Writing a post about the TEACH Through Love seminar series has proven harder than I anticipated. How do I explain our personal child-raising issues with our son(s) in such a way that anyone reading would understand? Let’s see:
My sons are just a year-and-a-half apart in age. My older son, C, just turned 3 and the little man, B, is (you guessed it) 18 months old. When B was about 14 months old, he started walking and I think C took that to mean that B was a big boy now and could be played with a bit more roughly. So, a few months go by and the roughhousing not only continues, it increases. Many time outs and toys were taken away but there never seemed to be any lesson learned. The battles were just getting ferocious and I was seriously left wondering:
1) Would B survive toddlerhood with such an aggressive older brother?
2) Would C turn into a bully when he entered school because he was always pushing around B?
3) Or, would B turn into the bully because he constantly has to stand up for himself – push or be pushed?
4) How was I failing at creating a loving home when we loved these kids so much?
Sigh. It’s overwhelming thinking that you are caught in this terrible behavioral circle. Most advice offered me was that C “was just being a 3 year old” or that he would “grow out of it when B started to fend for himself”. Great. In the meantime, I can’t open the refrigerator door because it’s obstructs my view of the boys and little man gets a walloped by his big brother.
During this time, we were also in the midst of ending our early intervention speech therapy sessions with C (he didn’t say his first word until 2 years old, and then only started combining 2-word phrases at ~28 months). He was doing so well that he was actually now categorized as “advanced” with his speech! I voiced my concerns with the EI coordinator, who suggested a behavioral therapist for us. Considering I was open to any and all help, I said, “sign me up”! We were waiting for C to turn 3 so that his services with the Intermediate Unit would begin. In the interim, I met Lori from TEACH Through Love.
I was so happy. So. Very. Happy.
Here was a woman who’s mission is to make the connection between parent and child work, I mean, really work. To employ conscious parenting. There was something other than stern looks, time outs and negative ‘old school’ repercussions that could be used as teaching tools for my young family. So, I signed up* for her online/phone sessions and began to study.
Lori’s seminars concentrate on providing parents an insight to their own past as a child, what triggers them to react to their own children, and then how the children interpret that. For example, I realized that my son had taken a facial expression (clenching jaw/teeth) that I often used when upset and was using that himself when he was approaching his little brother and about to strike. Lori shares many personal stories of how her children have taught her to listen to what/how/why she is saying something and really hone in on how to revise her own approach. Teach Through Love does not mean that there will never be a raised voice or a stern look; no, it provides parents a way to connect with their children, help shape how they will react in a situation and provide teaching tools for how to calm the parent as well as the child. Amazing.
I started to use the tools Lori’s seminar provided and have found myself to be a happier mom. Yes, my son still gets a time out here or there but it’s different. I’m not isolating him anymore and I’m using it more as a moment to separate two young children to make sure the little one isn’t bleeding before turning to the older one. I’ve learned to be more in tune with the precursors to an “event” and am better able to divert or provide a different outlet. I also see C stopping himself from time to time – something that I believe is linked to the changes I’ve made in my reactions to him and now he’s learning how to handle things himself as well. Overall, our house is less stressful (and has fewer tears). And, as we all know, a happy mommy = happy family.
Flash forward to our first meeting with the behavioral therapist. It’s nice that I have ongoing help from a therapist in our house for an hour each week, but without Lori’s sessions I think my frame of reference for how I work with my son would not be as complete, and ultimately I feel that would be a disservice for my children.
Check out Lori’s online parenting courses available from her TEACH Through Love website.
*Disclosure: I was provided access to the TEACH Through Love seminar free of charge. All opinions and experiences are my own, yours may differ. This post contains affiliate links.