Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Help A Child When They Fail

Try Free Online Spelling Bees Here
My daughter is a stellar student in English/Language Arts. She went out for the spelling bee once.

Proud of her for getting involved a little more outside her immediate groups, we supported her although we knew she really wasn't the type to get up in front of people with comfort and worried about her success.

Her younger sister could tell right away that our star was nervous. I was nervous myself, but must have also been so excited that I either didn't notice, or discounted the signs, so that I wouldn't be more anxious than I already was.

She bombed. 

Yes, it's true. She flubbed up. It was a simple word. And it was quite early in the game. It was awful.

She had to sit there for the next hour listening to all the other contestants compete with one another spelling words she could easily have spelled in her sleep, we wondered what her first words would be. We wondered what her reactions were to her own error.

When the contest was over and the children were applauded, we could tell her attitude was sour. She was an A student in English. She was top in her class. We knew she was not taking lightly the fact that she just blew her chance at proving her smarts and couldn't make it as far as she knew she could have.

We hoped that her participation certificate would cheer her up, but it didn't…she barely took it when we handed it to her. She barely smiled, and worst was she just wanted to dodge out and hide under a rock (or maybe in a locker if it were closer).

What did we do to help her? The only things we could:

1. ENCOURAGED HER: We reminded her that this event was more about who she was and what she did, over whether she was a winner or loser. We pointed out that she made it to an honorable level, and not only because she was brave enough to go there. She had proved her knowledge by being invited to participate. She had proved to herself also, that she was strong because she summonsed the courage to be on stage in front of a couple hundred people.

2. WE EMPATHIZED AND SHARED OUR EXPERIENCES: She was not alone. There were other kids there who got nervous and let her mouth get ahead of their mind, and we'd made big flubs too and it isn't the end of the world.

3. LOOKED FOR THE LESSON: We asked her what she learned.

She was appreciative of our support and positive encouragement, and we never teased her or mentioned anything again about her time there that night…nor did she ever go out for a spelling bee again.

I think she found the lesson.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Friday: April Fool's Prank Payback

"Crazy Girl Cross Eyed And Pulling Her Ears" by Stuart Miles @

Someone showed me this video the other day of these students getting their teacher back
 and I couldn't help but laugh…

He had it coming I suppose…

But wait, the joke gets funnier at the end…

My favorite part about this whole thing was that the teacher was remorseful….
and had a sense of humor.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What is Emotional Wellbeing?

"Portrait Of A Hispanic Happy Young Mother Holding A Baby" by David Castillo Dominici

Emotional wellbeing…

What is that?

This blog post won't ever be big enough for me to go into the topic the way I'd like (plus it would take days to cover it like I should) but it's so important that I have to quickly touch on it.

Emotional wellbeing is a sense of security (in a nutshell).

How that comes to us is really a matter of our own particular life events and experiences. We are severely affected by negative  things that happen to us and how people treat us.

If we encounter numerous difficult situations, or difficult people, in our life, our emotional wellbeing can be at risk. If we're prone to strong bouts of weakness (when we tend to tell ourselves 'whoa is me') life can take a big turn south and it can be hard to get back up…ever.

We often refer that that as 'depression'.

This can happen as early as childhood (yes, this is why a counselor or psychologist always skips right to your adolescence after the smalltalk and that's also why we continually read about teenagers committing suicide.)

True some people are born with chemical imbalances and cannot avoid some level of the emotional and behavioral issues they will encounter, but, there are many more instances where outside factors are the main contributors.

Life pressures, abuse (physical or emotional), malnutrition, neglect, bullying and more, can lead to poor emotional wellbeing. A few of these, or all of them together, are the cocktail for poor emotional health.

Poor emotional health leads to sad kids…

Sad kids (left with issues unaddressed, ignored or denied) leads to poor mental health…

Poor mental health in children can lead to mental health issues in adults (because remember, kids grow up).

I was happy to read this today.

My blog, and how I parent- they both come from an emotionally intelligent perspective.
Why? Because my parents didn't have one…so I learned everything the hard way.

At least I dealt with it, so now my children have a better chance of skipping over some of the trials I dealt with as a kid, and we may very well break the cycle and a laundry list of stuff they should never have to deal with. (And my grandkids shouldn't have to deal with either.)

What is emotional intelligence? 

That is also another deep subject, but not one that isn't easy enough to learn…

Basically, it's do unto others as you would have done to you. 

Yes, it's that simple…or maybe it isn't, depending upon who you are.

Here are a few tips on how to be an emotionally intelligent parent (and person):

Don't speak to a child, treat a child, force a child or feed a child something- that you yourself - would not appreciate. 

That's all.

Well, truthfully, that is not even the half of it, but it is the start -

This very attitude can help kids grow up with better mental health & emotional wellbeing. 

If you are curious about this topic and would like to read further, please come back, because this is a topic I will be exploring more for you over the next several months.

Want something more to read on this topic now?

Take this quiz and learn more about Emotional Intelligence

Read this: The Language of Emotional Intelligence by Jeanne Segal Ph.D.
(Tip: skip over the doctory stuff for now in the beginning and go right to Chapter 1 - and read about 'bonds')

If you are married, or in a relationship, try this book- just the first couple of chapters could preserve and/or save a marriage IF BOTH PARTIES DID WHAT IT SAYS, because as I see it, if you both do what's there, you can't go wrong: Read His Needs, Her Needs- How to Build an Affair Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Want A Simple Discipline Idea for an Uncooperative Tween?

                                                      Angry Young Woman Pulling Her Hair Out Stock PhotoBy stock images

Discipline has to be the worst part of being a parent and when we do it, we don't always do it right.

I came from a home where my father was the disciplinarian. When he punished me, he punished me good (or bad...depending upon who you asked). 

I didn't get a day, week or weekend...I got a month. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I still did not learn the lessons he was trying to drive home. Had he done something other than yank all privileges, I might have had something to learn.

Recently, my middle child had another bought with an attitude problem. She gave her sister a bit of an attitude when asked to help out with the laundry. The punishment ended up that she would have to do two weeks of cleaning the bathroom and doing the children's laundry (all 3 of them- all by herself).

She lugged and toiled over it all weekend (two full flights of stairs- at least 8 loads) and now realizes that when we are asking her to sacrifice ten or fifteen minutes to help the family out, it really isn't such a big deal.

Not every act of disobedience needs to be met with a lashing or a prison sentence. Sometimes it's just as easy as adding an extra chore, even if it's temporary, it's a lesson (understand the little bit we ask for and  appreciate all that is already done for you).

One of my favorite punishments?? Making the younger ones become servants to the older one for a day  after they've sassed her back or misbehave while she is babysitting them. 

It makes them really regret their behavior
 because teens, as we know, can be high maintenance.