Monthly Archives: January 2016

Including Young People in the Decision-Making Process

Including Young People in the Decision-Making Process. Episode #4 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #4 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

Click arrow to listen to the 90-second podcast.

We all want to raise kids who are emotionally and socially intelligent and are able to recover from disappointment to grow stronger every day into adulthood

As caring adults and parents, it is our responsibility to make decisions that will keep young people safe from harm. However, there are many decisions that affect the day-to-day lives of youth that aren’t related to their immediate safety.

Young children can easily be involved in the process of making simple decisions for themselves, with guidance and support from adults. When discussing rules or other decisions, youth may express what they want, and adults can ask questions to help them think through the potential positive and negative consequences of those decisions. Through open communication with adults, children begin to understand how to weigh the pros and cons of any choice they make. Then, as the children demonstrate increased decision-making skills and responsibility, the adults may gradually allow the children greater input in choices that affect them. Because they started small and were later involved in increasingly complex decisions, young people will feel more prepared to take on these challenges.

Youth who are included in the decision-making process – especially when those choices directly affect them – learn many important resiliency skills, such as healthy communication, responsibility, accountability, and critical thinking. They are also more likely to have a greater sense of independence and stronger “buy-in” to the results of those decisions, because they had a voice in determining their own future.

Raising Kids Who Can Cope is a 28-part series developed to build skills, knowledge and awareness in adults who play a role in young people’s lives. It is brought to you by Jackson County UW-Extension and Together for Jackson County Kids. Find out more at Raising Kids Who Can Cope.

References

Ginsburg, K.R. & Jablow, M.M. (2011). Building Resilience in Children and Teens. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

United States Department of Agriculture (2011). Essential Elements: 4-H National Headquarters Fact Sheet. Washington D.C.: 4-H National Headquarters.

Modeling Behavior: Being the Person You Want Your Child to See

Modeling Behavior: Being the Person You Want Your Child to See. Issue #3 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope (2)

Episode 3 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

Click arrow to listen to the 90-second podcast.

We all want to raise kids who are emotionally and socially intelligent and are able to recover from disappointment to grow stronger every day into adulthood

When a child behaves in a way we disapprove or has trouble coping with a situation we may see as “no big deal”, it can be frustrating for us as adults. We can be quick to see the child’s actions as misbehavior or defiance, especially if we feel we’ve asked them repeatedly not to act that way. But if we tell our child to do one thing and then do the opposite ourselves, we’re sending a mixed message to our child on how to behave.

Modeling healthy behavior is very important in teaching a child how to cope with stress. Modeling behavior means demonstrating through your actions how you want your child to deal with stressful situations by using healthy coping skills. Children learn as much from watching us as they do from what we tell them. If we model unhealthy coping methods, a child is most likely going to mimic our actions even if we tell them not to.  If our actions are consistent with how we tell our child to behave, it reinforces the positive skills we’re trying to teach them.  The more we model positive behavior in front of our children, the less often we have to repeat our expectations to them.

Raising Kids Who Can Cope is a 28-part series developed to build skills, knowledge and awareness in adults who play a role in young people’s lives. It is brought to you by Jackson County UW-Extension and Together for Jackson County Kids. Find out more at Raising Kids Who Can Cope.

References

Ginsburg, K. R. (2011). Building Resiliency in Children and Teens. Grove Village IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Effective Communication: A Life Long Skill

Effective Communication: A Life Long Skill. Issue #2 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #2 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

Click arrow to listen to the 90-second podcast.

We all want to raise kids who are emotionally and socially intelligent and are able to recover from disappointment to grow stronger every day into adulthood

Listening to what a child says and not just hearing her or him is a start to helping them work through an issue. Showing we are listening leads to more effective communication and better understanding for everyone.

We can show that we are listening through a few easy steps. facing towards a person that is talking, nodding our head as they talk, and having open posture not arms crossed in front of our body are nonverbal ways of showing that we are paying attention to a person while she or he is speaking. We can also show that we are listening by rephrasing back to the speaker what she or he has said and asking clarification questions. These techniques are called active listening.

When we want to get a point across or express how we’re feeling to someone else there are simple tricks for that as well. Use “I statements” such as “I want you to…” or “I feel happy or sad when…” instead of just saying “you, you, you” all the time.  When people, especially children, hear “you” all the time it can start to sound like blaming and they can tune out or start to feel less about themselves.  By using “I statements” we let them know how we feel about something and what we would like to happen without sounding like we’re accusing or blaming.

Raising Kids Who Can Cope is a 28-part series developed to build skills, knowledge and awareness in adults who play a role in young people’s lives. It is brought to you by Jackson County UW-Extension and Together for Jackson County Kids. Find out more at Raising Kids Who Can Cope.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics. (10/10/2014). Components of Good Communication. Healthychildren.org Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Components-of-Good-Communication.aspx

American Academy of Pediatrics. (10/10/2014). Components of Good Communication. Healthychildren.org Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Communication-Dos-and-Donts.aspx

Listening… Really Listening to Young People

Listening (Really Listening) to Young People. Issue #1 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #1 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

Click arrow to listen to the 90-second podcast.

We all want to raise kids who are emotionally and socially intelligent and are able to recover from disappointment to grow stronger every day into adulthood

A great place to start is by listening to them. Kids are like anyone else. They have voices and things to say. They want to be heard. If we model good listening, they will learn those skills too.

But listening is more than hearing. Hearing is simply a sense that most of us have, while listening is a skill based on paying attention. When you really pay attention to young people – that is, taking in not only the words they say, but also the sound of their voice and their body language – you can become a sounding board for what they are thinking and feeling, which can help them process through their emotions and learn from them.

In order to really listen, you may need to temporarily turn off your “adult alarm” – or that part of the brain where red flags of concern go up for our children. Stay calm and allow them to talk through what they are thinking or experiencing. Stopping them to lecture not only cuts off communication, but it prevents them from reaching their own understanding of their situation.

When the lines of communication stay open, you, as the adult, will have plenty of time to provide advice – if they ask for it – or share your values and opinions in nonjudgmental ways after the young person has talked out the issue.

Raising Kids Who Can Cope is a 28-part series developed to build skills, knowledge and awareness in adults who play a role in young people’s lives. It is brought to you by Jackson County UW-Extension and Together for Jackson County Kids. Find out more at Raising Kids Who Can Cope.

References

Horowitz, S. (2012, November 9). The Science and Art of Listening. The New York Times Sunday Review. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Ginsburg, K.R. & Kinsman, S.B. (2013, December 3). How to Communicate With and Listen to Your Teen. Healthy Children: American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from http://www.healthychildren.org.