Heart-to-Heart Connection

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Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Firm Foundation. Don’t Rescue. Get A Life. (10/10)

It’s natural for parents to become overly involved in their children.  Family is important; however, when parents look for their identity needs to be met in their children — meaning, purpose, challenge, and joy — family friction and codependency take over healthy family dynamics.  (Dr. Randy Reynolds, Child Psychologist)

In other words, parents, don’t live through your child.  Get a life.  Work on issues, challenges, dreams, goals . . . Hmm . . . Much easier said than done. 

Taking risks, changing, (possible) failure . . . they CAN be scary.  It’s easier to blame someone else (e.g., a strong-willed child) for life’s difficulties than own up to our deficiencies.

But life’s lessons we choose to ignore will resurface until we learn.  Do we learn now, later, or never?

Healthy parents, healthy kids — happiness!

I want to LIVE my life; my goals.  I want my family, too! 

Gonna get ’em all! 

CHARGE!!!  🙂

 

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November 15, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Business, Change, Collaboration, Compassion, Dream, Education, Freedom, God, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Marketing, Marriage, Mind, Passion, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Building Positive Dynamics (9/10)

How would you describe your family dynamics?  Critical, achievement-oriented, efficient?  Warm, secure, caring, stimulating?

Which would you prefer?  Which would you strive towards?

The latter, most likely.  We all thrive in warm and caring environment — children, especially.

So, how do we get there?

  • Meet Needs—Give attention, security, a sense of belonging, touch, affection, and stimulation.
  • Know Your Child—Play!  Be a good listener.  Spend deep, quality time.  Enjoy your child(ren).
  • Believe in Your Child—By doing so, parents provide opportunity and courage for her to fulfill your new, positive expectations.
  • Allow Independence—Teach your child to think and take personal responsibility.
  • Remain Calm and Detached—Empty ourselves of anger, resentment, fear, and guilt.

Here are concepts in action:

Child:    I got a bad evaluation from the teacher today.  If she was any good, I’d ace this class! (Negative invitation)

Parent: So she’s good at preventing her students from learning?

Child:    Well, she doesn’t help me learn!

Parent: So what would help you learn and do well in her class?  (Positive invitation/Problem-solve)

Child:    I don’t know, maybe a tutor.  (Response)

Parent: We could find a tutor for that class, but what about missed assignments?

Child:    Yeah, I’ve missed some.  I’ll finish them.

As always, thanks Dr. Reynolds!  🙂

 

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Business, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, God, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Marriage, Mind, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Achieving Emotional Stability (8/10)

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie.”  (Robert Ebert)

Do you agree or disagree?

We can’t take our emotions for granted.  They govern our behavior, even when we don’t realize it.  Immature families, especially when under stress, communicate that feelings are wrong.  Family members react to each other.  The overriding message is, “You shouldn’t feel what you’re feeling.”  (Dr. Randy Reynolds, child psychologist)

I hear ya!  Emotions—especially strong ones—intensify and magnify issues.  Emotions, at times, finger point—”It’s your fault, not mine!”  

“Emotions, however, when handled appropriately, can promote positive change.”  (Dr. Reynolds)

Really?  How?

  • Empathize.  Validate your child’s feelings but stand firm on your decision: “It sounds like you’re frustrated because I won’t let you wear jeans today.  I know that’s hard for you, but I’m not going to change my mind.”
  • Discipline, don’t punish.  Discipline is patient and goal-oriented; punishment is motivated by anger or reactivity.

 What else?

  • Affirm, acknowledge, respect, create a sense of belonging, and appreciate each other.  Full emotional tanks give members room to express themselves.  Relax.  Enjoy simple pleasures.
  • As families mature, they shame each other less; respond to each other more.  They listen to others without reacting.  They assert without antagonizing.  Families set realistic expectations.  They know they’re interdependent, and flex with the normal stresses of life.

“Learn to own your feelings.  Don’t blame others when you communicate.  Begin sentences with ‘I’ messages, not ‘you’.” . . . “‘I feel . . . when . . .’

Empathize, affirm, discipline, “I” messages—Thanks Dr. Reynolds! 🙂

 

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Business, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, God, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Marriage, Mind, Passion, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Gaining Respect (7/10)

Which would you honor — obedience or respect?

  • Obedience – “Do it!  I said so!”
  • Respect – good listening + trust + give children two choices you can live with

Respect, bar none!  I can’t make anyone do anything willingly.  You can’t make me, either.

Yet, when under intense stress, I find myself demanding unconditional obedience from my children, not respect.

It’s time to change — to recognize and minimize counterproductive behaviors. 

How, Dr. Reynolds?

  • Respect grows when parents listen instead of just hear.  Value what your child says and attempt to understand his reality and his feelings.  Reflect (“So what you’re saying is …,” “I see you’re …”).
  • Respect requires trust.  A child cannot trust the parent who does not listen.  Personal responsibility and interdependence — each person doing his part to keep the relationship healthy — is essential for building trust.  Hold children accountable.  Communicate with conviction, “You can do it!”                                                                     

Okay, but I need concrete tools.  How do I continue building trust and earning my children’s respect?

  • Talk directly with the person — child or adult — who upsets you rather than to someone else.
  • Too overwhelmed to talk?  Find a neutral third-party to coach you.
  • Child/Parent conflict?  Encourage your child to talk directly to your spouse; not through you.
  • Do not rescue or interfere with your spouse’s parenting, even if you disagree.  Discuss differences privately.  Form a united front.
  • When you discipline, spend one-on-one time with your child.  Secure your bond with him. 

THANK YOU, sir! 

We humans — regardless of education level, status, wealth, or lack thereof — are all equal; messed up emotional creatures! 

Save face.  Discipline with dignity. 

Can’t wait to enjoy my family today! 🙂

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Business, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, Freedom, God, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Journalism, Leadership, Love, Marketing, Marriage, Mind, Passion, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Raising the Healthy Individual (6/10)

Which types of parents raised you — the overprotective Rescuer who assumes too much responsibility, or the Reactor; critical, under-involved, and the distant?

Child psychologist, Dr. Randy Reynolds states, “Both Rescuers and Reactors present strategies for failed parenting.”  No wonder I’m screwed!  My mother was a Rescuer, my father, a Reactor.  I was raised by both!

So how did I learn (and continue to learn) what my parents failed to teach me? 

SOCIETY — the school of hard knocks!

I want more for my two sons — way more.  With my husband, I want to work on creating healthy family dynamics and healthy individuals.

When parents succeed in creating individuals, their children will be:

  • Cooperative
  • Compassionate
  • Maintain relationships even during tough times
  • Take care of themselves without imposing on others
  • Live with convictions
  • Willing to suffer discomfort to accomplish personal goals
  • Define who they are without succumbing to peer pressure                       (Dr. Reynolds)

Compassionate, hardworking, problem-solver/life-long learners . . . the character traits I wish for my kids.

SO, what are my husband and I to do? . . .

Dr. Reynolds to the rescue!

  • Communicate clear expectations.  Help children reach their potential.
  • Allow children to take risks.  
  • Set realistic but challenging expectations for your children.  Help them push through their doubts as they move from incompetence to competence.
  • Hold children accountable for their responsibilities.  Empower them to grow.
  • Validate your children.  Make them feel important.
  • Parents ought to focus on their own goals, well-being, and self-definition.  Don’t live through your child.  Children are not extensions of their parents.
  • Pray for your children.

Whew!  So much to understand, internalize, and apply . . . for me, anyway. 

Better late than never!  One step, one moment, one day at a time! 

Enjoy parenting!  Enjoy life!  🙂

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, God, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Marriage, Mind, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Finding the Balance (5/10)

What kind of home do you strive to create; family relationships based on justice, mercy, or grace?

  • justice–you get what you deserve
  • mercy–you don’t get what you deserve (a policeman pulls me over for speeding but doesn’t give me a ticket)
  • grace–you get what you don’t deserve (the policeman gives me a $100 bill)

Grace sounds great, especially when I’m the recipient!

What if I was the giver, the parent, the one in charge?  

Child psychologist, Dr. Randy Reynolds recommends grace, bar none!

Law-oriented families focus on goals and standards (like the workplace).  Grace promotes relationships (yeah!).  Grace enables you to accept the way things are and trust God for the way things should be.  In the grace-based home, warmth and excitement are everyday experiences.

Dr. Reynolds, how can I get there?

  • Validate your child’s feelings instead of resisting them.  Empathize.  Be affectionate and loving when your child is upset.  
  • Every relationship has an emotional account.  When you deposit into the account by spending time with your child, you can draw from it without penalty.
  • Spend time listening to your child in order to understand her behavior.  Find out where she’s coming from.
  • Explain how people must learn to follow if they want to lead.  Recommend biographies.  Look for teachable moments.  Praise her when she successfully yields.
  • Maintain a sense of humor.

I must remember my strong-willed child’s strengths.  He is honest.  He often sees himself outside of the family system and its values, and sees the family dynamics clearly.  He is NOT shy about saying what’s on his mind. 

I’ve also heard, conforming children sometimes grow up with less moral courage than their more difficult children (yes, the ones who, right or wrong, wouldn’t dare rock the boat.  YUK! YUK!  TRIPLE YUK!!! SPINELESS WHIMPS!!!) 

 I LOVE my strong-willed child!

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference . . . Amen!  🙂

November 3, 2009 Posted by | Art, Attitude, Book Review, Business, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, Freedom, God, Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Marriage, Mind, Passion, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong Willed Child: Creating a Positive Family Atmosphere (4/10)

I can’t change my circumstance so I’m going to have to change . . . especially around my strong-willed child — my effervescent seven-year-old!

The strong-willed child often sets the tone of the family — in mine, at least — if  I let him.  At the same time, the strong-willed child may simply be expressing the anxiety or unhappiness everyone is feeling.  He reflects the family’s tension and discomfort.  (Dr. Randy Reynolds, child psychologist)

So what’s a parent to do?

  • Healthy families recognize and validate individual effort.  Combine compliments with effective love.  Focus on and encourage individual’s strengths.
  • Discuss one issue.  Together, work towards problem-solving.  (“Dinner will be served at 6:00.  If you’re late, you won’t eat with us.  The mother includes family members’ suggestions.  She doesn’t argue.  She takes charge.)
  • Work toward family atmosphere comprising warmth, relaxation, humor, responsiveness, flexibility, order, safety, love, closeness, honesty, and harmony.

Relax!  “Live, love, laugh!” 

Sounds like a plan! 🙂

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, God, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Building Parental Authority (3/10)

Spare the rod, spoil the child. (Proverbs 13:24)

He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.  (Proverbs 28:23)

No one said parenting (and family relationships) would be easy.  It’s time to face my reality; face the music.

Dr. Randy Reynolds shares his words of wisdom:

  • The key to a safe family environment is to establish authority and hold the line when it’s challenged
  • Parents are to use authority to create order, place restraints, and to create a safe home environment for every family member.  Endure your child’s short-term disapproval for long-term respect (remain consistent; grow a spine)
  • Make requests, give commands, follow through, be just and fair, be honest, express anger appropriately, trust God (His wisdom), utilize logical and natural consequences, establish clear boundaries, allow other authorities to play a corrective role (whew!)

Parental authority must be firm to be effective; loving in order to be good.

Can’t wait to be all grown up — someday!  🙂

November 1, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Compassion, Education, God, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Marriage, Mind, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: Caught in Conflict (2/10)

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.  (Proverbs 17:14)

How peaceful life would be if I would only learn to disengage and empathize.  Power struggles — I get caught up in them all too often — something needs to change.

BUT I’m human!  God, WHAT do you want from me?!

“Serenity.  Maturity.  Prioritize relationship over power.”

“How?”

Child psychologist, Dr. Randy Reynolds identifies and suggests possible solutions for four types of power struggles:

  • Demander/Withholder — The most basic power struggle, one person makes demands while the other withholds the desired outcome.  Trust, respect, goodwill, and cooperation vanish. 
  • Controller/Rebel — Polarizing.  Parents and children find themselves stuck in rigid roles with destructive consequences: rational parents with emotional children, hard-working parents with lazy children, aggressive parents with passive children … you get the picture. 
  • Rescuer/Victim — If a child feels continually helpless or inadequate and acts on these feelings, a parent may feel compelled to rescue the child.  Because strong-willed children tend to avoid responsibility, rescuer/victim dynamics are common in their families.

Healing begins when participants take personal responsibility for their words and behaviors (no finger pointing, hoping others will change).

  • Husband/Wife — Husband vents his frustration on the child and wife comes to the child’s rescue (or the reverse).  Maintain a united front.  Discuss differences privately.

So how do we change dysfunctional dynamics?

Dr. Reynolds advises:

  • Identify the type of power struggle you’re in
  • Identify the emotions that drive it
  • Take a critical view of your words and actions that invite the power struggle
  • Make the commitment to sidestep the invitations to power struggles that come your way

Skill Builders — Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires  (James 1:19-20); in other words, express feelings honestly, respectfully, and effectively.

(Yikes!  I am convicted!).

  • Reflect strong emotions — What you’re telling me is (you’re angry with me.)
  • Use soft tone
  • Honest statements — “You’re being disciplined for the consequence of your behavior.”
  • Empathize — “I know it’s hard … (work doesn’t always pay off the way we expect, and that’s discouraging.  But I believe that is one of the ways we learn and grow).”

Now that I’ve acquired more knowledge than I know what to do with, I just have to apply them!

Wish me luck!  🙂

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Christianity, Education, God, Health and Wellness, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Mind, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Stress, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good News About Your Strong-Willed Child: My Child Versus the Good Child (1/10)

Which child do you prefer?

  • The conforming child — responsible, sensitive to others, cooperative, responsive, respectful, conforms to the rules
  • The strong-willed child — fighter, assertive, self-sensitive, demands fairness, disruptive, reactive, disrespectful, feels weak/acts powerful

Is the conforming child always the good child

If you challenge a strong-willed child, he will probably oppose you even more.  Strong-willed children are more work to parent, but that doesn’t mean they are bad children.  Their opposition can reveal to us the changes we need to make in parenting. (R. Reynolds)

So what’s a parent to do?  Rule with the iron fist or kill with kindness?

“Neither,” suggests Dr. Reynolds, “Emotionally disengage.  A fight response moves you into a combative encounter.  A flight response moves you to surrender and withdraw.  It’s better to gain emotional neutrality (a neutral tone) than to argue from a gut-level emotional response.”

(Empathize: use “I” messages — I see you’re frustrated, I can relate to your feelings, etc.) 

I tell you, from my adult/at-times-I-wanna-be-12-years-old perspective, this is nothing but a tall order.  But do I have a choice?  I’m the adult.  I have to become the bigger, the better person … I hate growing up … Why does it have to be so hard?!

“Don’t view every resistance by your child as a personal affront.  Resistance doesn’t always have to be classified as rebellion.  Make it an opportunity for dialogue.”  (R. Reynolds)

Yes, sir! 🙂

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Attitude, Book Review, Change, Christianity, Collaboration, Compassion, Education, Health and Wellness, Heart, Introspection, Leadership, Love, Mind, Peace, Purpose, Self Help, Spirit, Success | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment