Kids friends walking together

Vitalize Friendships

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

A 10% discount on a Private Champagne Tasting for 4 people
by Mary Kirk Bonnet, Champagne Expert

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Did you know that friendships help you be a better spouse and parent?  Yet after marriage they are more difficult to maintain.  Today’s gift provides just an opportunity for a memory-making, bonding moment with friends.

Friends toasting with champagne
Cheers to lasting friendships.

Under the tutelage of Champagne expert, Mary Kirk Bonnet, and in the setting of a beautiful vaulted cave in the 5th arrondissement in Paris, you will learn about the champagne region and taste three different champagnes accompanied by a selection of French charcuterie and cheeses which do justice to the sparkle in your flute.  The special rate through the Parent Advent Calendar is 58.50€ per person for a group of four.

Friends for Kids

Childhood is filled with friendships.

Here is what parents tell their children

“Choose your friends wisely.”

“Some friends are for playing, some for trusting, some for working together, some for going on adventures…  That’s why you have more than one friend.”

Friends for Adults (big kids)

Research shows that marriage changes friendships.  Girlfriend Parties and Guys Night Out become fewer and farther in between.  With more relationships to nurture in the same 24 hours of the day, we struggle to find the energy, time, and money (all of which are limited resources to parents) to organize events with friends.

And yet, friends help us become better partners and better parents.  We discover facets of our spouse when we are with friends.  And they reveal things about us and our loved ones that we could not accept from those closest to us.

What you learn about your spouse when you’re with friends

When you and your partner come home, the children tend to fill the space, both in the mind as well as the physical environment.

“How was school?”

“it’s time to stop playing that video game and to pick up your toys.”

“What’s for dinner?!”

And by the time the kids are tucked into bed, we have just the energy to pay a few bills, organize the children’s social calendar, and plan a few moments as family.

Research reports that couples spend an average of only 10 minutes per day in quality discussion! 

 

With friends, we discuss topics,
not day-to-day planning

“So, how are the kids?”
And you hear your spouse’s viewpoint on the children’s development.  (S)He notices all of that with our child?  (S)He did not mention the issue that concerns me with our child…might it not be such a big deal?!

“Whatever happened to _____ (that hobby of yours)?”
And you learn that indeed your partner does miss investing in his/her pastime.   What if there were a way to share this interest with the kids?

“You’ve been in that job for a while.  What’s the next step?”
You learn that your spouse has dreams that were not mentioned yet.  Why not?! Well, admittedly, it’s hard to discuss life goals in the two minutes between Joey’s bedtime drama and the upcoming visit with Mother-in-Law!

Enjoy your time with Mary Kirk Bonnet and the Champagne tasting.

AND enjoy your time making memories and sharing with friends.

Photos from Unsplash by Annie Spratt, Nik MacMillan, and Robert Collins

Child giving kiss in thanks

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

A Family Meeting for your family in your home
facilitated by Denise Dampierre, Positive Discipline educator

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

A Family Meeting is an opportunity for children to give feedback to parents, both about what they appreciate in family and areas where they would like to see change.  Parents always seem intrigued…then wary.  “What if the kids will make a laundry list of our faults and we will feel overwhelmed?”

With a clear and positive structure, Family Meetings are enjoyed by all!

Father mother son daughter in family meeting

Today’s gift is a Family Meeting in your home with your family held under the guidance of Positive Discipline trained Denise Dampierre.  After a brief introduction, you will begin the Family Meeting by sharing thanks.  What each family member appreciates in the other.  Then we will broach issues to change and close by celebrating your family.

This structured discussion lasts 30 plus minutes, depending upon the number and ages of the children.

The sharing of THANKS sets the tone for the Family Meeting. 

An attitude of gratitude also sets the tone for this gift-giving and gift-receiving season.

The Christmas Nightmare

You may have experienced this too.  It’s Christmas morning and the SUPER-EXCITED kids are Ready. Set. GO. to open their gifts.

Son and Daughter rip off the wrapping paper (you spent hours to put on) and discard the shreds on the living room floor.

Then they wail.  They did not receive The. ONE. Present. they oh-so-badly wanted.  They gave you a list of 10 wishes and you offered them 9 and, oooops, you missed the right one.

Or it could be they don’t like the chocolates offered by Great Aunt Martha.   Your child prefers milk chocolate with krispies, not this fancy (and expensive) stuff.

Or a sibling received better or more presents than they did….

The supposed-to-be magic festivities result in an emotional breakdown.

When Christmas Magic Means Fair

Parents work hard to prevent such a scene.  We spend fortunes on our children.  We make lists and compare the “value” of gifts so that the kids feel Christmas is “fair.” (Fair to whom? To you? To the child born in South Sudan?)

What about another approach?  It might require a paradigm shift.

When Christmas Magic Means Thankful

Remember the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart. Stewart plays George Bailey, a kind-hearted man who regularly sacrificed his well-being for the good of others.  One of these altruistic acts got him into major financial trouble.  In desperation, George turns to the town’s banker-tyrant, Mr. Potter.  Potter, referring to George’s life insurance policy, tells him

“You’re worth more dead than alive.”

That’s when George decides to take his life … but is given the chance to see what life would be like had he not been born. He is given the gift of glimpsing the value of his life which, in his discouragement he had been too blind to see.

It’s people’s thankfulness for George that transformed the situation.  First came the change in attitude.  This then enabled a reversal in circumstances.

George Bailey richest man in town

Gratitude Characteristic

There’s a multiplier effect to appreciativeness.

Thankfulness opens the eyes to more gratitude.

Being thankful for a tree with flickering lights leads to gratitude for electricity, and an income to buy the decorations, and the dedication of the garbage folk who pick up the spindly debris (stuffed into those recycling bags of course!)

Gratitude Can be Taught

Gratitude can be taught!

Thankfulness is a mindset which develops through practice.  Like any habit, the more we do it, the easier it is…and then it just comes naturally.

Like many new skills, it can feel awkward at the beginning.  We all start somewhere.

Olympic medalists did with their sports.

We can too with our thanks.

So when folk shrug their shoulders and excuse their self-focus with “It’s just not part of my personality or part of my culture,” think again.  It might not be part of their practice.  Yet!

Olympians excel in their domain through a discipline training plan.  So, what plan will you put in place to train yourself and the kids in gratitude?

Olympic skiier
Olympians began…
Little boy on baby skis
…like this.

 

Train as of Today

Advance step by step to encourage a thankful spirit (and preventing a Christmas Nightmare) in the next few days

  • Today:
    • Be an example of thankfulness.  Say, “Thank you” five times today.
    • As you put your child to bed ask them about one thing for which they are thankful today
  • Tomorrow
    • Be thankful out loud for something that you usually take for granted: electricity, sunshine, comfy sofas
    • Say “Thank you” to your partner while your children are within earshot
    • Share ONE Great Thanks to every child
  • After-tomorrow
    • Be thankful for this day. So excited to see what it will bring!
    • Transform a “calamity” (spilled milk, dirty clothes…) into a question. What could you and I do differently next time?  Say “Thanks for this time thinking of solutions together.  I learned about you and felt heard too.”
    • Share a train of thanks. “I’m thankful for a car.  It makes it possible to visit Grampa and Grandma.  I’m thankful that you have so many people who love you.  I’m even thankful that I’m hungry because I’m looking forward to our meal together even more!”
  • The day after that
    • You decide!

Prepare for a great Christmas morning NOW by practicing thanks. 

Take the time to practice.

Boy mopping floor doing chores

Build Kids’ Confidence with Chores

“What life skills do you want to transmit to your children?”

Ludocatix chore chart

This is how we begin our Positive Discipline parenting workshops and invariably parents share a list of traits Thtlike these:

  • Responsibility
  • Autonomy
  • Love of excellence
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • ….

That’s why we love getting kids involved in chores: to transmit these skills to your children AND SIMULTANEOUSLY to make life easier for you.

Check out Ludocatix which creates magnetic chore charts which you and the kids, together, adapt to your home.

Do You Know?

In a survey of 1001 US adults, 82% said they had regular chores growing up but only 23% indicated that they require their children to do them, reports the Wall Street Journal in their article “Why Children Need Chores.”

What happened?

Many parents feel they burden their children with chores and feel guilty.  Or they fear chores could negatively impact their relationship with the kids.  Yet research demonstrates the opposite.

Research indicates that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school.

Aren’t those the skills parents desire to pass onto their children?!

Today’s gift, a magnetic chore chart you can create with your children, helps them remember their chores in a fun and colorful way.

10 Ways Children Benefit from Chores

Here are 10 reasons why chores are great for kids…and therefore great for you too.

  1. To help kids feel needed
    How do you define your family?  What helps the kids know that they BELONG.  When a child has a regular chore, the other family members COUNT ON HIM.  He is needed; he has a role to contribute to the well being of all.
  2. To build a love of excellence
    Parents get to encourage quality in work as they observe how well a chore is completed.  They are also able to provide immediate, usable feedback.
    “Honey, is that pink toothpaste I still see on the bathroom sink?  A clean sink is shiny and white.  Show me how you cleaned it last time and we’ll find one thing you can do differently to make the sink glow!”
  3. To not treat parents like the Maid of the Butler
    When parents or house help do all the chores, kids tend to treat those who clean up like…servants whose purpose is to fulfill their desires.  Parents have a higher calling!  When children participate in chores, their respect for parents grows.  They’re not going to treat Mom or Dad like servants, because they do the same thing!
    “Darling, we are a family.  Everyone helps.  It’s what we do.”
  4. To teach responsibility
    The dishwasher gets emptied every day.  The trash gets taken out several times a week.  We vacuum the living room on a regular basis.  Household chores are recurring tasks and children learn to the importance of ongoing maintenance effort.
  5. To manage time
    Chores require a little bit of time.  It takes 5 minutes to set the table.  10 minutes to declutter the front hallway.  10 minutes to vacuum under the dining table.  A regular chore requires a child to integrate these few minutes into their daily schedule.
  6. To improve school grades
    Performance at school is often related to ongoing, regular effort…just like chores.  Mastery of a subject grows little bit with daily practice.   Chores show immediate results and thus reinforce the value of this daily effort.
  7. To build empathy
    We do chores for the benefit of everyone in the family, not just for ourself.  At an early age, chore-doing children get to learn to think of and act for others.
  8. To build hope for the future
    Chores truly become burdensome when they are done alone.  When children see their parents always busy with household tasks and not available to play, they create a sad vision of adulthood: all work, no fun.  Why grow out of child-like behavior if it’s to become a slave to toil?
  9. To become a more attractive partner
    As the mother of four boys, I remind them, “If you want to attract a woman of value, you can’t treat her like a maid.  Treat her like a woman of value!”  And that means doing your share of the chores.
  10. To be appreciated & affirmed
    The result of chores is immediate.  Either the table is set or it is not.  And everyone in the family knows who’s turn it is to prepare the table for dinner this week.
    “Sweetheart, that’s a lovely job folding the napkins this way.  Thank you!”
    “Today we can thank Joe for the clean hallway.  Thanks, darling.  I really appreciate not tripping over backpacks.”

And we have not even mentioned that kids enjoy a cleaner home, they learn motor skills, they test negotiation skills (“Can you do the dishwasher for me today and I’ll vacuum the stairs for you tomorrow?”) and soooo much more.

Chore Charts

How to move from theory to practice?  A chore chart sure helps.  And Ludocatix’s colorful magnetic charts make it easy.

Children and parents work together to decide who does what when.

And as the children grow and their abilities evolve and your family needs change, well, just move the magnets around to update the chart!

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

Hands helping each other

Make Peace with Someone

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

1 hour Relationship Repair Coaching + daily SMS follow through for 1 week
with Denise Dampierre

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Today’s gift helps you live a life without regrets and to repair a relationship.  You receive 1 hour of coaching to create a reconciliation action plan and daily SMS follow through for a week to provide encouragement and tweak your plan as needed.

Let’s gain insights from wizened folk.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and much more

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Clayton Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School.  In speaking about parent-child relationships

The time to plant a tree is before you need the shade.

Lovely Ladies

What will you do TODAY so that TOMORROW your relationships remain vibrant and strong?

A Mom’s Story

Here is a glimpse of a coaching conversation with a mother of four children:

Mom: “I don’t want to deal with past mistakes I may have made with my kids.  I’m human.

Apologize?  No!

Here is how I treat my past blunders.  It’s like I sweep them under the rug and place them behind me so that I don’t see them.”

We both laughed as we imagined the scene and what the kids’ saw: a smiling mother with a VERY BUMPY rug behind her!  L.O.L.

As we shared, she admitted that the debris really lay between herself and the children, like a hurdle to climb to gain intimacy.

Mom: “A small hurdle is not a problem.”

Coach: “What’s your goal with the children? Big intimacy or small problems?”

Hand building lego wall
Building or taking down the relationship barrier?

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

“But I am Right!”

Parents may wonder, “Why apologize when I am right?!”

It takes two people to have a conflict.  Very rarely is one party 100% in the right and the other completely at fault.

Regarding the underlying issue between you and your child, you are probably right.  The room does need to get cleaned.  Curfew is to be respected.  The way one speaks to elders matters.

AND process matters too.  Might there have been an over-reaction?  Were you closed to feedback and your child wanted to share his point of view? Did viable distractions limit your ability to focus on your loved one?

In the coaching I help parents realize where they may have added fuel to a slight tension flicker…which resulted in a full-blown flame.

Don’t be sorry for asking your child to clean his room.  That is your parenting prerogative.

You can be sorry for screaming at him when he did not respond after you asked him numerous times.  “And, darling, can we work out together a way that I won’t be tempted to raise my voice because you would respond more quickly?”

“Will apologizing make we look weak?”

On the contrary.  A sincere apology for YOUR part of the conflict makes you authentic, one of the qualities teenagers appreciate in adults.

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD reminds parents that respect is assimilated through language and modeling, not through the act of traditional “teaching.” Even young children understand when adults are not walking their talk. By adolescence, those mixed messages can cause deeper and deeper divides between teens and adults.

(Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, is the author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers: Reclaiming the Power of Citizenship for a New Generation. A developmental psychologist and researcher, she works at the intersection of positive youth development and education.)

Reconciled cat and dog
Isn’t reconciliation PRECIOUS !

We reconcile to choose to love.  To reconnect.

Nelson Mandela is reputed to say,

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

Reconciling does not mean pretending that the incorrect behavior suddenly becomes acceptable.  The mis-action remains wrong.

Repairing the relationship means choosing to love even when you have been hurt and to let go of the resentment so that you can keep thriving.

Reconnecting places the priority on the relationship rather than on the back-talk, perpetual tardiness, or any other of our children’s challenging behaviors.

Wonder!

It often happens (but not always) that when one person recognizes their part in a conflict, the other party admits their misdead too.  Phew !

 

Note: This coaching will be with Denise Dampierre, a trained Positive Discipline educator and certified in Appreciative Inquiry.  If your situation requires medical or psychological expertise, Denise can you recommend you to a specialist.

 

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash and PetsWorld

Woman gently holding vulnerable child

Give a Gentle Answer

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

Family Tickets to the “Calm Anger” Parent + Child Workshop
from SoSooper 

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Today’s gift invites BOTH disagreeing parties to join in fun activities and guided discussions to

  • Clarify the issue of dispute
  • Identify triggers to outbursts
  • TOGETHER find solutions to gain agreement
  • Make a routine chart to stay on track

Parents and children leave with a practical action plan to BOTH avoid outbursts AND resolve them quickly when they happen.

And it’s fun!

  

WHO is the REAL opponent?

The parent, the spouse, the child, or the issue?

Isn’t is amazing how a simple issue can suddenly escalate into a battle between parent and kid?  In our coaching we hear worried parents ask, “What is wrong with my child?… What is wrong with ME?!”

Take heart.

“Children who argue have good character qualities like persistence, perseverance, determination, creativity, and an ability to communicate ideas. The problem with arguing is that your child views you as an obstacle.”

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, in Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids!

How to get out of arguing with children?

 

Boxing girl by Frank deKleine

MAKE THE ISSUE THE OPPONENT.

Let parent and child partner together in finding a solution.

It takes two people to have an argument.

And BOTH arguers contribute to the disagreement and BOTH can orient the exchange towards peace.

Miller and Turansky remind us that the subjects we argue about are often not THAT important.

IT IS THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MATTER.

Images by Madi Robson from Unsplash, SoSoooper, and LetMeColor.com

Surprised and joyful boy

Welcome surprises and encourage learning

 Today’s Gifts on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

One My Little Box & One My Gambettes Box
from My Little Paris 

How to receive these gifts?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky ones to win the draw.

My Little Paris graces the life of 100 000 people worldwide with their monthly themed boxes.  My Little Box reveals beauty products and lifestyle accessories and the Gambettes Box unveils 2 totally chic and unique legwear every month.

  

My Little Paris chooses it’s monthly themes with care so that surprise even means continuity, not chaos, so that you can fully delight in them.

November’s Box brought comfort, the kind you seek when lounging on a Sunday.  Comfort for the face, the hands, for fun and for food.

Gambettes Box took an intellectual turn with leaf designs as you leaf through your books at the Sorbonne Library!

And December? Can’t unveil that box yet…or it would not be a surprise!

learn through surprise and trust

Invite Surprise @ Home = Relinquish some Control

“It’s been known for a long time that it’s unexpected events in particular that drive learning,” asserts Wael Asaad, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Brown University.

How about surprising the children, especially one that seems reticent to learn, with responsibility. 

“Are you sure?” parents respond.

Many of the mothers and fathers who attend our workshops seek predictability.  Control.  Yet they find it slipping away.

As one father puts it, “The more I try to keep the kids in control, the more out of control I feel.”

Your Relationship-Building Surprise

Why not try a once-a-month relationship-building surprise. 🙂

Consider the “Smooth Morning Out the Door with a Smile” Theme

Select a Date

This is an exceptional event.  Put it on the calendar for everyone to look forward to.  Choose a weekend morning when there is less pressure to be on time.

Who wants to be in charge?

Invite a child to have the responsibility of getting out the door on time to a child.  “Who would like to Be In Charge?”

Consider offering this to your most “problematic-in-the-morning” child.  You’ll be surprised at ALL OF THE LEARNING you’ll do…and together!

 Prepare when you are calm

With the date set in advance, you can help your child prepare.

Your child both knows and does not know what to do.  Help her formalize the routine.  “What needs to happen so that we get out the door well?”

Make it like a brainstorming together.

  • “Honey, what do you want to remember for your ‘Morning I’m In Charge’?”
  • “Remind me what needs to get done in the morning before we go…. Yes, we do need to choose clothes. Could that be done the night before or do we HAVE TO DO IT with blurry eyes?… You decide.  You’re in charge.”

Gather Helpful Tools

“Darling, what could help you get the job done? 
A buzzer to keep track of time?
A meeting of the family the night before where you remind everyone of what they have to do?
Waking up earlier?” 

Let your child choose.  She’s in charge.

Be a Gracious Follower

Remember the first times you prepared your babe to go out and forgot the extra diaper and the pacifier fell in the mud and….

Your child will probably face challenges and could even get frustrated because she has HIGH expectations.

Be the first one to behave as requested. Do what is asked of you…and try to refrain from doing more.

Allow your child to experience the challenge of herding a group out the door.  THIS FRUSTRATION is part of the prize.

Once your children realize how much effort is required, they become more understanding and cooperative with you. ????

Review and Improve

“So, darling, what went well?”

Invite their self-evaluation and offer a few genuine positive observations as well.

Maybe it felt like a fiasco.  Did you get out the door?  Then share that.  “Honey, we got out the door!”

Ask your child what she would like to do differently next time.  Help keep it specific.  If she asks you, offer ONE idea for change.  Specific means doable, which means she could succeed next time.

One Mom’s Story

“Our second son was so contrarian.  I felt like we were in a perpetual power struggle.  By the time we got out the door in the morning, I was ready for a nap!

We tried this Mom-Son role switch.

Mr. Rebel was delighted. ”You’ll let ME be in charge, Mom?!”

He became a new person, Mr. Responsible, being conscientious with his job.  In the middle of the preparation he realized this was work.  “Can we switch back, Mom, and I’ll be the kid again?”

We encouraged him to follow through to the end.

The experience transformed our every day morning ritual.  Firstly, the morning routine was clear in everyone’s mind.  Our previously challenging son because the first one ready.”

Respect

Give and Get Respect

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

The Gift of Respect Downloadable
from SoSooper 

How to receive this gift?  Download them here.

Respect is one of those words that, since we all know what it means, we rarely define it…or describe what it sounds like in our home.

It’s relevance reaches from marching for rights for your daughter to speaking to her with honor.  Everyday.  Especially when you are (justifiably) MAD.

Today’s gift provides a more effective way of resolving the conflict than through a one-sided “discussion” that leaves both parent and child frustrated.

Gift of respect of kidsR.E.S.P.E.C.T. The Parents

Every parent has had a conversation like this at some time:

Parent making a request to a child: “Darling, could you set the table please?” (or clean up your room, or put the video games away, or….)

Child: No response.

Parent: “Sweetheart?!”

Child chooses one of the following responses:

  • Rolls eyes. Heaves a HEAVY SIGH.
    or
  • “You ALWAYS pick on me. Why don’t you ask my brother? 
    He played too…”
    or
  • “N.O.”

The parent, justifiably miffed and taking the child’s response personally, launches into a Thou-shalt-not-treat-thy-parent-with-disrespect Discourse. 

“Hello?!  This is your M.O.T.H.E.R. (or F.A.T.H.E.R.) you are talking to.  You DO NOT speak to me that way.  I do _____ for you and…blah blah blahAND also…more blah blah. Do you hear me?

You, the parent, feel like you did your job of correcting your child.  It was a necessary, one-sided “discussion.”

The kid might mumble an apology or look down. Until the next time.

In the Child’s Mind

Yet what is this child thinking about his parent?

Is this the person he wants to turn to when he feels insecure? 

When he knows he has made a mistake and is not quite sure what to do next?

How does he understand the meaning of respect? Does R.E.S.P.E.C.T. mean that children should speak politely to parents but mothers and fathers may rant and rave?

Does R.E.S.P.E.C.T. mean that children should speak politely to parents but not visa versa?! Click to Tweet

Ouch!

Today’s gift provides a more effective way of resolving the conflict than through a one-sided “discussion” that leaves both parent and child frustrated.

It’s a gift where parents accept to stop the Grand Discourse upon the child’s request. 

When will the child learn his lesson?!

In our Positive Discipline workshops, we role play these situations.  A parent takes on the role of the child and is placed in front of parents who go on and on with instructions.

“I stopped listening,” is the most common response.

Chances are your child turned his ears off too as soon as you rampaged into your speech.

There is a time to broach the issue.  When both parent and child are calm.  That’s when you can connect and ask questions that uncover your kid’s motivations, beliefs, and expectations.

Today’s gift keeps a positive connection with your child SO THAT you can effectively address the bothersome issue fully and effectively.

How The Gift of Respect works

 

Gift of Respect of parentsGift of respect of kids

The Gift of Respect includes

  • 3 “tickets” your children can use to ask you to stop lecturing.  You can bring up the subject at another time, just not now and without a “talking-at.”
    You’ll see on the Gift Certificates three phrases

    • Cool your jets
    • Chill Out
    • Gimme a Break
  • 2 “tickets” you can use with your kids for the to S.T.O.P.

Every month, the child may “play” each of the “tickets.”  Three times a month she can ask mother or father to please stop lecturing her.

Every month, the parent has two “stops” to play.  No more last nab in the ribs of the sibling, no more eye roll or SIGH!  An immediate halt to a stated misbehavior.

The Gift of Respect in Real Life

A mother was driving her son to a sports event and he was late…again.  Mom, legitimately annoyed, started telling her son how FRUSTRATING it was to have to go through the same process. Every. Week. Again. & Again.

From the back seat she hears a quiet, “Cool your jets.

Mom: “Honey, did you just say, ‘Cool your jets’ like ‘Mom, you are lecturing me.  Please stop.’”?

Child: “Yup.”

Mom: “Oh.”

Mother notices then that she is seething interiorly…and realizes she is more in the mind frame of blaming her child for his misbehavior than she is in finding a solution to avoid it in the future.

DIFFICULT AS IT IS, she refrains herself and remains silent.

Of course, this issue still weighs on her mind.  While her child is at sports practice, Mom realizes there must be an underlying reason to her son’s repeated tardiness.

That night, when tucking her son into bed, she sits by him and asks some questions

  • “Honey, I have noticed that you are often the last one to be ready to leave. Have you noticed that too?”
  • “What makes it difficult to be ready on time?”
  • “What could help you be ready earlier?”
  • “Which of these new ideas can you do on your own?”
  • “How could I help you?”

Tough & Powerful

This mother concluded, “I have a love-hate relationship with this Gift of Respect.

I hate it when my lack of self-control is exposed.  I hate it when I cannot have my way and just say what is on my mind.

And yet, I love it that my relationship with my children is transformed.  We engage in rich discussions about character qualities; we did not have those before.  I love it how the children seek me out to talk about sensitive issues like sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, and friends, and parties…. I love not seeing those eye rolls anymore.  I love how the children share their love for me when I act pretty unpleasant.  Now they are the ones to tell me, ‘Can we talk about this later when we are both calm?’

We used the Gift of Respect for about two years.  After that, our way of managing misbehavior had changed so we did not need it anymore.”

laughing child

Smile … all day

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

3 beauty pouches “Colibri” (just the right size for lipstick or pencils)
from Beija Flore  

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Trousses Colibri de Beija Flore

Beija Flore is offering THREE pouches.  Will you change your lipstick pouch with the seasons … or enjoy a mother-daughter duo…or give one to your mother-in-law (with a smile, of course)?  Thanks to their generosity, you get to choose.

Beija Flore makes practical pouches with beautiful Liberty fabrics.  Colorful, they are easy to find in the purse.  Stylish, they are delightful to pull out in fpublic.  Practical, they fit the necessities for mom and child

Beauty pouch necessities for maman:

  • a lip pencil,
  • a small mirror
  • several lipsticks

Beauty pouch necessities for child:

  • a few band-aids
  • a tube of arnica granules.
    Arnica speeds up healing…and the slightly sweet granules melting on a child’s tongue soothes physical and emotional “booboos” alike

 

Life-Changing Power of Smiles

Did you know that a smile changes life?

Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy, shares in her TedTalk how “faking it” (the smile) enables one to make it (to stimulate happiness hormones so that we authentically feel better.)

Smiling people attract attention.

As a start-up I attend multiple events with notable speakers…and, after their talk, I regularly go up to comment.  People recognize me.  “I saw you in the room.  You were smiling.

And a smile makes a difference for your child too.

smiles

Changing Home-life with Smiles

Try this.

Call your child over.

(CHILD’s NAME)!

They might come hesitantly.  When you and I call our children’s name it is often for what they might interpret as “bad news”:  a chore to be done, a request to hurry, a correction…

This time, when your kids responds to your summons, just smile at them.  With your lips, your eyes, and your tone of voice as you share how wonderful it is to have them in the family.

Smiling Results

As you do this occasionally, several changes occur;

  • A new you – you become aware of your tone of voice as you call the children. Next time you want them to pick up their dirty shoes from the front hallway, you might even call them over to first smile (connect), then clean up (correct)
  • A new response from the children – Can we blame the kids for dragging their feet when they know it’s for parent-imposed work? Wouldn’t you respond differently if you wondered, “What will they have to say this time?”

One Mom’s story

One mother shared this:

We live in a house with a spiral staircase.  I’m often in the kitchen and the children are upstairs.  I used to feel that I was shouting at them all the time to come down and DO (set the table, do homework, pick up…)

Then I decided to call them to BE together.  Instead of shouting (!) their name while standing at the kitchen sink, I would physically move my body to the bottom of the stairs where I could speak their name and they could hear it.

They would scramble down…and I would pat on one the steps so we could look at each other eye-to-eye.

Mom: “Tell me one great thing about your day, darling.

And we spoke for one or two minutes.  Just the two of us.  Without the interruption of his brother and sister.

Mom: “Thanks, sweetheart.  Enjoy playing…and remind me, what happens when the buzzer rings?”

He’s already running off while answering, “Clean up toys!”

The volume went down in our home, the chores still got done, and the joy went up.

One Child’s Story

And here’s what another child shared:

“I like it when you have that lip stuff.  I can see your smile when you’re far away.”

Don’t leave home without your lipstick snuggled into your Liberty fabric lipstick pouch 🙂

Positive Discipline Feel Good Space

Create a “Feel Good” Space

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

35% discount on a 7 week class of Positive Discipline for Parents
by a team of Positive Discipline trainers 

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

A 7 week Positive Discipline course covers these helpful topics: the Positive Approach – Firm AND Kind SIMULTANEOUSLY – Belief Behind the Behavior & Children’s Mistaken Goals – Focusing on Solutions & Encouragement – Life Lessons Learned from Siblings – Stress Responses & Family Meetings – Setting and Keeping Agreements & Continuum of Change.

Among our first activities is to guide parents in creating a “Feel Good” space for themselves and for each of the kids.

Your price = 150€ for 14 hours of group training.  These are experiential training sessions, that is, we learn through activities, roles plays, and with lots of laughter. (Good mood makes good learning ????)

Does Happy @ Home = Happy @ Work ?

In many cases, yes.  And research studies show that this applies to children and their performance at school and in sports.

Our mood impacts how we think.

Our thoughts impact how we perform.

In Psychology Today, Sian Beilock, Ph.D. asserts that good mood positively impacts performance in situations which require flexibility to possibly shift goals or when we exhaust many different hypotheses.

(Sian Beilock is a psychology professor at The University of Chicago and an expert on the brain science behind performance failure under pressure.)

Let’s translate Professor Beilock’s terms into the family context:

  • “when solving a difficult logistics issue” – Who will pick up Suzy at the birthday party and how will we get food in the fridge when the car is in the shop?
    or
  • “when juggling several different tasks at once” – bath + dinner preparation + homework + finding out about the day +…

Beilock is one of many acclaimed scientists proving such concepts.  Here are some findings from the international Mood & Performance study of 450 children between ages 11 and 12 years.  (by Terry, Lane, Beedie, Curry, and Clark in 2001)

Research Findings

  1. Feeling down decreases the ability to regulate other moods leading to feelings anticipated failure
  2. People who feel low tend to believe a task is beyond their perceived abilities…and in turn are angry with themselves
  3. “The blues” tend to focus people on negative previous experiences. They think they can’t.
    As a result they set lower goals and try less hard to reach them.

Conversely people in positive moods set more challenging objectives AND are more likely to achieve them.

Good Mood -> Good Goals + Good Effort -> Good Performance

Good Mood = Smoother Functioning of Family

GREAT NEWS!

What Studies do Not Conclude

BEWARE of jumping into invalid interpretations.

Here are a few disclaimers:

  • Good Mood Problem-Free Life + Always-Obeying Kids
    We will have challenges.  That’s how we grow.
  • Good Mood More Time + Less Stress (when I overscheduled myself and the kids)
    There are 24 hours per day. Period. Everyday.
  • Good Mood Children are Royalty + Parents are servants
    Getting everything that you request is not a proven source of happiness.  Quite the contrary.  Instead of, “Thank you,” the response is often, “Just a little bit more.

Or conversely… (and this is how I acted for tooooo long a time)

  • Good Performance Focus on Mistakes + Scold for Low Effort
    According to these studies, phrases these phrases (which I used to “motivate”) backfire.
    “How could you do that AGAIN?”
    “Don’t you learn?!”
    Ouch!

How to Get More Good Mood @ Home ?

That’s where I love the approach of Positive Discipline, a science based set of tools to build respect-filled and cooperative relationships.

Parents learn ways to set firm limits AND connect with kids.  Many of the relationship tools provide opportunities to include youngsters in decision-making (often referred to as solution-finding).

  • Parents assure the respect of limits and the accomplishment of necessary, daily tasks (teeth brushing, getting to school, peaceful siblings…)
  • Children feel belonged and fill their need to contribute, to have value

In France, Positive Discipline training is gaining inroads

  • in families
  • in private and public (!) schools
  • in corporations (the concepts are applied in leadership training to manager-coach relations)

Today’s gift is a 35% discount on a 7 week Positive Discipline course.  Your price = 150€ for 14 hours of group training.  These are experiential training sessions, that is, we learn through activities, roles plays, and with lots of laughter. (Good mood makes good learning ????)

Classes are led throughout the year by various trained leaders such as Denise Dampierre and Chantal Bourges (whom you have already met through this Advent Calendar), Alix de Salaberry, Rozenn LeRoux Mion, Leila de Monclin, and more…

What Parents Say About Positive Discipline Classes

“Thank you.  You changed the way I relate to my kids.  I used to want to change them.  Now, I enjoy them…and in the process we ALL change!”

“I used to no longer like the person I was as a mother.  Thanks to these tips and putting them into practice, I have changed, and so has my relationship with the boys and with my husband.  I look in the mirror and I like who I see.”

“I took this class for less stress for me.  I got so much more: learning how to pass on life skills to my children, getting my priorities in order, and enjoying life.”

“The sessions gave me a time ‘off’ where I could step back, re-evaluate the way I parent, and put in place a long term strategy to help my children and our family prosper.”

 

Eiffel Tower Painter by Marc Riboud

My Favorite Names for “Feel-Good” Spaces

“Cuddly Corner” – A parent in one of our classes came up with this

“Santorini” – A Greek Island.  It’s sunny and sounds more original than Hawaii.

“Eiffel Tower Perch” – Thank you photographer Marc Riboud for stretching my imagination.  What works for others might not work for me and you. 🙂

What will you call yours?

Cover photo by Samuel Foster on Unsplash

Build Emotional Intelligence

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

Emotions Charts Download to help your child develop his Emotional Intelligence
from Sunflower Storytime, TotSchooling, and Bougribouillons

How to receive this download package?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and tomorrow we’ll send you the collection by email.

Feelings faces by Sunflower Storytime

Download the chart here.

Emotional Intelligence

What is it?  (Besides a buzz word)

Do I have it?  Do my precious kids?

What difference would Emotional Intelligence make in my home?

In Psychology Magazine, Dan Goleman, PhD. and author of The Brain and Emotional Intelligence describes EI as both a self and other-focused process:

Emotional Intelligence refers to two kinds of focus.

First: an inward awareness of our thoughts and our feelings, and applying that in managing our upsets and focus on our goal.

Second: a focus on others, to empathize and understand them, and on the basis of this to have effective interactions and relationships.

The first step is emotion-awareness.

Then, the ability to name our feelings gets us launching on managing them.

How many emotions can your children identify and name?

Today’s gift helps you do just that.

Fun facts about emotions:

Feelings are neither good nor bad emotions.

It is good to be angry at rape and human trafficking.

You and your child can discuss whether it is good or bad to be happy at someone else’s bad news (!)

Emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and intimately linked.

Which comes first:  The thought that we are in a dangerous situation, or the feeling “I’m scared,” or getting out of there as soon as possible?

This is the subject of much scientific debate…and not of this blog post.  Suffice it to know that these three facets of emotions are indissociable.

Did you know that you can even create a happy mood by biting (not tooooo hard) on a pencil with your mouth?  This biting process (behavior) stimulates the same muscles used to smile, thus sends messages to the brain (thinking) to create dopamine, the feel good hormone (emotion).

Emotions have BOTH universal AND cultural expressions

Before the 1970’s, anthropologists believed facial expressions reflected cultural interpretations. Psychologist and behavioral scientist Paul Ekman developed systematic ways to measure body language and identified 6 basic emotions which are universal throughout human cultures.

fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, and sadness.

Of course, there are MANY MORE emotions, and some believe more internationally universal ones too.

Emotions can be described by ONE word.

“I feel like the freshness of feet crush fresh grass sprinkled with morning dew.”

This sure sounds loverrrrly.  It’s not an emotion.

The associated feeling could be surprised, or uncomfortable, or refreshed, or …. (wet is not an emotion.  It’s a physical state 🙂 )

 

Teaching our Children to Identify and Express Emotion

Your usually-cheerful child comes home in a bad mood.  What is he feeling?  He might not even be able to put words to it!

Help him decompress by helping him identify his feelings.

Little tykes relate well to these colorful and expressive emotions faces from Sunflower Storytime.  Print them out and place them in an accessible place.  When your child stomps/slouches/jumps/slumps in, steer him towards the emotions faces and begin a healing time for all.

And if your child is not ready to communicate, don’t worry.  In five minutes, she might!  Let her know you are available.

“When you want to let me know how you’re feeling, come find me, darling.”  And smile.

Because YES our brains are also wired to mimic others.  Your happy mood (or your miserable one….) is contagious too.

 

More resources

I love these universal language, colorful faces on the chart by Sunflower Storytime.  You might prefer another style.  In addition, if your feelings charts include words you’ll be enriching their emotional vocabulary.

Check out these sites for alternatives.

ACN Latitudes – The Association for Comprehensive Neurotherapy has a comprehensive collection of downloadable chart for all occasions.

TotSchooling – I LOVE these Christmas emotions charts.  Prepare to avoid the meltdown when your child does not receive the gift they requested DAILY from Santa.

Bougribouillons – These charts (in French) might be more suited to older children.  Using charts in another language is a great stimulation for you and your family; it provides you with the liberty to develop your own family’s feeling vocabulary.  “What does ‘rassuré’ mean?… What does it look like to you? What words could we use in our home?”

La Famille Positive – This is where I found out about Bougribouillons. Edna Guccia hunts down positive advice (and shares some of own her wisdom).  If you are looking for French resources, well, she’s One. Great. Resource!

 

Thanks to Austin Chan for his photo on Unsplash