Great for All Ages, Mental Contrasting, Parent Tips, Special Phrase Language, The Happy Student Podcast

#108 Be Strategic

“Be careful.” What a common phrase parents say. Your kid is climbing a tree – “Be careful!” Your kid is carrying hot liquid – “Be careful!” Your kid is going for a drive – my parents still tell me to “Be careful!” And that’s fine. But it’s also not great. It’s not that helpful. What does “careful” mean to a kid? Maybe a good alternative to careful is to be slow – to take your time because what your doing requires concentration and thought and you don’t want to rush it because you could get hurt. But being slow and careful is boring. And kids hate boring. So I’ve got an alternative, let’s start telling our kids to “Be strategic.”

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It’s not that you shouldn’t tell your kids to “Be careful.” You totally can and should. It’s that there are times when “Be strategic” also works and I think it is often clearer and it starts to get kids to think about being strategic, which they don’t necessarily get when they are told to “Be careful.”

“Be careful” means to be cautious. It means to be slow. It means to take your time. It means to be aware of what is going on. Implied in “Be careful” is to think about what you are doing and plan it out. But with kids we need to be super explicit. Telling kids to “be careful” and expecting them to plan out their course of action in response to that piece of advice is unlikely to get the desired outcome.

Meanwhile, “Be strategic” is a little more proactive. It’s a little clearer what it means to be strategic. To be strategic is to have a strategy – to have a plan. So when your kid is looking down the stairs they don’t know how to actually descend and you say “Be strategic” the idea is that they will start to learn to pause before they just nose dive downward.

Being cautious and careful is slow and boring. Being strategic is cool.

There’s this military saying, “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” And I’ve started saying it to myself as another alternative to “Be strategic”.

The point is, “Be strategic” is cool and it’s still slow. But even though it’s slow, it’s fast. And that’s cool. And your kids will respond to that. So try to start replacing some of your “Be careful” warnings with “Be strategic” and see what happens. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

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Definitions, Executive Functions Training, Great for All Ages, Parent Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

#107 Learning to Think About What You’re Doing

Metacognition: a useful skill that can help you study better because you know what you’re good at and what you need to improve. It can help you make better decisions, like when you just want to yell at someone because that would feel good but you realize that’s not actually the best course of action – which is helpful as a student, in the workforce on a team, as well as as a partner, parent, and friend. But it’s a really difficult thing to teach. Fireborn’s got 6 tips to make it easier!

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Metacognition is defined as “an awareness or understanding of one’s own thought process.” It’s  thinking about thinking.

The executive skills specialists, Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, describe good metacognition as…

  • You can routinely evaluate your performance and devise methods for personal improvement,
  • You can step back from a situation in order to make objective decisions,
  • You can ‘read’ situations well and adjust your behavior based on the reactions of others.

Metacognition is a useful skill that can help you study better because you know what you’re good at and what you need to improve, so you can practice that deliberate studying from episode 95. It can help you make better decisions to choose the best course of action. 

Ways to help your child develop metacognition

Make some goals.

  • It’s really helpful if your kid comes up with these goals for themselves because then the goals are something they really care about. 
  • You need a goal so that you can practice thinking about evaluating your performance and coming up with ways to improve.

Strategize.

  • Strategizing and spending time planning helps us think about what we actually want to accomplish, come up with a way to do it, and then we can actually do it. Practicing going through this thought process helps develop metacognition because it helps us evaluate what we are doing and adjust our behavior

Ask questions.

The following questions are super helpful and come from a blog called Inner Drive. So the questions to be asking are:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What should I do first?
  • Am I on the right track?
  • What can I do differently?
  • Who can I ask for help? 

And then there are questions to ask yourself at the end:

  • What worked well?
  • What could I have done better?
  • Can I apply this to other situations?
  • Ask these questions in a collaborative tone as your child works on accomplishing their goals. It would also be a great idea for you to set your own goals and ask yourself these questions to model all of this for your kid.

Stop and take stock.

  • With those goals that you have, make plans to check-in later. Maybe that means you set a calendar reminder for a week from today to see how you’re doing. Or maybe it means once you’ve done 1 hour of work, you take a break and reflect on the work you’ve done.

Review behavior and tell stories.

  • Once you have worked towards achieving your goal, or you have achieved your goal, review what you did well and what needs improvement. 
  • One way to do that is to tell a simple story – the story of what you did. Taking the time to say out loud what you did slows down your thought process and gives you time to pause and reflect.

Meditate.

  • So much of the trouble with executive functions comes from stress and/or an inability to slow down and make intentional choices. Meditation helps with that. It’s a stress reducer and it slows us down so that we are responsive instead of reflexive, so that we make intentional choices instead of being driven by habit. 
  • For help with meditation, there are apps like Calm and 10% Happier, and the book Sitting Still Like a Frog is a good one too.

Resources:

Inner Drive Questions

Teaching Metacognition

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

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Definitions, Difficult Topics, Easy Action Items, Executive Functions Training, Parent Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

#105 Emotional Games with Alison Smith

We so often value logic and discount the value of emotions – well not today! Today, parent coach Alison Smith tells us about the importance of emotions and gives us ideas on how to help our kids develop their emotional intelligence.

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The importance of emotional intelligence is beyond just knowing that we have emotions and your children have emotions, so we need to deal with them.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is our emotional intelligence. Our EQ is a better predictor of our future success than IQ.

When we are unable to identify within ourselves a particular emotion that we are feeling, it stays stuck inside. So, we don’t deal with it in a proactive and healthy manner. 

When we can pinpoint the exact emotion that we are experiencing, we can physically feel a change. It feels lighter and less intimidating. We can grow in our confidence, take a deep breath, and feel more ready to take on what we are faced with. 

In the English language there are about 30,000 words related to emotions. But, we typically only use about twelve words. Until we can state the emotion that is very specific to what we are feeling, we are still stuck. The emotion will then grow until we explode, leak, or both. 

By growing our emotional vocabulary development and recognizing it within ourselves and others we grow our empathy towards what it is others are experiencing. If we can pinpoint the emotions others are feeling (or take our best guess), then we can almost immediately feel more compassion towards them. Our interactions and communication will then be very different once we get a sense of where they are coming from. This can change relationships at home between parents with their children, couples, and parents with grandparents.  

Alison recommends a card game called You EQ that can help build one’s EQ.

  • There are cards called Conversational EQ because we are using conversation to develop our intelligence and also using conversation in the real world after the game.
  • Each card has an emotion on it. The simplest way to play is to identify the feeling that you have on your card and then say something about your thinking in relation to the emotion.  
  • There is no big conversation about it. There isn’t any feedback for each other, besides saying, “Thanks for sharing.”
  • This game should ideally be played several times a week for approximately ten minutes. It can be played with your kids, colleagues, work team, etc.
  • This game will help retrain your brain and improve conversation. 
  • There are about five different ways to play with each deck and each deck has a different focus. So, there is always something new. 

Other recommendations:

  • Today I Feel…: An Alphabet of Feelings
    • This book helps grow your child’s emotional vocabulary, which is an important starting place for emotional intelligence. 
  • The Ungame 
    • This is a non-competitive board game that works on improving your social and communication skills.  

References & Resources:

Alison Smith Parent Coach

You EQ Games

The Ungame

Today I Feel…: An Alphabet of Feelings

Michele Borba’s book: UnSelfie: How Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

Parent Tips, Self-Advocacy, The Happy Student Podcast

#104 What “They Say” about Parenting with Lauren Jumrukovski

“They say” a lot of things about how you should raise your children and it can be totally overwhelming and stressful when what “they say” just isn’t practical for you and your children. Our guest, Lauren from They Say Parenting is here to tell you it’s okay and to talk about how she let go of what “they say” and how you can too!

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About They Say Parenting

  • Everyone says something different about how one should parent, that it makes it difficult to know what is best.
  • It is best to go with your gut because you know your children and their habits more than anybody.
  • Lauren wants parents to know that they are not alone if they feel anxiety about the “rules” of parenting.

Goals for “They Say Parenting” blog

  • You are not alone in this.
  • We are great parents, mistakes and all. It’s ok not to be perfect, and in fact, it might even be better.
  • We don’t always have to listen to what “they say” because there is no substitute for experience.  
  • The blog is an uplifting place that make parents feel better. A place that make parents feel confident knowing they are doing the right thing because it’s what they think is best.

Personal experiences from Lauren

  • She felt pressure to breastfeed; however, it ended up not working for both her and her children. So, she made the decision to use formula in order to provide her children with the nutrients they needed.
  • It’s ok to do something different that doesn’t follow the rules.
  • For example, it’s alright to not have a super healthy dinner once in awhile.

Topics on Lauren’s blog and her upcoming book, They Say, Not Your Average Parenting Book

  • Her honest experiences as a parent.
  • Ideas/hacks/activities that have made parenting easier for her.
  • It is not your average parenting book.
  • Do’s and don’ts that have helped Lauren navigate parenting.
  • Reminders that it is normal to question oneself as a parent.
  • There are real tips from a real parent.
  • Focus on your intuition or gut when parenting.
  • You know best!

“There are occasions and instances where it doesn’t matter what ‘they’ say or what ‘they’ think, you just have to do what works.”

They Say Parenting

Order Lauren’s Book: They Say… (Not Your Average Parenting Book)

TheySayParenting on Instagram

@TSParenting on Twitter

TheySayParenting on Pinterest

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

Difficult Topics, Great for All Ages, Parent Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

#103 What’s the Hubbub Surrounding Spanking? (with Alison Smith)

The American Academy of Pediatrics just put out a strongly worded statement arguing against spanking because the AAP argues that spanking can harm kids. This is controversial because a lot of parents spank their kids as part of discipline and no one wants to hear that they are doing the wrong thing, especially when they feel like they don’t have a good alternative. So what’s the deal with spanking? And are there good alternatives?

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The American Academy of Pediatrics just put out a strongly worded statement arguing against spanking because the AAP argues that spanking can harm kids.

What are the arguments in favor of spanking?

  • “I got spanked and I turned out fine.”
    • Years of research show that most people who were spanked usually aren’t “fine”.
      • Anecdotal evidence vs. research based evidence
        • Anecdotal evidence is a true story of one person in one particular set of circumstances in his/her own results.
        • Research takes lots of anecdotal evidence into account and the person’s particular circumstances, as well.
    • Is it really worth the risk?

What are the consequences of spanking?

  • It does do harm, but it often appears over time.
  • We have laws and ethical standards against hitting animals, spouses, strangers, so how are children biologically different that makes hitting them ok?
  • Any force, whether physical, emotional, etc., from a larger adult to a child has subtle and significant impacts.
  • The idea of spanking is to inflict at least temporary pain or discomfort.
    • How can we then say that it is not causing pain or discomfort?
  • When they are touched in a private area (the buttock) that they are supposed to protect; they feel shame and humiliation because they’ve had no choice in that.
    • This causes uncertainty and confusion about whether the buttock is a private part of the body.
    • Children can’t articulate this, but they know that something feels off, uncomfortable, or “icky.”
    • Under the age of approximately seven, children have not developed in the part of the brain that judges whether something they see or hear is true or not. So, if someone they love/respect and has a place of power does something to them and says it’s their fault, children take that in internally that they are bad and have done something wrong. They don’t even know how or why, but they feel uncomfortable, knows it has something to do with the private parts of their bodies, and that they must deserve it if this loving person is doing this to them.

Many parents believe that they have to spank their child. There are interventions that work just as well in the short term and are better for the long-term, without the risks associated with spanking.

What are a few good discipline techniques?

  • Allow them to feel like they can come for help without the fear of something bad or uncomfortable happening that may cause them to lose part of that connection they have with you. Then there’s an opportunity to work with your children to help them see the possible outcomes of all of their choices, which then builds the trust and connection between you and your children for next time so they will be more likely to come back to ask for guidance.
    • Keep a good, open communication with your child.
    • The decision making part of the brain does not fully develop until the child is 25-30 years old.
  • Teach the problem solving process and give them safe practice.  
  • Expect them to mess up.
    • There was a fear of messing up because of the thought of being in trouble. This kept us from taking healthy risks and from learning important things. It stifled us.
    • Our goal is to teach them in the moment how to make those right decisions.

But, there has to be consequences sometimes…

  • Consequences are a natural result of something.
  • Some consequences we don’t want them to experience.
  • It takes time and intentional effort.
    • We need new skills to teach us how to do this.

Where do parents go for help now that parenting has changed?

  • Parents can visit a
    • Parenting specialist
    • Therapist with specialized backgrounds in parenting/family dynamics, relationships, problem solving
    • Parenting consultant/coach/educator.
      • They focus on prevention. They consider relationship as much as possible.
  • Follow the links below.

What constitutes spanking? I have a friend who gives her son just a little tap when he’s messing up and she argues that he immediately stops and corrects his behavior. She argues that this is not spanking.

  • I would argue that it is in fact a form of spanking – she is hitting her child and that is physical punishment. And I think that teaches the child that hitting is okay – because his mom is modeling that behavior for him.
  • It teaches that might makes right.
    • Whomever has the size, strength, or power, and if they are motivated enough then they can use their size, strength, or power and it’s ok.
  • It confuses the child on what’s private, what their in charge of, and what someone in power can do.

Summary of how spanking is harmful:

  • There’s more than physical harm. It affects the way they think, the way they internalize the mistakes that they’re making, and it has a lasting impact.
    • Parenting is the most important relationship.
    • People can heal, but it takes more work to counteract those early years.
  • Being spanked has been linked to lower self-esteem, depression, masochism, and psychological distress.
    • It has an emotional affect.
  • It impacts the relationship between parents and children when power is taken out of the equation. The bond and trust we have is important to protect.

References & Resources:

Alison Smith Parent Coach

A Gift from Alison Smith: The Gentle Parenting Manifesto from

The Happy Student episodes on discipline:

“The General Rules of Discipline”

“Types of Discipline”

“Giving Logical Consequences”

“What To Do When Your Kid ‘Talks Back’ with Alison Smith”

“The Bizarre Time-Out Controversy”

“Lighthouse Parenting”

Debra L. Stang has put together some excellent arguments against spanking, using both research and common myths in favour of physical punishment. I shared a number of points from her article. https://nospank.net/stang2.htm

GENERAL SPANKING RESEARCH LINKS

https://stopspanking.org/research/

https://stopspanking.org/2013/06/20/what-researchers-say-about-spanking/

Hard-hitting essay on the evolution of society’s view of what constitutes violence.

https://medium.com/@tommycrow/parents-who-spank-should-be-worried

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

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Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

Great for All Ages, Parent Tips, Stress Management, The Happy Student Podcast

#102 How To Be Happy and Fulfilled So Your Kids Are Too

Our kids do as we do. And what we want for them is to be happy and fulfilled. So, if they’re going to be like us, we need to be happy and fulfilled so they can be. Easier said than done. Fireborn’s got 7 tips that intertwine so you can do multiple at a time for maximum happiness efficiency, so that your kids can learn how to be just like you.

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  1. Give yourself some quiet time.
    1. Take time to meditate, to reflect on the day, and to daydream, and maybe to practice some yoga.
    2. You can specifically set aside time for quiet time in a specific place and your kids know they are not to bother you while you are there (or they can quietly join you in your quiet time).
      1. Put on some classical music that is a cue to your kids that it is your reflection time. If your kids interrupt or ask, definitely tell them what you are doing and why. They will start to interrupt you less and less and they may even start to join you.
  2. Put the phone and social media away.
    1. The real problem is “reverse FOMO”. You’re not missing out on anything online. But by always being online you’re missing out on life.
    2. So stop the scrolling and live in the real world more often.
    3. This gives more time for that quiet reflection.
  3. Spend more time having conversations with people (in person if possible).
    1. Use phones to make plans to hang out with people, but avoid using it to catch up. If you can’t meet up in person, a phone call is way better than texting.
    2. That personal connection is so much more powerful and healthy and joy-producing than seeing life updates on Instagram.
  4. Give and get a lot of hugs (with consent obviously).
    1. As Eric Barker puts it, “Hugs make you happier.”
  5. Make plans and do stuff together with your friends.
    1. Don’t just talk with your friends, do stuff together! Learn a new activity together!
    2. Eric says, “Someone else is not doing cooler things than you because they have “more time”. It’s because they have different priorities.”
  6. Have a hobby and make sure your leisure time is high quality.
    1. Hobbies are things we are passionate about. Things we like to do, skills we like to learn, and challenges we like to overcome.
  7. Remember to focus on your values.
    1. People are prioritizing doing cool stuff because that is what they value.
    2. We don’t even think about how to spend our free moments. Somehow it just happened that every time we have a second, we check our phone. So you have to figure out what you value and remind yourself of those values to get  motivated to not check and scroll forever and to do that cool stuff instead. You have to be intentional with your time.

Reference:

Barker, E. (2019) This is the most powerful way to make your life fantastic. Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

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Elementary School, Great for All Ages, High School, Middle School, Parent Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

#99 Bob Sternberg on Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity, and Success

Psychologist Bob Sternberg joins Fireborn to talk about how there is more to succeeding and thriving than testing well. He says “You don’t have to be the best student in your class to have something to contribute to the world.” That’s an excellent message to get across to kids because in school you are so often assessed based on grades that it may be hard to remember that you have value even if you aren’t the best in your class. In this episode, we talk about how to help your child really take that message to heart.

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What skills are tests missing?

Creativity

  • People need to aware and adept to the ambiance of the rapidly changing world in order to succeed. This applies both for businesses and in social aspects of life.
  • Schools don’t reward creativity, but actively penalize it. School want things done a certain way. For example, if the student does not solve a mathematical problem the way they were taught, but wrote the correct answer, they would still lose points for not following the way they were taught to solve the problem.

What can parents do?

  • The best thing to do is model creativity and not be dogmatic about it. Look for opportunities to demonstrate your own creativity to your kids. Be flexible in your own life.
  • Encourage your child to look at problems in alternative ways and take sensible risks.
  • Help your child realize that when you do things creatively you may get beaten down, but that’s ok, you have to be resilient in the face of objections or resistance.
  • Reward creativity.
  • Sometimes you have to look at things differently from how you have in the past by letting go of the things you may have once believed was true.

Common Sense or Practical Intelligence

  • This means knowing how to respond to different kinds of practical and social situations; such as handling conflict and making judgements of things that our “worth your time.”
  • Common sense or practical intelligence is weakly correlated with IQ type and academic intelligence. “Being a star student doesn’t buy you any common sense.”
  • Common sense or practical intelligence is important. Tests don’t value your ability to navigate the world, however

What can parents do?

  • Make sure your kids are talking to you about their problems and challenges with others.
  • Help them work through the problems they may have (don’t just tell them the answer) by discussing possible options with their advantages and disadvantages. This encourages social problem solving. By telling kids what to do it’s hard for them to develop common sense because then they don’t have experiential basis of what to do.
  • You should model common sense because children are more likely to do what you do, not just what you say.

Wisdom

  • Wisdom means using your knowledge and abilities for a common good. It’s taking the smarts you have and applying it to make the world a better place.

What can parents do?

  • Show that as a parent you value a common good. Show that you care about making the world a better place and you hope they will too.
  • Think about what to do to make the world a better place.
  • Have your child do prosocial things that will help whatever issues you think are important.

Find one’s passion

  • Parents can help their child find the “thing(s)” that’s right for them. This may be something parents did not have in mind. Parents can help encourage their child to find what excites them, whether or not it excites the parents. Just make sure that it doesn’t get them in trouble.
  • Parents may try to impose their value system onto their child, and that doesn’t work. It may not be what’s best for them.

What can parents do?

  • You may try a lot of things with your kids and find that most don’t work. Expose them to different kinds of experiences and interests, knowing that most won’t work.

Parents should show genuine interest and be willing to devote their time and mental resources to kids. When your kids talk, listen to them. When they need help be there for them. Don’t be intrusive and try to take over their life. Invest yourself in making the kids who they can be. This takes time and patience.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!