Archive for the ‘motivation’ category

Toilet training is similar to driver training

June 18, 2012
training a teen driver is about positive parenting. driver training is like potty training. The teen is in control like the toddler is in control.

Spend the first decade building a relationship based on mutual respect so the teen years will be easier.

In reply to a listener inquiry [proving I respond to reader queries. Bring them on!] here’s my take on potty training. It should really be called “parent training.” I failed and felt frustrated by the lack of control.Ah ha! That’s the lesson. They are in charge, not us.My first three kids potty trained by around age 3. Nowadays kids who speak in paragraphs keep parents scooping their poop until age 4. Ugh!

My fourth child decided to use the toilet by 19 months. Why? Because I had learned how to motivate a toddler through encouragement, to avoid power struggles and convince her it was her idea. She sensed I didn’t care too much about potty training. I knew how to share power with her.

Here are some guidelines.Toilet training is about establishing a positive parenting relationship between toddler and parent. Toilet training can be easy when parents let kids take the lead

1. The more emotion a parent shows around potty training, the more power the child can seize and use to manipulate parents. We all need power. Rudolph Dreikurs in “Children, the Challenge” calls urine and tears “water power.” Tears and pee are effective ways to get what you want, get revenge and demonstrate power.

2. Parents need to learn to share power. I hated this fact because I wanted all the power. I wanted them to do it my way. It’s a great way to fuel rebellion, and set the stage for sour teen years.

3. Parents are not in control. Toilet training is the initiation of independence. Parents can learn how to shine the light on the path without forcing them; to finesse a child to believe that toilet training is her idea.

To parents of older children, tweens and teens, do these guidelines sound familiar?

Let’s apply the principles of toilet training to driver training.

1. Mom wants to guide a teen to drive safely because Mom cannot force Junior to drive safely when Mom is not in the car.

2. A suave Dad will accept criticism about his driving from Junior and let Junior believe that  safe driving is his idea and he is a near expert on it.

3. By adolescence, parents have been forced to accept that we are not in control of a young person’s behavior. Teens must learn to show good judgement when they are 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour.

Toilet training is a primer for the rest of childhood. Force will backfire. The toddler will prove SHE is in control of bladder and bowels. So back off. As an overachiever who succeeded by trying too hard, backing off did not come naturally. I bought a lot more diapers for the first three kids and more pretty panties for the fourth.

Some parents resort to bribery. Beware if bribery is your main method of behavior control because it will backfire. Some experts say to save bribery for the “big guns.” Toilet training could be considered a “big gun.” Potty training is about attitude, about using the first 10 to 12 years to set up a positive relationship based on mutual respect so the teen years will be smooth.

What worked for you when potty training? What did you learn about parenting through toilet training?

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Missing Mom

May 7, 2012
Mothers of large families with five or more children have a special place in the world. There were many big catholic families in the 1950s and 1960s. Not so much anymore. Now mormons have the corner on big families. My mother was an incredible woman. I honor her on Mother's Day.

Our family in 1962. I’m sitting on my father’s lap in this annual holiday photo tradition.

No matter what your relationship with your mother, you will miss her when she dies.The ache is doubled if your mother was like mine, with whom I felt connected, accepted and respected. Mildred has been gone for six years now. I still want to call her when I feel up or down.Motherhood for Mildred was not about if her children made her look good or feel good. I never remember her saying, “I’m proud of you.” Her objective was not how she felt/thought/looked about us, but how we felt/thought/looked.

Mother's Day is a day to remember our mothers- what they did for us, what they didn't do for us, and how they loved us. Mother's Day will not feel the same this year without my mother, who influenced me so much. I still mis her. Mildred was a remarkable woman.

Mildred Mary Margaret Theresa Rees Tordella, 1921- 2005. Mother of nine, grandmother to 25, great-grandmother to 11 and counting, and friend to countless.

Parental pride/praise sends the silent virulent message of, “I love you best when you make me look good and feel good. Don’t let me down.” Praise and pride can motivate children to achieve for parents. One unfortunate outcome of parental pride is for a young person to choose a career parents want, which eventually lands them in the psychiatrist’s office, miserable.

Without the risk of “letting Mom down,” it freed me to call her when I had been fired from a job, yelled at my kids or fought with my spouse. She held me in failure and celebrated my joys. I long to call or visit her one more time, to bask in that kind of connection, acceptance and mutual respect.

Mother's Day is a special day for parents and children, especially mothers and daughters. I really miss my mother, who inspired so many of us to be independent and loving. She believed in chores and self-discipline and cultivating responsibility. She showed me encouragement and mutual respect. On Mother's Day, I still miss her. If only mothers could be perfect, but we can't so we have to accept them the way they are. and forgive them for not being perfect.

Mom in her early 20s.

My parents never referred to their posse of grown children as “the kids,” a common practice, often justified because “You’re younger than us.” Yuck — what a barrier that sentiment erects. One of the most difficult aspects of motherhood is knowing and seeing we are setting up lifelong habits and forming personalities. Ugh! What a responsibility — and opportunity.

My mother mastered the art of encouragement. She stayed out of our way and let us find our own way. Five of us have our own businesses. We all have high degrees of internal motivation, thanks to the chores we were expected to do, that taught us self-discipline.

Mildred specialized in listening with an open heart and asking questions. Questions pointed my needle in the right direction.”What do you think? How did that happen? What are you going to do next?”  I trusted her to listen objectively, not make me wrong, or risk disappointing her. When whining about my marriage [what marriage is perfect?] she inevitably sided with Bob, much to my annoyance. She was usually right, too, because I had failed to manage my emotions around whatever petty annoyances.

Even though her parents had been dead for years, Mildred often said, “My parents are with me every day.” I scoffed at that sentiment when she was still alive, and like much of her wisdom, I’ve come find out she was right.

Mom, you’re with me every day. Thanks for everything. I love you and miss you.

Source: www.buynaturalgarciniacambogia.com

Kids resiliency will surprise us

April 23, 2012
kids learn resiliency from all kinds of situations, even in divorce, single parents, single mom, single mothers. children of all ages will survive whatever their childhood delivers

Learning how to get along on the playground is fundamental to resiliency.

I know a 10-year-old only child of estranged parents constantly in court over who gets to see the child when.One parent always wants more time, rigidity and control, and drags the other parent and pricey lawyers to court. It’s a sad difficult situation. I can’t wait to see what this develops in the child, alias “Morgan,” who is surrounded by doting adults — mother, father, step-father, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Daily, Morgan gets to wrangle with adults who deliver conflicting, true, false, tempting and misleading information. In ten years, Morgan has been exposed to a plethora of people, situations and family constellations.

I predict Morgan will develop discernment and powerful instincts for people, truth and trustworthiness. Morgan may become a psychologist, lawyer, or CEO with leadership skills because s/he will know how to get people to do what s/he wants — which is the art of management and leadership.

In short, no matter what we do to our kids, they are resilient and something positive may emerge from our mistakes and difficult situations.

I know a young person who grew up living in public housing with one parent hooked on drugs. This person has sworn to never be without money as an adult. That experience created a powerful motivation, work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.

No matter how we mess up our kids, and it’s guaranteed that we will mess up because there are no perfect parents, most of them survive and thrive. Moms and dads have a propensity towards worry and guilt, which is good. We should worry about what we do and constantly improve how we manage and nurture our kids. Worry and guilt are triple if your child is adopted, has a learning disability or some other handicap, or if you’re a single parent. All of these obstacles are learning opportunities.

When they leave home and find their own path, it’s amazing to see how seeds and weeds planted during childhood grow beautiful sometimes unexpected flowers.

Difficult children respond to encouragement

March 19, 2012
Difficult children are often more intelligent. LEarning encouragement and positive psychology saved my relationship with ian. he is creative. Difficult children are often more creative and intuitive. Parenting is about learning to love children even when they are difficult.

Ian, 3, with his favorite dinosaur. Today at age 27, Ian teaches kite-boarding, is an organic farmer, and can play five instruments, including the fiddle, which he taught himself to play.

My son Ian was the third of our four children, born in just under seven years. At age 2, he was difficult: stubborn, vocal and committed to get what he wanted. I didn’t like him much.At seminars today, I describe Impossible Ian, how encouragement transformed our relationship, and how you, too, can learn the art of encouragement.

Another term for encouragement is “positive psychology,” pioneered by authors Martin E.P. Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

This book is about how to have a positive outlook on life without drugs and therapy. It will help you with parenting and work and love. I'm listening to it on cd, and love his approach. It's all about love and logic, adlerian, parenting tips, parenting advice."Martin E.P. Seligman" "Mihaly-Csikszentmihalyi" optimal experiences, flow, positive psychology, encouragement, family meetings, power of language, discipline, parenting: about,

"Flourish" by Martin E.P. Seligman is worth reading. I'm listening to it as a recorded book.

In “Flourish” Seligman presents research that shows positive comments must outnumber negative remarks by 3-to-1 for a company to succeed. For a marriage to succeed, the ratio must be a mind-boggling 5-to-1.If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it!

I teach parents to say something nice that will get kids to learn good judgment, the cause-and-effect of behavior choices, and nurture the parent-child connection.

The first task is to give up praise. I know this is heresy because Americans  give everyone a trophy for breathing so their precious self-esteem won’t suffer. This leads to what I call self-excess-teem, and young people with no work ethic because they want a standing ovation for showing up.

Here’s a comparison between praise and encouragement devised by parents in a workshop last week. You can see which one wins.

Encouragement might feel awkward at first. Practice self-encouragement — notice what you’re doing well — to get past the awkward stage. Remember it takes three weeks to establish a habit. This is a fun habit to learn that is useful for everyone in your life.

Praise                                             Encouragement

Similar to candy                                Similar to an apple

General                                               Specific

Given after success only                  Given anytime, including after failure

About how adults think/do/feel    About how children think/do/feel

Creates external motivation           Creates internal motivation

Hollow, insincere                              Authentic, descriptive

Promotes unrealistic self-beliefs   Nurtures genuine self-esteem

Obedience is the goal                       Questions actions/beliefs/authority

Patronizing                                         Respectful

High energy, excited                         Low-key, balanced

Exaggerated                                        True

Celebrates accomplishment only   Notices efforts made and progress

Highly verbal                                      Can be silent

What’s your encouragement score today with your kids and your spouse? Have authentic positive statements outweighed the negative? You can do it 🙂 And enjoy using encouragement. Start with yourself.

5 positive parenting resolutions for 2012

January 2, 2012
Act Don't Yak from "Dr. Sam Goldstein" is a fundamental principle for happy families. If you have a behavior problem with your toddler, preschooler, school age, tween , teen, teenager or adolescent, acting not yakking is a positive parenting resolution for 2012. You can do it. start with baby steps.
Act Don’t Yak is an easy-to-follow 2012 resolution.

NOTE: Join us at a Positive Parenting Seminar, “Act Don’t Yak” on Monday Jan. 9, 2012, 7-9 pm in Littleton. Click here for info.

“It’s so hard to make new habits,” parents say in my parenting seminars and private practice. It’s true — ANY new habit is challenging to establish and maintain.

Think of a habit as a groove on a record — yes, an old-fashioned LP. When you are stuck in a groove, the record keeps getting deeper as it replays itself. Parents sound like a broken record when they threaten, punish, praise, reward and spank. These negative parenting practices do NOT develop long-term good decision making, and they erode a parent-child relationship.

Take the lead from your kids and start with small steps. Rotate practicing one of the habits each week for three months. Write them out on index cards or 8 x 11 sheets as in the photo at left, and post them on your bathroom mirror as a reminder. They are deceptive simple, extremely effective and will bring results for tots-to-teens.

1. Have regular family meetings to connect, communicate, share the load of housework, empower children, and practice mutual respect. Set the goal of having them weekly, every-other-week or monthly. They create the foundation for everything you want your family and child to be.

2. Act don’t yak [Dr. Sam Goldstein]. This one habit can transform your family communication from horrendous to harmonious. Stop threatening, yelling and repeating. Say it ONCE and then take action. This applies to kids of all ages. Otherwise kids tune parents out and become mother-dear and father-deaf.

3. Be kind, firm and consistent. No one is perfect in this department. However, you can learn new language. “I’m sorry Brittany. I know you’d like to me to give you money to buy that XYZ. Remember at the family meeting we agreed that you would use your allowance to buy such things? I’m sure you can save up for it.”

4. Learn the art of encouragement, also known as constructive praise. GIVE UP using “I’m so proud of you,” which creates external motivation and can only be used after success. Start saying, “Well done! How do you feel about it?” “Look at what you did. Tell me about it.” Encouragement can be given after failure. Ask, “What did you learn?” “What would you differently next time?” Give them courage to try again and cultivate intrinsitic motivation.

5. Use natural and logical consequences that follow the three Rs-   Related, Reasonable and Respectful [Dr. Jane Nelsen]. Otherwise your kids will resort to the negative three Rs– Resentment, Rebellion and Revenge. These get uglier and more dangerous as children mature into teens and have more freedom.

See free tip sheets on encouragement, natural and logical consequences and family meetings, or order the book for reinforcement.

These positive parenting practices are built on a foundation of mutual respect — where everyone has rights and responsibilities and is treated with dignity. Mistakes are looked upon as opportunities to grow and learn NOT as reasons to punish. Accomplishments, pride and new skills belong to a young person — NOT to parents.

You can do it. Start small. Encourage yourself by noticing progress. Any progress is improvement. Comments always welcomed.

Help! My child is the bully!

November 28, 2011
setting limits for kids who are out of control. Discipline is about relating their behavior to children's and teen's decisions. Good parenting and positive parenting are about being kind firm and consistent. Parents can encourage accountability to children by using this book. Schools can encourage misbehaving kids who are discipline problems by reading the book "Schools where everyone belongs" by Stan Davis and Julia Davis. School bullies can learn to change their behavior when principals use this book. Bullying can be ended at schools by "Schools where everyone belongs."
This book has ideas for educators and parents for children who are regularly  in trouble at school.

Perhaps you saw it over Thanksgiving — a child running wild with no limits set by parents. Perhaps it was your kid who was out of control and you feel guilty, ashamed and don’t know where to turn.

Positive parenting can be learned. It’s all about how we set a limit and let children make their own decisions. I really like the approach in”Schools Where Everyone Belongs,” by Stan Davis, with his daughter Julia Davis, who write about how to eliminate bullying behavior at schools. They emphasize the power of encouragement, guiding children to write and reflect on how their behavior impacts others, the importance of adults keeping a positive and neutral tone, and how to come up with a plan for adults and children.

For example, when a kid is sent to the office and avoids taking responsibility for his/her behavior, the adult in charge asks, “What did you do?” and “What was wrong with that?” Kids don’t always own up to their behavior. If kids are reluctant to acknowledge what they did in the “reflection room,”  the adult can say, “Are you saying you’re not ready to do this today? You can do it in detention tomorrow instead.”

This approach is so much more effective and respectful than pronouncing, “I’m giving you another detention tomorrow!” which will come across as punishment, and can lead to resentment, rebellion and revenge. And you still haven’t achieved your goal of guiding the child to make better decisions.

Parents can learn from this constructive approach to better manage our emotions [usually anger and frustration] and to empower children to make choices and live with the outcome.

Maybe your child is the bully. This book will give you great ideas on how to handle him/her at home, what questions to ask to encourage reflection, and what you can say and do. Bullies are usually regular visitors to the school principal, so buy this book and give it to your kids’ school principal.

FREE talk tonight at West Elementary in Andover, MA

November 16, 2011

Come for a free talk on positive parenting 7:30 pm, West Elementary School, 58 Beacon St. in Andover, Mass., sponsored by the Andover townwide PTA.

The focus is how chores teach self discipline, nurture self esteem and strenthen the parent-child connection for life. Hear more about encouragement, family meetings, mutual respect and natural and logical consequences.

You will go home with some new ideas and reminders about creating and maintaining positive parenting practices.

Bring friends!