How to Help Kids with "Friendship Triangles"

We all get to choose who we want to be friends with, and who we don’t want to be friends with. This means that at some point or another, your child will want to be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends in return. This can be hard to come to terms with, but there’s really only one way around it: Back off, and find somewhere else to initiate a friendship wherein feelings will be reciprocated. 

But what about that murky gray area where your kids have friends, but they feel like they are outsiders? When they feel like the third wheel? 

And what happens when your children are the ones who are making others feel left out? 

Groups of three are particularly difficult because someone always feels a bit like an outsider, so it's worth starting a conversation with your kids about how they show up in friendship triangles—whether they are on the inside or the outside. 

The strategy for being on the inside is...

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Ask Your Kids, "What attributes do you wish you had?"

conversation starters Mar 09, 2021

We all have people in our lives whom we admire. They could be friends, teachers, or people we don't know well. Regardless, we probably admire them because they have traits we wish we had. 

Maybe you admire Angie because she is a leader, Gabriel because he is always so friendly and welcoming, and Geoff because he makes people laugh. 

The good news is that these are all skills that we can learn, so why not take the time to help your children pinpoint these traits, and then learn how to can incorporate them into their own personalities? 

Resilient people are always growing. They believe that they are capable of impacting the outcomes of their lives, so they take advantage of opportunities to make themselves and their lives better, and this includes changing the way they are perceived, learning new skills, and adopting new behaviors when it serves them to do so. 

When we have people in our lives whom we admire, we can learn from...

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Ask Your Kids, "Is There Something You Think I Say Too Often?"

conversations Mar 08, 2021

Sometimes, hard as we try, the words we say to our kids just are not effective. For whatever reason, they don't resonate with our kids. When we say them, our kids feel annoyed instead of inspired. They think we are lecturing them, or they think we are not very aware.

And if you think about it, I bet you can come up with a few phrases that your parents repeatedly said to you that always rubbed you the wrong way. 

We can be more effective parents if we ask our kids what these words and phrases are. Perhaps your 11-year-old son is tired of hearing you say, "When I was a kid ..."

He will tell you that times have changed since you were a kid and that he is a different person than you are. As well-intended as the advice is, it goes in one ear and out the other ear because your son discounts it as irrelevant and out of touch.

Of course, we know that you have wisdom to share with your child, but this method of conveying it is ineffective with your child, so trying a new tactic might...

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The Skill of Asking Great Questions ... Learn It, and Teach It To Your Kids

Conversations are the backbone of a relationship. Conversations that are deep and authentic result in relationships that are close and long-lasting. When kids know how to have great conversations, they can build strong, supportive relationships. 

Knowing how to have great conversations is a skill—one that can be learned. A good way to start teaching this skill is to teach your kids to ask great questions. 

When kids learn how to ask great questions, they can start interesting conversations. And perhaps more importantly, they can start new friendships. Great questions get people talking. They invite people to open up and they allow the questioner to show that they actually care about the answer—that they are really listening.

If your children learn this skill, they will be perceived by their peers as interesting, curious, and engaging. They might also become the allies to the shy kids, who will deeply appreciate someone taking the time to...

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Self-Care Sunday: Are Your Labels Helping ... or Holding You Back?

self-care sunday Feb 28, 2021

In today's Self-Care Sunday tip, we take a look at whether the labels you have given yourself are helping you or holding you back.

We all have certain stories that we tell about ourselves, and some of them are truly empowering. I am an entrepreneur. I am an athlete. I am a family man.

These are all labels that we might use to help us establish our values and the boundaries around who we are and who we want to be.

But sometimes, labels stop us from growing in ways that can be small or big.

You can see how labeling yourself a "bad dancer" will likely stop you from getting on the dance floor or taking a dance class with your partner and gaining experience. Saying that you have a "block" when it comes to learning a foreign language or a musical instrument will cause you to stop trying. After all, if you believe these to be true, why would you even try?

And while these might be small examples—heck, you might not want to dance, play an instrument, or speak a foreign...

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Asking for Help ... It's a Super Power

Very often in life, our success is not based on what we know or how we go about implementing our plans, it is based on who we know. 

When we have the right people doing the right thing on our teams, we can work harder and smarter, and we have a better chance of reaching our goals. 

But often, it can be uncomfortable to ask for help. We don't reach out to people who can help us because we don't want to be a burden and because we think we should be able to handle things on our own. 

And while certainly, we should not expect the people in their lives to sacrifice themselves and run to our rescue at every turn, we should expect that the people in our lives love us and want to help us. 

Even acquaintances want to help us. Supporting someone feels good. It gives us a sense of purpose and reminds us that we add value to the world.

But asking for help requires practice. Sometimes, we need to be reminded that there are people out there who could help us, if only we would....

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Social Media and Parenting ... What to Do

 

One Resilience-Based Parenting question that comes up a lot is: What should parents do about social media? 

It seems like kids change their behavior when they get on social media. They get snarky. They get aggressive. They use language they wouldn't necessarily otherwise use.

So parents are left with just taking it away. They don't know what else to do.

But when we just punish our kids, they resist. And what we want for them, ultimately, is to be able to use social media responsibly, in a way that serves them.

 

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Your Child Says Something Horrifying, What Do You Say?

what to say Feb 23, 2021

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...

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Self-Care Sunday: Pursue Your Hobbies

self-care sunday Feb 21, 2021

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,...

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Conversation Starter: "How Much Screen Time Do You Think You Should Have?"

conversation starters Feb 20, 2021

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...

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