Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Other Adults Who Strongly Impact Your Child

Teachers, coaches and other adults who work with your children will have a tremendous impact on them. These adults provide your children with different perspectives then you have. Ideally they will play a positive role in guiding your children to grow into their best selves.

Last night I attended a banquet for my son’s high school cross country team. During the banquet, a number of students spoke passionately about just how much their coaches meant to them. These teens expressed beautifully a deep sense of gratitude for the impact these coaches had on their lives.

Each in their own way conveyed similar key messages they received from their coaches:
  • You noticed me.
  • You cared about me.
  • You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
  • You changed my life.
What a gift these coaches have been to our kids.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Make Your Home Name-Calling Free

Being called names hurts kids. When kids are called names like stupid, lazy, fat, ugly or cry baby, they naturally feel bad about themselves.

While you can’t control what happens at school, you can make your own home a name-calling free place. Your kids should feel safe in their own home. This means that your kids should not be allowed to treat each other cruelly.

Siblings have inside information that they can powerfully use against each other. As a parent it is your job to stop them from using this information in a negative way. Make your home welcoming for everyone – a place where they can be themselves, be vulnerable and not be afraid of being attacked for showing their true selves.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Looking to be a Better Mom

A mom emailed me asking for information about the online parenting classes. She concluded saying "I am the mom of a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old (both boys) and am just looking to be a better mom. Tired of power struggles, whining and feeling like a failure. No court order here - just want to raise happy, healthy, self-reliant children and feel like I'm not accomplishing that now."

Ouch! Her honesty took me back to how I felt when our oldest was 3-years-old and really pushing our buttons. I remember her doing something she knew she should not be doing and looking us straight in the eye as she did it. I was furious! I felt like spanking her but I had promised myself not to hit my kids so I needed some other response to correct her behavior.

My husband and I decided to take parenting classes and that was one of the smartest decisions we've made. It was like gaining access to the "cheat sheet" on what works well in raising kids! I started Priceless Parenting so parents everywhere could learn these ideas that make parenting so much easier.

You can learn these ideas by taking one of the self-paced online parenting classes (ages 5 and under, 6 to 12 or teens). If you want to be able to ask me questions on the lessons and get my responses, then you want to sign up for a DANCE Parenting Class. The DANCE class runs for 2 weeks and the next one is Nov. 9 - 22nd. Both formats allow you to watch the lessons at your own time and place.

You should leave the class feeling much more confident in your parenting approach. You will learn how to calmly set firm limits on your children’s behavior, invite cooperation and have a lot more fun together. I’d love to have you in class!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Responding to Kids with Compassion Instead of Criticism

Critical comments flow easily for most parents. In fact it may be so natural that you don’t even notice yourself making negative comments. In her book, Building Moral Intelligence, Dr. Michele Borba writes "studies reveal that the average parent makes 18 critical comments to his child for every one positive comment." Yikes!

When you criticize your kids, you are usually trying to correct their behavior or help prevent them from making mistakes. While these are worthwhile goals, what if criticism actually does more harm than good?

Criticizing Kids Teaches Them to Be Self-Critical

A big problem with criticism is that kids tend to quickly internalize it and then repeat it back to themselves. When your kids use negative self-talk, they hold themselves back instead of confidently moving forward.

In her book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, Professor Kristin Neff writes “When mothers or fathers use harsh criticism as a means to keep their kids out of trouble (“don’t be so stupid or you’ll get run over by a car”), or to improve their behavior (“you’ll never get into college if you keep getting such pathetic grades”), children assume that criticism is a useful and necessary motivational tool. Unsurprisingly, research shows that individuals who grow up with highly critical parents in childhood are much more likely to be critical toward themselves as adults.

People deeply internalize their parents’ criticisms, meaning that the disparaging running commentary they hear inside their own head is often a reflection of parental voices – sometimes passed down and replicated throughout generations.

Being self-critical isn’t exactly the legacy you want to give your kids!

Criticism Comes Easier Than Forgiveness or Compassion

Being critical of your children’s behavior stems from a belief that criticism is necessary in helping them grow up well. When you criticize your kids, you are attempting to exert control over their behavior in order to improve it. Is there a better way to do this?

(finish reading the article on Priceless Parenting)