Tag Archives: parents

Three Tips for Indulgng But Not Spoiling a Child

Parents just want their kids to have fun and be happy, every day, all day. Not possible; besides  a parent’s  job is training to their kids to survive in real life.

Thank you, Carl D'Agastino for being one of my Cartoonist friends who lets me have my way with their cartoons.

Thank you, Carl D’Agastino for being one of my cartoonist friends who lets me have my way with their cartoons. Laughing keeps us strong.

Surviving in real life means tolerating the times things don’t go you way, you get bitten by a bumble bee, or visited by a traumatic life blow.

I did a recent Emotional Fitness Training Post about Practicing Imperfection. Before moving on to some the rest of this blog, you might want to read that post. Why? Too many parenting gurus have  raised the goal post for good enough parenting so high, we all fail. The end result? Too many kids have wandered on to the Victim-hood Path.

Parenting thoughts and tip

Fun matters. In fact as many of you know, Laugh and Play is one of my Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Moreover, play with your child promotes bonding. Why else did nature make grownups so eager to play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake with babies, not just their own but with almost any baby they see that smiles at them.

Two  major schools (the behaviorists and the followers of Freud) when trying to explain human behavior agree only on  one thing – behavior is driven by the need to avoid pain and feel pleasure.  One of Freud’s followers goes so far as to say you can trace any unacceptable behavior back to pain of some sort or the fear of a future pain of some sort.

I agree with this theorist and challenged my student to present me with any behavior they did not understand and I would related it to pain or fear of pain. I promised a quick A in the course, if I failed to convince most in the class I had failed. No  one got such an A.

The trick of course, is broadening your understanding of what causes pain. The big four  include:

  1. Deprivation of a physical  need – food, warmth, shelter, sexual release.
  2. Physical pain either through accident, assault, or illness.
  3. Emotional pain –  including feeling unloved, unworthy, dissed from another; but just as easily feeling beset by your own conscience and thinking you are inadequate, stupid, not in control, or bad; but also can involve feeling you have been treated unjustly.
  4. Uncertainty – which is often fear of future pain but just as often can be related  in one way or another to the above sources of pain.

How does this related to parenting? Parents need to focus as much on helping their children develop the ability to tolerate discomfort and pain. Doing so is far  more important than trying to see that you child is always happy.

Parenting tip one:  As always you need to model what you teach. Bad news? Not really for by teaching these skills strengthens them.  As you teach your child, you will increase your ability to tolerate pain and add to your ability to enjoy the good

Parenting tip two: Teach how to rate things including how to rate pain.   As always you need to model what you teach. Bad news? Not really for by teaching these skills strengthens them.  As you teach your child, you will increase your ability to tolerate pain and add to your ability to enjoy the good.  As this poster coach shows, anything can be rated.

Rating scale poster

Teaching a child how to rate  physical pains can begin as soon as the child learns to walk and talk. Applaud tumbles when the child gets up and goes on. But if the child cries rate the pain for the child. Here is a useful rating scale:

  • Immobilized by pain and cannot even come to you for comfort say, “Big, big pain.”
  • Rushes to you and has a hard time calming down, say, “Big Pain.”
  • Calms down easily once in your lap, say, “Middle-size Pain.”
  • Stops crying without coming to you  say, “Small Pain.”
  • As the pain decreases note “Pain getting smaller” and then “Pain  gone.”

If you haven’t done this and your child is in school or a teen, worry not. Just take a more direct approach.

Parenting tip three: Teach and model what matters.  The media makes it seem like all that matters are how we look or what we own, the grades we get, or the awards we win. Not true. As I so often notice the researchers and the sages of the ages know that matters most is practicing kindness. That means first being kind to yourself, but also being kind to others.

Being kind to others does not mean allowing abuse, that needs to be made clear which is why I also preach teaching your children self-defense skills.

These tips are not magic, but following them will keep your children off the victim path so you can indulge them when and how you are able.

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

This word press daily prompt inspired this post – You, the Sandwich  If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

The Name for my sandwich would be Healthy Indulgence Sandwich.  The recipe? Any whole grain bread,  two slices of Swiss cheese, tomato slices and arugula, all slathered with avocado mayonnaise.

That would be so healthy you could later indulge in my favorite night-time treat.  A Sweet and Salty Sundae.  A scoop of vanilla ice cream, covered generously with lite maple syrup then sprinkled with salt and covered with whip cream.

For other healthy indulgences visit this EFTI Pinterest page. 

FREE POSTER COACHES

Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters. 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.

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 or email a copy.

 

LAUGH AND TEACH

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.

PARENTING ADVICE

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.

TEACHING RATING SKILLS

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.

 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

 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.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters.

DAILY PROMPT

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.

SIX TIPS FOR MAKING THINGS RIGHT

Children get hurt and rush for a hug or a cuddle. Helpful, but hugs do always help, particularly as the child becomes a teen; then knowing what matters does.

To get the good, you need to endure the pain

Parenting tips

Parenting tip one: Self-soothing is an essential skill when it comes to enduring life’s slings and arrows.

When teaching, remember age and stage. Infants need to learn the ABC’s of self’-soothing.  That is done by not rushing to comfort. Sleep is the best time to ignore cries for help. Most night-time criers will cry themselves to sleep or back to sleep and wake up happy and cheerful.  

When language develops more direct teaching can begin.  Teaching Calming Breath starts the process.  See the Breathing Buddies link below.

Parenting tip two:  Learning to rate physical pains can begin as soon as the child is learning to walk and talk. Applaud tumbles when the child gets up and goes on. But if the child cries rate the pain for the child. Here is a useful rating scale:

  • Immobilized by pain and cannot even come to you for comfort say =  Very Big Pain
  • Rushes to you, but has a hard time calming down, say = Big Pain
  • Calms down easily once in your lap, say  = Middle-size Pain.
  • Stops crying as soon as in your lap, say  =  Small Pain

As the pain decreases note “Pain getting smaller.”

Parenting tip three: By the time a child enters school you can start teaching that life brings pain and learning to tolerate pain matters.  Start by teaching what matters most on getting to the good life; that means  teaching the Golden Rule in one of its many variations.

Parenting tip four: As pain can lead to anger and the wish to hurt others, teach how to vent anger without hitting out. 

Abuse cannot be  tolerated. Learning to defend yourself as the karate teaching Peace Dojo‘s do stops abuse.  Their way channels anger onto positive paths while strengthening a child’s ability to defend against those who attack physically. Good for all in the family. 

Parenting tip five: Teach making amends, forgiveness and letting to.  

Parenting tip six:  Teach and follow the Five in One Rule. That rule? For every prick there must be five kisses or the equivalent of kisses.

 LINKS OF INTEREST

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Please rate this material. Doing so helps me. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

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.

Katherine

THIS DAILY POST PROMPT INSPIRED THIS POST

 Set It To Rights by Michelle W: Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you’d fix it today.

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.

LINKS OF INTEREST

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Please rate this material. Doing so helps me. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

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.

Katherine