One of my newest endeavors? I'm creating all sorts of paintings in acrylics. All kinds, all sizes and having the best time trying this new medium. I haven't settled on an actual personal style because I'm only into this in the past 8 months. However, I discovered, much to my surprise, I've got some degree of talent at it. (At least that's what I'm told.)
Now, I cannot yet show you some of my work for two reasons. First, some of my early work involved making copies. These helped me to learn to see and to paint better and better. While it's a legitimate way to learn, they can not be posted here or sold because that could infringe on someones copyright. The second reason is this......SHHHHHHHH.....Christmas!!!!!
Please, don't tell my grown up kids. If you don't tell them, then I promise to post my Original Paintings Right Here. How's that sound.
Oh, just to tease you, I have posted above one which I gifted to a friend recently. (Can I tell you she really liked it.)
I hope your life is full of love, laughter and meaningful activity.
All my best to you and yours at Christmas and all through this coming year.
Hugs and Blessings,
Why Parenting Can See So Hard
Susie E. Caron (c) 5/20/16
Nobody told you it was going to be this hard – parenting – raising good kids.
Remember when you discovered that you were going to become a Mommy or Daddy? Remember how you felt - full of hope that you & your children would enjoy each other. You just knew they would grow up to remember how good you were to them and love you forever.
What happened after they reached ages 3, 4, and up? Were your hopes and dreams shattered? I hope not. However, if you are feeling discouraged, I’m about to help you.
Here’s the scoop: It’s not your fault and it’s not their fault either. You and your children may not get along from time to time because you are each under the influence of your own dilemmas. At those times it looks like you are ‘fighting’ each other, but each child and parent is also dealing with their own, unconscious, internal conflict. This is what makes parenting so hard and causes you a lot of stress and confusion. However, understanding how these conflicts influence you and your kids can help you parent with less stress.
Let me clear this up for you.
Here’s the parent’s conflict:
You want your kids to grow up while you secretly wish they could stay yours forever.
Here’s the child’s conflict.
Children are born with two strong driving forces: the drive to grow, expand and conquer, and the need to be protected.
Now, because you are an adult, you can handle your conflicted feelings. Just recognizing that they exist helps. It’s equally important for you to understand your children’s conflict and how that influences their behaviors. Then you will be less likely to take most of their resistance personally and parent them without feeling guilty. (It is futile to explain their dilemma to them. They can’t understand it and as I will explain below, they will still be driven.) However, when you understand, it can make parenting them easier for you.
Here’s what’s going on inside your kids.
As I mentioned, children are born equipped with two, strong, conflicting, instinctive drives: First to grow and second to be protected.
Drive #1: To Grow
The instinct to grow drives them to expand, grow, challenge you and everything they encounter. It’s not conscious or intentional. It’s built into their DNA and becomes their “Modus Operandi”. (MO). They continually test their abilities. They grow bigger physically. They take over more space in their environment. They take things apart and stick things into other things. They make messes, and also accomplish many wonderful things. They instinctively want to figure out and conquer everything. They reach, grab, crawl, sit, stand, walk, ride bikes and drive cars. However, while they're doing all this, they challenge you, everything and everyone to test themselves, their strength and understanding of the world.
This drive never diminishes. It continues to grow stronger with each passing year. In fact
Their drive to expand, grow and challenge becomes more dominant over time. That’s how they become adults, go to college, join the military, get jobs and marry. However, when this drive is active in childhood, they resist everything you do. They act as though you are interfering with their freedoms. In fact, most kids grow up holding onto a secret fantasy - that they really don’t need you and they could admit it, their motto would be, “Feed me and get out of my way.” This is why you can feel challenged, pushed, and just plain tired.
Whenever they seem to fight you they are often struggling against their second drive – to be protected.
Drive #2: To be Protected
The instinctive need to be protected, functions to keep children closely tied to the parent to help insure survival. Kids instinctively know they are dependent on you for their care and safety. This need is the strongest at birth and diminishes over time. You can see kids driven by this when they are really tired, struggling with friends, school, whining, whimpering and behaving as though suddenly they regressed into more babyish behavior. When their need for you to take care of them erupts in later childhood, they fuss about doing chores, completing homework or taking care of other responsibilities for which they are entirely capable. This dependency is adorable while they are infants and babies. However, it is upsetting to parents who wonder things like “Will they ever grow up?” and “What am I doing wrong?” or worse yet, “Has something horrible happened to my child to make him/her act this way.”
So, what makes raising kids hard?
As a parent, you want your kids to grow but also to be happy. At times you probably feel conflicted, confused or worried about how to raise your children. It’s difficult to be a good parent and know what to do. That’s your struggle.
Kids struggle too. They don’t come into your home dreaming of blissful family life with you. They are driven by the need to grow, which gets stronger, and the need to be protected which gets weaker. They want to grow up, leave home, do their thing, but at the same time they want to be babied and kept safe.
These are the reasons for their resistances and why parenting sees so hard.
There isn’t an easy solution. However, now that you understand your own conflicted feelings and how your kids unconsciously struggle with two opposing forces within, it can be a bit easier for you to 'parent' them. It's your right and responsibility. You can make good decisions, discipline them, comfort them, and do all the things you know you want to do to help them on their way to maturity. Now you can do it all without taking their thoughts (words) feelings and behaviors personally.
Parenting is a job, a great job and one for which only you are well equipped to do with your children. Take it seriously, but at the same time have fun and enjoy your kids as much as you possibly can. When they resist, decide whether it's time to comfort or to be 'matter of fact' and say something like "This is how life works, so get on with it."
Recognize it’s as difficult to be a kid as it is to be a parent. So when the kids push you or pull you, resist you or want babied, don’t take it personally or feel guilty about the decisions you make. Just do your best for them and you will be the best parent you can be. Who knows maybe by the time they turn 32, they’ll even let you know that you were and continue to be the best parent ever.
Twee’ means you and me,
Working to raise good kids.
Heart Memories to Keep
Susie E. Caron (c) 1997, 2016.
I wrote this poem at the time I faced an empty nest. It was first published in The North Star Monthly, June 1997, (Danville, VT.) under my pen name, Cuwciy, (pronounced 'Soosie'). I'm sharing this here because many of you will soon experience your own empty nest.
I hope you receive both healing and hope.
From my heart to yours,
Breezy day, busy day,
Too many under my feet.
Children play, people say
Too much, they gather to eat.
I wipe with cloth
And peel them off
Now they look nice and neat.
Stir with spoon, done to soon
Call them in from the street.
Stop the beast, frenzied feast
Warm and hot and sweet.
Laughter here stirs the air
Songs my heart does meet.
Over somehow, quiet now
Hear the rhythmic beat.
Echoes then, ghosts of when
Though missing, my heart does keep.
Cuwciy (c) 1997
Susie E. Caron (c) 2016
Essential Safety Games To Play With Preschoolers
Susie E. Caron 5/6/16*
I posted this blog first in *2014, but it’s so important to keep kids safe, that I re-post it at least once each year.
If you have young children play these three games with them until you are sure their responses become automatic. Play each game at least 3 times the first week you introduce them. Then repeat occasionally just to ensure their responses.
Children need to play! Did you know that games also benefit their development?
Playing these 3 games with your young children may also help you keep them safe.
Everyone enjoys playing Peek-A-Boo with babies because it makes everyone laugh. This also helps to generate your baby's feelings of health and safety, but there are more reasons.
Peek-A-Boo builds your baby's awareness that objects continue to exist in their environment, even when they cannot see them. This includes YOU. This awareness is also the foundation for the next two safety-based games for young children. So go ahead! Play Peek-A-Boo with baby.
2. Quick! Run to Mommy (or Daddy) Game*
In this game you teach your child to quickly run to you! (Note: see * below for suggested titles to call this game with your child.)
If you make your child's "Run to Mommy" response automatic and the child is rewarded for running fast to you, your child will be more likely to respond quickly, in situations that could be dangerous. For example: You can use this when your child gets out of sight in the grocery store.
How to teach Danger! - Run to Mommy!
I learned this game from a friend. She taught her toddler that when she said certain words,
"Poo Bear", he was to respond, "Tigger too!" and he would immediately run to her to be safe.
As you practice at home, with a toddler, it's best to offer a treat, like stickers, or a small cracker, for running back to you. This makes the game more fun and rewarding for the toddler to play correctly and to run fast!
Consistently using key words in this game can help keep your child safe. Your child's words help you to locate him/her. Your child's words also triggers action: running to you quickly.
*NOTE: If you don't like the words my friend used, you and your child can come up with your own words and responses. Pergaps you could select words from your child's favorite Twee' book. You could say "Twee' Means" and the child says "You and Me!" and returns to you immediately. [I couldn't help myself.]
3. Automatic - Hide and Go Seek
In this game you must find your hidden child.
Note: Play this game ONLY AFTER your toddler has a rapid response to Run to Mommy (or Daddy etc.). Then play Automatic - Hide and Go Seek often.
Reasons to play:
When children actually become lost, they FREEZE while they LISTEN for you to come and find them. The result is they don't know to call out to you, even if they hear you searching nearby. You child doesn't realize that you cannot see him all the time. He also doesn't realize that if you cannot see him, you won't be able to find him unless he calls out to you.
How to teach Automatic - Hide and Go Seek.
Tell you child, " I can see you most of the time. However, when you hide behind a couch, chair or in another room, I cannot see you.You are very important to me, so I always want to find you. So when I can't easily see you, I will say "Where Are You?" then I want you to call out "Here I am." Practice this in the house at first. Remember to reward your child as soon as you find him/her.
After you've practiced for a few minutes a day, over a few days, then tell your child, "Now that I know you will say 'Here I am!' to help me find you, I will let you hide longer. Remember when I say "Where are you?" I want you to yell out nice and loud "Here I am!"
Play these games with you children to instill some safety skills, for a little peace of mind and always share some fun!
I want to read your thoughts about this post, so leave me a note below.
Remember Twee' means You and Me,
Playing games with young children for safety.
‘Safety Seeds’ to Plant In Your Children
Susie E. Caron © 4/29/16
"You’ve Got To Talk About It Now!" That's what I told a young mother. She was worried about her little ones growing up in a world full of temptation to do drugs, and other things. However, she said she 'didn't want to scare them too soon.'
So I explained why she needed to talk with her kids no matter how young or old, and for as long as she can about the tough things like drugs, alcohol, sex, to keep them safe. I gave her some guidelines and examples and she seemed ready to try.
The problem is
that most parents wait until it is either too late, or their kids have already become confused by their culture of peers who think “it’s all good.” I know that no one wants to bring up these tough subjects, especially with toddlers and preschoolers. No one wants to 'scare' their children. So parents put it off, and put it off.
You know that you ‘should’ be talking with them, but maybe you put it off because you don’t know what to say.
Let me help you with that.
Even at the youngest ages you can talk about safety in happy, loving ways that make kids 'want' to keep themselves safe. This isn't fool proof, but it's far better than doing nothing. It worked for me and my children and for many others.
This week I’ll teach you some positive ways to plant' safety seeds' to help them stay away from drugs and alcohol, Then I’ll continue over the next few weeks to help you teach them how they can keep their bodies safe from other things.
Kid's are exposed to drugs and alcohol at every age.
Today’s children are ‘growing up’ way too fast. While many of them still believe in Santa Clause, they are exposed to drugs, alcohol use, sex and abuse. It’s all too much for them. Developmentally they cannot process and make wise decisions for themselves about these things, without your help.
You may not want to bring these subjects up at all. However, I guarantee that your kids are being exposed, often as young as preschool ages. That’s why it’s imperative that you begin to plant healthy 'safety seeds' in them now, especially in your babies.
During your children’s first 5 years, what you say really sounds like ‘gospel’. From age 6 years on up, little by little, you begin to lose your power of persuasion. However, it’s never too late to begin. So use these ideas and google for others and begin today to plant safety seeds about ‘staying safe.’
How do you plant seeds so your kids will stay away from drugs and alcohol.
The best way is to introduce the concept of staying safe in very positive ways, no matter what the topic. To do that you ‘hook’ safety words with happy experiences and good feelings.
For example, while diapering your wiggling, giggling child, you can plant safety seeds by say things like, ”You are my sweetie and Mommy (Daddy) will keep you safe and I want you to stay safe.”
That’s not too young to begin, because even before your child mentally understands, the words you say, will be planted in memory along with all the good feelings that come from wiggling, giggling, and smiling between the two of you.
This is what you seek: Good feelings connected to the words ‘stay safe.’
If your child is preschool age then you can be more specific. For example: While eating with your child, preferably one of their favorite foods, you can smile broadly at her and say, “I’m so happy to see you love good food and I know you’ll never put anything into your body that could hurt you.”
Once again you’ve coupled a happy feeling experience with seed words like ‘good food’ and 'not putting anything into her body that could hurt her'. Of course, your child won’t know what you mean, and may look at you funny and think about food she doesn’t like, but that’ okay. Say this from time to time, but don’t overdo it. Just stay positive and plant the seeds.
With Elementary School Children.
What if your child is already elementary school age? From 6-10 children really like to feel important. So if you suggest to your child “We have something very important to talk about after lunch today.” That peaks curiosity and motivates the desire to find out what this is about. Again you’ll want to make lunch pleasant and offer something your child really likes. Then stay at the table together and fold your hands like this is really important and serious (because it is).
Now say something like, “I’m so glad that we can talk about this because I want to keep you safe and I want you to be safe always. Maybe you’ve heard about people putting things into their bodies that could hurt them. They could be eating them, swallowing them, and so on. I just wanted to make sure that you are always safe and would never put anything into your body that could hurt you.”
Watch their eyes and body language.
If they smile and make eye contact with you, things are probably good at the moment. Ask a few questions and repeat, “I’m glad you’ll never put anything in your body that could hurt you.” Then let them go play. Stay vigilant about their play and sleep behaviors, because that’s what will change if they become exposed. Have this conversation again from time to time to let them know they can talk with you about anything.
If they get fidgety or avoid eye contact with you then ask, “Do you know anyone who has been doing something that could hurt them?’ Be caring and non- accusatory and just listen. Encourage them to tell you more by saying, “No matter what you tell me I want to keep you safe and I won’t be mad at you because you trust me.” They may tell you about someone else, and that may be true, but it could also be about themselves, even though they put it out to you as if it was ‘a friend.’
However, this is not the time to challenge their honesty. Continue to be caring and listen. Ask them questions, “Do you think is a good idea?” and say things like “Wow, I’m worried that is hurting their bodies.” Eventually, your kids may tell you if they have been exposed or have tried something themselves. When they do reveal something, thank them for trusting you and for telling you. Tell them you want to help keep them safe always. Next you can work on a plan together, or tell them you need to think about how you can help. Then you’ll talk some more with them about this.
If you discover something that is scary, concerning, or you have questions about what to do, please contact your medical doctor and mental health professional for guidance.
These conversations also apply to your teenagers. However, if you think your teens are getting involved in substance abuse. Don’t wait, thinking, “It’s a stage and it will pass.” Talk with your medical doctor and mental health professional and get whatever help is needed for you and for your teenager.
Start planting safety seeds in your children today.
I’m aware that this is not what every parent wants to discuss with their children. But hopefully I’ve given you some idea how you can start today to plant some positive 'safety seeds' that will help keep your kids away from drugs and alcohol and continue to build their relationship and trust in you. That is what really counts.
Thank you for reading this important article. Tell me what you think about this topic in the comments below.
Twee’ means you and me
Planting 'Safety Seeds' in Our Kids
Little Red Steps
Susie E. Caron © 4/21/16
I was not yet 3 years old when I painted the steps. However, I remember like it was yesterday.
We lived in a second floor apartment with outdoor steps to the ground. In my memory, I can see myself in short coveralls and bare feet, inching down the wooden stairs. I’d been told to ‘go play outdoors’. (Things were different in 1952.) To my surprise, about ¾ of the way down, I came upon an open can of red paint and a big wide brush. I figured that our landlord was going to paint the stairs, so I took the opportunity to help him.
While I struggled to manage that big, big, brush, which became very heavy when I dipped it into the paint, the Landlord arrived at the foot of the steps.
“Oh no, little lady,” he said, as he took the now sticky brush from my red stained hands. He carefully balanced the brush on the edge of the can. Then he took my clean hand into his, and helped me climb back up the stairs. “Your Mother is not going to be too happy about this.” He said, shaking his head.
She wasn’t. When she arrived to the other side of our screened in, green, wooden door. She smiled weakly at him and told him thank you, but immediately began scolding me.
She commanded me to ‘stand right there, young lady,’ and added ‘don’t you move.’ Suddenly afraid, I wanted to bolt down those steps, but I stayed rooted to the spot and began to cry. In a moment, she returned, still yelling at me, with rags and a can of something that smelled so bad it stung my nose as she opened it.
On our open deck, she roughly stripped me of my short coveralls and Tee- shirt. Next she plopped me upright into the small, empty, wading pool. Apparently I was a total mess, and the worst was yet to come.
Mother began scrubbing me; my legs and feet, hands and arms, face, head and neck with a rag dipped in turpentine. (Back then there was only toxic oil based paints, so she had to remove it with turpentine.)
She was rough and she kept yelling at me about paint, and money, and you'll be sorry and other scary things that an almost 3 year old could never understand. I remember that I was terrified. My mother was very angry and my skin stung from the turpentine and from the harsh rubbing it took to get it off. I remember when she finished that, she filled the small pool with the hose and commanded me to stay while she bathed me in the cold water, along with some soap. I don’t remember much about the rest of the day.
Please note: I was not abused. My mother did what she had to do to get me cleaned up. If she hadn’t, I could have suffered lead poisoning or even died. I am retelling this story as I perceived it in my child’s mind, because I want to illustrate how it affected me then and what I gained from that experience.
As I grew up I recognized that my Landlord and my Mother had reacted very differently.
Every time I recalled that event, I wondered “Why?”, "Why did the Landlord and my mother react differently"?
I was the same child. The steps were the same steps. The paint was the same red paint.
(Except that it wasn't. I was informed that it was actually green paint, but I believe that it changed in my mind because my legs and arms stayed red for quite a while after the scrubbing.)
Anyway, the only thing that was truly different were the reactions of my Landlord and my Mother. They had each responded in different ways to my behavior.
As a result of my experiences, studies, and work with children and families I've uncovered some basic truths.
Adults don’t understand children and children don’t speak ‘adult’.
Adults can choose how they respond or react to children’s behaviors.
At almost 3 years of age, I was already a person who wanted ‘to help people.’
I still do.
That’s why I write parenting articles and podcasts. I really want to help you understand your kids better, connect with them, gain their cooperation and have more fun.
That’s also why I write picture books for adults to read with their children. I want to illustrate how children think, how their perception of their world develops, and encourage you to talk about these important things with them. You can find them at SusieCaronOnAmazon.com
Do you like what I’m sharing? Is this helpful? Give me an idea what issues you struggle with and I’ll answer you. Just email me: email@example.com
Remember, Twee’ means you and me
Choosing wisely how to respond to children
Don't Paint the Children
Susie E. Caron © 4/15/16
Write, Ride, Paint!
Yep. That's what I'm doing from now through the summer months. All winter long I write blogs, podcasts and work on the books I'd like to publish. Come spring I am chomping at the bit, just to get out and ride my horse Apple. However, recently I've also rekindled a passion I had acquired earlier in my life: I love to paint.
Currently, I'm painting some small items that will become Christmas gifts. I feel happy about these because I hope they will give their recipients some pleasure. However, I am learning how funny paint, canvas and brush can be.
Paint, for example, has its own mind and will often behave in unusual or unexpected ways as I lay brush to canvas. Sometimes, it's dry and goes on thick. Sometimes the tiny brush has hidden extra water in its housing and spills out when I least expect it. Sometimes it blends very nicely and sometimes it simply misbehaves. But I love it no matter what.
Brushes? Don't get me started on brushes. Why, just this morning I was telling my husband how I remembered that brushes each have their own personality. So, I am learning how to get along with each and every one, even the ornery ones.
This reminds me of the kids I've known. I never met a kid I didn't like. They're a lot like paint and brushes. Like paint, each child has a way of going about day to day life. Like brushes, each one has his or her own distinctive personality.
In my experience, (and life-long career) I've discovered that raising (or working with) children is a lot like applying paint to canvas with a bush. When I paint I can guide but I cannot change how each brush leaves its own distinctive - unique marks. I think it's important for parents to recognize that sometimes they're painting their children rather than letting their children paint.
Teaching children is necessary. Without it children, like wet paint, run wild all over the place.
However, attempts to make them into personalities of our own choosing, does them unnecessary harm.
As parents we must guide (teach) our children while at the same time, strive to create a life in which we encourage the development of each child's unique personality. This is more like teaching them to paint. However, to unleash their creative natures, they need something more.
Children require encouragement in order to develop their uniquely individual personalities.
Without your encouragement and support, children can develop damaged self-concepts. They can feel like they were painted with ugly colors or the wrong sized brush.
So, as parents, we must be certain to not paint our children. Instead we need to teach them how to use paint and brushes, but then we must admire, encourage and support their artistic expressions.
Do you paint with your children? That's a good way to support them. What do you do to support and encourage each of your children so they develop and express their own wonderful personalities?
Twee’ means you and me
Teaching children , then letting them paint.
Does Anyone Care?
Susie E. Caron © 4/8/ 16
Have you noticed? We're on a runaway train. Our lives have sped up and sped up, going faster and faster. Where are we headed? Why are we in such a hurry to get there?
One Bible passage says "Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures..."
Think about that! It's not a long time.
This same scripture continues to say this. "yet the best of them [years] are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away." Psalms 90:10.
Do we ever consider this? Do we care? What do we care about, or whom?
Here's a quick look at a human life span from 0-70.
Yes, life is short, very short. What makes life 'worth living'? "Does anyone care?
He tells us what's important. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27. [FYI, Your 'neighbor' doesn't mean next door. Your 'neighbor' applies first to your spouse and kids, as well as to others.]
I care and show you, through my blogs and podcasts, how to develop better, stronger, sweeter relationships with your kids. I want you to know how important that is. I want you to recognize that, on this runaway train called "life", everything else is just 'stuff'.
I guarantee that all the 'stuff' will "fly away" along with the years.
When it does, and you find yourself in the last car on that train, who will be there with you? This is important because only our relationships count, especially those good connected relationships with God, our spouse, our children and each other. Only when we care about one another can we sit in the Caboose of our lives, knowing that we have loved, and we have been loved, and hear these words from Our Lord.
"Well done, good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:23
Today, I urge you to make priority #1, to develop better connections with God and with those you love, especially your spouse and your kids. If you're struggling with how to do this, please seek help from a pastor or counselor. If you want to gain more confidence and add some skills, read my blogs, and listen to my podcast because I care about you.
I'd love to hear from you and to know if you feel 'cared about' by me. Tell me if I've helped you or touched your heart in some way? Please tell me.
Post a comment here or on my podcast cafe' page, or your can write to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
We're really in this life together,
Twee' means you and me
Caring about each other and especially our children.
Susie E. Caron
These are from my former life with many current memories and helps for parents.
I retired from teaching, became a psychotherapist treating children and families and an author. After retiring I became a full time artist.
I recently reopened this parenting blog because I believe wisdom is to be shared.
Author of Chidren's Books,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, I want to help you build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, & books at a time.
When I'm not busy creating articles or paintings, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or playing with my Boxer, Josie.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
Buy All 3 Today.
Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!