Archive for the ‘Communicating with Your Child’ Category

7 Ways to Overcome ‘I can’t do this’

September 17th, 2012

I can do it!

Have you ever noticed your bright, creative, resourceful child shutdown over something difficult? Whether it’s a difficult school subject, a social event, a challenging situation, all of a sudden they have completely shutdown. They may hang their head, burst into tears, whine or pout, become non-responsive, or even leave the room lamenting ‘I can’t do this’. As a parent you are left scratching your head wondering what set off this chain of events, and questioning what you can do to help your child.

Here are 7 ways to help your child shift their thinking from ‘I can’t’ to ‘How can I’:

  1. Become a detective: Channel your inner Colombo and become really curious about what’s happening. Are there specific events or circumstances that set your child into a downward spiral of ‘I can’t’ thinking? Notice when and where this happens, how intense the response is, and how long the episode lasts.
  2. Identify the triggers: Help your child identify situations or circumstances that trigger ‘I can’t’ thinking and behaviors.  Without judgment or criticism, discuss what happens.
  3. Explore the gap: When your child responds with ‘I can’t’ do they need some additional support? Are they missing some information or need some support, but they haven’t learned how to ask for what they need? Explore if there are things they need to learn (such as organization or time management skills) to help them overcome the struggle they are encountering.
  4. Encourage communication: Children who shutdown and express ‘I can’t’ may have a difficult time communicating what they are feeling, what they want, or what they need. During a period when they are calm and open take the time to talk about how they feel when they say they can’t do something. Help them label their emotions, and identify feelings of stress and overwhelm, and discuss different ways they can respond when they are feeling like they can’t do something.
  5. Look for the exceptions: Notice when your child encounters something difficult and they are able to continue to work through it without giving-up or saying ‘I can’t’.  Be curious and ask how they did something difficult, and point out how their response was different.
  6. Reflect: Look back at the intensity and frequency of their responses in the past and how their thoughts and behaviors have changed. Take time to acknowledge their tenacity and celebrate their determination.
  7. Explore therapy to help uncover underlying emotions and beliefs: ‘I can’t’ thinking and behaviors are often rooted in beliefs of not being enough- not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough. Children may feel unlovable, inadequate, misunderstood, or incapable.  Even children who come from a stable and loving home may feel these feelings. Therapy can help your child explore their feelings and release these unhealthy beliefs.

 

CQ Playful Creative Activity:

Here’s a creative activity to help your child shift their thinking from ‘I can’t’ to ‘How can I’.  Use clay or paper and create a magical helper that can help solve the problems your child encounters. Allow your child the opportunity to be really silly and talk about the special qualities and characteristics this magic helper would have to overcome any obstacles they encounter (and don’t forget to name it too). When small problems arise during the day ask your child what their magical helper might do in this situation and allow for playful and divergent solutions.

Do you need more tools and support to help your child manage difficult situations?  Check-out our library of resources at your fingertips 24/7!


What’s really important to you?

May 16th, 2012

There are 100’s of things we ask of our loved ones each day. Everything from making your bed, brushing your teeth, doing homework, stop picking on your brother/sister, listen the first time I ask you….

Yes, these are all the daily to-do’s that you and your child need to navigate; and at times it seems like you are endlessly reminding them of all the things they need to take care of (again and again).  You may feel like you have become so disconnected from your child or teen or you are always reminding, lecturing, nagging and you’ve lost the loving relationship with your child you used to have.

CQ Playful Creative Activity:

Here’s a simple and playful way to lovingly reconnect with your child and loved ones.

Invite your inner child to play for a moment. So imagine the child within you that is the same age of your child or teen. Close your eyes if you need to and remember what it was like to be 5, 8, 12 or 16. Take a deep breath in and out, connect with and resonate with the feelings of being that age.

You can take out a blank paper and crayons or markers to help you connect with that child-like aspect of yourself. Write or make images in response to the following questions:

What was important to you then? What did you love doing and if you could do it all day, what would you do? How did you feel about the relationships in your life- your parents, your siblings, your friends? What did you wish that others knew about you?

If you could share anything with your parents, (and they could hear it without reacting), what would you let them know?

Then take a new piece of paper and create images and words to the questions above from your child’s point of view.

What do you discover about yourself and your child from this activity?

When you reconnect with your childlike self and remember what it was like to have all those big feelings and thoughts about others and yourself, you are able to show up with more empathy and compassion for your children.  With this awareness you can choose to refocus on what’s important in your relationship and compromise or let go of power struggles.

Do you need some more support to help lovingly reconnect with your child and stop the cycle of arguments, blaming, and nagging? Join the International Parents & Professionals Community


Stress-free holiday: Don’t be fooled by these holiday myths

December 13th, 2011

Stress-free holiday, is it possible?

There are myths about the holiday that have been ingrained in our belief systems that stem from family narratives, media portrayals, and influences from those around us. Sadly, you will feel overwhelmed, stressed out, not good enough, and flat out frazzled if you buy into these beliefs. So for your own personal well-being, and the emotional health of those around you, I uncover the top four holiday myths.

1. It needs to be perfect-
I was watching TV and Christmas Vacation, the movie, came on. I hadn’t seen it since the 80’s, so I watched and laughed out loud at all the silliness in the movie. What I found interesting is that “Clark”, the dad, was so focused on having a perfect Christmas, with the “perfect” lighting display, that he lost sight of his imperfect family. Do you do that? Get all caught up in the shoulds, how things should look, how the kids should behave, how the holiday should go. When you create high expectation and try to control the outcome you are truly setting yourself up for being disappointed.

2. You must go to everything you are invited to-
There are so many events and parties this time of year, it is impossible to keep up with it all- nor should you!  It is healthy to set boundaries and say NO, and by doing this you can model it for your children. Here’s something simple you can do: Pick one or two events/party, per person, during the holidays. So, outside of school performances, you can ask your child what 1 thing they want to go to, and schedule it. For yourself and your spouse pick 1-2 that are important. If you are fearful of disappointing someone or hurting their feelings, let them know that you and you family have created a new tradition, and you are honoring that.

3. You should be with family, no matter what-
Let’s all be real here, there are family members who are not healthy to be around. They make choices and say things you don’t agree with. These toxic people are hard to deal with when you are in a good healthy emotional space. However, during the holidays most people are not in a good healthy state, instead they are running on empty, trying to get it all done. Of course when you are depleted it’s harder to act rational, not be reactive, and keep your sanity. If you are going to choose to be around unhealthy family members set boundaries. You can decide to meet them out for lunch, so you can be there and leave if they start to act in a way that’s offensive. You can limit your exposure by visiting them, so you are in control of how long you stay, or you can use this as an opportunity to let them know because of ______, you feel ________, and you are asking them to _____________.

4. You have too high expectations of other people’s behaviors-
Similar to perfectionism, having high expectations for other people’s behavior during this time of the year is unrealistic. Adults are stressed and children are over stimulated and excited, so expecting others to act a certain way or for things to go a certain way will cause you unnecessary worry and stress. This time of year expect more melt-downs and acting out from those around you if you are focusing on doing so much and trying to have everything be “just right”.

During this time of year many people need more support, schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking here.


Help Your Child Communicate :Tips for Positive Communication for Busy Families

June 17th, 2011

Is your family swamped by too many things on the to do list, leaving little time for deep connections with those in your family? Maybe you’ve seen your child become upset and overwhelmed, but you’re so depleted and rushed there is little time to understand what your child is really feeling? If children do not feel heard and validated they will express their feelings in other unhealthy ways, leading to possible behavior and emotional problems. That means your child may have tantrums, act out, shutdown, or meltdown as an attempt to express their needs. Healthy communication is essential in all relationships and these three tips will help your child positively communicate.

So what’s a busy parent to do? STOP, LISTEN, and VALIDATE (kinda like stop, drop and roll).

1. When your child is starting to become upset, they give signals. As a parent you know that they are getting upset, and sometimes you’ve got to go and can’t always attend to what they are feeling. However, if you take a few seconds and STOP you can shift the reactive response that is brewing within your child. It takes more time to try to get your child back on track after they have a meltdown than it does to STOP. Stopping allows you to step into your parenting power so you’re not responding from a reactive frazzled state. Stopping allows your child an opportunity to self-regulate, so they can learn how to get back in control of their behaviors. Stopping allows you to be present, loving, and open to hearing and seeing what’s really happening with your child; so you can help them express their feelings and they learn other ways to communicate, rather than being reactive.

2. When you stop you can be fully present to LISTEN and hear what their needs are. They may need to express thoughts and feelings that are not related to what’s on your agenda. When you model being flexible your child will also learn flexibility. You have to decide what’s important: is it teaching your child a positive way to communicate their needs or is it that they learn how to “jump to it” and be on time so that others are not upset? I know this is a polarized example, but I want you to think about what you are emphasizing as important values for your child. Listening and really hearing your child takes only a few minutes, yet the importance of this leads to health sense of self, learning positive communication skills, and respect (which all parents want their child to learn).

3. VALIDATING means you recognize what your child may be feeling and thinking. It’s not necessary to problem solve for them, tell them what is wrong or bad, or that you don’t condone what they are saying. It just means that you get their point of view and deeply understand their feelings. When kids are being reactive they are operating from FEAR and CONTROL. Validating their feelings allows a child to feel emotionally safer and acts as a re-set button on their feelings. When you give your child your full attention and validate their feelings, they feel understood (which often reduced meltdowns and tantrums).

Here’s a creative activity to help your child through this process. If you notice your child is about to lose control of their feelings ask them to tell you what they are feeling. If they are unable to do so or they are overwhelmed ask them to go to a quite place and make a picture of what that feeling looks like, such as, Can you make a picture of how mad you are? If your child chooses to share the picture with you do not make corrections or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way. Listen to them and validate their feelings.

Model this and your child will have a set of skills that will lead to life long success!

Are you in need of support to help your child manage their behaviors and feelings? We can help! Click here to schedule your Complementary Child Support Consultation>>www.thecreativityqueen.com/schedule

This article has appeared in YourTango