Ask Auntie A! ” Back to school Jitters” August 2017

Q. My son is very nervous about going to “big boy” school. He has been at a small Montessori school ever since he was 21/2 and now we are off to kindergarten! I have tried to make this transition sound fun and painless but he is whining and complaining of a stomach ache and we have not even started school yet! What can I do to alleviate his stress levels and make this school year the best ever?
  1. One thing I noticed was your use of “big boy” in mentioning the new school and that may be part of your problem. He may be feeling quite pressured to perform and add to that a new environment and I would have a stomach ache too! Transitioning into kindergarten can be a little bumpy as change is always hard…especially with the little’s! Ask him why he feels nervous about going and work towards answering that specific problem. It would benefit him if you could get with the home mother and set up a playdate prior to school starting so that he has a friend or two going into the first day. At lunchtime having a buddy will give him something to look forward to and make the first days less scary. Lastly, I always told my children to do their best. I knew that if they felt that had tried their best then that was all I could ask of them. Stop saying “big boy” school and just talk about the excitement of making new friends, seeing old ones and learning cool stuff! He should transition fine after a week or two! 


Alisa Murray is an Award winning columnist, portrait photographer and holds a BS in Psychology

Ask Auntie A!    Strong willed & Weary! July 2017

Q. I have a daughter that from day one has been headstrong. As an infant she would scream until whatever demands she was making were met and now as a toddler she will not listen to me at all. I have asked her repeatedly not to rip the pages in her books and she does so looking straight at me to see if she can “test” her boundaries! When we go to the local pool she runs from me and goes straight to the deep end of the water and jumps in; even though she does not know how to swim! I feel like I am parenting a wild animal at times and it is frustrating. My parents have mentioned that she needs more “discipline” as if to suggest the consequences of her defiance should warrant spankings such as they gave to me and my siblings, however my husband and myself do not wish to spank her. Do you have any advice on how to get her to comply?

A. Count yourself lucky to be the parent of a strong-willed child! It’s a rough go of it when they are little but they are the world changers of tomorrow! Most parents figure out fairy quickly that they have a strong-willed child because early on these children have a different set of standards that they hold us to. Their world has to bend to their desired expectations and they are often not understood. Many times the interpretation of the parent is seen as defiance when in fact they are checking to see if cause equals effect. Give her reasons why she should not rip her books not just tell her to not do so, explain that she can die if she enters a pool without supervision and tell her how that happening to her would make you feel. As she grows you will discover that she is inner motivated and will probably not be as likely to follow her peers as much as her own compass. That can be a blessing. Strong-willed children if guided properly will turn into adults that are entrepreneurs and not rule followers. These children are intelligent, often beyond their years; and using communication with reasoning and explanations usually works best.

Ask Auntie A! What is the proper way to say thank you? June 2017

Q. Recently my daughter had a birthday party and she received quite a few gifts. Although she personally thanked each of her guests that day at the party, I have asked her to write each person and send a thank you note. I asked her a second time and she said “Mom, I will just text them.” I understand this generation has succumbed to spending their lives on their phone but I do not think this is the proper way to thank someone for a gift. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions for me or for her?

Auntie A: My dear you are both correct.  Old school rules would state when you throw a party for yourself and your friends bring you gifts then you absolutely must write each of them a thank you note, mentioning what they got you and how much you are or will enjoy it, and it must be done in a timely manner. Usually the time frame is within a month. However, your daughter is also correct that if she already thanked them a simple  text would be just fine. That generation has a new way of communicating and in these circumstances texting would be acceptable.

Ask Auntie A!
Alisa Murray aka. “Auntie A”
Award Winning Columnist and Fine Art Photographer
BS in Psychology

Ask Auntie A!  “Too much advice from Mom” May 2017

Alisa Murray aka. “Auntie A”
Award Winning Columnist and Fine Art Photographer, BS Psychology
Q. I am a new mother and of course I appreciate “helpful advice” from both my mother and mother in law but at every corner I feel like I am getting a lecture on what to do or even what I am doing wrong. This “advice” is putting a strain on my relationships. Do you have any suggestions what I can do to end the constant advice without damaging the relationship?
Auntie A: Well you’ve heard that saying that “mother knows best” and now that also includes YOU! You are new to the club though, as a first time mommy; and so the two most influential women in your life are sharing through their experiences in an effort to help you. I remember quite well receiving unsolicited advice about everything from breast feeding to spankings, in fact I myself am still receiving from my mother in law and I’ve been parenting for almost 20 years!  It will not end because instinctively we as mothers want to ease the stress of the biggest job on earth. If you feel though that these little tidbits are an attempts to control you then I would very nicely say “thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” After repeating that a few times they will get the hint without you having jeopardized the relationship!IMG_4812.jpg

The Lifestyle with Alisa Murray   “How do you find your Peace and Quiet?”               February 2018

Where’s your happy place? Mine is the beach…which is where I am right now…in my mind! 
If you desire to find peace and quiet on a daily basis, one way is to take something very special to you that reminds you of your special spot and to make a place for that in your home. For example, gather shells from the shore and sand and in a place that you are comfortable include those things. This might be even by painting that space in those colors or collecting books that you have read at the beach and having a corner in a comfy chair that you can pursue through where all this wonderful cozy feelings come rushing back.
Another way to create some tranquility is to display your favorite quotes around your house. Make the conscious decision to feel harmonious by adding things like bible scriptures or famous authors ad artists sayings. Many decorators use these inter designs and the funny thing is when you display these and see them everyday they become a part of your unconscious mantra. You are around them all day in your home and you don’t even think about it but they become a part of your life. I have an old one that I remember was always at a favorite beach home we rented as a child on Hilton Head, SC …It read “Don’t Worry…Be Happy!” Some things just never get old do they? 
An absolute necessity for any home is the use of fresh flowers and live plants. I cringe when I think ion the days that I had a fake ficus in every room of my house! YUCK. Live plants bring in not only a sense of natural beauty but they also act as filters and improve the quality of air we breathe. I always try to keep a blooming orchid or violets with because they are beautiful but more importantly because they remind me of my Nana. 
Probably the best thing we can all do to find a sense of peace and quiet is to decide that 2018 will be the year we are plugged into social less. Checking those likes and scrolling through other people’s live is not really living at all and certainly does not promote a sense of peacefulness! Whether you add a special nook with reminders of your favorite place on earth or add a little plant to your window, one thing is for sure; taking time to just think and be is a grand step forward in living your best life!