Hate and Anger…

February 23, 2011

anger…dirty words; or so we once thought. I read a quote the other day when reading the book, 9 Things a Leader Must Do that stated: “You can tell as much about a man by looking at the things he hates as you can by looking at the things he loves.” The author went on to explain that a man that hates child abuse, inequities, racism, injustice, disrespect and etc…tells you who he is. You get the picture. I liked that.

I’ve always thought of hate and anger as being associated with negativity. We do not want our children to be angry hateful human beings. However, I began to think that we could learn so much about our children if we began to observe their anger and fits of frustration (yes, even those terrible twos) with the idea that perhaps we could learn more from understanding their anger than their good behavior.

Children often understand so much more than they have the skills to articulate, thus they often experience tremendous frustration. A scream of “I hate you”, often simply means, “I am so frustrated that this simple sentence contains the only words that I know use that state I am upset.” They do not really hate you, they perhaps “hate” something that they SHOULD hate. Perhaps they witnessed someone being bullied, perhaps someone said something very painful to them and they do not have the verbal skills needed to ask their friend to stop. Consider the possibility that a two year old is having a “terrible twos tantrum” because they really did have the toy first. They are upset because someone jerked it from their hand and they KNOW it wasn’t fair. They possibly have a sense of justice at a young age. Good, careful observation and positive guidance with loving words as well as positive conflict resolution could be very positive for all involved. Instead, too often, we focus on the child showing the anger instead of working to understand the source of the anger. Too many times, a child gets labeled as being angry because the adults didn’t take the time to understand the cause; they simply treated the symptom.

Often we judge actions but we fail to look beyond the action to understand what prompted the action. Remember that children are “learning” to process so many different emotions and are affected by so many outside triggers. If adults take the time to roll back the mask from the dirtiness of hate and anger…you can truly see the beauty of what once was believed to be ugly. Let’s not judge the action unless we are confident that we have “all the facts”. I am NOT suggesting that we do not hold children accountable for their actions. We certainly need to teach children that they cannot hit in anger and etc…but I am suggesting that as parents and educators that we seek to understand. It will reveal so much to us about our children. It can reveal beautiful news about our children. What makes them angry and what they hate can reveal what great children they are as well as what amazing adults they are going to become.

Written by: Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers


Happy Presidents Day!

February 21, 2011

George Washington - 1st presidentPresidents Day is a famous day and a federal holiday in United States celebrated on the birth of nation’s greatest president George Washington.  George Washington was a remarkable personality in the politics of United States. It is a very popular holiday in the United States and several activities and parades take place on this auspicious day. George Washington was a very powerful, respected and lovable president. People talk about the his leadership, valor and grand popularity.

“One of the greatest captains of the age” ~Benjamin Franklin


Done with the Morning Madness

February 16, 2011

Struggle free morningsI often write for parents of very young children because Children’s Choice works primarily with children five and under. However, for all of our parents and followers who have school age children and are experiencing morning power struggles—those days when you wake your children several times and then you have to literally drag them out of bed and struggle to get them out the door—this BLOG IS FOR YOU!

Growing up, I lived one door down from my very best friend. We are still best friends, and we have celebrated many great life events together. However, our parents had very different styles of parenting, and I was always surprised at how tolerant her mom was in the morning. My friend wasn’t too bad about getting up, but her little sister was the worst. My friend’s sweet mom would drag this non-cooperative child out of bed and into the bathroom where the little girl would lock the door, curl up on the bathroom mat, and promptly go back to sleep…almost every day. I spent many nights with them, and it was amusing to watch. One thing I knew for sure as I saw this scene unfold time and again was that my mom wouldn’t play that game. I didn’t even try it.

My mom is programmed in my phone as “The World’s Greatest Mom,” and she was and continues to be an amazing mom/grandmother to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Here are some things that she taught me combined with what I’ve learned along the way for smooth mornings:

1.  If your children are routinely having a difficult time waking in the morning, they need more rest. My mom’s approach with us was simple, and it wasn’t punitive. For every time she had to call us to get up, our bed time was moved back that night by 15 minutes. She explained that not being able to wake up meant that we needed more rest. No yelling, no fighting—and we were in control of our bedtime. We went to bed at 6:00 a couple of times, even in high school. The key was consistency, and she meant it.

2.  Find everything the night before. Lay it in plain view–papers signed, backpacks ready, etc.

3.  If you have young children, allow them to choose what they will wear, but YOU control the choices. Here are some hints:

  • Spend time coordinating school outfits in their closets with their help so that they can choose from one section of the closet without asking.
  • Hold up two outfits the night before and ask, “Which outfit would you like to wear tomorrow?”
  • Make sure that approval for any new outfit is given the night before—no surprises in the morning that might set off alarms.

4.  Establish routines. Children love predictability, and they feel safer when they know what is going to happen next. Make bedtime routines as consistent as possible. This will truly affect the morning routine.

5.  Children will do whatever you allow them to do. My best friend’s home was loving and fun, and her mom was amazing—but she had given her children the control. She laughed about it then, and the memories probably kept her smiling as she grew older.

Just know that if you want struggle-free mornings, consistency and routine are the keys.

By Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers

How Do You See Your Child?

February 9, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy ChuaPerhaps you have heard or read some of the controversy and debate surrounding a book released in January entitled, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua. While I want to be clear that there were many things in the book that were extremely alarming to me personally and professionally, there was something that I took from the book that challenged me.

The author made a statement that “Chinese parents assume strength, not fragility, and as a result, they (the children) behave very differently”.

It made me stop and ask myself, “How do I see my child performing when I begin to work with her on any project or new skill? How do I expect my child to master a sport when I sign him/her up? Do I see my child achieving excellence or do I just expect that they will be mediocre from the beginning? If my child whines, do I give in and perceive that my child is weak and cannot work through adversity? If I expect more, believe more, and encourage more…will my child achieve more?”

There are ways to support our children and INSPIRE them to excellence. Perhaps we DO need to stop and make sure that we haven’t allowed our society to lull us into thinking that everything loving has to be comfortable.

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your children is to see something in them that they cannot see in themselves. They might try to talk us out of pushing them because of the difficulty, but if we can find that balance of lovingly pushing them, they will one day appreciate that we saw the strength that they possessed to achieve.

There is a great quote that states, “Don’t worry that children seem to not listen to you, worry that they are always watching you.” Children know when you believe in them and they know by your consistent actions and expectations if you are going to “expect the best” from them.

Written by Donna McClintock, CCO with Children’s Choice Learning Center

No Shadow…Spring Is Near!

February 2, 2011

Groundhog dayOn the 125th anniversary of Punxsutawney Phil who did not see his shadow at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, PA.  The prediction is that Spring is just around the corner.

101 Ways to Tell Your Child “Good Job”

February 2, 2011

Super JobEveryone knows a little praise goes a long way and reinforces good behavior. But saying the same two words “Good Job” sounds rehearsed and will soon become ineffective.

Here are 101 fantastic ways to give praise, show interest, and offer encouragement:
1.    You’ve got it made.
2.    Super!
3.   That’s right!
4.    That’s good!
5.    You are very good at that.
6.    Good work!
7.    Exactly right!
8.    You have just about got it.
9.    You are doing a good job!
10. That’s it!
11. Now you have figured it out.
12. Great!
13. I knew you could do it.
14. Congratulations!
15. Not bad.
16. Keep working on it; you are improving.
17. Now you have it.
18. You are learning fast.
19. Good for you!
20. Couldn’t have done it better myself.
21. Beautiful!
22. One more time and you’ll have it.
23. That’s the right way to do it.
24. You did it that time!
25. You are getting better and better.
26. You are on the right track now.
27. Nice going.
28. You haven’t missed a thing.
29. Wow!
30. That’s the way.
31. Keep up the good work.
32. Terrific!
33. Nothing can stop you now.
34. That’s the way to do it.
35. Sensational!
36. You have got your brain in gear today.
37. That’s better.
38. Excellent!
39. That was first class work.
40. That’s the best ever.
41. You have just about mastered that.
42. Perfect!
43. That’s better than ever before.
44. Much better!
45. Wonderful!
46. You must have been practicing.
47. You did that very well.
48. Fine!
49. Nice going.
50. Outstanding!
51. Fantastic!
52. Tremendous!
53. Now that’s what I call a fine job.
54. That’s great.
55. You’re really improving.
56. Superb!
57. Good remembering!
58. You have got that down pat.
59. You certainly did well today.
60. Keep it up!
61. Congratulations, you got it right!
62. You did a lot of work today.
63. That’s it!
64. Marvelous!
65. I like that.
66. Cool!
67. Way to go.
68. You’ve got the hang of it!
69. You’re doing fine.
70. Good thinking.
71. You are learning a lot.
72. Good going.
73. I’ve never seen anyone do it better.
74. That’s a real work of art.
75. Keep on trying!
76. Good for you!
77. I’m proud of you!
78. You remembered!
79. That’s really nice.
80. Thanks!
81. What neat work!
82. That’s “A” work.
83. That’s clever.
84. Very interesting.
85. You make it look easy.
86. Excellent effort.
87. Awesome!
88. That’s a good point.
89. Superior work.
90. Nice going.
91. I knew you could do it.
92. That looks like it is going to be a great paper.
93. That’s coming along nicely.
94. That’s an interesting way of looking at it.
95. Out of sight!
96. It looks like you’ve put a lot of work into this.
97. Right on!
98. Congratulations, you only missed…
99. Super-Duper!
100. It’s a classic.
101. I’m impressed!

Share your favorite phrase…we’d love to hear.

And We Thougth Childhood Was All About Fun…Children Have Stress Too!

February 2, 2011

Kids have stress tooI think Barbra Streisand sang it so beautifully when she belted out the words, “What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.”

Have you ever noticed how we, as adults, tend to minimize a child’s pain if the source of that pain is something we know he will “outgrow”? For instance, if he is struggling to adjust to a new school, we might be quick to reassure him that everything will be okay. We tell him, “You will find new friends, and you will be just fine.” We easily forget how difficult it is to be the new student.

As adults, we need to remember that children’s stress is real. We know they will move through this stage, but we should not make light of their feelings. Stress is as overwhelming to children as it is to adults because most children do not, as yet, have the necessary coping skills.

As always, begin with patience, love, and understanding to help your child through a stressful situation.  Here are a few tips to help decrease a child’s anxiety:

1.  Spend one-on-one time with your child. Find an activity or hobby that you both enjoy doing together such as reading books, baking cookies, or playing games.

2.  Never underestimate the power of touch—back rubs, massages, hugs, and gentle touches are very soothing to a stressed child.

3.  Be physically active together—it’s a great way for you both to release the stress of the day. Encourage vigorous activity and go outside whenever possible.

4.  Let your child know that it is okay to make mistakes. Share a minor mistake you have made and explain how you corrected it on a level that she can understand.

5.  Children love stories. Make up stories where the main character deals with the stress that your child is facing. Laughter is a great stress reliever so make the stories humorous whenever possible.

6.  Consider deep breathing exercises and even yoga classes for an extremely stressed child. You will find Yoga for Kids to be a great website detailing the benefits of yoga.

7.  Validate your child’s feelings with phrases such as “I know you feel sad” and “It’s okay to feel scared.” Validation simply means that you have heard her. Your child needs to know that you have listened to her feelings more than she needs to know that the problem will be resolved.

Life brings stress. Be a role model. Let your child see you working through your stress and handling it in a healthy, positive way. Every child handles stress differently, and there are times to ask for help. Do not hesitate to involve your family doctor if you believe that your child is exhibiting signs of extreme stress and anxiety.

By Donna McClintock, Coo with Children’s Choice Learning Centers