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“The first three years of our lives establish the blueprints for all of our future relationships.” -John Bowlby, the father of attachment theory

How Children Feel About Spanking: Their Own Words and Images

click on link below to see…

Do you want to give a blueprint to a mansion or a dilapidated house? The choice is yours though your reactions are an accumulation of your genetic and environmental interactions. LOVE YOURSELF THROUGH it.

thank you Post Institute and Trauma Academy for this awareness and Positive Parenting for the new link.


I am feminist trained but purport I am a “Humanist,” partially to avoid the stigma but mostly I had thought Humanist was more apt toward my goals: I want to improve all human’s quality of living and respect everyone’s needs and rights regardless of sex, age, creed, race, or sexual orientation. Listening to this following TED talk made me feel proud to be a feminist. I am grateful to the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program at Colorado State University for this gift of awareness as well as informing me of the Feminist continuum which indeed includes all of humanity, especially those who are marginalized and vulnerable.  And thank you for my logic professor at Clemson University that gave me the know how to understand that being a Humanist and Feminist can be mutually inclusive as well as many other things like how I am pro-life and pro-choice (I have my own TED Talk on mind for that one).

“One of the great challenges of being a parent is exercising authority in a mature and present manner. This challenge is perhaps greatest when we become frustrated, for it is during these times that we are more likely to be reactive, short tempered, and have available to us fewer cognitive resources to draw on to be reflective, rational, and kind. 

At the same time, it is during these moments of challenge that we teach our children, through our example, how to relate to such moments.  And indeed, how we react likely bears a resemblance to how our caregivers reacted years ago when we were young, and is being learned, today, by our children.  Neuroscience is revealing just how connected this exchange is, penetrating deeply into the structure and function of our children’s developing brains . . . and ours.” -Scott Roger

Clink on link for more of this Daily Sip

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I describe this situation to my child that when we feel stress, our brain gets flooded and it is hard to access our good and helpful files stored in our brain. It happens to me constantly especially being sleep deprived. I am queen of Reactivity and the Hypocrisy slaps me in the face almost instantly which then upsets me even more. You would think I would know by now but the Cycle of Abuse is so imbedded in my cells. It goes on and on till I stop, let go, breath and redirect my energy more positively. I just keep practicing and it is getting easier. My children brilliantly reveal to me daily how when I am patient, kind, and fear less, than understanding and compassion have more space to grow.

This is a bit long but has funny cartoons to illustrate his musings. It describes how paralyzed I often feel. Would like to have a cuppa this man. Free will is a Blessing in Disguise.

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

-Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) from The Prophet


 The reading of this writing was never so poignant in my life as when my brother read it aloud at the memorial service of my baby girl Anais who was born still on the 19th of September 2007. She is my fourth baby angel and inspiration for all I do. Expand your awareness and appreciate every moment you can with your loved ones. Love yourself and everyone else through when times appear most difficult. When you do this, you will get through it together.

Here’s a link to more of Kahlil Gibran’s works

Click link for the text to speech: via Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech by Erica Goldson.

Wow, I am blow away by her courage to say this in front of so many. She highlights more reasons why I choose to “unschool” my children. Schools have tons of value. I know their hearts are in the right place and intentions are good but their traditional approach is misguided and unbalanced as well as down right neglectful regarding emotional and relational intelligence. To me, schools are like factories that tailor to one type of person. Yes, we need this type of person, but do we need 4 million of them? I think there are many options that mutually inclusive and beneficial.

It is ironic a friend posted this on a social media network today. I needed my core values revitalized and my feelings expressed via a neutral party. I still run into moments where I feel the force to push my son to understand or work harder on a so-called subject or goal. When I step back and listen to his feelings and words, I always find a more peaceful and loving approach that motivates his inner spirits. It is so scary to let go of how we think it should be. Egos and chemical reactions keep colliding and sabotaging. Deep Breaths. I get to try again, and again, and again.
Thanks to Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond for the new resource

“[Yet] our babies are starving. Oh they have plenty of food. Our children are starving for touch; they are starving for us. Our children are starving for human interaction and human relationships…We have become advanced in some ways but, at present, our culture is developmentally ignorant. We are a child illiterate culture. We think somehow that it is better for a child to learn letters and words from television than from a parent talking with their baby. We have lost our core child-rearing truths… And there is nothing more essential to a developing child than human touch, infants rarely touched can actually become ill and die.”

-Dr Bruce Perry, excerpt from the preface of Move Baby Move by Sofie Foster and Jerome Hartigan

I have heard Dr. Perry speak many times, and was blessed to participate in his trainings. I am enamored with everything he says. His research rings true on every level of my life and future endeavors. I recently read that his first wife at age 19 was murdered and the killer was never found. He is the essence of what I aspire. I hope that if such an event ever occurred to my loved ones, that I can see the pain and the unmet needs of the perpetrator’s soul, stand up for healing and resist revenge.

I once heard some leader from Chicago comment that the most successful youth organization is gangs (wish I could remember his name, I think it was an NPR story). I completely understand why. They finally find a place where they are respected, accepted, and empowered. Imagine if we could do this when brain development was most crucial, ages conception to 6 yrs old. Instead, we let media, peers, and strangers do it at vulnerable times. At times when our children need us most but our fears and own unmet needs tend to overpower, blind us, and thwart connection.

I have not read his recent book but it will be the next one I buy. You might want to check it out…

BORN FOR LOVE: Why Empathy Is Essential—and Endangered

When my son was nearly four, he had a small snow globe with Pluto the dog in it. Every time he’d touch it, I would say, “Be careful, it is glass so if it falls it will break.” Last night, he played with it intensely, not heeding my warnings.  It shattered. My initial response was one of exasperation, and quickly removed him from the area. I fought back the impulse to say, “I told you so; you didn’t listen.” but I am sure he still felt that negative energy as he broke down in tears and was inconsolable.  My husband and I both hugged him, and I stated, “It is my fault because I should have taken it away from you. I knew better.” I calmly suggested he go play with his miniature sandbox and he agreed that would make him feel better.

I think many would be taken back that I took responsibility in this situation (and I do this in most parenting situations). I frequently get comments about how will he learn responsibility? How will he learn if there are no consequences? I was first exposed to this response in a training for regulatory parenting*. The presenter gave numerous examples of “taking responsibility” topping with a story about her standing before a judge for a foster child and stating that she will take responsibility for his actions. These stories surprised me because they were counterintuitive to what I was raised to think, but her reasoning, and better yet the progress, sold me.

So I will apply the reasoning to the situation with my son. First off, let me stress that I did not take responsibility for him; I took responsibility for my behaviors. In the end, the parent is ideally the one with more knowledge, more experience, more skills, more resources and is responsible for meeting a child’s needs. I once read that when a child is born, the parent is in debt to the child because you chose to bring them into the world. The child is a gift.

By me taking responsibility, I decreased the negative energy (i.e. blame, disappointment, shame) being absorbed by my son as well as calmed myself down. All negative behavior comes from a state of stress (see Stress Model by Dr Bryan Post ). When we are stressed, we usually react negatively and inappropriately. Scolding, raising my voice, or punishing would only add more stress, which a child (and most humans) can’t handle as well as escalate the situation. It also causes the child to focus on and retain negative feelings about the parent as well as lessen their ability to internalize the actual event and subsequent lesson. When we are calm, we are able to respond gently by becoming aware of as many variable as possible and problem solve effectively.

I was also role-modeling for my son how to take responsibility. There are complaints that there is not enough discipline and kids have no respect anymore. I think we need more positive and respectful role models.  I can’t tell you how many times I hear a parent or adult say “Don’t you raise your voice to me!” in an elevated and harsh tone, and the countless other times that same parent raises their voice to that same child or to a person driving by or to their partner. Or “Don’t bite your nails! Where are my cigarettes?” Or “Don’t you hit your sister!…I’ll spank you if…(later that night dad hits mom, or vice versa).

Dr. Bruce Perry commented once that if you speak English, you learn English; if speak rudeness, violence, anger, etc., then you learn rudeness, violence, anger, etc. How is one able to learn respect and empathy when they are rarely given any? Or only given when certain conditions are met depending on someone else’s mood?

I really wish adults could notice all the things they complain about or demand of their child or partner. Then really think about how many times you have committed a similar offense. I continue to do this experiment and I have yet to find a time I have NOT behaved or reacted in a similar way. I then choose to hold my complaint until I have successfully worked on changing my own behavior.  By then, I have gained enough insight and empathy for the person that the original complaint seems a bit unreasonable and even petty.

A child will learn more positive skills and values from a vulnerable and calm adult who changes their behavior to reflect their requests, than a defensive and angry person who threatens consequences. I know threats and punishments seem to work, but they work for the wrong reasons and promote more destruction than you can imagine, at so many levels.

So back to my son and the broken snow globe…after about 15 minutes, my son called to me. He said he felt better now and asked if I would help put his sand box away to keep it safe. I did and we went to his room for story time. He immediately went to the spot where he broke the globe and calmly said, “I am sorry mommy for breaking it.” I accepted his sincere apology and we got back to our bed time ritual.

teaching responsibility = role-modeling the ability to respond  appropriately

*The training I went to was by Juli Alvarado from

*Link to Dr Bryan Post’s Website

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