This article is written by Alexandra Kremer about common problems experienced by parents, with tips about how to overcome them. Alex is a fertility, birth and parenting specialist, antenatal, postnatal educator and practitioner who works with families from pre-conception up to the early years.
She has a keen interest in psychology which shows up in all areas of her work (she is currently studying it in more depth with The Open University). Another big passion for Alex is parental and children’s rights during birth and beyond.
Originally from London, Alex now lives in Hertfordshire with her two young children. Alex sees clients in person and remotely from all over the world.
Parenting got you tearing your hair out? Where do you go for support and how do you know it’s the right support?
You’ve done everything you can to bring this child into your life and then it suddenly hits you. No matter how much you want and love your child, parenting isn’t easy and no one has prepared you for what’s to come. So how do you deal with it?
Most of us have leant on the shoulder of friends and family, read articles online and maybe even parenting books. The trouble is, that a lot of the information they provide is conflicting.
Not knowing which direction to take to manage a child’s sleep, eating or behaviour can often lead us to try a plethora of different techniques. These can sometimes compound the problem due to a lack of consistency or the child not responding. Or the technique does not take into account the child’s natural neuropsychological development.
This was my issue after the birth of my eldest. I became confused by the differing advice and opinions. I second guessed constantly whether I was doing the right thing and it began to eat into my relationship with my then-husband and with my son.
It was obvious things had to change so I started doing some research. The more I discovered and learnt, the more I realised many of us are being misled with outdated and often irresponsible advice – I decided this needed to change and that’s where my journey began.
I created the Happy Parenting workshops to help support families in their journey. They’re a series of workshops that can be taken online or face to face both privately or in a group setting. They look at the four key areas we commonly struggle with. Sleeping, behaviour, eating and parental self-care.
These four sessions take into account a child’s age and development. They also give a guiding framework (as opposed to a strict regime) which can allow you to modify techniques to suit your family situation. Because let’s be honest, every family has a different dynamic and what works for one family won’t necessarily work for another.
When it comes to sleep, we look at understanding what a normal child’s sleep patterns look like. We explore the history of sleep and look at ways you can encourage more sleep with fewer bedtime battles. We dive into why the way you parent at night matters and how you can use all this newfound information to manage this tiring time.
This is always a biggie too. Who hasn’t come up against a meltdown and not known why it’s happened or how to handle the craziness that has been unleashed? In this workshop, we look at what happens to a child’s brain during a ‘tantrum’ and effective ways to handle them.
We look at what raising an emotionally intelligent child means and why respectful parenting doesn’t also mean permissive. The way we parent and the techniques we use can affect our child’s brain. So, we go deep into the positives and negatives of a whole host of parenting techniques, doing away with guesswork.
At some point, all children will go through a phase of tricky eating. In this workshop, we understand the biological reasons as to why this happens and look at strategies to encourage change. We look into how to create a healthy relationship with food, which many of us adults could also probably do with (she says reaching for the chocolate!).
Lastly, we look at perhaps one of the most important areas, parental self-care. Have you ever heard the phrase you need to put your oxygen mask on first to help another? It’s the same with parenting. As parents, we need to ensure our cup is continually being emptied to ensure it doesn’t overflow and affect the way we manage and connect with our children.
Children also learn through modelling. What better way to teach them self-esteem, self-care and self-love than by practising it yourself? We look into ways of managing our anxiety and stress, what our triggers may be and how to avoid being triggered in the first place as well as ways to connect with yourself and your partner again.
One of the first things I ask parents is ‘what are your long-term goals both for yourself and your child?’ The answer to this question will help you decide what direction to go in. It’ll help you start to look at your relationship with your child in a different light.
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