Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Resolving Conflicts Using Collaborative & Proactive Solutions

Do your children have challenging behaviors that keep reoccurring? If so, you probably have tried numerous things that haven't worked: time outs, grounding, withholding privileges, taking away toys, taking away the computer, TV or cellphone, and talking about the problem. Nothing has helped!

By definition, challenging behavior is difficult to solve. The reason nothing has worked is because the underlying cause of the problem has not been addressed. The trick is figuring out the root cause of the problem behavior.

Three Approaches to Solving Problem Behavior

Dr. Ross Greene has worked extensively with kids who are acting out at home and school. Over the years he has developed an approach that leads to success with most of these kids.

He discusses three options to misbehavior in his book Raising Human Beings. He refers to these options as Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.

Plan A – Announcing the Solution

You solve the problem by letting your child know what is going to happen. You make the decision based on your expertise without your child’s input. Greene explains “Plan A involves solving a problem unilaterally, and it’s very popular. When you solve a problem using Plan A, you are the one deciding the solution to a given unsolved problem, and you’re imposing that solution on your child.”

For example, you might say things like:

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Teaching Kids To Keep Themselves Mentally Healthy

You are likely doing an excellent job teaching your kids to keep themselves physically healthy. You’ve taught them to wash their hands before eating, to brush their teeth and to take a bath or shower. Maintaining a healthy body takes daily effort.

Maintaining a healthy mind also takes daily effort. How are you teaching your kids to keep themselves mentally healthy?

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is not about being happy all the time. In fact believing your kids should always be happy is a recipe for mental health problems! Your kids need skills for responding to a wide range of emotions every day including feelings of frustration, anger, sadness and loneliness.

Mental health encompasses more than being able to handle your emotions. The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Let’s look at how this definition applies to your children.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Living Our Values Everyday

There are times in our lives when we are shaken to our core. The very foundation of our lives seems to be at risk. It may be triggered by things like political upheaval, health issues or relationship problems.

These situations produce strong emotions. You may feel furious, perplexed, distraught, alarmed or apprehensive. When something you deeply care about is at risk, you experience stress.

When you positively embrace stress, it propels you to take action in alignment with your values. You feel like you must act. You can no longer sit back and watch what is happening.

Considering Your Highest Values

What are your deepest held values? If you had to choose your five most important moral values, what would they be?

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Increasing Motivation Using Provocative Questions

Do you wish you could increase your children’s motivation to do homework, get ready for school on time or keep their room clean? Will the promise of a reward for practicing the piano help your child practice more? Or will the threat of punishment be more effective?

When you try to motivate your children to work harder, you often end up feeling frustrated by the results.

Understanding Internal Motivation

New research is teasing out some of the key elements around motivation. According to Daniel Pink's book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, trying to motivate children using external rewards and punishment is a mistake. The secret for motivating children to high performance lies in encouraging their own internal drive.

Pink describes three elements of true motivation:

  • Autonomy: the need to direct your own life
  • Mastery: the desire to make progress in your work
  • Purpose: the ability to positively impact yourself and the world

For example, if you want your child to practice the piano more, asking these questions might help.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pursing a Technology Career - Perfect for Girls!

I completed a degree from the University of Minnesota in Computer Science and Psychology in 1984. There were few women in my computer science classes - great opportunity to meet guys! At the time I worked in the pharmacy at Snyder Drugs. One of the pharmacists encouraged me to pursue a degree in math or computer science along with my psychology degree. I took her advice and double majored in four years.

What wonderful advice! I ended up in a job that paid well and provided for my family. It's now over 30 years later and I still find technology fascinating. Eventually I combined my interests along with a Masters in Education and founded Priceless Parenting. I used my tech background to create online parenting classes.

Encourage girls you know to go into technology. It's a great way get an awesome career that pays well! Computing Technology Industry Association has created this video exploring girls views about technology.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pulling Together as a Family with Weekly Family Meetings

When times are tough, one of the worst feelings is that you are all alone. Believing that nobody else really knows what you are going through and that you have to figure it out yourself weighs heavily.

Kids need help getting through challenging times and so do parents! It can be easy to miss that one of your family members is struggling.

One of the best things you can do to prevent these feelings of isolation is to have regular, planned opportunities to communicate. Family meetings are a way to make this happen.

Holding Family Meetings

Weekly family meetings provide a structure for regularly communicating about important issues. Pick a day of the week that works best for your family. It might be Sunday evenings so you can get on the same page for the upcoming week. Perhaps a Thursday or Friday night works better. The important thing is to pick a day and time that your family can commit to setting aside every week.

These meetings should be short – 30 minutes works well. This means there will only be time for a few agenda items and the rest will have to wait until the following week.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Positively Using Stress to Increase Concentration and Performance

Does parenting ever leave you feeling stressed? When you care about how something will turn out, there is a certain amount of stress involved. One of the things you care most about is your children.

Whether it’s getting your kids to school on time, coordinating schedules or dealing with misbehavior, raising kids involves stress. Your kids also have stress in their lives as they respond to expectations from you, their teachers and their friends.

How you respond to stress can either leave you feeling on top of your game or spinning out-of-control. Harnessing the benefits of stress while avoiding the pitfalls is key to using stress to your advantage.

Being Overwhelmed By Stress

When your physical safety is at risk, you have a fight-or-flight response. The thinking part of your brain is bypassed so that you can take immediate action. This is critical if you are about to be hit by a car and need to jump out of the way.

It is this type of stress response that appears in emergencies. There are many stories of people being able to do extraordinary things in dire situations like lift a car off a child. They perform heroic acts in moments of stress without even thinking about it.
Two guys handling stress

When you feel overwhelmed by a stressful situation, it can also trigger the fight-or-flight response. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed and screaming at your kids? When you respond to your kids by yelling, hitting or threatening, you are experiencing a fight response.

(finish reading article at PricelessParenting.com)