Get “Real” With Your Kids
Susie Caron © 4/1/16
Are you for real? I mean, are you authentic with your kids. Why is this important? Why do you need to be upfront and honest with them? Let me explain and give you a few tips about getting real with them in age appropriate ways.
First let’s get “real.”
Someone said, “You may as well be you, because everyone else is taken”. That applies to your thoughts, feelings and behaviors even when you are with your kids. Just be yourself! Yes, you are the parent. Yes, you have responsibilities of your own to manage. And all of this, while at the same time, you are responsible to do your very best job of raising your children. But you still need to be really you and honest with your kids for some very good reasons.
What are two main reasons you need to be real, (upfront, honest, authentic, matter of fact) with your kids?
First, when you aren’t being real with them they think something scary is going on and it’s their fault.
That’s because Kids have invisible ‘antenna ’, that come out when they feel like you are keeping something from them.
If you and your spouse aren’t getting along, they feel it.
If something is going on in the extended family that you don’t want to talk about they feel it.
If you don’t really like your kids, (even though you love them) they feel it.
However, they don’t interpret these ‘feelings’ correctly.
Nope! This ‘feeling’ settles in the pit of kid’s tummies and they translate that to mean these:
Right now you may be wondering, “Well, what they think is certainly better that the awful thing I’m keeping from them. Isn’t it my job to decide what and when to tell them?” Of course it is, and those are very important parenting decision. However, you can still find ways to be ‘real’ and talk with them about something you are ‘carrying’ that will dispel their personal fears.
Here’s an example of something I used that helped our kids.
Whenever my husband and I argued about anything, and raised our voices, the kids flew into wherever we stood. As soon as they appeared, wide eyed, and looking a little worried, I’d turned physically toward them, made eye contact, lowered my voice and said,
“We’re okay and you’re okay. This argument isn’t about you. We are arguing over an adult thing. But you are okay and we are okay. So, you can go back to what you were doing.”
Most of the time, that’s all it took. Sometimes, if they’d just heard a friend’s parents were getting a divorce, I’d add this:
“And we are not getting a divorce, so you can go back to what you were doing.”
After I said those words, they’d shrug their shoulders and run off to resume their activities again.
Here’s another example: If my little ones saw me crying, really hard I’d keep crying, but I’d offer a reassuring hug and say,
“I’m crying because I’m having ‘adult sad today’. You’re okay and I’m okay, I just need to feel my feelings right now.” Often I’d get a hug back, and sometimes one child or another might stay for a while with me. However, pretty soon they realized I was ‘doing my thing’ and ‘it wasn’t about them’ and they ‘could just go back to playing.’ Of course, if they were older I’d tell them a bit more.
This bring us to the second very important reason you’ll want to find ways to talk about the difficult things that distract you, and keep you from ‘getting real.’
Here's the second reason to 'get real.'
Kids read your inauthenticity as ‘secret keeping’ and when it happens often enough,they stop trusting you. Then, later they’ll keep things from you.You can imagine how dangerous that could be. So you need to be real with them in age appropriate ways.
Here are some hints for how to do that.
Tell the little ones, something like what I used above: 'that you’re having adult feelings but that they are okay and so on.'
Tell school aged children a bit more, but make sure they know that you are ‘handling’ the situation. In other words that it’s your adult responsibility to take care of things, and that you will tell them more as you know more.
For teens, it’s important to explain in more detail, but again reassure them that the adults are managing. It’s also good to add that you shared this with them because you understand and respect that they’d want to know.
Here's a brief summary of the reasons you want to be upfront and honest with your kids.
You owe it to yourself to be You.
They can tell when you’re faking it anyway.
They can feel when you aren’t being ‘real’ (authentic, open, honest).
They believe it means something scary is going on, and it’s about them and it’s their fault.
They think you’re keeping secrets from them, and they stop trusting you. (In turn, they start keeping things from you.)
Remember, when you are ‘real’, open, honest, and decide how much to tell your kids at each age, they learn to trust you more, and by your example they stay more ‘real’ (honest, open, authentic) with themselves and with you.
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it's helpful. Please let me know .
Remember Twee' means you and me
Getting Real with Kids.
How to Help Mommies
Susie Caron © 3/25/16
This morning I was thinking about the many Mommies and Daddies who struggle with some kind of disability, frequent illness or chronic disease. It isn't easy to be a Mommy or Daddy. The work of raising children never ends. It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How do Mommies and Daddies do it, if at the same time, they struggle with health issues of their own? Is there anything we can do to help them?
I have a few good friends who are raising children and coping with health issues like these. I am in awe of them because they must be doing a good job of coping while parenting. Their kids are happy and they seem to know how much they are loved and how well they are provided for. That's wonderful, but what about Mom and Dad? Are their needs being met?
My kids are adults, but I live with some degree of pain every single day, due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. So, I know something about physical difficulties, which are often accompanied by mental challenges for getting things done each day. I was feeling particularly poorly yesterday and struggling to do anything constructive. Then I thought about one of my Mommy friends who is dealing with health issues. I wondered how she was doing, so I asked her in a private message.
She responded and we chatted for a while. I did not plan to 'burden' her with how I felt, so when she asked, I answered briefly then we chatted about other things. I just wanted to connect with her and find out if she was feeling better. After our chat ended, I felt much better and the rest of my day went very well and I hoped hers did too. Then I realized I'd felt better just because I connected with her.
So I wonder about the many parents who deal with health problems while raising their children. It cannot be easy for them.
Have you noticed, people with health difficulties usually don't ask for help?
Do you know why?
It's because they don't want to bother friends and family members for 'things they think they can do themselves', (even if it takes longer and is more difficult than it might be if they were healthy.)
But there are things anyone can do that take only a little time and effort. It's the connecting that's important. Just by making a small effort you can play a huge part in lifting the hearts and spirits of Mommies and Daddies who struggle (even if it's not with health issues, but other issues.)
If you'd like to do something for your friends, but when you ask they say 'I'm fine." Then you may like this little list of ideas for what you can do to 'help'. Your tiny acts of kindness may be the source for lifting their spirits, providing encouragement, or support. You could be the reason your friend gets through another difficult day, and feels just a little bit better. Caring contact is more important than anything else. They just need to know you see them and you care.
List for ideas to connect and 'help' Mommies and Daddies
1. Phone, chat, or text your friend. Ask "How are you feeling today?" Let him or her talk. Just listen and don't give advice.
2. Send an "I'm thinking of your today." email or e-card.
3. Offer to pick up or take the kids to school, sports, or other events.
4. Going for groceries or errands, call and ask, "What can I pick up for you."
5. Offer to take the kids for a play day with your kids.
6. Invite him or her to come over for coffee or lunch.
7. When you drop in, and find your friend working on something, pitch in and help.
8. What can you add to this list? Post it for us in the comments.
Don't worry. Few of the people I know who struggle with illnesses want to 'burden' their friends. So they won't start leaning heavily on you if you do some of these. But, don't wait for 'someday', do something today, while you can and Above All - Connect.
Twee' means you and me
Taking time to care for our friends.
Life’s a Struggle
Susie E. Caron © 3/19/16
It’s a struggle to be nice
Calm, peaceful, serene
When all the world about you
Seems bent on being mean
It’s a struggle to be myself
When I’m often told I'm not
And others look right past me
Without a caring thought
Life’s a struggle
We all know it
But it’s worth it
You must know
And I hope to touch your heart once
Or maybe twice, before I go.
I am with you in this struggle
And see every effort that you make
I’m walking right beside you
And know every breath you take
I will help you in your struggles
See you through each and every one
I will hold you in my arms Dear
As each struggling day is done
And when your time is over
For struggling on this Earth
I will bring you safe to Heaven
To the Home of your new birth.
Where all your struggling ceases
And New Songs we shall sing
In Praises to our Savior
Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
I’m The Mama!
Susie Caron © 3/4/16
Who’s the Mama in your house? I don’t mean who is called Mommy, Mother, or Mom. I’m asking if your kids know, without any wavering or doubt, that you (and your spouse) are in charge. If you hesitate to respond with a resounding “Yes!” then read this and I’ll show you why you’ll want to take charge!!!
I have a friend I’ve known for many years. She is just a great mom as evidenced by her happy, active kids who are also easy to be around. She told me that when they were little, her children often asked her to play with them. However, her daughter really wanted to play dolls and her son wanted her to spend time building blocks with him. She told me she would respond this way: “I won’t play dolls or building blocks with you, but if you want to play board games, puzzles or paint, then I’m your Mamma!”
I love that statement. “I’m your Mamma.” And I love that she was clear with them, about what she would and would not do. Then she told me this: “It’s good to play with my kids but I still get to be myself.” I love that about her too.
My friend communicated these messages with her kids, verbally but also through her attitude. She made it clear: First that she was in charge and second that she was honest by being true to herself with them.
When she said or indicated “I’m your Mama,” it told them she was in charge.
Kids need to know the parent is in charge.When parents make it clear that they are in charge of their home and confident in their decisions, their kids feel more secure.
She also honored herself, by being honest about what she’d be happy to do with them. Her honesty helped her kids gained the confidence to be honest about themselves too.Kids need honesty from their parents. Parents benefit too by being decisive and clear because it reduces resentment. Resentment can easily damage the parent-child relationship.
Do you make firm decisions and stick by them?
Do you get to be yourself?
It really helps both you and your kids when you do.
Don’t be afraid. You will not ‘mess up’ your kids by making firm decisions, that let you be you, (and perhaps help to save your sanity).
Don’t be afraid that you will ‘mess up’ the kids if you won’t play, or you say the wrong thing.
And, don’t be afraid of your kids either.
When you waffle about being in charge, or being honest, your kids feel uncertain too. That’s when and why they start to take over. They feel an instinctive need for ‘somebody to be in charge.” If you’re not in charge, then they have to be.
Start today to make parenting decisions based upon the clear notion that you are the parent and it’s not only your right but also your responsibility to make decisions about what your kids get to do, or need to do?
Start today to be yourself. (They say everyone else is taken anyway.) Be honest, get real and teach your kids how to be real too. This is also a good time to teach them to be polite and tactful as well as honest.
In everything you do or say, you can teach your kids how the real world works. The world won’t give in to their every whim. You don’t need to either. Parenting decisively and at the same time honoring your own personality, is your job. It’s your right and your responsibility. So give it your best, without fear, and your kids have a chance of growing up secure, confident and real.
Here's an idea for you: Write "I'm the Mama (or Daddy)" on one side of a small card. On the other side write, "I tell the truth." Carry it with you and read it often. With some practice you’ll soon be on your way.
Twee’ means you and me
Working together to take charge and raise secure, honest kids.
PS Are you getting your needs met? Listen to next week's "Building Parents & Good Kids" podcast episode #12, "Mommy Needs" for some helpful suggestions: Click for iTunes
Or here: if you prefer Stitcher Radio:
Don’t Shrink the Kids
Susie Caron © 2/27/16
Did you know , you are actively engaged in growing or shrinking your kids? There are lots of ways that we grow or shrink people we know and love, as well as friends, coworkers and everyone we meet. We are mostly unaware of this, but we need to make it more conscious if we want to grow kids, and not shrink them.
There are several ways you can do this.
One way is by the messages you send through your eyes.
Kids are hugely changed by what they see in your eyes. The way you look at your child may be nurturing or harsh, accepting, or rejecting. However, it’s not the occasional ‘correction’ that shrinks them. It’s the way you look at them ‘the most often’, that shrinks or grows them. That's because, Kids form their idea of who they are, from what they read in your eyes.
If you think they are irritating, problems, rude, messy, etc. they believe that’s who they are.
If you think they are fun, gifts, great kids, love, accepted, and enjoyed, they believe that’s who they are.
Can you see how important your eye contact can be for your kid’s healthy development? However, what’s shows in your eyes, comes from what you’re thinking.
Maybe my story will help illustrate how your thoughts can grow or shrink your kids.
As a child, I received a lot of criticism for being oversensitive. I admit I operated out of my feelings, first through last. But back then, what I saw in my parent’s eyes, was negativity, disappointment, and judgment. They were trying to bring me up the best way they knew how, and meant well. (I forgive and love them.) However, because I believed what I had seen about me in their eyes, I grew up a broken, hurting soul.
As a young adult, I continued to doubt my thoughts, feelings and actions, so I frequently sought the opinions of others. It wasn’t until my 50’s that I learned how a person’s eyes communicate their thoughts.
That year, I enrolled in graduate school and a course for play therapy. The instructor was amazing and I will always remember her eyes. In class, when anyone shared, she rarely spoke a word, but her eyes and body language said these:
“Yes! Oh wow! Absolutely! Wonderful! Amen! Way to Go! How True! Phenomenal!”
(And other similar affirmations.)
She didn’t comment, criticize or judge our words or what we were doing in our internship placements. Instead it felt like she watered us - Encouraged us - Supported us! Can you imagine what that did? We felt accepted and believed in.
She knew how to ‘grow people’, using her eyes. But, I realized that the messages she sent through those eyes was a decision she’d made before coming to class. I know, now, that she accepted each of us fully, and believed in us, not because of our ‘successes’ but because she decided to do so, knowing that we needed it to be confident and grow.
Can you imagine the effect this would have on you? To have someone believe in you, accept you, fully and without holding back? How would that make you feel?
She certainly had a positive effect on me. I felt accepted just as I was, and began to believe in myself. I was so reenergized that at 52 years of age, I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Psychology. I rented an office and treated children and parents in private practice, until I fully retired, 12 years later.
How can you grow your kids?
You already use your eyes to correct your kids when you glare at them. You also smile right through your eyes when they do or say things that make you proud. You can continue to do those. However, I am suggesting that you decide today, to plan ahead to think more positive thoughts about your kids the rest of the time. Let me show you what I mean.
Instead of thinking these:
What do you want now?
Oh, dear, here we go again.
How come you’re always late?
Where have you been?
Why can’t you be more careful?
You could actively think these:
Hi! Welcome home!
Oh! There you are!
You are special to me!
I’m so glad you told me.
Here I am, and there you are!
What you are thinking shows in your eyes, and body language. So why not choose to think good thoughts about your kids (and spouse) as often as you can. Write down a few and practice saying them out loud to yourself. (You don’t actually need to say them out loud to your kids, although that’s okay too.) However, it is very powerful to think and believe positive thoughts when you are with your kids.
This is how you grow your kids.
When you think good thoughts about them, look at them with acceptance, and believe in them they learn to trust themselves, their feeling thoughts and actions. The longer you believe in them, the more they believe in themselves and grow in beautiful ways.
There’s a bonus too! Using your eyes more often in this way helps you connect with your kids and builds the parent-child relationship to last. Isn’t that something you want?
Twee’ means you and me
Thinking Good Thoughts to Grow your Kids.
PS The eyes are the windows of the soul. That’s why my character Twee’ has big, wide eyes. Kids and adults love her because her heart shows through them. Buy one or all three picture books on Amazon for your kids today. Just click HERE.
How to Raise Unique Children
Susie Caron (c) 2/19/16
A friend shared this with me:
Question: “How do you catch a unique rabbit?”
Answer: “U ‘neek’ up on it.”
Question: “How do you catch a tame rabbit?”
Answer: “ ‘Tame ‘ way.”
That’s basically how you raise ‘unique children’. But there’s more to this than just 'catching' and 'taming'.
You have to be tough.
Do you find it really easy to understand one of your children, and not so easy to understand another? This is common in families with more than one child. It worries parents and makes treating your kids ‘fairly’ perplexing because you want to love and treat your kids the same. You don’t want them crying, “That’s not fair” frequently because it makes you feel guilty and you wonder why they can’t see that your trying.
To solve this, it’s important to understand and accept that each child is different, special, unique. That means that each one requires different kinds of care and special ‘handling’. This is true whether they are all the same gender, close in age, and like the same things. Kids are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. However, parenting decisions and discipline are complex because kids vary widely in gender, ages, strengths, and weaknesses. For example: You may have One child who loves the challenge of homework, while another abhors it and fights you tooth and nail to get out of it.
How can you possibly navigate all these differences and help the kids understand that they love each and every one of them?
You need to be a little bit tough.
That’s right. Put your Teflon Armor on, stand up straight, look them in their wide beautiful eyes and be tough on them, at least a little bit.
I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, so I encourage you to take a lesson from a character, named Ursula. She is the Sea Witch in the Disney movie, The Little Mermaid.
I don’t agree with the messages in this movie, but Ursula said a few things that good parents can adopt as best practice, because they make sense.
Here’ the best one:
“Life’s full of tough choices isn’t it.?”
How many times could you use that one to help your child realize that sometimes they must choose between two things they either want, or don’t want to do. When you say, "Life’s full of tough choices isn’t it?", you help your child to understand that this choice is their responsibility and not yours and that you understand that it may be difficult to choose. So, be tough and don’t make the choice for your child.
While I don’t believe the sea witch said this one, I think she could have.
“Life isn’t fair - get over it.”
Kids really want us to tell them life is fair all the time. But it isn’t and it shouldn’t be. (Ask them if they really want you to be fair and give them exactly identical birthday presents. They will see what you mean.
Kids also want you to demonstrate that you love each of them exactly the same.
So when you hear, “You love ____ more than me.” You can respond with something I liked to tell them:
“ I love you each the equally and differently.”
When you're a bit ‘tough’ on them, you are doing your kids a favor. The world is not an easy place and they will get knocked around by it. So be ‘matter of fact’ about choices and fairness and loving them equally but differently. By being tough you’ll help them learn how the world really works. By being tough you raise them, better prepared to succeed and even lead the next generation.
Twee’ Means You and Me
to Raise Unique & Capable Kids
PS. Picture book I Am Twee' helps kids recognize that being different is a good, because it means they're special with unique gifts to share. But it from Amazon today and read it and talk with your kids (ages 3-9). Click HERE.
Why Do Siblings Fight?
Susie Caron © 2/13/16
Sibling rivalry is as old as time and will continue as long as human families exist. It can be the source of stress for parents and for the children. If this is a problem in your home, do you wonder if there is anything you can do to reduce fighting, and help siblings work together and enjoy family life? This article explains one, little known reason, for sibling rivalry and what you can do to keep it from getting out of hand.
There is a good reason that children fight around their parents. Every child living with one or more siblings, operates under the unconscious influence of survival of the fittest. This means each child works hard to get the most attention. The one who ‘wins’ (no matter how), instinctively feels they have obtained ‘favorite child status.’
‘Favorite child status’ is gained not necessarily by being good. It can also be won by being very naughty. Individual children may work on this by being nice and kind and helpful, or at the other extreme, by being rude and nasty, and bullying others. It’s something that a child ‘wins’ by getting a ‘Giant Share’ of your attention.
I’m not blaming the kids, or saying that they are aware of this. It’s just that each child wants to feel close to you. Every child wants to feel like he or she is the one you’d rescue first!
This drive is actually a survival skill, and in their DNA. It’s looks a lot like what you’d see in some pets. Watch kittens or puppies as they nurse, they scrabble and push each other away. The strongest gets first choice, the next gets second and so on. They naturally ‘fight’ to be the one closest to the mother’s face and that win’s most of her attention. It’s the same for children, they are trying to figure out how to get to be the closest to you (or in your face) the most.
As a result, your kids will struggle to get your attention any way that works. Each one will choose a different way. One may hang with you, being helpful and fun, another may fight with you or with siblings to get your attention the most often. Either way, the one who 'feels' like they get most of your attention wins.
Like most parents I’m sure that you really want your kids to love you, and each other and to get along. You’ve probably tried to tell them you love them all the same, equally, and perfectly. However, that rarely helps to reduce their fights with each other.
I know you get tired of their fighting, but if you want to stop it, you must stop noticing and getting involved. The key to reducing sibling rivalry, is to not interfere every time a struggle erupts. When you interfere, and try to get to the reasons, or solve their problems, you actually put gas on the fire, metaphorically speaking. In other words, by giving attention to their fighting, you actually encourage more fighting. I know you don’t want that.
If you really want most of the fighting to stop, you’ll want to do these three things:
If you’ve been getting involved and trying to sort out sibling arguments for a long time, changing this pattern could take a while and your due diligence and determination. However, when you stop interfering and choosing sides, and focus more on good behaviors, especially any time a sibling is kind or helpful to another, then you’ll see your children getting along more often. They’ll still have squabbles, that okay because people don’t always agree. That’s part of being human, and special and different and learning how to get along with each other.
In fact most siblings enjoy a bit of good hearted arguing and joshing, even into adulthood. You'll help them get there when you practice these skills.
If you liked this article you may also enjoy my podcast for parents. I release one knew episode each week.
Here’s a LINK for you to subscribe and listen to episodes of
Building Parents & Good Kids.
Thanks for reading. Remember to leave your thoughts about this in comments below.
Twee’ means you and me
Helping Siblings to Get Along
Best Parent Practices for When Kids Get Upset
Susie Caron © 2/6/16
Parents’ want to figure out ‘what’s going on” when their little-ones tantrum, or when bigger kids scream irrationally at them about their issues, but parents ask the wrong question: parents ask kids, “Why?”
If you have asked 'why', you probably recognized two things.
First, your Kids don’t seem to be able to give you any clear reason for their outbursts.
Second, if you get angry and punish your kids without understanding, they behave more badly.
Have you wondered “What am I doing wrong?” or perhaps “What else can I do?”
I suggest a much better way to handle kids when they seem agitated, and before they become overwhelmed and get worse.
Distract & Redirect Little Ones.
With little ones you’ll want to distract and redirect them because they probably don’t know or cannot tell you ‘why’ they feel overwhelmed.
You can try to ask:
Where do you want me to sit and watch?
How are your feet?
Who’s making that noise?
The idea is to try to distract and redirect them and teach them how to self-soothe.
If attempts to distract and redirect doesn’t stop the tantrum, it’s necessary to provide some calming time. To do this you could get a book and hold your child while you point out pictures until he or she forgets to tantrum. Alternatively, put your child in a nice warm bath. Stay with your child and watch him/her play. Your child may go into the water, yelling, kicking and screaming, but as the water cools he/she will also calm down. Then maybe a nice nap, for you both will help. As they grow a little older you can use the following ideas.
Calm then Engage School Aged Kids
School aged kids sometimes become so overwhelmed by issues and the business of life that they act out by yelling, screaming, and using language you don’t want. Often what they yell about doesn’t make any sense to the adult ear. Punishment may get your child out of your hair and reduce everyone’s anxiety after the fact. However, it doesn’t teach your children how to handle big emotions, especially when they cannot really identify the reason(s).
To help school aged kids stop yelling and get to the bottom of their issues, use this approach.
First, Take everything out of your hands, turn your body and eyes toward your child and stand within 6-8 feet.
“I see you are upset and I’d like to listen. I can hear you better when you to lower your voice and speak respectfully to me.”
Wait and repeat that you want to listen and you can’t as easily hear when he/she is so loud.
Say, “Please lower your voice and speak to me respectfully and I will listen.”
If your child cannot do this, send him/her to time out until ready to do so.
This is an important skill everyone must learn:
“When too upset to be somewhat reasonable, go to your own space and calm yourself. Then we’ll talk.”
When your child has calmed enough, do not ask, “WHY?”
“Why were you so upset?”
This question, beginning with the word “Why?” just sets kids off again on another round of screaming.
Because the word “Why” implies that their answers will be judged.
Think about how you felt when family members and friends have asked you questions like these:
“Why do you let your kids stay up so late?”
“Why are you having more children?”
“Why do you work outside your home when your spouse makes so much money?”
“Why don’t you send your children to MY preschool?”
Do you see how these questions feel? Questions that begin with “why” make you worry that you and your answer, will be judged.
Kids feel the same way.
They don’t want you to judge them. They want you to listen and to offer validation for their overwhelming feelings. They count on you to help them learn to calm down, navigate life and handle their issues. In addition, they often don’t really have any clear answer for “why” so they may just grab any answer that seems like the reason. Then they get more upset and you do too.
After they calm, ask useful questions.
So make life easier on yourself and your kids. After you focus on softening the behavior (which teaches your kids that they can calm themselves enough to talk about issues) then ask questions like these, and be careful to not judge while you listen and validate their feelings.
What happened that made you upset?
How did you feel when that happened?
What would you like to do about it?
Who do you want to talk with next?
Is there something you want me to do?
How do you feel now?
Validate their feelings
With each question your child answers, name and validate the feelings, even if they weren’t expressed. This teaches your child to identify the feelings and how to hook them to things that happened.
So you say things like:
“Wow, I’ll bet you felt really angry about that.”
“Oh, so you really wanted to hit her? It must have been hard to hold back.”
“You’re afraid your teacher won’t listen? What makes you worried about that?”
Here are some more feeling words you might need. (Want more, Google Feeling Words.)
Jealous courageous suspicious irritated
Sad uncertain unsafe afraid
Frustrated helpless discouraged resentful
Worried discouraged uncomfortable leery
What do you think?
Did you find this article helpful, interesting? Please leave a comment and I’ll reply.
Don’t forget to sign up HERE for your free gift “How To Get the Respect You Deserve.”
Twee’ Means You and Me
Working Together to Raise Good Kids.
Why are Birthdays Important?
by Susie E Caron (c) 1/30/16
Happy Birthday to Me!!!! That's what each of my family members sing for about a week prior to the actual date of their birthdays. This week it was my Birthday, and as I hummed the familiar tune, I got to thinking about how and why birthdays are so important.
I think everybody loves to celebrate their birthdays. But why? Every person born, didn't actually have anything to do with that event. Instead of giving gifts to whomever's birthday it is, why don't we give gifts to the parents and thank them profusely for going to the trouble of giving birth and providing a life for us?
Most parents are so excited and happy about their babies that when that first birthday rolls around they throw a big bash, and invite all their friends and relatives. We spend a lot of money to throw birthday parties and we spend a lot giving gifts to our kids on their birthdays. How did this practice begin?
Certainly long ago, infant mortality rates were so high that the first birthday must have come as a huge relief to parents. So of course they wanted to celebrate the milestone. Mortality rates for children continued to be high in places where families farmed, mined, worked timber and so on. So perhaps, each birthday was treated as another milestone and celebrated. Maybe parents celebrated while secretly thinking, "Whew, this child made it another year."
I checked on the web for something about the origins of birthdays hoping to assuage my curiosity and infuse this article with more 'cake.' I did find a little bit of history on an article by the Huffington Post, "This Is Why You Celebrate A Birthday Every Year." But it didn't answer my questions exactly.
What ever the reasons birthday celebrations began, (and people could argue about this forever) we do celebrate them, with our children, with each other and with our elders. It actually makes sense to celebrate lives well lived, of those we befriend, our parents, and others. It even makes sense to celebrate features about the lives of people we don't know. I enjoy a moment of heart felt celebration when Steve Hartman, a news reporter on CBS, interviews and presents characteristic of the lives of interesting people as he travels all over the USA . But why do we celebrate children's birthdays?
Some of the 'history' I found on the web wasn't very encouraging about the history of birthdays. Some bashed celebrating birthdays as coming out of 'pagan' traditions. Others linked Biblical birthday celebrations to simultaneous tragedies. (remember Job?). Even today we can find people who disdain birthdays, some for religious reasons, some because they believe it has caused kids to feel entitled. Whether they are true or not, these things certainly cannot explain our enthusiasm for giving children's birthday parties.
Perhaps we celebrate because birthdays are fun. It's fun to prepare favorite meals, bake cakes, wrap presents and play games. We enjoy them and we love watching our kid's faces light up. We celebrate even the tiniest baby's birthdays, right on up into their adulthood. We go to a lot of trouble for birthday fun, so could there be a bigger reason we celebrate birthdays? Maybe when we celebrate birthdays to celebrate LIFE.
I celebrate Life, every life, all lives, everyday. No one is an accident, or a mistake.
God didn't 'accidentally' drop your lump of clay and wonder,
"Now what in the world am I going to do with that?"
Nope you were born on purpose, with purpose and birthdays are good for celebrating that.
So here's my take on birthdays.
Birthdays remind me of a special gift of Life.
Because on one special birth-day, a baby named Jesus brought us a new life,
and the promise of living our lives with meaning and purpose,
and life everlasting, for those who believe.
That's why I celebrate birthdays and I that's why I continue to celebrate You.
Today is my birthday, and I'm happy I shared it with you.
Twee' means you and me
Celebrating birthdays and every day of our lives.
Help to Help Kids Survive Bullies
Susie Caron (c) 1/23/16
Everyone knows - Bullies hurt people, but to help kids survive we need to understand more. We need to know how they do it, how their actions affect victims, and how to help kids survive.
What do Bullies want?
A Bully has one goal, to appear to be 'top dog', and a nasty dog at that. Fear is the primary tool. They want to be feared and they want followers who are so afraid of them that they agree to do whatever the bully wants.
If the Bully wants the group to stand during lunch, they'll stand. If the Bully wants them to beat up another kid, they'll do it, and without question. Why? Because members of the group are afraid. They know that if they don't comply with the Bully’s wishes one or two things could happen to them.
First, they could get whatever treatment they wouldn't dish out.
Second they could be kicked out of the group.
Most adults think that would be a good thing. But the child kicked out feels shunned, unworthy and hated. This isolation can lead to depression and much worse.
How do Bullies create fear and followers?
Bullies create fear through posturing, aggressive behavior and intimidation. They don't need to be physically violent, but they must convince everyone that they could be. They use abusive verbal and emotionally charged language. Sarcasm, direct put downs, name calling, and shunning are all part of a Bully’s arsenal. They use everything they've got to keep their followers under their power. Then they use their followers to keep everyone else away from them. Why is that? Don't they want more followers?
Bullies create fear because they are afraid they are actually weak.
Bullies want more followers, but they hide a little known secret: Beneath the grandiose behavior which makes them look and act like they have a huge ego, hides an insecure personality, with a weak and poorly formed self- concept. This is noticeable when the Bully is criticized. Fearing any negative judgement and loss of support, he/she will over-react with even more aggressive words and actions. That’s how a Bully continues to create more fear, which keeps outsiders away and causes insiders to cluster closer together to avoid retaliation.
How are Victims affected?
Victims usually don't have a chance, especially kids because they crave belonging. They live in a developmental stage (6-18) when belonging is a major drive. Parents must understand this:
Acceptance into a group is of primary importance to kids and impacts their social, emotional development.
That’s why it isn’t easy for kids to ‘pull out’ even if they want to. For kids, inclusion, even in a nasty group, is better than being ostracized. But inclusion comes with a price. Standing too close to a flame can cause clothes to catch fire. Being that close to a Bully sets up anyone inside or outside the group to become a future target. Bullies don't need a reason. Boredom is enough.
Victim's get trapped.
Victims are made to feel 'less than', 'undesirable', damaged, and unclean. Kids can try to move away from the Bully and group. However, they often carry damages with them. Without the help of family, good friends, educators and sometimes mental health counseling, victims stay convinced of the lies and internalize the Bully’s assessment of them.
What can you do to help kids survive the lure of and prevent damage from Bullies?
Bully Proof them as much as you can, especially when they are very young.
Here are some ways to do this.
Choose play dates wisely.
In the early years you have a lot of control over with whom your kids spend time. Some children are naturally drawn to strong personalities. Monitor them and redirect your kids toward playmates who are better friends. Tell your kids,
“You don’t want to or need play with kids who are mean to you or mean to your friends. Let’s have play dates with friends who are kind and fun to be with.”
Watch your child’s behavior.
If your child begins acting like a bully at home, chances are he or she is being affected by a Bully at school. You may not stop the behavior of the other child, but you can discuss your child’s behavior with him or her. Explain why bullying is hurtful and that you expect your child to be a good friend, not a scary one.
Listen to your child and take action.
If your child tells you that someone is bullying him or her, take action. Thank your child and say, “I want to keep you safe.” Then make sure to tell the teacher, guidance counselor, and continue up the chain of command if needed. Ask them to stop the Bully’s behavior. You may need to insist that they keep an eye on your child to keep him/her safe. Whatever you do, don’t just dismiss it. Your child and the bully are both struggling. Both will need assistance. If you child continues to struggle, it may be wise to seek counseling.
Tell your kids to stay away from kids who act tough or mean.
Explain that you want them to stay away from Bullies, but they don’t need to be afraid of them. Explain that Bullies only look like they have power because they try to make people afraid of them. That’s not real power because being mean to others tells everyone that the Bully is really the one who’s afraid. The Bully tries to cover up his own fear by trying to make everyone else afraid.
Teach your kids to remember this statement:
"Bullies only have Bully power, but that they have 'Me Power'.”
Explain to your kids, that “Me Power” is real good power that comes from inside, because deep down inside they know what’s true about them. They are okay just the way they are, just being themselves. and no one can take that away.
Teach them how to wear “Bully proof vests”
Little kids love this. Just like the police wear Bullet Proof vests to protect them, they can wear Bully Proof vests. So when someone says something nasty to them, your kids must refuse to believe it, it will just bounce off the vest. This is like saying “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
Help older kids develop "Come Backs."
Older kids seem to enjoy this way of handling new Bully attacks.(Early attacks are intended to try to test for new followers by making them afraid.) If your child is under new verbal attacks by a Bully, help your child to create 5 ‘come backs’. 'Come Backs' are statements kids say back to a Bully that can make the Bully believe his/her attacks are just not important, scary or even interesting.
For example, to Bully verbal attacks your kids can respond:
“Is that the best you’ve got?”
“Get a life.”
“Don’t you have something better to do?”
“What’s that? I can’t hear you. What’d you say. You must be whispering.”
It's best if your kids make up their own and write them down. They need to practice because they must pretend whatever the Bully says doesn’t matter. Shrugs and dismissive gestures help too. You can ensure them that if they really pretend well, the Bully will very soon move on and try to find someone else to pick on. Then your child can enjoy his or her real friends.
Tell your child that bullies come in all ages, and nastiness.
Adults can be Bullies too.
So make sure you tell them, “Never vote for a Bully.”
I hope this article helps give you some ideas and skills how to help Bully Proof your kids.
Twee' means you & me
Working together to protect kids from Bullies.
Susie E. Caron
These are from my former life with many current memories and helps for parents.
I retired from teaching, became a psychotherapist treating children and families and an author. After retiring I became a full time artist.
I recently reopened this parenting blog because I believe wisdom is to be shared.
Author of Chidren's Books,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, I want to help you build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, & books at a time.
When I'm not busy creating articles or paintings, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or playing with my Boxer, Josie.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!