3 Can’t Fail Techniques to Compel Your Children To Actually UNDERSTAND One Another

It's the Memorial Day weekend!

And that means it's time for yet another episode of that exciting show,

"How can we misunderstand and unfairly take offense at our siblings today?"

Yes indeed, while other families are enjoying exciting BBQs outside and opening their pools, MamaBear's cubs realized they could either get along and play nicely, or choose to misunderstand and imitate Godzilla discovering that his latest diet precluded Tokyo.

The choice, gentle reader, was obvious.

Let me take you back, back, back again, where…..

So there I was at my computer!

I was happily explaining to HD1 how to add thumbnails to WordPress homepages (it's really easy to do, I wrote a tutorial about it over at How To Easily Make A Glorious WordPress Homepage Complete With Thumbnail Post Images ) when all of a sudden…

A darkness descended!

A sullen chill pervaded the air….

And HD1 remarked,

"Ummm, Mom, I think that's HS2 currently sounding like a broken chalk-board record in your room…."

And by golly, he was!  Losing not a moment, I first donned on my stylish SuperMamaBear Hero's cape and flew to my bedroom, where I was brought up starkly by the scenario that met my eye.

It was frightening enough to daunt the most stalwart of souls!

Capt Picard would have been hard-pressed not to quail in his boots and he certainly would have been unable to reproduce the following!

Yes indeed, HS2 was sprawled on the floor, crying his heart out, incredibly mad at HS1!

And HS1, that stoic soul who was born minus the compassion gene but recently has been making leaps and bounds worthy of Superman to fix that, was curled up in a ball of misunderstood misery on my bed.

What had happened, I wondered?

  • Did HS1 make HS2 feel stupid because he didn't understand how black holes suck in objects?
  • Did HS2 make HS1 feel unappreciated because he failed to worship the ground upon which HS1 walked?

Whatever could it be??

oOo, what I asked.  :)

Turns out, both boys were playing on the bed and HS1's push to HS2 pushed him off of said bed, where HS2 bonked his head.

But things rapidly went downhill faster than 8,382 fresh ripe tomatoes can decay in one's school lunchbag when HS1 immediately ran over to HS2, said "Are you okay?" and HS2 screamed at him, "WHY DO YOU ALWAYS ASK THAT?  I'M HUUUUURRRRTTTTTT, WAAAAAHHHHHH!"

Oh the drama….if only Hollywood would make a reality TV show about my family!

Gentle reader, let me pause in this dramatic narrative and ask you the following.

If you were hurt, and someone asked if you were alright, would you focus upon:

  • The literal words?

or

  • The emotions that powered the literal words?

It turns out that HS1 was trying to comfort HS2 the best way he knew how.  But because HS2 is far more literal minded than HS1, he focused instead on the actual words themselves…instead of his brother's desire to make him feel better.

So….HS1 was basically punished by his brother for not making him feel better in the *right* way.

Which of course…is no way to run a family!

After a big long huge never-ending soul-searing dramatically agonizing talk, I managed to get both boys understanding that they were both there for one another…but neither would look beyond their own personal feelings to see the goodness that was driving the other.

And as is MamaBear's habit, she had them both write down what happened, what they learned, and what will occur in the future.

Here's HS1's take.

I asked HS2, “Are you ok?” and he began yelling like, “OMG OMG OMG!!” Apparently, he enjoys me not to ask the specific question, but, “Would you like some help?” would work. I think he would be more exuberant than because he enjoys that interpretation better. He probably enjoys that interpretation better because it’s obvious he’s really hurting. I will make sure to be more careful in the future.

               I felt sort of annoyed by the fact HS2 would just yell when I tried to comfort him. HS2 probably felt, “OMG I’M OBVIOUSLY NOT OK SO LIKE OMG” I now completely understand why HS2 reacted this way. I thought he was just yelling for the sake of me causing the accident. I’ll look for clues next time for what to say.

               Finally, we resolved this problem with what to say and when. I’m supposed to say, “Are you okay?” when it’s bleeding only slightly, and he’s still in his position before. If it’s a major cut (ex. Crying, bleeding, crippling etc) I should say, “Would you like some help?” I hope this solves all problems with him angry at me for these reasons. I now know what to say and when, so by another shard, were one step closer to the portrait of a wonderful family.

And here's HS2's take.

Have you ever have done 3 paragraphs? Have you thought it was a punishment? Well it is a learning concept. So I did one this morning. So I am going to explain what I did.

 So First the beginning paragraph should be what you did.     

First I got pushed of a bed. My brother said are you ok? I was  like WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE! It was really wrong. So I was very hurt.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So the second paragraph should be why you did it.   

Second I yelled because because he asks are you ok everyday?. It gets annoying every once and a while. So i did it because it didn't look like I was ok. I was like screaming because I was really hurt.That is why. 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The third paragraph is what you will do in the future.

In the future I will not yell. I wouldn't yell because HS1 is only trying to be nice. Also it could really hurt someones feelings. Also I would just say yes if he forgets not to say are you ok? I will never do that again.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So just remember people 3 paragraphs is not a punishment it is a learning concept. So bye!

So..yeah indeed.

As you can tell, HS2 still focuses bunches on his own personal feelings, while HS1 is getting much better at understanding other people's feelings as well.  Still, though, it's definitely a Very Good Beginning indeed!

Is the day over yet?

:)

Anywhos! 

This really highlighted that it doesn't matter how much empathy you have or how much you want to take care of someone…if they refuse to listen to your words.

Thus, the 3 Can't Fail Techniques to Compel Your Children To Actually UNDERSTAND One Another are as follows.


NOTE!Step 1.)  Emphasize to your kids to listen to the actions that drive their sibling's words.

It could be that the way they want to help is not received as expected.  So, do not dwell on the actual words if offense is generating….instead, look beyond those words to the actions they compel.


NOTE!Step 2.)  If misunderstandings do occur, praise both kids for trying to communicate, and then get to the root of what went wrong where.

The fact is, both kids involved need to have their feelings validated.

You don't have to agree with them, mind you, but you do have to let them feel they've been heard.

So tell them they did well in trying to get their point across, and then ask them, what was going through their minds when the blow-up occurred?


NOTE!Step 3.)  Work on discovering a better approach for the future.

Knowing what went wrong where is a good start…but it's useless unless your kids learn from it in the future.

Thus, talk out with your kids what they think would work better should the issue happen again.

In my case, HS2 wants HS1 to say, "Would you like some help?" if he gets hurt.

Thing is, though, knowing HS1…chances are, it will take lots of repetition before it sinks in.

So, HS2 needs to listen to the actions *first* before taking offense at the words. 

And that's something that will take time as well.

However….it's a start.

And that's what the Mama Bear parenting method is all about.  We are always open to trying new things to foster better communications within the family.

Parent well,

Mama Bear

“My kids secretly pinch one another, how can I stop this?

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

I have two young children who generally get along well, but sometimes get really mad at each other and pinch each other when I'm not looking.  How can I get them to stop this habit?

Thin-skinned in Washington"

Dear TSiW,

Sigh. 

MamaBear assumes this has been going on for some time, aye?

Gentle parent, might I inquire….

Why the hell didn't you stomp on this action the first time it happened?

Hmmm?

That's the challenge of parenting kids; if you let them get away with something once or twice or 849 times, they'll simply up the ante until something (generally, *you*) give way in a screaming howling fit of anger and angst.

Not good at all!

The very first time one kid pinched another, you should have:

  • Quietly read the instigator the riot act

and then

  • Told the pinchee that he could pinch the pincher as punishment.  Then comfort/cuddle the pinchee and turn your attention to the pincher.

and then

  • Explained to the pincher that you will now show him just how it feels times 3… and pinch him.

The next step would be:

  • After the crying is over, sit the pincher down.  Try to get at what drove him to the actions of hurting his sibling.  Ask, what other actions might have been better?  How else could he have dealt with whatever issues were bothering him?
    (really spend time here as well; getting at the root cause will be quite helpful for the next step).

then:

  • Ask the pincher if he enjoyed being on the receiving end of the pain.  Ideally, the answer will be "no."  Emphasize how this is what he deliberately did to his brother, and didn't he love his brother?  Ideally, the answer will be "yes."  Have him apologize to his brother.

then:

  • Have him write a story about what he did wrong, why he did it, and how he could have behaved differently in the future.

Whew!

It's draining, sure, but consequences like the above really get to the heart of the matter.

The plain fact is, telling one sibling, "we do not pinch our brothers" or "we do not push our sisters" etc. is just plain B.S.

Unless you proactively *make* the child *feel* what it feels like, the point just will *not* be made.

And it's critical to make sure you deliver the consequences asap so that not only is the importance of the situation not lost…but the pinchee will see he's just as important as the pincher to you.

Additionally, don't forget – it's critical to tell the pincher that you believe in him 110% that he will learn the best way to deal with things and not hurt his brother, and that you tell the pinchee how proud you are that he's handling the situation so well.

Find reasons to praise both and keep their spirits up!

In MamaBear's case, there's been hardly any physical altercations between her cubs because they learned that whatever they do unto each other will be done 3 fold unto them.

Kids aren't dumb, TSiW…they'll learn.  But they need to have boundaries proactively shown to them…and they need to experience the consequences of their actions bigtime.

So take back your parenting power and start alpha-parenting your cubs.  Trust me, you'll see improvements in no time fast.

Thus speaks MamaBear

When the SH*T hits YOUR Hairbrush and Other Parenting Insanities

It was an adventure like no other, y'know?

Sigh….

Yes indeed, Mama Bear was happily ensconced in her bathroom, pulling on her karate gi and otherwise making sure her outwards persona didn't frighten small impressionable children (immediately, that is).

Life was joyous!  Glorious!  All that remained was that MamaBear had to brush out her long luxurious golden locks of shining womanly magnificence hair.   She casually reached a paw out for the Hair Care Tool of Tremendousness when all of a sudden she realized:

The Hair Care Tool of Tremendousness!  It wasn't there!

Now, this in of and by itself wasn't too baffling; HS2 often took my hairbrush whenever emergencies arose like His Little Pony needed her mane brushed (speaking of which, allow me to amuse with you with some My Little Pony Physics, might I?

Thank you very much, we now return you to our regular broadcasting).

Where was I?

Oh yes! 

My invisibility-cloaked hairbrush.

So!  I called over HS2 and gently inquired, to where did you abscond with my brush?  And he happily said, okay Mom, I know where it is, let me get it for you.

And several minutes passed.

And more minutes passed.  Idly, I took note that someone in the kitchen had just started running the sink water.

HS2 then bounced back into my bathroom with my hairbrush, freshly scrubbed!

Ummmmm….wait a sec.

Just why on earth…..should my hairbrush be freshly scrubbed????

So before I started brushing my hair, I asked HS2, what were you doing with my brush?

And he said (and truly, I hope you're sitting down right now *without* having any sort of expellable beverage in your mouth):

"Well mom, I have a little story for you (he really did start it out that way).  HS1 asked me to help clean up the moose plop in our office (translation – the dogs pooped on the floor) and I needed a brush!  I couldn't find one, so I used yours instead."

I believe that at that exact moment, time stood still so luckily… I was unable to instantly react.

Gotta love time freezes!

After a few years, logic and consciousness re-entered my soul, and I got really really quiet as I asked him,

"Do you really think Mom's hairbrush is the best tool to clean up moose excrement?"

Unlike many parents, I generally don't scream or yell; my kids know that the quieter Mom gets, the more trouble they're in.

By this time, HS2 was aware of how utterly wrong his actions were.  When I asked him just why on earth he thought this was a Good Thing, he said:

"I just got carried away Mom and really wanted to clean things up, so I didn't think."

Then he said,

"Mom, I just don't think I deserve being a Ling right now.  You can give me any consequence you want, you can take away my office, you can make make me miss the school trip tomorrow that I really want to go on!"

And he was totally sincere.

Gentle reader, imagine my dilemma right about then.

  • HS2 was being honest with me
  • He was willing to accept any and all consequences.

How the *Hell* could I punish him for using my brush as he did?

Taking a deep breath, I counted to 10. 

In Klingon.

Then I counted to 10 again.

This time in Wookie(that was much easier, btw).

Then I said,

"Okay, you're being honest so I cannot fault you for that!  However, there are lots of ways you could have handled it – I want you to now write me a story.  The first paragraph is what you did, the second paragraph will be why you did it, and the third paragraph will be what you could have done differently and will do differently in the future."

Drying up his tears, HS2 scampered off to his computer, wrote up his story and printed it out.

The end result?

His consequences was to do both his chores and HS1's chores for the next few days.  But…I made darned certain to praise him to the skies for both his honesty and the way he handled getting into trouble.

Seriously. 

HS2 is only 8.5 years old.  But his ability now to look at actions and consequences….wow.  There's been so much improvement!!

And me?

After HS2 left my bedroom, I was sitting on the bed with the most dazed expression on my face.  HD1 walked in, and said "Mom, you look like heck."  I responded, "You have no idea what just happened….let me fill you in."

Her reaction?

"Mom, this is yet another reason why I'm never having kids."

:)  Plus, she tickled me and commiserated with me.  Woot to HD1!

So…..

The next time you hear the phrase, the sh*t hits the fan, remember.

It's much easier to clean up there…than in your hairbrush.

Trust me.  I know.  :)

Parent well,

MamaBear

“My kid is being bullied but I do NOT approve of her fighting.”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

My 11 year old is continuously coming home crying because she's being teased and hit by other kids at her school.  I really worry about her self-esteem!  However, I do not think fighting solves any problems, so how can I help her stop the bullying?

Sincerely,

Baffled in Texas"

Dear BiT,

You don't think fighting solves anything?

You….really….don't think …. fighting solves anything?

My gosh, another bleeding heart liberal parent.  Sigh…..

Allow me to give you a brief wee bit of an alert; you have roused up MamaBear and riled her up more than a Soccer Mom whose darlin' little angel just got sidelined for kicking the coach.

You've been warned….

Well now, isn't that just peachy! 

You see the pain and agony your child is going through, but because of your own personal values, you choose to forbid her of the one action that might actually do some good.

Why not simply give the kids who are tormenting your child a couple of iron bars to complete the beating, aye?

Right now, it seems like you're laboring under the delusion that 11 year olds can be reasoned with and be expected to behave like normal sane human beans.

Lady, from what planet of milk-toasted-ness do you hail??

The plain fact is – bullies look for victims. 

Victims are kids who cannot or will not defend themselves.

With me so far?  Yes?

Well then, allow me to deliver the following startling fact into your pollyanna life, okay?

Bullies will take things to the nth degree, even up to causing the victims to commit suicide, unless they are stopped.

You don't want a dead kid, right?

Didn't think so.

I'm assuming you've already gone to the principal and board of education to demand action. 

But even that….that's kinda sorta useless because bullies can accost your child in the bathroom, after school, before school, on Facebook….anyplace where your kid is unprotected for more than a few seconds.

Some bullies can *only* understand physical retaliation.  Let me tell you a brief story; I was bullied like you mention when I was 12 years old.  I was told by my idiot school counselors that "Fighting wasn't allowed" and that "I'd get suspended" if I punched back.

My parents, bless their souls, told me:

Listen.  You fight back, you get suspended, we'll reward you.  Case closed.

The next day, I crazily beat the hell out of the ring-leader…and they stopped picking on me from that day forward.

Coincidence?

I think not.

BiT, kids who bully are vultures.  Plain and simple.  They're scum of the earth.

You owe it to your child to give her permission to fight back and permission to stand up and say to herself, "I will *not* accept  this treatment."

You cannot save her nor can you stop the bullying.   It has to come from within *her*

Here are some resources for dealing with bullies:

And here are some videos to watch.



Bullying is a serious, serious *serious* problem…and you simply have to give your child to answer the bullies in ways they *understand*.

And none of this sparkly rainbow "fighting solves no problems!" junk; that will be a real comfort to you if your kid decides to escape it all by suicide.

You are your child's main source of strength and inspiration.  Give her the tools she needs to *stop* being a victim and *start* discovering her own inner greatness.

It will stay with her for a lifetime.

Thus speaks….Mama Bear

ABCs: Easily Set Up Your Parenting Facebook Fan Page Vanity URL

Lookie to the right at a screenshot of me Facebook Fan Page!

QUICK!

Do you have a parenting fan page on Facebook??????

If so….

QUICK!

Visit *this* link.

http://www.facebook.com/username

QUICK!

Select your Fan page name.

Does it say….

Your Fan Page Name is not eligible for a username at this time. In the future, Your Fan Page Name will be able to set a username.

If so, right now, alas…you're hosed and probably have less than 25 fans.

But!  If you have *more* than 25 fans, you can set your own Facebook Fan Page Vanity URL!

MamaBear just flew to that milestone 4 minutes ago.  Previously, my Fan Page URL was:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mama-Bear/188574131190866

But now…it's:

http://www.facebook.com/mamabearmother

Let me know ask you…

  • What's easier to remember?
  • What's easier to type?
  • What looks nifty and neato and really really cool?

Methinks theFacebook Fan Page vanity URL by a longshot!

So….if you have your own Facebook Fan page and have more than 25 folk, why not do yourself a favor and set up your free Facebook Fan Page Vanity URL?

It can only help your promotion.

Parent well,

MamaBear

ps – want some other techniques for promoting your Facebook Fan page?  Click below and check out

Facebook Fanpage Blueprint

You'll love how I work in The Old Spice Guy and Elmo from Sesame Street!

1 Simple Way To Achieving Your Goals While Briefly Losing Your Sanity

At this time in the morning, Mamabear would usally be bright-eyed and shiny-fanged (after all, it's almost the afternoon, ie, 8am!).

Thing is, though…..I've been up now since (hope you're sitting down for this) 2am!

All together now….wheeee!

Indeed.

Recently, I've been seized by an insane desire to cross all the i's. and dot all the t's and get this site truly functional. 

And to aid me in that delightful endeavor, I won Google, eBay and half of Microsoft as well in the school raffles girded me loins and did the following.

1.)  Added several Mama Bear Stores!

Take a look at these, I beg you.

They're glorious. 

They'll bring tears to your eyes! 

They required me to do some massive CSS hacking and all that jazz but…oh heck, let me just show you.

Okay, I'm calm now again.  Seriously….wow, while the basic installation of stores like this takes less than 5 minutes (it's really grand!), making it *just so* was a character-building adventure in itself!

I used Associate O Matic, and let me tell you…it's simply splendid.  You can read my review about it over at my Virtual Coach Site here:  Supremely Easy Amazon Affiliate Tool!

Or, simply visit the product itself here.

I plan on adding more stores soon!

2.)  Added eMail feed subscription capability!

Lookie quick at those adorably exciting 3 hearts on the upper right hand side of the page!

Don't you just *adore* the cute little red heart with the cute little neon green envelope?

When you click on that image, you get take to my Feedburner email link.  It lets visitors sign up to receive new posts immediately in their email!  Heck, why not try it out now?  Click below to see it work right before your very eyes!

Email

Breathtaking, isn't it? 

And why no, I'm not more giddy than a sleep-deprived toddler who has consumed 928 M&Ms, why do you ask?  :)

Anhywhos!  Not being satisfied with that utterly stupendous achievement, I next:

3.)  Beefed up my Page Not Found Page!

You know how sometimes you get that annoying Page Not Found error on sites?  Well, I decided to, ahem, soup up mine finer than a 1957 MOPAR that… customize mine a weeeee bit.

Are you ready?

Hmmmmm?

Alrighty then, click on:

http://www.mamabear.me/ThisPageDoesNotExist!

Rapturous, is it not?  

But I didn't stop there, oh no oh no!  I then:

4.)  Added the Comment Redirect WordPress Plugin!

Be still my beating heart!

This nifty neato superbly fabulous plugin will redirect first-time commenters to a page of my choosing!  It's a great way to welcome new readers to my site, plus I also make sure to point them in my social networking direction as well (my twitter, facebook and the like accounts).

And when you comment on this post, you'll see it in action!

It's a very simple plugin to use – you can learn more about it over at WordPress Comment Redirect Plugin.

5.)  Updated my Professional Facebook Profile Picture!

Gaze upon it in all of its stunning grace and beauty (heck, click on it too to see the entire page!).

Is it worthy of epic poetry or not? 

(Side note here, it's amazing how I am still capable of typing as I'm falling asleep on the keyboard…)

All in all, it's been a Very Productive Time, since 2am this morning.  :)

Which brings me to the *most* important point….

The 1 easiest, simplest way to lose your sanity while achieving your goals is to pull an all-nighter or morninger or whateverer….and just let your inspirations run wild.

Methinks, now, however….I'm going to take a nap.  See you soon!

Parent well,

Mama Bear

Ed Helper Rocks

Have you ever wanted to give your kid some excellent academic enrichments?

If so, one of the best, all around resources is

EdHelper

During Camp Ling, I have been known to print out daily challenges in all aspects of academics, including Math, Latin, story-writing and much much more.

It's been now $19.97/year since, wow, gee….2002 or so?  Definitely well-worth it indeed.

Parent well,

Mama Bear