Ron Huxley's Parenting Toolbox

Apr 15

Quote of the Day, from Mr. Rogers

adulting:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

― Fred Rogers

(via bringingupbaby)

Apr 14

How do you become a better parent? Play more with your children. Learn more parenting tools for by taking our 10 Day Challenge.

How do you become a better parent? Play more with your children. Learn more parenting tools for by taking our 10 Day Challenge.

Apr 12

Encouragement can be as simple as, “Thanks for your help!” or “You really worked hard!” Here are a few more examples to try around your house:

Thank you for your help!
You should be proud of yourself!
Look at your improvement!
That “A” reflects a lot of hard work!
You worked really hard to get this room clean!
Thanks for helping set the table, that made a big difference.
I noticed you were really patient with your little brother.
What do you think about it?
You seem to really enjoy science.
Your hard work paid off!
That’s a tough one, but you’ll figure it out.
Look how far you’ve come!
I trust your judgment.
The time you’re putting into your homework is really paying off.
I love being with you.
You really put a smile on her face with your kind words!
That’s coming along nicely!
You really worked it out!
That’s a very good observation.
Thank you for your cooperation.
I see a very thorough job!
That’s what we call perseverance!
I can tell you really care.
You make it look easy!
You’ve really got the hang of it!
I can tell you spent a lot of time thinking this through.
I really feel like a team when we work like this!

The best part about using encouragement with your kids is the glow of happiness you’ll see on their faces. After all, “Your hard work is really paying off!” says you noticed their work, while, “You’re so smart,” might be hard to live up to next time. Try a little encouragement with your kids, and watch their behavior—and effort—improve.

” — Encouraging Words - Positive Parenting Solutions

Apr 09

mothernaturenetwork:

7 ways to learn more about natural childbirth
Discover more about birthing methods and sources of support using these tips.

mothernaturenetwork:

7 ways to learn more about natural childbirth

Discover more about birthing methods and sources of support using these tips.

Apr 07

When Children Lie

By Ron Huxley, LMFT

A difficult problem for parents is when a child lies. Lying may mean your child has an active imagination, wants to please you, or is seeking attention. Parents can cope with a child who lies by following these simple parenting tools:

1. Provide opportunities for your child to express his 
imagination without lying.

2. Point out the differences between fact and fantasy.

3. Practice telling the truth yourself so that your child 
does not imitate you lying.

4. Don’t overreact to lying. Point out the need to tell the 
truth and allow your child to do so without feelings ashamed.

5. Don’t push for confessions. These usually lead to bigger lies and more punishment. 

6. Look for ways your child can get what they want without lying and reward him for not lying.

The Importance of the Father/Child Bond

by Ron Huxley, LMFT

One of the most magical moments of my life was being at the birth of
my child. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I remember
watching him squirm and cry as he met the world. I remember how he
paused to listen to my voice as I whispered my love for him and
commitment to him. To this day, spending time with my kids continues
to be one of my favorite activities. To not spend time with my
children is unfathomable.

For many fathers, this isn’t the case. They sit in hospital waiting
rooms, clapping each other on the back and congratulating one another
on a job well done, while their child enters the world without their
father next to them. The day after the delivery and every day after
are filled with missed opportunities to bond with their child and
influence the directions they will take in life. They rationalize
that they are sacrificing for their family by working long hours and
justify their emotional distance as modeling how to survive in
the “cold, cruel world.” Food on the table and a roof over head is
nice but nothing makes up for loving, nurturing relationships with
one’s father.

How do fathers build this bond? What barriers stand in the way? And,
what are some practical tools to help fathers strengthen their
children intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically? To
help me answer these questions, I asked for advice from dad’s who
have a close bond with their children. How do I know they have a
close bond? I asked their wives! What’s more, these wives are
webmasters of active parenting and family oriented websites.

How do you bond with your child?

In response to this question, all of the fathers answered alike. They
stated that the best way to bond was simply to spend time with a
child. What you do is not as important as doing something.

They divided activities up into four main areas: Physical,
Intellectual, Social, and Spiritual. A balance of these four areas
would result in a child having a happier, healthier life. Physical
activities are the most familiar to fathers and include working
around the house together, sharing a hobby, coaching an athletic
team, exercising together, and going places together.
Intellectual activities focus on being involved in a child’s
academics, participating in school related activities, encouraging
hard work, and modeling yourself as a their primary teacher of life.
Social activities centered on talking with children, sharing feelings
and thoughts, demonstrating appropriate affection and manners, and
getting to know your child’s friends. Spiritual activities are used
the least by dad’s but have the most power to influence a child.
These activities incorporate reading spiritual stories together,
going to church or the synagogue, praying with children, establishing
rules and order, being consistent and available, and exploring the
mysteries of nature.

What is difference between the father/child bond and the mother/child
bond?

It was quickly apparent from the surveys that dad’s have a different
approach or style to bonding than mom’s. Dad’s have a more rough and
tumble approach to physical interaction or may spend time in more
physical activities such as play or working on a project together.
Competition was also seen more in father/child bonding and was
considered healthy if used in small doses and with sensitivity to a
child’s temperament and abilities. Sportsmanship, but not necessary
sports activities, was regarded as an essential ingredient in the
development of a child’s characters. While the approach may differ,
the need for bonding with mom and dad is equally significant. One dad
joked that other than a couple of biological differences (e.g.,
giving birth or breastfeeding) he couldn’t see one as more important
than the other.

What barriers prevent fathers from achieving a bond with their child?

All of the fathers agreed that work and the mismanagement of time
were the biggest robbers of relationships with children. No one
discounted a father’s responsibility to provide for his family, but
all of them maintained that a healthy balance is needed between work
and family. They felt that society makes it easy to use one’s career
as an escape. Social influences tend to value the bond a child has
with mom to be more important than with dad. But none of the dad’s
questioned felt this barrier to be insurmountable.

Eliminating barriers in society begins in the home. Dads must
demonstrate that being involved in the home is important to them
before society will start treating dads as important to the home.
Dads need to take the initiative to change a diaper, clean up after
dinner, give the kids their bath, and do the laundry. The collective
effect of these “small” acts will ripple out into society to
create “bigger” change.

Can a father bond with a child if they did not have a father growing
up?

The entire group affirmed that not having a father would make it more
difficult but not impossible to bond with a child. According to one
dad, bonding is more of an innate need or spiritual drive, than
simply a learned behavior. Therefore, fatherless fathers are not
doomed to repeat their own childhood experiences. Another dad
suggested “getting excited” by the little things that make a child
excited or happy. Getting down on the child’s level, regressing to
those early moments in life when you were a child, and sharing simple
pleasures with your child will foster the bonding missed the first
time around.

In summary, it is clear that the bond between a father and a child is
an important one. Barriers, such as social values and absent fathers
make bonding with children difficult but not impossible. Children
need the unique style of bonding that fathers can provide and fathers
can build that bond by spending time engaging in physical,
intellectual, social, and spiritual activities.

Apr 04

'My Daughter Lies -- What Should I Do?' -

In truth (pun intended), children live very much in the moment. They are largely motivated by either avoiding pain or experiencing pleasure. This is why telling kids that too much sugar will give them cavities has little impact on their decision to swipe that handful of brownies; the enjoyment of sweets far outweighs any later costs, like someday having to succumb to the dentist’s drill.

Here are some tips for helping your daughter speak more truthfully:

• Consider the payoff. What is your daughter getting when she tells a lie? It may be that she is avoiding the drudgery of boring tasks; this is often the case with kids who pretend they have showered or brushed their teeth when in fact they have created elaborate schemes to avoid doing so, like wetting the toothbrush or running the shower without getting into it.

• Avoid shaming and blaming. Putting a child on the defensive by “catching” her in a lie will not further your cause in any way; in fact, it may simply teach her to become a better liar. Avoid the temptation to step into lawyer-mode to prove to your daughter that she’s being dishonest.

• Speak from your heart. "Sweetheart, I know I sometimes get upset, and it may be hard to tell me what’s really going on because you might be afraid of how I’ll react. But it matters to me that we’re close, and when I think you may not be saying something true, it affects the trust we share."

• Tell the truth. If your daughter routinely sees you telling lies, it will be hard to insist that she speak honestly. ‘Nuff said.

• Think Big Picture. Ultimately, you’re not raising a child; you’re raising an adult. While it may be tempting to focus on sending your daughter to school fresh and clean, it is far more important to help her learn that being dishonest is not a quality consistent with being the wonderful person she is meant to be.

• Make it safe to speak openly. Invite your daughter to share what is behind some of her choices, assuring her that you won’t get mad or deliver lectures or ultimatums. Be that the calm, confident captain of the ship that I talk about, focusing on solving the problem rather than speaking from your own anger or hurt.

Read more…

Apr 03

11% of U.S. Children Are Diagnosed With ADHD: What the Increase Means:
The rates of U.S. children affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are skyrocketing, according to a recent report, but experts caution that the latest numbers require a bit of decoding.
That information shows that 11% of children ages 4 to 17 were diagnosed with ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007, the last time that researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a comprehensive survey for the prevalence of the neurobehavior disorder. The rise was especially dramatic among boys, with an estimated 1 in 5 boys in high school diagnosed with ADHD. What’s more, about two-thirds of the children diagnosed were treated with stimulant medications that can improve attention but also come with side effects.
Are rates truly climbing at such an alarming rate? Possibly. But many experts believe that’s unlikely. The data was collected by the CDC and analyzed and reported by the New York Times; the CDC plans to publish its own report on the data in the coming months.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/02/understanding-the-rise-in-adhd-diagnoses-11-of-u-s-children-are-affected/#ixzz2PPF7CdRv

11% of U.S. Children Are Diagnosed With ADHD: What the Increase Means:

The rates of U.S. children affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are skyrocketing, according to a recent report, but experts caution that the latest numbers require a bit of decoding.

That information shows that 11% of children ages 4 to 17 were diagnosed with ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007, the last time that researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a comprehensive survey for the prevalence of the neurobehavior disorder. The rise was especially dramatic among boys, with an estimated 1 in 5 boys in high school diagnosed with ADHD. What’s more, about two-thirds of the children diagnosed were treated with stimulant medications that can improve attention but also come with side effects.

Are rates truly climbing at such an alarming rate? Possibly. But many experts believe that’s unlikely. The data was collected by the CDC and analyzed and reported by the New York Times; the CDC plans to publish its own report on the data in the coming months.



Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/02/understanding-the-rise-in-adhd-diagnoses-11-of-u-s-children-are-affected/#ixzz2PPF7CdRv

Mar 28

7 Amazing Ways to Be Creative Like a Child -

Creativity is like the ebb and flow of waves in an ocean.

There are periods in your life when you may feel very creative.

But there may be other periods where you experience the creative doldrums.

Ideas stop coming to you.

You attempt to sit down with pen and paper but it seems like an exercise in frustration.

If you are like me, you might have wondered how to jump-start the creative process.


If you want to find a source of how to be endlessly creative and find inspiration when none is to be found, rediscover the child inside of yourself with these 7 actionable ideas.

1.  Reconnect with Amazement and Wonder

 “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” ― Socrates

One of the major lessons in creativity that you can learn from a child is being repeatedly amazed at the beauty and joy of life. Children are endlessly curious. As you grow up, you lose some of that child-like wonder and begin acting more like an adult.

Amazement and wonder transform into habitual motion through life. I challenge you to do a small exercise right now. For a few minutes, look at your surroundings and at life through the lens of a child.

Bring back some of that wonder and amazement and the wide-eyed surprise and joy of navigating through life.

Allow yourself to experience great lengths of curiosity. Ask yourself and others questions that you would otherwise not ask as an adult. Allow yourself the joy of looking at the ever-changing landscape of life through a filter of wonder. Be unabashedly curious.

Journal your ideas and the outcome of wearing the curiosity filter. Set up an idea box where you get to gather different sources of information that inspire your creative process.

2. Believe that the impossible is possible

 “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, In the expert’s mind there are few.” ~ Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki

Why is it that when you grow up and become an adult, your possibilities narrow down to almost nothing? There was a time when you were a child and believed that anything was possible. You believed that you could be anything, create anything, sing anything and make anything.

But then life happened to you and people kept saying what you should do and what you should not do.

Slowly but surely you became inhibited and stopped dancing in front of others. You began believing that your song should not be shared with the world and that it is not safe to be you.

So you pretended.

When you were a child, you pretended to be whatever you wanted to be. As you grew up, you pretended to be what others wanted you to be. The sparkle in the eyes slowly faded away to transform into worry and fear.

In his TED talk, celebrated Korean novelist Young-ha Kim challenges you to invoke and unleash your inner child and makes a call to action: “Be an artist, right now!”

I challenge you to believe that the dream of yours that you have been imagining is certainly possible. Grasp the notion that you may have lived a life to please others so far but you can still sing your own song.

You can choose to step into the field of possibility and embrace true creative abundance.

Reconnect with your inner playful child and begin to believe that the impossible is possible. When you approach creativity from the standpoint of endless possibility, you have a better chance to crack the creative lull.

3. Work is play

We have all seen children play together. They have the incredible ability to make daily life look like play and infuse it with laughter and joy.

Do you remember how playful you were as a child? As you grew into an adult, you trained yourself to be serious and control your natural inclination for joy and laughter.

In an attempt to bring play back into work, many big companies such as Google have begun incorporating concepts of a playful workspace.

You might have trained yourself to be very serious at work but if you lighten up and be relaxed, it is a lot more pleasurable. Children have the ability to get together in groups and infuse the area with lightness and play.

Creating a light hearted and joyful working environment will certainly make the experience of work more enjoyable and I am willing to take a guess that your productivity may also go up.

In Dr. Tina Seelig’s creativity classes at Stanford University, the classroom resembles a pre-school with manipulatives and crayons and students sitting on the floor in small groups. This opens up the imagination and sets the tone and mood for a ripe session of unbridled creativity.

You are expected to be highly creative at the workplace and come up with solutions but the mood and the cubicles do little to set the imagination in motion. In fact, even standing up and moving around breaks the monotony of working at the desk and gets the creative energy flowing.

Have you seen children sit perfectly still at a bench and work for extended periods of time? Left to their devices, children move around and express their magic in motion and in art.

Make some time to set up your work area to inspire your creativity and not to suffocate it.

4. Connect and combine

Children have the amazing ability to connect and combine things and aspects of their experience in amazingly creative ways. They can come up with combinations that seem outrageous at the outset but this precise ability is vastly lost as we become adults.

Often creative solutions emerge by the synthesis and mixing and matching of different aspects. This is demonstrated by the power of mind mapping, a technique invented and popularized by Tony Buzan.

Beginning in the center of an empty sheet of paper with a central idea, mind maps pictorially or graphically radiate outwards and sideways. As the mind map makes associations, it develops second and third levels with curved branches connecting them.

These associations connect and combine different levels together and make new levels of synthesis of information and ideas possible.

How can you combine different elements and mix and match them to come to a creative solution?

5. Simplicity and focus

 "Truly wonderful the mind of a child is." ~ Master Yoda in the movie Star Wars-Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Children exhibit the qualities of simplicity and focus quite abundantly. They frequently seem to come up with brilliantly simple and elegant solutions to complicated problems. When you were a child, you were not yet trained that simple and elegant solutions were not beautiful or effective.

As we grew up, our thinking brain calibrated itself to ignore solutions that seem too simple to be true.
You talk yourself out of what might be a seemingly simple solution and instead you may dabble around in unnecessary complexity.

You may get caught up in the quagmire of complexity and hence the required action is not taken and things just sit on the back burner.

The attention that children bring to the table is focused engagement. As you grew up, you become overly focused on the outcome of an event and that lead to a tunnel vision of choices.

Children are more interested to engage their attention in the journey and usually seem less concerned with the outcome.

When we open ourselves to the state of being open to the different outcomes, we open our tunnel vision up and get up on a cliff to see and savor the scenery.

The reason that children exude the simple brilliance is because they are constantly testing things out for themselves to see if they like the experience or not. Their thought process remains fluid, flexible and simple.

Allow the flexibility and fluidity of the simple thought process. If you allow yourself the flexibility of thinking like a child, you open up to more possibilities.

6. Being present: the state of flow

 “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Children just seem to be highly present in the moment. Children can effortlessly move with the grace of a ballerina and paint with the grace of a tiny Picasso.

As an adult, you might struggle to experience the state of flow and bring the state of heightened awareness and effortless action to your work and play.

But as a child, you were in a state of flow quite effortlessly. You did not have to struggle or make a massive attempt at it. You just were.

If you allow yourself to move through life with more ease and drop off some of the resistance, you begin to experience flow. Focus your attention and engage deeply with a project to experience the state of effortless being.

Sharpen your skills of observation by being present to the current moment. Live in the now and observe for solutions that you might otherwise miss.

7. Breaking assumptions

Children are constantly breaking assumptions about how something needs to be done. This may be because they have not yet trained their minds to automate their thinking and doing processes.

They can bring a fresh new perspective to a situation that appears to be a boring idea.

They naturally create novelty by breaking the assumptions about how things ought to be. It is in these seemingly useless but novel combinations that the essence of radical creativity lurks waiting to be tapped.

Your creativity is waiting for you to unleash your inner child. Are you ready?

What do you think that you can learn from a child about curiosity and creativity?

Mar 26

• Assess your child’s risk. A youngster who is generally doing well in life — happy, well adjusted, engaged with the family — generally poses less risk for potential problems than one with a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, depression or in the midst of a family crisis. If your son falls in the high risk category, I would urge you to get outside professional help to nip any serious problems in the bud.

• Be cautious about punishments. If there is no history of addiction in your family tree and you are certain that your son is generally doing well socially, emotionally and academically, focus on keeping the lines of communication open. If your teen is afraid of your reaction, it is unlikely that he will continue to confide in you. Punishing him may simply encourage him to become better at hiding any future use from you.

• Strengthen connection. When we feel seen, understood and cherished by someone, it is much harder to keep secrets from them. Teens often give us signals that suggest they aren’t interested in having us around, but look for ways to keep nourishing the connection you and your son share — cooking together, walking the dog or even chatting about music or sports while you unload the dishwasher together. The more he feels anchored to you as his North Star, the less influenced he will be by peer pressure.

• Talk with him about how he felt when he smoked. If he tells you that he really liked it, discuss why drugs and alcohol make people feel better. Explain the way the brain works, and the impact these substances can have on lowering inhibition or lifting mood —temporarily.

• Model healthy ways of unwinding. Consider what your son sees you doing to relax at the end of the day, or when you socialize with your friends. If you have a glass of wine the minute you get home from work or immediately open a six-pack when friends show up, you may be “teaching” him that enjoyment cannot happen without some kind of substance. Show him you can enjoy life without leaning on something to help you lower your inhibitions or numb out, and you will send the message that he can do the same.

• Don’t force unwanted advice. Instead, ask him if he would be open to listening to your concerns. Explain that while you understand “everyone” may be smoking weed or drinking, the stress relief many kids experience while under the influence of pot or alcohol can quickly become at least psychologically addicting, and that there are better — and healthier — ways of handling social anxiety and pressures. Show him the impact these substances have on the brain; there are some great scans at brainplace.com.

•Keep your eyes open. If you start to sense that your son’s use has escalated beyond normal experimentation, do not hesitate to set guidelines that send him a clear message that it is not okay. At 15, his brain is still in a vulnerable and formative stage, and it is your responsibility to help him make sound decisions that preserve his health and safety. Some kids tell me that they actually appreciate it when their parents tell them that they might start conducting random drug tests; it makes it easier way to say “No” at a party if they can tell their buddies, “I can’t; my parents are drug testing me.”

” — How Should I Handle My Teen Trying Marijuana?