Tag Archives: emotion

Overview: Displaced Attention

30 Sep

A Taste:
If we exercise our capacity to focus and pay attention it will grow and the relationship will grow, just like our children. Our adult relationships do not and should not have the same unconditional priority and commitment as our children but I think we can take some of the good practices that we develop and grow within the dynamic child/parent exchange and apply them to our more meaningful adult relationships.

Links:
How Much Attention Is Too Much? – http://wp.me/pXO5l-i0
Adult Attention Struggle – http://wp.me/pXO5l-i8
Being Attentive In Adult Relationships – http://wp.me/pXO5l-id
Giving The Gift of Attention – http://wp.me/pXO5l-ih
Energy In Adult Relationships Get Easier With Time – http://wp.me/pXO5l-il

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Bullying Within Our Culture, Part Two

19 Sep

Reporting Bullying

I realized early on I needed to make my boys aware of the possibility of both being bullied or being the bully. I don’t want to be cavalier and say “It’s part of life” or “we just have to learn to deal with it” even though it’s a bit true. However, I do understand when bullying becomes more than a part of life. I don’t think it is very easy for parents to know it many times because our kids tend not to tell us early on or we aren’t paying attention until some definitive physical or psychological damage has occurred. By then the bullying has already created it’s deeper effects that often last the rest of ones life to some extent or another. Far too often the parents are the last to know. Our teachers, our sport coaches, and adult supervisors typically will know before we do. I don’t necessarily think this is out of the ordinary but I believe this should be the first line of defense for all kids and our parents should definitively empower these supervisory roles to inform the respective parents when they believe bullying is evident. I see many instances of this happening but there are too many offenses that do not get reported soon enough.

The Lasting Effects

We occasionally hear horrendous stories about bullying and that many parents are strangely reluctant to associate their child with either side of it. Most of the time our kids try to manage it on their own especially if there is no responsible adult around willing to help and, in part, because it is simply embarrassing otherwise. Unfortunately embarrassment is the real challenge in most of these situations and it is the feeling that lingers long after the event. When and/or if bulling occurs with your children it needs to be addressed with care, logic and above all understanding that the embarrassment is real and has the single most significant impact and we should not diminish its effect both in the short term and the long term.

Bullying and My Boys

Bullying is not new, nor is it an epidemic, but it is indeed a part of most social organized life behavior. Even monkeys do it. That said, it should never be condoned. It should be exposed and all parties involved should use those opportunities to open a collaborative discussion with regard to the embarrassment it causes. I began those discussions with my boys when they were relatively young and as far as I am aware they did no bullying. I think I will ask them again though next time we get a good conversation going. I’d like to ask them what they think of the more recent bullying behavior on the internet. I wonder if they think it is more difficult to manage nowadays or causes more harm.

Any thoughts?

Perspective In All Relationships

22 Aug

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about perspective with our children}

Establishing perspective is also very helpful, if not critical, in dealing with adult relationships. Learning to appreciate our child’s perspective can help us develop significantly better and deeper relationships with our adult friends. It can keep us from making unfortunate mistakes that may take days or months to fix. It is not easy to be consistently conscientious of how another person feels about an event you are sharing, but it is critically necessary for strong and healthy relationships. At some point early in a relationship, an accurate sense of perspective must become part of the exchange and feedback process in order for the relationship to function effectively. Even if we are not quite getting “the correct perspective,” the mere effort to understand the other person’s perspective does wonders towards creating a quality relationship.

Perspective is an amazing tool upon which to build significant and meaningful relationships. It allows us to see our child’s concerns as well as his or her wishes more clearly. This establishes a critical behavioral process that will be useful as our child enters his or her teenage years and throughout the young adult years as well. At this point, the hard work begins to pay off. We can look forward to the teenage years with a sense of wonder and excitement. The bridge will be much stronger and able to support a lot of weight. Practice understanding all issues from your child’s perspective, because it is a lifelong asset that will serve both parties in every endeavor.

How do you feel about perspective with our children? Do you have a personal experience with your children you would like to share?

Age Awareness

8 Aug

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about perspective with our children}

As we grow and experience life, our view changes constantly. It is hard to find a more important tool than perspective to enable us to better understand the subtle nuances and issues in all of our relationships, especially our relationship with our children. We, as parents, have to take the time and spend the energy to step outside of our ‘age’ awareness and put ourselves in their shoes. This is very difficult even in the easiest of times, and it is possible that our experiences are so different than our children’s that we simply can not put ourselves in their shoes. In this case, we have to work even harder, use our imagination, and stretch our reality. This is not easy for most of us.

Perspective Takes Consistent Work

I know a single mother who was completely unable to understand her 11-year-old son’s reluctance to play Little League baseball. She kept telling him, “It’s a really fun game. All your friends are playing.” Because she was unable to put herself in the same place as her son, she didn’t realize that he was actually embarrassed to play. When it was his turn to bat, he was afraid of getting hit by the ball. This is a common initial fear when learning baseball, but how would you know this if you had never played? I suggested that she talk to her son and let him know that she did not understanding the game of baseball and ask him why he was having so much difficulty. After a bit of nudging, he told her everything (it seems that we always want to tell our moms everything). I also advised her to think back to her childhood, try to identify a similar experience, and then talk to him from that perspective. She easily remembered playing kickball when she was in the fourth grade and experiencing the very same fear. At that moment she completely understood her son’s apprehensions and emotions. This simple exercise turned their relationship around. It did not fix everything, but the boy began to behave and listen to her because she was able to acknowledge or empathize with his experience.

Unfortunately, she did not continue relating in this manner when issues became more complex, and she lost credibility. A couple of years later, the boy was out of reach and reluctantly went to live with his dad. They have since patched up their relationship but they each lost the opportunity to share their lives with each other. Understanding and incorporating another’s perspective takes consistent work, and must be applied in all relationships all the time, especially with our children.

To read more posts in this series, come back to read Getting On Their Level on August 15th.

A Different View

25 Jul

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about perspective with our children}

Perspective is the ability to see an event from more than one point of view. In order to effectively use perspective in the relationships with our children, we have to engage our mind and emotions to search for similar experiences and feelings we too must have had at their age. Once these are in our view, our understanding of a situation can change dramatically, which, in turn, will most likely impact our response. Perspective becomes a valuable tool that works in absolutely any interaction, any time, with anyone, regarding any issue.

A Funny Story About Perspective

When Max was about six years old, he, his brother, and a neighbor were playing at our house. They heard a lot of noise out in the main street a block away. Ian ran to see what it was and came flying back yelling, “Parade! There’s a parade!” The little neighbor friend and Ian ran outside to see the event, leaving Max behind. He typically did not wear many clothes because it was too hot for him in the summers, and at that moment he was only wearing a t-shirt. He quickly ran after the other two and joined in the parade, naked and barefoot except for the t-shirt! When I met them on the street, Ian and the little neighbor friend were running away from Max like he had the plague. I guess he created quite a stir, but from his perspective, he was just going to see what all the excitement was about. I asked him if he realized that he didn’t have his pants on and he said yes, but that he really wanted to see the parade. I was compelled to laugh and let him walk the rest of the half-block home…still pant-less.

 

To read more posts in this series, come back to read Concern For Your Child’s Needs on August 1st.