Thank you Robin Eckstein!

By Carol Dores

 

As we head in to Thanksgiving week, we want to share gratitude for Robin Eckstein, Co-Founder and Vice President of Positive Discipline of Connecticut. After serving for over four years as Vice President, she has decided to explore new opportunities and has stepped off of the Board.  We want to thank and honor Robin for all she has done for children and everyone in their lives during her tenure.

Robin’s dedication has been invaluable, and we thank her for her countless hours of service. Her keen eye for details helped the organization, from grant writing to website copy to the development of our marketing materials.  Her willingness to step in as Treasurer for several years was appreciated.  Her connection to the greater Danbury community has been invaluable.

Most of all, Robin’s love of children and families has helped so many. Her energy and passion has been a true gift. While we will all miss her, we wish her the best in all that she dreams of doing next.

Thank you, Robin, for your dedication and years of service.  Positive Discipline of Connecticut would not be where it is today without you.

 

“I don’t like to read!”

By Carol Dores

 

I remember when our boys were young, neither liked to read.  They both seemed to struggle with it.  When I was young, I would wake up early on the weekends to read book after book.  So I wanted our sons to love to read.  The more we pushed, the less they read.

Then someone suggested we help them find books that were about things like enjoyed.

One picked Captain Underpants.  Not great literature, but he found them funny and enjoyable.  It was a start.

The other found Harry Potter.  No light reading for this young man.  He couldn’t put the books down.

And so their reading journeys began. They now both love to read, and we share books on our e-readers.

What can you do to help your children enjoy reading?  Here are some ideas.

  • Let them see you reading. Modeling the behavior we want helps.
  • Read to them every night. When they are old enough, take turns reading pages.
  • Let them pick out the books, even if they seem silly, like Captain Underpants. It is all reading, and the first goal is to help them enjoy reading.
  • Get help from the librarian. Ask for books at their reading level, so they will feel successful.  Find topics that they like.  If they are in to hockey, try books about famous hockey players.
  • Don’t force it. Like with anything, the more we push, the more they will either push back or move away.
  • Encourage them. “I noticed that you are half way through the book.  Are you enjoying it?”  “I appreciate that you are reading for a while tonight.” These are examples of what encouraging things sound like.

Some of us can never have enough time for reading, and others will find it okay but not a passion.  Learning to accept our children for who they are is also important.

Finding the balance

By Carol Dores

I remember when our boys were young, we were both working full-time outside of the home.  Weekends were a constant debate over who got to have down time.  As they got older, we were rushing around to all of their extracurricular activities. There was a lot of stress in the house.  Now, as I manage my own schedule and do not have children at home, I find myself breathless all too often.

Why do we take on too much?

For me, it’s about wanting to do everything.  When raising the boys, it was about wanting them not to be bored, and as they got older, having enough things on their college applications.  Now, it’s because I feel like there isn’t enough time to reach all of the people in need.

This overworking, overstressing is unhealthy.  Feeling exhausted and burned out is common.  Not finding the joy in things that are joyful is a sign that we are doing too much.

  • Letting our children be bored allows them to learn to problem solve and be creative. It gives them down to replenish.
  • Helping them focus on one or two things that they get the most happiness out of can help them find what their life passions are. This may result in the right career choice, as well as the right extracurricular choices.  Battles to go to the activities should decrease.
  • Learning to say no to things, prioritize, and plan down time in our own schedules is important. This will help us keep the joy in what we love to do, including parenting.
  • Understand that we cannot be our best selves if we are burning the candle at both ends. Like with our children, find the things that bring us the most joy, and focus on those.

I have begun to schedule things in a more spread out way, allowing time to breathe and enjoy.

What are you doing to help create a better balance in your life?

 

NO! I Don’t Want To!

By Carol Dores

I remember the battles at dinner to eat vegetables.

“NO! I DON’T WANT TO, AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!”

We would first try logic. “You need to eat vegetables so you’ll grow up to be big and strong.”

That rarely worked.

Then we’d try bribery. “You can have dessert if you eat your vegetables.”

They then became focused on dessert, and also rarely worked.

Then came threats. “You won’t watch television for a month if you don’t eat your vegetables.”

Nope, those didn’t work either, because they knew we wouldn’t follow through.

Then came the guilt. “There are children starving in Africa.”

That didn’t motivate them to eat their vegetables either.

What we now understand is that the more we push, the more we get in to a power struggle, and winning becomes the goal. If we make less of a big deal out of things, it helps. Serving dinner and saying nothing often works, as they are then in control. It can also help to involve children in the process. “Would you like green beans or broccoli tonight? You choose.” We can also have them help prepare the food, so they feel some sense of involvement and ownership over the meal. Eliminating sugar and desserts is also helpful, as then the food that is available is healthier.

The less we push, the more they will make their own good decisions.

Thank you to all who work with children!

By Carol Dores

 

I have had the honor of working with a wide variety of people who work with children over the past few months. I continue to be amazed at their dedication to “our” children, often taking nights and weekends to learn more or simply get their jobs done.  The amount of requirements (testing and standards) adds a level of stress and pressure that didn’t exist when I was a child.

This is the generation of “helicopter parenting” for many, so there is over involvement by some.  There is also the other extreme, where because of the need for people to work two or three jobs to stay afloat, parents are uninvolved.  Neither is healthy for the child, and both are difficult for teachers and others who work with children.

More and more children are coming to school adversely impacted by trauma.  Because of the “heavy bags” they come in with, they do not feel safe, and their brains are not ready to learn. They are doing all they can to survive.  We see this in the children who get violent or are always getting in trouble, as well as those who go within and get really quiet or don’t speak.  These students add a level of complexity to the classroom and school, and unfortunately, the number of these children are growing.

Many educators have not been trained in social emotional learning, or character development.  Learning how to build relationships and connections with all children is the first step. For example, warmly greeting each student by their name at the door, or learning what each student likes to do.  Another step is using encouragement, to help them feel better about themselves, like “I notice you worked really hard on your math problems”.  A third step is to help them learn self-regulation.  This involves being able to recognize when we are getting angry, learning ways to calm down, having an inviting place for the child to choose go to calm down in the classroom, and learning ways to express feelings and wishes.  These are just some of the Positive Discipline things that can help a class go from chaos to calm.

Thank you to all of the educators who are so dedicated to help raise responsible, respectful, self-reliant citizens.  We appreciate you!