Respect, Creativity, Responsibility and Resilience.

Parenting Ideas

5 Healthy Ways to Manage Anger

November article from Parenting Ideas

Managing anger is the biggest emotional issue that many children face. Boys, in particular, seem so angry at the moment, and I’m not sure why.

Currently, our community is undecided about how to handle anger. In fact, anger is discouraged as we see no place for it in homes, schools or the community. ‘People in a civil society don’t get angry’ seems to be the conventional wisdom, so we bottle it up rather than express it healthily.The trouble is anger handled in this way simmers away making a person unhappy and depressed or it bursts forth in awful, uncontrolled ways.

Watch this short video message from me on dealing with anger. (404)

Here are five ways to help boys (and girls) manage anger in healthy ways:

  1. Recognise it The first step is to help kids recognise that they are angry. What are the signs? What are they thinking? We are all different but tension in the shoulders, restricted breathing and clenched teeth are common signs of anger. The Mood Meter offers a visual way for kids to recognise their emotions.
  2. Name it Developing a vocabulary around anger is important. The more nuanced kids’ language is, the better. Annoyed, angry and enraged are very different emotions but are often described as the same.
  3. Choose it Help children recognise that they have a choice to stay in control or lose control when they get angry.
  4. Say it Encouraging children to express how they feel is okay as long as no one is hurt. The use of ‘I Statements’ is one way of letting others know how they feel. “I feel really mad when you say nasty things about me…” is one way of being heard.
  5. Shift it Help children shift their anger to a more pleasant and less energised place. Kids can shift their moods by modifying their thinking or altering their physiology. They may go for a run, play a physical game or pour their anger into a protest letter to let their frustrations out.

    The maxim of managing anger in healthy ways is: “There’s nothing so bad that we can’t talk about it. However, there are behaviours that we don’t engage in when we are angry.”

What Families Can Do to Promote Resilience

Families can play a key role in promoting resilience in young people – by building strong, healthy and supportive relationships that provide the opportunity for young people to thrive and feel empowered to make a difference.

Watch the following video by Andrew Fuller as part of Generation Next, which is an organisation that provides education and information about the prevention and management of mental illness in youth to professionals, young people and the wider community.

The following articles are taken from Parenting Ideas- a resource Berwick Chase subscribes to.

August Article

Why tolerance encourages success.

Want your child to be successful way past the confines of the school gate?

Then you need to make sure your child is tolerant of individual differences and accepting of children and adults who look and act differently to them.

There’s no doubt that success in today’s world depends on the ability to understand, appreciate and work with others. The child who is open to differences is likely to have more opportunities in school, in business and in life in general.

Schools are diverse places

Walk into any school ground in Australia and you’ll witness diversity firsthand. You’re likely to see children from many different cultural, racial and family backgrounds. You’ll also see kids with different needs and diverse ways of expressing themselves. Some kids will wear their hearts on their sleeves, while others will be taciturn and quiet. Tolerant kids are accepting of these differences. They make friends with children and young people who may look and act differently to them.

5 ways to promote tolerance in your child:

  1. Help your child feel accepted, respected, and valued. When your child feels good about himself, he is more able to treat others respectfully.
  2. Model acceptance. Kids learn what they live so make sure you welcome differences in others, and be sensitive to cultural or racial stereotypes.
  3. Challenge prejudice or narrow-minded views. Sometimes kids, knowingly or unknowingly, can say the cruelest things about others. As a parent respectfully remind your child or young person about the impact that a narrow view can have on his or her own behaviour as well as on those it may be directed towards. Intolerance of diversity is an attitude that parents should make a stand against.
  4. Answer kids’ questions about differences honestly and respectfully. Teach your kids that it is acceptable to notice and discuss differences as long as it is done with respect.
  5. Respect individual differences within your own family. Your ability to accept your children’s differing abilities, interests and styles will go a long way towards establishing an attitude of tolerance in the children themselves. By valuing the uniqueness of each member of your family you are teaching your kids to value the strengths in others, no matter how diverse.

Pokemon Go

Have your children gone Pokemon crazy?!

Pokemon Go! What a craze!

Beats just about any fad I’ve seen including yo yo’s, swap cards and the original Pokemon Gameboy way back in the old days – remember the 90’s.

While Pokemon Go is geared toward adults and teenagers it’s taken off among primary aged children –even some pre school kids – as well. Both genders are playing the game, but a rough count among colleagues and friends indicates that it’s boys more than girls that are hooked on the game.

Pokemon Go has plenty of psychological hooks to make boys love it. The roam and search nature of the game appeals to the hunter-gatherer that exists in most boys. There are plenty of things to collect which appeals to a boy’s fundamental need to put order and control in his world. 

And the competitive element embedded in the game makes it almost irresistible to many boys who love nothing better than to better someone else. 

How can we approach this craze?

Many parents have asked me how they should approach the Pokemon Go craze, particularly when their children are besotted by it.

Start by accepting that Pokemon Go, like all fads, has captured your child’s interest. It’s hard to fight against or even stop your child from being involved in games that ‘everyone is playing’. 

That leads to two parenting requirements. First, find out all you can about the game so you know what you are up against. Ask your child to explain what it’s all about. Figure out which parts of the game are age-appropriate and which parts are going to present you with headaches. Once kids are old enough to have their own phones and transportation, they’re certainly old enough to play the game without help. Pokémon Go gives users plenty of chances to spend real money, so you probably will want to limit in-game purchases. 

Lures, an aspect of the game, can present tricky situations for parents. A player can set out a lure to attract pokémon, but because these lures can be seen by any nearby player, you’re not sure who they are attracting. Revisit those Stranger Danger lessons with your kids.

Second, you need to meld your existing family technology rules with the expectations and opportunities that Pokemon Go presents. These include, how much time children are allowed to spend on technology; consider what activities Pokemon Go takes kids away from (including homework); and be aware that’s is not healthy for your child to be hooked on one activity at the expense of everything else.

Keep your Pokemon Go player safe

Pokemon Go gets kids outside roaming and exploring their neighbourhoods, which on the surface, is a good thing. However as one mum told me her son’s Pokemon Go experience was leading them to a local quarry, which had some obvious risks attached. So if your kids are old enough to wander unsupervised some quick reminders of safety rules maybe in order, such as crossing a street with a phone in their pocket and only playing the game with kids their own age.

If you join in the craze then be prepared to drive your players around as many Pokemon stops are in interesting places such as parks, historical markers and other gathering spots. Different places have different Pokemon things to collect…..yes, it can get complicated, which is the intrinsic value of the craze. 

So my advice for parents is to approach Pokemon Go positively and intelligently. Discover about it as much as your time, your current circumstances and your kids will allow. Join them if possible. Remember, it’s a lot of fun; it does get kids exercising more than their thumbs and there are some great learnings (maths, nature and even history) built in to the game. On the other hand, ensure that kids keep a balance in their activities so that a fun craze doesn’t become an absolute, all or nothing obsession- which can so easily happen with boys. 

July Article

Make bedtime easy, naturally

We know that sleep is the one of the building blocks of mental health and wellbeing. Many children and just about all teenagers are sleep-deprived at the moment. Many parents are sleep-deprived as well!
Children need between 10 and 12 hours’ sleep to enable proper growth and development, while teenagers need a minimum of nine hours. One of the single most powerful strategies to improve kids’ abilities to cope with stressful or changing situations is to ensure they get enough sleep.

We are excited to be stocking Dinosnores, guided meditation and relaxation with sleepy stories and soundscapes to help kids learn good sleep time habits. Here’s 10 tips for helping children sleep from Sherene Alfreds, developer of Dinosnores Sleepy Stories:

  1. Have a regular bedtime.
  2. Make the bedroom comfortable dark place to sleep, with no television or other electronic devices
  3. Have a regular calming bedtime routine. In our home we do bath, teeth, books, then Dinosnores sleepy story CD.
  4. Avoid the “I can’t sleep” argument. Ask children to “lie down and rest their bodies” instead of telling them to “go to sleep”.
  5. Avoid TV, computer or electronic games after dinner, they have all been found to make sleep more difficult.
  6. Get the kids out exercising in the day to help them sleep at night.
  7. Avoid caffeine and sugar saturated foods.
  8. Consider dropping daytime naps as your child gets older.
  9. Talk to your doctor to rule out medical causes of sleep difficulties
  10. During the holidays, anticipate some disruption at bedtime if you are changing your family routine.

And give yourselves and your children permission to find bedtime challenging. An enormous 30-40% of young and school-aged children have sleeping difficulties. It takes time to develop a bedtime routine – so be kind to yourself and your kids.

June Article

Giving kids responsibility is a big confidence-building strategy

Giving kids responsibility is tricky. It’s easy to give responsibility to responsible kids as you’ll know that they’ll follow through. Whether it’s feeding the family pooch; setting the table for mealtime or helping a sibling get ready for the day you only need to remind them once and the job’s done. Too easy!

But what about tricky kids – second or later born; kids with special needs or kids who are discouraged? It’s not so easy giving responsibility to kids that need extra teaching and who need to be followed up. It’s these kids that make responsibility-giving hard work, even risky for parents.

It’s a balancing act

Giving responsibility becomes a balancing act as we need to weigh up between doing a job ourselves, as it’s important to be done right, or letting kids experience the consequence of them not doing their job (the family doesn’t eat until the table is set). It’s easy to take the safe way out and fix kids’ mistakes or safer still, don’t give kids any responsibility at all.

Ask yourself this:

“What does your child do that someone else relies on?”

If the answer is zilch/zero, then I suggest it may be time to give him or her something significant to do that benefits others – hear a sibling read each day; be the trash controller; tidy the living room before mealtime. There’s generally no shortage of opportunities to help out – just a lack of time to make it happen and perhaps a lack of willingness to put up with the approximations in quality, as well as a child’s occasional attempts at resisting to help out.

Here are five ideas to make responsibility giving easier:

Change responsibilities around

If possible change chores and responsibilities around each week to avoid boredom (“This is so boring!”) and resentment (“How come I always get the rotten jobs?”).

Use rosters when possible.

The use of a list or roster takes the onus away from you to always remind children to do their jobs – so it’s a great independence-building tool.

Remind, cue but don’t take responsibility

Kids can get tired and overwhelmed with busy schedules so a reminder from time to time about “Who’s turn is it to fill the dishwasher?” can make it easy for kids to be responsible, without taking the responsibility away.

Start by completing responsibilities with kids

If kids are new to any task then it’s smart management to spend some time doing the job with them until they get the hang of it, stepping back when you are no longer needed. That’s what working yourself out of a job is all about.

Let them know how you feel when they do it well

Avoid over-praising kids for helping out. Instead let kids know how their help makes you feel: happy, relieved, proud. This takes the onus away from the quality of the help and places the focus more on their contribution, which is what you are encouraging.

Giving kids real responsibility is harder than ever in our busy, small family environments. But it’s more important than ever to expect your kids to pull their weight. The alternative – spoonfeeding kids – tends to produce brittle, brattish children and young people are seen to be staying dependent on their parents for longer. And that’s not what great parenting is about.