Archives for posts with tag: daily expectations

For the longest time, 8 years, my kitchen faucets temperatures were reversed. I asked my Superintendent  to fix this, but it didn’t happen, and I understood it wasn’t a major priority. So I adjusted. I knew this was the deal in my kitchen, there were some water burns along the way, and when I approached my sink, I had to physically and mindfully stop and think, “Ok this is supposed to be cold but it’s hot” and then turn the water on. Eventually I completely adjusted. It didn’t affect how I approached any other sink anywhere else in my apartment or elsewhere, just in the kitchen.

Recently I had a leak and the super not only fixed the leak, but also corrected the hot and cold knobs. I am now newly adjusting to this updated version of hot and cold. It’s not easy and once again I must slow down, physically and mindfully and only then can I turn the water on. Several scalding hot experiences later, I must  use this sink at an even slower pace.

Why am I sharing this? I asked myself; “what can I learn from this sink ordeal?”  Along with slowing down to do a task. I realized how getting into a known routine feels safe and comfortable. I adjusted to WHAT DOESN’T WORK. One perspective is: I can find the correctness in any situation, the other perspective is: Why do I have to adjust to what doesn’t work?

08-kitchen-faucetsI think and work on and with families on radically relating to each other. How much of our relationships within our families DON’T WORK, but we adjust and work around it, ignoring the issue or challenge. How many feelings and priorities are burned along the way? Why as a society is it the norm to act as-if all is good, when it’s not?

I see and know the difficulties lie in the idea of being uncomfortable. I myself like to be comfortable. Getting the family to open up and change (getting my faucets fixed) will bring some awkwardness, some strange silences, but most of all it will bring up FEELINGS. Why are feelings avoided? We disagree, we have the same conversations over and over, nothing changes. It’s easier this way, it’s easier to adjust, but it’s not healthy and it doesn’t promote growth.

Here are some ways to integrate change or growth to radically relate to family…

  • Give compliments – offer them in a nice tone of voice, don’t expect anything in return
  • Offer help – even if it’s turned down, the offer matters
  • Do what you don’t want to do –  when a “chore” or activity pops up with family, and it’s exactly what you DON’T want to do, do it. Breathe and get through it
  • Let there be awkward silences – if a family member constantly has negative comments, let them have them, no response is warranted. Being defensiveness never feels good
  • Create limits and boundaries – Your actions will be more powerful, talking about limits and boundaries can be passive aggressive, or received as ultimatums. Not everyone is ready to make changes
  • Receive – Being able to receive anything in a heartfelt way – Be aware when family members are “giving” you something, if you can find a way to receive it without judgment, it can create a moment of peace and appretiation

I wish you all the power to DO YOUR BEST, with your family this holiday season!

Happy NEW YEAR!
Shane B. Kulman, MS SpEd

“Care of the Caregiver… YOU!” ~Shane B. Kulman

I remember the first time I heard this. How clear and “right” it sounded.  As the phrase unfolded in my head, I realized that I was a caregiver, and that working in a classroom 5 days a week, 8-3:30 and then coming home to eat a slice of pizza and collapse was not going to work for me anymore. That was NOT caring about the caregiver, and I was caregiving for 25 students and a wacky assistant that year.  No more…

I’ve graduated and will occasionally take a several week or month vacation during the school year, is this extreme caregiving for myself?  I think, no.  Some say extreme, I bet some say spoiled…  I now understand the importance of bookends. When I set out to work, I am aware that before and after I must include time where I do something for myself.  It may be a simple cup of tea, or a massage/spa visit.

I believe everyone is a caregiver in some aspect. Parents, Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles, babysitters, teachers, therapists, Nurses, Doctors, dog owners… you get the idea.

The parents I work with that have children with special needs, are constantly caregiving. There have been very few who make the time to withdraw from caring about others and take care of their Self.  So many parents pick food from their children’s plates, or eat standing up, don’t get dressed or spend every last penny on their child. After a while the caregiving well, goes dry. Parents often feel drained, wasted of energy and limited in   options. When I suggest a yoga class, a writing class, or to join in to any group activity that does not revolve around parenting, they look at me like I’m a dreamer, like I’m out of touch with reality, and then I see the guilt forming, “WHAT!?!? spend time on myself?!!?!? When my child is so far behind?”  I even suggested to a Mom to go out to dinner with Dad with a dress on, and I would stay with the children, she laughed at me and said we talk and eat when the kids go to school. Hmmmm, is this the same as wearing a dress at a restaurant?  I think not.

Children learn from watching, this has been researched and proven.  If all the young girls are watching their Mothers caregive and serve constantly, how will they learn to be independent and self expansive?  Special needs children, including non-verbal children see and feel what is going on around them. I see the neediest children become ultra demanding when they are in need of something. What happens after their demand, that may result in a temper tantrum/meltdown?  A Parent is running to serve them. What is the valuable lesson here? Yup, the bigger the meltdown and demand, the faster a parent runs.

Children with or without special needs, even pets, learn how to rule through behavior and reactions. I believe there is always time to be made for caring for the caregiver. Even if its a bath, or journaling time. I would say shopping, but you know who gets shopped for… everyone else.

Dearest friends – No matter who you are caring for. You can serve them on a higher level, if you take time to serve yourself. Your health and those you love will love you for it.

Namaste and love yourself,

Shane

What Can I Do To Help You?

How often do you say this?  Lately I have been very mindful  and conscious to make this offering to people. Regardless of how busy I am, when I ask this of people I actually feel a lightness to our conversation.  I see their bodies relax.  Its like a fun and meaningful way to say to someone, “I care about you and want to make you an offer that will make your life easier.”  It also helps people pinpoint exactly what they need help with. Or it can make them realize they are just complaining, which might be helpful to them.)

This simple sentence says and does so much. Of course helping someone get a task done is great, it helps them organize exactly what they need in specifics, and helps them let go of thinking they can do it all, which is a control issue.  When this question is asked of a parent, it doesn’t necessarily mean childcare.  Many parents I work with automatically assume their biggest issue to need help is babysitting their child.  I have asked this of parents, and suggested picking up specific groceries or paper goods,  bare necessities for the home, going out to get the mail, finishing the laundry etc.   All the supports that make a home run smoothly are ways to help.

Maybe you already make these offers.  Be aware of how you physically feel when you say this.  Taking a deep breath and look at the person with prolonged eye contact. This  lets the other person know you mean what you say and you say what you mean.

A great idea is asking your child, at their eye level, “I see you are having a hard time, is there anything I can do to help you?”  Watch their reaction.  What do you see? How do you feel when you say this to your child?  You will be kindly surprised that your child will return this sentence to you when you need it most.

I remember I was teaching preschool at a head start. There was a “challenging” child, who would hurt his friends and act out outrageously, dump yogurt on another child’s head, rip books, push the lunch cart into children etc.  Oh I had such a special love for this child’s jacket as I saw him walking out the door at the end of the day;)  One day he pulled the computer monitor on to the floor. The other children all looked at me, and three were brave and came to me and asked, “what can I do to help you?”  I am grateful for the boy who broke the  monitor, just to have the three children show me that what I do as a teacher is helping create better people in this world.

Namaste, and thank you for reading,                                                                                                           Shane

Won’t you please subscribe to my radio show?  Click below and submit your email address. I thank you in advance, have a wonderful day! http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=YourBeautifulChildRadio

HA HA!

No really, proving that even the most obnoxious comment can be learned from.  Let us digress for a moment and think of what a tree does…

  • it grows
  • it provides home and shelter
  • gives shade
  • rooted in the earth
  • provides beauty
  • does not complain
  • open to abuse and negativity
  • can be decorated for holidays
  • it breathes in carbon dioxide
  • gives out oxygen

The more I think of this and write about it, the more obvious it is that WE as human beings are trees.  Just by being alive we are vulnerable, we cannot control anything. We can learn from everything that abuses us, or attempts to break our branches.   We grow, we can be ugly or blossom beautifully, we can be grounded, (not reaching for anything) if we work hard to grow, beautiful things will be attracted to us, and we will be able to provide.

Many parents I work with question “why was I given this child?” in many different ways.  Many other parents I work with are able to see the blessing their children they are.  I have heard “I hate autism,”  “I wish my kid was just normal,” “when will he snap out of it?”  When you plant a negativity seed, it will grow if you feed it, and you will be an ugly wilting tree.  In those moments of weakness when you begin questioning “why this, why that…?” ask yourself which tree you want to invest time in growing.  You should allow yourself all the negative thoughts you want.  By giving yourself rules about negativity will help you avoid becoming insane.

  1. Don’t physically act on it
  2. Allow yourself a set time to feel negative
  3. Find a healthy way to stop (journal, meditation, mantra, be creative)

Trees cannot hide, you cannot hide, trees must stand tall, you must stand tall and be proud, trees do not want to be cut down, you cannot run away from your child.

In the meantime as you continue to work on yourself and keep your branches “growing” and keep yourself learning about yourself, your child is watching you, they are feeling your growth.  You will attract other people who are growing as you are.  The best way to live is to have a community of like-minded people who make conscious decisions and who aren’t afraid to question everything. They will be open to listen with an open heart.

I went to Storm King Art Center this past fall. I saw the most magnificent trees ever.  This is an outdoor museum with colossal  sized sculptures.  I came up with a theory that these were the best trees growing anywhere because of the beautiful art that is surrounded by them.  Surround yourself with beautiful people, beautiful ideas and objects, create the life you can be excited and joyous about.  Your children can only benefit from the beauty you provide for them….

Namaste,                                                                                                                                Shane, founder of Your Beautiful Child

Aloha from NYC,

I’m not exactly sure what the statute of limitations is on using Aloha….but it sounds a lot more exciting then just hello;) Either way, GOOD MORNING! I am excited and a tad overwhelmed that my radio career begins today!  Just returning home from my stay in Hawaii, I have unpacked, organized, welcomed Cooper (my baby dog) back into my life, and things are back to usual…. except,  I was wide awake all night, I stopped looking at the clock at 4am. Ugh.  Today’s radio show set me off into thinking of a million things I need to follow up on, do, and remember, oh and I had to move my car this morning. I am usually a good sleeper so needless to say I’m a bit wound up this am.

As adults, most of us are lucky enough to be able to work these issues out, we can write lists, sleep with blinders, meditate, practice yoga etc.  Most children are not taught how to manage stress. Without realizing many parents keep their managing stress a secret, they want their children to have continuous smooth sailing.  I see children get the raw end of the deal when parents have a day that isn’t working and they are the ones who are forced to feel that negative energy.  Whether your child is verbal or non-verbal speak with them.  It actually hurts me when I am out and about and I hear children being spoken at.  In their little lives they learn by actions.  Ask yourself ,or someone you love (who won’t bite your head off) to think about what positive learning experience is a child l receiving when an adults stressful day ends up in their lap.

If a child knows what is going on the night or morning  before (depending on the child) they can learn so much. Communication, daily expectations, and managing time, are three major lessons.  Keep a notebook or a list on the refrigerator, of a schedule or to do list.  This will help your day tremendously, but also will lay out a plan for your child to understand, whether you think they do or not, it’s good communication process. It may take a long time to begin this process, but like any good habit, it takes a bit to make a regular practice.  I like to make three sections, and keep it simple. I use stars, in order of importance. You should include all daily activities and tasks, even ones while your child is in school. At the end of the day there is nothing better then looking at a crossed off  list, share this with your child! Dance in celebration, sing a “I did it” song!

We all have special needs, luckily we have tools to help us through our tangled days.  A child with special needs is sometimes referred to as “being in their own world,” well who isn’t in their own wold? Try driving down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, the majority of people are in their own worlds.  My overall advise for drivers of Flatbush and parents? SLowwwwwww down….

Love and light to you all,

P.S. I’ll meet you on the radio later!

%d bloggers like this: