Punishing Children for Being Human

Friday, May 20, 2016 No comments



There’s an excerpt from my book, The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting, that has been around the world. It is my most widely seen quote to date, and also happens to be the most controversial because people misunderstand it without its surrounding context.

“So often, children are punished for being human. They are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet, we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.”

Many parents understand the quote’s meaning, which is children aren’t perfect and that we often expect much better behavior and more self-control from our children than what even we, as grown-ups, are able to demonstrate. They have expressed wholehearted agreement and acknowledged that they, too, have been guilty of holding their children to a higher standard than they hold themselves to.

Still, there are many others who have misunderstood it to mean that we shouldn’t hold children accountable for their behavior and that we should disregard all disrespect and bad attitudes, which obviously isn’t what I’m suggesting at all.

To give context to this quote, here is what I say in my book directly afterward: “Of course, I’m not saying to always “let them by with it” just because they’re human. Teach them better! Teach them it’s not okay to project a bad mood on those around you. Teach them how to handle frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment. Teach them that it’s not acceptable to be rude to people.
Hold them to a high standard! But please, hold yourself to one, too.

Don’t project your bad moods. Learn how to handle your frustration, anger, fear, sadness, or disappointment. Don’t be rude to them. We all need high standards, and do you know what else we all need? A little grace. You know better, but sometimes you have a bad day and say something that isn’t nice, or you slam a door, or you yell at your kids.

We aren’t robots. Sometimes life is just plain hard, and we need a break, not a lecture. We need a hug, not a scornful look. We know we did wrong, but we’re having a hard time. We just need grace. The same goes for our children.”



Here’s a good exercise:

Listen to yourself and the other adults in the home today and notice whether anything you say or do would land you in trouble if you were the child.

Did you ignore your toddler while he was talking to you?

Did you yell at someone?

Have you spoken with a tone of disrespect?

Has your partner?

Did you slam a door, roll your eyes, or huff at another request?

It’s an eye opening exercise because we realize that most of us do at least one thing that we would scold our child for doing.

We have reasons, of course. We are stressed because of work. We’re sleep-deprived because of the baby. We are sick or achy or hormonal. We are good people who are trying hard and who occasionally mess up. We tend to look at the reasons behind our own behavior and give ourselves a little grace for making mistakes.

But when our kids do it, we don’t look at the reasons behind it. We see them as bratty or naughty, and we skip straight to correction. It’s okay for us to be human, but we expect better of our kids, and that’s not fair.

If I can’t keep my temper in check at all times, I don’t expect my children to have perfect emotional control. If I can’t watch my tone and speak with a kind voice always, how can I expect my little ones to manage this?

We expect these little children with their underdeveloped brains and limited life experiences to behave better than grown men and women. And if you don’t believe me, listen to the next presidential debate or spend some time scrolling your social media newsfeeds.

I’m in full support of high standards. I think we ought to expect our children to be kind, thoughtful, and well-mannered. I think we ought to live up to our own expectations, too.

It is, of course, extremely important to teach our children that it is never good to be rude or disrespectful. Children, and all humans, should be held accountable for their actions. Failing to correct our kids when they need correction is permissiveness, and that isn't positive parenting. It isn't parenting at all. They must be taught to do better, and we must do better, collectively, as well. We adults must set the standard high and lead the way. We should also remember, though, that sometimes compassion is the best teacher. Sometimes grace is the solution.

I am a good person, but I also know that I am flawed. I am an imperfect human that messes up despite my best efforts, and I know that my little imperfect humans are going to mess up, too. That doesn’t make their poor choices “okay,” but it makes them understandable and gives us all a chance to grow and improve. Sometimes correction is absolutely necessary to be sure. And sometimes we just need a little grace.


**This post was originally published at Creative Child Magazine. Find more of my Creative Child articles here.

**********************************************************************
Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf




The Parenting Stuff We Don't Talk About

Thursday, May 19, 2016 No comments


Parenting is extremely complex, but we've tried for a long time to simplify it into discipline choices. We're told if we discipline a certain way, our kids will learn good behavior and ultimately turn out just fine.

But parenting is about so much more than just discipline.

At it's core, parenting is about relationships, and in our search for the perfect discipline tricks, we've lost sight of that. We are trained to ask "what do I do when my child...." rather than "how can I help this little person whom I love so much." We are fed study after study and opinion after opinion on the proper and least damaging way to discipline children, so it's no wonder that becomes our main focus.

But when discipline becomes our main focus, we neglect the bigger picture. Many of the other important aspects of parenting fall by the wayside as we mindfully, purposefully, intentionally focus on disciplining correctly.

I think it's time we broaden our lens. Let's back up and look at parenting in a new way - a much bigger way.

Let's Talk About Stories:
Parenting is a mixing of stories. Mom's story, Dad's story, brother's story and sister's story. Grandparents' stories and cultural stories. Media stories and unconscious stories.

And because you are holding the pen that writes the beginning of your little one's life story, it's smart to take a pause and look at your story first - look to see what is influencing the pen in your hand. What are your beliefs and where do they come from? Is your partner's beliefs about parenting in line with yours? What feeds your thoughts? What triggers your reactions? These things matter because they are at the heart of how you see and treat your children.

Let's Talk About Self-Control
What kind of example are we setting? Do we demand our children behave one way while we act in the opposite? Are we regularly losing it? You know that who we are and how we behave teaches so much more than what we say. It's time to talk about self-control.

Let's Talk About Our Marriages and Partnerships
Chances are there is somebody else involved in raising your child. Do you agree on parenting or are you polar opposites? Is this issue cause for contention in your relationship and in your home? Let's address it. Face it head on and get on the same page. It matters.

Let's Talk About Communication
Respectful, positive communication is important in growing strong, connected families. How do you communicate with your partner? Your kids? Positive, effective communication helps us understand one another, avoid conflict, and connect. It keeps us engaged in each other's lives.

Let's Talk About Trust
As I said, parenting is about relationships. A good parent-child relationship is built on a foundation of trust. How do we foster trust? How do we keep it strong as our children grow through various stages?
Building trust with an infant obviously looks much different than building trust with a tween. What if trust has been broken? How do you get it back?

Let's Talk About Family Culture
This is such a big topic. The atmosphere and family experience you provide is the world your child grows up in. It shapes her view of everything, including her self-worth. It influences her heart and mind every day, but many of us just allow our family culture to come together sort of haphazardly, without much intention or forethought, because our focus is elsewhere. Let's talk about your vision, your goals, your routines, and your traditions. This is what childhoods are made of.

Let's Talk About How We See Children
Take a look at cultural ideas and "truths" we've accepted and live by. Take a look at how this influences your parenting decisions. Let's challenge them to see if they're serving us well.

Let's Talk About Positive Discipline
Yes, discipline is an important factor, and it's good to learn positive tools that teach your children good values and skills while keeping hold of their hearts.

You will find all of this and more in my new one-of-a-kind parenting book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide.

                                     
Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf


Here's what people are saying about Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide:


"As I soaked up the wisdom contained in this book, two words kept coming to mind: positive pathways. No matter how challenging your family situation is or how long you’ve been going down a negative road, this book offers pathways to peace, connection, and true happiness. Through practical examples, detailed steps, and soul-stirring questions, Rebecca Eanes shows us how to reach our fullest potential as parents, partners, and human beings. Let Positive Parenting set you on a path to rewriting your story in all aspects of life, in the most positive way possible."
--Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times-bestselling author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life

“Rebecca Eanes has a deep understanding of what can hold mothers and fathers back from being the parents they want to be. Positive Parenting provides concrete tools to grow the self-discipline, connection, empathy, and techniques that will help parents (and their kids!) be their best.”
 --Andrea Nair, M.A., CCC Psychotherapist, parenting educator. Creator of the Taming Tantrums App

“Watch out: Eanes' book will transform your parenting, especially if you pause to do the self-work exercises.”
--Tracy Cutchlow, author of Zero to Five

"In our always connected world of social media and Google searches there is a never-ending flow of “new and better” parenting information. It's easy to get lost in the sea of “best practices.” The focus is often on changing kids’ behavior or all the reasons you are ruining your kids. The problem is that so much of what we read seems to conflict and leaves us feeling powerless rather than truly supporting parents and families. Rebecca's new book Positive Parenting emphasizes that parenting is far more than simply making kids comply. It's about real lives, relationships, and people; It's about real moms', dads' and kids' stories and how to make those stories incredible. This book gives the reader timeless, foundational principles and practices that help to build the parent, the child and the family as a whole from the inside out."
--Andy Smithson, www.truparenting.net


Positive Parenting beautifully illustrates the choices that modern-day parents have to raise healthy and successful children through nurturing, empathetic relationships. Bolstered by research in neuroscience and human development, Eanes shows how parents must grow alongside their children, and how this parallel journey helps young people reach their full potential. This is a must-read book for all who care enough about their children to reflect deeply on themselves as parents.”
--Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, Author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers


“In this one-of-a-kind book, Rebecca Eanes goes beyond just discipline to look at the big picture of parenting. If you're longing for more in your parenting journey -- more joy, more peace, more cooperation -- I recommend Positive Parenting!” 
--Jessica Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting


“In this valuable contribution to parenting, Rebecca Eanes provides insightful, effective and practical solutions to end family conflict and build loving connections. Her masterful approach allows parents to implement powerful strategies with ease and grace, forever transforming their family life. This is a must-read for every family that yearns to create peace and harmony.”
--Dr. Shefali Tsabary, New York Times-bestselling author of The Conscious Parent

"With a belief that each parent knows their own child best and that raising children should be enjoyable, not stressful, Rebecca Eanes helps parents develop their own positive parenting blueprints to create happy, loving families. Positive Parenting helps parents work through the difficult feelings that naturally occur throughout the parenting journey and provides strategies to help raise positive thinkers."
--Katie Hurley, LCSW, author of The Happy Kid Handbook

Child, Do I Have Your Heart?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 No comments



He was sitting in time-out again, tears streaming down his face, his eyes cast downward, and his chin quivering. His body was only feet away from me, but his heart was completely out of reach. I had won the battle, but at what cost? I wielded my parental authority and he knew I had power over him. He sat in the chair, defeated. I wasn't celebrating my victory, though. I'd come out on top of another power struggle, but our relationship was suffering, and both of us sat there with broken hearts. To be truthful, victory felt terrible. I longed to have the bond that we once had, my sweet baby boy and I. Oh, how I missed the joy.

And I know he missed it, too.

I had fallen into a trap. Caught in the net of societal expectations, I surrendered my inner voice. Rather than doing what I felt in my heart was right, I did what magazines, family members, and experts told me was right. Yet, it always felt so wrong. After months of daily power struggles and dampening my pillow with tears many nights, I made a decision.

This is not our story.

I looked back on the simple joy I felt when he was first placed in my arms, and I wished it wasn't so hard to reach now. I recalled his eyes, the trust and attachment reflected in them in those early months, and I noticed how his eyes had changed - now dimmed with caution and misunderstanding. My sweet, sensitive boy, have I lost your heart? The answer was yes, to a certain degree I had.

But not forever. There was still hope. There was still time to make things right.

Is this where you are today? Locked in daily power struggles? Missing the bond you once had with your child? Longing to reconnect and find the joy in parenting again?

I began searching. I knew there had to be a better way for us, and the positive parenting philosophy was the spark of hope I needed. I followed it, researching, practicing, and sharing what I was learning along the way.

The change was remarkable.

My hope is for all parents and children to experience heart-to-heart connection. Here are my top 5 tips to end the power struggles and reconnect.

1. Go into their world and stay a while. We are always pushing our rushed adult agendas on our children, so let's be mindful to pause for a beat and enter their worlds. This is where connection takes place. For small children, get down on the floor and play. Build forts or blocks. Put on a (pillowcase) cape and grab a paper towel tube sword. Play video games or watch their favorite show with them. The key is to be undistracted and to let them lead the play. Let them tell you their biggest worries and wildest dreams. Race down the slide and swing side by side. Consider adding "special time" in your nightly routine, where you lie down with each child individually and really listen.

2. Show your unwavering adoration. Kids make mistakes. Yes, even the most connected child will sometimes make a poor choice, but they need to know that nothing changes the positive view we have of them. Of course, for this to be true, they must first believe we have a positive view of them, and this requires us to be mindful of our language and tone. As Dr. Gordon Neufeld says, “Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior.”  Even during discipline, we should make it known that our love is steadfast. The message should be "I don't like what you did, but I love you always and I believe in you."

Even though I felt love for my child when we were in a cycle of constant time-outs, even though my love didn't waver, what he experienced was isolation and withdrawal of attention and warmth, and to a child, that doesn't exactly say "I love you." Yes, let them know when they are out of line. Express disappointment in their choice. Teach them how to do better. Just be aware of what they are experiencing when you're disciplining them.

Other ways to show unwavering adoration:

  • Show delight in them when they enter the room with a warm greeting and a smile, rather than giving an immediate demand or asking a question.
  • Notice the positive things they do and point them out.
  • Be the one who always sees their light and reflects it back to them.
  • Praise effort, not outcome. He/she may have struck out on the field, but he/she showed up and played. Acknowledge the showing up.
  • Give them the gift of undivided attention.

3. Look for the reasons behind the behavior. There was a time when I was so focused on my child's behavior, judging whether it was something that needed praised or punished, that I wasn't seeing clearly the little person behind the behavior. I missed his experience, his point of view, his feelings, and his heart. When we focus so intently on behavior modification, we can't see the whole child.  Look beyond behavior to the heart of the child.

4. Offer affirming words often.

  • I believe in you.
  • You can do it.
  • I'm so glad you're mine.
  • I'm proud of you.
  • You really put a lot of effort into that.
  • You're doing so well.
  • I noticed how you ____. I appreciate that.
  • You are my sunshine!
  • You're fun to be around. You always make me laugh.
  • That was so responsible of you!
It isn't just about heaping on praise. It's more about helping children establish a positive attitude and belief in themselves and their goodness and capabilities. Our voices eventually become their inner voices, so do them a favor and make sure it's positive, not critical.

5. Change your aim. The goal of good parenting isn't to change a child's behavior; it's to reach his heart. Children learn best from those they feel connected to, so to have real lasting influence, the connection must be strong. When the focus is on the good you already see and on cultivating the positive characteristics you want to grow rather than on weeding out the negative, your home will naturally be a more positive, peaceful place, and parenting will be much more joyful.

I read several parenting books when making my shift to positive parenting, and I noticed that almost all of the books out there are primarily about discipline strategies and leave out the many other important aspects of raising children well. Many parents on my Facebook page told me they wanted help with getting their partners on board with positive parenting. They wanted to know how to manage their anger triggers and stop yelling. They needed positive communication skills. They longed to end the power struggles and reconnect with their kids. They wanted to change their stories.

They wanted their joy back. 

Over the last 3 years, I've been working on a book that will address all of these issues. Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide is not just another discipline book. It's a book about building connected families from the ground up. It's a big-picture parenting book, because parenting is about so much more than discipline.



Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf




Here's what people are saying about Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide:

"As I soaked up the wisdom contained in this book, two words kept coming to mind: positive pathways. No matter how challenging your family situation is or how long you’ve been going down a negative road, this book offers pathways to peace, connection, and true happiness. Through practical examples, detailed steps, and soul-stirring questions, Rebecca Eanes shows us how to reach our fullest potential as parents, partners, and human beings. Let Positive Parenting set you on a path to rewriting your story in all aspects of life, in the most positive way possible."
--Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times-bestselling author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life


“Rebecca Eanes has a deep understanding of what can hold mothers and fathers back from being the parents they want to be. Positive Parenting provides concrete tools to grow the self-discipline, connection, empathy, and techniques that will help parents (and their kids!) be their best.”
 --Andrea Nair, M.A., CCC Psychotherapist, parenting educator. Creator of the Taming Tantrums App

“Watch out: Eanes' book will transform your parenting, especially if you pause to do the self-work exercises.”
--Tracy Cutchlow, author of Zero to Five

"In our always connected world of social media and Google searches there is a never-ending flow of “new and better” parenting information. It's easy to get lost in the sea of “best practices.” The focus is often on changing kids’ behavior or all the reasons you are ruining your kids. The problem is that so much of what we read seems to conflict and leaves us feeling powerless rather than truly supporting parents and families. Rebecca's new book Positive Parenting emphasizes that parenting is far more than simply making kids comply. It's about real lives, relationships, and people; It's about real moms', dads' and kids' stories and how to make those stories incredible. This book gives the reader timeless, foundational principles and practices that help to build the parent, the child and the family as a whole from the inside out."
--Andy Smithson, www.truparenting.net

Positive Parenting beautifully illustrates the choices that modern-day parents have to raise healthy and successful children through nurturing, empathetic relationships. Bolstered by research in neuroscience and human development, Eanes shows how parents must grow alongside their children, and how this parallel journey helps young people reach their full potential. This is a must-read book for all who care enough about their children to reflect deeply on themselves as parents.”
--Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, Author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers

“In this one-of-a-kind book, Rebecca Eanes goes beyond just discipline to look at the big picture of parenting. If you're longing for more in your parenting journey -- more joy, more peace, more cooperation -- I recommend Positive Parenting!” 
--Jessica Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting


“In this valuable contribution to parenting, Rebecca Eanes provides insightful, effective and practical solutions to end family conflict and build loving connections. Her masterful approach allows parents to implement powerful strategies with ease and grace, forever transforming their family life. This is a must-read for every family that yearns to create peace and harmony.”
--Dr. Shefali Tsabary, New York Times-bestselling author of The Conscious Parent

"With a belief that each parent knows their own child best and that raising children should be enjoyable, not stressful, Rebecca Eanes helps parents develop their own positive parenting blueprints to create happy, loving families. Positive Parenting helps parents work through the difficult feelings that naturally occur throughout the parenting journey and provides strategies to help raise positive thinkers."
--Katie Hurley, LCSW, author of The Happy Kid Handbook



Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the author of 3 books. Her newest book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, will be released on June 7, 2016 and is available for pre-order now. The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting and a co-authored book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early Childhood are both best-sellers in their categories on Amazon. She is the grateful mother to 2 boys. 

Pulling Weeds: Shifting from Discipline to Nurturing the Whole Child

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 No comments
Photo credit: Creative Child Magazine


Raising humans is a complex task, yet many parents hone in on one element alone – discipline. Becoming so intently focused on managing behavior narrows our picture significantly, and we lose sight, and therefore the intentions, of the many other elements that effect how our children grow.

Among these other elements are the home atmosphere and family culture we provide, our values and beliefs and how we live them out in front of our kids, the relationships we have with others in and outside of the home, the way we manage our own emotions and behavior, how we communicate both verbally and nonverbally, and the beliefs we hold about raising children and the thoughts that play over and over in our minds about our worth and theirs.

I have addressed all of this in my book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, because I believe we need to broaden our view of parenting if we want to raise whole-hearted humans.

I’m not the first person to liken parenting to gardening, but I think it’s a very good analogy to make this point. To grow healthy plants, they need to be in the proper environment. They need water, air, and sun. Pulling the weeds in the garden helps to showcase the beauty of the growing plants and allows more space for them to grow.

What would happen to the plants if the gardener pulled the weeds consistently but failed to provide sunlight, water, air, or the right environment? There may be no weeds, but the plants themselves will also wither away.

And so it is with children. Correcting misbehavior is like pulling the weeds. The purpose is to allow room for the child to grow healthy and strong in character and to showcase the beauty within him, but if we aren’t providing the other elements, he, too, will wither in spirit. The plant’s potential will never be realized without tender care and the proper nutrients, and the same is true for a child.

How to Grow a Human:

Provide the Right Environment


1. Safe for Play:
Set up a “yes” environment by properly child-proofing common areas so that your child can freely and safely explore. Keep it simple, organized, and clutter-free. Intentionally choose play things that are engaging and provide the right amount of challenge. Provide open ended toys and materials so the child can freely create and pretend, and also include sensory items like play dough, paint, and sensory bins.

2. Emotionally Safe:
In an emotionally safe environment, children are both free to express their emotions while being taught how to express them emotionally and are free from emotional assault by parents, siblings, or others by means of shaming, teasing, put-downs, etc. Set firm boundaries on how siblings are allowed to treat each other and don’t wave off teasing and name calling as “normal sibling behavior.”

3. Physically Safe:
Physical discipline is not only unnecessary but often damaging. If you need alternatives, click here.

4. Family Culture:
The home environment should be calm and inviting, so constant tension or stress needs to be addressed and resolved. Create and keep meaningful family traditions and rituals and use positive communication skills.

Give Them the Sun

Your example is their guiding light. The way you manage your emotions, handle disappointment and failure, maintain composure during difficult situations, choose joy, see the positive, and act toward them and others teaches them more than all the lectures they’ll ever hear.

Affirmation is Like Rain

Best-selling author, L. R. says, “Words of recognition and appreciation to a child are like sunshine and rain to a flower.”
  1. Speak words of life to them. Express your belief often that they have an amazing future, and that they are good, kind, and capable.
  2. Thank them when they are helpful. Catch them being good and verbalize your appreciation for that.
  3. Acknowledge their heart. Show them you know they have good intentions, even if they made a mistake in judgement.
  4. Praise them genuinely and specifically.
  5. Let them hear you say nice things about them to others.
Unconditional Love is a Breath of Fresh Air

Children need close attachment with us. They need to feel connected. Threatening to withdraw warmth, attention, or presence in the name of discipline causes them to enter a state of unrest. Even though our love is always unconditional, kids don’t perceive it that way if we withdraw from them.
When we can provide rest – a state of knowing they are safe in our love and attachment and that nothing can separate them from our love – they are free to grow. Dr. Gordon Neufeld says, “All growth emanates from a place of rest” and that “children must never work for our love; they must rest in it.” See his full video on this here.

Let’s widen our lens and look at the big picture of parenting so that we can grow a happier, healthier generation of humans.

This post was originally published at Creative Child Magazine.


Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf





Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the author of 3 books. Her newest book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, will be released on June 7, 2016 and is available for pre-order now. The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting and a co-authored book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early Childhood are both best-sellers in their categories on Amazon. She is the grateful mother to 2 boys. 

Becoming Light Reflectors

Monday, May 16, 2016 No comments


Think about this. The people in our lives who look past our faults and see our beauty, the ones who still see the light in us during the times we feel only darkness, those are the people who save us from the depths of blackness. Those are the ones who help us see our own beauty and light again.

We all need that person - someone who reflects our light back at us so we can see it, too. That's what a parent should be. That’s what it means to become light reflectors. We should always seek to see our child’s light, to hold it sacred, and to show it to them when they need a glimpse.
When we keep showing them their light, they’ll always be able to find their way. My friend and New York Times Best Selling Author, Rachel Macy Stafford, speaks beautifully on keeping protective hands around their inner light.

Practically, how can we do this? It begins with a decision to see the light in our kids, and this is profound because we very often focus mostly on the things we want to change rather than on the things we want to grow. It’s a mind shift.

It’s looking through a different lens – a positive one. This doesn’t mean that we let poor behavior slide or allow poor choices to go unchecked, but that even during times of correction, we are showing them their light.

This requires a mindful change in language that might look like this:


Dark reflector: “I’ve had enough of that bad attitude today. You’ve been a total grump since you got home.”

Light reflector: “You’re usually in such good spirits. It seems like something is bothering you today. How can I help?”

Dark reflector: “You’re in big trouble for hitting your sister you naughty boy!”

Light reflector: “Uh-oh, it’s not okay to hit your sister. I know you didn’t mean to hurt her.
Come sit with me and I’ll help you get control of your frustration.”

Dark reflector: “I can’t believe this grade on your report card. Obviously you’ve been irresponsible this semester.”

Light reflector: “You’ve proven yourself to be a good student who works hard, so I’m a bit surprised at this grade. Can you explain this to me?”

Though it takes practice and intentionality, the goal is to shine a light on the child’s good qualities, even when they aren’t readily apparent. When we do this, it helps them to rise back up to that goodness. When we have unshakable faith in them, they learn to have faith in themselves.

Negative Traits:
Another practical application of being a light reflector involves re-framing any character traits we perceive as negative. Strong-willed might be seen as determined. Bossiness might be seen as leadership. High sensitivity can be seen as a strength rather than a weakness.
When we re-frame in this way, we can guide them in making these traits their strengths by teaching them how to own them in a positive manner whereas if we see them as negative traits, we will be constantly fighting against their nature.

Change Your Language:
Finally, be generous with affirming words. Children see themselves through the eyes of their parents, so make sure the good is reflected in your eyes. Make sure they know that you see their tremendous value. Remind them of their strengths when they are weak. Remind them of their successes when they fail.

Remind them of their goodness when they are feeling bad. Be the one person who never gives up on them, who never focuses on their darkness, who never points out all that is wrong with them. Be their light reflector. Show them all the beauty they have within.

We all have light and dark, the potential for good and bad. Unfortunately many haven’t realized their good potential because they didn’t have a light reflector in their life when they needed one.


“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” – Anonymous




**This post was originally published at Creative Child Magazine. Find more of my Creative Child articles here.


Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf


To the Mom Who is Too Hard on Herself

Saturday, May 14, 2016 No comments
Photo Credit: Creative Child Magazine


Dear Mom Who Is Too Hard On Yourself,

It’s shocking, isn’t it? Motherhood.

The way it stretches not only your body, but your mind and spirit, too. It stretches your ideas, your judgements, your dreams, and your fears. It takes your ego and throws it high into the air, then catches it and slams it down onto the ground hard. It forces you to confront the worst parts of yourself, sometimes by staring down into fierce little eyes that mirror your own determination or rage.

Motherhood isn’t just about raising children. Motherhood is where you, yourself, are raised up to your highest potential, if you’re open to it; if you listen.





You know this is big. You understand how high the calling of motherhood is, and it’s beautiful and joyous and amazing. And it’s heavy. And every day you show up one more time and try. That’s really brave.

No one tells you how brave that is, but it really is brave to show up every single day when so very much is at stake, and you might have to crawl out of bed or off the floor and straighten those shoulders up, put on your best fake smile, and dust off yesterday’s perceived failures, but you do it anyway. Day after day.

Your mama heart wants so, so much to get this right. You love those babies so much it hurts, and when you slip up, when you snap at one of them, when you yell after promising to not yell anymore, when you feel like you have let them down, guilt and regret pool in your chest and it burns your throat.

The tears fall behind the bathroom door again, and your inner bully is relentless. She tears into you when you lay your head on your pillow after the kids are finally asleep, and no rest comes.

When you get a call from school or catch your preschooler telling lies or your toddler bites her friend, you wonder where you went wrong and if they’re going to turn out okay despite your mistakes and shortcomings.

When your teen slams the door in your face or the night’s homework battle turned into full on war and you’re dripping tears on the math worksheet you’re checking, I know you feel like a failure.

Here’s what you need to know, mama. The rest of us are crying in our bathrooms, too. Every other mother there ever was has felt those feelings of guilt and worried if they were getting it completely wrong at one time or another, so don’t think that the rest of us are getting this motherhood thing right every day while you’re struggling to find your way.

We are all trying to find our way. None of us are perfect. Not one.




You have to stop being so hard on yourself. You have to cut the inner bully off and say “Shut up! No more!”

You have to extend to yourself the same love and tenderness and grace that you try to extend to your children because as much as they need it is as much as you need it, too.

And do you want to know a little secret? The more you treat yourself with gentleness, the more gentleness you can show others.

Make it your goal this week to shine a spotlight on your own goodness, successes, triumphs, and bravery. In your journal today, write down everything you did that was good. Write down how you made yourself proud!

And tonight, when you finally climb underneath the covers, don’t replay your mistakes in your mind. Replay how much you loved. Give yourself a little grace. Perhaps that’s the bravest thing of all.

Love,
A Mom Who Is Too Hard On Herself, Too



**This post was originally published at Creative Child Magazine. Find more of my Creative Child articles here.


Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf

26 Phrases to Calm an Angry Child

Friday, May 13, 2016 No comments

26 Phrases to Calm an Angry Child

Written by Renee Jain, Chief Storyteller at GoZen! Anxiety Relief for Kids

 




Whether your child has a slow-burning fuse or explodes like a firecracker at the slightest provocation, every child can benefit from anger management skills. As parents, we lay the foundation for this skill set by governing our own emotions in the face an angry outburst. Next time you are dealing with a tantrum from a toddler, or cold shoulder from a teen, put your best foot forward by trying one of these 26 phrases:

  1. Instead of: Stop throwing things!
    Try this: When you throw your toys, I think you don't like playing with them. Is that what’s going on?

This speaker/listener technique is designed to help communicate feelings in a non-confrontational manner. Not only does this keep the lines of communication open, you are modeling how to phrase a situation from your perspective, which in turn gives your child a chance to rephrase events in his (her) perspective.

  1. Instead of: Big kids don't do this!
    Try this: Big kids and even grown ups sometimes have big feelings. It’s OK, these feeling will pass.

Let's be honest. The older your kids get, the bigger the problems they face, the bigger the feelings they have. Telling them that big kids don't experience anger, frustration, or anxiety is simply untrue. It also encourages children to avoid or quash emotions and prevents processing them in a healthy manner.

  1. Instead of: Don't be angry!
    Try this: I get angry too sometimes. Let's try our warrior cry to get those angry feelings in check.

recent study reveals that yelling when we are physically hurt can actually interrupt pain messages being sent to the brain. Although your child may not be in pain per se, a warrior cry can work to release angry energy in a playful manner. Choose a warrior cry or mantra together with your child (think of William Wallace from the movie Brave Heart screaming “Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!”).

  1. Instead of: Don't you dare hit!
    Try this: It's OK to be angry, but I won't let you hit. We need to keep everyone safe.

This gets the message firmly across that the emotion is okay, but the action is not. Separating the two will help your child learn to do likewise.

  1. Instead of: You're being so difficult!
    Try this: This is a tough one, huh? We're going to figure this out together.

When children are digging in their heels, it is important to understand why. This phrase reinforces the idea that you are on the same team, working toward the same goal.

  1. Instead of: That's it, you're getting a time out!
    Try this: Let's go to our calm down space together.

This flips the script of "time out" to "time in," allowing for reconnection instead of isolation.

  1. Instead of: Brush your teeth right now!
    Try this: Do you want to brush Elmo’s teeth first or yours?

For toddlers, tantrums are a way to exert control over their environment. This way, you are offering your toddler a choice, and in turn, some control.

  1. Instead of: Eat your food or you will go to bed hungry!
    Try this: What can we do to make this food yummy?

This places the responsibility of finding a solution back on your child.

  1. Instead of: Your room is disgusting! You are grounded unless this gets clean.
    Try this: How about we just start cleaning this itty bitty corner of your room? I’ll give you a hand.

In lieu of focusing on the overwhelming task of cleaning up a huge mess, shift the goal to simply starting. Starting an undesirable task can provide the impetus and momentum to continue.

  1. Instead of: We. Are. LEAVING!
    Try this: What do you need to do to be ready to leave?

Allow children to think through processes for the transitions in their lives. This helps avoid a power struggle and it gives them a chance to signal to their minds that they are making a transition to a new activity. This is also an excellent routine to role-play when you are not actually going anywhere.

Have an anxious child? Take the GoZen! masterclass: 9 Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try, it’s free, it’s live – grab your spot here.

  1. Instead of: Stop whining!
    Try this: How about a quick “do over” in your normal voice?

Sometimes kids whine and don't even realize it. By asking them to rephrase in a normal tone, you are teaching them that the way they say things matters.

  1. Instead of: Stop complaining!
    Try this: I hear you. Can you come up with a solution?

Again, this places the responsibility back on the child. Next time your child is complaining non-stop about school/dinner/siblings, ask her to brainstorm solutions. Remind her there are no wrong answers, and the sillier she is, the better.

  1. Instead of: How many times do I have to say the same thing???
    Try this: I can see you didn't hear me the first time. How about when I say it to you, you whisper it back to me?

Having your child repeat back what he hears solidifies your message. Varying the volume adds an element of fun to the request.

  1. Instead of: Stop getting frustrated!
    Try this: Is that ___ too hard right now? Let's take a break and come back to it in 17 minutes.

It sounds random, but a research-based formula for productivity is to work for 52 minutes, break for 17. By taking a break from task-related stress, you come back to it ready to begin again, focused and more productive than before. The same concept applies to homework, practicing the piano, or playing a sport.

  1. Instead of: Go to your room!
    Try this: I'm going to stay right here by you until you're ready for a hug.

Again, isolation sends the message that there is something wrong with your child. By giving her space until she is ready to re-engage, you are providing reassurance that you will always be there for her.

  1. Instead of: You are embarrassing me!
    Try this: Let's go somewhere private so we can sort this out.

Remember, it's not about you. It's about him and his feelings. By removing both of you from the situation, you are reinforcing the team effort without drawing attention to the behavior.

  1. Instead of: (Sighing and rolling your eyes)
    Try this: (Make eye contact, remember your child’s greatest strengths, and give her a compassionate smile.)

Practice keeping it in perspective by seeing the strengths in your child.

  1. Instead of: You are impossible!
    Try this: You are having a tough time. Let's figure this out together.

Always, always separate the behavior from the child, reinforce the emotion, and work together to come up with a solution.

  1. Instead of: Stop yelling!
    Try this: I'm going to pretend I’m blowing out birthday candles. Will you do it with me?

Deep breathing helps restore the body to a calm state. Being playful with how you engage in the breathing hastens cooperation. For older children, ask them to breathe with you like Darth Vadar does.

  1. Instead of: I can't deal with you right now!
    Try this: I’m starting to get frustrated, and I’m going to be right here calming down.

Teach children how to label and govern their emotions by modeling this in real time.

  1. Instead of: I'm done talking!
    Try this: I love you. I need you to understand that it is not okay to ____. Is there anything you need me to understand?

This keeps the lines of communication open while expressing the emotion in a healthy way.

  1. Instead of: I am at the end of my rope!
    Try this: If green is calm, yellow is frustrated, and red is angry, I'm in the yellow zone headed toward red. What color are you? What can we do to get back to green?

Give children a visual to express how they are feeling. It may surprise you what they say, and what kind of solutions they comes up with to change their direction.

  1. Instead of: I am NOT changing it!
    Try this: I'm sorry you don't like how I ___. How can we do better next time?

Shifting the focus from the event to the solution eliminates the power struggle associated with digging in your heels about the event.

  1. Instead of: Stop saying “No!”
    Try this: I hear you saying "No." I understand you do not want this. Let's figure out what we can do differently.

By acknowledging your child's "No," you are de-escalating the situation. Rather than arguing yes/no, change the script to focus on the future and the prospect of a solution.

  1. Instead of: Stop overreacting!
    Try this: You are having a big reaction to a big emotion. If your emotion had a monster's face, what would it look like?

When kids are tired, hungry, or overstimulated, they are going to overreact. Putting a face to the emotion externalizes the issue and allows children to respond to their inner monologue of anger. This subsequently helps them exercise control over the emotion.

  1. Instead of: Just stop!
    Try this: I’m here for you. I love you. You’re safe. (Then, sit in stillness with your child and allow the emotion to rise up and pass.)

When children are in the throes of anger or panic, often their bodies are experiencing a stress response whereby they literally feel unsafe. Letting them know they are safe supports them until the discomfort passes. This is a vital skill of resilience.



Bio:                         

Renee Jain is an award-winning tech entrepreneur turned speaker and certified life coach. She holds a masters in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Renee’s passion is taking research-based concepts and transforming them into fun and digestible learning modules. Renee teaches anxious children how to manage stress and worry through her innovative GoZen! Anxiety Relief Programs for Kids.