Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Short Break

I'm in the process of packing so I can move at the end of the month. It will be a really busy month and I won't have time to post until after the move. See you in mid August. Until then be patient with your children, have fun, do lots of fun activities and love your children.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Don't Punish Your Children When You Are Under Stress

Punishing children when stress levels are high makes learning more difficult and behavior negative. This can cause effects into adulthood. For example, when a parent has had a hard day at work or the children have been more difficult than usual that day, if a parent punishes a child while feeling that stress, it can make it harder for a child to do homework or a parent to teach them what they may done wrong because the situation is full of emotion not logic.

It will cause negative behavior because the child will match the parents out of control behavior or the parent will match the child's out of control behavior and then the parent and child are feeding off of one another's emotions escalating the situation, instead of the parent bringing it under control.

Children need parents to be in control and is scares them when they're not. A child needs the parent to help them through whatever is going on and what they are feeling, not match their out of control behavior. It can continue into adulthood because as children they've learned to match the other person's level of emotion and become out of control instead of gaining control and handling the situation with logic not emotion.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

2 Traits of 5 Year Olds

Two traits appear in Kindergarten. The first one is the concept of fairness. Parents and teachers hear a lot of It's not fair at this age. To a kindergarten age child, fair means everything is equal and the dividing of any material is the same for everyone.

The second trait is tattling. During kindergarten children develop an understanding of the purpose, creation, and importance of rules. They become focused on being sure to follow the rules and focused on making sure other people follow the rules. From the viewpoint of a five year old, it becomes equally important to tell a parent or teacher of any error. Parents and teachers can head off this behavior by helping children learn to deal with situations on their own in socially acceptable ways.

For example, if a child isn't sharing, instead of the child telling the parent, the parent can teach the child to deal with the situation by telling the child to tell the child who isn't sharing that it's not nice not to share and it makes them sad when they don't. The child can tell the sibling or friend who isn't sharing it makes them mad when they don't share and to ask the child nicely, "Can I have a crayon please?" or whatever isn't being shared. This way the child learns how to take care of the situation themselves and the parent doesn't have to take care of every little situation that arises all day long.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Positive Approaches With Preschool Age Children

William Damon, a researcher who followed in Piaget's steps, noticed that preschool age children regularly justify their social choices based on what they want. A preschool aged child's understanding of leadership is based on physical attributes- meaning bigger people such as parents or older children- should be the ones in charge simply because of their size. Where preschool aged children are focused on physical attributes they have little understanding of psychological motives, emotions and attitudes as causes of behavior whether it be theirs or someone else's.

Parents and other adults may assume preschool children understand social and behavioral issues in the same way adults do because of how verbal they are, but this isn't true. Redirecting behavior when it's in appropriate rather than focusing on what's occurred that may be wrong, is as effective in this age range as it is at the toddler age. If a parent states expectations clearly and simply a preschool age child will more often than not follow the parent's request. It's important for parents to make sure their expectations are reasonable. For example, if a parent asks a four year old to go put their clean laundry away, the child will do it because the instruction to go put you clean clothes away is clear, simple and the expectation is reasonable. It's reasonable because the child is old enough to understand what go put your clothes away  means, because hopefully a parent around the age of two or three has already taught the child how to put their clean clothes away. If the instruction is make your own lunch, that's an unreasonable request for a parent to give a four year old because a four year old doesn't know what to do or how to do it and doesn't have the dexterity skills yet to make their own lunch. This is why it's important to keep expectations age appropriate.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Positive Approaches to Use With Toddlers

Positive approaches give toddlers support and safety. Positive approaches to use with toddlers include modeling appropriate behavior, stating exactly what the behavior is, helping toddlers resolve differences, patient redirection, avoid saying no unless for an important reason and recognizing when toddlers declare 'No' are all a part of developing a healthy autonomy.

Redirection and providing appropriate alternatives work in most situations. Erikson's philosophy was that although toddlers struggle for independence they also need to know parents will protect them when they go too far. Helping toddlers focus and pay attention includes letting children move throughout the day and learn how their bodies work. When parents allow toddlers to solve their own problems this helps them move toward adequate autonomy.

Toddlers change almost every day and as parents help them gain autonomy and independence by teaching them how to be competent and learn appropriate rules of behavior, toddlers will internalize the rules of what appropriate behavior is socially acceptable.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What Erikson Thought Was The Main Challenge For Toddlers

Erik Erikson has the opinion that the main challenge for children between eighteen months and three years is to gain autonomy and independence. This includes using words such as 'No' and 'Mine.' Erikson views this struggle for toddlers as a conflict between their individual need to be competent and social and their need to accept limits and learn behavioral rules. When toddlers are placed in a supportive, safe environment, Erikson believes this would increase the chances of fostering a healthy self-concept. He says this requires a parent's patience and a sense of humor. It requires patience and a sense of humor because toddlers are difficult to deal with. A toddler may be hungry and decide to get food on their own. When this happens it takes patience as the parent allows them to choose what they want and teaches them how to make what they want (for example toast). It requires humor because your two year old may have made a mess of the kitchen while trying to get them something to eat. The parent may walk into the kitchen to find it a mess and their child a mess from trying to get something to eat. The situation requires humor as the parent laughs at the mess in the kitchen and the mess their child is rather than getting mad at them.

When a parent uses a negative approach to a toddlers challenge to gain autonomy and independence it affects a child's behavior. When harsh punishment, ignoring disputes between children, humiliating them, becoming involved in power struggles with them or constantly correcting a toddler without giving them an alternative occurs, this affects a child's behavior in negative ways. This affects behavior in negative ways because when a child is disciplined using harsh punishment this affects their self-esteem and their self-worth. For example, if a parent gets mad at a child because of the mess they made in the kitchen and of themselves while getting them something to eat, this makes a child feel bad. They're trying to be grown up and get  food like mom and dad and when a parent gets mad at them for this it can destroy their self-esteem as they feel they did something wrong and destroy their self-worth as they feel they did something bad or wrong.

When a child is humiliated it shames a child and they may stop trying new things or trying all together. When a parent becomes involved in a power struggle with a child it's about the parent, what the parent wants and why and them controlling not only the child but the situation and its outcome. The parents own lack of security is showing and parenting becomes about the parent not the child. When a parent corrects a child without giving them an alternative the child begins to see themselves as bad and everything they do and are as bad. For example, if a child cleans the bathroom but leaves dirt on the sink and tub and the parent gets mad at them for it. If a parent corrects them by saying, "Look at all the dirt you left, clean it again and do it right this time, " a child may see themselves as a bad child  or that they did something that was bad. The child didn't do anything bad and isn't a bad person. A parent needs to teach them what it means to clean the bathroom and how to clean it. Children need to be taught everything!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Discipline vs Guidance

Discipline is a phrase that indicates enforcement of positive behavior through strict guidelines and control and is usually connected to punishment and rewards. Discipline is based on the expectation that children should have prior knowledge of acceptable behavior and punishment should occur if they don't follow the rules. Discipline, however, can be used in a different sense. Discipline can be used with a meaning that is more closely related to positive discipline which is guidance.

Guidance is probably the most common phrase defining what is expected of those who care for and teach children. When parents guide children, they show them how to behave appropriately through direction, suggestion, improvement and modeling. Ideas for appropriate guidance techniques are: observe when children are being good and express gladness when they've participated in appropriate behavior. For example, when a child is upset they had to come home from playing at a friends house because they were having fun, and the child come home anyway- a parent can express their gladness that the child came home anyway by saying, "I know you were having a lot of fun at your friends house. Thank you for coming home when I asked so I didn't have to get mad at you. I appreciate it.

A parent models acceptance, patience, courtesy, helpfulness and is sensitive  and supportive of children who are less experienced with emotional regulation or have specific behavior challenges. For example, when a child wants to pour the milk into their cereal bowl, accept that they want to try it and let them. Be patient with them while they try and help them by holding the bottom of if so the can turn it all the way over in order for it to pour out while maintaining control of the milk jug.

A third technique for appropriate guidance can be shown when children show pride in doing a task. A parent can join in with the child in being proud of them. A parent can use, use facial expressions and an acceptance voice to build a sense of acceptance and trust that they're there to support and understand a child's development of autonomy. Another technique parents can use to provide appropriate guidance is to tell children what you want them to do. "I want you to speak kindly to me please." A fifth technique is to physically hold a child who is out of control. This will help calm them and relax their bodies and allow them to give in to any emotion they may be feeling. An example of this is when a child is screaming and sometimes throwing things. Pick the child up, hold them close to your body and don't let go until they've exhausted all of the emotion they're feeling.

Holding a child when they're out of control works with most children, however, there are some children where it makes things worse. When dealing with a child whose upset but doesn't want to be touched respect that and stay where you can see what the child is doing so they don't cause harm to themselves or others and stay close enough to see what they're doing until they calm down. They will usually then come to you when they've calmed down and are ready for interaction again.