Saturday, July 29, 2017
Among the thousands of words that we say to our children, there are several that make them stronger, smarter, kinder, and more self-confident.
Bright Side collected 11 phrases that contribute to the harmonious development of children and make them happy.
Children unconsciously test us with their bad behavior. It’s as if they’re saying, “Will you love me even like this?“ The answer must be unambiguous: ”Of course I will! I’m happy I have you. If I could choose from all the children in the world, I would choose you." This way you develop a healthy psyche in your child.
These 3 magic words are crucial for the healthy development of your child. It is also important to back your words up with actions: spending time together, playing, laughing and fooling around, blowing bubbles, hugging your baby, discussing his problems, and supporting him if necessary.
“Ah, your room is clean!“ ”Wow! The bed is made!“ “You’ve folded your clothes so neatly! Well done!” Such phrases help your child feel your support and faith in him. They make it clear that his efforts are appreciated. Also, any ”positive reinforcement" causes pleasant feelings and positive emotions, which causes the approved behavior to repeat.
We all are human, and all of us can make mistakes. It is important to have the courage to admit them and ask forgiveness from your children. This way we let them know that we value and respect them. And we also teach them that if one isn’t right, he should ask for forgiveness and not repeat his actions.
Suppression of negative emotions leads to neuroses and psychosomatic diseases. A child has a right to be angry. He should be allowed to grieve over a lost toy or cry when it hurts. A ban on negative feelings, on their manifestation, is a ban on being yourself, being spontaneous.
Our task as parents is to teach a child to express his emotions without harming anyone.
It is important to let the child know that fearlessness is impossible. Everyone in the world is afraid of something, and bravery is just knowing how to overcome fear or act despite it. If your child is afraid of something, share with him your own memories and experiences of how you learned to cope with your fear.
By giving the child a right to choose, we teach him to listen to himself and not be afraid to reject offers that are contrary to his beliefs, desires, or interests. Children who constantly have things chosen for them grow up passive, dependent, and easily manipulated by someone else’s authority.
When demanding unquestioning obedience from your child, think 20 years ahead. Do you really want him to become an adult who obeys everyone and doesn’t try to defend his position?
By reminding your child about his past successes, you convince him of his strength and help him realize he can achieve even more.
“It’s okay! Try again.“ ”I believe in you!“ “Nobody gets it right away.” This is what you should say to your child in case of failure, even one that seems serious (like an F or losing in a contest).
Your child should realize that every successful person has made mistakes and that mistakes help develop perseverance, patience, and other important qualities. Most importantly, though, show that his failures will have no bearing on how much you love him.
“How are you feeling?“ ”How was your day?" Such questions contribute to emotional closeness between a parent and their child. They also train him to formulate his thoughts. Finally, they allow the child to be sufficiently sensitive and attentive to himself.
Parents often use the pronoun “we“ in relation to their child: ”We have already crawled!“ “We go to kindergarten.” ”We will soon start second grade.“ In infancy, the sensation of the mother and child as one whole is useful for the development of the baby and even necessary for its survival. However, in the future, it hampers development and hinders psychological separation.
The possibility of self-reliance is important to understand. Psychologists are convinced that the goal of education is to teach the child to be a good enough parent to himself. And the first step to this is the pronoun ”you."
Illustrated by Yekaterina Ragozina for BrightSide.me
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Thursday, May 4, 2017
You may have heard of the Blue Whale game and Thirteen Reasons Why (13RW), or them trending on your social media feed. Such content have been circulating and may negatively influence our children to view suicide as a viable way to deal with their problems, or even romanticise or glamourise the act of suicide.
Thirteen Reasons Why (13RW) is a fictional story released on Netflix surrounding the traumatic events recounted by a high school student who chose to end her life by suicide. The sinister but unverified Blue Whale game allegedly incites teenage players to carry out tasks involving self-harm in a 50-day period and culminates in a final task to commit suicide in order to win the game.
While it is difficult to verify if suicide deaths are caused by online games, such games with dark themes related to self-harm or suicide are still of concern.
Viral content about self-harm or suicide is worrying and raises important questions about media influence and the power of social media. As parents, we play a very critical protective role that can minimise the negative effects of such exposure.
- Teach our children media literacy to discern between fake and real events
- Help our children discern and avoid online gaming or social communities that could present risks of suicide contagion
- Take stock of the media influences that our children are exposed to
- Engage in conversation with them to find out what they have been watching or playing online
- Encourage your child to post sensitively on social media so that they do not contribute to rumours or reports that sensationalise suicide
As we talk to our children, we need not by hyper-vigilant or transfer our anxiety to them, but instead communicate our concern for their well-being and a commitment to support them through any struggles they may be facing. Together, we can help them build their resilience to overcome challenges without resorting to suicide or maladaptive behaviour.
Here are some pointers on how to talk about issues related to anxiety, distress and suicide.
1. First, know the warning signs
When our children are going through distress, they send out warning signs through their behaviour. But are we catching the signals for help being sent out? Look out for these signs and read more about distress signs and behaviour .
- Displaying out-of character behaviour
- Injuries that are unexplained
- Sudden changes in appearance, interests or habits
- Temperamental changes
- Rebellious/ aggressive behaviour
- Extended absence/ deliberate social withdrawal
- Struggling to pay attention/ increased lethargy
- Sending/ posting moody or morbid messages (including expression of deaths
2. Talk about your child’s thoughts and feelings
Start with some questions to show concern for your child’s well-being, such as, “I noticed that you…. Is there anything you would like to share?” or “Is there something troubling you?”
Take your child’s comments seriously. Refrain from minimising what they are feeling or telling them that they should not feel negative about something. That could pose a barrier for them to open up further. Instead, be open and empathetic by showing that you are trying to understand what they are thinking and feeling. Don’t judge them or their thoughts. Listen, and be caring and kind.
3. Discuss what your child has seen or heard
If your child shares that he/she has watched a movie or played a game that has themes of suicide, discuss his/her thoughts and feelings. Share that while people may identify with the characters in a movie or story, there are many healthy ways to cope with the issues faced and acting on suicidal thoughts is not one of them. Most people who have distressful experiences will reach out to someone, talk to others, and seek help. They can also find other positive ways of coping such as exercising, finding ways to de-stress and doing breathing exercises.
If your child has watched 13RW in particular, check out these points you could use as you talk with your child.
If your child has watched 13RW in particular, check out these points you could use as you talk with your child.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask them a direct question about suicide
Contrary to what we may think, asking them such questions does not put the idea in their head but invites them to share what they are feeling without stigma or shame. Direct questions could include, “Are you having thoughts about killing yourself?” or “Do you wish you could end your life?”
If you suspect your child is in danger, get help immediately from SOS 1800 221 4444 or speak to your child’s School Counsellor. Ensure the child’s physical safety and explain that you cannot keep the secret but need to break confidentiality to get the help that they need. Remind them that the thoughts of suicide are just thoughts and that they need not act on them. The impulse to do so may pass after a while.
5. Use the S.P.A.C.E tips
The S.P.A.C.E tips can guide your conversation and foster resilience in the longer term.
(Click to download)
(Click to download)
6. Encourage a healthy lifestyle and a wide range of coping strategies
Encourage your child to develop a sleeping routine to help them get a good night’s sleep. For example, waking up and getting to bed at the same time, avoiding caffeine during lunchtime and shutting down electronics before bedtime.
Physical activities can help relieve stress and provide a good distraction from worries. Find a physical activity to carry out together with your child if your child is struggling to get active, or play sports with friends. Eating well can also help with sleep and general health and wellbeing. A well balanced diet helps the body and brain to function well.
Other coping strategies include talking with people they trust, keeping a journal, drawing and expressing themselves through art, practising relaxation and deep breathing. It is helpful to build up a toolbox of a variety of coping strategies.
7. Encourage them to be a positive influence
You can also encourage your child to be a voice of hope and positive influence for his/her peers. Your child can play his/her part to look out for warning signs if a peer is distressed or at risk of suicide. Encourage your child to refer the friend immediately to a trusted adult for help.
Monday, April 24, 2017
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Read to young children in this way, and they'll develop greater intellectual empathy -- and become more successful.
First off, of course, read to your kids.
Next, read with your kids.
Developing intellectual empathy.
Choose their own adventures.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Here’s how to teach children to work through a mistake gently, giving them a lifelong empowerment blueprint for bouncing back from bad situations.
Big or small, we all make mistakes. It’s an unavoidable part of the human experience.
These life blunders teach us a lot about how to work through feelings like shame, embarrassment, fear and sadness.
Resilience is defined as “the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.” It’s an essential life skill we all need to learn. Thankfully, the first few mistakes in a child’s life are like mini resiliency workshops.
By asking our children to evaluate the situation, separate facts from feelings, and develop a game plan, we’re giving them a lifelong empowerment blueprint for bouncing back from bad situations.
These are the 5 questions I ask my own children when they come to me after a major misstep. As perfect as my kids are (to me), I know they’ll continue to make mistakes throughout their lifetimes. Yours will, too.
We can’t stop the inevitable, but can we help our children become resilient little problem solvers? You bet.
Question 1. “What happened?”
Getting all the facts in a situation is the first step in being able to help your child work through a mistake. We can’t help if we don’t know what happened.
Facts are not feelings. Helping children learn the difference between the two is an important part of their ability to solve issues now and in the future.
“I messed up at Jenny’s birthday party and no one is going to invite me to another party ever again!” is not a fact. “Messing up” is one perspective of the actions that took place, and worrying about not receiving invitations to future parties is speculation coupled with fear.
Ask the right questions and build up a solid factual foundation
“What do you mean by ‘messed up’? Can you tell me what happened?”
“Did anyone say you’re never going to get an invitation again, or is that what you think will happen?”
Dig through the information your child provides, and echo only the facts back to them. “So if I heard you correctly, you got mad and yelled at Spencer in front of everyone because he took the last cupcake. Is that what happened?”
Sometimes just stripping away everything but the facts helps reframe a stressful situation for an upset child.
Question 2: “How are you feeling?”
Now that the facts are out of your child’s head and onto the table, it’s time to find out what’s going on in the heart.
Good or bad, emotions are a vital part of the human experience. Shame, fear and worry are fairly common after an emotional fall, but some kids have an extra layer of anger or self-deprecation they have to wade through before arriving to those core emotions.
Younger kids might have a harder time identifying or naming feelings, so this can be a particularly strong teachable moment.
Have your younger child describe how they’re feeling as best they can (“It makes my tummy hurt. I don’t want to go to Jack’s house anymore!”) Then, along with the facts of the situation, help them define the emotion (“Are you worried about what Jack will think of you because you pushed him? I sometimes feel that way when I’m embarrassed, and it makes my tummy hurt, too.”)
You know your child best, so guide them through this step with the proper amount of time and care. Some children move through emotions quickly, while others linger in them for a while before being able to get to the other side.
Question 3: “What have you learned?”
This next question requires a bit of distance from the weight of overwhelming emotions. It can be hard to look at a situation objectively when you’re still clouded with those intense feelings.
When you do ask your child what was learned, be prepared that they might not see the bigger picture just yet. It can sometimes take a few hours, days or even weeks before a new perspective is born from the ashes of a bad experience.
Younger children might have a hard time sifting through the debris and finding the lessons, so offering a similar story from your own life can help. (“I had something like that happen when I was around your age, and what I learned was…”)
When kids realize there’s a teachable takeaway from every mistake, it adds a silver lining to an otherwise bad situation.
Question 4: “What can you change for next time?”
It’s time to put an action plan together.
All of us can feel pretty out of control after making a mistake and seeing the aftermath of our actions. Therefore, coming up with a solid plan to handle similar situations the next time can be very empowering.
“Instead of cheating on the test next time, I’ll make sure to study harder.”
“Instead of hitting Lily when I’m frustrated, I’ll come talk to you.”
Watch your child’s confidence grow. We all love it when a plan comes together.
Question 5: “So, how are you feeling NOW?”
Now that you’ve ironed out the facts, talked out the feelings, excavated the lessons and worked out a game plan for future situations, all that’s left to do is remind your child the sun will still come up tomorrow.
Chances are when you ask this question, things won’t be 100% better. But they’ll be getting better. Fast or slow, emotional improvement is what’s important.
Resilience is built up through life lessons like this one – and the many that will come after it. It’s not a perfect skill, but it does improve with practice.
At the end of the day, your little human is exactly that: a human. We are imperfect beings who make imperfect decisions from time to time.
But with the right amount of love and support, your child will generally come out the other side of his or her mistakes a little stronger and wiser than before.