Monday, 7 March 2016

Parenting tips for kids with Asperger's, from someone who lived it

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ― Albert Einstein

I have aspergers.  I usually don't tell others that I have it because it is very misunderstood and I don't want to be judged.  But now I want to set the record straight about aspergers, and remove misconceptions. Aspergers kids are not disabled, they are just different.  They are normal like everyone else on the inside, but get lost in translation.  Especially for those who are more autistic and can't speak at all, it is very lonely. They are like everyone else but can't communicate.  Some of them have been helped by using a keyboard to type words. Aspergers is a less severe form of autism. Aspie's can speak but get confused about what to say or how to say it. They also struggle with body language.  Normal kids do this stuff naturally, but Aspie kids don't.  Thankfully these are things that can be learned. By my age, I've learnt enough that most people wouldn't notice I have Aspergers. When I was a little girl I couldn't speak to someone I didn't know. I would open my mouth to say hello and no sound came out.  So I'm telling you this to let you know it does get better.  Aspergers kids usually grow up to live a normal adult life.
Having asperger's as a female is somewhat different than for males. Girls and women with aspergers commonly go undiagnosed because they are more likely to socialise better than boys do.
I want to help children with asperger's by helping their parents understand them.
Aspergers is a high-functioning version of autism that affects about 1 in 50 people. The rates have risen from 1 in 88 reported in 2008. One of my theories for this is that aspergers hasn't increased, just the diagnoses of it has.  I also have another theory that it may be increasing because the world needs more aspergers people. ;) Then theres the possibility that vaccines may have contributed to it, but I wont get into that here.
How do you know if your child has aspergers?
Aspergers kids are less competent with social skills than other kids.  The brain function that is for communication (for turning thoughts into words or comprehending what someone else is saying) doesn't function like "normal" people.  They may be very shy because of this. For them it is like being in a foreign country and learning a new language.They didn't pick it up naturally like normal kids, but they can learn.
They may show no facial expression or body language and fail to pick up other people's expression or body language.
They are likely to have 1 or 2 really good friends (or no friends) rather than many acquaintances.
They think very deeply and may ask you deep questions or give very thoughtful observations about things.
They are often really interested or even obsessed about a particular subject, especially the boys. They may spend countless hours on their subject of interest and may talk about it non-stop.
They may talk in a strange way or say or do things that are socially inappropriate. They come across as weird or eccentric sometimes.
Their intelligence ranges from average to genius.  They may excel at subjects that interest them.  Their unique way of thinking makes them capable of working out creative solutions for things.  They may see patterns everywhere.  They think outside the box.
They have heightened sensitivities and thus don't like loud noises, scratchy clothes or overly stimulating environments.  They may be very fussy about things like foods, or anything really!
They are often introverted, they would rather be with 1 or 2 good friends and avoid parties. They find small talk meaningless and would rather have purposeful conversations.
In some cases they are mute, or just will not speak except in certain situations.  I was like that as a kid.  Sometimes it was because I didn't know what to say.  Sometimes I was scared of saying the wrong thing.  Sometimes I physically could not speak, like I would try to say something and the words would not come out. Don't worry if they are not talking yet, they will, just later than normal kids.
They may do this thing called "stimming" which is where they do some kind of repetitive movement which comforts them, like rocking back and forth or clapping their hands etc.  It is actually something they do for comfort, or simply because they like it.  They like patterns or order in things and so the repetition is comforting or enjoyable to them. This can be less obvious in girls and much less obvious by the time they are adults, because girls are often more self conscious.
They may have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).  They may be extremely tidy and organised to a ridiculous degree like everything has to be lined up parallel on their desk or placed just how they like it.  They may feel like they need to check things multiple times.
They are deeply emotional, whether it's overly ecstatic, or deeply depressed, or anxious.  But they might not communicate how they feel, they might keep it inside or act out. They don't express how they feel with body language or facial expressions like normal people.
Have a good sense of humor, but often for totally different things than what others find funny. They may not "get" your jokes and you might not "get" theirs!

Common misconceptions:
They are sometimes seen as stupid or disabled because they have trouble talking.  Obviously they have good intelligence, just trouble with communicating.
They are sometimes seen as rude, arrogant or uncaring by the way they talk.  They really don't mean to be rude. They just have no tact because of their communication issues, and lack skills with small talk.
They are seen as having no empathy or feelings.  This one really offends me, I have even seen some psychologists saying this.  They absolutely do have empathy and very deep feelings. It just doesn't seem so to some people.  One reason is because they have trouble expressing their emotions, they do not show any body language unless they have learned to.  It is a skill they can learn, but doesn't come naturally.  The other reason is because they are not always aware of what is going on around them.  They are often in their own little world in their mind and don't see what is happening. When I was a kid I didn't know when it's appropriate to smile or say certain things, it didn't come naturally at all.  Like I didn't know someone was talking to me if they didn't say my name. But I chose to consciously make an effort to learn these things for my survival.  I still have a ways to go but I have come a long way. Your aspergers child can learn too.
They are thought of as loners and not liking people. Obviously not true!  Most really want to talk and have friends but are either shy because of not knowing what to say, or they just really need time and space to themselves sometimes to recover from sensory overload.  They do like having friends and need friendship and belonging.
It has been called a disease or mental illness that needs to be cured, and I don't believe this is true either.  While they may be socially challenged, they have talents and abilities that others don't as well.  They are just different. They think, talk and act different.  We are all different, there are no 2 people the same in this world, and that is what makes us interesting.  We all have different strengths, gifts and weaknesses.  Think of all the famous successful people that have aspergers, would we really want to cure them?  I, for one, am grateful that I have aspergers, I like who I am, and I can't imagine being anyone else.  Statistically most kids that have aspergers grow up to lead normal lives as adults.  The social skills while not coming naturally to them, can be learned, so they are just late learners socially.
Aspergers is said to be caused by vaccinations.  This is just my humble opinion, but I don't buy this one.  As I have said I don't think it is an illness anyway.  I do however believe that the kids that already have aspergers get much worse after getting their shots because they are super sensitive to the toxic ingredients in them.  So while I don't think vaccines cause it, I think they make the bad side of it worse.  Remember that aspie kids have heightened sensitivity and avoid chemicals.  This gets better also as they grow up. I know my sensitivities are much better and my tolerance for things as well as I've learned how to cope.

Tips for Parents of Aspergers kids:
First off I want to say congrats for having an aspergers child!  They may be hard to understand, they may be challenging at times, but they are so special.  They are not disabled.  They are just different!  They may become very successful one day, so don't be sorry for them for 1 minute.  There are some famous amazing people who are believed to have aspergers, including: Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Susan Boyle, Marylin Monroe, Beethoven, Vincent Van Gogh, Jim Henson, Isaac Asimov, Bill Gates to name a few.  With their creative thinking, aspergers kids have the potential to become presidents, scientists, artists or eccentric millionaires!  Please believe in your child and nurture their interests and talents.  So please accept them and love them as they are, and make sure they know it.  It is common for aspergers kids to develop low self-esteem because of ignorant people who put them out or exclude them for being different.
Stimming:  Let them do it unless it is overly annoying for other people.  If for example they are yelling or being a nuisance to others, try to redirect them to other ways of "stimming".  Work on it when you are at home in a safe place as practice before you take them out.  If you are out and ignorant people are judging you, please don't worry about them.  Be confident for your child's sake.  Show them how to be confident in themselves and not be concerned about what others think of them.  They really need this from you.
Keeping them healthy physically will help alot with their behavior. They are highly sensitive, so avoid anything toxic in their food and their skincare/bathroom products.  Give them fresh, "living" food like fruit, vegetables and unprocessed raw food often. You could also get them allergy tested to find out what they are reacting to.
Be patient.  Gradually exposing them to situations that stress them out, while building up their confidence will build their tolerance.  Be patient with their speech. Make it ok for them not to speak. This helps them to feel comfortable, which helps them to speak better anyway. Under stress it is harder for them to speak.
Teach them about facial expressions. Teach about what to say or how to behave in certain situations.  Start off simple, for expample: When you meet someone, you smile, you say "Hi, nice to meet you, my name is...." As a teenager I read a great book called "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie.  It helped me so much.  I learned about smiling and being interested in other people. Your child can learn all these things.  But be patient, they will learn social skills later than other kids. They will probably be happy with just having a couple of good friends rather than many friends and that's ok.
Build up their confidence.  Teach them it's ok to be different.  Tell them how special they are. Bully-proof them in case they are teased about being different.
Don't define them by their aspergers.  They are an individual with a unique personality. Dont assume they wont be able to do things.  Always give them the opportunity and treat them like they are a normal person. Like all kids they want to feel like they belong.
Try to see the world through their eyes. They do get sensory overload and it overwhelms them sometimes. They may act up when they are overwhelmed and this isn't them being naughty on purpose, this is just them expressing their pain.  So be patient, and gently teach them appropriate ways of managing their pain while not expecting them to endure too much.

How to cope with other people's judgements:

Be straight up with people and educate them if they are open to it.  Otherwise, ignore them.  The most important thing is not what others think, but what your child needs.  I learned as a parent that when you can't force people to treat your kids right, it can actually be a good opportunity to teach your children how to cope.  It's hard, I know, you want to protect them.  It's not fair, but it happens.  So strengthen your child, make sure he/she knows how important they are.  Make sure they know why other people say mean things, eg. they are sick (mentally).  Let your child know it's not their fault, some people are just like that and it's not our fault.  We are ok. It's a good lesson to help your child cope for times when you aren't there.

Want to learn more about Aspergers?
There is a lot of info on the internet, but a lot of misinformation as well. I recommend hearing from people who have lived it. People like "Temple Grandin", she is a woman with asperger's who grew up to be a university professor. She has written books about it and there is also a movie about her.

Please comment below if you have anything to add or any questions... :)

Monday, 26 May 2014

What is Your Child's Personality type?

What is Your Child's Personality type?

I recently reminded of the personality types by a good friend and it really opened my eyes to discover what type my children are, why they behave the way they do and how I can motivate them as well. If you have more than one child you may have noticed that things that work with one of them don't work with the other one.  Even if you have raised them the same, they have different personalities.
There are 4 main personality types. All of us exhibit 1 of these or a combination of them. The 4 personalities or temperaments were originally written about by Hippocrates in ancient Greece and there has been a lot of study on them since.  There is a wealth of information, books and even online tests on the personalities if you want to study further.  This article will give you a brief breakdown of the personalities.  Knowing which personality your child is will greatly help you to understand why they behave the way they do, and what motivates them.  
Most of us have a dominant type and may also show signs of 1 or 2 of the other ones.  I have 4 children, and it turns out I have been blessed with each one being dominant in each personality type!  So here they are:

Sanguine (Influencing)
Element: Air
Season: Spring
Color: Yellow

Sanguine children are very social.  They are usually happy, light-hearted and bring joy and entertainment wherever they go.  They love being the center of attention, showing off and they are the life of the party. They are imaginative, creative, free spirits.  They love being around other people, are very social, animated and charismatic. They are very spontaneous and easily distracted. They'll often flit around like a butterfly from one activity to another leaving a big mess in their wake!  They don't like being tied down and hate being alone or ignored. They crave and sometimes demand attention and love showing off.
When they grow up they are good at things that involve leading, motivating others like sales, entertainment, or anything that involves being around people.

My little princess, Siena!
My 5 yr old sanguine daughter, Siena, is the light of my life! She is a delight to be around.  Being my fourth baby, when I was pregnant with her I was dreading having yet another unplanned baby with all the exhaustion they bring. But she was the most easy, joyful baby, and I'm so glad I had her and couldn't imagine life without her! She adores playing with her daddy (also a sanguine). She does get tiring sometimes as she demands a lot of attention, but I have figured out how to deal with this...

How to motivate a Sanguine:
Sanguines love anything fun and crave attention.  So make it fun and give them plenty of attention when they are doing the right thing. Get really excited for them doing things right, cheer them on.  Make chores into a game.  If you are too busy to give them attention right then, you could make a deal with them like if they do (whatever it is you need them to do), then you will play with them after,  or have one of their friends over to play. Reward them with a song and dance and hi-5's! They don't like being alone so be there for them when they need help and help them with gaining friendships and organise play-dates for them so it's not all on you. It's also important to help them with being ok on their own so they are not so dependent.  You can do that by praising them for playing happily by themselves. One way my Siena copes when playing on her own is by playing with her imaginary friends!

Choleric (Dominating)
Element: Fire
Season: Summer
Color: Red

A choleric child is very independent and strong-willed.  They are often seen as difficult because they will fight back if they don't agree with something. They have a strong sense of justice and will speak up about things they believe to be right or wrong. They may be bossy know-it-alls or competitive with other children.
Their strengths are being responsible, trustworthy and being a good leader.  If they agree with what you are telling them to do, you can absolutely rely on them to do it, every time, often without being asked.  If they are forced to things they don't want to do without explanation, they will either fight back or do it very grudgingly.
They can grow up to be great leaders.  They can direct and manage people and projects well with their ability to prioritise, delegate and get things done. They are hard workers.

My beautiful daughter, Aaliyah
My 9 yr old daughter, Aaliyah, is very reliable.  She's reasonable when I sit down and explain things to her, but she is the only one of my children that will sometimes refuse to do what I tell her.  "Because I said so" does not work with her! This sometimes frustrates me, but it's a good challenge for me as she keeps me on my toes.  I have to take the time to communicate with my children properly and she reminds me of that. She is also the most reliable of my children to take care of her responsibilities and the most thoughtful.  She is the one that makes me breakfast in bed on Mothers day, because she believes it's the right thing to do.

How to motivate a Choleric:
Authoritative parenting doesn't go down well with this child. They are well aware of their right to have free will and will fight for it.  Telling them why they must do something goes a long way.  If they agree with you its no problem. A good strategy is to allow them to make choices within your rules.  For example: Instead of saying "put your jumper on now", you could say "you can choose your red jumper or your blue jumper."  This gives them a sense of control, while still getting them to do what you want.
They also thrive on honor.  Give them credit for what they do right.  They love it when you are proud of them and let them know.  They love being "in charge", so make them the queen/king of something, like keeping their room tidy and commend them when they do.  You could even give them a badge or star or trophy of some kind. Always let them know how proud you are of them for the things they do right.
It is important to teach your choleric child moral values like treating other people with kindness and respect, and things like agreeing to disagree sometimes and conflict resolution.  These kids have powerful personalities.  It's up to us to guide them in directing their power in a good way.

Phlegmatic (Steadiness)
Element: Water
Season: Winter
Color: Gray

Phlegmatic children are very content, easy going and people pleasers.   They are a pleasure to be around. They may be shy and sensitive and may prefer to stay on the sidelines observing rather then being in the action.  They are easy going and can be push-overs.They thrive on peace, acceptance, belonging and feeling appreciated and valued.  They don't fight with other kids unless they are pushed too far.  They are stubborn sometimes and will fight to defend the things they value most.  They don't like being pushed around but will do things they don't want to, to keep the peace.
Kapa, my sweet phlegmatic boy!
They grow up to be good at anything really that doesn't clash with their peace and calm.  They may be unmotivated however which some may see as laziness, so encourage them to do the things they love and build up their confidence.
My 7 yr old son, Kapa, is phlegmatic and he is really good with things like sport and art because he's really patient and careful.  He will give things a good try where my other children give up too quickly. I once showed my kids how to build a house out of playing cards. My other 3 kids gave up after 5 minutes. Kapa built a whole house, it took him an hour! Kapa is best friends with Siena (my sanguine girl) because they both have easy-going natures. He is a kind, caring, sweet boy and is always happy to help out others.

How to motivate a Phlegmatic:
They are natural people pleasers so just need to be told with respect what you would like them to do and they are usually happy to do it. The only time they wont is if they are tired or they are being stubborn for some reason.  You can get around the stubbornness by having a respectful conversation with them about why they don't want to do it and telling them why they should do it, once they understand they are usually happy to do it.  It is important to nurture this child's confidence as they may end up victims of abuse later in life due to their submissive nature.  It is also important to nurture the things they love doing and encourage them because they could lose motivation or confidence from trying to please others too much or taking the easy path.

Melancholy (Perfectionist)
Element: Earth
Season: Autumn
Color: Blue

The Melancholy child is thoughtful, creative, sensitive, emotional and organised.  They can be a fussy perfectionist and get upset when things aren't perfect.  They are indecisive and prefer to carefully plan out things than jumping in. Their attention to detail makes them good at anything that requires careful attention, creative things and logical things.  They thrive on a routine because they love to be organised, and like to know what is going to happen next.
They have potential to grow up to be inventors or highly skilled professionals or artists in whatever they are interested in because they have creativity, perseverance and high attention to details.
My 11 yr old son, Arana, is a perfect melancholy.  He loves science, experiments, and technology.  He loves pulling apart electronic things to fix them and helps me with computer stuff that I cant figure out.  He's really fussy and goes nuts when my other kids go near his stuff in case they mess it up! He's quite emotional and clashes with my choleric daughter, Aaliyah. His mood swings go from being very intolerant to very sweet and loving.  He is the one I can have really intelligent conversations with which I really cherish (being a melancholy myself). He asks all the questions like: How does everything work? and Why is the sky blue? He is curious about everything!

How to motivate a Melancholy:
They get upset when plans are changed and do better by giving them a routine and letting them know in advance what is happening so they know what to expect.  Allow them space and quiet time when they need it as too much stimulation is overwhelming. They thrive on love, kindness, support, belonging, acceptance and nurturing of their talents and gifts.
Motivate them by finding out what they want the most (eg. for my son it's time on the playstation) and allowing them to have it after they have done their chores or behaved well.  Help them manage their emotions with coping strategies and acceptable ways of calming themselves.  For example when they are angry, instead of breaking things, they could jump up and down or yell into their pillow or have a cry.  Crying helps them let out their stress in a healthy way. Encourage them to pursue their passions, whatever they are, they could be very successful. Build up their confidence. When they get older they may need help to prioritise, manage and monetise their gifts, as they can get lost in their passion and lose direction.

Here is a You tube video Arana made of an easy way to put on a tie (he came up with this himself!):

Please comment below, what kind of personality/personalities are your child? Remember they may be dominant in one or they may be a blend like choleric/sanguine or sanguine/phlegmatic etc and their personalities may also change over time. What do you like/dislike about their personality and how do you manage them?

Further Resources:
Myers Briggs personality types:
Nurse Rona's Radio Show on temperament: 
Nurse Rona's Article on temperament: 

 Nurse Rona's wonderful book I am currently reading with more info on the temperaments and also really good down to earth info on managing your anger. :)

 I haven't read this one yet, but many people I know have recommended it on raising a spirited child. :)

 The Davinci Method is a good one to read if your child has ADHD. This book made me think. ADHD is not a bad thing, just a different way of thinking. :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

How Mothers can change Stress and Depression into Peace and Joy

Being a mother is hard. I have four children, close in age, and I experienced what many mothers do: stress, depression and overwhelm.  Being a mother stretches you to your very limits and there is a blessing in this: It will make you grow.

I know there are times and situations where its totally normal and ok to feel these emotions.  But if you are feeling this way too much or for most of the time and want to feel better, then read on.

The Effects of your emotions on your Children:

I knew my negative emotions were making me sick, exhausted and were making my children unhappy as well.  Have you ever noticed how just when you are upset and need a break, this is exactly when your children will misbehave the most?  Have you also noticed that when you are in this state, you cannot communicate with them effectively?  There is a reason for this:  Your children mirror you, they react to your emotions.  It's not their fault.  You need to deal with your emotions first, then when you are in a good state of mind, dealing with your children is so much easier.

You can manage these emotions, once you know how. You can totally enjoy your motherhood experience, it is all a matter of your perspective...

 We can choose how we feel.

If you were raised like me, you learned that things outside of you (like people, situations) make you feel angry, sad, or happy and that you have no control over how you feel.  But this is not completely true.  Have you ever observed two different people react differently to same situation?  When something bad happens, one person may fall apart with grief or get angry and overreact, while another person may laugh about it carry on like everything's ok.  It's not just the situation that made them feel that way.  It is their core beliefs and habits.  I know that being a mother is very hard at times, and it is physically exhausting. But we can choose how we feel at our core by discarding dis-empowering beliefs and habits and choosing empowering beliefs and habits.  Have you ever felt exhausted but still fulfilled and happy?  It's possible.  You can choose how you feel.  It will empower you and change everything for you.

It is not your fault.

Stress and depression come from fears and negative belief patterns.  You never chose to be this way, it just happened because you didn't know any better.  Most of our negative beliefs were formed when we were children.  We may have learned them from our parents who also didn't know any better and were doing the best they could.  So don't waste any more time feeling guilty. Instead, work towards making things better.  I'm going to help you. :)

When you are empowered at your core and have good habits in place to deal with stressful situations you can deal with the situation calmly without it sending you into anger or depression.  You will be able to relax and enjoy your children.  You will have more strength to cope.  You will be able to think more clearly.  The creative side of your brain cannot function when you are stressed.  You need to be able to think creatively as a mother, to deal with all the situations that come up throughout the day.  You will be able to relax and connect with your children.

Choose to Think Consciously

When you realise these truths and become consciously aware of them, you can now make a choice: to learn and grow into new empowering beliefs and habits.  It is hard initially making those changes, but so much easier than not making them.

Here is a simple easy method to consciously change your beliefs that you can start with today:

Changing your thoughts from Negative to Positive:

Step 1: Write down the top 5-10 negative thoughts that are on your mind, or the problems that are weighing you down, for example:
"my child should know better", "This shouldn't be happening to me", “I can't cope”, “it's just too hard”, “my spouse/relative/friends aren't supporting me”, “I’m not a good mother”, etc.
Be really honest with yourself, don’t worry about anybody reading it, you can burn it after-wards if you like!

Step 2: Examine each one, one at a time, and ask yourself, is the statement true? Really think carefully about this one.  We often make assumptions quickly about things by habit, or believe whatever our parents or society or our experience has taught us, without really thinking about it.  Now is the time to challenge that.  If it’s negative, and it’s not helping you, you can choose to change it.

Step 3: Get another piece of paper. Write down positive belief statements that will cancel out each one of the negative beliefs.  For example, if you wrote, “I can't cope”, you could change it to “I am strong and will get through this”.  Also write down any positive actions steps you can think of that will make that problem better.  You need to decide now whether you can change the problem or change how you feel about the problem.

Step 4: (Optional) Add to your list some more positive affirmations that you personally find empowering and uplifting.  Here are some suggestions:

I am strong, loved, beautiful and intelligent.
I choose to feel peace and happiness
My children are a blessing
My children inspire me to live each moment to the fullest
I am so grateful for....(fill in blank)
I was successful when....(fill in blank) and I can do it again!
I am a great woman and mother
I choose to have a great day today
Things always work out well.
I deserve happiness
I'm so happy that I have...
I have fun playing with my children
I choose to enjoy my life journey
There is enough time
I love eating yummy, healthy food.
I am growing better and better each day
All will be well, it is just a matter of time

Step 5: Use these statements as daily affirmations.  Read them every morning when you wake up, and every night before going to sleep (if possible) or whenever you are able to.  Read them with feeling and emotion, believing what they say.  It is a choice.  So choose to believe.  Beliefs are very powerful.  A good example of the power of beliefs is the placebo effect.  When people take placebos, they get better because they believe they will.  It also works the other way:  If they believe they will get sick, they get sick.

When the negative thoughts pop up as you go about your day, try to consciously be aware of them and question them.  Deny the ones you don't agree with.  They will go away once you don't entertain them anymore.

This exercise alone helped me so much with eliminating my negative emotions.   I hope it helps you too. <3

Friday, 31 January 2014

You Deserve this Mama!

You Deserve This.

Hello beautiful, amazing mothers. :)

Are you feeling burned out?  Are you rushing around doing everything, looking after your children, your family and leaving little or no time for looking after yourself?  Are you getting overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out?  Is your health suffering?

I'm here to tell you: You have permission to look after yourself, and you deserve it.

You know you can't go on like this.  You can't really care for your children well when you have reached your energy limits.  So what is stopping you from looking after yourself?

Excuse no. 1: "I don't want to be selfish, a good mother puts her children first."

This is just not true.  You are important too.  Of course they do need us to care for them, but how can you care for them well if you are a tired stressed out mess?  Look after yourself and you will be more energetic, joyful and your children will be better off.  When our car isn't running well, we take it in for a service.  Why don't we take care of our most important vehicle - our body?  So don't feel guilty or selfish!  You deserve and need to look after yourself, not just for you but for your family also.  Your family need you to be your best self.  When you are in an airplane, they tell you that in an emergency you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then your children.  There's a good reason for this - If you don't, you will be unconscious and incapable of helping your child.

Excuse no. 2: "I don't have time."

We feel so busy and stressed, we think we don't have time to care for ourselves.  But in reality, if we care for ourselves we will have more time because we will have more energy and a clearer mind, so we will be more efficient, organised and get things done faster.

Excuse no. 3: "I'm too tired."

If you look after yourself you will be less tired.

Excuse no. 4: "I'm too busy looking after my kids and/or I don't have a babysitter"

If you don't have a sitter, or cant afford one, you could try meeting other mothers who you can trade babysitting with.  So you look after their kids one day and they look after yours another day.  Its a win win win, for you, the other mother, and the children who will enjoy playing with the other kids.  Even when you don't have anyone to look after them, you can still do things to look after yourself while the kids are at home.

Tips for Self-Care:

Self care is nurturing yourself.  Nurturing your body, mind and soul.  When you take care of yourself you will feel naturally happy, energetic and at peace.  When you don't take care of yourself you will feel stressed, depressed, frustrated, unsatisfied and burnt out. That's not good for you or your children.

Sleep well:
Getting enough sleep is part of looking after yourself.  You need to work on getting your child to sleep through the night as soon as possible.  It can be really hard initially, but the pay off is worth it.  You will actually not need as much sleep if you eat well.  Eating well increases your energy levels. Try eating a light dinner before bed rather than a heavy dinner, so your body will spend less energy on digesting and more energy repairing.

Eat well:
Include fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water.  Take supplements if you are struggling to get good food in your diet.  Super-food's are a great as they are more natural than synthetic vitamins and your body can absorb them better. I like taking spirulina, it makes be feel good and more energetic.

I know you may feel like it's too hard, or like you're are too tired for exercise, and I get it.  But if you give it a go, exercise will actually increase your energy levels if done right.  Don't over-do it.  Start off small.  For example walking for 5 minutes, then next time 10 minutes, then jogging for 5 mins, then 10, you get the idea.  Start small and work your way up gradually. Your kids can come with you, they have loads of energy, and if you have a baby, you can push them in the pram.  Getting a friend to be an exercise partner can help too, to keep you motivated.

Pamper yourself with whatever makes you feel good.  It could be a relaxing bath, meditating, art, your favorite music, calling a good friend, getting a massage or facial, going for a walk at the beach.  If you have your kids with you, try getting out of the house, go to the park, it helps change the mood.

Please comment below: What do you love to do for self care?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Keeping Positive when you're around Negativity

Keeping Positive when you're around Negativity

Everything is energy, including our thoughts and emotions.  Emotions are contagious. When you around someone and they are stressed, our natural reaction may be to feel upset too. Sometimes when you walk into a room, you can feel that the other person is stressed. It means you have empathy which is normal.

If you feel upset by another person's words, it may be because of an insecurity or fear in you. If you heal your insecurities and fears, then their words will not affect you.

Others cannot destroy your inner peace, unless you let them.

Build up your self-confidence.

With enough self-confidence, other peoples negativity cant affect you, and you might even influence the other person to be more positive. So, be sure about who you are and your own beliefs and values. Take care of yourself and value yourself. Being true to yourself is not selfish or unloving. Be true to yourself because you love others. By no longer enabling their behavior, they may learn to be responsible for themselves. By being true to yourself, you are also an encouragement to others to be true to themselves.
You can choose how you feel, and others cannot – unless you let them. They will probably respect you more if you respect yourself. It is impossible to please everybody, so do what you believe is right. Here are some things you can do to strengthen your self-confidence:

- Do this each morning, and when you need to during the day: Go into a quiet room or outside by yourself, close your eyes, and take some slow, deep breaths. Say some positive affirmations such as: I am strong, valuable and loved, No-one can define how I feel but me, I choose to be positive, I choose to be happy, I choose to have a great day. I am deserving of love and respect. I attract positive people. If people try to pull me down, it is about them, not me, and I choose not to take it on.

- Make a conscious decision to be positive even if you come across negativity. When you do come across negativity, you can stop and ask yourself: Is this feeling my own stress or their stress? If it yours, you need to deal with it, if it is theirs, you can decide not to take it on, or just let it go. It doesn't mean you are uncaring. You can help the person and be there for them without taking on their negativity yourself.

Don't take it personally.

It is more about them than it is about you.

Understanding why they are negative really helps. All people who are being negative, are that way because they are afraid of something. An angry person may be afraid of losing control, or afraid of not being understood. A critical person may have been hurt in the past and are afraid of being hurt again.  They may be stuck in negative beliefs. Whatever the reason – the root cause of negativity is fear, every time. This person really feels bad and is suffering with their negativity. Think about what their intention may be. What are they trying to achieve? If their intention is good, that is a common ground that you can focus on with them. If they feel you care about the same intention as them, they may feel better.

Tips on talking with negative people:

You may have to have a difficult conversation with the person to work things out. Here are some tips to help you communicate with them:

- Listen. You can help calm this person by offering understanding, compassion and respect. You don’t have to agree with them, just acknowledge their point of view. The best way to get this person to listen to you is for you to listen to them first.

- Calmly and confidently tell them want you would like to achieve and why. Tell the person how they can benefit from what you are suggesting. Make it a win-win.

- Stick to the topic at hand. It could get very complicated if you or the other person bring up unrelated issues or things from the past. Stick to one topic and ask the other person to as well.

- Do not try to change the other person or force them to do what you want or to agree with you. It is impossible to force another person to change. They are free to choose what they will do, as are you.

- Using "I" statements will reduce their defensiveness. "I" statements mean you own what you are saying and not accusing them of anything. For example, instead of saying: "You are insulting me", you could say: "I feel insulted when you say that".

- Unwanted advice and criticism: Some advice you can appreciate, when it's given kindly and respectfully. Some is insulting, ignorant or disrespectful. In these cases, you could say something like: “thank you for your advice, I have considered what you said, but have decided to because it is working well for me.”

- To avoid being bullied, the best thing to do is not get upset or give in to their demands. They want you to be upset, if you get upset, they think they won. Don’t play their game. When they figure out it isn't working, they will move on.

 The evil-doer is insulting himself by trying to insult you.” ~ Buddha

- The “JADE” Technique:
Use the Jade technique, to avoid getting into an argument. If someone is saying things that are untrue, disrespectful or insulting, don’t JADE: J = Justify A = Argue D = Defend E = Explain. If you “Jade”, you are allowing them to continue harassing you, and you may get into a pointless argument that goes nowhere. Just say “no” and walk way.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him”~ Prov 26:4


I hope these tips help you with dealing with negativity. If you can, avoid the negativity and seek out positive friends, spend time around positive people as much as you can, and do the things that make you happy!
I will finish with this awesome poem by Rudyard Kipling.  Even though it says “man” at the end, I think it applies to women also:

If” by Rudyard Kipling.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too; 

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same; 

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools; 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss; 

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on"; 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much; 

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Got any tips or stories? Got any questions? Please hit reply with a comment. :)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

About my book - raising our children with the necessary life skills they need to be happy, successful adults.

We see in the world today, so many people that are struggling with their lives.  They are struggling with money, relationships, emotional problems, weight, purpose etc...

They need life coaching, life coaching is so needed today.  And it is a lot of work turning your life around (although its definitely worth it!)

But... what if, as children, we learned all these skills.  When we were children, we were hard-wired to think the way we think.  The experience we had as children taught us to think and act the way we do today.

It is too late for us to change our past (although you can change your life now), but you can give your children a fantastic start to theirs!

"If we are to reach real peace in this world ... we shall have to begin with the children." - Gandhi

Yes, mothers (and fathers, and all of society) have the power to change the world, by changing how we raise our kids.

Most parents wing it.  They automatically raise their kids the way their parents raised them.  And nothing ever changes.  We accept the way our lives are, as "normal".  You have a choice - to raise your kids consciously.

"our most significant and serious problems, both personal and societal, have their roots in our homes, and that parenting, when it is pursued seriously and thoughtfully, is not only life’s most important career, but its most joyful and fulfilling career." ~ Linda J. Eyre

In the book I will show how a child thinks at various stages of their life, and the most effective ways of teaching them at each stage, according to their level of understanding.  I will show you 10 core life skills that you can teach your child and how.  Your child wont be learning these at school.  With these skills your child will grow up happy, successful, and may never need life coaching!  Imagine that!  Your child will never need life coaching, because they will automatically have these skills that you have programmed into them!

Well I hope you look forward to the book, it will be worth the wait!  I will keep you updated and write more soon.  Subscribe to this blog or my email newsletter to keep updated.

Do you have any questions?

In the mean time, is there any questions you have, or issues you need help with?  Please ask away, I will respond as soon as I can and I may write an article about it.

Thank you to my readers!
I really value you!  I really value mothers and anyone caring for children.  You are doing the most important job in the world and I am passionate about helping you.
Please forward to any mothers you may know that could benefit from this information, thank you!

Monday, 28 May 2012

How to avoid getting angry at your kids – 4 tips.

Being a mum is hard.  I know, I have four children!  It's a lot of work, and it's easy to get stressed out sometimes, and get angry at them.  If you do get angry at your children, you are not alone.  I don't know any parents who have never lost their temper.  But we know anger isn't good for our children, so here are four tips to help you keep your cool.

1. Check what you are really angry about:

Sometimes we are already angry about something else in our life, and the kids pick up on this and they feel anxiety because of it. Then they behave badly because of their anxiety. Then we overreact because we were already angry to start with. It turns into a bad cycle, and it is not fair on the kids because it is not their fault and they may feel it is their fault. This is what you have to do: First deal with the thing that is really making you angry. If you can't deal with it straight away, decide to deal with it at a later time (like when the kids are at school, or they are asleep). Don't let it ruin your time with your kids. If you do slip and get angry at the kids, apologise to them, and let them know it wasn't their fault. It is good for them to learn how to apologise when they make mistakes, because they learn through modeling your behavior.

2. Expect and Accept that kids will be kids:

Usually when we get angry at our kids behavior, it is because we expected better from them. But it is in a child's nature to explore, experiment and push their boundaries. It is how they learn and grow. So you must expect mess, chaos and noise! That is just how kids are, it is reality. Once you have accepted that you can look at ways to prevent and minimise the chaos, and deal with it when it inevitably happens!

If you are a new mother, you may have expected to continue the same type of lifestyle you had before you had kids. Maybe you are now frustrated that you cant live that way anymore. It can be easy to get caught up in stress and despair at this new life you now have, being a mother, and not knowing how to cope. Becoming a mother is like being thrown in the deep end of a swimming pool, nothing can prepare you. The sooner you accept the new changes in your life and swim, the better. Being a mother doesn't mean your life is over, it is the start of a new different life. Being a mother can be an amazing, fun and fulfilling journey... so embrace it!

3. Prevention:

Do what you can to prevent meltdowns. If you know what is triggering the children's behavior, or what is triggering your anger, you can take steps to prevent it. For example if the children are always fighting, you could teach them how to share by taking turns, or offer rewards or praise when they are playing nicely. If the children are tired and grumpy around dinner time, preventing you from cooking, maybe you could prepare dinner earlier in the day, or change the kids bedtime routine.
Keeping a routine helps, children are more content and settled with a routine. It is also good for you because not being organised leads to stress.
Remember if you feel calm and happy – your kids will feel better too. Good and bad moods are contagious!
Have some clear rules and discipline strategies. Be prepared by deciding how you will deal with your child's behavior before it happens again.

4. Deal with your emotions:

Find ways to calm down:
When you are feeling stressed, take deep, slow breaths, count to 10.  Try to relax and be patient.  Look after yourself, and don't take on too much work.  Try exercising, it will help you feel calmer. Putting on some music is also good to change the mood to a happy one. I like taking my kids out to the park, sometimes getting out of the house helps.
Never punish your kids while you are angry.  When you are angry, you are not thinking straight, and you may say or do things that you will regret. Instead, tell them: “I'll think about your punishment”, then take some time to cool down and gather your self. 

Change your self-talk:
Your self-talk is all those random thoughts that pop up in your mind. If they are negative thoughts, they are making you feel angry, depressed and frustrated. Here's how to change these thought patterns into positive ones: Get a notepad and draw a line down the center. Write the negative thoughts on one side. Go through the negative statements and write positive statements on the other side of the paper. Here's an example: “My kids are so annoying! I really need a break!” Change it to: “I'm blessed to have these beautiful, amazing children in my life. I am enjoying this short time with them while they are still young.” After you're done, read the positive statements everyday, morning and night. Read them with full belief and emotion as if they are true. These positive affirmations will become true, they will change how you feel very quickly.

I hope these tips help you. Please leave a comment if you have any other tips, questions or comments on “anger management”! Thanks :)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Consequences – Do what works!

Consequences – Do what works!

Picture this: A frazzled mum with 4 kids running around her, yelling, jumping and making a mess! That mum is me on my bad days! Hehe :) . I realized recently that I need to change my tactics...again! The way I've been disciplining my children isn't working anymore, they are growing up. My oldest is almost 9 yrs. The things that work with toddlers may not work with older school-age children. And I know they are going to be teenagers before too long. Time flies! This is cliche but true: they grow up so fast!

My son just broke my daughters eraser, it was a new one she bought herself for $3. I tried my usual discipline method of explaining to him that it was wrong and getting him to apologize to her, then giving him time-out... the whole time I was doing this he wasn't really listening to me... and I could see he wasn't learning anything. I then told him he has to give her $3 so she can buy a new one. Then he cried a lot! And gave her the $3. He hasn't broken anything since then.

So my point is: if the consequences you are giving them aren't working, try something else. All kids have their unique personalities as well so you may have to experiment trying different things.

From my experience, yelling and smacking and lecturing doesn't work. When you do these things, you are setting a bad example (Kids will more likely copy what you do, than copy what you say). When you yell and get emotional this also gives them the message that you are not in control and makes them feel either uneasy or scared or they will just respect you less. Kids have a tendency to mirror your stress, they play up more when you are stressed.

I try to save yelling for emergency situations, for example, if my child ran onto the road.  I find they are more likely to pay attention to me because it is unusual for them to hear me yell like that! And you really want them to pay attention in a situation like that.

Some consequences that you could try:
- Time-out
- Taking away privileges (eg: T.V., computer, game station time, cellphone)
- Making them pay for stuff they break
- Making them clean up their mess
- Making them apologize
- Give them extra chores

When you are disciplining them, do so from a place of compassion and understanding.  Don't go to war with them.  Calmly set them clear, firm boundaries, from a place of love and respect.

"A person's a person, no matter how small" ~ Dr Suess

Prevention is better than cure
Make sure all your child's needs are getting met. If they are not – he/she will misbehave more. Obviously they need physical things like regular meals, sleep and a routine, but they also need to know that they are loved and cherished, and need to be praised when they get things right. Try to think of why they are behaving that way and try to remedy the cause.

Reward them for good behavior
Catch them behaving well and let them know they are doing well.  Kids want to please us, and kids want our attention.  So give them positive attention when they are good.  Star charts are good for younger children.

Best of luck with your kids, and please leave any comments or questions below :)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mothers are Powerful!

Mothers are Powerful!

Do you know how powerful you are? Love is powerful, especially the love of a mother for her child! Becoming a mother makes you grow stronger.  Mothers will do things for their child, that they thought they could never do.  Mothers will go to great lengths to keep their children safe...

In Georgia, a teenage boy got trapped under his car, when his jack failed. His mother, lifted the car, weighing approximately 3,500 pounds, and held it up for 5 minutes until help came!

In Ivujivik, Canada, a mother saw a large polar bear heading toward her 7yr old boy and his 2 friends. Without a thought, she ran to the bear and wrestled it to the ground! The bear was approximately 8 feet tall and 700 pounds!

These are true stories, there are many more like this. I've heard it said that the most dangerous place to be is between a mum and her child. A mothers instinct is to protect her child no matter what. This instinct gives her strength beyond normal. You can use this strength as a source of power! It can conquer your fears!

My motherly instinct helped me to get over my fear of talking to new people. I knew for my children's sake I had to get past this fear to build a good life for my kids. There have also been many times when I've spoken up for my children when normally I would be too afraid to say anything.

Do you have any irrational fears?  Irrational fears are fears that don't benefit us, for example - afraid of heights, tight spaces, public speaking etc.  You can conquer your fear, your strength as a mother may help you get past these fears. 
Some mothers are driven by their love for their children to do extraordinary things, or achieve great successes. What things would you like to achieve for yourself and your children?

All that we go through as mums, makes us grow into a stronger person. Do you remember what you were like before you had your child/children? No doubt having a baby turned your life upside down, and also made you grow as a person. You are powerful! You have the strength inside you to build a great life for yourself and your children. Once you believe it - you can achieve it!

Please leave me a comment below : )

Friday, 17 February 2012

Free e-book now available!

Free e-book "Life Coaching for Mothers" is now available, just click here to sign up :)
Let me know what you think, thanks :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

My Facebook page

Please go and check out my facebook page:
and click on "Like" to help spread the news of my free E-book, to help mums everywhere.  Thanks! :-)


Hi! :)
I am Melissa Magnus, certified Life Coach, certified NLP Practitioner, and experienced mum of 4 children.
I will be adding articles regularly to help and encourage mothers.
I will also post again soon with the link for my free E-book, "Life Coaching for Mothers".
Please leave comments, questions and suggestions for me, I would love to hear what you think! Thanks :)