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The Three Words That Destroy Your Child’s Confidence

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Blog, Parenting, Thoughts | 4 comments

The Three Words That Destroy Your Child’s Confidence

Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear – Seth Godin Obviously. But take a moment to think about it because this is a really important distinction for anyone trying to raise a brave, confident, empowered child. Why? If you are like every other parent on the planet, at one point or another you have uttered these three words to your child: “don’t be afraid.” (And for the record, I am as guilty as anyone). You (we) did it with the best of intentions, of course. And you probably noticed that it didn’t work. That’s because this is the worst thing you can tell your child if you want them to learn how to be brave, confident and empowered. Here’s why: Absence of fear means that you are not afraid of things. But, there are legitimate things that your child should be afraid of. Pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make your child brave, it makes her foolish; it doesn’t make her confident, it makes her ignorant; and it doesn’t empower her, it simply teaches her to ignore challenges. Being fearless is about acknowledging that you are scared, but not letting that fear consume you. Teaching your child to face her fears makes her brave because she develops the strength she needs to face difficulties; it makes her confident because she learns to overcome her challenges; and it empowers her to become the mistress of her own life, regardless of what may come her way. How does this work in practice? Easy, just swap out those three troubling words for these: So, you’re afraid, now what are you going to do about it? * photo credit: Historias Visuales via photopin cc Don’t forget to sign up for more thoughts and parenting tips. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+,...

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The Tragicomedy of Parenting

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Blog, Parenting, Thoughts | 0 comments

The Tragicomedy of Parenting

A little perspective on the tragicomedy that is parenting:   What She Heard Let me tell you now and forever – I am going to make you miserable, wretchedly unhappy and terribly uncomfortable. I am going to make you cry. There will be days when you wish I were dead and you will relish the thought of me lying in my grave finally freeing you of the torture that is living with me. You are going to hate me and what I do to you. You are going to try to avoid me at all costs and yet I will always find you. You will never… ever be able to escape me. What She Said Dear daughter – I write these words so you may remember the intentions, the sentiments, that fill the spaces between what I say and that which you will hear. You are young and your emotions move you with such violence that they sweep away – no, they raze and lay waste to all but that which you must hear in order to break away from me. I understand how it is, I have traveled that journey as well. It is a treacherous and lonely one but a necessary journey to take. I have no doubt that you will come back. And when you do, you will find these words and they will give you comfort for they will fill in all those gaps that you tried (in vain, for a mother’s love will always prevail) to force between my words. Let me tell you now and forever – I am going to make you miserable for I will push you to be all that I know you can be, despite your efforts to the contrary, wretchedly unhappy when I challenge you to own who you are and wear yourself with pride, and terribly uncomfortable when you see me attempting to do the same. I am going to make you cry for I will not always give in to your demands, but I will be there to help you learn how to satisfy them yourself. There will be days when you wish I were dead and you will relish the thought of me lying in my grave finally freeing you of the torture that is living with me because sometimes you will just want to be alone and make your own decisions without your mother always trailing along beside you in life. And eventually you will and I will miss you terribly. You are going to hate me and what I do to you because I will tether you to the ground when all you want is to explore the heavens and I will propel you to new experiences when all you want is to remain shackled to that which you know.  You are going to try to avoid me at all costs and yet I will always find you because in that frail body of yours you carry my heart and that inviolable link will bind us together for as long as we shall live. You will never, ever be able to escape me for I will never, ever stop loving you. PS – This is something that I wrote and that usually resides here along with a few other stories if you’re interested in reading more. Don’t forget to sign up for more thoughts and parenting tips. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+,...

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Why Do Children Cyberbully (and what to do about it)

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Blog, Parenting, Thoughts | 0 comments

Why Do Children Cyberbully (and what to do about it)

Kids share lots of information – photos, texts, emails, videos, links, gossip, lies, rumors… you get the idea. They do it constantly, copiously, and quiet often, thoughtlessly. Rarely, however, are children actually trying to be mean. So then, why do children cyberbully? In this day and age, it doesn’t take much to become a cyberbully. One share can have an almost immediate and powerful effect. And so often it leaves someone else under a deluge of sorrow. The solution, however, isn’t to get kids to stop sharing information. The key is to understand why kids share information so they can better understand their own motives and how to share information in positive and constructive ways. Teach your child to ask themselves two questions anytime they want to share information: why am I sharing this information (i.e. what is my underlying motive)? is this the best way to handle this information (i.e. what is the impact of my action)? Some of the reasons that children share information: Because they want to show others that they are in the know about some secret. Because they genuinely care about an idea and want to support it. Because they want to feel like they belong to a a group and that group happens to be circulating that information. Because they think this information impacts them and the group(s) to which they belong. Because something is funny and they want someone to laugh with. Because something made them angry and want others to share in their outrage. Because they dislike someone and they want others to join in that dislike. Because they like someone and want others to share in that appreciation. Because someone asked them to, and it’s hard to say no to certain people. Because the piece of information is something that they believe in, but they have trouble saying it. Because it’s taboo and it’s cool to show that they have access to stuff they’re not supposed to see. Obviously, there are more, but these are some of the primary motivators. The point, however, is to make children aware of their motives and to help them understand the impact of their actions.  Because maybe that will help them be more thoughtful about what they share and how. And maybe then there will be fewer cyberbullies. And fewer broken hearts.  * image by Kevin Conor Keller Sign up for more thoughts and please share this post if you liked it. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+,...

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Reject the tyranny of being popular: pick yourself

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Reject the tyranny of being popular: pick yourself

The cool kids are the ones that have all the fun, the ones that everyone likes. Everybody else is insignificant and irrelevant. At least that’s how it feels to your child when they’re not one of the cool kids. It’s a social instinct to want to be liked by others, to want to be popular. So, your child seeks out those who are already popular hoping to get their seal of approval – their “I pick you.” Your child makes a few tweaks here and there, changing who they are to become more appealing to those who do the picking. And some changes are not a big deal. But others are, and those are the ones that tyrannize. All of those adjustments and modifications that your child makes can, in fact, be profound transformations and even deformations that turn them into someone who they are not. And no matter how much they permutate, the pickers will probably not even pick them because the pickers are looking for something specific, something that (hopefully) your child does not have. Conformism. Being popular means that you appeal to the greater number of people and that only happens when you don’t rock the boat, when you are just like everyone else. Being popular only happens when you are not uniquely yourself. And so, it’s a good thing if your child is rejected because once they realize that no one else is going to pick them, then they can actually get to work on what truly matters. You see, deep down, that social instinct is not actually about the number of fans and admirers that one has. It’s about the number of people who one can impact in a meaningful way. Once your child understands that there are real problems to be solved, powerful ideas to be shared, and meaningful connections to be made… once they realize that they have the tools and resources they need to create real value, then your child becomes truly significant. And being significant is far more important than being popular. Your child doesn’t need to wait for anyone to pick them. They need to pick themselves. * image courtesy of Kevin Conor Keller. ** This post was adapted from an excellent post by Seth Godin. Sign up for more thoughts and please share this post if you liked it. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+,...

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The 10 Things All Parents-to-Be Must Know

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Blog, Thoughts | 2 comments

The 10 Things All Parents-to-Be Must Know

You’re going to be a parent and that’s great. And it’ll be full of wonder and joy, and you’ll have lots of moments where you’ll stare at your little bundle in disbelief at what you’ve created. But you know all that already. What you may not know about is the dark side of parenting. Because we don’t often talk about it. Because we don’t like it. And it’s an ugly beast to live with. But, you should be aware of it, sooner rather than later, because it will rear its ugly head and when it does, you’ll be glad to know you’re not alone. So, here are the top 10 things that all parents-to-be should know about parenting. 1. Parenting will not at all be what you expected, it’ll be much worse (and yes, in many ways, much better). 2. Your child will not be the person you dreamed of and they will not behave the way you expect them to. Nothing you do will change that. You jut have to accept it. 3. You will have break-downs, often and of epic proportions. Expect them, ride them out, and know they mean you’re just a normal person. 4. You will be criticized, challenged, made to feel inadequate and dumb. You’ll doubt yourself every single day. Take it all with a grain of salt. 5. Your life pre-kids will immediately cease to exist and you’ll never get that back. That’ll be hard to adjust to and you’ll probably resent this for a while. But, your life is not over. It’ll just be a very different path from the one on which you started. 6. Raising a child will be the hardest thing you ever do and you will have to work on it every day of your life. Period. 7. You will be tested mentally, emotionally, and physically in ways that border on torture. Quite often you will doubt your ability to survive with your sanity and well-being intact. Somehow, you will. 8. Your marriage will be tested. Your friendships will be tested. Your relationships with family and colleagues will be tested. You will discover who really matters. 9. You will be disappointed in yourself, ashamed of some of your thoughts, embarrassed at some of your actions, and angry at many of your failings. Then you’ll move on. 10. And because of all of this, you will want to quit, walk away, throw your hands up in despair. But you won’t. And that is most important thing that nobody tells you about parenting. Yes, it’s the hardest, most thankless and at times grossest job you’ll ever have. But, parenting  breaks you down to the core of who you really are and forces you face yourself with honesty and integrity. What you’ll find is an amazing person capable of achieving extraordinary things. In this darkest and ugliest of realms, you are – in the truest sense of the word – a superhero. * image attribution: diloz Sign up for more thoughts and parenting tips. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+,...

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The Miley Message and why Reality is not a Show

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Blog, Parenting, Thoughts | 0 comments

The Miley Message and why Reality is not a Show

At the heels of Miley Cyrus’ tasteless public debacle, there are two good things that we can take away from her performance: a lesson and an opportunity. First, the lesson – contrary to the message Miley is trying so hard to convey, reality is not actually a show. But pretending it is can have disastrous effects. Which brings me to the opportunity – talk to your kids. Tell them why the Miley Message is the wrong one. Show them how damaging this lack of perspective can actually be. You see, kids have discovered that turning their life into a “reality show” is profitable. I’m not talking about income earned (although there is certainly no shortage of money being funneled into this concept), but rather in social media standing, which happens to be the new currency among kids. The reality show plays out on various social media platforms and the products of this new economy come in the form of instant images of bare mid-riffs and pouty lips, selfies and nude pics that can be (allegedly) erased; 140-character commentaries with coded hashtags; viral you tube videos; and virtual alliances forged with the sole purpose of bringing someone down. In a race to get more air-time (or likes or views or thumbs up), kids begin to act out their “reality” in increasing levels of complexity, creating dramas and spectacles that will yield quick results and make them more “profitable”. The problem is that most kids don’t realize how dehumanizing, alienating and disempowering this behavior actually is. Which is why Miley Cyrus gives you a great opportunity to talk to your kids. This kind of behavior is dehumanizing because it turns people into objects valued solely on their ability to get attention and not on those characteristics that actually make us human. It is alienating because it enables kids to engage in perfectly meaningless interactions devoid of any real substance of emotion. And it is disempowering insofar as it gives kids a misleading and inaccurate perspective of reality and their ability to truly succeed within it. Because reality is nuanced and wrought with challenges that require patience and perseverance to overcome. It rarely offers immediate satisfaction and the rewards we do get are nurtured over time and after a great deal of effort. Reality is not a show that one can turn on and off or track with a complex system of ratings and analytics. But people like Miley Cyrus will continue to convey that message. Which is why your job is so important. Because you get to shape another narrative for your child, one that empowers them to connect with others in meaningful ways and create real values. You get to help your child find “profit” in a life lived honestly, attentively, and with integrity. Like it or not, the Miley Message is an important one. You might as well make the most of it! Sign up for more thoughts and please share this post if you liked it. * image attribution to Samborowski. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+,...

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