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

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

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

“We make our choices, then our choices make us.”

Short-Term Satisfaction!
Often choices are clouded by obstacles, like anger, stress, prejudice, etc.
which impede clear thinking and the chances of making a self-empowering choice
When decisions are made in this state, it leaves individuals feeling like they have
limited control over their life. Often, these choices result in a short-term satisfaction and rarely
result in an outcome that is truly fulfilling.

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To learn more visit TURNING STONEchoice

Gone Too Soon!

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Ending a life is incredibly, incredibly tragic. It represents a lost battle with mental illness. Where it is different is that suicide is a choice. Suicide is a terrible decision made by someone whose pain is so great that they can no longer hold it, and feel they have no other option in life but to end it. They forget all the wonderful things in their lives because they are so consumed by the depression and by the feelings of not being worthy. It’s a decision you can’t take back, and a decision that will affect your friends and family forever. It is not taken lightly.

Losing a person to suicide may feel like a waste. For someone looking in, it does seem like a waste—especially in the case of Williams, who was a brilliantly funny man and a talented actor. People who are severely depressed can’t see past their failures, even if they’ve been successful. Life, however, is never wasted. Williams did things in his life that touched people to their core.

About 90% of people who commit suicide have some kind of mental illness that goes untreated or undertreated.

The national suicide prevention lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Depression and Suicide Resources

American Foundation for Suicide

About Teen Depression

Depression Fact Sheet

Youth Depression

Talking with Kids About the News

~ TURNING STONEchoice

Signs of Positive Self-Esteem

As we work to understand ourselves and our children, we should strive to make choices that help us achieve long term success and self-fulfillment. When we have positive self-esteem, we can better understand:

  • The reality of our personal abilities and limitations.
  • The importance of understanding that we do not live within a vacuum and must interact rather than react to others.
  • The knowledge of when we are being influenced emotionally by past events which may cloud our judgment in a new situation.
  • The reality that ultimately we only have control of ourselves and no one else, not even our children.

Ultimately, when you have positive self-esteem, you understand the reality of your choice making and are able to maintain an attitude that with careful consideration will allow you to supplement and compliment your efforts and overcome challenges.

MIL_277x277_0006_middle_school~TURNING STONEchoice

 

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