Archive for the ‘Parent’ Category

This does not mean that no one will ever fight. Conflict and connection go hand in hand. The opposite of connection is not conflict, it is indifference. It also helps to remind kids that they are allies. If you give kids a task to do together, it will reduce the conflict. This works well with my twins, and it will work well for you too. “You guys are fighting a lot over the Legos,” I said to them last summer. ” Do you want to figure out a way to organize them so that they are easier to share?” The kids wrote down some notes, pulled some containers from the recycling bin, and separated building areas. This calling on the conflicted parties to come up with their own solutions is one of my favoeite resolution strategies.

Of course, this is not always going to work with a grubby-footed baby who is staggering joyfully around the tent, getting mud all over her brother’s sleeping bag. Or with the remorseless snatch-and-go toddler who steals every one of the Lincoln Logs that her sister lays down. But even then, you can try taking the big kid aside and saying, “This is so frustrating for you. What do you think we can do about it?” You may be surprised by the way a child will rise to the problem-solving occasion. “Let’s fill the bucket and wash her feet in it!” or “What if I give her a turn with my special farm?” or even, “I do not know. I hate it when she does that.” At the very least, but something has shifted in me. I feel a kind of awareness that there is not another, better life we are traveling toward. There is just this life here, in this car, with these kids whom I love, whose needs are different from mine and just as important. Staying connected is the key. It is where kids get the attitudes, optimisn, zest for life, and resilience that tell the story abut how happy they will be. I can not think of a better story I would rather tell.

Did you read the Story of Abundance. That post ties in greatly with this one. Check it out! 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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Conflict

 

 

You will be much happier when the kids, their siblings feel like there is enough to go around: sufficient marshmallows and time and puzzle pieces and attention. When my children were tiny handfuls, the book Siblings Without Rivalry, made a huge impression on me. I did not have to grouse at Joe, “Can’t you see how busy I am?” because he wanted to play Sorry! and I was bathing his baby sister. I could just say instead, “I would love to, as soon as I am done here. Do you want to get her towel for me?” It is just a small recasting, right? But it is the one that seems to quiet that miserable sibling drumbeat of competition for resources. Likewise, I have a slightly quirky practice of gossiping to the kids about each other, but in positive ways. “Read Jenna’s school report with me,” I say to Joe. “They totally get her, you are going to love it.” I invite Jenna to join me in making a card to celebrate Joe’s successful making of the baseball team. “Could he be more awesome?” I say, and she responds, “Seriously.” It is not some big philosophy I started consciously, but I see what it does: It rewards the siblings with special attention for mutual appreciation. When you have these close relationships you feel secure. If my son sees me dancing with my daughter to ‘I Will Always Love You,’ he can laugh and enjoy it. He knows I love him just as much. 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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Where to eat, which board game to play, what to do with a free evening: Teachable moments abound. Not only will giving your input reinforce for the kids that their opinions matter, but they will also get practice negotiating, compromising, and conceding. Especially now that the kids are older, we enjoy their illuminating feedback about how to allocate our limited resources. When Joe recently lobbied for a new couch, he wants a big, comfy one. He inspired to comparison shop online and present various budget-friendly options.  This is the big kid version of letting him pick out a passion fruit in the supermarket when he was 4, and it is teaching him the same skills, according him the same respect, and diminishing, in a small but real way, some of that powerless feeling that children must suffer from so much. Check out our other post on Including Your Kids. 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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Decision

 

 

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Is everyone singing the same song or does it feel sometimes like you are all out of tune? How to get in sync with one another to create a happier, more connected household.

David has asked to stop and use the bathroom. This is not an unreasonable request: We are, after all, on an eight-hour road trip, and he is after all, 6 years old. Ah, but the bells are tolling, tolling, tolling out the death of everything good and right in the world because David we stopped at a rest stop not even ten minutes ago. But of course, when we stopped he said that he did not have to go. I didn’t, he says apologetic.

I turn around and look at him. His little face is like a deflating souffle; he is literally wringing his hands. His brother, Joe, 8, is scrunched into the corner of his seat as if my withering look is a deadly ray gun that must be evaded. I am the parent from everybody’s childhood memories, the one who was angry with you for being little. I am also the clown parent in a family circus, and I am juggling juice boxes and a broken flip-flop, and the falling balls of my own sanity. Impatience is fizzing up in me. We are never going to get there. We are never going to get anywhere. We are just going to stop and use the bathroom, over and over, like we are in an existential French play about a road trip in hell.

I can not believe we are going to get off the highway again. The rest of the family sighs and they say, “He just needs to use the bathroom and yes should have probably gone before but whatever.” He needs to go now. It is as simple as that or almost because it is a weirdly hard principle to learn. People are different from you, and the more gracefully you can deal with the fact, the better. That is harmony, in a nutshell. Check out this wonderful children’s book on love and harmony, I Love You Through And Through.

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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Harmony

When your kid hears you use words like don’t and stop, it will trigger an almost Pavlovian response so they tune out. Put requests in an encouraging tone. Instead of “don’t pull the dog’s tail,” try “pet Ginger gently.” And when you really need your kid’s attention. Whisper. Nothing is more riveting than a secret, even “time for bed” goes down better in a hushed voice. See our post on Choices. 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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Spin

Kids, not unlike grown-ups like to feel in control. So capitalize on this desire. Instead of asking a question like, “Can you pick up your toys please?” When in reality there is only one acceptable answer, propose some options even if they are not exactly monumental. Give your child a choice, such as “Please pick up two of your toys or that box next to your bed,” which defuses the “no” bomb before it has a chance to ignite. See our post on cause and effect. 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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choice

When your child refuses to wear a hat or mittens outside on a cold and windy day, then complains that they are cold, you can simply point out how those items would of helped (then produce the ones that you secretly stashed in your bag). If they refuse cold weather protection again, you can gently remind them of what happened last time. Check out our show and don’t tell post. 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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cause