Children Learn What They Live #7

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


It's a good idea to let our children explain why they did something instead of jumping to conclusions and blaming them. This approach is a better way to get the whole story, and it preserves their sense of self-worth!

We want our children to learn how to evaluate their own behavior and find constructive solutions to the problems they face. We can help them find concrete ways to take responsibility for their actions by offering suggestions – whether it's comforting a crying friend or paying for a broken window.

When our children are allowed to tell us the way they really feel, we are able to help them discharge negative feelings, move forward, and grow.

A sincere apology includes the acceptance of responsibility and a genuine feeling of regret, as well as the intention to make things better in the future. Make sure your kids understand tall three elements.

We can best correct and guide our children by giving them a better and more precise idea of what is expected of them. Instead of saying, "Clean up this mess!" try saying, "Could you help me by getting all the blocks back into the box?"

Most children understand when they have done the wrong thing, and it's okay for them to feel bad about it. Our job is to help them figure out ways to make better choices in the future.

Our kind acceptance of our children's faults, and our caring guidance in helping to overcome them, allows them to grow up feeling good about themselves, rather than ashamed.

It's important to notice and praise the efforts our children make to help restore a situation. We want to recognize and encourage their budding ability to take responsibility, rather than pointing out their shortcomings.

Given an abundance of positive, respectful reinforcement, most children come to understand that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Each child has a basic right to express his feelings and to have his emotional needs met. As the child grows, this right is balanced by his responsibility to express himself in ways that are appropriate and respectful of others.

After a child has done something wrong, we should help him move through a positive cycle of apology – first taking responsibility, and then being forgiven.

We don't want to use shame in an attempt to control our children's behavior - that only makes them feel bad about themselves. It's better to ask for and applaud the desired behavior.

Fortunately, most children want to please their parents most of the time. Help them find ways to do so.

It's not our job to condemn our children. It's our job to teach and guide them – to set the rules and then to enforce them fairly.

Prolonged guilt and shame are not productive feelings. We want to encourage feelings that help point to a better way next time.

By taking full responsibility for your everyday actions, you provide a healthy example for your kids to follow. It's not always convenient or comfortable to do so, but it is important.

We want to help our children develop an inner sense of right and wrong, rather than teaching them through shame or guilt.

Shame and the resulting feelings – blame and guilt – are both negative and isolating. Let's encourage as many positive feelings as we can and stay connected to our kids.

Growing up in an atmosphere of shame and guilt is not constructive. We want to create a nurturing environment for our kids so that their desire to please others is encouraged.

Simple vs. Real Friend

A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps himself.

A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.

A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean.

A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.

A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.

A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.

A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.

A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!

Are you a simple or real friend???

Children Learn What They Live #6

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


Let all your children know how special each of them is to you by helping them to bring out their own unique talents and pursue their own interests.

We can provide our kids with a good example by showing them how to enjoy what we do have rather than longing for what we don't.

What a wonderful message it is to let your child know that you wouldn't want him to be any other kind of person, that you love him just for being himself.

There is no better reason to finally make peace with ourselves and come to terms with our own imperfections than this: that by our own example, we can help our children learn to accept themselves more fully.

Our children are exposed to advertising that stresses the importance of what others own. These messages often confuse having possessions with being loved and accepted. Our kids need our help in sorting out these confusing messages.

The ability to appreciate and enjoy our own blessings can help us deal appropriately with feelings of jealousy or envy.

Avoid labeling your children, even positively – "the smart one," "the athletic one," "the pretty one," and so on. Comparing your children to each other can promote feelings of jealousy and discourage them from becoming the best they can be for themselves.

When parents and children feel good about themselves, jealousy and envy go out the window. Try focusing on your inner sense of yourself rather than comparing yourself to others.

No matter what they say, what our children really want from us more than the newest clothes or the latest toys is our time and attention.

When we value our children, they learn to value themselves. We do this best when we avoid comparisons and showing favoritism.

Sometimes there are deep feelings of loss behind expressions of envy, like, "I wish my Dad was more like Bill's." We need to be able to listen to our children's feelings without getting defensive.

We will be much better off as parents if we cub our competitive feelings and our tendency to compare our kids to our friends' kids. Let's appreciate our children for who they are, and not see them as extensions of ourselves to brag about.

Jealousy and envy can make children feel bad about themselves. Help your kids learn to feel satisfied with what they have.

When a new baby comes along, accept some signs of jealousy as a natural reaction. Make sure to give even older kids special attention at this time.

It's good to nip jealousy in the bud, but not by stifling expression. When you notice your child longing for what others have, talk about it with him.

When they are struggling with feelings of envy, we want to listen to our children express their thoughts and feelings as well as offer them our own perspective.

There will always be people who have more of the things we want, but there will also be those who have less. It's up to us to decide how we make peace with this fact.

We need to recognize and value each child in the family for his or her own unique and special talents. Doing so will help keep jealousy at bay.

Even very young children may become concerned about having the "right" clothes or electronic toys. We have to balance the messages they are getting from advertising and other children by making our own values explicit.

Children Learn What They Live #5

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


A pushy, demanding attitude can actually bring about shyness instead of compliance. When we want our children to participate in an activity, it’s best to be inviting and welcoming.

When a child is able to laugh at herself, let her do it first. Then follow suit, and laugh with her. A big hug can help reassure her that she’s not being ridiculed.

Our children can learn from our example that the world doesn’t come to an end when someone laughs at us or we make a mistake. Show them how to move quickly and smoothly from acknowledging a mistake to correcting it.

Help your child learn to see the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with them. It’s laughing with someone only if everyone is enjoying the laughter.

It is important to always respect our children’s efforts to please us, no matter how misplaced or untimely they may be. When necessary, redirect them, and remember – it’s the spirit of giving that counts!

If we openly accept our own faults and mistakes and try to learn from them, we create a warmer, more relaxed environment for our children.

The ability to laugh at oneself is a sign of maturity, insight, and self-confidence. Provide a positive model for your child by showing him that you don’t always take yourself seriously.

Even if your child really is shy, it’s best not to say so in front of others. For one thing, that kind of attention is very hard for a shy child to bear. And for another, this may be just a phase in her development.

If your child suddenly becomes shy or withdrawn, it’s a signal. Be available to listen and find out what’s bothering him.

Using ridicule as an incentive to energize a child does just the opposite. It deflates her sense of self. Find positive ways to encourage and support your child.

Warmth, encouragement, and affection are the most effective tools for bringing out the best in your child.

Ridicule encourages your child to turn away. Help her get involved with others by creating fun and exciting games that capture her interest. Most children love to play tag or hide-and-seek. Sometimes you can help get things started.

Ridiculing a child in order to gain a desired behavior doesn’t work; it only encourages more shyness and withdrawal.

Ridicule can close the door to communication, leaving your child feeling very much alone. Don’t unintentionally close this door by too much teasing.

Ridicule is a put-down. Build your children up; don’t tear them down.

May kids experience teasing or ridicule at school or in neighborhood. We want our children to know they can always talk to us about this and that we’ll find a way to help them make things better, not worse.

Our children often overhear our offhand comments about others. Then they repeat them. Let’s not ridicule anyone, especially within earshot of our children.

We want our kids to be able to truly relax when they’re home. This means a “zero-tolerance” rule for ridicule or cruelty among siblings.

Sarcasm and ridicule are a devastating combination. Avoid both for your child’s sense of well-being.

Little Eyes Upon You

There are little eyes upon you and they're watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly take in every word you say.
There are little hands all eager to do anything you do;
And a little boy who's dreaming of the day he'll be like you.

You're the little fellow's idol, you're the wisest of the wise.
In his little mind about you no suspicious ever rise.
He believes in you devoutly, hold all you say and do;
He will say and do, in your way, when he's grown up just like you.

There's a wide-eyed little fellow who believes you're always right;
And his eyes are always opened, and he watches day and night.
You are setting an example everyday in all you do;
For the little boy who's waiting to grow up to be like you.

Author Unknown

Lord, Help me Build a Healthy Child

For it is easier to build a child then to repair an adult.
Help me praise more than criticize, encourage more than nag,
Discipline, not punish, and model good behavior
Rather than simple demand it.

Help me break the habit of automatically saying "no",
When I could just as easily say "yes" and to remember
a hug given before it's asked for is ten times more valuable!

Help me ask myself, "Will this matter in 20 years"
Then enable me to let go of those things that won't,
so I can have the energy for those things that will.

Help me earn their respect as I lead life consistent
with the principles I value. Lord, give me the courage
to teach them right from wrong
and help them discover their own special destinies.

Help me to freely join in their silliness, share in their laughter,
delight in their joys and keep their confidences.
Remind me daily to draw upon your strength
to heal thier wounds and comfort their sorrows.

Most of all, Lord, help me really listen for the hidden thoughts
and needs that often lie behind their requests
and give me the key to their heart
that is may be opened wide to all life's wonders and possibilities.

Author: Audrey Jeanne Roberts