Ever watch your kids’ moods ricochet like a pinball off the latest circumstance? Ever feel like your own moods are a magnification of whatever is going on in your child at the time?
Charles Swindoll challenged us all with his famous statement, “…life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
How can we each grow our abilities to “make lemonade out of lemons” or learn to persevere through challenges? Answer: focus on our small successes! Even if they are small, when we can value and even celebrate successes, it “fertilizes” them and they grow to become a larger presence for the next challenge.
“This mustang is really just a cranky teenager,” I mused as I intently watched the horse-trainer’s keen discernment and saint-like patience. Nicole would take a small step toward the wary horse, carefully assessing his response. If he even flickered a muscle to hint at moving away from her, she took a step back to give him space. Only when the horse showed signs of comfort would she take another small step forward. If he seemed unsure, she stayed where she was until he became more comfortable. Her goal was to move toward him at the pace he determined, always keeping him comfortable.
When our children are cranky, it can feel natural to take that crankiness personally. But in almost every case, we have found that a child’s distance or critical reaction is actually self-protection flowing from their own hurt or fear of rejection.
Broken bones, scary surgeries, or moving to a new school — all these things can be traumatic experiences for kids to handle. How can parents best help their kids survive and even learn from difficult situations? To answer this question, Chad Hayenga sat down with CF co-founder Lynne Jackson.
(If you cannot see the video, click here to watch it on YouTube or click here to download the transcript.)
The “Whole-Brain” Perspective
According to Lynne, it really helps kids to process difficult circumstances using their whole brain. Here is an overview of the breakdown she gives in the video of how to help kids use all three major areas of their brain:
- Left brain: language and logic. Explain to your child the facts of what’s going on – how to understand exactly what happened in the past, and/or what to anticipate in the future.
- Right brain: emotions. Once you’ve talked about the facts, help your child give words to the feelings that they’re feeling about the situation.
- Frontal lobe: planning. Facilitate your child in making a plan for what to do when they feel those feelings and encounter whatever is ahead.
From this launching point of facts, feelings, plan, you can use whatever difficulties your child is facing to help build in them an identity as one who perseveres, who overcomes tough stuff. In the words of one precocious little girl whose parents Lynne coached, “Dad, I love you. You helped me persevere with a cast on!”
For help implementing these principles with your family, check out our coaching options!
OK, so these posts might not qualify as “ancient”… but they’re pretty old in internet years! Here are five “oldies but goodies” that we dusted off from the Connected Families Vault, plus a few bonus ones thrown in.
Parents love to connect with their children. But it’s not always so easy.
Some children (whether tots or teens) respond to their parents’ affection in a way that says “‘Private property, No trespassing’ in this heart of mine.” The child may withdraw into a private world of books, iPods, friends, or media. This may seem like angry, even defiant behavior.
When this happens, it’s common to become disheartened and assume that our children really don’t want a relationship with us. However, we’ve found that more often than not, children desperately want a relationship with their parents. Behind the stiff arm that says “Stay out of my life,” the other hand beckons us tentatively, “I need your love!”
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Michael Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian in history. On Wednesday night, he won his 18th and 19th medals, making him — according to many — “the greatest Olympian ever”.
So what is Phelps’ secret?
Well, it could be his high-altitude sleeping chamber. But we think it has a lot to do with Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, and a somewhat strange coaching philosophy.
© Jiri Vaclavek | Dreamstime.com
Valentine’s Day and anniversaries are often viewed as a barometer for our romantic relationship. But it’s NOT roses and romance a couple days a year that define a relationship — it’s the deep commitment to fight for connection no matter what.
— ROUND 1 —
Jim’s and my 25th anniversary evening was an adventure to say the least. It started out with 40 m.p.h. winds, which made our much-awaited evening on Lake Minnetonka more than a bit dicey in our little boat. We headed for land and made a wonderful camp fire.
Once we were finally settled, we asked each other this question: “What would be important in our relationship moving into our next 25 years?” And that led to some serious disagreement, our first in a long time. Tensions rose.
How could this be happening on our 25th anniversary night?! Why NOW!?
Lying in the tent, during another in our long line of horrible weather Boundary Waters canoe trips, I was angry.
We had intentionally picked the “statistically best average weather week” of the summer. Ha. This time instead of droning drizzle, bone-chilling cold, or homicidal mosquitoes, we were pummeled by a ferocious, relentless wind that threatened to blow away our tents, and kept us trapped for four days on the same little island. (We learned later that the days of our canoe trip were the exact 4 days of record breaking continuous straight-line winds averaging 30-40 mph. At least it blew all the bugs away!)
The kids had been amazing through all of this, working hard and creating fun where there seemed to be none. But I was still frustrated. Like many of the writers of the psalms, I freely expressed my frustration at God. “Really? It’s been hot, sunny and calm most of the summer, and we get rotten weather! Again. Why?”
The Why, What, and How of Effectively Praising our Children — Part 2 of 3
Michael was struggling with homework, night after night. “This is too hard!! I’m so stupid!” His mom kept trying to encourage him, “C’mon, you know you’re a smart kid!”
Little did she know that her attempt to encourage him,was accomplishing the opposite of what she had hoped!
While praise can be quite effective in helping a struggling child, Dr. Carol Dwyck of Columbia University discovered that certain kinds of praise actually decrease children’s effort and success! So what kind of praise will actually help your child succeed at homework and other difficult tasks?