Archive for March, 2012

Fostering Resiliency In Our Kids – by Elle Victoria-Vasquez

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Fostering resiliency in our kids is a gift that never becomes outdated. Outdated are the, once
perceived, notions that idealized childhood as happy-go-lucky times where kids could be
protected from the adversities, traumas, anxieties and fears (real or imagined). We can’t always
fix or solve crisis and often the only choice that we really have is how to respond. With this in
mind, isn’t wonderful that resiliency, with its protective and adaptive qualities, can be taught and
built up? Your children will gain skills to better adapt, manage stress, anxiety, uncertainty.

Remember, resiliency is not a trait or a genetic pre-disposition; it is a skill that can be developed
and cultivated. We have the power to grow our children, tweens and teens into healthy resilient
adults by developing their metal muscles now. There are many ways that can help your child
face crisis. Here are 4 sure ways of begin the process of building up your child, tween or teen’s
mental muscle, right in the process of life.

1. Create opportunities for your child, tween and teen to succeed.

No longer are the small communities where we once competed in 4H clubs and high school
science projects and could feel like we were unique and had special skills. With the social media
and the internet any child can search a topic and find countless outlier prodigies with fantastic
and accomplished projects and acclaim. In the mind of a child this can be difficult. So what can
we do about that? Think about what our kid’s natural strengths and talents are (not what they
can learn or put on a college application necessarily). Identify 2 or 3 and begin regularly creating
opportunities where we know that our children’s odds for success are great. Start small, keep it
simple, make it regular and fun. Most importantly, be the one who notices and praises your child.
They are never too old to succeed; older kids can easily be a part of the planning and creating
process.

In times of crisis your child will have the confidence that, even though they have not
encountered this particular challenge before, they have conquered enough to know that they can
make good decisions and succeed.

2. Cultivate healthy relationships with peers, extended family and/or chosen family as
much as possible.

Kids are not born with a natural knowledge of how to make friends and nurture family
relationships. They pick up information along the way from you, media and other people at
school. It’s a crap shoot. Have a time of self-reflection; ask yourself, “How might a child perceive
my own friendships and family nurturing behaviors?” Then ask your child what s/he sees. Talk
about friendships, not as finding that small group or one best friend but as a lifelong process that
builds networks of good friends and family ties that are nurtured. Make sure your kids interact
regularly with healthy adults, grandparents, coaches, extra-curricular teachers, relatives, youth
pastors and the like. Teach them basic manners (greeting, eye contact, thank you/your welcomes,
etc.), manners build self-esteem and confidences that help your kids interact. Help your children
cultivate real interest in other’s lives and not just see others as people who can do something for
them. Start small and simple and make it regular and fun.

In times of crisis your child has the network of family and friends to choose from and turn to. They will have the confidence to speak to other necessary adults and professionals.

3. Teach and encourage “healthy helping,” reflection and gratitude.

Feeling like you have a purpose and make a difference is a powerful antidote to helplessness.
Empower your kids by engaging them in age appropriate volunteer work. Start small,
keep it simple and close to home. Great resources are helping the elderly in your family or
neighborhood. Talk to your place of worship or schools about opportunities there. Whatever
you do, don’t miss out on the opportunity to talk about the experience without judgment. Move
the conversation toward gratitude and “a good thing” and “a not so good thing” that your child
thought about their experience.

In times of crisis your child will have an expanded understanding about things that happen in
life even to good people. S/he will be less likely to feel singled out, alone or “cursed.” An added
bonus is that your youngster will have a natural faith in the helpfulness and availability of others
which will build hope in them.

4. Breaking down and dissecting

Talk about the future with your kids. “What do you think about your future?” How do you
see yourself in 10 years?” Listen. Pick a reasonable goal and break it down into as small
pieces as you both can. Start small, keep it simple and make it fun. Think parts and pieces.
Plot out the behaviors that are needed to do each step in attaining the goal. Teach your child
to deliberately dismantle tasks and tackle in steps. Always repeat phrases like, “What is the
next best step? What’s possible to do right now?” Moving toward that goal – even if it’s a tiny
step – and receiving praise for doing so will train your child to naturally focus on what s/he has
accomplished rather than on what has to be done or is not done. Acknowledge, acknowledge,
acknowledge. We can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but we can change
how we interpret and respond to these events.

In times of crisis your child will be able to break down and dissect the big challenge, into
manageable pieces. They will understand that not everything can be done immediately. They will
ask themselves, “What is the next best step I can do?”

You can reach Elle at Elle@Legacy4Kids.com

Trophy Kids – by Susan Dench our Guest Blogger

Monday, March 19th, 2012

When the kids were younger, you could hardly place a book on a shelf with the number of trophies they had. Wow, that must mean they were incredible athletes that played on a lot of championship teams, right?

Uh, no, but they did show up.

The kids showed up for games in which scores weren’t kept (although they could tell you exactly what it was) so the message was, “Hey, it doesn’t matter if you practiced more, worked your butt off, are more skilled or had a more winning attitude on the field – this isn’t a meritocracy, we want to play down to the lowest common denominator and treat everyone equally. You’re special, just like everyone else. In fact, we are huge proponents of and encourage mediocrity. Otherwise, we might hurt some feelings and damage kids’ self esteem.”

Good grief.

At the end of every season, during the obligatory pizza party, shiny engraved golden globes were handed to each child, along with a healthy heaping of praise about how incredibly awesome they were and how much they contributed to the team. Um, well, that’s not quite true. In fact, each of them will tell you that soccer/basketball/softball/lacrosse (depending on the kid) wasn’t really their best sport. Kids are smart – they know a scam when they see one.

When we were growing up, your trophy was a cast on your broken leg, received blocking a ferocious shot and thereby saving the game. When asked, you could proudly tell the tale if how you actually earned your scars.

If the kids continue to play at the high school level, our experience is that they can be put on varsity teams even though they are only JV material – perhaps because they are a senior and it wouldn’t be “fair” to have them play down, or because their parents swooped in to threaten the Athletic Director and the coach found himself caught between a rock and a hard place. (I’m sure we don’t live in the only town where this happens. Don’t even get me started about the coach who caught three of his best players smoking pot but let it slide because he didn’t want them kicked off the team. But I digress – that is an upcoming post.)

So how does this play out as the kids reach adulthood? Well, Lands’ End and Bank of America have “praise teams” to make sure their younger employees enjoy high self-esteem and feel good about themselves by having praise doled out in consistent dosages. Our friends have noticed their younger employees can be quite needy, wanting constant reassurance about what a great job they are doing – even if they aren’t. Younger employees actually have the temerity to ask for entitlement raises – not for merit, but for simply showing up. (Hmmm, there seem to be some patterns here.) I haven’t heard of anyone asking for a medal for attending a conference, trade show or meeting, but could that really be far behind?

Now, who has to take responsibility for this disturbing turn of events? A vast conspiracy by the trophy industry? A master plan concocted by plastic and metal producers? I actually wish it was. But it is parents who are guilty of this ridiculous praise cycle. Parents who volunteer as coaches and hand out the trophies, parents who serve on the local sports boards that create such stupid, inane rules as “no scoring”, parents who have words with the volunteer coaches about the amount of playing time their kid gets, parents who praise the kid even when they, frankly, stink. Parents who actually condone and encourage this behavior. And we’ve created some monsters – in both the kids and the parents.

Our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter will be getting into sports soon (her grandfather already has her out on the ice and a miniature hockey stick is waiting for her in the hall closet). I really hope that she only gets a trophy if she truly earns one.

Susan Dench is a seasoned marketer who has been cited by marketing guru, Seth Godin, for her outside-the-box business thinking. Her background includes stints at large, mid-sized, venture funded and shoestring-budget entities, working internationally in brand management, marketing communications, partnerships and product and market development. Her company, Muddy Dog Media, offers guidance and resources to businesses seeking enhanced relationships with their clients. Only too happy to express her opinions, whether asked for or not (as energetically corroborated by her children), she is the author of several books including, “The Responsibility Rules: Living a Self-Disciplined Life in a Self-Entitled World.” Susan lives in Falmouth, Maine with her darling husband and admittedly spoiled pets in a charming 1920’s house, which is in a perpetual state of renovation.”She can be found at susandench.com or reached at susan@themuddydog.com

“Not My Daughter”

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

 

My Good Girl

Yes, I said it too. No parent expects for their princess to get into any trouble. They are good kids, we are good parents. Why on earth should you worry about Internet safety, bullies, drugs or alcohol abuse?

Well let me explain the simple why:

Because we are not with our kids 24 hours a day. They are not extensions of ourselves. They are individuals with independent minds. They are living in a world today that we could not even imagined when we were a pre-teen or teen. They have access to so much and they are expected to make choices and decisions each and everyday. Some of these decisions they are not yet ready to make. They simply do not have the cognitive skills or the experience. But they think they do. They see TV, they chat with friends, they have access to a computer, they have teachers, coaches, siblings and parents of friends they rely on for guidance.

But wait, what are they learning from these outside sources? Shouldn’t they be learning the how and the why from a trusted parent or guardian? ABSOLUTELY!

Yes, I always said ” My little girl will never get in trouble. She has good grades and comes from a great home with no drugs or alcohol abuse.” Well, I was WRONG! She did get into trouble, a lot of trouble. She is still suffering today.

I was sure my daughter had good values and knew right from wrong.  She went to a good school. We lived in a very affluent neighborhood. We lived in the finest of places, La Jolla, CA, Healdsburg, CA and Napa California.  My kids should be safe.  But no. Not all parents are like you or me…I didn’t take enough time to get to know them well enough.  I was working and not paying enough attention. Because of this my little 15 year old princess was introduced to a life of drugs. By her friends MOM!  My daughter decided I was no fun, too strict and was entirely too serious. Her friends mom was a lot more fun.  This led to so much more pain and anguish before I found out about it.

The fall out has been nothing short of retched. My daughter is now 27 and still working on learning how to put her life back together all due to some very bad choices she made as a teen. Today I dedicate myself to you parents. I tell my story to make a difference in a young women’s life and her families. I look for other parenting experts to help me help you. I am on a mission to give our young girls the proper tools to stand up and be our future adults living their lives without chaos, anger or pain. Won’t you help me?

Learn how here!

Spring 2012 ESCAPE Program

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

A complementary Class!

ESCAPE- 6 Steps to Preparing Girls for Success, Health and Happiness and Avoiding Teen Crisis”.

 
If you’re the parent or grandparent of a young girl between the ages of 4-16, then make plans to join Kelly Marquet-Bodio, crisis counselor and CEO of Legacy4Kids, on August 18th for a complimentary teleclass entitled, “ESCAPE- 6 Steps to Preparing Girls for Success, Health and Happiness and Avoiding Teen Crisis”.

 
On this call, you will discover proven strategies and techniques designed to help your daughter make great decisions at any age and avoid becoming the victim of teen pregnancy, risky behavior and abuse.

 
Kelly will also teach you about other “modern life” dangers that you may not be aware of (including Internet traps, early puberty and food additives) that may be causing your daughter to act out in ways she’s not prepared to handle or control.

 
Sound interesting? Then get all the details now on this page and register absolutely f*r*e*e while you’re there.  These are skills that will never go to waste in helping your daughter achieve a lifetime of health, happiness and success.

 

Sign up here