Our thoughts determine our actions – if we are in the habit of positive self-talk and positive thinking, we find that we can do things and marvel at our successes. However, all too often our internal chatter is very negative; we can’t, we are stupid, people will laugh at me. Here are some tips on turning off the negative – and switching on the positive with yourself – and your children. Continue reading
10 Benefits of Taking Risks
Taking risks is important for children and teens – this doesn’t mean being reckless or placing themselves in danger, but having a positive attitude to stepping out of your comfort zone is a key life skill – and there are so many advantages.
As a parent you want your child to be safe – and protect them from any kind of hurt or harm. Realistically, I am afraid, this isn´t possible and it´s all too easy to be over protective. Stopping children from trying new things actually means they learn to fear taking risks – and they seek to continually stay in their comfort zone. In this way, children can become very limited in their ability to become resilient or overcome their fears. So, as always, it´s about balance. Even when things go wrong, that in itself is a valuable learning experience – no matter how bad the experience, we can always take a positive lesson from it, if we seek to.
Our comfort zones are exactly that – safe and stable. Nothing will change for the better if we insist on staying in them. Change will happen through external forces – but those who seek to only stay in the comfort zone begin to fear and resent those external forces. Those who proactively seek to change and control things on their own terms, however, are those who ultimately lead a more fulfilling and happy life. Change IS scary sometimes – however, it´s usually nowhere near as scary if we are the ones to “seize the day” and make it happen.
Benefits of taking risks
- Children learn and experience new and exiting things – they discover new things about themselves and what they do (and do not) like to do.
- They meet new people and form new friendships and relationships
- They learn how to handle it when things go wrong and this in turn can help them develop a sense of resilience and responsibility for their own actions.
- They learn to challenge themselves – to continually progress and learn more and more things – they develop a love of learning and a passion to succeed.
- They do not fear challenges – rather they embrace it and seek to continually try new things.
- Taking risks means you have greater confidence and are not afraid of failure.
- You are inspired by, rather than threatened by others, and develop a “give it a go” attitude rather than judging or criticizing others for taking a risk.
- Children who take risks learn from their mistakes, learn new life skills and inspire others.
- Risk taking fosters a love of resilience and perseverance – and children who take risks are more likely to acknowledge and celebrate their success and achievements – this boosting their self-esteem
- It´s the difference between living life and watching it go by – far better to join the party, than sit on the sidelines. Yes – children (and adults) who take risks are happier, have more fun and attract more positivity into their lives.
So go on – take a risk and let me know what you did and how you got on!
Overcoming Self Doubt
It is normal that every now and then we doubt ourselves. Did we say the right thing, offend someone or could we have reacted in a more positive or self-assured way? Self doubt is normal, but more and more children and young adults are basing their self worth on the values and opinions of others. Continue reading
Kindness Makes the World go Round
To be kind is one of life´s virtues. It says a great deal about who we are as a person. It reflects how we respect and treat others and ourselves, and how we wish to be seen in the grand scheme of things. Continue reading
Having a Bad Reputation – and What they can do about it
Does your child have a bad reputation at school? The problem with bad reputations is that they are easy to get – and tricky to shake off. Happily, there are things they can do to start taking back control and making life a lot less lonely. Continue reading
Attention Seeking – Why it works and How to Change it
Do you children act out to get your attention? Does it work? If it does, then they have no reason to change their behaviour and that can lead to problems and arguments at home.
What is negative attention seeking?
Only in fairy tale realms (or quite often at school when they can revert to being super-ultra polite children from the fairy tale realm) do children go up to their parents and say in a super and mega-polite fashion, “Excuse me mummy dearest, I can see that you are awfully busy running around looking after me, everyone else, the cat and the house and running your own business all while looking absolutely radiant, however, could I please have a moment of your precious time, or possible schedule one in on our family google calendar?”
Has that ever happened? No. Probably not. It’s more likely they beg, moan, whine, plead, literally stand behind you so you trip over them, follow you around (whilst moaning and whining), doing things they and you know plain well they should NOT be doing, or cause a stand up row with their siblings, just to forcing you to stop what you are doing and intervene. And abracadabra – they have your attention because you literally cannot stand it for a moment longer. Or maybe in your house, it´s the baby voice or face they make to get their own way, or the temper tantrums that are ridiculously embarrassing and you have no idea why they can’t see how humiliating it is to behave this way and you will do ANYTHING to make it stop.
All of the above is negative attention seeking behaviour.
The answer to them not realizing how embarrassing it is to behave this way is 2 fold. The first is that they DO know really. The second is because they simply don’t care. They know this is what they can do to get their own way. It’s like a video game – they just need to figure out what DEFCON level of irritating, naughty or begging, manipulative behaviour they need to go to, and bingo – they’ve won. Therefore, why change a winning strategy?
By giving in to this behaviour (which is VERY normal, so you are not alone!) you are essentially rewarding bad behaviour. The action of giving in – even if it is followed up with a condition that you and they know you won’t stick to, is like saying, “Yes, please behave this way. I like it and it means I will give in and you get what you want. You have all the power and control here, while I as the parent have none. Further more, we both know you will do this again and we both know I will give in and I will end up being a frazzled,angry mess.” And you loose every time because they have behaved in unacceptable ways to get what they want. And they are unlikely to stop or grow out of it because why change a winning formula?
So now what?
Without exception, the children I work with openly admit behaving this way to get your attention. All of them. They deliberately behave this way as they know what makes you tick. As children become preteens and teenagers, they know that guilt is a great tool or being mean and then apologizing works.
Honestly, I will tell you, all of them, want to stop and have more secure boundaries that they are expected to adhere to and communicate more positively. And honestly, they want that from you – they need it from you – and you are 100% able to break this cycle. You CAN have the control, and the ability and the skill and the love and all the things that you need to bring this change about. You do.
Ten Tips to Break the Cycle of Negative Attention Seeking
- Like slowing down a fast moving lorry, it takes a little time and concerted effort to slow down and stop these negative behaviours. They re a learned pattern and as such are a default, so there needs to be conscious change – and children have to WANT this change. So, sit them down and make it clear the sherrif is back in town – and that’s you. Share that you don´t like all the negativity at home from either side and you want a happier more positive and safe way of talking to each other that will make everyone happier. As they get older, this should be agreed by all parties. Little ones, the law is the law – and you are the law!
- Tell them you love them and you want to spend as much time with them as possible. Explain, (not excuse) the demands on your time. Tell them you are making spending time with them a top priority which is why you are having this conversation.
- Explain what behaviours are out and work together to come up with a list of more positive ones. For example, things they can say that you know they are trying to get your attention in a positive way, which means you can respond in a positive way.
- Go over your daily routine – identify what is working and what isn’t – and make the changes that are going to make what time you have together more flexible.
- Schedule in a time each day where you can spend quality time together – and plan in what you will do, whether it’s helping with homework, reading a book, playing a game, listening to or reading to them, watching a bit of TV, going for a walk with the dog – anything. By identifying types of activities as special and designated time with you, they will recognize the value behind those times and everyone will appreciate them more.
- You need to come into their world. You might not like the Emoji movie, but if they do and they want to share it with you, then that´s is what it is going to take.
- For teenagers, it is the same – come into their world. Share what you love doing to spend time with them and check in with them if they do too. ASK them what they would like to do to have a bit of time together each day.
- Mean it – it´s not easy to break bad habits or establish new routines. If you day you are going to do something, you need to stick to it. Breaking a promise or your word is a big no-no. Think how that impacts on how you look to your children and how it shows that it´s OK to break your word.
- For every day they go without a certain behaviour, you might like to start a reward chart. Depends, if you as a family are into those. the rewards could be based around time spent together, such as getting a treat after school, watching a movie, playing a game, going to the park etc.
- Are their attentions because you do really need to spend more time with them? Make a list of the things you do in a day. Then prioritize that list against what you feel is important to you as a parent. In what way do your priorities match and support the things you spend your time doing?
Remember – even having a drink together, a talk in the car, a walk are all ways to spend time with your children. Have them help out at home, and chat while you do it.
And if you´re not sure – get in touch, and let´s find that time together.
How to Manage Stress and Stay Calm
Stress is something we all have to mange, yet without secure strategies in place, it can rule us, rather than us managing our stress levels. Continue reading
How to Make time for Downtime – and Why it is SO important: A Spookje Story
Are you and your children constantly busy and on the go, with little or no downtime? The importance of being mindful and taking time out has never been more important. Continue reading
Change is Coming
Change can be challenging for all of us – especially if we did not choose it, do not want it or we are scared of what will happen.The unknown can be frightening for all of us. Continue reading
Spookje Stories: I HATE YOU! Bad Moods Impact on Everyone
Watch out – he´s in a bad mood AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT
Ever had your head completely bitten off by your kids (or a colleague, friend or partner) for absolutely no reason – but suddenly you feel like you did something wrong? Continue reading
Spookje Stories: Happiness – Being Happy and Keeping that Feeling
happy, happier, happiest – happiness
It’s so lovely when your children are in a great mood, are delightful to spend time with, follow all the rules, don’t argue….. and then BANG something happens and it’s all changed. Continue reading
Spookje Stories: Keeping Clean
Having trouble getting your kids to keep themselves clean?
As adults we know an important part of self-care is keeping ourselves clean, brushing our teeth, washing our faces, bodies and hair – yet somethings children do not see the importance of these simple things. Continue reading
Welcome to the Spookje Stories!
Hello and welcome to the Spookje Stories! Ever wonder what your children do on their computer and iPads all day? Well, one thing they are doing is spending a great deal of time on YouTube. “You tubers” have a massive following these days. So, meet the latest You tuber – my cat – Spookje! Continue reading
Helping Your Child Learn at Home
#1 What They Need to Hear – and What You Can Say
#1 What They Need to Hear – and What You Can Say
Whatever type of school your child goes to, they benefit from having their learning supported at home. There are a plethora of ways in which your child’s school may expect you to do this: reading with them, helping with, and taking an active interest in, their homework, learning weekly spellings and learning off by heart the times-tables. There is no doubt that support from home can reap huge benefits in terms of building a child’s confidence and developing a passion for, and interest in, life-long learning. You may even be approached by your child’s class teacher to give them additional support at home in a particular area.
Trouble is, helping them at home can be difficult.
So, how to help? First of all, the message behind what we say to children is hugely important. Here are my top messages that your child needs to hear when you are helping them at home:
- “Our working together at home is a great way for us to spend time together and for me to help you with your learning” working with your child at home is not a punishment, nor because they are “not very good” at something, nor because they did something wrong – it’s an opportunity. Try to ensure this message comes across right from the start. Your child may be feeling very insecure about “having to do extra work at home” so tell them you believe in them. You’re great – you are a bright, intelligent wonderful person and I am proud of you – boosting your child’s self-esteem goes hand in hand with learning, and that means hearing lots of positive messages about their attitude to learning and the effort they put in.
- Let’s TALK to each other about your learning today – lots and lots of talking! Tell me what you know, tell me what confuses you – this is so important – it’s a DIALOGUE – not just you talking and them listening and doing. A two way conversation is essential when working with your child at home – how else will you know what they know or do not know if they aren’t talking to you about what they do and do not know? They need to be able to explain what they are stuck on and what they have learned. If they can explain it, they can do it – that is the big test to see if they really “get it”
- We are going to work together for 30 minutes MAXIMUM – children (and you) need to know there is an agreed, set time limit for how long you will be working together, and to be honest even 30 minutes can be too long, especially if they are young Primary aged children. Stick to the agreed time limit – if they’re on a high when they finish, they will want more tomorrow. If you and they are becoming upset, agitated, highly frustrated– leave it, end the session for today. No learning can take place if they are highly emotional and you can’t be calm and patient if you’re upset and frustrated too. There’s no point making it a situation that needs to be battled through – say calmly that maybe it’s time to finish, end the session on a positive, and both go and do something else.
- We learn through making mistakes – we all make mistakes – even as adults – and it’s OK – this is an important about powerful life lesson – if children are unafraid of making mistakes they will learn greater resilience and risk taking. Try not to make a big thing over them making mistakes, as that can make children nervous which then causes them to shut down and stop learning.
- I’m not frustrated with you – I’m frustrated that I can’t make this easier for you – yet – if you are explaining something one way, and it’s not working for your child, you are the one that needs to change the way you are explaining it – try a different way, make a story out of it, use characters from their favourite book or TV – just make a change in your explanation. Try using counters – anything that they can physically see and move to help them count etc. Please don’t keep doing what you are already doing if it’s not working. Ask your child exactly which bit they don’t understand and maybe that will help you too.
- Here’s the answer – lets work out how to get it together –yes – really – give them the answer! It’s not cheating! The idea is that the children become familiar with, and start to understand, the concept so they can repeatedly get to the answers – it’s not about getting that answer correct. Give children the answer so they can work back from it. This gives them the power and understanding to continually repeat and apply their learning to new areas.
- We’ve had enough for today – let’s do something different – celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Always end on a positive and treat them (and you) to positive words and then something totally different.
I really hope these are a good starting point and please let me know how you get on! If you’d like any support in working with your child at home, I coach internationally using Skype / Facetime / Whatsapp etc. Coaching will enable you to support your child at home more easily and with increased patience and understanding of what will work – and what won’t.