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“Appreciating our children as they


are is one way to keep our hearts open,” says Stiffelman.


Focus on the Good When Barbara Unell, a parent educator and author of Discipline With Love and Limits: Calm, Practical Solutions to the 43 Most Common Childhood Behavior Problems, birthed twins, she was initially daunted by the work of caring for them. Ten she began simplifying by focusing on the “wow” factors. “Being a parent speaks to the core of our


humanity. Experiencing the growth and development of a human being is miracu- lous. I started looking at parenting through that lens,” says Unell, who lives in the Leawood, Kansas, area. Asha Dornfest, of Portland, Oregon,


a podcaster, co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less and mother of two, relates, “I paid more attention to my values and my family’s unique needs and was less influ- enced by parenting experts, social pressures and well-meaning peers.” Dornfest explored her own values by


asking, “What did I learn from my par- ents?” and, “How do I want my family to be different?” She also practiced trusting her intuition. “Even when I’m not certain I’m right, I know I love my children, I’m doing my best, and I’ll make adjustments if necessary,” she says.


Create Rhythm and Rituals Rhythmic activities ease the anxiety of fam- ily transitions and furnish warm solidarity, consistency and connectedness. “Increasing the predictability of meals, bedtime and other rituals also improves family life,” says Davina Muse, a mental health counselor and mother of two from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Muse serves as train-


ing director for Simplicity Parenting, a program based on Kim John Payne’s book Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids that of- fers a connective ritual families can merge with mealtimes. Each person describes a “rose” (one good thing from the day) or a


“thorn” (one challenging thing) and a “bud” (one thing they’re anticipating). Such sharing builds a family


connection and helps kids discuss difficult issues, notes Muse. Also,


“Describing the bud liſts everyone’s mood.” Every Friday evening, the Dorn-


fests share a Sabbath dinner, a low- key way for them to gather and talk. “Tis ritual adds a rhythm to our week and anchors us,” says Dornfest.


Elect De-Stress Over Distress Everyone can sometimes become over-scheduled and overwhelmed; a balance between scheduled time and downtime is necessary to well-being. In her daily check- in, Dornfest confers with herself and her husband, inquiring, “How are things going? Are they too hectic? Is our schedule energiz- ing or draining?” She advises, “When I feel like I’m


riding a runaway train, I slow down. Tere seem to be so many ‘shoulds’ in parenting; we instead need to discover what our family loves.” Before enlisting a child for an activity, Dornfest suggests we ask why it’s important: Are you making up for your own missed opportuni- ties as a child? Are you worried your


child will miss out? Do you equate these lessons with being a good and caring parent? Parenting is more than checking


off lists and tasks. It’s about being connected with children. Build in playtime, roughhousing, chase each other around the yard, toss balloons or balls together, blow bubbles and welcome opportuni- ties for laughter.


Soothing Quiet Time Children that act out or withdraw may not have enough downtime.


• Serving patients and their families with restorative care using tooth-colored dental materials


• Providing dental treatment for medically-compromised patients and those with allergies and chemical sensitivities


• Offering initial exams, consultations, second opinion evaluations, and collaboration with patients’ health care providers


MICHAEL D. FLEMING, DDS, PA JOHANNA LERZUNDY, DDS


1858 Hillandale Road Ste 200 • Durham, NC 27705 919-471-1064 • www.drmichaelfleming.com


28 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


michaeljung/Shutterstock.com


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