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Posts Tagged ‘Self-Improvement’

7 Ways To Teach Kids Self-Awareness

April 8, 2014

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Courtesy of Sherrie Campbell, PhD:

 

1. Be a good role model.
In order to parent self-awareness, you have to have it yourself. This means that you demonstrate through your own behaviors that you can calm your anxieties and frustrations and not act out in a negative way. If you start to act out, demonstrate that you can call a time-out on yourself and get centered again.

2. Accept and recognize your child’s feelings.
Emotions are emotions. They are temporary energies meant to pass through. If we accept and acknowledge what our children are feeling, the emotions pass through much more quickly and with more understanding. Taking this time to sit with their feelings helps them to not act emotions out in a negative way. Accept the feelings from their viewpoint, and then, if possible, spin them in a positive light.

3. When in doubt, empathize.
Your empathy teaches children their emotional life is not threatening, abnormal or scary. Their emotions are not shameful or defective. They are human and manageable. In this way, you teach your children they are not alone. This helps them see that even the less-than-perfect parts of themselves are acceptable, which helps them to accept themselves and others more wholly.

4. Do not encourage the avoidance of emotions.
Emotions may be uncomfortable, but never minimize them to your children or tell your kids to “move on.” Refrain from telling them what they are feeling is wrong. They may not be ready to move on, and it is important for children to learn to navigate the uncomfortable. This is how they learn and grow. We must teach them that whatever they avoid will return in the form of a similar and harder lesson, so they may as well do their learning now.

5. Encourage communication.
Repressing feelings doesn’t work. Repressed sadness turns into depression; repressed anger turns into rage; repressed envy turns into jealousy; repressed love turns into possession; and repressed fear turns into anxiety/panic. When we reject or ignore our children’s emotions, this causes them to repress, which leads to more severe and chronic emotional problems all throughout life. Let them express freely.

6. Time, attention and listening.
Actively listen to your children. You do not have to agree with what they say or feel, but to argue against it doesn’t allow them to hear or know who they are as unique people. Accept their feelings, repeat them back to them for understanding, and listen. Show that you care and can see their point of view.

7. Teach problem solving.
Most of the time, when children experience that their emotions are understood and accepted, the emotions lose their charge and begin to dissipate. This leaves an opening for problem solving. Sometimes, kids can do this themselves. Ask them how they want or think they should handle the situation which is upsetting them. This helps them to hear themselves out, and to learn to make good decisions from within. Sometimes, they need your help to brainstorm, but resist the urge to handle the problem for them; that gives them the message that you don’t have confidence in their ability to handle the problem on their own.

 

Click on the link to read Kids Explain the Meaning of Happiness

Click on the link to read 5 Reasons Why It’s Healthy to Encourage Children to Play

Click on the link to read Allowing Children to Stand Out From the Pack

Click on the link to read Hilarious Examples of Kids Telling It As It Is

Click on the link to read Kids Can Operate an iPad but Can’t Tie their Shoelaces

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Fighting for Our Kids’ Self-Esteem

March 4, 2011

There’s a reason why kids are suffering from body image related problems in greater numbers than ever before.  We let them.  Society has a responsibility to ensure that the same dreadful affliction that has had diabolical effects on our generation, doesn’t torment the next.  We have made the mistake of valuing people for all the wrong reasons, putting too high a price on weight, shade and form and too little emphasis on character, personality and integrity.  We place celebrities on pedestal so high, we barely notice that we don’t know anything about them.

Our young notice our insecurities and base a world view on them.  They see the pressures their parents feel about appearance and weight and base their own self-worth on precisely these factors.  Before you know it, you’ve got kids as young as five with eating disorders:

Children are suffering from eating disorders at younger and younger ages according to disturbing new research.

Media consumption, peer pressure and negative messages from parents are all contributing to the problem of poor self-image in children, which can trigger eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. According to the Eating Disorder Resource Centre of Ireland, children as young as five are displaying signs of poor body image – and some seven and eight year olds have developed eating disorders.

Experts are stressing that such disorders are not confined to girls, with little boys also being susceptible. Psychologist and author Deirdre Ryan told TheJournal.ie that parents can unthinkingly pass on negative messages to their children: “I was speaking with a six-year-old boy who said that he wanted to lose weight – when I asked him why he said: ‘I have a wedding coming up’. That message was more than likely passed on by a parent,” she said, “Parents have to be aware of what they are saying, even in front of boys, and not engage in ‘fat talk’. Children of this age are hypersensitive.”

Parents need to be more aware of their relationship with their own bodies as well, Ryan said: “It is starting younger and younger – but it is also affecting people who are older – spreading across the life span. Now, there is an expectation that even if you’re in your 60s you should conform to a certain image. It’s very damaging.”

Our generation has already let ourselves down by buying in to the media driven lie about what a person should aspire to be like.  We have been fooled into believing that life is about striving to beat aging, keeping a toned figure and withstanding lines and wrinkles.  The beauty industry has made a bundle out of us, and all we are left with in return is confusion, pressure, anxiety and in many cases a battered self-image.  Is this what we want for our children?

It’s great to invest in one’s health and appearance, but it is important that these things don’t take over.  Our children need to see that we place more value in perfecting our character than our figure.  That we consider integrity, honesty, empathy and loyalty on a higher level than six packs or breast size.

As a teacher, there is only so much I can do.  As a parent, I have a big job ahead of me.

This is What Teaching is All About!

February 28, 2011

There is so much anti-teacher propaganda in the news at the moment, it is refreshing to come across a story which gives us an example of teaching at its very best.  We’ve all had students that appear shy and struggle to find a voice in the classroom.  Some teachers ignore the problem and allow the student to fall under the radar, others berate the child for not contributing to classroom discussions and activities.  And then there’s this rather unorthodox method:

A 10-year-old student has shaved off his teacher’s hair after completing a dare to overcome his shyness.

Taewoong Jeong, from Korea, could barely speak in front of his classmates at Gems World Academy. His Grade 5 teacher, William Clark, said his bashful nature was holding him back.

“I thought it was perhaps a lack of English language skills,” said Clark. “But then I found out that wasn’t the case because he is a good writer.

“It later dawned on me that the child had a fear of public speaking.”

His classmates came up with a solution. “It began as a joke,” said Mr Clark. “They said, ‘If Taewoong sings in assembly, you should get your head shaved, Mr C’.”

Mr Clark agreed, and the dare was set. If Taewoong worked up the courage to stand up in front of a school assembly and sing the national anthem, he would be allowed to shave off his teacher’s hair.

The Taewoong Project, as it came to be known, included posters plastered around the school, urging Taewoong to go through with the dare.

Mr Clark recalls: “Every Thursday I would ask him, ‘Is today the day Taewoong?’. We could see that every week he would muster up a little more courage for it.

“His classmates would constantly motivate him too.”

“What he did last week, though, has made him my hero.”

It took three months, but last week Taewoong overcame his fears and got up in front of the school.

“I just did it,” said Taewoong. “I definitely feel more confident and think I can do it again.”

True to his word, Mr Clark brought out the shaver for Taewoong. “I told him, this is a life long deal.  If you cannot do it during your time at school, send me a video of your achievement from wherever you are and even if I am in Antarctica, I will send across a video with my head shaved off.”

For Taewoong this was the fun part: “I felt really happy and weird at the same time.”

Mr Clark believes this experience will help Taewoong get through other difficult situations.

“Noting will be that hard for him anymore,” he said. “Whenever he is faced with an audience and fear grips him, he will have to memory to help him through.”

Taewoong’s father, Simon Jeong, said he appreciates the effort put in by his class teacher: “It was a unique style adopted by Mr Clark where my son was pushed to taking a risk. I think it will make Taewoong a go-getter.”

I just love this story.  It goes to show that the best way to deal with challenges in the classroom is to think outside the box, build your students up, instill a support group feel amongst the group and build a fun and lively atmosphere. Whilst I’m not sure I have it in me to have my hair shaved off, this story inspires me to work even harder to ensure that no child is left out, ignored or unsupported.


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