Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is Your Child Brave?

Being brave can mean many things to many people because being brave it is an action that makes something happen..makes anything happen.  Being brave is about overcoming your fears to accomplish your goals. As an adult this means so many things (because our lives are complex) but for children, this is simple because their lives are simple (at least they should be) so overcoming their fears to accomplish their goals might mean something simple like eating their vegetables, conquering the fear of the dark, approaching a bully, or trying out for a sport that they have never done before.  Maybe even saying no to peer pressure.  Being brave is an essential tool for your child's success in everyday life.  Here are a few ways that you can help to foster courage in your child's life..

  • Remind your children about times that they overcame their fears (ie. sleeping alone or trying a new food) to encourage them to find the strength and courage to do other things that they might be scared about in the future. Also, ask them how they felt when they accomplished the task.
  • Give opportunities for them to talk about issues they're worried about and how they can overcome their fears.  Try to encourage and not judge.  Then ask them how they felt after they accomplished their goal and of course how proud you are.
  • Tell stories about things that you were scared about and overcame in your life and how it made you feel or made your life better.
  • Remind your child that if they try and fail- it's ok.  Many of the most successful people failed the most but they didn't give up trying.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Letter From a 4 Year Old

Dear Mommy,
Believe it or not, I am simple.  I like singing. I like eating.  I like learning new things.  I get scared of the unknown but your arms and voice can easily calm me. When I'm scared or frustrated and you begin to yell at me it makes things worse.  I want you to love me.  I know I can be frustrating at times but all I really want is your love and acceptance.  I know I tell you I don't want your kisses but the truth is I really do. I know I tell you that I don't want your rules but I like them because they let me know that I am safe and that you care about me.  I know I am loud and hard to please but I've only had 4 short years to learn to problem solve and find out who I am.  I am learning what my voice sounds like, how people respond to me, how things work and what I like. I know you always tell me how easy my life is but my problems seem as big as yours in my little world.  You might be scared of losing your job but I am scared of getting lost in the supermarket. You may be stressed about how to pay your bills but I am stressed about how to be a "big girl" like everyone says I should be when I really just want to stay a baby.  If my sister makes fun of me it really does feel like the end of the world.  My sister is my world.  I know it's so hard to remember what it was like when you were 4 but try to remember that I'm just new to this world and it will take me many years to learn all the life lessons that will help me solve my problems. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Changing our Negative Patterns

We all have habits that we would like to change or behaviors that we wish to change (or maybe urgently need to change).  Whatever the case, we need to take responsibility for our actions.  One thing that's easy to do as a parent is to loose sight of our goals by licensing our behaviors....what the heck does that mean? Here's an example...
One of my parenting goals is to be a patient parent.  What does that look like?  I want to be a parent that yells rarely, listens often, helps to problem solve, and gives appropriate consequences when needed.  So, what derails me from these goals? When I get frustrated I often excuse my behaviors by thinking about how I could be worse (you know, spanking, screaming, alienating, abusing drugs, lol!) Yeah, of course there's crappy parents out there and if I compare myself to them I suddenly feel much better and my behaviors become excusable (at least in the moment!) Maybe you compare yourself to your parents and say "Well, at least I'm not doing THAT!" This kind of thinking may excuse your behaviors in the moment but it will keep you with guilt and keep you from being the kind of parent you want to be.
If your guilty of licencing your behaviors, than being able to identify these patterns is half the battle!  Focus on what kind of parent you want to be and compare yourself to the kind of parents you admire (instead of the ones you dislike).  Ultimately, you are the only one to compare thoughts with because you know the kind of person you want to be and what you need to do to get there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

4 Parental Sayings That Hurt Your Credibility

1. "I mean it this time!" (I'm guilty of this one!)
You mean it THIS time but not the first time? O.K, guess that means the first few times you said that was just a warning?

2. "Wait til your father gets home!"
This message clearly states their father has more authority than you.

3.  "OK, if you don't come with me now, I'm leaving you!"
You are not really going to leave your child in the mall (at least I hope!).  Threatening things you can't follow through on will sooner or later ruin your credibility.  You're child will figure out that you won't really leave him and starting testing your boundaries.

4.  "Because I said so!"
There are times when this is necessary but if we don't explain to our children why they can't have something we could be doing them a disservice and ultimately setting them up for frustration.