TalkBack To Vicki Jardine

A TalkBack on Parenting Issues

How to Talk with Your Child, So that Your Child will Talk with You June 7, 2009

Talking to ParentsPractically every parent I speak to experiences the ‘after school shutdown’.  This is when you ask your child about their day only to get one-word answers.  You ask how their day was and you get …. ‘good’.  You ask what they studied and you get…. ‘nothing’.  After a couple of attempts to draw your child out into a conversation, you give up and everyone feels better.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Parents often ask me how they can establish open communication with their children.  So don’t think that you are the only one who experiences the ‘shutdown’.  And it’s not uncommon for parents to actually feel as though they don’t know their own children very well at all. 

Remember when they were little and you felt like you knew them very well?  Remember when they told you all their secrets?  Do you ever find yourself wondering who these little people ‘really are’ and what is actually happening in their lives? 

The subject of ‘communicating with children’ comes up a lot in coaching and emails that I receive.  It seems that most parents at one time or another struggle to keep the lines of communication with their children open.

Without getting into the reasons for this, today we’re just going to focus on positive things parents can do to create a family environment that encourages your children to open up and join in conversations and discussions.

 

 

When your son/daughter tells you something, try to open the subject up more by asking questions like:

  • Oh, that’s interesting! 
  • How did you feel when that happened?
  • What else did they say? 
  • Did anything else happen?
  • Wow, what was that like for you? 

If you can get your child to explain more then you can respond:

  • Ok, so now I understand.  You sure explained that to me well.
  • Hey, you sure know how to explain things. 
  • Wow, you’re a great story-teller. 

If your child draws a picture don’t just say ‘that’s nice’:

Wow, how did you get that (wavy, dotty, scratchy) effect?  

If your child does some writing at school, say a poem or a short story or a letter:

  • Hey can you make a copy of that for me, so I can always have it?
  • Wow, can I show my friends what you did?

 Of course, you have to tailor these questions to fit your family.  But you can get the idea.  What you are trying to achieve is to make your child feel that you find them a lot more interesting, clever and valuable than they ever suspect that they are.

You are taking steps to give courage to your child to keep putting their best foot forward and to know that you are their biggest supporter. 

Handling your Childs Fears, Failures and Fear of Failure:

Of course, you will also need to learn how to handle your child’s fears and failures.  Or even more devastating to the development of self-esteem, is your child’s fear of failure.   This fear can paralyse your son/daughter so they don’t even attempt things that they may perceive themselves as likely to fail. 

This is why it is essential to be building the relationship with your child in which you praise their effort and not only their achievement.  For even when a child feels their achievement is lacking, they will need to know that their effort is even more important and that you as a parent place extremely high emphasis on the effort, energy and commitment, your child puts into things.

Situations in which your child perceives themselves as having failed or at risk of failing require a lot more sensitivity from a parent. 

Here are some suggestions to help you talk with your child when their confidence is waning:

  • I know you didn’t get the result you were hoping for, but I have never been more proud of your effort.
  • I understand you are upset right now, but I was so proud of the way you went about that.
  • I can see you are disappointed.  I hope you realize that I am not.  I think it was amazing how you  ….. ( fill in the blank with a sincere comment about something that was commendable).

And last, but definitely not least, remember to share your own achievements and failures with your child (where appropriate).  Look for opportunities to say how certain achievements make you feel so proud.  Let them know that you felt fear or risk of failure, but how you faced up to it and now you’re glad you did.  Of course, don’t burden the child with the ins and outs of your adult life, but it never hurts to create dialogue and impart vocabulary so your child exists in an environment where family members share their efforts, achievements and failures with one another in a safe and supportive environment.

This is a starting place to create that environment.  Before you know it, you will be privy to much more information about your child, the realities of their world and their ups and downs than you ever thought possible.

I know many parents will have some amazing stories about how they turned their child’s lack of communication around.  We’d love to hear about how you did it. 

Talk back to me.

Warmest Wishes

Vicki Jardine

 

Allow Your Child to Strive and Thrive May 13, 2009

Little girl HelpingI have been working with some quite privileged children lately.  Well they are privileged in some ways.  They are paupers in other ways.

For example, their families have maids for each child.  No, I do not mean nannies….I mean ‘maids’.  These maids do not contribute to the social development of the children, but merely ‘do’ everything for them.  If they use something, the maid puts it away.  If they need clothes, the maid gets them.  If they are off to school, the maid carries their bags and hands it to the ‘driver’ who takes them to school.

Needless to say, these children come to deal with the world almost in a passive way.  They are not responsible for making things happen in their daily lives, and yet they go without nothing.

Now you would think that they might have an elevated view of themselves.  But they don’t.  In fact, they are hugely lacking in self-esteem and this is what I want to talk about today.

Our children need to be given responsibility even if it’s for no other reason than to provide them the opportunity to discover their own potential.  If that were the only benefit, then it would be enough reason.  But it’s not the only benefit. 

By allowing our children to have to put effort into the daily-ness of life, things like picking up their own clothes, making their own bed, clearing the table after a meal etc., we enable them to feel like we think they are capable, as well.  It’s beautiful.  Children need their parents or guardians to recognize them for their efforts, (not so much their achievement…that comes later….first comes effort). 

Thinking well of yourself is one thing, but when it is confirmed by those around you it carries the weight that gives you conviction.

And isn’t that what we want?  Don’t we want young children who are absolutely convinced of their own strengths and abilities, who don’t waste any of their developmental years feeling insecure and inadequate?

So next time your child wants you to carry their school things, remind them that they are able-bodied young people who can do this for themselves.  Let them pick up their own rooms, before you go in and ‘fix’ it.  Let them feel like they did it.  They need to feel proud of themselves for ordinary things.  And don’t forget to recognize their efforts.  Don’t criticize the job they do.  Simply find something to praise.  Even a child with lazy tendencies will strive harder if they know there will be some praise. 

Children love you to look them in the eye admiringly.  They need this from you.  They can’t get too much of this kind of attention.  It makes them feel so good about themselves.

Think about the adults you know.  Which of them would you say actually feel good about themselves?  Have you ever known an adult who you thought had a lot more potential than what their lives were reflecting?  Have you ever wondered why?

It’s because somewhere along the line, the adults in their life when they were a child, failed to praise them and to recognize their efforts and their strengths. 

Let’s not do that to our own children.  Give them opportunities to perform and to succeed and to fail.  Some children don’t attempt things because they are afraid to fail.  But if the adults in their life would praise their effort, then they will come to look at failure another way and not be intimidated by the thought of failing at something.

This may seem like a ridiculously small thing…but in the scheme of your child’s life, this is actually one of the most important ‘gifts’ you can give your child.

I feel sorry for the seemingly ‘privileged’ children I have been working with.  After all, it seems they are actually ‘under’-privileged.

Talk Back to me.  I want to hear what you think some of the other benefits of allowing your child to strive, might be.  Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the parenting world.

Warmest Wishes

Vicki Jardine

 

Being Proud of Yourself – A Skill To Teach Your Child March 20, 2009

Highly Successful Kids know what it means to be ‘PROUD OF THEMSELVES’.  

Confident kids know the difference between feeling happy and feeling proud.  If you want your kids to really be successful in their lives they will need to be able to recognize and identify those things about themselves that make them feel ‘proud’.

proud-girlThis week I was with a wonderful 8 year old girl who got the best report card and I went with her to her ‘Open House’ at school.  Her teacher praised her so highly and this little girl showed me all her work which was laid out neatly on her desk.  I was so proud of what I was seeing in this little girl.

On the way back to the car I said to her, “You must be so proud of yourself”.

She said yes.  I asked her, “Tell me what things you are proud of yourself for?”

She replied, “I’m proud of myself for having a wonderful Mom and for being born and ‘cos you’re proud of me”.

And no, I am not her Mom.  Her Mom works nights and didn’t go to any open houses  at school this year.

Think about it for just a minute!  Think from the point of view of an 8 year old.  How does an 8 year old know that they are feeling ‘pride’ in themselves?   

They know they need to make adults proud of them.

What they don’t know is that they need to feel PROUD OF THEMSELVES too. 

They know when adults say ‘Oh, you can be so proud of yourself’, that it means you can feel happy with yourself.  The problem here is that they miss out on some of the meaning of ‘being proud of themselves’.  They need adults to help them see things about themselves about which to be proud.

To be proud of yourself is to recognize something that you know is ‘great’ about yourself.  It is more than just having a general feeling of being pleased with yourself.

Children who grow up with healthy self-esteem have learned how to recognize things about themselves that are positive.  Isn’t this the goal? To raise happy, confident  and successful kids?

Let’s talk about recognition for a minute!

  • To recognize something you need to know what it looks like in the first place (be familiar with it).
  • It helps if you are aware of ‘looking for it’.
  • If you recognize something, then it is good to be able to name it and know how it is different to other things.

Children need adults to help them differentiate and name their feelings.  Remember, they do not have the maturity or the vocabulary and this is one of the most important roles a parent or caregiver can have. 

As a parent or caregiver, you want to be focused all day, every day on ‘what a child does that is positive’.  All too often, adults only speak to children about ‘poor or undesirable’ behaviours or actions.

If you want to raise a highly successful child, you will need to turn that around and begin to focus your own attention on looking for opportunities to point out to the child how ‘terrific’ they are. 

Children need the adults in their life to be specific about what they are doing right.  Even the most disruptive and seemingly ‘naughty’ children are wanting to be told what they are doing right, so they can do it more often. 

Adults are the key to helping children to choose positive behaviours over negative ones.  So let’s just take responsibility for that right now and start looking for opportunities to tell children what they are doing ‘right’.

Steps to help a child feel  ‘Proud of Themselves’:

  • Look for positive things to Praise.
  • Focus only on these positive things.
  • Praise the child in detail. 

For example,Well done, Tommy!  You put the book down so nicely.  I am so proud of you for putting the book down nicely.  That’s the right way to treat books. In this example, Tommy (who doesn’t normally have a lot of respect for books and often throws them or stands on them) has been praised for something he was not even conscious of doing right.  He is told that the adult is proud of him and at least two times he is told what he did that was good. 

  • Anchor that good feeling for the child.  For example, while praising the child
  • make sure you look him/her in the eye. 
  • Smile and nod your head.   And most importantly,
  • Place your hand on the child’s head, shoulder or neck in a loving and affectionate way. 

The positive feelings of being verbally praised are backed up by the wonderfully warm feelings of having positive attention of an adult who has taken the time to look right at the child and to stroke them and let them know this is a ‘big deal’.

  • Tell another adult about the event that you want the child to feel pride over.  Let them hear you speaking of them positively to others.

So if you want to raise a child with healthy self-esteem and confidence, then take the time to teach them how to be proud of themselves for every little thing.  A child who feels good about themselves, makes better choices and experiences more success daily. 

Think of self-pride as a skill that needs to be taught to children.  Just imagine the difference in your own life, if you had more self-pride!  The benefits of feeling proud of yourself are endless.  This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.  So why not give this skill to your child, today!

So let’s start right now to show children know what it means to be proud of themselves!

Talk Back to me about this all-important topic.  Let me know your stories about your kids and how they developed pride in themselves.  Share your ideas so other parents can benefit.  Remember, this is a ‘Parenting Community’ and you are a part of it.  The children really are the future.

Till next time,

Vicki

 

Let’s talk about ‘Bullying’. February 26, 2009

bullying

What do you think constitutes ‘bullying’?  Everyone gets picked on at one time or another in their young lives.   How can a parent know if their child is being bullied?  Does bullying imply continued and frequent events, or can a single event be identified as ‘bullying’?  How harmful is bullying to the ‘victim’ child?  Is bullying harmful to the children doing the bullying?

How can a parent truly re-establish their child’s confidence after they have been bullied?

These questions are all important to consider if you are a parent, caregiver or educator.  Bullying is an unhealthy manifestation of low self-esteem on the part of the bully/s.  When a person (sadly some adults are bullies too), bullies someone, they feel they are elevating themselves and showing that they are more powerful than the victim.  Bullies often appeal to the crowd who are also lacking in sufficient self-esteem to ‘go along’ with behaviours they know are not acceptable.  The ‘peer pressure’ that is created by a bully is almost ‘tangible’.  Children who would otherwise not behave in a cruel manner side with the bully rather than become a target of the bully themselves. 

In times past, some degree of ‘bullying’ was actually acceptable in as much as it was thought that it allowed the development of some ‘life skills’ in which children could learn to defend themselves and stick up for themselves.  Most cases of bullying were never identified as bullying and many times the victim was told to ‘toughen up’.

So what we have is a society in which some parents were themselves ‘schoolyard bullies’ and no one really thought anything much about it. 

Add into the equation that most parents will feel defensive of their child if he/she is accused of bullying at school. 

So the stage is set.  But these days we know that bullying can have serious consequences, not the least of which is that of the ‘suicide’ of the victim. 

So I would like to see adults address this issue as the serious issue that it is.  I would like to have some input from parents whose child has been bullied.  I would like to give them this space to say what they saw as the ‘real problem’ and what they feel the ‘best solution’ would be.  I would like these parents to describe for other parents what they wrestled with in order to restore their child’s confidence.

I also want to hear from parents of children who have been accused of bullying.  I believe these parents too may be struggling to ‘help’ their child to interact more positively.  I believe that since ‘bullying’ has become a recognized issue, there are some children all too ready to accuse others of bullying, which is not really a desirable outcome of addressing the problem.

I would like to hear from educators for whom the whole issue of bullying has dominated large portions of ‘teaching time’ and who have also had to ‘deal’ with both sets of parents (the victims and the bully’s).

Talk back to me, people. 

Share your experiences and let’s try to make the way we do things for kids more relevant to the ‘real world’.

Here’s to your child’s success!

Vicki Jardine

 

Healthy Self-Esteem vs. Unhealthy Self-Esteem January 15, 2009

Healthy Self-Esteem!
Healthy Self-Esteem!

The following is a quote from a magazine and it really caught my eye.  It was part of a list of 10 things your child will not learn at school.  It states:

The world won’t care about your self- esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

 

How do you feel about that statement?

 

I am sure it was written a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’, however I feel that the statement seems to somehow imply that a child should only possess self-esteem if and when they have accomplished something.

 

This is the complete antitheses of what I believe. 

I believe deep-seated self-esteem is only achieved when a child knows that he is valued just for ‘being’ and his/her value is not dependent on anything that he/she does.  It is unconditional.  It supersedes behaviours and accomplishments. 

In fact, I propose that in order for our children to achieve, they must first possess self-esteem.  A child needs to feel good about themselves in order to accomplish things, especially things that the world would notice.

If we look at famous achievers like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan, just to name a few in the sporting world, we know that it must feel very good to win as they do.  They must feel very good about themselves. 

However, what we see when we look at them is humility and confidence. 

And while it is true, that your child may not attract the kind of acclaim and applause that Lance, Tiger and Michael do,  there is little benefit to your child to inform them of that fact.   

Obviously I am referring to ‘healthy self-esteem’ here.  There is such a thing as ‘unhealthy self-esteem’.  Parents can recognize one from the other very easily.  Simply ask, does my child’s self-esteem motivate him/her to achieve or does it prevent him/her from achieving?  If it is ‘big head’ and no action, then it is un-healthy self-esteem.

I would like to re-word that statement above to read:

The world will not reward you for having unhealthy self-esteem.  What the world respects is healthy self-esteem which is evidenced by your wonderful achievements.

What do you think about the statement now? 

Do you agree with either statement? 

Why? 

Have your say about this very ‘hot’ topic. 

 

Talkback to me Now.  Leave a comment on this post.

 

Warmest Wishes

Vicki Jardine

 

 

 

 

Unhappy Child, Unhappy Family January 9, 2009

Here is a scenario that is not uncommon:

Our 6 year old has been talking back to us and having a ‘lot’ of attitude.  He simply refuses to do what he is asked and thinks it’s funny when we correct him.  He takes things he isn’t supposed to take and doesn’t care about the consequences.  He seems to be ‘unreachable’ in that nothing we say or do makes any difference to him.  dreamstime_angryboy

We have tried reward charts and taking away his most prized possessions or TV time. 

Nothing! 

We have been to a kinesiologist to work on helping him see how his behavior makes everyone around him feel as well as trying to show him how his behavior is making him feel. 

Still nothing! 

He is now behaving like this at school too and life has turned into a long stream of his crying, tantrums, throwing things, throwing himself on the floor and refusing to budge.  Everything is a ‘mission’ and nothing seems to work. 

What’s Up With That?  What would you do?

TalkBack to me!

 

 

 

10 Steps to Make Your Family’s New Year’s Resolutions a Reality December 29, 2008

Filed under: Relationship with your child,Your Relationship with Your Child — vickijardine @ 3:10 am
 May 2009 be your 'best year yet'!

 

dreamstime_66745826So, will you make a New Year Resolution or not?

I  think that we hear words so often that we forget their actual meaning.  Like in the case of the word ‘resolution’ which means:

‘to make a decision, promise, pledge or vow to find a solution to a problem or get a definite outcome and to resolve to make it happen through determination, tenacity and perseverance’

Now, don’t freak out!

That’s good news.  I know it sounds like work.  But think how powerful you will feel when you decide on and carry out a resolution.  Talk about confidence!

And what about your kids?  Think of the confidence they can build through successfully carrying out a New Year’s Resolution!

I mean here is an opportunity for you to actually feel like you are in control of at least one aspect of your life!   Is there anything worse than feeling like things are spiralling out of your control and there is nothing you can do?

Seriously, would you want to miss out on the chance to change some area of your life that you are not happy with.

So I suggest you embrace this opportunity in 3 ways this year:

  • 1. Make a personal resolution for your own life

Use my 10 Steps to Making Your New Year’s Resolutions a Reality and involve your child as appropriate.

  • 2. Make a resolution with your child that you have to carry out together

Repeat the process only in this case you and your child discuss an area of life that is truly annoying for both of you.  Your child needs to feel safe and valued enough to be able to say things like ‘I hate it when you yell at me in the morning’.  And you will need to be able to say things like ‘I can see that it really upsets you…and I am always upset by it too…so let’s find a solution together because neither one of us likes this situation’.  Make sure you two team up against the problem.  Don’t let it be a power struggle.

Then follow the steps below.

  • 3. Help your child make a resolution for their own life.

Ask your child to follow your example in number 1 and choose an area of their life that they can resolve to change.  Remember you are only involved in the working out what some possible problem areas are and your child has the final say about which problem they wish to make a resolution about. 

 

10 Steps to Make Sure Your Family’s New Year’s Resolutions Happen

 

dreamstime_28234422

•1.     Share your idea:

Remember you are your child’s role model.  So share with your child about an area of your own personal life that you are not happy with.  Choose something that is tangible and can be noticed by your child.  They need to be able to see if you made the change or not. 

•2.     Share your Feelings:

Explain why you aren’t happy with this area of your life.  Tell your child how annoying you find it or how it makes you feel tired.  Let your child hear your talk about your own behaviors that you want to change and why.

•3.     Share some possible solutions:

Suggest some different solutions and ask your child if they have any ideas.  They will feel hugely respected by this.  But the value of what you are setting in motion is that they are entering into a ‘problem-solving’ situation in which ‘they’ are not the problem!  Their view of you and of themselves will be altered positively forever.  You will be showing your child that ‘change’ is something everyone does.  You will be giving your child a valuable tool they can use in their own lives.

•4.     Exchange opinions:

This is really important.  You can show your child how something that doesn’t matter to one person can matter a lot to another person.  Allow your child to have an opinion about the problem and/or the solutions.  Let them explain why they like a particular solution more than another one.  Make sure this is dialogue…they speak and you listen and then comment.  You speak and they listen and comment.  It is not a power play.  At this stage of the Resolution process, solutions are being considered and everyone is equal.

•5.     Resolve:

Now since this is your problem, you take the reins and verbalize for your child why you like a certain solution best and why this is the one you are going to resolve to carry out.  Your child needs to hear how you reason it out and how you reached a decision.  You do not need to ask your child for their opinion about your decision.  You want your child to know that it is your decision to make and that you have appreciated their input, but still it is your life and your decision.

•6.     Strategize:

This is so important!  Verbalize for your child what thoughts are swirling around in your head as you figure out how you are going to achieve your resolution.  Jot down some strategies.  For instance, your resolution may be that this year you are not going to leave earrings all over the house and car because it drives you mad trying to find them when the time comes.  So some possible strategies could be to have a special jewellery box in the family room where you can easily just pop them off and put them in there.  Another strategy could be to come straight into the house and go and take them off, before you end up pulling them off just anywhere.  Have a place to put them in the car too.  Or wear earrings that don’t have to come off at all. 

Ask your child if they can think of any other strategies?  Enlist their input to find ways to solve the problem.

•7.     Organize:

This is where you purchase or make or find a container or jewellery box for your earrings, to use that scenario.  You have to be willing to provide the necessary materials to make the strategy work.  Some people get such a thrill from having a plan that they never actually feel like they have to put it into action.  Do not be lulled into a false sense of achievement.  You will end up feeling resolutions are a waste of time.   Make sure your child sees you organizing and carrying out your strategy.

•8.     Review:

Once you have been carrying out the plan for a while be prepared to review it.   Verbalize for your child if you like the strategy and if it is working for you.  Be prepared to change it if you want to or if you think something may work better.  Make sure your child hears you and sees you making these adjustments. 

This is very, very, very, very important….if your strategy is not working….DO NOT ABANDON IT!

Your child needs to observe what you do when a problem-solving plan doesn’t work.  He/she needs to know that it is still important to you and that a solution is important.  Show your child how to be creative about your strategy.  Be flexible and determined. 

Find another strategy and be willing to review it and change it if necessary…until you find one that works.  If you abandon it, you are essentially saying that you do not control your life…that life controls you.  Is this the message you want to send your child?

•9.     Celebrate:

Celebrate you victory over your situation.  Celebrate your success and your determination.  Reward yourself if you like.  This is also very important that you talk about the good feeling you get from solving the whole situation and making a change in your life.  Let your child know how that thing got you down and how proud you feel to have got on top of it…and how all it took was a good plan and some determination.

•10.  Resolve Anew:

This is where you let your child know that it is such a good feeling that you want to make another resolution. 

Why wait till New Year to make changes in your life when you have the power every day!!!

 

 

TalkBack to me.  Tell me what you think about this.

Warmest Wishes….and Happy New Year…..All Year!

Vicki Jardine