Archive | February, 2017

When your child is the bully…

22 Feb

It’s hard to imaging anything more upsetting, frustrating and confusing than learning that your own child is the bully.  There is also embarrassment as you learn gradually the whole story (because you learned it first from your baby and s/he didn’t say the whole truth, or maybe didn’t say the truth at all). Well, now you know it. Your baby teased another child. Maybe even hit another child. Took toys from another child. Your baby made another child cry and feel miserable.  Now you know the truth. What to do next?

1. Show your shock to your child.  It is ok (in fact desirable) to be honest with your child and show your true feelings. You are shocked? Say it.  You are angry? Verbalize it. It is fine to say to your child that you never thought s/he would hurt somebody else’s feelings.  Express your feelings honestly.  And then, without initiating any punishment give your child some space to think things through.  At this point, don’t offer any solution. Don’t talk about punishment.  Explain to your child honestly what you feel, and now, when there is a lot of tension created, leave your child alone to work through this tension.  If your child tries to initiate the conversation with you, it is ok to say that you are not ready to talk to him/her yet, because you are still hurt by his/her behavior.

2. While your child is thinking things through, you should do the same.  It is important to identify what fuels your child’s behavior.  Is she frustrated with something and tries to dump her frustration on another child? Is she insecure and tries to compensate by making another child feel even worse?  Sometimes, the children don’t realize themselves that their behavior is hurtful.  So your next step  depends on the primary causes for your child’s behavior.

If she is insecure, you will need to work on her self-confidence. You might even have to explain to her that true confidence comes from within. Furthermore, by behaving this way, she is losing friends she has, because ultimately she becomes less likeable.

If she is frustrated with somebody else, and displaces her anger on other kids, you will have to help her work through her anger.  Explain to her that it’s ok to feel angry, and dumping it on somebody else will indeed give her temporary relief.  However, it doesn’t reduce her anger long term, and next day s/he will feel angry again. because all she is doing is creating a cycle of anger.

If she is not aware about how the other child feels, you might have to explain it to her. Also explain that the damage she is causing is long term, and she is much better off creating friendships.

3.  When you talk to your child again, you need to be clear that hurting other people is unacceptable. That although you  love your child, you cannot be her “friend”, cannot play with her, talk to her, do anything with her while she treats other people like that. You have to be very firm expressing your disappointment and your inability to support her in any way, while somebody else is hurting because of that behavior.  Your child will be upset, but if you want this pattern to end, this conversation has to be memorable and serious.

4. After you see that your child is upset and worries about the other child’s feelings you can go back to section 2, and help your child with his/her problems. If this is insecurity, you need to express your belief in your child. If s/he struggles creating her own friendship, offer play dates and joined activities.  Re-think your child’s extra-curricular activities to include those and instill respect for others.  If she is frustrated with something else, offer your help. Basically, after you see that your child is remorseful, offer your support.

5.  It is always  helpful to make sure that your children have some chores. This is the way to learn respect for others. They also feel that they contribute something to the family (and not just continuously receive stuff from their parents). Finally, through the chores, children create a sense of accomplishment (which should be as respected as any other achievement in sports or academics).  Children who do chores are usually more connected with their family members and they create friendships easier.

6. When do you need to seek professional help?  You should look for help if you see that your child lacks empathy.  If your child doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care) how other children feel. This could be an important symptom of an underlying condition, which should be ruled out.

7. Finally, we should always remember that sometimes children misbehave because they are seeking adults’ attention. Even negative attention better than 0 attention.  Is your child’s misbehavior one of those cases?  Is s/he trying to tell you something?  It’s always great to have at least half an hour a day (preferably more of course), when you give your complete and undivided attention to your child, which means, turning off TV, Phone, Computer and looking at your children, asking them questions and giving them answers (preferably honest).  This might be all they need to feel confident, secure and happier.

 

Advertisements

When Your Child Is Bullied

14 Feb

It’s extremely painful to watch your child suffering from bullying. Your child feels scared and helpless and so do you. It is natural to start blaming other kids. You might want to try to switch your child’s school. But sometimes, it’s difficult. Other times, after you change classes or schools your child becomes again a victim of bullying.

How can you help your child?

  1. As painful as it is, you have to consider what your child contributes to this dynamics. Is she needy? Is he impulsive? Is he following other children around to the point of being annoying? Is he teacher’s pet?  And so forth. The more you learn about your child the better.  There should be absolutely no blaming of your child, s/he is the victim! Still it’s important to identify behaviors that invite bullying.
  2. You need to start working on growing your child’s confidence. There are several ways to do it. First of all, you can try to create a social circle for him outside of school. Start actively working on inviting kids form the neighborhood or your friends’ kids for a play-date. He should have group play dates as well as one on one play dates. However, it is up to you to organize those kids so that they all have fun, together with your child. Remember, your child doesn’t have adequate social skills, that’s why s/he became the victim. So, please, make sure these play dates don’t fail! Be the facilitator! Prepare the board games for them to play (preferable) or a movie to watch (less perfect, but will do).  Make sure your child and the guests enjoy themselves.  It will be much easier for your child to cope with bullying in school, when he knows that he has his friends outside of it!  His confidence will grow miraculously from this increase in his social contentedness. In fact, his behavior in school might change too, and the bullying might decrease.
  3. Your child needs to get into sports. Most people right away try to send their kids to martial arts. Nothing is wrong with it. But actually, team sports might be preferable, think football, basketball, baseball.  Your child might be refusing due to low confidence. Try to be supportive and encouraging. If nothing else works, go with your child’s preference, even if s/he prefers swimming. It is great. There will be achievement, confidence growth and then, new friends.
  4. Talk to the teacher. Ask the teacher to talk to the kids without mentioning your child (to avoid exasperating the problem), but the kids to need to be reminded that there is 0 tolerance for bullying, and that the children who do it, will be punished through а detention or even suspension.  Sometimes, such a talk is enough for many kids to stop supporting the bully.
  5. Study your kids’ class dynamics. who is the bully? who is the leader? who supports him? Who are the bystanders? Start with bystanders. Invite them one by one for play – dates. Try to turn them into your kids’ friends. Take them with your child to the movies.  Your child wil gain confidence when he knows that at least some kids in the class are his friends.
  6. Finally, the bully.  Sometimes, those kids are pretty unhappy themselves (most of the times). Sometimes, they are victims too in some other situation. It is unfair to your child and to you, but on many occasions, simply talking nicely to the bully (without mentioning your child) can change things around. When you pick up your child, say “hi” to the bully, ask about how things are at his home, how it’s going for him etc. Give him a little bit of your attention.  Do it as an experiment once. The result might surprise you.
  7. If available, sign up your child for social skills group. Also, re-think your home dynamics. Your child needs help with his/her confidence and social skills. It is on you to help her!

Meditations for Kids

8 Feb

Dear Readers,  I thought a lot about how often our children feel anxious, fearful, angry and sad, and decided to do something about it. My friend, amazing Katya Sverdlov, had a great idea about how to help the kids. We should teach them how to mediate! Wait, but aren’t other people already doing it? Yes, but most meditations that are on the market now are catering to the adults, not to kids. It’s almost impossible to convince a 5 year old to count her breaths or simply sit still.

Our meditations will be designed in such a way, that children will relate to them and even have fun doing them. We are creating short stories, full of imagery and adventures, with meditations embedded in them. Those stories will be read by a child, so that your children could relate to them naturally and effortlessly. No more counting breaths! No more boredom! Our stories will be fun, relaxing and joyful.

But we need your support.  Please, help us design the application by donating a small amount. Every little bit counts, so don’t be shy to make a small donation. And of course, spread the good word about the good work that we are doing for our children.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/234261377/calmchild-meditations-to-cope-with-fear-and-anxiet/widget/video.html

Dear Readers, I thought a lot about how often children feel anxious, fearful, angry and sad, and decided to do something about it. With my friend, Katya Sverdlov, we are developing an application, that should teach children how to mediate. Our meditations will be designed in such a way, that children will relate to them and even have fun doing them. I am writing short stories, full of imagery and adventures, with meditations embedded in them. Those stories will be read by a child, so that your children could relate to them naturally and effortlessly. No more counting breaths! No more boredom! Our stories will be fun, relaxing and joyful. But we need your support. Please, help us design the application by donating a small amount. Every little bit counts, don’t be shy to make a small donation. And of course, spread the good word about the good work that we are doing for our children. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/234261377/calmchild-meditations-to-cope-with-fear-and-anxiet

8 Feb