Category Archives: Procrastination

Positive Parenting: How to Turn Sibling Foes into Friends, Anna Kangas

dealing with sibling rivalry, preventing sibling rivalry, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication

Sibling rivalry. It often starts at birth. I’ve heard the story many times. Baby number two+ comes along and the used-to-be-baby of the family shows those signs of jealousy—sleep regressions, potty accidents when they’d been trained for months already, tantrums over the littlest things. It’s tough on the whole family. Things have changed. They’re feeling insecure. An older child may even voice it.

Fast-forward a few years and instead of the toddler tantrums, you’ll be hearing “Mom! Billy hit me!” and “Dad, Susie won’t stop copying me!” These issues are really obvious right now when our whole world has been changed. Most siblings would just have a couple of hours a day, plus the weekends spent together…. and at the time of this writing, we are in our homes almost 24/7 in a family togetherness experiment like no other. Yes, there are good things coming out of it. For example, maybe this time can help your kids find their friendship again. “Your siblings can be your best friends” my husband reminds our kids often.

So how can we help them accomplish this? Before we can solve the problem, it helps to look at why this may be occurring. What causes this sibling rivalry, this jealousy, competition, and/or fighting. Is it boredom? Too much screen time? Perhaps. But my gut tells me this: I’d be willing to bet that one of the biggest reasons for our kids acting out is that they are craving attention from us, their parents.

Think about how this rivalry may stem from the time the younger sibling is born—

that postpartum time when the new baby takes up so much of our attention. Add in something big, such as the current state of our world, and this huge feeling of insecurity can add another level of stress. So if you’ve been wondering why on earth they keep fighting so much lately, I’d bet these things have a big part in it. If you’re like me, you’ve been spending too much time tuning into the state of the world. My phone is too close to me, and I’ve been draining the battery too often. One of the ways I know it’s too much is when my kids start acting out.

If you’re experiencing this during the postpartum time, I recommend taking some extra time with the older kids who may be feeling neglected. Keep a basket of books near your couch and sit there while you breastfeed. Involve the bigger kids in caring for the baby. Encourage them, “You’re such a wonderful big sister—look at him smiling at you, he loves you so much!”

dealing with sibling rivalry, preventing sibling rivalry, U.P. holistic business, U.P. wellness publication
Are your children past those baby years? Well. Have you ever heard of The 5 Love Languages? With kids, it’s really easy to find out what they need. Just ask them “How do you know someone loves you?”

They might answer, “When I get a hug.” There’s the physical touch.

“When someone tells me.” Hello, words of affirmation.

“When they play a game with me.” Aha! Quality time.

“When they give me a present!” You guessed it, receiving gifts!

“When they help me with my chore.” And there you have acts of service.

Go ahead; ask your child this simple question. It can go a long way toward knowing how to keep him or her feeling secure, safe, and loved.

I think quality time is extremely important, no matter what your main Love Language is. So start by spending time with your kids, good quality time. Be engaged. Put away the phone, TV, electronics. Take them on one-on-one “date nights.”

Give them the stability, consistency, and love they need. This will build up their confidence, and I’m willing to bet you’ll begin seeing a difference in their attitudes and behavior.

But even with the most stable, loving environment, kids will be kids.

There will be fights. And these stressful times we’ve been living in the past few months are going to show in our kids. They’re feeling the stress, too. So, what can we do for them? How do we help guide them when these fights break out?

As Brian Helminen, a Calumet dad of fifteen and author of How to Raise a Happy Family recommends in his book, “Stay neutral as much as possible and let kids settle their differences.” Stepping in to settle their battles for them every time won’t help them in the long run. As long as they aren’t causing each other major bodily harm (then it’s time to referee), letting them find a solution between themselves is a good lesson. It’s part of growing up—finding the maturity to solve disagreements.

The few times my husband and I had to step in, we chose to referee and bring in the “get-along” shirt.” The two siblings who have been in battle must wear an oversized T-shirt together for a set amount of time. What had started with tears and fighting ends in laughing and smiles as they try to navigate together.

Learning to settle differences is a skill.

And who better to learn it with than the people who love you most, your family members? An unconditional love creates a safe space for kids to be themselves, and grow into responsible adults. Because that’s what we’re striving for, right? As New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews says, “The goal is not to raise great kids. It’s to raise kids who become great adults.”

I hope these tips help you to find a balance in your family. From learning their love languages and maybe trying a “get-along” shirt, to making an effort to make sure to spend some good quality time with your family, it’s not too late to encourage your children to find the amazing friendship possible between siblings.

Anna Kangas is a full-time homeschooling mom of seven, wife of 10+ years, and owner of Keweenaw Doula Services. She is passionate about supporting families in Houghton and Keweenaw counties during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.

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Inner Nutrition: Procastination-Prevention Prompts, by Roslyn Elena McGrath

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.” – Spanish Proverb

Does the mere thought of procrastination provoke a sense of uneasiness and even mild-to-moderate guilt?

According to http://www.psychologicalscience.org, “experts define it as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we’ll suffer as a result. Studies have found that procrastinators carry accompanying feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety with their decision to delay, in addition to negative impacts on ‘performance, well-being, health, relationships, regrets & bereavement.’ ”

Leading expert Pychyl, who runs the 20-year-old Procrastination Research Group, finds “Procrastinators get sick more often, report higher rates of depression, and suffer the somatic and psychological effects of elevated stress. Procrastination doesn’t only affect our personal well-being and integrity, but it has an ethical dimension, affecting those around us who suffer ‘second-hand,’ either because of the time we take away from them when we rush off to finish things last-minute, or because the stress we put ourselves under negatively affects the health of our relationships.”

While some of us are chronic procrastinators (20 percent of the U.S. population, according to psychologist Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a leading international researcher on the topic), most of us procrastinate at some time or another. Do you have a task you’ve been putting off? If so, I invite you to explore the following questions:

Is this actually a task or is it a goal? If it’s a goal, what is the first task for you to accomplish toward it? For example, if I want to lose weight, that is my goal. I will then need to choose concrete steps toward achieving it, perhaps no longer buying high-calorie snacks, or eating smaller portions. If what you initially chose is a goal, pick a beginning action step toward it, and apply the questions below.

Do I truly need to do this task? Is it actually a low priority item for my values, a “should” from a sense of social expectations or obligations? Or is it something that is more appropriately someone else’s responsibility? For example, has your child reached an age where he or she could put away his or her laundry, benefitting by taking responsibility for this task?

Do I want to do this task? Does it help me to achieve something I value? Or help to prevent something I find detrimental from taking place? Take a look at the longer-term benefits here. While your task may not have short-term appeal to you, its longer-term value may get you over the delaying-hump to act on it. For example, if I want healthy gums and teeth, I may choose to floss daily despite any dislike I may have for the action itself.

Am I able to do this task? Or do I need more information, skills, or other support? If so, what steps can I take to equip me to complete this task? Do I need to chunk this task down into a series of smaller, more easily accomplishable tasks?

Is there something else I need to do before tackling this task? Do I need more sleep and/or nutrition to be able to accomplish it? Do I need to clear a physical space (desk, counter, etc.) to be physically and/or mentally able to do it? Do I need to obtain and/or organize the materials involved to be able to do it? Is there a different task that really, truly is more important for me to take care of first?

Am I afraid of failing (or of succeeding) at this task? If so, what potential consequences of this are concerning me? How might I respond effectively to my concerns? Who or what might support me in responding to these concerns? Are these potential consequences of greater or lesser concern to me than the risks involved with not following through with this task?

Am I simply in the habit of not doing this task? If so, what steps can I take to help me create a new habit of accomplishing this task? Is there someone or something that might help support me in creating this new habit?

Is there a better way for me to accomplish this task? Is there a more efficient method for me to do this? A more enjoyable one? A better perspective on doing it? A better time of day for me to do it? Might it help me to schedule it in or tell someone supportive when I will accomplish it? Set a deadline for its completion? Reward myself in a healthy manner for following through at each step along the way? Would it be better for me to request, barter or pay someone else to do it?

As Pychyl explains “Procrastination is really a self-inflicted wound that gradually chips away at the most valuable resource in the world: time.” Only you can discover what you need to do to help heal that wound and reap the rewards of time well-spent.

Roslyn Elena McGrath is the author of Chakras Alive! and other personal growth books and CDs. She recently released a recording of the Chakras Alive! meditations, and also offers workshops and private appointments. For more info., visit http://www.empoweringlightworks.com or contact (906) 228-9097, info@empoweringlightworks.com.

Reprinted with permission from Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, Spring 2018 Issue, copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

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