Polly and I met at uni where we mainly shouted excitedly at each other in grotty student clubs. These days our chats are less ‘Chambulls’ fuelled (that’s Champagne + Vodka + Redbull) but just as manic, as we discuss the madness of little people.
When Polly told me that she had set up Let’s Ask Livvy with her behavioural expert sister Livvy it sounded like a dream.
Their vision is to use Livvy’s knowledge from working with challenging children (and having kids of her own) to help all parents navigate everyday parenting issues. Tantrums, fussy eating, sibling rivilary – the sort of stuff we all face but don’t have either the energy or first clue how to solve. Having Livvy onboard is like whole extra parent on your team. But one who know what they are doing, rather than blagging (hooray!).
Here Let’s Ask Livvy’s list of ‘Everyday Problems Everybody Faces But Nobody Talks About’:
Meal-time melt downs. Why is it the more expensive/organic the ingredients the less they are likely to eat it. We strive to give our kids a healthy, balanced diet (when we have the energy), but they reject it, chuck it, or worst refuse to even try it and we end up eating most of it ourselves at around 5:05pm
Empty Threats. “Right that’s it we’re leaving”, “There’ll be no presents from Father Christmas”, “Stop that or there’s no TV for a week”. We pretty much know we’re never going to go through with any of it – and the kids do too….so they keep doing exactly what we were doing anyway. It can be hard to come up with something realistic when you’re scrambling the wrong way up a plastic slide in borrowed socks trying to extract a kid wired on fruit shoots out of soft play.
Being Ignored. Trying to get out of the house, into the bath, into/out of clothes should be simple but can sometimes be the most trying tasks of the day with kids. Basic co-operation and listening doesn’t feel like an unreasonable request right? We ask nicely, ask nicely again, we try not to shout. Inside we’re screaming.
Mediating madness. The other day I found myself calling from the kitchen “No punches to the face please boys”. Maybe one for the mothers with sons out there but we’ve probably all tried to impose some kind of fighting rules/etiquette which they largely ignore and instead continue bundling/wrestling and generally trashing the house. I see flashes of the Brownlee brotherly love in our house but not as much as I’d like! Sibling rivalry and competition is a tricky one for all parents to contend with especially when siblings are close in age.
Separation Anxiety. This can work both ways! Some kids skip off into nursery or school without even a glance backwards and others find this really tricky…including the mums. You get really good at practising your happy face as you wave goodbye but the watery eyes and last night’s mascara creeping down your face is a dead giveaway. Leaving our kids upset can feel like it goes against all of our instincts and the learning curves can be as steep for us as they are for them.
Bedtime Bedlam. It’s the end of the day…we’ve made it. Everyone is knackered and patience is low. We just want to get the kids calmly into bed – and for them to stay there- so we can get downstairs for a tea/gin/wine or just to start the tidy up process ahead of the whole thing starting again tomorrow. The other night my sister Polly called me for advice after 3yr old had got out of bed 36 times in a row at bedtime….thankfully we knocked that one on the head the next night!
Kiddy Rage. Yes, sometimes kids can get angry, they lash out…sometimes we’re in the firing line, sometimes it’s a sibling or peer. They find it impossible to control/hide/handle their emotions and they react to situations and scenarios in ways we feel totally unprepared for. We receive no training as parents yet it’s the most important job we’ll ever do.
And finally, the Tantrum Turmoil. Pre-kids we’ve probably all seen these in action, maybe we judged, maybe we didn’t but nobody warns you about how you’ll feel when it’s your kid throwing the tantrum…it’s so disarming when we don’t know the best way to control the situation.
Now of course, just as every child is different, every family is different and we all have our own style of parenting. But I do believe there are certain principals, strategies and techniques which will help turn around any behaviour and help us get the best out of everyday with our kids….
1. Praising the positives. This is rule number 1 in behavioural terms. We praise the things we like, and want to see more of.
2. Rewards. All kids will respond to rewards – it’s just about finding the thing that motivates them and making sure it’s appropriate to their age and stage of development
3. Be Consistent. We probably hear this a lot but it really is a golden rule. No use you saying one thing and your partner saying another…guaranteed the little monkeys will find any chinks in armour and catch you out!
4. Teach them alternatives. If we don’t like the way a child is reacting to something try and teach or show them a different way to behave or respond.
5. Set your boundaries. Kids need to know what is and isn’t ok and that will be different for all of us. Whatever your boundaries are, they’ll be right for you so have the courage to stick to them.
As a mum of 3 and with her professioanl background Livvy can help with any parenting issue you may face, helping you to understand the reasons behind a behaviour and possible triggers, and most importantly how to react.
She will work with your parenting style to develop clear, practical and effective strategies to help. Livvy is here to help and never to judge, and will support you along the way.
** Honestly I need all of the above SO badly. Which is why I am hosting a workshop with Let’s Ask Livvy next Friday October 7th focussing on Encouraging Sibling Bonds (finger-crossed no more endless scrapping) at a special discounted rate of £65 for Mother of all Lists Readers. Just leave your email address below and the girls will be in touch.**
How sad that all of the above seems to apply 😱!! Brilliantly written!! Just heard Lucy do the one minute pitch at Mothers Meetings and wanted to sign right up!! Can’t do the 7th, but she is definitley going on my important people to call list as I navigate tween hormones which seem more fraught with tantrums then the terrible twos (which I always felt quite smug about not being so bad). Beware of moments of smugness in motherhood as WHOAH do they really come round to snack you in the face!! 😜