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...

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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...

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To My Kids

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011 in Blog, Parenting, Thoughts | 2 comments

I watch you as you sleep, your dreams woven snuggly around you like a blanket made of the day’s memories. I listen to you breathing, your body softly drinking in the hope, courage, inspiration, and love with which we try to surround you every day. Your hands are gently curled around what I imagine is my hand holding yours in your dream… and so, I slip my hand into yours and in your sleep, you softly grasp it. As I stand there in your nightlit room surrounded by the relics of your day, I am suddenly and keenly aware of the most singular privilege that you have given me – that of learning how to be a mother. With you, I have learned to live with honesty and integrity, for in teaching you how to build a life that you are proud to call your own, I must learn to be proud of my own. With you, I have learned to survive my mistakes, my many failings and travails, for a healthy, happy you stands witness to their insignificance. With you, I have learned that while pain and fear are unavoidable, I have the strength and courage of a superhero. With you, I have learned that I know very little but armed with insatiable curiosity and imagination, there is a lot for me to learn. With you, I have learned to love without restraint, a love so powerful as to take my breath away and leave me speechless at the marvel… of you. I watch you now that you’re not looking and I wonder what you see. I hope that as we hold each other’s hands in your dreams, you see beside you a brave, strong, kind, creative, and loving woman whom you are proud to call “Mommy.”  It is a badge I am honored to...

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