Tag Archives: Communication

How to keep your kids smiling

When the self-consciousness of the teen years visited me, I lost my smile.  Not good for anyone as smiling is a powerful way to boost #emotionalintelligence.



Smiling is both a cheer-up tool, a relationship building tool, and a way to practice kindness.  However, it must be genuine.  This post is not about faux happiness or fake smiles.

Sad fact: Life steals smiles. 

Happier fact: Parents can use the following tips to keep the power of their children’s smiles to light up their lives.

Tip one: Make laughing a daily routine. Tell jokes at the dinner table and yes family should be eating dinner together. Have laughing contests – pass a laugh around a circle; you win if you are the last person to laugh. Watch a Laughing Yoga videos Here’s one:

Practicing laughing is also practicing smiling.

A warning about tickling: it can be painful. My brothers tickled me until I wet my pants. Sibling abuse. But grown-ups often don’t know when to stop tickling and certainly my parents did worry when my brothers tickled me. I hated it. I  banned tickling both as a parent and a foster parent. That might have been carrying things a bit too far. Still make sure your child knows to say “Stop” and that any ticklers in your house know to stop the tickling immediately.

Tip two:  Practice the From Sad to Mad to Glad Emotional Fitness Training exercise.  Practicing it increases awareness of  your bodily and facial expressions and how they relate to what you or another might be feeling. Reading body language is an important communication skill.  Moreover, this exercise also helps you helps you smile genuinely. Here it is:

Body language exercise.

Remember every EFTI poster on a blog post can be found free at the EFTI Store.


Smiling is also a way of practicing kindness. I smile a great deal at strangers when I say good morning or good day. But as another way of practicing kindness, I also always compliment those who smile at me.

Most smiles are beautiful and being told “Your smile sent a bit of sunshine in my heart” always leads to another smile. Even grumpy cashiers  forced to smile will smile at that one and teenagers eat it up.

Teach your children the value of genuine compliments.

Thank Word Press for inspiring this post with this Today’s Word Press Daily Prompt  Discuss  a time when it was impossible not to hear a conversation between people.

As stated above, I made a conscious decision to stop smiling as when I moved into adolescence. Why? I had and still have buck teeth. An inadvertent ease-drop started me smiling again. changed my life.  I was  somewhere behind two class mates who didn’t know I was there.

One  said to the other, “She needs to smile more, she is beautiful when she smiles.

I now know they might not have been talking about me. But for teenagers every conversation is about them.  I took this one to heart and started smiling more. I still let my smiles come and I think that has made stronger and kinder and meant more good people in my life.

Here’s one more tip. Over-hearing my classmates talk is similar to what I call a third party compliment – two people saying something nice about a third one out of that person’s presence.  Such compliments are extremely powerful.

So if someone praises your child to you when s/he is not around. Make sure you pass it on; particularly once your child enters middle school; at that stage your compliments mean very little.

Thank all of you for reading, liking, commenting or sharing my ramblings. Keeps me smiling and that keeps me strong.



All parent advice stresses communication as an essential parenting tool.  Few mention the most important  rule.  It relates a bit to this cartoon.

Savage Chicken Cartoon

Parents finish children’s sentences too and just as incorrectly.

We think we are clear, we think we speak the same language, but communication is response.  If you are not getting the response you want from a child, you are not communicating.

Parenting thoughts ABOUT failing to communicate

If you don’t know how your child thinks you cannot communicate effectively. Piaget, one of the earliest and most thoughtful students of how children grow, identified four different levels of thought each child passes through on the way to adulthood.  Here is a  quick down and dirty summary about on the way a child’s thinking changes as he or she grows:

  1. Until language develops, the child absorbs information more by bodily movements, but is also learning language.
  2. Once language is developed, the child can think about things, but his or her thoughts are magical and driven mostly by the child’s feelings. If the child wakes up in a dark room and is scared, he or she will create one or another monster lurking somewhere in the room.
  3. This next stay develops when  toys no longer talk, minature people do not live in the television set,  and  myths like Santa Claus are  known to be made up. The child, however, cannot think clearly about many things, particularly abstract ideas.  This means the child cannot really think “If then” possibilities when it comes to solving problems.
  4. Adolescence brings with it the possibility to think broadly and in the “If then” mode.  This opens doors and window to a much wider world and allows both scientific thinking and magical thinking. However, judgement is often lacking as experience is limited.

PARENTING ADVICE About communication 

Tip one:  Always hold to the idea that communication is response.  

Tip two:  Tone and body language are as important as words; sometimes more important.

Tip three: Three quarters of communication is listening.


Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now. All sorts of feelings surface.  Visit my Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises for more hints about staying strong. Visit the EFTI Store for Poster Coaches that will keep you strong. Many are free.

Remember that liking, commenting, or sharing is an act of social media kindness.  It strengthens you and helps me and others.  Maybe this will help some one laugh.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIAIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.


All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers
Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents
Tame the Test Anxiety Monster
How to Hold A Successful Family Meeting

Posted in Parenting Issues