Eductional Insights 11.30.15
Educational Insights 11.30.15
Posted on 11/30/2015
  1. They show their anger: the right way. You are allowed to get angry, really! What actually matters is how you display that. The key to getting this "right" is knowing the source of your frustration. For example, think about those times when you arrive home, have to get dinner on the table and everyone is tired and cranky. It is always then that the kids keep interrupting and wanting your attention. But the problem is not the kids' interruptions it is the workload. So, in times like these, instead of barking back at your kids, try to explain you are sorry and cannot attend to them right then. Explain you are frustrated that dinner is late and you need to focus on that. This way they know it’s the situation—not them.
  2. They wait to dish out consequences. Many experts say you need to respond immediately when your kids misbehave. But that can actually be poor advice. If you don’t know what to do, it’s perfectly fine to say, “I don’t know how to handle this right now. I’ll get back to you.” You can even say, “I’m so angry I can’t think straight. I’m going to deal with this when I’m calmer.” It may be better to give a considered response rather than a knee-jerk reaction. Kids also get a more powerful message when you have well thought out consequences and are able to deliver them calmly.
  3. They focus on quality time. You do not need perfect "work-life balance", but you do need daily one-on-one time with each child. Even just five minutes of quality time every day can turn your relationship around. When you start spending regular time with them every day, doing an activity of their choice, you may even become closer and behaviors can improve.
  4. They hug their kids when being horrible. When children behave hatefully, it is generally because they feel awful about themselves. So they end up provoking other people to behave hatefully toward them. They feel that is what they deserve. But if you do the opposite, they change. That is often why when your child lashes out and is mean to everyone, you might take them aside and wrap your arms around them and ask what is wrong. You might discover they let it all out and tell you what is bothering them and you can move on.
  5. They don’t solve their kids’ problems. Raising independent, self-reliant children requires that they make their own mistakes and solve them on their own. So, when your child tells you a problem, empathize and then hand it back. When your kids tell you about something they're having trouble with, bite your tongue to stop yourself from jumping in and saving them. You might say something like, “Oh no, that sounds upsetting! What are you going to do?” If they ask for advice, you could say, “I don’t know what you should do, but I can give you some ideas.” After each idea you could respond with, “How would that work for you?” That allows them to think through the consequences and take ownership of the solution.
  6. They don’t overanalyze. It is fine to think about situations and establish what you can learn from them. But sometimes our mind gets a little obsessed and repeatedly churns things over, on an endless, self-flagellating loop. We end up analyzing a situation to death, when this happens, you might best remind yourself to move on to other things. It is a little like a reset button that allows you to acknowledge the thought and then continue on with your day.
  7. They keep compliments simple. The most powerful thing you can say to your kids is not "I love you”, it is “I love you just the way you are." (And yes, those last five words are critical.) It is clearly a very powerful message. Best of all, we can all use this powerful technique on our kids, as often as we like. Give it a try and see the look on your child's face.

-Dr. Paula Sissel

Garden County Schools

Superintendent/Elementary Principal