Tag Archives: how to parent

Teach Your Children The Value of A Not-knowing Philosophy

Thank you

That should also read, “Every Mind…..”

Our minds get filled with lots of stuff as we grow from baby to adult. The beliefs we create are part of what forms our being.  Beliefs are based on our genetic heritage, what other’s tell us, and what we accept as fact based on our experiences.  Which explains why siblings can be alike or different and also why some twins raised in separate home turn out to have similar tastes and beliefs.

Fact:  There are what some call “Brute facts.” These, however, are not necessarily scientific truths. Think of the solid paths we walk across  without thought:  floors, cement, hard packed dirt, rocky cliffs. What seems solid enough to be called a Brute fact, might be anything but, and could in a second cast you down, cover you with lava, or pull you into a pit of sand.

Learning to accept a “Not Knowing  philosophy is the stepping stone to becoming  a critical thinker.  And critical thinking is the doorway to emotional intelligence.

Here’s a fact that is forgotten in today’s youth oriented world. While  young children have poetic moments, thinking that makes great thinkers could get them killed.  Why we make our small children hold our hands crossing the street or in parking lots and discourage playing with matches.

Another forgotten fact: Children and many adults think with their feelings and not their brains. Emotional Intelligence means thinking about what your feelings are suggesting and knowing when to act on those suggestions and when not to.

The good news? Studies show that Emotional Intelligence is more important in living the good life than intelligence in general and is more important than money, education or social class in getting ahead.

More good news: .Emotional Intelligence is learned, not gifted and can always be improved. That is best done by helping a child develop an inquiring mind. a mind that thinks “Maybe” not “For Sure.”

PARENTING TIPS

Tip one: Work on you first. Add the word “Maybe” to your vocabulary. Do not be afraid to say “I don’t know” or that is “Only my opinion”

Tip two: You need to keep age and stage in mind.

  1. Pre-school aged children cannot think beyond  the feeling of the moment.
  2. School aged child cannot think beyond what can be seen, heard, or touched.
  3. Starting with the preteens children  become more and more able to think about abstract things like possibilities and  varying points of view. This shift in thought explains why teens are often so critical of parents.
  4. As the child moves into adulthood, life experiences  improve judgement, something teens often lack; however, there is a comfort in holding to earlier beliefs.

Warning: The guidelines are general and some never become critical thinkers; others do it earlier than the above parameters.

Tip three: Do not worry  about a pre-schooler’s fantasies; at the same time, point out the make-believe stuff. Label play and make-believe as pretending or imaging. Do so in a calm matter of fact way.

Tip four:  Keep the fun in fantasy.  Saying “It is fun to believe in make-believe” when hanging up the Christmas stockings will not in any way diminish the child’s pleasure, but does pave the way for when s/he begins to understand what is real and what is not.

Tip five: Allow as much choice as possible, but label choices  “You have two choices” works well when  you can let the child pick one or the other.  Then label the child’s choices; “A wise choice.”  or ”Not the best choice.”  Also hold to safety and other major rules as “Not a choice.”

Tip six: 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?”

 Also be quicker to point out twisted thinking and label it as such.

12 Examples of twisted thinking aka #fallaciousarguments

Thank You For All You Do

Thank me by remembering sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting. Your caring keeps me going.

Also, if you did not find it helpful, comment and tell me what might have made it more useful.

Katherine

This post was inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt  Maybe  

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.

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

Stay strong, diligent practice of my exercises will help.

Katherine

 

Too many expect too much. Life is a struggle and relationships difficult. Mad, sad, and bad feelings are inevitable. As novelist, Robertson Davies noted, “Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.”
Stay strong, diligent practice of my exercises will help.
Katherine

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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

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.

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  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. 

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)

ions

6 Tips to Avoid the Most Common Parenting Mistakes

Blame the parenting gurus if you are confused about about praise,  natural consequences, and the uses and abuses of punishment.  These tips should help.

6 Parenting tips

Parenting tip one: Stop treating children like adults.  Keep the following in mind when teaching children to obey reasonable rules. 

  1. Pre-school kids live very much in the moment. So if you yell “No”  or even spank that moment is bad; but if quickly followed by a hug and the words  “Good going” that moment is good, and so on and so on.
  2. Pre-school kids do not code reality well. Which is why adults have to keep the little one’s safe. Example, a kid wearing a super man cape who thinks s/he can fly down a flight of stairs and not get hurt.  How to help: Start early on to label things as “Make-believe” or “Fun Fantasy.” Do this with Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. The kids will not understand and the fun will go on, but you are at the same time teaching a child to figure our what is real and what is not.
  3. Thomas Phenlan’s One, Two, Three, Magic. works best when rules are being broken.
  4. Once a child can read concrete rewards for good behaviors (token system)  is useful.  Not getting a reward becomes a punishment.  Kids Making Change explains token systems so all can understand.
  5. Teens are designed to question the rules of adults. Moreover, when with peers, the best good kid can be lead astray by those breaking rules.  What helps? Being forced early on to obey reasonable rules. Then as the teen years approach allowing your children to spread their wings and learn from life. This is when the advice of the communication experts starting with Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effective Training works best. 
  6. All kids of all ages and that includes many adults needto beforceably stopped when engaged in behavior that hurts physically or is immediately dangerous.  That is when the STOP Plan works well.

The Stop Plan

Parenting tip two: keep rules simple. That is the purpose of linking all rules to the word “Respect.” The younger the child, the more some things need to be drummed into his or her little head.  To paraphrase the song: “You’ve got to taught before you are six or seven or eight not to do the things your parents hate.”

Parenting tip three: Model what you want. Most parents don’t, but for the big rules you must and you must so consistently.

Parenting tip four: Talk less and act more. The communication experts have made talking and explaining a fetish. You zone out when talked at, and so do your kids.  That is why  1-2-3 Magic  works. Three word and you take action.

Parenting tip five: Make sure the child knows the punishment for breaking a rule when being punished what rule was broken.  Amazed me as a foster parent that when asked what rule had been broken necessitating a punishment, many teens confessed to a host of other sins, but not the one I was punishing them for.  Enlightening and eventually lead to this  CARE Plan.

The CARE Plan

Parenting tip six: Reward more than punish.  Think for a minute about how often a small child hears “No.” No is important for children to hear,  but children also need to hear what they are doing well.  Why  once the “No” is obeyed, “Thank You” or “Good listening”  needs to follow and  along with a hug for the young ones and a happy face for teens.

There are other ways to make the good times rock more often than the necessary negatives.  Special times, just because I love you gifts, well placed praise, family fun and games are just a few.

More tips from the Parenting Gurus I trust: Jean Tracy  who is a fellow graduate of the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. This link takes you to her videos. I am jealous of her talents, amazed by every post of hers I read,  and grateful she is a friend.

Kenneth Blanchard and his One Minute Manager – meant for the busienss world but excellent advice for parents and a very quick read.

Hiam Ginott –  he started the emphasis on communication, but did not think it solved all problems.

Supper Nanny Jo Frost She does family meetings, rule setting, rule enforcement and time outs  perfectly.

Adam Katz – Dog trainer.  Dog trainers get punishment and reward better than most parenting gurus. Adam Katz is my favority on-line dog trainer. In this link he talked about how the Hippie generation – almost me – has messed up dog training. I cringe everytime I see Dogs pulling their owners around in the park instead of the owners being in control.

I often link my posts to the WordPress Daily Prompt.  Today’s suggested:  Don’t You Forget About Me – Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

I discuss this in my eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your  Goals. I think every parent’s mission, should be to be remembered as tough and loving.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

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.

Katherine

Other LINKS OF INTEREST

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