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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

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Empowering Choices Powering Lives

Empowering Choices Powering Lives

Bullying reports will go down when a prevention model is in place. The TURNING STONEchoice character education program will empower students to feel confident and to stand up. Bergen County teacher states. “In my classroom, I have seen most of my students empowered to be able to handle conflicts on their own. In most cases handle the conflict in a positive manner. I have also seen impulsive students really control some of their reactions. A huge benefit is that it empowers my quiet students to be assertive and share their feelings instead of keeping them bottled up. The climate in my classroom has become very positive and I feel a choice-making model truly helps us maintain our positive climate.”

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Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?

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The concept of bucket filling is one that kids can really understand and relate to. This book is a wonderful tool for families and teachers to give kids a visual way to think about kindness toward others. Words hurt, that’s the simple truth! If we can teach young children the power of words and teach them to use those words carefully, we can change the future of the world.

This book visually conveys a message that is often difficult to explain to children, about finding happiness through spreading happiness. Kids understand it and love it, and it helps parents explain at a kid’s level why someone was mean to them. It is definitely one to read and re-read! Enjoy!!

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Sibling Insult – In the Class and Home

Scan5_0005Admit it, parents and teachers. There are times your children/students get on your nerves. Typically, it’s not them as the wonderful unique individuals that they are. It’s the family dynamic, when they too, are getting on each other’s nerves. If you think for one moment a class isn’t filled with 15+ brothers and sisters then you are mistaken! Many teachers refer to their classrooms as, Mrs. Smith’s Family Class, or Room 2B Family, and they do so with the specific intent to create community. Yet, family dynamics can be a bit challenging. Think about your own lovely family.
My boys have been dishing out the insults and petty physical annoyances left and right, lately. It is driving me crazy! As a general rule, I like to maintain a level of kind words and civility in my home. I’ve been told; it’s not possible with three boys. It may be my ignorance to sibling-rivalry. I never grew up with siblings. But, I’m not comfortable with letting my children treat each other less than kind, because they share the same roof, that’s just not logical. Nor, does a teacher, let unkindness go unchecked, when attempting to keep respect and integrity in the family-classroom.
It can be exhausting policing this behavior and constant monitoring is not the goal. When everything is said and done, I don’t want to censor everything that is spoken. I want to build the skills that develop understanding in the power of choosing words thoughtfully, and that your brother at home or your brother in the classroom is more than someone you can insult and physically pester. Recently, I changed my approach, “Do not speak to my son that way.” I quickly informed my other son, Joseph* as he proceeded to call his younger brother,” stupid.” That word, being the one word, I can truly say makes me hot! The offender was speechless. He was just informed that his brother also belongs to someone else; sometimes we forget we are all connected. In that moment, I realized, I would not let a stranger or even a family friend speak unkindly to my boys, why should it be acceptable for them as family members?
Maybe this is a vain battle on my part and I know living with and going to school with the same people day in and day out will present its general irritations and conflicts, but, my hope is twenty years from now, my boys can share a holiday meal together and enjoy pleasant, ridiculously-funny, memories of how they lived with each other, not memories filled with residual pain from hurtful words that were allowed to freely roam the halls of their home or school.

*Alias

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

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Excellent Resource- Bystander Behavior

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Pete is the new kid learning, “The kids in his new school are way different than at his other school.” Everyone is talking about the “Promise” but will Pete join the group or continue to be odd man out. The Juice Box Bully is a realistic journey of a bully and the real power students have when standing up for each other. Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy present this book for primary grades, encouraging empowering choices under stressful interactions and giving children concepts related to bystander behavior.
Recent studies are confirming, students are the real solution to abusive and bullying behavior in schools. They have the power to set the tone of what is acceptable in their social settings. Yet, they often lack the skill set to make empowering choices. The Juice Box Bully is an excellent resource for students and teachers to discuss real life situations and how to make appropriate choices.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice