Feeling Loved?

How do you ‘know’ that your partner loves you? What is it he or she does which makes you know you are loved – that you really ‘feel’ it? Is it the way they look at you, or the way they touch you? Or maybe that they give you small gifts?

We’ve probably all had a partner in the past who was doing nice things for us, but we just didn’t really feel ‘loved’…. you know the one which you’d say to your friends: “He says he loves me, and he brings me flowers, but I just don’t feel it’s enough. I don’t feel like he’s the one.”

What’s possibly happened here, is that ‘he’ didn’t speak in your ‘Love Language’. This term came from a book by Gary Chapman, called The Five Love Languages. In the book he says that we ‘feel’ loved in one of five different ways ie we will have a preferred Love Language. If our partner ‘speaks’ in that Love Language, we will feel loved. If they use another Love Language, we won’t feel like we are loved.

I’ll detail the five ways shortly, but this doesn’t just relate to us as adults, it also has relevance for children…… Read more

Man and Woman hugging their young daughter

What Do Children Need from their Parents?

We all know that children need food, clothing and shelter to ‘survive’, but besides the basic needs, how do we truly grow them into curious, strong, resilient children?

When your baby cries, s/he is telling you something – eg I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’ve have wind. As parents our response determines what message the child gets. For example if the baby cries because they are hungry, and you feed them, they learn that you will give them what they need. As you consistently do this, they learn that they can trust you to continue to meet their needs, and this is called building Secure Attachment. When you do this, it also creates new ways of understanding for the baby in his/her brain, ie new brain cells (known as neurons) are formed.

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Toddler playing outside

What is my Baby Hearing?

Hearing is an important and necessary part of speech development. Babies are now given a hearing test at birth, as if there are any difficulties they are detected early so that measures can be taken to optimise the development of language and speech.

As with most development, it is an on-going process. So what can your baby hear at different ages?

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Backyard Garden at Home

Going Home

I hadn’t been interstate to visit my Step-Dad for a while, and I finally made it last weekend. It was so good to catch up with him, and to be back in the family home, sleeping in my old bedroom.

It’s funny how when you go home after a long time that you both notice the changes and the familiar. By changes I mean things like furniture that’s been moved, new china or freshly painted walls – they stand out, and make the place feel somewhat different, a little less familiar.

You also notice the things which are the same – your teenage bedcovers, the board games in the cupboard and the ticking clock… they all remind you that this is ‘home’.

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Post Natal Depression – a personal story

In October we had Mental Health Day. Some mothers experience Postnatal Depression with many consequences for them, their babies and attachment, and for their families. Many chose not speak up because they think they ‘should be able to cope’. Here’s a story from a friend of mine, who did speak up and sought help. Thank you Shanelle for sharing something so personal, in such an open way…

“Today is World Mental Health Day.

I wanted to share this picture of my daughter and I from 6 years ago, when my post natal depression was at its peak.

You cannot tell someone’s mental health state just by looking at them. You cannot know how someone is feeling by the way they present themselves to the world. You can never know the stories that someone is telling themselves over and over in their head.

I was great at wearing the mask of “perfect mother” when I was out in public. If you saw me out and about, you would probably think that I had adjusted to my new role of motherhood rather well. If there was video footage of what was happening in the 4 walls of my home, you would be shocked to know I was the same person.

There was constant anxiety over doing things the “right” way, if I was following the rules (of course my baby had a rulebook!). There was so much guilt associated with feeling totally out of my depth with the challenges of being a new mum. I constantly beat myself up over a traumatic birth experience and a daughter born with a dislocated hip.

I was so sad, so emotional, so teary. I was exhausted. I wasn’t sleeping well in fear that something might happen. I felt so alone and isolated, like I was the only one going through this experience. I was ashamed that this wasn’t a natural experience for me. Why hadn’t I got the fairy-tale the media makes motherhood out to be?

I would put my daughter down for her nap and then lock myself in the walk-in robe to cry. Locked in the darkness the tears would stream endlessly.

I kept myself busy cooking, cleaning, washing and whatever else I could to keep my mind off how I was really feeling. It got to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore.

Finally I made the call to see my GP. A call that was probably one of the bravest and scariest things that I have ever done. A call that ultimately put me onto the path of receiving the help I so desperately needed and to getting my mental health under control.

6 years on, I now have 2 beautiful children. Most days are great, however there are times when depression starts to creep back in. Nowadays I am aware of the signs to look out for and can put the steps into place to get me back on track before I am

Statistics say that 1 in 2 of us will develop a mental illness during our lifetime. Mental Illness doesn’t have to define you. It can be managed.

It’s time the guilt and shame were removed from mental illness. People don’t choose to get diabetes, nor do we choose to have a mental illness. We need to be able to have open and honest conversations about how we are genuinely feeling and know that these conversations will be taken seriously and are free from judgement.

Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness (www.peachtree.org.au) is an organisation that I found during my second pregnancy who focuses on peer support for mental health challenges during the perinatal period. There are several Peachy Parent groups who meet each week throughout Queensland providing support to parents from a lived-experience perspective. Having the support and understanding of other parents who have had similar experiences is so important on the road to recovery.

Please, if you need to reach out – contact your GP, call Lifeline 13 1114 or PANDA 1300 726 306 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467″

Shanelle

Happy Parenting this week, by taking good care of yourself Mums… it’s important for you, and for your family – You are Special and Very Important!

Two young kids splashing in a play pool

The Things Some Parents Say…

In my work as a Parenting Consultant I work with parents who approach me for different reasons. I have parents who want reassurance that their child is developing as they ‘should’ ie that they are meeting the milestones for development in the areas of Language, Intellectual skills, Motor skills – both gross and fine motor, and Social-Emotional skills. Some parents contact me when they think there may be a possible delay in one of these areas – that their child isn’t talking as much as his peers, or not moving as well. Other parents contact me when Mum is returning to work and they want to check on how to best ensure that the child will cope with this new change of routine and people in childcare. And other parents contact me when there is an issue with their child eg around bedtime routines, or when they are approaching toilet-learning, or when they are behavioural issues.

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Veggie Garden Image by Hazel Owens via Flickr

A Flourishing Garden

Last weekend I stepped outside and headed to the veggie patch, as I needed some parsley for my cooking. I was surprised to see that it was turning yellow, with only a few green tufts left. Glancing around I saw that the rhubarb was bolting, the tomatoes were tiny and had been eaten by a grub, and the other plants were looking wilted. How did this happen to my once lush, productive garden? I stopped to think…..Mmmm, it had been a week since I’d been out there. No wait …. maybe it was 2, or even 3 weeks! I realised that I hadn’t tended to the garden for such a long time due to my work and personal commitments, and as a result it was neglected.

12 months ago that same garden had given me large quantities of tomatoes, parsley and zucchini which I happily shared. 12 months ago I was regularly out in the garden weeding, watering and nurturing it. What a difference!

 

How does this relate to parenting?

Children need to be nurtured. Just like a plant which needs good soil, water and sunshine to grow, our children also have needs. These must be satisfied in order to grow into healthy, ‘productive’ children.

Their needs are simple….. and it doesn’t involve trips to the toy store or expensive excursions to the latest theme park! Their needs centre around you. They need the basics as all humans do of food, clothing, shelter AND they need love and connection in order to thrive!

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Image by nicholasjon via Flickr

The Social-Emotional Development of your Child: Part 1 of 2 From Birth to 8 months

When I have Home Visits with families in my role as a Parenting Consultant, I’m watching and listening to see how the child is developing across four areas – Language , Intellect, Social-Emotional, and Motor skills. If you are interested to know more about our Home Visit plan, check out our Home Visits page.

Imagine how much easier parenting would be if you understood why children do what they do… If you knew the ‘why’, then you may approach the situation differently…

Today I’ll share with you what I might expect to see in the Social-Emotional domain in young babies.

 

Social refers to how the child interacts with others and the learning of social skills.

Emotional refers to how they express their emotions.

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Christmas Kids

All I want for Christmas is…

So want do you say to yourself at this time?

  • Yahhhh I love Christmas;
  • It’s so expensive;
  • I can’t want for it to be over;
  • I love watching the kids faces on Christmas morning;
  • Family disagreements – no thanks;
  • I love family get togethers, especially Christmas;
  • I love the excitement and special treats.

 

Which ever sentiments you have about Christmas, the reality is it is approaching fast! What can we do to make it a pleasant, positive experience for children and families? Here’s some ideas…

 

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How Does Speech Develop in Babies?

Language begins to develop prior to birth, when babies hear the parents’ voices in utereo. When a baby, who has just been born, is placed between their mother and a stranger, and they both speak to the baby, she will turn towards the recognisable voice of her Mum – amazing!

 

From birth to 6 weeks, this recognition of both Mum and Dad’s voices continues, and the baby responds to sounds and voices, but aren’t yet able to localise them. Babies have different cries to indicate their need for food, sleep, or to be burped! When parents are able to correctly identify these cries, then they can quickly settle the baby .

You can read more about this, in a previous article I wrote: http://theparentingcafe.com.au/the-5-words-your-newborn-says/ 

You can help by: Look at your baby and talk with her. Smile at her. Surround her with gentle, pleasant sounds, and avoid sudden loud noises, which may startle her.

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