Aha! Parenting Course

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If you’re a parent wondering HOW DO I DO THIS PARENTING GIG AND NOT IMPODE/EXPLODE – please check out Aha! Parenting’s Parenting course! I’m on Week 2 and am looooving the support and resources. Trust me. I’ve desperate-read like alltheparentingbookseva, and Dr Laura Markham’s books have been my absolute favourite. Especially if you have more than one kid. Because that, my friend, is a whole new world of pain/gain. (Note: If you have a strong-willed child, this book may save your sanity – Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.)

I love how much emphasis this course places on self-regulation. So instead of looking outwards and blaming my kids for “making me angry”- I need to look inwards first and figure out why I’m getting so rattled in the first place. I need to accept my feelings of overwhelm/anger/helpless/etc, choose to respond from a place of calm, and not react from my own triggered lizard brain. Yup, easy to say, hard to do. But the beauty of this approach is the more I practice pausing while one (or both) of my little girls are screaming/crying/wailing/etc, then the easier it’ll be. I’m telling you, kids under the age of 5 are Zen masters who can train you to be one too, but only if you don’t terrify them into compliance. Be open. There’s a lesson in there.

Special note: It’s so hard not to yell at your kids when you’re angry, or when they don’t cooperate. JUST LISTEN! OBEY ME! NOW! DON’T SHOUT AT ME! Gah. Now research shows how harmful that is.

But it’s so hard not to get mad at kids! I know, I know. I’m not saying don’t get mad, because every day offers plenty of opportunities of button-pushing behaviour…I’m just saying don’t yell, don’t spank, don’t emotionally blackmail/abuse..that kinda stuff. Find another way to discharge that stress. Just not on your kid(s). I’ve seen what happens in the long-run. Said kid will grow up and not want to be around you anymore. BUT when you inevitably mess up and lose it, which every parent does at some point because we are HUMAN…just say sorry. Hug. That teaches your kids something too – how to apologise when you mess up, and how to make things right. Valuable life lesson.

Why No Child Needs Punishment

The Secret of Not Yelling When You’re Having a Bad Day

If you’re a chronic yeller, then something isn’t balanced in your life. Yelling like that every day is exhausting for you, your spouse, and your kids. There is a better way of living. And you can learn how. And your kids will cooperate without you needing to shout! As impossible as that future feels right now (I’m in the thick of it) – one day, our kids will grow up into adults and move away. How far away depends on how connected they feel to us, right now, when they’re still little. So. Hang in there. This is hard work. It’s every day. It’s relentless. But this chaos can also be fun, joyful, and full of wonderful surprises.

Here’s the course outline:

Week 1
Peaceful Parenting 101
In this session, I’ll introduce you to the 3 big ideas that will change your life as a parent and shift your family, over the next 12 weeks, to less drama and more love.

Week 2
Regulating Your Own Emotions
You’ll learn tools this week to notice when you’re getting close to the edge, and powerful practices to return yourself to calm. If you’re a yeller, here’s where you take your Vow of Yellibacy.

Week 3
Connecting with Your Child
Parenting is 80% connection and only 20% guidance, because until children feel connected they have no reason to follow our guidance. In this session, you’ll learn best practices for staying connected with your child, and specific tools for reconnecting after tough times.

Week 4
Parenting for Emotional Intelligence
This week you’ll learn how emotions work, including some secrets about anger that most people don’t know, how to help your child empty a full emotional backpack, and how to heal even the most turbulent emotions. We’ll practice using empathy, your magic wand, to give your child’s brain the best possible environment to learn to self-regulate.

Week 5
Discipline
In this session, we’ll discuss why children misbehave and what the research says about the best way to guide your child and teach the important lessons. You’ll learn how children develop self-discipline and impulse control and why time-in works while time-out doesn’t. We’ll practice setting limits that stick, without power struggles or drama.

Week 6
Preventive Maintenance
You know those problems that always seem to blow up in your face and land your family in the breakdown lane? You can avoid most of those surprises with preventive maintenance. This week we’ll explore the power of routines, empathy, special time, scheduled meltdowns and other preventive maintenance practices.

Week 7
Tips for the Transition to Peaceful Parenting
If you’ve been relying on bribes, threats and punishment to get your child to cooperate, you can expect some bumps as you and your children learn new patterns of relating. This week you’ll learn some tips to make this transition easier for your family.

Week 8
Self-Care
You can only give your kids what you have inside. This week, you’ll create a self-care plan to keep your cup full, so you can be emotionally generous with others. We’ll focus a lot on emotional self-care, or how to parent yourself!

Week 9
Mastery: Developing resilience, self-discipline and grit.
This week we explore how children develop the fortitude that leads to mastery. We’ll practice encouraging rather than praising, and learn how to find the sweet spot between free range and helicoptering.

Week 10
Healing Your Triggers
Those times when you say or do something you later regret? They’re always when you’re triggered, so you get hijacked by anger. This week, I’ll guide you to begin identifying and healing those triggers, so you don’t get upset so often, and can recover more quickly when you do.

Week 11
Siblings
This week, we’ll apply the peaceful parenting principles to raising siblings, so you can stop the fighting and raise children who will be friends for life. You’ll learn simple yet powerful ways to foster a loving, supportive bond between siblings, and teach your kids to navigate conflict constructively.

Week 12
Putting it all together
This week, Dr. Laura answers questions from Course participants in a Live Call. We’ll celebrate how far you’ve come! And we’ll help you put together a plan to use what you’ve learned, every day, to stay on track in the future.

Click here to get notified when the course open next on November 19!

Call For Entries 2018: Fay Khoo Award

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Image Source: https://www.thefaykhooaward.com/

My ASEAN peeps, the Fay Khoo award ends in 19 days (Sep 30)! You can read about it here, download the Terms & Conditions here. For further information, you can email thefaykhooaward@gmail.com

I had no idea this competition existed, until Sharon Bakar brought  this to my attention. Again lol. Just like the D.K. Dutt award, I didn’t know about it until Sharon’s very concerned post on the Malaysian Writer’s FB group. She makes the same point now, with the Fay Khoo award – if local writers don’t submit, then competitions will shut down. End of story.

I’ve lived and written in Jordan, Australia and Malaysia, and let me tell you that the local writing scene here is SUPER SUPPORTIVE. Like, unbelievably. I’m so grateful for this, and so happy, and am going to start on my Fay Khoo submission after I write this blog post. Really.

My DK Dutt Competition backstory: After stumbling across Sharon’s post on FB, I frantically wrote up my piece while my then 1+ year old daughter kept waking up at night, cried while I wrote it out of sheer frustration and postpartum exhaustion and hormones,  finished it just before the deadline, submitted it, and didn’t expect to win anything. I wanted to keep the local competition alive, and to my absolute surprise and delight, my entry was short-listed, and now it’s the second story in the gorgeous anthology Bitter Roots, Sweet Fruits.

Moral of the story (ha) – each of us makes a difference. So write! Edit! Submit! Good editors don’t expect a perfect piece, but they do want a polished one. And if your story has potential, they’ll help you make it shine. OK now I’m reallly gonna go start working on my entry.

 

 

Enrolments are open for Round 3 of Opening The Eye of The Heart course!

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The next offering of this transformative poetry course, “Opening The Eye of The Heart” is up – September 2nd to October 2nd 2018. Baraka Blue is a thoughtful, compassionate and generous poet and teacher. Be prepared to drown in the beauty of mystic poetry, and be rebirthed.

If you’re looking for a poetry course that will hack you to pieces with critique – this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a poetry course that will celebrate the joy of mystic poems, love your work and help you grow, then this is for you. Clearly, I am super biased. lol.

You’ll get out of this workshop whatever you put in (and MORE because barakah is amazing like that), so make that intention and follow through. May your words flow from deep spaces and take you to wider places ❤

You can read the testimonials here!

Three of the greatest gifts of this course for me:

  1. Realising that I can write poetry DAILY even with the chaos of two little ones under 3.5. Alhamdulilah! No matter what happened during my day, I always had my poetry exercise to look forward to, during my precious night-time solitude.
  2. Reading such gorgeous poetry written by my classmates!
  3. Meeting and staying connected to a whole tribe of like-minded and like-hearted poets ❤

I miss my daily prompts 😦 But because I joined the alumni group – The Diwan – I have weekly prompts, woo!

***I’m typing this as fast as I can while my baby naps, and while my husband has taken my preschooler out to her 1 hour soccer class. TICK TOCK! I know that being calm and mindful actually helps my creative process, but I also feel so hungry for more uninterrupted time to write. Is this how it’s going to be, for the next few years until my girls grow a little older? Hm. This is another blog post to explore. #mamawriters #neverenoughtime #whattodo #thereisalwaystomorrow #breathe

Finding Jamilah and The Story of Yusuf is up on Amazon Kindle!

Finding Jamilah and The Story of Yusuf is online and available for purchase on the Amazon Kindle store 🙂 If you like coming-of-age YA (Young Adult) fiction featuring Muslim teens of colour, please read it, share it with your loved ones, and leave a review! Thank you for welcoming my stories into your life ❤ May they leave your heart a little warmer.

Mama of two

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One of my brothers asked me today what it’s like having two kids. My first response was “Someone is always crying.” Then I added, “But it’s really cute when they play together.”

And that is a summary of my life, as a mama of two. Mama guilt doesn’t leave. It just multiplies, and grows extra heads. And then even the mama-guilt-extra-heads start fighting with each other. And please don’t say – “But your mum had six kids, you only have two!” because that, my friends, is a WHOLE OTHER STORY. #don’tgothere #twoisplenty

Cute moments in the car: My baby in her car seat, trying to lean forward to take a peek at her big sis. Big sis making funny faces and voices, making baby sis laugh and smile.

Not so-cute moments in the car: Trying really, really hard to do breathing exercises and stay calm in KL traffic while either Baby 1 or 2 is crying, or when both are.

I love, love, love Dr Laura Markham’s Peaceful Parenting approach. Deep thanks to Fareena Alam for sharing the Aha! Parenting website with me, all those tiring years ago ❤ If you enjoy Janet Lansbury’s Respectful Parenting, then you’ll like Dr Laura Markham’s approach too.  I just find Aha! Parenting’s three principles a lot easier to apply on a day-to-day basis. This is a nice cheat sheet to stick on the wall or – even better – memorise. The test is remembering to apply it all in the heat of the moment, when there are tears and screaming. But hey, the joy of kids is that every day, they give you LOTS of opportunities to practice lol.

I’ve definitely noticed that it’s easier for Taskeen to cooperate with me when she feels connected to me. Getting her to giggle helps her let go of tension and then she’ll say “O-kay, Mama.” Because she’s so spirited, trying to strong-arm or yell at her doesn’t work anyway. She’s compelled us to up our game, since she was very little. So we’ve been asking her “What’s the solution?” since she could understand and respond. But the hilarious downside of that is her sometimes saying, with whole-body scorn, “That is not a good idea!” lol. Irfan and I want her to be a trouble-shooter and a problem-solver, so one of the mantras I repeat to her is, “We’re a problem-solving family!” I read somewhere that the opposite of blame is problem-solving. I like that.

Little Husna is almost 7 months and has found her voice!!! She recently discovered coughing, now that she’s trying out solids. And she proudly showed me how she could cough, then she grinned. And then Taskeen started coughing too, just to show that she’s still the boss. Haha. OH MY BABIES.

 

Short Stories

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So back in Ye Olde Days when I had hours upon hours of unappreciated free time to devour novel after novel….I loved reading epic fantasies. Now that my hours upon hours of free time are GONE – I’ve discovered the joy of short stories. And I really, really, love them! It’s such a nice feeling to dip and out of a short story collection.

I’m currently reading Mia Alvar’s In The Country. It’s a gorgeously written collection of diaspora stories. She writes so lyrically! I love how universal her themes are: loss, displacement, identity, and the pull of family.

I’m currently listening to The Found And The Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin on Audible. I have another glorious 32 hours to go, and am loving the depths of her story-telling.

Interestingly, when I read short stories like these, it makes it easier for me to get into the zone of writing my own short stories.