Teachable Moments of All Kinds

August 18th, 2019

When all is well and your child is curious, you have a natural teachable moment, where you can impart your wisdom. When your child has a problem, after you calm him down with active listening, you can ask permission to help him solve it and morph that exchange into another teachable moment. When you have a problem with your child, you can start to settle him down by asking, "This isn't like you, son. What else is going on?" Kids usually don't answer essay questions very well. When he is puzzled or silent in response, make your essay question a multiple choice question. You know him well enough to hit on some things that may be weighing him down. Now you've gone from conflict to teachable moment. His consequences for the conflict will have more positive effect if they come within the context of a teachable moment.

Helping Your Child with Weight Management

August 16th, 2019

Our children are constantly growing, getting bigger, developing their adult bodies. That growth will not stop until age 18-25 years. If your child is a bit pudgy, she will likely grow into her adult weight without extra effort. We all tend to grow out before we grow up. However, if her weight is a concern for her, or if it limits her fun activities or self-image, then you may want to help her address her concerns.  First, active listen her feelings. Help her fully understand how she feels about her current weight. Then, with permission, give her the stats on her current weight. If she does not have a medical condition, called obesity, then her being a little pudgy can be addressed with nutrition, weight management, and behavioral strategies. Let her take the lead on if/how she wants to address her concerns, but have her back in terms of cheerleading, food prep, and exercise. If you could stand to lose a pound or two as well, then join her in her adventure. Joint goals are always a shared experience that can lead to greater emotional bonding and teachable moments.

What’s Behind Your Child’s Anger?

August 14th, 2019

Only 2% of the time is anger a primary feeling. That's called righteous indignation, when what you are witnessing is just...not...right. The other 98% of the time there is another feeling that the anger is covering. Since anger is the most socially acceptable negative feeling we all have, we feel better saying "I'm angry," than owning up to, "I'm frustrated, I'm embarrassed, I feel self-conscious" or other primary feelings. When your child expresses or demonstrates, active listen her feelings. When you see her emotional fever going down, then switch from this secondary feeling to her primary feeling by asking, "I understand, sweetheart, that you are angry, but what else is going on?" Now, that's kind of an essay question, and we know that most kids don't do so well with essay questions. If you get a puzzled look, a shrug, or other noncommittal response, make your essay question a multiple choice question. You know your child well enough to come up with several options for what else she is feeling. After active listening to understand all the feelings involved, and her emotional fever has subsided, you can then brainstorm things she can say or do to address her feelings constructively. "What else is going on?" is a great avenue for teachable moments.

Can you choose your child’s friends?

August 12th, 2019

         We all want our children to have friends. They are the source of fun, fellowship, and play. But can we choose our child's friends? The answer is yes, but at cost to your relationship with your child. Do you want to risk that? Rather than simply say no, use your active listening and wise counsel to help you child make good choices. Also, with younger children, their friends are usually the children of our friends. Further, putting them in places where you have confidence of good friendships, and where there is adult supervision, such as play groups, sports, and club activities, gives you influence without making the choice for him. Choosing your child's friends is a slippery slope, and your healthy parenting skills can keep you off that hill.

Connecting with Your Child, Try Active Listening

August 10th, 2019

It's great when things are going well with your child and between you and her. These good times are when you can instruct, direct, check-in, and offer teachable moments. When your child is in a funk, however, use active listening to hone in on her feelings and to help her sort them out. Active listening is the way to be there for her, helping her sort through all of her feelings and helping her work on getting through her stuff. It's not about judging, criticizing, or even solving the problems for her. It's about listening, really good, for her feelings and sharing back with her what you think is going on, so she can problem solve. In such a way, you really connect with her, leading to a valued teachable moment.

Asking Your Child’s Permission

August 6th, 2019

Your kids have lots of things on their minds. You have wisdom for them. However, if you just drop it on them, you are likely to miss your mark. Look for entry points, where your words will have meaning. Where you see a wrinkled brow, a sigh of frustration, other signs of emotional fever, start by active listening. Now you are on the same page. When you believe he is ready to hear your wisdom, ask permission, such as, "I have some thoughts about what's going on with you. Do you want to hear them? Likely, you will get permission to share. If you don't, then follow with "Okay, then. Let me know when you'd like my help." This leaves the door open and your child receptive to your wise counsel. Asking permission always strengthens relationship.

Keep Them Safe at all Cost

August 4th, 2019

Of course you want your child to grow up to be healthy and well in mind, body, and spirit. We all want that for our children. Sadly, that won't happen if tragedy strikes. As your children make their way through life's stages, keep vigilance, instruct them, be there for them. When your children know that you have their back always, they can feel confident to tackle life's challenges and reach their goals. Use active listening. Find teachable moments. Challenge them to think through their choices and decisions before making them. Help them find a nurturing network of kindred spirit where they can have healthy fun together. Keep them safe at all cost.

Letting Go is Hard to Do

August 2nd, 2019

And you thought helping your child stand and walk, get his homework done, making friends was the hardest part of parenting. Nope. It's simply letting go. Letting your child try and fail is a better lesson than doing it for them. The best lesson we will ever teach our children is how to handle their own problems well. When a lesson opportunity comes up, instead of jumping in with "no" or just giving her the answers, ask, "Well, how do you think you should handle this situation?" Brainstorm together, active listen her concerns, ask permission to give any ideas you might have, but let the outcome be hers, but with your supervision and built-in accountability. This is what I call the Principle of Responsible Freedom. I will give you the freedom you request, and expect you to be responsible. If at any time you are irresponsible, then I will pull back on the freedom. Even the hardest part of parenting can be a teachable moment.

Developmental Stages of Parenting

July 31st, 2019

We know that children go through developmental stages, but did you know that we parents do also? Our parenting stages identify the best kind of parental response for what your child is doing in their developmental stage. It would be silly to tell our newborn to get his own bottle, huh!  So, as parents, we go through hands-on parenting, directed parenting, advice-based parenting, and consultative parenting as our child ages and matures. This match gives us the best opportunity to connect with our child and to guide them successfully through life. As our child grows and matures, we go less for him and more with him, offering teachable moments all the way.

How to Handle the Stubborn Child

July 29th, 2019

Every child goes through a stubborn time or two...or three or four... Stubborn attitude is actually a good thing in moderation. It's your child's way of asserting herself, testing her wings, defining her personal identity. It's also a challenge to your authority, a stalling tactic, and can lead to relational distance. As the parent, you can use your power and ascribed authority to make her do what you say. Sadly, while you could do that, you would likely lose emotional intimacy with her. Alternatively, you can use your relationship to help her work through her stubborn streak and make it a teachable moment. After using active listening to lower her emotional fever, with permission, give her agreeable options that help her do what you want her to do. When she yields and complies, be sure to thank her for her cooperation and "big girl" decision. Yep. That's a teachable moment.

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