Interview With Dr. Sarah Rasmi- Family and Parenting Psychologist

Inspired by the loving atmosphere she was raised in, Dr. Sarah Rasmi grew a strong interest in family relationships and child adjustment during her graduate studies. Accomplishing her Master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation, her passion grew alongside her desire to share her findings and expertise with others. She does this by publishing scientific studies on parenting and families and writing for mainstream media outlets.

 

If you characterize your parenting approach, how would you describe it?

I try to take a positive approach to parenting. My focus is on three things: connecting with my kids, setting a good example for them, and responding to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and frustration.

Some days may be harder than others but the good thing is that there are lots of simple techniques that we can use to parent in a more positive way. I share these in my parenting skills workshops.

What do you consider as the biggest challenge in parenting?

The biggest parenting challenge is to manage our expectations. Being ‘good enough’ is much better than chasing perfection.

For example, all kids eat junk food sometimes, get dirty sometimes, and have big, public tantrums. That doesn’t make us bad parents – it just makes us human. The sooner we accept this, the better.

Failure is a part of life and we need to teach our children that it’s ok to fail sometimes. Since we’re not perfect, we shouldn’t expect them to be either.

It’s more important to reflect on our failures and try again. Research shows that this makes our kids more resilient and better adjusted throughout their lives.

What is it like being a mother?

Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. It sounds like a big cliché – but you just can’t understand it until you have lived through it.

Nothing will prepare you for the joys (and hardships) that come with being a parent. I became stronger and more patient than I ever thought I could be. Being a mother is central to who I am as a person, but I try not to forget the old Sarah.

This means carving out child-free time with family and friends, as well as maintaining some of my interests. It’s not always easy – but it is possible. I’ve supported many parents through this process. I am here to support parents who are struggling with this balance through my parenting services.

Which to you has been the most challenging stage of a child’s development?

I have a toddler and teenager at home, so I get this question all the time. In my experience, every age and stage is full of excitement and challenges.

Truth be told, the issues are largely the same – it’s the context that differs. I’m facing two sets of sleep issues right now: One kid wants to wake up early, the other one wants to stay up late (later than me!). I’m also dealing with two sets of school issues: One child is adjusting to nursery, the other one is wrapping up middle school.

Why is that parenting can be so difficult and when do we typically experience this?

Parenting is inherently difficult. We have these beautiful little humans to care for and mould. We have big dreams and high hopes for them. We do everything we can to give them a path to health, happiness, and success.

The responsibility is both awesome and terrifying. As I mentioned previously, it becomes a little bit easier when we accept that we won’t be perfect. We will make mistakes. The key is how we handle them.

How do moms know how to reinforce a house rule or just let it go?

We have to balance setting rules with giving our kids some freedom and flexibility. I recommend setting a few key rules that are consistent with your family’s values, rather than a laundry list of things that don’t matter as much.

The key to enforcing these rules is being consistent. They’re more likely to listen to us when we respond to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and hostility. I teach these skills in my parenting workshops.

As parents where should our primary focus lie?

Our primary focus should be fostering and maintaining a strong parent-child bond. Research shows that this connection has a profound influence on our child’s adjustment, achievements, and relationships later in life. We can strengthen our bond through talk, touch, and play.

What advice do you have to give to modern parents – our readers?

Looking after ourselves gives us the energy we need to look after our kids. It’s important to make time for your own interests and prioritize your own well-being. Connecting with other people is a great way to do this, as we know that social support is the key to happiness. Above all, remember that you’re doing a great job. Parenting is tough work – we all make mistakes. Don’t worry about being perfect, you’re more than ‘good enough’!

About Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah Rasmi is a Canadian psychologist (Ph.D.) and professor with a passion for supporting families. She works with parents across a range of family, relationship, and well-being issues, as well as those who want to learn new skills. Dr. Sarah is a widely published author, international speaker, and university professor. She also consults with government entities, corporations, and schools. Learn more about Dr. Sarah Rasmi. She regularly posts about parenting and families on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

 

 

7 Reasons To Hire A Doula

Your hubby’s promised to be on hand to help you with those all-important breathing techniques, so why would you want to hire a doula? Well, as any woman who has had a baby will testify, giving birth is one of those times when a bit of extra support goes a long way, especially when it comes in the form of a doula. Doulas are trained in childbirth and unlike midwives, whose role is to physically deliver babies, they provide emotional and physical support to expectant mothers before, during and shortly after birth. We caught up with antenatal/postnatal doula and breastfeeding counsellor, Andrea Allen of The Doting Doulas, to pick her brains on why you might want to think about hiring a doula. Here is what she had to say…

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10 Ways To Travel Cheap With Kids

how to travel cheap with kids

Summer is around the corner, which means many of us are preparing for our annual getaway. But while the kids might be jumping off the walls with excitement there’s every chance you’re stressing about the cost. In between hotel bills, airfares and day-to-day spending money, it’s easy to blow the budget. Fortunately, family holidays don’t have to break the bank. Read on for our top 10 ways to travel cheap with kids.
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Part-time work for mums: How can you do it?

part time work- How can you do it?

Part-time work for mums? Does it even exist in the UAE? We’ve all had a conversation when we’ve moaned about the struggle to find flexible working hours. It’s a particularly important issue for mothers in this part of the world, as positions that offer child-friendly hours are few and far between. Many mums are confronted with an all-or-nothing decision to either return to work full-time or give up on their careers altogether. Fortunately the tide is turning with the arrival of Hopscotch, a platform that matches up professional women and companies seeking flexible working options. A subsidiary of the recruiter MCG Group, the company was co-founded by husband and wife team, Helen and Justin McGuire, after they noticed a severe lack of part-time work opportunities in the UAE. As JustKidding has always been proactive in hiring mums for part-time roles, we decided to sit down with Helen to get the lowdown on what Hopscotch has to offer and how you can get involved.

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Things new mums wish their child-free friends knew

things mums wish their child-free friends knew

You used to be joined at the hip, but since the arrival of her bambino your best friends seems distracted, unavailable and unfocused. Meanwhile, she makes you feel self-centered, thoughtless and unsympathetic. We feel your pain! A new baby can sound the death knell for friendships, especially if you’re yet to board the baby bandwagon. Don’t give up hope though, because while your relationship may have changed, it’s far from over. Yes, she’s a bit preoccupied with motherhood, but she still loves you. In fact, here are eight things new mums wish their child-free friends knew…

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5 Mothers Coffee Morning Conversations

coffee morning conversations

It’s not an exaggeration to say that joining a mothers group is definitely one of the best parent-related decisions you’ll ever make. As well as an opportunity to make new friends (new motherhood can sometimes feel like a lonely place) this is your chance to natter with other mamas who are going through the same experience as you. Admittedly, the conversation topics can be a bit samey, but then as a new mum your mind is on baby and not much else. Just for fun here are five mothers group conversations you’re pretty much guaranteed to hear at mothers groups. Continue reading “5 Mothers Coffee Morning Conversations”

Things You Should Never Say To A Working Mum

Things you should never say to a working mum

Editor’s note: This week we handed over the reins to Riyadh-based mummy blogger Ya Mama. As a working mother with four children, ranging in age from three-and-a-half to almost 13, she knows all about juggling career and family life. But while managing a tricky schedule can be tough work, according to this popular Saudi wordsmith, it’s actually the comments from others that really push her buttons. Here’s what she had to say…

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Breastfeeding Strike: 13 Survival Tips

Breastfeeding strike. Two words that will send a shiver down the spine of any nursing mother. I had my first taster when Baby Boo was just four months old and she abruptly refused the breast for four days straight. I felt devastated, rejected and powerless all at the same time and it was only made worse as I preserved and she fought off my attempts with all the determination of a picket line protester. Eventually she latched on again and I breathed a sigh of relief. This got me thinking about all those mamas out there going through a similar experience, so I sat down with Dru Campbell, midwife and lactation consultant at Health Bay Polyclinic in Dubai, to get her top tips on what to do if your baby is refusing the breast.

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Dads: These are the Mother’s Day gifts she really wants…

mothers day gifts she really wants

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, which means mums the world over can look forward to their annual delivery of macaroni necklaces and homemade cards. But what if your little ones aren’t quite old enough to make you Mother’s Day gifts? Dads, this is where you need to step in, but keep the flowers and chocolates on hold. As any new mum will tell you, raising a tiny human being is tough work, so if you really want to win points this Mother’s Day, ditch the usual Mother’s Day offerings, and instead take over the reins for a few hours and give the lady of the house a well-earned day off.

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5 Ways to Stay Slim This Christmas

How to stay slim at Christmas

Christmas is knocking at the door, along with family visitors, fattening festive food and a frenzied round of seasonal celebrations, all of which have the potential to throw your healthy lifestyle into chaos. But it is possible to get through silly season without jumping up a dress size and seeing your health suffer. Read on for tips on how to keep yourself trim and slim, even when the seasonal merriment is going into overdrive.

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