Parenting kids, Seriously, Parenting Questions, Concerns and Responses

Big Emotions With My 2 Year Old


Question:

I need some advice on how to teach a very emotional 2 year old about emotions, feelings, and calm mindfulness? I am in no way trying to stop her feelings or emotions. I just need help teaching what each emotion means and just helping her understand what feelings are. I could really use some resources or tools to help us!

The Judgemental Mom’s Response:

Start with helping identify her emotions. Talk to her about why she is feeling the way she is and what she “wishes”. Until she is older and commication is more established, I would say back to her what she says for both her sake and yours – to acknowledge you understand how she is feeling and why.

Try not to invalidate her feelings with statements like:
• “you’re okay”
• “it’s not that bad”
• “you just ate, you can’t be hungry”

These statements often don’t have the intention of disregarding their feelings, but this is how they are interpreted by our littles as they take things very literally.

You can respond instead by just acknowledging her feeling:
• “you’re still hungry after all that food”,
• “you sound really hurt”
• “You are frustrated because you still want to play”

You can help her connect with you in these moments and trust you by validating her feelings and letting her know that they have a big importance to her -regardless how miniscule the reason behind her feelings are to an adult.

Some connecting statements in example:
• It must be so FRUSTRATING when you want to finish your show but we have to get going
• I know it’s really DISAPPOINTING for you that you couldn’t have that toy from the store. I WISH that you can have that toy for your birthday!
• I bet when your brother took your book it made you so ANGRY. If someone just took something from me like I would be so mad!

The point in these examples is not encouraging the child’s tough emotions, but connecting WITH the child about their tough emotions.

At this age, your daughter may have a hard time understanding the different emotions. You could start simple, with 4 or 5 main emotions with a picture on the wall to help her find which one she identifies with (shown below).

Even letting them look in the mirror during their upset can be helpful so THEY can see how THEY look. Once you have talked about what happened, help her find how to do something differently or alternatively when possible.

To help her find her stopping point, consider these statements:
• How about you leave your game/show right here, so it will be waiting for you when we get back
• Let’s take a picture of that toy you really want so maybe I can get it for your birthday
• Your brother is still learning about waiting his turn for things. Let’s make sure your spot is saved in the book so when you get it back you can keep reading

Now is also a good age to start reading books about emotions together. Pick a calm time to learn about them though, as littles won’t absorb much in the heat of a feeling.

Some safe ways to express tough emotions:
• Stomping her feet
• Hitting the carpet
• Hitting a pillow
• If she wants to yell, show her how to yell what she’s feeling i.e., “I’m so ANGRY!!” and scream as hard as she can into a pillow.

You may find it beneficial to also begin teaching your daughter breathing exercises. A wonderful tool for guided breathing and meditation for both adults and kids is an app called Relax Melodies, found on the Play Store

Reccomended books about kids and their emotions for parents:

• The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel
• How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Reccomended books about emotions for preschoolers:

• The Feelings Book by Todo Parr
• Happy Hippo Angry Duck by Sandra Boyington
• Moody Monster Manor by Jenn Simon (Scholastic book)
• Baby Faces by Kate Merrit
• When Sophie Gets Angry – Really Really Angry by Molly Bang

For more helpful information regarding children’s big emotions, selecting your response with your children, and guiding them to talk about their struggles, visit https://thejudgementalmom.com/kids-seriously/5/

Parenting kids, Seriously, Parenting Yourself, Seriously, Voice boxing it

8 Benefits of Classical Music


Did you know classical music is soothing for all ages? Both parents and children finding themselves stressed out can try dim lighting and soft classical music – piano is optimum.

Research shows classical music can actually raise dopamine levels too – helping with depressive moods, trouble focusing, over stimulation, and chaotic thoughts.

• Positive auditory sensory stimulation
• Calming
• Clears chaotic thoughts
• Inspiration
• Healing and nurturing to the mental and emotional spirit
• Improves sleep
• Improves focus
• Lowers blood pressure

Reccomendations

Some of my favorites are Claire du Lune and Reverie by debussy, feure de leis by Beethoven, Nocturne by Chopin, BWV 988 by Bach, and Piano Concerto 21 by Mozart.

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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Me


Here’s a little about myself today

Because some passersby’ers see my name and head for the woods – but I’m not planning on changing it anytime soon.

Full time tradeswoman, mom and wife, I consider myself an advocate for children, mental well-being, and drive for change
💪 👩‍🔧👨‍👨‍👧

Coming from a broken home and a hurtful raising left me struggling for the rest of my life, continuously in and out of doctors, hospitals, therapists and pharmacies.
💔

I just wanted to be and feel normal
🤞

Who knew that becoming a parent would help all that?
🤰💕

My fear of ever letting my child feel the way I did growing up drove me into the books, research, and parenting community.
🙅‍♀️🔎👩‍💻📚🤓

Absorbing everything like a sponge, from development, children psychology, and child-rearing, to judgement, PPD, and establishing boundaries.
📔📕📗📘📙📓

Despite my blog name, I’m not here to judge but to share my knowledge of poor parenting from first hand experiences, and educate others on new ways to approach things.
💡👩‍🏫📈😁💕

Parenting Yourself, Seriously, Voice boxing it

Release Yourself


There are two types of guilt. Functional guilt and dysfunctional guilt

Functional guilt serve the purpose, it makes you feel bad – guilty – when you have done something wrong. It urges you to do the right thing. For example if you lashed out at your coworker or spouse because you were in a bad mood; Or say as a child, you stole something from someone. In this case, guilt is functional and helps you think about what you did wrong and how to make it right and what to try not to do in the future.

Dysfunctional guilt does not serve a purpose. Like when you feel guilty for something happening that was out of your control or beyond your circumstance. This type of guilt just makes you feel bad without a solution. People dwell on the feeling and allow it to bring them down despite the situation not being a result of the “guilty person’s” direct intent or action. For example, kids often feel bad or guilty when something happens to their parents – like if they lose their job or have no money to pay the bills. As adults we sometimes feel guilty when we have friends or family in bad situations and cannot help them. We feel guilty because we think we SHOULD be helping them, or fixing their situation. The reality of it though, is that you are not the cause of their situation, you don’t have intentions to make them endure a hard time, and this type of guilt does not serve a helping purpose.

You can let go of dysfunctional guilt and accept the situation as is while still showing empathy and compassion.

Parenting kids, Seriously, Parenting Yourself, Seriously, Voice boxing it

Emotional Dysregulation And Invalidating Environments


Emotional vulnerability is emotional sensitivity, emotional reactivity, and a slow return to emotional baseline.
(Linehan 1993a)

An invalidating environment is when people/parents tell you you’re wrong for experiencing your emotions. They may even punish you or ignore you when you get emotional. In some cases, people may acknowledge your emotions, but in a case where they are the ones causing them, they will not stop and instead keep doing what they’re doing to hurt you.

Another example of an invalidating environment, is when you are punished for being defensive or reacting in a defensive or emotional way during a conversation or argument. For example, if someone does or says something and you tell them that’s not fair to you or that what they have done has hurt you and their response is ‘waah, it’s all about you isn’t’, then in turn you get defensive and upset because they didn’t care how you felt, and finally their response is ‘i’m not your emotional punching bag’.

This will make anyone go crazy.

Now put someone like a child a who naturally is emotionally dysregulated and its adults jobs to guide them into regulation.

Invalidating children and any adult plants a seed of mental distress and disorders; that over time, without help and WITH persistent unhelpful invalidating environments, blossom into a plethora of mental and emotional struggles.

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When You Get Shunned For Being A Child And Family Relations Advocate


When you’re hated for being an advocate for children.

For standing up for mental health. For standing up against poor parenting. For trying to educate parents and grown children the repercussions of certain parenting choices, past and present.

I can’t help you if you think I make you feel like a shitty parent;
But I can help you if you think you want to be a better parent, or if you think I make you feel like you can always strive to be better.

Wanting to strive to be better doesn’t make you a bad parent. Thinking there’s areas you could improve on does not make you a failure. Admitting you have made mistakes does not make you weak.

What concerns me is when parents think their actions or behaviour doesn’t matter. When parents live off the phrase “they’ll be fine” to excuse situations they could have handled better.

I will never stop striving to advocate for children and better family relationships. Everyone on this planet was once a child, and everyone who is parenting was once parented. It is a circle. In understanding children, you understand yourself as a child. In understanding parenting, you understand your child.

Whoever you are today, whatever your strengths, whatever your weaknesses, has been shaped by your childhood. Whatever events and situations you experienced, whatever hardships you endured, your perception and interpretation of them all – during and after – came from how you were shaped as a child. However you were shaped as child came from how your parents/caregivers interacted with you.

If you find yourself or someone you know taking offense to these things, to advocating and educating, maybe that’s a sign of unresolved issues needing to be handled instead of suppressed.

Knowledge is power folks.

Parenting kids, Seriously, Parenting Yourself, Seriously, Voice boxing it

It’s Not Hard To Better Yourself; It’s Hard To Watch Others Not


One of the hardest parts I found of becoming a mother, was bettering myself. Not the act of bettering myself, but watching others who are parents, not.

Becoming a parent, it was easy for me to reflect on my childhood and to know that some things when I grew up were very wrong, and that I wanted to do a lot better for my child. I know many parents feel and think they are doing their best, but I also feel that there is an immense amount of support for struggling parents freaking out during hard times and not enough support for the children also going through the hard times.

As a society, we continue to see more and more emerging education in cases of mental health struggles. Three-quarters of the population struggle with their mental health at one time or another. I truly believe it has to do with the way previous generations raised their children, and the emotional neglect begins to surface when those children have grown and became self-sufficient adults.

I am so thankful that the world is growing in terms of mental health education and help, otherwise I would be one of the many people struggling to get by everyday. But I see so many other parents that don’t reflect on their struggles as a child, and learn from them to better parent their own children, and honestly, that leaves me fairly judgemental. There’s so much ignorance.

The problem is that if we don’t face our childhood, we risk repeating the same mistakes generations before us made when parenting – the number one mistake being emotional neglect.

You see Facebook posts, Instagram posts, memes and jokes about “Mommy needs a glass of wine”, “my kid won’t leave me alone”, complaining about how difficult their children are being, or how annoying their kids can be. In parenting groups, parents post about stressful and nerve breaking moments with their children. How the mom or dad snapped, how they slipped up and hit their child out of frustration, and all the feedback is always in support of the parent. Always reminding them that they are human and make mistakes and that it’s okay that kids are resilient. There is never any guidance how to move forward in a positive way and explain what happened to the child, that it wasn’t okay for mom or dad to act that way, that they are sorry. I do agree that we need to recognize parents emotions and validate them, because I do agree that parenting can be really frustrating at times and definitely push you to the edge. That is not an excuse, however, for poor behavior nor should it condone it in hard times.

The fact that your child just acted like a complete and utter asshole to you is not a get-out-of-jail card to be a complete and utter asshole back.

They are a child, their brain is still developing, and regardless of how mature they may seem, they still need guidance and education about their bodies, feelings and emotions. Just because the way they feel about a situation doesn’t chock up to the way in adult would feel about it does not mean their feelings should be invalidated or belittled. Their world is much different than ours – as is their perception of it and parents need to stop expecting a child to perceive the world through an adults perception.

Another thing I see frequently, are children’s emotions being completely ignored; their bids for attention being completely ignored. Parents sometimes act like children are a burden to them. As if acting like that has no effect on the child whatsoever, or like it could make them stronger in some way, or more independent.

As frustrating as it is for me to see this, and not bark my opinion at them, what I actually see is a broken adult in denial of their own childhood. What also continues to frustrate me, is no matter how many resources are out there, no matter how many mutual friends post information for these parents to learn from, no matter how many times an article is shared that shows up on one of these parents news feeds – they won’t see it, read it, or take it seriously unless they know and are ready to change. So in reality, more than likely, most of the educational information, articles, videos, Etc., that I am dying for certain parents or family members or friends to see and learn from, won’t.

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The Emotional Wheel Chart For Adults And Kids


Emotions are diverse. Not only can we feel more than one thing at a time, emotions are not black and white. Sometime we struggle naming what we feel, because it’s more than just the primary emotions of “happy”, “sad”, “angry”, “tired”.

When trying to identify and name your emotions to help understand and tame them, here is a emotional wheel chart I found online that you could use to make things a little less complicated.

Parenting Yourself, Seriously

How Do You Parent Children If You Do Not Remember Your Own Childhood?


Research shows most should remember their childhood from about 4 years and up; unless your memory is suppressing negative events.

The area of mental development from birth to age 3 or 4 in which children and adults cannot recall is called Childhood or Infantile Amnesia; caused by the underdevelopement of the cognitive area responsible for storing and encoding memory.

Around the age of 7-10 years, the mind goes through a forgetful stage which unimportant short term and long term memories are quickly forgotten. However, ages 11 and up show equal remembering and forgetting abilities to that of an average adult.

Some, however, say they don’t remember their childhood at all.

If you don’t remember what it’s like to be a child yourself, can you really parent confidently? If you don’t take the time to understand, learn, read, etc., about a child’s mental development and emotional needs, to make up for what you don’t remember, how can you be sure they aren’t hurting from what they are lacking from you? Are you not afraid to make mistakes realizing that the interpretation of a child versus an adult is vastly different?

On another note, are you not concerned that you don’t remember your childhood?

Those who do not remember their childhood at all should to seek assistance in recovering those forgotten memories, as they are the key to becoming a better parent and creating a better childhood. In remembering your childhood, you learn as an adult who you were as a child. Furthermore, understanding your childhood aids in the process of self-understanding and indentifying unknown triggers, mindsets, moods, and reactions towards your children’s behavior.

Read my page on identifying your unknown triggers here.

Oftentimes, lack of childhood memories is a result of suppressing events as a survival instinct. A tactic in place by nature to let you move forward. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice and sometimes it is a subconscious choice. The cause behind memory suppressing does not always need to be traumatic events or devastating circumstances. It can be caused due to a progression of disappointment and sadness. It can be caused due to confusing times you didn’t understand. It can be even be due to a time that was once so happy but no longer exists. A time your mind chooses to forget to prevent yearning for it, and the pain of remembering what you don’t have anymore.

Neglect during early development can produce severe psychopathologies, such as depression and anxiety, as well as learning and cognitive disabilities.
If you were depressed or anxious during your childhood, there is much benefit from remembering and understanding it so that you can make sure to not repeat the patterns your parents did. More importantly, it helps you remember and understand how life is interpreted through the eyes of a child.

As a child passed the age of autobiographical memory developement, childhood recollection is often also associated with a sense of identity. I.e., a childhood spent not knowing who you are is difficult for the brain to process memories, resulting in areas of lost time when reflecting back to younger ages.

If you are one who doesn’t remember your childhood, when did you start remembering?

When do your recollections of memories begin?

Why do you think you don’t remember your childhood?

Why do you think you started remembering when you did?

How old were you when you start at remembering? What was going on in your life?

If you are interested in trying to retrieve some of the lost memories:

As well as the frame in which they exist, researchers Bauer and Larkina (2013) used the Cued Recall method. At the end of the study, it was found most memories started between the ages of 3 and 5. Unfortunately, the downfall to this test and method of retrieval is that the memories are formed months after their association with word given, and time frames are a mere estimate without verification by an additional adult who was there during the memory.

During the Cued Recall method, a person/experimenter gives a participant one word at a time, and the participant responds with the first association with that word that comes to mind and the earliest time in their life they can recall it.


Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/media-spotlight/201404/exploring-childhood-amnesia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia

http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0882-7974.12.3.524

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473198/

Heim and Nemeroff, 2001; https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=Heim+and+Nemeroff,+2001&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D1ny1ngwAVFMJ

Other researchers and their articles:
Pryce ., 2005; Zeanah ., 2009; Bale., 2010; Perry and Sullivan, 2014).

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Duplicating Your Emotions


We often unintentionally duplicate our emotions, unnecessarily making them overall harder on us.


For example, you’ve been going through a hard time, and then one day it gets a little easier and you feel content. But you don’t just feel content, you almost feel airy; almost like you’re excited. You don’t know why, but you do know that you feel content for once finally.

What you don’t know, and what takes a lot of time and practiced to realize, is that you also feel happy that you feel content. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – except that it stops you from living in the moment and feeling content. You end up focusing on the fact that you’re happy that you’re content, not that you’re content. Confusing I know, but follow me?

Likewise, the same thing happens when we experience negative emotions. Having a bad day, quite often we don’t just have a bad day. Often having a bad day results with us feeling frustrated. Which is normal.
But then we end up duplicating and intensifying this emotion by feeling frustrated that we feel frustrated.

Although it doesn’t apply to everyone, as some people have a much more balanced sense of emotions and self understanding, some of us find themselves struggling with emotions much more.

I encourage everyone to seek out counselling and therapy and self-help when they find themselves having a hard time. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with you, just that an alternative perspective is often very helpful when we become stuck in our mind and stuck in our ways.

Understanding cognitive behavioral therapy is a major component of self understanding and emotional regulation. Sometimes those who struggle with emotional regulation end up finding themselves on a rollercoaster of moods and sensations.

What I came to realize overtime and over many years of struggling with my mental health and emotional regulation, is that I find myself on a roller coaster quite often.

I believe everyone knows the saying, “I’m so sick and tired of feeling so sick and tired.” Again, it’s a totally reasonable feeling and thought.

The point of this right now is just to help you and everyone else reading this understand part of what’s going on inside your brain. There’s many components to learn and realize, this is just a slice of them.

An example of a roller coaster day for me, would be: Emotion one, feeling frustrated from an argument or situation that didn’t go over smoothly. Emotion two, I realize that this is not what I was hoping my day would be or how I was feeling, so I become more frustrated. Emotion three, In my frustration I begin to think of the negative aspects that happened in the situation, and naturally in consequence I think about other related negative aspects and start feeling depressed. I end up focusing on the re-occurrence in life of negative feelings feel depressed that I feel frustrated so often and about being frustrated from the situation.

I’m stuck in a paradox.

I later go home after work and things go well and we have fun and we laugh and our son goes to bed in a good mood, so the next day I feel content. I end up feeling happy that I feel content. And then I feel relieved that I’m feeling happy because I feel content.

And although positive feelings are often seen as, well, good things; there is such thing as too much of a good thing. The higher you feel – the farther you have to fall when you experience something of the opposite of emotion.

This is where balancing the brain left and right, upstairs and downstairs, understanding your amygdala, and the thoughts-feelings-actions triangle come into play. To understand that part, click here and check out my page explaining this.

What I’d like you to realize, takes time and self-reflection. Quite often we experience reactions to events considered that are like a knee-jerk reaction or an automatic thought.

We miss the few seconds between thought and emotion and are able to turn that thought around and influence a different emotion. Sometimes that’s not always possible, but we miss the moment of realization of the emotion blooming.

When we begin to express a thought that turns itself into an emotion, there is a sensation felt inside the body. Whether it be a tightness in your head, tightness in your chest, punching of the hand, an automatic response sensation so to speak.

It takes one recognizing that automatic response to interrupt the thought that wants to come with it.

So what I want you to try the next day following, is self-awareness. If you find yourself responding before you feel you should have this is for you. If you find yourself in arguments often, or internal tribulations, this is for you. Right before you say something or you think something – there’s a sensation felt inside the body, triggered by the perception in the brain. Try to change that trigger instead of making a thought, and inturn another action. Take a deep breath and hold it. Try to name whatever feeling that is inside your body before your thought is created.

Did you feel your head go tight? Was there a pressure in your chest? Or is there a surge of energy through your arm that made you want to clench your fist? Did you have a surge of sensation through your chest that made you want to quickly deeply inhale, say with excitement?

What this does is help bring the logical side of the brain back to the emotional side. Quite often we become infatuated with the effect emotion brings us. And it overwhelms our senses and focus.

**This does not indicate mental health issues or mental conditions, or medication side effects.
This is not meant to override any suggestions, instructions or medication given by that of a specialist. Please seek advise of a specialist if you feel you need to do so.**