Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hot Chocolate Scene

One of my favorite Christmas movies is The Polar Express. One of my favorite scenes from that movies is the hot chocolate scene.  Enjoy that scene.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Children's Christmas Songs

This video is of children's Christmas songs. It lasts thirty minutes although no one has to listen to the whole thing. Of course if you want to put it on while your children decorate cookies or make ornaments or whatever holiday traditions you have you can. Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Methods of Socialization

There are six methods that socialize children. These methods were found by John Bowlby and some of his colleagues. The first one is media and technology. Media and technology expose children to cultural beliefs and values and can conflict with the values of parents. Children learn positive and negative values from media and technology and parents need to be aware of what their children are watching and doing with technology in order to ensure they reflect the parent's beliefs and values.

The second method of socialization is the rearing goals of parents. The rearing goals of parents effects how a parent encourages socialization. How it is done is different for each family. The ways a parent socializes their children reflects emotion, coaching, thinking, observation, and beliefs. A parents socialization technique reflects emotion when they decide to either allow their children to see them cry, be happy or express any emotion. Parents technique reflects coaching when a parent tells a child, "I'm hugging mom because she feels sad." It reflects thinking when they decide whether a situation is appropriate for a child or not. Parents techniques reflect observation and beliefs when a parent observes signs of physical abuse on their child's friend and believes they're being physically abused even though there is no proof it was physical abuse and not just the accident the friend says it is.

A third method of socialization is the effective method of socialization which involves relationships with others. When parents are responsive to the needs of an infant or child it opens the door for the development of a bond between parent and child. Once a child and parent have a healthy bond, there is an emotional give and take and an openness that exist between the child and parent. This sets the foundation for other relationships the child will have with others. The fourth method of socialization is the apprentice method. This method is learning through coaching, mentoring, and scaffolding. It's based on the sociocultural approach to learning by Lev Vygotsky.

The fifth method of socialization is the sociocultural method that involves being guided by beliefs, customs traditions etc., of family, community and social groups. Parents pass on beliefs and traditions by doing things in their family the same way things were done in the family they grew up in. The cognitive method, is the last method of socialization. This method is when a parent  teaches a child about socialization and the parent has to give the child the knowledge of how to socialize. A parent teaches a child how to think about their actions. For example, a parent needs to explain whey they have to take a present to their friends birthday party and why the present is for the friend and not them.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

6 Stages of Moral Reasoning

The key outcome of socialization is the development of children's attitudes and beliefs. Lawrence Kohlberg who was an American psychologist outlined six stages of moral reasoning. His research showed parent's strategy for providing discipline and guidance to children, influence moral development. His research suggests parents can promote internalized moral standards by encouraging children to delay gratification and by setting high standards of moral behavior through warm and nurturing discipline strategies. The types of strategies parents use influence the child's motivation.

Kohlberg's six stages of moral development are: 1- obedience and punishment orientation. An example of this is when an individual does good in order to avoid punishment and if they are punished the thought that they did wrong. 2- Individualism and exchange- this is when children recognize there is no one right view and that people have different view points. 3- Good interpersonal relationships-this is when children realize it's good to be seen as good by others and answers to questions will relate to obtaining the approval of others. 4- maintaining social order- this is when a child is aware of the wider rules of society and concerns are about obeying the rules to uphold the law and to avoid guilt. 5- social contract and individual right- this is when children are aware that rules exist for the greater number but that there are times when that concept works against individuals and understand that why that happens is not clear. 6- Universal principles- this is when people have developed their own set of moral guidelines and these principles to them apply to everyone and the person is prepared to defend their principles even if it means going against society and paying the consequence for doing so.

These stages of moral reasoning help children think for themselves and decide what they think is the right thing to do in any given social situation. If parents tell children what the right thing to do is in any given social situation a child may not progress through all of these moral stages and may not develop any sense of morality.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

3 Aspects of Morality

In my last post I mentioned that morality is one of four goals to socialization. There are three aspects of morality that help morality be a goal of socialization. They are: moral reasoning, self-evaluation, and a behavioral aspect.

Moral reasoning requires a person's ability to increase and comprehend rules and customs based on a personal standard of good or bad. For example, a child between birth and five doesn't understand death and why a family member is in the coffin, and then placed in the ground. They may want the family member to be placed in the backyard where the child can still play and talk to them. As the child grows older and comes to understand customs they realize the good thing for the family member-the acceptable choice- was to be buried in the cemetery, not their backyard. This helps a child build morality as they understand there may also be religious reasons a person is buried in a cemetery and it builds socialization skills as they understand this is the social acceptable answer to this particular situation.

Moral self-evaluation is an individual's interpretation of success or failure to stick to their own code of conduct and the amount of guilt they feel when they compromise their code. For example, a teenager may use their own code of conduct to decide they're going to go to every football practice of the season. If they don't they may see this as a failure and feel guilt that they compromised their code of moral self-evaluation.

The behavioral aspect of morality is shown in a person's ability to ward off temptation and either act morally or violate their morals. For example, a teenager's religion may have taught them that to participate in under age drinking is morally wrong. However, when at a party with friends and everyone is drinking, the teen has to decide whether they'll ward off temptation and not drink or violate their moral reasoning and drink anyway.

These three aspects of morality are part of what teaches children about socialization because every child has to determine what they think is or isn't morally right or wrong. Once the choice is made it helps children in social situations and helps them learn how to deal with those parts of socialization in their peer groups.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Thanksgiving Video

Enjoy this video and time with family this weekend. Happy Holiday weekend!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

4 Goals of Socialization

Tracy Spinrad who is an associate professor at the school of social and family dynamics at Arizona State University discovered four goals of socialization.  They are: self-regulation, a sense of self, motivation and cultural beliefs and morality. I discussed self-regulation on a previous post but to remind everyone self-regulation is the ability to control ones behavior and adapt to situations; it's the ability to follow society's expectations for behavior. The ability to self-regulate is an aspect of socialization that occurs when children begin to adjust to parent's rules and expectations of conduct from external to internal control. To develop control from external to internal control is a critical part of socialization. It's important because children need to learn how not to blame their actions on external things. For example if a sibling sat where they wanted to sit a child's understanding of the situation is that it's the siblings fault they're upset and cant' sit where they wanted. Around age eight a child can start to understand they're responsible for their behavior. Therefore, when a sibling sits where they were going to, they can choose to sit somewhere else and know they're fine and therefore learn to internalize the choice to sit somewhere else instead of getting upset because a sibling sat where they were going to.

Another goal of socialization is a sense of self. A sense of self is and individuals belief and understanding about who they are. It's around age eight or nine children begin to describe themselves in terms of personality traits. For example, they say, "I like to paint; I'm good at watering the garden etc."  A parent's role in promoting a sense of self is to encourage children to try new things and establish concrete, complex goals. The goals should be challenging but not out of reach. For example, it's not realistic or practical  for a two year old to be able to put snow clothes on by themselves. Instead of a parent telling a child to do it themselves, the parent needs to help them and teach them how to put their snow clothes on so that when they turn five they know how to do it themselves because at the age of five putting snow clothes on without help is a realistic and practical task.

Motivation is the effort that calls for an individual action. For example, if a child wants to learn how to ice skate they're motivated to achieve how to learn to ice skate. The motives of why a child achieves certain goals and not others varies between individuals. For example, a child may be motivated  to learn to sew because they just want to be able to do the basics of sewing such as sew on a button. Another child may want to learn to sew because they want to make all of their clothes. Cultural beliefs are a part of socialization because they cultural beliefs can determine what is considered morally appropriate behavior. For example, a parent may burp at the table and never say "excuse me." The parent has taught the behavior of burping at the table and never excusing oneself, to their children as being acceptable.

The last goal of socialization is morality. Morality has three aspects to it which we'll discuss next time. However, morality is a goal of socialization as children learn to either live their lives according the moral code they are taught by their parents, religion or they develop one of their own.

These four goals of socialization are universal and all children achieve them on some level of another.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Process of Socialization

The process of socialization is either intentional or unintentional. Parents intentionally socialize children. Intentional socialization is the process where parents deliberately and consistently convey or impart important values to children and are reinforced through positive  or negative  experiences and consequences. For example,  if a child goes to a store and buys something and says, "Thank you," when the sales person hands them their bag,  a parent has taught them intentionally appropriate social behavior to use when out in public.

Unintentional socialization is the process by which children are socialized spontaneously during human interaction without the deliberate  intent to impart knowledge or values. For example, one day my daughter and I were walking in a  strip mall by our house. I saw an old man with a walker trying to open a door to one of the businesses, so I opened the door for the man and  held it open until  he was in the store. I taught her about helping others in a way that was spontaneous and imparted a value of the importance of helping others without meaning to.

The way we think about and view ourselves is a big factor in how others view and interact with us. For example, is someone thinks they know everything they will often share their knowledge about topics, even without being asked to. Sometimes these people are referred to as 'know it all's.' However, if someone does need information about something, they see this person as someone they can ask who may have the information they're looking for, and this therefore affects how others interacts with the person. This also affects how we socialize with others and how others socialize with us.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How Parents Can Help Develop Social Competence

How parents can help children develop social competence can be placed into three categories: fostering social knowledge and understanding, strengthening interactive skills and providing social skills training. The first one, fostering social knowledge, can be done by teaching children  to understand the perspective  of another person.  Children need to realize that other children's experiences and home life are different from theirs. Parents should talk to their children about other children's feelings and interests and help them understand the effect their behavior has on others. For example, if a child comes to school with the same clothes on everyday a parent needs to explain that some parents can't afford more than just one outfit for their children. This helps them understand that home life for everyone isn't the same.

Parents can strengthen interactive skills by encouraging alternative interpretations of behaviors. When children put labels on other children a parent can help the child find other ways to interpret the child's behavior. For example, if a child is put into a group to work on a project and one of the other participants in the group isn't doing anything the child may think they're lazy. The parent can ask, "Did anyone give them something to do? Do they need help doing whatever task is their's to do? Questions like these help a child learn about communication. Sometimes labels are put on people because of a lack of communication. It's not that the child in the group is lazy or unwilling to carry their weight, it's that no one in the group assigned a task for the to do and they were left with nothing to do or needing help.

Children learn social skills by participating in social interactions with friends. Children learn important social information from positive social interactions and they need to know the impact of their behavior on others in order for them to learn to behave in socially appropriate ways. For example, if a child starts to talk about another child behind their back when another child stands up for them and has their back, they learn what a positive social interaction looks like and that to defend the person is a socially appropriate way to behave and that talking about a person behind their back is inappropriate.

All three of these categories help children learn social skills and how to have social appropriate interactions with others.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Lately I've been talking about self-esteem and how to instill it in children. I'm going to turn now to socialization. Socialization isn't something that I think parents think is an aspect of life that needs to be taught, yet it is. We teach children socialization skills when we have play dates, teach them how to be kind to others, to share, to say please and thank you and how to behave in public. Just like there are different types of competence levels that a child has to be taught and reach with self-esteem there are different kinds of competence that come with teach your children socialization.

Social competence is an individuals ability to initiate and maintain satisfying reciprocal relationships with friends. A socially competent person is one who can use environmental and personal resources to achieve  positive outcomes. Socially competent children participate in satisfying interactions and activities with adults and friends and through these interactions further improve individual social competence. When developing social competence children develop skills and character during the first five years of life that support or detract from social competence. For example, if a parent always speaks for their child(ren) and doesn't ever allow them to answer any question that's directed at them this detracts from social competence and doesn't teach it at all. How we interact with friends is a signal of success in life and school. Where social competence is a way to foresee success in life and school all children should be supported in achieving it. It's achieved by parents teaching it and a component of socialization because  in order to make friends people need competence in their ability to socialize and their knowledge of how to socialize correctly with others.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Media Factors That Affect Self-Esteem

Patti M. Valkenberg who is a professor of communication at the University of Amsterdam and the founder and director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media, came across media factors that affect a child's self-esteem. These factors are the  media, internet use, email and instant messaging.

These factors have been found to increase a child's self-esteem around the age of twelve. Children now have the opportunity to stay in contact with friends and family due to the internet. The cultural messages that media convey to children have the ability to increase of decrease their self-esteem. The media often shows children what they should consider to be ideal such as what qualities are considered beautiful, possible careers to show they're successful, and appropriate ways to behave in different situations.

If children don't live up to these ideas their self-esteem may decrease. This is why it's important to value each child, their abilities and talents and help them know what they're good at and nurture those talents.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Positive Self-Esteem

Nancy Curry a psychologist and professor of child development at University of Pittsburgh and Carl Johnson who is a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh who has a doctorate in child psychology have broken down how to develop a positive self-esteem and described the role of adults in the process. They discuss the development of positive self-esteem through four constructs: love and acceptance, power and control, moral value and competence. These constructs work to help the development of a child's positive self-esteem as they develop within the family, and a child's world outside their home. Children who feel love and acceptance, power and control and have a sense of moral value and competence will learn, develop and progress toward their full potential both at home and in life.

What children need is unconditional support in their efforts to learn, grow and develop. What we say should be offered with genuine affection to who children are, not what they accomplish. Accomplishments have their own rewards built through intrinsic motivation. Let children feel joy in their accomplishments, solving problems and mastering activities without the need for adult approval. Adults should ask children how they feel about what they've accomplished, whether they could improve on their efforts and results and how they handled their frustrations and disappointments in achieving an activity. For example, if a child fails a test, a parent can ask how they feel about that. They can ask if there's something they can do differently next time in order to improve the result. They can ask how they can achieve the task of passing the test. Don't make them feel bad for failing the test or not putting the effort into passing the test, just help them realize they have to put effort into things in order for them to have the result they want. Help them see they may have made a bad (not wrong) choice and to make a different one (not right one) next time.

There are a variety of ways that help children achieve a sense of power and control. Providing children with lots of opportunities to make a variety of choices is one way to do that. Parents need to be careful to make sure the choices given to children are acceptable. For example, do you want to have yogurt or goldfish for snack? Both of these are acceptable, healthy snacks but the child can choose which one they want. Another way to give children the opportunity to have a sense of power and control  are to provide  meaningful projects and experiences for a child to do. For example, doing the reading summer program at the local public library. Parents can provide opportunities for children to explore, take risks and problem solve. These activities could include learning how to ride a bike or play the piano. When parents provide these types of activities it shows their belief in their child's abilities and it increases their self-esteem.

Moral value is the idea that children are treated fairly and each child is fundamentally a good person. A child with high moral values cares for others and learns reciprocal behavior. Parents can enhance a child's sense of moral values by making sure interactions between children and adults are characterized by mutual respect, cooperation, empathy, and fairness.

To develop competence parents should be focused on building trust and autonomy. Parents should help children develop a natural curiosity to learn, grow, achieve and master skills including social and behavioral skills. Parents should help children find constructive ways to deal with frustration, disappointment and failure.  When punishing a child make sure you criticize or punish the child's behavior and the child knows it's the behavior that is unacceptable, not the child. Parents need to take an all or nothing approach with criticisms and avoid comparing children to other's in behavior or skills. Each child needs to fill they're contributing to the group-family, community, friends etc.

When a parent develops these four constructs into their parenting style and  uses them to develop their child's self-esteem, their child can develop a positive self-esteem about themselves.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ways to stop negative cycles

Dan Gartrell is the director of the child development training program at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. He gives five ways to stop negative cycles. The first one is to provide children opportunities to do positive activities  they do well such as cleaning up or building with blocks. The second way is to give positive feedback for these activities, "Thank you for cleaning the cat litter box when I asked the first time." The third way is to observe negative interactions with friends. For example, if every time the child has a friend over there's a fight over a particular toy, take notice of that. Then find ways to reduce the interactions a much as possible such as putting the toy in a safe place while the friend is over. The fourth way is to carefully select activities children do without failing. For example, if you know a child is good at ballet, give them ballet lessons. The fifth way is to break difficult tasks into small manageable ones that guide the child to know how to accomplish each task. For example, if a child has a history project due teach them to do the research first, then put it in order they want to write it in, and then write the actual paper.

To avoid negative expectations and reinforcing negative behaviors, parents should observe children carefully, deliberately, and sensitively and attend to children who exhibit the kinds of prosocial behaviors the parents want. One way to do this it to make sure each child receives affirmations each child deserves. Affirmations are positive messages about an individual who has unique needs. Affirmations encourage children to be who they are and are expressed by people being interested in each individual and showing appreciation for each individual. This is the small things like saying thank you when a child does what's asked. This is telling the child you're proud of the grade they got on an assignment or test. This is showing respect to a child.

This is one of my pet peeves when it comes to parenting. Respect isn't a one way street that leads from children to adults. It's a two way street that leads from the parents to the child and back to the parent. A person can't expect, much less demand, a child show an adult respect if the adult doesn't show them respect. A parent can't treat their child one way and expect and demand they treat them a different way. It doesn't work that way. Treat your children the way you want them to treat you. Behave the way you want the child to behave. Treat others the way you want your children to treat others. Don't expect of them what you don't and won't expect of yourself. Send and teach positive affirmations through word and deed to your children.

A child who is used to getting only negative attention will reject attempts at affirmation. Children who are used to getting only negative attention are experts at attracting negative attention. To change the behavior of a child whose self-concept is negative and only receives negative affirmations from the environment, adults need to focus their self- image on any and all sides of positive behavior. For example, if you see a child clean up a siblings part of the room, tell them how nice it was that they did that and how you as the parent appreciate that they did it. Little by little the children's and adults lives will come to change as the child's view of themselves changes. Parents can change a child's self-image by changing the child's behavior and the child begins to learn they can engage in prosocial behavior which will cause positive affirmations to occur. Adults don't let children engage in destructive behavior because this reinforces a child's negative self-image, while providing constant attention to negative behavior. When children begin to receive attention and positive messages from their environment and those in it, the child will slowly begin to trust again and probably first with a significant adult because adults are usually more forgiving than peers.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cyclic Patterns

Cyclic patterns become so en-grained into humans they appear to be automatic. Children can't break negative cycles by themselves. When children enter new social groups they assume roles and behaviors they had in other social groups. For example, if a child was a peacemaker in a former group, they'll be the peacemaker in a new group.

Children who feel good about themselves, assess their abilities and are more outgoing, assertive and consider themselves to be competent and likable. They expect to do well and believe they control  their own fate socially and with difficult tasks. Children who have positive  self-esteem, high self-efficacy and high social competence have proved these are directly related to each other. When parents and others acknowledge  and respect their children's feelings, a close relationship develops between them. This is because their relationship is based on a mutual respect and trust.

One of the challenges for parents and others of young children is that they don't come to accept a child's negative cycles and reputations fully becoming protective and not letting children resolve conflicts by themselves. The purpose of teaching social competence is for children to practice social competence. Parents should be aware of providing less assistance and support when children are developing skills and dispositions.

Dan Gartrell who is the director of the child development training program at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, calls negative behavior, mistaken behaviors and advises parents to view these opportunities to help children learn about appropriate behavior. A parent helps a child learn appropriate behavior by teaching them appropriate behavior and modeling it. Most of parenting is about teaching a child. Children come into the world not knowing how to do anything except the survival skills. They then have to learn everything else from how to roll over, to how to behave appropriately, to the importance of being kind and how to be kind. It's the responsibility of the parent to teach their children all of it. If a parent doesn't like the way the child is treating them as the parent, a sibling, friend etc., check what you're modeling. Are you teaching through word and deed what you expect the child to do? Do you need to change something you're doing so the child's behavior will change? Cyclic patterns can begin with what a parent does, says and therefore models.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Turn Taking Helps Teach Social Competence

A skill that is important for children to learn is how to take turns. Learning how to take turns teaches children how to read the cues of other people who are participating in play and helps them determine the best time to push for their own terms. Learning how to take turns also helps children learn how to delay gratification. It's important for children to learn they're not always going to get what they want and a situation won't always have an outcome they're happy about. It's important for children to learn to wait to get what they want whether that be that they have to wait to talk to a parent because they're on the phone, having a conversation with another person, have to wait until an activity or chore is done to get what they want etc.

Learning how to  negotiate successfully as they learn to guess what will interest the other children they're playing with and work out a plan where all children's needs are met is another important concept of learning how to take turns. A child may see that another child is being left out and they want to try to find a way for the child to be included. A child may see a better way for a game to be played so everyone has a turn or gets to play with the favorite toy. To know how to negotiate a solution to these problems is an important skill for children to learn as they then learn how to take turns.

Sometimes when children are playing they need help to negotiate and compromise. For example, if one child wants to play a board game and another child wants to ride bikes, the children can  negotiate which one to do first but also agree to do both and an adult helping them understand that concept helps children learn how to negotiate and comprise a solution that benefits everyone or else the most people in the group. Children benefit from compromise because it helps children see the view of the other person and see there is more than one way to do something and both ways can be right. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

3 Categories to Develop Social Competence

As I post about social competence many parents may wonder what can I do to develop social competence in my child(ren)? How to help children develop social competence can be placed into three categories: fostering social knowledge and understanding, strengthen interactive skills and provide social skills training.

To help children foster social knowledge children occasionally need adults to help them see the perspective of other children. They need help to learn other children's experiences and home lives may be different from their own. Children also need to  understand the effect of their behaviors on others. For example, if a child tells another child they're ugly, a parent needs to explain to the child that the comment hurt the other child's feelings and made them sad. The parent needs to explain why saying something like that isn't appropriate and explain how that isn't an appropriate way to treat someone.

A parent should encourage different interpretations of behaviors. This will help children strengthen interactive skills. When children label friends, parents can ask the child to find different ways to interpret the child's behavior. For example, if a child calls a classmate a loser after gym class, an adult shouldn't pass it off as kids being kids and that's part of growing up. The child was mean and an adult should teach the child that their behavior was wrong. The adult should teach the child an appropriate way to behave. Maybe the other child isn't good at that particular sport or athletic at all. An adult needs to explain to the child that not all people are athletic. The child who called the classmate a loser needs to be taught that everyone has different things they're good at  and to not  make others feel bad for not being good at something because they have things they're not good at either and what a person isn't good at shouldn't be held against them.

Children learn social skills by participating in social interactions with friends. Children learn important social information from positive social interactions and they need to know the impact of their behavior on others in order for them to learn to behave in socially appropriate ways. For example, if a child starts to talk about another child behind their back when another child stands up for them and has their back they learn what a positive social interaction looks like and that to defend the person is a socially appropriate way to behave and that talking about another person behind their back is inappropriate.

Children need lots of opportunities to interact in situations that promote social skills. These situations can by playing on the playground, with playdough, playing a board game etc. Young children learn appropriate social skills be engaging in social interactions with others. These interactions should be around important subjects and activities. For example, playing with playdough teaches sharing as children have to share the tools being used to play with the playdough. It teaches communication as the children talk to each other about various topics and ask to use tools children are using. It teaches patience as a child may have to wait for a tool until another child is done using it.

When a parent develops and teaches these three categories of social competence into their children it helps children learn how to behave in appropriate ways and it teaches them what society expects of them as far as behaving appropriately which helps children learn how to navigate the world around them. These three categories of social competence will also help children learn how to make friends, keep them and how to treat people with kindness.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

3 Components of Social Competence

Sorry it's been so long since I posted. July has found me sick and busy in many ways. So...lets continue our discussion on self-esteem.
Heather Tomlinson who has a Ph.D. and is an early childhood development professional for NAEYC, and Marilou Hyson who has a Ph.D. in early development and education developed three components of social competence. These components are: emotional regulation, social knowledge and understanding and social skills.

Emotional regulation is the ability to respond to ongoing experiences in a manner that is social, acceptable, yet delays a spontaneous reaction if needed. It's the ability to approach emotions and feelings into appropriate  actions and behaviors but also show joy, excitement and enthusiasm. It's the ability to manage one's emotions so successful, personal behavior with peers and adults is possible. Some people resist interactions causing fear and frustration and therefore prevent children from developing emotional regulation. For example, when a child gets into the college of their choice, it's appropriate to show joy, excitement and maybe even cry. It's appropriate to show jump up and down and scream. Something good has happened to a person and it's appropriate to show happiness because of it. Those who resist interactions and resist showing emotion don't develop emotional regulation because they suppress their feeling instead. It causes fear and frustration because they aren't allowed to work through their feelings and therefore don't understand what's going on inside them.

Children need several kinds of social knowledge to be able to make friends. These include norms, social and cultural customs, language commonly used by peers, TV shows and characters. All of these examples can teach children about how the world works and therefore about social knowledge and how to behave socially. Not all of these are going to teach good social behavior which why it's important for a parent to monitor what children are watching and what these shows are teaching their children. Parents should also know who there children's friends are so that they know what their friends are teaching them about how to behave and treat people. A parent should be concerned with the messages their television shows and their children's friends are sending to their children about how to behave socially.

Young children need to be able to play and participate in activity groups and engage in appropriate interactions with others. Social skills enhance social competence. A skill a child needs is giving positive attention to others. An example of this is when a child goes over to a friend and asks them what they're doing, not pushing what the friend is doing aside so they can do an activity together or demand the friend stop what they're doing to do an activity with them. Another example is when a child tells a friend they like the art project they made.

Other skills needed for social competence are being able to request information from others about activities such as homework assignments they missed or where baseball practice is being held. Children need to know how to contribute to a conversation and the give and take of a conversation.

Teaching these three components of social competence takes  most of a child's life to teach. It takes parents constantly reminding children what appropriate behavior is and how to treat people and most importantly it takes parents modeling these components in their relationships with others but most importantly with their children.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Enjoy this video

I have a cold today and not feeling well. Enjoy this video by The Wiggles.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Social competence

A central component of self-esteem is social competence. Social competence is a person's ability to initiate and maintain gratifying complimentary relationships with peers. A socially competent person is one who uses the environment and personal resources to achieve positive outcomes. Socially competent children participate in gratifying interactions and activities with adults and peers and see that the interactions improve social confidence.

All children develop social confidence skills during the first five years of life that support or detract from social competence. How children interact with peers is critical to their success in school and life. This is because how you treat people matters and therefore your interactions with people matter. If you're the type of person who gets along with others, you'll get along with your co-workers. If you don't get along with people, you won't get along with co-workers and life will be harder because you don't know to interact with people and associate with them. This is why it's important to teach children social competence, the importance of it and to develop social competence in your children. Next week I'll discuss three components of social competence.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


The home environment is the most important factor that determines the level of self-esteem in children. If children have an uninvolved parent they may feel worthless and unwanted. Children raised by authoritarian parents may feel like nothing they do is good enough whereas a child raised by an authoritative parent may feel supported and genuinely loved. Regardless of the type of style a parent uses to raise their children it affects children's self-esteem.
Children also measure their feelings of adequacy with scrutiny to how they participate in behaviors that are looked on highly by peers and being accepted by their peers.

Competence is the task to gain is Erik Erikson's industry vs guilt stage. Competence is considered what children can do and often what is called confidence. Competence is the ability to dress oneself, write one's own name, make friends etc. Young children are concerned with being able to do the same things their parents can and about what a child believes they're capable of doing, whether that is a new skill or completing new tasks. It's about establishing a sense of purpose and empowerment.

A parent (or caregiver) can participate in a variety of activities to increase their child's competence. Basing expectations on what the child can do and keeping tasks related to the child's developmental age and experience builds a child's competence. Parents can teach and help their children to problem solve and support their children in trying new skills and attempting difficult tasks. Parents can acknowledge and praise their children's efforts, persistence and risk taking and teach their children that their efforts, persistence and risks are worth  it as they see for themselves that they can complete specific tasks and activities. Using direct language to communicate expectations to children, instructions and appropriate behavior is another thing parents can do to help develop their children's competence. Using direct language to give instruction and communicate expectations helps children understand in no uncertain terms what is expected according the the parents specific guidelines.

When adults redirect a child when inappropriate behavior is occurring, they need to be respectful and allow children to express their feelings and they need to tell the child why the behavior is inappropriate or unacceptable. For example, if a child hits a sibling the parents can say, " Ouch! That hurts (siblings name)." This is respectful to the child because the parent doesn't yell at them or make them feel bad for what they did, however, they do make it clear the behavior is unacceptable without causing the child to feel incompetent.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Initiative vs. guilt

Erik Erikson's third stage of development is known as initiative vs. guilt. At this stage children begin to develop confidence and carry out activities. The way parents and other adults respond to their children's goals affect children's self-esteem. If children are allowed to take the initiative to accomplish activities on their own, their self-esteem increases. If parents don't allow children to take initiative, they may feel guilty about their ambitions and their self-esteem will decrease.

For example, if a child wants to perform in a play and a parent encourages them to try out and practices lines etc. with them and the child gets the part, their self-esteem will increase. The child's perspective will be, "I accomplished something. I took the initiative and put the work into it and accomplished my goal." If a child wants to be an ice skater and the parent tells them they can't do it and all the ways they'll fail and the parents don't support them, the child will learn their goals and they as an individual don't matter. The child learns it doesn't matter whether you take the initiative or not, the goal won't be achieved because the parent has told them they'll fail, how quickly they'll do it, and all the ways they'll fail and give no support to the child's goals.

 Important questions parents should ask themselves are: Do you want to teach your children they are capable or incapable? Do you want to take the time to teach your children how to be capable of a certain activity or task or not? A parent can take the time to teach a child how to feed themselves, ride a bike, drive a car and how to take care of it or decide their children are incapable. These are some of choices parents have along with what kind of parent they want to be (see my post on parenting styles).

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Keeping children from feeling shame and doubt

If the adult's in a child's life don't allow the child to learn how to do things on their own, a child can feel shame and doubt about their abilities to carry any activity out because they've been taught they are incapable and need adults to do things for them.

In order to keep a child from feeling shame and doubt about doing any type of activity, parents need to teach children what they can do and how to do it, not that they can't. Parents who teach their children learned helplessness will eventually get to the point where they decide when their children are old enough to do certain tasks and activities on their own. For example, a parent will decide that age three a child is old enough to get a snack on their own and won't help them get a snack anymore. When parents decide these types of tasks for children they're usually not age appropriate and unreasonable.

When parents decide a child is old enough to do a certain task they tell the child to go do the task and often the child doesn't know how to do what's been asked because the parents have always done it for them. The child tells the parents they don't know how to do what's being asked and the parent gets mad because all of  a sudden the child is old enough and smart enough to do what's being asked. Parents get angry with the child when they have no reason to get angry with them. How is the child supposed to know how to do what's asked, when the parents haven't taught them how to do what was asked?

For example, if a parent decides a child is old enough and smart enough to do the laundry and asks their child to go start a load of laundry but the parents haven't taught the child how to do the laundry, how is the child supposed to know how to do the laundry? Out of frustration the parent tells the child, "You know how to do the laundry, now go do it." So the child does the laundry and WRONG and the parent get MAD, but the parent has no reason to be mad. The parent hasn't taken the time to TEACH the child how to the laundry, yet, expects them to know how to and CORRECTLY.

When a parent expects a child to do a task like the above example and expects their children to do it without them taking the time to teach them how to do it, causes a child to feel shame and doubt. They feel shame because they did the laundry wrong and they feel doubt because they feel like because they didn't do the laundry right that they won't be able to do anything right. So parents please take the time to TEACH you're children how to do things. Don't just expect them to know how to do something because they've seen you do it or you've decided they're old enough and smart enough to know how to do something. Take the time to teach them, to build their self-confidence and the frustration both parents and children feel will lessen.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Shame and doubt

An important part of developing self-esteem is not saying or doing things that will cause your children to feel shame or doubt. Parents who make their children feel shame or doubt about trying to do something on their own are more likely to struggle with independent tasks and can learn learned helplessness. Things a parent may say to a child to cause shame or doubt are, "You're not old enough for that swing yet, you're not old enough to try the monkey bars, etc." These statements come from parents telling their children they're not old enough to do whatever task the parent has decided they're not old enough to do and therefore capable of.

A different way to phrase or handle a situation when a child wants to do an activity they may not be developmentally ready for yet, is first of all to keep the activities age appropriate. However, this can be difficult when the activities surrounding the child may not always be age appropriate. For example, if a parent takes a child to the park and they want to do the monkey bars, instead of telling the child they can't do it, help them do it instead. A parent puts the child on the monkey bars and tells the child to hold on, then the parent can either try having the child do the  monkey bars as they "fly" the child from bar to bar or a parent can teach the child how to actually do the monkey bars by holding onto them. The parent can hold onto the child's body and then instruct the child. For example, the parent can say, "Reach your right arm to the second bar, now do your left arm."

More than likely the child will not be able to reach the bars because their arms won't be long enough which is why a parent can "fly" the child from one bar to the next. The child is going to see that they can't do it and stop and ask to be put down and go do another activity because they're going to see for themselves it's an activity they can't do yet unless a game is made out of it like "lets fly from bar to bar."

The example of the monkey bars is an example of when a child finds a way to do an activity using the parents help. If the child is stubborn and doesn't want help, usually one of two things need to be done. Either the child is going to in fact see for themselves they can't accomplish what they're trying to do and give up until they're older and want to try again, or the parent may have to say, "Look, this isn't something you can do yet, let's come over here and do this instead," and deal with the emotion of anger or frustration that the child is experiencing because they can't do a task yet that they want to be able to do.

An activity like learning the monkey bars can teach a child learned helplessness because if a parent isn't letting their children try tasks on their own, the child will learn learned helplessness. Any time a parent tells a child they can't do something and to let someone else do it for them, the parent is teaching learned helplessness. If the adults in children's lives don't allow the child to learn how to do things on their own and be independent, the child will feel shame and eventually doubt their abilities to carry out any activity because they've been taught they're incapable and need adults to do everything for them. The feelings of shame and doubt cause the development of self-esteem to be negative not positive.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bubble parenting

In providing a healthy environment where children can grow and develop it's important to children's development that parents not teach a child the only safe place for them is at home and that anytime they enter the world, particularly without a parent, that something BAD will happen to them because the world is an unsafe place.

It's the responsibility of the parents to teach their children about the world and how to navigate and survive it. Parents need to tell children about things and people in the world that will harm them and what to do  when they encounter them. If parent's don't, the world will teach them and in ways more unpleasant and harsher than the parent would.

I call this type of parenting bubble parenting because the parent thinks if they raise their children in a bubble and protect them from all  the things in the world that would harm them, that those things won't affect their children. However, bad parts of the world do affect all children and if parents don't teach their children how to handle these situations, they don't know how to handle them and can get themselves into a lot of trouble.

One of two things can happen to the relationship of parents and children when parents are bubble parenting. One, the child cuts the strings on their own and enters the world learning how to navigate it on their own and possibly puts conditions on their relationship with their parents or two, these children are the children who as adults are living at home with their parents because they've been taught the only safe place in the world for them is at home with their parents.

Bubble parenting affects a child's self-esteem because they learn to be dependent on their parents all of their lives and never develop the self-esteem to embark on their own and try new things because of their fear of failure of whatever BAD thing is out there waiting for them. So parents please, don't raise your children in a bubble. Teach them the things about the world they need to know to live in it and encourage them and teach them how to be people who give back to the world they live in.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Accomplishments viewed in relation to child's unique self

Each child's efforts, abilities and accomplishments should be viewed in relation to each child's unique development and personality. Parents need to remember one of their children may be good at ballet, one good at football and another good at organizing. It's important to remember that each child's talents are different  and to help instill in each child a belief that a child can learn and succeed regardless of the child's status, personality, learning struggles or behavior. A parent first needs to believe this of each of their children in order to instill it in their children. Children feel whether their parents believe in them by the way they treat and talk to them. A way to increase the belief that every child can succeed is for parents to avoid using words that label a child. Children shouldn't be labeled shy, trouble maker etc. because labels can become expected behavior for children by the adults and the children themselves by the adult's in their lives labeling them.

A central message to ideas we have is that children respond to their external environment. If the environment is negative children can develop a negative view of themselves and their future. For example, my daughter went to elementary school with a boy that was labeled as a trouble maker and someone who wasn't very capable. He started to become a trouble maker and not put effort into his school work until the fourth grade, when the teacher this boy and my daughter had, taught the boy these other teachers were wrong.  She treated this boy like he was smart and capable and he improved in behavior and academically. Children will become what is expected of them. If children have a negative environment, they will see themselves and their future in negative ways. If a child is given a positive environment, they will see themselves and their future in positive ways.

Providing a trusting environment is an important aspect of self-esteem in order for a child to develop in positive ways. Key people in a child's life-meaning parents, siblings, caregivers etc. need to meet the needs of a child so the child can trust these key people in their lives. If that trust isn't built, it can have devastating effects on the child because they've already started to learn they're not worthy of being taken care of. These children learn to mistrust people and the world. It causes them to have a low self-esteem and effects what they accomplish. So please parents, provide your children with a positive environment and instill in each of them a belief in themselves that they can learn and succeed in the goals they have.  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Two fundamental ideas to affirmation

An important part of being a parent is believing in what a child can become. A belief in what children can become helps build children's self-esteem. Children need to know that their parents, caregivers, siblings etc. believe in them. Parents need to have a deep faith that their children can learn, grow, mature and develop. This faith needs be developed in children so that they know for themselves that they can learn, grow, mature and develop in positive ways. Teaching a child to have this kind of confidence in themselves and their abilities is a hard thing to do, takes many years and a parent reiterating these things over and over to their children.

One thing that parents can do to establish a belief and confidence in their children is to accept their children for who they are. Accept your children's personality, temperament, behavior skills and abilities. Every child is different and they need to be loved and accepted for those differences, not told to be someone different.

There are two fundamental ideas to affirmation. Affirmation is a statement that is declared to be true, confirmation or validated. For example, if a parent tells a child they're good at making jewelry the statement, "You are good at making jewelry," is an affirmation to the parents belief that the child is good at making jewelry.

The first fundamental idea to affirmation is valuing uniqueness. The second idea is not expecting a child to be like others.This critical view affirms each child's uniqueness and makes it important for parents not to compare children to other children in their family or other families or children in their classroom. When parents compare children to others they send the message that who the child is, is somehow wrong and not valued which causes children to feel they aren't loved-particularly for who they are. The message is sent that they need to be like someone else, whether that be the next door neighbor, the child in youth group, one of their friends or someone in popular culture in order to be someone who is liked, loved and accepted. When this message is sent it's not the child who is wrong, it's the adult sending this message to the child who is wrong.

Be your child's loudest, biggest cheerleader! Cheer them on, pick them up, dust them off and tell them to try again and support and help them in any way you can. Tell them they can do it, why you know they can do it and help them succeed! Invest in your children. Invest in their abilities, their talents and their future. It will be the best investment you ever make! It will also grow their self-esteem in a way that nothing else can or will.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Self-awareness is related to self-esteem

Self-awareness is related to self-esteem. Self-awareness emerges between fifteen and eighteen months as children begin to realize they're a separate person from their parents. Self-awareness is a part of self-esteem as children come to understand that who they are is a good person and they can feel good about themselves even though they are a separate person from their parents and siblings and have different talents.

During the toddler years children develop a sense of their separateness to their environment and others. It's also during this time frame that children sense their ability to influence others and their environment. Toddlers realize they can cry and get the attention of their parents or a sibling, they can reach for someone when they need them, and eventually can move to whoever they want to go see. Toddlers start to realize and understand they can be in the living room while their parents can be in the kitchen and that they are separate from their parents but have the self-esteem to know that they are all right and can get the parents attention if they need it. Toddlers also start to realize they can move objects from one place to another (example, a toy from the toy box to play with) or can move an object to another room (example, favorite toy from bed to kitchen). Toddlers then realize and begin to understand they have some control over their environment and the people in it. As children begin to develop self-awareness and understand that they can do things for themselves such as move an object by themselves, feed themselves, move from one room to another this starts to develop their self-esteem because "I did it!" and children aware they did it by themselves.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Forces of self-image

The development of self-image is a progressive tension between two contradictory forces. These forces were developed by Francis Wardle and are: the way the world views the child-meaning physical features, behaviors, temperament etc and the way the child views themselves.

The assessment of these two forces-the view of who we are and what we can do is self-esteem. Self-esteem is self-image with the added use of a child's opinion of their self-image. A child's self-image is whether they see themselves as good or bad, strong or  weak, effective or ineffective, assertive or passive. Every person has a way they view themselves in these areas and it affects the way one sees and feels about themselves.

Where the way a child sees themselves is different than the way parents, siblings or others see them is why developing self-esteem is tricky and hard. It's hard to help someone see themselves the way others do and I'm not sure it's possible. Where a child sees themselves different than others do is why it's important for parents to develop a healthy self-esteem in their children. It's why the things they say to their children and the way they treat them is important and why the statements need to encourage children and build their self-esteem, not destroy it. It's why parents need to guide children through an activity they may see as difficult, not write the activity off as something the child can't do. Over the next month or two I'll discuss self-esteem, aspects of it and how to develop a positive self-esteem in children.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


There is a  lot to discuss when developing self-esteem in a child and the next few posts will be about developing self-esteem. Today I'm going to discuss self-image. There is a difference between self-esteem and self-image. Self-esteem is the awareness that children make about their self-worth and it's based on their growing insights of who they are and the ways they begin to define themselves. For example, I'm tall, good at math, a good helper etc. Self-image is the view every person has about themselves and it is continually developing. Self-image effects the ways people interact with others as well as their social and physical environments. For example, if a person is told they're good at making friends they'll see themselves as a person who's good at making friends and may make friends quickly. A person's self-image is neither positive or negative whereas a person's self-esteem can be.

Francis Wardle who has a Ph.D. in child development and a  professor at The University of Phoenix in Colorado established an interactive conceptual model that self-image is based on. The model consists of the individual, the individual's interaction with the environment and the response of the environment to the individual and their interpretation of the response. For example, some children are better off  with a nanny than in a child care setting because they as a child may have a temperament that works better with a one-on-one situation than in a child care setting. The environment of the child care setting may be too fast and cause a child to feel like they're lost. This will cause the response of the environment to the child to be one where the child doesn't get the one-on-one attention they need and therefore their interpretation of the response is "I won't be taken care of here and don't feel safe here," Therefore, a nanny situation is the better choice for the child.

A parent wants to take a child's self-image seriously. A child may see themselves as someone who isn't good at cleaning and therefore finds tasks such as cleaning their room difficult. A parent needs to take this seriously, find out why the child feels that way and find a solution to help change their self-image in this area. A solution can be working beside them to clean their room a few times and find out what about the task they see as something they can't do. For example, maybe they can't reach their bookshelf and their books are always on the floor. A solution to this is getting them a stool to stand on so that they can reach the bookshelf. This is will change the child's self-image of themselves and build their self-esteem at the same time. Be careful of a child's self-image. It's fragile and in the first eight years of a child's life children mirror their self-image by how their parents, siblings and other adults see them and treat them.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Little time today

My aunt Sheila's funeral was today so I don't have much time left to the day today. Here's a video of the piano guys I hope you like.

Charlie Brown Medley

The Child Whisperer

Saturday, March 5, 2016


I was at the Utah Association of Education for Young Children conference today. The keynote speaker was Jim Gill. Here's a video of some of his music.

Jim Gill video

The Child Whisperer

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Enjoy this video

Unexpected things came up this week and I don't have much time. Please enjoy this video from Sesame Street.

Dino the Dinosaur gets the apple

Next week I'll be presenting at the Utah Association of Education for Young Children's conference. I'll put another video or fun activity to do here on my blog.

The Child Whisperer

Saturday, February 20, 2016

10 DAP Teaching Strategies

Going to take a break today from the categories that are all a part of parenting. We often hear that parents are a child's first teacher and they are. When I'm in a classroom being a teacher one of things that is stressed by the director is making sure that developmentally appropriate practices are being used. Developmentally appropriate practices are exactly what they sound like. It's a teacher or a parent keeping the way that they raise children developmentally appropriate. An example of a developmentally appropriate practice is a child wanting to learn how to climb the stairs but allowing them to only do it when a parent is around to supervise them and keeping the stairs blocked with a gate when the supervision can't take place. The National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) developed ten teaching strategies that they say are used in a classroom. These strategies can be modified to be used in a home by a parent.

The first strategy NAEYC mentions is to acknowledge what children do or say. When I'm working in a center I do this by seeing a child ask for something they want and saying, "Thank you for using your words," to them. For example, at one of the centers I worked at we kept teethers in a washed out empty wipes container. When the children wanted one they would point to the cupboard they were kept in and say, "Bite." When I handed one to a child I would say, Thank you for using your words," opposed to the usual pointing and grunting that occurs with children between ages one and two.
To use this strategy at home a parent can acknowledge what children do or say by noticing when a child helps a sibling without being asked and saying, "Thank you for helping (siblings name)."

The second strategy is to encourage persistence and effort. In a classroom if I saw a child trying to do a puzzle but getting frustrated I would encourage persistence by telling the child to try it in another place or turning it so it fit into the correct space. Parents can encourage effort by sitting by them while they do their homework and asking questions and explaining things that help them understand what they're doing.

The third strategy is to give specific feedback. In a classroom I would say, "Try holding the crayon this way," when a child is learning how to color and hold a crayon. A parent can give specific feedback when they say, "You did a good job cleaning your room. Next time can you remember that part of cleaning your room means to put your dirty clothes in the hamper and not leave it in a pile by your bed?"

The fourth strategy is to model behavior. In a classroom I would model behavior by saying please and thank you to the children. Parents can model behavior by making sure the child finishes the question they're asking before answering their child in order to make sure they're answering the question the child is asking, not the question the parent thinks the child is asking.

The fifth strategy is to demonstrate the correct way of doing something. For example, in a classroom I would put something in the sensory table like sand, buckets and shovels and show the children how to put the sand in the bucket using the shovel. At a home a parent can demonstrate the correct way of doing something by first showing a child how to clean the bathroom sink then supervise the child when they try it to guide them through things they may forget.

The sixth strategy is to create or add challenges. For example, once a child learned how to walk and were steady on their feet instead of letting them crawl up the stairs to the slide I would have them walk up the steps of the slide. A parent can create a challenge by having a child do a chore such as clean their room within a certain amount of time and setting the timer so the child knows when to start and when time has ended.

The seventh strategy is to ask questions that get children to think. When I was working in a classroom I asked questions while reading a book such as where is a chair, then the children would point to a chair in the classroom. Parents can ask questions to help children to think by asking questions like, "Do you think it would be nicer to ask your sibling to scoot over so you can sit down or do you think it would be nice to just scoot your sibling over so you can sit down?"

The eight strategy is to give assistance. For example, where I worked with toddlers and they were trying to  learn how to walk we often had push toys in the room or on the playground. When a child would push one into a piece of furniture I would put my hands over their hands and turn the push toy giving the child assistance to go around the push toy but they also felt with their hands and arms how to turn it . Parents can provide assistance to children by holding a cup while they pour the water or loosen a lid on something they're trying to open.

The ninth strategy is to provide information that give children facts. When working in a classroom when a child would point to an object I would say the name of the object such as, "Chair. We sit in a chair." Parents can provide information for children when they say similar things or give direction, "After you eat lunch we're going to go to the grocery store."

The last strategy is to give direction's for actions or behavior. Many times the toddlers I worked with would walk looking behind them instead of in front of them so I had to remind them to look where they were going so they didn't run into another person in the classroom, a wall or furniture. Parent can give direction as they guide their children while playing a game. For example, when it's the child's turn the parent can give direction such as move your piece to the green space or the space with the rocket on it etc.

All of these seem pretty simple and are things parents do on a daily basis unconsciously. If you're interested in reading the article by NAEYC you can find it below.

10 DAP Teaching Strategies

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Self-regulation and stress

Self-regulation skills help children (people in general) deal with the stress they have in their lives. Self-regulation helps people control their emotions and how they respond to stressful situations in their lives. There are two types of strategies that can be used to cope with situations that are stressful. They are: emotion focused coping and problem focused coping.

Emotion focused coping is a strategy that involves the management of negative emotions such as fear. For example, when a child starts the first day of school for the school year, a child may feel fear about the first day of school. This fear may come regardless of what grade the child is in. A child can feel fear that their teacher will be mean, that they won't have any friends, that the assignments will be too hard or any other number of things. These fears are real to children and should be worked through, not brushed off. A parent can help the child manage their fears by using emotion focused coping. This is done when a parent listens to the reasons why the child feels the fear they're experiencing and gives help by giving them suggestions of how to work through the fear. This can be done by the parenting saying something such as, "I heard your teacher has a jar of toys the students can choose from when they pass three spelling tests in a row. Do you think that makes the teacher nice or mean?" or "I heard your friend Julie was in the same class as you so you'll have at least one friend in the class you know." A parent has then helped the child cope with the fear they were experiencing and has given reasons why the fear can be lessened. A parent has also acknowledged the emotion the child is feeling and helped the child through those feelings.

Problem solving coping is a strategy that involves goal efforts and includes behavior and attention regulation strategies that resolve stressful situations. For example, when a child is feeling stressed because of the amount of homework they have they may be feeling overwhelmed and need help coming up with a solution to get all of their homework done. A parent can help the child think through the situation by talking it through with the child. A parent can ask questions like, "What assignments need to get done?" "What is due first?" Then offer a suggestion, a solution, to the problem. "Start with your math homework first because that's due first, then do research for your paper, then study for your biology test." The solution of the order to do the homework assignments is a strategy that involves a goal, the effort to achieve the goal and has resolved a stressful situation. Now the next time a child is in this same situation they can do the same thing on their own.

Emotion and problem solving strategies take a lot of time and effort by child and parent to teach. There will be times even after your children are off to college that they need to call their parents and talk through the fear and problems they're having. It's not so much that they want the parent to solve the problem or take the fear away. The child just wants help talking and thinking it through to find a solution. They need someone to bounce ideas off in order to see if their parents may have an idea they haven't thought of.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ways parents can develop self-regulation

Parents can develop self-regulation by how warm they respond to their children, particularly when they are in distress. A parents warmth is connected to the emergence of a child's sense of self. Often a child is in distress because they are trying to communicate with words what they want but don't have the vocabulary yet to tell parents what they want. They can also be in distress when they don't get something they want. For example, if a child is trying to tell a parent what they want to do and are pointing to the toy box, the parent needs help in understanding what in the toy box the child wants. If a parent responds with warmth and uses a calm voice while pulling out toys and asking if the toy is the one the child wants, the parent teaches self- regulation because the parent has used self-regulation to not get mad or discouraged with the child.

Parents can develop self-regulation through social structure. For example, if a child is having a play date with a friend and the friend is playing with a toy that the child wants to play with, a parent teaches self-regulation by teaching the child to wait until their friend is done playing with it before having a turn and the parent has taught the child that taking turns is part of the social structure expected of people.

A parent can develop self-regulation by teaching manners and social etiquette. For example, when a parent is on the phone and a child interrupts them, a parent is teaching self-regulation by having the child wait until the parent is off the phone before talking to them and the parent responding to what the child needs. A parent also develops self-regulation by teaching their children to say phrases such as please and thank you.

One last way that a parent can teach self-regulation is through modeling appropriate behavior in different social situations. For example, when a parent goes to the grocery store and there aren't enough lines open which makes the check out lines long, instead of a parent getting upset, frustrated and saying rude things a parent can show children how to wait patiently by waiting patiently themselves and being kind to the checkout clerk instead of rude. By developing and demonstrating self-regulation to our children it shows our children how to behave appropriately to different situations. It also shows children how to control our emotions and how to respond appropriately to our emotions.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Process of self-regulation

The process of self-regulation is divided into two categories: social emotional and cognitive self-regulation. Social emotional self-regulation enables children to follow social interactions in diverse settings. It helps children interact and get along with others by following social standards of conduct. For example, when children are playing on the playground it's social emotional self-regulation that is being taught and executed as children take turns going down the slide. The ability of a child to wait their turn is a child executing social emotional self-regulation.

Cognitive self-regulation enables children to use the thinking process that is needed to solve problems and make decisions. For example, if a child is at preschool and they see that all of the bikes are being used it is cognitive self-regulation that a child uses to see that (problem)-all of the bikes are being used and to solve the problem by going and playing in the sandbox (decision made) until one becomes available instead of throwing a tantrum, crying and being upset because they can't currently ride a bike.

Self-regulation is influenced by the component of volition. Volition is the freedom to make choices on how to think and act that is inside a person. For example it helps a child make the choice to go play in the sandbox while waiting for a bike instead of getting upset because they couldn't ride a bike immediately. It helps a child be able to wait patiently to go down a slide until it's their turn. These two types of self-regulation are a process as children learn social rules and how to think for themselves in order to solve problems. To teach these two types of self-regulation take a lot of patience and understanding as children are still learning the rules of society and how to deal with their emotions and think through how to solve problems.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

3 tasks to developing self-regulation

There are three tasks to developing self-regulation children (people in general) need to develop in order to achieve self-control. These three tasks are: brain development, effortful control and emotional regulation. The brain is making billions of connections during the infant and preschool years. The connections the brain is making depend on a child's experiences, interactions with others and emotions. Play helps a child's brain develop as they have to learn how to do different activities such as crawl, walk, wait their turn or how to hold a crayon. Interacting with peers helps children learn how to communicate, share and the rules of socialization. A child's brain has to connect the dots to know how to control their emotions. A child has to  learn how to calm themselves after feeling sad or disappointed. A child has to learn how to control their anger and not lash out at people. As the brain makes the connection that even though they may feel sad and disappointed because they couldn't get ice cream everything is still okay and nothing in life or the relationship with their parents has changed. A child needs to learn that hitting isn't an appropriate behavior to being angry and make the connection that when I'm angry I need to tell the person why and talk it out with the person and find constructive ways to vent anger. As children's brains make these connections a child's brain capacity, attention, learning, memory and reasoning develop.

Effortful control is the ability to hold back a response in order to execute a different response. It's the ability to regulate impulses and respond to a developing conscience. For example, when a child wants to take a toy from another child because they want to play with it- instead of taking the toy from a child, the child sees there is another one on the shelf and reaches and plays with that one instead of the one the other child has- this is a child using effortful control to choose a different response. It begins to develop in the preschool years as children see older children and adults regulate their emotions and behavior and begin to imitate them. It leads to self-regulation as children learn to do a puzzle and don't get frustrated when a piece doesn't fit etc.

Emotional regulation is the development of cognitive and social emotional processes. It involves a child's ability to think and consider the impulses they feel that are being driven by emotional responses to the enviornment and being able to participate in emotional, acceptable behaviors. To help develop emotional regulation children first need to participate in behaviors guided by adults. For example, when a child meets a grandparent for the first time can be a scary situation for them. If the parents help the child regulate their emotion of fear by allowing the child to warm up to the grandparents at their own pace this guides the child through their emotions and the situation.

Developing these three tasks is a difficult process that takes a lot of time and patience as it requires a parent to teach a child many different things. It is a process as it will take years to develop these tasks in children, particularly to the point of them being able to achieve some level of self-control. Be patient with your children! Remember, they're still learning and developing these tasks and they need your help and patience as the parent to achieve them. Remember too that it's your responisbility to teach these things to your children. These are not built in to a child's conscience or behavior.