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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Introducing Divorce

When introducing your child to the idea of divorce, there are several things you can do to help him/her through the process.
  • Listen - he/she will have questions and may very well feel confused. Listen with an open & honest ear. Share your feelings & embrace your child's as well. Let your child know what feelings are normal, and help your child understand you acknowledge his/her feelings.
  • Tell him/her what to expect - If you are a parent, share with your child their schedule if they will be going to two different homes. Help him/her make a list of things they would like to have at both homes. Bring personal items to both homes, i.e. pictures, special toys/stuffed animals, music, etc. Talk about who will drop him/her off to school, what house he/she will be sleeping at, etc.
  • Give your child tools to cope - Talk to your child about what they can do when times get tough. Journaling, going to a "special" spot in the home, looking at a photo album, reading a book, painting, etc are some ways to release these emotions in a healthy manner.
  • Explain to your children that divorce is forever (usually). They do not initially understand that their parents will not get back together in the future. Tell your child why it is not helpful to stay together for him/her. They may think, "shouldn't they stay married for me?" and it's imperative to teach them the reasons this is not healthy for them or you.
  • Your love for your child does not change when your love for your spouse may; children need to hear this. Have multiple conversations about your unconditional love for them, i.e. "no matter what mom and dad are going through, we will both love you forever - no matter what. Nothing will ever change that!". The security of your child will be tested when a divorce is in progress, so it's necessary to focus on expressing your love physically and verbally to eliminate any guilt or blame and foster positive and peaceful thoughts from your child.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parent TIPS- building character

Building character in children is not an easy task. Here are some useful tips that should help your child become an empathic, loving, and warm natured citizen.
  1. On his/her birthday have your child donate their old toys to a charity or family

  2. Participate in a beach/neighborhood clean-up

  3. Give him/her chores appropriate for their age

  4. Buy/check out books that teaches children about character

  5. Role play with your child(ren) and give them various "what-if" scenarios

  6. Be a role model for your child(ren) (they listen to and watch everything, so choose your words and actions wisely)

  7. When they don't make the sports team, get a bad grade, didn't get the part in the play, or didn't accomplish the goal that they set out for, help them build resiliency by reviewing what they did wrong in order to get it right the next time.
  8. Lastly, celebrate the "Grey Area" (the effort your child put forth to achieve a goal that was not attained) it helps boost self-esteem and self-worth.

We hope you find these tips useful, feel free to comment!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Building Character - a book suggestion

Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids - Carol McCloud

"This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior as children see how rewarding it is to express daily kindness, appreciation, and love. Bucket filling and dipping are effective metaphors for understanding the effects of our actions and words on the well being of others and ourselves."

Have students make their own buckets & try to get their buckets filled (stars, stickers, goodies, etc) throughout the week by doing something kind for someone else. "When you make someone feel special, you are filling a bucket". But remember not to be a bucket dipper; "a bucket dipper says or does mean things that make others feel bad."

This activity conveys a positive message that any student can benefit from when building character! Enjoy!
*This book can be used in the classroom, in small group counseling, and in the home.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What does it mean to have character?

In todays world it is important to have character in order to be successful and reach your full potential. Here's an acronym that pinpoints essential components of good character.