Conscious Parenting - Positive Reinforcement for Children suffering from anxiety during a new activity or environment by Nikki Staley Ph.D.
Children often experience anxiety when doing a new activity such as going to school or kindergarten, playgroup or birthday party and if you're wanting to teach your children to be present during a new activity, I have some tips on how you can implement this. In fact, with enough repetition, you can completely remove the anxiety altogether.
You can also apply these techniques, if you are wanting your child to consistently do an activity or behaviour, such as tidy their room, eating their vegetables etc. It's about using praise or rewards to shape your child's behaviour, meaning, focusing on the good things your child is doing that you like and want to see more of. It is also a great tool for communicating to your child the values and actions that you feel are important.
Here are a couple of techniques that you can use at home to shape your child's behaviour:
1. The Magic Bubble
The magic bubble is a way to allow the child to be in the present moment and removes anxiety when going to a new school, kindergarten, playgroup or any new activities. This can be used for a child at any age but most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and primary schoolers.
Sit or bend down to the child's level, or they can sit on your knee. Ask your child to close their eyes. Then ask them to listen to the sounds around them. Notice what sounds they are and ask them to focus on their breath. Feel it as it goes through their nostrils and as it goes out. You can do it with your child so you can not only get a sense of what they are feeling, but remove any anxiety that you are also carrying. Then ask them to imagine a big purple bubble surrounding their whole body, and this magical purple bubble will take away all their worries, fears and anxieties. Allow the bubble to stay with them for 30 seconds. Ask your child how it feels in the bubble - happy? relaxed? safe? and protected? Then let them know this purple bubble will appear whenever they feel scared, nervous or anxious. All they need do is just close their eyes and imagine it around them. Get them to listen to the sounds around them again and then slowly together you can open your eyes.
2. Help from the Fairies
Encourage your child to clean up when they are finished playing by offering praise when it happens. Rewards need to occur as close to the action as possible to have the greatest impact.
As you see them start to pick up the toys let them know that the fairies are also helping (in their minds eye) if they are struggling a bit. The fairies can come at anytime to help them do an activity and they will make it easier and more fun for them. First tell them to close their eyes and imagine the fairies in their minds eye. Then ask the child how many fairies there are. Then when the child opens their eyes they can start to put their toys away. Whilst doing this praise their efforts and when complete you can offer a gold star or a hug for a job well done.
3. Breath Focus and Praise
The breath focus and praise is a way to stop the nagging when you want the child to do an activity such as brushing their teeth, cleaning their room, eating their vegetables or getting ready for school. You don't want to reinforce the struggle because then you are reinforcing struggle itself. You want to start noticing and praise the steps leading up to the activity so that the whole process is easier. For example, alert your child that it is time to brush their teeth, and as she/he starts moving toward the bathroom, praise them for starting the process. Then give them a hug or gold star when they have completed the process. Also it is important to make eye contact when praising them. If you are not present with them during the process, then they will not learn how to be present doing an activity.
Mother's Day is a very special day which is celebrated throughout the world to honour the one that gave us life! It is a chance to say thank you, and that you love and appreciate all that's she has done for you! Did you know that more phone calls are made on Mother's Day than any other day of the year? These holiday chats with mothers worldwide often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.
To celebrate this auspicious day Staley Health are offering a two for the price of one Reiki special. Simply book your Reiki for your Mum (or grandmother) or even someone that has been "like a Mum" to you and you get ONE FREE! You must book before Sunday 14th May, 2017 to take advantage of this amazing offer. To book simply click here or call Nikki on 0400 497 024.
It's also interesting to note that Mother's Day was created in America by Anna Jarvis in 1908, and became an official US holiday in 1914. Anna Jarvis of West Virginia organised "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to assist local women on how to care for their children. Later, these clubs became a unifying force during the time of the Civil War. She also organised "Mother's Friendship Day" which promoted reconciliation between former Union and Confederate soldiers with other mothers.
Staley Health is excited to introduce to you this amazing new retreat which will allow you to strengthen your commitment to conscious living through the Chakras. Learn meditation techniques and how to use your Chakras to improve your health, personal power and expand your spiritual awareness. The seven chakras create an amazing formula for wholeness that integrates mind, body and spirit liberating our souls to manifesting our dreams. Chakras are the wheels that carry us through life. To learn more click here and experience freedom.
The facilitator, Nikki has her Doctorate Degree in Philosophy, specialising in Metaphysical Science, is an accredited Holistic Counsellor, Reiki Master and teacher who was born in Melbourne, Australia. She is a member of the Australian Holistic Healers & Counsellors Association (AHHCA) and the Australian Reiki Connection (ARC). She also has completed her Nationally Accredited Certificate II - First Aid Training and has a Working with Children card. Nikki has appeared on many radio shows and was even offered her own TV Show. She loves sharing her knowledge through her classes and speaking appearances on holistic health and wellbeing.
Reiki is a powerful healing tool that allows the mind, body and soul to rebalance and heal. With such busy lives, it is important to give yourself some space to restore from the constant challenges of living a Western lifestyle. Give yourself or your partner the gift of inner peace and healing this Valentines Day! Book a Reiki before Valentines Day and get one FREE! Two Reiki's for the price of one. Valued at $200.00. To book go to www.staleyhealth.com.
The Power of Reiki never ceases to amaze me. Each time I work with clients using Reiki, I am constantly impressed by the powerful way in which it allows people to heal their physical and emotional states.
Reiki allows you to practise relaxation and inner peace and release any pain or trauma that is held within the physical body. When we are younger, and if we experience any trauma or pain, part of the healing process is to forget, block or repress what happened. All humans do this. There are so many people living their lives in a hypnotic "sleep" state unaware of the pain they are caring around. We need to do this in order to survive the painful experience, but it can be the cause also of much suffering, illness and blocks to creating an abundant and happy life. It is very important that we release and heal and Reiki provides the mind, body and spirit to do this.
Working with Reiki allows me to tap into any pains or traumas stored in the physical body, and help the client to release the pain. People that experience anxiety, depression, tight muscles or any physical illness, can be a symptom of the pain or trauma that is remembered by the physical body. What I can do is assist the client in remembering the trauma (if necessary), that is causing the pain or illness and allow the body to heal and rebalance itself, giving the client a deep sense of peace and wellbeing. This is why sometimes during a Reiki you may experience release through tears, smells, laughing, pain disappearing or receiving visions and a feeling of deep peace then comes over you during the Reiki experience.
When I begin the Reiki I start to receive information regarding the trauma on an intuitive level from the physical body. This allows me to assist the client in the releasing process. Sometimes when a client books in for a Reiki I receive information during the booking and this is the beginning of the healing process for the client. I continue to work with the client using Reiki to allow the body to heal and rebalance itself. This is what it is designed to do but sometimes if we do not give our physical body the care that it needs, you will experience the pain on a physical and psychological level. So many people are simply unaware of pain that is being carried within their body.
A Reiki session typically lasts for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Stress and anxiety are common problems in relationships. In my Couples Counselling Sessions, this is one of the major areas that couples require assistance, as stress can cause breakdowns in communication skills and trigger negative behaviour. If there already problems within the relationship, busy lives can amplify the unresolved and suppressed needs. Very often when couples are stressed they can default into one of four categories. Passive, passive aggressive or aggressive. When all issues have been resolved you are able to be assertive which means communicate calmly and effectively with your partner without underlying fear, resentment or anger. This is a learned behaviour and unless we are lucky enough to have parents that are whole or self actualised, we all have unresolved issues and negative behavioural patterns as soon as we enter into a relationship and have children.
Here are my top 5 ways of reducing stress and anxiety in relationships naturally:
1. Attend to your Physical Health
When our bodies are in optimal health, we have stronger mental capacity to cope with stress, solve problems and control or let go of any worries. Health experts say that just 1/2 hour of brisk walking or exercise a day can add 7 years to your life. Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited cardiac diseases in sports cardiology at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in South London, said for the average person in their 50s and 60s, moderate exercise reduced the risk of dying from a heart attack by half. When you feel good physically you will also relate to your partner in a more positive way.
2. Find out the Cause of Your Stress and Anxiety
When we are anxious or stressed it is usually about something that might happen in the future or you are trying to achieve something in a short amount of time. This causes the mind to go into a stress-state or an anxious state. For example, you maybe trying to get the kids to bed and then get ready to go out with your partner in an unrealistic time frame. Make sure you plan ahead so you can get time to put the kids to bed calmly, have a chat with the babysitter and then be looking fabulous for your date night with your partner or spouse. If you feel yourself becoming stressed or anxious, take time to reflect at the end of the day what caused this feeling and remember to breath and focus on this moment to remove the stress or anxiety.
3. Break Down Your Relationship Worries
Worrying about our relationship and our partners can create a huge amount of fear and anxiety in our minds and eventually, can have a negative affect on our health and wellbeing. Taking time at the end of each day to reflect and discuss any concerns that you have about your relationship with your partner using "I" language will assist in removing any relationship woes. Avoid the need to say "you make me feel" or criticise your partner. This will only trigger negative feelings within your partner. Share your feelings using "I" so your communication is clear and non-blaming. For instance, "I felt very upset when you interrupted me while I was speaking to my father the other day. I felt disrespected". Allow your partner time to respond listening with empathy, mirroring and validating.
4. Reduce Anxiety by Seeing Things in their Proper Context
Anxiety is caused by magnifying and worrying about small things constantly making them more important than they really are. Ask yourself, is that really that important and discuss any issues with your partner in a calm and honest way. Your partner can assist you in putting any worries into their proper context and reduce their intensity.
5. Make A Plan
Your partner is your best friend, your lover and source of love and support. Plan events and daily routines that will assist your life together to be more harmonious. Make a financial plan, social plan and plans around the children's routines and daily chores. That way you can work as a team and see each other as a source of support, love and safety rather than resorting to the unconscious way of relating which is the power struggle. When you are in the power struggle you will argue, leave issues unresolved, blame your partner for your problems, criticise our partner and try to be "better" than them. Love is a decision and when we love our partners, we transcend our self interest and direct our life energy toward the total welfare of our partner.
Staley Health offer a 12 Week Couples Counselling Intensive for any couples in crisis or requiring guidance on mastering their relationship. For more information go to www.staleyhealth.com.
Staley Health is happy to announce that Nikki is now seeing clients on Saturdays at Glo Health. Staley Health provides Holistic Counselling, Reiki and Meditation services for people needing to rebalance and heal any physical or mental imbalances. Staley Health also have an amazing 12 Week Couples Counselling Program that enables couples in crisis to resolve and heal their current relationship issues. If you would like to make a booking there are currently 3 spots left for Saturday 11th June at 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00pm. To book your appointment simply call Nikki on 0400 497 024 or book online. For more information about Staley Health go to www.staleyhealth.com. Discounted rates for existing Melbourne clients are available.
It is often thought that you go to a counsellor so they can "fix" your problems, but this is a common misinterpretation of what a counsellor does. The counsellor is there to help you to become more self aware and to take control of yourself and your life. It is a role that is empowering, challenging and at times, for the client, frustrating, as they experience the process of releasing negative behavioural and mental thought processes. All illness - mental or physical comes from unconscious or negative thought processes. To make changes in your life is hard, and the counsellor can support and enable healthy resolution and outcomes to any challenge the client maybe struggling with. Those challenges can be the treatment of a mental illness, a physical illness, weight loss, relationship healing or enhancement, individual goal setting, dietary changes and many other life challenges that come our way. The counsellor helps you to resolve any ambivalence (mixed feelings) that you may have regarding a behaviour change. This is why many people say they want to lose weight, but never do, or they want a better relationship with their partner, or meet a new better partner, but are never able to make it happen because they are unaware of the unconscious agenda that goes on underneath the surface all of the time. The counsellor brings awareness to the client what those unconscious agendas are that create illness and disorder, and is able to provide a way to enable the client to heal. The counsellors role is to challenge and help resolve any discrepancies with behaviour change and increase self-efficacy in achieving goals.
One of the ways the counsellor can assist the client in achieving this is through a technique called Motivational Interviewing. This video demonstrates this technique. In the video, the client has a danger of developing diabetes. She needs to lose weight, eat healthier and introduce more exercise into her life. The counsellor enables the client to make this behaviour change by developing the discrepancies. You can watch it here.
Counsellors are also not your friends. Their role is to ensure that you receive the self awareness and insights to enable behaviour change. This is why a counsellor cannot work with friends or family as that relationship is supportive and close. The counsellor's role is to empower and increase self awareness to enable behaviour change and healing.
If you are interested in learning more about how counselling can help you, simply call Nikki on 0400 497 024 or go to www.staleyhealth.com. Heal yourself today!
Tonight at 9:23pm AEST there will be a Super New Moon in Aries. New Moon is beginning of a new cycle. Keywords for the new phase are: beginning, birth, emergence, projection, clarity. It is the time in a cycle that you are stimulated to take a new action. During this phase the new cycle is being seeded by your vision, inner and outer. Engage in physical activity. Spend time alone. Visualise your goals for the cycle ahead.
This month the New Moon falls in Aries and is a Super Moon. You may be ready to begin your "new life" or a new time in your life but there are still a few things from the past to let go of. These will come up this week, maybe a death in the family, or someone from the past will show up. These tests are about letting go of the old ideas of the past to allow your new life to truly begin. This week is a time of deep healing possibly around relationships with partners or spouses or if you are single, truths around a person you are currently dating or connecting with a future spouse. Aries is the Ram which is a fire sign, so it maybe a bit premature to act on anything just yet. Trust that the time now is to heal and not to act or force anything. It is time to allow things and events to unfold naturally rather than trying to force things. The Ram loves to push and force, so resist the urge to do so. Just allow yourself time to heal and reflect while still holding the vision of your "new life" in your mind during meditation and reflection. Now is the time to be a leader and not a follower. To realise you are in charge of your life and destiny. You are a pioneer in your own life but this week you will need a little more healing to do before you can take charge of big responsibility. Trying to force things is expressed as aggression or frustration, so if you are experiencing these emotions its time to pull back, meditate, take some time out in nature and reflect and what you have achieved to date. Soon you will be free to express yourself and begin your new life.
Parenting can be one of the most rewarding and challenging ways of learning about ourselves and others. Children learn from a very young age how the world is through the eyes of their parents and caregivers. If you wanted to go deeper into the relationship, we can begin to see our children as guides for ourselves also. I began my own inner journey when my son was only 11 years of age, I started to learn that he was showing me aspects of myself and the importance of the healing work that I needed to complete. There is no greater motivator than your children to be the best version of yourself, for in this way, you are modelling and pathing the way for them - showing them what is possible and the invaluable lesson that our power lies within our own spirit.
So how do we create a conscious relationship with our children? This is probably one of the most challenging but rewarding goals of our human existence. It all begins with a simple realisation that our role as parents is to guide and discipline our children and to prepare them for the world when they leave home. There is a process that involves teaching them about different aspects of life, helping them to socialise, learn self-discipline, be a good role model and a letting go process when they leave the family home. All of these stages of the child's life is experienced by both parent and child but it is important to get the "timing right" for each process and what each stage of the parent/child relationship involves. Becoming aware of these different stages can be tricky, and this is where a counsellor can assist you step into the necessary stage for any given time of the child's life.
There are different styles of parenting that are associated with different patterns of child development (Linver et al., 2002):
Authoritative parents are controlling but warm. They establish clear rules, consistently enforce them and reward children's compliance with warmth and affection. They communicate high expectations, caring and support. This is the most positive childhood outcomes. Children with authoritative parents tend to have high self-esteem, are higher achievers in school and have fewer conduct problems.
Authoritarian parents also exert control but do so within a cold, unresponsive or rejecting relationship. Their children tend to have lower self-esteem, be less popular with peers and perform more poorly in school than children with authoritative parents.
Indulgent parents have warm, caring relationships with their children but do not provide the guidance and discipline that help children learn responsibility and concern for others. Their children tend to be more immature and self-centred.
Neglectful parents don't provide warmth or rules or guidance. Their children are most likely to be insecurely attached, to have low achievement motivation and disturbed peer relationships, and to be impulsive and aggressive. Neglectful parenting is the associated with the most negative developmental outcomes.
These parenting styles are a good guide as to where parents could identify their current parenting style and a great place to start when beginning a conscious parenting relationship. Knowing where you are at and being honest with yourself is the beginning and assists with the improvement and growth of the conscious parenting relationship. You may have some aspects in one of the above categories and some in another, but what is important is knowing where you are at in the relationship. What a lot of people don't realise also is that we are deeply connected to our children, not only on the physical level but mentally and spiritually as well. These "unseen" areas are just as important as our own mental and emotional states and also influence our children's mental and emotional state. Conscious parenting is also understanding the importance of being fully present when talking to your children, when applying discipline and creating a safe environment in the home for the children to be able to express their different emotional states.
Being a parent is having clarity on what our role is and the power that lies within all of us.
Nikki Staley has been assisting parents of all ages to step into the role of "conscious parent" for over 10 years with her numerous skills as a holistic counsellor and meditation teacher. For more information go to www.staleyhealth.com
Nikki is a Metaphysician, Holistic Counsellor, Reiki Master and Teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge on holistic health and wellbeing.