Archive for the ‘Adolescents’ Category

Do you get sick of saying, “Be nice to your brother?” Show it instead. Make a heart out of construction paper. Every time your daughter treats her sibling badly, hand her the paper heart, then walk away. No lecture, no yelling, just a visual that will tell the story. Another, all-purpose option: a discreet thumbs up or thumbs down, or even a zip it motion across your lips. Most importantly, be consistent with these actions. See our previous post on drama. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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heart

Kids have a ton of a lot more stamina than you do. So your child will question, debate, argue, and oppose as long as you let them. (Bedtime battles, anyone?) Every time that you engage in this kind of back and forth exchange, you give them the opportunity to get stronger and better at it. Instead of giving repeated warnings and reminders, give one (“You have ten more minutes to play, then it is time to go to bed”) and ignore any arguments after that. If all else fails, pull out this classic on: Because I am the boss and I said so. You can also check out our post on bad habits. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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drama

“You are really growing up! From now on, I am going to let you be responsible for certain things.”

Jenna’s school bus comes at 6:50 A.M., which is just way too early for our family. I was always a bit thankful that my children didn’t rise with the sun, but the flip side is that getting Jenna motivated in the morning is a bit difficult. I am badgering her from the minute I wake her to the moment she is out the door: take a bath, to get dressed, eat, put on her shoes. Anything that she requests is met with a swift NO. I barely even have time to talk to her, as I am so busy just trying to get her ready and out the door.

However, children as young as 4 or 5 can learn to get up on their own and manage their morning routine, with a little pregame planning with your help. For example, setting an alarm clock with her, putting cups, bowls, and cereal in a low cabinet where she can reach them in the morning. Jenna is almost 10 now and I am still waking her. Right now the morning is my problem. I need to make it Jenna’s problem by turning over the responsibility .We don’t give out kids enough legitimate control over their own lives. Parents spend so much time ordering, correcting, and fixing that children do not feel in control. They need to feel empowered by making their own choices.

I suggested that we get Jenna a digital watch with a multiple alarm setting. An alarm clock or iPod can also do the job. Then we will let Jenna decide what time she wants to get up in the morning. She is to set 3 alarms: one to wake, one to be dressed and downstairs, and the final one to be out the door. When I presented our new routine to Jenna in a positive light, as a privilege she has earned. “You are old enough to get yourself up, dressed, and downstairs,” I told Jenna. “You have proven to me how responsible you can be, so we are going to get you your own special watch. Now, you are in charge of your morning.” Jenna lights up with pride and excitement. Over the weekend, together we buy the watch and write out her new schedule.

On Monday morning, to my astonishment, Jenna wakes up on her own, gets dressed herself, eats her breakfast, gets her things together, and is out the door, all on time. Because she is responsible for making it all happen, it does and we even have time to chat. The morning like the others that follow is peaceful, pleasant, and organized. It is amazing that such an easy fix created such a dramatic positive change. Now, instead of nudging Jenna through the morning routine, the alarm reminds her when to get ready, and she takes pride in feeling so capable. You can also use the alarm system for issues around bedtime, homework, making difficult transitions and more. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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morning-routine

You are as tired of the word as your kids are of hearing it. Follow a parenting expert’s strategies for getting kids to behave by saying yes more often. Then sit back and enjoy the positive results.

At the end, of a busy weekend of baseball practice, birthday parties, and grocery shopping, we have family friends over for dinner. The kids are, simply put, crazy. Running around, pulling toys out of every basket, and jumping from couch to chair and then back again. My three sons come to me every 3 minutes with a different request. “No,” I say, barely listening to them. But then my 10-year-old makes a statement that does catch my attention. “My dad says no all the time,” he tells his buddy. Hearing my son describe me as a 24/7 “no” dad was surprised and a bit hurtful. I have to admit I do resort to the reflexive no, particularly during stressful times of the day, like the morning rush to get my oldest out the door for school and in the evening crunch around bedtime. Still, I do not want my kids to think I am not listening or considering their needs and requests. I want them to know they have a voice, a say in our family. So in an attempt to address my “no-ness,” I decided to reach out for a bit of assistance. Let’s face it, we all need it from time to time. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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If you do need to get involved, your job is not to decide who is right and who is wrong. You are just simply a mediator. Start the conversation by stating what you have seen or heard. “You seem to be having trouble deciding who gets to wear the fancy dress up shoes.” Have each child tell their side of the story without shouting or hurling insults. Just to make sure they are listening to each other, have them repeat what the other has said. Then you can ask the million dollar question, “What can we do to solve this?” Let each child share their ideas. Try one of the proposed solutions, no matter how crazy it sounds. “OK, we can give the shoes a time-out in the freezer.” If they do need further direction, offer them some suggestions. “Each of you could wear the shoes for 10 minutes, we will set the timer to keep track.” Keep reminding yourself that your kids are practicing the art of conflict resolution. They are expressing themselves calmly, listening, validating other perspectives, and coming to an agreement. This approach requires time, energy, and great patience, but the payoff is well worth it. Doing it every time they fight is difficult. But if you adopt this strategy a few times, they will pick up on it.  And eventually, they will learn to resolve disagreements without you, which is the whole point of being a parent. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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cool

 

 

When your kids are in the middle of a quarrel, check in to make sure it is not becoming physical or emotionally heated. Then let them know you would like them to resolve the conflict on their own (but that you are happy to help out if it becomes necessary). I find myself doing this on a few occasions. Especially when it comes to the XBoxOne. You should always intervene if one of your kids is being verbally abusive (“You are a stupid idiot and everyone hates you”). Another reason you should step in is if one is destroying the others cherished possessions. If they are hitting or biting is another cause for you to jump in. Children who taunt, insult, slap, or push their siblings can do as much mental and physical damage as any playground bully.  Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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stay-out

There are a lot of sibling conflicts that occur because younger children do not know the proper way to express what is bothering them. That is why toddlers resort to biting and hitting and older children impulsively spout statements that they don’t truly mean. (“I hate you.”) This can easily turn a minor disagreement into a huge battle. The more words that a child has to describe their feelings, the more likely they are to stay calm. So if his little sister comes by and knocks over his block tower, he can tell you, “I am angry that she ruined my project” instead of just yelling or hitting her. It is important to talk about emotions beyond happy, sad, and angry. Expressing how you feel out loud, whether it is annoyed, disappointed, or confused will teach your kids new words to express what they are feeling. This is a significant step in learning how to manage emotions.

Rather than waiting for your kids to be upset to have a discussion, take advantage of some teachable moments. When we are at the park and see other children freaking out, I always ask my boys, “What do you think she is feeling right now?” When they default to saying mad or sad, I fill in the blanks. “If my sand shovel broke, I would be pretty frustrated, wouldn’t you?”

Check out another post that ties in nicely to this one on getting along. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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emotions

I am very frustrated right now.