Confessions From a Child Development Expert: (My Not So Perfect Children)

Dr. Robyn Silverman is Balanced Life Skills child development expert who provides us with guidance on building character in children of all ages.  Up to a couple of years ago her and her husband had no children of their own, so as a father of 4 myself, I knew that when they had their own children — well it just brings a new perspective.  I really enjoyed her musings in this article she wrote today.  I hope you enjoy it also.

Confessions from a Child Development Expert

All parents appreciate having that third voice that supports all that we do as parents.  Balanced Life Skills offers not just the physical part of the martial arts, but also character and confidence development to all of our students.  We invite you to try our classes and to follow what we are doing here on our website.

Developing Solid Relationships With Our Children

As a leader in a business you know the importance of relationships.  If you are on a school advisory board or work on a committee in any social situation, it is relationships that can make the difference in successful projects.  If you know someone from other parts of their lives, you will know better what makes them tick, what their strengths and weaknesses are.  All of this comes from spending time with them outside the committee, employment or social environment you are presently working in.

Much the same with your family and children.  If you can spend some time with your children outside of the time of taking them to and from school and their activities, you will learn a lot more about them.  You may even help prevent some of the most commons ails of children today.  It was said to me one time by a psychologist,  that if a parent would spend just one hour per week with each of their child alone, doing something that they enjoyed doing, outside of the normal things that you do, that we would rid ourselves of a very large percentage of the ADHD cases that we have in America today.

Developing relationships with your children in this manner, will allow you to lead them in other areas of their lives more effectively.  It will help both of you to grow in your relationship along with social and emotional growth.  The confidence your child will gain with the feeling of really belonging to a well lead family unit will go a long way in keeping them safe from many of the obstacles and road bumps children meet today.

Self Control: making choices

One of the most common reasons parents bring their children to a martial arts school is to teach them about impulse control.  Doing the first thing that pops into our head without thinking through all of the possible solutions can end up in results that are less than what we hoped for.  So we are going to spend some time this month on the subject of self control. 

Our child development specialist,  Robyn Silverman, gave us this system for gaining this control.  We want to remember STEP.
Here is how it works.  S is for Stop.  First we must find a way to slow ourselves down before we do the first thing that pops into our head.  It might be taking 3 deep breaths or stepping away from a situation, but we must distract ourselves before making that decision.  T is for THINK.  Make a list of all the possible solutions you can come up with.  Some of them may seem ridiculous, but the point is to let your mind be creative and think of all of the ways you could handle this situation.  E is for EVALUATE.  Now look at each solution and decide if this would result in a good consequence or a bad one.  Is this solution safe?  Is it fair?  Some of the choices you will throw away and some you will keep.  But then you need to decide which one is going to be best for you at this time.  P is for PROCEED.  Now is the time to implement your choice.  Here is where great balance is needed as you proceed you choose what is thoughtful with being eager and gutsy.  You balance your goals and self motivation with being level headed and thoughtful.

Maintaining self control is really just about slowing down and thinking through our choices before acting on them.

Teaching children to tell the truth

We are never ready for the first time or really anytime that our children look at us and tell us a lie. It hurts and so it is important for us to think about how are we or should we react. Our child development specialist gave us these 7 points.

  1. Keep your cool. Use the moment as a teaching moment.
  2. Don’t set traps. You do not want to pile lies on top of lies.
  3. Avoid labels. Children will live up to the label.
  4. Give them a chance for a do-over. They need to learn that they can make a mistake and make things right.
  5. Praise truth telling.
  6. Find out why they are lying. ( see step 1)
  7. Set a good example. Children see and hear and know more about us than we think they do. We are either all about honesty or we are not. Children will notice.

So there you are. I have a few more things that I will be writing about this in the next few days and we will be discussing who and what we can believe to be true this week with our students. Included in this will be some discussion about commercials and all those marketers out there trying to sell our kids “stuff”.