The Best Four Letter Word in Parenting – WAIT

Posted on March 31, 2017 at 11:41 am

parenting wait

BY KIM DEMARCHI

Give yourself and your young child a gift… the gift of waiting. It will foster trust in their natural abilities. It respects the child’s unique developmental time table and their need for mastery. It will help enable them to be a creative problem solver and express themselves.

1 – Wait for them to reach developmental milestones

Children get their first teeth at all different ages, yet we often expect them to reach other developmental timetables like pedaling a tricycle at the same time as everyone else. My son was 14 months old when he first walked. My friend’s son was 9 months old. They are now equally capable walkers. Earlier is not necessarily better. How will I know when my child is ready? A child will walk when he is ready. And he is ready when he walks.

2 – Wait before we interrupt what they’re doing

Let the baby or toddler watch the world without inserting yourself by pointing things out and giving them words. Find out what interests your child. Follow their lead. It will help them develop longer attention spans and help them become an independent learner. Foster their natural curiosity and love of learning from the world without hijacking their every thought.

3 – Wait for discovery before problem solving

Let them sit with challenging problems. Resist from showing them how to get the piece in the correct space of the puzzle. Let them be frustrated; it builds resilience. We err on the side of teaching, rather than letting them learn from their environment. Let them struggle with things such as rolling from back to tummy. I know you want to pull that one arm out of their way, but wait!

When you teach a child something, you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself. – Jean Piaget

4 – Wait for conflict resolution with peers

Allow them a little bit longer to solve things with their peers. What might appear to us as conflict may just be play. They might be like tiger cubs playfully roughhousing. Or they may surprise us by figuring out a solution among themselves. It will allow them the chance to be problem solvers.

5- Wait for readiness before introducing new activities

Parents are eager for their child to take ballet lessons or start in pee wee basketball. We want them to experience the wonder of The Wizard of Oz movie, but sometimes we rush them and diminish the impact. Earlier is almost never better. Let them be really ready so they can fully engage and get the most of their experience.

6 – Wait for a better understanding of what babies need when they cry

We follow the impulse most of us have to quell our children’s tears as quickly as possible.

Don’t jump in to solve problems immediately. Perhaps standing back and observing will provide a better answer. They might be hot and we give them a toy because we think they’re bored or we pop a pacifier in their mouth.

7 – Wait for ideas from our children

We tend to jump in with our own ideas instead of letting them sit with their boredom and figure out something on their own. Let them invoke their creativity and their problem solving abilities.

The child may learn that she is a creative problem solver, that she can bear discomfort and frustration, and that boredom is just the time and space between ideas.

This approach to parenting is actually natural, intuitive, and easy. You don’t have to think so hard. Having confidence in your child frees you from coming up with appropriate solutions to their dilemmas. It is freeing knowing that your role is not to “make” my kids into something.

Trust that what they come up with is going to be better (more them) than anything we could construct for them. Give them the gift of waiting.

Kim DeMarchi
Kim DeMarchi, M.Ed.,
Certified Parent Educator and Certified Family Coach, is a Tualatin resident, married with 16 year old boy/girl twins, and has been an educator for more than two decades. Kim is trained and certified through Positive Discipline, as well the International Network for Children and Families in a program called Redirecting Children‘s Behavior. Kim is active in supporting her local parenting community by providing workshops, coaching families and writing articles for our newspaper. Kim is a monthly guest on KATU’s AM Northwest. She also blogs twice a month for Knowledge Universe’s Kindercare online community. Kim’s goal for you is to help reduce conflict, foster mutual respect, and create deeper communication and connections with your loved ones. She can be reached through www.EmpoweredParenting.com.

Feeling Stoppers and Feeling Encouragers

Posted on March 2, 2017 at 10:42 am

passport to parenting, march 2017

BY KIM DEMARCHI

Many adults as children were not allowed to express their feelings. You might have been told “Don’t cry, or I will give you something to cry about.” Today, however, most parents want to invite their children to express their feelings. They want to have a communicative relationship with their children. Even with the best of intentions, however, Feeling Stoppers are tools that parents sometimes use that put a stop to their children sharing their feelings. Feelings are simply feelings. They are not good, they are not bad, they just are. When a child comes to you to share with you and you use tactics such as scolding, reprimanding, ignoring, sarcasm, punishing, etc, it immediately stops that child from wanting to come to you next time and wanting to share feelings.

Examples of Feeling Stoppers:

Child: “I got a “C” on my report card.”

Parent: “You are grounded until next month! AND, no technology either!”

Feeling Stopper: Punishing

Child: “Some boys were picking on me at school today.”

Parent: “Oh, you poor thing. Those mean boys shouldn’t be picking on you like that.”

Feeling Stopper: Pitying

Child: “I got in trouble at school today.”

Parent: “I’m so ashamed of you! I’m going to school with you every day and will sit in class and make sure you don’t act up.”

Feeling Stopper: Humiliating

Child: “I don’t understand why my teacher got so mad at me for forgetting my homework.”

Parent: “Oh yeah, right! Like this is the first time you forgot your homework.”

Feeling Stopper: Sarcasm

Child: “My spelling test was really hard. I think I failed it.”

Parent: “I talked to Jenny’s mom and she said Jenny got an A. What’s wrong with you?”

Feeling Stopper: Comparing to Others

Child: “I got in a fight with my boyfriend today.”

Parent: “Oh, don’t worry about it. Everyone gets in fights with their boyfriend. It’ll blow over.”

Feeling Stopper: Minimizing

Child: “I don’t think my teacher likes me.”

Parent: “I’ll go down to school tomorrow and talk to your teacher.”

Feeling Stopper: Rescuing

Child: “I got in trouble at soccer today.”

Parent: “You probably got in trouble because you’re always talking when you should be listening.”

Feeling Stopper: Assuming

Child: “I HATE my sister!”

Parent: “You don’t hate your sister!”

Feeling Stopper: Denial of Feelings

Child: “I was jumping on the furniture and I knocked over your vase.”

Parent: “How many times have I told you not to do that young woman?”

Feeling Stopper: Reprimanding

Child: “Can’t we have something else for breakfast?”

Parent: “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. I got up early to make this breakfast for you.”

Feeling Stopper: Using Guilt

Child: “I forgot to bring my homework home from school.”

Parent: “You are so stupid to forget your homework AGAIN!”

Feeling Stopper: Calling Names

There are even more Feeling Stoppers that parents sometime use: Ignoring, Interrupting, Enmeshment, Lecturing and Solving the Problem for their child. How will parents encourage their kids to open up and talk about their feelings, if they are shutting them down immediately? If you are squelching your children’s feelings, you are denying your child the right to feel what he feels. It will teach your child to not trust his judgment. They will feel it isn’t safe to express who they really are, so they will stuff their emotions. An emotion that is repressed, persists. An emotion that is expressed, dissipates.

A Feeling Encourager, on the other hand, invites expression from your children. Listening intently, asking curiosity questions, empathizing with them, validating their feelings, inviting their feelings and identifying them…those strategies are what you want to be using because when your children are teenagers and older, you want to have that kind of open dialogue with your children. Create a warm, accepting atmosphere for talking and sharing. Respond to your child as you would with a close friend. Use silence to help with listening. Focus on increasing your understanding of their feelings. Children, like adults, want to be heard and understood.

Examples of Feeling Encouragers:

Child: “Ava wouldn’t play with me.”

Parent: “It sounds like you might be sad about that.”

Feeling Encourager: Identifying Feelings

Child: “I want my baby sister to go away.”

Parent: “I can understand why you’d want to send her away. It’s hard to share your things with her.”

Feeling Encourager: Validate Feelings

Child: “Bobby my best friend is moving and I’m going to miss him.”

Parent: “Losing your best friend really hurts. You will really miss playing with him.”

Feeling Encourager: Be Empathetic

Child: “Jake took my book and threw it to Alex and some pages ripped out.”

Parent: “How did you feel about that? You sound sort of angry.”

Feeling Encourager: Inviting Expression of Feelings

Child: “I was late for school today.”

Parent: “And then what happened?”

Feeling Encourager: Be Curious

Additionally, you could Listen Intently. As often as possible, stop what you are doing and focus 100% on what your child is saying. Close your mouth and open your ears and heart. Obviously, this can’t be done every time your child comes to you, but you can start with baby steps. Seek improvement, not perfection. Begin this when your children are young, so that by the time they are teens, it’s the established pattern in your relationship.

Kim DeMarchiKim DeMarchi, M.Ed., Certified Parent Educator and Certified Family Coach, is a Tualatin resident, married with 16 year old boy/girl twins, and has been an educator for more than two decades. Kim is trained and certified through Positive Discipline, as well the International Network for Children and Families in a program called Redirecting Children‘s Behavior. Kim is active in supporting her local parenting community by providing workshops, coaching families and writing articles for our newspaper. Kim is a monthly guest on KATU’s AM Northwest. She also blogs twice a month for Knowledge Universe’s Kindercare online community. Kim’s goal for you is to help reduce conflict, foster mutual respect, and create deeper communication and connections with your loved ones. She can be reached through www.EmpoweredParenting.com.

Raising Self-Disciplined Children

Posted on January 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Road to Responsibility

BY KIM DEMARCHI

Parents ask me frequently what they can do so that their children have self discipline. Parents need to provide opportunities for meaningful roles and contribution in the family for children to develop the skills toward self discipline. Parents usually have great intentions, and sometimes they do things that support the development of self discipline, and sometimes they do things to actually discourage self discipline.

What IS self discipline and why is it important to develop it in children? Self discipline is an important skill, habit or muscle for our children to have in life for success. It’s:perseverance, restraint, endurance, thinking before acting, finishing what you start, having the ability to carry out your plans despite the obstacles, delaying instant gratification, and knowing what is right and wrong for yourself.

There are Barriers and Builders to communication. As parents, we want to focus on using the Builders, but we should also understand how we might be using too many Barriers, which can hinder the development of self discipline.

BARRIER 1: ASSUMING

Assuming we know what our children are capable of (or not capable of)

And

Acting on limiting assumptions (about what our children can or can’t do, say, think, etc…)

Say things like:

“I didn’t tell you because you always get upset.”

“You always think that _________.”

“You’re too young to try that!”

Builder 1 Checking

Check out what our child knows, is ready to learn or can do

And

Giving people a clean slate.

Say things like:

“How do you want to deal with this?”

“What are your thoughts about ______?”

“What will you need to have ready for ________?”

Examples – A child gets into his carseat. Instead of just buckling him up and saying something about him being too young to do it, you could just say, “Do you need me to do anything?” We often make assumptions with foods. “She doesn’t like anything with mushrooms in it.” There is a chance that she will feel this way for the rest of her life, but it is a limiting world view that what I preferred yesterday is what I will prefer today. Give your child freedom to learn, to try new things.

BARRIER 2: RESCUING or EXPLAINING

Parents often step in prematurely to take care of problem solving for their children without letting them discover the meaning on their own.

And

We don’t let them think through a problem and we just give them the answer which robs them of their learning opportunities by rescuing.

Say things like:

“______ is what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how to deal with it.”

“Do it this way.”

“You’d better fix it by doing _____.”

Builder 2 Exploring

Parents ask questions and encourage their children to work on things, discover and problem solve which conveys a belief in their ability to solve their problems.

And

We allow their solutions, even if they’re not what we would do, because they will learn from the consequences.

Say things like:

“What did you experience in that situation and why is that significant?”

“What is your understanding of what was happening and what may have caused it to happen?”

“How might you apply what you have learned in the future?”

Example – A child doesn’t want to eat lunch. We know that when she doesn’t eat, she gets crabby. Rather than forcing her to eat, or being a short order cook, we can help her to learn the lesson for herself and let go of the outcome. It is more important that she learn the lesson and that it is HERS, than that a few afternoons go smoothly. “I’ve noticed that in the past when you don’t eat lunch, you seem to get grumpy and really hungry later. I’m wondering what the rest of the afternoon is going to look like if you choose not to eat lunch now.” Then, if she chooses not to eat and gets crabby, EXPLORE, don’t EXPLAIN or say “I told you so” or “see what happens when” or “you should have listened to me”.

BARRIER 3: DIRECTING (tell)

Parents micromanage by telling their child what to do.

And

It’s much easier and efficient to take over or do it myself.

Say things like:

“Pick up your shoes, put that away, be sure to drink your OJ before you leave, don’t forget your lunch.

And then we wonder why they aren’t following our orders or they alter them ever so slightly to assert their independence.

Builder 3 Encouraging/Inviting (ask)

Parents ask for participation or assistance.

And

Invite them to contribute and think through problems.

Say things like:

“I would appreciate any help you could give me in straightening up the room.”

“How do you plan to _________?”

“What will you need to do in order to _______?”

Example – Adults in a meeting and at the end the person in charge says something about remembering to throw their cup in the garbage. People don’t like to be directed on what to do, especially on the simplest of tasks. Most left their cups on the tables. On the flip side, if the person in charge says something like “If you have an extra minute I’d really appreciate anything you can do to help prepare the room for the next group, thank you.”Guess what they did?

BARRIER 4: EXPECTING PERFECTION (too much too soon)

Parents set high standards for their kids, demand that they meet them, and then point out when they don’t.

Say things like:

“I was expecting this room to be spotless.”

“You should know how to do that already.”

“I appreciate _______, but you forgot ________.”

Builder 4 Celebrating Progress

Parents focus on effort, progress and what was gained by trying.

And

Celebrate any movement the child made in the right direction- will get more results.

Say things like:

“I appreciate the effort you have made to clean up this room.” (NO BUTS)

“What did you learn from trying to do that?”

“What progress do you see yourself making?”

Example

I really appreciate that you sorted your laundry into the three colored piles in the hallway ~ thank you. Leave it at that. Keep it at recognizing the progress and improvement from just having one mixed pile. Another time, you can say something about the piles in the hallway are getting stepped on…..what is your plan with them now?

BARRIER 5: ADULTISMS

An adultism occurs when parents forget what it is like to be a child and then we expect, demand, and require the child, who has never been an adult, to think, act, and do as an adult.

Say things like:

• “When will you ever listen? How many times must I tell you?”

• “Why are you being so childish? Grow up!

• “What were you thinking?!? Did you THINK that was a good idea?”

Builder 5 Respect

Parents allow for their child’s uniqueness and individuality.

We get on our child’s level and understand their thought process and respect it.

Say things like:

• “What is your perception of ________?”

• “What was your understanding of what needed to be done?”

“In what way do you think that contributed?”

“What do you think would happen if…”

Example – Cleaning up toys. Instead of “How many times do I have to tell you to clean up your toys?! Geez…. grow up already!” Try: “What was your understanding of what needed to be done with your toys? What do you think might happen if your baby brother gets ahold of those little farm animals? Maybe we can do a room check to see what toys aren’t in their homes.”

When parents do nothing but cut down on or remove the communication Barriers, the relationship with their children will improve greatly. Can you imagine then learning how to use the positive and respectful communication Builders? Consider all the the Builders “on the job training for in life”! By using the Builders, you will be setting your child up on a successful road to self discipline.

Kim DeMarchi
Kim DeMarchi, M.Ed.,
Certified Parent Educator and Certified Family Coach, is a Tualatin resident, married with 15 year old boy/girl twins, and has been an educator for more than two decades. Kim is trained and certified through Positive Discipline, as well the International Network for Children and Families in a program called Redirecting Children‘s Behavior. Kim is active in supporting her local parenting community by providing workshops, coaching families and writing articles for our newspaper. Kim is a monthly guest on KATU’s AM Northwest. She also blogs twice a month for Knowledge Universe’s Kindercare online community. Kim’s goal for you is to help reduce conflict, foster mutual respect, and create deeper communication and connections with your loved ones. She can be reached through www.EmpoweredParenting.com.

Stop Telling and Start Asking ~ How to Use Curiosity Questions

Posted on November 3, 2016 at 11:07 am

Stop telling

BY KIM DEMARCHI

Helping children explore the consequences of their choices is much different from imposing consequences on them. Exploring invites the participation of children to think for themselves and figure things out for themselves. Exploring invites children to decide what is important to them, and to decide what they want. The end result is focusing on solutions to the problem, instead of focusing on consequences.

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Take Time for Training

Posted on January 14, 2016 at 11:25 am

Baby

My partner heard a story on the radio about a robotics team at UC Berkeley that tried to develop a robot that could fold laundry. For me, folding laundry is monotonous and I could do it in my sleep.

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