Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

How to Help A Mom Friend In An Abusive Relationship 

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.46.33 PMIt is a helpless feeling knowing that your friend is being mistreated in a relationship.  What makes it even more difficult is knowing that children are being exposed to the abuse.
Taking on trying to help a friend who is in an abusive relationship can be overwhelming, so here are some suggestions that could support you:
Listen and be supportive.  It can be scary for someone to open up and talk about the fact that they are in an unhealthy relationship.  If they share details with you, listen without judgment or advice. When you start judging, most likely your friend will shut down and won’t talk to you about the topic in the future.  Reminding your friend that they are not alone and that you will be there for them when they need someone to talk to is important.
Be patient.  It can be frustrating to witness the cycle of abuse in an unhealthy relationship. Typically, there is a blow up that can be followed by apologies, gifts, and promises from the abuser that it will never happen again.  During the time surrounding the blow up, the person who gets hurt may realize that they are in a bad relationship and may be upset, angry, and possibly ready to end the relationship. This may be the time that they will turn to a friend for support.  However, shortly after this phase, it is common for the abuser to be very sorry, extremely loving, and apologetic.  They may even give gifts or make a temporary change in their life that seems promising for a brighter future for the relationship.  As a friend, this can be frustrating to watch, especially when it happens over and over again.  But, remember that no matter what you say or do, your friend will not leave or end the relationship until they are ready.
Provide resources.  There is only so much you can do as a friend.  Refer your friend to professionals who can assist her.  You can give her the phone number to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is a 24/7 hotline where trained advocates are available to speak to and offer local resources.  Offer to let your friend to use your phone to make the call.
Suggest making a safety plan.  Get your friend thinking about how they will keep themselves and their children safe if an incident with their partner escalates and gets out of control.  Where will they go if they have to leave in a hurry?  What items would they need to have ready to grab quickly if they need to leave fast?  How will they get themselves and their children out safely?
Offer to help with the children.  If you can include the kids in on some of your family fun whether it is a day at the zoo or a play date at your home, that could give your friend some time to take care of herself and allow the child to have a good time.
Sarah Cole is a former domestic violence educator and crisis counselor who is currently a stay-at-home mom with her two busy toddlers.

Silent Saturday: Nostalgia

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

I’m here in Chicago visiting my old stompin’ grounds where both my hubby and I grew up. It’s left me feeling a bit nostalgic. I came across this old prom picture at my mom’s house…hard to believe this was 15 years ago!

While this photo has nothing to do with breastfeeding, babywearing, or cloth diapering, I still wanted to share it with you all. Come to think of it maybe it actually has a lot to do with those things? Of course breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapering were the furthest things from our minds as we tore it up on the dance floor that night, however one could still connect the dots between then and now; somewhere along the way in our relationship seeds were planted to make the parenting choices we’ve made today. 🙂

Thankful to still be dancing with my highschool sweetheart after all these years!


API Principle #7: Practice Positive Discipline

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The other day I was putting baby down for a nap while my older two boys played quietly downstairs. See, right there I should have known something was up because those two boys rarely ‘play’ quietly. Once baby was finally asleep, I went downstairs to find they boys had raided the art supply closet resulting in a mess of epic proportions. I was understandably upset. In fact I was angry. I had planned to take advantage of baby napping and get a few things done. Instead I would have to spend a great deal of time and energy cleaning up the art mess. Additionally some of the materials they used were quite expensive and I was upset at them for being wasteful. My reaction was not one of my better parenting moments. I yelled at them and told them that I was angry about what they did. I also harshly told them that they needed to clean it up “right now!”.  Unfortunately I knew they would need my help cleaning up to avoid it turning into an even bigger mess. Sigh…not at all what I wanted to do at that time.

However as we cleaned it together, my emotions began to soften. I realized what I had deemed a ‘mess’ and ‘wasteful’, they considered a creative, exciting, enjoyable experience. And therein lied the problem; our two opposing perceptions of the situation. As I thought about it more, I realized the biggest source of conflict for me was that they did not communicate their idea with me. Had they done so I would have been perfectly okay with them using the art materials, but perhaps would have placed some boundaries around the activity such as keeping it the table or limiting the amount of materials they used. Once I identified the main issue, I could take action….which is different than a reaction. I could explain to them the importance of communicating their ideas with me so we can develop a plan together. By doing so maintaining and strengthening our relationship remains at the forefront of our interactions. The hopeful outcome is that they understand communication is important and know that I will listen to as well as respond to their ideas respectfully. This is likely to reciprocal build trust and honesty between us which are essential aspects of healthy attachment. It is what Attachment Parenting International (API) refers to as Positive Discipline.

Rather than punish, API encourages parents to approach discipline in a positive manner that “helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others” (API, 2008).  This takes time, creativity, patience, energy, empathy, and the underlying belief that a child is worthy of the same respect granted to adults. It is easy to fall into the “I’m big, your little thus you do what I say” mode as a parent. But ultimately, that approach may not be effective in fostering the skills we desire for our children such as problem-solving, respect, assertiveness, or demonstrating integrity in relationships. If we accept challenging behavior as an opportunity to teach, it drastically changes how we respond. It does not mean we are permissive as parents, but that we are parenting consciously. Sometimes positive discipline is incorrectly assumed to mean always saying ‘yes’ to your child or never providing a consequence. That is simply not true. API recognizes a parent’s role in gently and lovingly guiding their child’s behavior to ultimately help him/her develop self-control and self-discipline.

I am the first to admit that using this approach to discpline can be exhausting! I don’t always get it right…in fact I often blow it! But the occassions that I do approach discpline in a gentle, loving way I feel so much better about than the times I yell, threaten, or scold. For most of us utilizing positive discipline takes practice. It takes deep reflection of our own childhood experiences and reflecting upon current struggles we have with our children. While it may seem easier to just simply adopt the a heavy-handed “I’m big, your little thus you do what I say”approach, the heart of attachment parenting is to develop a strong parent-child connection and API believes this is best achieved with discipline that is empathetic, loving and respectful.