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.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dare to Limit Your Child’s Stress



There seems to be a quest to make childhood look like adulthood.  Children have adult schedules.  They run from school to this lesson to that appointment at younger and younger ages.  There is no time for the real work of childhood – playing.  It is through play that they become critical thinkers and not from adult driven lessons.  The demands of increased standardized testing has forced younger children to be sitting at desks trying to master skills that they are not developmentally ready to accomplish.  Kindergarteners are expected to master what we did in 1st grade.  Children in 1st grade are doing typical 2nd grade skills.  By the time they reach high school, the students feel society’s pressure to take more Advanced Placement courses than they actually can cope with or that they need to succeed.  No one can do anything for the love of it.  The children need to qualify for the elite team when they play a sport or take lessons.  The fact that they are not yet emotionally mature enough to deal with all of this pressure and competition isn’t taken into consideration.

Dare to be that parent who limits your child’s stress.  Look at your child’s life and do the hard work of considering:

  • Does my child’s schedule leave time for childhood?  Going from one adult driven activity to another is not childhood.  Childhood gives time for free exploration and discovery.  It allows for time to imagine and create. 
  • Does my child compete during every activity in the week?  Look at the schedule to find non-competitive activities – no grades, no team, no way to fail.  Children are not emotionally mature enough to handle full days of needing to avoid failure.  They need activities during which there is no pass or fail.  They need to do things that are pure enjoyment.
  • Does my child’s schedule teach my child about balance and self-care?  Stressed out children grow up to be stressed out adults.  Today, adults flock to yoga, massages and meditation centers to step away from stress and find some balance, but they don’t teach balance to their children.  They seek it for themselves between running children from one pressure filled event to another.  Teach your children to care for their emotional health by balancing their schedules and carefully considering if another activity or advanced class really matters.
  • Do my child’s activities take the future into consideration?  Who do I want my child to be?  Children may play a sport for a while or dance for a while or perform for a while but they will be other things their whole lives – citizens, community members, family members.  They need to be given the tools to help them navigate their whole lives and not just the next few years.  Your values need to be demonstrated by the choices you help them make about how to spend their time.  Prioritize based on what you really want them to value when they are your age.  Do you want them to carry on your culture, do for those less fortunate or care about politics or social issues?  You need to make those activities a priority from the time they are very young.
  • And finally the last, most difficult question – Are my expectations and decisions based more on my child’s needs or my own insecurities?  We all want our children to have an easier time than we did.  Parents who had trouble making friends will naturally want an easier and more popular path for their children.   Parents who didn’t excel at a task will naturally enjoy watching their children succeed.  It may be natural to see our children as an extension of ourselves and to live our childhoods again through them, but it is not at all healthy.  Your children are not you.  The adults’ need to see their children succeed where they did not actually does the opposite of your intent. It doesn’t create an easier life for them.  It adds pressure that has no connection to them and who they are in this world.  Parents need to consider their actions.  Think, reflect and be intentional.  Know when you are pushing because of your own insecurities and stop. 

Loving our children means daring to say no when they don’t know their own limits.  It means demonstrating values by prioritizing them.  It means giving them tools for the future and not just today.  Loving our children means being thoughtful and intentional parents who know when to say, “No.  That’s enough.  This isn’t healthy for you.”
  
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For information about parenting & education workshops & presentations, click on this link - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families, click on this link -  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, September 7, 2014

Instilling Trust



Trust:  noun - reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. (www.dictionary.reference.com)

It is our job to teach our children independence.  We need that independence to go hand in hand with trust.  We need to trust that our children will act within the set of boundaries that we have defined for them.  We need to trust that our children will tell us the truth to the best of their ability when they are young and absolutely as they get older.  We cannot let them go if we cannot trust them.  How can we instill our relationship with them with trust and have them understand the simultaneous fragility and strength of a trusting relationship?  First and above all else, we need to be trustworthy. 
                     
Am I intentionally teaching trust?  A checklist:

  • Keep every promise.  Never make a promise if there is a chance of not keeping it.
  • Keep their secrets unless someone is going to be harmed.  No matter how cute you may find what they’ve told you, you breech their trust by sharing with friends and family.
  • If you have to share a secret because someone will be harmed, tell them and explain.  Don't just breach their confidence.
  • Tell the truth.  The truth always comes out – from your answer to “Is there really a tooth fairy?” to situations in your home.  Statements may need to be age appropriate but they should also be true.
  • Do what you say.  Saying one thing but doing another sends confusing messages and shows that our statements have no meaning. 
  • Be emotionally steady, calm and predictable.  If children can’t trust your reactions, they learn to be leery of everyone and to be less than forthcoming with you.
  • Be a model of trustworthiness in your other relationships.  Your children watch everything you do.  Let them see you being a trustworthy person.
  • Do not post about them on social media without asking their permission.  Babies have no choice but children older than that do.  So what if your 3 year old exerts some power and says no to your request?  There was a time when social media didn’t exist and people didn’t know our every move.  Don’t invade their privacy without permission.
  • Don’t just say, “Trust me” in the face of their fears and frustration.  If they are afraid or mad and you are ignoring that, they actually don’t have reason to trust you.  Don’t disregard what they are feeling.  Give an explanation as to why you may have a solution to the problem that is making them feel emotional.
  • The consequences for acting in a less than trustworthy manner need to make sense.  The consequences need to be a result of their action.  If a child breaks something and lies about it, explain that you are disappointed and that you will be watching more carefully now.  Perhaps the child won’t be allowed in a certain room out of your sight for a short time.  If older children lie about where they’ve been, it would be appropriate to allow less independence for a short time.  Time out, loss of property and other random punishments that don’t tie into “the crime” teach them nothing.
  • Congratulate them when they are trustworthy.  Praising the right behavior guides their actions.


________________________________________________________________________
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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

When I See Students, I Remember….


Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC

I am a busy woman.  I wonder if I am, in fact, too busy.  I am the Director of Schools at Temple Shalom in Aberdeen, New Jersey – yes, that means all of our schools from the early learning center thru 12th grade.  I am a credentialed instructor of adults and provide professional development lectures and presentations.  I am a Certified Professional Coach with a Certified Youth, Parent, Family Coach specialty. 

I am often knee-deep in paperwork and budgets.  Math was never my thing and I grab calculators thinking of the irony.  

I put myself out there.  All of my experience, knowledge and creativity is often lying on the table in front of you.  I do that knowing that I cannot and will not please everyone. It is the ultimate risk taking.

I am in the position of not only hiring and mentoring great teachers but also having to sometimes change their lives by ending our professional relationship.   When I have to do that, I wonder why I like this career. 

I do my best to provide a school that nurtures children and reaches every learner.  Some of their life stories & needs break my heart and I wonder why I want to be so entrenched in so much humanity.  

I also spend time lecturing, providing professional development presentations and facilitating parenting workshops.    On the show “Once Upon a Time,” they say that all magic has its price.  Success is like magic.  It has a price, too.   I have stood in the wings waiting to be introduced and wondered what my family is doing at home.

When I see students, I remember why I do this.  I do this because when I see them grasp a concept, take pride in their accomplishments and jump up with a new idea, I have had the honor and privilege to touch the future.  When I see adult students  – an audience of school directors, teachers or parents – nod in agreement or say that I have impacted the way they think, I remember why I do this.  I touch the people who touch hundreds of lives.  People thank me but I am eternally grateful for all of you.   I am truly blessed. 

________________________________________________________________________
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.