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

 

 

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.

 

Parenting Begins with You!

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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

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

 

CHILDREN NEED HELP UNDERSTANDING THEIR EMOTIONS

What do you do to help children develop the ability to understand their emotions and others around them? It’s never too late to use your emotions in a positive way. Here are tips to help children develop emotionally:

1. Accept children’s emotions – “Are you OK…you look upset?” “Did something happen?” ” Are you angry? Let’s talk about it.”

2. Identify their emotions – “You look sad.” “That must have hurt your feelings.” “You sound upset.”

3. Encourage children to talk about what they are feeling – “Do you want to talk about what’s bothering you?” “How are you feeling?”

4. Help children identify how others may be feeling – “How do you think that made your friends feel?” “How would you feel if you were in your friend’s shoes?” “Everyone makes mistakes.”

5. Teach children how to calm down – “Take deep breaths.” “Count to ten.” “Remove yourself from the situation so you can cool off and think in a positive manner.”

6. Help children maintain self control – “I was impressed when you used your words to tel, how you were feeling.” “You handled yourself really well even though you were frustrated.”
Troubled_teen

Arguing With Your Child

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“Boy, get out of that tree!” I hollered at Nicky.  “I’m not in a tree, Mama,” he hollered back.  Hmmm?  Are you looking at the picture above?  Is Nicky in a tree, or have I completely lost my vision?  And, yes, because I had been baited into arguing with my child, I took a picture to have solid evidence of his presence in that Japanese maple, just to prove that he was wrong, and I was right.  FYI:  Physical evidence still proved ineffective in dissuading him from his position.

I wish I could claim this as an isolated incident, but I argue on a consistent basis with my boys over ridiculous issues, like basic reality:  Is he in the tree or is he not?  Timeframes:  theirs or mine.  Words I never said (or did I?):  “Mom said we could have cookies for breakfast.” 

I know, in my heart of hearts, I never even mentioned cookies, much less eating them for breakfast.

My sanity is often on trial here, and, in an attempt to defend it, I go there and engage in a verbal tennis match with my seven-year-old.  Not wise!  The truth is, it drains my mental and emotional reserves and benefits no one.  His reasons for arguing with me are generally rooted in a need for my attention or understanding.

My husband claims our children know they can get away with it with me.  I think he is right, but my big fail is that I entertain and engage where I have no business.  I mean, which one of us is the adult?

I often tell my older son when he is locked into sibling bickering with his younger brother, “Do not engage with a seven-year-old.”  Looks like I need to take my own advice!

How do you handle arguments in your classroom or home?  Please share your comments in the box below.

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TSC

 

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

Having Difficult Conversations

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“Why do I have a penis?” Nicky asks, perfectly timed with my first gulp of coffee of the morning. Of course, big brother is cracking up, food shooting out of the sides of his mouth, while I’m trying to breathe and not make the news as the first person to choke to death on a sip of coffee. It’s not that I’m shocked by his question–rather, just caught off guard. Nicky asks all sorts of questions that his older brothers never even thought to ask. He is a natural investigator, never accepting trite answers such as “Because,” or “That is the way it is.” He stretches me in so many ways and beyond any other person on this planet. I love that about him!

Engaging regularly in the arena of “difficult conversations,” we have chatted about drugs, alcohol, death, racism, sexual anatomy (obviously), why the neighbor’s dog was humping his leg, diabetes, God, why friends will sometimes be mean, and everything else in between. Did I mention Nicky is seven? Nicky has broken the barrier of awkward, uncomfortable conversations and has morphed them into one continuous, casual conversation. By sheer volume, I have become less surprised and uncomfortable with the topics that pop up. Perhaps this is the foundation for significant conversations during the teen years.

Questions from our children about drugs, sex, death, and life in general often elicit prickly responses from parents and teachers: “Just say no,” or, “The stork dropped you off.” But why is it so difficult to talk with our kids about these topics? We may be dealing with our own fear, ignorance, or guilt. Maybe we do not feel we can provide the best answers and redirect inquires. Maybe there has been a battle with an addiction, and residual guilt or shame blocks the avenue to open communication. A few generations ago, people feared that conversations about sex would open the door to children having sex, and some still feel that way; however, fear, guilt, and shame should be overcome, because these conversations or a lack of dialogue shape the way our children make choices.

There are a few reasons why I encourage difficult conversations. First, the “difficulty” is usually all mine, not my child’s, and I need to get out of my own way, because, if I don’t show up for those conversations, someone else or something else will. In a time when kids have mega exposure to all kinds of information and images at the swipe of a finger, it is beyond important to lean into those challenging conversations and be the forerunner of information. Second, I want to be the safe person that my children trust, giving them the freedom to talk freely without fear of rejection in an open, yet age-appropriate, dialogue.
At the end of the day, the goal of difficult conversations should be to answer questions honestly: Don’t lie; keep them age appropriate; impart knowledge; and–most importantly–build a secure relationship with our kids. Never easy, but totally worth it!

Join TURNING STONEchoice this Friday, February 21 for a FREE Parent Workshop at Mathnasium in Cherry Hill @ 6:30-8:30. For additional information please follow this link for more details.
http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e8u594mmbf4cd55f&llr=4hspbwlab&showPage=true

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