Unintentionally Adding Fuel to Your Children’s Misbehavior

Recently I was sitting in church listening to the intergenerational choir sing a beautiful song. My attention was broken when a preschool boy a couple rows ahead started protesting and crying. His mother looked embarrassed as she quickly stood up to take him out of the church.

As she picked him up, she pleaded in a quivering voice "Zack, you have to stop crying!" Her command to stop crying caused him to escalate his behavior to also include hitting her on the head. Ouch!

If you’ve ever been in a public situation struggling with your children’s behavior, you can relate to what this mom was going through. Although it’s unclear what caused Zach’s outburst in the first place, his mom’s response unintentionally added fuel to the fire.

When you realize that a situation didn’t go as well as you wished, it’s helpful to review what happened after the fact and figure out what you might want to do differently in the future.

Keeping Your Private Parts Private

Kimberly King, a kindergarten teacher, thought she had done a good job of discussing appropriate and inappropriate touch with her kids. However, when her 5-year-old son, Zack, went to the neighbor's house for a sleepover, he was not really prepared for what happened. Zack ended up being pressured by his best friend to engage in inappropriate behavior.

While Zack found creative ways to resist cooperating, he was deeply effected by the event. This book is co-written by Zack and his mom as a way to help other kids learn from Zack's experience.

It's a wonderful resource for helping discuss the difference between people who are behaving appropriately ("green flag people") and those who aren't ("red flag people"). Children are given examples of how they might be bribed or threatened along with ideas for how to tell someone.

May There Be Peace in Your Home

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

-- Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.)

Children Do Bring Happiness

Although there are various research studies showing couples with children are not as happy as those without children, I know that I'm happier because I have children. They've enriched my life in ways that are hard to measure.

In her book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin describes the happiness children provide. She begins by stating
"From my own experience, I knew that Jamie and I squabbled far more often once we had kids, we had fewer adventures, and we had less time for each other. Nevertheless, despite these findings, I had to reject the experts' argument that children don't bring happiness. Because they do. Not always in a moment-to-moment way, perhaps, but in a more profound way."

She then goes on to describe this happiness.
"In many ways, the happiness of having children falls into the kind of happiness that could be called fog happiness. Fog is elusive. Fog surrounds you and transforms the atmosphere, but when you try to examine it, it vanishes. Fog happiness is the kind of happiness you get from activities that, closely examined, don't really seem to bring much happiness at all - yet somehow they do."

The deep love I feel for my children is part of my fog; it surrounds me with warmth even when we're apart.

Calm, Confident Parenting - 6 Week Class

Creating a Frazzle-Free Family

Do you want to begin 2012 by bringing out the fantastic in your family? Are you ready to replace yelling and threatening with calm, confident parenting?

Parenting can be a pleasure or a pain. You will experience more pleasure when you have the right tools.

We'll explore ideas that can save your sanity and pave a path to a joyful family life. Learn how to turn ...
  • tantrums into emotional regulation
  • not listening into cooperation
  • arguments into conversations
  • power struggles into mutual agreements
  • disrespect into civil behavior

Do you have children ages 1 - 12? Register today for one of these classes:

Choice #1
Dates: Mondays, Jan. 9th - Feb. 13th, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Location:  Evergreen Hospital, 12040 NE 128th Street, Kirkland, WA
Cost: $197/person or $297/couple - register by 12/31 to save $20/person


Choice #2
Dates: Mondays, Jan. 9th - Feb. 13th, 11:00 - 12:30 PM Pacific Time
Location:  online (recordings will be available)
Cost: $197/person or $297/couple - register by 12/31 to save $20/person

About the Presenter
Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed., has helped thousands of parents from across the United States to Australia through her online classes, presentations, coaching and Priceless Parenting Guidebook.  Parents excitedly report their success in replacing yelling and threatening with calm, confident parenting.  When your children’s behavior is really pushing your buttons, discover ways to set effective limits, invite cooperation and have a lot more fun together!

More Information
Contact Kathy at 425-770-1629 or Kathy@PricelessParenting.com


Tots and Technology

The amount of screen time recommended by experts for young children and the amount of screen time the average child watches are two very different numbers. Kids are averaging double the amount of recommended time in front of screens.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
  • Children under 2 should have no screen time (Research reality: these kids average of 2 hours per day)
  • Children over the age of 2 should watch no more than 2 hours a day (Research reality: these kids average of 4 hours per day)
Why is this so important? Young children’s brains are being wired based on what they are experiencing. One of the critical systems being developed is how to form and maintain emotional relationships. Developing these emotional relationships requires lots of interaction with loving caregivers. When kids miss this care, later on they fail to thrive in peer relationships and also tend to do poorly in school.

There are so many tantalizing new devices being developed for tots like the Vinci tablet. The description on Amazon is “VINCI is a new category of early learning systems exclusively designed for children ages 4 and under.” While it’s tempting to plug young kids into screens to keep them occupied, there are serious ramifications which are not immediately apparent.

You are responsible for setting limits on your children’s screen time. The Active Bodies, Active Mind website has more ideas for reducing screen time.

Creating Your Frazzle-Free Family

Take a minute to sit back and think about a time when your family was operating smoothly and everyone was feeling pretty good. What was going on?

Below are some of the things that come to mind for my family when things are going well.

Everyone is
  • pitching in with household tasks
  • joining the family for meals
  • acting respectful
  • feeling supported and loved
  • remembering to let the rest of the family know where they are and when they'll be home
  • feeling like they have enough time and don't have to rush
  • healthy, getting enough rest and exercise
  • having some time for fun
Do these things happen all the time? No, but when they do happen, our family atmosphere is more pleasant.

Beginning with Changing Yourself

What changes could you make to your own behavior which would positively impact your family? Since you absolutely control your own behavior, you can make these changes happen!

Gretchen Rubin invested a year working on changing her life for the better. Each month she focused on a different part of her life and described her journey in The Happiness Project. She tackled things like going to bed earlier, organizing her things, asking for help, stopping nagging, acknowledging people's feelings and taking time to be silly.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Developing Empathy

How do children learn to have empathy for others? They learn it by experiencing empathy themselves.

When children are upset, you can show empathy by identifying the feeling they are expressing and then making a guess as to why they are feeling that way. For example if your child is crying you might say, “You look really sad. Is it because we have to leave now?” If you guess right, your child may cry even harder because you’ve acknowledged the feeling.

However, children also recover more quickly after feeling heard. By expressing empathy for your child, the whole incident will probably go more smoothly than had you responded “stop crying” or “you’re fine”.

Too Many Gifts

I was recently meeting with three couples from a very wealthy family. Each of these couples was concerned about the amount of gifts their children received from the grandparents. It wasn’t just slightly overboard … those kids received hundreds of presents. They even had trouble staying focused on opening that many presents.

The parents were overwhelmed with the amount of stuff their children received. They needed to cart it all back home plus find a place for everything. Yikes!

What could these parents do to improve the situation? One option would be to sit down with the grandparents ahead of time and discuss their concerns. However, the couples felt they really couldn’t talk to the grandparents about reducing the amount of presents without causing a major family rift. The grandparents wanted to express their love with all these gifts.

Another option would be for the parents to allow the children to keep a certain number of presents and donate the rest. Or the children and parents could go through the previous years’ gifts in November and donate a majority of those presents.

Have you dealt with a similar situation? Please leave a comment about how you handled it.

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