There can be times in family life when families somehow disconnect. It may be that each member of your family has their own schedule and they all overlap hence not getting to see each other much. It may also be that you have not made enough time for your children because it has not been physically possible. Either way you family may have become detached. The result of this is you and your children missing out on the essential interaction of sharing information and experiences.
So how can you re-connect? You can reconnect by going back to basics and getting to know your children again – their feelings, their interests, likes and dislikes. This can be as easy as sitting reading a book, playing a game or having meals together. Your child will feel valued and loved that you are showing an interest and that’s what they want most of all.
The Christmas and holiday time is perfect for re-connecting. What one thing do you plan to do to re-connect as a family in the coming weeks?
Perfectionism is the desire to be perfect. It is about setting high standards of yourself and when you don’t meet those standards feeling disappointed and possibly useless, a failure etc. These high standards are generally unrealistic but still we will put ourselves under unnecessary pressure to succeed and be the best. Being a perfectionist has, in my eyes, one benefit and that is it makes us care about what we are doing and to try hard.
I have seen many children who are perfectionists. They may want to be perfect in one area of their life or all of them. I have seen some children who have to do well academically but are quite happy to have a messy bedroom or complicated friendships. Whichever area it is they can feel anxious, stressed and tired emotionally because of the time they are putting in.
You will know if your child is striving too hard if they use words like, ‘I must’ or ‘I have to’. If they are, challenge their thoughts as to why they are thinking in that way. Say to them, ‘Why do you say you have to get 10 out of ten in your spellings?’ ‘What does it mean to you if you don’t?’
How do you deal with perfectionism in your house?
Self-acceptance is about being happy with who you are and accepting that you are good at some things and not so great at others. There are some children who really find it hard to accept themselves, warts and all. They find it tough that they are not great at everything they turn their hand to and this in turn can lead to disappointment and sometimes they will to not try. If your child is like this why not try this exercise:
Ask them what they think they are good at and make a list of these things (list A). Then make another list with them of things they are not so good at (list B). The first list should be longer. If not give them some ideas as to what they can add to list A.
You could also challenge their thoughts about why they think they are not great at something. Have they always not been great at it? Have they practised enough? What does enough mean?
How would you help your child see that they cannot be good at everything?
I have not posted anything about my parenting book since I mentioned that I had been commissioned to write it by Vermillion, part of the Random House group of publishers. Well the book is soon to be out on release. When I mean soon – 10 weeks to me is pretty soon. I finally have the book cover and wanted to share it with you. I love it but then I am biaised. What do you think?
I was having a conversation the other day with a friend of mine and we were discussing if children need you more or less as they grow up. Personally I think it is a difficult one to answer. Children need your time when they are pre-school. They like you to play with them, take them wherever you go, they rely on you for entertainment on some level. You are their parent, carer, entertainer, teacher, meal provider, chauffeur, social secretary.
When your children go to school you see them less but they still need you emotionally. They need your time to do homework with them, take them places – you are their ‘taxi driver’ but spend more time with their friends and less time with you. The teenager years replicate this but they have more homework. Then you become their guide, their counsellor, coach too.
No matter what stage of life they are they will need you for stability, guidance and possibly money! For me the jury is out on if they need you more or less. I think they need us more emotionally as they get older but don’t want us around so much. They need and rely on us despite what age they are.
What do you think?
My husband kindly passed on this article to me about a new book that has been published and I thought I would share it with you. It is not my normal thing to do as you know unless you follow me on twitter at @thekidscoach. I share articles there all the time.
The book called ‘Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting’ has been written by a dad called Carl Honoré. Carl is passionate about living and enjoying life with his children and has written this book to ‘save children from their hyper-active, over-ambitious parents’ He talks about his own experience of raising his two children and the moment he vowed to stop being a pushy dad.
This reason I found the article interesting is that in the past I have seen children who feel over scheduled. They may be doing 3 or 4 after-school activities a week (one of those may include a tutor) as well as their homework. They tell me that they are tired and want to do less. They would like more time to relax and see their friends. I work with them to find balance and the words to communicate to their parents what they would like to change.
So here is the article – http://tgr.ph/ryZKyR
What are your thoughts?
Decision making is important as it teaches children about choice, getting what they want and need from others and it also empowers them. If we do not allow our children to make any of their own decisions then they will always look to us to make them for them. Do we really want them to be coming to us when they are adults asking us what should they do about x?
Yet if we allow our children to make all their own decisions including the ones we as parents should be making then where does that lead them? It gives them too much power. There are decisions that parents should be making like bedtimes, sleepovers, holidays etc.
So how do we reach a middle ground where our children make and take responsibility for their decisions? We can start to give them choices when they are young and increase those choices. For example you could ask them how they would like to spend the day or what they want for dinner by giving them two options.
How many and what decisions do you let your child make?
I think at some stage or another we have all been guilty of not asking for what we wanted. It may be that we have been happy to go with the flow of what others have wanted to do, have not had an opinion or that we have put our needs second. Most of the time I would say we do have an opinion as do our children.
Some of the children I see find it deeply frustrating going along with others plans but don’t speak up because they fear they will upset the other person. It is important that you get them to voice their needs otherwise they will always end up doing what their friends or family want. Do they want to be doing something they hate or would they prefer to do something they have an interest in?
To ease them into voicing their needs you can give them a choice about what they want to do. Rather than ask them such as, ‘What would you like to do?’ say something like, ‘Would you like to go to the cinema or bowling?’
How else could encourage a child to ask for what they need or want?
Social networking is the way of the world. Children want to connect with their friends out of school by using facebook, twitter, MSN etc and there is some pressure on them to be doing what their friends are all doing. How, as a parent can we feel comfortable with our pre-teen interacting in this way? How do we protect them from cyber-bullies and predators?
1. We can set our children with private profiles so that they can talk to their friends in a closed environment.
2. We can monitor what they’re doing online by checking the history on the computer.
3. We can put the home computer in a central part of the house so that everyone has access to it and the screen is visible to all and not allow any screen that has internet connection in bedrooms.
4. Teach them what is appropriate language to use and the amount of information to give out when you don’t know who the audience is.
What other limitations do you set when your child is using socially interactive games and websites? How do you ensure the safety of your child when friending options are limitless?
The relationship I have with both my children I would say is good. We communicate well (most of the time), they listen to me (when they want or need to) and they co-operate (without me shouting). I enjoy watching them grow and develop their minds and I love the parent/child relationship we have. But not all parent/child relationships are easy and they all require a lot of hard work and time.
If you want to improve your relationship with your child why not try out the following:
1. Take time to talk daily about your child’s day. Listen when they are talking to you and show you are interested.
2. Set clear rules and boundaries together and let your child make a few up themselves. Talk about the consequences of rule breaking so your child knows what will happen if they do.
3. Recognise and acknowledge your child’s feelings and notice when their behaviour changes. Changes in behaviour mean they are feeling something (good or bad).
4. Give them responsibility for their age and praise them when they do something right or when they do something without asking.
5. Think about what and how you say things to them and prepare them for what is going to happen next, ‘In 10 minutes we will …..’
6. Be consistent. Having a stable routine and structure is key to a child’s life as it is to many of us.
Have you any more to add? If so, please leave a comment so we can share parenting ideas.
Sometimes the discipline parents use doesn’t work. It may do to start with and then it loses its novelty or it never really worked from the beginning.
Either way, how do we find the right kind of discipline for each of our children? We could ask them why it is not working and what would work better instead. In some of my coaching sessions I will ask this question and the children don’t hold back with their answers. It may be that they want to be told off in a firmer voice or that they don’t get the reward they were promised. It may be that they have to go to their room for a period of time or get a playstation ban.
If the discipline is not working in your household, would you consider asking your child for input?
It is not uncommon for your child to hate at least one of their lessons or one of their teachers. Children generally hate the lesson because they feel they are not very good at it and they don’t like the teacher because they feel they are being picked on (they may well be told off often for not paying attention or misbehaving) I see lots of children who express that their teacher has it in for them.
Why? Because they are misbehaving.
Why? Because they have no interest in the lesson
So what do they do? They talk, they are silly etc
They end up on report or in detention regularly and they and their parents want it to stop.
One way I get them to re-focus and be interested is by asking them what do they want to do with their life? What is their end goal? If that’s their goal what do they have to do to reach it? Yes they need qualifications and that means they need to listen and pay attention in class.
It works every time. How do you as a parent get your child to concentrate and be interested in the classroom?
My 7 year old once came home from school with sheets of paper with gems on them. Not real ones but large drawing of gems that you could cut out and colour in. There was a note attached saying, ‘Please cut out the gems and write on the back of each one something your child has done for another person that is helpful, considerate etc.’
The task was two weeks long and I had to remember the things he had done to help me or another person. No matter how small the ‘good deed’ was I had to see or hear it, register it, remember it and put it on a gem when we got home (the good deeds mainly happened outside of the house, don’t ask me why).
The project tested my memory but also made me more aware of what he was doing when he was with me. The first couple of days he was really trying to get gems – picking something off the floor that someone had dropped, putting money in a charity tin, etc. Then he forgot about the project so he got less gems. He got some though – he laid the table for me and tidied his toys away when I asked him to.
I think the project was good for me, as well as him, as I got to really tune in to how responsive he is to me and how thoughtful he is. I think this idea can make children really think about what they are doing for others. We often use stickers and rewards charts for children to behave in the way we want them to but I don’t think we place much emphasis on children doing something for another person, with or without prompt.
I think the gems are a lovely motivational idea. What do you think?
It was never my intention to work with children with ADHD, so when a parent asked me to help their child with his social skills I thought, why not? How different could it be to work with a child who was a bit more energised than the average child? Read more here>>
Some parents find it hard to persuade their children to do their homework. It may be that their child is not interested in the subject they are learning, they may find it too challenging or it may be that they would rather do something else.
Whatever the reason, I have realised one thing. If we, as parents, show that we are interested in an activity then our children are more likely to show interest and want to join in. For example, if you love geography why not talk to your child about the world, bring out an Atlas or a globe and do a quiz. Ask them where do you find x country? what language do the inhabitants speak? what’s the local currency? capital city? size of the country or population? There are numerous questions you could ask to turn the subject into a fun and educational experience.
You could also look at articles on the internet together or look at books or magazines around a subject. My husband received his latest copy of National Geographic and in there was a poster of a storm cloud that he thought our eldest would like. He showed him the picture, he loved it and now it’s on his wall. He is nurturing him to take an interest.
Passing on your passion can really help your children learn especially if you do it in a fun and interesting way that they are responsive to. What school work are you able to help your child with and does your passion shine through? Can you relate any experiences with your children that you would want to share with others here?
Mornings can be rushed and you know me I don’t like rushing and I don’t like unnecessary stress so how can you get your child to ‘move it , move it’ in a way your child is responsive to?
Children love counting down time and races. Why not give them a ten minute warning before you are going to leave the house and put the stopwatch on for ten minutes at the same time. Your children can then keep an eye on the amount of time they have left whilst putting on their socks, shoes, coat etc.
What ways do you motivate your child to be ready and waiting?
Your child may want to do well at school but they may not know how to do the best they possibly can. As parents we can help them by giving the support and guidance they need. A listening ear is the first thing they will require….. but there are other ways you could help them.
- Nurture their passion to succeed
- Give them self-confidence and encourage them in all that they do
- Make them aware of possible obstacles
- Tell them that hard work and perseverance are needed
- Get them to enjoy working hard and applying themselves
What tips do you have to help your child do well at school?
Starting a new year can be an anxious time for children. There is a new teacher to meet, new work, old friends they don’t want to see and possibly new friends to make. The summer was great fun but now the thought of returning to school can fill some children with dread. Our children may not say how they are feeling but they can display them in their actions.
Actions speak louder than words!
Children who are worried about going back to school:
- Are more likely to tantrum
- Are more clingy
- May have trouble sleeping
- May have headaches or stomach aches
- They may be more withdrawn
- May hide their feelings
- May also get angry or short tempered
- Can be moody
- Bite their nails
We can make the school return easier by talking to our children and let them know it’s normal to feel this way. We can also help them by making sure they’re getting enough sleep and exercise, before the term starts, as both help keep stress levels down. Finally we need to make sure that if we have feelings of anxiety of them going back to school that they don’t pick up on them.
How have you helped your child prepare for their new school year?
How often does your child tell you that you aren’t listening to them. Have you ever thought why they say that?
Is it because you are not looking at them whilst they are speaking?
Is it because you aren’t validating their feelings or their thoughts?
Are you nodding your head?
Are you distracted by something else that is going on?
Are you saying all those acknowledgement words such as ‘oh yes’, ‘really’?
Do you probe them with questions?
Is it because you jump in with your thoughts about what they are saying before your child has finished talking?
By listening to your child and what they have to say you are showing them respect and a skill that you want them to inherit.
What do you do to show you are listening?
This is an old blog that I feel I should re-publish following on from several conversations I have had recently with some parents. I initially wrote it after a chance conversation with two parents about their defiant children. One parent believed their child had a disorder called Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and the other parent thought that their childs defiance was part of who they were and would grow out of it. The latter child simply refused to do anything that his parents asked him to do unless they were coerced.
Thinking about both sets of parents and the parents recently I wonder if it is possible to tell if a child has a disorder such as this one at a young age (under 6). Especially since other disorders are recognised when children are slightly older. Most parents would see their strong willed child as the person they are and expect their child to be pushing the boundaries, so what makes other parents think differently.
Well when you look at the signs of ODD you will see why. Parents who recognise that their childs ‘defiant’ behaviour is not the norm is because:
- It is more persistent
- Has lasted more than six months; and
- Their child is disruptive to their family, home and school environment
Children with ODD also show signs of negativity, disobedience and can be hostile to towards authority figures and they may also show consistent signs of:
- Temper tantrums
- Be argumentative with adults
- Refuse to comply with adult requests or rules
- Deliberately annoy other people
- Blame others for mistakes or their misbehavior
- Act touchy and become easily annoyed
- Show anger and resentment
- Be spiteful
- Aggressive towards peers
- Find it difficult to maintain friendships
ODD seems to be much more recognised in the US and almost unheard of here. If you have a defiant child who shows these symptoms and you think there is more to it, it is worth getting them checked out as early invention can prevent greater problems.
Looking at your child do you think they are defiant or………?