Childhood. Yours, your child’s and the combinations of them together.

SO in my work with supporting women in their sensuality, their parenting skills, creating realities they desire. I have a divide, Mothers and Non-Mothers. I see all women as women, as humans that cannot be “successful” while doing it alone. The biggest common denominators challenges between women with children and women without are:

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  • Self confidence (and confidence)
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear of not having their sh*t together
  • Fear of being seen in not having their sh*t together

Of course the biggest difference is women with children have little beings depending on them. SO is there a difference in the support they receive? Not really, all women need other women. The way our TV and society raised us was to compare, and compete. I find that this is still a thread in many women relationships. When there is competition and it’s unhealthy competition or competition that is extreme; jealousy can happen, as well as self deprecation. Parenting from a place of “I’m not a good enough parent,” “I don’t have my sh*t together like ______,” or working so hard to appear like you have your sh*t together, is exhausting and your children feel it.

Operating as a woman (without kids) it is just as harmful to compete and compare. It creates a scarcity mentality, “there isn’t enough for me,” “I couldn’t have ALL the things I want,” and the famous; “if only….”

UGH! It’s enough. No one has to live this way. I would say with all the work I’ve done with and for myself, I live in a non-competitive and non-comparative way for at least 70% of the time. Occasionally when I’m already being hard on myself, and then I scroll FB with that energy, everyone is living a “better” life than me.

If you are a Mom, I am here to tell you having the thoughts, and eventually actions based on comparison and competitiveness are felt by your children.

I see it when I work with children in their classrooms. Most of the comparison talk shows up in the Housekeeping or Kitchen Area in the classroom. Some examples I’ve heard recently are: “My brother does that better than me.” “My Daddy is stronger than yours,” “I get to do that also, you’re not the only one.”

Many children are naturally competitive, some are just mellow and lean more towards being in their own world.

A good way to address your child or if you don’t have children, your inner child. Is with a kind and open, neutral voice. More important than your words, is your tone of voice. That’s what your children (and inner children) hear. So how do you motivate your child/inner child?

  • Do you use punishment to motivate? “Do you want me to take your game away?”
  • Do you use comparison to get your child to listen? ex.”your friend Nick would never do that.”
  • Do you use your parenting authority? ex.”I am the parent and you do what I say!”
  • Do you use fear? ex.” Just wait until I tell your teacher/father!
  • Do you shame your child? ex. are you going to be the only child to not do their HW?

Your own inner child is how you parent, so again, whether you have a child or your inner child is one that needs motivation, here are a couple of languaging suggestions in your tone of voice; The tone is one of loving kindness

  • I care about you, and you will feel better after getting it done
  • I understand it’s annoying, and you’ll feel proud to show up
  • I love you, and am here to help you do your best
  • It would be easier to skip it, but you will be hard on yourself if you do

Our inner children of all ages, are alive and well, they show up at different times and at different angles. They have wisdom, so yes listen, but then tweak the tone every time.

Happy Parenting!

Love,

Shane

 

 

Use the smell of your morning coffee or tea to remind you to take some deep breaths to start your day. When there is global and national unrest, we all experience a nagging anxiety that just won’t …

Source: Double Down on Self-Care

Life hacks for parenting thriving children

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I am always looking for ways to improve the lives of students. I can’t walk into a classroom or a home without doing so. I have been privileged to be working in the field of education for the past twenty years. I became a Certified Special Education teacher in the late 1990s, right out of NYU, and since then I have problem solved and have figured out how to change instruction to reach all kinds of learners. I taught in New York City public schools, the private (Independent) schools, and acted as a field supervisor at Hunter College for special education graduate students. I have worked privately with families for about a decade. All of these experiences, and my insatiable appetite for learning how to improve the experiences for parents and children contribute to the ideas I’m about to share. My wish for you is that you learn ways to thrive and can empower your children to do the same.

Be informed.

Read. Listen. Find out information about child development and education. Learn about what happens in your child’s every day life. Attend classes and webinars. You don’t know it all and information changes over the years — so keep learning.

Observe.

Watch your child without judgement. What does he or she do? Be in awe of him or her. Watch before you input your demands or ways of doing something. See what he or she can come up with.

Ask questions.

Shane Kulman, this is my shout out to you. I’m taking her Mothers/Daughters webinar. It’s amazing. Take it. Shaun taught me how to better communicate with my children. State an observation and then ask a question about it. “I notice you didn’t check your punctuation on that writing, what’s up with that?” or “I see you are spending a lot of time on that assignment, can I help?”

Empower problem solving.

Also credit to Shane on this one, and so many awesome parents and educators who facilitate great opportunities to problem solve. Allow your child the opportunity to come up with his or her own solutions. Problems happen every day — sometimes every minute. “Oh, I notice you can’t find your socks, what should we do about that?” or “I hear you whining, how else can you tell me what you want?”

Require standards.

Goals and standards are paramount. I love telling my kids to employ “The Miele Way” — what is that? Well, quite frankly I made it up (don’t tell my kids), because to them it seems as though this notion is something sacred passed down generation to generation. When really it is a code I want them to employ in every situation. It involves being kind, generous, hard working, honest, helpful, and engaged. It means doing your best, even when the odds are against you. It encompasses making good decisions, being healthy and respectful. When you set standards which apply to your family, your child has the opportunity to rise to those standards.

Have skills for handling stress.

Stress will happen. The best plan is to have a plan for when it does. Families can practice mindfulness techniques such as breathing and meditation. They can engage in healthy habits such as eating well, sleeping well (going to bed at the same time every night), and exercising well.

Lead by doing.

Many children I know who are thriving have parents who not only teach their children to be strong students and all around great people, but also practice doing so in their own lives. Moms and dads who take good care of themselves at work, socially, emotionally and physically can demonstrate how to do so for their children.

Get support that works for you.

Everyone needs a support network and a way to access it. I built my career and business on providing individualized support — so it makes perfect sense to me that every family and every child will benefit from unique support. It is worth thinking about the type of support most helpful and also teaching our children to advocate for support when they need it. A new friend of mine and colleague was telling me that she learned she had a learning disability at the age of forty. I asked her how that was for her. She told me it was completely amazing because for the first time she could tell people how to give her information. For instance, when she was in a corporate meeting and people were firing off information, she would slow them down and ask for time to write out each step.

This is what we want for our children — to learn how they work and learn best and to ask those around them to provide information to them in a way which is best received.

Don’t accuse.

A typical scenario is for me to meet a family during a time of crisis. Something is not working and I have been called in to figure out what is going on. Typically, there are behaviors going on which elicit certain accusations. These accusations are common assumptions adults make about kids. For instance, “You have failed English(gotten a C), you are so lazy!” or “You hit your brother, you are so out of control!” or “You are so disorganized, you just need to get it together.”

I rarely practice black and white thinking or view points, but shame and accusations are on my big NO NO list for parents. Go back to the start of this list and do that instead — observe, or ask questions. When we assume the reasons behind our children’s behavior, we are not helping them to become problem solvers or empower them to make good decisions. Instead, by accusing our children of being something, we have closed their ability to communicate. And the feelings around this are bad and hard to overcome.

What can you do if you have accused your child already? If you are human, you’ve done it and that’s okay — what matters is what you do in response to your own actions. To me, the next step is simple (albeit humbling)— own up to what you said, and say sorry. “Darren, I’m so sorry I said that you were lazy and that you didn’t care about school. I actually don’t know why you are not doing well in English. Can I hear from you so we can figure this out?” or “Tony, I’m so sorry I screamed at you and said you were wasting our money in private school. I feel frustrated that you are not excelling there and I actually want to find out how I can help.”

Make time.

I work around the clock. It’s a crazy, hard (fun) job to run a small business — especially an education service business. I have a marriage, three children and myself to care for. I also have an amazing extended family and friends. I have to schedule in time for me to check out of work, to go out with my husband, to be with each of my children, to see my family and friends. I have to make time to go to the doctor, to rest when I’m sick, to exercise. The take a way here is to make time — plan time for work or projects, relationships and you time. You will demonstrate to your child how important it is to manage time to take care of all aspects of yourself.

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dd0Research and surveys from Mothers. I have been reading and thinking about the feedback, the answers about the worries and challenges, there are many and the most popular challenge is daughters (of all ages) “strong emotions.”  Don’t we ALL have strong emotions? I know we do, and I see how I numb them out. Numbing the strong feelings out with food and shopping are familiar to me. I see the fear in Mother’s about how to raise strong and independent daughters in our political climate today. It’s scary and I don’t have answers, I do have insight and ways to empower young and older girls.

I have been meditating on how exactly to support Mothers, along with manifesting, I have been beta testing a course on this very much needed support. This course is designed for 2 sets of age groups pre-school age and daughters 6-11. Seven steps to more ease and peace in stressful moments.

What I’m also learning is there is tremendous disrespect and power struggles that create patterns that Mothers can’t seem to get out of, and feel guilty about the way they are reacting. I have learned they also feel they cannot change the pattern because either their daughter reminds them of themselves younger, or their own Mothers.

I am excited about this course; Desperate Mothers ~ Defiant Daughters.

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It is a week course and includes Q & A, and is recorded for future reference.

Interested, please contact us, so we can see if this course is a right fit for you.

Love,

Shane

holiay-plateHow can you have a WHOLE family holiday? How can everyone’s needs be met? Everyone happy? Everyone well fed and relaxed? Is that even possible?

I’m introducing a concept of an ALL IN holiday celebration time. It starts with you, it starts with the person whose eyes have landed on this page. The concept of “making a child happy” is one I would like to explore.

Let’s start here. NO one can make anyone anything. Literally, if someone is making an angry face, no one can change their face.  I can see how this can seem true, but as parents, you actually “train” your child to be certain ways based on your behaviors.

If you say “it’s raining” with a somber tone, your child learns rain means, sad, or something low energy. If you live in the Middle East and it rains, it would be more like “it’s raining!!!” with joy and enthusiasm.

As women, we love control. When everyone and everything is “out of control” we actually have the power to pull in our energy and gain control, of ourselves.   This is key with children. If your holidays are with 10 people, 3 or 40, your energy and your disposition matters. Self care is critical at this time. It’s different. It’s different than the way you were raised, so it’s simple but not easy.

What I’m talking about is, taking care of yourself before taking care of your family. This does not mean to ignore them, or put them off completely. Baby steps, integration. Here’s the big secret, you are in complete control, they will adjust. They will learn how to take care of themselves by watching you take care of yourself.

I invite you to release yourself of being a servant, a martyr. If you are constantly serving your children, especially if they are under 8 years old, you are showing them the role they will play as they get older. I’m inviting you to witness your actions and behaviors, and to check in and see if they are a choice or an obligation or habit, and are they serving you?

I imagine a holiday where your whole self matters, all your requests and desires come from a place of receptivity, not doing and going and getting sh*t done. Imagine a “wholy holiday? What could that look like for you?

  • Would there be more creativity?
  • Would there be more music and dancing?
  • Could you include more unstructured activities?
  • Would there be more chill time?
  • More family games?

It might mean you say, “no thank you” to some invites, it might mean you do things different that you had growing up, it might mean that new challenges arise. Here is the good news, the impact of your choices create shifts for the next generation, your children.

Have a beautiful holiday season,

With love,

Shane B. Kulman, MS SpEd

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anxiety-coverAnxiety is awful, to me it feels like I’m on a roller coaster ride, I don’t want to be on, can’t get off and it’s never ending. Laying down is all I want to do, which makes me feel my heartbeat and in the stillness I’m more uncomfortable.  As far back as I can remember, I would wake up with my heart beating fast and my mind racing. There are times I knew why, and other times, I had no idea, and stories of dread would form, and go on automatic repeat.

I’m inspired to share my goodies, my tools and my secrets, to absolutely changing these feelings. I have the theory if I can do it, anyone can. This is not to say I don’t occasionally have anxiety, but it is so reduced, AND when I am full on anxious it never goes into a full on downward spiral.

I offer you action steps that lead to solutions and at the minimum some ease with the anxiety you are experiencing. There are many ideas in this book, choose what works for you. Create accountability with a chart or with a sister friend. Keep this book nearby, use the sight of it as a reminder, that you are not alone, you are never alone, and anxiety is the number one complaint of women. Right now in this moment, all is ok, (re-read this as many times as you need.)

This book gives you the foundational  into the basis of the work, to move away from the roller coaster of anxiety, the roller coaster that you didn’t wait on line for, the ride that you are ready to exit.  

These tools are a great starter experience. If you are interested in more, I WOULD LOVE to GUIDE and SUPPORT YOU!

Here is how this book works.

Bolded words = actions/tools to do on your own

Pink= Journal/workbook activities,

Let’s begin! – Take a deep breath, take a few more, and make a sound, or sounds, relax you physical body, stick your tongue all the way out and flutter your lips.

I welcome you with all my heart  and a deep knowing that if I can reduce and eliminate anxiety so can you.  You are not alone, as a society we are overwhelmed with information and tragedies. Right now all is well, and you are ok.

These are the biggest anxiety causes, we will work with them in this book.

Ø Money

Ø Love

Ø Body

While there may be other seeming causes, research shows these are the biggest. If you had to put them in order, which causes the most? I recommend looking at that section first…

All of what we feel, think and predict are results of our experiences and our conditioning. There is no way around it. What we heard as children helped create a blueprint of our belief system. Two things can happen:

Ø One complains and blames

Ø One can take action and stay curious.

If you are reading this, I imagine you are desiring to take action and stay curious.  YAY!!! This is your second celebration (your first was saying YES to yourself and getting this E book!) Being open to change is a major celebration. It counts if you feel like you’ve hit bottom and you have no choice. Some folks stay in that victim mode, with the “no-choice” feeling for a very loooooong time. So BRAVA! You’ve made it.

WANT MORE?!?!?! Pre-order now  (CLICK HERE) for $21.00 the book will be released in December!

Warmly,

Shane Kulman

Want to get inspired RIGHT NOW? Mamas read up…

artistmommylife

Today was full. Open eyes. Meditate and pray.  Pillow talk. Get my beautiful brown flower child ready for school. Make her favorite breakfast a pot spoonful of yellow grits and fried plantain with eggs like auntie Vu. Finish cornrow plaits from last night. Luckily, these will keep for a full week. Off to sweat cleanse and facilitate my physical healing. Hot yoga for two hours and a power meeting with a mentor. A  friend and visionary. Then project and event planning for the corporation. Check list stuff. Check. Check. Check,. Then the checklist that cherry blossoms into  more checklists that pour out like ghetto ancestral rituals. Then one errand and another pick up the child. We read and write, she asks “What does prioritize mean?” and I get a small token of being on the right path because after my succinct explanation she says in her four year old voice…

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Mandatory credit: VisMedia +44 (0)20 7613 2555 Judging other folks is normal and natural. Brining in consciousness about it is the change can happen. Whether I am working with a family, a Mother or a woman who is seeking more confidence, there is shame of being judgmental. I easily I admit to all my clients that I am judgmental, and I have always been, the difference now is that my judgments don’t mean much, and once they come into my awareness, I actually let it out of my mind. I have done a ton of self-development work around this. Why am I sharing this?

With light of our country’s politics, I see how clearly children pick up their parents judgments, and on some level this is ok. What I am here to invite parents to think about is, your judgments and feelings are bigger and magnified to extremes in the eyes of a child. When a parent is rampaging on, or feeling low and showing signs of depression, anger, sadness, fear etc. A child may begin to feel unsafe. They see their parents as they are “in trouble or doomed.” Several suggestions and offers of how to “be” with your children when you are feeling passionate about politics, world issues and anything to do with the climate of the world.

  • Let your child (of any age) “I love you and we are safe”
  • Limit watching the news, especially the channels where people are talking over each other and fighting
  • Create art with newspapers and discuss what they see, ask  curious questions
  • Ask them questions that they can answer (yes/no questions for younger kids, open ended questions to older kids.)
  • Stay neutral and curious in your tone of voice(do your best) when having a conversation around world issues
  • Check- in with them frequently to see what they think or how they are feeling.
  • Children’s behaviors may seem irrelevant to the issues at hand. Their behaviors are ALWAYS a sign of their inner life
  • When your child/children act out, respond, don’t react. A reaction is mirroring what doesn’t work. A tantrum, melt-town, acting out etc. is a reaction of something overloading the child.
  • When this reaction from your child happens, take a physical step to the side, take at least one breath into your belly, and ask them; “what happened? or “what’s happening?”
  • You don’t always have to “fix” your child’s problem, it’s healthy to have an outburst of energy, they need space to do this, as long as it’s safe, and they can move on, way quicker than we can

I welcome all comments and feedback,

Thank you,

Shane B. Kulman, MS SpEd

naked-mom-and-kid  Physically and metaphorically. Inspired to write this with a moment that happened in the gym locker room the other day. I was in the middle of changing and I was naked. A little girl, about 4 or 5, looked at me in the eyes and smiled, or maybe I smiled first. Her Mom pulled her along  strongly and appeared to be working to keep her eyes away from me. This sent me into a query of how many kids see their parents naked? Then I began thinking deeper, how many kids see their parents emotionally transparent?

I thought about my own childhood, where I don’t recall seeing any feelings, and remembering my feelings were “too much” and didn’t know what to do with them, and how hard it was for me as a child, and also as an adult who had to re-find what it’s like to actually have (big) feelings.

My intention for this email is an invitation to be curious about your own family. How did you grow up in the context of nudity at home, as well as sharing and seeing, and feeling your “nude” feelings?

I am constantly learning myself, and don’t have biological children of my own. I do spend time with my friends kids, and I get self-conscious with my getting dressed and undressed with them around (especially in the Summer, with changing of bathing suits etc.)  If my friend (their Mom) is not into the Goddess lifestyle where we love and enJOY our bodies, I contract and don’t always know “what’s right” around them, this includes with my physical body as well as my emotions. How much do I share? What angle do I share from?

All this second guessing, and no wanting to offend or be judged as “______ kind of woman.” This thinking sends me into a tailspin. The question I am left with is:

Do I follow my own freedom and intuition, or do I give in to what I assess as limited actions?

Does anyone resonate? I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject…..

Love,

Shane

 

Tips for Choosing the Best Childcare for Your Family

By: Shannon P. McNulty of http://www.savvy-parents.com

Tips for Choosing the Best Childcare for Your Family

If you are heading back to work after the birth of a child and feel overwhelmed with your choices in childcare, you are not alone! Choosing a caregiver to trust with your child’s daily care and education is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, and the sheer variety of options can be dizzying, never mind all the conflicting advice. So what can you do to ensure that you have made the best childcare choice for your family?

Know your childcare options and the benefits and challenges to each.

You may have heard stories from seasoned parents about how their daycare became not only a safe haven for their child, but also a learning community for their entire family. Or how their nanny kept their entire family organized and thriving during the early childhood years. Or how their affordable and flexible au pair made the after school pick-ups manageable. But for every great story, you will also hear stories from parents who struggled with their childcare providers and had negative experiences with their daycare’s high teacher turnover rate, their nanny’s inability to make it to work as scheduled or the adjustment to having a young au pair living in their home 24/7.

It is important to know that there are plenty of quality options for daycares, nannies and au pairs, but childcare is not “one size fits all.” So while it is wise to seek advice and ask for referrals from experienced parents, remember that every family has a different schedule, budget, family stressors, home culture, child-rearing philosophy and personality. It is critical for each family to weigh the pros and cons of each option based on their particular needs and to carefully screen their childcare choice to ensure it matches their specific standards. Click HERE to download a free comparison chart of some of the benefits and challenges of daycares and nannies to help you decide which is the best fit for your family.

Regularly communicate review your expectations with your childcare provider.

One of the most important steps you will ever take as you enter a childcare relationship is to clearly discuss and write out your expectations in detail.

If you choose a daycare, most states require the center to provide you with information on the center’s policies and procedures for topics such as: staff hiring requirements, ratio of students to teachers in the classroom, illness policy for staff and children, holidays and vacation schedules, feeding, diapering/potty, safe sleeping, outdoor play, discipline, injury, emergencies, late pick-up, allergies, vaccine requirements, curriculum and education, sanitation, etc. Be sure to read through and understand this information and what this will mean for your child, not just at their current stage of development, but also as they grow and move to the next classroom.

In addition to the policies of the daycare center, ask questions about how your child’s classroom operates. Request time to speak with the teachers in the classroom about your child’s personality and schedule, along with your parenting style, and your fears and hopes about daycare.

Unlike a daycare, when you hire a home employee (such as a nanny or an au pair), you become the caregiver’s employer. Because of the intimacy of this relationship, professional boundaries often become blurred and can be hard for many parents to manage. It is wise to write out your employment benefits and policies, household preferences, and childcare expectations at the time of hire, so that both parties understand what is required. Writing everything out will ensure that conflict is either avoided, or when conflict does arise, you can quickly turn to the documented agreement and calmly discuss any confusion.

Consider creating a nanny contract to include topics such as: hourly/ weekly pay; required schedule and the level of flexibility required; overtime rate of pay; how taxes will be handled; what vacation, sick days, and holidays will be paid to the nanny; how the nanny will be compensated for days the family does not need care; lateness; your rules for nanny’s use of social media, TV, music, and phone; meals while on duty; dress code; outdoor perimeters; basic care instructions for feeding, sleeping, diapering, discipline and bathing; public transportation preferences; play dates; nanny cameras; cleanliness in the home, household chores and errands; vaccines required for the position; areas “off limits” in the home; and anything else that is important to you! It is so much easier to discuss these topics within the first 1-2 weeks of hire, rather than waiting until issues come up many months down the road.

Evaluate and review your decision. 

After you have carefully screened, hired and trained your daycare, nanny, or au pair – work at building trust! Trust is something that should not automatically be given, but instead come gradually after time, consistent good behavior, reliability and the strengthening of the relationship.

I am a big advocate of web cameras in daycares and homes where the caregiver has been made aware of the device from the very start. However, in my experience, cameras are best used not for the sole purpose of catching “bad” or abusive behavior, but rather to ensure that your child is in the best situation for their needs. Cameras can also be helpful to assure yourself as a parent that you are actively involved in your child’s safety, care and education. With a camera, you will be able to: watch for activities and play geared toward your child’s current developmental stage; observe your child’s tantrum and see your caregiver’s response; see your child trip and get hurt, knowing that the caregiver could have done nothing to prevent it; watch your child’s joy when her caregiver plays peak-a-boo or snuggles her at story time; and see your caregiver’s level of enjoyment in the day-to-day activities of the job.

To ensure your relationship stays healthy, consider creating monthly or quarterly review times to discuss how “the job” is going, any upcoming schedule changes, the child’s current and upcoming development, and any changes that need to be made to the child’s daily routine. It is also a great time to reevaluate if this particular childcare situation is in the best interest of the child and the needs of family, and if the caregiver is happy. Sometimes parents love daycare, but their child is really struggling with the over stimulation, illness, or group care at a particular developmental stage. Or, perhaps the family loves the nanny, but the child is ready for a preschool environment, needs someone more physically equipped to chase them at the park, or the family needs someone that can help parents with dinner and housekeeping, so they can spend more quality time with the child in the evening.

While families love the idea of a caregiver or center that will stay in their lives long-term, remember that so much changes in the life and development of an infant, toddler, and preschool-aged child in a six-month to one-year period of time. If the caregiver you first choose is not everything you hoped for or becomes unsuited for your child as they grow older, know that there are many other great options available and don’t be afraid to revaluate to find the best fit for your ever-changing family.

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