Surviving sibling struggles - Five tips for parents who want to calm the chaos

#siblings Jul 01, 2021

Most parents will be familiar with the sound of siblings fighting, bickering and squabbling; the build up of tension is often audible from another room, soon enough one child is yelling, “THAT’S MINE!” …. The scream and then very often…. a WHACK.    

 When I work with parents of two or more kids and ask about the thing they are struggling with the most in their family life the number one answer is siblings fighting.

 One of the greatest hopes many parents have is for their children to be friends. Beyond not enjoying the constant sound of screaming & bickering on a day-to-day basis many parents share a deeper hope that the humans they’re raising will - one day - be there for each other when we are not.

 Our subconscious vision is for siblings who will be allies for life, a shoulder to cry on, someone to help you move house, share adventures with and even be a best man or maid of honour at a wedding.

A friend...

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Featured in Kidspot "I didn't get how hard it really was to introduce a toddler and a baby"

Uncategorized Jun 21, 2021

Published in Kidspot this month, Genevieve's tips for welcoming a second baby. 

When I had my second baby I had heard only two things were needed for a smooth transition -  don’t have the baby in your arms when your older child visits in hospital and get him a present from the baby. 

This advice is at best not helpful, and at worst leaves you completely unprepared for the changes at play when introducing a new baby into the house.

What I wish someone had told me was that the introduction to a new baby isn’t about the union in hospital, it is about connection, boundaries and spending time with your toddler.  For more click here

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‘I’m a mum of 4 boys. These are the questions I get asked constantly.’

Uncategorized Jun 04, 2021

As published on MAMAMIA

Shortly after I had given birth to my third son, I went up to the local post office to collect a package. 

I was at the counter with my three- and five-year-old boys, and my newborn asleep in the pram. 

Just quietly I was feeling pretty freaking proud to be out, with THREE kids in a post office (which, if you ask anyone who has had three under five, is no mean feat.) Life was good.

“Is it a boy or a girl?” The lady serving me asked, eyeing my two boys and the pram.

I proudly drew back the muslin wrap to reveal my beautiful bundle and said: “This is Tom!”

The look on the woman’s face was pure disappointment. She grabbed my hands in hers, looked at me with big sad eyes and said: “Don’t worry, you are young, and you can try again!"

I immediately looked down at my two older children. Two beautiful creatures who were standing by their new baby brother, with a fresh look of doubt in their eyes. 

Gen with her...

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It’s just the toast: Three things all parents should know about newborn crying

The creator of Calmbirth, Peter Jackson, once told me something I’ve never forgotten.

He said the sound of a newborn crying can be likened to the sound of a smoke alarm going off. They make the same sound whether you’ve burnt the toast or the whole kitchen is on fire.’    

I spent the next decade soothing four boys while they cried saying to myself…….. “it’s just the toast.”

This seemed to help me to feel less panicked when my babies cried. 

What I know also helps parents is knowing what’s “normal and what to expect in terms of baby crying.

The average healthy newborn cries around 1-2 hours a day at birth, yet many new parents find this level of crying pretty rattling – especially when it’s happening in the middle of the night as is most common in the first weeks     . 

Tracking forward a few weeks what many parents don’t know is that the peak of...

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Dear new parents, it’s not your job to ‘fix’ your baby’s crying.

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2021

One of the most challenging aspects of the first few months of parenting a newborn is infant crying.

 Most parents I meet who have just had their first baby say that nothing could have prepared them for how the sound of their own baby crying would make them feel. They describe feelings of helplessness, fear and frustration when their babies cry.

 Our babies’ cries are designed by nature to sound distressing to us. This ensures we wake in the night to feed and care for them. But the view we hold about whether crying is normal, and what our role is when responding to crying affects how much the crying distresses us.

 For a variety of reasons, well before they even hold their own newborn, parents have often absorbed the message that when a baby cries it’s the parent’s job to work out what’s wrong and fix it.

 This is probably the most unhelpful message we can give parents about crying because it makes parents feel more distressed...

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Why all kids struggle with transitions

Uncategorized Jun 01, 2021

All kids struggle with transitions.

These can be the daily struggles of moving from the dinner table to the bath, or the bigger changes that impact our child's sense of security like a house move, daycare change, or the big one - welcoming a new baby into the family. 

The struggle that kids have with transitions and change points happens for a  for a variety of reasons, but know this:

It is so normal for it to be a daily battle getting kids into the car, out of the bath and all the rest. It is our children's job to struggle with these moments, the struggle is how they grow their brains. It is our job to be bigger, stronger, wise and kind - all the things they need to support them with transitions. 

Tips for daily transitions.

We all know that feeling. It's time to get in the car and your child is really enjoying some LEGO. You know what is coming when you tell them to stop doing what they enjoy and get in the car..... As hard as this is for parents our...

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Why parents need to embrace the word no

Uncategorized May 30, 2021

As published on The Parenthood - Genevieve explores how we set an effective boundary for our kids. 

"When we prioritise our kids’ freedom or happiness – but overlook our kids’ crucial need to feel like their parents are in charge and “at the wheel” – we are letting them down. Too much freedom, and a lack of limits actually makes  children feel the opposite of free. When this occurs enough they often express their discomfort through limit-pushing behaviour.

Boundaries are essential for children, and also for parents, who are overwhelmed and exhausted and wondering if it’s meant to be THIS hard. As an educator working with parents around creating a secure attachment with babies and kids, and as a mum of four beautiful boys, I believe that boundaries are one of the highest forms of love there is.

So how do you set a boundary?

Let’s say your child is at a boundary moment. They are swinging from the rafters, throwing a...

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Five magic words you can use when you get it wrong with your kids

 

Sometimes we parents get it wrong.

We yell or lose it.

We ‘dig in’ for the sake of being right, long beyond the point of being helpful.

We don’t respond with kindness in a moment that requires connection, because we had our own stuff going on.

.......

 One of the biggest myths about parenting is that there’s an ideal – that it’s even possible to be the parent that our child needs all of the time.

 Parenting is hard. It’s taxing, it’s physical, and it pushes your buttons in ways you never imagined before kids.

Some days – despite knowing the parent we want to be, we are a different parent – the parent we swore we’d never be.

If you think you are the only parent making these mistakes, you’re not. We all stuff it up.

And while there is no ‘undo’ in parenting, here are the words that create a ‘reset’.

 

Let me try that again”

 

It takes courage to...

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Introducing a toddler to a new baby

Uncategorized May 12, 2021

An article by Genevieve that was published on Inner West Mums October 2020.

"The addition of a new baby into a family is always a big change. Parents are learning how to feed, settle and read cues with increased demands on time and sleep, and a newborn is adjusting to life outside the womb.

When parents welcome a second or third baby it is usually less of a learning curve for the parents than it is for the toddler or older child. For young children, it is a big transition as they adjust to sharing their parents for the first time.

The key questions parents often wonder as they prepare for a second baby are:

How can I make sure my older child feels included?

How will I juggle the demands of two (or more) children at once?

What is the best way to facilitate the introduction?

The answers lie in the relationship between us – mum, dad, parents - and our older child. There are four key things that can make this transition for our toddler or older child relatively stress-free.

When...

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Parenting is perfectly imperfect, spread the word.

Before I conceived my first child, I had a picture of how my family might look. You imagine the sweet baby, the chubby toddler and calm family meals where everyone laughs. Don’t get me wrong – I fiercely adore being a mum to my four boys, but the reality is different, (and much, much noisier) to the preconceived notions I initially had.

From the moment we conceive a baby the expectations or ideas about how that might look and who they might be are in our heads and hearts.

 I vividly remember planning my family. I was going to have a boy and a girl who were best friends. I’d pick them up from school and make their afternoon tea from scratch, before talking about their day together, calming, without talking over the top of each other.

You can imagine my shock when I had two boys close together. One screamed relentlessly for 24 months, sick with allergies and reflux, and my toddler would run away from me, push kids off the top of the slide at the park and then...

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