You look at the numbers on the weighing scale and groan,
‘How will I ever lose weight!’ You know, and I know, the festive season is hardly good for losing centimetres around your waist, or your rear end, but you are determined to get off to a good start with healthy eating in the New Year.
You may be wondering why I’m writing about weight loss when my work is as a Parenting expert. (I see myself as an expert on helping you to be the expert in what your family needs to thrive). Last January I was asked to postpone a Parenting workshop.
‘It seems people aren’t ready to get going till February’, the lady from the hosting organisation explained.
But the strange thing I noticed was that from the first week of January the car park was full when the evening slimming programme began. It seems everybody makes it a priority to get down to ideal weight when it’s the first of January. I was discussing this with a friend who responded,
‘But the best way to ensure that weight loss stays off could be to do something a Parenting course.’ I raised my eyebrow questioningly. ‘Think about it,’ she said. ‘If things aren’t going well at home, we get stressed. And when we get stressed we comfort eat. And, bang, we’re back where we started, with the kilos piling on.’
Her response makes a lot of sense to me. If you are worried that your child is not coping at school, if you’re worried about bullying issues, if you’re stressed about your child’s behaviour, if you and your child aren’t communicating and are going through a stormy patch – it makes sense these things are stressing you. And there’s an old saying,
‘If Mum be happy we all be happy.’
If you as parent are stressed it tends to increase every family member’s stress, and so we all get caught in a downward spiral that easily skids out of control (weight included!) And if you think about it, our stress is largely related to anxiety; wondering how we’ll cope. And Anxiety is something we can do something about, if we know how. ‘Anxiety = Powerlessness x Uncertainty’ according to Chip Conley in ‘Emotional Equations’. So imagine if you knew how to increase your sense of Power to create a calmer home. Imagine if you could increase your sense of Certainty of what your children need to thrive. A greater sense of personal Power and a Certainty of what matters and what to do about it = Less Anxiety = Less Stress. And less stress is likely to result is becoming the calmer, happier, slimmer, fitter parent you really want to be.
This is only theory, but if it makes sense to you, why not discover the Koemba coaching approach to Parenting? This is a combination of my experience working with children and parents as a teacher and school principal, what I learnt though having children of my own, combined with Life Coaching skills and practical communication tools and key insights from Relationship theory. Following on from the success of my ‘BEHAVE!’ Parenting course, my new ‘LISTEN!’ Parenting programme starts in Cork and also in Kilkenny this February. Want to know more? Take two minutes to watch our video clip, on the side panel.
Sign up now to save €20 with the Early Bird option.
If you’re not lucky enough to be in those geographical regions, keep watching our posts because we have exciting developments to launch new Parenting resources.
Contact us if you’d like to join the Koemba Parenting courses in Cork, with Parenting author Val Mullally. This six week course focuses on how to effectively connect and communicate, because these are essential skills for all of our relationships, especially to create a calmer, happier home. CLICK HERE for details.
Thanks to the Koemba community – for all the interaction through the year. Wishing you a blessed Festive Season and an exciting New Year. Watch out for Val Mullally’s new Parenting book ‘BEHAVE – What To do When Your Child Won’t’ launching very early 2015!
We’re delighted to be returning to Kilkenny to offer the 6 week Parenting Programme facilitated by Val Mullally and based on her forthcoming book: ‘BEHAVE! – What To Do When Your Child Won’t!’ http://www.koemba.com/education/parenting-course-kilkenny-autumn-2014/
Just a few spaces left – so book now to confirm your spot.
Wondering how to connect better with your child? Our new Koemba YouTube clip now launched! http://bit.ly/Wu4gtJ
We’re delighted to have Koemba founder and Parent Coach Val Mullally quoted in article by Alex Meehan in Sunday Business Post magazine (27 April 2014) re ‘Are we raising risk-averse children?’
For further reading on this topic see: ‘Why keeping your child safe might-stop-your-child-from thriving.’
Mary smiled wryly. “I’ve had those outbursts too. When did our little darlings morph into monsters!”
Jane could sense that the other parents knew what this experience was like.
One of the first things that they had discovered in the Parenting programme was that this was a safe space to share their concerns about the day-to-day issues that arise in their homes.
‘So what do we already know that could be helpful when your children turn their anger on you with words like this?’ the facilitator asked.
Within a few minutes the mood of the group lightened as they recognised that they had already gained helpful insights.
“I guess I’d need to climb off the ‘Oh no, she hates me’ bandwagon, ” said Jim. “It’s easy to think that my child doesn’t love me when I see that angry face.”
“Yes,” added another parent. “Rather recognise that she’s saying, ‘I hate a particular behaviour of yours.”
In a few minutes the group had made several suggestions.
1) Strong emotions are contagious, so focus on your breathing so that you don’t ‘hook in’. Don’t let the anger stick.
“Don’t be like Velcro,’ chuckled Don, “Be like Teflon; let your child’s anger roll off you!”
They remembered the core neuroscience and emotional intelligence insights the facilitator had discussed. This prompted further ideas:
2) Recognise that when he’s this angry the ‘thinking part’ of his brain is not engaged.
3) It’s no good trying to reason with him at this point; that can only come later once his anger subsides.
4) Don’t try to persuade her that she doesn’t hate you. She wants to let you know that something isn’t okay for her right now.
5) Recognise that anger is always a signal ‘I need change.’ Ask yourself what is the change your child is asking for.
The facilitator added a few other thoughts to the discussion:
6) Help your child to NAME, CLAIM and TAME his emotion. In other words, see the emotion that is under the attacking words and respond to that: ‘You’ re very angry.’ When he has a NAME for his inner experience he can CLAIM it; recognise that that is what he is experiencing. And when he can CLAIM it he can TAME it – bring it back under control.
7) Also recognise that there are other emotions underneath blanket of her anger – probably fear or disappointment. It’s easier to connect with your child when you can picture what probably lies under the anger.
Jane smiled. When she had signed up for the Parenting programme she hadn’t realized how much the new learning would positively affect their everyday life in the home. She knew that by the end of this session she’s be going home with a different outlook and a more helpful way of responding next time her child had a meltdown.
Helping families to:
– think more clearly
– connect more compassionately
– behave more response-ably
– live more joyfully
Please note: This story is fictional and does not record an actual event.
8 sessions commencing:
Douglas, Cork Thurs 26 Sept 2013
Thursday evenings 7.30 – 10 pm
Kilkenny Wed 25 Sept 2013
Wednesday mornings 10am – 12.30
Investment fee: €187
Early Bird: €169 (pay by Mon 23 Sept)
For more detail email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Val 087 7609355
For details CLICK HERE.
Koemba will be offering Parent Coach training in Kilkenny this autumn, in response to a most successful recent. morning workshop.
The debate rages and, no matter which side of the argument you’re on, you can see you’re right. And what if, in one sense, both parties are right?
I say both parties may be right because I’m looking past the ‘to smack or not to smack’ and I’m asking a different question. I’m asking ‘What is it we really want to achieve?’ And I suspect that both parties will agree without hesitation that what we want is young people who are respectful of other people and of others people’s property.
So what would happen instead of trying to outshout each other’s argument regarding whether or not smacking is okay, we reflect on what might be learnt from the mindset of the other.
Here’s what it looks like from my viewpoint:
The ‘Smackers’ are right about children needing boundaries. When you’re standing on the ‘Smackers’’ side of the fence it’s obvious that many good old -fashioned values and behaviours have been undermined. They are saying ‘children need boundaries.’ And they are absolutely right. Children need boundaries for our benefit and also for their own. A child without boundaries can feel very insecure because he doesn’t know where the limits are. I once heard a wise lady describe a child raised without boundaries as being like a blind person trying to walk in a room that went on and on, without any walls. Imagine how disorientating, and perhaps even frightening, it would be to have no walls to help you gain a sense of direction. Children need boundaries so that they know what to expect and what’s expected from them. In fact, the ‘Smackers’ are cautioning something really significant here – Discipline is essential if we want peaceful society. ‘Kids who are brought up with firm, fair, consistent boundaries don’t go off the rails so easily.’ Sue Atkins Certainly part of the problem with the UK riots had to do with lack of boundaries and discipline.
And what if the ‘Non-Smackers’ are also right because they have figured out that actually children are people too and all people deserve to be treated with respect? What if they’ve recognized that violence begets violence?
For some insight into why smacking isn’t going to achieve what’s needed, here are some key points that leading international neuroscientists recognise:
1. The child’s brain is still ‘under construction’. This means that the child will not always perceive things as we adults do. Yes, there are times when children will need our intervention and guidance.
2. Because the child’s brain is not fully developed, it also means that at times of strong emotion, children need adults who can be the ‘emotional thermostats’ – helping to keep the heat of roused emotions at a reasonable temperature.
3. When we are upset we don’t ‘think straight’. This is because we don’t have one brain. In a sense we have three brains, and the innermost section of the brain, often called the reptilian brain, is the part that reacts when the person is under threat. When we sense ‘danger’, the brain focuses its energy on this deep inner brain – causing us to go into reactive mode, of fight, flight, freeze or appease, to help keep us safe in an emergency. The cost of this ‘survival mode’ is that clear logical thinking temporarily shuts down. It makes sense that when a child is smacked, they are going to feel under attack, which means the primitive ‘survival’ mode of the brain is triggered, which means that they won’t take any learning from the situation. All the child will gain is a fear reaction that will get them to avoid being in the same situation again.
Will it teach them not to repeat that behaviour any time the authority figure is present to reinforce the punishment? Yes.
Will it teach them compassion or consideration for others? No, because the part reptilian part of the brain that is triggered when we are under attack doesn’t do compassion or reasoning – it only does survival. Crocodiles don’t worry about connection – they just do survival!
David Lammy UK author of ‘Out of the Ashes: After the Riots’  states in an article in the Guardian, where he blames anti-smacking law for UK riots. “The ability to exercise their (parents’) own judgment in relation to discipline and reasonable chastisement has been taken away. ”
What I’d like to say to David is that I agree with him that children need discipline but Punishment and Discipline are not synonyms. ‘Chastisement’ is Punishment – not Discipline. Punishment attempts to work from the outside in. Discipline works from the inside out.
Smacking (a.k.a, Punishment) isn’t going to achieve what’s needed because, in the words of leading neuroscientist Daniel Siegel:
“Discipline” really means to teach, not to “punish”.
What we want is surely to teach our children acceptable social behaviour.
Some parents resort to smacking children because they don’t know how else to maintain boundaries. Some parents don’t smack but resort to other tools of coercion and manipulation that ultimately might be just as harmful, (and much of this is advocated on popular TV Parenting programmes).
I appreciate that David Lammy MP is voicing that the violence that erupted in the UK is a signal that this is an issue that needs urgent and serious attention. When Smackers and the Non-Smackers choose to focus on the outcome we desire: ‘What is it we really want to achieve?’, here’s some of the factors we’ll most probably agree on:
Yes, society needs children to have boundaries.
Yes, children need to have boundaries.
Yes, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
And it’s time to learn from experts in the fields of child development, attachment parenting and neuroscience about what’s needed to raise emotionally healthy individuals who respect themselves and others.
What’s vital is that parents and educators are equipped with helpful discipline tools that work, not just on the short term from the adult’s perspective – but ‘work’ in the sense that they are going to achieve the long term goals of a peaceful and respectful society, where everyone’s needs, including children’s, are taken into account.
Other related articles:
Helpful resources by Val Mullally related to this topic:
Managing Anger in the Home CD & MP3
Dealing with Discipline CD & MP3
Soon to be released: Children’s Challenging Behaviour
(Sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch with new releases).
 SueAtkins Twitter @SueAtkins 30/01/2012
 Adapted from Danny Silk
 Siegel, Daniel J and Payne Bryson, Tina, ‘The Whole Brain Child – 12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind