Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guiding and Conduction II

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:43 PM
We also need to guide our children in how to deal with challenging and frustrating situations Instead of whining and complaining while standing in line at the grocery store (or asking for every piece of candy on the shelf), try counting the number of other people waiting, or make up a story about what the food does at night when the store’s closed, or review school work, or practice scripture. Instead of hitting someone when they make a child mad, teach them to hit a pillow, or do jumping jacks, or go spend a few minutes alone to calm down. Instead of throwing something when frustrated with a task, teach them to write about their frustration, or jump on a trampoline, or talk about it. There are countless ways to handle difficult situations and express feelings. The goal is to teach appropriate behaviors that will be healthy and effective in handling difficult situations.

He who walks with the wise grows wise. Proverbs 13:20a

I must add, as a personal caveat, it is important that our children experience difficult situations and disappointments. As moms we generally tend to protect our children. After all, that is a large part of our job. However, if we want what’s truly best for our children, we must, must, let them deal with tough situations and decisions. We can, and should, model appropriate behaviors, talk with them about the situations, and guide them through them. But we should also let them struggle and figure things out a little. The only way our children are going to be equipped to hand hard times and choices (which they will face on their own eventually) is if they have practice working through come under our guidance. As painful as it is for a mom to watch her child struggle, it is the only way they will become stronger. We, of course, need to rely on God’s guidance and the instinct He’s given us as moms in deciding when to let them struggle and how much. As with everything there should be balance. We don’t want to leave them to struggle on their own with something they are totally unprepared and mal-equipped to handle. Our goal is to empower our children in small things so that they will be competent to handle the larger things as they come along.

Guiding includes giving a child words to use as well as showing them how to do things and handle things. Just as we desire to communicate effectively with our children, we want to teach them to effectively communicate with us and others. We can guide them in the proper (and pleasant) ways to say things in the same way that we guide them in physical tasks. It’s not “Give me milk.” It’s “Mommy, may I please have some milk.” It’s not “No, I won’t do it.” It’s “I’d rather not.” It’s not “Eww, Yuck.” It’s “I’d prefer not to eat peas.” It’s not “Sammy’s mean.” It’s “Sammy hurt my feelings by snatching my toy.”

Children often get frustrated, angry, violent, and have difficulty with others because they don’t have the tools to handle difficult situations or communicate in beneficial ways. Many of these things our children need our guidance in seem small, and will most likely have to be repeated many times, but put together they enable a child to feel self-confident and have healthy relationships. Like teachable moments to model and talk about appropriate behaviors, opportunities to guide children in replacing negative behaviors and words with positive ones are in great abundance. Each time a child gets frustrated when something’s not working the way they want it to is an opportunity to talk them through the problem calmly and showing them how to try it a different way. Each time a child gets angry is an opportunity to talk them through using their words to express themselves and resolve conflicts. Each time a child gets violent is an opportunity to express that violence isn’t appropriate and to talk through other ways of handling themselves. Each time a child is learning a new task is an opportunity to work along side them.

“By empowering children to accomplish tasks, you can teach them to work and to love work. You can help them develop skills and qualities of character that will benefit them in whatever they do throughout their lives. You can build your relationship with them as you work side by side. You can reinforce their desire and ability to accomplish something meaningful. You can help them learn to contribute to the family and prepare them to better contribute to the world.” Merrill

Guiding, like modeling and verbalizing, is something that becomes natural with practice. And your children will give you lots of opportunities to practice. Although each child is different in how they learn and how fast they learn, none of them learn everything the first time. Repetition is the key to instilling the behaviors you wish to see. And those moments when your child does exactly what you’ve been working so hard to teach them will come – and oh how worth the hard work it will all be!

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guiding and Conduction II

We also need to guide our children in how to deal with challenging and frustrating situations Instead of whining and complaining while standing in line at the grocery store (or asking for every piece of candy on the shelf), try counting the number of other people waiting, or make up a story about what the food does at night when the store’s closed, or review school work, or practice scripture. Instead of hitting someone when they make a child mad, teach them to hit a pillow, or do jumping jacks, or go spend a few minutes alone to calm down. Instead of throwing something when frustrated with a task, teach them to write about their frustration, or jump on a trampoline, or talk about it. There are countless ways to handle difficult situations and express feelings. The goal is to teach appropriate behaviors that will be healthy and effective in handling difficult situations.

He who walks with the wise grows wise. Proverbs 13:20a

I must add, as a personal caveat, it is important that our children experience difficult situations and disappointments. As moms we generally tend to protect our children. After all, that is a large part of our job. However, if we want what’s truly best for our children, we must, must, let them deal with tough situations and decisions. We can, and should, model appropriate behaviors, talk with them about the situations, and guide them through them. But we should also let them struggle and figure things out a little. The only way our children are going to be equipped to hand hard times and choices (which they will face on their own eventually) is if they have practice working through come under our guidance. As painful as it is for a mom to watch her child struggle, it is the only way they will become stronger. We, of course, need to rely on God’s guidance and the instinct He’s given us as moms in deciding when to let them struggle and how much. As with everything there should be balance. We don’t want to leave them to struggle on their own with something they are totally unprepared and mal-equipped to handle. Our goal is to empower our children in small things so that they will be competent to handle the larger things as they come along.

Guiding includes giving a child words to use as well as showing them how to do things and handle things. Just as we desire to communicate effectively with our children, we want to teach them to effectively communicate with us and others. We can guide them in the proper (and pleasant) ways to say things in the same way that we guide them in physical tasks. It’s not “Give me milk.” It’s “Mommy, may I please have some milk.” It’s not “No, I won’t do it.” It’s “I’d rather not.” It’s not “Eww, Yuck.” It’s “I’d prefer not to eat peas.” It’s not “Sammy’s mean.” It’s “Sammy hurt my feelings by snatching my toy.”

Children often get frustrated, angry, violent, and have difficulty with others because they don’t have the tools to handle difficult situations or communicate in beneficial ways. Many of these things our children need our guidance in seem small, and will most likely have to be repeated many times, but put together they enable a child to feel self-confident and have healthy relationships. Like teachable moments to model and talk about appropriate behaviors, opportunities to guide children in replacing negative behaviors and words with positive ones are in great abundance. Each time a child gets frustrated when something’s not working the way they want it to is an opportunity to talk them through the problem calmly and showing them how to try it a different way. Each time a child gets angry is an opportunity to talk them through using their words to express themselves and resolve conflicts. Each time a child gets violent is an opportunity to express that violence isn’t appropriate and to talk through other ways of handling themselves. Each time a child is learning a new task is an opportunity to work along side them.

“By empowering children to accomplish tasks, you can teach them to work and to love work. You can help them develop skills and qualities of character that will benefit them in whatever they do throughout their lives. You can build your relationship with them as you work side by side. You can reinforce their desire and ability to accomplish something meaningful. You can help them learn to contribute to the family and prepare them to better contribute to the world.” Merrill

Guiding, like modeling and verbalizing, is something that becomes natural with practice. And your children will give you lots of opportunities to practice. Although each child is different in how they learn and how fast they learn, none of them learn everything the first time. Repetition is the key to instilling the behaviors you wish to see. And those moments when your child does exactly what you’ve been working so hard to teach them will come – and oh how worth the hard work it will all be!

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