Rethinking Rewards: Focus on Finding Solutions

Rethinking Rewards: Focus on Finding Solutions

Parents, Setting limits

 

During stressful times, when we are challenged by our kids’ behavior, it is easy to fall into a punishment-reward cycle.  We may lose our calm, flip our lids, and lay down a punishment. Then we feel bad and come back instead with ideas for incentives and rewards. Research tells us that neither work for developing self-motivation or long-term success. Punishment and rewards are alluring because they often do show very short-term success. They are also familiar to us because most of us grew up with them. What other approaches can we use when faced with problems like unfinished school …

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Talking and Teaching about Truth

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Setting limits, Tips & Tools

In the milieu in which our children live – social media, the internet, television and movies – it is often hard to sort fact from fiction. Our children get mixed messages about honesty. While they are told it is an important value, they are surrounded by messaging that implies you can say anything you want, and as long as someone believes you, it is okay. In the era of “fake news” it is important to hold up the value of honesty and the importance of telling the truth. Beyond learning to be honest themselves the ability to detect falsehoods in …

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Fact and Fiction for the Growing Brain

Growing Responsibility, Routines, Setting limits, Tips & Tools

Children experience the world through a different lens than adults and are learning to tell the difference between what is “real” in their imagination, and what is real in the world. Often children lie for very similar reasons as adults – they feel trapped, are afraid of being punished or rejected, or sometimes just because it seems easier. As adults, most of us also aren’t always accurate truth tellers either. Sometimes to help someone feel better we omit information or tell what we call “white lies to protect ourselves or others. Sometimes, like children we distort the truth to avoid …

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Parents: Trapped by Our Fears

Feelings and emotions, Growing Responsibility, Mistakes yours and theirs, Self-care, Setting limits, Tips & Tools
The real question for all of us is: What invites us to respond in drastic ways to our childrens’ misbehavior and mistakes? My hunch is that is fear. Many of the parents I work with are afraid when their children lie, steal, are mean to their siblings, swear, wear sexually provocative clothing, investigate pornography online, start cutting, text or sext at all hours of day or night, smoke pot…etc.
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What Kind of Bystander are You?

Conflict, Mistakes yours and theirs, Setting limits, Tips & Tools, Uncategorized
Imagine that your daughter and her friends are sitting hanging out in the family room – talking and texting and you hear, “Oh that is so gay!” Do you feel uncomfortable but remain silent because you don't want to embarrass your daughter? Do you wait and talk about it in private afterwards? What do you do when you hear Uncle Alfred make a derogatory comment about women or children or people of a different race or sexual orientation? Do you just say to yourself or your children, "That's Alfred, he is a little off color?" What do you think that is teaching our children about how to be an effective bystander? What could do you do instead?
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From Nagging to Noticing

Connection and love, Routines, Setting limits, Tips & Tools
Ever feel like the nagging parent…? “Why is your backpack still in the hallway?” “Can’t you ever learn to put your dishes in the dishwasher?” We keep repeating ourselves thinking that this time he/she will get it, they’ll finally do what I want them to do! Perhaps if we could listen to ourselves or make a quick video, we might see and hear insanity in action. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results doesn’t get us anywhere and it doesn’t help the relationships we have with our children.
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Time Out? Time In?

Growing Responsibility, Self regulation, Setting limits, Tips & Tools
The idea that a grumpy child is going to go sit somewhere and calmly think about what they “should have done” is quite preposterous. Did you? I didn’t. When I was sent to my room I spent the whole time thinking about how unfair the situation was or plotting how I was either going to make that particular parent “pay.” Just guessing, but I don’t think that was what my parents were aiming for.
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Rhythm and Routines

Connection and love, Growing Responsibility, Mutual Respect, Routines, Setting limits, Tips & Tools

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

School has started and the excitement of the first week has worn off. Do you find yourself nagging in the morning? Wondering if your student will ever to be able to make it out the door with some drama or to get a pair of shoes on (get dressed, eat breakfast) quickly? There are a couple of practices that make mornings easier for many families. It is helpful to remember that the world looks different through your student’s eyes. They may or may not like school – but the process of getting there also …

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