Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Skills that will help you to be a good parent

Madeline Levine mentions "the trinity of change" or three skills that will help us to grow and change along with our children.  The first is self-reflection or the ability to make sense of our own lives in order to help our children make sense of theirs.  By doing this, we can use the best of what we learned from our parents and change the things we want to.  The second is empathy - an "accurate understanding of another person's internal experience."  The third is flexibility, which means being thoughtful, but not a pushover. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Seven Important Coping Skills

This is from Madeline Levine's book "Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success."

1.  Resourcefulness: the ability to proactively and independently solve problems and seek help from others
  • Do: create opportunities to develop coping skills
  • Do: share how you solve your own problems (modeling)
  • Do: teach that there are multiple ways to solve problems
  • Do: teach how to self-soothe, have emotional control
  • Don't: jump in too early or become impatient; give them a chance to problem solve
  • Don't: become so stressed that you are unable to model resourcefulness
2.  Enthusiasm: encourage children to find something that really interests and excites them

  • Do: model enthusiasm by expressing it often and over a range of activities
  • Do: remember that entitlement kills enthusiasm
  • Don't: expect your child's way of expressing enthusiasm to be the same as yours
  • Don't: use your love or approval as a way of manipulating your child's interests
3.  Creativity: encourage nimble, flexible, and innovative thinking
  • Do: keep materials that encourage creative expression easily available
  • Do: encourage open-ended activities and unstructured play
  • Do: encourage problem-solving
  • Do: limit screen time
  • Don't: lose patience with the skeptical child
4.  Hard-Working: having a good work ethic
  • Do: model enthusiasm for hard work (and feeling a sense of accomplishment)
  • Do: make sure the work they are expected to do is reasonable and not overwhelming
  • Don't: expect all kids to put in the same kind of effort
  • Don't: insist on their best effort on absolutely everything
5.  Self Control: or developing ways to wait
  • Do: model self management yourself
  • Do: allow them to experience moderate levels of distress/challenge/struggles
  • Do: show you value their ability to go against the crowd
  • Don't: expect them to learn without your guidance
  • Don't: dismiss or minimize their negative feelings (help them deal with anxiety)
6.  Self-Esteem: feeling that one is worthwhile; gained through competence
  • Do: encourage them to work outside of their comfort zone
  • Do: let them know you have confidence in their abilities
  • Do: help them break goals into smaller, more realistic goals
  • Don't: allow them to shift responsibility for difficulty to others
  • Don't: praise indiscriminately
7.  Self-Efficacy: believing that we play a role in determining how things will turn out for us in life
  • Do: help them to appraise their capabilities realistically
  • Do: provide opportunities for them to contribute successfully to the family
  • Don't: project your own anxiety on them as they move forward
  • Don't: protect your child from failure 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Happiest Toddler on the Block

10 basics for raising a happy toddler by Dr. Harvey Karp

1.  Think of your toddler as a caveman: Their brains are still developing and primitive.  They are not yet good at language or logic.  Emotion and impulse are more dominant parts of their brain.

2.  Know their temperament: laid-back, cautious, or spirited? Know this can help you anticipate their needs and reactions.

3.  Give yourself a break because parenting is hard: You don't have enough help.  Your buttons get pushed.  Your personality might not mesh with theirs.

4.  Be an ambassador for your toddler: Handle them with respect, kindness, and diplomacy when you set limits. 

5.  Practice the fast food rule daily:  When they are throwing a tantrum, spend time echoing their needs and feelings back at them before you tell them something.

6.  Speak in toddler-ese: Use short phrases.  Repeat yourself several times.  Use animated gestures and an expressive voice to mirror their feelings to connect with them emotionally.

7.  Encourage your child's good behaviors with
      - Time-ins: attention, play, praise, gossip, hand checks, etc... at least 20 minutes a day  
      - Confidence builders: offer them choices, play the boob
      - Teach patience: patience stretching, magic breathing
      - Routines: bedtime sweet talk, special time
      - Planting seeds of kindness: fairy tales, catching others being good, role playing

8.  Curb annoying behaviors by
     - Connecting with respect: fast food rule + toddler-ese
     - Offer win-win compromises
     - Give mild consequences: clap-growl, kind ignoring

9.  Put a stop to unacceptable behaviors: time-outs; giving a fine

10.  Prevent most tantrums or stop them by
       - Fast food rule + todder-ese
       - Avoid problem situations
       - Connecting with respect all day long
       - Feeding the meter: time-ins, playing the boob, routines, etc...
       - Teach patience-stretching

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our trip to Asia

Here it is, pages 22 to 25 from Olivia's first photo album - her first trip to Asia!  I can't believe I'll be taking her back again in a month - eek!  She will be even more wiggly this time around.