Stop Your Child From Talking Back

It is a stage of development that every child enters, and every parent dreads – the start of Talking Back! It is important to note that though it is a normal developmental stage, it is important that it be addressed and not tolerated. A quick search of parenting strategies produces many different views and approaches. Vicki Giebocki of Parents Magazine tried out 5 strategies and rated them. Here’s what she tried:
Set Ground Rules
When Joan Munson, Ph.D., a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado, suggested I make a chart, I wanted to sass back at her, “No. Go away!” Putting stars on a “nice-talk sticker board” was too much work, what with also having to, you know, feed my kids and take them places and stuff. Dr. Munson understood. “This isn’t a behavior chart,” she reassured me. “It’s an expectation chart.”
So I tried it. On the top I wrote “House Rules” and under it “No Mouthing Off to Mom and Dad.” I included a consequence for each kid. My 9-year-old would lose Minecraft for a day; my 7-year-old would lose her next karate class; and my 3-year- old would lose dessert (I drew an ice-cream cone with an X through it, since she can’t read). I read it aloud, then posted it on the fridge. “That way, when a child mouths off, all you have to do is point at the chart,” says Dr. Munson.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
I realize a kid’s job is to push boundaries, but it’s tough not to take it personally when a 3-year-old calls you Bad Mommy because you won’t give her a piggyback ride (particularly when Bad Mommy just took her to a playdate, where she wore the cute tutu that Bad Mommy had bought for her). But pushing back signals to your child that she’s getting a rise out of you. Instead, I should simply point out that her words aren’t working, advises Jay Heinrichs, author of the best-seller Thank You for Arguing. He used this script with his kids: “You’re going to have to do better than that to get what you want.” His goal was to get them to replace back talk by learning how to make a persuasive argument, a skill they’d use all the time as grown-ups.
Follow Through
I had to let go of another one of my failed back-talk methods: the second chance. “It isn’t effective to tell a kid, ‘If you talk to me like that one more time, you won’t get to…'” says teacher-turned-therapist Audrey Ricker, Ph.D., who cowrote Back Talk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids. The way to let your child know that you mean what you say is by enforcing it. “You only have to carry out a consequence once or twice before she changes her behavior,” Dr. Ricker claims.
Try a Little Tenderness
Megan Oesterreich, director of parenting education at the Center for Connection, in Pasadena, California, says the way I respond to my kids’ cheeky rejoinders can have a huge impact on their emotional intelligence. Her solution: Disarm their rudeness with kindness. “You have to take the power struggle out of these moments,” she says. When my girls give me lip, I should take three breaths to chill out, then sit at their level, get close, and say, “Wow. I can hear in your voice that you’re frustrated. Can you tell me what’s going on?” “This will help calm your child down,” Oesterreich says.
Give Props for Nice Talk
My kids actually do behave lovingly and respectfully a lot of the time. But I rarely point it out. “Parents tend to pay attention to the negative things and ignore the good ones,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Yale Parenting Center. I need to focus on how I want my girls to talk to me, rather than on their back talk. When one responds to a request in an appropriate way, I should say, “The way you answered me was very nice,” and then touch her gently on her arm.
Set Ground Rules
When Joan Munson, Ph.D., a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado, suggested I make a chart, I wanted to sass back at her, “No. Go away!” Putting stars on a “nice-talk sticker board” was too much work, what with also having to, you know, feed my kids and take them places and stuff. Dr. Munson understood. “This isn’t a behavior chart,” she reassured me. “It’s an expectation chart.”
So I tried it. On the top I wrote “House Rules” and under it “No Mouthing Off to Mom and Dad.” I included a consequence for each kid. My 9-year-old would lose Minecraft for a day; my 7-year-old would lose her next karate class; and my 3-year- old would lose dessert (I drew an ice-cream cone with an X through it, since she can’t read). I read it aloud, then posted it on the fridge. “That way, when a child mouths off, all you have to do is point at the chart,” says Dr. Munson.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
I realize a kid’s job is to push boundaries, but it’s tough not to take it personally when a 3-year-old calls you Bad Mommy because you won’t give her a piggyback ride (particularly when Bad Mommy just took her to a playdate, where she wore the cute tutu that Bad Mommy had bought for her). But pushing back signals to your child that she’s getting a rise out of you. Instead, I should simply point out that her words aren’t working, advises Jay Heinrichs, author of the best-seller Thank You for Arguing. He used this script with his kids: “You’re going to have to do better than that to get what you want.” His goal was to get them to replace back talk by learning how to make a persuasive argument, a skill they’d use all the time as grown-ups.
Follow Through
I had to let go of another one of my failed back-talk methods: the second chance. “It isn’t effective to tell a kid, ‘If you talk to me like that one more time, you won’t get to…'” says teacher-turned-therapist Audrey Ricker, Ph.D., who cowrote Back Talk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids. The way to let your child know that you mean what you say is by enforcing it. “You only have to carry out a consequence once or twice before she changes her behavior,” Dr. Ricker claims.
Try a Little Tenderness
Megan Oesterreich, director of parenting education at the Center for Connection, in Pasadena, California, says the way I respond to my kids’ cheeky rejoinders can have a huge impact on their emotional intelligence. Her solution: Disarm their rudeness with kindness. “You have to take the power struggle out of these moments,” she says. When my girls give me lip, I should take three breaths to chill out, then sit at their level, get close, and say, “Wow. I can hear in your voice that you’re frustrated. Can you tell me what’s going on?” “This will help calm your child down,” Oesterreich says.
Give Props for Nice Talk
My kids actually do behave lovingly and respectfully a lot of the time. But I rarely point it out. “Parents tend to pay attention to the negative things and ignore the good ones,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Yale Parenting Center. I need to focus on how I want my girls to talk to me, rather than on their back talk. When one responds to a request in an appropriate way, I should say, “The way you answered me was very nice,” and then touch her gently on her arm.
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6 Strategies For Coping With Change

Change is inevitable. You’ll inherit new responsibilities at work, your marriage may go through trials and your roles in life will shift. Even positive changes – a promotion, birth/adoption or new home – can cause inner turmoil. From personal shifts to a changing political climate, adjusting to a new normal can be challenging. You may feel a mix of emotions ranging from joy to sadness and depression.

With nearly every kind of change, stress is part of the equation. Trouble is, when you’re stressed, the pillars of healthy living – eating well, exercise, sleep and social time – tend to fall off your priority list. A better approach is to navigate tumultuous times with these six tips.

  1. Plan ahead. If you know change is on the horizon, do some prep work. Think about what you might do when an elderly parent falls ill. If your company has been through recent layoffs, consider how you’ll navigate a job change. Change is less stressful when you have a contingency plan in place.
  2. Reframe your thinking. Figure out what’s going on in your mind when you’re feeling sad and break negative patterns. Once you become aware of negative thoughts, you’re better equipped to shift them to emphasize the positive. For example, instead of “I don’t deserve this raise,” tweak the thought to “I worked hard for this recognition.”
  3. Take time to reflect. With today’s jam-packed schedules, most people don’t take time to mark or mourn what they’re losing before diving into something new. Rather than numb feelings of sadness with new distractions, give your thoughts a voice. Write in a journal, talk with a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. You might even consider honoring the loss with a scrapbook, quilt, poem or painting.
  4. Strive to maintain some normalcy. Structure and routine are comforting, so the more you can maintain your tried-and-true routine in the midst of a change, the better off you’ll be. Go for your usual morning walk, visit the same coffee shop (if you can) and try to stick to your normal sleeping, waking and eating times.
  5. Create some comfort. Incorporate stress-relieving and enjoyable activities into your day. Listen to relaxing music, meditate, go to the gym or take a warm bath. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it’s comforting to you – and healthy. Avoid quieting troubling emotions with unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking and gambling. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from a trusted friend or a therapist.
  6. Count your blessings. Whether you just received a difficult diagnosis or you’re about to start a new job, counting your blessings in a gratitude journal or sharing the top three highlights of your day with a family member at dinner can go a long way toward making you feel less depleted. Even during difficult times things like noticing a starry sky or beautiful sunset or watching a colorful butterfly can act almost like a reset button for your mind.

It’s not uncommon for stress to mount slowly. You might not even recognize it in yourself. The best assessment of your level of stress may be monitoring the comments of the people around you. So pay attention when friends, colleagues and family members mention that you seem irritable or distressed. Most importantly, build a reserve of personal resources so you’re equipped to navigate a change when it strikes. Eat well, exercise, get sufficient shut-eye. Otherwise, even something minor can set you off.

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Exam Preparation: Ten Study Tips

Exam Preparation: Ten Study Tips main image

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Top 10 Study Tips of All Time

From cappex.com

Exams can cause tremendous stress. Not knowing what to expect and how you’ll end up doing can be nerve-wracking. Have no fear! You will feel like you’re ready to take on anything after learning these study tips and tricks. Practice them and you’ll be ready to tackle that exam in no time.

1. Use a Scent

Put a little bit of perfume, cologne, essential oil, body spray, body mist, or scented lotion on while you’re studying, and then put on the same scent when you’re going to take the quiz or exam. The scent will trigger the memory that you stored in your brain when you were studying. Try a scent that you don’t have a lot of association with already. Calming scents like lavender may help you relax, as well as recall information.

2. Flavored Gum

Chewing a flavored gum is another great trigger for your brain. The flavor and texture of the gum may help you retrieve information from your brain. For best results, try a flavor that you’re unfamiliar with.

3. Make Studying Fun

If you need a little motivation to read books or lengthy passages, try the candy trail method. Place a bite-sized piece of candy, such as M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, Skittles, Junior Mints, or gummy bears, beside every paragraph on the page. Once you finish reading each paragraph, reward yourself by eating that piece of candy. Positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate you and help you learn. If you don’t have a sweet tooth or prefer to stay away from sugar, choose something else bite-sized that you enjoy, like pretzels, dried fruit, nuts, or crackers.

4. Keep Your Notes Clean 

It’s hard to focus if your notes are messy and covered in scribbled out words. Rewrite your notes to keep them neat or type them out to make sure you can actually understand what you’re reading.

5. Color Code Your Notes

Try taking notes and doing homework assignments with colored pens, markers, and highlighters. The colorful notes could improve your visual memory and allow you to access information from your brain during an exam more efficiently. Plus, having organized, color-coded notes makes reading through them so much easier!

6. Teach A Friend

What happens if you have difficulty finding a way to explain your answers or put your thoughts into words? This can be difficult, even if you’re familiar with the material. Lecture to a friend, as this allows you to train and prepare your mind to explain complex topics. It’s especially useful if your final consists of a speech or presentation.

7. Listen to Recorded Lectures

Listening to recorded lectures is helpful, especially if you’re reviewing the notes you took along with it. This is a great way to refresh some topics you may have studied months ago and forgotten about.

8. Play Some Music

While music is a great stimulant for our brains, some music can overwhelm and exhaust them. That said, not all music is bad for studying. If you dislike the silence of a library or your roommate won’t turn the TV off, try putting in some headphones and listening to some classical or instrumental music while you’re studying.

9. Study Old Exams

Save your old tests if possible – they’re great for studying! You can either retake old tests to review the material or just focus on the questions you previously got wrong.

10. Keep Things Familiar

If you know where your finals will be held and you’re able to study there, do it. Taking a test in a familiar environment will make it easier and less stressful to take your exam and will help you recall the information you’ve studied. If you aren’t completely sure where the test will be or can’t access it for studying, find an environment that will be similar to the test day.

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Chores Lead to Happy Children. So Why Do So Few Parents Require Them?

Why do kids really need to do chores?

The answer to that question was recently highlighted in an Uncommon Knowledge production with Peter Robinson and U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse. As Sasse implies, kids need chores in order to form the habits and strong work ethic which has been lost as people have moved away from the family farm and into a post-industrial society:

“This is not agrarian romanticism. It is an awareness that if you separate work from the household, as we’ve done, and so kids come of age with lots of material surplus and very little exposure to production. You’re going to have to create something that’s going to feel a little bit artificial but that is a structured way of habit-forming, that build[s] a work ethic, even when necessity didn’t mandate it.”

If chores are such a valuable part of building a child’s work ethic, then why aren’t we putting them to work? Surveys show that less than 30 percent of parents require their children to perform chores.

The answer to that, Sasse notes, is that we’ve allowed schooling and consumption to take precedence, and that’s a surefire way to promote unhappiness:

“I think modern social science shows us that production makes people happy. Consumption doesn’t. Right now our kids are not being raised with an instinctive, in the belly exposure to a distinction between production and consumption. We’re occupying our kids time with schooling and progression through grades as if that’s their work and then when they’re not in school it’s just different types of consumption. We don’t burden them with having to understand the distinction between needs and wants. Well, that burdening with them is a real serious love.”

Reader’s Digest recently produced the following chart of age-appropriate chores for children. Do you think we would see happier, well-adjusted, and hard-working young adults if more parents insisted that their children pull their share of labor around the household?

“Trouble springs from Idleness, and grievous Toil from needless Ease.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1758

Article by Annie Holmquist

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8 Ways Distance Learning Makes It Harder To Focus


Article by Understood.org

School shutdowns because of COVID-19 have caused upheaval and distraction for all students. Some kids settle in to distance learning quickly and easily. Others take longer. But for kids and teens who struggle with focus, distance learning in the time of the coronavirus can be difficult.

Here are eight ways learning at home can make it harder to focus.

1. Lack of structure

At school, the day is totally planned out. There are schedules and routines. And there are rules to follow in class and out. From kindergarten to 12th grade, school means structure.

Learning from home often means making up your own routine. For some students, the flexibility is liberating. But kids and teens who struggle with focus tend to do better when they know exactly what to expect, and exactly what’s expected of them.

2. External distractions

A doorbell ringing, someone making lunch, people or pets moving around. There are sights, smells, and sounds that are part of daily living at home that make it especially hard to focus on schoolwork. That can be true whether there’s a lot of physical space at home, or very little.

3. Internal distractions

The pandemic has caused anxiety and sadness for many people. And those emotions and worries can be as distracting as a TV playing in the next room.

Many kids and teens have feelings of loss because of COVID-19. They may be missing out on big events like moving-up ceremonies, prom, and graduation. Some are also coping with the trauma of family members losing jobs, getting sick, or even dying. And social media exposes them to what other people are going through.

Dealing with loss can make it hard for anyone to focus. It’s even harder for people who already struggle with focus and coping with emotions.

4. Less support for time management

Even before the shutdowns, there were no set start and end times with homework. There were also no teachers standing there to keep students focused and on track. But with distance learning, that’s often the case with classwork, too.

Many students have trouble staying on top of their work when they’re learning at home. Without the natural supports that exist in class, they can easily drift off and lose track of time. They may also choose to use their time to do things they like more than schoolwork.

5. No in-person help with refocusing

At school, the teacher can refocus students with a hand on the shoulder or a quiet reminder. Classmates asking or answering a question can bring attention back to the lesson or activity. But those things don’t exist in the same way if students drift off at home.

6. Not enough sleep

When people don’t get enough sleep, it directly impacts how well they can focus. Learning at home can upset many schedules, including sleep schedules.

At first, being home may feel like a vacation because there’s no school to race to every morning. Regular sleep routines can fall by the wayside. Kids and teens may also have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep with all the changes and uncertainty. All of these things can make it even more difficult to pay attention and focus.

7. Long, written communication

Many teachers are using email to reach students and present information. But a long email can be hard to focus on, just like a long oral lesson in the classroom can be. The same is true of written class materials. Often, the longer they are, the harder they are to stay focused on.

8. No change in scenery or built-in breaks

Staying in one place all day can make it hard to stay focused during distance learning. Students get built-in breaks in regular school. Recess, gym, music or art class, and even changing from room to room let students recharge. And for many kids and teens, these mini-breaks make it easier to focus when it’s time to sit back down and do academic work.

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