Housekeeping – I’ve changed the appearance of my blog. Please note the lovely photo. (It took me about an hour to figure out how to do it. Clap, clap, clap. I wanted flowers, fresh Springy flowers, as I move on from winter, snow ridden trees. I’m going to find my flowers soon.) Furthermore, to leave a comment or subscribe all you have to do is press the ‘About’ button.

Phew. Now that that’s done I can go on to voice how very sorry I’m feeling for myself, with my sniffly nose and watering eyes. Yes, I have a cold. I shouldn’t be feeling to sorry for  myself though, because I did raid the freezer and finish off the Bar One biscuits, and I am finally lying down in bed after a morning of running around. (Just as a troubled aside: This morning I took Prince No. 1 to vision therapy and to the dentist to get a tooth extracted. Guess which one he made a big fuss out of? Vision therapy. This child would rather get a tooth extracted once a week than do vision therapy. I don’t understand it. I really, really don’t. So five more grey hairs on my greying head. And yes I am too young to go grey.)

Anyhow what I really wanted to discuss is Mano’s talk the other evening. Thank you to everyone who came. The feedback from everyone who came was amazing. The talk was amazing. Amazing doesn’t even describe it. In fact I’m glad I’ve waited until now to blog about it because it was really, really …for lack of a better word…deep. ‘It cut me deep.’ (To quote Donkey from Shrek.)

Mano spoke about the concept of ‘ghosts in the nursery’ and attachment. The main thing being, that when a baby’s needs are completely fulfilled and the attachment bond between mother and child is secure, that child goes into the world ‘whole’. It feels safe and it interacts with the world from that loving, secure base, where baby knows its needs will be fulfilled. It has a positive self image and self worth and love.

How many of us walk around that way? How many of our children do?

When a child’s needs aren’t met, they have issues. The severity of the issues depends on the severity of the non attachment, and its needs not being met.

Now as psychologist Winnicot says (his books are worth googling) there’s no such thing as a perfect mother or perfect attachment. It’s just being a ‘good enough’ mother. So don’t feel too bad yet.

Now when we as mothers sit with our infants in our arms we unconsciously go down to when our mothers held us. If our mothers were detached or didn’t fulfill our needs those feelings may arise. Suddenly a mother may feel detached, resentful or some other negative feeling, without even knowing why. It links back to their needs not being met and they pass it on to their child. And the cycle continues. Unless the parent is able to stop in his or her tracks, and becomes conscious.

Of course this applies to dads as well. How many fathers have distant dads and end up being ‘distant’ and shut off to their own children and spouses. Too many. It’s the imprint from our parents, and yes it’s quite depressing.

At least I feel depressed when I think about it. I also feel a tad bit resentful of all my issues. About all my parents problems, which made them the parents they were and how they blithely passed it on to me. (This I suppose applies to all parents. Some of course are worse than others.) Luckily I feel quite blessed in being able to break the mold. (Although I do find myself ‘losing it’  sometimes and thinking, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’, that’s not me.)

So, and this is something I have been conscious of for quite a while, I have a duty to myself and my children to heal these holes in my inner child psyche. Those unfulfilled needs. Those unhealthy core beliefs that run, rampant and unchecked, in my mind and being. Such as… ‘I don’t deserve, I am unworthy, My feet are too big’ etc. We all have these  unconscious thoughts and feelings. I believe each and every one of us has issues (to varying degrees). Anyone who says they don’t have issues, has the biggest issue of all. Denial. (And I feel very, very sorry for their children.)

Everyone who came on Wednesday night heard Mano’s message loud and clear. In fact they requested another session so that we can learn, practically, how to heal those negative ghosts in the nursery. Create friendly, Casper ones. This session can only be attended if you came to the first one, sorry. But I will put the socialisation talk details at the bottom of this blog post for anyone who wants to come to that. (Also notably for anyone who came to the first, there is no charge for the second talk this Wednesday. It’s included in the first talk. I will send the email out.)

I feel very, very passionately about our self healing, as mothers, parents and people in this world. Sorry to repeat the same message again, but I truly believe there are too many of us who are walking with inner woundings. We have ’emotional’ broken hearts, arms, necks, they just can’t be seen. Sometimes not even by ourselves. When we have kids it comes out. We can hide from ourselves, but not from our children.

That’s why anyone who came to the talk and didn’t have kids yet, were the wisest of all. Can you imagine healing yourself before you have kids so that you can have the proper attachment and connection to your child. So you don’t shut down, or feel completely overwhelmed and inadequate. I wish I had done that.

Heres some practical information. The magic attachment time with your child is between the ages of 0 and 9 months. The baby needs to see and feel Mom and Dad. Feel that it’s needs are being met. That they are indeed the centre of the universe. Up until 5 years old is the attachment phase. After that, if it’s not formed….well thank God we’re created elastic. The bond can still be healed but it takes extra work. So those years between 0 and 5, are imperative!

Now I haven’t written this to freak anyone out. I, of all people know what it’s like to fall apart with a baby. Funnily enough it wasn’t my first who sent me over the edge, but my second. I have a very soft spot for mothers who have their second child and struggle. It’s a very difficult jump from 1 to 2, and I struggled emotionally with it. I went into denial and had no idea I was falling apart inside, being the super coper that I am. But I was falling apart and I had no idea how to ask for the emotional support and help that I needed.

Anyone who isn’t feeling great after having a baby, do yourself a favour and call out for help. For your sake and your baby’s. Call your mum, friend, anyone who you feel can just sit with you and give you that love and nurturing you need. It’s a must! And it’s nothing to be ashamed about. The more mothers I speak to the more I realise how much we all struggle.

A lot of us put on a sunny smile. Myself included. But there’s often a lot more going on behind the smile. A lot of the ghosts in the nursery running wild. We’re not even conscious of it. We haven’t met them properly…but it’s worth going in to meet them as daunting and hard as it is. They can be changed. I know it for sure!!!!!!! It’s such a freeing thing to realise, to do.

Brief Disclaimer – Mano’s talk was much better than this blog. I barely touched it properly. I can’t capture the amount of information, psychological jargon (okay expertise), or her inspiring energy (which everyone commented about). I also want to add that a lot of couples came. Well done to all the dads. It’s such an important journey for all moms and dads, and to do it together is a gift!!! Mano will be hopefully running many, many more courses. This is her passion after all!

Mano Socialisation Talk

Social and emotional skills are the building blocks of the modern world

“Tens of thousands of schools worldwide offer children SEL”(social and emotional learning). “In the United States many districts and even entire states currently make SEL a curriculum requirement, mandating that just as students must attain a certain level of competence in math and language, so too should they master these essential skills for living. Around the world Singapore has undertaken an active initiative in SEL, as have some schools in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea. In Europe, the U.K. has led the way, but more than a dozen other countries have schools that embrace EI, as do Australia and New Zealand, and here and there countries in Latin America and Africa.” Daniel Goleman

Countries around the world are taking social decay of the modern world seriously by implementing mandatory social and emotional learning programs at schools. This subject has been made examinable in various schools in the U.S. reflecting the vital importance of these skills, yet there seems to be an overwhelming lack of these fundamental tools evident in many South African children. A large part of my therapies in my practice include developing social and emotional intelligence in both parents and their children. These are the basic building blocks for mastering oneself and life. Social and Emotional intelligence has been shown to be a most powerful tool both professionally and personally. As adults we must be lacking in these skills if bullying, teenage suicide, peer pressure, promiscuity, substance abuse, low self esteem, and childhood depression are a high amongst children. There is no longer a natural process of developing a wholesome identity with strong moral principles unless parents proactively teach their children how to cope using social and emotional skills. If not, the barrage of poor role models and values depicted in culture and media today will more likely shape your child, and no matter how much you try to shelter your children this is a digital era where current trends spread through various mediums and manage to reach just about everyone.
I will be discussing the basic skills necessary for parents to impart to their children to begin the process of mastery over their emotional and social world.
Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012
Time: 7.30pm for 7.45pm (45min talk) discussion to follow
Cost: R50ppor R75 per couple
To RSVP and for more information contact me – sarah@sarahsassoon.com
MANO NAIDOO

                      Counseling Psychologist • Certified EMDR Therapist• Clinical Hypnotherapist

M.Soc.Science/Psychology Univ. Of Natal• Prn: 086000 007 1102

Address      89 Langerman drive • Kensington • Johannesburg
Email           antarik@telkomsa.net
Tel               (082) 325 7904
Mano Parenting Workshop 

Becoming Whole

A one day workshop for parents and would be parents that is designed to facilitate becoming fully present in your life so that you can strengthen your bond with your child and parent from consciousness. Uncover your core beliefs from childhood that may be contaminating your relationship with your children, learn how to challenge your misperceptions about your child and yourself in this context and create a healthy, wholesome parenting model to operate from.

“Attachment is like an invisible elastic cord connecting the child to the parent. If the attachment is good and strong, there is a profound connection between the two, the cord will be thick and strong yet elastic and flexible”, Debra Wesselman. This cord determines the child’s core beliefs about closeness, trust, self worth and his ability to manage his emotions. A parent with a weak, frayed cord from their own childhood will find it difficult to develop a thick, strong cord with her child, passing down generational patterns of poor attachments.

When our inborn drive to seek out connection and closeness is interrupted in early childhood by our needs not being met, a new program for survival is created, breaking the relationship instinct of trust, warmth, intimacy, acceptance and security. These learned behaviours form a template of parenting and can be fraught with negative core beliefs that color our perceptions, actions and reactions to our children. When we parent from this database we can break our children’s instinctual need for close connection forming family patterns of pain and disconnect.

On this workshop you will have an opportunity to explore your quality of attachment created in childhood, understand your beliefs stemming from this attachment, uncover your present patterns of parenting related to these core beliefs and shift negative patterns into positive, healthy ones. You will also learn how to strengthen the cord between your child and you.

DATE: Sunday, 4th March 2012

TIME: 9am to 4pm

VENUE: 89 Langerman Drive, Kensington

Seats are limited to 14 participants. For further information contact Mano Naidoo –antarik@telkomsa.net