Knowledge is power, but only wisdom is liberty - Will Durant
I talk alot about empathy being the way that we ‘get in’ and connect with our kids but it is not the same as bending to their will at every turn.
We as adults need to show them that there are boundaries that need to be respected in life; be it the law in your jurisdiction, someone’s private space or simply learning that they are allowed to delineate their own boundaries.
We can feel bad of course when our kids push back against us when we set limits with them. We may carry our own baggage that makes it hard for us to enforce rules but this is not in their best interests or yours. You’ve heard it said that you can build a rod for your own back if you take the path of least resistance.
Perhaps you grew up in a household that was strict, rigid, inflexible or you had a laissez faire upbringing. Whatever the case, our upbringing has an impact on where we draw the line when it comes to rules and boundaries. It’s...
No matter how hard we try to censor and filter things out for them, kids are like sponges, picking up on everything we say and do even if they don't fully understand the meaning of the information they've absorbed. It's part of our job to help them make sense of that information.
In my view, the best times to impart our values is when we capitalise on so called teachable moments. It is in the act of living life that they see our values play out organically. It's all well and good to give them a didactic lecture on the merits and demerits of virtue ethics but you'll put them to sleep. Kids will learn more from watching you and seeing how you handle conflict and problems in the heat of a moment.
Make the effort to ask them questions about their thoughts and feelings about how they saw a particular situation. Ask them if they thought you ought to have acted differently. Ask them if they would have acted similarly given similar circumstances. Obviously...
The thing is, jealousy is normal and expected among siblings but mismanaging this can inadvertently pave the way to rifts and ruptured relationships. So we cant just ignore it when you suspect that's happening for your kids.
The sort of jealousy that is very important for us to be mindful of is the sort that stems from a fear of losing connection with a parent. Kids can exhibit all sorts of behaviour in protest, ranging from mild and subtle to loud and very very obvious. But the treatment is the same...it is connection. There's that word again. Connection undergirds all of our interpersonal interactions and it is empathy that glues us together. Quality and quantity time is what our kids need; this sounds like it is stating the obvious. That's because it is obvious. But it's important to state because kids deserve all the attention and connection we can spare them.
Some kids are going to be more needy than others. That's just a fact that we're...
The answer isn't as obvious as we may think.
While most of us think praising and complimenting kids is a good thing, there is such as thing as unhelpful praise.
How do we praise kids so they feel motivated but not inadvertently overinflate their ego? How do we reinforce behaviour without causing a complex where they feel like our approval is contingent on performance.
I've outlined 4 key ideas in the video
1. Be sincere and genuine
2. Connect with your kids as often as possible so your attention and approval is not contingent on only certain things that they do.
3. Don't make comparisons with other kids!
4. Refrain from complimenting them on things they can't control like their appearance or natural intelligence.
I wanted to share one of my favourite tips for helping kids talk about emotions (using an empathic approach). And you actually don't have to do a heap of talking yourself! Jump in and check it out now!
If you want to learn more about how to use empathic connection in your communications and improve your relationships download the FREE starter kit here. It also includes a few tips for managing the silent treatment and the dreaded "i don't knows"!
If you're struggling to find a way to think systematically about how to go about disciplining and training kids; sign up to the waitlist for our course: The Practice of Empathic Discipline (Huddle Wisdom) I want you to have the free mini-course for navigating emotional storms too. We'll send that to you when you sign up to the waitlist for the Empathic Discipline. But if you prefer, you can also just click here Toolkit to get the toolkit!
In most cases, fussy eating is a part of growing up. It's an expression of independent thinking and a need for mastery and control over one's environment, body and choices. But, I don't hear parents celebrating! Fussy eating can be exasperating.
But let's take a step back and think a little bit about what we would be doing if we were presented with limited food options that didn't appeal to us. Have you ever travelled some place where the food wasn't really stuff you'd eat? How did the locals treat you? Did they force feed you? If they did, I'm sure you wouldn't visit right? (1 star review!!!) We might be curious about the strange new foods there but we'd prefer to try them at our own speed.
Here are some tips to help you adjust your 'speed' and help your kids try the 'local' cuisine in your household.
The first thing is to keep your cool around meal times to minimise stress for your child (I know you will be stressed enough for the both of you); otherwise, Kids will...
Every emotional storm has a lifecycle. This pictogram is one way to visualise the antecedents (things that feeds the storm) and the factors that siphons energy away from the storm.
I suggest using it as a way to develop your understanding of how the storms in your life live and breathe.
1. Backchatting is neither good nor bad; it is simply something that indicates the difficulties a child has with the demands of the environment. Therefore we ought to feel personally attacked, but it's difficult for us adults not to be offended by the insolence of the know-it-all child.
2. Be the adult. Breathe. We must try to remain calm and rational; lest we become part of the 'paddy' fest. Nothing ever gets solved by getting angrier and angrier.
3. Set the culture in your house. Set the rules of engagement. Praise your children when you catch them following the rules. This is more likely to reinforce the behaviour you want to see. It's better to praise behaviour you want to see than admonish behaviour you don't want to see.
Listen to Episode 008 on the Huddle Wisdom Podcast for a little more...Dealing with Backchatting.
If you want to get a better handle of empathic connectedness that helps you deal with various tricky situations like backchatting...
In the heat of the moment, us adults just want to rid ourselves of the emotional fire our kids have ignited for us.
For many of us, it's incredibly difficult to keep our composure and not add fuel to flame, lest do or say something that we regret later.
The H.A.L.T acronym is great and easy to remember.
H is for hunger - are we hungry? are our children hungry? None of us do well when we're starving. So let's make sure we feed the beast! Make sure the kids get something to eat when they get home from school. And there's definitely something to be said of making sure they get 3 square meals and something to snack on in between (fibrous fruit and nuts is great to sustain their energy levels).
A is for angry - we have to empathise with that, acknowledge that feeling and validate them. But we have to pick our moments when we want to discipline or teach. Wait for the flames to peter out first.
L is for lonely or lost - sometimes when our kids are...
Sometimes kids have a hard time talking to you about things when they need the most help. Learn to use emotional intelligence and empathic connection to gain co-operation without the friction.