A glimpse into a boy’s emotional development

Positive Reframe...

When my son was six years old, I had two teachers suggest that my son was “emotionally immature.” Honestly, these complaints were very hard for me to swallow on many levels, especially since I am passionate about emotional intelligence and helping children to cope with emotions.

I, as respectfully as possible, accepted and validated their comments because of course, he is emotionally immature: he’s six years old. I felt defensive, shocked and angered. I just wanted to rip my son away from these people who I had entrusted to care for him. I even home-educate my son because most affordable school environments, in my opinion, are emotionally neglectful and abusive.

I internally chewed long and hard on their statements. I really had to grieve this situation. I typically blame myself whenever negative situations occur and worried intensely if I had messed up somewhere… I felt guilty for adding stress to the…

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Holiday Triggers and Partnerships

Every major holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas, my body’s impulse is to shut down, disconnect, and cut out all pressure. My Mom slaved to create picture-perfect holidays. Most of it was magical and I am very grateful for all she did. The conflicting part for me was witnessing her killing herself to make it perfect. Sure she tried to get her six kids to help but most of it came in the form of yelling and anger as she was at her wit’s end. I just wanted to avoid her at all costs which of course stressed her out even more. It just didn’t make sense to me why she was doing all this work and seemed miserable doing it. I know now, she was wanting to give what she never had and once she earned that role, she didn’t know how to let go and set boundaries to preserve her well-being. To me, the holidays became a stress trap and really ruined the value of the holiday.

All these conflicting feelings intensified at my family of eight’s last Christmas together. I will never forget it… As usual, my Mom went overboard buying Christmas gifts – shopping was her main coping skill. My Dad slouched on our lazy-boy chair, his hands nervously covering his mouth as he watched the charades. You could feel him groan as my siblings feigned enjoyment opening the overwhelming amount of gifts. My Mom was ecstatic and basking in what she had given. The tension in the room was as big as a pink elephant. My parents separated shortly after this Christmas and there are many deep layers wrapped in this memory.

My body remembers all these layers and so every major holiday, I freeze. No tradition or holiday demand is worth sacrificing my well-being. Sycroniciously, I married a man who loves to cook lavish meals and have big parties. He truly does enjoy the process providing a good time. He has reasonable boundaries and doesn’t go overboard yet I still get triggered. My triggered reaction of shutting down, avoiding extravagance, wanting to do less and make things simpler ends up triggering his own negative reaction related to a whole other dynamic with regards to his upbringing.

Nobody is right or wrong here, it’s just is what it is. We have had to find ways to process our feelings and each other’s reactions as well as discover ways to honor each other’s experiences and needs. We are in our 21st holiday season together and it is definitely getting easier yet we are still learning and growing together.  And there were many seasons we just grinned and beared it. We have two kids who naturally love holidays so we have done our best to create a few simple rituals that represent the true essence of each holiday as well as keep coming up with new ones. This year, we cut down our first real Christmas tree.WP_20171222_21_37_12_Pro

Give of yourself that brings the best out of you and create a holiday that meets your family’s unique needs. Every moment is a gift and you have the power to choose to open each moment with grace, love, and curiosity. How we feel often matters more than how things look. Be (a) present ❤


Go with the flow…

“The simple phrase Go with the flow is actually very significant spiritually. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus declared that life is like a river – you cannot step into it in the same place twice. Existence is always new, yet we are tempted to be bring old reactions to it. When we find ourselves resisting anything – which basically means saying no – we are usually trying to impose an old belief or habit on a new situation.
The law of Least Effort bids us to recognize the newness of life by allowing it to unfold without interference. It tells us to be in the moment, to look for Nature’s help, and stop blaming anyone or anything outside ourselves. In the flow, spirit is already organizing the millions upon millions of details that uphold life – from the infinite processes needed to keep a single cell alive vast intricacies of evolving universe. By connecting the spirit, we ride this cosmic organizing power and take advantage of it.”
From The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success for Parents: Guiding Your Children to Success and Fulfilment by Deepak Chopra

I discovered this book when my second child was about 2 years old. It gives concrete and simple examples of how to talk to your children about profound spiritual lessons. The Seven Spiritual Laws (from child’s point of view) are as follows:

  1. Everything is possible.
  2. If you want something, give it.
  3. When you make a choice, you change the future.
  4. Don’t say no – go with the flow.
  5. Every time you wish or want, you plant a seed.
  6. Enjoy the journey.
  7. You are here for a reason.

These are amazing laws to live by. These principles have been unfolding in my life, especially on my parenting journey. My children are my greatest inspirations for living a life full of love and joy. Chopra’s explorations and insights are consistent with my research and experiences in human development and wellbeing.

“A parent isn’t an authority. You and your child are both souls; you are both embarked on a journey of soul-making…every family is a communion of souls.” ~Deepak Chopra

Click the link for my favorite writing on children…“On Children” by Kahlil Gibran

Disclaimer: Positive Reframe shares resources with the intent of the positive progression of informed decision making related to issues associated with emotional, relational, physical and spiritual wellness. While I share personal and professional perspectives, my writings reflect my personal opinion and not intended to substitute professional advice, diagnosis, and treatment. The online medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and rapport building required for thorough assessment and therapeutic intervention. Thus the content shared on this page is for informational purposes only. To make well-informed decisions that best meet your family’s unique needs, I highly recommend exploring and researching available options, consulting primary health care providers, engaging in respectful dialogue with friends and family as well as seek referrals from a trusted source for professional counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy in the state Illinois, USA.

Who’s the Boss?

Positive Reframe...

Much of recorded civilization operates from the assumption that there needs to be hierarchy, someone at the top, a boss to lead, to have power over. My son will sometimes report that I am the boss of him and he has to do what I say. I reflect back that yes, it does feel like I am telling him what to do a lot. I tell him that I don’t want to boss him around and that I want him to be his own boss.  I do know it is my job to protect and teach him healthy behaviors so when he does things that jeopardizes safety or health, I tend to interject. But upon great reflection and listening to my son, I stopped my re-directions, lectures, scowling, and controlling reactions etc. I began to reflect what I was seeing, identifying feelings, and trusting him to figure it out. It might take longer, things break and get messy, and he will get hurt…

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Loved-based response to loss

Yes, grief and anger are normal and healthy emotions that are valid and need to be processed after such loss. There are positive and proactive ways to process grief and anger that lead to healing, transformation and peace. When you don’t process negative emotions or events, then they will eat you alive, make you explode and react negatively causing more harm in the long run. Negative reactions are fear-based and no matter how valid you are, come from the same vein of the offense you are hurt by. This is a beautiful love-based response… Fear less, love more♥

Click on following link to see a genuine loved-based response to loss:“I won’t give you the gift of hating you” – Antoine Leiris’ powerful tribute to his wife, who died in the Bataclan during the ‪#‎ParisAttacks

Earth Day is every day…

Positive Reframe...

Littering has always been one of my pet-peeves. On a walk back from the beach one day, where we had cleaned up trash, my then 6yr old son raced back home as my 2 yr. old daughter and I lagged behind. My daughter spotted a beer bottle in our path, exclaimed “garbage” and darted to grab it. My mind instantly flooded with worry…what if she cuts herself? the germs? What would people think if they saw her holding a beer bottle!?

Yet, my heart wondered how I could tell her “no”? How confusing the message would be if it was OK to pick up trash at the beach but not here. Was it worth scolding to thwart a genuine gesture? She joyfully picked it before I could finish this internal debate. I thanked her and asked if I could hold it for her. She refused as she was determined…

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Your bill of rights…

You have the right to be you.

You have the right to put yourself first.

You have the right to be safe.

You have the right to love and be loved.

You have the right to be treated with respect.

You have the right to be human – NOT PERFECT.

You have the right to angry and protest if you are treated unfairly or abusively by anyone.

You have the right to you own privacy.

You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and to be taken seriously.

You have the right to earn and control you own money.

You have the right to answer questions about anything that affects you.

You have the right to make decisions that affect you.

You have the right to grow and change (and that includes changing your mind).

You have the right to say NO. You have the right to make mistakes.

You have the right to NOT be responsible for other adults’ problems.

You have the right to not be liked by everyone.



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