Somebody asked a centipede which leg he started out with when he went for a walk. This centipede thought and thought and thought about it—and was never able to walk again.
Point: Some human actions come naturally. Try to consciously walk down a flight of stairs by putting one foot ahead of the other, and you will trip. Such is the case with young people learning how to talk. Call attention to their stumbles and you will soon develop a perfectionist—or in this situation a stutterer.
Preview: Rules and assumptions can ruin relationships.
It is common for many families and workplaces to also rely on rules. Look into almost any classroom and you will see rules posted. The standard approach is to post rules because the assumption is that rules are the foundation for success. Rules are supposed to determine what the situation should look like, the type of behavior that is acceptable and encouraged, and rules help people work towards a common goal. In practice, however, many rules are posted in the negative of what NOT to do. This negativity is counterproductive to engendering positive motivation and good relationships in families, the workplace, and in classrooms.
Parenting without Stress: Develop your skill of asking reflective questions—those that foster self-evaluation.
You will empower your children when you help them to develop this skill. The dynamic behind asking reflective questions is that it encourages ownership because people don’t argue with their own viewpoints.
One of the keys to effective parenting is to know the difference between IMPLICIT and EXPLICIT modeling and how you do both each day. The fact is that parents are the first teachers. Parents are always modeling how to behave.
In order to have some understanding of major physiological points about the connection between body and brain, here is a simple explanation of how the body creates stress (something that scientists refer to as “noxious stimuli”). Stress begins deep in the brain, where a structure referred to as the hypothalamus sounds an alert to the adrenal glands. There is clear evidence that adrenaline is a stress hormone that prompts fear, panic, or
As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, no two children (or adults for that matter) are the same. Each individual, young or old, views the world differently, interacts with others in a distinctive way, and processes information uniquely.
Differences are good. It would be boring if everyone acted, behaved, and thought the same way. But sometimes, interacting with people who are vastly different from you (as with many parent/child relationships) can be stressful.
Noticing behavioral styles among people is nothing new. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first to categorize behavioral styles. Jung postulated that every individual develops a primacy in one of four major behavioral functions: intuiting, thinking, feeling, and sensing. If you and others … >>>
Once you understand that you can control your children—but cannot CHANGE them—your stress will be reduced and you will gain the joy that parenting has to offer.
Former U.S. President, Dwight David Eisenhower, served as the commanding officer of the United Nations forces during WWII. During that effort, “Ike,” as he was referred to, worked with a variety of different personalities from various countries. His definition of leadership is worth remembering: Leadership is the art of getting people to do something you want done because they want to do it.
Remember that in relationships with your children—regardless of age—not losing is more important than winning. As long as a person has a choice, that person does not lose. So, always offer choices or options—regardless of how small they may be. This is the easiest approach to avoid counterwill, the natural human tendency to resist coercion and the feeling of being controlled, which everyone resents.
I am excited to announce a new feature called “Ask Me Anything” (A.M.A) in my monthly newsletters. I invite YOU to submit QUESTIONS to me on ANY SUBJECT OR TOPIC. You can send your questions via e-mail.
Preview: “How is offering choices teaching children that there are some things in life they have to do regardless of their mood or sense of power like bathing, attending school, later holding a job, being responsible for themselves when their choices are limited? If everything become negotiable, if they think they will always have choices, what happens when sometimes in real life there are few or no choices, or they don’t like any of the choices?”
Everyone makes choices every awake moment. We make a choice to get out of bed in the morning—or stay in bed, what we eat—or not eat, to brush our teeth—or not to, what to say—or don’t say, etc.
Assumptions are beliefs taken for granted. They are so natural and involuntary they usually do not enter our consciousness. We assume that when we get out of bed, the floor will be beneath us and that when we mail a letter the intended recipient will receive it.
However, there are also assumptions we make that may not be valid. For example, we may assume that someone is angry with us by the manner in which that person speaks to us. Yet it could be that the person is feeling frustrated by an event entirely unconnected to us and is simply “taking it out” on the first person encountered—in this case, you.
To reduce your stress and improve relations with young people, always consider giving options or choices. The choices can be limited, but the sooner a young person starts to make choices the more responsible that person becomes.
Offering options is an easy strategy to encourage decision-making. For example, simply asking a child, “Would you prefer to wear your brown pants or your blue ones?” or “Would you like to eat your carrots or peas first?” structures options and promotes decision-making.
Parenting Tip: Remember that being positive in your communications is a more constructive teacher than sending negative messages. Your children do better when they feel good, not when they feel bad.
Speaking to children about what you WANT—in contrast to what you DON’T want—prompts feelings of being valued, supported, respected, motivated, and challenged. Communicating in positive terms also triggers enthusiasm, capability, and pride. These approaches promote maturity while bringing more joy to parenting.
It’s almost amazing how the words we use can prompt emotions. Here is a classic example:
A blind man was sitting in a public square with an empty can of pencils and a cardboard sign that read, “I’m blind. Please help.” A young woman walked by and changed the words on his cardboard sign. Many coins were soon heard being dropped into the blind man’s pencil can. The young woman had changed the blind man’s sign to read: “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”
Quote of the Month Stress Management Video Tip Parenting Without Stress Tip Discipline Without Stress Tip Live Without Stress Book Discipline Online Speaking and Presenting Charity for U.S. Schools What People Say Resources
On Parenting: The key to truly enjoying parenting is to understand that—although you can control children—you cannot change them. So what do you do? You stay in authority but without using coercion so that relations remain positive. You remain in control by the questions you ask.