February 2012 Archives

 This is the handout for a recent set of workshops I am giving for parents and children. The activities include family drawings, designing dialogues to deal with conflict, and group problem-solving sessions to develop resilience. The workshop centers around three basic concepts: Respect, communications, and resilience.

    RESPECT: how do we treat each other?

"It's fair to say that if you don't teach your children to honor you, you'll have a very hard time teaching them anything else."

Wendy Mogel, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

Questions to ask yourself about respect:

           Do you allow your children to interrupt you?

           Do you have a designated place at the table?

           Do your children consistently argue or contradict your words?

           Do they talk back to you in public?

•           Do you give your children enough opportunities to help out and be responsible?

           Do they respect your privacy? Do they enter your room or take your things          without asking?

Remember: it is your home, and you are in charge. Your children need a parent, not a friend.

COMMUNICATION: How do we express ourselves to one another?

"What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart....To arrive at a mutual desire to give from the heart, we focus the light of consciousness on four areas: 1) observations; 2) feelings; 3) needs; 4) requests."

Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

Script for "Language of Life" communication:

           OBSERVE WITHOUT JUDGMENT: "I see in your family picture that you have a concern about the invasion of the privacy of your room by your brother."

           EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS: "I have that issue, too, and I feel disappointed           when I find things missing from my office that turn up in your room."

           EXPRESS YOUR NEED: "I need you - as well as your brother - to respect the privacy of everyone's belongings in this house."

           MAKE A REQUEST: "Can we set up a family discussion tonight to talk about this with the entire family?"

Remember:  it's better to stay connected than to be right. Use non-violent communication to

find win-win solutions for your family.

 

RESILIENCE: How do we respond to challenges?

"Every word and action can send a message. It tells children...how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I'm judging them. Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: You are a developing person and I am interested in your development."

Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

 

            Develop resilience by changing your approach to life from fixed to a growth mindset:

                        Fixed Mindset:                                 Growth Mindset:    

                        Intelligence is static...                     Intelligence can be developed...   

                        Look smart at all costs...                  Remain curious and humble...

                        Avoid challenges...                           Embrace challenges...

                        Give up on obstacles...                    Persist in the face of obstacles...

                        Effort is fruitless...                           Effort is the key...

                        Ignore negative feedback...            Learn from negative feedback...

                        Feel threatened by the                   Find inspiration in the

                              success of others...                          success of others...       

                        Lose interest if things are hard... Get motivated if things are hard...

Parents can be examples of either mindset for their children. Wouldn't we want those we serve and love to see life as an unfolding adventure rather than a process of protecting themselves from the trials and tribulations of the world? And how can you build resilience if you always give up too easily (i.e., "That's not for me"...."I just don't have the talent"..."I'm too (old/tired/busy) for that")?

Remember: People who live long and productive lives never stop learning from their mistakes and continually work on themselves and their skills.

___________________________________________________________      

Parenting is the hardest job many of us will ever do. Be gentle with yourself and enjoy the journey.

 

It is my privilege to work with each of you.           

 

In peace,

Teacher John

 

 

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