Monday, May 25, 2015

Let Your Kids Be Disappointed

Disappointment is unavoidable.  At some time in our lives – in fact, at many times – we are disappointed.  We may not get the job we wanted or the house we bid on or the behavior of other people disappoints us.  It is important that our children grow up knowing that disappointment is a normal emotion.  Stop calling the league when your child doesn’t make the team.  Stop calling the school when your child isn’t cast in the play.  Do not call the other parent when your child isn’t invited to the party.  Instead, teach your children lessons that they will be able to draw from for many years: 
  • Disappointment is a normal part of life for everyone.  There are other kids who didn’t make the team, get cast in the play or invited to the party.  Even if they were the only person in the situation this time, it happens at other times to other people.  It is important for children to know that their feelings are not only valid but are also common.  There is no shame in feeling sad and disappointed.  We all feel that way from time to time. 
  • Disappointment is survivable.  When parents swoop in to fix the problem, children get the message that being disappointed is too devastating to tolerate.  They get the message that it is so bad that parents cannot let it stand.  That’s not true.  Disappointment does not need to be eradicated.  In most cases in their adult lives, they won’t be able to change the situation.  The notion that all things can be fixed is more damaging than good.  The perception that all similar situations will need to be and can be changed is simply false.
  • Disappointment passes like every other emotion.  They may feel very sad and disappointed today but tomorrow something amazing can happen.  Happiness will come back.  It is important that children grow up knowing that all emotions are temporary.
  • Disappointment requires thought, not drama.  When we join in the drama of disappointment, it becomes huge.  It takes up all of the air in our homes. Everyone begins to act emotionally instead of with thought.  Children need to be taught to consider their actions.   Yes – there are times when we need to teach our children to stand up for themselves but there are other times when we need to simply acknowledge that life doesn’t always go as we hope.  Be careful to be the person who helps children to wisely decide when to act by staying out of the drama yourself.
  • Today’s disappointment could be tomorrow’s opportunity.  In hindsight, we often realize that a disappointment actually led to something even better.   Not being on that team or in that play opens up your schedule to do new things and meet new people.  Not being invited is a sign that it’s time to make a new friend.  Life is what you make of it.  Help your children to cope by validating their emotions, giving them time to feel how they feel and teaching them to be open to new opportunities that will, no doubt, present themselves. 

It is our instinct to protect our children.  We need to be clear about what we actually can protect them from as they continue to grow and become more independent.  We cannot protect them from the emotions that result from the actions of others.  We can teach children to cope and to know that disappointment isn’t devastation by letting them feel and survive it.
________________________________________________________________________
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, May 14, 2015

Teens, Texting and Addiction to Technology at School & Home

I enjoy people watching.  I get many of the ideas for articles and talks from observing people of all ages.  Recently, I sat in the back of a room filled with learners and observed their behavior. Nearly all of them were looking at their technology.  A woman was in front of the room trying to teach and everyone had their heads down.  They were tap, tap, tapping on smartphones, tablets and laptops.  She kept talking and they kept tapping.   The learners weren’t teens.  They were adults. I was sitting in the back of a session for educators at a professional conference. Some were taking notes.  Others were obviously texting.  A number of people were playing digital games.  I wondered how many of these teachers tell their teenage students that they cannot use their technology during class.  I kept looking around and thinking, “How ironic!”

I attended a religious service recently.  I watched several adults check their texts when their phones vibrated.  I was pretty sure that someone across the aisle was posting a status on social media.

I remember a time before all of this technology.  When I was a student, we didn’t have cell phones or laptops or tablets.  There was no Facebook or Instagram for collecting “likes.”  We actually had to comment on paper or aloud to tell the world our stories and I did.  My head was down, too.   I was writing and passing notes to my friends.  I doodled.  I whispered to friends.  I was a good student in honors classes but I wasn’t always as quiet or attentive as my teachers would have liked. 

Today, I recognize that I am very technology dependent.  I cannot leave home without my cell phone.  I sat at my desk at work today using my desktop computer to answer email and my tablet to note appointments on my calendar that syncs with my smartphone. 

As a parent and a teacher, I have struggled with my expectations of others and technology.  It is hard to know where to draw boundaries and if those boundaries are helpful or if they are more distracting than the technology itself.  I have stood in a room full of teens and said, “No technology.”  It makes them anxious.  They are used to immediate gratification.  When someone needs to tell them something, it happens immediately and they can respond immediately.  Technology has changed our perception of time and our ability to wait.

I experimented with recognizing that texting is our teen’s way of passing notes today.  I told them that they can use their technology as long as they are paying attention and participating.  They were happy and well behaved but I had to question how much they were absorbing.  I know that multi-tasking is a myth.  I know about brain development and the human brain can only focus on one thing at a time.

I realized that there had to be a happy medium between “your technology is banned so now we will pause while your heart palpitates” and “text as much as you like because I know it’s your doodling – I doodled – oh wait, I paid minimal attention while I doodled.”

It took a while but I think I found a balance.  It wasn’t any more difficult than finding balance in all of the other issues that parents and teachers face.  It was about role modeling, communicating and negotiating.  I respect my students need to ensure that the White House hasn’t texted them.  I allow time to use technology just before class, a break between and when they are done with a task ahead of everyone else.  I check my technology then, too.  I explain to them that I want to have discussions during which we look at each other so we will all put the technology away at the same time.  I give them a two minute warning so they can play that last move on the game.  Then, I say, “OK.  I’m putting mine away.  You, too.”  And they do.

I do the same at home.  If want to have dinner with my family without smartphones, I tell them and I have to put mine away, too.  Often, I don’t put mine away.  I don’t ask anyone else to put theirs away when I do not.  There have been times when I have been texting and my boys have asked me to stop so we can talk.  They have learned a boundary.  When we want someone’s undivided attention, we have to ask for it.  We have to communicate our needs and have them mutually respected.

________________________________________________________________________
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.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Princesses Are Real, Unicorns Are Not: A Timely Lesson on the Bounds of Reality for Preschoolers

A princess has been born in England!  Of course, princesses also abound in our preschool classrooms.  Cartoon princesses are on shirts.  Children put on dresses and twirl around hoping we will say they look like princesses.   They dress as them on Halloween, visit them at amusement parks and watch movies about them.  The same can be said of superheroes and unicorns.  Today is a wonderful day to teach young children something about the bounds of reality.

Early childhood learners have a difficult time separating fantasy from reality.  In their world, anything can happen.  This magical thinking supports the existence of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, superheroes, unicorns and princes & princesses.  They do not know which characters on this list are fantasy and which can really exist. 

Bring your children to the TV and show them today’s news – princesses, princes, kings and queens are real.  They live in our imaginations as well as in our world.   Create one of the first lessons your child can learn about reality.  Show them the real life prince and princess who are parents to a prince and, today, a princess.  Show them that in real life, they exist but they are different than in the movies and the stores.  Tell your children that real princes and princesses do not have magical powers.  They cannot freeze things with a twirl of the wrist.  They do not fall under sleeping spells. They do have special, beautiful clothes but they wear typical dresses and sweaters, too.  They live in a castle but they have also can have jobs. The prince was in the military.  The princess is a mommy.  They both go out, sometimes when they do not want to, and have to pose for the cameras (there’s no way I would have done that on the day my children were born!).

I hope your conversations with young children this week include information about the royal birth.  Good news is so hard to find.  Good news that teaches young children about their world is even harder to find.

________________________________________________________________________
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.