How to Make Amends After You Scream and Shout

When your last nerve is being stepped on do you scream and shout, then burn with shame? Common parental behavior. The Care Response eases all.

The CARE Plan

#emotionalintelligence building blog post for #parents and #teachers.

THOUGHTS AND parenting TIPS

Not so long ago children were taught parents knew best. Today children are taught parents should make children happy. Moreover, when Thomas Gordon proposed that parents need to act like therapists.  He listed these  twelve things parents should never, ever do:

  1. Order
  2. Warn
  3. Advise
  4. Persuade
  5. Moralize
  6. Judge
  7. Approve
  8. Shame
  9. Interpret
  10. Sympathize
  11. Question
  12. Distract

Boggles my mind that his advice is now the gold standard for child rearing. The saddest thing? Gordon’s advice raised expectations higher than any parent can reach.  The result? Much parent bashing and an increase in parental guilt and Shame.

This tactic is common in the business world and is called  Raising  the Goal Post  It means constantly asking people to do better and better  as a way to increase productivity. In time it burns people out or reduces safety.  Moreover, it is a Fallacious or False Argument, what Emotional Fitness Training calls Twisted Thinking.

All this from a man who actually parented only one child and that was  a step daughter.

By the way, his advice best applies to step parents and parents of rebellious teens. Step children’s parents should let the child’s natural parent be the teacher and disciplinarian. Rebellious teens are Gotcha Warriors and best left to learn from life. See this Wiki How if you don’t know how to win a Gotcha War.

Gordon’s bad advice has also infiltrated the school system in the USA. Not helpful.  Hopefully,  these parenting tips will prove more productive than trying to be your child’s therapist.

Parenting tip one: Sharpen your self-soothing skills. How? Learn and us an easy Emotional Fitness Exercises. 

Parenting tip two: Accept imperfection. Unless you physically abuse your child, never praise, comfort, or show love, you are a good enough parent. Perfection is unattainable and a false goal.

Parenting tip three: Learn to forgive yourself and others. Not easy, but possible.

Parenting tip four: Use the CARE Plan

Parenting tip five: Teach your children the skills necessary to survive in real life. To do  that you must use eleven  of Gordon’s banned twelve.

Which one should you not use? Shaming.

By the way, shame is nature’s way of stopping us from doing the unforgivable. It develops in all children at around the age of three. Jerome Kagan says it is nature’s way of preventing the Sin of Cain. Shame also has a cultural part. It starts as an instinct, but the cultural learning determines much of what we feel shamed about.  All but shame are parenting tools that when used properly promote growth.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness right now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.

Katherine

INSPIRATION FOR THIS POST

A WordPress Daily Prompt:Slash and burn: Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.

Done. Good advice for when you are tempted to scream and shout at your child. Cut slash and burn as soon as you realize you have lost it, calm down and use the  CARE Plan.

FREE POSTER COACHES

Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters. To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for most in the near future.

 

 

Need Help? What Parent Doesn’t? How to Find Mentors and Others to Help

Anyone caring 24/7 for a child needs a Mentor and an  Added Care Team.  As the saying goes: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Unfortunately, many of today’s villages have been torn apart. Some parents commute two or three hours a day, others hold two or three jobs outside the home. Some can only be home during weekends. Divorces tear out hearts. Grandparents live miles, even states away. Too many  children are in the care of people paid to care; that might be okay if those people care. Not all do.

When I grew up in the forties and fifties, I lived in a small town of  about 5000 people. I was born during the depression, lived through World War II. I remember blackout curtains and air raid drills. I remember the sirens announcing the end of the war, the horror of the pictures and films of those being released from concentration camps or killed when the A bomb was dropped. I remember crouching under my desk during drills prompted by fears of the cold war and atomic bombs. I knew darn well my desk was not a bomb shelter, but kids have to humor adults in power.

Polio fears abounded until Jonas Salk’s vaccine wiped it out. I had the measles, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough. My life was probably saved by the discovery of penicillin—I spent a year in bed recovering from Rheumatic fever; twenty years on penicillin kept further attacks and heart damage at bay. There were other dangers and problems, but mostly as a child I was unaware of the evils that are part of this world.

Why did I feel safe living in such scary  times? Because I was  protected by a village of relatives and neighbors. Not all were kind or good. My maternal grandmother was a user and abuser of people, mostly my parents. I was told to never be alone  with “Uncle Charlie.”

But in my small home town, I roamed free by the time I was eight or nine, walking to and from school, then taking myself and my dog Lady around to the farms surrounding the town. These were gentlemen farms, mainly used to stable horses. I visited them to feed the horses.

The owner of one said never to go in the pasture, her horse would trample me. I suppressed the laugh as his horse, Gerry Jim and I always raced up and down the pasture, his nose on my shoulder.  If I tripped, he was more careful than my brothers at not stepping on me. He was lonely and so was I. He gave me strength and I hoped I added pleasure to his life.

I wandered free because back then people minded other people’s business particularly when it came to the children of the town. For a period, I thought my mother was a witch because she always seemed to know where I was and what I was doing. She didn’t, of course, know all; but her friends in the village kept their eyes on me and let Mom know where they had seen me and what they had seen me doing.

Not so today, although my two sons grew up with pretty much the same freedom because we lived in a small town where they could and did ride their bikes all around.  The village was weaker, however, and now is weaker still  with the possible exception of small apartment buildings.

When we lived in the Bronx, our apartment building was five stories high and each floor had about 10 apartments. Moreover, most of us entered through a common door before dispersing to our homes. We knew each other and for the most part took care of each other. Part of the team was a super and a building manager who both made sure to know everyone and would and did go above and beyond. We also has connections to the local synagogues and had friends in each that could be called on to help in various ways.

Moreover, the neighborhood although mixed, was not a hundred per cent safe—there was a murder right around the corner. However, there was still a group of old-time residents, some Irish and some Jewish, who kept an eye on what was happening and would either intervene in some situations or call on the police to settle more serious problems. The local shopkeepers were also watchful eyes. I might not go strolling outside my apartment after midnight, but for the most part I felt safe in this ‘hood’. So relatives, neighbors, shopkeepers formed added circles of care around me both as a child and an adult.

Not so much now, for we  in an apartment complex that has three stories, but each apartment has its own entrance.   After two years of  living here, I do know some of my neighbors by  but only two by name. I also  have gotten to know a few of those with dogs from the surrounding building by name. The building maintenance men serve as a partial watch group, but are not around at night or on weekends. Finally, the closest shops are two blocks away.

One of my kids lives in a small town and knows most of the residents. He has driven the school bus during his businesses downtime.

The other son lives in more of a development and is more isolated from neighbors. He has a talking relationship with one neighbor and that neighbor is more hostile than caring.

I suspect that many of you reading this are in my second son’s situation. In fact this son and his wife asked us to move to Colorado when we retired, so they could have us around to help when they became parents. We were major players in their added care team. The more space between you and the rest of your neighbors, the less they are likely to be part of your added care team and the more important it is to spend some time building one.

how to create an added care team

Start by thinking  carefully about who involved in your child’s and your life that are helpful. These  form part of your Added Care Team.

You can map your Added Care Team using an exercise I have taught to those who worked for me when I directed mental health crisis teams in New York City before, during, and after 9/11.  Think of your Added Care Team as having three circles, one inside the other.  Here is a template:

The inner circle dubbed “Angels” maps  family members and friends you can call knowing they will help, not just with words, but with actions. One of my Angel Friends got out of bed and drove to the airport to pick up one of my kids when my car refused to start and I had no AAA. Other Angels make dinner when you are sick, take care of your kids when the boss keeps you late, lend you their car, and lend you money.

You are lucky if you have two or three among family who you can call Angels. You are even luckier if you have two or three friends that are worthy of being dubbed Angels.  Many people have only one or two Angels.  And the saddest thing when I directed a crisis teams was to discover those who had none.

The Part-time Angels are those who will help when they can or help in very specific ways. Some are friends. One of my part time Angels when I was raising my children could be relied on to care for my kids in a pinch, but would never lend her car. Another could  always cheer me up, but never gave any concrete help.

Some Part-time Angels are paid to do a job, do it well, but will go above and beyond when you are in need. I think of a gas station attendant back in the days when we didn’t have to pump our own. A tire blew out on my car and he saw me standing by the side of the road,  pulled over, changed the tire and would not take anything but a “Thank you.” I think of the super in our  Bronx apartment building, the shop keepers in that ‘hood’ who would often go above and beyond.

The final circle, dubbed Paid Angels, are those whose job is to care and to be there to help during their working hours.  Doctors, lawyers, caseworkers, nurses, nurses aides, teachers, child care workers, some coaches.  Not all belong in your circle of care; some just do a job; the ones who really care, who treat you and yours like people and not patients or clients are the ones who belong here.

MORE ADVICE

Mind your manners when dealing with any of your angels.  The ones on your Added Care Team are people and they need to hear “Thank You” and “Please” and “May I” just as much as the rest of us do.  They also need quid pro quos—their back scratched because they scratch yours.

Moreover you can’t abuse them. If they care for your kids when you are sick, the favor must be returned. If they lend you money, you better darn well better pay it back and soon.

For those paid Angels that go above and beyond, a Thank you note with a cc to their boss is in order. In today’s electronic world, such notes are very easy to send and worth their weight in gratitude.

THAnk yOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness right now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.

Katherine

INSPIRATION FOR THIS POST

This DAILY PROMPTMentor Me – Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

I think I was lucky in having parents who taught me well and their best lesson was that you always had a choice to be kind or cruel and that the wisest choice was always kindness.

FREE POSTER COACHES

Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters. To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for most in the near future.

MEDIA PROOFING YOUR CHILD

Feeling bashed by the media.   The great age of parent bashing owes much to the media. All too often, good-enough parents have been labeled abusive parents.

A picture about the joys of parent bashing.

PARENTING THOUGHTS

Actually,  parent bashing started with the call for parents to treat their children as a therapist would teach a deranged client.  This was the stance of Thomas Gordon’s 12 roadblocks to communication.  He listed all the things parents did that were wrong including:

  1. Ordering, directing or commanding: “Stop complaining and do something about it!” “You HAVE to do this. It was ordered by the court!”
  2. Warning or threatening: “You’d better get your act together if you’re gonna make it on probation.”
  3. Moralizing, preaching, giving “shoulds” and “oughts”. “You should learn how to plan ahead” “I can’t believe you think that’s okay!”
  4. Advising, offering solutions or suggestions. “It’s pretty clear that you need to….” “What I would do it….”
  5. Teaching, lecturing, giving logical arguments. “You’d better remember, you only have 2 weeks to get that community service done.” “You are not going to stay sober without going to AA!” The next responses point out inadequacies and faults:
  6. Judging, criticizing, directing, blaming. “You’re in still in bed at 11:00 in the morning!??” “You just can’t keep a job.” “You’re wrong.”
  7. Name calling, stereotyping, labeling. “That’s typical for addicts.” “Why don’t you act your age!”
  8. Interpreting, Analyzing, Diagnosing. “You are avoiding this!” “It’s not about being a felon, it’s because you’re not responsible.” “Do you know what your real problem is…?” These messages try to make the person feel better or deny there’s a problem:
  9. Praising, agreeing, giving positive evaluations. “That’s exactly what I would do!” “You’re a good guy.”
  10. Reassuring, sympathizing, consoling. “You’ll figure this out – no problem!” “Don’t worry. Things are gonna turn out just fine” This response tries to solve the problem for the person.
  11.  Questioning, interrogating, cross-examining. “Why are you gonna do it that way?” “Do you still hang out with the same people?” This response tends to divert the person or avoid the subject all together.
  12.  Withdrawing, distracting, humoring, changing the subject. “Seems like you got up on the wrong side of the bed today.” “I see the Vikings won last night. Are you a fan?”

Just reading the list makes me want to weep or tear my hair. Why? Two reasons:

  1. He is asking the impossible of parents. Therapists study for two or more years after college and then undergo hours of internships in order to get licensed. Even then many therapists are incompetent while others – the Behaviorist in particular – think most of the above rules are dangerous to the well being of all.
  2. He and those applying these rules did not remember age and stage.   When the teen years are reached some of his advice works well. But only if the child has already learned proper ways to behave.

Why did his ideas gain so many followers? Mainly because within each of us lies a hurt child and many of those hurts where bestowed upon us by loving and well-meaning parents. We identify with that child and so wish parents had done a better job.

That meant that before becoming parents we vowed we would not behave toward children in the ways we were hurt by our parents.  I know I did.

I also remember the first time as a parent, I heard my mother’s voice bursting forth from my lips.  That was truly a wake-up call. Have you had such a call?  Lucky you if you have not. Lucky your children if you had such a wake-up call and did better.

PARENTING TIP

Parenting tip one: Given the above, the best tip for all parents is to learn all they can about age and state and most particularly what that means in teaching children right from wrong.  A quick thought on that one: minimally from the age when the child starts walking and talking behavior is shaped by punishment and the desire for parental approval.

Children of this age believe “Might makes right.” Than means what they can get away with that feels good is okay.  You have to be mightier then they are to teach right from wrong.

Parenting tip two: Learn and use the CARE Plan. It has been designed to allow parents to blow it, make an amends while holding a child to behaving properly.  Here is how to CARE.

The CARE Plan

Parenting tip three: Stress being kind and that means teaching manners, but also giving in many other ways.

In terms of media proofing your child, accentuate stories about kindness. As this Christian Science Monitor story discusses the fact that people like to hear about acts of kindness and that includes your children. The story? Random acts of pasta: Why do acts of kindness go viral? (+video)

Parenting tip four: Use the media to discuss values, Start by noting sales pitches. Than can done even with Sesame Street for commercials follow the shows.

Parenting tip five:  As always model the values you most want your child to hold to. If you want the newest gadgets, you are telling your child the newest gadgets matter. If you don’t give to charity, you are teaching your child not to care about others. If you are rude to strangers, you teach rudeness. If you make generalized statements about people, you are teaching prejudice.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness right now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.

Katherine

INSPIRATION FOR THIS POST

This DAILY PROMPT : Ripped from the Headlines:  Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

Random acts of pasta: Why do acts of kindness go viral?. I cheated and looked for a headline that I could use in my post. Found this one on the Christian Science Monitor. What works work and it was a cheat that didn’t hurt anyone and gave the CSM a bit of publicity.

FREE POSTER COACHES

Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters. To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for some in the near future.

 

PRANK PROOF YOUR KIDS

Kids love jokes, but need to learn not make hurtful jokes and then how to deal with hurtful jokes. Here are some hurtful jokes.

cruel jokes

Laugh at these? Someone didn’t? Cruel jokes are the sign of prejudiced minds.

Hope these jokes offended you. Offensive jokes illustrate how prejudiced the human race is AND we all have our prejudices.    Why?

One reason: Our brains like to keep things simple and easy. Simple leads to the twisted thinking called generalization.

Another reason:  Part of being social animals means figuring out where you rank. We constantly compare ourselves to others. Then, we create mean jokes so we will feel better about ourselves by putting  others down.

As Gallager, a comedian, notes “I need wrong to get laughs. I need a normal world so that I can be abnormal, and that’s my problem. Comedians need prejudice.”

Thinking you are not bound by some false ideas about groups of people is delusional. Think about the early hurts in your life and how that lead to a prejudice on your part.

Here’s a personal example, when I was five-years old a red-head came up to me  on the play ground and for no reason I could figure out slapped me across the face and walked away. And yes, I remain a bit wary about red heads. A personal prejudice that I own and work against.

Prejudices are learned in three ways

  1. Personal hurts that generalize to a specific group.
  2. Modeling parental prejudices.
  3. Following the crowd whether school mates, religions teachers, the media.

PARENTING THOUGHTS and tips

Parenting tip one: Remember age and stage.  The younger your child the more hurt by others will lead to prejudices. Think of the stored up prejudices against parents which stay hidden until the teen years.  Combat early hurts by clearly labeling some as accidents. Label intended hurts as wrong. Punish your child if s/he intentionally hurts someone.

As your children enter school, gently dispute prejudices particularly those on the media. Talk about why others hurt people. Teach how to handle hurt and anger in healthy ways.

During the pre-teen and teen years talk directly about prejudices. Very useful topic for family meetings.

Parenting tip two: As always you have to clean up your own act, so you model better ways to your children.  As the song from South Pacific notes:

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Parenting tip three: Reduce your prejudices by doing the following.

  1. Talk of specific acts of specific people.
  2.  When labeling behaviors think of the following words: kind, cruel, dangerous, thoughtless, criminal,evil.
  3. Some unacceptable words can be linked. These include thoughtlessly cruel, criminally dangerous, or evil and cruel.
  4.  Know that all group labels are guilty of generalizing and generalizing is twisted thinking. Every person is unique and a blend of traits.
  5. Seek balance.When labeling a person’s behavior think how cruel, how often, to how many. Also think balance: how kind, how often, to how many, and for what reason. Do the same with cultures.
  6.  Remember what matters; be grateful; practice kindness; laugh; play; enjoy the good; speak out against the bad, but in thoughtful ways. What you do and how you do it matters.
  7. Protest offensive jokes. How? Don’t laugh. Raise you eyebrows and look a bit disgusted. Stay you find the joke highly offensive. Use such jokes as teachable moments for your kids.
  8. Take less offense if the teller is a comedian or cartoonist. Some cultures suggest killing cartoonists who offend – an evil and cruel practice.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.

Katherine

LINKS OF INTEREST

Dealing With Offensive Jokes (Forbes.com)
Thinking About Humor ( meor.org)
Critical Thinking (en.wikipedia.org)
Yes/and Thinking (bigthink.com)

inspiration for this post

April Fool’s Day 2015 was one source of inspiration.

Word Press’s Daily post’s DAILY PROMPT: Fool Me Once It’s April 1st! Pull a fast one — publish a post that gently pranks your readers.

I didn’t prank, but I was inspired.

FREE POSTER COACHES

Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters. To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for some in the near future.