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Supporting Intellectual Connections

Posted: June 16, 2022

Pablo Picasso once said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” What an incredible posture, way of looking at that which is not yet known or second nature to us!

 

Learning is something we never outgrow and for that I am so thankful! Painting upon our ever growing life canvas, I cannot help but sometimes step back and stand in awe of the magnificent hues that captured different seasons of necessary change, growth and development, overall enriching the course of my life.


Quiet Parenting -- Stopping the Cycle of Yelling

Posted: June 09, 2022

Parenting can be one of the most rewarding responsibilities we ever take on. With that, however, comes the ups and downs of getting children to comply with what we say while being pulled in a thousand different directions. It’s no wonder why parents often resort to yelling when begging and threats are no longer effective. And while yelling is generally the result of needing things done urgently or when the parent feels disrespected, it is unproductive. This approach scares children and makes the parent feel guilty. To more effectively get children to comply, parents should first know their triggers and then plan to parent more calmly.

 

It’s often difficult for parents to stop and think about the long-term damage yelling may be causing in the heat of the moment. Not only does it model an ineffective conflict resolution strategy to the child, but it also makes everyone feel bad and rarely reduces the behavior. Because children have sensitive nervous systems, yelling can create more anxiety and lead to more difficulty developing healthy coping skills. And yes, yelling may work initially, but gradually children begin to tune it out, and it may even cause the unwanted behavior to continue or even worsen. What parents must remember is that yelling isn’t a form of communication. As parenting book, author L.R. Knost stated, “Yelling silences your message. Speak quietly so your children can hear your words instead of just your voice.”


Balance Feels Best

Posted: June 02, 2022

As digital learning has become a widely preferred alternative for school, children everywhere are now "required" to be on devices in the wake of the pandemic. This is quite a change from the screen time limits that parents have attempted to enforce for years. Now, allotting time for school online, connecting with distant relatives via video chats, and participating in physical activities virtually are all a part of our everyday lives. Therefore, our new reality is challenging parent’s view of how much screen time is too much. Parents everywhere must shift their rules regarding their children's use of technology and implement a balanced online lifestyle with other offline activities.

 

Technology has become a part of our daily lives in many positive ways. And while we have quicker and easier access to things and people, it has also caused many to live in a continual state of hyperstimulation. For children, this constant dopamine fix is the reason so many become “addicted” to devices. This can lead to negative behaviors and bad habits that will be more difficult to break. After hours of digital time, children become tired and irritable and often have meltdowns when told their time is up. And while the toxicity from technology overuse can be harmful, it’s not going anywhere.


Say Yes To Childhood

Posted: May 26, 2022

Parenting can be tricky. We want our children to be resilient, empathetic, and able to self-regulate. However, with the busyness of life, the experiences that build these characteristics fall by the wayside, and “no” becomes an automatic response. Children are continually being told what to do and what not to do. As a result, the reaction of parents for many child requests is rarely yes. And, unfortunately, this is typical because they are exhausted, don’t want to be disturbed, or simply because it has become a habit. However, parents should be saying is yes…yes to childhood, and yes to a joyful family.

 

As we would all agree, children need rules and limits. Therefore “no” is something we need to say. But the more frequently we use the word no, the more children begin to exhibit unwanted behaviors such as tantrums, talking back, and defiance. Remember…behavior is communication. And often, parents aren’t aware of how frequently they say no, and when children become disobedient, parents implement even more rules. However, this approach frustrates children and parents further, takes the joy out of the little moments in life, and suffocates children’s wonder about the world around them. Having a balance of rules and finding moments of happiness within the daily chaos will help children develop better self-regulation.


The Developing Mind -- Understanding Your Child's Behavior

Posted: May 12, 2022

One of the biggest struggles in parenting is understanding why perfectly sweet and smart children can, in an instant, turn into the most difficult beings ever faced. It’s often as if a switch was flipped and chaos has ensued. This typically results in parents becoming frustrated at their child and disciplining them in the heat of the moment. And while this may seem like the best option, it can be counterproductive in many ways. When parents become knowledgeable about the basics of brain development and how this affects behavior, they can help integrate all areas of the brain and have better parenting success.

 

The key to whole-brain integration is having a basic understanding of children’s brains. To simplify this, Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, created the concept of the “upstairs brain” and the “downstairs brain” in the book “The Whole-Brain Child.” When children are born, their primitive, “downstairs brain” is well developed. This part is responsible for the basic functioning of the body such as breathing and the heart beating but also incorporates innate responses related to strong emotions such as fear and anger. The amygdala, a tiny, almond-shaped mass, is the supervisor of the downstairs brain and stays alert for anything threatening. When there is perceived danger, our basic survival instincts kick in and we act before we think. For children, this often presents as a tantrum because they are flooded with stress hormones and strong emotions.


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