black women, parenting, self care

Know Nik November: God Is Laughing At Me!

That’s how the saying goes, you make plans and God laughs! I can honestly say I get this and I’ve started laughing with Him. We all do it, we picture our lives when we are kids. I’m going to get married, have this many kids (I wanted 5 girls), a huge brick house, I was going to be a doctor, and my husband, well honestly never really imagined that part which explains a lot. As I got older I modified the plan to fit me at that time, until one day after three kids, a divorce, dropping out of medical school, and re-starting my writing career multiple times, I laugh often.

There are times when I think I have completely lost it because I should be crying. Moments where I face myself and I don’t know what to do, when I’m backed in a corner, when I’m the person soley responsible for making decisions that can change someone else’s future, a very scary thought. In the past when I would have cried, I just look to the heavens and say “Let’s just go ahead and do this Your way!” I’m learning that I am a hard headed child who tends to lean towards taking the hard road. Let’s just say I understand the “Prodigal Son.” I have strayed from the path I know I should take many times and every time I’ve been welcomed back with open arms and a thump on my head. I can’t help but laugh at myself, how many times have I told my kids to do something the way mom told you the first time, yet I myself don’t listen.

This journey has not always been easy, I’ve had moments where I thought life would swallow me alive. When I look back over those moments I smile and have a little chuckle, knowing it’s nothing but grace that has gotten me through. What moments have taken place in your life that you know it was nothing but grace that kept you? Are you able to laugh at yourself?

parenting

Planting the Seed of Love!

img_3651Transparent moment: I am totally freaking out! Anissa has been showing signs of no longer being my cuddle buddy, those Eskimo kisses have decreased, and when I say give me some suga she’s started to give me this look. We’ve reached that space when your baby starts to transform into some little independent kid that only wants to be bothered with you on occasion. I knew this day was coming, it started when she lost two teeth at once and her face began to change. No longer that chubby little baby face it now has some definition where there was once just big jaws. I began to embrace and start to cope with the fact that the last of the tribe was growing up. SIGH!

I know I’m not alone in this, I know there are other parents out there who notice when this begins to happen and I wonder how they feel. I think this time around it’s taking a greater toll on me as Anissa is the final chapter for me when it comes to giving birth to another child (don’t try to convince me otherwise). As I sit here and write this I’m a little teary eyed and then it happens… Anissa enters the room and gives me a kiss good night and once again I know what they baby love feels like. SMILE!

What I don’t realize a lot of the time is that I’ve planted a seed of love with each of my children. Although they will grow up and move away they always manage to show me an immense amount of love. While I love those snuggles, and Eskimo kisses as they grow up our love for each other has evolved into amazing awesome relationships where we can talk to each other about anything. Symone (21) checks in at home on a slightly regular basis, but never forgets to tell me she loves me, she always says it first, Jamiel (15) randomly walks up to me grabs me by my head (he’s officially taller than me now) to kiss my forehead, and Anissa (6) we’re still working out her thing, but until we do I appreciate the practice of the random hugs, the bringing of random snacks to me before bed, and how she grabs for my hand whenever we enter a room together (she’s my protection). Parents despite the disagreements, changing attitudes, and the growth of independence if you have genuinely shown your kids what it to love each other as a family you will never lose that feeling of the first time you two meant and fell in love.

So here we go hotties embracing this new love once again. I’m going to enjoy every moment of all parts of all three lives. I’ll continue to love on each of them and allow their love for me to grow as well.

How do you and your family show love? Are you in the midst of a love changing situation with your children? Start the discussion and get some suga while you’re at it!

To hear more tune into episode 4 of The Parental Guidance podcast Planting Seeds of Love.

parenting

Getting Kids To Set Goals!

helping kids set goalsLet’s face it, it’s hard to get our children to clean their rooms, eat their vegetables, and sometimes brush their teeth or shower (ewwww). With trying to get them to do the basic things, how on the Earth are you going to talk to them about setting goals. We live in a microwave society where everything is supposed to happen instantly and if it doesn’t it’s not worth it. Kids are supposed to achieve things right away or why even do it. Parental figures we are going to have to unplug the microwave and go back to the basics of waiting for things to heat up in the oven…

We have done the work to implant in our children that they can do whatever they put their minds to. Dream the impossible dream and then make it possible. What a wonderful thought of just being able to dream something and it happens for you. That’s cool if you have a magic wand but if you don’t, like most of us you will need to set goals and make a plan to achieve them. In my previous post and podcast episode I gave you some tools as to what adults can do to help position themselves to win. Now it’s time to help our children take on that same winning attitude. How do we do that? See below:

  1. Why is it important for children to set goals? If we plant the seed within our children that they can accomplish what they set out to do, how do they know how to get there? We have to take the time and have discussions with them about what they want to do and how they plan to do it. Now some goals will be huge and take time and others will be small, but no matter the end game we have to help them create the steps to help them achieve their goal. This starts by determining what the goal is and then setting up a process for them to achieve said goal.
  2. Every child has something they dream of doing. Some are realistic others not so much. Conversation is vital to the next step. Talk with your children about what they really want to accomplish and why they want to accomplish this. The may say I want to save $500, why do you want to save $500, how will you save $500??? Getting to the root of why they want to do something can help you gain clarity on the person you are raising and help you set them on the path to winning.
  3. Get Real! Now if your child wants to be a stylist to unicorns, that’s great, but is it a realistic goal?! Allow your child to be creative while setting a realistic goal that they can actually accomplish.
  4. Take time out! Ultimately it’s their goal to accomplish so allow them to be the lead on accomplishing it. Check in with them, ask how it’s going, offer your opinion IF ASKED! The whole purpose of them setting a goal for themselves is for them to navigate this process and figure things out. You can observe, be a listening ear but allow them to drive this ship.
  5. Hold them accountable! No matter how big or small once the goal is set then it needs to be accomplished. While you may not be in the driver’s seat of accomplishing the goal, back seat drive at some point and don’t allow your child to give up. Even if the goal has to be modified, instill in your children that once something is started they need to see it through.
  6. Celebrate! No matter how many times they have to start over or make changes to the goal, CELEBRATE the accomplishment. This will set the tone for a lifetime of getting things done and feeling good about the results.

I can’t tell you if my children will be doctors , lawyers, hair stylist, or karate instructors someday, but what I can tell you is that they will have the tools they need to accomplish the goals they set for themselves. What are you doing to help your children excel?


If you’d like to learn more about helping children set goals, tune into Episode 2 of The Parental Guidance Counselor podcast! Don’t forget to subscribe!

parenting

The Tantramatic Kindergartner- Tantrums After the Toddler Years

cry anissa 2
If you recall awhile back I wrote a piece The Tantramatic Toddler I talked about how to deal with temper tantrums with your toddler. We all think that once our children pass the toddler phase their temper tantrums will end. THAT IS A LIE! I know from experience the tantrums never end, life happens and sometimes we as adults throw temper tantrums. We, hopefully have learned to deal with them better than our younger days. But what do you as a parent do when your out and about and your older child has a temper tantrum, I’m talking 5-8 years old. It’s embarrassing, it makes you anxious, it questions your authority as a parent because we all know you are getting those looks, the look of disgust from someone who will not sympathize with what you are going through. Yes, parents, children over 4 throw temper tantrums and hopefully in the next few paragraphs I will help you learn how to deal with them.

Let me set the scene for you…We are in Target I know exactly what I need to get and then I need to get out. Of course Anissa wants me to make a quick stop by the toy section, which really isn’t an issue, I explain that we are just looking (my mistake) we are not purchasing. I set the timer on my phone for seven minutes so that we can look and not purchase. The timer goes off and I prepare to get in line, I move but the little hand I am holding has stiffen and is not moving with me, I look down and I see the sad face. I bend over so that she and I are eye to eye and I say it’s time to go, I get back up and move, yet again no movement from my little friend. I look down and she is holding her ground. In my stern mom voice I say let’s go. That’s when it happens, the tears, the negotiating, the loudness. It starts off slow and as I try to remain calm, but as I refuse to agree with her demands it gets louder and louder and now I cam see people beginning to stare. What should I do, how should I handle this?! Should I cave and just buy the toy, should I threaten her, should I get loud??? The should list can go on and on. So let’s start the conversation how should I handle the Tantrumatic Kindergartener?

  1. Recognize that trying to calm her down when she is upset may not work. Think about when you are upset, someone telling you to calm down is the last thing you want to hear. So what should I do? I get back down to her level so she can see my eyes and I can see hers, I then ask her to explain her feelings to me. If she’s in huffing mode and can’t calm down, I gently rub her back and attempt to soothe her until she can talk. If she can talk right away I listen to what her issues is. We discuss, she will either remain calm or remain upset, but the thing is I HEARD HER! Will she be upset maybe but I’ve done my part, in helping her to hopefully deal with her emotions and feel like her voice matters.
  2. RESET! I’m almost positive your child’s school has a method they use to correct behavior. Anissa’s school uses the reset method. The behavior is given minimal attention, the student is asked if they need a reset. A Reset is the opportunity for them to change their behavior themselves. They are in control of their emotions and they can choose to reset them to help have a better outcome. Find out what your child’s school/teacher does and try that out. If it works for them at school why not practice it at home. A Reset can last from 30-60 seconds and can be implemented as many times as needed.
  3. BREATHE! This is more for you than the child. Nobody wants to be considered a bad parent, but the first thing you think of when a child throws a temper tantrum is that you’re going to be questioned and deemed a bad parent. We’re all “bad” parents. As I’ve told you before, none of us left the hospital with a manual on how to raise children. Just like we are learning so are they. It’s important that despite wanting to scream yourself you remain calm. You getting upset and displaying those emotions will only heighten a situation you are trying to de-escalate. Children cry! They cry when they are upset and frustrated, and don’t feel like they are being heard. So let them cry! Now I’m not saying continue shopping while they ball their eyes out. If you can make your purchase then by all means make the purchase, but if not save your sanity and make your exit. It’s okay do not feel any shamed.

While we would love to control our environments and all the behaviors in our environment we can’t. Somethings are out of our control, feelings tend to be one of those things, how you deal with those things and how you teach your children to deal with those things are up to you. Your children are a product of what you pour into them. You are the example so be the best example you can be. Don’t be afraid to show your child your emotions and how to deal with them in a healthy way. We truly do our children a dis-service when we pretend we don’t get upset, or mad, or hurt. The way they learn to deal with their emotions is by watching us.

How do you deal with temper tantrums? Do you have any suggestions that may help another parent, drop them in the comments.

cry anissa
This is the saddest little face ever!

parenting

Who Is Tarsha McMillian?

IMG-0696If you have been following my social media then you know that last week was epic for me! If you don’t know anything about me I am sure you know this one thing…I LOVE ANTHONY HAMILTON! My family has put up with my borderline obnoxious behavior regarding this man for a long time, so it was no surprise when my cousin found out he would be in town and said I should go. So, I went. I enter a room full of people who all seem to know each other and they are talking about the real reason they are there. They are there because Tarsha McMillian is releasing her single. I am there to meet Anthony Hamilton. The room darkens and we take our seats, by this time I’ve spotted Mr. Hamilton and I’m not taking my eyes off him. There’s a video playing on the wall entitled “Who is Tarsha McMillian?!” Ms. McMillian is passionate, driven, the bestest friend anyone could ever ask for, she is an amazing mother, she is giving, she is full of purpose, and oh SHE CAN SANG! These are all words people in the video used to describe Ms. McMillian. The spot light hits the stage and she enters the room, a gorgeous chocolate woman, with a fierce hair cut, she is small in stature and her voice is as sweet as apple pie. She thanks everyone for attending and then the band starts to play…

The little sweet as apple pie voice turns into this monstrous, larger than life, melodic, seasoned, gospel, rock, soul, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, dope a$$ SANGER! There is a difference between a singer and a sanger, this woman can sang. What happened next will surprise anyone who knows me, I lost track of Anthony Hamilton! I know right what is the world coming too. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was witnessing. Tarsha, because now we friends, has a way of drawing you in, making you want to know more about the stories she is telling through song. She is humble and gracious, with some funk on the side. You get so lost in her captivating voice that at one point it feels like every song is about you or something you went through. I live for moments like that when I connect with an artist and feel like they are speaking into my life.  But where is Anthony Hamilton? Right where my eye left him last enjoying this magical moment with the rest of Tarsha’s fans, now including me!

Who is Tarsha McMillian? She is transparent, thankful, an overcomer, a believer, a fighter. She is a daughter, a sister, a divorcee. Tarsha shared a powerful testimony during this intimate experience, one that touched my soul and caused me to reflect on the things in my life, the waiting periods in my life when I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out or even if they would. Tarsha was broken but healed, she is a personal praise break (I loved this description). The list can go on and on about who Tarsha McMillan is, but the one thing I’m sure everyone who was there that evening can agree on is that she is definitely READY!

If you want to know more about who Tarsha McMillian is check our her single “I’m Ready” on Itunes.

Now you may be asking yourself, this woman who loves Anthony Hamilton didn’t get to meet him. Well you’d be wrong…IMG-0697

Side note: My favorite Tarsha McMillian song is Silence Kills, look into it!