Does your child feel like a stray?

A conversation with a middle-schooler a few weeks back following a discussion about communicating after death was even more eye opening than the original one.  She asked me how I would come back to her after I died.  I responded,   “as a hummingbird and what about you?”  Her response was, “as a black and orange cat.”  She said we better write them down so we don’t forget, but I thought to myself, I think I will remember this conversation.   A week or so later, she asked me if I remembered how I would appear to her.  I said, “Yes. Why did you pick a black and orange cat?”  “Because I only have seen stray cats be black and orange and I feel like I am a stray too.”  Our conversation was interrupted at that point so I have not found out her own reasoning behind it, but it struck a chord with me from years of teaching kids of divorce.

My observation was that some children do feel misplaced.  Even with parents that do everything to make their child’s life happy, some kids still have difficulty knowing where they belong.  They are going to Dad’s house or Mom’s house, or even a grandparent’s home,  but not theirs.  Where is their home?  Living out of a suitcase, or even having 2 sets of everything can be difficult for their stability.   As I said this is an observation not a criticism as it happened to me as well.  Family members lived here for a while.  We did everything we could think of to make this their home, but they never called it home.  It was always our house.  I once asked, “What would make you feel at home?”  The answer was, “Not living with you.  Living in a house that is just ours.”  Sometimes you just have to accept that you have done all you can to help them adjust, but being aware of their feelings and acknowledging it is a first step in understanding the feelings of a ‘stray’.  http://iamchildofdivorce.com offers many suggestions for divorced  parents.

http://iamachildofdivorce.com/

Kids Can Follow the Mindful Path to Peace and Joy

Can your kids be quiet and be IN quiet without getting antsy?  One kid very dear to my heart has a hard time in the car with nothing to do.  “I’m bored!  There is nothing to do!” is a constant complaint.  My response, “We are doing something, we are having a conversation,” for some reason has no impact on the perceived dilemma.   If this sounds familiar, I wrote about this several months ago, in “Too Much Boredom”.  In the blog, I wrote, “Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.”

Mindfulness was mentioned in the article and deserves much more consideration.mindfulness5  It not only has to be taught it has to be practiced.  Its value is addressed by Jon Kabut- Zinn.

“It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

“Of course my life matters”, you might say, but how often do you actually think about it?  Do you value the moments in your life or allow them to slide by without any focus? mindfulness7It is easy to lose connection with the moments when you are checking off the many items on each daily to- do list.  That is why it is important to stop, breathe deeply and bring yourself back to the moment from time to time.

Mindfulness practice is valuable in controlling thoughts.  And of course, to teach your children, you need to do it yourself as well.  This is one of those things that you might not do for yourself but will do for your children and gain personal growth, peace and empowerment in the process.

“The purpose of teaching mindfulness to our children is to give them skills to develop their awareness of their inner and outer experiences, to recognize their thoughts as “just thoughts,” to understand how emotions manifest in their bodies, to recognize when their attention has wandered, and to provide tools for impulse control. mindfulness6 It is not a panacea, and it will not completely get rid of what is, frankly, normal kid behavior, like tantrums and loudness and whining and exuberance and arguing…” wrote Sarah Rudell Beach in  “8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids”

Mindfulness gives all of us including our children, power.  Controlling thoughts by releasing thoughts, keeping thoughts positive, focusing on what needs to be done, and regulating emotions is powerful and can begin to be learned at an early age.  Mindfulness helps with impulse control and assists children in refraining from speaking and acting out uncontrollably, something some adults could use as well.

mindfulness4

I will write on this again, but don’t wait, check out these links for yourself!

http://thehawnfoundation.org/mindup/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2012-4-9-power-of-mindfulness