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Thursday, October 16, 2014

THE Best vs. THEIR Best: The Pressure Filled Quest of Today’s Children



We are living in a “THE best” society.  It isn’t good enough for children to try THEIR best.  They have to be THE best.  They can’t just dance for the fun of it and do their best.  They have to be on a competitive dance team.  They can’t just play a sport for the fun of it and do their best.  They have to be on the elite team, the travel team, the championship team.  In school, they are being tested and measured and compared more than ever before.  There is untold pressure to score high, get into the gifted classes and, eventually, take more Advanced Placement classes than anyone else they know. 

What are we doing to the children when their best isn’t good enough and happiness is packaged in winning?  Our society has presented them with an elusive “THE best” that they must constantly strive to achieve.  It is out there, barely reachable and nearly impossible to sustain.  Children who are still developing a sense of self are being inundated with goals that have little to do with them as worthy individuals.  Is it any wonder that so many of our youth struggle with anxiety issues, eating disorders, self-mutilating behaviors and depression? 

Parents need to be intentional in their decisions and actions.  They need to be made aware of the damaging effects of THE best and having that confused with individual goals.  As adults, we get frustrated when people expect more of us than we can achieve.  We tell ourselves that all we can do is our best – OUR best.  That, however, isn’t good enough for children anymore.  We need to stop expecting more from children than we do from ourselves.  We need to teach children that taking pride in THEIR best matters.  THEIR best should not be measured against other people.  We need to intentionally examine the goals that we help our children to set.

  • Are goals about just your child or are they comparing your child to others?
  • Are goals achievable or are they an ideal that is just beyond their reach?
  • Do goals take self-esteem, self-worth and long term mental health into consideration?
  • Do goals demonstrate that there is more than one path to achievement and that having achieved is an individual measurement?

I implore parents to resist the whirlwind of endless competition.  In the end, when all is said and done, what do you want for your children?  What do you want them to think of themselves and how they should walk through life?  In the end, when all is said and done, it is so important that children have a positive self-esteem, to be confident decision makers and to have found how their talents can lead to work that fulfills them.  At the end of the day, our children will sit where we do right now and they will need to know that life can be joyous and peaceful.  They will not learn that from having spent a childhood feeling like they aren’t quite good enough or that they have to achieve goals unrelated to their own emotional well-being.  There is an unhealthy disconnect between individual worth and goals that are based solely on comparison to others.

Parents have asked me if I think that the pendulum will swing back and people will go back to teaching children about the importance of THEIR best rather than THE best.  My answer?  That’s up to you in your house with your children – one family at a time….

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.                                                                                                           

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cold, Flu and Allergy Season: Should I Keep My Child Home?



It is a combination of cold, flu and allergy season.  Noses could run for weeks.  Coughs linger.  Parents become unsure of their own judgment about when to send children to school and when to keep them home.  Sometimes, the decision is complicated by the obligations of being working parents.  Some daycare centers offer sick care.  If yours does not, you need to know that you will miss time at work for your child’s illnesses if you are unable to arrange for care with friends, family or other babysitters. So, when making that hard decision, consider the following:

  • Children must be fever, vomit and diarrhea free or on an antibiotic for at least 24 hours.  This is not only good advice.  It is the law in most places.  Your child may seem fine but don’t forget that his/her own immune system is weak while still recovering from fever, infection or stomach virus.  You are not only protecting the other children by abiding by the 24 hour regulations.  You are protecting your own child from relapsing or catching a new bug.
  •  Watch your child’s level of activity.  If your child is lethargic, slow moving, uninterested in surroundings and less active than normal, your child may be ill.  Think about how you feel when a cold or virus is coming on.  Remember that foggy, tired feeling that precedes other symptoms?  Your lethargic child may be feeling those symptoms.  If your child was recently ill and is still not active, he/she is still not feeling well.  The best place for your child is home.
  • Look at your child and think – If I felt like that, could I be productive?  Going to school is your child’s version of going to work.  When symptoms such as stuffy, runny noses and coughing are severe, your child cannot function any better than you would.
  • Don’t ignore skin rashes, bumps and blisters.  Many childhood maladies are exhibited through skin changes.  Most schools require a doctor’s note indicating that your child is not contagious whenever there is a rash or other skin change.  Mystery rashes can occur at the beginning of an illness or the end.  Be sure to seek a doctor’s advice before sending your child to school or to any activity that involves contact with other people.
  • Runny noses linger.  Coughs linger.  If your child is active, alert and seems to just have the remnants of cold or flu, they can come to school but don’t completely ignore the symptoms.  How many times have you had a cough that just wouldn’t go away and then you found out that it was bronchitis?  Have you had that lingering, stuffy nose and needed antibiotic for a sinus infection?  Young children cannot always describe how they feel accurately.   While we now know that green mucous isn’t always a sign of infection, it may be.  Check with your doctor to see how long lingering symptoms should linger without being checked.
  • Help us to limit contagion by teaching the “into the elbow” sneeze and cough.  Less germs are spread when we sneeze or cough into our elbow rather than our hands.  Remind child to not only cover their mouths but to do so with the inside of their bent elbows.
  • Red eyes aren’t always allergies.  Red eyes are another symptom that will take you to a doctor’s office.  Only a doctor can tell you if your child has an eye infection and schools won’t take that risk. 

Are you unsure of the regulations for illness in your local area? Ask your school principal, director or nurse for the list of symptoms that require you to keep children at home.  Did I forget any important guidelines for parents?  Feel free to add them to the comment section under this article so we can share tips and knowledge with other readers.

Feel well and be sure to stay home when you feel sick, too!


________________________________________________________________________
Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.  You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do You Give Punishments or Teach Discipline?



The words discipline and punishment have come to be synonymous in their usage but they really are not the same.  Do you teach discipline or do you give punishments?

When we punish, we impose a penalty.  We attempt to stamp out undesired behavior.  The renowned behaviorist B.F. Skinner showed that when children are punished, they simply try another way.  They learn nothing except to try to avoid further punishment.  Too often, the punishment has no connection to the offending action.  When a lesson is not learned, it is more likely that the inappropriate behavior will continue.

Discipline, on the other hand, is about teaching and instruction.  To be disciplined is to be able to follow a set of rules.  Discipline is instructive rather than punitive.  It teaches children to think critically about their own behavior and to understand that the same consequence, a logical reaction, will happen every time they commit a specific act. 

As you consider if your method of teaching boundaries is effective, think about the following:

  • Are your boundaries focusing on what’s most important? Do you prioritize what you want to teach your children about behavior?  Boundaries are important as your children test their power in the world.  It is your responsibility to set boundaries that protect their health & safety and teach respect for people and property.  Anything else is less important.  Think about your rules.  Do they all fall within those categories or are they more about your own pet peeves? 
  • Do the consequences of inappropriate behavior make sense?  The consequences of behavior have to be consistent, predictable and make logical sense in order to teach a lesson.  If a child refuses to do homework, taking a favorite toy away makes no sense.  It does not teach the lesson that needs to be learned.  If you refuse to do homework, the consequence is that you have to show up at school without the work and take the zero.  Children who learn that lesson at a young age are more likely to integrate the notion that not meeting responsibilities has consequences in the world… and taking a zero when in the early grades will not impact college acceptance.  Better to learn it young.  Likewise, a child who throws a toy or hits a friend and is simply sent to his/her room learns more about isolation than about the real consequences of being unkind.  A child who throws a toy should not be allowed to play with that toy for a short period of time.  A child who hits a friend should have that playdate ended and told that you will try again another time. 
  • Do you spend the time talking about the inappropriate behavior calmly and with teaching in mind?  Yelling and barking may be intimidating and stop a behavior temporarily but they don’t teach much other than that it is acceptable to yell and bark when upset.  When you yell at children and they yell back or tend to yell at others, it is because that is what they have learned.  They learned that when people are upset, yelling is acceptable.  We know that children who were hit tend to grow up and use hitting as punishment.  Think about what you are trying to teach.  You aren’t trying to teach to yell or hit.  You are trying to teach that a behavior is not acceptable.  That requires explanation.  Young children do not have a grasp on cause and effect.  You have to explain that throwing blocks can hurt people or break things.  You have to explain that hitting hurts other people and we cannot hurt people.  Even when your children are teens, you will have to explain the rules for socializing, dating, driving and more.  

We understand that we need to learn the rules of the road, but we become impatient with teaching the rules of being a good citizen, friend and family member.  We don’t want our bosses to yell at us, intimidate us or treat us like we are not deserving of respect for our feelings, but we too often do just that with children.  Teach and don’t punish.  Be consistent.  Be kind even when behavior is upsetting.  Make sure that consequences give lessons about the real world.  Getting out of the power struggle will be an example of handling upset and show, by your behavior, that rules simply need to be learned and are not a trigger for negative attention.

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Learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.

As a Certified Youth, Parent Family Coach, I can help you to improve your approach to family communication, discipline and relationships.  For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.