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The Roles we Play in the Family September 29, 2012

Filed under: parenting — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 1:43 pm
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The family of origin is the environment that initially shapes our understanding of what “normal,” is for us. So ask your-self what role did you play in your family? Some examples that I will discuss today are: The Hero, The Scapegoat, The Lost Child, and The Clown

The Scapegoat/Truth Teller:
The Scapegoat in a family system is often the one who tells (or acts out) the truth in the family and becomes an easy target to focus on. Due to their disruptive behavior, the child is typically the one that the parent(s) wants to take to therapist to “fix.” While the parent may see a disrespectful child, what they are missing is that on the inside the child may be hurting, afraid to trust anyone including family members, feeling misunderstood, hopeless, blamed rejected by the family. They can also miss this childs strength such as creativity, honesty, leadership skills (it may be in the wrong direction) and limited denial.

The Hero/Golden Child:
This is the opposite of the Scapegoat. They are still a target but for very different reasons because the” Hero/Golden Child,” typically tends to be everything the parent dreamed as their “perfect child.” This child will typically be responsible, gregarious, trustworthy. Goal oriented, organized and successful in academics and sports. This child represents the “perfect,” family. However, this child may also be a perfectionist, difficulty with listening or asking for help, have a high fear of mistakes, struggles with relaxing, has few friends due to their inflexibility and control issues Which can lead to feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression and,high levels of stress.

The Clown
The goal of the family Clown is to create some fun. This child wants to lighten the mood with joke or pranks. They are usually “the cute one,” who can usually get away with a lot of stuff . They will typically act like nothing bothers them. However the Clown may be uncomfortable his/her feelings and will use humor to seek attention. The clown may be feeling guilty, angry, lonely, sad and confused.

The Lost Child is typically “the quiet one” or “the invisible one”. They will stay in the background, spend a lot of time alone and stay out of problems. They avoid conflict so no anger is directed at him/her. . In some ways this role is similar to the “Hero,” because they bring no problems to the family. This leads many parents to believe that this child is “fine.” However by avoiding taking healthy risks and retreating into the background, they may not learn social skills such as resolving conflicts, or lacking empathy for them-selves and others. While the Lost Child may seem “perfect,” on the outside, on the inside he/she may be feeling lonely, confused, helpless, sad, abandoned, depressed and powerless.

In the next blog I will discuss the role of “people pleaser.”


Punishment V Discipline September 25, 2012

Filed under: parenting — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 3:23 pm

Most teenagers will rebel against authority, whether it is talking back, slamming doors, or staying out late I am often asked the question, “what is the difference between “punishment and discipline.” Disciplining your child maybe of the most difficult jobs that you will undertake as a parent. Yet few of us are ever taught how to discipline our children “effectively.” For some we learn as we go, or we may revert back to what was used to discipline us as children, or it may be a combination of both.
Discipline and punishment are often used interchangeably and can mean the same thing. However, “punishment” creates short term results while “discipline,” creates long lasting results. The goal of discipline is to help children think about alternative options, and to allow them to develop self-discipline.
Before I give you some examples of the difference between punishment and discipline, ask your-self the following questions:
Where did you learn discipline?
How was discipline carried out in your family as a child?
How did this method of discipline feel to you as a child?
How effective was this discipline?

What is Punishment?.

1. Your rules are inconsistent, severe, unpredictable open to interpretation and at times not enforced
2. It is about being told what NOT to do.
3. Love and rewards are held back.
4. It teaches them to be controlled by outside forces
5. It is either verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive, or all the above.
6. It is typically given out of anger or frustration because the parent is not in control of their own feelings..
7. Parents often do not recognize the difference between mistakes and misbehavior. Both receive punishment.
8. It is about “penalizing” the child and getting them to do what you want.
9. Punishment is often temporary, easy, and expedient and requires very little skill.

What is Discipline?

1. It is non-violent
2. Discipline is guiding children toward long-term positive behavior and learning
3. It is listening and modeling behavior that you want your children to emulate
4. They are held responsible for their actions and will have clear understanding of their consequences
5. Rules are consistent, clear and consequences are followed through
6. Consequences are applied immediately and age appropriate
7. It creates communication and trust
8. It teaches children various coping skills to solve their own problems
9. It is about knowing the difference between “mistakes,” and “misbehaviors” and using it as a tool for learning opportunities
10. Parents are still in control of their feelings and emotions
11. It allows the child to keep their dignity in tact


A Letter from a Daughter to a Mother September 10, 2012

Filed under: parenting — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 4:20 pm
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As a mother it is normal to want a relationship with your teen daughter and to want her to come to you with her problems. However, this is usually the time the teenager is trying to separate and find her own identity. In my experience, mothers and daughters want the same thing, a close and loving relationship. Yet due to changes, communication gets lost in transit. Below is a letter from a teenage girl to her mother expressing her feelings. This letter eloquently depicts the struggle and turmoil of a teenage girl seeking her mothers validation, while trying to discover her own Identity.

My Mom angers me, frustrates me, and annoys me. But she also makes me feel happy and loved. She made me who I am, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Tomorrow I have an operation. I’m nervous. So throughout the day, my Mom kept telling me not to get my hopes up. I kept telling her that this person wouldn’t let me down, “it’s my operation tomorrow.” I believed that no matter what, he would come. I was wrong. I called my friend crying. Little did I know, my Mom heard me talking and crying to my friend via my baby brother’s intercom. When I finished my conversation, she entered my room with a cup of tea, Oreos, hugged me and then left again. I didn’t need to tell her what was wrong, she didn’t ask, she knew. It’s funny, but moms always know what’s going to happen, they always seem to be one step ahead.

As teenagers, we don’t always want to listen to what you have to say. We moan when you ask us about our life. We say “Stop being so nosey” or “I am allowed a private life.” Then when you don’t ask we say “You never ask about me,or you don’t care”. Truth is, you are never going to win, because even we never quite know what we want. We are indecisive, we are confusing and we are no angels – but the truth is, no child is an angel.

So please don’t be offended, when we don’t want to participate in the same boring talk everyday. You know the one, “how was college” “did you have a nice day,” “who did you hang out with,” etc. Yes we know you are trying to connect, but honestly it can be very boring. So try finding out something new about us every day, or tell us something new. I love being told weird facts like “a cucumber is 97% water” (I think that’s correct) My Mom has never done that, but if she did it would be amazing.

When my Mom is mad at me, I say “One day, you will tell this story to your grandchildren and you’ll be laughing about it” it’s true. Everyone gets mad and moody but as your child we don’t want to hear about our mistakes every day. We don’t always need a lecture!!! We just sometimes need you to listen. We know how tough it is out there. The silent treatment is HORRIBLE, honestly… I don’t think I could ever ignore my children (If I had any), no matter how mad I was at them so I don’t appreciate it when my parents do that to me.

Moms get offended easily, all the time (You’ll probably read that and say “no we don’t!) Haha I am here to say “yes you do.” We don’t mean to offend you, it just comes out or it comes out the wrong way. I have put my Mom through some stuff but honestly, she hasn’t put me through anything negative. I’m grateful for the chores I had to do because now I can look after children, cook and clean which all my other 18 year old friends can’t do. I’m grateful for the curfews because now I enjoy being able to come home whenever I want on a night out, if it was always like that it would just be “normal” not fun. At the time I wasn’t grateful for these curfews. The odd rule will be broken and the odd curfew will also be broken but like I said it’s not the end of the world. So please learn to take a breath. Chores and rules aren’t the end of the world, so don’t be mad if we want to lie in bed all day and only come downstairs for food and pop. We all need a time out. It is our chance to figure out who we are and what we like. We cant do that if we are constantly in motion 7 days a week from 7am in the morning to 10-11pm at night trying to be “perfect. Let us make mistakes.

All moms are different, different people, different out looks on life. One Mom may agree with one thing that you allow your child to do and another Mom may completely disagree with your style of parenting. But it doesn’t matter what other mothers do, because I would much rather my Mom do what she thinks is best for ME.

I think my Mom proved today that silence can speak louder than words, she didn’t have to say a single thing to me to know that she loves me more than anything in the world. Thank you. Moms make mistakes but so do we. Isn’t that how we learn about life?

What I want you to know is this…” knowing that you will be there on every path we take in life is comforting. So try not to worry too much, because in the end, we will eventually find our own way,”

And oh yea…We really, really hate the “I told you so“.