Better Parenting Through a Harmonious Home

by seriatim · 1 comment

in Character,Education,General,Health+Wellness

Red Pill Readers: We’ve certainly tried to shine a spotlight on some of the negative effects of our culture’s prevailing consumerist, stuff-driven, acquisitive mentality.   But have you ever stopped to think about how the way you deal with all this stuff in your home — your level (or lack) of organization — might be impacting your children’s mental health & well-being, as well as your own (which as we all know, trickles down to our kids)?  Well we didn’t: until Red Pill Papa met Sonya Weisshappel, and wrangled her into contributing to RPP.  Read onward for some very fresh parenting-relevant insight into the concept of hoarding and home organization:

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I believe that living in chaos and disarray directly impacts one’s mental, physical and emotional health and Seriatim (latin for “in a series”) is my business, my passion and my gift to families.  I survived many moves as a child, have been a caregiver to multiple family members and am a mother to my own daughter and two stepchildren.  Through all of these experiences I’ve witnessed the chaotic and troubling impact that life transitions can have upon one’s living space and the positive effects of an organized home.  Over 15 years ago, I started Seriatim as a way to heal through professional organization, and through it, I work every day to bring harmony to people’s lives through de-clutter, paper management and move management.  My goal is to educate people and empower them to create a harmonious living space for themselves and their children.

Time and again I come across clients who hold onto unneeded magazines, old clothes, 3 year old phone bills and the like.  It has been my experience that in homes with disorganized parents, the children have a tendency to go to one extreme or the other — the child either imitates the parent’s disorganized behavior or moves to the opposite extreme and becomes completely controlling of his or her space.  I have seen that a disorganized environment fosters anxiety and erratic behavior in all family members.  Disharmony of the mind ensues, resulting in loss of sleep, negative outbursts and emotional chaos.  Without space to live, there is no space to think.

These habits can be changed, if we can only begin to focus on experience over stuff.  For example, instead of bringing home a souvenir from every experience with your child, repeat a song or story from the day as part of the bedtime routine.  As with any habit, the practice of hoarding can be broken.  Before you buy that pair of shoes in the window, ask yourself how many pairs you truly need, and what kind of example buying that pair of shoes (or not buying that pair of shoes) models for your children.  There is, of course, always a deeper question involved; and only after diagnosing the driving force behind our habit of collecting, can we stop the hoarding and move towards clarity and change.  It is my experience that holding on to unneeded stuff is rooted in a fundamental fear of some kind — usually a fear of letting go.  I have sat patiently listening to countless clients’ stories and witnessed the link between behavior and experience.  Oftentimes a client remembers a chaotic life transition (such as the loss of a parent, a move related to a divorce, or an abusive relationship of some kind) as the time when he or she began “hanging on to stuff.”

This, of course, is not always the case.  I also encounter many clients who are simply not visual people and therefore do not think in terms of clutter and space.  Too often I come across couples who are frustrated by the fact that one member of the partnership can walk by a pile a million times and never see it, while the other can only see the clutter in the room.  Much of my work involves helping family members reach a compromise whereby one member feels de-cluttered and the other feels like they can manage a specific system of organization: one that feels less like a “task” and more like a daily routine.

The reality is that we are raising children in a faster paced environment than that of our parents.  Many of us, as parents, feel defeated by our packed schedules of play dates, homework, birthday parties and PTA meetings, longing for a quiet moment to just stop and be together with our children.  By creating a harmonious home, with space and time for togetherness that is less connected to stuff and stimuli — and more connected to each other — families can go through great positive change.

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There: now you’ve met “Seriatim.”  We look forward to future posts that will help us take a closer look at how our habits at home (whether culturally, genetically or traumatically driven) affect our kids.  Please take the poll and let us know whether you fall under the “old coot” category or the blissfully ignorant.  – RPM

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anastasia May 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I firmly believe that providing a clean, organized, and predictable space for children makes them feel comfortable and ultimately safe and sound.

Routine and predictability are essential to parenting small children, especially spirited children. Our daily routine is integral to our lives. Both of our kids thrive on it.

I am probably on the obsessive end of neatness and cleanliness, but I know that my family benefits from and appreciates it. And of course, it keeps me sane. :)

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