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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Why you should never tell a new mum to “sleep when the baby sleeps”

When I had my first son 11 years ago I got a lot of advice from family, friends, professionals and even the lady at the post office about what to prepare for. 

There was advice about not buying a corduroy couch because the babies spit up would get stuck in the grooves (for the record this was good advice and I wish I had listened), advice about what pram to buy, and also lot’s of advice about the need to sleep.

 Before the baby……..

“Sleep now while you can because you will never, ever sleep again” many an experienced mum would chuckle.

After I had the baby……

“sleep when the baby sleeps, it’s the only way to survive ”.

Good advice, in theory. But the effect it had on me was that the minute my baby was asleep – and I wasn’t, I would worry. After all, this was what I needed to do to be a ‘good mum’. Sleep when he sleeps!

Fast forward to today, and I have survived the lack of sleep of four...

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The fourth trimester – how to survive the first three months with a new baby

The fourth trimester – how to survive the first 12 weeks with a new baby

Working in a busy private hospital I get the pleasure of working with many new parents who are adjusting to the first few days of parenthood.

The experience is very different for everyone.

There are ups and downs, there is joy and there is pain. There can be trauma and healing, and a brand new set of worries to manage around “getting it right”.

It is good to know is that it’s normal if the post birth experience is a mixed one. The main thing is to ask for help and know that the intensity of the first few weeks and months does settle.

In the meantime, here are my top six tips for surviving the first twelve weeks.

 ………

One - Surrender to the fourth trimester

Your baby is here, but they would much rather be in the womb.

Everything you experience in the first few weeks is much more about your baby managing the sensory stimulation (sight, touch, sound) of...

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Why boundaries are one of the highest forms of love there is

Uncategorized May 06, 2021
My first blog post for The Parenthood:
 
"Even if we know boundaries are important and have an idea of how they might work, there is another factor that holds many of us back from setting them: WE DON'T WANT TO UPSET OUR KIDS.
 
But when we can say no, and do it with calm, loving confidence, our kids feel more safe and secure than when we bribe or attempt to distract them. 
 
Read the full article here
 
 
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Fear and loneliness: Becoming a first-time mum

Uncategorized Jan 29, 2021

Below is a feature article from the Sydney Morning Herald during the height of the Corona Virus outbreak in Australia. It covers the links between the fear mothers have and the obvious loneliness they face. 

Genevieve Muir, an obstetric social worker at a private hospital in Sydney, says that the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures introduced to stall its spread are compounding the isolation that already plagues new parents.

 “It’s heightening anxiety, especially for people having their first baby,” she says. “When the normal supports that would be there, like dropping into a community health centre, aren’t available, it’s really hard for people.”
 

Muir recently joined forces with lactation consultant Felicity Hughes and doula Janine Armfield to start Ready Together, a one-stop-shop support service for new parents. “Women were saying they’re just completely stranded, they’ve had a baby,...

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How to avoid feeling terrible after snapping at your kid

Uncategorized Jan 29, 2021

I’ve yet to meet a parent who doesn’t occasionally lose it with their kids.

You’re stretched to your limit, stressed, pushed too far and snap. 

It usually happens when something our kids do triggers something in our past, and we operate from a sense of fear instead of love.

You yell. You say things you don’t mean. You send your kid away from you.

And then you feel terrible.

The good news is our kids don’t need perfect parents. In fact, evidence shows it’s important for our children to observe their primary caregiver learning from our mistakes.

When we muck it up it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to say “sorry, I got that wrong.... can we start again?”

What to do when you feel guilty about losing it with your child.  

 1. Calm yourself

Take a minute to breathe. This is a good opportunity for what I call a “parental time out”. It’s important we tell our kids that it is us and not them...

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Why it's important to let your kids fall

Uncategorized Jan 29, 2021

Many parents, including me, don’t want to put their kids in a situation where they might be hurt.  

Yet the goal of getting your newborn to adulthood isn’t just for them to survive, it’s for them to thrive. 

Part of this is helping your child handle risk confidently.

This is why you need to let your children fall.  

This doesn’t come easily for me. I’ve had to work hard on it.

I’ll never forget a time when my brother’s kids were standing on a wall that looked terrifyingly high. My brother noticed I was worried and said:

 “When I feel nervous I ask myself, could this kill them? If it can’t kill them I let them take the risk. If they hurt themselves they have also learnt a lesson and probably won’t do it again.”....

My brother was onto something because research from Dr Peter Gray, an evolutionary biologist, who has studied play deeply shows that when allowed to play freely without adult...

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