Adults Control Many Aspects of A Child’s Day! But There Is One, Big One, We Don’t!

Control children

Children have the difficult task of remembering all the rules and limitations of their day. There are just so many dos and don’ts. My mother was the queen of those and it even came down to which doors to keep open and which ones must remain closed. Some things don’t change. AS I walk into my mother’s house, I actually have to stop, re-acclimate myself to where I am so that I get it right with the garage door, then the den door into the main house. Last time she changed the rules. I could feel the anxiety build as if I was 5 years old once again. Oh my goodness, that was a long time ago and it is still there. I remember as a child thinking I had no freedom or choices. And not getting it right back then, caused many tears and bad feelings about who I was.

Children believe that they have no freedom and very few real choices. As young children, there aren’t many. Yet, they do have one very important freedom, what they think and feel. Teaching children that they do have choices in small structured ways gives them the ability to become and feel an independence even at a very young age. They become aware of managing their emotional day in their thoughts and responses. They learn to choose to listen to negative messages or not too. They learn to feel hurt or think about whether that person may be having a bad day. Learning that it isn’t always about them is an important life skill. Our emotional well-being depends on this as it would have changed many of my belief systems along the way that certainly were embedded in that 5 year old emotional memory bank.

Choice is an important lesson to teach in the emotional intelligence spectrum. However, we tend to forget about those feelings and thoughts and make choice about peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and jelly. Though also critical in feeling less controlled, we must not forgot to teach the emotional choices even at a very young age.

What a gift to give our children. Teaching them that they do indeed have the freedom and choice to create a different kind of day with their thoughts, words and actions. What a brave gift to give indeed. Giving up control that we thought we had, now there is progress!

The Word “Happy” Bullies Us Too? We Beat Ourselves Up When We Aren’t!

Bully Ourselves Too
I read an article that disturbed me, “How To Be Happy All The Time.” Happy is a feeling that comes and goes as feelings do. All feelings are important even sad and painful ones. They cue us in to what is happening inside. Then we are left to the awesome task of figuring out why.
That can be tricky. For ex., why all of sudden why am I feeling annoyed?” It isn’t always what you think it is.

Feeling happy all the time, really a daunting job. I like feeling quiet, peaceful, sleepy. Sometimes I even enjoy being angry. I like having a state of mind though that keeps me present, aware and connected. The best part is…if I don’t like what I am feeling, “I can choose to change it!” What a great discovery this was for me. I didn’t have to be a victim to my feelings. This is where my EI skills really kicked in. I had options. When I am ready, I now change my thoughts to gratitude, treat myself to a compliment, or do a kind act. Since my son passed away, I let myself feel many emotions in his memory. However, I know better than to get stuck in those feelings and so understand that I have the power of choosing differently so I can be present in my new normal. This makes me feel powerful and in charge. Who doesn’t want that?!!!

Yes, being able to regulate our moods through changing our feelings with changing our thoughts is such a great way to deal with the bully inside of us and our own emotionally unsafe environment, or brain. It preserves our feelings of worth and develops those emotional muscles that stop the negative feelings that can cause so much havoc inside. Though we may not feel happy, we may choose to feel good, kind, powerful, smart, to name a few.

Help your children to learn how to redirect their feelings when they need to so they don’t become their own bullies. I have heard children so often say that they are stupid, and that no one likes them. These statements are not true and teaching them about their inner goodness and how to use it at unhappy or angry moments, wow…not that is what I call effective teaching and parenting.

The real world is not about happily ever after, a goal that can’t be reached. Let’s teach ourselves and our children how to “Happily Choose Our Feelings Of Worth and Integrity!

Where Has All The Kindness Gone? Long Time Passing or So Close We Can Get It Back?!

Where Has All The Kindness

Where has all the kindness gone? Can we bring it back and even stronger, yes we can! Remember the Hundredth Monkey or more recently, Maxwell Gladwell and the Tipping Point! These phenomenons tell us that it is most certainly possible! How do we do this? We need to stop, take a breath and be present with all the wonder of the people around us daily. We need to see and hear their quirkiness, notice their smiles, experience their colors, their differences and just they way they be! We need to see the person that waters our flowers, takes out our trash, cooks our dinners, folds our wash and so on….and say something that makes them feel good just because or maybe not just because?

My husband and I walked into a WaWA on Sunday. I love WaWAs and frequent them often. The employees tend to be younger and so this perky, happy, delightful older woman ringing up my purchases took me by surprise. I said to her,”How many years young are you?” She answered proudly, 77. I told her she was remarkable and she said she had been there since 6am and worked 9 hour days, 4 or 5 days a week. Now my mouth was hanging open as her boss came to relieve her for a break. He overheard the conversation and commented how wonderful she was, she was his favorite employee for the last 10 years and he wouldn’t know what to do without her. She got an unexpected kindness from her boss and then I told her she was my hero and that I hoped I would be just like her at 77. It was a silver lining moment! An unexpected bright moment. I am so glad that I stopped to ask. Sooo..

So where are all these thoughts of kindness? They are lost without being spoken from those busy brains of ours that have so many instantaneous distractions all day long..you all know what I am talking about. And yet, just like the hundredth monkey or that tipping point, if we all began to say those kind, thoughtful words that pop into our brains, the good feelings would spread and then spread some more and then we would have a kinder world. Each of us just stepping up to the plate, we can do this! This is how we teach our children relatedness and empathy!

This is how we really stop bullying!

So Stop and Smell the Roses and Hear and Speak Those Thoughts…the kindness is right inside us..inside our rusty, clogged brains waiting to be set free!

The Buddy System Overcomes The Bully System! So Buddy Up Those Classrooms!

Buddies

There is nothing like your very own buddy. We can also have many buddies. Classrooms can be filled with buddies. Teachers, you can make this happen especially in the younger grades so that it becomes the “new normal” in our upper grades. It’s not too late in the upper grades but it is easier when it begins when children are basically color blind until they learn differently. Each child has a new buddy each week until every child has experienced each child in his classroom as his buddy.

Why does this work? The word buddy itself connotes friendship. The Thesaurus gives synonyms such as pal, playmate, companion, and partner. Wikipedia says you are one of a pair or a team. Well now, that certainly says a great deal for the idea that the buddy system can overcome the bully system amongst children of all ages.

The way this works is magic. I have witnessed it many times and teachers can not get over how something so simple can resolve many social issues in a classroom filled with diversity. My buddies all look different, feel differently and were raised differently. But they are my buds and so I too become color blind, diversity blind and open up to a great wealth of knowledge and understanding about the world around me. Classrooms are just small communities that mirror out global one. When children get to experience someone as their buddy, they become protective and more empathetic and that is where we are heading. You do not bully your buddy..you take care of him/her.

I read a wonderful new approach in the playground. It is called the Buddy Bench. When children are feeling isolated, lonely or picked on in the playground, they go to the buddy bench. A child has the opportunity to extend their hand in friendship and kindness. Oh my goodness, it is working!
This started with one young man wanting to make a difference for children who were left out on the playground. Now there are many varieties of Buddy Benches available. Does your school have one?

I have attached a link for you to see.
The Buddy Bench Story

Being emotionally intelligent is having empathy and no greater way than to experience oneself as a buddy!

How Can You Know If Your Child Is Being Bullied? The Symptoms Often Mirror PTSD

Mirror PTSD

There are signs that your child may be a victim of bullying. Children who are bullied may exhibit the same signs as PTSD; irritability, nervousness, nightmares, sleep disturbance, overly tired, complaining of aches/pains, sensitive to daily routines, avoidance behaviors. They may be mild but just keep a look out. Most children suffer the abuse in silence and so the symptoms appear.

Most children who are bullied, do not tell their teachers or their parents. I didn’t. This hasn’t changed. Children fear the ramifications from an unsympathetic teacher, parents confronting the bully or the bully’s parents. A sensitive teacher also taking action is a threat. They fear their peers the most especially today with cyber-bullying so rampant. Taking action is very dicey. This is the importance of creating emotionally intelligent classrooms. This behavior should not occur in these classrooms. Yet, we do not live in a perfect world. However, the structure is now created for the behavior to be addressed within this framework.

We need to end this demeaning behavior. Our children deserve to go to school in an emotionally safe environment. Please make your teachers and principals aware of the importance of EQ, 7 Attributes of Emotional Intelligence, and its implementation into your child’s classroom.

Emotional Intelligence Chart

When Do You Pull Your Child Out Of A Mean Teacher’s Class? As Soon As Possible! The Effects May Last A Lifetime!

Mean Teachers

I have had some mean teachers. I have worked with mean teachers. My daughter had a mean teacher. I have had some great teachers, worked with great teachers and experienced great teachers through my children. I remember how those great teachers made me feel, encouraged me, and supported my dreams. However, I can’t remember their exact words unless they wrote them down. But the words of those mean teachers have remained part of my memories and often have resurfaced with new challenges that I may face. Those words are like poisonous darts leaving scars that never quite vanish or heal. It takes a great deal of hard work consciously to overcome those voices, energy that would have been channeled differently had they never been spoken.

Before all my awareness of the effects of demeaning voices, my daughter was placed in a classroom with a teacher that made her days miserable. Every day was a new drama and she did not want to go to school in the morning. Having a son with disabilities, taught me to stand strong in my convictions and to do whatever it takes to get him the best services available. I moved mountains with my determination and now it was my daughter’s turn and I went for it with all I had. Removing a child from a classroom all those years ago, not easy and no precedence. Yes, she was moved, she became happy with school once more. We all became much happier.

Parents, do not let your child be the brunt of a teacher’s dysfunctional life. Many don’t even like teaching but are not risk takers and so stay within the bounties of safe especially with tenure. Your child does not need to spend a whole year in the company of someone who does not understand children’s vulnerabilities and their very tender feelings. The effects are deleterious and long-lasting. Progress and development are impeded and the child feels powerless to change his environment. This powerlessness is significant and sets up the inability to take action as an adult when faced with the same kinds of individuals.

Parents, do your homework. Ask other parents what their children are experiencing. Visit with this teacher and with as much diplomacy as you can muster, leave this teacher with the understanding that you are not happy with your child’s concern about attending school. Give examples and keep a log from day to day. In today’s world, you will need to document everything. If things don’t change, the principal will need to be advised. Put him on notice that you will not tolerate your child’s unhappiness with school, the superintendent may be next. Do not stop until it is resolved to your satisfaction Remember the squeaky wheel!

This type of behavior on the behalf of teachers must stop. I am out speaking to teachers and teaching the importance of EQ for them and their classrooms. EQ is getting new attention. But you can’t wait! Do not let your child hear those voices day in and day out. Be their voice for we are the voices we hear! Your children will learn from you and will model what you did for them in standing up for children who are bullied. They will learn to be the voice of reason, the voice of kindness and hope!

If You Let It, Life Can Be A “Bully” Too! Loss, Disappointment, Life’s Not Fair? What Do-You-Do?

Darren, Me Iowa

My greatest challenges in life have at times devastated me, overwhelmed me and rendered me incapable of functioning. My childhood was difficult with being a victim of bullying. I survived that though made some choices that were not emotionally healthy but made others that sustained me as becoming a Special Education teacher. I married a dentist to gain approval from my parents but this was wrought with many hurtful challenges.

I was not prepared for the birth of my son who sustained significant disabilities due to medical negligence. By this time, I was less resilient and knew from my special education background that being a parent of a child with significant issues would be difficult and life altering. I lost precious time experiencing victim consciousness though some would have been understandable. My family was not able to be supportive of my reality. They wanted him to be normal! My son’s father lacked the emotional strength to support me. I was on my own!!!

By the time I ventured into the world of self-awareness, I had just separated from my 2nd husband. I was beyond devastated. It was a dark time in my life, but I had a child with disabilities and I had to step up to the plate or what would happen to him and my daughter.

I studied, read, attended workshops, it was a new age, it was the age of Aquarius and I was needy and receptive. I learned gratitude. I was able to experience the gifts my son brought me, my daughter’s adorableness, and some of my better qualities! Gratitude and its positive effects saved our lives.

Years later and my study of EQ helped me to understand that in order to persist in the face of frustration, gratitude was essential. Not long ago, I lost my beautiful boy to Melanoma. My ability to go on with my life has been gratitude for sometimes just getting out of bed and getting dressed was a huge accomplishment and I knew that I had to be grateful for even those small steps.

Practice gratitude, teach your children gratitude. Life has many challenges. Being a victim does not give you the resiliency you need to go on to be able to engage in life as it is. It is amazing how the smallest ounce of gratitude can truly carry you through, you and your children!

EQ 7 Attributes Chart

Sometimes, You Are Not Your Pet’s Best Friend! They Feel The “Bully” in You With Each Demeaning Name!

Bullying Pets

My children, relatives, friends, neighbors and strangers on the street have pets. Until I was an adult, I spent very little time in the company of animals. We had a dog for a day when my brother was five. My father was not a fan. Lucky for that poor creature that he only spent a day with us. I became a parent and was not amenable to pets until my daughter wore me down. I became the proud owner of two very strange cats. They didn’t help my daughter’s cause. I was delighted when we moved and the owner wouldn’t allow pets. I just didn’t get the pet thing, the love, attachment and the ways of animals themselves.

Now I have two grand-dogs. I definitely get it! Those two dogs have really gotten under my skin and into my heart. They know me and they make me feel so special. You don’t want to call those dogs names in front of me. I flinch as I flinch in supermarkets when I watch parents yelling names at their children. Animals bring you love, comfort, tenderness and joy. Yes, they misbehave just like you and your children. As consequences for your children can be structured in tones of concern, and reasonable restrictions, so can those for your pets. They do feel the negative energy in those hurtful names.

Amazing how animals and children still love you even when the bully in you comes out! Are you really loving them and yourself when you strike out?

Especially with animals, they are helpless to stop it! So, please think twice next time!

Teachers, Coaches, Parents Create Their Own Bullying Environments! And They Were Thinking What? Don’t Let This Happen Where Your Kids Go To School!

Teachers, Schools,  What Were They Thinking 3.315

To my surprise my 90 year old mother showed me an article in her local paper where two teams from opposing high schools, with different populations of students met for a game. The population from one end of town decided to have cheering sections where students were dressed as monkeys being fed bananas by their peers. You can call it whatever you want racism, bullying with as many despicable adjectives you like.

The coaches, teachers and parents from the one school allowed this without any consciousness whatsoever. An apology by the coach was given but it was a lightweight and no consequences were meted out. In these times, Ferguson behind and in front of us. Bullying an issue everywhere and this group adds fuel to the fire. What are the chances that there will be repercussions? That is a given. This will smoulder and build and spill over into this community for a very long time. And they were thinking what?

Teachers….listen to your students chatter and stop what is not appropriate in other areas of school activities.
Parents…..pay attention to what your teens are planning for the sports events even if they are bystanders!
Coaches…. please wake up and make sure your game arenas are not environments encouraging racism and bullying!

I will contact this school and suggest that they are not Emotionally Intelligent and what they need to do to become one!

I do have one good outcome from this despicable incident. My 90 year old mother, a year ago, wouldn’t even have gotten what was wrong with it. Oh my goodness, it’s never too late!

Please remember to stop,think and consider to speak out when this comes your way!

The Birth of A New Approach To An Old Problem..Find Someone In Your Family Who Bullied You or You Bullied and Show Them Kindness This Holiday Season!!

Families Holidays

The holidays are upon us and the renewal of life with the blossoming of trees and flowers. We think of rebirth and feel the surge of the coming of Spring as an awakening and letting the cold bear of old man winter slip into his cave. Let the coldness of our thoughts and hearts slip into that cave with him. Families are gathering and anxiety and nerves abound. For families bring up the bully in all of us. There is one family member that we have spoken to with disrespect, one we have slighted, one we have felt attacked by, and the list goes on. Is everyone on their best behaviors? This is questionable for sometimes the drinks flow and the chatter abounds.

Family histories play a huge role in our angst over the holidays. Childhood memories, traumas, insecurities, powerlessness feelings all surface with the advent of the holidays. How do you persist in the face of frustration? How do you overcome feelings of anger, sadness and grief? Emerging from the holiday season in tack is an accomplishment worth risking. The holidays in years past have been stressful for me for many reasons. My family no different than the others. But the past year and this year, I can only use the word painful. My son passed away and he won’t be sitting at the table with us sharing funny stories, laughing his big laugh, and quietly loving all of us as he shared his unique gentleness being a person with disabilities. He was use to sitting in the background just happy to be a part of the celebration.

How will I manage this holiday. I will acknowledge all for which I have to be grateful. I will offer kind words and empathy to my mother grateful that after many years, we have a loving relationship. Quietly be grateful for the 40 years I shared with him and play with my nieces and nephews who make my heart sing.

Birth a new approach to an old problem, the holidays! The only way we stop the bullying in all of us whether it be ourselves or others by the continuous negative thoughts, is to know that we have the power to change them, risk saying those things that are difficult but help us to step beyond our own needs and serve those we have hurt, been hurt by and show love. Kindness and empathy for ourselves and to others will stop bullying and soften our world even the one in our own back yards. Let’s birth a new response, an emotionally intelligent one!