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Scripts for Kids: How to Teach Manners that Work!

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How 2 Parenting Scripts Help Kids Learn Manners

How can scripts for kids teach manners? Our parenting skills expert, Dr. Donna Volpitta, author of The Resilience Formula, is here to tell us. Dr. Volpitta's interest in the relationship between the brain and language led to her scripting advice that's easy to use. Today, She'll share 4 typical phrases kids abuse and 2 scripts parents can use. I'll share 5 reasons why teaching your children mannerly expressions help kids now and in the future.

4 Impolite Ways Kids Express Their Wants:

1. I need...(demanding tone)

2. I want...(rude attitude)

3. I told you already...(disrespectful voice)

4. You never let me...(whiny talk)

When kids are cheeky and parents get angry, negative neural pathways can develop. They can influence a habitual way of thinking and reacting. This isn't what parents want. To bypass this danger, Dr. Volpitta suggests using two simple scripted phrases. She advises parents to use them repeatedly:

1. "You may not..."

2. "Please say..."

She tells parents to repeat these two scripts in a respectful tone with whatever needs to be said. If you do, you'll be creating positive neural pathways and your child will know just what to say and how to say it now and in the future. Here are some examples:

1.) Child: (whining): I want a cookie!

Adult: You may not whine. Please say in a happier tone, "Mom, may I please have a cookie?"

Child: Mom, may I please have a cookie?

2.) Child: I TOLD you already that I don't have any homework tonight!

Adult: You may not speak to me like that. Please say "Remember I don't have any homework tonight?"

Child: Remember I don't have any homework tonight?

Now it's your turn to use the two scripted phrases with this example:

3.) Child: You never let me do ANYTHING.

Adult: You may not... Please say...

Child: Repeats what you said.

Again, Dr. Volpitta advises us, "By providing exact phrasing through scripting, we reinforce particular pathways." The key is to use the script, say it exactly the same way each time, and repeat it often. (From Chapter Nine, pages 95-110.)

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5 Reasons Why Using Positive Scripts Helps Kids Now and in the Future:

1. Kids learn what to say and what  to avoid.

2. Responses become positive neural pathways.

3. Manners become a habit.

4. Politeness is appreciated in and outside the home.

5. Children get what they need or want more frequently.

Dr. Donna has given us such an easy recipe with her two phrases for raising polite kids who know what to say and how to say it. When we teach children to repeat their words with manners, they learn social skills that work everywhere. What a positive way to help them shape their brains!

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Let's PRAISE Dr. Donna Volpitta for advising us to use two simple but powerful parenting scripts. Now teaching manners is easier than ever.

Donna V

Dr. Donna Volpitta

Pick up a copy of her book, The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive Not Reactive Parenting and find simple ways to raise independent, confident, and respectful children.

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Available at Amazon.com

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Determination: 5 Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Challenges

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Determination and Handling Pain

Is your child determined to try? Or do challenges scare him. Our parenting skills expert, Rick Ackerly, authored the book, The Genius in Every Child. He will share a story when he had to let his two-year-old suffer, offer a list of pains most children experience, and I will offer 5 ways to raise kids who love challenges.

The Story of a Father Determined to Help His Son

Rick's two-year-old ran ahead of him, tripped, and gashed his hand on broken glass. In the emergency room little Peter screamed for his father to stop the doctor from stitching his hand. It pierced Rick's heart to see his son frightened and in so much pain. He wanted to stop the doctor but Rick's job was to hold his son still so the doctor could keep sewing.

As a father, teacher, and principal, Rick never forgot. It became a symbol of what all parents need to do; let their children suffer. "It can sometimes by very hard," he said.

Determining When to Not to Help Kids:

If you're a parent who pampers, spoils, and overprotects your child, you may be causing him more suffering. If your expectations are low, you risk sending this message to his brain:

"If my parents think I'm weak, then I'll accept my defeat."

If you don't believe in your child's strength, it will be hard for your child to keep trying.

7 Pains Most Kids Must Face

1. Loneliness

2. Homesickness

3. Anxiety before a test

4. Challenges, "It's too hard."

5. People with high expectations, "The teacher/coach is too hard on me."

6. Struggles with homework

7. Failures in school, on the playground, and sports

To raise children who keep on trying, you must let them experience difficulties.  Determining when to protect and when to allow your kids to fail takes balance on your part. If your children give up too easily, maybe you're planting the message,

"If my parents think I'm weak, then I'll accept my defeat."

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5 Tips for Raising Determined Kids Who Love Challenges

How do you teach kids a positive mindset? How can you instill the following belief?

"My parents aren’t wrong when they think I’m strong."

1. Use words like, "You can do it. I believe in you. I knew you could."

2. Ask questions like, "What made you so determined to try? How did it feel as you took on the challenge? Why does doing your best feel so good?"

3. Help her see difficulties as "opportunities to learn" even if she fails. "I'm proud of how you tried. What did you learn? How would you do things differently next time?"

4. Teach her to avoid thinking about what she doesn't want. For example, kids laughing at her poorly delivered book report.

Teach her to focus on what she does want. Help her imagine the feeling of confidence, a picture of the class liking her report, and words to support her feelings and picture. For instance, she might say, "I am confident and my class is listening."

5. Guide her to realize that her brain is a muscle and it must be exercised. Effort is the key.

If you're determined to raise kids who want to try, think of Rick's story, how kids must experience pain to be strong, and use the tips to help your child face her challenges.

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Let's THANK Rick for sharing the story of his son and how hard it can be for a parent to let a child suffer. Rick's wisdom about the importance letting kids experience difficulties is worth more than gold.

Blog Potential Rick Ackerly educator
Pick up your copy of The Genius in Every Child: Encouraging Character, Curiosity, and Creativity in Children and experience a wealth of helpful parenting skills to help your child grow.

Cover - Genius

Available at Amazon.com

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How to Turn Selfish Kids into Caring Givers

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Turn Selfish Kids into Selfless Children

Is your child selfish? Would you like to turn him from a taker to a giver? If so, our parenting skills expert, Dr. Michele Borba, author of the book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, is here to help. First, she'll share some signs of selfishness, next she'll share a helpful game with questions, and then I'll follow up with some specific ideas you can use today.

 It's natural for young children to think about themselves. Care during their early years centers on their needs. Feeding, bathing, loving, training to walk and talk, and playing to help them grow is important. But as they become more competent there is less need for parents to indulge and more need for parents to teach them to think about others. Are there selfish clues in kids that need to change? Certainly!

Signs Your Child Thinks Selfishly

1. Demands his way and usually gets it.

2. Takes what he wants with no appreciation. "Gimmie" is his favorite word.

3. Thinks of himself first and expects favors and privileges.

4. Wants things NOW! He doesn't care if others are inconvenienced. (From page 210)

Some parents want their kids to experience happier childhoods than their own. We understand. They don't realize that pampering children can spoil their lives. Like a rotten apple, people will avoid them. Dr. Michele suggests parents try the following solution:

Teach Caring with the "Step into My Shoes" Game

To help your child move from "me-me-me" actually have her stand in another person's shoes. Let's say a situation arises in which the coddled child pulls his older sister's hair. When emotions die down, have the puller act out the event by stepping into his sister's shoes and answering these questions as if he is his older sister:

1. How do I feel?

2. What would I say?

3. What would I want to have happen instead of what did?

The trick is to help your kid switch roles so that he starts thinking about others instead of just himself. (From page 213.)

Reducing Selfishness and Increasing Selfless Behavior:

1. Be kind but not too kind. Have your child earn what he wants by specific caring behavior. Choose the behavior together.

2. Be firm when you say, "No." (You might need to think a little before making your decision.)

3. Talk about other's hurt feelings by asking your child, "How do you think he felt?"

4. Praise your child's acts of kindness toward you, other kids, or pets. "I like how gently you're petting Rover."

5. Chart specific selfless behavior with stars and post on the fridge.

Turning your child from a taker to a giver doesn't have to be hard. By using the "Step into My Shoes Game," and the 5 other strategies mentioned here, you can raise a caring child with character.

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Let's THANK Dr. Michele Borba for her wisdom on this important topic. Try her "Step into My Shoes Game" with your kids and let us know the results.

Pick up your copy of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries and feel confident when you follow her advice.

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Available at Amazon.com

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Thoughts: 10 Ways Kids Can Turn Positive Thinking into Actions

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Combining Positive Thoughts and Deeds

Thoughts are powerful but is there something stronger? Our parenting skills expert and author of the book, The Good, The Bad, and the Difference, Michael Sabbeth, is here to shed some light.

 

First, we'll describe a talk Michael Sabbeth had with third graders to show why a positive thought may not be enough. Then we'll share how two experiments deepened the children's wisdom. Finally, I'll end with 10 simple things children can do when they combine good thinking with acting.

A Lawyer's Discussion with Kids:

One chilly fall morning, Michael began a discussion with 8-year-olds about friendship. Specifically, he asked the class about caring and its relationship to doing. His eyebrows arched when some children said caring and helping were the same thing. He remembers Julie saying, "Because, with both, you are doing something good and you feel better."

Two Challenging Experiments about Thinking and Acting:

Michael brought up the topic of homeless children and devised two tests.

1. "Close your eyes," he told the class. "Concentrate for 15 seconds on caring about homeless children and improving their lives. Imagine giving them books and clothing and shelter."

When the kids opened their eyes, Michael asked if they had any evidence that the kids' lives improved. They said, "No." Then Michael added the second experiment and tripled the time.

2. "Close your eyes for 45 seconds and really care. Don't hold back."

Some youngsters clenched their fists. Others bit their lips to think their most generous thoughts.

When they opened their eyes, Jordan blurted out, "It takes no work to care." Samantha shared that she was a volunteer at a homeless shelter. Morgan, in talking about caring and doing said, "They're not equal at all! Doing is better.

Michael encourages parents to have these kinds of dialogues with their children because they quickly lead to deeper levels of thinking. (From pages 214-215)

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10 Ways Kids Can Turn Positive Thoughts into Helpful Actions:

1.  "I hope Johnny gets over his cold."  Call Johnny and tell him you hope he gets better.

2.  "I bet Suzy would like one of my chocolates." Offer Suzy a chocolate.

3. "I'm glad Jimmy likes my new bike." Ask Jimmy if he'd like to ride it.

4. "I wish Sally had a friend." Ask Sally to play.

5. "Somebody should be nice to the new kid in class." Introduce the new kid to your friends.

6. "Kirsten gave a great book report." Tell Kirsten what you liked about her book report."

7. "Too bad the teacher punished Alvin for something he didn't do." Tell the teacher the truth.

8. "Jonathon looks hungry." Share your snack with him.

9. "Tina has to finish her yard work before she can play." Help Tina finish her work.

10. "I'm sorry Peter has a bloody knee." Help Peter wash it and give him a band aid.

When good ideas are followed through with helpful activities, they create superior outcomes. Consider brainstorming kind actions toward others with your children. Then ask, "What can you do to make it happen?" By getting kids to add actions to thoughts you are teaching them to be kind now and preparing them to be leaders tomorrow.

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Let's THANK Michael Sabbeth for sharing his class discussions, his experiments, and his wisdom.

Michael Sabbeth best

 Michael Sabbeth

Pick up your copy of The Good The Bad & The Difference: How To Talk With Children About Values and watch your children grow when you use his ideas for your creative discussions.

Cover The Good, The Bad,

Available at Amazon.com

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Please support today's author and share your opinions about this blog post. Just click on the COMMENTS link below. It will open up for you. We want to hear from you.

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Shame: How to Change the Beliefs That Hurt Your Child

 Girl

Shame Can Hurt Your Child

If shame has hurt your child, keep  reading. Our parenting skills expert, Katherine Gordy Levine, and author of the book, Parents Are People Too, is here to help. First, we'll check out Katherine's own story. Second, well look at some shameful  words you may have experienced as a child. Then we'll share what you can do to lessen the resulting feelings in yourself and in your child.

Katherine's Story of Shame:

Today's author was six-years-old when she was in a near car accident with her family. She heard her brother yell out, "We're going to crash!" Katherine sprawled out in a relaxed position because she had heard this was the best thing to do. When the car stopped, her family saw her and laughed. One brother shamed her by calling her "Stupid."  She never forgot.

The point is, Katherine carried that shaming event throughout a large portion of her life. It even influenced her explosion at her son's teacher when the teacher implied he was "stupid."

Your Past Shameful Events

Perhaps you have stories from your childhood that are still powerfully raw. Naming calling words may still affect you like:

  1. You're ugly.
  2. You're a dummy.
  3. You're such a turkey.
  4. You knucklehead!
  5. Why are you such an Idiot?

Remembering those names can bring back sense memories. Like Katherine, you might find yourself reacting in anger. If you take your hurt feelings back through your life on the wings of time, you might find the exact situation where they started. You  might say, "Aha, that's where they came from." If you understand the old situation better, you might release the feelings and feel better.

How to Change Shaming Beliefs in Yourself to Help Your Child

Hurtful thoughts must be challenged. As you practice helping yourself, teach your son or daughter to do the same.

Say to your son, "You're looking a little sad, today. What happened?"

Be gentle in your approach. If he tells you his sister yelled, "You stink!" and he believes it, help him debate the truth of it.

  1. Who said so?
  2. What makes her the authority?
  3. Was she mad?
  4. Why do you think she said it?
  5. Do you really think you stink?

Perhaps your son will realize she was trying to upset him because he played with her toys without asking.

Tell him that you're using your brain to overcome your own hurt feelings. Share self-statements you've been using and encourage him to say them too:

1. Nothing is awful and terrible.

2. It's just inconvenient.

3. I can take it.

4. Things don't have to go my way.

5. Life isn't fair.

You might even post these statements on the fridge. Every time your son uses one of the sentences to soothe his pain, give him a high five with a true compliment like, "You used your brain and overcame!"

By teaching your child these truths, you're helping him face reality, overcome painful feelings, and leave the hurt behind. 

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Let's THANK Katherine for sharing her story, teaching us to challenge negative thoughts and using our brains to overcome pain and shame.

Katherine Gordy Levine

Katherine Gordy Levine

Pick up a copy of her book, Parents Are People Too and find out how to challenge and change negative thoughts (Chapter 8). You'll love her emotional fitness program too.

Cover Parents Are People Too_

Available at Amazon.com

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Please support today's author and share your opinions about this blog post. Just click on the COMMENTS link below. It will open up for you. We want to hear from you.

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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