Learning from Mistakes

 

arging

Learning from Mistakes

There is a fine line between pro­tec­tion and con­trol. As a new mom, I had this over­whelm­ing desire to shield my baby from pain, sad­ness and any­thing else that was less than won­der­ful. Babies require 100% pro­tec­tion, how­ever babies grow and our expec­ta­tions need to grow accord­ingly. As new par­ents, my hus­band and I catered to our child’s whims and wishes a lit­tle too much because we didn’t like to see him sad. Before we knew it, we were entrenched in bad habits that led to giv­ing in to their demands, help­ing too much and mak­ing excuses for bad behav­ior. We par­ented too much from our hearts.

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold

I can’t imag­ine a par­ent not show­er­ing their child with love and praise. There are many times that par­ents will con­sciously choose to pro­tect their child the con­se­quences of their mis­takes. When you are faced with a choice between pro­tect­ing your child and let­ting them expe­ri­ence the nat­ural con­se­quence, it is help­ful to think about what is in your child’s best inter­est in the long run. What would be gained from step­ping back as com­pared to shield­ing them? You want your child to feel loved uncon­di­tion­ally, but you have to be care­ful to clearly com­mu­ni­cate your expec­ta­tions for respon­si­ble behav­ior. A child that feels they are free to make mis­takes and get away with­out con­se­quence may not work hard for good grades, may not learn to be finan­cial respon­si­ble, and may also engage in activ­i­ties that are dan­ger­ous.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life can be far from auto­matic. It may actu­ally be more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. It is my phi­los­o­phy that there are many times par­ents should allow mis­takes in life to teach impor­tant lessons.  As a par­ent, you get to make those deci­sions as the sit­u­a­tions arise. While eval­u­at­ing your options, I encour­age you to con­sider long term rather than short term goals.

 

 

http://blog.positivediscipline.com/2012/03/mistakes-are-wonderful-opportunities-to.html

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Parenting A Child With An Eye Towards Adulthood

 

pic-Book-Parenting

My dar­ling daugh­ter sent me an arti­cle about par­ent­ing. She encour­aged me to write a sim­i­lar one. I read it and loved it. The author is a writer by pro­fes­sion and clearly has a gift. I wish I could write so well. The author admits that she is not a par­ent­ing expert but I was struck with how she zeroed in on some gems of wis­dom, most impor­tantly, the idea of par­ent­ing now for the adult you want in the future. She hinted at some strate­gies to accom­plish that goal. For instance, lov­ing our chil­dren but not to the point that you make excuses for bad behav­ior elud­ing to the ben­e­fit of let­ting chil­dren fail so they become more respon­si­ble. Another vari­able in par­ent­ing is the nat­ural instinct to see our chil­dren as exten­sions of our­selves. This is a deep, deep issue and rec­og­niz­ing that ten­dency in our­selves is huge.

In my book, “Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle,” I go into much more detail and pro­vide many strate­gies to sup­port fam­i­lies. It is avail­able on Amazon and is both worth­while as well as a quick read.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kari-kubiszyn-kampakis/10-common-mistakes-parents-today-make-me-included_b_4753451.html

http://www.amazon.com/Strengthen-Parenting-Muscle-Sharon-Youngman-ebook/dp/B00B44J0P2

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Good Job

Success_g402

 

Good Job

 

Motivating chil­dren and build­ing con­fi­dence is impor­tant. Parents and teach­ers do their best to accom­plish this goal and it is help­ful to keep this one prin­ci­ple in mind:

Compliments that are spe­cific are more pow­er­ful than com­pli­ments that are gen­eral.

When a par­ent sees her child draw­ing a pic­ture they might say you are doing such a good job or I like your pic­ture. There is absolutely noth­ing wrong with that but if you can be more spe­cific it will impact your child even more. Imagine telling a child “I like your pic­ture and I espe­cially like the way you added details,” you not only give a gen­eral com­pli­ment but you point to some­thing spe­cific that your child can really ben­e­fit from. Think about our adult world. If our boss told us that we were doing a good job or that the report we did was good we obvi­ously would be happy. But if they were spe­cific about why they liked our work or what about the report was par­tic­u­larly good we would know the com­pli­ment was sin­cere. It would also help us know what in par­tic­u­lar they liked so we could build on it.

As a class­room teacher it was easy to sur­vey the room and com­pli­ment the class on how well they were all work­ing but imag­ine if I walked around the room and gave spe­cific com­ments to sev­eral stu­dents that were per­sonal and authen­tic. This would be sig­nif­i­cantly more pow­er­ful.

I always told my chil­dren that I loved them and was proud of them. Unconditional love and praise is a beau­ti­ful thing but often it becomes mean­ing­less if chil­dren don’t con­nect with it. Elevate your praise from “good job” to “I like the way you did______  .” The smile on your child’s face will be your reward.

 

 

http://blog.positivediscipline.com/2012/01/compliments-create-positive-atmosphere.html

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Parenting Styles

imgres

 

Parenting styles are as diverse as peo­ple. Our atti­tudes about par­ent­ing are often affected by our par­ents in that we either repli­cate or go the other way. New par­ents may eval­u­ate par­ent­ing styles in a more aca­d­e­mic fash­ion and choose a phi­los­o­phy based on research and per­sonal deci­sions.

As a par­ent edu­ca­tor I respect all par­ent­ing styles and only help par­ents learn strate­gies to help with goals they desire to reach. If some­one were to ask me my opin­ion I would rec­om­mend par­ent­ing less from the heart and more from the head.

I was struck today by the con­trast of par­ent styles I wit­nessed. One dad told me that his pol­icy is Get Over It.  When his chil­dren whine about their feel­ings being hurt or a dis­ap­point­ment he says: “get over it!” This is not a com­fort­able way for me per­son­ally and I am not sure he responds in that fash­ion as often as he states, but the effect of not rein­forc­ing a child’s sad­ness may indeed be that the child learns to be strong and less sen­si­tive. It could also result in neg­a­tive per­son­al­ity traits. On the same day a fam­ily came to see me for tutor­ing. The child was famil­iar with me and our activ­i­ties but decided not to coop­er­ate and would not even resign to come into my home. Trying to be a sen­si­tive and under­stand­ably alert to some warn­ing signs, the mom stayed with her son as he tantrumed for a pro­longed period of time. I sug­gested that the mom cease pay­ing atten­tion to her son and that she and I engage in con­ver­sa­tion. Five min­utes later the lit­tle boy stopped cry­ing, engaged with me and was able to sep­a­rate from mom and par­tic­i­pate in our tutor­ing ses­sion.

Paying close atten­tion to a child’s feel­ings is an approach I per­son­ally feel com­fort­able with. In this sit­u­a­tion, how­ever, it was clear that the child was seemed scared but was really act­ing the part. Reinforcing this behav­ior would even­tu­ally lead to more of the same. Trusting that he was in no dan­ger and that he was in capa­ble and car­ing hands dimin­ished the power of his manip­u­la­tion. If the mom had not respected my opin­ion she would have ended the ses­sion and never come back. The child’s behav­ior would become more pow­er­ful and destruc­tive.

As par­ents learn to address their child’s needs it is help­ful to get in touch with their own moti­va­tions and the ulti­mate effect on their child. Perhaps send­ing a mes­sage to a child that their feel­ings don’t mat­ter, in the case of the get over it dad, is a bit heart­less but allow­ing a child to con­trol the entire fam­ily because their feel­ings are of pri­mary impor­tance can be just as dam­ag­ing.

The answer; par­ent con­sciously and notice what you pay atten­tion to. Your child looks to you as they learn to nav­i­gate their world. 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Enabling Our Children.….Why?

 

Good Parents Great Kids

 

Why do we enable our chil­dren?

Are you a par­ent who thinks they are doing too much for their child?

Is your child lack­ing in moti­va­tion or respon­si­bil­ity?

Ask your­self these impor­tant ques­tions:

1- Is my help truly nec­es­sary?

2- What is my moti­va­tion for help­ing?

 

Many times par­ents help or enable their child because they want their child to suc­ceed. This will usu­ally help in the short term as the child com­pletes tasks, gets to appoint­ments on time, is well pre­pared and turns in ele­vated assign­ments. Does the par­ent feel pride as their child excells? Would the child have excelled with­out their help? What mes­sage is the child get­tinng from this help? 

The prac­tice of enabling becomes more appar­ent as the par­ent feels obliged to inter­vene for the child’s con­tin­ued suc­cess. The suceess of their child becomes a goal for the par­ent when it should be a goal for the child. The con­tin­ued assis­tance by the par­ent cre­ates a sys­tem whreeby the child depends on the parent’s help and there­fore becomes a pas­sive par­tic­i­pant. There is dimin­ished moti­va­tion and often the child resents the par­ents for their input. In the long term the par­ent must decide whether to con­tinue this sup­port or demen­strate trust in their child.

 

Think about that for a moment or two. Would you ever con­sciously want to con­vey to your child that you don’t trust them? Demonstrating trust in your child is huge. If you are faced with the option of demon­strat­ing to your child that you have faith in them and you choose to involve your­self to insure bet­ter results then you must look in the mir­ror and ask your­self if your motive is ulti­mately self­ish. Yes, self­ish. That may sound harsh but it is imper­a­tive that you sep­a­rate your own ego from your child’s suc­cess. Parents nat­u­rally feel proud of their child. It is unhealthy for both the par­ent and child when the need to see a child suc­ceed trumps the abil­ity to do what is nec­es­sary to raise a respon­si­ble child.

Give your child the gift of inde­pen­dence, con­fi­dence and respon­si­bil­ity by show­ing them that you have faith in them.…and walk away. 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Please Stop Whining!

WhiningChild199x0671

Whining (verb)

To give or make a long, high-pitched com­plain­ing cry or sound.

Complain in a fee­ble or petu­lant way.

Please Stop Whining!

If you are a par­ent there is no need to read the def­i­n­i­tion of whin­ing. It is some­thing chil­dren do nat­u­rally and par­ents seem to just get used to…. and yes, we often get annoyed or VERY annoyed. Some par­ents learn to deal with this and almost tune out the sound. Others find that it intol­er­a­ble and can lose their tem­per and see things spi­ral down­ward.  

Learning to con­trol our reac­tion is not the only way to go. If your chil­dren learn to wine it can become an issue for them as teach­ers and friends may also find it an irri­tant. Whining becomes an impor­tant issue if it causes us, as par­ents, to behave in a less than accept­able way.

 

Recognizing the need to decrease whin­ing is the first step and it is a giant step. This arti­cle will help you to under­stand how whin­ing orig­i­nates and will pro­vide spe­cific steps to dimin­ish it. It will make a huge dif­fer­ence in your lives.

 

1.       Evaluate.  Is there any­thing spe­cific that brings out the whiner in your child? Take notes about the time of the day, their phys­i­cal and emo­tional state and the kinds of things they whine about. Don’t just take men­tal notes, write it down. You may gain a great deal of insight.

2.       Understand.  What does whin­ing accom­plish?  It is usu­ally a learned behav­ior from a child that is used to hav­ing to beg r make repeated requests for what they want. They are feel­ing pow­er­less and defeated and there­fore resort to whin­ing. Pretty soon it can become their main way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing or request­ing.

3.       Model and prac­tice.  Your child is prob­a­bly unaware of their whin­ing and will require time to replace this behav­ior. Ask your child to prac­tice ask­ing for things in a reg­u­lar voice and then when whin­ing does occur, ask them to use that reg­u­lar voice.

4.       Praise. Catch them speak­ing in a non-whin­ing voice and praise them by say­ing how nice and sweet their voice sounds. Be care­ful not to give a “back handed com­pli­ment,” by com­par­ing it to the neg­a­tive.

5.       Awareness of YOUR behav­ior. Are you part of the prob­lem or solu­tion?

Child: They get frus­trated and then they start to whine.

 Adult: Be respon­sive to their frus­tra­tion level and inter­vene before they start to whine. If they are ask­ing you for some­thing be aware of a ten­dency to ignore and only respond when they whine. Respond ear­lier, even if it is to say I heard you and you need to wait.

Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: You ignore the whin­ing and respond to them. If they whine ask them to please repeat their mes­sage in their reg­u­lar voice.

Or…..

Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: Gets angry.  A child that can make a grown up lose con­trol has learned a pow­er­ful tool. React calmly and your child will respond in kind.

 

Congratulations for read­ing this. It shows that you want to ele­vate your par­ent­ing skills. Stick with it and you will see the results you want. Remember, revers­ing bad habits may be a lot of work in the begin­ning but care­ful atten­tion to these areas has big pay­offs in the end. Teachers and other adults will have a more pos­i­tive view of your child if they com­mu­ni­cate well. Confidence is boosted and so is per­for­mance. It’s HUGE and there­fore well worth your time.

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Addicted To My Phone

imgres

I admit it. I am addicted to my phone, Facebook, emails, and my guilty plea­sure: Bejeweled.

 

There are many rea­sons why my addic­tion con­cerns me but what if I were a par­ent? There are so many more issues at stake.

Modeling obses­sive screen time use, lack of atten­tive lis­ten­ing and prob­a­bly the most dis­con­cert­ing, poten­tial dan­ger from cell phone radi­a­tion to our most pre­cious babies.

Modeling Obsessive Screen Time or “I Need to Respond to This Text.”

If you are con­cerned with the amount of time your child spends on a a screen, look first at what behav­ior you are mod­el­ing. If your child is old enough, and you are brave enough, ask them what they think about your screen time. We all get impor­tant mes­sages but how often do we check our phone because of our com­pul­sive nature rather than true need? Is every thirty min­utes too infre­quent?

imgres

Looking At Our Phone During A Conversation or “I Heard Every Word You Said.”

What mes­sage do we give our chil­dren when we engage in phone use while inter­act­ing with them? Are we say­ing they are not impor­tant enough to get our com­plete atten­tion? If you think look­ing at your phone while con­vers­ing has no impact then try a lit­tle role play­ing exper­i­ment. Evaluate how you feel when some­one looks you in the eye when you talk as opposed to down at their phone. We have all grown accus­tomed to being par­tially ignored. Is that a good thing?

imgres

Are There Effects of Cell Phone Radiation? or We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

What are the effects of cell phone radi­a­tion on our chil­dren? Parents carry their babies and talk on the phone. Where is that phone in rela­tion to the baby’s head? We know that an infant’s skull is not even fully sealed. Should we place any poten­tial dan­ger in close prox­im­ity? Why would we take that chance?

imgres

Cell phones are a part of our lives and most of us love them.  They also often allow us to be rude, unsafe, unpro­duc­tive and dis­tracted. I hope you take a moment to exam­ine your cell phone use and make informed choices for how they can best fit in your life.

Related links within links:

Cell Phone Radiation: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure

Quality Time With Your Children VS Your Phone

https://email17.secureserver.net/webmail.php?folder=INBOX&firstMessage=1

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Sibling Rivalry: One HUGE Lesson

Image

I remem­ber when I first learned the les­son of not tak­ing sides.

My kids would always fight, about any­thing and every­thing. One day I got sick of being the ref­eree and sent them both to their rooms, which were upstairs. I was amazed at what fol­lowed. After a few min­utes my son began engag­ing his sis­ter and soon they were whis­per­ing and gig­gling and get­ting along like best buds.

I learned a huge les­son that day. My try­ing to be log­i­cal and rea­son­able with their fight­ing was point­less. The main rea­son they argued was to gain favor from me and power over their sib­ling. When I refused to par­tic­i­pate they had no rea­son to con­tinue their bat­tle.

Visit my web­site for more infor­ma­tion on ele­vat­ing par­ent­ing skills and par­ent­ing for school suc­cess: goodparentsgreatkids.com

From then on, when they argued I bit my tongue and let them work it on their own.Image

For more info about sib­ling rivalry:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/sibling_rivalry.html

http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/parenting/sibling_rivalry.shtml

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Am I Hurting My Child By Doing Too Much

Image

Am I Hurting My Child By Doing Too Much

My son used to leave his juice glass in his bed­room each night so that by the end of the week there was lit­er­ally at least seven glasses or mugs in his bed­room. I would ask and ask and ask……………. but even­tu­ally I gave up and just brought them down­stairs.

There were so many times I helped him when I should have let him han­dle the sit­u­a­tion or accept the con­se­quences.

When I look back and ask myself why, I find that, besides want­ing to avoid con­fronta­tion, I also had a strong desire to pro­tect him and see him suc­ceed, even when the suc­cess was par­tially unearned. I was look­ing at the sit­u­a­tion self­ishly as well as short term.

A con­trol­ling par­ent can inter­fere with the goal of rais­ing a respon­si­ble child.  Our chil­dren will be more respon­si­ble if we, as par­ents, choose to some­times take a more pas­sive role. Of course we need to be pro­tec­tive but often we take the idea of pro­tec­tion too far and then com­plain when our chil­dren are irre­spon­si­ble.

Our chil­dren begin life help­less and par­ents must do every­thing for their tiny infant, baby and then tod­dler. But we often grow accus­tomed to this role and fail to see when we can do less. The real­iza­tion that we are doing too much may go unde­tected for a period of time. That may be long enough for your child to get the mes­sage that they can do less and mom and dad will take care of it.  In my opin­ion, it is best to keep the con­cept of teach­ing respon­si­bil­ity as a pri­or­i­tized goal. Test the water often and see just how much your child can do for him­self. Think about how we teach a child to walk or ride a bike or swim. We give sup­port in grad­u­ated stages until voila. They do it them­selves.

The same is true for other activ­i­ties that have mul­ti­ple steps such as get­ting ready for school, clean­ing the room and prepar­ing for bed­time.

We all learn through prac­tice as well as from mis­takes. When my son attempted to pour milk in his cereal bowl and spilled all over him­self, the floor as well as under the fridge, I did not stop him from try­ing again. I less­ened the poten­tial mess by giv­ing him a small amount to pour. I guided his tiny hand so his aim was bet­ter. I assisted him while encour­ag­ing more and more inde­pen­dence. That was easy to do. Many par­ents have dif­fi­culty allow­ing their chil­dren to make mis­takes and would rather do more for them until they can do it well them­selves. I work with many par­ents who still wipe their child’s bot­tom and pick up their toys even though they are clearly old enough to do it them­selves. When I ask why, the answer is always, because I like it to be done right.  These par­ents are deliv­er­ing a mes­sage that is destruc­tive. Give your child the gift of inde­pen­dence, con­fi­dence and respon­si­bil­ity by allow­ing them to be as inde­pen­dent as pos­si­ble.

Natural Consequences

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life is far from auto­matic. It is actu­ally more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. There are many times we should allow life to teach our child impor­tant lessons.

For more infor­ma­tion about nat­ural con­se­quences please read my book:
Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle avail­able on Amazon and Kindle

Danger Signs

How do you know when you are doing too much for your child?

  1. You become anx­ious when your child has a dead­line or becomes frus­trated.
  2. Your first response to your child’s prob­lem or com­plaint is to give advice or take over.
  3. You find it unbear­able to see your child strug­gle.
  4. You fre­quently do some­thing your­self instead of wait­ing for your child to do it.
  5. You feel the need to micro­man­age their eat­ing, appear­ance, or social life.
  6. You tend to over­step your bound­aries as a par­ent and dis­re­spect their pri­vacy.

Pulling Back

If enabling your child has become a pat­tern it will be more dif­fi­cult to make a change but it is well worth the effort.

Begin with a dis­cus­sion about what you have learned and why it is impor­tant to change how you engage in your child’s life. Adding points such as respect for their abil­ity and con­fi­dence that they can han­dle any sit­u­a­tions with­out your help will be appre­ci­ated and help to focus on what is gained rather than what they might inter­pret as a loss of assis­tance. Reassure them that you are not desert­ing them but teach­ing them to be more self reliant so that as they grow up they will be able to be more inde­pen­dent. There are many oppor­tu­ni­ties and priv­i­leges that respon­si­ble and inde­pen­dent chil­dren have that their coun­ter­parts do not.

When they come to you for help, lis­ten rather than advise and ask them what THEY think they could do. Give them time to prob­lem solve and don’t expect an answer in five sec­onds or even five min­utes. They are used to you fix­ing things and there will be an adjust­ment time. Bite your tongue and do less. Tell them: “I know you can do this. I have faith that you’ll fig­ure it out.”

Sharon Youngman is a par­ent edu­ca­tor liv­ing and work­ing in Manhattan. She is the author of Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle and the founder of Good Parents, GREAT Kids.

Contact Sharon for a free con­sul­ta­tion:

HOME

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail

Calm Down

Image

 

Teaching Self-Calming Skills

by Jessica Minahan on January 30, 2013
 
The fol­low­ing was an arti­cle directed to teach­ers to help chil­dren calm down. This is a noble goal but con­sid­er­ing all that teach­ers must do these days it is highly unlikely that a teacher can use this tech­niques as often as it may be needed.
Parents, how­ever, could cer­tainly ben­e­fit from this approach. I espe­cially like the ther­mome­ter strat­egy. Becoming more self aware is a highly effec­tive tool when prac­ticed at times of calm rather than dur­ing an inci­dent. 
The fol­low­ing was taken directly from the arti­cle so you can pick and choose what makes sense to you.

You need to calm down.” This is some­thing I hear a lot in my work as a behav­ior spe­cial­ist when a stu­dent starts to get agitated—answering rudely, refus­ing to work, mak­ing insult­ing com­ments or whin­ing. A teacher might tell a child to “go sit in the bean­bag chair and calm down” or sim­ply “relax.”

The prob­lem is, many stu­dents don’t know how to calm down. This is espe­cially true for chil­dren who dis­play chronic agi­ta­tion or defi­ance.

File 1947When a child behaves inap­pro­pri­ately, I find that it’s almost always due to an under­de­vel­oped skill. Recognizing and teach­ing under­de­vel­oped skills is one of the key strate­gies Nancy Rappaport and I talk about in our book, The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students.

All chil­dren will ben­e­fit from learn­ing self-calm­ing skills, but for some chil­dren, learn­ing this skill is so essen­tial to their suc­cess at school that it’s impor­tant that class­room teach­ers focus on it as well as spe­cial­ists, such as coun­selors and spe­cial edu­ca­tors.

What’s the best way to teach self-calm­ing skills to an indi­vid­ual child in your class­room? Here are three sim­ple steps to take:

1. Teach the student to identify emotions.

Students who exhibit anger in the class­room are often described as “going from 0-to-60 in a split sec­ond.” In real­ity, how­ever, the student’s emo­tions prob­a­bly grew more grad­u­ally from calm to frus­trated to anger, but the teacher (and the child) didn’t notice the build-up.

Teaching a stu­dent to iden­tify this esca­la­tion is essen­tial if she’s to learn how to catch her­self on the way up. A help­ful tool to use is an emo­tional ther­mome­ter. When the child is calm, share the graphic with her, explain­ing how emo­tions often grow in inten­sity from calm to frus­trated to angry. Give the child a copy of the ther­mome­ter and ask her to pay atten­tion to where she is on it at dif­fer­ent times of the day over the course of a few weeks, check­ing in with the child as needed to dis­cuss what she is notic­ing.

Another way to teach a stu­dent to iden­tify emo­tions is to do a “body check.” When you notice signs of frus­tra­tion first begin­ning, label it for the child and explain how you know: “Your shoul­ders are hunched and your fists are clenched, so I can see you’re frus­trated right now.” Over time, the child will learn to iden­tify when she’s frus­trated with­out your cues.

2. Teach the student self-calming strategies.

Once a stu­dent can iden­tify when he’s frus­trated or angry, he can then make use of a calm­ing strat­egy. However, find­ing the right strat­egy for a spe­cific stu­dent is like find­ing the per­fect pair of shoes—you may have to try a few out before find­ing the right fit.

Also, stu­dents who are just learn­ing to iden­tify their feel­ings of frus­tra­tion may need fre­quent reminders to uti­lize a par­tic­u­lar strat­egy. The calm­ing strate­gies I have found to be most use­ful with ele­men­tary school stu­dents include:

  • Reading a book
  • Deep breath­ing
  • Listening to music
  • Drawing
  • Yoga stretches
3. Practice with the student.

Like any skill, prac­tice is key. Each day, at a time when the stu­dent is calm, ask her to role play what she looks/acts like when she is frus­trated or anx­ious. Then ask her to prac­tice her self-calm­ing strate­gies.

To make the prac­tice most effec­tive, have the stu­dent do the role-play in the area of the class­room she’s most likely to go when she’s actu­ally upset, such as the read­ing area or bean­bag chair. Then when she goes there in a moment of frus­tra­tion, she’ll be more able to use the cor­rect strat­egy in that space.

Some stu­dents will learn these skills quickly, and oth­ers will need con­tin­ued sup­port over time. Self-calm­ing train­ing takes only a few min­utes a day but it’s impor­tant that you focus on it daily with a child until you see the child begin­ning to take hold of the tech­niques. Not only can it pre­vent chal­leng­ing behav­ior moments in the future, but it is an essen­tial skill for suc­cess at school, at home and in social set­tings.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail