Tips To Help Your Kids About Their Self Worth

It’s not easy to be a parent these days.

The real job of a parent will always be to raise happy, peaceful and awakened children. And it’s some of the most important work we can do on the planet.

But, how do we do this in today’s chaotic world? How do we do this when everywhere we look there is some new crisis creeping into our world? Poverty. Unemployment. Violence. Radical terrorists. Political unrest. Any way look it’s an uncertain world. And the problem with uncertainty is that it can easily turn into fear, which will always lead to unhappiness and inner turmoil.

However, there is hope. In fact, I have never been more hopeful in all my life. I have seen too many children, from all across the world, come sweeping into my arms, telling me how much they love my workshops, and how much they love learning to clean, to say thank you, and to let go. More than ever, children are eager to know who they are, where they fit into the world, and what their mission will be.

They desperately want to live beyond the illusion of the world. In other words, our children are sponges who are ready to soak up whatever we give them. This is our hope.

But, what will we give them?

As parent’s it’s tempting to want to arm our children for the battle we think they need to fight. We tell them life is hard, buckle down, get serious, eat your vegetables, brush your teeth. And, of course, we tell them that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

We think we are preparing them for the big bad world out there.

But, here’s the truth. The world isn’t bad. Yes, it’s challenging. Overwhelming. Even scary. But, it’s perfect just the way it is. Yes, I know the evidence can point to the contrary, and there are millions of people who will happily do the pointing for you. But, that’s only if we’re looking at life from the limiting point of our mind, or the ego, or the way other people live.

If we look deep within our hearts and touch the heart of God, we will see that all is just as it should be. And that everything is a blessing in disguise. And that our challenges are there to make us better and stronger.

Want to help your children transform challenges into opportunities?

Want to raise happy, peaceful and awakened children?

You can start by showing your child the perfection of the world and the beauty in each moment (it’s a blessing that you must first look for that perfection yourself).

You can help disarm your children from the same fight that others are waging, and instead show them how to seek the inner peace that is always present from within.

You can help your children unlearn what society is telling them they should focus on and believe in, and instead, teach them to seek only the guidance that comes from their heart.

You can pay attention to your children. Listen to them. And support their dreams and passions.

And above all, you can help your children look life squarely in the eye and say thank you. It is this cultivation of divine gratitude that will allow them to appreciate whatever comes their way, not just for today but forever.

It is this gratitude that will help them live as if every moment and experience has something to teach them, empower them, and free them.

Our job as parents is not to ignore the suffering or chaos in the world, but to transcend it. Our job is to help our children awaken to who they are, which is the only way we can help them live happy and peaceful lives. Encourage them to believe in themselves and dare to be different.

Come with them to this Free Community Event. Give them and yourself the gift of inner peace, effective communication and show them where their power resides and how they can change their lives without depending on anybody or anything outside themselves.

Let us all awaken together

How To Deal Bullying

This is an important time to step up and be an advocate for your child, they are going to require your absolute support during this stressful period. The school will often ask the victim if they did anything to add to the situation, your child will be cross-examined, usually by the school principal. The school wants to get the situation resolved quickly and to get someone to apologize to the other party, so everybody can move on. Your child needs to be strong as they retell, and relive, what was done to him by the bully.

Record Everything that Happened

Bullies are smart enough to terrorize their victims away from teachers, making catching bullies in the act a difficult task. Help the school out by recording everything that occurred, the date, the time it happened, where in the school the incident occurred. This can be can challenge as l youngsters frequently don’t completely grasp what has happened, or they might not have seen the whole circumstance, just a bit of the bullying episode. Parents will have to through what happened with their child to record everything accurately. An option some parents have used to videotape the bully, and then send the video tape to the school via a private YouTube link. Check out the laws in your state regarding video recording, as state laws may be preventative.

Notify the school of the following:

  • Who was there when your child was being bullied?
  • Who was the instigator?
  • What did the bullies say to your child?
  • What did they say to you?
  • Was your child physically hurt
  • How did it make your child feel?
  • Where and when did it take place?
  • How did your child respond?

School Protocols and Policy

In the event that your kid’s school has a set of principles regarding conduct, review the document and look for any violation of the school code of conduct. When you compose your complaint letter to the school, you can express that the bullying is plainly disregarding the school’s guidelines, forcing the school to take action. The school has an obligation to respond when somebody has negated the school rules. Children have a right to a safe place to learn and a bully-free environment.

If your child is being bullied it can be an overwhelming feeling for the parents. It is important to stay focused on the task at hand of helping your child out of a situation they are unable to fix for themselves. Write a list of key points to discuss with the school, when you go into the office to talk to the principal make sure you are not rambling, stay focused on your key points. Before you go to the meeting have an action based request, what kind of support you would like to see from the school. How is the situation going to be handled and how is the school going to keep your child safe.

Media Environment For Your Kids

Portable screens can seem like a godsend to parents. Give the kids a “hit” of your iPhone and bam! The whining, the crying, the tantrums are instantly over. Built-in TVs and iPads seem to have resolved car rides from hell. With a portable screen handy, there’s no need to suffer the nasty glares of annoyed shoppers wondering why we can’t control our kids. Ah, the peace screens can bring! Bliss. Total bliss! And yet, we know that misuse of electronic media devices is hurting our children.

I’m not here to preach for the elimination of electronic media devices. Screens, in and of themselves, are not bad. I’m the first to admit that I don’t think I could live without them. They have become my GPS, my encyclopedia, my research assistant, my editor, my accountant, my recording studio, my DJ, and even my meditation buddy. They have made my life so much easier. However, I know that I need to make a conscious effort to unplug, and it’s not easy.

Kids, just like their parents, can benefit from using screens. Among other things, they have become a convenient source of information to do research for homework and school projects. Now kids can turn to Wikipedia or YouTube to find out almost anything. As with all good things, excess consumption of electronic media can be toxic so moderation is key. It’s also important to consider the motivation and intent behind the use of electronic media. In short, parents must guide children’s media use and help them unplug.

The convenience of screens has turned many children-and many parents (let’s not fool ourselves)-into little addicts. Many of us can’t live without them, and often the glowing rectangles are our go-to solution when our children need distractions. And therein lies the problem.

Many parents have decided to use electronic media devices as babysitters, soothers, peacemakers, rewards and punishments, time killers, and educators. When parents over rely on screens, they have handed their parental responsibilities to teach, play, care, and comfort to computers, TVs, and smartphones.

Over the last 30 years, there have been countless research articles highlighting the risks of misuse and overexposure of children to TV, video games, and computers. It’s not a question of “if” our kids are being affected, but “how.”

After two decades of working in the mental health profession and forensics, I have seen a long and ugly list of adverse effects related to the overuse of screens: children sexually abusing children, cyber-bullying, sensory deficits, school failure, lying, attention issues, hyperactivity, obesity, mood disorders, defiant behaviour, sleep deprivation, addiction, and aggression.

Screens obviously aren’t the only culprits but often when kids are placed on a “media diet,” these problems resolve themselves. They are a key factor over which we have control, and we can no longer plead ignorance.

Parents especially need to guide and control the media consumption of younger children. Toddlers have not developed sufficiently to be able to control themselves and limit their consumption. Kids two and younger should never watch screens. That’s the bottom line.

All this being said we know that computers, tablets, and smartphones are here to stay. We need to teach kids how to use them wisely so that they don’t become hazardous to their mental and physical health.

So now what? What are we supposed to do? Here’s what I suggest:

• Educate yourself about the impact of electronic media on your kids (1, 3, 4, 5, 6). Assess the use of screens in your family and see if you need to make adjustments (for tools: 2, 3).

• Model proper screen use. Don’t let the TV run in the background all day. Put your phone away when you interact with your children. Unless you’re dealing with an emergency or an urgent work matter, most emails, texts, and calls can wait. Select specific times of the day when you will check your phone and try to do it when you are not interacting with your kids.

• Allow the use of devices for schoolwork.

• Don’t use their devices to punish or reward them. Research has proven that punishment does not work (7), and rewards do not teach proper behaviour (8).

• Teach young kids to use crayons, books, paints, playdough, dolls, sticks, Lego, blocks, play structures, etc. Read to them. Encourage them to use their hands (9). These are the best ways to learn.

• Have them play with real toys, and even better, toys that foster creativity and imagination, and cooperation.

• Schedule recreational screen time on selected days, at the same time, and for a limited amount of time. Place it on a calendar for everyone to see. This way your kids will know what to expect. No negotiating. Stick to it and be consistent. If you can, avoid recreational screen use during school days. Don’t allow more than one to two hours per day, even less for the little ones.

• Shut off all screens one to two hours before bedtime to unwind and allow the natural production of melatonin in the brain.

• Have your children be active, play outside, interact with nature and real people.

• Don’t allow kids to be on social media until they are in their later teen years and can understand the impact and responsibilities involved. Before then, they are too young to comprehend.

• Do not leave kids unattended with electronic media. Track their use. Put blockers or filters on and use apps such as Curbi. Don’t forget: there is no substitute for parental supervision.

Our children count on our wisdom and guidance to make them safe and help them to grow into healthy and successful individuals. Children can only learn self-soothing, self- regulation, developmental, intellectual, and interpersonal skills from real people. Children learn these skills through play and real life experimentation. It’s up to parents to lift the screens before our kids’ eyes and help them to see all the other great stuff out there that life has to offer.

References:

1 All the American Academy of Pediatrics articles and links on media can be found in one spot: Media Kit: Children and Media (e.g., Media Education (1999); Children, Adolescents, and the Media (2013); Media use by children younger than two years (2011); The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families (2011) ).

2 Media History (2000). American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

3 Electronic Screen Syndrome: An Unrecognized Disorder? (2012). V. Dunckley

4 Why the iPad is a bigger threat to our children than anyone (2016). S. Palmer

5 Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain (2014). V. Dunckley

6 Selected Research on Screen Time and Children (undated). by CCFC

7 Punishment Doesn’t Work (2014). Michael Karson.

8 The Hidden Downside to Rewarding Your Kids for Good Behavior (2015). Kerri Anne Renzulli

9 The Vital Role of Play in Childhood (2003). Joan Almon

All About Mindful Parenting

Mindfulness and meditation have proven beneficial for both parents and children. More and more studies are uncovering the short- and long-term benefits of incorporating mindful parenting practices into families’ lives (1).

Meditation and mindfulness are not mere techniques. They are states of being that bring less suffering, more presence, and peace into one’s life. Once a person has experienced the benefits of these practices and the ways in which they permeate our daily life and being, there is no going back. Mindfulness and meditation practices have a positive impact not only on the practitioner but also the people that surround this individual, including our children.

A Google search offers this simple definition of mindfulness: “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” Renowned meditation teacher John Kabat-Zinn also emphasizes the importance of noticing “nonjudgmentally” (2) because suffering is caused by the judgments we place on our perceptions.

Individuals who have chosen to apply these practices to their parenting have seen improvements in their own lives and the lives of their children. If you are not convinced of the value of these practices and wonder if they are just a fad, here are 40 benefits meditation and mindfulness can provide for parents and children.

For parents, meditation and mindfulness practices offer numerous benefits:

  1. Develops more patience because we do not mix in our problems with those of our child.
  2. Reduces reactivity because we respond from a calm place instead of from past wounds when children push our buttons.
  3. Cultivates emotional awareness.
  4. Allows us to exercise self-regulation.
  5. Slows down time because we become more fully involved in our child’s life, and so do not miss out on the wonderful and simple moments of their childhood, which goes by too fast.
  6. Develops gratitude for all the mundane and extraordinary moments with our child.
  7. Helps us to become in tune with and accepting of our child’s actual needs, thus allowing us to make better choices.
  8. Promotes secure attachment with our child and a trusting relationship.
  9. Enables us to be more present, which allows space for us to listen with full attention and be able to validate our children.
  10. Develops compassionate and non-judgmental awareness in all interactions.
  11. Facilitates finding pleasure in and appreciating simple things.
  12. Helps us cope during stressful moments, such as tantrums or emotional outbursts.
  13. Promotes our ability to model proper emotion management, and this is how children learn best: by imitation.
  14. Prevents our children from becoming fearful or traumatized by our out of control reactions or screaming.
  15. Improves parenting interventions (3).
  16. Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
  17. Improves the immune system, which means parents are healthier (4).
  18. Promotes greater satisfaction with our parenting skills and therefore with our relationships with our children.
  19. Facilitates incorporating mindfulness into all aspects of our lives (5).

Children can also experience many benefits from meditation and mindfulness practices:

  1. Develops the area of the brain responsible for emotion regulation and impulse control.
  2. Reduces stress, anxiety, and fears.
  3. Allows for a less reactive state to emerge.
  4. Promotes feelings of safety and security.
  5. Improves self-esteem and self-confidence because children feel heard, seen, and validated.
  6. Develops problem-solving skills by developing self-reflection and self-awareness, instead of being reactive and living on autopilot.
  7. Develops conscious individuals.
  8. Improves emotion management.
  9. Improves resilience.
  10. Cultivates better self-awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Children become better skilled at communicating their needs to others.
  11. Promotes healthy psycho-social development in children. Improved social skills and interactions emerge because children become skilled communicators. Conversely, they become good listeners themselves.
  12. Creates grateful children able to live in the present moment.
  13. Fosters compassion and empathy for others; they become less self-centered.
  14. Diminishes behavioural problems, while improving emotional health and behavioural functioning (6) (7).
  15. Improves attention, focus, concentration, memory, and learning (4).
  16. Improves emotional intelligence.
  17. Reduces reactivity to others’ anger. They do not take it personally.
  18. Promotes self-reliance by teaching them to accept and tolerate their own emotions, feelings, sensations, and thoughts. In turn, they find comfort within by learning to soothe and calm themselves without depending on external factors.
  19. Allows children to find happiness from the inside, independent of external circumstances.
  20. Improves parent-child relationship during adolescence.
  21. Cultivates more emotionally and socially competent youth(8)(9).

If you are new to mindfulness, start small. Choose moments throughout your day where you can pay attention to the unfolding of each moment. Become the non-judgmental observer of the experiences taken in by your five senses. Moreover, take in the beauty of your life. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into our family life can only prove beneficial to all those involved.