutions on how to quit the bad habit together

3.      Suggest optional behaviors.
For example, if your child is a nail-biter, instead of saying, “Stop biting your nails!” try saying, “Show me how to give a thumbs up!” or “How do you give the peace sign with your hand?” This will help increase awareness of the habit and serve as a more positive reminder.

4.      Reward and praise self-control.
This does not mean go wild and buy out the floor at FAO Schwarz or too much candy, rather something small such as a sticker.  This way, your child will be motivated to break the habit. 

Don’t forget, habits do not form overnight and take time to develop – likewise, a bad habit doesn’t go away with a wink reminiscent of “I Dream of Jeannie!” Be patient and your child will be booger picking, hair twirling, thumb sucking and nail biting free.  Phew! That was a mouthful (pun-intended).

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