Stepping Back instead of Blowing Up

Stepping Back instead of Blowing Up. Episode #24 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #24 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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

We love our children with all of our heart and only want the best for them. Sometimes though they do things that aggravate us in ways never we thought possible and push buttons we never knew we had.  It’s difficult to think clearly and make good decisions when we’re angry.  Anger can cloud our minds and make it hard to think about anything other than the negative. When we’re angry at our child it’s important to control our emotions and not say things we may later regret.

A skill we can use is to give ourselves time to cool off before talking to our child about why we’re upset.  Tell the child that we’re upset with what they did and that we’ll talk about it once we’ve had time to cool down.  This isn’t letting them off the hook for the behavior that made us upset; it’s giving us time to collect ourselves before we deal with the situation.

Once we’ve stepped back it’s important that we think about what’s making us angry and ask ourselves some questions.  How serious of an offense was our child’s behavior that made us angry? Was our initial anger justified or are there other things going on in our life that may have affected how we reacted. What would we like to see be the outcome of this situation?

Stepping back helps keep anger from leading to a fight where we say things we later regret.  Taking time to cool off can help us have a better conversation with our child about why we’re upset and what our expectations are for them. Our children learn how to interact with others by watching and mimicking us. By stepping back before blowing up we’re teaching our children that we control our emotions, our emotions do not control us.

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.

Strengthening Families Program for Children 11-14 Curriculum. Iowa State University Extension. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/sfp10-14/

Hovering Can Hurt: Helicopter Parenting Hurts Competence and Coping

Hovering Can Hurt: Helicopter Parenting Hurts Competency and Coping. Episode #23 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #23 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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 parents and caregivers, we all want what is best for our child. We want to make sure that our child is happy, feels loved and grows up to be a good person.  Some parents want this so badly, that they insist on making all of their child’s decisions, as well as sacrificing everything, to protect their child from the world and everyone in it.  These parents are often referred to as “Helicopter Parents”.

Helicopter parents hover over their children like helicopters, constantly rescuing and protecting them from teachers, other kids, and the rest of the cruel world. They rush to prevent any harm from befalling their children and interfere with letting them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even against the children’s wishes.

This style of parenting can send a message to the child that says, “You can’t help yourself. I have to do things for you.”  This may do more harm than good, causing the child to grow up fragile and unable to make good decisions or take on a leadership role in their own lives.

Take a step back and allow children to make their own decisions, be held accountable for their actions, and take ownership of their own problems. It will help them become better leaders and build their confidence. If we encourage resilience and reward perseverance, we teach our children that we believe they are strong enough and smart enough to do things on their own, and give them the tools they need to become responsible, capable adults.

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

Fay, J. (1995). Helicopters, Drill Sergeants and Consultants: Parenting Styles and the Messages They Send. Love & Logic Press.

Kress, Cathann. “Weaker for the Kindness, See You There.” Iowa State Extension. Available at http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/seeyouthere/2014/09/04/weaker-for-the-kindness/

Teaching Children to Effectively Handle Bullying

Teaching Children to Effectively Handle Bullying. Episode #22 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #22 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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

Bullying happens in life and not only to children. It is important to develop some good strategies early on that help children and adults to handle it effectively and minimize its impact on us as individuals.

First, we need to identify it correctly. Sometimes what we call bullying is simply rude or mean. If a person says something thoughtlessly that offends us, that is rude behavior. If they offend or hurt us intentionally one time, that is mean. Bullying is repeated mean behavior that is intended to exert power over another person.

So, how can we support our children when it is definitely bullying? Before we ever address how to stop the bullying, we need to stop and make sure our children understand that what is taking place does not change the good core of who they are. Build their self-confidence so they know they are loved. Let them know the best way they can withstand the bullies’ words or actions is to believe in their hearts that they do not deserve to be treated poorly.

Remind them that they are powerful people, not victims, and if they are sure they are physically safe, they can choose to speak up for themselves. Discourage responding to bullying by being bullies. Help them identify allies who will stand with them and hopefully stand up for them in the face of bullying. And let them see us, as adults, caring enough to stand up for others when it is needed.

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

Wilson, Signe (2012). Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying: Defining the Differences. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/signe-whitson/bullying_b_2188819.html

Olsen, J. & Pace, K. (2013). Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming & Fair Environments. Michigan State University Extension. East Lansing, MI.

“I’m Different.” Helping a Child Cope with Being Different from Their Peers and Demonstrating Acceptance

"I'm different." Helping a Child Cope with Being Different from Their Peers and Demonstrating Acceptance. Episode #21 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #21 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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

Adolescence can be hard on anyone but for children who are told they are different or feel that they are don’t fit in it can be exceptionally difficult. There are countless messages a person can be told that they don’t fit in with society. Often times it is due to their sexual identity or orientation, other common messages a person is told they don’t belong are due to their race, they have mental illness, they don’t have the right body type, or their poor.  These messages can come at a person from the media, their peers, their community and even their family.

The negative messages that an adolescent is given telling them that they are bad or less than others because of something they have no control over have immediate and lasting effects on their confidence and self-worth.

Self-worth and confidence in ourselves is important at any stage in life. While navigating the sometimes difficult path of adolescence these qualities are essential.  We can nurture our child’s confidence by helping them to recognize their feelings and to learn from their successes and failures; as well as setting reasonable expectations and giving them genuine praise when appropriate.

Children who are dealing with being different from what they’re told is normal need additional support from us. First and foremost they need to know that they are loved and supported. We can help our child by being there to listen when they are frustrated and fight against discrimination. We don’t want to blame our child for being different or telling them just to stop being who they are or to somehow hide it.  Hardest of all we also need to look inside ourselves and recognize our own prejudices and stigmas we carry around and how that affects our child.

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.

Healthy Ways of Managing Stress

Healthy Ways of Managing Stress. Episode #20 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #20 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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

It seems that everyone – from children to adults – is dealing with stress. There seems to be no end to the expectations and commitments placed on us. It can be overwhelming sometimes.

There are lots of unhealthy ways to manage our emotions, and they can actually add to the stress, so it is important to recognize and use healthy strategies. Here are a few that can help us as well as children.

It is important to simply notice and acknowledge our feelings. Similarly when we observe the symptoms of stress in children, it is important to let them know it is okay to feel sad or angry or upset. By giving them words, we give them the power to express their feelings in the future.

We also experience a release when we talk with someone we trust about our stressors and how we feel. It is the same for children. Be that trustworthy individual in their lives to give them a nonjudgmental outlet with whom to share their feelings.

Finally, it helps when we make the intentional choice to change our perspective, to see ourselves and our situations in a positive light, pick out the silver linings in what we are experiencing, and take strength from the lessons learned. Then, role model this positive thinking with young people so they can appreciate the benefits too.

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

North Carolina Cooperative Extension, http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/fcs457.pdf.org.

Recognizing Stressors

Recognizing Stressors. Episode #19 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #19 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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 adults, we are very busy with parenting and work. We often feel stressed and experience burn-out from dealing with day-to-day situations.  But would you ever think that your child can experience stress too?

Studies tell us that many children experience extreme stress and have similar symptoms as those of adults. Stress is the body’s reaction to a physical or emotional situation that causes imbalance in a person’s life.  Children may show signs of stress in several ways such as becoming ill, acting nervous and withdrawn, or showing anger and demanding attention.  Some things that could cause a child stress might be death, divorce, remarriage, moving, abuse, natural disaster and so on.

One way to help your child learn to deal with their stress is to acknowledge their feelings. It is important that a child understands what they are feeling, and can begin to understand how to cope or problem solve to reduce the amount of stress they may be under.  You do not need to be a therapist to help your child cope with stress.  One key element in reducing stress is providing a stress-free environment in which children feel supported, providing opportunities to think through possible solutions and opportunities to learn new ways to avoid stress.

Children who are around supportive adults and caregivers usually develop a variety of coping strategies and are likely to become more resilient. By helping your child learn to solve problems on their own, you will help them to become stronger adults and viable community members.  Who knows, you may even learn a thing or two about dealing with your own stress in the process.

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

Virginia State Cooperative Extension, http://www.ext.vt.edu

North Carolina Cooperative Extension,  http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/fcs457.pdf

Helping Your Child Through Breakups

Helping Your Child Through Breakups. Episode #18 - Raising Kids Who Can Cope

Episode #18 in the “Raising Kids Who Can Cope” Series

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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

Breakups can be difficult for teenagers. Whether it’s breaking up with a first love or the drifting apart of childhood friends the ending of a relationship can be a traumatic time for male and female teens.  It can be tricky sometimes to know the difference between what we think our children want and what they actually need during these difficult situations. When our child is hurting from a breakup we instinctively want to help them and make them feel better.

Talking is one of the best medicines for a broken heart.  Emphasizing with our teens and letting them know we’re there to talk about the breakup when they’re ready is a great way to show love and support.  We shouldn’t force teens into talking about their breakup.  They might not be ready to talk or would rather talk to their friends. If they do decide to talk to us it’s important to listen and show empathy.

Writing can also be a good outlet for teens to express their pain.  That means writing in a journal or diary not all over social media.  Telling them not to put their whole heart out on the internet is good advice to give anyone.  Remind them that the things they say on the internet can be seen by more than just their friends and what they say could make them look bad and can’t truly be taken back once on the internet.

Finally, telling teens “get over it”, or “you two were never going to work out anyways” may seem to us like helping but doesn’t show empathy. On the other had we don’t want to get wrapped up in our child’s emotions and badmouth their ex. Instead we should model our behavior by choosing the words we use to talk about their ex carefully and talking about how we understand breakups can be very painful and our own experiences with 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.