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SUMMER EDITION Issue 4

COMPASS Positive Discipline E-Zine for Families

This publication is not for sale or resale. Copyright 2016 Distribution and/or reproduction of all materials without prior consent of each individual contributor is a violation of copyright. For reprint permission of articles, please contact individual contributors directly.

The materials contained herein are intended as educational and informational materials only. Materials are not a substitute for counseling or mental health services and not provided as such. If you are concerned about your child’s health and development please contact your health provider.


Cover Design by Ariadne Brill Cover photo ©Paleka File #72271448

A LITTLE BIT OF BACK TALK I look forward to reading each edition of Compass. Really wonderful articles and I can’t thank you all enough for the helpful suggestions and resources. –Gina M. As a family therapist I am happy to have a publication like Compass that I can wholeheartedly recommend to my clients. Excellent, sound information for families. –Karen L.

Send us your feedback and questions. We would love to hear from you. Write to: info@parentcoa.ch

In This Issue The Difference Between Praise and Encouragement And Why It Matters …………………………………………………………………………...4 Talking to Kids about the Terror and Violence in the World ………………………………...6 The Thoughts That May Be Undermining Your Parenting Decisions……………….………8 Brain Science: Why Punishment Doesn’t Help Kids “Listen” and What Does …………...10 Babies and Toddlers: When Does Discipline Start? …………………………………….,…15 When Kids Lie ……………………………………………………………………………..…....18 Understanding Behavior By Understanding The Planes of Development ……………….20 Deepening and strengthening Family Connections ……………………………………..…..23 Making Family Meetings Work For You ……………………………….…………...…….…..26 How Busy Parents Can Make Children Feel Special ………………………………………..29

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The Difference Between Praise and Encouragement And Why It Matters By Carol Dores Many of us grew up surrounded by praise. “You did just what I asked you to!” “An A on your test – I’m so proud of you.” “Good job.” When we are young, praise feels good. It comes from parents, caregivers, and teachers. Children get used to looking to others for their self worth. They only feel good when they are told they are good. What happens when we don’t receive praise, or their siblings or classmates do? We may feel inferior. We may wonder what we did wrong. We may misbehave, in order to get attention, even if it is negative attention. Fast forward to the teenage years. Teenagers who are raised on praise often will look to others to tell them they are good. Peer influence is normal. However, kids raised on praise will do more things to be accepted by their peers if they look to others to be “good.” Take a look at what can happen to adult love relationships when we are raised on praise. We look to please our partner, sometimes at the expense of our own happiness. Many give way too much to others to make them happy. Another problem with raising children on praise is that they are not developing their inner strength and self esteem. So when faced with problems, they may not have developed a strong enough sense of self to work through them. They may act out, rely on others to solve their problems, or give up entirely.

Using encouraging words is a helpful alternative to praise: These are all examples of encouraging statements. The focus is on the child, not on how you, the adult, feel. These statements help children look within themselves to decide how they feel.


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“You must be proud of yourself.” “How do you feel about how you did on the test?” “You worked hard. You deserve it.” “I notice how focused you are when you are shooting hoops. I’ll bet you can use that focus on tackling these math problems.”

In fact, encouragement can be used in all of our relationships. Imagine if at work, rather than being criticized, your boss said, “I have faith in you to find the resources you need to work through that problem.” My guess is that productivity would go up, as employees would feel respected and encouraged, and work from inner motivation. Should praise be stopped entirely?

Think about praise as dessert, and encouragement as a healthy meal. . Giving praise in moderation is okay, as long as there is a healthy amount of encouragement. You can start by putting a coin in a jar every time praise is given. That will help you notice how often it’s done. If you put 25 coins in the first week and 20 the second week, you are making progress. This is about progress, not perfection.

We all want our children to feel good about themselves. Encouragement helps them feel good from within themselves. The concepts presented in this article are from Positive Discipline, based on the work of Dr. Jane Nelsen.

Carol Schilling Dores Carol is the mother of two adult sons, and lives in Connecticut. She is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting and Classroom Trainer and the cofounder of Positive Discipline of Connecticut. Carol is available to teach parenting classes and to bring Positive Discipline in to schools and classrooms. She is also co-chair of the Positive Discipline Association Board of Directors. Email: carol@positivedisciplinect.org 5


Talking to Kids about the Terror and Violence in the World By Monica Holliday

News travels fast in our media-saturated, hooked-in, plugged-in world. It seems like not a week goes by without news of a mass shooting, terror incident, or school lockdown. How are parents supposed to explain and contextualize these events for their children? Schools across the country are holding regular lockdown drills, making it impossible to completely shelter our kids from discussions about violence. So IF our kids are going to be exposed to information about violence and world events, what is our job as parents to be involved in the conversation? As you make the decisions of how and when to talk about violent events or terrorism in your home, here are a few things to keep in mind.

“What Have You Heard?” One of the simplest and best ways to start the conversation with older kids and adolescents is to ask them what they have already heard about the event or topic. You will be able to get right to the heart of their biggest questions and biggest misconceptions. For younger children, you might still want to start with a question, but to make it about more basic information. Check for Misunderstandings and Misconceptions Check in throughout the conversation, so that you can keep track of what your child is understanding. Younger children, especially, may tell you they understand but not be able to answer if you ask, “What’s one thing you can tell me from what I just said?” As time goes on, and as specific news stores continue to develop, there is potential for kids to develop misconceptions or misunderstandings about what took place. As Jane Nelsen teaches us, Children are great perceivers but often poor interpreters. References to “war” in the media may suggest to them that a war will start close to home. Older children may need more details or context to correct any misappropriation of blame or generalizations. Continue to check in on occasion as days go on after the initial conversation.

Look for Fears Be on the lookout for signs of fear, which can often be based in facts that seem unrealistic or nonsensical to adults. Remember that children are hardwired to think about their own safety, as well as look to their family for security. Preschoolers: It is likely that even the youngest children will pick up on some sense of big events from playmates


or school. You may see themes of violence or bombs Limit Media Exposure reenacted in their play. There is no need to stop this type of play; rather, you can help them resolve the feelAs difficult as it may be, limit television, newspaper, ing of danger by guiding their pretend characters to and radio exposure. Children under the age of 12 are safety or by finding policemen or other identified helplikely to be too young to absorb news coverage within ers to keep them safe. the same context as adults. If, however, your child accidentally sees scenes you didn’t intend, rather than beElementary: For younger children, this is likely to show coming alarmed, and consequently alarming them, up in the form of “Could that happen here?” Answers check in and see what explanations are required and to this should validate, rather than minimize, the feelwhether they are confused about anything they saw. ing of fear by naming the emotion: “I can tell you’re You can also follow the wisdom of Mr. Rogers and help thinking about how scary that sounds” or “I know what them identify the “helpers” on the scene. Point out or it’s like to feel scared.” Responses can focus on creating discuss the policemen and medics who are there to a sense of safety, and could include a discussion of all help and the systems that are in place in our city/ the people and systems in place to keep them safe. country to keep us safe. Tweens and Teens: Older children may also fear for their own safety, either in general or attaching fear to specific locations they associate to the events, such as going to a theatre or concert.

What Are Your Reactions? Even for adults, continuous viewing of disturbing images on television can impact mood and processing of information. They are likely to observe your reactions of grief, shock, or anger, but they may not understand it and therefore misinterpret what they see. If your children have witnessed intense expressions of anger or grief, those should be explained as a response to the situation and not toward them. Some children may mirror your reactions and express that they are angry, directing that anger at identified groups of people they are hearing about in the media. A conversation that validates their emotions, but discourages the expression of that emotion through violence or prejudice, can help to calm escalated feelings and behaviors. Younger children may mirror emotions by exhibiting nonverbal or regressive behaviors.

Routines and Connection Just as it is important for adults to regain some normality through daily activities, children thrive with routine and will benefit from structured, reassuring activities. Families may want to focus on planning times to be together during the next few weeks to provide reassurance and security.

References Nelsen, J. Positive Discipline. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Servies. (2004). Mental Health Response to Mass Violence and Terrorism: A Training Manual. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). University of Virginia, Curry School of Education. Talking to Children about Terrorism. Retrieved from www.curry.virginia.edu.

MONICA HOLLIDAY, PSYD Dr. Holliday completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at The Adler School of Professional Psychology, with a concentration in childhood and adolescence. She is currently a psychotherapist in private practice in Chicago, windycitypsychology.com. Dr. Holliday is a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, and she regularly facilitates parenting classes in the Chicago community. You can find her on Psychology Today here. 7


The Thoughts That May Be Undermining Your Parenting Decisions By Kimberly Gonsalves How often have you asked your teen, “What were you thinking?!” in response to some poor decision making? Recently I had to ask myself that question. Discouraged thinking led me to be reactive, and prevented me from seeing better options. Because thoughts form so quickly, it can be tricky to notice crazy distortions. They just flash for a nano-second, and before we know it, we’re caught up in the resultant emotion and too often, reflexive, rather than intentional, action. My husband caught one of our kids in a lie. He asked me to implement some consequences while he was away, but didn’t want to discuss it with our teen until he could be there to do it in person. Where is that scenario covered in the parenting books?! My brain froze up in shock, and I couldn’t think of anything intelligent to do or say in the moment. Later, I noticed 5 instances of discouraged thinking, and all of them contributed to less than ideal decision making on my part. Are any of these thoughts undermining your ability to be proactive in your relationships? “Even though I don’t agree, I don’t want to fight about this right now (so I’ll say nothing or avoid being honest)”. When you avoid things, it’s worth exploring your thinking to see what you were telling yourself. Once you’re aware of the thought pattern, you can learn to change it. It would have been helpful to say something like, “I’m not comfortable with that. Let’s discuss this when we have more time.” Assuming that your teen thinks the same way you did when you were a teen. As a teen in a similar situation, I remembered thinking, “I’ll do whatever I want to do, and no one can stop me.” Without being consciously aware I was doing so, I attributed those thoughts to my teen, and felt more anxious. I tried to control more. Predictably, that went badly. Asking for your teen’s perspective, instead of assuming, will give you better information and be more useful in determining what to do next.


Jumping to conclusions; Thinking the worst. “He’ll deny it,” then “He’s not going to listen to me,” then “He’ll sneak out while I’m asleep!” Psychologists call this “catastrophizing”. It works like dominoes: you imagine a succession of bad outcomes, until you’re in a panic as you imagine the final terrible outcome (which isn’t even the problem you’re actually dealing with!). Try to keep fear at bay. Better thoughts would have been, “How can I make it safe for my teen to be honest with me?” or “What do I need to feel safe enough to be honest in this situation?” Having a negative conversation with your teen (or anyone else) in your imagination. Imagining the worst, or replaying a hurtful remark from a past conversation is incendiary and will create anger. Why get yourself worked up? You’re more likely to react, rather than respond thoughtfully. Awareness is the first step in changing what you do. Thinking, “It’s way too late to change course now” or similar all or nothing thinking. This is so disempowering because it rules out hope of change. When you catch yourself thinking this way, it can help to write down the thoughts and re-create new ones that will better serve you. One option is, “Although I wish I’d realized this sooner, I want to change course now.” Notice

“Imagining the worst, or replaying a hurtful remark from a past conversation is incendiary and will create anger. “ the difference in perspective and possibility that opens up with honesty, and a clear picture of what you do want. Now, rather than telling yourself change is impossible, you’re on the cusp of asking, “How can I change?” Things ended on a positive note when we took time to tell our son we knew he hadn’t been honest and followed through with some plans we both agreed on. Although he didn’t like it, I think he felt glad to know that his parents weren’t, in fact, completely clueless. Teens really

do still need limits and accountability, and they will likely listen when you speak with respect. That’s a thought that may sustain you during the tough moments.

Kimberly Goncalves Through workshops, training and coaching, Kimberly helps parents and others working with families to support kids in becoming capable people who thrive. A Certified Positive Discipline Trainer, ICF-accredited Coach, and mom of 2, Kimberly brings humor, insight and positive, researchbacked principles and tools that build skills, restore clarity and confidence, and promote respectful relationships. mailto:kimberly@parenting4thelongrun.com

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Brain Science: Why Punishment Doesn’t Help Kids “Listen” and What Does By Debbie Zeichner, LCSW

Many parents (myself included) want their kids to listen. We long to make a request and hear something along the lines of, “Sure, Ok Mom/ Dad. No problem.” Sounds blissful, doesn’t it? It’s certainly an attainable goal and there are many ways to help our kids want to cooperate. So what gets in the way? Why does it seem so hard to gain our kids cooperation? In addition to it being a kid’s job to test limits and boundaries, the reality is that often, quite often, our agendas and our kids’ agendas simply don’t match up. They want one thing, we want another. Rather than see it for what it commonly is – a mismatch in itineraries - we may feel defeated, challenged, threatened etc. That’s when our self-talk kicks in – “Did he really just “disobey” me?” “How did I get such a “defiant” child?” “What’s WRONG with her?”

That inner chatter sets in motion all kinds of emotions as well as mistaken beliefs about why our child is behaving the way he is. We begin to feel out of control. And what is a natural reaction to feeling out of control? You guessed it, try to GAIN control. Often, this is when parents turn to punishment. Parents I work with in my coaching practice come to me when what they have tried just isn’t working or has stopped working - the reward charts, the time-outs, the spanking, the yelling, nagging and lecturing, the removal of privileges and so on. These amazing parents want to know why – why their punishment isn’t working and they are eager to gain the insight into how they can create a calmer, less chaotic relationship and home environment.

To help parents understand why punishment doesn’t work, we often begin by discussing the brain science of it all. Thanks to the incredible field of neuroscience, including “whole-brain” experts such as Dan Siegel, MD and Tina Bryson, Ph.D, we have empirically based research that supports the answers to these very important questions. Here’s what we know:

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for impulse control, emotional regulation, self-awareness, logical reasoning, decision making, planning, along with other higher order functions. This part of the brain is not said to be fully developed until early adulthood. In fact, some have documented not until the age of 25! So, it’s no wonder that kids have a difficult time “controlling themselves,” as the part of their brain responsible for sound decision-


making and impulse control, for example, is still “under construction.” Punishment, by nature, involves blame, shame and/or pain. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines punishment as, “suffering, pain or loss that serves as retribution.” When a child experiences punishment, in the form of yelling, threats, “consequences,” and the like, the brain perceives these behaviors as a threat and goes into survival mode, otherwise know as fight, flight or freeze. Behaviorally, this often takes the form of tantrums or back talk, running away or eyeball rolling, retreat or withdrawal, to name a few. When the brain is in this mode, no true learning (of appropriate behavior) can take place. The child’s defenses are activated and the brain becomes enraged vs. engaged.

Punishment may have the illusion of working, as it may stop the (mis)behavior in the moment, but it’s at a cost (the relationship often suffers and the sense of trust is shaken) and does not get to the core of why the behavior is happening in the first place. As a result, we find that children may “listen” more out of fear, rather than out of true respect for and connection to their parents. Furthermore, the behaviors and the negative cycle continue.

Knowing the brain science behind why punishment doesn’t work affords us the opportunity to try a different approach – an approach that is focused more on connecting instead of controlling. In Positive Discipline, we refer to this as “Connection Before Correction.” When misbehavior happens, focusing on connection is one way in which we help our child’s brain move from a reactive state to one which is more open to and accepting of the loving guidance we have and choose to offer.

“Focusing on connection is one way in which we help our child’s brain move from a reactive state to one which is more open to and accepting of the loving guidance we have and choose to offer. “

When we connect, through empathy, acceptance of all emotions (not just the positive ones) and mindful presence, our child can be guided in developing the life skills he needs to learn from his mistakes and choose more appropriate behavior in the future.

Discipline, on the other hand, is all about teaching. The word discipline actually Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline comes from the Latin verb,’Disciplina,’ says “Kids don’t need to suffer in order to which means “To Teach; To Guide.” Disci- learn.” pline is focused on helping kids learn for the future, whereas punishment is focused on the past.

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Connection can take many forms. Below are 8 more ways to help you connect with your child: 1.) Implement “Special Time” – Special time is one-on-one time spent between parent and child where a child receives 100% of her parent’s attention without any distractions (no cell phones, TV, computers, or other siblings around). The child can choose the play or how to spend the time (within reason) and the parent simply follows their child’s lead. It can be as little as 15 minutes a day – the more the better! Imagine what it feels like to hear the message, “I’m all yours!” Labeling it, “Mommy/Sally time” as well as planning this time in advance can be particularly helpful and makes it “special.” As kids get older, special time can take the form of a “date day/night.” 2.) Get playful – It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that we forget how to be playful, fun and silly! Play is the language of childhood and our kids are much more likely to feel connected (and cooperate!) when we’re speaking their language. So, throw on music and have an impromptu dance party just because, sing songs while cleaning up toys, “fly” your kids upstairs on a rocket when it’s time to brush teeth, become a “tickle monster” who “gets” little kids who don’t want to get ready for school/bed etc. Play elicits laughter, which reduces the level of stress hormones and releases feel-good brain chemicals. Play and laughter literally do the body good! 3.) Hugs, hugs and more hugs – Physical touch in the form of a hug, gentle rubbing of the back, a hand on the shoulder, cuddling etc. actually decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. Hugs and other forms of affection let our kids know they are loved and valued. Administer often. (If you have a child who is sensitive to touch, look for other ways to show affection – high fives (or “air fives”), blowing kisses or creating your own secret hand gesture together, for example.) 4.) Be present, fully present – When your child comes to tell or show you something, turn to him and give him your full attention. Ask questions and show genuine interest. When you’re engaged in a game or playtime, put the phone and the to-do list aside. Model what true listening looks and feels like. Aim to listen more than you talk, dropping any agenda you may have. 5.) Read together – Sharing a story is a wonderful bonding experience. Get animated. Ask questions such as “What do you think will happen next?” “What’s your favorite part of the story?” “Which character did you like the best?” Not only does reading together create closeness, but the comments and discussions that 0ften follow can give you great insight into your child’s emotional world. 6.) Start a journal together – Sometimes kids have things on their minds that are easier to write than talk about and journaling can be a wonderful way to open that “dialogue.” Write back and forth to each other regularly. For younger kids, you can create an art journal where you draw back and forth. This can become a wonderful keepsake as well.


7.) Create loving rituals – Come up with a special way to say goodbye each time you part, make breakfast together every Saturday, leave fun love notes in your child’s backpack or lunchbox. These rituals remind your child he is loved and valued. 8.) When a rift happens focus on reconnecting – There is no such thing as a perfect parent or perfect child. Disagreements will happen and mistakes will be made. Have compassion for yourself and your child – you are both learning new skills. When you lose your temper, own up and take responsibility for your behavior. Apologize. For example, “I yelled at you earlier and that wasn’t ok. It wasn’t respectful. I apologize. Next time I will walk into the other room and take a deep breath like this (demonstrate) before responding. I love you.”

Choosing connection, above all else, builds trust, a sense of security and the self-confidence needed to thrive. As a result, the “listening” naturally and often follows. As always, it starts with us.

Debbie Zeichner Debbie Zeichner, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Parent Coach who has specialized in working with adults, children and families for over 18 years. As a Certified Parent Educator in both Positive Discipline and Redirecting Children's Behavior (RCB), Debbie facilitates engaging parenting classes, workshops and individualized coaching to assist parents in creating a sense of calm, confidence and connection within themselves and their families. To learn more about Debbie and her parent coaching services, please visit: www.debbiezeichnerlcsw.com debbiezeichnerlcsw@gmail.com

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Positive Discipline Bulletin Board

Fantastic free download on family meetings from Lisa Fuller.


Babies and Toddlers: When Does Discipline Start? By Ariadne Brill

Parents often spend a great deal of time in the early days invested in attending and understanding their babies cries and cues. When baby cries, you try to figure out what is needed. When baby is hungry you offer nourishment. When baby is tired, you help him find sleep. And so, your relationship bond is nourished and trust becomes central to your daily interactions.

With each of these interactions, your baby feels reassured, safe, at ease. And you begin to build an understanding of who your child is, what he needs and how to best respond. Often it’s a trial and error kind of process. A best efforts and patience building, patience draining endeavor. At times it’s very tiring, but you know your baby is depending on you to grow and thrive. So you stay the course.

And then baby begins to move about, investigate and explore. Offer behaviors you hadn’t had to decipher before: Climbing chairs. Pulling kitties tail. Biting your shoulder, grabbing a toy. Ripping a book, smashing peas, dumping water on the floor. Opening drawers, touching the vase, shaking his head NO with a straight face. Unrolling the toilet paper everywhere... You may begin to ask yourself... Is it time to introduce some discipline? And What kind of discipline does a baby or toddler need? There is a lot of information out there on how to discipline young children. Toddlers in particular. 15 15


A lot of the information available focuses on changing behaviors. The books and programs are often very well marketed. Yet mostly unhelpful. Short lived tricks that confuse the whole family and perpetuate tears, headaches and risk your bond. Behaviors become worse, not better. And why? Because the quick fixes of most behavior programs ignore what is at the core of the active baby and toddler years of smashing peas and paper unrolling moments:

“Children are by design curious, intelligent, capable, wired to cooperate, programmed to seek ways to fulfill their needs and to connect to their parents.”

The child’s natural and necessary drive to fulfill important needs. Children are by design curious, intelligent, capable, wired to cooperate, programmed to seek ways to fulfill their needs and to connect to their parents. And so, the discipline a baby and toddler needs really is one that sustains learning, relationship and trust building. And this kind of discipline doesn't start when the kitten gets hurt or the chairs become the jungle gym. It started back then… on day one.

Guidance from the very start Here is the beauty of striving to take a positive approach to parenting. That attuned way of responding you had at the start , in babyhood, sets the very foundation needed for practicing positive discipline. Because discipline is all about creating attuned, helpful, trust building responses to your child’s needs. Finding opportunities to teach and learn. So, discipline, positive discipline, can start from day one. The moment your eyes first met. The moment you counted those little fingers and toes. That was the moment you started guiding your child and working together. Any moment that you invest in your relationship with your child, however brief, is an investment in their well being and in your ability to influence and guide your child. Because discipline that teaches starts with your relationship. With your bond and the trust you build and re-build each day with your child. Its that same trial and error approach of understanding a babies cries. It’s your willingness to work WITH your child and find the most helpful response. And you might get it wrong. And your child may make mistakes. And that is ALL part of the process too. So when do you start disciplining your baby and toddler?


Every time you strive to see the mistakes that your child makes, and the ones that you make as well, as opportunities. Opportunities to work together, to understand each situation and to find solutions that are aligned with your family values and your child’s needs.

“Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn” - Jane Nelsen, Positive Discipline Series As your baby grows, you may begin to notice behaviors that are unhelpful, unwanted, or unnecessary. There might be moments when you have certain expectations and would like to help your child align her choices to your values and needs. Each time you pause and guide your child, you are practicing discipline. Each time you look your child in the eye, hold her hand and kindly place the toilet paper out of reach, you are practicing discipline. Each time you listen to the tears but keep your limit and trust your child to feel her feelings, you are practicing discipline. Discipline really is not about counting, choosing the consequences or setting the timer. It’s about how you choose to work together with your child and how you trust your own ability to guide your child. Two wonderful guiding questions I learned to use with my children from practicing positive discipline: What can my child to learn from this? What can I learn from this? As your baby becomes a curious, active toddler, I encourage you not to see discipline as something you must start, but simply as something to continue. Keep building that relationship. Keep working together. Keep aiming to understand and guide. Peace & Be Well, Ariadne Want some helpful tools and examples of how to practice a connected and helpful approach to discipline? I invite you to read my book: 12 Alternatives To Time Out.

Ariadne Brill Ariadne is the mom to two boys and one girl. She is a Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator and her specialty is helping parents find more calm and confidence on their parenting journey. Ariadne has training in Psychology, child development, communication and family counseling. Connect with Ariadne over at the Positive Parenting Connection, an online resource for parents and caregivers dedicated to promoting peaceful, playful and positive parenting. Let’s connect:

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When Kids Lie By Marcilie Smith Boyle The topic of lying came up in my parenting class last week. We were role-playing parents’ typical responses to a lying kid: “Honey, did you just lie about that? Are you sure?” (When parent already knows the child is lying) “Are you kidding me? You just lied straight to my face. How COULD you?” “That’s it, no more (fill in the blank) for you!” Everyone agreed that the typical responses above didn’t help the child learn to be honest, but they also wondered what the heck else to do! Strangely, the very next night at bedtime, my own teen looked my husband straight in the eye and said he didn’t have his phone in his room (which is not allowed in our house.)

Marcilie Smith Boyle

Marcilie coaches high achieving parents and professionals toward authentic success so that they can live, work, and parent with more peace, purpose, and joy. A Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator and Life & Leadership Coach, she leverages her previous sixteen-year consulting and marketing career to ensure her clients get a return on their coaching investment. Marcilie earned her MBA from Harvard Business School, and CPCC from The Coaches Training Institute. She offers 1:1 and group coaching (live or via phone/Skype) on topics such as parenting, work/life balance, career transition, and leadership as well as “Parenting with Positive Discipline” More info here. marciliesmithboyle@gmail.com www.WorkingParenting.com

We scanned the downstairs charging area where the phones are supposed to “sleep” at night, and didn’t see the phone there. Or anywhere else. So I went back upstairs and knocked on my son’s door. He opened it and handed me his phone. “I had a really important conversation that I needed to finish and I knew that Dad would not let me finish it. I’m done now so here you go,” he said. I replied, “You know, if you had explained that to Dad, maybe he would have let you finish your conversation.” “No chance,” my son replied. “Well,” I said, “you didn’t give him a chance. He might have. And even if he didn’t, was the lie worth the loss of trust and relationship?” “Good night, Mom.” Apparently, it was. “Good Night, C. We can talk more about this in the morning. I love you.” It’s an interesting question for parents to ponder: sometimes, to the child, the lie is worth the loss of trust and relationship. And sometimes, the lie is protecting trust and relationship (in their mind, anyway, because “If Mom found out that I actually did steal that candy bar, she would lose her trust in me and our relationship would suffer.”) So what to do? How do we help our children to become honest, trustworthy, and develop integrity for doing the right thing?


“We may treasure honesty, but the research is clear. Most classic strategies to promote truthfulness just encourage kids to be better liars.” -Po Bronson, Nurtureshock Here are a few tips gathered from various experts on the subject. Just know that all kids lie. Home observation studies found that “four-year-olds will lie once every two hours, while a six-year-old will lie about once every hour . . . 96% of all kids offer up lies.” (Nurtureshock by Po Bronson) I used to feel completely betrayed when I discovered that my child lied to me. Now, I am less personally appalled, which means I can respond with less emotion, and increase the odds of productive learning in the aftermath. Avoid punishment. When children first begin lying, they do so to avoid punishment. The threat of punishment puts the child’s focus on self-preservation, rather than on the bigger issue of doing the right thing. “In studies, scholars find that kids who live in threat of consistent punishment don’t lie less. Instead, they become better liars, at an earlier age – learning to get caught less often.” (Nurturshock) Don’t trap your child in their lie. If you know your child has lied, don’t ask them if they have, which is an invitation to dig themselves even deeper into the lie. Instead of “Have you washed your hands?” when you know they haven’t, describe what you see: “I see dry hands,” and invite the next step: “would you like some help washing those germs away?” (Dr. Laura Markham, AhaParenting.com) When your child has lied to you, be honest yourself. Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott of Positive Discipline recommend you say, “That doesn’t sound like the truth to me. Most of us don’t tell the truth when we are feeling trapped, scared, or threatened in some way. I wonder how I might be making you feel that it isn’t safe to tell the truth? Why don’t we take some time off right now? Later I’ll be available if you would like to share with me what is going on for you.” Reward honesty with immunity and appreciation. This advice comes from Dr. Victoria Talwar, one of the world’s leading experts on children’s lying behavior. If you want the truth from your child, teach them the worth of honesty by telling the child, “If you are honest with me, I promise that I will not punish you and in fact,

I will appreciate you even more for telling the truth.” Her research shows that offering immunity PLUS praise for honesty reduces lying by between 50-75%. Deal with the actual problem. Lying about having hit one’s brother is a problem, but the real problem is feeling the need to hit in the first place. So put the focus on the hitting and look for solutions to that problem, rather than on the lying. (Positive Discipline A-Z) Be aware of what you are modeling. Turns out, adults lie too, at a rate of about one per day, on average. (Nurtureshock) The vast majority of these are little white lies to avoid hurting feelings, protect ourselves from looking bad, or avoid engaging in something we’d rather not. When a telemarketer calls and asks if you are home, do you ever say, “I’m sorry, she’s not here right now”? Our kids are listening! As for my own situation with my teen, the next day I told him, “Dad and I really value trust. And we also recognize that you feel might feel trapped – you both want our trust and you want to be connected to your friends as school, especially when there’s a lot going on around Homecoming and homework and the PSAT. We understand that. We try hard to be reasonable people and when you’re feeling pressure to conceal the truth from us, we hope that you will let us know so that we can look for a win/win.” Will he lie less in the future? I don’t know. I can’t make him be honest. All I can do is my best to create an environment and a relationship that makes honesty easier. And model it myself, of course. I’ve decided to notice how often I lie today. Already caught one! (I can’t believe it! Dang!)

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Understanding Behavior By Understanding The Planes of Development By Marta Rodriguez-Lopez Today I would like to stray a little from discipline and lean towards exploring the path of human development from birth into adulthood. Recently, I have been taking this detour when talking about misbehavior in my classes. In order to identify misbehavior we must understand behavior and the developmental stages a child goes through in their journey from birth into adulthood. According to Rudolf Dreikurs, misbehavior is the result of discouragement and the erroneous belief on how to connect and contribute to their environment, not every undesirable behavior falls in this category. Before we jump into the mistaken goal chart analysis, I invite the participants to take a few minutes to study the child’s behavior. Could the behavior be caused by a physical problem, a health issue? Is the child’s safety being threatened? Do I have a personal dislike for that particular behavior? My husband gets really irritated when someone is rattling plastic near him, is our child misbehaving when eating chips from the bag and making rattling noises in the process? I don't think so. Are the child’s actions taken as a misbehavior when in reality, the behavior is due to a lack of training? Is there is a change in the child’s or family’s situation, like a new sibling, a move, a divorce, grandparents are visiting? Could the behavior be developmentally related and necessary? It is in this last question that I would like to detour and dig a little deeper. Maria Montessori, the first female medical doctor in Italy and a pioneer in education, studied the origin and formation of living beings, identifying specific stages in human formation and defining four planes of development; two childhood planes and two formative stages of adulthood. (see graphic) Montessori, in The Absorbent Mind, compares child development with a series of transitions or developmental changes that occur, the changes and needs of the child in each of the stages differ greatly, making the child unrecognizable as if he has been recreated as a being.

Each plane is a rebirth with a new start, bringing forth a new set of characteristics, needs, and behaviors. As the plane reaches its pinnacle, it begins to dwindle, making space for the transition to the beginning of a new phase. Each plane has two sub-planes, each lasting about three years. The first three years (0 to 3 years), when the sense of empathy is developed, are the unconscious plane of developmental phase characterized by great activity, exploration, pushing boundaries. It is a time for creation. The last three years (3 to 6 years of age) are a time to mature the knowledge acquired or crystallization, and in this period characteristics are mastered and exhibited by the child. Although each plane is unique, the progression along the path in the planes are interrelated and compounded, with each new plane building up on the previous stage. The first plane is for the formation, or creation, of the individual and the second plane is for the development of the individual. The third plane brings another creation, the adult in society, and the fourth plane develops that creation. The first plane and the third plane, early childhood and adolescence, are the most dynamic or creative stages. The second and fourth planes are more stable, calm periods of development.

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The First Plane of Development - Individual Creation of The Person Coded message: “Help me to do it by myself.” Age 0 - 6 – Early Childhood The Absorbent Mind 0-3 -“Unconscious Creator.” 3-6 - “Conscious Worker” Characterized by “Sensitive Periods” Intense need for: Order, Language, Refinement of the senses, Movement, Characterized by concrete thinking, Construction of the physical person, Fundamental formation of the character. Physical independence – “I can do it myself!”

The Second Plane of Development - Construction of The Intelligence Coded message: “Help me to think for myself” Age 6 – 12 – Childhood Physically healthier, stronger, and have great stamina. Characterized by reasoning with imagination and logic. Intense thirst for knowledge. “Cosmic Education” – wants to know about the whole and his/her place within it, appreciates the interconnectedness of all things and people. Interested in the concepts of justice, fairness and keen awareness of injustice. “Bridge” to abstraction, a transition from concrete to abstract thinking. Interested in learning about the universe – that which is outside of the prepared environment. Intellectual independence – “I can ’think it‘ myself”.

Characterized by self-concern and self-assessment. Critical thinking and re-evaluation. Transition period both physically and mentally. Beginning to find place in this world. Construction of social and moral values. “Erd Kinder” or “Children of the Land” – practicing for life in society by working together in a sort of hostel. Cultural development solidified in this plane. Emotional Independence – “I can stand on my own”.

The Fourth Plane of Development Construction of Self-Understanding Coded message: “Help me to support myself.” Ages 18 – 24 And Beyond – Adulthood Stable period of development and consolidation of the creations formed in adolescence. Parallels the second plane, when the child was developing a sense of responsibility. Physical growth is not yet complete, nor is psychological development crystallized. Characterized by construction of the spiritual. Conscious discernment of right and wrong. Seeking to know one’s own place within the world. Financial Independence – “I can get it myself”.

The Third Plane of Development - Construction of Social Self Coded message: “Help me find myself.” Ages 12-18 - Adolescence The adolescent needs more sleep and his sleep rhythms change. Susceptible to illness, often complains of “growing pains” and general weakness.

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At this point I like to point out to the parents, how the valleys on the graph correlate with challenging times in parenting; terrible twos, nine, with the appearance of back talk and attitude, middle school years, early teens. Understanding the needs of the child during these times is crucial for a healthy development of personality along with the skills needed to progress to the next plane. It is our job as parents to provide the support, environment and experiences needed to fulfill the intrinsic call for learning that the child is feeling. With this piece of knowledge and the tools we have gathered through Positive Discipline we, as caregivers, are in a privileged position to raise a capable, resilient new generation.

“The child is capable of developing and giving us tangible proof of the possibility of a better humanity. He has shown us the true process of construction of the human being. We have seen children totally change as they acquire a love for things and as their sense of order, discipline, and self-control develops within them.... The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind.� - Maria Montessori

Marta Rodriguez-Lopez I am the mom three, two girls and a boy. I am also a Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator, Classroom Educator and a Trainer Candidate that loves to lead parents though classes, workshops and seminars. For the past 15 years, I’ve been in a Montessori journey as a parent and loving every minute of it. You can find me at Encouraging Families on facebook

Website: www.martaurea.com 22


Deepening and Strengthening Family Connections By Lisa Fuller If you’re like me, you’re struggling right now to wrap your head around all that’s been going on in the world. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but from my perspective it seems like disconnection is at the root of so much of the insanity and violence. I believe that deepening and strengthening our connections -- to each other, to the planet, to our families -- is our path to healing. It might seem simplistic, but I’m convinced that our collective well being and health begins with the health of our families. We all crave warm, loving connections with our family and children. Being snug together, playing a game, listening to music, and sharing meals. And while there may be heated moments of competition or disagreement, it’s all good because you are together, making time for each other. The following ideas may help you with this goal.

Parenting Tools Dinner Bell. This is so simple yet almost daily I’m reminded of the power of our dinner bell. Whether I make breakfast, a snack, lunch on the weekends, or dinner, I often notice a wee bit of tension building when my child isn’t eagerly awaiting my labor of love. Then I see the bell and it dawns on me: “Just ring the bell.” I can feel my expectations melting away with that simple action. Message delivered. I can breath and move on.

Mobilhome. Our devices get in the way of real connection. The Mobilhome is a super cool way to --- without making a stink --- let your friends and family know that when socializing in your home, you encourage a device free zone. By establishing a place for everyone's phones, you're acknowledging the value of spending undistracted time together. The Mobilhome is an original artisan project created by Yvonne O'Hare (we met at a writing workshop).

Positive Discipline Tool Cards. I gift these to parents who enroll in my Parenting with Positive Discipline series. They are concise and powerful. Topics include: allowance, letting go, setting limits, kindness and firmness at the same time, silent signal and 47 more! Great for when you need a focused idea on one particular challenge.

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Parenting Practices

Games

“Passing the Squeeze,” a ritual shared by my friend Catherine, will help you slow down and mindfully connect before meal time. You begin each family lunch or dinner with "passing the squeeze." Everyone holds hands (people may choose to close their eyes if they wish). The person who cooked starts a hand squeeze in one direction and it gets passed around. When the squeeze gets back to the person who started it, she squeezes hands in both directions and then everyone squeezes hands. For extra credit meditation kudos, the person who cooked rings a meditation chime. Everyone listens for as long as possible before picking up cutlery and chowing down (I'll let you know how that goes over at our house:).

Qwirkle. I love this game! Using six unique colors and shapes your mind is challenged to find configurations that conform to the rules (no repeating) and give you the most points. It takes 30 - 60 minutes to play depending on how much conversation and silliness you enjoy. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Family Meetings Why have family meetings? They Build closeness by creating a sense of significance and belonging for all. Give children and their parents a place and time to practice leadership, responsibility, problem solving, empathy and love. Establish a forum for communication that becomes increasingly significant as children mature.

Hunt the Thimble. My friend Anna loves to play this one on Sunday evenings after their family dinner at her mother in-law’s house. Try it when you’ve got friends over or with the extended family. All ages! Here’re the steps to play: Find a thimble Choose someone to be "it" Tell that person to leave the room Choose another person to be the hider Call in the seeker to start looking (it should be hidden within eyesight, not under or in anything) The whole group can yell out "colder!"..."warmer..." Until the thimble is discovered. Let the last hider now become the seeker, and so forth until someone rings the dinner bell.

Once you begin to hold family meetings you’ll experience even more tangible and intangible benefits for your family!

Join my list to download: Unlock the Power of Family Meetings: Your Free 7-Step Guide.

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Sorry. Be sure to get the original version. What can I say? This is simple and fun. My son warned me against recommending Sorry because he said it gets people too riled up . That said, it's most fun when everyone gets invested, regardless if you're 7 or 70! It’s equal parts skill and luck… maybe more luck. Old school fun!

Side note to parents of teens… it’s more important than ever to make the time to play games and simply find ways to be together. Don’t rely on your kids to come to you and ask for this time -- if they do, consider yourself lucky! When your teen resists family time, I suggest persistence. Let them know that being with them is important to you.


Cultivate those activities that feed your connection to self and others. Relax and be present. That’s what your kids want from you more than anything. To increase the likelihood that you can relax and slow down, focus on activities like these:  Take a bath  Exercise, take walks  Cook or take out foods that make you feel good  Make time to read a good book  Go to bed early  Do something creative

My invitation to you for the year as it unfolds: Try to keep it simple, focus on the inside, notice the hilarity and joy of spending time with kids… generally BE KIND TO YOURSELF. That’s it.

Lisa Fuller “My life’s work is dedicated to helping you enjoy the precious time you have with your family.”

Lisa has a B.A. from Georgetown University and a M.S.W. from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Positive Discipline Educator, Trainer and Certified Professional Co-active Coach. http:// lisafullercoaching.com

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Making Family Meetings Work For You by Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW week. If you are familiar with Agile Project How many of you feel confident in the workManagement, think of this as a standup. place only to melt in to a pile of frustration and fear when in comes to parenting? Why do Let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of high functioning managers who lead success- effective family meetings. ful teams come home and turn into autocrats or doormats with their children? What’s On The Agenda? Imagine for a moment the most effective workgroup you have been a part of. All members of the team knew what they were responsible for and completed their tasks without micromanagement. It wasn’t always easy, but your commitment to each other and your shared goals allowed you to work through challenges in calm respectful ways.

Family meetings follow a regular structure so team member know what to expect. Family meetings include four sections: Compliments, Problem Solving, Calendar Planning, and Family Fun.

Compliments

At the start of the meeting, each family member gives a compliment to every other family member and then one to themselves. LearnNow imagine that team is your family. Your ing to give and receive specific, positive feedteam goal is healthy family life, teaching critiback is a skill that takes time to develop, so cal life skills and solving problems in a way they may sound awkward at first. We started that is respectful of BOTH adults and kids. family meetings when my oldest was three, so How exactly does your team accomplish this? compliments often sounded like, “I like playing Through coming together weekly to connect with you.” You can help your child think about and tune in to the work of being a family. specific compliments by asking, “was there a time we played together this week that was Before you groan, I am not talking about especially fun?” dreaded team meetings where the boss drones on, the senior team member stuck in the past squashes every new idea, and the bulk of the team is staring at their phones. I am definitely not talking about the sporadic calling of a family meeting that is code for “someone’s in trouble.” In my work with families, I frequently hear, “We tried family meetings and they don’t work!” If family meetings have been about blame and lecture, is it any wonder your team doesn’t want to work with you? What I am talking about is fifteen to thirty minutes once a week to solve problems that both kids and adults have identified during the

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Besides feeling good, we start with compliments because they create a positive atmosphere and help us tune in to the positive before solving problems together. They also teach children (and grown ups) to be on the look out for what’s good, instead of focusing on the negative. Don’t be surprised if this positive perspective continues to pop up during the week.

Problem Solving During the week, when problems arise that cannot be solved in the moment, either because emotions are too high or time is short, they can be put on the family meeting agenda. This should be a piece of paper that is accessible to everyone. If your child is not yet writing, they can draw a picture or ask for help. After complements, first review solutions to the problem you solved the week before to check in and see if it is working for everyone. Then agree as a family which problem you will solve and state the problem in a non-blaming way. For example, if someone wrote, “Sam always takes my stuff,” you might frame it as “respecting other people’s property.” It’s critical that we stay away from blame and focus on solutions or we risk losing the team. Next, brainstorm a list of possible solutions to the problem. Avoid debating ideas as they come up, no matter how ridiculous they seem. The idea is for everyone to have a voice without feeling judged. When the idea flow has ended, choose one suggestion by consensus that is respectful of everyone and commit to try it for one week. Agreeing to try a solution for a defined period of time is often easier than when we perceive the solution as set in stone. Be sure to get specific about the logistics of your plan.

Calendar Planning This is your built in time to get help the family get on the same page. Who needs rides

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where? Piano Lessons, dance? Are there doctors appointments scheduled? Who is on dinner each night? Going over the logistics for the week decreases anxiety how things will happen. In addition, it’s helping them build their own time management and planning skills.

Family Fun. Wrap up your family meeting by having some fun together. Whether it’s a board game, a dance party, or a trip to the park, coming together to share a fun experience sends us off to the week with a positive perspective.

Tips For Success Now that we’ve covered the logistics of how family meetings work, here’s a few tips for getting the most out of them. 1.Everyone Needs A Role. If you have experience in leading teams, your might know that when people have a role, they are more likely to contribute. Family meetings are no different. Each member should have a job at the meeting and jobs should rotate weekly. 2. The chairperson calls the meeting to order, asks for compliments to start, and helps keep the family on task. The recorder writes down the brainstormed ideas and notes the solution that was chosen. If the note taker is not yet able to write, they can draw pictures too. The timekeeper pays attention to the meeting length to make sure it is not going on too long. Other jobs may include set up, snack preparer, or just about anything. One of the roles in our family meeting is the person who calls for a deep breath if they notice tension building in the meeting. 3. Share Control. Family meetings are an opportunity for our children to learn respectful

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use of power. When we let go of micromanaging, they develop the self-discipline we are so desperate for them to have. 4. Start Slow. When you introduce family meetings, remember you are teaching a new skill and learning will take time. The first few weeks, just do compliments and family fun. At the third or fourth week, introduce the concept of finding solutions. Pick something easy, like what to do on an upcoming family day. Think About Timing. Think about your children and what time of day would work best. We have learned that weekend mornings work best for us and that Sunday nights are the worst.

Let Go Of Perfection. Meltdowns happen, kids get sick. Sometimes we need to cut the losses and move on. We have been having family meetings for seven years now and still about one out of five goes haywire. It’s ok to let it go for the week or try again another day. When we give our children the opportunity to step up to the plate without fear of blame or failure, they rise to the occasion. Family meetings give children the chance to flex their own problem solving skills. So, share the power and help develop future leaders, instead of demanding obedience. Your family is worth it.

Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW Sarina is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer, a parent educator and consultant in the Seattle area. She co-founded GROW Parenting to provide the tools and support to raise healthy children and find more joy in parenting. GROW Parenting offers parent coaching and classes, as well as frequent speaking engagements at area schools and businesses.

sarina@growparenting.com


How Busy Parents Can Help Their Children Feel Special By Dr. Jane Nelsen Do you ever wonder, "Will my children suffer because they have a working mother? Will they be deprived?" The answer: That depends on what you believe and what you do

Many happy, successful people have been raised by working moms. It is not the circumstance of life, but how we perceive those circumstances and what we do that has the greatest impact. Each person decides whether challenges will be stumbling blocks or stepping-stones to joy and success in life. Understanding this does not negate the struggles and concerns of working moms, but it can offer hope and a basis for dealing with the struggles in ways that benefit rather than harm children. Let's begin with your beliefs. It is a myth that children who have a working mom are automatically more deprived than children who have a stay-at-home mom. Many stay-at-home moms are just as busy as you are. However, children usually adopt the attitudes of their parents-or learn to manipulate in areas of weakness. If you are feeling guilty and fearful that your children will be deprived, chances are they will feel deprived. They may 29

develop a victim mentality, or they may play on your guilt for special privileges. On the other hand, if you have an optimistic, courageous attitude, your children will be influenced and will learn from you. Give up the belief that you have to make it up to your child for being a working mother. Present your circumstances with a positive attitude: "This is how it is, and we are going to benefit from how it is." The greatest gift you can give your children is to have a hopeful outlook on life no matter what your circumstances--and all circumstances, no matter how difficult, offer opportunities to learn and grow. Focus on how you can make the best of your present opportunities as a working mom to help your children feel special. Following are five possibilities. Take time for hugs. No matter how busy you are, there is always time for a three-second hug. That is a substantial hug that can lift spirits and change attitudes--yours and your child's. Sometimes a hug can be the most effective method to stop misbehavior. Try it the next time you are feeling frazzled or your child is whining and see for yourself. Give hugs in the morning, right after work, several 29


during the evening, a longer one just before bed. You will both feel very special. Hold weekly family meetings. Twenty to thirty minutes a week is a small investment of time with huge payoffs. Children feel very special when they are listened to, taken seriously and have their thoughts and ideas validated. That is the immediate payoff. The near future payoff is that you can solve many daily hassles during a family meeting. Your kids can help you create morning and bedtime routines and come up with creative ways for handling chores. It is amazing how much more willing children are to follow rules and plans they have helped create. The long-term pay off is that children learn important life skills such and communication skills and problem-solving skills. Think of the benefits to their future jobs and relationships. It takes much less time to hold weekly family meetings where children learn to cooperate and solve problems than the time it takes to nag, lecture, and scold. During busy times parents often find relief or create a diversion from a problem by simply inviting the child to put the problem on the family meeting agenda. Everyone learns to trust that a respectful solution will be found soon.

Children feel special when they know that time with them is as important to you as all your other appointments and tasks.

Spend regularly scheduled, special time. This does not take very much time and can be comforting to parents and children when it is part of the schedule. Very young children need special time daily for ten to fifteen minutes. This doesn't mean you never spend more time than that. It does mean that you have scheduled special time for you and your child to count on and look forward to. One mother scheduled time with her daughter for reading books or playing games from 5:30 to 5:45. Her daughter loved helping her mother start dinner first while looking forward to their special time. If the phone rang during the special time, Mom would say, "I'm sorry I can't talk right now. It is Tara's special time. "Tara would beam. After the age of six, 30 to 60 minutes a week works well. You may be able to talk teenagers into a date night for just the two of you once a month. The amount of time is not as important as the attitude created by scheduled "special" time. Children feel special when they know that time with them is as important to you as all your other appointments Ask for help. Children need to feel needed. and tasks. During other times when you are It is much different when you ask for help in just too busy or too tired, children will not feel an inviting manner instead of lecturing and discounted (and you don't feel guilty) when scolding. "I would appreciate anything you can you can say, "I'm too busy or too tired now, do to spruce up the family room before dinbut I'm looking forward to our special time." ner," usually invites much more cooperation than, "How many times have I told you not to Share sad and happy times as part of the leave all your stuff all over the family room!" bedtime routine. When tucking your child Children feel special when they are helping. into bed at night, take a few minutes to let her They don't feel special when they are being share the saddest thing that happened to her scolded and put down. that day. Just listen respectfully without trying to solve the problem. Then share your saddest time of the day. Follow this by taking turns sharing your happiest event of the


day. You may be surprised at the things you hear when your children have a few minutes of your undivided attention to evaluate their day and hear about yours. Take a few seconds to write a note for your child's lunch bag, pillow, or mirror. One very busy Mom decided to put a note in her daughter's lunch bag every day for a year. She took time on airplanes or while waiting for an appointment to write several notes or silly rhymes in advance, such as "Roses are red, Violets are blue, Every day, I think about you. " When she traveled, she gave the childcare person notes to tuck into the lunch bag for each day she was gone. Her daughter's friends gathered around her at lunch in eager anticipation to hear the note of the day. Her daughter felt very special. When you run a short errand in the car, ask one of your children to ride along -just so you can spend as much time as possible together. You might make a big deal of this by creating a chart during a family meeting so you can check whose turn it is. During these rides be a closet listener (don't ask questions). You may be surprised at how much your children may open up and start talking when there is no "inquisition" that invites them to clam up. Simply let them know how glad you are to have a few minutes to be with them, and share special moments from your own life or day. Kids feel special when you share yourself.

Helping your child feel special is a matter of planning and habit, not a lack of time. The fringe benefit of making it a habit to help your child feel special is that you will feel like a special mom or dad.

Dr. Jane Nelsen Dr. Jane Nelsen is a licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor in South Jordan, UT and San Diego, CA. She is the author and/or coauthor of the Positive Discipline Series.

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Compass Positive Discipline Magazine  

Winter 2016 Edition Praise and Ecouragement Positive Discipline Tools Family Meetings Talking about Violence with Children Helping Children...

Compass Positive Discipline Magazine  

Winter 2016 Edition Praise and Ecouragement Positive Discipline Tools Family Meetings Talking about Violence with Children Helping Children...

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