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

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

Parenting Begins with You!

mom_and_little_boy

One of the most important characteristics of teaching children is to show respect for their views and to let them have some say in their choices that surround them.  Many parents take the word “discipline” to mean punishment.  Discipline doesn’t have to hurt.  As parents, if we can see the word discipline to mean teaching instead of punishment we can help teach our children to become better human beings.

Here are some tips to teach children to respect.

Love – Children need lots of love and approval.

Communicate  – Take time to listen and consider their point of view.

Set Clear Limits – Telling children in advance what is expected and what the rules are helps prevent conflicts before they happen.

Be Consistent – This is the key to effective consequences.  Don’t say you will do something unless you are prepared to carry it through.

Check Yourself – If you are angry or frustrated take a time out for yourself.  Take a deep breath, count to ten and calm down.  Once you are in a calm state of mind then address the situation.

Parenting is one of the best and most rewarding jobs in the world.  It is also a tough, 24-hours a day job.  The most important key to successful parenting is knowledge, knowing what your children need, knowing how to deal with them in different situations, and knowing how to take care of their needs.

Learning more about parenting and child development can make a world of difference.  To learn more check out Skills to Build a Secure Child workshop series.

~ TURNING STONEchoice

“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

When Will It Stop?

Ferguson

We’ve seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge go viral over the last two weeks on social media; people happily dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise money for a worthy cause. During this same period of time, Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri and protests have continued in that city and around the country. In the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown, may we engage thoughtfully and critically in examining the situation in Ferguson and stand together on the side of justice and equality?

We need to make empowering choices to actively plan how to take actions that will dismantle injustice when it happens in America. So here’s a #FergusonChallenge:

Share a story about how the events in Ferguson have resonated with you, and then donate to an organization that promotes underserved youth, racial justice, and/or police accountability.

Here a story that resonates with TURNING STONEchoice. It is one of the Letters to the Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled When Ferguson Hits Home August 21, 2014

I never thought I would be living so close to conflict. If I jumped on the highway and zoomed down a few exits, I’d be visiting Ferguson. We are that close, yet we are so far away. Our entire city and country has become focused on what is, and even more alarming, what is not happening in a town within our town. Yet we attempt to put distance between our neighborhoods, just like we attempt to say what’s happening in the Middle East is happening “over there.” Well, folks, “over there” just came to our backyards, and it is madly screaming for our attention.

None of us know the whole story of the incident that led to this massive turmoil my neighbors are embracing without choice. I grieve with every single person involved in this story. There is not one person who is unaffected by this tragedy, including those of us who attempt to drown out the sirens because it’s happening “over there.” It’s “here,” people. The world is watching us, and most importantly our children are silently observing every step we take.

I wonder what would happen if we embraced all those who were hurting tonight, and realized that grieving is actually taking place on both sides of the police line. What if we all held ourselves accountable and allowed each other to take a deep breath when confusion, fear or anger sets in to release a potential breath of hope? I wonder if we’d find peace.

Jen McCurdy  •  St. Louis County

The choice is yours to empower your children and help guide them through purposeful and empowering choice making to help end intolerance and create a peaceful world.

As TURNING STONEchoice always teaches children and adults in our communities, and as the writer of this letter suggests, the first thing we must do is to take that “breath of hope”.

Michael Brown

ACLU of Missouri Foundation: http://www.aclu-mo.org/get-involved/
Amnesty International: http://www.amnestyusa.org/donate-to-amnesty
Ferguson Youth Initiative: http://fyifergyouth.org/
Ferguson Bail Fund: http://antistatestl.noblogs.org/…/bail-and-legal-fund…/
Or buy an “I Am Human” tee-shirt to support protestors on the ground: http://teespring.com/IAMHUMANDONTSHOOT

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