Posts tagged parenting
Got a kid who can’t—or won’t—assert herself around others? Highlights Magazine interviewed me, Dr. Michele Borba, and Dr. Kristin Buss for strategies on how to help passive young people find their voices. Check out our responses using the link below and at the “Smart Answer to Parents’ Toughest Questions” section on Highlights.com
For more information on helping your child move beyond passivity, aggression, or passive aggression and on to more assertive communication, check out the activities, games and discussion ideas in How to Be Angry: An Assertive Anger Expression Group Guide for Kids & Teens.
This morning, both of my kids are being challenged to do something outside of their comfort zone. The Mama bear in me wants to rush in and rescue them to save them from feeling fear. The loving Mama in me knows that these challenges are well within my girls’ abilities and will equip them with important life skills–including the confidence that they can face challenges head on. Breathe, Mama, breathe.
Two weeks ago, I shared with you the story of Mistake Cake–the ingenious and compassionate way that a former high school classmate of mine teaches her kids about righting wrongs and supporting family members. She also gave me permission to share this post, in which she talks more about the gift of forgiving the mistakes of others and owning our own slip ups.
It started this way. When my kids were little, and they made a creative mess, or a mistake, or they were mean and regretful, I would say the same words. These words brought calm to me, even if I was unsettled inside:
“It’s okay. You’re learning.”
The words “you’re learning” are truthful, forgiving, and full of promise.
As the kids grew older, and I made mistakes in front of them, I learned to say, “I’m sorry. I’m learning.”
Once, I scolded my daughter for using stamps as stickers. Moments after my accusatory lecture, I determined that the stamps had caught a snag and become stuck because of where I had put them. My child was bewildered. She was little and had not lied. Yet there I stood before her, shaming her for being naughty. All the while, she had done absolutely nothing wrong. Thirteen years later, I can still feel the lump of guilt that sunk in my gut when I realized that I punished her for my mistake. “I’m SO SORRY for scolding you for something that you didn’t do! I’m learning. Please forgive me!” I cried. I dropped to my knees and hugged her and kissed her passionately, mournfully.
“It’s okay Mommy. You’re learning.”
The children are now throwing the ball out in front of the house. The smallest one repeatedly overthrows it. “Whoops! I’m sorry!” she yells.
The bigger one says, “It’s okay. You’re learning.”
One of the best things about Facebook is the opportunity to become better acquainted with people you only knew from a distance. This weekend, thanks to a burst of high school reunion photos, I had the chance to connect with a woman who, I am learning, is extraordinary! I wish I had known her better way back when, but here’s a slice of how she looks at life and lifts up those around her. I think I want to be her when I grow up!
Mistake Cake (by Jennie Osborne Burke)
Someone around here made a mistake.
I think it’s important to talk about mistakes. I like for the whole gang to know about it. We talk about what happened, and how we can help the person that made the mistake.
The person that made the mistake does not feel shame, or a reason to hide. Instead, they receive compassion. They know that they aren’t the first (or last) person in the family to make a mistake. They can articulate why the mistake happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. The siblings pitch in to help their loved one doesn’t make the same mistake twice.
Instead of shame or aggression, there is responsibility, ownership and a plan.
And we get to eat cake.
In their younger years, they were inseparable. They begged for playdates, planned out sleepovers, coordinated afterschool activities, and just seemed to find genuine joy in each other’s company. It was a match made in heaven, you observed, and you felt so lucky that your child had found such a positive friendship so early on in life.
Then, things changed. Seemingly overnight. One day, you are cajoling your tween to take a break from her 3-hour texting marathon with her bestie, and the next you notice that her cell phone suddenly sounds like radio silence.
Your daughter is devastated by this abrupt cut-off. You watch as she desperately tries to figure out why her friend has stopped responding to texts and how come none of the kids at her lunch table will talk to her anymore. But she can’t seem to glean any understanding of the cause. She only knows with certainty that nothing is the same.
What can you do for your child when he or she is on the receiving end of a sudden deep freeze from former friends? Read on for 9 strategies parents can use to support their children after bullying and social exclusion:
Well, imagine my surprise when I came across this video clip! Yes, I do recall talking on camera to a reporter, just prior to beginning a recent Bullying Awareness StoryTime event, but No, I had no clue that it had been produced and published online. After initial feelings of stage fright-induced nausea…it’s actually a pleasant surprise.
So, friends, introducing ME, introducing my Shredders and Builders Activity (featured in Friendship & Other Weapons) to teach young kids about the power of words and the importance of kindness in friendship.
A friend of mine from graduate school and I were just lamenting over the fact that our daughters are asking to have e-mail accounts. Well, actually, we were marveling at how time has flown and that our kids are at this age already. Ok, truthfully, we were feeling sorry for ourselves about how old we must be to have tween-age kids, but I digress…
She and I are both concerned about setting guidelines for our girls as they take big steps into the world of technology social media. Here are the sets of guidelines she and I each pieced together from our own wisdom and bits of advice on the web. I like hers better…she liked mine…together, perhaps we have a whole parent’s brain. You can feel free to pick and choose from either. Hopefully, you can find the suggestions helpful:
1. Always be kind, and do not ever use email to say ugly, nasty, or mean things about ANYONE. Not only is that not behavior not acceptable, but email can always be forwarded to someone & hurt their feelings.
2. If you don’t recognize an address in your inbox, or someone sends you a weird email, don’t touch the email & come get me or Daddy.
3. No opening attachments or clicking on links without approval.
4. Daddy and I can and will access your emails at any time. You must give us your password(s) if you change them.
5. The only computers you are allowed to access your email from is mine or Daddy’s (and Grandma’s). If you access Gmail from school, you would have to be responsible enough to “SIGN OUT” so that the next person can’t access your email. Many grown-ups can’t even remember to do this, so I’m not going to ask you to. So, no accessing emails from school until I believe you’re responsible enough to do this.
6. NEVER click the “remember me” or “remember this password?” if you do access your email from another computer (against my rules). This will allow that computer to ALWAYS remember your password without the person sitting there to even think about it.
7. Never send to anyone in an email the following: your real address, phone number, any passwords, our cell phone numbers, your birthday/date, social security number or any other identifying information–not even to someone you know. This will cause you BIG, BIG problems or put you in DANGER from people who want to harm children.
8. Don’t use “Reply all.” Many grown-ups don’t even understand how to use this properly.
9. If someone emails you telling you you won something: you didn’t. Come get one of us.
10. Don’t go into the “Spam” folder – that’s not a place for children, and I’m trusting you enough to follow this rule (and the others). If you think an email you want may have mistakenly found its way in there, ask one of us to look in there for you.
11. You are not allowed to use Google+ without our permission. That is something you can earn with good behavior and when you’re a little older.
YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT IS A PRIVILEGE. WE CAN REVOKE THIS PRIVILEGE AT ANY TIME. WE CAN RESTRICT THE PRIVILEGE IN ANY WAY AT ANY TIME. WE EXPECT YOU TO FOLLOW THESE RULES IF YOU WANT TO KEEP THIS PRIVILEGE.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRACT:
We believe our family values include kindness, honesty, and compassion for others. Our use of technology must reflect these values. Therefore, we recognize that having an email address, texting, using a YouTube account, and any other uses of technology must follow these rules:
- Communication (sending e-mails, commenting on videos, sending texts, etc) is for the purpose of friendship and exchange of ideas or information. It is never for spreading gossip, making rude comments, using bad language, or giving out personal information to people we don’t know.
- Technology can never be used for the purposes of humiliating, embarrassing, getting revenge upon, or hurting others in any way.
- Sending or uploading photos and videos with any personally identifying images or information are not permitted unless specially approved by Mommy or Daddy.
- Mommy and Daddy must always have access to the passwords and content for all of your technology accounts.
- Mommy and Daddy reserve the right to insist that particular sites and friends who behave in violation of our values be banned or blocked.
- No emails, texts, YouTube comments, etc after 9:00pm (school year) and 9:30pm (summer).
If these rules are not followed, the following will occur:
First violation: All technology privileges ended for 7 days.
Second violation: All technology privileges ended for 14 days.
Third violation: All technology privileges ended indefinitely.
While we understand that anyone can make a mistake, we believe that living according to our values is critically important.
For more information and suggestions for teaching kids about ethical uses of technology and social media, please check out my post on Psychology Today, Teaching Netiquette to Kids.