Parenting on Purpose

Parenting on Purpose

You Said WHAT is On The Windshield?

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

The fact that your actions have consequences is a concept that young children don’t always understand. When they are babies, the world revolves around them. Their desires and needs are more important than anyone else’s, and because they’re so important, they come to believe that they can do whatever makes them feel good in the moment, which is as it should be. They don’t have the capacity to recognize that their behavior impacts others.

To some people, this may sound good. After all, you’re on this earth to experience joy. Being happy is important and you know that you must be happy and keep your vibration up if you’re going to attract good things into your life.

Why is it important that children learn about consequences? How can you teach them to take certain actions without bringing down their vibration? Even more importantly, how do you demonstrate that modifying their behavior doesn’t mean they should ignore their own needs and desires?

Because it is essential in society that we recognize and respect other people, it’s important for kids to learn how their actions might impact others. This doesn’t mean that you want to raise your children to be doormats, but you want them to be able to identify their needs and desires, while carefully considering how their actions may impact the people around them.

You want them to know the difference and to understand when some of their desires may have a negative effect on others. You should also show them how modifying their behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that their desires won’t be met.

This is what you do when you teach children to share. You’re teaching your kids to recognize that other people have feelings, needs, and desires, too. Kids begin to learn that the consequences of not sharing their toys may mean feeling the displeasure of their parents and also their friends.

Every day, we are all faced with making decisions. You’ll have a better chance of being truly happy with the outcome when you can see far enough ahead to predict what the consequences may be. This is a skill that you acquire with practice, coaching, and maturity.

Adults know that if they drink too much alcohol, they might do something they regret while impaired or have one painful headache the next morning. By knowing the consequences before taking action, you can choose to modify your behavior.

Some people will decide they can live with the headache, but they will have a designated driver or call a cab so they don’t risk having an accident. Some people will choose not to drink at all because they don’t like the potential consequences, and after checking with their Internal Guidance System, they decide that not drinking is the right path for them. Many others will fall somewhere in between these two outlooks by enjoying a cocktail or two, but only enough to be social or to relax. They won’t drink enough to become impaired.

That’s an adult example of why it’s important to understand consequences, but not necessarily how you want to teach the lesson to your children.

A more kid-friendly way to demonstrate the consequences of an action is with a simple houseplant. When you nurture the plant, giving it the water and sunlight that it needs, the plant will flourish. If you don’t feel like watering the plant because you’re too busy playing, the plant may survive for a few days, but will begin to wilt and ultimately die.

With a simple example, kids learn about taking on a responsibility and what happens if they shirk that responsibility. Does it require modifying their behavior? A little bit, but only for a short time. It doesn’t preclude them from going out to play. Instead, it’s just a short delay.

Many types of consequence occur in your everyday life, which you can use to help your children to understand this message. You close the windows in the car to keep the weather and bugs out. You walk the dog so it doesn’t soil the carpet. You refrigerate some foods so that they don’t spoil, and so on.

Sometimes, you learn that considering the consequences of an intended action are worth it. You like parking in the shade of trees to keep your car cool. And you feel pleasure in hearing birds sing.

But if you want to hear the birds sing, sometimes, you just have to accept a little birdie business on the windshield.

Your comments are welcome.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

The Importance of Eye Contact With Kids

posted by srballantine
Bigstock Photos

Bigstock Photos

How many times have you most probably said to our kids, “look at me when I’m talking to you?” Why do you suppose you say this? Maybe you want to know they are hearing and paying attention to what you’re saying. It’s more challenging to ignore someone when they are looking at you. We want to be heard by our kids and understood as well.

Life is busy in our modern families with tasks and to do’s, which can overshadow our chances for good communication. In our effort to be everywhere the kids need to be and have family dinners etc. we may be moving through our family time with little chance for true connection because of all the activity. Eye contact with our kids is vital for this connection.

 Why is eye contact with our children so important?

~Eye contact can facilitate communication and understanding and we want to be able to communicate on many different levels with our kids.

~ “Eyes are the windows to the soul.” Looking into your child’s eyes gives you access to a more profound level of communicating. For example, when you are accessing a deeper level, it may come across to you as a feeling or intuition.

~ You can more easily identify with how they’re feeling, as emotion is hard to hide from the eyes. When you have an idea of how they feel you can more readily choose how to support them. For example, your child is saying one thing but their eyes say something else.

~ It’s an exchange of energy and you can choose what energy you send to them. For example, if your child is angry you can help soothe the situation by showing the calm, love and ease in your eyes.

~ Your kids will know they have your attention when you look into their eyes.

~ There is a potential for compromise when this connection is initiated. For example, your child will see and feel that you want to reach an agreement by what you are showing them with your gaze.

~ You have the opportunity to really “see” your kids, as it’s a deliberate way of observing how they are reacting and feeling. For example, as you have eye contact, you can readily observe their body language etc.

Conscious parenting involves being deliberate in what we project toward our kids.

Your children will be affected in a profound way by how you look at them. What they see in your eyes can be so much more powerful than what you are saying. Help your children feel the power of your love and support with the loving energy than you exude from your eyes into theirs.

Your comments are welcome.

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Back To School Help For Reducing Stress

posted by srballantine

 

cartoon_girl_with_blank_notebookKids today suffer far more stress and burn out than you did when you were their age. While no life is completely stress-free, too much stress is as damaging to your kids as it is to you. When your kids are stressed, it’s hard for your life to be peaceful as well.

Stress is part of your life even during happy times such as weddings, graduations, or even parties. This sort of stress is positive in nature but must be balanced nonetheless.

Summer vacation is often a relaxed time for kids, filled with lots of fun activities and time for respite. Now that the school year is about to start (or maybe even has started), kids are already starting to feel the pressure, stress, and anxiety that so often accompanies the school year.

It’s important that you avoid minimizing the impact of stress in your child’s lives. Long-term stress has serious mental and physical health consequences, including an effect on their ability to concentrate. Stress even increases kid’s risk for anxiety disorders and clinical depression.

Parents can help their kids by recognizing when their stress levels get too high. You can also help them incorporate stress-busting habits into their lives. Not only will these tools help them throughout their K-12 experiences, but they will be able to take advantage of these tools when they go on to college and into the workforce.

First, as much as you want your kids to tell you when they’re feeling stressed, they won’t always do so. Some kids just don’t even know how to recognize what stress feels like. Others may not feel like confiding in you even if they told you everything in the past. They may be trying to solve things on their own. Some may even feel they are too “grown up” to need your help.

If you keep your eyes open to changes in their behavior, you can help your kids identify when they are stressed and how that feels. Being able to recognize the feeling is the first step in being able to shift it.

Signs of stress in your children can include changes in behavior such as withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy, hiding out in their room, or being more grumpy or sad than usual. Even a change in posture or less attention to physical appearance could be indicators.
There may be physical signs as well. Are your children losing or gaining weight? Complaining about head or stomachaches? These are physical symptoms of too much stress.

When you notice signs of stress, encourage your children to check in with their Internal Guidance System. Are they feeling happy or less than happy,and what are they wanting? This will not only help them identify if they’re stressed, but it will help them discern between too much stress and the good stress that is related to excitement or challenge-related nervousness.

Their IGS will also help guide them on how to handle their stress best. What works for you may not work as well for them.

That being said, here are some suggestions for keeping stress at bay, and reducing it if it does get to be too much:

1. Get out! Getting fresh air and sunshine is wonderful to reduce stress and lift your spirits. This can be active time or a time of quiet, a few minutes in your own backyard, or an afternoon hike. Encourage your kids to be active!

2. Maintain healthy eating and drinking habits. When you feel stressed, it’s common to grab a quick jolt of sugar or caffeine, but during stressful periods it is even more important to take care of your body by giving it good nutrition and plenty of water.Kids also need good nutrition to feel good.

3. Be real. The online world may be fun, but people generally post the good stuff they are doing so it may seem that “everyone” is more with it than you are, gets more done, and is generally just having a better life than you are.

4. Plan for fun. People tend to schedule their work, but you should let fun fit in wherever. By planning in some fun time, your kids will be less stressed. Raise their vibrations on a regular basis and recognize that this is an important part of being a healthy person.

5. Nighttime rituals. Everyone needs sleep, especially teenagers. As much as they will want to sleep until noon, school schedules don’t generally work with that pattern. Encourage your kids to get to sleep early enough so their bodies and minds have enough time to get the rest they need.

By establishing a nighttime routine, they will be able to relax and fall asleep more readily. Writing in a gratitude journal is one great part of a bedtime routine, preferably an old-fashioned one with pen and paper since the lights from computers, phones, and tablets can disrupt sleep patterns.

With healthy stress reducing habits and regularly checking in with their IGS, kids will be able to handle the important things that come their way. Not only that, they will be able to determine when they need a break and what tools work best for them to keep their stress at a healthy level.

Your thoughts?
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

Helping Children Through Sadness

posted by srballantine

 

 

Bigstock photos

Bigstock photos

There are times in life when you’re faced with sadness. It happens to everyone. Children are certainly not immune from experiencing unhappy events. As a parent, you can help your children cope with and work through their feelings in healthy ways.

Humans experience a wide range of emotions and there are a lot of names for these emotions. It isn’t that the emotions are good or bad; they just are; yet, how you feel as a result of those emotions can be described as feeling happy or excited or feeling sad or angry.

As a child, you’d naturally gravitate towards the things that feel good, but you didn’t necessarily know how to deal with the strong negative emotions that are part of life. If you envision a pendulum with extreme joy on one end and utter heartbreak on the other end of the swing, then you can better understand emotions for a child.

For most adults, the emotional pendulum doesn’t swing to the extremes very often. You may spend more time in the mid-range of emotions.

Children are different. They experience the extreme ends of the pendulum swing, sometimes very quickly swinging from one mood to the other completely, bypassing many emotions in the middle. The cause of strong negative emotions may seem to be quite small and insignificant to you.

Kids also can experience major loss, whether it is a friend moving away, an older sibling going away to college, parents going through divorce, or the death of a beloved pet. Whether or not you think the child’s reaction is appropriate to the situation is irrelevant in these cases. In moments like this, the emotion for them is real, and it is big.

Rather than focusing on being able to identify what the feeling is or where it is on the emotional pendulum exactly, it is important for kids simply to recognize how they feel. Ask yourself — do they feel good or do they feel bad?

Once your children are able to recognize how they are feeling, you can help them deal with the emotion, and the issue behind the emotion. It is important to allow children to experience negative emotions and sometimes you just have to let them feel it, even if it is hard for you as a parent to see your child in pain.

You don’t want to just ignore the feeling and hope it will go away. It probably won’t. On the other hand, the more you focus on feeling sad and the longer you stay in that vibration, the more opportunities to feel sadness will come your way.

One thing you can do to help as a parent is to learn to recognize the signs in your child that the intense emotional period is waning. Then you can coach your kids to discuss how they are feeling. By encouraging them to check in with their feelings as you talk with them, you can help them learn to shift their emotional pendulum so it starts to swing back to the positive side.

But even if you’re handling your own grief over a situation, remember to tell your children that feeling sad is OK and that’s it’s a normal human reaction to bad situations. Give them all the support you can, and spend as much time with them as possible. Just be wary of signs that indicate that your kids aren’t handling grief as they should, such as acting out at home and at school, an extended period of depression, seeing behaviors that are those of children younger than their actual age (regression), or loss of sleep and appetite. These behaviors could indicate that professional help may be necessary, if they last for any length of time.

But usually, some care, understanding and allowing children to express their grief will be all kids need to bounce back. Even when it comes to emotions, kids can be quite resilient.

Your thoughts?

© 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

 

Previous Posts

You Said WHAT is On The Windshield?
The fact that your actions have consequences is a concept that young children don’t always understand. When they are babies, the world revolves around them. Their desires and needs are more important than anyo

posted 8:10:47pm Aug. 27, 2014 | read full post »

The Importance of Eye Contact With Kids
How many times have you most probably said to our kids, “look at me when I’m talking to you?” Why do you suppose you say this? Maybe you want to know they are hearing and paying attention to what you’re

posted 7:53:44pm Aug. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Back To School Help For Reducing Stress
  Kids today suffer far more stress and burn out than you did when you were their age. While no life is completely stress-free, too much stress is as damaging to your kids as it is to you. When your kids are stressed, it’s hard for your life to be peaceful as well. Stress is part of you

posted 2:04:40pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Helping Children Through Sadness
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