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

 

 

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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

Wonderful Kids – How Do We Get There?

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While enjoying an article on best practices for teaching, I immediately correlated some of the questions teachers were asked to contemplate to parents also. One question stood out to me: Are my actions bringing a child closer or farther away from educational opportunity? Now how about parents? This question is unique in that there is no single goal set in stone for us to consider. Teachers, your job is crazy tough, but the goal is as clear as glass even when it has children’s smudges all over it – educate. Aside from keeping my children alive, you may laugh but they often make this difficult, there are lists of goals that continue to grow and change and change again. We may want to help our children develop respect for others or self-discipline. But, can you remember when the goal was to get them to roll over or conquer potty training? So, the question is, are my actions bringing my child(ren) closer or father away from (insert goal)? An even greater question to chew on is, have we even considered goals for our children and shared those destinations with our kids? I have a good friend who takes an entire weekend away from the normal distractions of work and family life and develops plans for each of her children and reviews the plan from last year. Never looking to create the “perfect child” but to take time to really think and help that child in the way they are bent. Initially, I thought this was a wonderful but not entirely necessary idea. Until it became clear that she and her husband were being intentional parents, not willing to risk raising their children to chance. I know every parent wants to raise children who are all wonderful inside and out but have we examined how to get there?

We all need a little help in becoming the parent we want to be. TURNING STONEchoice is sponsoring a parent workshop series beginning October 16th in Mt. Laurel, NJ. For additional information and registration please follow this link http://www.turningstonechoice.com and hope to see you there.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Sweet Moments of Connection

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I thought I was being a proactive parent setting aside time in a very busy evening to go for a walk and talk with one of my boys. It was just the 2 of us, a rare and special time together. There were some “things” I wanted to address with this particular child and found our conversation very one sided. I did all the talking and had the impression he would rather have his teeth scraped by a dental hygienist than listen to the very important subject matter I was sharing. Finally, I stopped running my mouth and enjoyed a quieter walk as he discovered a friend to play with. Ugh! This was not what I had planned. Much later in the evening during the bed time rush he decided to share a very serious matter that was on his mind and heart. I could not believe the words coming from his mouth. I had not scheduled this discourse, nor was I prepared for his message. But, I knew although this wasn’t my perfectly planned and scheduled moment for “real conversation” I had to carpe diem and listen. And, what was I thinking? Those real moments of interaction are hardly ever planned. They occur at the most ridiculous, inopportune times, when life is wicked messy and exhausting. Perhaps, he would have shared earlier if I did not already plan the agenda taking up all of the space and time with what I want to address. It’s funny how kids can hit you in a blind spot to help you see clearer. At times parenting and teaching can be a real mind trip! One moment you are excited over a perfectly planned classroom lesson with nothing but complete blank stares from the faces of your students. The next moment your class is going in a totally different direction but you hear the light bulbs clicking off in their precious little heads. One moment a parent can feel like a failure in reaching a child and the next moment connect over the honest and real thoughts of that child while rubbing lotion on their legs. It’s the ups and downs we go through; a mind trip, right.
Remember to hold on to those sweet moments of connection with your students and children and when those down moments have you discouraged envision the victory ahead.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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Understanding our Children’s Information Process

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When one of my boys was a toddler, he would become visibly frustrated when trying to communicate. His brain and lips were not seeing eye to eye. So, he would vent in anger. Being a hip mom, I taught him a few words in sign language that he understood, and could clearly deliver his message to the family. It was wonderful and there were less frustrating moments between us.
Fast forward 8 years and this child’s brain and lips are making up for lost time. He has mastered vocabulary and speech quite well. At times, I feel, and he probably feels the same, we are back to those frustrating moments of trying to communicate. I declare he speaks another language all together and must admit my patience or lack there-of- it, fails us both. Do you feel like you have no idea what your kid is saying to you sometimes? And, can you see the glaze in their eyes, if their eyes are even looking at you when you speak to them?
I began to wonder where we fail in our communication as parents. There had to be more to the answer than the generation gap between us. I have been reading a book written by Dr. Tammy Smith, Soul Connection- Relating beyond the surface that gave me some insight to my question. Dr. Smith explores interpersonal connections between people. With years of professional counseling experience and a mother of two boys she has shared some practical and profound information into understanding others and ourselves. Specifically, I had my “Aha” moment as Dr. Smith began to explain how people process information using the analogy of inny or outy belly buttons. People who processes information on the inside may seem delayed or even reluctant but it takes time for the internal understanding of a message before it can be translated into action (that would be me). Internal processors also have a limit on how much information you can throw at them. This is not diminished capacity but they take the whole message and dig deep. I have often told my husband as he is trying to get me to respond, “Give me a moment to process what you are asking or I need time to think about that.” My son is an external processor. He needs to share his thoughts, feelings, and musings outside of himself to gain understanding. He has more journals completed than I have in my entire lifetime. He draws cartoons and remembers his dreams each and every night and likes to talk about them in detail to gain understanding of why he is dreaming and what it all might mean. An external processor likes to talk and may talk over others, not necessarily to communicate but to gain understanding.
Considering how we processes information and having an understanding of who I am and who my son is, allows for more effective communication and a deeper relationship. I can be more empathetic as he is trying to gain understanding outside of himself. And, share with him, mom can only zero in on a few things at a time. I believe what he has to say is important and I do not want to miss anything he is trying to share.
What kind of processor are you and your children? Perhaps the common frustrations we have stem from the lack of knowledge of how we take in information and how our loved ones process. With this understanding, we are equipped to move into a more positive and healthy relationship with our kids, be it inny or outy.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Practice Patient Parenting

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Doesn’t the title alone make you cringe? I lose my patience with my boys and yell, snap and say completely ridiculous things, like, “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to hang you by your toe nails!” often with a nasty tone. Do my kids think I would do such a thing, probably not. What in the world has me uttering such menacing words? Be truthful, you yell, scream and say bizarre threatening phrases too. It’s convicting of where I fall short and struggle as an effective parent. When my patience is gone no one wins. Because, there is the lingering guilty feeling from my reactive behavior and my kids feel the sting.
Practicing patience is an art form or better known as a virtue. It’s a skill of morale excellence and self control (another virtue). Virtues don’t suddenly arrive. We have to earn them through practice, effort, thought and some sweat and tears. Unfortunately, when the stork dropped our bundles of joy he didn’t give us auto-patience. But, patience we must have if we are to be the empowering parents we want to be.
Why is it so important? A general constant lack of patience creates a tense environment, possibly producing anxiety in our children and establishing unhealthy relationships. We all desire warm, positive connections with our kids, but if we are in a perpetual state of annoyance with them (or the world), we are then disconnecting from them. I want to enjoy this ride of parenthood, don’t you? Remaining patient allows me to savor the sweet moments and find strength when I want to have my own tantrum.
Losing patience with our children often has less to do with their actions or behavior than it does with us as individual adults. Children can and will test a parent or teacher’s emotional boundaries, but how we handle those emergency broadcastings is the difference between behaving like a trusting adult, modeling appropriate behavior or lashing out like a toddler. Join me in practicing, patient parenting through these three helpful tips.

1. REST Get your rest anyway you can because the #1 reason everyone on this planet loses their poise is feeling tired, fatigued or sick. Sorry, sleep is not overrated and keep in mind restricting sleep is used as a torture technique for a reason. It’s to break a person’s will, self-control and sanity. If you need that midday nap for 20 minutes to go the extra 10 hours in the day with a calm disposition, do yourself and your kids a favor- get the sleep.
2. MANAGE SENSE OF URGENCY If you find each day you are bribing or badgering your child to get ready for the day and dragging them by the shirt collar to get to work on time, your patience has already been lost before you walk out the door. If it’s the morning madness you are coping with be proactive and manage it before the morning by reducing distractions and creating focus. No TV in the morning and give a short, simple check list to your child the night before. Kids feel accomplished as they cross off each task. Be sure to acknowledge their efforts even if they did not complete the list but you see them trying, and allow them to try again the next day.
3. FORGIVE & REFLECT When you do snap, scream, yell and threaten, be sure to apologize for your behavior. Do not give into the “mommy guilt” with overt gestures. Pacifying your guilt by buying the latest video game does not equate to a meaningful apology. What you owe yourself and the child is a sincere apology and some retrospective thought. Give the situation some attention, “How could I have handled that situation differently?” Hopefully, we can learn from the mistakes we make but do not obsess, that is not true forgiveness and stifles growth and change.

The beauty of practicing patience is that we never truly arrive, unless you are the Dali Lama. We will always have those obstacles to push through, but if we keep practicing with the goal of being the parent we really want to be, I believe we will reap the reward of having a more loving relationship with our children. Remember, love is patient!

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice