Tag Archives: Challenged Children

TO PRAISE OR NOT TO PRAISE? PARENTING TIPS ON EFFECTIVE PRAISE

Toddlers thrive on applause, but as the child grows and thinks more clearly too much praise creates two problems: entitlement and narcissism.

Cartoon about narcissim

PARENTING TIPS

Too much praise creates what some call “praise junkies.”  The  child grows dependent on the praising adult to define good and bad.  S/he  may feel pressure to get more praise but only by doing what the parent praises.

Too much praise keep children from finding  their own paths to feeling good or bad and particularly when it comes to accomplishments.  Jerome Kagan among others makes it clear that children seek to  quotes about morality in children

Doing something because you feel good about what you can do is always better than doing something to please someone else.

Many cultures do not praise. East Asian cultures while known for high-achieving and highly motivated students, despite the fact that parents rarely praise.

Many European cultures do not have words or phrases meaning “Good girl” or “Good boy.”

Research also show that  children who are praised are less likely to take risks They fear the loss of  praise. as they may fear they won’t receive positive feedback.

Finally, praising can be viewed as lying once the child develops the ability to better compare himself to what is praiseworthy in real  life.  Three  examples.

  1. A five-year-old who enjoyed painting and drawing stopped these activities completely at the age of six when she realized nothing she drew came close to reality. She had moved from the stage called Magical Thinking to the one known as Concrete Thinking. She later shrugged off all parental praise as biased lies.
  2. A seven-year–old girl became angry at her parents once she figured out Santa Claus was not a living person. She felt lied too. She later called Santa Claus “An invention of grownups to make kids behave.”
  3. A twelve-year-old who previously loved Little League and dreamt of becoming a major league player,  told his parents, “There are only 600 major league ball players, I will never be good enough to be one.”
  4. He was accurate and he spent much time on the bench. Sadly, he also stopped going to major league games or watching them on television.  He was also angry at his parents for “making me think I was good enough.” He had moved to the stage of abstract thought. He could about many possibilities instead of just one or two mainly driven by his own experiences.

Parenting tips

Tip one: The older your child, the less you should praise.  

Tip two: Do not praise character traits. Example, “You’re a good girl”, “You’re so good at this”, or “I’m very proud of you”

Tip three: Better than praise: describe effort and outcome.   Examples: “you tried  hard” or “I see how carefully you crayoned within the lines” or “You did it.”

Tip four: Let your child fail.  Use failures to talk about strengths, weaknesses, and talents.  Emphasize trying your best, learning from mistakes.

Tip five: Make it clear you think what matters most is being kind and making the world better. Teach manners and that includes cleaning up when you mess up.

Tip six:  When you child enters his or her teen years, talk about mission and goals. Use the exercises in the eBook  Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals as your starting point. Buy it now, it costs less than a latte.

Go here for a free digital PDF download of my newest eBook, Cross Train Your Brain with Twelve Easy Exercises.  It will be free until March st. If you read it please that a few seconds to send me a comment that I can use as an endorsement or how it needs improving.

This post was inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt – Pat on the Back – Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.

Practice Kindness

Remember to share all you find of value on the internet as it is an easy act of kindness.  Everyone craves recognition. Sharing is a gift to three people: the person whose post you are reading, the people you share with, and you for your kindness bless you.TA like says “Thank You.” Comments says you have read and thought about the post.

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 even when your children are grown can be a struggle.

LINKS OF INTEREST

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

Katherine

 

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The Etiquette of Touch: Good Hugs Bad Hugs

As a child, I hated being swooped up in one or another relatives’ arms and hugged. They may have loved me, but I hated their unwanted hugs.hugs

At the same time I love  hugs and hugging. But it is tricky.

Because I worked as a mental health professional with children, I was written up once for hugging a child. She was five, we had worked together for several weeks. When she saw me at a support group my boss was attending, she rushed up to me gave me a big hug and clung to me for a few moments. My boss frowned and wrote me a memo saying it was against agency rules to have physical contact with patients.

Did I stopping hugging the kids or grown ups who came at me with open arms. No. I only obey reasonable rules applied reasonable. The “No touch” rule for professional has its merits.  However, rejecting someone who wants a hug is hurtful  and good therapy seeks to help not damage.  What to do? Here are some tips.

Parenting Tips

Tip one: All unwanted touches are bad touches. 

Normally, I want hugs from David. But if I am angry I do not. He had to learn that lesson and has. Children are much the same. When teaching time out, the younger the child the more they seem to want a hug when it is over. Not always.

One of my foster children stiffened when I tried to hug her. A clear sign, she did not want my hugs. I noted her response and apologized.  She explained she had been sexually abused and it started with hugs.

Tip two:  Be aware of sexual feelings hugs and other touches created in you and others. 

If you are a parent, you know that sooner or later the hugs and kisses your child once delighted in will  turn a bit sour.

When that happened to me, I communicated my new attitude toward hugs by meeting my father’s attempt to hug with the sideways hug. In time he got the message.

Understand: my father did not think of our hugs as sexual. They were not, but felt that way to me. Nor was I absolutely clear on why I no longer liked them.

Tip three: Handle inappropriate or unwanted touches,  but do not over-react.  

When a girl tried to unzip David’s fly he called loudly for me. The girl fled.  She was told to discuss the incident with her probation officer and that we would report it so talking about it was not a matter of choice.

When hugged too long by one  boy I pushed him away and said “Those kind of hugs are for grownups who want to be hugged that way.” He was also told to discuss this with the professionals involved in his care.

Then there was the medial intern I met in an empty hall when I was young,  apparently attractive, and working in a hospital. He spread his arms and came toward me obviously intent on give me a bear hug. I looked as if I was going to accept, but at the last minute ducked under his arms and said, “Thank you but no thank you.”  He never bother me again..

Whistles and cat calls with no intent or ability to touch is  not the same as actually being hugged. The feminist movement has made a bit too much oof these; I have been told by a number of young women they feel raped by such behavior. Awfulizing and denigrating of actual rape victims.

Men working at a construction site are not going to leap over the fence and rape you.  They are bored and wanting some distraction. You can take the whistles as a compliment or an assault. Seeing them as assaults is over-reacting.

I assumed the men were paying me a compliment. I usually dropped a small curtsey, smiled and kept walking. Got some laughs and we both felt okay.

Now as a subway rider, I got groped and eventually found that either stomping  on the not-gentleman’s  or saying loudly “Keep your hands to yourself” worked. I didn’t need to try the knee in the groin, but assume that might also convey the desired message.

Younger children might try something they see on the media or see their parents doing. Deep kissing for example. That is best handled, by noting such kisses are grownup kissed and only for two grownups who both want such kisses.

Tip four: Set your child free to reject hugs. Never say “Give Aunt Rosie a hug or a kiss.”  I cringe when I hear parents saying that. My tactic is always to say,  “Only if s/he wants; otherwise a hand shake or “Slap me five” will do.”

Lots of times I get the handshake and most of the time a “Slap me five.” When I get a hug is freely given and that delights me.

Don’t like this tip? Remember most sexual abuse directed toward a child comes from relatives or family friends. Your child needs to start owning his or her body early on.

If you have other tips that might help parents, feel free to share.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

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.

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt  I Can’t Stay Mad at You;  Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?

Practice forgiveness is one of the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.  It does not involve forgetting.

how to forgive

LINKS OF INTEREST

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

Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)

 

Use Rating Scales to Teach Your Child What Matters

Knowing what matters keeps decision making on track. Teaching children how to rate things keeps them on track.

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.

parent advice

The younger the child, the more s/he lives in the now and what matters is feeling okay or good.  Rating scales can be taught to a child as soon as he or she begins toddling. Why then? Because the child is getting a few bumps and bruises, but also because s/he is acquiring language. This age and stage lets you teach your child to rate pain:

  1. “Big hurt”  if the child is crying inconsolably.
  2. “Hurts” 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 the “Hurts” repeat that one word and when the child stops crying, smile, hug,  and say “Good job.”

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

By the way, some experts say there are only two emotions: pleasure and pain. Makes some sense by also important to realize that as we grow what feels pleasurable or painful becomes personal.  Need an example? Here’s one based on my experience as a foster parent.

Many of the children who came to live with us, had been abused or seriously neglected. The logical assumption  would be that living with foster parents who were not abusive would be pleasurable. Not so.

As one young man said, “Please beat us once in a while. You treat us better than our parents and that hurts.”

Fritz Redl and David Wineman in their book Children Who Hate called this inability to tolerate good enough parenting “Treatment Shock.”

In my work and life, I have found three elements working in terms of pleasure or pain.

  1. Deprivation of basic survival needs leads the list. And sexual deprivation is included as a basic survival need, although survival of the species not the individual.
  2. Physical pain.
  3. Emotional pain including uncertainty and fear of pain.

As children grow, each of these three elements can be rated.

  1. Survival needs are rated in terms of their impact on the body. Water needs? A bit thirsty vs dehydrated; Food needs? Mildly hungry vs near death from starvation. Sexual needs? No sexual tension versus aroused enough to violate safe sex rules including forcing sex on someone.
  2. Pan has already been discussed. but useful to think about uncertain and fear of pain in the following ways.
  3. Emotional pain?  Rate on tiny hurt, hurt, and big hurt scale. Think about uncertainty in terms of  mildly curious to disruption of core beliefs enough to act violently to those who believe differently. Fear of pain? Reasonable caution vs immobilizing fear.

But it all begins with teaching a toddler to rate pain.

What to do if your child is past the toddler age? Once a child is in school, you can take a direct approach. Again your response starts the process. Look for when a child is “awfulizing” a trivial hurt.

What’s awfulizing? Albert Ellis founder of the Institute for Rational Living coined this  word. Most simply put it involves  making mountains out of ant hills.  Think of the teen who won’t leave the house because of a pimple you cannot see.  Or the Little League who drops a fly ball and acts like he or she lost the World Series.

You have a number options, but the best is simply to ask the child to rate how bad it is. You can do that by saying, ” suspect by  next week you won’t feel so bad, and by next month you will hardly remember feeling so bad and by next year, you will have forgotten this entirely.” I usually add, “Life goes on.”

My mother’s response to awfulizing  took these three forms.

  1. “Suck it up Butter cup.”
  2. “Be glad it isn’t worse.”
  3. “Life goes on.” Which is where I got that one.

Many of today’s parenting gurus would find my mother’s edicts hurtful. These tend to suggest if you cannot praise, say nothing. I disagree. Part of being a parent is preparing your child for the realities of life. Hurt is a reality and learning to rate hurts realistically an important life skill.

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

P.S. This post was partly inspired by today’s WordPress Daily Prompt.

Ripped from the Headlines! Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

I thought about the controversy over Starbucks Christmas Cups. Stupid to waste time on something so trivial. Well, at least in my Cranky Old Lady’s Opinion.

LINKS OF INTEREST

How to Strengthen The Ability to Deal With Sorrow

The parenting and motivational gurus push happiness. Not always good. However, good memories matter.

Good memories strengthen your #emotionalintelligence.

Turn a good memory into an Emotional Fitness Exercise. Breathe in, focus, breathe out, smile and say “Thank you.”

EMOtional Fitness Thoughts

My earliest good memory. Sitting in the sun and talking to my father, no one else was around; he was painting the picket fence that surrounded the house where I was born. I was three.

I also include among my good memories: days at the beach;  visiting the neighborhood horses with my dog Lady;  reading books at night under the covers so my parents wouldn’t know; a midnight walk as a child when my parents woke me to see the Aurora Borealis on one of their very rare visits to the Eastern United States;  my first love and I dancing at my Senior Prom; one of my aunts teaching me to crochet; finally, learning how to post during a riding lesson; and many, many more.

I can also list bad memories, but they only make me sad or mad or feel like a bad person. Not useful for the most part.

One of my complaints about talk therapy is that it goes over and over and over bad memories. That is only useful until you make some sense of them to improve your behavior by understanding your feelings better. Improving behavior can range from not hurting other living things, not seeking revenge or just feeling better about you and those around you.

Sad or bad memories come visiting on their own, and even as I typed the above, some bad memories attached themselves to my good ones. However, the more you focus on remembering the good memories, the stronger they become.

Parenting advice

Parenting Tip One: Do not go over board trying to create “Happy Times.”  Look at my good memories. Many came on their own, some in mostly quiet moments.

Moreover, the more often a good thing happens, the less special it becomes. Think the over load of birthday parties and Christmas. Too much.

I still remember my first movie “Dumbo the Flying Elephant.” With TV and Videos kids have lost the special pleasure I found in that one and in many others that were special, because movies were rare treats.

Parenting Tip Two: Work to teach your child to savor the moments of what is good. My Mom used the rationing forced on her by World War to teach me to eat mindfully with full enjoyment. How? By giving me one square of a much coveted Hersey Bar and telling me to let it melt in my mouth so I could enjoy it longer. Worked.

Parenting Tip Three: Make reaching success after a long struggle should be held in store as a good memory. That is why the trauma experts emphasize “Survivor” instead of victims.

Parenting Tip Four: Make  memory books. A memory book can just be a page or two.  Here are some get started ideas.

  1. Establish a memory box or a memory file for each family member.
  2. Keep the memory box or file where you can quickly put items for them memory book in it.
  3. Establish a routine for making memory book pages. Devote one evening a month to making memory pages. Use as a rainy day activity.  The important thing is to start making the memory book and to keep adding to it as time goes by.
  4. Establish a routine for reviewing existing memory book. Birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s Day, graduations are all good times for gathering the family around and reviewing memory books.

Parenting Tip Five: Tough times are also good times for lr creating a page for a memory book.  Here are two examples

  1. The death of a loved one and that includes a pet.  often  a page will suffice, some basic facts, a picture, how much was loved, how much will be missed, a comforting quote.  Other times you and the child might want to create a separate memory book devoted entirely to that person. Useful when grandparents move on.
  2. Anticipating a painful change. The separation of parents and the move to a new house. Have the child take some pictures of his room, his favorite spots in the neighbor hood, friends visiting, parties or celebrations there  End it with a picture of the new home.

Parenting Tip six: Add to your good memory file as a parent during your child’s early years. Making a memory book helps. But here’s another trick: Pause each night before you head to bed and looking in on them as they sleep. Worked for me.  Then when the teen years come always end your day with a “Good night, I love you, sleep well” message.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

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.

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt

By the Dots: We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

However, when writing a Memory Book there is no need to try to please the grammar kings when creating a memory book. Just do it.

LINKS OF INTEREST

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

Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)