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This One Thing Can Make it All Go BOOM

You may be guilty of this one thing. You are human after all; imperfect sentient beings have messy experiences. Beware, however, when you do this because it changes the game. And if this is your typical perception, everything can blow up in your face (if it hasn’t already.) I’m talking about taking your kid’s behavior personally.

The parent-child relationship is arguably the deepest bond you will have in your lifetime. Your feelings play a significant role in how you parent. So taking note of your internal response to situations is just as important as noticing your external responses.

In fact, understanding your internal responses, like your thoughts and the emotions that automatically surge in certain circumstances, is critical for making positive shifts in your external responses.

The usual dilemma… a mom’s nemesis, is time. As Badass Moms, running our household like a boss takes a lot from us.  We give up so much for any given (seemingly simple) day. But no day is simple and no day goes by without a sacrifice or three from you.

We sacrifice our sleep, our thoughts are hijacked daily over worry and concern for the happiness of others, and let’s be clear, that doesn’t magically stop when our cherubs turn eighteen. We sacrifice me-time, girlfriend time, romantic time… our cups are constantly pouring into our children’s cups, but when do ours get replenished?

Check out this video on the best way to replenish your cup in only 10 minutes per day.

Many years ago with five little ones to care for, this became blatantly obvious when I literally didn’t fill my own cup. There is a four-year gap between my first two and a five-year gap between my last two while the three in the middle are close in age, so I experienced the hectic life of juggling soccer, school, CCD (Sunday school for Catholics) and other extracurricular activities for my oldest with multiple toddlers in tow.

One day my neighbor dropped by for some mundane reason that I now evades my recollection. What I do remember is warning her that I thought I was coming down with a sickness. My head was killing me and my throat was sore. Her visit was the first time I had stopped to take a breather that day. As I grabbed a glass to get us both a drink it dawned on me that this was the first drink I’d had all day. The sun was already going down. It was after 7 o’clock!

The point is, we all hear about the importance of filling our own cups throughout the day and throughout the week, but are you truly aware of how much you are neglecting your own cup?

This takes a toll on the health of your body (like literally not filling your cup with water all day) and our mind and spirit, as in taking time to reflect and process your own thoughts and feelings each day.

I wasn’t coming down with something. I simply had a migraine and a dry throat from dehydration. I almost went an entire day having deprived myself of the most basic and essential need of sustaining life itself, water!

It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of caring for others and not expect anything in return… until your child misbehaves in a way that hits a nerve and you take it personally. Suddenly, you realize there is something you want in return!

Your exhausted mind becomes overrun with thoughts. “How could they misbehave this way? I taught them better. After all I have done for them, the least they can do is behave in a way that represents the family in a positive light. Where did I go wrong?”

When you take their misbehavior personally, you believe their behavior is a reflection of you, which leads to the idea that you now look like a terrible parent. The critic inside your head says their misbehavior is due to your failures or mistakes.

Shouldering the responsibility of your child’s mistakes can lead to resentment deep down. And I know you don’t want to have even the slightest bit of resentment toward your child.

Your perception shifts when you take it personally and you may think their misbehavior is more malicious than a mistake. In no time at all, you have a montage of resentment building experiences and your relationship implodes.

So how do you NOT take it personally? How do you shift to telling yourself their behavior has to do with your child, not you?

Challenge your belief.

Think about what you have taught them. Contemplate all the ways you taught them the proper behavior and recognize that they misbehaved anyway.

Children make mistakes.

They are going through such a rapid stage of growth and learning by trial and error. Recognize that your child makes mistakes for a number of reasons, none of which have to do with your lack of parenting.

Have faith that your child will learn from this experience.

That is why we make mistakes. That is what trial and error is all about. Give them the space of independence and autonomy just like you did when they were learning to tie their shoes. While you stand to the side, think about what lesson you would like them to learn from this mistake in preparation for the next step.

Discuss the lesson with your child afterward.

Talk about the challenge and the values they gained from this experience. Discussions like these not only provide learning experiences for your child, but also, build trust and strengthen your relationship with them.

You love your child more than anything and it shows, that’s why it is so important that you fill your mom cup. Your child’s misbehaviors are inevitable. Remember not to take it personally and instead look at it for what it is: mistakes as opportunities to learn so that your child grows with confidence in their autonomy and problem-solving skills and your relationship continues to flourish. 

Cracking the Vault to your Teen Boy’s Feelings

They say the reason men don’t talk about their feelings as much as women, or even as much as women would like them to, is due to conditioning. But I have to wonder as a single mom of five boys who definitely did NOT condition them to keep their feelings locked away in a vault, if part of the reason might truly be in their DNA.

If you are a mom of boys, you know that getting them to talk about their feelings or even getting their opinion on a personal matter that invokes emotion is like pulling teeth. In fact, I am pretty certain they would prefer to have their teeth pulled most of the time rather than have a conversation involving feelings!

Well, I’m not a quitter. Initially, my lack of ability to let the matter go when I can clearly see that my son is upset about something, and quite probably about something I said or did, really seems to only make much more irritated. This is one of those experiences that is bound to get worse before it gets better.

How tenacious are you?

Don’t get discouraged, Moms! Cracking the vault can be done; you just have to be tenacious enough to endure the 5 stages.

Stage 1: Stoic vault.

You ask why boys are upset. You can tell by their silence, not the usual quietude, the deafening silence, the kind that comes with an air of tension. Whether you are talking to them, and they are unresponsive, or you are quietly in the same room together you will notice their stoic demeanor.

Their stoicism is very much deliberate. This is about how well they express their definitely upset about something. They’re response is going to be simply, “nothing’s wrong.” But you know better!

Stage 2: Stoic to surly.

You state the obvious and point out the signs that something is wrong. As you do so, they become more irritated. Their expression is no longer blank and unphased. Their displeasure with this entire situation propels them into a surly state. They may even mumble dismissive and even rude comments.

You want to understand better. So, you ask again.

Stage 3: Testing combinations.

It’s now a guessing game of hot and cold about why they don’t want to talk. They don’t enjoy this game. No one really does. Yet, explaining that they can put an end to it all by opening up and talking about what is bothering them doesn’t do the trick. We still have two more stages to go.

Keep a watchful eye for clues as they start to react with more overt facial expressions and body language. Address the concerns you think they may have when you notice you are getting warm… a glint in their eye, an ever-so-slight upturn in one corner of their mouth, and they are no longer so focused on leaning as far away as possible.

Stage 4: Commitment.

You show you are committed to understanding why they’re upset because you love them.

They are committed to keeping the vault closed. They show they are still not motivated to talk.

It is so important you don’t give up here. This is the stage just before you crack the code! Your commitment to loving them must be stronger for you to get to stage five.

Stage 5: Cracking open the vault, even if it’s just a crack!

Start telling them what you think is the issue.
If you’re wrong, then explain that you have been left with no choice but to make these assumptions based on what you know since they won’t talk. Remind them that you’re not a mind reader.
It is important to speak plainly about your thought process. It isn’t fair for people to expect others to read their minds.
Women are intuitive, moms know their children, and when we use this skill and special knowledge set to navigate a better understanding of our boys’ feelings, then it takes the responsibility off of them to open up and share. This will inadvertently hurt their future relationships.
Still, there is no guarantee that they’ll talk. BUT you let them know you care. Tell them as much.
There’s a 50/50 chance they will talk. Of that 50% where they don’t, most of the time you guessed correctly. They’re lightened mood and expression confirm as much. To them that constitutes talking about it, lol. For now, it’s a win/win. Talking without talking!
We want to teach our boys that they are responsible for their feelings and for expressing their feelings in a way that is healthy in relationships.
Don’t give up on your sons! Keep trying to get them talking. Eventually, they will come around.

10 Ways to Connect with your Tween

For us moms, letting go can feel like losing a limb one digit at a time. It’s sad. It’s scary. It’s confusing. And not to be the bearer of bad news, but this is just the beginning. As adolescents gain more autonomy they spend more time with their friends out of the house, get their driver’s license, and may even get jobs after school.


This is where your BaMB (Badass Mom Boss) skills come in. Don’t get discouraged and don’t waste any more time. Connect with your tween now while they are still spending most of their time at home, even if it is locked away in their bedrooms for the most part.


Here are 10 fun & natural ways to connect with your tween with quality one to one time.

1. Cooking

Cooking is one of my favorite ways to spend time with the kids. Teaching them life skills is part of parenting, so let’s make it fun!

My son took an interest in cooking shows over the summer and really developed an admiration for Gordon Ramsay. He enjoys experimenting with different herbs and spices and is becoming quite the breakfast aficionado. He is also really great at making pancakes and waffles, with or without chocolate chips, with or without fresh strawberries.

Most of the time when it comes to breakfast or his savory toasted bagel sandwiches, he insists on being the teacher as I must play the role of the attentive and eager to learn student. Dinner is reserved for my instruction.


2. Video games

Yes, that very thing you negotiate limits on and quite possibly the biggest culprit of stealing your tweens time away from you can very well serve as a bonding moment for you and your tween just as much as it bonds them with their friends. This is such a fabulous way to really enter into your tween’s world.

They’re playing games anyway, so pop in and check out what they like. Ask questions with genuine curiosity.  Allow them to explain the objective, the challenges, and why it appeals to them. If you’re feeling really adventurous, ask them to hand over the remote and let them teach you how to play.

If you suffer from migraines like I do, the graphics and the way the screen moves may not take long to trigger the onset. I attempted to play years ago. Now I show my interest by watching for ten or fifteen minutes and asking a bunch of questions along the way. I have been known to over emphasize some of my reactions for a little dramatic affect just to prove how invested I am in his character, wink wink.

3. Reading

Because they are literally feeling the push into adolescence and the pull of their childhood, reading is the perfect way to connect as it appeals to both of those forces. Allow them to choose a YA (young adult) book, or better yet, the first in a full series that may tickle your fancy, too. Start by reading aloud to your tween. Yes, I did say read TO them… aloud. This appeals to their child side while the genre stimulates their maturing mind.

My youngest didn’t care to read in elementary no matter the genre. I read to him hoping to pique his interest, but unless I was the one reading, he didn’t care to pick up a book on his own until recently. And even now I think he skims and reads ahead, but hey, I’ll take it!

In 6th grade we read the School of Fear series and last year in 7th grade we read the Diary of Ann Frank. Now we read Edgar Allen Poe and a collection of scary stories together no matter the season. Just a few weeks ago I tried giving away the School of Fear books since we won’t be reading them anymore, and he exclaimed, “NO!” with an expression to say, how dare you? “That has sentimental value. You can’t give that away!”

4. Walks around the block /hikes in nature

My personal favorite is communing with nature. But even if you live in a big metropolitan area, simply walking the dog or strolling around a few blocks will serve this purpose nicely. With fresh air while you get your hearts pumping, nothing beats this one on one opportunity to learn how to conversate with your tween.

The more frequently you go for walks the more comfortable conversations will flow. Speak their language. Be genuinely curious and practice active listening. Soon enough you’ll notice gaining insight into the nitty gritty of their school life and social life.

The movement and gaze ahead help to alleviate the awkwardness and allows for the ease of more personal topics. Don’t try to force them, at least not at first.

5. Meditating

There are so many different methods of meditation and the benefits are plentiful. You can choose a guided meditation online or choose to be the guide yourself if you feel up to it. Create an immersive experience with candles and incense, music, yoga mats or special pillows on the floor, etc. There are so many variations and styles to choose from. You can choose a new method each week or each month.

If meditation is new to your household, start off slow with mindfulness and breathing techniques for 10 or 15 minutes. Work your way up to meditations for 20 to 25 minutes. Time goes by quickly during meditation, but I wouldn’t go beyond 3o minutes unless your child really gets into it. Then you can meditate as long as your schedule and desire allows.

For some ideas on meditation techniques check out my YouTube channel @TrueYouSolutions. I put up guided meditations every few weeks.

6. Working out- yoga, bike rides, kayaking, Pilates, dancing, swimming, etc

As with all of the suggestions above, working out together creates a household culture emphasizing the health of the mind, body and spirit. Working out doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You may opt to workout at home like I do, with the direction of YouTube videos, apps on your phone and/or your Smart TV, or old school DVD’s.

If you are braver than me, there are usually plenty of gyms and studios depending on your location, that you can look into for group classes. Ask if they have family discounts. Your local YMCA provides great options, too!

Remember not to take yourself too seriously if working out is new to you, and don’t put too much pressure on your tween. This is a bonding moment, free from judgment and scrutiny.

NOTE: be careful with weight training. Your tween still has a lot of growing to do, even if they are creeping up to 6 feet tall, their muscles and bones are not yet fully developed. A calisthenics routine takes the guess work out of how much weight is too much weight. Consult your physician and pediatrician before starting a new workout routine.

7. Yard work & gardening, household chores,  special household projects

A mom’s dream that only she can turn into a reality: help around the house! Raise the expectations for your children and watch them rise to the occasion. There are so many benefits to this, it could easily be its own blog article. Everyday household chores should be divided among family members anyway, but one way to decrease push back if this is new for your household is to do chores with them.

I remember being in awe of TV couples where one would wash the dish and immediately hand it to their significant other ready and waiting with a towel in hand. Ahhhh the dream! I emulated that with my kids, instead.

Back in the northeast, fall yard work was always a family affair, as was cutting and stacking wood. Because my love for nature is so strong, I would elicit the help of one child at a time for assistance with gardening. Now in Florida, this is an all year long affair and I love it!

My son loves washing the car… but only the exterior. So as I sit in my garage and write this, guess what my son is doing?! I took a few breaks from writing to assist with the hose or getting high reach areas on the windshield and roof, and helped buff it dry.

And there is not a special household project where I don’t elicit the help of one of my children. My tween and I declutter and organize his closet every other month. I swear I don’t know how it gets so messy, but history has shown me with the rate of growth during these tween years, sorting through his wardrobe needs to be done most often over during this stage of their development. I highly encourage you to do these special projects with your tween, instead of taking it on yourself.

8. Dates

Date night or afternoons should not be overlooked. The options depend on what’s available in your area, but minigolf and bowling are a couple of classics. If your funds are limited like mine were as a single mom of five, you can keep it simple with iced tea refreshers from your favorite coffee shop.

Just as you would with any date, scheduling it on the household calendar and stick to it. Just have fun!

9. Errands

I have found that grabbing one of my kids at a time to go run errands proves to be an easy way to connect with your tween. You can use this time to start teaching them best practices for driving in preparation for the years to come. Giving them the perspective of a driver helps them to be safer pedestrians and bicyclists on the road.

Keep your tween engaged with the tasks at hand. The responsibility of checking the list always goes to my son. Shopping with your tween also serves as a fantastic way to teach them about financial responsibility and budgeting. Ask them to keep a tally of the bill as you throw items in your cart and to warn you when you are creeping up toward your limit.

10. Volunteering

The volunteer options again depend on your locale, but this doesn’t have to be reserved strictly for the holidays. Check with your local organizations and your church to find out the opportunities near you. Commit to once per month. Your acts of service give you common ground with your tween and provide conversational topics and teaching moments for you both!

Healing Your Child from Parental Abuse

I enjoy researching quotes to sum up great ideas. I found this one in my Bing search on the Fearless Soul website, but the way it personally hit me completely threw me off guard.

As you may know, and for those of you who don’t, I am a single mom of five boys. I was married to a bully who favors coercive control. Healthline’s article on How to Recognize Coercive Control describes twelve signs of this form of domestic abuse to look out for, nine of which my ex-husband keenly displayed. For awareness purposes, please read through the list below so you can learn to recognize the signs of coercive control for yourself or someone you know and/or love.

  1. Isolating you from your support system
  2. Monitoring your activity throughout the day
  3. Denying your freedom and autonomy
  4. Gaslighting
  5. Name-calling and putting you down
  6. Limiting your access to money
  7. Reinforcing traditional gender roles
  8. Turning your kids against you
  9. Controlling aspects of your health and body
  10. Making jealous accusations
  11. Regulating your sexual relationship
  12. Threatening your children or pets

Unfortunately, this type of abuse, in and of itself, is not considered illegal in the United States. Because of this upsetting fact, I truly felt my only option for the sake of our well-being was to uproot my children and relocate 1500 miles away from everything we knew and loved. With formidable determination, colossal sacrifices and no doubt, divine intervention, I was successful in that endeavor.

But the story doesn’t end there. Our struggles were far from over. While the immediate threat may have been subdued, the damage to my children’s (and mine) mental and emotional health had already formed scars unseen to the outside world; scars that would inevitably affect how we perceive the world and operate accordingly.

My quest at the time was to do my best in raising healthy, happy, kind young men while we still clung to our existence in survival mode. Poverty-level living in foreign territory left us with a bit of culture shock and only exacerbated the challenges we faced over the following years.

I love my children more than life itself. I wanted nothing more than to fill their buckets of self-esteem so high that they might be resilient to the unpleasant circumstances we had faced. While under the influence of their father’s mental mind games and over the emotional roller coasters we were forced to ride, I was adamant about reassuring my boys that their father’s hurtful words and actions were neither an exhibition of love nor a demonstration of appropriate discipline. There wasn’t much more I could do outside of that other than set myself up to be able to leave and leave for good.


Their pediatrician once told me, “The same sex parent is most influential.” And man, did the realization of this truth hit me hard. All of my children were boys. All of them!


I had given up so much. I had done everything short of laying down my life, and yet, no matter how fervently I prayed, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I sacrificed, there was nothing I could do to undo the damage that was already done.

The fact of the matter is, there is no amount of love you can give to another human being to take away pain already inflicted upon them.

Doesn’t that literally go against the job description of motherhood? To kiss the booboos away. To hug our children and make everything all better. What a world-class mission impossible role! And this awareness, as I witnessed it firsthand, crushed my soul.

Here I am, a decade later. We have come so far, my boys and me. And yet, I unsuspectingly came across this parenting quote online and it felt like the dagger that I didn’t realize was still piercing my gut was being twisted all over again reminding me of its presence.


“Parents need to fill a child’s self-esteem bucket so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry.” ~ Dr Alvin Price


At this point, you may be wondering who Alvin Price is. I sure was. By furthering my online search, I learned that he is the author of the book, Discipline 101 Alternatives to Nagging, Spanking and Yelling. If you can’t tell by the main title that the book is a little dated (or if the child on the cover didn’t give it away with his early 80’s haircut and attire), the subtitle sure will, Ways to STOP HURTING Your Kids and START HELPING Them! Those caps do not reflect emphasis from me. This is how the title of the book is written.

Ouch! Let’s take a minute to regroup. Breathe with me: one- two- deep- four- hold! And release- two- three- four…

After reading the reviews on Goodreads, readers found that the book offers good advice on effective parenting techniques. If you care—or dare to give it a read, Dr Price along with co-author, Jay A. Parry, offer methods based on love. They could’ve just used some sensitivity training when deciding on the title.

With this said, the way his quote hit me seems to make a little more sense.

I absolutely agree with the philosophy that parents should use so much love in their language that it figuratively overflows their children’s self-esteem buckets. But just as it is important for parents to set realistic expectations for their children, they also need to set realistic expectations for themselves and their ability to shield their children from mental and emotional hurt inflicted from others. It is impossible to fill up their buckets to the point of rendering them invincible in that regard.

And for all of you moms faced with the heartbreaking and daunting challenges of picking up the pieces of your child’s suffering due to any sort of abuse or neglect from their other parent, I feel your plight.

Give yourself grace. Accept that you are not the almighty powerful. Your power lies in supporting your children on their healing journey. Having faith in their individual power and ability to heal themselves empowers them.

The law may not be on your side, but God is, and so am I and the countless other moms in the same boat. So, believe that You Are Enough and hug them through all their sadness. Kiss all their emotional and mental booboos. Be mindful in choosing your own loving words so that you can do all you can to promote a mindset of ‘being enough’ within them, too.


Do you half-ass your empowerment?

When it comes to empowerment, self-awareness, and self-improvement you can’t half-ass it. You must make a commitment to yourself. You can see a post, watch a video, and even read an entire book but if you don’t take action and be all in with it, then you will not get the results you want. And unless you go all in with your action on a consistent basis, then any results you attain will be fleeting. Self-improvement is a lifestyle. It’s a personal culture of continuous improvement for yourself, your children, and everyone in your circle.

Think about it this way, have you ever gotten a gym membership and went all in for the first few weeks, maybe even the first few months and just when you started to notice the results your fervor began to wane. You allowed life to get in the way, illness, an intense work project, kids sports seasons… and your excitement slowly deflated. The next thing you know it’s the holidays, and you’re more out of shape than when you started. With the new year around the corner, you decide to enjoy the holidays for all they’re worth and resolve to start anew come January. Year after year, the cycle continues.

But we aren’t talking about new year resolutions. We aren’t talking about gym memberships. We are talking about gaining a truly contented life. We are talking about your self-worth. There is no room for the ebb and flow of a healthy level of self-worth. This is your life, and you only get one.

Your children are watching you NOW. Remember when they were infants and toddlers and people at the grocery store or at some other public outing would say, “Oh enjoy it now because it all goes by so quick.” That was just yesterday! Right? Or at least it feels like it. Time stops for no one. Life is fleeting. You deserve the best, not just in ten years from now, today!

I encourage each and every one of you to go all in today. Right now. As soon as you are done reading this message, take immediate action. Your peace depends on it. Your children are depending on it. I know circumstances may not be favorable right now. You know what that means? That means, this is the BEST time to take action. First of all, you need it the most right now. Secondly, if you can take necessary action now, in the midst of all the negativity, despite the resistance you may get externally, then you can do it ANYTIME. There is no stopping you moving forward.

I know what it’s like to hold back or at least hide steps toward personal growth. I was afraid I would be ridiculed for it. My past had shown me that was a fair expectation of those around me. The fear of ridicule can be pretty persuasive in half-assing steps toward personal growth.

What if someone sees me meditating? What if someone hears me chanting? What if???

Answer your own worrisome question. What if someone sees you or hears you and then ridicules you? I bet you know the answer. Then they aren’t meant to be in your life, at least not in your immediate circle.

What if someone hears you speaking your positive affirmations aloud, and they ask what you are doing? There is the possibility that they are truly curious. Answer honestly. Prepare your answer in advance to avoid feeling put on the spot or caught off guard in the middle of your action steps.

What if your children overhear you or see you? Well, what better way to introduce them to self-healing and self-care techniques? Even if they are teenagers now, you show them that it’s never too late to start a journey of self-improvement. Leaders lead by example. Don’t hide. Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t allow others to have so much power over you that you stunt your own progress. Notice what I said there? YOU stunt your own progress, not anyone on the outside… you. It is your choice to allow others to interfere with your progress, or not.

I encourage you to take a yoga mat to work and meditate for a few minutes on your lunch break or after a stressful phone call or email. Do it daily for a week to get over the fear of being interrupted. Do it daily for a month so it becomes a habit. Notice the effects as you go through your day, your week, your life.

Daily affirmations are so much more than words of encouragement for a fleeting moment. Daily affirmations are ACTION STEPS. Here’s how to go all in on your daily affirmations.

Start with a breathing exercise to connect with yourself on a deeper level. 

  • Sit comfortably on a chair with your feet flat on the floor or in a meditation position.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Plug your ears by gently pressing your tragus (the cartilage) over the opening of your ear canals with your fingers.
  • Breathe deeply and completely.
  • Hum a single tone on the exhale noticing your sound and your vibration.
  • Repeat for a total of 10 breaths.

Now you are ready to incorporate your daily affirmations.

  • Remain in a seated position with your ears plugged.
  • Breathe in deeply and completely and this time on the exhale say your affirmation. Hear yourself speak the words just as you heard the humming sound you made. Hear the words resonate within you the same as the vibration of the humming.
  • Repeat your affirmation a minimum of five times.

Now stand in your personal power.

  • Look at yourself in the mirror and speak your affirmation again to your reflection connecting with the sound of your voice and the vibration you feel as the words resonate deep within you.
  • Repeat at least five times saying your affirmation to your reflection.


Bedtime Routines: Who’s sleeping in my bed?

Snuggling up with my first born was the most peaceful thing I had ever experienced going into my early adulthood. The energy of pure innocence had a special way of permeating my soul. Time stood still. Nothing else mattered.

I was a young and single first-time mother and though bonding with my baby was easy for me, working full time for low wages and providing for both of us surely was not. There was nothing in the world more important to me than being a good mom. Most aspects of motherhood came naturally for me. I was so full of love, I didn’t question my intuition. With my baby as the center of my life and at the heart of all of my decisions, I didn’t have to question myself like I customarily did with every other aspect in my life. That is, until a couple of years later when my son was still sleeping in my bed with me and I started reading and hearing the buzz about how “bad” that was. Since I wanted nothing more than to be a really good mom, I read more on how to make the transition of getting my son into his own ‘big boy’ bed.

With full enthusiasm, our preparation started the process off great. I went out and bought him a very cool bright-red bunk bed with brand new mattresses so his cousins could spend the night, too. We adorned his new bed with eye-popping Dalmatian sheets, matching comforter set and snuggly stuffed animals. The ambience was topped off with the comfort of a dim glow from a nighttime lamp over by the window. He loved his new bed and we hyped it up for the first night on his own.

But alas, the hype didn’t last. Within minutes my son snuck out of his bed and toddled over to mine in the next room. I quietly got up and gently brought him back to his bed. A few minutes later I heard the pitter patter of little feet approaching my room again and again I walked him silently back to his bed, this time shutting the door. That was basically the end of peaceful nights in our little apartment. My son cried and wailed while I sat on the other side of the door praying he would go to sleep. But he was as tenacious as his mama and didn’t relent. Every ten minutes I opened the door and soothed him in his bed, then left the room shutting the door behind me. No sooner than hearing the click of the door latch did he start crying again for the duration of the next ten minutes I was out of sight. By then he was getting up from his bed and trying to open the door, but the childproof handles preventing his success and he sat at the door crying for me. I stayed the course following the books, head under my pillow fighting back my own tears. This persisted… all…. night… long. And every night for the next two weeks. It was torturous. I was a walking zombie astonished at his persistence and amazed with the fervor each night just as strong as the night before. He got to nap during the day while I worked, little bugger! I finally put an end to it.

I bet you’re expecting me to tell you that I magically figured out the secret to getting my son to acquiesce and that we slept happily ever after each night in our own beds from that night forward, but the truth of the matter is, it hurt me just as much as it hurt him. Why was I torturing us both just because some guy in some book somewhere, well, okay some doctors in many books out there were saying this was the healthy thing to do. It certainly didn’t feel healthy. Contrarily, it felt quite the opposite of healthy. To be honest, it’s probably some underlying trauma stuck in my son’s nervous system today 25 years later that we are all unaware of. (Dagger to my heart.)

No, I didn’t figure out the magic secret to getting him to sleep in his own bed after two years of sleeping in mine. I figured out my own secret, who gives a shit if he wants to sleep in my bed? I preferred him in my bed, too! I felt I could protect him better. I slept more soundly knowing exactly where he was, right next to me, and I knew exactly when he woke up. That’s what worked for us. A couple of years later, we naturally and gradually made the transition on our own time for him to start sleeping in his own bed. No fights. No fuss.

I had four more babies after meeting my now ex-husband. And I followed my heart again. My babies slept in my bed with me for the first year or two or more until we naturally decided we wanted to sleep separately. At times I had one baby in the bassinette next to me and one in the crib in the same room with us.

As they got older, we learned the importance of bedtime routines. We lived a fairly structured lifestyle as it was, with so many of us, it would have been complete chaos otherwise. When my oldest started school, bedtime routines were an integral part of our day usually starting at least an hour before their actual bedtime and consisted of wind down activities like showers and baths, preparing backpacks and clothes for the next day, reading and saying our prayers.

Personally, meditating didn’t become integrated in our daily habits until much later when I was going through the divorce. I can say with certainty, we would not have been so resilient and able to adapt and adjust the way we did through the following few years without this practice. The uncertainty, insecurities, the worry and anxiety we all felt was drastically alleviated through the regular practice of meditation. That is why I am such a huge promoter of meditation for kids today for everyday life.

Incorporating regular mindfulness and meditation practices into your kid’s bedtime routines serves as a wonderful way to wind down at the end of the day and prepare for a good night sleep while offering the opportunity for you to reflect on your day and connect.

I hope you enjoy the bedtime meditation link below, but before you do, please read more about the benefits of bedtime routines in general. The following is a compilation of information from multiple resources. And when you are done reading, I look forward to becoming part of your nighttime wind down whenever you need a little extra help preparing for bed.

Routines are incredibly beneficial for elementary-aged children. They provide structure, promote healthy habits, and contribute to overall well-being. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Consistency and Structure: Bedtime routines establish a consistent schedule, which helps children feel secure and understand what to expect each night. This structure can reduce anxiety and promote a sense of stability.
  2. Improved Sleep: Following a bedtime routine signals to the body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Consistently practicing a routine can help children fall asleep faster, experience better quality sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
  3. Relaxation and Calmness: A bedtime routine typically involves activities that promote relaxation, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing deep breathing exercises. These activities help children unwind from the day’s activities and create a peaceful atmosphere for sleep.
  4. Enhanced Cognitive Functioning: A good night’s sleep is crucial for optimal cognitive functioning. By establishing a bedtime routine, children are more likely to get the recommended amount of sleep, which can improve attention span, memory, and overall cognitive performance.
  5. Emotional Well-being: Bedtime routines provide an opportunity for connection and bonding between parents and children. Engaging in activities like talking about the day, sharing stories, or expressing gratitude can foster a positive emotional connection and a sense of security.
  6. Healthy Habits: Bedtime routines often include habits like brushing teeth, washing up, and choosing comfortable sleepwear. By consistently practicing these habits, children develop good hygiene practices and learn the importance of self-care.
  7. Independence and Responsibility: Following a bedtime routine empowers children to take ownership of their own bedtime rituals. It teaches them responsibility and self-discipline, as they learn to complete tasks independently and prepare themselves for sleep.

Remember, every child is unique, so it’s important to tailor the bedtime routine to their individual needs and preferences. By establishing a consistent and enjoyable routine, you can help your elementary-aged child develop healthy sleep habits and set them up for success in various aspects of their life.

What to do when your kids are smoking weed

A parent’s worst nightmare is finding out their teen is engaging in dangerous activities. Unfortunately, this comes with the territory of raising adolescents. The teenage brain is wired differently. Neurochemicals are literally changing the biochemistry of the brain during this stage, which will continue as they develop into an adulthood. Teenager’s brains are undergoing a transformation from naiveté and blind trust to more independent thought processes. They are going to question things they never dreamed of before. All of a sudden, the most important spoken words are those from the mouths of their peers. And it is during this stage that inhibitions are naturally low. The process of fine-tuning brain connections is developed through experience and risk-taking behaviors that run along a spectrum. What you may find risky behavior in the stage of life you are in today will likely not seem so to a teenager. However, there are some behaviors that are not debatable, such as drug use and abuse.

Take a moment to remember your teenage years and the experiences you underwent. Think back to some of the things you did that very few people know about. Are there things you did that you have never told anyone before? Experimenting and testing the waters is a normal process for brain maturity. You live and learn, and your children will, too, but that doesn’t mean you sit back and watch your kids make mistakes with no guidance. That doesn’t mean that you sit idly knowing your kids are partaking in a dangerous activity and that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye while your kids are smoking weed. Some may argue,” it’s practically legal,” but in reality, it still is not!

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What Do You Do?

First, your best offensive stance has already been established through the positive discipline techniques that you have been raising them with to date. By using these techniques, you have already established a systematic household with clear expectations built with love, mutual respect, and firmness so you have a strong foundation in your relationship with your teen. But if you are new to using positive discipline or the True You Solutions relationship-building techniques, don’t worry. It’s not too late. You can start with your approach to your teen smoking marijuana. It’s never too late.

The most important step in your approach is to take a cooling-off period. As a mom who has been there, I looked like I was walking in circles the first time I found paraphernalia in my teen’s room. I was instantly struck with fear of what I thought I had found, pieces of a disassembled THC pen. Immediately after, I damn near convinced myself it wasn’t what I suspected. I paced back and forth on my way to confront my teen and then back to my room to think it over some more. Finally, I sought out answers beginning with Googling images using keywords written on the box I found in the trash. My nightmare then became a reality.

I needed to get out from under the ginormous wave of my own emotional stuff. Guilt. Shame. What did I do wrong that my teen would use drugs? What kind of parent coach am I that my teen is experimenting with drugs? Fear. What if he lies and betrays my trust in him? What if he plays on my ignorance and denies any wrongdoing? What if he doesn’t stop immediately? What if he doesn’t do as I say? Breathe. Parents need to remember we can only control ourselves and our response to the things around us.

Maintain Strong Relationship with your Teen

Set your intention and make it clear. My ultimate goal is to maintain a strong loving relationship with my teen based on mutual respect. My immediate goal is to be a positive guiding source for my teen who is making dangerous decisions. How do I go about that?

Trust is crucial for all relationships. To combat the fear that my son would lie to me and or deny it, thereby betraying my trust, was extremely important to me. I didn’t want to take giant leaps backward in our relationship because of a lie, so I wanted to minimize the opportunity. You may choose to omit the opportunity all together by not asking your teen about his/ her drug use, but instead, by telling them you already know about their behavior so there is no use in lying. I chose to give my child the opportunity to come clean on his own accord thereby strengthening trust in our relationship. I prefaced our conversation with a reminder of the importance of honesty.

Once I was able to approach my teen with calmness and genuine curiosity impressing upon him our family values first, we were clear to have an open discussion. Without demanding my son throw away the paraphernalia, I simply held my hand out. He placed the items in my hand, and I took them with me once our discussion was over.

Key Point of Conversation When Kids Are Smoking Weed

  1. Ask them questions with genuine curiosity and listen to what they have to say.
    • Why did they decide to partake in this behavior?
    • Where did the ideas come from? (People, places, etc.)
    • What did they think of the experience(s)? Don’t be afraid to ask this question. It will give you important and honest insight into your teen. Remember to remain calm.
  2. Make your stance on drug use perfectly clear.
  3. Explain your concerns. This could include the effect on siblings and the effect on your relationship. Ask what your teen thinks and feels about this aspect of his or her behavior. This helps to validate your teen’s significance as a member of your family and fulfills your teen’s sense of belonging. Right now, during adolescence, their need to belong to a peer group is especially high on their priority list. Let them know they will always belong in your family.
  4. Discuss the factual ramifications of drug use: the social, legal, and health consequences.
  5. Conclude your discussion with reminders of your love and admiration for your teen. Let them know you have confidence that they will strive to make good decisions. And make sure your stance on drug use is clear. You can ask your teen more curiosity questions to get a sure understanding of where they stand after your conversation.

If you sense that the discussion is not having the strong impact you hoped it would, ask your teen what some of the challenges may be that he or she anticipates. Work through ideas together on overcoming those challenges. Let your teen know you are there not only to guide but to support him/ her on their journey through a happy and healthy lifestyle.