Why it’s more important for me to stay in connection than wasting an egg…

Szenario at our house: My son loves to eat omelettes for breakfast. So I make him one. He looks at it, tries it half heartedly and turns to me “Mama, I don’t like it. It’s too brown and too hard.”

Just a couple of months ago my response would have been: A “Come on, it’s not that dark and it’s not hard at all! I’m not going to waste an egg for that. Please eat as much as you can and then we can see if you get another.” Or I could have even added: “You know, there are people in this world that don’t have any food and they would be very pleased to get such a nice omelette!”…

Now I know to do much better. My answer was: B “Ok, honey no problem. I’m sorry I overcooked it a bit. I’ll make you another one. Thanks for telling me.”

For me this is a big change! I hate to waste food, money, time, energy and everything else can can be wasted….

But here is why I went through this big change

My son has a very hard time communicating his needs. E.g. instead of saying ‘I am upset that we are going someplace I don’t want to go.’ or ‘I really don’t want to sit in the car anymore.’ or ‘I am bored, please entertain me.’, he grunts and kicks the driver’s carseat and screams and makes everybody in the car uncomfortable and annoyed.

Playing with other children is hard for him too, because instead of using his words, he uses his body and rolls over other kids who are confused about his way of getting in contact with them.

So, I really want to support him in using his words to express his feelings and his needs. And in his comment about the omelette , he exactly does that.

Giving him response A would make him feel not understood. He could question his view, his taste and his opinion. Getting a response like this often makes children unsure about their own feelings. They feel out of control about their own life. They feel not enough to be cared for or worthy. They loose trust in themselves and stop communicating at all, because why would they even bother if nobody believes in their feelings anyway? And this can be the beginning of losing motivation in other parts of their lives, too.

In psychological terms it’s called gas-lighting when something said is totally negated. Child:’It’s overcooked.’ Parent: ‘No, it’s not overcooked’. At the end ‘overcooked’ can be different for everybody… Can you see that many of these kind of answers a day will do a lot of damage in a child’s mind?!

I am talking from experience here, because that’s exactly what happened to me as a child. I lost my voice…

With response B on the other hand, I strengthen my son’s confidence and the trust in himself. He feels worthy and heard and part of our family. His sense of belonging is supported. He feels enough. He feels in control about his body and his needs and he gets motivated to communicate his feelings more often.

By seeing my child and his needs and trusting him and fulfilling his wish of a less cooked omelette, I stay in connection with him.  I show him that I love him and that he is more important to me than the concern of wasting an egg.

Of course, I don’t like to waste food. But in this situation I need to think about what’s more important to me and for sure the answer is to stay in connection with my child ❤

And it’s not like I am going to waste an egg every day now… because from now on I take good care that the omelette does not overcook and that I make is perfect for him every day. And maybe some day he will change his mind and like it better more crispy and that will also be ok, because it’s human to change our minds sometimes 🙂

With much love and gratitude,

aNNika ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do with Santa?

I have such a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of Santa Claus in my children’s lives this year.

I mean I felt this a bit weird about it in prior years because I did not really grow up with the whole story of Santa’s workshop and elves behind the scenes and liked to refer the kids to their dad when it came to questions about that, but this year it’s even harder for me.

As most of you know I moved on from ‘parenting my kids as if they are dumb and need to grow to be somebody’ to ‘seeing my kids as whole people that are everything and only needs to catch up in experience’. So, I respect and treat my children as equal humans, just like I would treat an adult with respect and kindness. This also means that I would answer every question about Santa truthfully.

As a child I felt like my parents made fun of me and thought I was stupid. I had figured out very early that there was no such thing as Santa and that all presents were stored under their bed prior to Christmas and all Easter eggs and such were locked away in a little downstairs bathroom right before Easter. I was a nosy child and I knew and felt a lot of things that were going on in our family…

The one thing that confused me though was that they had a person dressed up like Santa come to our house on Christmas eve who read from his ‘golden book’ all the naughty things that my brother and I had done through the year and some good things too, but I mainly remember bad things, of course. Because that’s how kid brains work!

I remember the anxiety in the room. My little brother screaming of fear and me being kind of in shock too, but being the big sister that doesn’t show any fear. I recited the Christmas poem that I had learned by heart and got a little pat from Santa for that and after promising to be better he left us a big sack (white pillow case) with presents.

I remember one year he told me that I should stop making faces at my parents or just in general. He wanted to scare me said that if I ever made a face when the clock strikes noon, my face would stay like that forever. Guess what I was doing every day after that at noon!? I sat under the table in the dining room where the big clock was and when it chimed at noon I made a funny grimace and nothing happened! There you go! Just one more thing that made me loose my trust in grown-ups…

After I had found that ‘golden book’ in my mom’s cabinet one day and saw that it really was a bible or something like this, just with some handwritten notes about our behaviors, I had even more proof that Santa was set up by my parents and nobody who knew everything about us because he watched us from above. (I never understood that anyway. Did he live in heaven or at the North Pole? By that point I had never heard about elves and Santa’s helper.)

I never mentioned anything to my parents because I feared that they were upset with me being so sneaky and curious and punish me in some way, making me feel bad about myself.

There were more experiences in my life where I just proofed to myself that adults were stupid or at least that they underestimate us kids to a very high degree. I think that’s why I always wanted to grow up. I wanted to be respected as a whole person/human.

Having had these experiences with Santa and Christmas as a child, I really don’t want to do this to my children. I want them to think of me as understanding and nurturing and not somebody who lies to them. I want to be somebody who respects their curiosity and freedom and even sneakiness and nosiness. We humans are curious creatures  and I think that this is fabulous!

And I mean, what’s the problem with getting presents for Christmas that are from your parents and people that love you? Just a celebration in a cozy atmosphere with pine smell in the air… And not just a reminder that you were good or bad this year and should be better next year?

My sons told me yesterday that their babysitter told them that there are elves hiding in our house and that they spy on us and see if we are behaving well!

I was like, WHAT? Guys, I can assure you that there are no elves and nobody else spying on you in our house! They said, but the elf brought xmas PJs to the babysitter’s house and hid them! I know they are talking about his weird elf on the shelf thing that somebody invented and I think that this person is a genius, don’t get me wrong. But it just doesn’t work for me. If my kids understood how to come up with something like this, that got so big and is so present in American homes right now, they’d make a lot of money in a short time!

My husband reminded me the other day that I almost bought an elf a couple of years ago… Yes, shame on me! I really thought that my kids would miss out on something that everybody was talking about. But really I also hadn’t gotten the whole concept of it. Somehow I thought that elf was just moving through the house and show up in funny places every morning and that it would be funny for the kids to find him after getting up in the mornings. I think, I missed the whole part of him being here to spy on us.

I’m glad that my hubby said no back then and that the elf never made it in our house!

Last year already Noah had some concerns about the Santa Tracking App. Another tool to fool our children! The app totally doesn’t support different cultural traditions! Because my children grow up bicultural they know that Santa shows up in Germany on Christmas eve which means at about 10am – noonish at our time here, on the 24th. Looking at the App though it shows that Santa delivers presents there sometime on Christmas eve here…which would be midnight in Germany! And that’s just not true. It would only be true if Germans also get their presents in the morning on the 25th.

I think it’s just so sad that children are lied to and made fun of in a way during this whole Christmas thing. I understand that it somehow makes people happy to see their children believe in Santa and the whole Christmas spirit, because they think that children are innocent (and stupid) enough to believe in such a thing and they will learn the truth soon enough. But really?

With my mindset right now, I think this is bizarre! Keep the kids small and dumb and be sad when they grow up and don’t believe (in Santa) anymore?

What about having them believe in LOVE? I believe in love! That’s something you don’t have to grow out of! You give and receive it all your life!

I love my children not only on Christmas. They get presents all through the year. And it’s not like I need to buy them stuff to show my love. It’s more that it’s one of the many love languages I speak to my kids and they do feel loved when they get something they really like, especially not only on Christmas.

So, for right now I am not really clear what to do about Christmas and I need to find a solution together with my husband pretty quickly … it’s only 5 and a half weeks until Santa is supposed to deliver his sack of presents for the children…

For my part I don’t need to explain to them that Santa doesn’t exist. I just don’t want to lie to them when they ask the right questions about Santa… an early Merry Christmas to everybody who celebrates it!