Disaster news is everywhere. TV, newspapers, social media and even billboard reminders are appearing in some places.
Children are home. Parents are home. Everyone is scared.
Today's 3 Practical Parenting Steps:
Review the 9 listening skills.
Learn the drawing technique by using it to calm yourself first.
Teach the drawing technique to your child.
9 Listening Skills Effective Parents Need
Review the following listening tips:
Listen with direct eye contact, a caring smile and both ears.
Ask questions to be sure you understand.
Be patient. Give enough time for your child to form thoughts.
Repeat your child's ideas in your own words. Follow up with, “Is that correct?”
Encourage continued sharing by saying, “Tell me more.”
Walk in your child's shoes. With empathy try to feel what he’s feeling.
Avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Listen to the end.
Share your thoughts after your child's finished..
Begin by reflecting feelings. “It sounds like you’re (upset or sad or confused, etc.).”
You Are the Best Counselor for Your Kids
Kids Trust Parents to Help Them
As a counselor for many years, I’ve used the drawing strategy below with children and adults. It works. Why? Because it's a unique way of understanding feelings, especially fears.
When you listen well, teach practical skills and show caring, your child trusts you and feels loved. Love and trust make you the most powerful counselor of all.
9 Ways Parents Can Calm Themselves and Their Children
Drawing Calms Your Kid's Anxiety
Ask your boy or girl to, “Draw a picture of the fear.”
Probe Gently: “What does your picture mean to you?”
Say, “Tell me more,” several times until you hear all the anxious thoughts.
Say, “Draw how you would like to feel.” Then say, “Tell me about your new picture.”
Suggest, “Let's brainstorm what you could do to make your picture come true.” Wait patiently for your child’s ideas first.
Say, “Write down 3 small ways you can make your positive picture come true.
Say, “Pick one little step to try now."
Instruct your child, "Visualize your new picture clearly. Feel it and give it a positive title. Then post it on the fridge." Give your child all the time he or she needs.
Praise your child for calming his fear.
Discuss the second and third small steps in the following days to reinforce over time what has been learned.
Drawing an optimistic picture gives your child power over the fear. By visualizing it, feeling it and giving it a positive title, your child changes his scary mindset. Posting it on the fridge becomes a strong reminder to "stay calm and carry on." Use this technique as often as your child needs.
Consider applying it for any painful emotion your child may experience. You could even use it as a home schooling strategy.
You might like this video because it also reinforces the steps:
How Parents Help Anxious Kids Feel Confident
Like this post? Please comment and share it with your friends on social media.
The entitled child believes everything should go his way. He acts like he’s the king of the universe. Justin was such a boy.
Whenever Justin’s younger brother, Seth, wouldn’t play Justin’s video games with him, he’d punch Seth and yell, “I hate you!” When his mom scolded Justin, he’d sass back, “You always take Seth’s side,” then slam his bedroom door.
If Justin was your son, would you want to hit him? Would you yell, “I’m sick and tired of your angry behavior!” and preach the same old lecture?
Consider having a conversation with Justin when both of you are calm.
Teaching the Entitled Child How to Be Realistic
Use yourself as an example. It might go something like this:
Mom: Remember when I arranged a birthday party for Grandpa?
Mom: I was frustrated because only three of our family members came. I really felt mad inside. I wanted to tell those who didn’t come what I thought of them.
Justin: Did you?
Mom: No, because I remembered something Grandpa taught me as a child. He’d say, “Sally, you’re not the Queen of the Universe. Things don’t have to go your way.”
Justin: How did that help you?
Mom: Can you guess?
Mom: Because if I was the queen, I could make everybody do what I want.
Justin: But you’re not the queen so you couldn't force everyone to come to Grandpa's party.
Mom: That’s right. How might that thought help you?
Justin: I’m not the King of the Universe so things don't have to go my way either.
Mom: Right. What about Seth not playing your video games?
Mom: How can we remind ourselves that we’re not the king or queen of the universe?
Justin: Let’s make 2 signs that say, “I’m Not the King,” and “I’m Not the Queen” and post them on the fridge.
Mom: And every time we stop ourselves from losing our tempers let’s make a tally mark on our signs.
Conclusion for Helping Entitled Kids Become Reasonable
Entitled kids need to know that life isn’t fair, doesn’t cater to what they want, and can be disappointing at times. You can teach them with reasonable self-talk how to be more rational about life. None of us is the king or queen of the universe. Things often don't go our way. Sometimes we need to be patient and accept that fact. And sometimes it becomes a challenge to creatively overcome the problem.
As the parent, you are the best one to teach him this lesson by being reasonable yourself and having good discussions with him. Start with a true story about when you were angry and irrational. He won't feel like you're pointing a finger at him and he'll like spending private time with you.
Big Bad Bullies are Critical Judges. They mess with your child's mind. Their constant put-downs harm self-esteem and prevent their victims from liking themselves.
Jack Canfield & Miriam Laundry
In this brand new book, Miriam Laundry teams up with Chicken Soup for the Soul Expert, Jack Canfield. Together they share the story of a girl tormented by a big bad bully who haunted her every move.
One day she found the bully in the school bathroom. Did she stand up to the bully? Or did she run away "like a scared little chicken?"
In the end, your child will learn a method for dealing with the big bad bully.
What My 12 Year-Old Granddaughter Thought:
"It tricked me and I thought it was a real girl who was being bullied and I could relate to it. It turned out it was herself and she was her own worst critic. I criticize myself a lot and it turns out nobody is actually paying attention to what I'm insecure about. I'm going to start doing the author's The Positive Mirror Exercise. I think it's going to help me a lot."
Suggestion for Parents:
I suggest you read this beautifully illustrated book with your child. Discuss and practice The Positive Mirror Exercise together. You'll find 5 other exercises for helping her conquer the bully.
Don't let your child's self-esteem prevent her from liking herself. Pick up this book at Amazon.com now. It will make a great birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, or 'just because' present.
Aggressive kids, like Joey aren't liked. He hated waiting in line at the water fountain. He'd shove the kids lined up ahead of him. They'd fall forward like dominoes. The first child always hit his face while drinking. Joey laughed. I visited his parents and had a glimpse into Joey's life at home.
The father put his wife down several times during our conversation. She looked straight into my eyes but said nothing. Tears ran down her face.
When parents model meanness, children pick it up. Joey was mean. He didn't know how to relate to others.
I found out that Joey's dad was too busy to spend time with Joey. Joey didn't feel important. He didn't feel love from his dad. As we ended the meeting, Joey's father promised to spend time with him. He and his wife decided to work on their relationship too.
Parents Must Model How Children Can Assert Themselves
Teaching children how to assert themselves, speak up with respect, and be friendly starts at home. Parents must model how to communicate well. If they don't know how, they can learn. The following article will show how.
1. An empowering formula for teaching kids assertiveness skills
2. 5 assertive role-plays to practice at the dinner table
3. A fun family activity
4. An assertive poem for kids
How Joey Became Assertive
Joey told me with a big smile that his dad playfully put shaving cream on his face and let him shave it off with an empty razor. It made a real difference. Joey, over a matter of weeks, stopped shoving kids and started making friends. A greater respect developed between Joey's parents. Soon they were ready to learn the Assertiveness Formula within this article:
You can raise assertive children by practicing the formula within your family. Advise your kids to use it with others too. If you do, they'll learn to speak up for themselves, make friends, and become respectful communicators too.
Watch our brief video on assertiveness:
Like this post? Please comment and share it with your friends on social media.
Do your kids bicker? Is it grating on your nerves? Some quarreling is normal. But if your kids continually fight, it’s a telling sign to “Detour! Danger Ahead!”
My brother and I fought so much that years later my mother told me, “I thought you were going to kill each other.” A slight exaggeration but we did yell, wrestle, and throw some punches. Underneath it all, I really did love him and if anyone criticized him, I ached inside.
When we fought our mother would yell, “Stop!” She’d complain. She’d even lecture. But she had been an only child and never experienced sibling rivalry. She didn’t have a clue how to help us be civil and neither did we.
How Do I Teach My Kids Assertive Skills?
Assertive role-playing can be taught using “Instant Replay.” This parenting technique is assertive because kids must come up with their own answers and then act them out. It uses Time Out.
I remember being sent to bed after many a fight. It often lasted the whole afternoon, but it didn’t work. I just took long naps.
With Instant Replay you separate your kids and send them to different boring places within your home. They come back to you after each child brainstorms 3 good ways they could have handled their disagreement without fighting. Then you tell them, “Act out the best one. When done, they shake hands and are free to go off to play.
I like this strategy because you’re no longer the judge and jury. You don’t choose who’s right and who’s wrong. You don’t even come up with solutions. Your children solve their own problems.
The Assertive Formula
The Assertive Formula Works
This formula includes 5 parts:
The Assertive Voice
The Assertive Face
The Assertive Posture
The Assertive Words
The Assertive Role-Play
The video below shows parents and children several simple suggestions to practice within each part.
Before teaching this formula, I suggest practicing it with your partner first. Why? Because your example is the most powerful way for kids to learn.
Narrow-minded kids might say, "It wasn't my fault."
Narrow-Minded Children Need Open-Minded Parents. Many kids naturally act to gain pleasure and avoid pain (punishment). Open-minded parents can model both calmness and reason. By doing so, they can help their children see both sides of a bigger picture.
In today’s post, we are sharing 3 dinner discussions. They don’t tell your children what to think. That’s not their purpose. The goal is to help your child slow down, think reasonably and see a side other than their own.
Use the dinner discussions to find out what your children really think. Don’t force your ideas. Listen well. Your mission is to open their minds by asking them to give advice to 3 narrow-minded kids.
“It Wasn’t My Fault”
12 year-old Josh had been told many times to pick up his things. Yesterday, his 5 year-old brother Tommy, while running down the hall to the bathroom, tripped on Josh’s bookbag. He sprained his wrist in the fall. Josh blurted out, “It wasn’t my fault.”
Did Josh have any responsibility for Tommy’s sprained wrist? Why?
How could Josh blame Tommy for spraining his own wrist?
By blaming Tommy, what could Josh avoid?
What advice would you give Josh?
If Josh followed your advice how might he have reacted differently?
Narrow-Minded Kids Might Say, "I Forgot."
Whenever 11 year-old Sheila’s mom asked her, “Do you need help with your math homework?” Sheila would answer, “No, it was easy. I did it in school.” Then she’d run out to play.
Sheila received a poor grade in math because she rarely handed-in her homework. When her mother saw the report, she said, “You’re supposed to ask for help when you need it. Why didn’t you?” Sheila said, “I forgot.”
Do you think Sheila was open to getting help? Why?
Did anything stop Sheila’s from doing her homework? If so, what?
If you were Sheila’s mom, would you accept, “I forgot,” for an answer? Why?
What advice would you give Sheila? Why?
If Sheila opened her mind and listened to you, what might she do?
Narrow-Minded Kids Might Tell a Parent,
"You're So Mean!"
“You’re So Mean.”
13 year-old Jerry begged his dad for an expensive new bike. His father asked, “Are you willing to work for it?”
“Do I have to?”, asked Jerry.
“If you really want a bike, you’ll need to keep your room clean, do your chores without complaining, and cut the grass every week this summer. Are you willing to do that?”
Jerry stared at his dad and yelled, “You’re so mean!”
Why did Jerry yell that his dad was mean?
What do you think stopped Jerry from working for a new bike?
If you were Jerry’s Dad, would you give him a bike without expecting anything in return? Why?
How open-minded do you think Jerry was about taking responsible?
Is manipulating others with insults a good strategy? Why?
If you gave Jerry advice, what would you suggest?
Getting children to think reasonably helps them see the bigger picture. Open-minded thinking can slow down their pleasure seeking and speed up accepting responsibility. They might even think before they act.
Becoming reasonable and open-minded won’t happen overnight. Using dinner discussions can start the process.