Treat yourself like a toddler

by Chappell on January 21, 2011

I started following Gretchen Rubin’s blog, The Happiness Project several months ago.  I love the daily reminders that happiness is something that can and should be actively pursued, and once in while she presents an idea that I just LOVE.  Today I’m passing along one of them.  She writes:

I remember reading somewhere that writer Anne Lamott thinks about herself in the third person, to take better care of herself: “I’m sorry, Anne Lamott can’t accept that invitation to speak; she’s finishing a book so needs to keep her schedule clear.”

Similarly, I’m going to imagine how I’d view myself as a toddler. “Gretchen gets cranky when she’s over-tired. We really need to stick to the usual bedtimes.” “Gretchen gets frantic when she’s really hungry, so she can’t wait too long for dinner.” “Gretchen needs some quiet time each day.” “Gretchen really feels the cold, so we can’t be outside for too long.”

The fact is, if you’re dealing with a toddler, you have to plan. You have to think ahead about eating, sleeping, proper winter clothes, necessary equipment, a limit on sweets, etc. Because with a toddler, the consequences can be very unpleasant. In the same way, to be good-humored and well-behaved, I need to make sure I have my coffee, my cell-phone charger, my constant snacks, and my eight hours of sleep….

It’s easy to expect that you “should” be able to deal with a particular situation, and of course, to a point, it’s admirable to be flexible, to be low-maintenance. But I realize that I’m much happier — and more fun to be around — if I recognize my limits.

What would you say if you talked about yourself as if you were a toddler?  How would it free you up to stop feeling guilty about whatever small accommodations you need or limitations you have?  I have had some fun thinking about this over the last few weeks and I have found that once I can be honest with myself about what I really need to thrive, it is much easier to ask other people for their understanding in a non-complaining, non-guilting way.  Instead of thinking of it as a shortcoming or a fault, it is simply what I need to be the happiest, best person that I can be (and isn’t that who everyone wants to be around?).

The full text of this blog can be found here.  Gretchen Rubin is also the author of the book: The Happiness Project, which describes her year long project to become a happier person.

From the Love and Logic Institute: When Kids Lie

by Chappell on November 18, 2010

I love to pass along resources and The Love and Logic Institute Newsletter often has great tidbits for parents that can be useful, even if you are not “a love-and-logic parent.”  I think this article on how to handle your kids when they tell a lie, or you think that they told a lie, really hits the mark.

Being lied to can often push our buttons and cause us to react in unhelpful ways.  We can get stuck on the fact of the lie and miss out on what is really happening in our relationship with a child or what is actually being communicated by the lie.  Staying grounded and being honest about how the lie makes you feel, as suggested in this article, can keep you from getting stuck in a power struggle with your child and possibly lead to a much more satisfying ending.

I hope you find it helpful:

When Kids Lie [from the Love and Logic Newsletter]

Dear Insider Club Member,
There are few things that leave parents angrier, or more worried, than when their kids act “truthfulness-challenged.” The good news about lying is that kids do it. What I mean is that all youngsters experiment with bending the truth, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll end up becoming con men, criminals or politicians. That is, as long as we can help them see that honesty really is the best policy.
One way of achieving this goal is to apply the following steps:
  1. Use “I feel like you lied to me” rather than “You lied to me.”
      If your kid replies with “No, I didn’t!” this allows you to say, “I know…but I feel like you did.”
  2. Help the child see lying as an index of maturity.
      Achieve this by saying, “When I feel lied to, it makes me wonder whether you are mature enough to handle some of the privileges you enjoy around here, like television, your video games, and things like that.”
  3. In an empathetic way, let the child know that privileges will return when maturity goes up.
      “The good news is that when you can prove to me that you are more mature, I’ll know that it’s time for you to have these privileges again.”
  4. Remember that parenting isn’t like a jury trial: There’s no need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
      Far too many parents get snowed by their manipulative kids and begin to wonder whether they are jumping to conclusions. I recommend trusting your heart and saying, “All I know is that I feel lied to, and I know that your life will be a lot happier if you learn how to avoid leaving people feeling that way.”
For more tips on responding to lying, listen to Dr. Foster Cline’s CD, Childhood Lying, Stealing and Cheating.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay
©2010 Love and Logic Institute, Inc. All copyright infringement laws apply. Permission granted for photocopy reproduction and forwarding. Please do not alter or modify contents. For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.

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What to expect from relationship counseling.

October 4, 2010

All About Relationship Counseling Congratulations!  You’ve decided to get relationship counseling.  If this is your first time seeing at therapist, you probably have some questions about what it will be like. Feeling nervous or having doubts: It is perfectly normal to be nervous or even doubtful when entering therapy.  My advice: talk about it with [...]

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