How To Remind Your Child of Their Greatness … Always – Raise a Happy Child Book Video (6 of 8)


This video shows how to put into action some of the key ideas presented in Chapter 9 “Remind Your Child of their Greatness … Always” in the book “How to Raise a Happy Child (and be happy too).”

In this scenario, author and kid whisperer Heather Criswell shows a situation where her child is told that she is not great, and she reminds her that she is.

This video stands alone as great advice for moms, dads, and anyone communicating with kids. It has even greater meaning and depth after reading the chapter in this book. Get more great information about parenting and the book throughout this site.

 

Use These Great Go-To Phrases and One-Liners With Your Child – Raise a Happy Child Book Video (7 of 8)


This video shows how to put into action some of the key ideas presented in Chapter 10 “Put it All Together – Great Go-To Phrases and One Liners” in the book “How to Raise a Happy Child (and be happy too).”

In this video, author and kid whisperer Heather Criswell shares many of the great go-to phrases and one-liners she uses with children every day.  She shares three sets of phrases.

  • Phrases you can use to acknowledge your child’s greatness
  • Phrases you can use to stay in your power in challenging situations
  • Phrases you can use to offer choices, model behavior, and guide behavior

This video stands alone as great advice for moms, dads, and anyone communicating with kids. It has even greater meaning and depth after reading the chapter in this book. Get more great information about parenting and the book throughout this site.

 

How To Facilitate Fights Between Siblings or Friends – Raise a Happy Child Book Video (8 of 8)


This video shows how to put into action some of the key ideas presented in Section 4, Scenario 1, “Facilitating Fights Between Siblings or Friends” in the book “How to Raise a Happy Child (and be happy too).”

In this scenario, author and kid whisperer Heather Criswell shows a situation where her children are fighting and she does her best to stay out of their way.

This video stands alone as great advice for moms, dads, and anyone communicating with kids. It has even greater meaning and depth after reading the chapter in this book. Get more great information about parenting and the book throughout this site.

 

Step-by-step technique for handling disrespectful behavior.

I have spent the past several months deconstructing Heather’s parenting strategies.  I was so inspired by her genius that I knew I had to share it with the world. So Heather and I decided to co-author a book, How to Raise a Happy Child (and be happy too): Modern Parenting Techniques that Work, which will be released later this year.  Since the topic of parenting is so rich, we also decided to launch this website and blog, which you are reading now.

This post features one of the many techniques that will be in our book.  It answers the question every parent wants to know: “How do I address my child’s disrespectful behavior in a way that works?”

I figured out Heather’s strategy by watching her eye movements. In literally about a nano-second her eyes darted to 4 different places – each place was a step in her mental process. The eyes are like a map of the brain and tracking eye movements is one of the best ways to slow down someone’s thought process. I’ll let her take it from here and explain:

Enter Heather Criswell:

When I am interacting with children I am aware of opportunities for teachable moments – for chances to connect with a child.

Recently Taryn and I were talking about how I guide children’s behavior. Until Taryn unpacked my strategy and thinking process, I was not consciously aware that I had such a rehearsed mental script for dealing with a child’s disrespectful behavior. These steps happen so fast in my mind, after so many years of practice, I had become completely unaware of my own strategy. All this time I just assumed it was intuition.  It turns out my intuition has a structure.  Who knew the steps in my process could be understood by tracking my eye movements?!

So let’s take an undesirable behavior as an example.  Let’s say my young son just hit me out of anger and frustration. Here is exactly what I do, step-by-step:

1. I immediately ask myself: “Is this a behavior I can let go, or do I need to address it?”
This one is easy. It’s a “deal breaker” behavior for me. I need to address it. I don’t deserve to be hit by anyone.

2. I instantly recall a situation where my child was behaving completely opposite of what he is doing now.
I remember a moment when my child was loving and respectful. I remember his light and smile in that moment and hold it in my mind. As I hold that image of him, in my mind and heart I know my child is love and this behavior is not who he is. It is important for me to remember this so I can approach him in a loving state.

3. I now ask myself: “How can I connect with him?” Then I ask: “How can he hear what I need? How can I hear what he needs? How can we both get what we need from this situation?”
I recall a time I connected with my son and we both heard each other. I remember what I did in a previous situation where we connected.  (Note:  Connecting to me means putting any of my own anger or frustration aside and looking at each other eye-to-eye and connecting heart-to-heart.)

4. I then repeat that past strategy in this moment.
In this particular case, the best way for me to connect with my son is to have a moment of silence. Then I simply tell him, “I don’t deserve to be hit.” I ask him, “What do you need from me?” I then remind him, “If you want to hit something, you are welcome to hit the punching bag in your room.” (I direct the child to where it IS appropriate to demonstrate that particular behavior.)

5. The situation is now considered closed. It is free from shame, guilt or frustration.
We both have had an opportunity to be heard. We both know what to do next time we feel the same way.

[Taryn’s comment: Can you imagine what it would feel like as a child to have someone hold an image of you at your best and then address you with that image in mind and a feeling of total love for you?  Can you imagine what it would feel like as an adult?!  Secondly, can you imagine how much more effective your own parent (or boss or spouse) would be if they made sure they had an energetic connection with you before they addressed you? It sure beats yelling across the house, “Go clean your room!!!” I believe that the difference that makes a huge difference is Heather’s simple question to herself, “How can I connect with my child in this moment?” It drives her entire strategy.  It drives HOW she talks with the child in a way the child can hear.  She gets herself in a good emotional state – a state where she can connect with the child – by remembering a time when the child was great.  This step puts her in a place of love so that when she talks with the child, the child feels her love and he wants to listen.  Contrast that with what many people do, which is assume a position of authority and tell their child in a stern voice that they need to change their behavior.

Over the years Heather has built up a huge catalog of examples to draw from on how to connect with children and what to say in any given moment.  Parents will be able to draw on their own catalog of examples of when their child at their best and when they connected successfully.]

Back to Heather for another example using this strategy….

I realized I use this same strategy, regardless of the undesirable behavior. For example, a couple of months ago my husband and I watched a friend’s 9-year old child, John, for a couple of days. John is sitting on our couch and demands brownies. He says, “Go get me some brownies.”

1. I immediately ask myself: “Is this a behavior I can let go or do I need to address it?”
This one is easy.  It’s a “deal breaker” behavior.  I need to address it.  I deserve to be addressed with respect.

2. I instantly recall a situation when this child was behaving completely opposite of what he is doing now.
I remember a moment when John was loving and respectful. I remember John’s appreciation when we went to his favorite restaurant for lunch. As I hold that image of him, in my mind and heart I know this child is love and this behavior is not who he is. It is important for me to remember this so I can approach him in a loving state.

3. I now ask myself: “How can I connect with him?” I then ask: “How can he hear what I need? How can I hear what he needs? How can we both get what we need from this situation?”
We are not around this child often, so I have to add a step to my process. I pull from my mental catalog of the children I’ve worked with over the years. I remember a child from my school that reminds me of John and I recall a time I connected with this other child.  (Note:  Connecting to me means putting any of my own anger or frustration aside and looking at each other eye-to-eye and connecting heart-to-heart.)

4. I then repeat that past strategy in this moment.
In this particular case, I state what John CAN do with an unwavering energy and tone to my voice. I look John right in the eye, make sure we connect, and then use the following script

Me: “You are more than welcome to go get brownies if you want them.”

John: “Will you please go get me brownies?”

Me: “Let me be clear. If you would like some brownies, you are welcome to go get them yourself.”

John: “I’m going to go get some brownies.”

Me: “I think that is a great idea! I would do that too.”

6. The situation is now considered closed. It is free from shame, guilt or frustration.
We both have had an opportunity to be heard. We both know what to do next time we feel the same way. (Note: I didn’t have to tell him he was being dis-respectful, he knew exactly what he was doing. That’s why his second response added the word “please.”  As long as I stay clear and consistent, he gets it without words.)

That’s it.  That’s what I do!  Next time you have an opportunity, try this strategy out with a child in your life (or heck, even your spouse).  It took me 20 years of practice to perfect my own technique.  I’m sure your child will give you 20 years too!  🙂

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos

How does the modern parent handle bullying?

 

How does the Modern Parent handle bullying? Tune in!

Bullying is not a new problem.  It has happened over time, to all ages.  Chances are you have been bullied at some time in your life.  You may have been too big, too small, underweight, overweight, too smart, too slow, too red-headed, four-eyed, or even too friendly.  The examples are endless.

On this episode of BlogTalkRadio, Taryn Voget and I talk about bullying and discuss empowerment strategies for kids and parents in bullying situations.  We talk about the triangle of dis-empowerment and how to shift your thinking to a triangle of empowerment.  We also share great scripts to use with your children who have been bullied.

Tune in for this high impact, 30-minute radio segment.

Listen to internet radio with WiseTalk Modern Parenting on Blog Talk Radio

You can also view  this episode on BlogTalkRadio.

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos

What can a father say to his over-weight, bullied daughter?

What can a father say to his over-weight, bullied daughter?  Well, it’s not actually what my father said, it’s what he did.

Rewind back and I am 15 years old and entering my junior year of high school. I am still over-weight. Or more accurately describe, at this point I am obese. I am about 245 pounds and a size 20 women’s clothes.

My journey through school, as some of you may have read in other blog posts here, was nothing less than a torturous experience.

The teasing, taunting, and continued comments assaulted me daily.

It’s the night before school starts: I am living with my dad after my parent’s divorce. I am in my room and my father comes in to remind me that school starts tomorrow and I should probably go to bed. (By the way, he didn’t have to remind me, I was highly aware of what the next day had in store for me.)

He noticed a shift in my presence, my energy. He asked the question, the one I didn’t want to answer, especially to my father:

“What’s wrong?’

I could help it, or stop it. The tears came flowing and I moved into “the ugly cry.” I just lost it. He asked, “What is going on?”

Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I was embarrassed and wanted to keep my pain to myself, but I couldn’t.

“I can’t get on that bus one more time. They are so mean, Dad. They even offer me drugs to lose weight because I am so fat!”

(At 15, I was extremely naïve. A boy actually offered me crystal meth because he knew I wanted to lose weight. For a moment I considered it. If it could end the pain, it just might be worth it. But I decided that drugs wouldn’t fix this problem.)

My father simply said…

“What can I do to help?”

I thought about it. I knew if I got to school, free from the bus experience, I could handle the rest of the bullying throughout the day by going to the bathroom, or pretending to read, or staying late in class. I just couldn’t start another day on the bus being teased.

There was hope on the horizon. I was scheduled to take my driver’s test on October 19th, only a couple of months away.

If my dad could just take me to school in the morning for a couple of months, that would give me a break. At least I could begin my day free from bullying.

The only problem was my father was a night owl. He would stay up till 3am or so and go into work around 10 or 11am. He was NEVER a morning person. Christmas day was a nightmare for me as a child because I had to wait till 10am to open presents!

This is what I said to my dad:

“If you could just give me a ride to school in the morning, I can make it through the rest of the day. I know 6am is early. I’m sorry. I just don’t think I can take it any more. I need help. Just until my birthday, then I will have my license.”

My dad knew I was sincere and felt my desperation.

He simply said, “Ok, I will take you in the mornings.”

I felt a wave of relief. Hope that things were going to be better. Hope that I could get through this experience for another year.

He didn’t lecture me, shame me, tell me that I should “suck it up,” or embarrass me anymore than I already was. It was really hard to share my feeling with my father, but I trusted him.

So my father got up every morning for the next 2 months at 5:30 am to take me to school. He actually made the best of it, joined a gym, and used the time in the morning before work to get fit.

The day after I got my license, my father never woke up at 5:30am again.

Some might say that my father “sheltered” me or didn’t allow me to work through my experience on my own. The truth is my dad knew me: he could feel my pain in the moment. He knew that I would never ask for help if I didn’t need it. He knew that that the solution was inside of me. And he knew how he could support me most.

My father taught me a very valuable lesson that day. Sometimes all we need is someone to ask a simple question: “What can I do to help?”

Check out the previous article in this series:  What my mom said when I was bullied.  It saved my life.

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos

What my mom said when I was bullied. It saved my life.

In the late 70’s and even early 80’s bullying was not in the headlines.  It was just part of life, a right of passage, a moment to suck it up or stand up for yourself.

I was raised deep in the heart of Texas where tiny body size and Barbie doll cuteness, call it cheerleaderabilty, was every girl’s number one goal.  When I grew up, obesity just wasn’t all that common in children or adults.  So as a very overweight child, the fat girl in school, well you can imagine what I went through.  Or maybe not.

I moved to a new school in 2nd grade.  That’s where this story begins.

I was the biggest kid in my class and considered somewhat of an Amazon child.  I was just abnormally large in both height and weight.  At least that’s how I felt and perceived myself.  And what I was reminded of by my classmates daily.

One boy caught on to my insecurity and began his torture sessions (bullying) for next 7 years.   Everyday, from the moment I got on the bus, throughout class, at lunch, on the bus ride home, it was the same story:

“Heather, Heather, not light as a feather”

“Hold on everyone the bus is going down! Heather’s getting on.”

“You’re just a fat-ass.  No one likes you.  You will never have anything.”

“Fatty fatty 2 by 4, can’t fit through the bathroom door.”

“Haven’t you had enough to eat?   You could skip lunch everyday and still be fat.”

“Go home to the 3 little pigs house, you big fat pig.”
(Oh yeah – side note – my mom and dad were both overweight too.)

It goes on and on and on and on.

I had enough.  One day this boy called me a whale in line.  I decided that moment to take matters in my own hands.  I threw him against the lockers and started beating him as hard and as long as I could.

We both found ourselves in the principle’s office. This was back in Texas when you got “swats” for bad behavior. (For those who don’t know this term, a “swat” is a spanking with a large wooden paddle.)  Thank God the Dean of the school had a teenage daughter, who just happened to be my nanny.  The Dean stood up for me and my tormentor got 5 swats and a call home.  I went back to class.

I thought that this would end it.  No!  It just added fuel to the fire.  He came back to school and told everyone that his dad said, “It was worth the swats, because after all, she is a fat-ass.”

Every day, every year he reminded me that I was worthless.

I made it through school and would be happy to come home.  A place that was safe, loving, and supportive.  In moments, right before bed, my mother would notice a shift in my energy.  She would notice a sadness come over me.

She would come to my room before bed and lay on my bed to “talk”.  I didn’t want to talk about my sadness because I was embarrassed and ashamed.    She would look at me in the eyes and say, “I know something is wrong, how can I help?”

I confessed my secret.  I told her, “I am worthless, I will never have a boyfriend and I will never be anything because I am fat!”

My mom in her wisdom said one sentence, the sentence that changed my life:

“It’s not true.”

At the time I argued with her.  I told her it was true.  Why would everyone say it and laugh if it wasn’t true?

She explained.

“You are here on purpose, this I know for sure.  I was not supposed to be able to have children. Ever.  I had cervical cancer and part of my cervix was removed.  The doctors told me that even if, by chance, I did get pregnant, I would never carry a child to full term.  So your father and I decided to buy a semi-truck and be truckers across America.  Shortly after we decided to hit the road, I found out I was pregnant.  The doctors said I would never carry to full term and to be prepared to lose the baby.  You decided to hang out in my belly for a long time.  You were born 2 weeks late, 10 pounds 4 ounces.  You proved them wrong. “

“You are a miracle.  You are here on purpose and have special unique gifts to offer this world that NO ONE else has.  The boy is wrong. “

The best conversation my mom could have offered!

She reminded me of my greatness.  She reminded me that I was a miracle.  She reminded me that I matter, regardless of anyone’s opinion.

She instinctively knew to confirm and re-affirm my greatness.

She instinctively knew that confronting the bully would not solve the situation, it would likely just embarrass and humiliate me even more.  She knew she had to stand by me and be the voice of courage, reason and hope.  She couldn’t solve this one for me.  She had to inspire me to do it myself.

That boy never stopped bullying me.  But every day I would replay that conversation with my mother in my head.  I reminded myself, “I am a miracle, worthy, and important.  I know he is wrong. I believe my mom.”

A few weeks ago, I happened to run across that boy’s Facebook picture.  Guess what?  He happened to marry a beautiful, blonde, overweight woman.

I guess he actually liked me after all! 🙂

How can you remind your child of their greatness today? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

See the next post in this series: What can a father say to his overweight, bullied daughter?

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos

How to set rules and boundaries that work.

“You are not going to hit your friend.”

Well, actually he did hit his friend.

Boundaries are a funny thing, especially with children.  I used to think that I needed to set boundaries for them, I am the adult and I know what’s best for you.  Draw the line in the sand, and if they crossed it, trouble was sure to come their way (cleverly disguised as a consequence)

I believed this until a little boy named Aaron enrolled in my school.  Every time I “set” a boundary, not only did he cross it, he completely erased it.   I would tell Aaron all the “rules” of the classroom, Aaron would challenge each one as a personal mission to make my day miserable.  (at least it felt that way at the time).

Aaron would head butt another child while waiting line to go outside.

My response: “Aaron, you know you are not allowed to hurt your friends.”

Aaron would simply state, “He’s not my friend.”

I added, “You are not allowed to hit ANYONE else.”

Aaron:  “Yes I am, cuz I did.”

Aaron was an amazing teacher, even at 4 years old.  He taught me that I could not set boundaries for him. He would simply outwit or defy the rule maker every time.   He did not want to be nor could he be controlled.

The valuable lesson…the only boundaries I can set are my own.  The only person I can control is myself: my response, my actions, my communication.

Aaron gave me practice everyday to master this concept.  (he wasn’t the only one to give me practice, just the most memorable) J

I can hear the response, “Are you saying that kids don’t need rules, or boundaries?”

I am saying that I need to have a clear set of boundaries for myself and communicate those boundaries in a clear, simple, and effective way.

So what does it look and sound like?

I decide what I want, communicate it simply in a matter-of-fact state of being, and create a choice that will allow both of us to get our needs met.

This is what it sounds like: “Aaron, you are welcome to hit your head on the punching bag or hit your pillow.”

Some would say, “What about teaching him that that’s not nice or to be nice to his friend, or that’s not allowed?”

I would simply say to Aaron, “ I know that you are an amazing friend.  Sometimes I get angry when I have to wait in line too.  Sometimes when I get frustrated I stomp my foot on the ground.”

Aaron needed to know that I believe he is amazing. And he need to know that I too get angry. And then I verbally model a behavior I would like for him to embrace.

My boundary was clear to Aaron without the use of shame, guilt, or anger.  Hitting another classmate does not work for me.  Here’s what will work for me: he can hit the punching bag or the pillow.

That’s it.

It’s a simple and effective formula:

  1. I hold him in a space of greatness.  He IS an amazing child.
  2. I empathize with him, I have felt the same feelings.
  3. I model, with words, a behavior that is appropriate in this situation.

Aaron reminded me that I cannot stop a feeling or a response with a rule, a boundary.  I can only give suggestions on how to handle the feeling. We shared wisdom with each other.

Aaron’s wisdom:  Miss Heather, I don’t want to be controlled, and even if you try, it won’t work.

My wisdom:  Let me offer some ways, dear Aaron, of how you can channel your feelings in situations like this.

I would rather be a mentor than a police officer.  I want to model options that are appropriate.  A mentor gives options and inspires personal growth.  I want to inspire!

Is there a boundary or rule you can re-frame to reflect your needs and offer a choice to your child?

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos

 

What makes a parent a good parent?

What Makes a Good Parent - Good Mom

 Tune into this BlogTalkRadio show on “What makes a parent a good parent?”

 

 

Wouldn’t it be great if children came with a manual? I recently shared my thoughts on parenting – and what makes a good parent – with Dr. Wendy Dearborn, Holistic Life Coach.

In this BlogTalkRadio show I share what parents can do to be their best with themselves and with their children.

Listen in as Dr. Wendy challenges some of my thoughts. And stay tuned while I share with a teacher who called in on why we need to update our parenting strategies to work with the modern children coming into this world.  This is an episode full of unconventional wisdom and specific strategies parents can use in their families.

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos

Empowerment Technique #1 – How to turn “no” into “yes” at the store.

Empowered Kid

I was recently in Target with my husband and we walked through his favorite department:  electronics. My nightmare begins.  My husband has decided that we NEED the new iPad2.  He explains all the benefits that this device will offer our family, especially me!  I give him the time to explain.  As he finishes I say “No.”  He begins another approach: this time how it will help my business.  Sneaky.  But still “NO.”  We are in the middle of the isle and now enter into a full-blown discussion.  His position: “This will help our family.”  My position: “It’s not in the budget…really NOT in the budget.” We move quickly from discussion to heated debate!

The word “no” is not just a button for children.  It is a button for humans.  I don’t like to be told “no.”  And in this instance my husband feels the same way.

I have always done my best to give children options that revolve around what they CAN do.  Over the years, many children taught me when I offer options of what they CAN do, they will move forward instead of digging their heels in to the ground.

We want to know our possibilities instead of our restrictions or limitations.  We deeply want to feel the power to make all our dreams come true.

So here it is the simple, powerful, good feeling way to approach any situation you feel the need to say “No” to in a store.  Take a moment to ask yourself:

  1. What can I say yes to? And,
  2. How can I empower my child to come up with a solution and let them know I believe in them?

So how would I replay Target?  I would simply say “That’s a great idea babe!  I know you will come up with a way to get that iPad that will work for our family!  I can’t wait because it will help me so much with the business!  You always seem to make things work for you. I know you will create a way to get it!”

Every time I gave the power to the child to decide, think, and dream for himself…he always rose to the occasion and actually thought of better ways to accomplish their dreams than I did.

Now imagine yourself with your child in the same store.

Same script, smaller person. 

If my child asks me for something in the store – and it’s not in my budget – here is how I play it out:

“What a cool toy!  I love that toy too!  I didn’t plan on getting that toy today.  But I know if you really want it you will come up with a way to get it!  Can you think of some ways you could get that for yourself?”

If I am time starved and in a hurry, I only modify the last part.  That script goes like this:

“What a cool toy!  I love that toy too!  I didn’t plan on getting that toy today.  But I know if you really want it you will come up with a way to get it!  I’ll give you some time. I’ll count to ten and if you can come up with an answer, great!  If you can’t think of a way now, you can always think more about it tonight at home.”

The idea is to inspire my child to see the possibility for him to get the things he desires from various sources, or means beyond my credit card.   To know that great things are always coming his way if we just open our minds to other available avenues. 

 

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Raise A Happy Child - Parenting Blog, Book and Videos