Tag Archives: resilience

Steps to Help a Bullied Child
Bullied Child

It is not easy to learn your child is being bullied. You are ready to do battle—anything to save your child from the pain and agony of daily terrorizing. Especially if you were bullied as a child. It’s hard enough to watch a sibling use age and power to overcome the wishes of the younger but a school bully, or a controlling friend is quite another thing. High emotional reactions from parents are always understandable but never helpful.

Bullying has likely been going on awhile when most parents learn of it—if they ever do. For the child, being the target of a bully is humiliating and shameful. The target does not want anyone to know. Even the most loving and accepting parent is often the last to find out for fear he may be letting his parents down. After all, to the target, he assumes it must be his fault. He must be weak and ineffective at preventing the bullying.

Therefore it is up to the parent to interpret behavioral signs. Not an easy thing to do. Changes in typical behavior, moodiness, staying alone, loss of appetite or sleep, sudden or more intense rudeness toward siblings or parents are a few behaviors that could signal bullying.

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6 Warning Signs You Need to Empower Your Harmony Child
Harmony Child with Mom

Harmony children* are just what the name implies — they thrive on harmony. They hate fights, anger and tension and will do what they can to avoid it. Unlike an Integrity child*, Harmony kids can easily comply with your wishes and back down when faced with anger. Similar to the Dandelion child* who does well in any environment, your Harmony child is likely to be flexible and can transition well.

Whereas an Integrity child has you tearing your hair out, Harmony kids make you feel like a great parent. They will work hard to meet high expectations. This child can get very upset and angry but gets over it pretty quickly. Things that stick to your Integrity kid like Velcro, roll off your Harmony child like water off a duck’s back. This child is easy to live with and doesn’t often stress you out or give you reason to worry.

They make great friends and generally have lots of them. They are easy to like as they are good at understanding all points of view. They can move from group to group with their chameleon-like qualities and rarely cause discomfort or discord among friends. They generally fit well in school because they are malleable and work diligently. They make great mediators and can stand up for the kid who gets bullied.

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The Power of Acceptance

All parents struggle with fears and worries about their children and many end up just getting in their own way. When you take your children’s behavior personally and use your authority to control them to do what you want, you may wind up creating the scenario you most fear.

The problem comes when we think it’s our children who need to change when indeed it is us. Whatever you need to do to get to acceptance is the answer.

The following is a story from one of my clients that I find truly inspiring. Her struggles to understand her son and ultimately herself have led to a wonderful relationship. I hope it motivates you to trust your children and let go of a small bit of your fears. You will always have fears and doubts — you wouldn’t be a conscientious parent without them. But in the moment, when your child needs your connection, you must be able to at least temporarily put those fears aside.

Reflections on my journey with my son – Mother of three

I am enjoying a playful moment in the kitchen with my 6’6, 17 year old son. He likes to get in my space and see if he can startle me with his big teenage energy. I get flustered and cry out, “You make me feel anxious when you do that!” He smiles with this gentle warmth and looking right in my eyes​ ​he says lovingly​, “​Mum, it’s not what I do​ that makes you feel anxious. It’s what you ​think​ about what I do.”

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When Helicopter Parenting Crashes and Burns

In the wake of the recent college admissions scandal, my concern is with the students who are waking up to a whole new vision of themselves. Many of them from fifty known families—so far—apparently knew none of what their parents were up to—until now.

Some received a sports scholarship in a sport never played using photoshopped headshots; some had their SAT and ACT tests corrected by paid off proctors; some even had their tests taken for them. Coaches at the elites took huge amounts of money from an agent of a falsified non-profit who took even more from parents desperate to give their children a prestigious resume and a bumper sticker for their cars. The illegal non-profit allowed the parents to deduct their payments as donations.

Imagine what it must feel like to be that college student oblivious to what got you accepted? What happens to any trust you have in your parents—or any trust you thought they had in you? And then to find out your parents are under arrest for their illegal conduct. How could you not feel inadequate in your parents’ eyes knowing what they did to get you in? How must it feel to assume you deserved admittance only to learn oodles of money was your ticket?

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Hugs Reduce Stress

Toxic stress in early childhood can harm children for life, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Don’t think your children have experienced toxic stress? All children do to differing degrees. Whoever said childhood is bliss didn’t know what he was talking about. Children experience stress just by being a child. From nightmares, worry about transitions, being afraid of the dark or thunder storms, social fears, children have a hard lot. And that doesn’t cover huge emotions and dysregulation that they cannot possibly understand when asked, “What’s wrong?” Then being punished, criticized, or threatened for behavior they can’t control…. You name it, a day rarely goes by when a child doesn’t experience stress.

Stress arises for a child when sensing a threat with no one to protect him from that threat. Children who experience this kind of stress in the early years, even prenatally through mother’s hormones, “…are more likely to suffer heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other physical ailments…also more likely to struggle in school, have short tempers and tangle with the law.”

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Dec. ’18 Q&A – Big Emotions, Angry Outbursts and a Must Read

Handling Big Emotions and Understanding the Behavior

Q. We had an episode with our 5 1/2 yr. old son. For the past 2 years, we have tried every approach. Our son is smart but immature. We feel he lacks confidence and tends to hold things in rather than talk. I tried to get to the root cause but he still won’t budge (one might say stubborn). Tonight he was off the wall jumping on chairs, interrupting when I had someone over and had to help them work. No matter how many times my husband or I ask him to stop jumping on chairs, he would say “no never”. He has a temper – will hit, throw, slam doors, spit and call us “stupid” or say “never” when we’re explaining how we want him to stop hitting and start listening. However, his tantrums have become less frequent and recovering has become quicker except tonight. Usually he’ll go through the tantrum and then start crying. If we try to challenge him and he’s in the mood, he’ll do it.  But most of the time, he’ll say, no let’s do something totally different or I can’t or don’t know how. If I say I’ll show you, then he’ll whine and say he’s a baby. He always has a comeback. What do you think?

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Involve Your Child in Choosing Activities
Choosing activities
With summer vacation here, how do you choose the right programs or activities for your kids?

Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes it’s not. Lots of agendas are involved when schedules and locations are important in choosing activities year-round.

When choosing activities, consider:

  • This is for your child, not you. Of course it must work for you, but try not to project what you loved as a kid, or what you wish you had gotten to do.
  • Do not sign your child up for something you think she will like and then inform her what she will be doing.
  • Make suggestions but not directions. “What about…? If I were you, I would love that – but that’s me.”
  • Go over general categories—day or sleep away camp, sports programs, theater programs, horse camps, art or music programs, etc. Then include your child (if old enough) in some of the research. The more your child is involved, the more engaged he will be and the less you will be blamed if it doesn’t work out.
  • Job-aged kids need your help and support during the job search, but not your leg-work. Acknowledge the difficulty, share your experiences, be open to hear the griping, offer suggestions, but do not do the work.

Commitment

Many children change their minds, and fears arise about quitting and teaching commitment. This is not limited to summer activities. What do you do when money has been spent? Or children who begged for a program dig in their heals and refuse to go after a couple of sessions? Others start off resisting but with gentle prodding find that once involved they love it.

This is normal and shouldn’t be cause for worry that your child will never be able to make commitments. This is their time of learning what they like and don’t like. Taking responsibility for being a counted-on team member is not necessary until a team really does count on its teammates.

You may never know how far to push and when to back off. Trial and error is often your only guide. After a situation does not work out, talk about it with your child. Never place blame for a change of mind or heart. Discuss ways to evaluate a program for future planning. What worked, what didn’t. Get your child in the habit of looking back, learning from experience, and moving forward with new self-knowledge.

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Building Resilience from the Ground Up

When little children fall and skin their knees, drop things that break, get pushed around by other kids, run outside without a coat, don’t eat a thing when it’s put in front of them—our “mother bear” instinct comes out and we do everything we can to protect them. Of course, our job as parent is to make sure they are warm and fed and unharmed. But do we do too much?

Is our job to be protector? To a certain extent. We can’t protect them forever so we must raise them to be well prepared for protecting themselves long before that day arrives. We have gotten more and more careful and are asking our children to be more and more careful. Are we unintentionally creating children who are afraid and anxious? Aren’t we asking them to tend to our fears instead of finding out for themselves what life has in store?

It used to be that children were pretty much on their own, except when at school. They knew the neighborhood kids and their parents and what to do if they got in trouble. Now we barely allow them to be without adult supervision for more than a few minutes. Every activity is adult run.

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5 Building Blocks to Raising Resilient Children

How well does your child deal with adversity, cope in difficult situations, become stronger after disappointments? In other words, how resilient is she? We often think that our job is to protect our children from the tough situations of life, but in fact, our protection helps only us. We don’t want to hear their anger, experience their sadness, or deal with their disappointment. In many cases, we were not allowed those feelings so we don’t know how to allow our children to have them. They may frighten us—so we make sure they don’t have them. When we prevent these experiences, we diminish their resilience, their ability to cope with life’s inevitable frustrations and situations beyond their control.

Building resilience in children requires that we:

  1. Trust our child’s ability to handle difficult problems
  2. Convey in words and body language confidence in their ability to cope
  3. Allow and accept their feelings of sadness, fear, anger, disappointment over situations they cannot change
  4. Do not jump in to rescue them or fix situations that cause their frustration in order to avoid our own fears
  5. Balance our own wants and needs with theirs, which will inevitably cause their frustration and disappointment

Children are so much more capable of dealing with and solving problems than we give them credit for. Our natural sense of nurturing can easily switch to overprotection when we think we are responsible for our children’s happiness. We do not serve them by protecting them from unhappiness or telling them they shouldn’t feel what they are feeling. Let their tears flow; allow their anger and disappointment. You don’t have to do or change anything. Simply acknowledge and empathize with those feelings. They need to know they are normal.

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