Winning Parenting

Three amazing teenagers. How did that happen?!? Parenting tips from the pleasantly surprised.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Resilience = Five Significant Adults


Resilience research shows that children develop resilience best when they have a full handful of adults who regularly provide them with emotional support. Each significant adult is someone who can be trusted by the child for mentoring, training and answers to life’s questions. They are adult storytellers in the life of your children.  

In tough times, the greater the variety of adults, children have someone to trust for counsel. Providing your children with a variety of adults – from different walks of life – gives them a wider spectrum of life experience to choose from when seeking a mentor.

Typical significant adults include parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, chaplains, school staff, coaches, club leaders, church leaders, neighbours, extended family and any other regular adults in your children’s lives. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Best Way to Build Resilience in Your Children



Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a setback.

Some setbacks can be overcome easily, others take time. Why do some people bounce back quickly from an unexpected setback while others seem to get swallowed up?

Heaps of research has been done on what builds resilience. In short, the answer is - the more experience, the more resilience. But here's where things get interesting. It doesn't need to be your own experience. The people around you grow your resilience if you know their stories.

Amazingly, our brains do the same thing with stories we are told as they do with our own experiences. First, we receive the story. Then, we interpret the story. Finally, the interpreted story is stored with hundreds of emotional tags - good, bad, funny, angry, success, failure, happy, sad, lesson learned, random occurrence, etc.

Experience. Relationships. Stories. These three things combine to provide numerous memories of hitting bottom and getting back up. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes slowly. Resilience comes when a person encounters a setback and digs back in their memory - into their story satchel: "Is there a story that relates to this setback?" Our subconscious scans through the tags and says, "Aha! This is like that!" And we begin to make sense of this new struggle. Or, a storyless subconscious sends back, "Nope. Nothing to work with. This is a new low." This is when resilience is hardest.

As parents, it is important to tell stories of both successes and failures. When we share success stories, the point is implied: "I tried, I won!" When we tell struggle stories, the point (resilience) is made in the way we tell the story. It gives little hope to a child to hear, "I failed high school Maths because it was too hard." A resilient telling of the same occasion could be, "I failed high school maths because I was still learning. I had to get some help and practice lots. But then, when the next exam came, I was ready for it!" Or, in my case, I shift the focus (because maths and my brain are from different planets) and say, "Maths is really hard for me. But I love to write. When I was in high school, I did my best on the maths classes I had to take but I took lots of extra English classes because I love writing. I was even the yearbook editor in year 12!"

The important thing is to tell lots of stories. Failure is important. It shows our kids they can make it because we did. Kids who believe their parents are perfect believe their parents expect perfection from them.

Life is not about perfection, it's about connection. Build resilience in your children by blanketing them in story.

Significant Adults: Surround your children with well-storied people. Explain your goal to build resilient kids to these significant adults. Ask them to share stories with your children. Thank them for helping!

Storytelling Parents: Tell your children stories of your own. Your setbacks, struggles and successes will empower them to make wise decisions and to bounce back from whatever life throws at them.

Resilient Kids: Finally challenge your kids to build stories of their own. Overcoming small setbacks gets us ready to overcome big ones later in life.

The best way to build resilience in your kids? Surround them with stories. Their own, yours and the stories of people they love.

Monday, June 4, 2018

change your habits without obsessing about them


Forming Healthy Habits

You can change your habits without obsessing about them by focusing on your environment and rituals. Let me explain.


Habits

Life is all about habits. Both success and failure are formed by our habits. Repetition is the primary way we learn. We become the things we do repetitively — these are our habits.

Growth: We build habits to achieve goals. This is how we get better at anything — try, try, try again. The more we practise, the more our success. How many times has your favourite AFL player kicked a footy? hundreds of thousands of times, no doubt. Likewise: catching, bouncing, passing and running. That’s why they are professionals!

Stagnation: We also form habits of ease or comfort. They make us feel safe. If it makes me happy, I do it. If it relaxes me, I do it. If I do it repeatedly, a habit forms and can be hard to change. Selfish habits can lead to poor relationships or poor health.


Environment

The easiest way to change a bad habit is to form a new one to replace it.
The easiest way to form a new habit is to change your environment.

Take Footy/Xbox for example: If you want to spend more time practising footy skills, spend more time on an oval with friends and a ball. It’s hard to play Xbox or watch TV on an oval. So, spending more time on an oval changes two habits — replacing one with the other — by changing the environment.


Rituals

Another way to successfully change a habit is to combine it with a ritual you enjoy. Time with a friend/partner/child. A trip to the shops. Going out for coffeeDriving.

Use your rituals to build better habits:
What more exercise? Park further from the shops — or walk from home.
Want to read more? Take a book to a coffee house and switch your phone off.
Want to learn something new? Listen to an audiobook while driving.
Want to run/walk regularly? Ask your friend/partner/child to join you.


Change

Mythologist Joseph Campbell is best known for his statement: ‘follow your bliss’ — an invitation taken to heart by many young people seeking life’s purpose. Near the end of his life, Campbell quipped, ‘I wish I’d said follow your blisters.’ He’d learned, as we all do, that our time-worn habits are what shape our greatest attributes.


Most people hate changing habits. Focusing on the habit itself can be overwhelming and disheartening. But, choosing our environment and strengthening our rituals can be fun and will cause habits to fall into place without hardly thinking about them.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Resilience Research Workbook - Free PDF

Resilience studies have shown that the resilience of a child (of any person, actually) can be readily demonstrated through two indicators.

1. How well they know their story and stories about their family
2. How many significant adults they participate with regularly

This booklet combines the 20 questions researchers ask kids to assess their family knowledge and a list of five significant adults and why they are significant. 

When I give this booklet to a student, we spend the session filling in all the answers they know personally. I watch carefully, asking questions as we go along, and at the end of this session I have a strong assessment of their resilience. So far, I have found it to be very accurate to my previous assessment of the student. 

I then send the workbook home with the child to complete with help from their family. This gets the family talking and, in time, will raise the wellbeing and resilience of the child.

The booklet is formatted to print double-sided and fold in half. Please print and use this booklet as you see fit. 

Please feel free to share booklet. In the future, send me an email and let me know how it has helped the children in your life.


Resilience Research Workbook
Free Workbook PDF - USA Spelling



Resilience Research Workbook
This one is the British / Australian version

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Brave Kwame - Free Children's eBook

This amazing true refugee story teaches the power of including others and telling our story!

Free eBook


Enjoy!

And share!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Jimmy and the Black Spot - Free Children's eBook

I wrote this children's book to encourage us all to see the needs of others.

Enjoy this free eBook


So far, no publisher has taken me up on this story.

If you are a publisher who'd like to see it illustrated and published, please email me!

Free children's eBook - The Forgotten Path

I wrote this children's book to encourage respect for the elderly.

Enjoy this free eBook of an adventurous story with an important message!


So far, no publisher has taken me up on this story.

If you are a publisher who'd like to see it illustrated and published, please email me