Practice Patient Parenting

Keep Calm
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

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Busy or Full – 2 Tips to Keep it Full

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About a year ago, I became aware of how often I defined my life as busy and how much I was saying it to others. I really had a disdain for the word because it was loaded with so much negative connotation. It rolled off my tongue bitterly! Although, at times overwhelmed or anxious, busy was not what I was, nor wanted. Just like everyone, I want an abundant life. But, does that mean feeling the burden of busyness? Once I practiced a few techniques, I began to feel the fullness of life was always mine to choose. Here are 2 simple suggestions to consider for your full life.
Beware of the Time Warp
I recently watched a very interesting program called, “Brain Games”, where scientific discoveries of the brain are revealed in unique ways. The last episode was on the perception of time and how often we misjudge time based on visual objects or in the case of feeling busy, tasks and responsibilities we do not enjoy or want to do. We often impose longer periods of time on those unpleasant “to do” items, when in fact it takes shorter periods of time than we imagined. To test this theory, grab a timer and time yourself on how long it takes to do one particular task. You will be surprised by the result and perhaps it may not change your feeling on the task at hand but at least you know that it isn’t eating up your time. Getting perspective on time can foster a more positive outlook, having you feel less burdened.
Drop it Like it’s Hot
Kick the word, busy, from your vocabulary. When I actually refused to use the word ever again to describe my life or even let others tell me,” I must be busy” my attitude to how I was doing life changed. This was more effective than dropping all events, and previous obligations, and with full consciousness, I perhaps added more to the mix of my life. Because, I chose those activities with the idea of being satisfied, not hectic, it had a profound effect on my attitude.
I realize there are enormous details to life that just sometime weigh you down. The bottom line is we always have a choice on how we spend our time and how we view it. Next time you share your life with others perhaps you can let them know — life is full not busy.

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

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Wake- Up Call!

Wake- Up Call!

A major obstacle children face with making positive choices is lack of exercise and nutrition. Our children are our future and we need to teach them the importance of healthy exercise and nutrition to help build positive choice making skills and an overall healthy lifestyle. The benefits to exercise and healthy nutrition outweigh the negatives. Their ability to overcome their obstacles to make healthier choices improves while building confidence and promoting self-esteem. Healthy eating provides more energy, better brain function and memory and allows children’s concentration to increase. By living a healthy lifestyle children can gain a positive feeling about them and decrease anxiety, reduce depression, and improve quality of sleep. Parents and educators your efforts to encourage our children to exercise regularly and instill the value of healthy nutrition is crucial. Let’s work together and give our children, of the future, this precious gift that will last a lifetime.

Student Stress and One Whacked-Out Dream

Vibrant, multi-colored baby sheep rose up from the ground and surrounded me. They were perfect, adorable, little puff balls, leaping off a cliff. I was trying to stop them, but there were too many. One, slightly bigger, baby sheep approached me. He was a delicious, milk chocolate hue and his eyes were huge. He proceeded to talk fluent “Baa” to me, but I did not understand, then he smiled sweetly, and jumped off the cliff. That was my whacked out dream last night. I really didn’t need an interpreter to tell me, this was my subconscious dealing with today’s event. My oldest son is on his way to an amazing environmental science field trip that will be four days long. This would be his first time truly away from home. My anxiety decided to manifest in an unusual dreamscape, resembling a video game. I am a bit stressed, but I am not alone.
Stress is a way of life these days and According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA),” Many Americans — both adults and youth — experience high levels of stress.” As an adult, I am able to recognize my anxiety, give the proper attention and respond accordingly. Unfortunately, young individuals typically do not recognize stress and do not have the skill set to cope appropriately.
It is estimated that 10% of our teen population suffer from anxiety disorders due to stress. Guidance counselors and social workers are giving more health referrals for students who are dealing with stress and witnessing more hospitalization with anxiety and panic attacks. Stress is on the rise and crippling our children.
The causes of stress for children are extremely broad but one study in Baltimore identified the five top most experienced stressors for students: 1) school work, 2) parents, 3) romantic relationships, 4) friends, and 5) younger siblings. The same study found that boys and girls dealt with these stressors in significantly different ways and recommended separating the sexes for some stress management activities. The study also recommended that programs should teach students how to react in a healthy manner towards stress. The TURNING STONEchoice program implements techniques that will equip students with knowledge, allowing them to identify stress, or other obstacles in their lives, and how to work through these challenges in a positive way.
Schools across the country are taking action to de-stress the student body. Some schools are using service dogs to roam the halls in between classes; other schools are replacing traditional chairs with large exercise balls. Extended homeroom times are the norm in many school districts, allowing students to catch up on their work or meet with a teacher for extra help.
These ideas are needed and refreshing but one dimensional. Most of the programs being implemented are focused with relieving the symptoms of stress, not promoting students’ skills to recognize what stress is, or make self-empowering choices that reduce or eliminate stress to begin with. Relievers are necessary since we can never escape the realities of stress. Equally important, is a student’s understanding of his/her unique stress tolerance and their ability to make positive decisions that bolster their confidence, keeping stress in their dreams.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Obstacle Highlight : Fear of Failure- Make a Mistake

Did you know the chocolate chip cookie was a kitchen fiasco? How can something so amazingly delicious be a mistake? Inventor and owner of Toll House Inn, Ruth Wakefield wanted to make chocolate cookies but ran out of the key ingredient. Substituting chipped sweetened chocolate into the batter, she expected the chocolate to melt. To her surprise and the world’s pleasure, she birthed a whole new food group, the chocolate chip cookie. Did you also know cornflakes, the pacemaker, and post-it notes are among the mistaken inventions we enjoy and rely on daily? Obviously, wonderful things can derive from mistakes, including a lesson learned. Yet, many struggle with a fear of failing or making simple mistakes.
No one likes to fail but, “To err is human”. Our pride, low self-esteem, external and internal messages of perfection keep us paralyzed or have us chanting mantras of, “I can’t”, before we even try. Humans are flawed, imperfect and need to embrace this fact, because if we accept this knowledge we can be set free from the bondage of fear. Elbert Hubbard penned eloquently, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one”.
How different would we live our lives if we kicked the fear of failure to the curb. What if we removed the fear, and accepted possible success. What if we said to ourselves, “I will not fail”? I have often heard, we only fail when we fail to try. What if we gained confidence making mistakes, admitted failure and moved on because it was nothing new. These are all self-empowering choices we can explore each day that we breathe. Imagine the wonderful blessings in our homes, work places and classrooms. What mistakes are you willing to make today?

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

An Adult’s Role in Bullying Situations

The following was an excerpt in an email newsletter issued by a local pediatrician:

  • Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, or over the internet.
  • If your child is bullied, help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to look the bully in the eye, stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation, and walk away. Teach your child how to say, in a firm voice, “I don’t like what you are doing”, “Please do not talk to me like that”, or “Why would you say that?” Finally, teach your child when and how to ask for help.
  • Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
  • Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
  • Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
 

 

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Since when did bullying become synonymous with children? The media does an excellent job at shedding light on the bullying epidemic in this country, but it always has to do with an issue in school or on the playground.  Why is this?

There’s no doubt that children are sponges; they observe what is going on around them and internalize it as education. Children are constantly surveying what is happening in society and taking note of how others (especially adults) react to circumstances.

 Adults only come into the picture when they are called upon to fix a situation (or so they think, but this is a subject for another blog entry). As the excerpt above indicates, the parent is instructing the child that they should ignore a bullying situation. But what other choice does the child have?

We should be careful on how we instruct our children to face situations. We need to be cautious about dictating solutions without educating about options. More importantly, we need to consider the root of bullying in the first place.

The TURNING STONEchoice program helps adults become aware of why certain behavior issues come to be. As we help guide parents and educators on this philosophy, let’s keep in mind how we treat each other. Let’s keep a close tabs on news and world events (especially issues in the Middle East). And let us contemplate how this ever-present society is shaping our youth.

 

 

How critical can you think? A blog for making choices and being in control of your own living.

If individuals only think about themselves, are they being selfish? In our society today, the answer would most likely be yes, but is that really true?

Thinking about ourselves, for ourselves and by ourselves is what keeps people in control of their own living. No one else has the power to shape our actions besides ourselves.

An anonymous author once wrote, “The greatest knowledge we can give our children is knowledge about themselves. Such knowledge gives them the base for learning everything else important in their life.”  TURNING STONEchoice (TSC) holds this philosophy at the core of its program. Self-communication and interacting in (vs. reacting to) a situation is integral in solving everyday problems.

As part of the TSC program, educators and leaders are helping children identify their innermost feelings about realities they are facing.  The TSC program teaches children to make self-empowering choices resulting in inner fulfillment.

Making a self-empowering choice, or a choice that is made while in a positive state of mind, is the start of improving issues such as bullying, insecurity and peer pressure. These basic life lessons can foster a future full of enrichment in all aspects of learning, especially academically.

Keep following the TURNING STONEchoice program as we enter classrooms across the country to teach the most important lesson of all…learning about ourselves.