Have your kids ever said something that causes your heart to drop into your stomach because it is so upsetting or shocking?
Kids can say all sorts of disturbing things, particularly when they are young—even words like, “I want to die!” or “I’m going to kill you!”
Sometimes these words point to a major problem that requires intervention, but often, they are the words of a child who is heated with emotions or who does not truly understand the meaning of the words they are saying.
In any case, here is a good mantra to remember for these moments: Stay calm. Be curious.
Stay calm because sometimes the adult’s reaction is much, much worse than the problem, and it gives the child too much attention for something that might not need attention.
When they realize they get your attention by saying horrifying things, they might amp up on attention-seeking behavior.
On the other hand, some...
In today's Self-Care Sunday tip, we want to encourage you to pursue your hobbies.
The word "hobby" sounds trite, like it's the cute little thing that you do on the side.
Culturally, the word has some negative connotations, as though hobbies are frivolous. But devoting time to activities that we enjoy—that we value, that we are good at—for no other reason than to nurture our souls, feeds our sense of self and demonstrates our sense of self-worth.
Hobbies give us purpose. They show us that we can improve upon ourselves and become masterful. We might have jobs that we do not like. We might have familial obligations that are not that much fun, but our hobbies connect us to ourselves and offer us moments of ease and joy.
Hobbies allow us to relax, tune out the chatter in our minds, and forget about our stresses for a while. So make time for your hobbies,...
Plenty of parents are unhappy about how much screen time their kids have. We would rather our kids were outside, socializing, or reading.
This is especially concerning during a pandemic, when so many children are spending all day in front of screens for school, unable to play sports or socialize with their friends, and have much more limited options for how they spend their time.
But here's the interesting thing: If you asked your kids how much screen time you think they should have, it might be less than you imagine, particularly if you help them connect the dots between what their behavior is and the outcomes they want for their lives.
Instead of jumping right in, though, back into the question. Start by asking them some questions about what they want their lives to look like:
"Do you want to go through your days healthy and feeling strong and energetic? If so, how much exercise do you think you should be getting?"
"Do you want to have good...
How often do kids have to listen to listen to their parents, teachers, coaches, babysitters ... and no one ever asks their opinions?
How often do kids get dismissed because we don’t think they have enough life experience to add anything meaningful to the conversation?
But, kids have something to say, and if we don’t ask their opinions, they won’t feel seen, and they won’t feel validated by their parents. Beyond that, they won’t have the experience necessary to think through their opinions and refine them.
When adults do not ask children for their opinions, children grow into adults who feel unsure of themselves. They second guess themselves. They don’t know what to think or how to make their voices heard.
Asking kids to share their opinions is such an easy thing to do, and it helps children not only build their self-esteem, but it also lets them practice having conversations and thinking through their positions...
Resilient kids have strong support systems. They are surrounded with people who bring out the best in them, and they have people cheering them on, supporting them, and helping them when times get tough.
This includes peers, of course, but it also includes adults.
To that end, help your children identify one (or even a few) safe adults whom they can turn to if they need adult guidance.
Of course, we want to believe that our children will come to us when they need help, but at times, they might be embarrassed or afraid to talk to their parents about certain problems.
Oftentimes, though, these problems are the ones that would best be solved with guidance from an adult.
So who can your children turn to if they need adult guidance, and they don't want to talk to you?
Start a conversation with your children and help them identify these people, which might include teachers, your friends, or other family members.
Give them permission to reach out to someone other than you who can help keep...
We all want to be happy, adults and kids alike. Indeed, happiness is a key component of resilience. When people are resilient, they grow stronger and more able to move the needle in the direction of a happy life.
Happiness and resilience go hand-in-hand. The same qualities that make a person resilient also make a person happy.
Have you ever talked to your kids about this? If they are tweens, now might be the time to start this conversation, revisiting it when the opportunity arises.
In today's Self-Care Sunday tip, we encourage you to pinpoint what you love about your relationships, and then make a plan to preserve these aspects.
It is often easy to see someone’s best qualities at the beginning of a relationship, especially romantic relationships (though this applies to most relationships as well). This is when both parties are putting their best foot forward, and because they have not spent very much time together, there is no pent-up resentment getting in the way of all of those great qualities shining forth.
But as relationships progress, we begin to notice the other sides—the flaws, or the aspects of their personality that push our buttons. The day-to-day aspects of life take over, and we start to lose track of all those wonderful beginning-of-a-relationship feelings. Instead, we focus on the flaws and the things that are not going well.
The great parts of the other person’s personality begin to fade to the background ...
One of the outcomes of the coronavirus-related shutdowns is that people are in a position where they can more easily identify what is important and what isn’t important. We all know that there are certain activities we cannot wait to do again, and we also know that there are certain activities we are relieved to no longer be doing.
So why not be intentional about identifying what our ideal lives look like, and then take this time to put parameters around the next chapter so that it more closely resembles your desires?
When you consider what this next chapter looks like, you might identify activities you can stop doing, but you might also identify activities you want to keep doing. For instance, you might realize that you don’t really miss your volunteer activities all that much, and that you have loved the evening walks you take with your family. Maybe you would rather spend time with your family than pursue some of the activities that would cause you to spend less time...
In today's Self-Care Sunday tip, we take a look at the concept of "stacking the deck" with respect to friendship.
"Stacking the deck" means that you stack the deck in your favor by surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you and encourage your strengths to thrive, which in turn boosts your sense of self-worth.
Surrounding yourself with good-feeling people who lift you up might sound obvious, but many people don't do it.
It begins in childhood. We are told to respect our elders, defer to adults, and not rock the boat with authority figures. When we come up against a teacher, coach or counselor we don't like, we are advised to be polite and keep it to ourselves.
We then grow into adults who allow not-so-great-feeling people into our lives out of politeness. We tolerate people who make us feel bad because we don't want to hurt their feelings. We spend time with people—and sometimes even marry them—who don't bring out the best in us.
We all cycle through a range of emotions from day-to-day and hour-to-hour. You may feel anger and joy, all within a matter of minutes, but everyone has a predominant emotional state.
To understand this, check out the Emotion Escalator.™
If you were to circle the emotions you feel most often in any recent week, you would find they cluster around one or two steps on the Escalator. This is your predominant emotional state. Another way to think of it is as the mood you feel most often.
Here is the truth about your predominant emotional state: It is unlikely to take a giant leap forward in a short period of time.
So right now, in the middle of a pandemic, when people’s lives and livelihoods are being destroyed, when we are all lonely and worried, please take a moment to extend yourself a little grace. You won’t (and shouldn’t) always feel like life is filled with sunshine and roses and unicorns dancing on your front lawn.
Keep in mind, too, that your...