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Posts Tagged ‘Parent’

School vacation is coming up – How to connect with your child

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment
Kids volunteer project Japan

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I can’t believe it is almost Christmas but it is! Nine more days. If your house is anything like mine, the excitement factor is ratcheting up on a daily basis and with it comes some behaviors that can be, ah, rather trying for us parents!!! So when I read this post recently, I remembered the importance of playing with kids as a behavior improvement strategy.

Playtime with kids is a great activity, as everyone is usually very relaxed and happy after engaging in some play time.  Somehow, however,  there always seems to be something else that has to be done. Housework, calls to be made, emails to be sent, errands to be run, work to be completed – you feel the pressure and just want to get it done! But then a conversation with someone who is older (who has had young kids and been there, done that)  is a reminder of how fleeting this time is.

So to remind myself and you, here are some reasons to just play with your kids
(reposted from Positive Parenting Solutions, as I don’t have much time to write these days!):

1. Creating Emotional Connection: Much of the daily interaction between parents and children consists of “ordering, correcting and directing.” (“Don’t forget to drink your milk”, “it’s time to take a bath”, “stop hitting your sister”, etc.) When parents order, correct, and direct, they are in the “Parent Ego State” and this type of interaction often invites the “fight or flight” response in our kids, resulting inpower struggles.

When parents play on the floor and have FUN with their kids – both the parent and child are operating in the “Child Ego State”. The “child” ego state is where emotional connections are made. It doesn’t require a long time to create emotional bonds – but being INTENTIONAL about spending PLAY time each day with your child in the “child ego state” will do wonders for strengthening the emotional connections.

2. Fewer attention-seeking misbehaviors: When parents play WITH their children, they are PROACTIVELY filling the child’s attention basket in positive ways. Children have a hard-wired need for attention. If parents don’t provide sufficient POSITIVE attention, children will resort to negative behaviors to get it – whining, clinging, helplessness, sibling fighting, etc. When parents implement consistent playtime WITH their children – attention-seeking misbehaviors begin to fall off the radar screen!

3. More cooperative children! As parents fill attention baskets in POSITIVE ways and emotional connection increases, children consistently become MORE COOPERATIVE at other times during the day! When the child’s core emotional requirements for connection and attention are met, he doesn’t feel the need to “fight us” to get negative attention and is more cooperative when asked to do things throughout the day. It’s a beautiful thing!

So play board games, wrestle on the floor (this is our family favorite since everyone can join in), do crafts, play tag or hide and seek, go sledding or ice skating- whatever your child enjoys (and it is even better when you enjoy it too!). There is also a great book out there by Lawrence Cohen called Playful Parenting that focuses exclusively on this topic. I highly recommend the book and will blog about that some other time.

And please let me know if you have any good playtime ideas or anything else to add. I would love to get active discussions going on this blog, so please feel free to comment, comment, comment!! 🙂

 

 

Test Your Child’s Temperament (and it’s free!)

November 16, 2010 2 comments

In addition to reading a lot of books about parenting, I also like to read blogs. So when I find interesting elements, I will share those here as well. If I find the entire blog interesting to following long-term, I add it to my blog roll to the right of the screen.

While browsing tonight, I found an interesting quiz to improve your understanding of your child. Psychologists Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess have come up with nine typical traits that make up a person’s temperament (a few other theories exist as well):

1. Activity level (physical energy)
2. Distractability (tendency to get distracted by events in environment)
3. Intensity (energy level of a positive or negative response)
4. Need for physical routine (predictability in biological functions)
5. Sensory sensitivity (reaction to sensory changes in environment)
6. Initial reaction (approach/withdrawal to a situation)
7. Adaptability (how long a child takes to adjust to a new situation)
8. Persistence (attention span)
9. Usual mood (general tendency toward happy or unhappy demeanor)

You can test your child’s temperament for these 9 traits here:
http://www.readyforlife.org/temperament/quiz

You can also test your own temperament to see how it matches your child’s. The site (http://www.readyforlife.org) also has other interesting information on temperament. Knowing your child’s temperament can help you reframe how you look at your child’s behavior and address their individual needs.

How to get kids to do boring but necessary tasks

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

The week is getting super busy so I have not done much reading to talk about. I would like to continue posting, so today I am sharing an article that I found some time ago from the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley entitled How to Get Kids to Do Boring but Necessary Tasks

The best part of the article I think is the final conclusion (based on this one and several previous related articles):

“Rewards work in the short-term because they provide us with a nice feel-good Dopamine hit. But unfortunately, rewards tend to have a negative effect on kids’ motivation over the long-term. The answer is to motivate kids to do those not-so-fun things that are necessary in life with the particular kind of encouragement described above. That way, their brains deliver those feel-good chemicals in response to their feelings of mastery and autonomy (intrinsic motivation) rather than in response to receiving a material reward (extrinsic motivation).”

Based on other things I have read, this means rewards are helpful when you want to make a change in a temporary behavior, for example, sleeping without a pacifier. But when it comes to long-term behavior, such as working hard in school or instilling honesty, it is better to motivate using the strategies discussed in the article above.

Parental control and children’s intrinsic motivation

November 7, 2010 4 comments

Since becoming a parent, I have always been fascinated about how parental control and motivation of children are interrelated.  Many mainstream parenting books have touched upon the subject and discuss the spectrum of parenting techniques based on work by Diane Baumrind (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and everything in between). I happened upon a book a few years ago that delves into this issue in much more detail: The Psychology of Parental Control: How Well-Meaning Parenting Backfires by Wendy S. Grolnick. I am going to share a few items from that book in my next few posts, although I highly suggest reading the book. It discusses many research studies on the topic of parental control and its effects and many of the results are counter-intuitive and incredibly insightful.

For example, the book quotes studies by Dweck et al.(1998), which found that found that when children were praised for being smart after successfully completing an assigned task, they did not enjoy a subsequent, more challenging task as much as kids who had been praised for effort. Furthermore, on the second round, the kids praised for intelligence were more likely to choose the easier problems that would make them look good.  These kids also were more likely to attribute mistakes to a lack of ability and gave up trying more quickly. Those praised for effort, however, tended to pick more challenging problems and also enjoyed the exercise more. The kids praised for effort were also more likely to see intelligence as linked to improvement, rather than a static trait. My own interpretation of the research is that praising for intelligence versus effort results in kids who feel trapped to have to live up to the label, which makes them afraid to fail. The beauty of failure is that you learn that you can get up and try again. Kids who are praised for effort aren’t pressured to perform to an expectation and can relax and focus on learning.

It such a simple concept, but a potentially very important and powerful one.

Simple Words

November 5, 2010 2 comments

I picked up a book at the library recently entitled The Book of Nurturing by Richard and Linda Eyre. Having read some of their books before, I knew I would enjoy it.

This past week I shared an excerpt with my husband from the book (as I often do) that struck me as something so simple for parents to do, but which most of us probably have not thought to do. It struck me as so simple and so easy, yet so impactful.

In the excerpt that I shared with my husband, the authors recount running into the daughter of a family they used to know and they were struck by her poise and self confidence. They asked her what parenting techniques she remembers her parents using. And here is the amazing part – she said they did not have much time for parenting methods, but that they made her feel that she mattered. At bedtime, her father would take her face in his hands, look deep in her eyes and tell her that he loved her and that she is his first priority. That he is completely committed to her and the rest of the family and always will be. The girl says she still can recall those words and that they warm her even now.

Of course, action needs to back such words, but what a great way to go to sleep!