Sunday, January 25, 2015

Teaching Children to Ask for Help


Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if everyone simply asked for help when they needed it?  There are so many stigmas attached to asking for help.  It is so hard for adults to accept when they need help that they suffer instead.  People don’t need to struggle alone with mental health issues.  There are professionals that can help.  Students don’t need to struggle with learning issues.  We live in a time of progressive special needs therapies and accommodations.  Adults drown in debt before they might be willing to reach out for financial counseling. 

I can’t help but wonder if resistance and feelings of fear & shame actually started when they were very young.  In our quest to make our children or our students independent, are we forgetting to teach them that we are here to help? 

In our preschools and at home, we should make “Come to me for help” one of the first strategies that we teach children.  Too often, I hear teachers and parents tell their children to go and figure it out without saying, “And I am here to help.”  As much as it is our job to teach our children to think and act independently, it is also our duty to teach them to accept assistance. 

The next time you are with a child and there is a dilemma, be mindful in your advice and reactions. Pay attention to the words you use, your tone of voice and body language.  Someday, that child might be an adult with a problem that seems so big that there seems to be no way out.  Teach children from the time that they are very young that they can come to you and go to other trusted advisors. Keep in mind that the lesson can only be learned if:
  • You advise without judgment.  When you judge and shame, children learn to keep their problems to themselves.  Discuss with your children what they might have done instead without demeaning them.  Remember that we all make mistakes and childhood is all about growing from them.
  • You are an example of accepting help.  As with all other things, we have to act as we want our children to act.  When I was a girl, my father would tell me not to smoke while he held a cigarette in his hand.  It was hard to take that advice seriously.  “Do what I say, not what I do” isn’t reality.  You cannot expect your child who is struggling with anxiety to seek support when you never did.  You cannot expect your child to accept extra help with school work if they’ve never seen you ask someone else to teach you something you didn’t know. 
  • You respect the privacy of children.  Children need to know that their private lives are not always being discussed among adults or being posted on social media.  There should be no stigmas attached to needing help while, at the same time, we are all entitled to privacy.  My children’s stories are their own to tell, not mine.  I ask permission before posting about them or writing about them.  Children who are growing up in a world where everyone knows everything about each other may end up being more afraid to seek help.  We cannot control the judgment and gossip of others.  We can merely ensure our children that their lives are their own to discuss or not.

Hillary Clinton popularized an African proverb when she said, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  The truth is that it takes a village for all of us.  I know that I don’t gather my own food, cure my own illnesses or even repair my own car.  The willingness to reach to others for support should know no limits.


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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 2015 © 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.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Discipline Without Name Calling: What To Say When Enforcing Rules

Our interactions with children shape their view of themselves.   The words that we use when we need to teach acceptable behavior are just as important as the words we use when we are proud of our children.   We have learned a lot since the years of “children should be seen and not heard.”  We know that we need to teach children to seek positive attention and so we commit random acts of pride.  Parents today are willing to learn about making respect part of discipline methods.  The truth is that those actions are easy when compared to measuring your words when children are pushing boundaries and breaking rules.   

It is imperative that we use language that addresses the offending behavior without diminishing the child.  We need to speak simply, firmly and consistently.  We need to demonstrate that behavior can be addressed directly and calmly.  We need to simply say, “That is not allowed.”
                                          
“That is not allowed.”  The subject of that sentence is the action and not the child. 

A child tells another child that she is stupid.  An adult might say, “You are being mean” or “Be nice.”  The subject of those sentences is the child.  When the subject of the sentence is the child, the child personalizes and integrates that negativity.  It impacts his/her self-esteem, your relationship and your future communication.  Children will more like grow up to have an honest and open relationship with you if they don’t grow up feeling personally attacked when things go wrong.  Instead say, “That is not allowed.  The rule is that we have to be kind to other people.”   That statement is about the behavior.  The behavior wasn’t allowed.  That is a far more productive and instructive message than a personal attack.

“That is not allowed.”  It is simple.  It states the truth.  It works for all ages.

Your teenager needs to learn to speak with you without yelling at you but, once again, there has been a disagreement and he is emotional.  It is hard to stay calm and factual.  The best thing you can do is to diffuse the energy of the emotional situation by staying calm.  Calmly say, “That is not allowed.  The rule is that we speak respectfully in this house.” You have stated a fact and demonstrated the respect that you are trying to teach. 

“That is not allowed.”  It draws the boundary.  It is not debatable.   It often should apply to you, too.

Your child yells at you.  You yell back.  You, through your actions, have just taught your child that yelling is acceptable.  Children learn what they see and not what they hear.  We send silent messages to children all the time.  They are watching, noting, imitating and forming a world view based on their observations of the adults in their lives.  There are rules that are different for adults –we can drive, watch R rated movies and stay home alone.  We cannot be disrespectful while teaching respect.  We cannot be mean when teaching kindness. 

“That is not allowed.”   It cannot stand alone.

One sentence will not do it.  You need follow that sentence with the rationale and the expected behavior.  The reason that a behavior is not allowed should not be a mystery.   If you cannot come up with a good reason for a rule, then question the validity of the rule before you enforce it. 

Children need to know their boundaries.  They need to know what is acceptable, what is not and how far they can push before they have stepped over the lines that you have set for their behavior.  Calling them names – “you were mean,” “you are rude,” “you are being bad” – those “you” statements are not allowed.


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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 2015 © 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, January 1, 2015

Family To-Do Lists: Not At All About Groceries, Appointments & Errands

Our lives are full of lists and calendars.  The day-to-day minutia of our lives is recorded and charted.  We take lists to the grocery store.  We download calendar apps that allow all members of our family to see each other’s busy schedules.  We note upcoming bill payments, appointments and other reminders.  These are the details.  They are not the goal.  When I ask people about their vision for their family, they talk about having more time together while taking time for personal care.  They say that they want more quality experiences, more patience and time to really talk to each other.  No one tells me that they want to create the perfect grocery list; yet, we often spend more time focusing on that than on what really matters – creating a list that would lead to a life filled with peace, love and memorable moments of joy.

Get some paper.  Yes – actual paper because you want to stumble across this list daily and not have to click on an app to see it. Gather your family.  It’s time to make a Family To-Do List.  Be sure to include your children in your planning.  They need to know and participate in the goal discussions in the family.  You will be teaching them what really matters, how to make plans and how to work together.
                                          
Next – and this is hard – forget about the day to day details and create a vision.  A vision is similar to the resolutions that people like to make for a new year except that it is more often about how you would like to feel.  This year, for example, you might like to have more moments filled with family fun and laughter because they give you great joy.  You might also decide that you want more time to feel like you do when you are on vacation sitting on a beach.  It is also very acceptable to have a vision of taking better care of yourself so you can be more relaxed when your family is together.  We are at our best, after all, when we take care of ourselves, and that is a fine lesson for your children to learn.  No one enjoys a martyr – not even your children who will sense when they are the cause of choices that actually make you unhappy.  When you have come up with a vision that leads to the desired emotion, write it at the top of the page.

Now, it is time to break it down.  What are the steps, individual and concrete steps, that you can take to make that vision happen?  One tiny step at a time, you can create a Family To-Do List that leads to your vision.  Your Family To-Do List may include specific ways you will spend your time at home or exactly how many hours your family will spend together in a week.  Your list may include specific things you will do for yourself that will refresh you.  The list has to be exact and achievable.  You cannot take more vacation time from work that you are allotted, but you can be very exact about how you will spend the time you are given.   Don’t forget about the kids while you are making the list.  It is great when they have ideas that can help your family to reach their goals and you may be amazed at how even young children can give valuable input.

When your Family To-Do List is written, place it somewhere very visible.  We tend to get caught up in the details of our days.   Before we know it, months pass without having done anything to meet our goals.  A visible list will help to keep you focused.   I hope that you get to accomplish some of the steps and that you find great joy in doing so.
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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, December 18, 2014

Are You Raising Applause Seekers?

I believe in praising the good works of young people.  I commit "Random Acts of Pride".  I wonder at what point do we cross the line and create adults who require the praise of others?  We all know them – adults who need others to approve of their lives and acknowledge their actions.  Why didn't they integrate a feeling of pride that would lead them to be more self-confident adults?

Little children love when you clap for them.  My niece, who is 1 ½ years old, plays a game.  She jumps on her mother’s lap and then applauds so we will all applaud with her.  She looks around the room to make sure we are all clapping and we do.  I've seen adults do a grown up version of this.  They state something about themselves and then look around the room to see the reaction.  They hope for the same thing that my niece does – a room full of acknowledgement.  I hope someday that my niece takes a giant, fun leap in her life and feels that applause without needing it from us.  I hope she makes a tough decision and has the fortitude to stand by it without caring what others think.
                          
There is a fine line between teaching children that their actions are worthy and teaching them to require the approval of others.  Ideally, our children will grow up to take pride in themselves and enjoy the compliments of others but not require it.   When we praise children, we need to do more than say that we are proud of them.  We need to ask them about their own achievements.  When they have done something and say, “Look” we need to do more than tell them how we feel.  We need to teach them to recognize and honor how they feel about what they've done.  We need to stop only making statements like, “Good job” and start asking questions, too.  How different would our children’s outlook be if every “Good job” was followed with:
  •  “What do you like about what you made?”
  • "How do you feel about what you did?”
  • "What does it feel like to have done something well?” 
For every emotion, there is a bodily reaction.  When we are afraid, we feel tension in our bodies.  When we are proud, we feel what I can only describe as lightness.  We feel a tad lighter in our own bodies when we are proud.  A warmth spreads through us and we smile.  We need to teach children to recognize that wonderful feeling and sit with it a moment.  They need to find joy and pride from within so they don’t spend their lives on an endless quest for the unattainable.  Other people cannot make us feel the warmth of work well done.  When we look for that feeling from outside ourselves, we are never quite satisfied.

Sometimes we win tiny, little battles.  Sometimes we do generous things and, frankly, other people won’t care.  Sometimes we accomplish a goal quietly and there is no one to applaud.  We need to teach our children the beauty of all of those moments.  We need to actively teach that the best reward is simply knowing that you have been the best version of yourself.

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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, December 11, 2014

The December Opportunity

I was recently on a trip to Washington, DC with a wonderful group of 10th graders.  After seeing the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby, one of the students said that he always wanted a Chanukah bush.  I told the student that you can respect and enjoy the beauty of other people’s traditions without having to make it your own.  On the same day, my colleagues showed me an article about a product being marketed to Jewish families that is very similar to one sold for those that celebrate Christmas.  Then, I walked into a store and saw blue and silver garland on the small shelf of Chanukah items.  When I was standing there, a woman walked over and said, “Isn't it great that our kids aren't left out anymore?”  No.  They were never left out.   It isn't their tradition.  We have beautiful traditions of our own. 

Why is there such a need to ensure that our children have everything that everyone else does?  It is so powerful that we cannot even stick to our own religious traditions anymore.  I am not Christian, and yet I object to the Americanization and commercialism of Christmas.  Christmas is their religious holiday.  The tree has religious significance as does the wreath.  I respect what it stands for in their culture enough that I will not diminish it by teaching my children that anyone should have one.  I expect the same respect of my beliefs.  I am pleased that schools in my area close for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur and that non-Jewish people don’t walk around wearing Tallit (our prayer shawl) just randomly as a fashion item that they do not understand.  
                                  
Since the trip, I have thought a great deal about what seems to be an overwhelming need to ignore the importance of individuality and difference.  The United States is a melting pot and we have all assimilated since the time of our immigrant ancestors, but when has it gone too far?  When does it reach beyond religious melding and become fear of being different?  It is a far bigger problem than one that is only noticeable in December.

Today, every child has to be a champion.  The classes, lessons and sports begin in preschool.  They dance and cheer and play every sport like everyone else.  Parents worry if their child isn't ready to read as soon as the next child.  Soon, the children will become product conscious and want the same toys, clothes and smartphones as everyone else.  I have heard parents compare the number of advanced placement classes that their high school children attend as if one more advanced placement class makes you a winner in the game of life at the age of 17.  I interact with anxious students who compare everything – classes, grades, number of extracurricular activities, possessions – to each other. Wanting to do well for your own satisfaction is one thing.  Having to keep up to the point of anxiety disorders is another.

Perhaps the lesson that we are each of value as individuals should begin with respect for individual cultures.  When children are young, use the December holidays to say, “Isn't what they do nice?”   Teach your children from the time they are young that we should respect differences and not consistently seek ways to be a part of everything and everybody.  That lesson can translate to every aspect of their lives.  You are not the same as everyone else and that’s terrific.  Other people have value and so do you – as individuals.  December provides an opportunity to embrace our individuality.  If you are raising children in an interfaith home, it is an opportunity to celebrate the individual traditions of each branch of your family.

The younger generation has a saying that I like – “Do you.”  When I ponder a decision about buying something or going somewhere aloud, my 17 year old will say, “Do you.”  He means that I should do what is right for me.  Let’s teach our children to “do you” and not “do everyone else.”


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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, December 4, 2014

It’s Time To Abolish Time Out

Three generations ago, adults said, “Children should be seen and not heard.”  The next generation knew better.  Two generations ago, spanking was more universally viewed as an acceptable means of punishment.  The next generation knew better.  One generation ago, time out was seen as the solution to unacceptable behavior.  Today, we know better.  Time out – sending children to be isolated – teaches the wrong lessons.  It is time to abolish it.
                         
When we send children to time out, we do teach them.  We teach them that when things don’t go well, you go away from me.  When things get emotional, you will be isolated.  We teach children that we do not want to deal with them because we have sent them away.  Is it any wonder that when our children are teens and we want them to tell us what is wrong, they go to their rooms?  We taught them to do that.

Time out is not a logical consequence for any action.  It is not specific to the inappropriate event.  It may stamp out behavior for now but, in the long term, children will just try to figure out another way to break your rule.  Consequences need to make sense.  Think about these scenarios:

“Stop fighting with your brother!  Go to your room!” – Have you addressed the source of frustration that caused the fight so you could teach your child coping strategies?  No, you have not.  It is true that siblings who are fighting may need a break from playing together.  That is entirely different than banishing them to their rooms so they can just sit there and be angry.

“You cannot talk to me like that.  Go to time out!”  Have you stayed out of the power struggle to model the respect that you want your children to learn?   No, you have not.  Children do need to know that they have to speak to us with respect.  We have to tell them that in a less emotional manner that demonstrates self-control.   The ultimate lesson is, after all, to learn self-control so they are careful about their words and intonation.

Stamping out behavior makes the adults feel better.  We have ended an unpleasant and frustrating situation. We have stopped what we don’t enjoy but we haven’t actually addressed the problem. Unfortunately, that is merely a Band-Aid approach to a bigger issue.  The bigger problems need more of our attention and not less.  When our children need to be re-directed, bring them to you.  Tell them that they cannot continue that activity right now and they need to sit near you.  Calmly tell them that their behavior is unacceptable and to have a seat where you are.  Explain:

“Fighting with your sister doesn’t solve your problem.  In this family, we treat each other kindly even when we are frustrated.  Come sit over here for a few minutes.”  When your child calms down, talk about what caused the fight and how it should be handled next time.  Give your child a choice of two other things to do if you don’t want the child to go back to the playroom. 

“I am not yelling at you. Take a breath and talk to me nicely and with respect.  Sit here for a few minutes while you calm down.”  If your child yells and you yell, you have demonstrated that yelling is acceptable behavior for people in your family.  If your child curses at you and you react emotionally, you have demonstrated loss of control and proven that losing control is acceptable.  So much of parenting is about understanding that we are not children.  We should not react to children like we are children ourselves. 

You have the right to set rules.  You can teach your children that inappropriate behavior during play time means that play time stops.  You can teach them that they must be respectful and follow the rules or there will be consequences.  Consider the lesson of the consequences and institute a method of “time in” rather than “time out.”  Time in keeps you within the sight of your child so your child learns that even when you are mad, you are accessible.  You will not abandon them when things go wrong.  Sometimes, we need to stop what we are doing and that time doesn’t have to include the fear and anger that comes with isolation.

You threw a toy.  You cannot have that toy right now.”  That’s a consequence that makes sense.
“You are yelling at me.  Take a few breaths.  When you speak nicely to me, we will continue this.”  Stopping a conversation to regain composure makes sense.
“You aren’t playing nicely with your friend.  You cannot play together right now.”  What happens when we don’t play nicely?  We can’t play.  That’s logical.

“Children should be seen and not heard.”
“You need a spanking.”
“Go to your room! You need a time out!”

We didn’t know better.  Let’s make them all a thing of the past.  Open more doors of lasting communication.  Actually teach your children about appropriate behavior, actions and reactions by saying, “Sit right here.  Take a breath.  Calm down.  Where did that go wrong?” It’s time to abolish isolation and address behavior with “Time In.”

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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.      

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Technology Breaks Benefit Kids, Too

I am preparing to take a technology break – no email, texts or social media, nothing that requires me to look at a screen – for the next 5 days.  I am setting up “away” messages and scheduling posts.  I am letting family know how to reach us in the event of emergency.  Thinking about not using technology has caused me to notice how much it is being used around me.  I must be more aware because it is on my mind.  It is like when you buy a car and you start to notice all of the same makes & models on the highway.  I walked through a store today and noticed all of the children using technology.  Parents were shopping and children were looking at screens.  Children were swiping, poking, touching and listening.  They were being read to, challenged and entertained.  They were sitting so still with their eyes on the screens.
                       
This ability to entertain children with technology is fairly new.  It didn’t exist when I was raising my boys who are now 17 and 21 years old.  I remember carrying bags of books and toys.  Parents developed an uncanny ability to read, play and shop all at the same time.   As soon as they were big enough, they were out of the cart and nothing I could bring in my bag would entertain them enough to keep them from running in the aisles.  We tried to contain them by letting them stand on the back of the cart as we ran.  They must have felt like they were flying.

Do you remember being that child?  For as long as I can remember, I was a people watcher.  People fascinate me.  I remember shopping with my parents and watching the people.  I remember my father holding my hands and swinging me in the air.  I remember that whenever I had to wait and be patient, my mother would have her bag of tricks.  My doll was in it.  She had books to read to me.  There was a lot more interpersonal contact than there is today.

What are our children losing by having so many screens?  I cannot help but wonder how different their manual dexterity will be if they spend more time swiping  than turning pages or holding pencils.  Will they learn to take social clues if their heads are buried in gadgets instead of watching people?  There is something so impersonal about technology reading to children instead of humans.

I understand that technology has permeated our lives.  I know that parents need to help their children to wait or to be patient when on line in stores or sitting in waiting rooms.  It is unrealistic for me to tell people that children should never be using electronics.  It is more than I expect of myself.  But sometimes – every now and then – perhaps on holiday weekends – we should all take a break and teach our children to do the same.  Thanksgiving is in two days.  Families will gather.  Daily schedules to come to a screeching halt.  The days of conversation, family time and personal interaction that we so fondly remember can happen for children today.  It just takes more effort because we aren’t used to it.  Join me in pressing the "off" button and teaching your children the value of technology breaks. 


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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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fear Based Parenting – A Scary Trend

I recently drove past a church’s sign that said, “Are your goals about your hopes or your fears?”  What a great question, especially for parents.  Our words and our reactions to our children become how they think of themselves.  Our fears become their insecurities… and today’s parents are full of fear.  I speak to parents all the time in my role as a school director and on the road when I am hired to speak about parenting.  Their fears worry me because I also work with many children and teens who suffer from anxiety, depression and/or self-destructive behaviors.

Parents need to think about from where their parenting is rooted.  Is it rooted in hope and acceptance?  Is it rooted in fear and insecurity? Parenting goals need to be based on the reality of your child’s development and abilities with an eye on what really matters for the future.  When we hold our children for the first time, we dream of them having a happy and healthy life.  A happy and healthy life includes following their dreams and not ours.  It means having a life filled with personal fulfillment. It needs to be based in self-acceptance.  Somehow, along the way, this vision gets muddled with worry about being in the gifted & talented class or with fear that being identified in need of special services will harm the child.  It gets lost in concerns for being the best in a dance class or making the elite sports team.  It becomes about comparing their class assignments with the neighbor who has just 1 more advanced placement class.  Dreams for their happiness become too much about parents and not enough about the children.
                                          
Ask yourself, “Who do I want my children to be and what do I want them to value?”  If you want them to value your culture, then you must lead a life that immerses your family in that culture.  If you want them to be happy, they need to know that happiness is not about competition.  It is about self-acceptance.  They cannot accept themselves if you do not accept them – if you are pushing them to be who they are not. 

Every child develops at his/her own rate.  Every child has strengths and weaknesses.  We know that about ourselves but, too often, fear it in our children.  Children are always doing their best.  When they don’t seem to be applying themselves, there is a reason.  When they struggle with a subject, they simply need help, encouragement and the knowledge that being the best at everything isn’t reality.  They need to see confidence in their parent’s eyes and not fear or disappointment.  They need parents to provide them with the real tools for a happy life – confidence, peace of mind and self-acceptance.


________________________________________________________________________
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.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Teaching about Thankfulness While Respecting Cultures



We live in a time when teaching acceptance and tolerance has become a necessary priority.  We try to teach that stereotyping, bullying and scapegoating are wrong.  We teach children to respect the ways in which we are alike and we are different. 

The month of November can be challenging when we are mindful of the messages that we give to children through our actions.  For generations, children in preschools and elementary schools celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing like Native Americans. The Native American headdresses and other clothing are sacred in their community.  They are not uniforms or the clothes worn by characters in a fairy tale.  The clothing has meaning.  Native Americans have written articles, editorials and other documents declaring how offended they are when we have children dress as them.  Unfortunately, some schools and teachers still create their garb. 

It is time that we stop teaching this holiday by dressing like characters and teach the true meaning.  We need to focus on the real lesson.  Let’s face it—the story of Thanksgiving that we all heard as children isn’t entirely accurate.   The real lesson of this month is thankfulness.  We should talk about what it means to be grateful and thankful.  We should talk about how lucky we are to be loved.  We should talk about how we can say “thank you” for all of our blessings. 

This is a great time to year for children to learn to respect that all of us have different traditions.  The children can talk about similarities and differences in their holiday celebrations.  They can create art that is about gathering of family and friends.  They can learn about traditional Thanksgiving foods and what others may eat that are less traditional. 

By the time November and the December holiday season is over, perhaps they will have learned to be a little more aware, a little more thoughtful and respectful of everyone.


________________________________________________________________________
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.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Words Matter



Words matter.  An elementary school student told me that she is “unteachable.”  Where did she learn that word?  “Unteachable” is not a word that a young student knows.  It is not a label she should own.  It is entirely false. 

Words matter.  A preschool student told me that he is “bad.”  He is sweet and funny.  He is young and needs to learn about socialization and behavior.  He is under the age of 4 and already has a negative word about himself.

Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.  Untrue.  Words mean everything.  Words shape our view of our world and of ourselves.  Too often, adults talk about children as if they cannot hear them.  Just because a child is shorter and his ears are not at the same height as yours does not mean that he cannot hear you.  A child may be playing with toys but, if she is in the vicinity, she can hear you.

Think about the words you use when you are with children.  You cannot fill the air with negativity and expect to get positive things back.  Ask yourself:

  • Do I use more positive, self-esteem building words or more negative words?
  • Do I use words to point out how we are all human and deserve compassion or do I use words to create a gossipy world of them vs. us? 
  • Do I use words that reflect the values that I want to teach?
  • Do I use words to criticize rather than offer constructive advice? 

We all have a thought reel that plays in our heads.  Our thoughts are almost always about the past or the future. We remember.  We imagine scenarios.   It is our brain’s self-defense, survival of the fittest mechanism for keeping us from harm.  When children are young, their thoughts about themselves are shaped, in part, by the words of others.  Their thought reel is created by us.  We each need to take responsibility for the words we add to their world.   If each one of us thought for a moment before we spoke, maybe one less child would think herself “unteachable” and one less preschooler would enter elementary school feeling like he is “bad.”

Words matter.

________________________________________________________________________
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.