Sibling Rivalry

When my second child was born my oldest was thrilled. She was just 15 months old at the time and she loved the little bundle we brought home. Until she wanted my attention and I was busy with the baby.

As parents, when the second child is born we have high hopes that the siblings will get along. The truth is, sibling rivalry starts early and if left unchecked can lead to years of anger and frustration – both for you and your child. I will admit, that I never thought about this when my kids were little. It wasn’t until they were much older that I started to look into how to get the girls to stop fighting that the light dawned.

By anyone’s standard I’m a good parent. I have always been a great mom, but as I read books like Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too I realized what I was doing to contribute to the problem. Um, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to make getting ready for bed a race. It worked beautifully. “Come on girls. Let’s see who can get ready for bed first!” Off they’d run, without a complaint. We were all happy. But maybe there was a better way.

In working with my sister, I’m discovering how much harder it is when one of the siblings has autism. January we have dedicated to the topic of siblings. Check out these posts for more information:

We have one more post coming next week on the topic of siblings before we discuss other ideas. Please join us on this journey. Follow our blog Accessible ABA and let me know what you think!

Why Time Out Might Be Making Your Child’s Behavior Worse

I need to contribute. I am someone who needs to feel like I am making a difference in the world, no matter how small. Volunteering is a core value of mine and although my schedule makes it hard for me to commit to volunteering regularly we have been fostering for over a year now and I love it.

But that’s not enough for me. I want to use my skills in a way that makes the world better in some way. I want to write in a way that helps others learn and grow. I believe my first book does that and I have many ideas for future books. But I want to do more.

My sister has asked me to partner with her on her website and so I have begun working on that. She is an expert in child behavior and works with children with autism. She’s a licensed BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) with a master’s degree and plenty of knowledge but doesn’t enjoy writing the way I do. So we are combining our skills.

Our first collaborative post I could have used about 10 years ago: Why Time Out Might Be Making Your Child’s Behavior Worse.

Please join me on this journey. Follow our blog Accessible ABA and let me know what you think!

What Do You Want More Than Anything Else?

New Year’s Day is a time for resolutions. We use this time to reflect on the year that has passed, and plan for the year ahead. There are many changes I’d like to see in 2019. Among those are:

  • Become more disciplined in my writing.  I want to finish my novel this year and begin blogging again.
  • Maintain my weight for the year.
  • Continue running 5 miles once or twice a week while increasing speed.
  • Reduce the use of artificial sweeteners.
  • Do more physical activities with my kids.
  • Reduce sugar and increase vegetables in the girls’ diet.

The problem is that New Year’s resolutions are incredibly difficult to stick to.  It sounds good on January 1 when we tell ourselves we’re going to start eating better, but we’re not going to start on a holiday, right?  There’s a big party and we can’t possibly miss out on Joe’s wings and Sarah’s brownies.  Tomorrow is as good a day to start as today.  Then January 2 a coworker brings in a dozen doughnuts…and we decide it can wait a day.

I was in this rut for years.  There was always a reason to wait a day.  I was too busy, too tired, too frustrated, too sad, too happy.  And so I’d wait.

I researched ways to break this cycle.  I Googled how to stick to resolutions and I read about changing habits.  The experts would have you believe there’s a formula you can follow.  I read about SMART goals in Take Control Of Your Life: A 2 hour plan to help you set and reach your goals and forming habits in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.  Their arguments made sense and I liked the idea that there was a clear cut answer. I recommend both these books, but their formulas didn’t work.  Maybe they will work for you, but they didn’t for me.  I found sticking to following the formula had the same problem I had sticking to the resolution.  I just didn’t do it.

But last year was different.  Last year I made changes to my life and I stuck with them.  I fundamentally changed how I was eating.  I became more physically active.  I wrote for the first time in years.  I started doing all the things I’d told myself for years I would do.

What was different?  How did I suddenly do it when I’d never been able to follow through before?

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot, because as I posted yesterday I’ve gotten off track and I want to fix it.  I know I can – I’ve done it before.  But how?

What I’ve come up with is that I wanted it and I believed in myself.  I made myself a priority.

By the end of 2017 my back hurt so badly I was in tears just trying to get off the couch.  I knew if I lost weight it would hurt less.  And I wanted to hurt less.  I wanted my back to stop hurting more than I wanted to eat brownies.  So I made changes that aligned with this goal.  I did whatever I had to do to achieve this, including ending a relationship with someone who encouraged me to eat badly.  I made it a priority and I stuck with it.

I published my first book in 2018 for the same reason.  I have always wanted to write a book.  As a child I would literally bind my own books that I had written.  But why was I able to do publish a book in 2018 when for the 40 years prior to that it had just been a pipe dream?  Getting on track with my diet gave me confidence.  I finally realized that if I wanted something – even something that has eluded me for years – I could achieve it.  So I focused my energy on writing.  I made time to write, even if it meant the laundry didn’t get folded and the floor waited to be mopped.  I took time off from work and woke up early to write.  I prioritized writing and I published my book.

So this year, when I write my resolutions I will focus on what it is I really want from 2019.  What do I want more than anything else?  What do I want more than brownies?  What is so important to me that I will give up everything else to achieve it?

What do you want badly enough to give up everything else?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Resolutions.

Let’s Create a New Tradition!

This time of year is filled with family, friends and traditions. It is a time for saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new.

I started 2018 strong – stronger than any year I can remember. I achieved more than I ever thought I could in a single year:

  • I lost over 40 pounds in 9 months and have been maintaining for 3 months.
  • I started running and can now run 5 miles.
  • I took up yoga and can now bend myself into a pretzel.
  • I started meditating.
  • I began writing and blogging.
  • I wrote and published my first book.
  • I started my novel.
  • I took over 2 MeetUp groups.
  • I traveled to new places.

I became a version of me that I truly loved.

But since October my life has gotten a little off track.  My mom passed away and even though we weren’t close it hit me hard.  At the same time I lost a good friend.  He’s still alive and kicking, but I don’t have him for support anymore.  I had trouble with my rental, my expenses skyrocketed, my savings dwindled.  Every piece of my life seemed to be spinning out of control.

I’ve been trying to be patient with myself.  It takes time to heal.  But after 2 months I’m getting restless.  I am starting to feel like I’m using this as an excuse and I want to get back to where I was…before.

I want to repeat my strong start from last year.  I want that to be a new tradition.  I don’t want to just make resolutions.  I want to propel myself into a better life.  I want to use New Year’s Day as a time to reset myself, to be the person I want to be.

Will you join me?

I’m going to start by rereading my book. You can too. It will be available for FREE on 1/1 and 1/2 to get you started. Just click on the image below to get your copy. Let’s do this!

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Traditions.

Download my Book for FREE on Saturday and Sunday

Sometimes procrastination pays off! If you haven’t downloaded my book yet, you can download the Kindle version for FREE on Saturday and Sunday (the paperback version is also available but not eligible for the promotion). Go grab it and let me know what you think! If you do, please leave a review on Amazon. It helps more than you know!

For those of you who don’t yet know about my book, it is a reflection of how I’ve changed my thinking in such a dramatic way over the past 7 years that I have literally gone from surviving to thriving. It is the foundation for this blog. I was fortunate enough to be able to include writing from two of our fellow bloggers as well:

The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom

A Creative PTSD Gal

Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind!