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Staying connected while setting limits . . .

The key to setting limits and staying connected to your child relates to emotions. Tuning in to your child’s emotional state is important if you are going to set a limit that is in conflict with your child’s wishes and desires. Empathize first. Reflect her feeling about her desire back to her and then follow …Continue reading

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Offer choices wisely . . .

Giving children choices rather than routinely telling them what to do engages the child’s higher thinking brain. By offering choices with consequences, your child will get some practice in planning and thinking through his or her choices as well as experiencing the consequences of that choice. By the age of five, most children respond well …Continue reading

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Moral development . . .

Parents can help their children develop a sense of moral goodness with an accompanying feeling of obligation to do the right thing. The formation of “conscience” is promoted when parents nurture awareness and the development of feelings. Conscience is also promoted when parents help children understand that two people may feel differently about a situation, …Continue reading

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Unexamined memories . . .

Implicit memories—our memories that are not on a conscious level—cause us to form expectations about how the world works. These expectations are based on our previous experiences, and it is important for parents to examine how subconscious memories of past experiences influence the present. Unexamined memories can be a special concern as parents care for …Continue reading

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Wanting something . . .

If you have ever taken your child with you shopping, you probably realize that stores—especially stores with toys—can activate the seeking system in your child’s brain. Curiosity, exploration, willfulness, drive, expectancy, and desire are a part of this system. In addition, the seeking system activates optimal levels of dopamine and glutamate, making your child highly …Continue reading

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Family meetings . . .

Family meetings are a great way to promote constructive communication skills. During family meetings, everyone in the family can learn what each individual family member thinks and feels about a particular situation or issue. Family meetings promote the practice of problem-solving skills, and all members of the family have a chance to talk as well …Continue reading

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Regression . . .

When children regress—that is, when they act younger and less mature than they really are—their behavior can trigger annoyance in parents. Usually, regression happens when children (and parents) are feeling stressed, as when a new sibling has arrived to join the family. To the older sibling, it seems that the adults give lots of attention, …Continue reading

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Active listening . . .

Really listening is active. When you, the parent, really listen to what your child is trying to tell you, it’s important to let him or her know that you are willing to listen and want to understand. It is important to try to sum up what you think your child is saying and how he …Continue reading

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A new school year . . .

It’s that time of year again—the beginning of a new school year. Whether this is your child’s first school experience or he or she is starting sixth grade, the new school term will present new challenges. As a parent, you can help make the transition back into the school experience easier on your children. Here …Continue reading

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Describing feelings . . .

Your preschooler’s ability to describe a variety of feelings is one sign of emotional thinking. A year ago your child may have acted out angry feelings through aggressive behaviors, but more recently you may be noticing that he or she expresses ideas about anger through pretend play. For example, two favorite stuffed animals may have …Continue reading

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