CHILDREN NEED HELP UNDERSTANDING THEIR EMOTIONS

What do you do to help children develop the ability to understand their emotions and others around them? It’s never too late to use your emotions in a positive way. Here are tips to help children develop emotionally:

1. Accept children’s emotions – “Are you OK…you look upset?” “Did something happen?” ” Are you angry? Let’s talk about it.”

2. Identify their emotions – “You look sad.” “That must have hurt your feelings.” “You sound upset.”

3. Encourage children to talk about what they are feeling – “Do you want to talk about what’s bothering you?” “How are you feeling?”

4. Help children identify how others may be feeling – “How do you think that made your friends feel?” “How would you feel if you were in your friend’s shoes?” “Everyone makes mistakes.”

5. Teach children how to calm down – “Take deep breaths.” “Count to ten.” “Remove yourself from the situation so you can cool off and think in a positive manner.”

6. Help children maintain self control – “I was impressed when you used your words to tel, how you were feeling.” “You handled yourself really well even though you were frustrated.”
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Posted in Children, Communication, Education, Educators, emotions, Health, Parent, Parenting | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How to Handle Child Attitude

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The awe and flash of Fourth of July fireworks, replete with cannonade, have drifted into silence, but the significance of independence never fades.

In the classroom, we seek to mold independent, critical minds for solving tomorrow’s challenges, and, in the home, we strive to raise confident and self-reliant children.  However, both teacher and parent would relish freedom from the universal, adolescent phenomenon known as “attitude.”

“Attitude,“ as used in this post, is the negative one we experience when a child chooses to express his or her feelings in an inappropriate way.  You know:  rolling the eyes, stomping the feet, invoking a tone of doom, sometimes even throwing a tantrum unrivaled by the most petulant toddler.

Attitude is defined as the way a person views something or tends to behave toward it, often in an evaluative way.  A good attitude makes a student “a pleasure to have in class,” whereas a toxic attitude often serves as the impetus for firing an employee.

Attitude can also be a fuzzy line of self-expression or disrespect.  It’s difficult to pinpoint and even more difficult to address.  Is this child just venting or is he or she being disrespectful to me?  Some of the attitude thrown our way requires looking more insightfully at possible causes and solutions.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  I notice a rise in attitude and complaining at home.  Quick to point fingers and snap about complaining spirits, I, in turn, complain to others about my children’s attitudes.  Huh?  The irony and hypocrisy in that is ridiculous.  If my spirit is irritated and not kind or considerate, perhaps I’m setting the tone.  Additionally, barking directives at my children is such an easy default in my interactions with them.  Solution:  I need to check myself. Being mindful of what is coming out of my mouth and the way it is coming out is brutally challenging, but the solution is to adjust my own attitude.

A fellow parent believes a sibling’s or classmate’s attitude is more influential than that of a parent.  It’s the equivalent of silently saying, “This is acceptable behavior that you have permission to model.”  For example, if a child is allowed to snap and whine with rewarding results, there will be plenty of witnesses who will follow the same lead.  Solution:  Bring attention to the behavior without engaging in a battle.  That takes a moment of self-control on our part, not to react but to pause then interact.  A teacher can simply let a student know, “I do not appreciate the way you are speaking to me,” and move on to the next item of the day.  Totally ignoring a bad attitude is like throwing gasoline on a flame.  It has the potential to get bigger, blow-up, and spread to others.

Unmet expectations!   This one is huge and is the bottom line of most attitude problems.  When a request gets denied, there, typically, is a response.  It could be a repeating of the same request.  [I must have not heard the request right the first time and my “no” really must have meant something else.]  Or the silent treatment, sulking, body flopping, a resounding, “COME-ON!”, and “Pleeeeease,” could all be possible follow-ups to a denial.

I realize those are all forms of coping with disappointment and expressing feelings, but there is no benefit to a child who gets his or her way when using any of these techniques.  She or he will be the one getting fired in the future for trying to use the same techniques with his or her employer. Solution:  Never “change your mind” when a student or your child engages in a poor attitude.  If we cave [I know, I have], then we have just trained this child to respond accordingly to get his/her way.

Attitude adjustments do take time, effort, and a dash of humor.  Stay consistent, stay strong, and keep in mind the wise words of Captain Jack Sparrow when addressing attitudes in the home or at school, “The problem is not the problem.  The problem is your attitude toward the problem.  Understand?”

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

 

Have a happy & healthy summer.

Sammy @TSC

 

Posted in Attitude, Children, Parent, Teachers | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Interview with Author Traci Dunham – The Oyster’s Secret

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Below the waves and into the deep sea, Mr. Oyster is quietly, but confidently being himself.  Author, Traci Dunham debuts her first children’s book, The Oyster’s Secret with vibrant and engaging illustrations and a clever stroke of curiosity.  TURNING STONEchoice had an opportunity to talk with the author and listen to her insights on this soon to be children’s classic.

What inspired you to write this book?

Inspiration hit me last summer while sitting down by the water in my hometown of Wildwood Crest. I  wrote the book on the beach that day on the back of a crossword puzzle.

What was your goal in writing The Oyster’s Secret?

I wanted to let children know that their self-worth comes from what is on the inside.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you do.  Beauty comes from the inside out.  Raising a daughter that is handicapped has shown me that every person has value and a purpose. I love books that have a message and too many children’s books today do not.  With so many children being bullied, I want every child to know that even though they are different it is ok.  I am hoping this book teaches children at a young age to accept those with special needs.  I don’t think that there are many books out there that reach the younger age groups about children with special needs and I wanted to do that.  I’ve experienced firsthand the lack of education young children receive in regards to this topic.

Do you have any other works in progress?

Yes – My Sister Lu Lu and Me, a story of two sisters, one who is handicapped.  It is written from the point of view of the sister who is not handicapped. She talks about their differences and let’s everyone know that even though her sister is different it is ok.

The Oyster’s Secret is a delightful story, geared toward the juvenile reader with an incredible message of acceptance, self-confidence, and inner beauty. To enjoy your own copy please visit The Oyster’s Secret.

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice and our process please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TSC

 

 

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Arguing With Your Child

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“Boy, get out of that tree!” I hollered at Nicky.  “I’m not in a tree, Mama,” he hollered back.  Hmmm?  Are you looking at the picture above?  Is Nicky in a tree, or have I completely lost my vision?  And, yes, because I had been baited into arguing with my child, I took a picture to have solid evidence of his presence in that Japanese maple, just to prove that he was wrong, and I was right.  FYI:  Physical evidence still proved ineffective in dissuading him from his position.

I wish I could claim this as an isolated incident, but I argue on a consistent basis with my boys over ridiculous issues, like basic reality:  Is he in the tree or is he not?  Timeframes:  theirs or mine.  Words I never said (or did I?):  “Mom said we could have cookies for breakfast.” 

I know, in my heart of hearts, I never even mentioned cookies, much less eating them for breakfast.

My sanity is often on trial here, and, in an attempt to defend it, I go there and engage in a verbal tennis match with my seven-year-old.  Not wise!  The truth is, it drains my mental and emotional reserves and benefits no one.  His reasons for arguing with me are generally rooted in a need for my attention or understanding.

My husband claims our children know they can get away with it with me.  I think he is right, but my big fail is that I entertain and engage where I have no business.  I mean, which one of us is the adult?

I often tell my older son when he is locked into sibling bickering with his younger brother, “Do not engage with a seven-year-old.”  Looks like I need to take my own advice!

How do you handle arguments in your classroom or home?  Please share your comments in the box below.

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TSC

 

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Would You Allow Your Child to be Verbally and Emotionally abused?

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No!  No, you would not!  But then, again, maybe you would.  Think about the sideline dynamics during children’s sporting events and the way some coaches choose to communicate and to motivate their teams.  The yelling, the screaming, the cursing, the drama–and I’m just talking about the parents not just coaches.

A professional coach once said these words to me:  “We don’t yell our kid’s name and scream at them while they are learning to color.  Why do we feel it is acceptable while they are learning to play a sport?  Can you imagine [in a sports-fan-like, crazy voice],  ‘No, no, not the blue one!  Get the red one and STAY in the lines!’”

Yet, we do accept behaviors from coaches and parents that pertain to sports that, plainly, are unacceptable anywhere else, then we turn around with condemnation when we learn of abusive behavior on the collegiate and professional level.  Recall former Rutgers Basketball coach Mike Rice?  I just watched again the video footage of his behavior, letting loose on a player, verbally and physically abusing him up and down the court.  His rampage is forever accessible in cyberspace.  Or how about former MLB player, Mitch Williams, banished from multiple sporting events in which his children participated, for yelling at coaches, screaming at referees, and yelling a vulgar slur at a ten-year old boy, all while coaching his son’s baseball team (also on video).

This type of behavior has not just suddenly appeared.  There is license given here, and we, parents, are issuing it freely with our silence or participation.

Former NBA player, John Amaechi, said it best, “What I think is stark here is how we can be surprised, at this point, by this [Rice].  You can walk on any sideline almost anywhere in America . . . on any given weekend and see similar behaviors.”  I concur, Mr. Amaechi, but I respectfully ask, “Why?”

Why do you think this type of behavior is accepted on the sidelines of our children’s sporting events?  Please leave your comments in the box below.

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice and the process, visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TSC

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Maya Angelou – “That’s Me”

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I got the call late in the afternoon.  My literary role model had moved on from this earth.  I blinked hard, and my throat was sand dry, for Maya Angelou had shaped not only how I thought about the written word but how I perceived struggle and being a woman of color–phenomenally of course!

She was a brilliant word ninja, transparent in thought and feeling, and bold to tell the world her life stories.  And it was with comfort and in lore that I felt connected to her experiences and reflected on her example.

There are people in this world who lovingly shape and encourage wholeness and empowerment in others, as did Maya Angelou.  Her confidence and strength was dignified and appealing, and I had the feeling she wanted the same for every person who read her works.

Her “Phenomenal Woman” is, perhaps, the most solidly written anthem for a woman’s self-image.  Every girl should read and believe.

Personally, I lapped up every single phrase of “Phenomenal Woman,” reading it like a mantra, wanting to believe I was, and could proudly say, “That’s me!”

In honor of Maya Angelou, enjoy the following excerpt from “Phenomenal Woman,” and please share and pass it on to all of the women in your life:

“Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

The bend of my hair,

The palm of my hand,

The need for my care.

‘Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.” – Maya Angelou

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and our programs please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TSC

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5 Ways to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

 

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Ten-year-old Jonny is having an out-of-body-experience melt down, and you are his #1 target, absorbing the full impact of all his emotion.  Sometimes, being a parent stinks (and not just when you change diapers).  How do you deal with the negative behavior positively without being sucked into having your own tantrum or lashing out at your child?  Here are 5 ways to engage more positively.

1.  Trigger Awareness –There are certain triggers that may set off a child like hunger, a lack of sleep, overstimulation (think video-game gorging), feeling lonely or frustrated.  Now, add a parent’s trigger– let’s say whining–to the interpersonal-communication mix, and the exchange could be quite negative.  Knowledge of both self and child equips us with the ability to think through negative behavior and potential resolutions.  A basic understanding of triggers allows a logical connection to the cause of a negative behavior.

2.  Prevention – Now that there is an understanding of the cause for negative behavior, like a lack of sleep–which is the case for two children and one parent in my house–we need to adopt practices that will either evade triggers or build critical thinking skills to work through triggers that are unavoidable.  This may mean adjusting bedtime hours.  An earlier bedtime for the child (or parent) may be the difference between a pleasant day or one filled with outbursts, defiance, and the inability to focus.  If there is complete knowledge of a trigger, yet, as parents, we do not take preventive measures, then we should brace ourselves with empathy for what will come.  If we continue to ignore preventive measures then we have set up the child for negative behavior.

3.  Discipline – This, of course, is always a prickly subject, but let us define discipline as loving correction, in that children need to be directed and corrected in order to be equipped for their adult lives.  I’m not advocating control or micromanagement, or worse, nagging.  When we, as parents, take time to let Jonny know the way to behave appropriately or to take care of himself, then we have shown an interest in our child.  A child lacking parental discipline will present with issues of self-control and personal discipline, in both childhood and adulthood.

4.  Reinforcements -- Know when you may need some help understanding and dealing with your child’s behavior.  Relatives, good friends, teachers, or, if needed, professional counselors, can be worth their weight in gold if they help make your job as a parent easier.  I remember taking a parenting workshop with a friend entitled, “How to make your child mind, without losing yours.”  The information and practical tips I picked up then, I still use today.  I would have otherwise been unaware of these techniques, had I not attended that workshop.  There is no shame in seeking guidance.  None of us have all of the answers, but as a collective group of parents and professionals, solid advice and counseling can allow us to parent in a more positive and joyful way.

5.  Consistency -- In order for #1 through #4 to work, we need to adhere to the same course of action. Regularly evaluating what may elicit certain behaviors.  The triggers of today will not necessarily be the ones of tomorrow, and the moment we bend or break the rules of discipline, is the moment we will have to start from scratch.

Give some thought to at least one strategy  that you can reap the benefits from.  Remember, we all stumble as parents but we need to encourage ourselves and each other often.  We will never regret the effort nor time we dedicate to our children.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TSC

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The Five-Second Rule

 

lollipopHave you ever had those incredible moments of frustration that make you want to run, screaming, down the street?  Sure, you have, if you are a teacher, parent or both.  Your role is typically challenged by moments that require every ounce of maturity and wisdom to get you through the day.  Sometimes, it takes a sweet treat to help work through that frustration.

I am reminded of a sticky lollipop falling to the floor and tiny hands rescuing it from the grimy kitchen surface.   With a resounding pitch, my seven-year-old claimed it: “Five-second rule!”  Then, he quickly popped it into his mouth and went about his business.

Yes, the “five-second rule” still lives on, my friends.  I hadn’t heard it in some time, and, at that moment, I thought: What if I took five seconds not to react to people or circumstance? It takes mental awareness and self-control not to lash out when people, places, or life irritates me.   What if I stopped and took five seconds to breathe, or five seconds to be still or five seconds to think about my next course of action?

It’s a simple technique to engage our critical thinking skill set and bring us to a place of interaction vs. reaction.   Modeling this behavior reinforces the developing process that we teach our charges.  When we “walk the talk” our actions carry a stronger message over the words pouring out of our lips.

Sometimes taking five seconds is the difference between enjoying the lollipop or crushing it mercilessly, so the next time you find yourself on the brink, think: Five-second rule!

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TSC

 

 

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Teacher Appreciation

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“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” ~ Maya Angelou

It’s time to thank the dedicated teachers for all their sacrifices and support for children throughout the year.  Teachers play a key role in student success and feeling valued lets teachers know their efforts are not going unnoticed.

“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis

power-of-choice

Posted in Current Events, Education, Educators, Teacher, teacher appreciation, Teachers, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

School – No Books Allowed

21st+Century+Word+CloudA technological tidal wave has taken over schools and the future of text books is slowly morphing to their electronic cousins.  With the majority of advocates toting technology as the skill of the future, it may be hard to defend the paper back.  Educators, parents and IT gurus have all chimed in on the pros and cons of moving to digital text books. Deliberation over a complete integration is not taken lightly and some concerns linger.

Do students have the capacity to carrying the burden of such a responsibility?  When everything is said and done, an ipad or similar tablet is a very thin, portable computer.  Our children will be responsible for the physical safety of a computer. When kids are notorious for losing items like text books or even the shoes off their feet, is it a reasonable expectation to think that they can keep a tablet safe and secure?  Consider, some school districts struggle with theft and vandalism of their technological resources.

Yes, students embrace technology, yet, struggle with responsible use.  Students currently are using Smart boards, ipads, and desktops during the school day and will then utilize cell phones to interact with family and friends, bring their electronic text books home, do research for school projects on the internet, type up their homework assignments on chat boards and then blow off some steam to play video games, watch some TV or surf the web.

This amount of “screen time” is not maintaining a healthy balance.  Students struggle with unplugging.  There are actual cases of addiction to video games and internet surfing.   Evidence also supports too much screen time can cause a medical condition called computer vision syndrome which causes eye strain and damage.  Additionally, any screen time leading up to bedtime has been proven to effect melatonin levels in the body causing sleep deprivation.

Students need to understand how their overall health is affected by their time spent using digital gadgets, so they can make positive choices.   Equipping students with strategies to balance their leisure screen time with academic responsibilities may prove to be an eye and sleep saver.

Striking a balance with amount of use is second to the ways students have misused technology.  The media is filled with sick and sad stories of social media harassment, bullying and individuals that stalk and prey on children. Cell phones are used to take pictures without permission or record a crime.   Developing the critical thinking skills of the 21st century student is crucial to making safe and smart choices with technology.

Jennifer Patrick, a 7th grade social studies teacher shares her experience and perspective, “My school supplies us with a Social Studies textbook for every student. Our department has not transitioned to digital books, yet.  I used to give each kid a textbook to keep at home. Now I make the offer optional.  I can probably count on my hands the number of times we use the textbook in class each year.  It serves mainly as a supplement.  The wealth of text rich resources available online makes learning meaningful and promotes deeper thinking . . . experiences that traditional textbooks rarely offer.  Given my content area, I think digital books make exploring history more appealing to 21st century learners than the “dusty old textbooks”.  I recognize the concerns about the cost and access to technology for digital books to be feasible.  However, considering our tech savvy audience and the fact that these resources will never be outdated, I would fully support a move to digital books.”

Michael Rubright from EIRC (Educational Information & Resource Center) is responsible for technology rollouts schools are currently using like web based text books and tablet integration in the classroom. He believes educators should be partnering with businesses that understand the role of technology in schools and rely on the experts to help provide technology policies that address issues and concerns.  Rubright suggests an upfront tutorial for teachers, staff and students, on how to use the technology appropriately, “This is key to setting expectations for usage.”

Guidance and training on how to use digital textbooks or any technology is not necessarily the challenge. The challenge lies with the level of responsibility for the resource, an understanding of how to best balance technology and the appropriate use.  Without the continued effort to foster a student’s ability to make positive choices, students will not only struggle with technology, but with life in general.

For more information on the TURNING STONEchoice process please visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sammy@TSC

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