About Kimberley

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT, is the executive producer of the Go-To Mom series and the producer of the branded entertainment show www.MommytoMommy.TV. She is the author of The Internet Mommy & The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children. In September 2011, Kimberley was named one of the most powerful moms in social media by Working Mother Magazine. Currently, she is a spokesperson for Lego Duplo, Disney Consumer Products, Schick Intuition, and Sony Electronics digital imaging. Kimberley is also a national parenting expert and a licensed Family and Child Therapist specializing in working with children newborn to seven years old. Connect with Kimberley Clayton Blaine on Google+

Social Media Moms Unplug in the Big Sky Country

There’s nothing more relaxing than relaxing in the river front taking in the beauty of Montana. I took my sidekick Beth, the founder of Techmamas.com, with me to film this episode for Sony. Little did we know that The Resort at Paws Up  would be the next biggest love of our lives. It was more than eye candy it was heart melting. We will never forget how joyful it was to watch our children roam the land with their walkie talkies, riding horses, shooting bow and arrows and having an unforgettable chuck wagon dinner.

We filmed on this beautiful property to feature the newest cyber-shot HX 20V. This particular pocket sized camera has a 40x zoom lens which blew away my camera man, because I was able to photograph an eagle’s face with this tiny little camera. It’s hard to believe that Beth an I who are two very techie mamas could unwind and unplug for any period of time. We did it and we are so appreciative that we were able to experience the luxury of The Resort at Paws Up and capturing our memories on the new Sony Cyber-shot HX 20V.

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Living with Early Childhood ADHD is like trying to wrangle & rehabilitate a wild horse

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato/IMaclaren

As Joseph Addison said, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” But in my 7 year-old son’s case he seems to be in a never-ending cycle of sadness, rage and resentment. I’m the mother of two boys with very different temperaments from one another.  My 12 year-old is Buddha-like calm and collected and my 7 year-old is tornado-like brilliant artist diagnosed with ADHD/Auditory Processing Disorder. I love them dearly and they are both the heart and soul of my being.

 When my second child was born in 2006 I launched The Go-To Mom web series. It wasn’t until my son turned three years old that my life spun completely out of control. Back then my toddler sucked me in the warp of his fidgeting, emotionally angry world and the only way for me to deal with him was to take a year off from work to sort out my mental health needs as well as his. Each day I felt like I was riding a wild horse with out any reins and direction. I thought I knew how to run a healthy household and successful business by having super strong boundaries and by putting my foot down to be sure every one gets what they rightfully deserve. But that’s not always easy.  For me, I am whole-heartedly connected to my kids. I am not my work. For many years I thought I was both, that I could balance both of these entities seamlessly. I felt like I was slowly chipped away by work and by dealing with my son and his challenging ADHD diagnosis. It has been a tireless progression of constant intervention. I thought I am his mother, and knew I had to turn work down to deal with him.

 As the years went on, my son got worse. We found that his sensory processing disorder/ADHD/impulsivity was a neurological issue; therapy and more strict discipline didn’t cut it. We had to restructure our lives and the way we interacted with him. And yes, that meant not working for long periods of time.  My son’s inability to control his impulses was a huge turn off to most kids, so making and keeping friends was a challenge for him. He is a highly social creature, happy, loving and so willing to learn. But his lack of social etiquette and short temper left him often alone. So that meant we had to provide most of the social interaction and daily activity for him until he learned to master things on his own. It was heartbreaking and eventually threw me into the tide of my own childhood issues of feeling completely helpless.  I can walk away from a bad business deal or an insincere hurtful statement from someone, but I can’t be indifferent to the fact my boy couldn’t keep friends. I adore my friends  – that’s what makes life so colorful and interesting. Friends are the cushion of life. It sadden us that our son couldn’t experience a genuine friendship yet.

 Being conscious of our kid’s life experiences is a good thing. It allows us to advocate for them.  Letting things happen, or waiting for a sign of abnormal development could be detrimental. Early intervention is key if you see something is not right with your child. If you catch the problem early than the prognosis is better.

When my child is rejected, I’m rejected. It hurts me like it hurts him.  The toughest part of this process is over-identifying with my kids. Just when I think I’m living in full awareness, my son does something that triggers an old emotional response for me. I try to breathe and let it pass. My OCD can easily throw me into a tizzy at the most innocent drop of a cup full of juice. I take a breath; hold back the old dramatic response of wanting to scream and kneel down to rigorously mop up the mess. Instead I remember I am a mother who is suppose to be role model… And I don’t want to to waste my energy on spilled juice, which is an insignificant moment that means nothing.  And for me my son is everything.

I would think how could a human being only 3 feet tall have this much power over me? It seemed an impossible task to figure out a way to have a good relationship with him. He clearly needed me to be patient and understanding. I remember one night crying on the bathroom floor with him – he kept hitting me. I wanted to hit him back… Everything we find dysfunctional with our immediate family or things that deeply set us off is really our issue. Until we resolve our personal vendetta within our selves our children and loved ones will continually suffer. I needed to completely change my perception of my life to deal with my situation, which made dealing with my son possible. All human beings on a subconscious level know we are responsible for the quality of our own life experiences, even children we know this. That is why children internalize pain. Kids truly feel bad things happen possibly because of something they did. My job is to be sure my son learns to be confident and knows that he is loved no matter what. I have to remind myself that my son needs intervention and help, not a fed-up mother… I have to consciously attend to my emotional growth and mental health because it helps me deal with my son and family more humanely.

Dealing with a special needs situation sometimes requires a combination of thorough Neuropsych assessments, therapy for child, family therapy, good books on high energy kids and ADHD, school accommodations, family restructuring, diet alteration, medication, body work, deep breathing exercises, visual imagery and reaching out to other families to see what’s worked for them. Most of all working on your own mental health as a parent is of utmost importance…because neglecting the role as a parent will only make things worse.

“We don not have to qualify to be loved. Love is our birthright. Love just is. Love is who and what we are.” Michael Brown

For more information on ADHD visit:  http://www.ncld.org

What is and isn’t a learning disability (LD)? LD is more than a “difference” or “difficulty” with learning—it’s a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to receive, process, store and respond to information. LD will vary in how it impacts each individual child, adolescent and adult. Understanding the basic facts will enable you to help yourself, your child, or someone you know to be a well-informed and effective advocate.

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Why You or Your Child May Need a Good Cry

      “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.” Roger Ebert

As a child every time I cried I was told to stop.  My parents told me whatever I was crying over wasn’t worth it.  As a result of such parental constraint I held back my tears for most of my young life. Then, when I finally left home for college, I found myself crying for long periods of time over issues that were big and small. Not being able to cry when I was young made me hold on to the past and resent myself when I felt tears coming on. I trained myself to never get emotional, to be stoic because crying was a sign of weakness.

If you let the air build up in a pressurized bottle it eventually bursts.  What parent wants that for their child?  My children are very efficient criers — They do it well and often.  At times I feel that they’re making up for all those years of crying I missed out on.

            It’s natural for parents to not want their child to cry.  Crying today is still seen as a form of weakness. However, crying serves many positives functions in early childhood and beyond.  Crying is a way of communicating emotional distress as well as heightened happiness.  Letting your child cry is okay and healthy.  Babies cry because it’s their basic form of communication.  Preschoolers cry because they don’t have the ability to tell us exactly what they’re feeling emotionally. After a good cry it puts us in a better state to talk about what we’re feeling.  Love and support your crying child, spouse or friend even when you think what they’re crying about may seem silly or not that important. 

            As children get older they eventually learn to express many of their feelings without tears.  However, if they’re not permitted to cry when they’re young they lose a golden opportunity to explore and master their internal world. Mastering your emotions enhances social intelligence.  Children will continue to shed tears for the rest of their lives when in physical and emotional pain – so prepare them to accept tears as healthy and normal.  Teach your child to move through life’s tough moments with strength and confidence – which at times may include a good cry. 

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