Category Archives: Emotional Fitness (Emotional Intelligence) Tips

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.

Picking the right heroes and heroines for your child

Hero and heroines shape children’s ideals about how to behave, so picking the right ones matter.  Here are two – Queen Esther and and her Uncle Mordichai. The good guys and gals of Purim

As a Jew I do look to Torah to find heroes and heroines. Purim which is celebrated The story of Purim is told in the book of Esther.  This is the short version of the story  as told by the Chabad.

The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.

The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8.

The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king’s presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman’s plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.

This would be, of course, too long and complicated a story for the pre-schooler and probably only good for talking about more fully when middle school is reached. Then the questions can become even more complicated when the child enters the teen years.

Religious Jews celebrate Purim with a kind of costume party where many little girls are dressed up as Queen Esther, but so are the women; boys and men dress up as the King or Mordecai. The main message is celebrating the survival of the Jews.

The media and the Disney media support lots of heros and heroines, and makae every girl a princess and every boy a prince.  Video games also promote different types of hero and heroine worship — some good and some bad. What is a parent to do.

Parenting tip one: Accept that your children will seek and identify with one or another charactor in the stories they are told about heroes and heroines.

Parenting tip two:  Give some thought to the ones you want to promote.

Parenting tip three: Promote the qualities that the child can share with the hero or heroine.

Parenting tip four:  Talk about the hero or heroine at the level the child can understand. With Esther for example “She was brave and didn’t want her family hurt.” is what preschoolers can understand. With Moridecai, teens can be asked to ponder the fact that he gave his niece to the king’s harem. Good or bad?

Parenting tip five:  Kids do sometimes pick “bad” heroes or heroines,  video games seem to encourage that. Sports heroes are sometimes so intent on winning they become vicious.  Handle such choices by finding out what appeals to the child, and trying to find replacement heroes with better values.  Support that but at the same time promote the values of caring as being those that lead to the good life.



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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.