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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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Self-conscious emotions emerge . . .

Beyond the basic emotions—happy, sad, mad, and scared—humans are capable of experiencing a second group of higher-order feelings, such as shame, embarrassment, guilt, envy, and pride. These higher-order feelings are referred to as “self-conscious emotions” because each one offers either damage to or enhancement of our sense of self. For example, pride reflects satisfaction in …Continue reading

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Downtime . . .

Downtime is important for the healthy growth and development of your child. Your child’s brain needs breaks in order to process the incoming flood of new information. Being idle allows the brain to take what it already knows and then think, reflect, and change. Idle time allows the circuitry to develop. Unstructured free time is …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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Teach calming techniques . . .

Children need constructive ways to deal with the range of emotions they experience. To develop constructive responses to emotions, children need to learn how to calm down. We all think more clearly when we are calm. When children especially are experiencing upsetting, unsettling, or uncomfortable feelings, it is very hard for them to think about …Continue reading

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Are you frazzled?

One of the most important skills you can develop as a parent is recognizing when you are frazzled. When you realize that you are at the end of your rope, it is time to be with some emotionally replenishing people. Adult company is very important for maintaining balance and feeling calm and in control. The …Continue reading

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Parents can practice gratitude too . . .

Last week, Parenting Playbook talked about how parents can teach kids the meaning behind feeling thankful. This week, let’s look at the positives for parents in the practice of gratitude. As we mentioned last week, not only does a sense of gratitude feel good but research shows that this pleasant emotion and its expression result …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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Tears and connection . . .

Tears can be an opportunity for connection between a parent and child. Your child gives you a sign that the tears are an effort to connect when he or she “peeks out” and looks for you. If you see your child peek out for you after a good cry, he or she may want and …Continue reading

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Transformation and play . . .

When kids play, they are not just having fun. Play allows kids to try out new ways of being, behaving, thinking, and feeling. When kids play, they are allowed to break out of established patterns and experiment with being a new self with new ways of interacting with the world. Even as adults, it is …Continue reading

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