Parenting

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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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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The Lonely Road of Popularity

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Blog, Parenting | 0 comments

The Lonely Road of Popularity

The urge to be popular is a powerful and, for most, unavoidable desire. And it grabs our children with unparalleled force. In pursuit of what they think is admiration or perhaps even adoration, they seek to become the common denominator – like most to be likable by most. Or when that fails, they seek to draw attention by differentiating themselves. Often to a shocking degree. The thing is, being admired or even adored is not a numbers game. Nor is about shock value. The goal is to create something remarkable, to bring a certain kind of magic to people’s lives, becoming someone that others choose to talk about because knowing you has made them a better person. Being admired is about connecting with people in powerful ways, its about giving others new and rewarding experiences, about touching their minds and hearts. That doesn’t usually happen at a grand scale. In fact, it happens most effectively at a small scale where connections can be meaningful and powerful. Which is why the path to popularity is usually a lonely and unsatisfying one. Whereas the road to remarkability is always an extraordinarily rich and rewarding one. * image courtesy of Sergei Zavarykin 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 Master of Disaster

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Blog, Parenting | 2 comments

Look at him. He’s so cute, isn’t he? What’s his name, you ask? Why, he’s the Master of Disaster. You think that name is taken? Your child is the Master of Disaster. I’m sorry but… you must be mistaken. THIS is the Master of Disaster. How do I know? I now bring you… How To Become a Master of Disaster: Climb on Everything: Everything means Everything – chairs, tables, beds, toilet seats, toy bins, baskets, vacuum cleaners, pets, small children… all the usual fare. When you have exhausted the first round, use Everything to climb on Everything Else (e.g. use a chair to climb up onto a counter, use a table to climb up onto a window sill, use a toilet seat to climb up onto a sink… you get the idea). I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised considering this is his big brother as a baby: Find the Highest Point in your Home and Throw Things Off of It: “Where are my shoes?” the Diva asks. See those bushes down there? “Where are the clothes that I was folding?” See those bushes? “Where are the new pillows we bought?” Same as above. “Where is the broom?” Yup. Do this in Public, Always, Everywhere: Demand to be Pulled in a Rickshaw Wherever You Go: Big deal, right? Every kid does this. Hold on, I’m not done. Cram yourself into an elevator just big enough to fit you, your grandmother, your brother and sister and possibly a fish (a small one). Proceed to jolt the stroller by slamming your head against the stroller headrest until the stroller handle pushes a button on the elevator control panel and the elevator stops*… midway between floors 3 and 4… for 30 minutes, until your Mother (who didn’t fit into the miniscule elevator) is able to find someone who can (a) speak English, (b) fix elevators, and (c) get you out. If you’re lucky, the 2 cm crack in the door will be just big enough for your Mother to slide some crackers through along with gummy bears impaled on a knife. *In the interest of full disclosure, it is unclear whether the “elevator incident” was caused by the Master of Disaster or one of the other children pushing on the doors. Still… Ah, but you’ve had that happen? Ok, what about this:  Within five minutes of moving into your new apartment in Europe, find a room that has a key on the inside and proceed to lock it (from the inside). Then, start wailing for  help and when your frantic parents realize that not only do they not have key to open the door (although they have NINE other keys that each opens one of the nine other doors) and the hinges are on the inside of the door, attempt to put the key back in the lock and jam it in so that your parents can’t pick the lock at all. Do this while alternating between banshee-like wailing and death-grip hysterics that can be heard by everyone in the building because the window in that room is open and… wait-a-minute, can Daddy climb onto the ledge out of one window and into the open window in said room, a 50 foot drop onto a beautiful European courtyard? 45 minutes and 90 euros later, a German locksmith manages to open the door where we find a peacefully sleeping baby curled up by the door with his little fist wrapped around his favorite blanket and clutching the key in his other hand. Said German locksmith turns to you and asks, “Ist das der Master of Disaster?” Well played, MoD, well played. I could go on… but...

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