Of all the things that cause stress in people’s lives, relationships rank high on the list. Whether it’s between adults, family, friends, or children, relationship challenges are inevitable.
Here are three tips for significantly improving relationships and making them less stressful.
1. Give Affirmations
A simple acknowledgement can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have HEARD their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship.
2. Use quality listening time.
Quality time is quality-driven, not necessarily quantity-driven. Simply give your full attention to the person speaking. By using eye contact, a … >>>
Promoting good behavior is something both teachers and parents want for the children in their lives. And it’s always easier to do when the teachers and parents work together.
Following is an email I received from a teacher about students, parents, and good behavior.
“I am interested in implementing your ideas in my classroom. They make such sense to me, and I am very excited! What do you recommend for communicating about student behavior with the parents? In previous years I used a behavior classroom chart and a six-weeks calendar where daily behavior is recorded and sent home each day. I do not want to use that system any longer. However, I will have parents who will want to know … >>>
Very often, people don’t fully understand why they do or think things. Are thoughts, feelings, and actions driven by internal motivation or external motivation?
Let’s look at feelings and how internal and external factors affect them. Most people have a hard time untangling the sources of various positive and negative feelings and are prone to misunderstand their causes. In a classic demonstration of this, the current day’s weather affected how people being interviewed rated how well their entire life had been up to that point. They were more likely to characterize their whole existence as sunny when the weather was nice. Conscious awareness of this reaction, however, brought about an immediate change. When the interviewers called attention to the weather … >>>
If you want to help children overcome challenges, then personal connections are the key. In fact, strong relationships can curb almost any problem. Letting people know you care is the most important thing you can communicate.
Here are two questions to ask yourself—especially when working with young people:
1) Does the person feel safe with me no matter what happens?
2) Have I used kind and encouraging words in my relationship with the person?
Unfortunately, when it comes to discipline and helping youth overcome challenges, many adults use counter-productive approaches. In an attempt to discipline or “mold the youth,” they enforce rules. But if a child breaks a rule, what is the parent’s natural tendency? Response: to enforce the rule … >>>
Do you ask for help? Many people rarely do, even when they need it the most. Why is it so hard to ask others to help us? Some people’s ego deprives them of the benefit that comes from asking for help. We see this in the stereotype of men not asking for directions when they’re lost, assuming the car has no global positioning service (GPS).
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s a way to display strength and a way to elicit collaboration. In fact, one of the most powerful phrases in all of life is “I wonder if you could help me with something.” This phrase breaks down barriers and enables anyone to easily ask … >>>
Childhood trauma is more common than you think. And when a child has experienced trauma, it can lead to discipline issues. From abuse at home to bullying at school to the loss of a parent due to death or divorce, such events can leave a negative and lasting mark on youth.
Sometimes the child acts out very aggressively, with little understanding or remorse for their behavior toward others. At the same time, they may refuse to accept responsibility for their behavior. This makes discipline especially difficult for adults. On the one hand, they know the child has been through a lot and try to give more leeway. But on the other hand, the troubling behavior simply cannot continue.
When introduced to the Raise Responsibility System, many parents and teachers initially struggle with the idea of offering choices as it pertains to child discipline. Since the more traditional, authoritarian approach to child discipline and child raising focuses on telling youth what to do, offering choices seems like a radical idea at first.
To prove this point, here is a question a reader sent me: “How is offering choices teaching children that there are some things in life they had to do regardless of their mood or sense of power (like bathing, attending school, later holding a job, and being responsible for themselves when their choices are limited)? If everything become negotiable, if they think they will always have choices, … >>>
Positive people are more likable. Think about the people in your life. Do your favorite people tend to be positive or negative? My guess is that they are the more positive people you associate with.
The fact is that you will be more likable to others when you focus on being positive.
When I was young, my mother often told me that if I can’t say something nice about a person, then don’t say anything at all.
This is great advice, not only for your communications with others, but also with yourself. In other words, if you can’t say (or think) something nice about yourself, then don’t say (or think) anything at all. Instead, exert discipline to turn your thoughts … >>>
We all know that we have a bullying epidemic in this country. But few adults realize how bad it is in today’s schools. Did you know that approximately 160,000 students skip school each day for fear of being bullied? And over 70% of students say they have witnessed another person being bullied.
So what exactly constitutes bullying? According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, “Bullying is any unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time … It can include making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”
Did you know that the words you use to speak to yourself and others have the power to reduce stress? It’s true. I often write and speak about how one word can change feelings and actions, which in turn can either elevate stress or reduce it.
Here’s an example of something people at work often say, “I HAVE to attend this meeting.” Using the word “have” in this instance prompts negativity. However, if we change just one word in the sentence, we can change the feeling the sentence evokes. Here it is: “I GET to attend this meeting.” The word “get” in this instance prompts a positive orientation.
Words are powerful. Here is an example of how a few words
A prime goal of my approach is to increase people’s positive self-talk. I believe in the importance of positive self-talk so much that I’ve devoted pages to this topic in each of my books.
Researchers have acknowledged that in order to know yourself, you have to talk to yourself. They have studied children’s private speech for decades, but only recently have researchers focused on self-talk in adults. We use inner speech or self-talk for all sorts of things. We depend on it to solve problems, read and write, motivate ourselves, plan for the future, learn from our mistakes, learn language, and help regulate emotions.
Beyond helping people regulate their behavior in the present moment, positive self-talk is essential for learning … >>>
Do you think society, including relationships, has become more stressful or less stressful over the years? Most people think it’s more stressful today than it was just a decade ago. One of the factors contributing to the stress is the rate of change everyone and everything is going through.
A number of factors have changed society over the years, not the least of which is technology. Unfortunately, however, technology has not helped to improve relationships. In fact, in far too many situations technology has actually hindered relationships, leading to increased stress levels. As a result, people continue to use ineffective approaches—mainly coercion—to influence others.
Here are two former American giants who made the point that coercion is ineffective.
Communicating in positive terms to yourself and to others triggers enthusiasm, capability, and self-confidence. Allow me to share some additional advantages when your self-talk and communications to others are in positive—rather than in negative—terms. I also want to emphasize that positivity applies especially to teachers who are engaged in classroom management and classroom discipline.
Benefits of Positivity
Positivity feels good. It brings joy, gratitude, and energy. It negates despair and instead prompts hope, pride, and inspiration.
Positive emotions engage people’s attention. It changes your outlook on life because it expands your worldview.
It prompts people to look around more.
Positivity changes how your mind works. It builds psychological strength and mental habits, such as looking for humor that promotes good … >>>
We’re often told, “Do what you love.” It’s great advice, because when you love what you’re doing, you can often reduce stress. But what if you have to do something you don’t love? Can it still be enjoyable?
Let’s take a lesson from Tom Sawyer to see how you can turn situations around.
A Lesson on How to Reduce Stress
Tom Sawyer had the responsibility of whitewashing Aunt Polly’s front picket fence. The fence was 30 yards wide and 9 feet high. Most people would agree this wouldn’t be a fun task.
On Saturday morning, Tom was whitewashing the fence when he saw Ben approaching. Tom put on a smile and showed Ben how he was really enjoying the … >>>
The life cycle of a butterfly not only fascinates but the life cycle of a butterfly in real life can serve as an analogy to the Hierarchy of Social of Development. Once young people understand the basics of building a hierarchy, then their physical growth can be compared to a butterfly life cycle. With this understanding, they become empowered to act more responsibly. Additionally, they reduce their stress and the stress of others with whom young people interact.
The four stages of the life cycle of a butterfly can be related to the four physical states of human development and the Hierarchy of Social Development.
Began by reminding young people of the life cycle of a butterfly. There are four … >>>
Are you aware of the advantages and disadvantages of conformity and the importance of obedience?
Conformity and obedience are natural and necessary in any society. This is how cultures perpetuate their values and traditions. However, obedience can promote stress on the part of all concerned.
Here is an example: The parent requests or demands that the teenager makes the bed before going to school. The teen obeys. We would refer to this as Level (C) cooperation or conformity on the Hierarchy of Social Development.
In a similar scenario where the parent expects the teen to make the bed each morning, the teen does so without being told. We would refer to this as Level (D) taking the initiative on … >>>