Tag Archives: parenting teenagers

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

Ten Tips to Solve School Struggles.

Did your beloved child start off the school full of excitement but now grumbles and groans at the thought; or worse cuts totally out? Read on.

Cartoon "Child hates school."

I love to watch the line of first graders on the first day of school. All except a few shy ones wear  happy faces and are eager to enter the halls of learning.

Contrast that to drop out rates  of teens. Two problems dominate  the path to hating school: bullying and failure to learn.

I loved school, and am what is called a life long learning, this despite several struggles that often lead to hating school. Those struggles?  Bullying, and having two learning disabilities (LD). All living creatures are programmed to avoid hurt.  If something about school hurts and is not counted balanced by pleasure, resistance to school grows.

I was not physically bullied but was shunned and friendless during elementary school. Shunning is a subtle form of bullying. Why was I shunned? I changed schools in the second grade and was the first newcomer to my class. Friendship groups were already established and I was not included.  Exclusion from the in groups hurts, hurts more when it is accompanied by more obvious bullying.

As for my LD struggles, these were not formally diagnosed. LDs were not recognized as impeding learning until after I had graduated high school. My sons were dx with them in the late 79s; that was when I realized mine were part of my families genetic mix.

Here are some thoughts about what kept me a lifelong learner.

1. My parents emphasized trying over outcomes.

2. My mother branded my brain with the words “Nothing ventured nothing gained.

3. I am a bit brighter than the average bear as the saying goes. Not politically correct, but a fact of life that promotes school success and love of learning in some. Note the words “in some” and think about this. There are many types of brightness.

Howard Gardner, the guru of multiple intelligence, notes these types of  intelligence:

  1. Linguistic or word smart.

2. Logical or mathematical smart.

3. Music smart.

 4. Spatial or picture smart.

 5. kKnesthetic or body smart.

 6. Interpersonal or people smart.

7. intrapersonal or self-awareness  smart.

8. Naturalistic or nature smart.

9. Existential smart: the capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

10. Pedagogical intelligence, the ability to teach.

Gardener recently claimed he was no longer in the business of naming more intelligences and was leaving that up to the next generation of researchers.

We all have more or less of each type of intelligence.. Some of us can do math; some cannot. I cannot. One of my learning disabilities is Dyscalculia or Math Dsylexia. I cannot do the simplest addition or subtraction because the numbers jump off the page or reverse; moreover, I cannot remember number facts. But I can do logic. Probably explains why I got A;s in Algebra, but Cs and Ds in all other math courses.

My other learning disability is dysgraphia which involves problems with writing, grammar and spelling) kept me uncertain and also humble.Also explains why no matter how much I edit, small mistakes are always there. Drives many readers away, but not all.

  4. I was blessed with teachers who saw my intelligence and built on it while down playing my weaknesses.

5.  My two learning disabilities  brought mega uncertainty into my life. Why was dealing with the  uncertainty a good thing?

Jerome Kagan, guru for understanding people,  notes that the  desire to overcome uncertainty motivates us almost as much as the need for food or the desire to have sex.  He also notes  uncertainty can push us to keep going or to get rid of it by blaming others or ourselves or just not trying.

I was bright enough to have success in many areas, but despair overcame me in terms of math.

Why is humbleness good? For me it meant knowing, I did not know all the answers and had to look to others instead of relying only on my own knowledge or beliefs.

So what Emotional Fitness Training Tips to I have to improve your child’s lifelong ability to keep learning. They are summed up in this poster coach.

let learn

More parenting tips

In addition to the  above, the Following tips help parent’s keep love of learning in their children.

Parenting Tip One: Find your child’s strengths and support them. 

Parenting Tip Two: Make it clear every one has both strengths and weakness.

Parenting Tip Three: Allow as much free play time as you can manage particularly for the pre-schooler. 

Parenting Tip Four: Be alert to your child’s learning style. I learn with a gentle distraction in the background; I learn best by reading. If I am listening to a lecture, I most take notes. One of my sons learns best by listening without taking notes. This link takes you to a good article about learning styles. 

Parenting Tip Five: If your child starts resisting school, get serious about seeig if  bullying or a learning disability are lurking and doing damage to your child’s life. 

Go here for information and links about about bullying. 

Go here for help with Learning Disabilities. 

Parenting Tip Six: Related to LD’s fear of failure can also lead to  problems taking test. My ebook Tame the Test Anxiety Monster help when performance anxiety is a problem. 

Parenting Tip Seven: Develop your and your  child’s self soothing skills.  Buy my eBook.  Self-Soothing to Create Calm in Your Life.   The exercises in the book will relax you more than a latte and cost less.

Parenting Tip Eight: Make sure your child knows what matters.  Most negative feelings are responses to things that really do not matter in the long run. Being cut off in traffic, breaking a fingernail, not being able to buy the newest gadget, someone else’s rudeness—these are just not worth getting upset about.

What really matters? Wise men across all ages have taught what matter is being kind, caring, and fair. Translated into advice for parents, this means teach your children to practice kindness by stressing that manners are all about kindness. The earlier you teach manners the better.

Parenting tip nine: Learn to hold Successful Family Meetings. Well run family meetings teach important life skills including manners, how to negotiate, and problem solve; promote positive togetherness; and ease the stress of parenting.

Another of my books teaches you the art of making family meetings successful. Here’s the link to that book. 

Parenting Tip Ten: Strengthen yours and your child’s self soothing skills.  And yes I have an eBook to help with that: Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. All my books cost less than a movie ticket and last longer.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

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

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt  but pertains to it: Lazy Learners -Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill? Thanks for the prompt suggestion, BasicallyBeyondBasic!

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)

 

How to Make Amends After You Scream and Shout

When your last nerve is being stepped on do you scream and shout, then burn with shame? Common parental behavior. The Care Response eases all.

The CARE Plan

#emotionalintelligence building blog post for #parents and #teachers.

THOUGHTS AND parenting TIPS

Not so long ago children were taught parents knew best. Today children are taught parents should make children happy. Moreover, when Thomas Gordon proposed that parents need to act like therapists.  He listed these  twelve things parents should never, ever do:

  1. Order
  2. Warn
  3. Advise
  4. Persuade
  5. Moralize
  6. Judge
  7. Approve
  8. Shame
  9. Interpret
  10. Sympathize
  11. Question
  12. Distract

Boggles my mind that his advice is now the gold standard for child rearing. The saddest thing? Gordon’s advice raised expectations higher than any parent can reach.  The result? Much parent bashing and an increase in parental guilt and Shame.

This tactic is common in the business world and is called  Raising  the Goal Post  It means constantly asking people to do better and better  as a way to increase productivity. In time it burns people out or reduces safety.  Moreover, it is a Fallacious or False Argument, what Emotional Fitness Training calls Twisted Thinking.

All this from a man who actually parented only one child and that was  a step daughter.

By the way, his advice best applies to step parents and parents of rebellious teens. Step children’s parents should let the child’s natural parent be the teacher and disciplinarian. Rebellious teens are Gotcha Warriors and best left to learn from life. See this Wiki How if you don’t know how to win a Gotcha War.

Gordon’s bad advice has also infiltrated the school system in the USA. Not helpful.  Hopefully,  these parenting tips will prove more productive than trying to be your child’s therapist.

Parenting tip one: Sharpen your self-soothing skills. How? Learn and us an easy Emotional Fitness Exercises. 

Parenting tip two: Accept imperfection. Unless you physically abuse your child, never praise, comfort, or show love, you are a good enough parent. Perfection is unattainable and a false goal.

Parenting tip three: Learn to forgive yourself and others. Not easy, but possible.

Parenting tip four: Use the CARE Plan

Parenting tip five: Teach your children the skills necessary to survive in real life. To do  that you must use eleven  of Gordon’s banned twelve.

Which one should you not use? Shaming.

By the way, shame is nature’s way of stopping us from doing the unforgivable. It develops in all children at around the age of three. Jerome Kagan says it is nature’s way of preventing the Sin of Cain. Shame also has a cultural part. It starts as an instinct, but the cultural learning determines much of what we feel shamed about.  All but shame are parenting tools that when used properly promote growth.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness right now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.

Katherine

INSPIRATION FOR THIS POST

A WordPress Daily Prompt:Slash and burn: Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.

Done. Good advice for when you are tempted to scream and shout at your child. Cut slash and burn as soon as you realize you have lost it, calm down and use the  CARE Plan.

FREE POSTER COACHES

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. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for most in the near future.

 

 

PRANK PROOF YOUR KIDS

Kids love jokes, but need to learn not make hurtful jokes and then how to deal with hurtful jokes. Here are some hurtful jokes.

cruel jokes

Laugh at these? Someone didn’t? Cruel jokes are the sign of prejudiced minds.

Hope these jokes offended you. Offensive jokes illustrate how prejudiced the human race is AND we all have our prejudices.    Why?

One reason: Our brains like to keep things simple and easy. Simple leads to the twisted thinking called generalization.

Another reason:  Part of being social animals means figuring out where you rank. We constantly compare ourselves to others. Then, we create mean jokes so we will feel better about ourselves by putting  others down.

As Gallager, a comedian, notes “I need wrong to get laughs. I need a normal world so that I can be abnormal, and that’s my problem. Comedians need prejudice.”

Thinking you are not bound by some false ideas about groups of people is delusional. Think about the early hurts in your life and how that lead to a prejudice on your part.

Here’s a personal example, when I was five-years old a red-head came up to me  on the play ground and for no reason I could figure out slapped me across the face and walked away. And yes, I remain a bit wary about red heads. A personal prejudice that I own and work against.

Prejudices are learned in three ways

  1. Personal hurts that generalize to a specific group.
  2. Modeling parental prejudices.
  3. Following the crowd whether school mates, religions teachers, the media.

PARENTING THOUGHTS and tips

Parenting tip one: Remember age and stage.  The younger your child the more hurt by others will lead to prejudices. Think of the stored up prejudices against parents which stay hidden until the teen years.  Combat early hurts by clearly labeling some as accidents. Label intended hurts as wrong. Punish your child if s/he intentionally hurts someone.

As your children enter school, gently dispute prejudices particularly those on the media. Talk about why others hurt people. Teach how to handle hurt and anger in healthy ways.

During the pre-teen and teen years talk directly about prejudices. Very useful topic for family meetings.

Parenting tip two: As always you have to clean up your own act, so you model better ways to your children.  As the song from South Pacific notes:

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Parenting tip three: Reduce your prejudices by doing the following.

  1. Talk of specific acts of specific people.
  2.  When labeling behaviors think of the following words: kind, cruel, dangerous, thoughtless, criminal,evil.
  3. Some unacceptable words can be linked. These include thoughtlessly cruel, criminally dangerous, or evil and cruel.
  4.  Know that all group labels are guilty of generalizing and generalizing is twisted thinking. Every person is unique and a blend of traits.
  5. Seek balance.When labeling a person’s behavior think how cruel, how often, to how many. Also think balance: how kind, how often, to how many, and for what reason. Do the same with cultures.
  6.  Remember what matters; be grateful; practice kindness; laugh; play; enjoy the good; speak out against the bad, but in thoughtful ways. What you do and how you do it matters.
  7. Protest offensive jokes. How? Don’t laugh. Raise you eyebrows and look a bit disgusted. Stay you find the joke highly offensive. Use such jokes as teachable moments for your kids.
  8. Take less offense if the teller is a comedian or cartoonist. Some cultures suggest killing cartoonists who offend – an evil and cruel practice.

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

LINKS OF INTEREST

Dealing With Offensive Jokes (Forbes.com)
Thinking About Humor ( meor.org)
Critical Thinking (en.wikipedia.org)
Yes/and Thinking (bigthink.com)

inspiration for this post

April Fool’s Day 2015 was one source of inspiration.

Word Press’s Daily post’s DAILY PROMPT: Fool Me Once It’s April 1st! Pull a fast one — publish a post that gently pranks your readers.

I didn’t prank, but I was inspired.

FREE POSTER COACHES

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. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for some in the near future.