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mind body & soul time

Learning to be Present with Our Families

3D_webnurturing_the_soulThis week we welcome Renee Trudeau to the blog. If you ‘d like to win a free copy of Renee’s newest life balance book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life? See the bottom of the post for details on how to enter and we’ll choose a winner at the end of the week!

It’s 7 a.m. I’m sitting at my computer replying to some timely emails before I help my son find his shoes and water bottle and get out the door for school. Jonah walks into my upstairs office and sits down in the office chair opposite mine and begins to twirl in circles like a madman while telling me about a really cool skateboard trick he saw Connor, his twelve-year-old idol, perform. When interruptions like this happen – which is often – I try to stop and explain that I can’t give him my full attention until I finish the task I’m doing, but I’d love to meet him downstairs shortly. Or I ask if he can save the story for dinnertime. Sometimes I do this in gentle tones. Sometimes there’s a sharpness to my voice I wish wasn’t there. Read More

Playing to Prevent Power Struggles

playingKids playing independently!  Parents celebrate when kids will finally play on their own or with a sibling.  Finally – a few minutes of breathing room for mom and dad to get some things done around the house! Independent play is important for your child’s development and should be encouraged, however, playing WITH your kids on a daily basis will do you and your kids a world of good.  It will even fend off some of the most frustrating power struggles.

Playing WITH your kids doesn’t have to be elaborate or take a lot of time. It can be as simple as throwing a ball or role-playing with dolls or action figures.  “Playing” with a teenager can be a game of backgammon, UNO, or a round of Wii Golf.  “Playing” is what ever your CHILD likes to do for fun. Read More

3 Tips for Battling the Winter Blues

winterbluesFor families with young children, the winter months can seem like the most punishing time of the year:  shortened days, cold temperatures, and snow days all drive kids indoors.  How do we keep our kids happy, healthy, and active when we are already struggling to do the same for ourselves?

It can be done – use these tips to hold the winter blues at bay for your family:
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Kids Clamming Up? Try These 3 Strategies

Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to share ANYTHING! I’ll ask a question and get one word answers or their body language will tell me they’re not at all interested in discussing whatever I’m asking. Sometimes they’re tired or hungry or cranky and just don’t feel like talking. But there are other times when I recognize that my communication style is actually causing them to clam up.

I’ve found that I’m more successful in getting my kids to open up and have a real conversation if I use the following 3 strategies: 

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How as little as 20 minutes a day can change your whole year!

Quality-time tips for toddlers to teens

mother daughter quality time

It’s not the next fad diet. It’s not a promise to yourself to stop running to Starbucks twice a day. It’s Mind, Body, & Soul Time, and it’s a New Year’s resolution for your whole family.

Mind, Body, & Soul Time is time spent one-on-one with each of your children, consistently and individually with each parent, on an activity they choose. Not only will it give you a better bond with your kids, but the attention and power boosts will fuel better behavior.

Whether Mind, Body, & Soul Time is new to your family, or you’ve tried it before and let it slide after work and school got hectic, start fresh and make it a simple part of your routine. Aim for ten minutes, twice a day with each child to keep their attention baskets filled regularly—but any amount will help. Turn off the technology, and let your child call the shots:
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Webinar Questions Answered 12-16-09

Thanks to the many parents who joined the free parent training webinar last night! We had 44 parents on the line with lots of questions and I didn’t have time to answer all of them. Below you will find answers to the remaining questions:

Q: How do you give positive attention to a teenager who wants to stay in his room and “study.”

A: Very often, teenagers are not super excited about opening up to us or spending time with us because they perceive that we’re going to judge, interrogate or boss them around. I recommend the following three strategies to foster a sense of belonging and significance in your teen:

    1. Spend quality one-on-one time with their teenager. Parents expect that young children want and need one-on-one time, but often believe that tweens/teens don’t want/need it or are too busy for it. Taking 10 minutes, 1 or 2 times/day to talk, hang out, shoot hoops – what ever the teen enjoys, increases your emotional connection and works wonders in keeping lines of communication open. It reinforces that you are “on his team” – not against him.

    2. Avoid “ordering, correcting & directing”. No one wants to be “bossed around” and “ordering, correcting and directing” is a guaranteed way to get a hormonal teen to shut down. We wouldn’t communicate that way to our friends and our teen/tween also deserves our respectful communication. Instead, use a calm voice and make respectful and reasonable requests.

    3. Give POSITIVE power to your teen/tween. Positive power to a teen means increased responsibility, more choices, involving her in family decisions where appropriate. A teen/tween has a hard-wired need for power. If parents don’t proactively give positive power, the teen WILL exercise her need for power in negative behaviors.

Remember, if you don’t have a close relationship now, you probably won’t see it over night. It’s a process. Follow the steps above and your teen/tween will begin to open up and your relationship will strengthen.

Q: If you could please address on your blog how to correct personal boundary issues. My son is infatuated with putting his hands in my underarms. Very strange and very irritating. I don’t know if it is a source of comfort (he’s 4) or if it is because of the attention he gets from doing it.

A: Your son probably gets a payoff of comfort and attention from this behavior. To correct the behavior, I recommend the following:

  • Implement Mind, Body & Soul Time as described in Session 1. We want to fill his need for positive attention in other ways.
  • Take Time for Training as described in Session 2. It’s not okay to put your hands under my arms – let’s practice other ways we can snuggle and be close to each other. (role play putting his arms around you, etc.)
  • While we’re transitioning him out of this behavior – don’t react when he does try to put his hands under your arms. Calmly and without eye contact or words – move his hands away. It’s important to avoid using any words or providing any feedback (positive or negative) as this only reinforces the behavior. Calmly remove his hands and go about your business – without missing a beat.

Q: My ten year old begs me to lay with her each night. I feel guilty if I don’t.

A: Bedtime dawdling is an example of the negative attention-seeking and power-seeking behaviors we discussed during the webinar. Your daughter wants to keep you with her longer (attention) and is manipulating you to feel guilty if you don’t lay with her (power). Addressing this issue requires a multi-layer approach. We held a comprehensive “Bedtime Blues” webinar for our online parent education course participants last week and will be holding one for everyone after the first of the year.

I would begin by filling her attention basket in positive ways – spending one-on-one time, lots of encouragement, etc. That won’t solve the problem completely – but will begin meeting her need for “belonging.” We’ll be setting dates for the next “Bedtime Blues” webinar in the next few days and will let you know.

Q: My daughter is going through the Terrible Twos and her favorite expression is “NO”. How do I make this stop?

A: The Terrible Two phase is tough on parents and toddlers. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be terrible! Your toddler is telling you that she is growing up, trying to be more independent and needs some power of her own. Click on this link to our “Toddler Terrible Twos” page, to read what she would likely tell you if she could!

One last thing…during the webinar, I mentioned a book that does a great job of helping us understand more effective ways to communicate with our kids. I shared this book when we were discussing how to get teens to open up – but the principles in the book are appropriate for kids (and adults) of all ages. How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk by Elaine Mazlish and Adele Ferber.

Thanks again for joining the webinar! I encourage you to continue learning with Postitive Parenting Solutions.

Happy Holidays!

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