Teaching Choice

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One way to assist you in communicating to your children is to emphasize their ability to control their own living. When you frame conversations by helping them understand the impact of their choices, children are willing to interact with you.  For example, rather than saying, “Sit down and study for that test you have tomorrow,” interact to help them understand the ramifications of not studying: How they may receive a poor grade: How it can create an unfortunate habit for them. Being reminded that they have a choice whether to do their homework or not but should understand the rationale for not doing it and the subsequent ramifications.

Common Miscommunication:

  • making ultimatums
  • making threats
  • making assumptions
  • name calling
  • accusing
  • limiting their power

The language that you use with your children can limit your effectiveness for parenting.  Your tone and mannerism also impacts how they “hear” you.  Children want to be validated by having their parent hear them and show them respect.

~ Learn more at TURNING STONEchoice

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Dealing with Bullying!

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Any of us can recount stories about bullies from our own experiences in school.  While we may not have been a victim, we may have been a bystander or even a perpetrator.  We can vividly tell stories about the elementary school student that was targeted because they were not popular or the child that was constantly harassed at recess.  There are numerous reasons why students may bully others.  This works under the premise that experiencing bullying is not just a “rite of passage” and there are skills you can equip your children with to help them thrive.  Parents must remember anyone can be a bully.  Bullying in schools is a source of public outrage in media outlets.  While your child’s school or school district may have various programs to address bullying and institute peer mediation, positive choice making and social skills to curb bullying, as a parent there are numerous things you can do to equip your child.  Here is an inspiring story on athletes stepping up to take a stand 

While no one has the right to be bullied, help with the understanding that some children are more susceptible to being a victim then others.  Those who are isolated or seek excessive attention by pestering or overcompensating for insecurity may be more likely to be bullied.  There is no rationale for bullying being tolerated in schools. However, understanding your children’s tendencies will help you help them navigate through school and provide them with the tools to be successful in their adult life, where bullying doesn’t necessarily end.

To learn more or visit TURNING STONEchoice we would love to here from you!

Disciplining In Your Home

mom_and_little_boyDisciplining is one of the most important facets of parenting.  When we reflect on our own experiences with discipline as a child, we should think about how those methods made us feel and whether they are in line with our parenting philosophy.  Providing discipline is essential to help groom children into becoming responsible adults.  As the adult, you must remain calm and confident, especially when you are frustrated with unacceptable behavior. We must work to maintain both the self-esteem of our children and a healthy relationship with them.

As parents there are countless questions around disciplining that must be resolved within the household.  The more proactive that you can be prior to the event, the better the outcome.  Will you give an allowance? Will you have “time-outs?” What time will be curfew, and what is the punishment when they inevitably fail to come home on time? All of us grapple with these decisions about discipline and want to do what is best.

There is a lot that fosters positive discipline in the home.  Here are some basic ideas to help guide you in setting the stage for positive behavior.  There are external and internal forces for parents to consider when thinking about discipline.

External Factors: things you have control over…food (providing healthy snacks), sleep (nighttime sleep is sufficient), routine (having the day mapped out is helpful and knowing what to expect), and environment (keep living space calm, comfortable and organized to foster positive behavior).

Internal Factors: things out of your control…all children have unique personalities and their own temperament that affects interaction with people and events in their world.  As a parent you can show support by respecting their thoughts, being honest and listening.

Raising children requires patience.  Discipline teaches how to make positive choices.  The ultimate goal of discipline is to keep children safe.

~TURNING STONEchoice

 

 

Empowering by Choice

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One of the frustrations of daily living with children is the little “spats” that arise over every day routines such as getting ready for bed, putting on a coat in cold weather, putting shoes away, putting away bikes, etc. Many times children are given “demands” to do something and the result is balking, procrastination, stamping of feet, and loud words.

A better way, rather than making demands, is to allow the child to choose between two related choices. For example, when it is time for bed, say, “Do you want to wear your doggy PJs or your cat PJs? You decide.” For putting away shoes, you could ask, “Do you want to put your shoes under your bed or in the closet? You choose.” For putting away the bike, say, “Do you want to put your bike on the porch or in the garage? You decide.” Either way the purpose is accomplished.

If the child comes up with a third alternative, listen respectfully. If it is doable, validate that is good thinking. If the alternative is not doable, indicate you have given two choices from which to decide.

By allowing children to make choices, they become empowered and learn they do have some control in their lives.

~TURNING STONEchoice

Open Communication With Your Child

If you want your child to communicate more openly with you, then let them talk, no matter how shocking. It sounds so simple and yet it is so hard for many parents to accomplish. Just let them talk. Consider these tips on keeping communication lines open with your children:

  • Ask your child what they think instead of telling them what you think.
  • Avoid interrogating your child.
  • Tell stories about yourself growing up.
  • Share quality family time.
  • Respect your differences – Although you may not always agree with your child’s decisions or views, it is important to understand and appreciate his/her perspective and reasoning.

Many parents aren’t consciously aware that they are their child’s first teacher. Parenting goes beyond just being a role model and provider.  Our children have to be taught continually and reinforced that they are worthwhile and loved. We strive for our children to be happy in their choices and feel good about themselves.

 

Teaching Children Self-Control

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Self-control is an important skill for all children to learn and develop. It refers to having power and control over one’s own actions and impulses. Children who do not make conscious choices about their own behavior, but instead rely on other children, parents, teachers, or adults to make choices for them, do not learn self-control. This may lead to children not taking responsibility for the consequences of their behavior. When children are taught self-control methods at an early age, they will feel better about themselves and the choices that they make.

Here is a quote from an article from the NPR website, For Kids, Self-Control Factors Into Future Success:

“Self-control keeps us from eating a whole bag of chips or from running up the credit card. A new study says that self-control makes the difference between getting a good job or going to jail – and we learn it in preschool.”

“Children who had the greatest self-control in primary school and preschool ages were most likely to have fewer health problems when they reached their 30s,” says Terrie Moffitt, a professor of psychology at Duke University and King’s College London.”

Helpful tips for teaching self-control using the TURNING STONEchoice Process:

STOP and breathe (count to ten or take a time out from the situation)

Think and listen to what you are feeling about the situation

Observe what just happened and all the choices that are in front of you

Plan and take action on what positive choices can be made

In order for children to gain control of their behavior when they are experiencing strong feelings, they must know how to identify those feelings. It is never too early to talk to children about emotions and to help them see the connection between feelings and behavior. Linking emotions and actions together demonstrates how our feelings can affect the choices we make. It is a process that can lead to improvement in all children’s self-control.

Here are some sentence tools that teach children problem-solving steps. These steps assist children in understanding their emotions:

THINK about what happened

THINK of how your body feels

RECOGNIZE the feeling

Say, “I Feel____”

Another important aspect of these tools is that it builds communication between you and your child. You as a trusted adult in your child’s life can show by example. Children can learn to understand how they feel and how their feelings affect their choices. Self-control enables children to identify their choices when they are in negative situations. This is an important step to begin to learn independent positive decision-making skills.

 “Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.”
Benjamin Franklin

Helpful Links to follow for more information:

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133629477/for-kids-self-control-factors-into-future-success

http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/self-control

We welcome all comments!

~TURNING STONEchocie

Internet Safety Matters

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Children are leading digital lives! As early as elementary school, through high school and college children and teenagers are using social networking, creating and uploading blogs, videos, photographs and music and searching different subjects, chatting on IM, snap chat, and more. There is no “off” switch when it comes to cyberspace.

In our world, the Internet is often no longer a solitary or passive experience. For many children, the Internet is social. Children are using the Internet to express themselves and to experiment anonymously with different identities. While the desire to strike out on their own is age-appropriate, all kids still need parental guidance on how to conduct them safely online.

Learn the Basics of Internet Safety

  • Mark your profiles as private – anyone who accesses your profile on a social networking site can copy or screen-capture information and photos that you may not want the world to see. Never share names, schools, ages, phone numbers, or addresses. Remind your kids that when they post something online, they lose control of it. It can be cut and pasted and sent around the Web. If you teach them to self-reflect before they reveal, their online experiences are more likely to be safe.
  • Keep passwords private (except to parents) – safeguard your passwords and change them frequently. If someone logs on to a site and pretends to be you, they can trash your identity.
  • Don’t post inappropriate or sexually provocative pictures – things that seem funny or cool to you right now might not seem so cool years from now. If teachers, admissions officers, or potential employers see inappropriate behavior on your social media pages it could be damaging for any future opportunities. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t feel comfortable if your parents saw it, it’s probably not a good idea to post.
  • Talk – tell a trusted adult if something mean or scary happens on the Internet. We want to make sure that kids feel safe reporting bad and dangerous behavior.
  • Stop and breathe – remember nothing is short lived online. If you get the urge to react instantly to an angry IM or comment on a message board or blog, it’s a good idea to wait a few minutes, calm down, and remember that the comments may stay up (with your screen name attached to your angry words) long after you’ve regained your composure and maybe changed your mind about posting.

Keep your children safe on the Internet by finding out what they’re doing online. You want to make sure they’re making respectful and responsible choices . Take an active role in your children’s Internet activities. This will help to ensure that they’ll benefit from the wealth of information the web offers without being exposed to its dangers. It is crucial for parents to learn about the types of new media and social networking their children are participating in. This will give them more knowledge to facilitate conversations with their kids about the activities they engage in online. The goal is to teach our children how to be responsible digital citizens. This is what will ultimately keep them safe online.

~TURNING STONEchoice