As I read the information on friendships I thought about writing about children – because that’s what the blog is about right? But the last part of the podcast really struck me. Where do children learn about friendships? From the adults role-modeling around them. My children are learning about friends from me and I learned from my parents.
So I spent that last several days listening and watching what my children see me say and do around and with my friends. Then I spent some time watching my children with their friends. Yep, sure enough it looked similar.
I want to repeat the 3 bullets from the podcast –
- provide emotional support
- teach acceptable behavior
- teach important attitudes
So I sit here pondering are there things I want my children to learn about friends from their friends? Are their things I want my children to learn about friends from me? Yes and YES. And I want the strongest most important lessons to come from me! So it will be up to me to model about friends to them. Hmmmm Why do these blogs always turn into something I need to do? 🙂
Share your thoughts with me on how you have modeled about friendships to your children.
Parents want their children to have friends, but childhood friendships can be puzzling. One day a child is part of the “in group” and the next day he or she is on the outside. What’s a parent to do?
The good news is that parents can help children develop the skills they need to make and keep friends. Join us this month as we navigate through the world of children’s friendships.
Listen to a brief podcast on Children and Friendship:
Boys and girls are different – well, that’s not news. But have you stopped to think about how boys and girls are different when it comes to sports. They have different attitudes about sports and they often feel differently about their physical development.
Let’s start with the attitudes. Boys really focus on their skills – how far they can throw a football, how hard they can hit a baseball, or how fast they can run. The boys work at constantly improving their skills to be a better player. Girls are people oriented. They want to be on the same team with their best friends. And girls don’t like being compared to others; they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
Boys are proud of their physical development. My grandsons are constantly showing me how tall they are, how big their muscles are, and how much they weigh. I notice the granddaugthers are a bit more reserved about their developing bodies. The recent Olympics gave girls an opportunity to see physically fit women play sports with pride. That is a great model for girls and young women.
Data about successful women who participated in sports indicates they learned how to be authoritative, work on teams, set individual and team goals, and to be mentally tough.
What differences do you notice between boys and girls when it comes to sports?
When should children begin organized sports?
Good question! Sometimes parents feel pressured to get their children into organized sports at a very young age.
I remember when my 5 year old daughter played soccer for the first time. I wanted it to be fun and something she enjoyed. It was the 4-5 year old age group, and after a couple of wildly amusing practices they had their first game. In the middle of the game she actually kicked the ball for the first time and stopped midfield, looked over at me and gave me the biggest grin and two thumbs up. She was so proud. At that moment another child ran past her and yelled “GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!”
Yep, my mouth hung open for a moment just like yours did. I can tell you that I literally saw her deflate before my very eyes. Be watchful and wary about when and where you send your children to experience their sport for the first time. Protect their egos and their developing brains.
Here’s a little info on what child development says young children can ‘handle’.
At the preschool age (3, 4, 5 years old) – children are developing a sense of independence and decision making. They are typically too young for a structured formal organized sport. Their brain development hasn’t yet mastered the ability to ‘lose gracefully’ and they can easily bored and distracted. Not to mention disruptive and frustrated. If we push them to ‘pay attention’ and ‘follow the rules’ we may actually be turning them ‘off’ to the sport in the future. Preschoolers need fun and light hearted experiences with lots of room for goofiness when it comes to sports.
How might you have handled my situation above?? Are there times that you have had similar experiences?
We’ve all been there – cheering at the game and having fun watching the kids play. Then somewhere out of the stands comes that loud voice yelling, “What are you thinking, take him out,” or “Ref, how could you miss that call?” Then the tirade continues for the entire game alternately aimed at the coach, kids, and referees or umpires. Embarrassing – yes. Helpful to anyone – no.
I’m going to tackle (ok, its football season) the sensitive topic of adults and sportsmanship. It’s easier and safer to focus on the kids. But the truth is that adults can become overly involved. I am including all adults, not just parents, in this discussion. There’s no age limit, gender, or relationship that precludes an adult from “losing it” at a sporting event.
So what’s an overly involved parent or adult? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Do I get in arguments at my child’s sporting event?
- Do I object to calls and possibly cuss at the referees or umpires?
- Do I insist my child go to practice or play in a game even if she is sick or hurt?
- Do I complain to the coach about the amount of my child’s playing time?
- Do I insist my child is much better than others on the team?
- Do I tell or show my child how to play dirty?
- Do I show more approval when my child plays well?
Ok, it’s gut check time. Did any of these questions make you squirm just a little? Did some of them hit close to home? We’re not perfect and it’s easy to get caught up in an intense game.
But remember, as a parent you are ALWAYS a role model for your child. Sports help character development and what are you teaching your child when you lose control of your emotions and actions. What do you do to keep calm at your child’s games?
As I thought about children and sports this month I want to share something I overheard.
A young child was working on a new physically challenging skill. He was working and working and working so very hard. Finally SUCCESS!!! HE DID IT! He was so proud I swear he grew 4 inches right in front of my eyes! “I did it I tried my best and I did it!”
The older sibling overheard the exclamations of joy and in a grown up voice replied “It’s never our BEST, there is always room for improvement”.
SILENCE…….. DEFLATION……… end of working on skill.
Isn’t there a time when we really have done it ‘good enough’ to celebrate? Can’t we just stop and celebrate the moment and say “We did our best and we succeeded!” As we continue with children and sports this month, think about really allowing your child to celebrate the moment of their own personal success.
We ALL have to start somewhere and not all of us are going to be Olympians. Besides – without those of us having OUR OWN personal best, their would never be Olympians who we encouraged to be their best.
How have you celebrated personal bests with your child?
The hot weather has sent people scurrying indoors to the AC. It’s just been too uncomfortable to enjoy many of the usual outdoor family fun activities. The temps normally cool down in the evenings so maybe we could look for some fun under the stars.
I remember my mother talking about when she was a child back in the 1930s. It was so unbearably hot in the house that at night they pulled mattresses outside to sleep, hoping for a cool breeze. When our girls were young we laid blankets in the front yard. Then we would stretch out for some rest punctuated by lots of giggles and interesting conversations.
This is a family fun activity that parents and kids of all ages can enjoy. Grab some blankets, cool drinks (maybe even a snack), and head outside. Allow everyone to get situated and then see what happens.
Use this as a chance to talk about the stars. Don’t worry if you’re not up on what is where – there’s an app for that on your computer or smartphone or stop by the library for a book.
As the mood quiets and the night grows deeper, just be present and allow the conversations to go where they may. There is something almost magical about a beautiful summer night that allows people to share their thoughts and feelings.
When was the last time your family spent time under the stars? Why not tonight?
School is out and now the summer fun begins. But if the kids have two homes, it might not be so much fun. There may be family vacations and family reunions and softball/baseball games and 4-H events and camps and – well you get the idea.
So who decides where the kids will be? Last weekend I was at a baseball game and heard a dad talking about vacations. His family, with kids from different marriages, had a summer trip planned. Then he found out one child’s mom had other plans and her wishes ruled. This sounded like the beginning of vacation wars and not the fun that all had in mind.
Well parents, it’s time to revisit the concept of co-parenting. Now is the time to sit down and talk with your child’s other parent about summer plans. Get out the calendar and pencil in all the events that involve your child. Go into the conversation with the idea of making this work. Share any “absolute” dates and explain why you want your child for that time. Be willing to compromise and not insist on your way for everything. Offer to take your child more frequently or be the “taxi” on occasion.
I know you’re probably thinking – “but you don’t know my ex.” And I don’t! But I do know that kids want to enjoy the summer. They want to spend time with both parents and the extended families. They want to hang out with their friends. They want to just “be” and not find themselves in the middle of arguments over who gets them when.
How do you plan summer schedules when two households are involved? What’s worked for your family?
A wild ‘Dust-nado’ that sent the town/schools scrambling a few weeks ago and the topic of Divorce made me think about how we cope with ‘storms’ of life.
In a sense we begin coping with all storms the same way. We open our toolbox of what we ‘know’ and begin to apply the skills to the storm. If the storm is small we may have all the tools we need to cope effectively. But as the storm grows we need to be open to allowing others (personal and professional) to help us fill that toolbox with the right tools. You really don’t want to use a hammer when you NEED a screwdriver (well in most cases- HA!).
In the midst of storms it can be difficult for us to determine the right tool to use for the storm we are in because we are in the middle of if surrounded by the yuck and muck. It can be hard to allow others to help us use the right tools – I’ll be the first one to admit I like to solve problems on my own! So I challenge you as I challenge myself – can you let others help you choose the right tool for your storm?
What tools have you found effective for life’s storms? Both big and small?
Here’s a great E-xtension Article – Coping with Stress
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to this month’s blog I would highly encourage it. I have placed below a great resource from the eXtension website. Stay tuned for more conversations the rest of this month.
Parenting During and After Divorce
Parents help children adjust to divorce better when they show respect for the fact that the child is now a member of two families.
Parenting through and after divorce is different than parenting when both adults are in the home. Normal parenting challenges become harder during this time. Life is thrown out of balance. Parents and children may experience feelings of stress, loss, guilt, and/or anger. Most family members overcome this stressful event, but the process takes time.
Parenting Behaviors that Help and Hurt
Making the transition through divorce is easier for the child when parents look at things through the child’s eyes. It’s important to remember that the child is now a member of two families.
Children do better when they are able to maintain their relationships with both parents (when it is safe for them to do so).
Children whose parents have a lot of conflict after the divorce have the hardest time. Parents can support their children best by keeping their arguments private, away from where children can hear them. This includes phone conversations.
Experiencing negative emotions about the other parent is normal. But it’s important to avoid making negative comments about the other parent in front of the child. Children often feel a negative comment about the other parent reflects on them. After all, half of their DNA is from that parent! If a parent needs to vent, a good strategy is to seek support from another understanding adult.
For the rest of the article… http://www.extension.org/pages/27654/parenting-during-and-after-divorce
Do you remember a time when your child pitched a fit in the grocery store? It’s one thing to handle a temper tantrum at home. But when it’s in public – like at the grocery store with everyone watching – that’s enough to test everything you know. Some people may give you that “why don’t you do something with your kid” look while others shoot you a sympathizing “I’ve been there” look. Either way you are probably embarrassed or frustrated or tired or just ready to throw up your hands.
We are most apt to have shopping disasters when we make those stops at the grocery store at the end of a busy day. Are you and your child too tired or hungry to shop? If so, a major tantrum is a high possibility. Children usually behave better when everyone is more relaxed and happy so plan the best time for the shopping trip. Be clear about expectations before you go in the store – stay in the cart, hold my hand, use indoor voice. Also decide together what will happen if your child behaves at the store. Keep it simple. Perhaps you stop for an ice cream cone on the way home or promise to play a favorite game when you get home.
Once you’re in the store, make a game of the shopping. Or give your child some choices (this or that cereal, red or yellow apples). Give him a responsibility like holding the bread or steering the cart. Praise him often to reinforce good behavior. “You are really helping Mommy by putting the cans in the cart.”
Okay, so even though we’ve done all the planning and talking, we can still end up with an out-of-control child. If that happens, take her to the restroom or out of the store away from other people and distractions. Tell her that her behavior is not acceptable and then wait – wait for her to calm down. If she is ready to try it again, go for it. If not, go home. And don’t go back in and buy her a treat where she just pitched a fit!!
What do you do when your child throws a tantrum in the grocery store? Any tips on calming down both parent and child?
Sitting on my deck in the sun…listening to the neighborhood children running through the water puddles left by the melting snow. The sounds of their loud and intense squeals of laughter remind me that several of these kiddos are champion tantrum throwers as well. The emotions are just as strong when they are happy as when they are angry. Like Donna said last months temperament topic goes right along with this month’s temper tantrums topic.
In the heat of a good tantrum it’s so important to think about the cause behind the emotions. Getting wrapped up and wound up in the emotions along with the child will be like throwing gas on a fire. Finding a way to remain calm both physically and emotionally can help the child deescalate as well. What was the initial cause of the very first emotion? Was it frustration? Was it hurt? Was it fear? The intensity of the tantrum is the secondary emotion – something triggered.
We have to play Sherlock Holmes…. What was going on prior to the tantrum? Where was the child? Who was in the vicinity? When did the emotions start to show themselves? Take a breath and see if you can find the clues before responding.
What were some clues you discovered when you search for reason behind your child’s tantrum?
And I want it my way. As an adult I can use words to communicate feelings. But try to remember what it is like to be a small child. Most toddlers still don’t talk too much or know how to express feelings. They aren’t very good at solving problems either. So when you think about it, having a tantrum almost makes sense. During the podcast the guys talked about the two emotions that are central to tantrums – anger and sadness. I found it interesting that anger peaks about 1/3 of the way through the tantrum and then declines while sadness remains a constant steady background. I also tuned in to the conversation about how temperament figures into kids and tantrums. Do you see how last month’s podcast and this one tie together?
When a child gets angry it is soooo easy to respond with anger. In fact we were told that was a natural reaction. We were also warned about the anger trap. If everyone gets angry, then things can escalate and nothing gets resolved. Staying calm and in control of your own emotions is important. So is pausing for a few seconds before you respond. Doesn’t sound like too much to ask, but in the midst of a major meltdown it can be difficult. If you can remain calm and reasonably collected, you will be showing your child how to handle frustration and you will also have a better chance of figuring out the best way to deal with the tantrum.
The Temper tantrums publication suggest four possible ways to deal with a tantrum. Some are more suitable to different aged children. Check it out. Do you have a tantrum thrower in your family? What do you find helps dissolve the anger and comfort the child?
When children throw tantrums, which comes first: the screaming or the crying? Michael Potegal knows — and has the video evidence to prove it. The University of Minnesota researcher talks about his video study of tantrums in this month’s Science of Parenting podcast.
ISU Extension publications
Additional links to be posted with the news release
I’m a fairly mild mannered girl. It takes quite a bit to rile me up and get me excited, agitated or angry. I’m certainly not saying I can’t get there. I just run at a slower boiling point than some. However, I think that some of my favorite people and kiddos are those that boil quickly and intensely. I’m not sure what it is about them. Maybe I long for their zest and intensity for both hot and cold/high and low. I love being around them and love working with them.
As parents, it’s important to recognize what your own boiling point is before you can help lower your child’s. Children watch us control ourselves in order to determine how to control themselves. I tell parents that if they can first recognize and conquer their own intense temperaments -or lower their own boiling point first – then they will be better equipped to help their child lower his/her boiling point.
Do you get physically hot when you are angry? Does the red creep up your neck? Do you talk faster, high pitched or louder? Think about what happens to you as you begin to boil. Then try a few of the following steps – these steps are exactly what you would show/teach your child as well.
- Deep breathe
- Relax your neck, shoulders and jaw (on purpose!)
- Turn away from what it is that is frustrating you – or close your eyes for a moment so you can’t see it.
- Swallow or suck (This is a natural movement that has been around since you were born. Get a drink of water, suck on a candy or pop in some gum!)
- Sway (Yes really! Again a natural movement that was there when you were born. We all sway when see a baby rocking, try it! You may find it soothing!)
What other signs show you that your child is about to boil over?
What things do you do to try to lower that boiling point?