Tag Archives: parenting

Parenting Tips from the Expert…

To help your children turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money. 

H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life’s Little Instruction Book 

Today’s Meditation :

Our society tends to push the narrative that children are more interested in toys than affection, that they desire things more than they desire the company of those who love them, and unfortunately a lot of parents buy into this myth. But children do not want more things… they want more time; they want to be loved, to be noticed and feel relevant, to be shown consideration and concern. They want to be shown all the love and affection that their parents can give to them, even during those times when they put up walls or wear masks to hide their feelings. 

Perhaps this has something to do with the growing number of adolescents and teens who are suffering from depression. Children who do not receive affection from their parents will often times develop coping strategies to deal with not getting it such as acting like they do not want or need it. This is confusing to the parents as it sends the wrong signals, and then parents who are not spending enough time with their children feel that the child does not want them to anyway, which can lead down a dangerous path: if we become too uninvolved in our child’s life, they may go looking elsewhere for that missing affection, be that in bad relationships, gangs, drugs, sex, violence, or some other negative and unhealthy place. 

As parents, we are the adults… we are the ones who need to be cognizent of the needs of our children. And because we have the benefit of living through childhood, and of growing wiser with our years of education and experience, we should know better than to neglect our youth–whether they are our children or simply a part of our lives somehow. And although buying something for a child will bring about momentary satisfaction, and allow us to experience that momentary excitment and joy from getting something new, that happiness is transitory; spending time with that child, however, will last forever in the hearts of both them and us. 

The majority of people will tell you that the adults that made the greatest positive impact on them as children, were the ones who made time for them. In truth, our children will remember us for how well we loved them–how often we held them, read to them, listened to them, encouraged them, and supported them–not for the things we bought them. 

Today’s Challenge: Spend quality time with a child. 

Questions to consider:

What kinds of adults had the strongest effect on you when you were young? How did you feel when someone spent time with you? 

How do we get the idea that most kids want us to buy them things instead of spending time with them? Is that accurate? Even if it is accurate, do the kids necessarily know what’s best for them, or just what they want in terms of immediate gratification? 

Why do so many adults spend so little time with young people? 

🌺💕☘️💕🌺

If we had paid no more attention to our plants than we have to our children, we would now be living in a jungle of weeds.

Luther Burbank

Thorn of Life ~ Parenting

The thorns of this world are a necessary and important part of life.

Just as roses are not roses without them, if we removed the thorns of life, many of the necessary things in this world would simply cease to be.

Sure, they are not always pleasant–they often cause us pain, suffering, grief, and misery–but the lessons they teach us about caution, avoidance, perseverance, and growth are essential to our becoming. 

To lead fulfilling and satisfying lives, we need the struggles, the battles, and the occasional prick from the thorns of life.

We all begin life not knowing who we are or what we want to be.

And as we search for purpose and meaning, we either come to find ourselves through our journey–obstacles and all,–or we begin to find ourselves dissatisfied that life is not exactly as we expected it to be.

But that dissatisfaction is our own doing; it comes from wanting or expecting the world to be free of thorns, yet seeing that it is not. 

As compassionate individuals, we often wish to help remove the thorns from the lives of others.

Especially as parents, we try to ensure that the lives of our children are safe, shielded, and risk-free so that they do not get hurt or ever have to face pain in their journey through life.

But it is important to remember the significance of experiencing the thorns of life, or these children might grow up not knowing how to deal with adversity, not understanding why the world is not making itself safe for them, blaming God and others for the pains, sufferings, failures, and losses in their lives. 

The thorns of life strengthen us, they help us to grow, and they condition us for service–they are a necessity of life.

For it is really only through experiencing and dealing with adversity in our lives, that we are able to help others to do the same.

And those of us who are able to deal with the setbacks and difficulties of life–without losing our composures or giving up–are master gardeners of our lives, for they have learned to work around all the thorns, and have cultivated a garden filled with beautiful flowers. 

Connection before Correction…

These qualities I wish I had used more consistently is Connection before Correction.

Of course, I didn’t know what this meant as a young mother.

Now we know it is just brain science: children learn (grow, feel safe, thrive) best when they feel connection—or as Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs taught us, “a sense of belonging and significance”.

Extensive research shows that we cannot influence children in a positive way until we create a connection with them.

It is a brain (and heart) thing.

🌹Sometimes we have to stop dealing with the misbehavior and first heal the relationship.🌹

Connection creates a sense of safety and openness.

Punishment, lecturing, nagging, scolding, blaming or shaming create fight, flight, or freeze.

One of my favorite examples of “connection before correction” is, “ I Love You 😍 and the answer is no.”

This example also illustrates the Positive Discipline concept of kind and Down at the same time.

Before sharing more ways to create a connection with children, I want to point out that it is a mistake to think that giving children whatever they want is effective.

Rescuing, fixing, and over-protecting are not good ways to create a connection.

Effective connections are made when both child and adult feel belonging and significance.

Most of the Positive Discipline parenting tools provide skills for creating a connecon.

Simple Techniques..

  • Spend special time with children. What could create a greater connection for your child than to know you enjoy spending time with him or her.
  • Listen. Really listen. Stop doing whatever you are doing and give your child your full attention
  • Validate your child’s feelings. Don’t we all feel connected when we feel understood?
  • Share your feelings and thoughts when appropriate. Remember that children will listen to you AFTER they feel listened to. Children feel a connection when you respectfully share something about yourself. Respectfully, means no stories about walking miles in the snow.
  • Focus on solutions WITH children after a cooling off period. There is that word “with” again–because it is a golden bridge to connection.
  • Ask curiosity questions to help children explore the consequences of their choices instead of imposing consequences on them. Sincere questions open the heart and the rational brain—equaling connection.
  • Hugs. There are times when all of us need nothing more than a hug.

Once the connection is made, children are then open to respectful correction.

It is important to understand that “Correction” in the Positive Discipline way is very different from conventional correction.

The biggest difference is that conventional correction usually involves punishment (punitive time-out, grounding, and taking away privileges being the most common).

In other words, conventional correction consists of adults doing something TO children. Positive Discipline correction respectfully involves children whenever possible, finding solutions WITH them.

Two great methods for finding solutions are family meeting and joint problem solving.

These are powerful tools that respectfully involve children to learn and use their personal power in contributing ways.

Connection is created as part of the process.

When children feel a connection, they feel belonging and significance. Often that is enough for misbehavior to stop. As you learn about the many Positive Discipline tools, notice that they are all designed to create a connection before respectful correction.

Ask and Answered

When it comes to persistence, few things compare to a child nagging and negotiating to try and get what he wants. And few people know that better than a parent who has given that child an answer they don’t want to hear.

From the famed “Are we there yet?” to this morning’s “Can I have ice cream for breakfast?” to this afternoon’s “Can I have ice cream for dinner?” kids are notorious for their one-track minds, and they will ask…and ask…and ask…just in case you’ve changed your mind in the last minute.

Child nagging is a learned behavior that children of any age can pick up. They might continue to use it because once, in a moment of weakness, you caved and let them stay up an extra half hour after they asked for the eighth time.

But like any learned behavior, child nagging can be unlearned. The solution comes from Lynn Lott, co-author of the Positive Discipline series of books, and it works on kids as young as two or three, all the way through their teens.

It only takes three simple words: “Asked and Answered.”

The concept is simple. When seven-year-old Daniel begs to dig a giant hole in the front yard and gets “no” for an answer, chances are he’ll be back in five minutes asking again – this time with a “pleeeeeeaase” just so you know he really, really wants to dig the hole.

Instead of repeating yourself or jumping in to a lecture, avoid child nagging by getting eye to eye and follow the process below:

Step One: Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” (He’ll probably say no.)

Step Two: Ask, “Did you ask me a question about digging a hole?” (He’ll say yes.)

Step Three: Ask, “Did I answer it?” (He’ll probably say, “Yes, but, I really ….”)

Step Four: Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mom/dad/teacher who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are Daniel will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)

Step Five: If Daniel asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you should need to say to address nagging questions.

Consistency is key! Once you decide to use “Asked and Answered” with your nagging child, be sure to stick to it. If 14-year-old Emma is particularly determined to keep asking to get her eyebrow pierced, stay strong.

Answering her question again – or worse yet, changing your answer – will reinforce to her that her nagging works. Although it’ll take some patience, your child will eventually connect the dots and you’ll see results!

Make “Asked and Answered” a joint effort with your spouse, and consider including any family or friends who may have to deal with child nagging and negotiating from your child. When Daniel and Emma realize that they won’t get a “yes,” even after they’ve asked twelve times, they’ll get the hint and retire this tactic.

Speech and Language Pathologist, Stacy Pulley reports this technique works well for children with communication challenges, particularly those with Autism. She suggests bringing a notebook or a chalk/dry erase board into the mix and writing down a question once they’ve asked it more than once, keeping in mind their reading level. Or, draw a picture.

Then, when your child asks again, point to the board or notebook to remind them that they’ve asked, and you’ve answered. Be sure to use as few words as possible and stay consistent in your language to help them understand the connection as they learn to listen to and respect your answers.

Adding this tool to your parenting toolbox is a positive step toward ending the child nagging and negotiating that can wear on even the most resolute of parents.

Then, be sure to follow through and stay consistent – and before you know it, 20 questions will be a fun game once again, and no longer a negotiation tactic!