July/Aug. 2011 - What’s a Parent to Do? What to Do About Lying
By Dr. Thomas A. Phelan
By this time, of course, you are furious. More important, however, you also have given your child six times to practice lying! You may think to yourself, "Sooner or later he'll realize he can't fool me and he'll give up." Wrong.
If you are going to ask, you might say something like, "I want you to tell me the story of what happened but not right now. Think about it a while and we'll talk in 15 minutes." If he tells you the story and you find out later that the child lied, punish him for whatever the offense was as well as for the lie. No lectures or tantrums. Deal with the problem and try to fix things – as much as you can – so that lying does not seem necessary to the child.
If you do know what has happened, tell him what you know and deal with it. If he has done something wrong that you know about, simply punish him reasonably for that and end the conversation with, "I'm sure you'll do better next time."
Keep Your Perspective
Lying is not good, but it certainly isn't the end of the world either. It happens from time to time. It doesn't mean that your kids don't love you or that they are bound to grow up to become professional criminals. Over the years, however, frequent emotional overreactions on your part – combined with badgering and cornering – can produce an accomplished liar.
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April 2011 - How Emotion Coaching Can Promote Positive Parenting
Parenting is a tough and frustrating job. More than anything we want to help our kids grow into healthy, happy adults. Yet when they don’t behave the way we want them to, it’s all too easy to resort to tactics we’re not proud of. Yelling. Threatening. Even spanking. We use these discredited discipline techniques even though we can clearly see that they are not effective. And not only do they make our kids feel bad, they make us feel even worse. And yet, because we don’t know any good alternatives, we stay stuck in the cycle of negativity – and nothing ever changes.
Good news, says author Kimberley Clayton Blaine. There is a parenting technique that lays out a loving, nurturing path for raising happy, well-adjusted, well-behaved children. It’s called emotion coaching and it feels good to parents and kids alike. And best of all, it works.
“At its heart, emotion coaching is about teaching your child how to recognize and express the way he is feeling in an appropriate way,” says Blaine, a licensed family and child therapist, mother of two boys and author of the new book The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, 2010; $16.95, www.TheGoToMom.com).
“Once you are able to help your child to understand and communicate his feelings according to his developmental abilities, you’ll see a change in the way you interact with one another,” she promises. “Not only will you begin to see results, you’ll feel great about the relationship you are nurturing with your child.”
Emotion coaching is a gentle, open-hearted alternative to old-fashioned, often aggressive discipline that can be used with babies, toddlers, preschoolers and young school-age children. Ultimately, it gives parents the know-how and the confidence to build strong, productive relationships with their children.
So if emotion coaching is the answer we’ve all been waiting for, why aren’t more parents doing it? Blaine says that there are four common roadblocks that trip up even the most well-meaning parents. Read on to see if these obstacles are holding you down and to see how emotion coaching can help you to parent more successfully:
ROADBLOCK #1: You Default to One of Two Extremes: Control-Based or Hands-Off Parenting.
So now what do you do? If you’re like many parents, it depends on which of the two “traditional” choices you gravitate toward. Maybe you blow a gasket, screaming at your kids to pipe down and go to their rooms — or else. Or maybe you simply raise your white flag — find a way to excuse yourself off the call, sighing heavily and throwing your hands up in surrender — because kids will be kids no matter what you do.
Emotion Coaching Solution: Find the middle road.
“Instead of yelling or ignoring, the emotion coach mom takes a deep breath and says, ‘Guys, you are being really loud. I can see that you have tons of energy — so can you take it outside, please? I’ll come out and play with you as soon as I’m off the phone. Right now, I need your help, so please head out back.’”
For example, if your child complains of being hungry 30 minutes after you ate lunch together, you think about the fact that you just ate, and you aren’t hungry, so there is no way that she can be hungry either. Rather than stopping to consider how she truly feels, you discount her feelings and brush off her request with a dismissive, “Oh, you couldn’t possibly be hungry!”
Or, for example, let’s say Tommy falls down on the playground, and you pick him up, brush him off and tell him he’s all right. You may think that you are doing the right thing by parenting him to not be overly sensitive and to “get back on the horse.” In actuality, you are (unintentionally) neglecting to think about what emotions that incident may stir up for him: pain, fear or embarrassment, for example.
Emotion Coaching Solution: Put yourself in their (tiny) shoes.
“So when Tommy falls, you might ask, ‘Did you hurt yourself? Or are you just scared?’” she explains. “And if he says that he is scared, you should affirm his emotions — tell him that it’s scary to fall down and ask if he wants to come sit with you for a few minutes before returning to play. The key is to be supportive.”
However, Blaine says that asking your child to behave a certain way for a treat is generally not a good idea. In the case of the potty-training toddler, if she has accidents and can’t get the reward, she will decide not to value it anymore. And as for the room-cleaning bribe, well, we must all learn to cooperate in life without expecting something in return — so giving external rewards teaches the opposite.
Emotion Coaching Solution: Re-think your reward system.
“While she may still be upset about leaving, your understanding and empathy will help her feel validated, and her anger will subside more quickly,” explains Blaine. “And next time you need to get out the door, she won’t expect a treat in return for her cooperation.”
“Spanking, yelling and time-outs don’t offer a replacement behavior — they don’t teach our children what to do instead of misbehaving,” she explains. “They really only serve to teach our children to hit and yell. They breed resentment, not accomplishment. And neither you nor your child comes out of that situation feeling very good.”
Emotion Coaching Solution: Use natural consequences.
Then, according to the emotion coaching method, the mother might empathize and discuss solutions with her son. “This really stinks. How can we be sure to get you inside for dinner on time?”
“With emotion coaching, you empathize, talk about what went wrong, and neutralize all the negative feelings, then come up with a plan,” she explains. “The key to having cooperative children is to encourage them to be motivated internally. Children do things because they benefit personally from doing so, not because they’re threatened or coerced.
“Successful emotion coaching takes time and diligence, but so does parenting in general,” says Blaine. “The most important thing to remember is that it’s not going to work for you every single time — so don’t be discouraged the first time you don’t have a success. If you put in at least 50-percent effort, the results will be favorable — and your relationship with your child will be stronger and healthier.”
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FEB. 2011 - Halting Homework Hassles
By Jody Johnson Pawel
• If children have a time management problem, teach them how to schedule their time, instead of taking over and reminding them. Ask questions like, "How much time do you need for homework? Would you like to do homework right after school or right after dinner? How can you remember when it is time to do your homework?"
• If children don’t understand homework, ask questions that help them figure out the answer. "What are you supposed to do here? Where in the book does it talk about this?" If children don’t understand the information, we can try explaining it. We do not have to understand what children are learning to be helpful. We just need to know the skills for helping our children find their own answers. If children need daily help, they may benefit from a tutor more than our taking responsibility for helping them. It’s a delicate balance to be helpful, without fostering dependency, rescuing, or helping too much.
• If children forget a book, lunch or homework, teach organizational skills and use problem solving to let children chose self-reminders. Avoid being their reminder or rescuer. Agree to deliver forgotten items no more than three times per year. After that, the child will need to experience the natural consequence of not having the item.
• If children don’t see the value of homework, avoid lecturing. Ask questions like, "Why do you think the teacher wants you to do homework? How can doing homework help you? What will happen if you don’t do it?" Offer one brief value statement like, "Sometimes people ask us to do things they feel are important but we don’t. At work I have to do what my boss asks me to do. School is your job and teachers are your boss. You need to follow the schools rules, even if you don’t agree with them. As long as they aren’t asking you to do something hurtful or wrong, you need to do what they ask to do your job well."
• When children don’t do homework on purpose, it could be one of four reasons:
• Children who have given up on school are experiencing a deeper problem. Listen closely to identify the real issue. This is what needs to be resolved. Have children brainstorm possible solutions. You may enlist professional guidance, if indicated.
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NOV. 2010 - Improving Your Child's Math Skills With Fun, Educational Programs
How do you tell the difference between an online game that is a valuable educational tool and those that are merely fun? It may be difficult to assess the educational value of computer programs aimed at children – especially those aged 4 to 9.
"Parents may see a familiar cartoon character on a product and think that must mean it's a good game for their child," says Mickelle Weary, academic director of DreamBox Learning K-3 Math, a web-based math program. "But is it really educational? Or is it just fluff? It can be very difficult to know until you've already bought the software and your child has played it for a while."
You may allow or even encourage your child to spend a substantial amount of time on a website featuring her favorite cartoon characters (or even spend a lot of money on it), only to find that it's not very educational. Worse yet, you may also discover that the program doesn't challenge your child or hold her interest for very long if the software doesn't adapt to her skill level.
"With education budgets being slashed nationwide, many parents feel that supplementing their child's education is more important than ever," Weary says. "Kids are naturally drawn to technology, so fun, online programs can be a great way to supplement what they're learning in school."
Weary offers parents and teachers some tips for evaluating the educational value of a child's math game:
• Is it web-based? Does it create a specific account for your child? Web-based software, like DreamBox Learning K-3 Math, is more likely to offer individualized instruction than older generation CD-roms, and certainly provides more feedback than a workbook.
• Does the game adapt as your child's skill level and needs change? The best products start out by assessing where each child is developmentally in his or her math skills, then adapt all aspects of the game experience to match the child's needs. And as the child learns more, the game evolves to present challenges that keep pace with the child's abilities and interest level.
• Does the game teach conceptual understanding of new ideas or is it simply a fun way to practice math facts?
• Is it interactive and engaging? The product should be fun as well as instructional. Making education fun is a great way to get kids to keep coming back for more. Children will be drawn to products that encourage them to interact and affect the outcome of the game.
• Does the game give the child freedom of choice? Kids will be more engaged if they can direct how they play and choose what to do within the game. A good educational game should offer children options for how to progress at their particular skill level.
• Are parents able to track their child's progress through the game? Look for a product that provides parents the ability to generate detailed reports on their child's progress. Not only do these reports give parents a snapshot of what their child is learning and how effective the game is, they can be shared with children's teachers to help focus on areas of strength and challenges.
• Is the game credible? Has it earned recognition from educators and parents alike? For example, DreamBox Learning has received many awards, including the Parents' Choice Gold Award and the AEP Golden Lamp Award for Technology Innovation from the Association of Educational Publishers, and is used in schools all over the U.S.
– Source: ARA Content
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JULY 2010 - Homeschooling Expos
There is also a Southeast Regional Homeschool EXPO that will be held July 30-31 at the Cobb Galleria Centre, Marietta (Atlanta). Information is available at www.georgiahomeschool.com.
There is also an “Early Learners Conference: Have Fun Teaching Preschool through Third Grade, that will be held Sat., August 28, 2010 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Roswell. Info is also available at www.georgiahomeschool.com.
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