Friday, November 29, 2013


This week we have been based in Vicenza. As well as roaming around this beautiful city with its spectacular 1500s theatre, palaces, Palladioa architecture and kind lovely people, we have visited Verona, Padova, Venice and a beautiful snowy mountain village - Asiago.
Being winter it gets dark early, but between 6 - 8pm it is usual to see people out and about - families with baby in the stroller, children, young people, parents and grandparents. They are out chatting, walking, meeting on the street or in a cafe or bar.
1. They are together - not racing around in a car - rather they are walking and leisurely talking with each other.
2. Some meet up with friends of their own age - such as the group of 6 women in their 60s I watched last night in a bar in Asiago in the northern Italian mountains. They laughed as they munched their chips while they drank their wine..., watched people but were more interested in catching up with each other and greeting the locals that came in.  - some young people and adults meet in cafe bars talk and drink. The younger ones had phones which they spend some time on but the prioity for them is clearly to be together and talk.
3. The regular pattern however is a 30 minute meet up of grandparents, parents and children. If a baby is present there are lots of "ooh"s and "Ahhh"s, kisses and baby watching in silence, along with happy laughter.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ how are you going spending casual time with your extended family or with friends? Are you giving leisure time to listen, chat, laugh together and then do you leave with smiles on your faces?

Sunday, November 24, 2013


For the next couple of months I'm in Italy and will be working off my phone so I hope to simply put up thoughts to do with parenting as we move around. 
We started our fantastic 10 weeks in Italy in Milan. I would love to have put up a photo of the Duomo in the rain which is how we saw it, but I can't get my images onto my blog- Ill hopefully work it out.
In the early evening in Milan there is a television program each night which 3 adults host. It seems to have a regular group of children who form a choir - excellent standard - and a guest child performer. We could not understand what was said or sung but there was voting and scores given on each performance by a group of children. The atmosphere was extremely loving and positive, not artificial in any way. Both the material the children sang and their presentation was completely appropriate for children - there was no hint of children attempting to present themselves as adults or teenagers - they happily were children.
We kept thinking such a program would never be put on television at home, in New Zealand, and certainly never in a early evening, family, major viewing time slot. 
LESSONS to think about -
1. Children need to see examples of children happily being children.
2. Children need to see public examples of adults commending and responding lovingly to children.
3. Our society needs to honour childhood by putting positive models of it in public places, such as major viewing times on television.
THISWEEKWITHKIDS- have a search for a normal public presentation of childhood and enjoy listening or watching it as a family. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


In place of a picture or a quote would you watch these three You tube clips of mothers having tantrums. Unfortunately none of the mums are directly reacting to frustration caused by their children.
The first one is an advertisement so the tantrum is planned.
The second and third contain material I hope won't offend, but I've included it to give material that helps you to think truthfully about this subject.

Y   may never have had a mummy tantrum
O    may often have them
U    may agree with many mums on-line & say it's good to have them
        may be deeply worried about them and want help to stop

1.  There's a diverse amount of opinion on this subject, especially on-line. 
2.  There is a huge number and variety of causes or reasons for mothers having tantrums, which I'll touch on later when discussing some things that trigger tantrums.
3.  Who is affected and how are they affected by mummy tantrums? 
  * The mother herself is effected in that her behaviour changes and she is less aware of people and things around her as she becomes lost in herself. If tantrums are regular she will tend to give herself permission and excuse herself when she has another, as seen in the third clip with Stephanie. Her reputation as someone who throws tantrums will likely escalate. 
  * The husband or father will be affected and loose respect for their wife.
  *  Children likewise also loose respect for their mum if she is a mummy tantrumer. There is the high possibility that children will copy this poor example of behaviour, especially if they see it regularly.
  *  The affect on friendships was clearly shown in the second clip. It was definitely destructive.
4.  The Oxford Dictionary says a tantrum is, "an outburst of bad temper. Being immodest, over trivial, triumphant in insolence and rudeness, unmanageable and rebellious. A fit of bad temper in a young child." The three You tube clips prove the truth of these words. This definition gives us a new view into our mummy tantrums.
I read and listened to women talking about mummy tantrums particularly on-line, and many said there was a point where they realised it was about to happen. I think of this as coming to a fork in the road - I can either go this way or that. I can go ahead choosing to have a tantrum OR I can choose to go the other route.
Before looking at what the Other Route is, we need to think about the space between where you are and the Other Route - that's the one where we don't have a tantrum. 
Imagine for a moment that you have to leave early in the morning for something very important, you know that if you have obstacles, junk and mess all over the floor between your bed and the shower, you will slow yourself down making it hard to get away and leave the house on time. It's exactly the same for us if we want to choose the Other Route. We need to clear the access to the Other Route so that we will automatically and naturally choose it rather than heading into the way that leads to another mummy tantrum. 
1.  What triggers my tantrums?
  *  Is it to do with MY state - lack of sleep/food or my diet/lack of self control/being unwell physically, mentally, emotionally/anger/wanting attention/wanting my own way...
  *  Is it to do with things AROUND me - stressful situations or relationships/worry/lack of confidence in what to do/fear/being embarrassed by my kids... 
Have a second slow read through these point above.
If mummy tantrums are regular it's important to discover what triggers them. Then steps can be taken to find solutions to these personal problems or work towards ways that you can bring change to the situation you are in. There is plenty of help ready to pick up in the form of books, articles on-line, or 'professional' help if you're financially able, or the wise thoughts of a trusted old friend or older family member. It is amazing how many problems we mums encounter that are common to most mums - so try asking someone for help.
2.  Do I want to stop having the tantrums?
Do I still want to be throwing them when I'm 45, 65, 85? You may think that when your kids are adults they will be independent and will no longer irritate you or push you into mummy tantrums. Sorry but the truth is that they will still do things that upset you, so if you regularly have mummy tantrums it is highly probably you will keep practicing them into your old age.
You have to WANT to stop doing tantrums. Looking at the devastation they have already brought and will continue to bring into your family, may help you WANT to stop having tantrums.
When you have cleared the access to the Other Route and are heading away from choosing to have a tantrum, you are travelling towards success.
  *  To travel the Other Route, you need to keep your perspective on the whole situation or the whole of the person who is pushing you towards having a tantrum.
  *  Don't focus on the part which irritates you right at this moment. Focus on the important, the many great aspects of this person or situation - the things which you like, even love about that person or people who you have been involved with for years. A tantrum communicates that these many other great aspects of the person or people, mean little or nothing in comparison to the thing that is irritating you right now - as illustrated in the tantrums Jill and the teacher threw in the second You tube clip, with sad destructive results.
  *  Thinking on the person's other great qualities, rather than condemning and being angry with them, is an opposite thought and emotion. Through this process what happens is that instead of you keeping your negative attention on yourself in a tantrum, you move to putting positive attention on to the other person.
A second thing that has happened is that you are saying that this person or situation is so important and dear to you, that you choose to control yourself for the sake of their good.
Yesterday I read a quote from Practical Happiness: A Young Man's Guide to a Contented Life. Bob Schultz, which fits in here perfectly.
" The real truth of nature which keeps our world functioning is that the strong lay down their lives for the weak. It's best shown in parents laying down their lives for their young. You'll see it when a rooster attacks an invading racoon so the hen and chicks might live....The life of an emperor penguin egg and chick depends upon a dad who goes without food while balancing it upon his warm feet for nearly five months. Certainly there's a food chain where one animal eats another to live; however, if it were not for the strong parents giving their lives to protect their weaker young, no animal would exist." p 149.
Where does this lead you in your thinking or justifying your mummy tantrums?
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ In a time when we give ourselves such a great amount of freedom to be and do as we wish at any point in time, the very asking that you rethink having mummy tantrums may be too great a challenge even an impossible request. But I urge you to either work at the plan I've outlined above or get ideas from other mums you respect and admire, and put mummy tantrums to death.