Category Archives: Emotional Fitness (Emotional Intelligence) Tips

Are Your Children Angsting Over the Election Results?

Image by Ad Week

Image by Ad Week

A BITTER FACT: Unless you control your upset about the election, you are passing your feelings on to your children. Not good.

I rarely say parents are at fault, but am hearing far too many complaints about how children are upset by the election. Then there was learning that my grandson’s first grade class held an election and the kids whose candidates lost were upset. Well, no child likes to lose, but no child who is just learning to read knows the difference between POTUS and the man in the moon and the Tooth Fairy.

Do I sound cranky, well I am. I do not like to see children hurt or parents misguided and much of today’s parenting advice and  the  media promote the idea that  children are as wise or wiser than adults. Not true. Children are not little adults and their thought processes are not like ours.

As Thomas Phelon, author of One, Two, Three Magic, notes, “Adults who believe in the Little Adult Assumption are going to rely heavily on words and reasons in trying to change the behavior of young kids. And words and reasons are going to be miserable failures much of the time.”

Moreover, the younger the child, the more your feelings become their feelings. So if your child is upset about the election, check your feelings and deal with the angst in ways that will not harm your children.

Emotional Fitness Training Tips for Parents

Tip one: Remember age and stage.

Children learning to read are just moving to what some call “The Age of Reason.” Before then their thinking is what Piaget, the leading researcher in this area call Sensory Motor and then  Pre-operational

Pre-operational thoughts are often described as magical. Piaget says they are based primarily on what the child sees and perceives on his or her own. Best example: Children of this age think the people on television are actually living inside your tv.  Dolls and toys come alive during make-believe play.

The next stage is generally entered into as the child’s brain develops enough so s/he learns to read which why many calls it “The Age of Reason, ” but as Piaget notes, thinking is limited to what the child can see and touch.  The child can begin to think about other people’s thoughts and perspective, but this ability is limited; the child’s interpretations are based more on their own thoughts and rarely extend to one or two other possibilities.

From puberty on, the capacity to think abstractly develops. The abstract thinker is no longer bound by the concrete or their ego-centric views. S/he can imagine countless possibilities which is why abstract thinking teen embrace the occult.

Two problems exist with regards to abstract thought.  Not every one gets there. Estimates vary but probably slightly over 50% of all adults are abstract thinkers. More over trauma dumbs down the ability to think abstractly.

The other problem relates mainly to teens or those first acquiring the ability to think broadly, judgement may be limited. Why teens will take risks that thinking adults will avoid.

Tip two: Use knowledge of age and stage to guide you and keep your angst from affecting your child in all the wrong ways.

Do not discuss or expose children under the age of ten to political talk either yours or the media’s.

If the child asks why you are unhappy, or seems concerned about you, do not deny your feelings but leaven them for the child with a comment like the following: “I’m upset about grownup things, try not to be bothered.” Then divert the child with something s/he enjoys. “Lets play Uno, that will cheer me up.” “Lets make cookies, that is always good to do when upset.”

With those moving toward abstract thought, you can say the election results upset you and invite discussion about what they know about who won, who lost and why some people including you are upset.

It is probably a good ides to also admit that part of your upset is illogical, mainly because you are awfulizing (imagining the worse) and trying to predict the future which is not possible.

Tip three: Get involved in one or another civic activity and let your children know you how you are taking action to counter your fears and upset. Doing any of the following strengthens you that helps your children:

  1. Stay informed, avoid faux news, bias reporting. The disputed issues are always complicated.
  2. Stay calm.
  3. Promote calm in others.
  4. Seek support for your views from groups allied with your beliefs.
  5. Offer moral and financial support to groups and people allied with your beliefs.
  6. Condemn violence and calls for violence even when you agree with the source’s political agenda.
  7. Protest by respectfully stating your views via phone calls and letters to politicians  and media sources.
  8. Seek common ground from those who do not agree with your politics.
  9. Stay focused on the common good.

Tip four: Improve your self-soothing skills and teach your children how to seIf-sooth.   My eBook, Self-soothing To Create Calm in Your Life will help you do both. It is on sale not for $3.06. Buy it now.  It will do you more good than a latte and costs less.

Tip five: If you cannot control your feelings enough to do the above, get therapy.  Also my book Parents Are People Too, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents strengthen therapy outcomes. Buy it now to read on your computer or kindle.   It is also available for a penny and on up in the used paperback edition. 

Thank you for all you do

Remember to share all you find of value on the internet.  All who post crave recognition. A like says “Thank You.” Comments say you have read and thought about the post. Sharing is a gift to three people: the blogger, the people you share with, and you for your kindness blesses you.

Stay strong, it takes some effort for life can be a painful struggle.


Post Inspiration: This post was not inspired  by the WordPress Daily  Prompt:  Echo, but by the repeated (echoing) posts and thoughts about how the recent election was hurting children.

Go here to learn more about the Daily Prompts.

Links of Interest

These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Disclaimer two: Take all advice even mine, carefully.  Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart.  Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others.  As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.

Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors

If  you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what  like me.  Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability,  Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.



Why You Should Let Your Kids Fail – Eight Tips for Doing So Wisely

When our kids get hurt, we hurt, however, letting out hurts interfere with what a child needs in order to grow emotional strong hurts more in the long run.

Failing to try.

Bill Gates said, “Success is a lousy teacher.It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

But we all lose at something. Failure is part of living. Your child does not need to be protected from failure; s/he needs to be taught to look for the lessons and move on.

The dangers of thinking we cannot lose are multiple:

  1. Spawns arrogance
  2. Creates disdain for those who do fail
  3. Closes our mind to other points of view or possibilities
  4. Keeps us from seeking feedback
  5. When we fail we are devastated

Not being able to deal with failure and hence feeling hopeless is a known risk factor involved in suicidal attempts. As noted by the Charles Kubly Foundation which promotes understanding of depression and suicide:

Research also supports the idea that suicidal individuals may hold higher standards for themselves than the average person. These elevated standards, which at worst may manifest as perfectionism, may leave individuals vulnerable to perceptions of failure and ultimately to thoughts of hopelessness and suicide. a type of suicide known as failure induced suicides….

Sadly, many of the current parent gurus and so many parents want to protect children from the pain of failure.  Want proof? Think  about the following:

  • Giving out participation trophies at competitive events
  • “Awfulizing” punishment. Punishment has become a dirty word. Reasonable, not abusive, punishments work. Moreover when you don’t praise or reward that is a punishment.
  • Ungraded class rooms.
  • Encouraging talents that do not exist – watch American Idol auditions.

Parenting tips

Parenting tip one:  Get you own expectations in order.  What matters most to you. What do you dream of your child becoming. Are you dreaming unrealistic dreams of an Olympic medal for a kid with a bit of athletic talent; planning or Harvard for your smart three-year-old.

Parenting tip two: Assume responsibility for your own happiness . It is normal to live a bit via  hopes your child will star and in ways you wanted to but did not. Just be sure, you are not living through your child.

Parenting tip three: Examine your own failures. How did you survive, what lessons did you learn.

Parenting tip four:  Consciously teach critical thinking. The younger your child the more s/he  needs your help sorting out what is real and what is not.

Do not worry  about a pre-preschooler’s fantasies; at the same time, point out the make-believe stuff. Label play and make-believe as pretending or imaging.

Saying “It is fun to believe in dream of being a major league star, but not all dreams come true will not seriously diminish the child’s pleasure, while paving the way for when s/he begins to understand what is real and what is not.

Once the child stops believing in the Santa Claus or similar myths, start asking as you watch movies or media together “What’s real about that?” or “What’s fantasy about that?”

As the teens are entered upon, continue the discussions suggested above, but go deeper.  One easy way to encourage deeper thought is to say “And” when the teen seems to have reached a limit in his thoughts.

Parenting tip five: Encourage sports, competitive games, but for the fun they bring whether one wins or loses.

Parenting tip six: Also encourage hobbies, reading, crafting, legos, puzzle solving, drawing, and writing for the fun each brings. Downplay any competitive thoughts tied to such things.

Parenting tip seven: Remember what matters. Emotional intelligence (EI) is more important in living the good life than IQ or material successes.  Good relationships are an important part of EI. These come from observing the many variations of the Golden Rule which essential promotes practicing kindness.

Parenting tip eight: Part of knowing what matters involves setting Smart Goals and teach your child to to the same.  This poster coach will start you off.

smart goals

My eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals details the way to the good life by knowing what matters and setting achievable  goals. Buy it now, it costs less than a latte.

As one reviewer noted:”Katherine Gordy Levine shares her expertise by clearly explaining goal-setting. As the author of many books, she is a living example of what she teaches. I recommend this kindle book if the reader wants to learn goal-setting without a long tedious explanation. Katherine gets right to the meat of her topic.”

Made me blush. Still does.


Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt  But does relate to it. The New School:You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

Well obviously, I would want failure to be treated as something that is a part of life and kids allowed to fail and taught how to deal with it. That means teaching my Emotional Fitness Exercises through out all grades along with music, art, cooking, and self-defense (see Peace Dojos International).

I like the mastery approach to teaching with the mission being to teach all children to love learning. In addition to the above I would want in the first grades to emphasize teaching  children to read and then to write  and of course math has to fit in there somewhere. Any child struggling to master these skills would be tested for a learning disability.  That might be a good idea of all children. Children, parents and teachers should also be attuned to learning styles and Gardiner’s Types of Intelligence. 


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (
The five components of Emotional Intelligence ( Intelligence (
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(


Dealing With Nay-sayers of All Ages: Three Tips

Shrinks have a name for those who never say yes–Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It is a disorder because it rules the person’s life, they  rarely if ever say yes.


Praise an ODD and they will often start putting themselves down. As a parent, offering  to give a higher allowance will see the ODD child  refusing. Why?

Because it is winning the will struggle that matters.

Very few  deserve the ODD label. Power leaders, and that refers to most parents, however, can learn a great deal about handling negative behavior in general by understanding when disobedience becomes a disorder.

We all engage in ODD behaviors from time to time. Some more than others.

Think about it? Do you like always being told what to do? Some enjoy the comfort of not having to make decisions, but most do not want to be micro managed. That is why  disputes often arise when arises between drivers and riders in cars.  According to a poll  back seat driving lead to more fights between married couples than anything except sex and money.

Here is a quick symptom list describing ODD: Loses temper, argues with adults, refuses to do what is asked,  annoys others on purpose, is touchy and irritable, blames others, seems spiteful, seems to seek revenge. and to enjoy being disobedient; however, he or she does not break laws that are felonious or criminal.

Problem: As with so many labels, these symptoms are often a matter of  judgement. Almost everyone at one time or another shows such symptoms. Many of us beak the law. If you drive most likely you have exceeded the speed limit or failed to stop or yield when the law says you must.

Be warned, don’t practice medicine without a license. Don’t try to diagnosis self, family, friends, students, staff. The professionals have a hard enough time  agreeing on psychiatric labels. Instead learn how to help

Parenting tips

These tips will help not just parents but all dealing with major nay-saying.

Parenting tip one: Understand what makes someone ODD.  Disobeying feels powerful and often the person feels powerless, or felt so as a child.

Some who show this disorder grew up in violent homes, were beaten as children or saw fighting parents, or were victims of major emotional abuse. Many had major problems in school; some lived in lots of different homes.

Other reasons: As a child, the person only got attention when s/he was doing something wrong. This can happen in large families or in families suffering from a great deal of stress. Also happens because some families worry praise can spoil a child or youth, while other families take good behavior for granted. Finally, the youngest child in a family  is often  over bossed or feels over-bossed.

Parenting tip two:  The overall strategy is to avoid all power struggles and arguments. An ODD child or adult gets jazzed up and juiced by the fight. The longer s/he can keep from obeying, the more powerful s/he feels.

Teens often feel the need to assert their power and that can lead to minor Gotcha wars. Read about teens and Gotcha Wars in this post. 

Specific ways to cut down on negative behaviors include:

  • The child or adult must be able to do what is asked. Many children having problems in school have learning disabilities that make it impossible to do what is asked. We would never ask a blind person to read the printed page. Children are often asked to do what they cannot do. The same is true of employees. Know the other person’s abilities.
  • Rules must be clear, written down, and posted where every one can see.  See this post for rules that matter: safety, respect for self, others, property; and obeying reasonable laws. 
  • Punishments must be clear and not leave any room for arguing.
  • The authority figure must follow these rules.  If the adults don’t obey rules, lie, con, bully, fight or steal, so will those they are trying to lead.
  • Strengths must be acknowledged.
  • A reward system for good behavior is as important as punishments for unacceptable behaviors.
  • A culture of obedience matters. One of the difficulties currently facing many parents, teachers, and bosses is the general encouragement in all kinds of media to portray parents, teachers, and bosses as either stupid, mean, or dishonest.
  • All involved need to handle anger and resentment properly.
  • Self-soothing skills are also helpful. Buy my ebook: Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. 
  • Consistency matters. All rules, rewards, and punishments must apply to all, all the time and every time.

Parenting tip three: There is a good side to ODD behavior. ODDs  are conveying important messages. Listening to dissenting voices is not always easy, but is usually more productive than only hearing those who always agree with you.

Minimally, a nay-sayer is announcing something about him or herself.  Also remember, humans would probably still be sitting in a tree, shivering from the cold, and getting rained or snowed on if mankind’s rebellious children did not show us how to climb down, use fire, take advantage of caves.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt. Out of Reach –  Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?

However, it sparked this response. Financial success for my writing efforts has been out of reach. Would have made my life more secure, improved my self-confidence, but would not have stopped me from writing for it is a passion . A passion is something you must do no matter what the outcome. Healthy passions give meaning to life and mine seems healthier than many.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.


A parent? You need to laugh, first at yourself, then with your child,  and sometimes at life. You also need to cry when crying helps. First some humor:

New Parent

Laughing keeps all strong, but when you can’t laugh, it is a sure sign things are bad. Some talk about the “Day the music died,” but laugher dies it is also a clear sign of trauma or a life-blow.

For new parents such times run from the terrible – the baby is still-born or seriously handicapped to the smaller and quick recover times such as exhaustion has you by its teeth. One takes a lifetime to deal with; the other a good night’s sleep.


Knowing the difference between the everyday ups and downs of life and trauma of life blows is a major step in maintaining perspective.  Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Therapy, speaks of the tendency of all humans to “Awfulize” Think of the teenager who has one zit, no one notices, but refuses to leave the house in fear his or her life will be ruined.

Embed  in your brain, the capacity to sort out mundane hurt from life blows.  Rating skills help. This poster coach shows how to rate anything. The more you can rate your bad, mad, or sad feelings, the less likely you will awfulize the trivial.

Rating scale poster

How to practice  Emotional Fitness Training’s Rating Exercise: Every time you feel tempted to complain, rate the complaint: Trivial is one; Life Changing trauma is ten. Hurts but not for long is five.


Rating scales can be taught to a child as soon as he or she begins toddling. Rate the bumps and bruises that go along with learning to walk with one of these phases:

  1. Big hurt if the child is crying inconsolably.
  2. Smaller hurt for small weeping moments.
  3. Tiny hurt for when child complains but seems able to comfort self.

For the big hurts, keep saying “Big Hurt” as you comfort the child.  For big and Smaller hurts when the child stops crying, smile, hug,  and say “Good job.”

For tiny hurts, ignore or say “Tiny Hurt, well handled.”

By the time a child is beginning to read, you can help him or her make a personal feeling thermometer.  Read this to learn How to Create a Personal Feeling Thermometer

As the teen years approach, have conversations about what matters with your child. Knowing what matters reduces pain. Family meetings are good for doing that. Don’t hold Family Meetings?  Get my book How to Hold Successful Family Meetings.  Well run family business meetings strengthen kids, give them important life skills and are stress reducing skills for all parents.


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.




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.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters.


Ha Ha Ha Tell us a joke! Knock-knock joke, long story with an unexpected punchline, great zinger — all jokes are welcome!

The post says it all.