Change is a very difficult process and moving from one school to the next can feel scary and overwhelming to many children. It can also feel overwhelming to parents for a few reasons. As our children move from school to school, we can't help but recognize that our child is growing up, and some of us have a hard time letting go. Another reason is that sometimes we want to protect our child from experiencing pain. It is in some of these circumstances that parents can contribute to some of their children's stress in the change process. As a parent, if you are feeling distressed about changes that your child experiences, be careful not to communicate that to them. In my experience, when the parent's emotional well-being improves, the child's behavior often follows suit.
1 AnswerWhat I would suggest is that you start by adding a significant prefix to Santa. This prefix is "The Spirit of." The reason is that this starts to explain the true idea behind Santa, who was born out of the intention to teach the gift of giving, not the gift of getting.
As you talk to your child, you can explain that in the recent years, you realized that we were all losing the meaning behind Christmas and discussed this with Santa (sometimes in life we all learn lessons, even Santa). You can support that your kids may have noticed that your family has not been spending as much, and there won't be as much spent on Christmas this year. They might notice that other kids may get more from Santa when they are getting less, but that doesn't mean that they haven't made good choices. The decision to spend less was made between you and Santa, and each parent makes their own agreement with Santa. If they feel upset that others get more from Santa, you understand that, but it is not a reflection on them.
The next issue is to help your kids to understand their expectations of what they will get by looking through a list of wants. If they are going to visit Santa, have them limit their lists to a few "realistic" items. I believe that having an endless list of wants that they can dream about only to find that they get nothing on that list leads to disappointment, sadness and bad memories.
1 AnswerCreate an area where your child can move during a flight. You don't have to keep them tethered to their seat, and you don't want to let them wander the plane. Let them know their boundary and have them stick to it. Some kids cannot sit in their seat for an entire flight, and if you expect them to, you are setting all of you up for failure. Give your kids a little space to be kids, but put limits around it. If they want to stand or move a little, show them their area to move around in when the seatbelt light is off. If it is time to sit when the seat belt light is on and they do not want to, have a consequence in place. If your kids get upset and cry or scream, you have to be willing to weather this storm so that they understand the limits of their behavior. Keep in mind that you are setting the standard not only for this flight, but for all future flights.
1 AnswerMake sure you have activities to keep your kids occupied during a flight, even if your kids are not interested in what you may have brought or planned. Instead of feeling upset, get creative. The plane is a great place to teach about colors, letters, numbers and also to play "I Spy." One of my favorite games is to play who can be quiet the longest. Make up games, and see if your children can make up games too. The more that your children feel invested in what you are doing, the better response you will get.
Use technology in moderation. There are a number of parents who bring DVD players or game systems for their kids, and from the moment that they get on the plane until the moment they land, their kids are glued in front of the DVD player or game system. I am not a proponent of these to the degree that they are often used. You are developing habits that your kids are going to have possibly for a lifetime. Be careful not to develop a tendency for your child to bury himself. The plane flight is a great time to interact with your kids. You have a captive audience. Make sure you pay attention to all of your kids. While kids who are younger may need attention for their needs, older kids also require attention and communication. Take the time to talk to your kids about school, friends, dreams, and hopes.
1 AnswerDon't expect a friendly passenger to baby-sit your child the entire flight. There are many passengers who enjoy kids and will talk with them and play peek-a-boo for a few minutes, but they don't want to spend their flight with your kids. The hard part is finding the balance. Some parents are almost militant about not letting their kids talk to or play with passengers, because some don't trust others or feel afraid of upsetting fellow passengers. So ask the passenger if they mind your child interacting with them for a few minutes. You can usually glean their feelings from their response or body language. Put a cap on your child's play time with other passengers so as to not over extend their welcome. It also helps your kids learn limits and boundaries. If they want to play later with the passenger, just ask the passenger again.
1 AnswerTo prepare your kids for the flight, start to talk about air travel with your kids and what they should expect days in advance. Don't think your child is too young to understand what you are talking about. Try to point out pictures of planes in books, on television or movies, and let them know where their destination is and what they will be doing there. Children often need to be prepared for new events and/or change, and when they know what to expect, they often adapt to it quicker than if they were not prepared. Add the excitement of the holidays to this, and kids can be off the hook.
1 AnswerTo address the issue of communication of emotion, what does it mean when someone says, "I am angry at you?" If we begin to dissect this phrase, the words I would like to consider are "am" and "at you." The word "am" is a form of the verb "to be" which means "to exist." To demonstrate what I am addressing, think of how we introduce ourselves to others, "Hello, I am John Doe." In this statement, I will always be John Doe, all day, every day, from birth to death. To the literal mind, when I say, "I am angry," it literally means all of me is always angry. In other words, I have become Anger embodied. We could spend time refuting the exactness of this, but the issue being addressed is literal semantics, not colloquial usage.
The next piece of the phrase is what it means when I say, "I am angry at you." What "at you" means is "all of you," not part of you or your actions. To a child, this phrase can feel very intimidating and overpowering. The child tends to interpret the phrase as them being "bad or wrong," not what they did. The thought to consider is that we are powerless to change who we are, but we do have the power to change our behaviors and choices.
What we are probably meaning to say when we communicate emotion is, "I feel anger (frustration, confusion, irritation) with what you did." This phrase takes a few more words to state, but I hope you can appreciate the accuracy of what is being stated. The most accurate way to communicate emotions is with the verb "to feel," not the verb "to be."
Another issue to address is that when we state our emotion with the verb "to feel," we can "feel" more than one emotion at a time, but it is difficult to "be" more than one emotion at a time. The second part of the communication, "at what you did," addresses the issue of the action of the individual, not the individual himself. When we address the action or behavior of the person, it is very clear what they can change.
In educating children and adults on the "semantics of emotion," I often tell children that their parents will always love them, but they may not like what they do. If we address the action, behaviors and choices of the individual ("at what you did"), it points out what they can change. If we address the individual as the object of our anger ("at you"), it is difficult to know what to change.
2 AnswersBonnie Harris , Pediatrics, answeredSpanking teaches children that when you are mad about something or want someone to do something your way, you hit them or use your power over them. It is only one form of "discipline" that promotes bullying in children. Discipline means to teach, coming from disciple. We tend to ignore setting the best conditions for learning, which we know to be engagement. Children learn best when they are part of the process, are given some power in decision making and feel good about themselves. When they behave inappropriately, it means they are having a problem not being a problem. When we address the core of their problem, not just the behavior, and use problem solving techniques that engage them in finding solutions, they learn and their behavior improves. That is true discipline.
1 AnswerDr. Dawn Marcus , Neurology, answeredInvolvement in regular activities keeps the brain and nervous system busy and distracts it. Lack of activity allows teenagers to focus all of their attention on their headaches, which, in turn, increases the severity of their pain. The first step in headache management is not getting rid of the pain, but getting rid of the misery that headaches produce. Following a regular routine is necessary. Function improves first -- pain improves later. When your child is home sick from school, she may feel miserable because of headache symptoms, but also because of missing interacting with friends, concerns about falling behind in schoolwork, and poor self-image. The longer she stays at home, the worse this misery becomes.
Find out more about this book:The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)
1 AnswerDr. Michele Borba , Psychology, answeredIf you fear your child is cheating…
Breathe. Know that these days most kids admit they do. But how you respond will make a difference if he continues or not. Often the highest achieving kids are the students under the greatest pressure to cut corners.
Work out what’s really going on. Why is your child resorting to using this behavior? Are expectations too high? Is he overscheduled? Is he not capable of the work? Does he lack good study habits? Is everyone else in the class cheating? Is peer pressure too high?
Work out a solution. The key is for your child to know that you understand he’s under pressure but cheating is not the answer. Take time to work together and figure out how to remedy the problem so cheating isn’t the solution. (i.e. If there is no time to do homework so he copies, then cut one of those darn activities. If he is lazy and doesn’t want to do the work, then eliminate those extra privileges such as television). Create a solution so the cheating problem doesn’t escalate.
Speak with the teacher if needed. If you need to approach your child’s teacher, do so cautiously. You want to keep her as an ally. First, get the facts about the cheating incident from your child. After you hear your son or daughter out, talk to the teacher about your concerns. Listen and gather information. Is your child turning in assignments? When are test days? Are the tests cooperative or is each child expected to do his or her own work? Is your child capable of the work? Also, ask the teacher to clarify her test and homework expectations to your child so your son or daughter is clear as to what constitutes cheating.