Learn Something New//Parenting Through Play

Hey All!

Thanks for joining me again for the new #TeachMe series.  Those of you who have been keeping up with my posts for a while know that the theme of my blog focuses on mending relationships.  I’ve spent quite some time now providing insight, new perspectives, and advice on how to improve your romantic relationships, as well as those between friends and co-workers.

Today, I wanted to shine some light on another important aspect of our lives…the parenting relationship.  Now, I’m no certified expert in this area, so today I include myself in learning something new.

I think many of us can agree that communication is one of the top priorities in nurturing a healthy and successful relationship. I’m sure many of you have mastered the skill of understanding baby talk…but, hopefully you can agree that this alone can become challenging.  Young children appear to have so much to say, and often times they have not yet fully developed the vocabulary to express themselves.  Both parent and child may then become easily irritable.  An increase in emotional and behavioral concerns from the child can take place as a result.

“Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life” (Russ, 2004).

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Play therapy is a way for both parent and child to begin learning how to communicate with one another.

“Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego” (Landreth, 2002).

Initially, play therapy was created to treat mental, behavioral and psychosocial concerns, with weekly sessions with your child and a trained play therapist.  But I don’t see the harm in using this technique for any child under the age of 10, and with parents who want to improve their interactions with their child/decrease behavioral and emotional concerns. Just be sure to gain as much knowledge as possible in this therapy technique.

I had the opportunity to participate in play therapy, and filial therapy (teaching parents how to use play therapy with their kids) during my grad program.  I absolutely loved this! Now, I know what many of you must be thinking…

  • Why would I need someone teaching me how to play with my children?
  • I already play with my kids…and we have fun!

I completely get that you may have these thoughts initially.  I wanted to highlight the difference between play therapy and just everyday play.  Watch this quick video here on play therapy, to get a better idea of what this entails.

Play therapy helps parents to learn more about their children. Typically, children are unable to express themselves verbally.  For example, as a parent you may not get an accurate account of how your child’s day was (either at school or daycare), through verbal descriptions alone.  In addition to these types of questions, parents can allow their children to take the lead through play, to gain a better understanding on what they are feeling, and what they have experienced.

You have to allow the child to lead completely, refrain from guessing at what the child may be doing during play, and fight the urge to “help” them complete a task that you know they are capable of doing on their own. For example, asking your child things like: what do you want me to do next, where should I sit, what do you want the police officer to say? Try not to assign any names or labels to any of the toys until your child does so first (ie.the car may not be a “car”..may be a spaceship!).

Your child will begin gaining confidence, and learn how to better express themselves. Again, this type of play is separate from your everyday play (30 mins-1 hour, weekly or as often as you’d like).

The toys that are recommended to assist in this type of play expression:

Real Life/Nurturing (baby dolls, phone, money, furniture, clothes for dress up)

Acting Out/Aggressive Release (handcuffs, masks, “scary toys”, inflatable bop bag)

Expressive (paper, crayons, paint, building blocks)

*Board games are not encouraged for this type of play, because they limit expression and creativity.  Other than that, board games are awesome, and are a household necessity!

What are your experiences with playing with your children? How often do you play? 

Thanks for reading! Go out, play, and have fun!

Resources:

Click here to learn more about play therapy: benefits, what this treats, etc.

Click here for a more detailed list of toys to include in play therapy.

Association for Play Therapy

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~FreeBryd

Image credit# 1, 2 and 3: Google images

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Connect With Me//Mix and Mingle

Sunday’s on Be Free 2 Love, will now be dedicated to meeting new people!

You never know who will cross your path, and what purpose they will serve in your live.  In my experience so far with life in general, so many others continue to encourage and inspire me, and many have no idea how much they are appreciated.  Let’s take a moment to say hi to someone new, and possibly gain a long-term friend.

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In recognition of today, I ask that you do the following:

  1. Please share one fun fact about yourself.
  2. Please share at least one goal you plan to reach for the week.  The more you say it, the more you’ll make it happen!
  3. Leave a link to your page, so others can get to check out your space.
  4. Want to share this post with others? Be sure to pingback and reblog this post, and tag #Friendships.

If you need help with figuring out how to add a link in your posts on wordpress, check out the link here, and the image below:

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Hopefully this image will help explain how to do this better.  Or you can simply copy and paste the link from another blog site, and paste the link on yours.

I’ll be a team player, and start the process!

  1. Fun fact about me: I’ll be traveling to Mexico in just a few weeks for vacation!!
  2. My goal for the week: Work out at least 2x.  I fell off again, and need to get it together! So, I’ll work my way back up to more days.

*I give credit to the meet and greet to Dream Big, Dream Often, for inspiring me to reach out to new people each day.  Check out his blog for some cool tips on how to reach your goals!

Happy Friending!

~FreeBryd

Photo Credit #1: https://www.contentwatch.com/

Photo Credit #2: http://www.jazzhostels.com/

Understanding Empathy

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Finding yourself stuck in a cycle of negativity, or similar arguments with someone you love?

Our relationships can suffer because we minimize one anothers feelings.  Even if doing so was not our intention.  Many of us lack the ability to see another persons perspective.  Often times we are too focused on our own feelings and experiences, that we completely miss the mark.  We miss opportunities to connect with others, because we are being “selfish”, or at least coming across as such.

More and more, I’m noticing that much of what we communicate tends to get lost in translation.  We attack one another simply because we believe we were wronged in some way.  The worst part is that when these messages are misunderstood, many of us fail to gain clarification on the intended message.  As a result, maybe you spend the next day replaying that conversation in your head.  Man, have I been there one too many times! I admit that I have let my imagination run wild, without taking a moment to calm those nasty convos in my head.

Then, when I am able to confront the “issue”, I often learn that I was wrong.  So, realistically I’ve spent an unimaginable amount of time dwelling over things that could have been cleared up if I was able to understand the other’s interpretation without having my feelings block my judgement.

Psychotherapist Cindy Sigal, AMFT (Relationshipshttp://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/06/08/the-power-of-empathy-in-romantic-relationships-how-to-enhance-it/) has a wonderful perspective on how to improve empathy in our relationships.

What is EMPATHY?

Cindy discussed three different types: Cognitive (we don’t lose sight of our feelings).  Here we are able to recognize others feelings without experiencing these same feelings ourselves.

Emotional (sharing feelings with your partner or others). If your hurting, I’m hurting. If you’re angry, I’m angry too.

Compassionate ( a whole person response (changing our own behavior).  With this type, we realize what our partner may be experiencing, and actively alter our behavior to increase positive feelings.  For example, you may know that today wasn’t a good day for the other person.  Instead of adding onto their current stress load, you do something different.  You may say kind words, or pick up their favorite snack.

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In addition to understanding the different types of empathy, it will also be helpful to identifying the Road Blocks from experiencing empathy.

-Getting sucked into our own perspectives (how we are feeling vs our partner): From my experiences with others including what I’ve been through personally, is that many disputes/disagreements occur when you feel the other person isn’t listening, or feel as though they do not care.  Many of us become stuck with defending ourselves when communicating, because for some reason we feel attacked.  What can possibly be resolved if both of you aren’t even attempting to understand the others perspective?  You’d don’t have to agree with them, but this will help you grain clarity.  I’m definitely still a work in progress!

-Focusing on negatives: Can you imagine a lifetime full of complaints, with no motivation to make any positive changes? #exhausting. We all have our days of picking out the “wrongs”, but what about trying to clear a tiny circle off of that filthy mirror from time to time.  This will definitely keep your relationships “stuck” in the helpless zone. Try finding at least one positive for every 3 negatives.  This may be challenging if your thinking has already been shaped by constant negative messages, but your situation is not hopeless. Train yourself to think differently…it’s never too late to learn something new. 🙂

-Treat ourselves how we would treat others: I admit that am not the best example of this.  I allow others the ability to make mistakes, and offer them my best advice and encouraging words.  But, I don’t always allow myself these same luxuries.  Yes, I want to push myself, and learn from past experiences.  How will this be possible if I won’t even give myself the opportunity to reflect on these roadblocks?

I hope that today is a wonderful day for everyone, and we all are able to improve our Empathy!

What contributes to your overall satisfaction in your romantic relationships ( past, present, or future)?

-XOXO

FreeBryd

Photo #1:http://www.canstockphoto.com/

Photo #2: http://www.lifetimeloveaffair.com/