Daddy Died

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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One of my favorite pictures of Daddy with Big Z. 

I knew I had to say it straight, with as few words as possible. I knew I couldn’t add explanations or too many words, or it wouldn’t sink it. My brain and body were so overwhelmed with emotions. I had to control myself and be strong for just a few moments to get the words out. My children were seated at a small children’s table in the Hospital waiting area with my sister in law. They spent the night for the first time at my brother’s house the night before, so I hadn’t seen them that morning. I walked into the room and they looked happy to see me, but they could tell something was wrong. I sat down next to my oldest and in a soft yet strong voice I said to my daughter “Daddy died.” She just looked at me puzzled, disbelief was in her eyes. She just saw her Daddy yesterday, he was fine. He just called before she went to bed last night and he prayed with her over the phone. Now she just said, “What?!” and I had to say it again, “Daddy died.” Little brother was there too, but he didn’t say anything. He slumped over and sat on my lap. This was a bit too much to comprehend all at once. This month will be 6 months since I’ve had to had that conversation with my children.It’s still too much to comprehend at times. We are still grieving, but the memories are beginning to get easier to talk about. This was only the beginning of the tough conversations… Why?.. Where is Daddy now?.. Why did this happen to us?.. Will you die too?.. Will I die? Where’s Daddy’s body?.. Can we keep Daddy’s things? … My strategy is still the same when these questions arise, I try to answer them as simply and as straight forward as possible. What is your strategy when faced with these tough conversations?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mex
    ico
    writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

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Authentic Grief

Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through character, emotions, and establishing authentic communication with their children. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Honesty. ***

 

Most of us have faced some sort of great loss in our life and have had to work through the grief process. Many families have had to deal with miscarriage, infant loss or the death of other close loved ones. I’ve shared that my husband passed away recently. Five years before that I lost my daughter, Bella, at 16 months of age. Grief sucks. It’s ugly and there’s no way around it. It can catch you off guard and leave you in an emotional puddle at the most unexpected moments.  At other times, you want to cry, but feel unable to do so.
As parents, how can we be authentic in our grief? When we are faced with the emotions of anger, shock and depression do we tend to hide them from our children? Sometimes we think that we need to protect them from issues of death and dying.  How wrong we are to shield our children from these experiences! Death is a subject that we’ll all deal with at some point. Trying to keep your child from experiencing grief or sorrow is impossible. Making death a taboo subject only creates more fear.
It is always best to tell children the truth. Share your genuine emotions on the topic. Perhaps they wondered what happened.Keep your communication simple and honest. It may not be easy to talk about, but it’s best to answer the child’s questions so they don’t fill in the missing parts themselves. When they are left with their own thoughts, they may start to blame themselves for situations that were out of their control.
Feel your loss when it happens, share those feelings with your children. It’s okay for your children to see you cry or to feel angry in dealing with the loss your family has faced.(It’s also okay to take time for yourself to cry alone too!) Depending on their age, children may not have an adequate vocabulary to explain their feelings. So keep the conversation going as they grow. They’ll mature and have the vocabulary to put their feelings into words and this will help them to continue in their grief process. It also helps to preserve the memory of the dead loved one.
When a family is faced with a great loss, often well-meaning family and friends may offer to take the child(ren) to give the grieving parent(s) a break. This may be helpful for short periods of time. However, many children will fell more secure being close to their parents through this scary time. It can be so difficult to be dealing with your own grief and reaching out to help your children at the same time. Working towards this balance of healing yourself and your children is key.  If possible, reaching out to help our children through their grief will help them in their path to healing, and will reward us in the long run.
Embracing grief and dealing with it in an authentic manner will give your child a strong foundation to build on as they grow. They will grow up more aware of how to deal with tragedy and loss that they will face as adults. This will help them to know how to support others in a healthy, whole manner. It can be a time of unexpected lessons. Often children will learn how to deeply care for one another, because of the love they were shown through this difficult time.  I am reminded of my son’s prayer last night, he said “We are very sad, but we are happy. We have friends that love us so much..”

*** APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month’s Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!   Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 25 with all the carnival links.)

A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad?

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Our family the weekend before my husband died

We unexpectedly lost our husband and Father in September. This has put our family in a state of shock and disbelief. It’s almost as if we’re in some sort of bad dream. We still expect him to come walking in the door, ready to distribute hugs, at any moment. Reality is slowly settling in no matter how resistant we are to it-he’s not coming home.

This sudden loss has left me with so many questions about how my children will remember their Dad. He was such an amazing and involved Dad, I want them to have as many memories as possible. Mostly I want them to have a general feeling of how much their Dad loved them. I specifically worry about my three year old. Is he to young to have any memories of his Dad? The thought of him growing up and not remembering his Dad breaks my heart. His Dad played with him every morning. They played Pirates and Spider Man.They sung songs, wrestled and read books. It was there special Father and Son time. This made school time easier. I was then able to work with Big Z while the two of them played together. Will he remember those fun times with his Daddy or will he remember the cold hospital and the confusion that ensued? Will the flocks of people at our house for the following week be etched in his brain instead of the fun times he shared wrestling with his Daddy?
Our last Daddy and Daughter pic at Clingman’s Dome

I know Big Z will have memories of her Dad that she holds close to her heart. She lost her sister when she was a bit older than Lil’ Z is now, and I know her memories of Bella are very thin. Though she has a few strong memories of her Sister.  But she is ten now and  her Daddy was her best friend.  He was an adventurous man that made every family trip memorable. I know she is old enough to remember that general feeling of being truly loved by her Dad. She has started a journal that I hope will be helpful in working through her feelings of losing her Dad and writing down special memories.

For now we’re talking about Daddy a lot. We’re recounting many of our special times with Dad through stories and pictures. We talk about him with family and friends and try to have them  share their favorite memory with Dad. I hope this will be enough to for Lil’ Z to have a good basis for memories with his Dad. Ian, my husband, helped us live a rich life together as a family. I am forever grateful for the memories we created together. I just hope the kids can have some recollection of these and hold them close in their heart.
What was your earliest childhood memory? How old were you? Do you have suggestions for helping the kids remember their Dad?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Childhood Memories of Peace, Support, Joy, and Love — Amber at Heart Wanderings wants to make sure the majority of the memories that her children have as a part of their family are ones that are positive and help support the amazing people that they are now and will become as adults.
  • Hand Made Baby Books — Destany at They Are All of Me talks about why baby books are important to her for preserving memories of her childrens first years, and shows how she made one by hand for each child.
  • Can your childhood memories help you keep your cool?Here’s To A Boring Year uses memories of being a child to keep her on the path to peaceful parenting.
  • Inter-Generational Memories {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about her own childhood memories, and what she hopes her daughter will remember in the future.
  • Snapshots — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings reflects on the ways our childhood memories appear to us, and hopes her own daughter’s childhood will be one she remembers as being happy and fulfilled.
  • What makes the perfect parent? — In a guest post on Natural Parents Network, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog reflects on camp follow and camp no-follow…
  • In My Own Handwriting — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about her journals and the hope that they will be able to keep her stories alive even if she isn’t able to.
  • Candlelight, fairylight, firelight — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud re-discovers the ingredients for bringing magic to life, especially at Christmas.
  • Making Memories (or) How We Celebrate Christmas — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about creating new memories at Christmas, and the joy their adventures bring to her whole family.
  • The Importance of Recording Feelings and Emotions and Not Just the Experience — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares why she puts pen to paper every day to record more than just her experiences as a mother and her daughter’s experiences as a child. Jennifer looks at the importance of capturing feelings and emotions that accompany the experience.
  • Dredged up — Kenna at Million Tiny Things has been forced to recount childhood memories at bedtime, due to the failure of her middle-aged imagination. She resists, of course.
  • Crafting Memories — Handmade is what makes the holidays special for Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs, and she wants to create the same connection with her daughters that she remembers with her mother and grandmother.
  • My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness Stone Age Parent shares the impact of her childhood memories on her life as a parent today, listing some of her many rich childhood memories and how they now act as beacons of light helping her in the complex, often confusing world of child-rearing.
  • 10 Ways I Preserve Memories for My Children — From video interviews to time capsules, Dionna at Code Name: Mama wants to make sure her children have many different ways to cherish their childhood memories. Dionna’s carnival post features ten of the ways she preserves memories; check out her Pinterest board for more ideas.
  • Memories of my mother — Luschka at Diary of a First Child remembers her mother and the fondest moments of her childhood, especially poignant as she sits by her mother’s sickbed writing.
  • Creating Happy Childhood Memories through Family Traditions — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why family traditions are so important to her and her family and shares how she’s worked to create traditions for her children.
  • Traditional Christmas Tree — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep remembers the great times spent with her family driving for the Christmas Tree and the lessons learned.
  • Wet Socks and Presents — Kat at MomeeeZen writes about her favorite Christmas childhood memory and why it’s so special. And she hopes one day her kids will also have a feel-good memory of their own to look back on.
  • Stuff does not equal memories — Lauren at Hobo Mama learns that letting go does not mean failing to remember.
  • A Child’s Loss- Will They Remember Dad? — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about their family’s loss of their husband and father. She trys to find answers to the question: Will they remember their Dad?
  • Childhood Memories – Hers and Mine — Jorje of Momma Jorje wished for her daughter the same passions and experiences she loved as a child, but learns the hard way to accept whatever passions strike in her child.
  • Holiday Non-TraditionsErika Gebhardt enjoys her family’s tradition of not having traditions for the holidays.