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"Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?" Lao Tzu How many times a day do your children say or do something that bothers you — words or actions you know are wrong or simply irritating? And how often do you quickly correct or scold? If you’re like most parents, you intervene fast. Are you reacting or responding? Our best parenting rarely happens when we react. Reacting comes from the emotional brain, shaped by evolution to move…
In a world with few easy solutions, here’s one that might make your children’s homework time instantly more productive: Create a No Smartphone Zone.
Researchers at the University of Texas and the University of Michigan reviewed fifty years of studies representing the findings across more than 160,000 children. What they found was that the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to show aggressive and anti-social behavior and to manifest mental health and cognitive difficulties. These researchers concluded that spanking harms children in ways not unlike the harm from physical abuse.
For most of our sons and daughters, especially the tweens and teens, Facebook has become almost as essential as food, air and water. With adolescent identity development oriented so much around the peer group, Facebook and other social media are powerful vehicles mediating how our kids experience themselves within their social universe. Is the impact largely positive, negative, or neutral?
We increasingly hate to wait. If waiting is a kind of muscle, it's fair to say we're exercising it less now that packages arrive the same or next day, Visa and Mastercard let us bring stuff home right now, and our devices cushion the waiting-in-line distress while we surf the Internet or read and send texts. Waiting is unlikely to go extinct any time soon, despite its evolution through the decades.
Do our kids' ever-present devices prevent them from experiencing in-between moments when they aren't engaged in something — bored moments when there's "nothing to do"? The idea of "nothing to do" seems quaintly old-fashioned in a world where kids busy themselves texting or online, filling every micro-moment. Once upon a time, they might instead have done a bit of daydreaming or reflecting on the past, musing about the future, observing the people and space around them, or…
Perhaps the toughest thing when our children cry are the emotions their tears trigger in us: empathic upset and sadness, plus a sense of helplessness that comes from thinking we need to do something while unsure what that would be. If we ourselves feel uncomfortable with those emotions -- upset, sad, helpless -- our kids' tears will be that much harder for us to be around.
“Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone while you’re the one getting burned.” — attributed to the Buddha Conflict with friends, siblings and parents — it’s part of our kids’ everyday lives. We teach the importance of making amends when they’ve hurt someone’s feelings. But what about when their feelings have been hurt? Even if they’ve received a proper apology, we tend to overlook the next step: forgiveness.