June 23, 2011

Behavior & Your 6-year-old Attitude

Does your 6 year old have an attitude? Have you ever heard of the Terrible 6's? Not frequently written about but commonly experienced behavior is the six year old and their smart alec attitude. This behavior emerges anywhere from kindergarten to 1st grade and lasts for 1-2 years. It is characterized by a "know it all" attitude, high self esteem, talking back to adults and the belief that they can do anything.

This stage of social emotional development occurs because of the tremendous growth in their abilities at this age. They are feeling very intelligent from the learning they are doing in school and the attention they receive from their teachers and other adults. They are reading, spelling and learning a lot about the world around them. They feel smart and therefore, act smart.

This stage is not really a negative time but parents do have to get a handle on the know it all attitude and the talking back. It is important to be consistent with discipline at this stage and set clear guidelines about unacceptable behavior. Your child will quickly learn that they will receive more positive attention from you if they are respectful of you and others.

June 12, 2011

Is it Possible to Have a Peaceful Summer with the Children out of School?

Is it possible to have a peaceful summer with your children out of school? It is entirely possible to deal with their boredom, their fighting with siblings and your overreactions and getting on each other’s nerves by reading the following tips.
First, realize that when your children are bored and fight with each other that this is an activity and is designed to get your attention! This keeps them connected to you even though it is through the use of negative attention. You can influence them to argue less by structuring things more, giving them time away from each other and by ignoring their usual bickering with each other. Children can begin to solve their own problems if you don’t take sides and stay out of their arguments.
Second, control your own emotions before you respond to your children by giving yourself time to pause and think about what is going on. If your child is yelling at you, you don’t need to respond just because they are yelling. You have a choice on how you will respond. Ask a question instead and suggest you talk about it later when everyone is calmed down. Remember that nothing good will usually come out of a conversation when all parties are upset and arguing.
Lastly, pretend you are up in the sky looking down on the situation and try to view things from another perspective. Look at how family members are reacting to one another and decide to make a change in yourself. By making a change in yourself, you can have a positive effect on other family member’s behavior, effectively improving your home environment. You have the power to influence others with the way you behave.
Keep these things in mind and your summer will go more smoothly this year!

We Are Our Memories

If we are our memoires, then it seems to be helpful for us to consider, "What have I chosen to remember and why?" As you think about what you focus your attention on, I would encourage you to ponder these things:
We Are Prone to Remember Our Failures

Do you realize that? We are notorious for marking the failures in our lives. It seems that successes are just that—successes. When you have a success there's really nothing more to say. Successes are something to be moved on from because we did it right. Now it's on to the next thing. Failures however, are the stuff of scrutiny. We have to pick it apart and figure out what we did wrong. As an added measure, we often beat ourselves up. We admonish ourselves for our stupidity or lack of insight or impulsive behaviors or whatever it was that got us there and screwed things up. And so we often remember our failures while our successes drift into the foggy backwaters of our minds.
We Are Prone to Focus on What We Fear

We also tend to remember our failures out of fear of repeating them. They stand as markers of dread, telling us that we better not do it again or reminding us of the consequences of our own stupidity. They keep us from wandering back into places where we're likely to be hurt again. They likewise keep us from being hurt by others, reminding us of what people did to us and how they did it. Our memories become the hazard signs strewn across the landscape of our lives and our histories, telling us of all the places we can't go; leaving our lives full of places we can't venture into verses being full of places sweet with success. Our lives become defined not by the places where we can sit and savor victories, but by the places we must avoid.
We become Defined by What We Remember

Over time, the memories that we focus on become the things that define us. We become the sum total of these reflections, pulling them together to create some sort of mosaic that says, "This is what I am, this is what identifies and defines me." We can end up building our value, our worth, our self-esteem and the overall assessment of ourselves on an inventorying of our fears and failures. Our confidence wanes. Our sense of self is deflated or destroyed altogether. We question ourselves constantly. An ability to seize our strengths vanishes as we don't see them in order to seize them. And we end up languishing, being immersed in a toxic blend of hopelessness and mediocrity.
Re-visit Your Memories

It may be time to revisit your past. Revisiting is not about reinventing or rewriting our history as historical revisionists are so prone to do. Rather, it's a re-evaluation. You may want to de-emphasize your fears and failure and highlight your successes and achievements, despite how small they may sometimes seem. Celebrate your victories, even if the victory was merely to survive. Given what you have had to face to survive may well be a victory. Acknowledge your strengths and the successes that they brought you. There are more successes back in your history than you likely realize. Find them. Set a memorial over them. Celebrate them. Allow them to draw you back to something you should not forget; something that made you what you are. If you do, your life and your view of yourself will change in ways most remarkable.

June 7, 2011

Secrets to Becoming and Staying Motivated

You want and need motivation to be successful but how do you become and stay motivated? What is your reason for being motivated? Knowing the answers to these questions is the key to mastering the art of motivation and in optimizing your personal use of it.

Everyone has motivation for something in their life. It is just a matter of quantity and quality. Those that learn to stimulate their inner motivation and are successful:

  - Are clear with specific goals they want to achieve
  - Use failure as opportunities for learning & improvement
  - Put goals in writing with deadlines & commit to accomplishing
  - Have learned how to control stress & replace it with something
  - Are patient & persistent
  - Have learned how to be comfortable in the uncomfortable
    silence & in their own thoughts
  - Are organized & know where they should spend their valuable

You must value the things you are striving for and have sufficient enough reasons to achieve them in order to be motivated to act. If results you are striving for are highly valued, you will work as hard as is needed to accomplish these goals. This is a fact of human behavior. Likewise, if you want to motivate others, you must be motivated yourself and work just as hard or harder than you expect from others. You must respect others and value their opinion. Your mood is also important and will impact everyone you come in contact with. Stretch yourself through learning from others and implementing new ideas. Growth & motivation come from learning new perspectives for old comfortable topics. Live and teach motivation by example and those that are watching will learn these same qualities.

Embracing Change to Reach your Fullest Potential

Most people do not like change. Change causes feelings of uneasiness and unfamiliarity. It causes people to step out of their comfort zone and upsets routine. Most routine decisions are made on the subconscious level and are what we call habits. Even if what we are doing is not working, we continue to make familiar decisions over and over. This familiarity prevents anxiety caused by the unknown as our psyche tries to keep things in familiar territory. It's just human nature.

Gradual change is the most comfortable because it allows us time to get used to something new and is accomplished in little steps. Even if change is welcome, it is still stressful. We can learn to become comfortable with change. To do so, we must challenge ourselves to be open to change but this is difficult to accomplish alone. The mind plays tricks on us allowing us to put "change" under the bed, thereby ignoring it. A counselor can help you initiate change in your life.

The first step towards change is identifying what it is you want to change. A counselor can look for areas of discrepancy in thinking patterns and challenge the client with them. We often cannot see these discrepancies because our own hidden agendas are at work. To have the best results with change, a person needs to design their own story and take ownership of it. Change also requires new experiences in order to give up old behaviors. Successful change is also accomplished in small steps, most successfully, with the help of a professional counselor

Start approaching change as a welcome companion. Embrace it and develop yourself to your fullest potential!