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Parenting & Family Tools by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Are you the type of parent you thought you would be? Has your family turned out like you dreamed? If not, let Ron Huxley and the resources of the Parenting Toolbox help you heal and restore that dream family today.

Media and Consultations: rehuxley@gmail.com

Check out some other blogs by Ron:

ParentingToolbox.com

Inner Healing

Laughter Therapy
DIY Parent

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What are the stories about you that you heard growing up? Where they narratives of playfulness or dark tales of stubbornness? How do these stories continue to define you? Are they plot lines you want to return to or is it time to rewrite the next chapters of your life? 

pbsparents:

Feel Good Friday: Little boy with his legs amputated takes first steps by himself!

Someone once joked that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could listen twice as much as we talked. Not bad advice actually. Many parents would do well to heed that advice. This doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t talk to their children. It’s just that they shouldn’t be so quick to give advice or lecture of the right and wrongs of a problem. Listen first, then 
talk. Better yet, ask questions to get at the solutions to children’s problems. This causes them to feel as if they came up with the answer and take more ownership for the problem. E.A.R.S. is a helpful acronym for parents who want to improve their problem-solving skills with their children. 

E = Elicit

The starting point for problem-solving with children is to elicit possible solutions that already exist in the child’s repertoire. Ask questions such as, “What have you been doing to make your situation better?” This implies 
that there is a solution and that the child has the ability to utilize it. If they don’t have an answer to this question, try this one: “What would your _______ (supply a relevant name here) say you are doing about the situation?” 
This implies that the child is already solving his problem. The fact of the matter is that every response to a problem is a solution to a problem. Only some responses are better than others and have fewer severe consequences. The job of parents is to acknowledge children’s efforts and then direct them to use better responses.

If the child persists that there wasn’t anything good about what he did in the situation, then ask, “What was the part of the situation that was better than the other parts?” And if the child does recite some ‘better than other 
parts’ of the situation, ask, “How did you do that?” This encourages the child to learn from their own behaviors and increase positive responses. 

If the child suffered severe consequences for his response to the situation, ask, “What did you learn from the situation?” Most successes are the result 
of trial and error and determining what doesn’t work. 

A = Amplify

Amplify refers to the use of questions to get more details about any positive efforts toward problem-solving. Use who, what, where, when, and how questions. For example, “Who noticed you do that?” or “When did you decide to do that?” or “How did they respond to your solution?” Never use why questions. Why is a very judgmental word and will stop all attempts to help 
the child problem-solving because he feels bad about his efforts. Over time this can develop into a pattern of behavior where the child never tries 
anything new because he is afraid of failing. If he doesn’t try, he doesn’t fail. At least that is the rationale.

R = Reinforce

Years of behavioral change research have taught us that there are two ways to create change in others. Reward desired behaviors and ignore or 
mildly punish undesirable behavior. So be sure to reinforce any effort to solving a problem. Even failed attempts are worthy of acknowledgment. The 
child must want and value positive change. Reinforcement will be the motivating force for this value. Be sure, though, that you use verbal or social reinforcement. Don’t give in to bribes (candy, toys, and money) to 
reinforce the child. This will reinforce dependent and manipulative behavior and decrease independent problem-solution. The best reinforcers are a 
surprise. When children do not know when to expect a reinforcer (a compliment or public acknowledgment) they will be more motivated, ready for reinforcement at any moment in time. 

S = Start again

Learning to problem-solving, and listening to our children to help them, is a process. It can’t be done once and then left alone. It must be done over and over again. Repetition is a fundamental principle of learning. The more you do something the better you get at it. And now that the child has found a solution to a problem, plan for the next one. Most problems pop up again in life. Brainstorm solutions for the next time. And finally, treat every problem as an experiment where new and clever solutions can be tested. So use those two ears to listen more then you talk but when you do talk, ask solution-focused questions to help children problem-solve.

CONTACT Ron today for an appointment at 530-339-6888 or Rehuxley@gmail.com

Parenting is an action verb.

What does all this research mean? I’ll make it simple: Men make good parents too :)

From Abraham et al., interesting material on a global “parental caregiving” neural network in our brains:

Although contemporary socio-cultural changes dramatically increased fathers’ involvement in childrearing, little is known about the brain basis of human fatherhood, its comparability with the maternal brain, and its sensitivity to caregiving experiences. We measured parental brain response to infant stimuli using functional MRI, oxytocin, and parenting behavior in three groups of parents (n = 89) raising their firstborn infant: heterosexual primary-caregiving mothers (PC-Mothers), heterosexual secondary-caregiving fathers (SC-Fathers), and primary-caregiving homosexual fathers (PC-Fathers) rearing infants without maternal involvement. Results revealed that parenting implemented a global “parental caregiving” neural network, mainly consistent across parents, which integrated functioning of two systems: the emotional processing network including subcortical and paralimbic structures associated with vigilance, salience, reward, and motivation, and mentalizing network involving frontopolar-medial-prefrontal and temporo-parietal circuits implicated in social understanding and cognitive empathy. These networks work in concert to imbue infant care with emotional salience, attune with the infant state, and plan adequate parenting. PC-Mothers showed greater activation in emotion processing structures, correlated with oxytocin and parent-infant synchrony, whereas SC-Fathers displayed greater activation in cortical circuits, associated with oxytocin and parenting. PC-Fathers exhibited high amygdala activation similar to PC-Mothers, alongside high activation of superior temporal sulcus (STS) comparable to SC-Fathers, and functional connectivity between amygdala and STS. Among all fathers, time spent in direct childcare was linked with the degree of amygdala-STS connectivity. Findings underscore the common neural basis of maternal and paternal care, chart brain–hormone–behavior pathways that support parenthood, and specify mechanisms of brain malleability with caregiving experiences in human fathers.

 

This is an excellent video for new and existing parents to watch!

Six Essential Social Skills for Children
Social skills are a learned skill! Children do not use manners, act assertively, or negotiate a problem naturally. They must be taught how. I have listed below the six essential areas of social skill development. If your child does not exhibit all of the areas listed, don’t freak! That simply means he or she is normal. Use this list as a *guide* to teaching/modeling/mentoring your child in how to be a prosocial human being. Maybe you and I will learn something along the way.
Beginning social skills: Listening, start a conversation, ask a question, say thank you, introduce yourself and others, give a compliment.
Advanced social skills: Asks for help, join in, give instructions, follow instructions, apologize, persuade others.
Skills for dealing with feelings: Know and express your feelings, understand others, deal with others feelings, express affection, and rewards self socially.
Alternatives to aggression: Ask permission, share something, help others, negotiate, use self-control, stand up for rights, respond (not react) to teasing, avoid trouble, keep out of fights.
Skills for dealing with stress: Make a complaint, answer a complaint, game sportsmanship, deal with embarrassment, deal with being left out, stand up for a friend, respond (not react) to persuasion, respond (not react) to failure, deal with confusing messages, deal with an accusation, get ready for a difficult conversation, deal with group pressure.
Planning skills: Decide on something to do, decide on what caused a problem, set a goal, decide on your abilities, gather information, arrange problems by importance, make a decision, concentrate on a task.

Six Essential Social Skills for Children

Social skills are a learned skill! Children do not use manners, act assertively, or negotiate a problem naturally. They must be taught how. I have listed below the six essential areas of social skill development. If your child does not exhibit all of the areas listed, don’t freak! That simply means he or she is normal. Use this list as a *guide* to teaching/modeling/mentoring your child in how to be a prosocial human being. Maybe you and I will learn something along the way.

Beginning social skills: Listening, start a conversation, ask a question, say thank you, introduce yourself and others, give a compliment.

Advanced social skills: Asks for help, join in, give instructions, follow instructions, apologize, persuade others.

Skills for dealing with feelings: Know and express your feelings, understand others, deal with others feelings, express affection, and rewards self socially.

Alternatives to aggression: Ask permission, share something, help others, negotiate, use self-control, stand up for rights, respond (not react) to teasing, avoid trouble, keep out of fights.

Skills for dealing with stress: Make a complaint, answer a complaint, game sportsmanship, deal with embarrassment, deal with being left out, stand up for a friend, respond (not react) to persuasion, respond (not react) to failure, deal with confusing messages, deal with an accusation, get ready for a difficult conversation, deal with group pressure.

Planning skills: Decide on something to do, decide on what caused a problem, set a goal, decide on your abilities, gather information, arrange problems by importance, make a decision, concentrate on a task.

mothernaturenetwork:

Fortified cereals may be harmful to kids, study finds
New report finds that kids may be ingesting harmful quantities of vitamins thanks to over-fortified cereals.

manvchild:


Dad Jokes are the worst! They’re corny, unsophisticated, unfunny, lame. Right? Isn’t that the worst thing someone can call one of your jokes?

But I got to thinking about it and I realized that if it’s YOUR dad or if YOU ARE the dad, Dad Jokes are awesome. I love when my dad says that “we’re on…