Ways to be a More Present Parent

Stress often makes us a bit detached in our day-to-day routine. However, kids learn a lot more from our actions than they do from our words, so always being somewhere else mentally is almost as bad as being somewhere else physically. 

Here are some things that help me be present with my children: 

1. Wake up before your kids. 

That quiet time to center yourself before the day begins works wonders. If it’s not always possible, plan a time during the day, even if it’s 15 minutes, when you can be alone: Maybe during a nap time, quiet time, while your kids are at school, or when your husband is home. 

Instead of using that time to frantically get something done, choose something slow, relaxing, and that you enjoy. 

2. Exercise as often as you can. 

Yoga is one of the best exercises to try because it effectively can bring peace and mindfulness.  

3. Put the kids to bed early. 

Establish an early bedtime, or at least lights-out time. Creating a peaceful end to your days will help break them up instead of feeling like you’re in a never-ending cycle of need-meeting. 

Also, take advantage of bedtime time to talk to your children and ask them about their day. This ritual creates an easy opportunity for children to open about what’s on their mind. 

4. Put your phone away. 

Technology has an uncanny ability to suck us into its world and detach us from the people who are around us. Log less minutes on your devices and more moments with the people you love. 

5. Remember how fleeting childhood is. 

You won’t always be this needed or wanted by your children. When you look back on how you spent these years, you will never regret spending more time with your children. Time spent with family is always a positive investment. 

6. Have daily one-on-one time. 

Make a goal to spend five minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time with each child every day. It’s amazing how much this simple commitment does for children’s happiness, behavior, and relationships. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  


Prevent Parent Burnout

Parents of children and adolescents who have ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and/or other psychological or neurodevelopmental conditions are at greater risk for burnout due to the challenging nature of these conditions, and particularly when the conditions are not effectively managed. When ADHD difficulties pile up and become overwhelming over time, burnout can accelerate and intensify. 

The key is to acknowledge the need to change, be kinder to yourself and others about these challenges, and start to make adjustments.  The symptoms of burnout can be an invitation to take a new path through the forest. Here are the 10 ways to address ADHD parent burnout. 

  1. Move toward acceptance of ADHD. 
  1. Get support from other parents of children and adolescents with ADHD. 
  1. Stay positive.  
  1. Create a plan to manage stressful and frustrating parenting experiences when they occur in the moment. 
  1. Enhance your self-care. 
  1. Work on improving your relationship with your child or teen. 
  1. Explore if undetected coexisting conditions exist. 
  1. Use more effective parenting skills. 
  1. Obtain and maximize treatment for your child or teen. 
  1. Consider obtaining professional help for yourself. 

Avoiding parent burnout requires real effort. When parents do better, the family improves. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Five Essential Guidelines to Stop Sibling Fights

Finding your kids in the thick of a physical altercation–punching, biting, slapping, or even worse was scary stuff for everyone involved–children and parents alike. But the truth is, this behavior is common, especially in younger children who don’t have more appropriate conflict resolution skills. 

What can you do to reduce sibling fights? Model empathy, personal boundaries and healthy conflict resolution. Coach children during conflicts (when needed). Stepping out of a judge role and taking on a more neutral, facilitator role. Below are the five essential guidelines to stop sibling fights. 

1. Step in and limit all behaviors that are hurtful. (You might need to physically stand in their way) Use calm and confident words. 

It might sound like “I’m standing here, and I will not let you hurt each other.” 

2. Take time to listen and validate feelings. Taking turns as needed to speak to each child and remembering that coaching role explained above. Think along the lines of “You two are having a hard time—I wonder what we can do,” instead of “He or she is the problem.” 

3. Focus on understanding needs and boundaries. Avoid criticizing the behavior that was out of line. Children are quite aware that hitting and hurting a sibling is wrong. 

4. Use respectful communication and discipline with the intent to teach. Focusing on solutions and agreements instead of punishments. This actively strengthens connection, a sense of cooperation, capability and well-being. 

5. Don’t be afraid to suggest that everyone take some time to calm down. Stay by your children but don’t get into problem solving mode until tears have passed and everyone seems ready to listen. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

8 Things to Try Before You Yell

What else would you add?⁣⁣ 
Yelling is something many parents struggle with and wish they did less of. Why do we yell? Here are a few possible reasons:⁣⁣ 
👉Old patterns⁣⁣ 
👉Last resort⁣⁣ 
👉Unprocessed emotions⁣⁣ 
If we are prone to yelling and our child is not responding, it’s possible they’ve developed a defense against it in order to protect themselves. If there is no imminent danger, before you yell pause & notice what you’re experiencing.⁣⁣ 
Pausing may look like closing your eyes, taking an exaggerated deep breath (exhalation being longer than the inhalation), or walking away.  
“I see the drawing on the wall and I’m experiencing some big feelings, I need a break. I will be right back.”⁣⁣ 
Then notice what you’re experiencing. ⁣⁣ 
If you’re overwhelmed because your child has destroyed the room – that makes sense.⁣⁣ 
If you’re angry because your children keep fighting – that makes sense.⁣⁣ 
As we make sense of our own experiences we can return to our child and ask a question rather than yell. Or we may reflect on how we would have liked to have been approached when we were little in a similar situation.⁣⁣ 
Remember to care for yourselves, even if it means three minutes of deep breathing in the morning while you sit alone in the bathroom!⁣⁣ 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Motivating the Unmotivated Child

Over the years, many parents have asked me why their kids aren’t motivated and what they can do about it. How can you get your child to be more motivated? To do better in school? To even go to school?

The important thing to remember is this: your child is motivated. They’re just motivated to resist you and others when they do not want to do something. The key is to learn how to turn their negative motivation into a positive one.

Lack of Motivation is a Form of Resistance

When kids won’t get out of bed, won’t do their homework or school assignments, or won’t get involved in activities, it’s important for parents to realize that there is motivation in the child. But the motivation is to resist. The motivation is to do things their way, not yours. The motivation is to retain power.

When kids feel powerless, they try to feel powerful by withholding. A child or teenager who feels very powerless will stay in bed, not go to school, avoid homework, sit on the couch, and withhold overall involvement because it gives her a sense of being in control.

To the parent, the behavior looks completely out of control. But the child sees it as the only way to have control over what’s going on around him.

You’ll see it when you ask your child a question and he doesn’t answer, but you know he heard you. What’s that all about? That’s a child withholding an answer to feel powerful. When he says, “I don’t have to answer you if I don’t want to,” you see it as a lack of motivation. He sees it as a way to win control over you.

All Kids are Motivated by Something

I want to be clear about this point: everyone is motivated. The question is, motivated to do what? If a child looks like he’s not motivated, you have to look at what he’s accomplishing and assume that this is what he’s motivated to do.

So part of the solution is getting him to be motivated to do something else. To assume that the child is unmotivated is an ineffective way of looking at it. He is motivated. He’s simply motivated to do nothing. In this case, doing nothing means resisting and holding back to exercise control over you.

Kids Resist Because They Lack Problem-Solving Skills

The child who uses resistance as a form of control lacks both social skills and problem-solving skills.

They don’t have the social skills to know how to talk to other people, how to be friendly, and how to feel comfortable with themselves. Also, they don’t have the problem-solving skills to figure out what people want from them, how to deal with other people’s behavior, and how to meet expectations and demands.

These are basic skills we all have to learn in order to be successful as adults.

If continually resisting is how a child tries to solve problems, then parents will have a hard time until they teach the child how to solve problems appropriately.

The first step in teaching kids problem-solving skills is to understand that these kids are not helpless victims. Instead, they’re simply trying to solve problems in an ineffective manner.

Don’t Argue or Fight With Your Child About Motivation

Very often these kids are motivated by the power struggle. They find different ways to have that struggle with their parents. The job of the parents, therefore, is to find other ways for the child to solve the problem that’s causing the power struggle.

But if parents don’t have those other ways then the power struggle continues with no end in sight.

If you’re fighting day after day with a kid who won’t get out of bed, you’re never going to solve that problem. Because even if he gets out of bed then he won’t brush his teeth. And even if he brushes his teeth then he won’t comb his hair. Or he won’t wear clean clothes, or he won’t do his homework.

Understand that when you yell at your child for lack of motivation, you’re giving their resisting behavior power. So don’t yell. Don’t argue. Don’t give their resisting behavior power.

I understand that parents get frustrated—that’s normal. And sometimes you will lose your calm, even when you know better.

The point I want to make here is that yelling and fighting won’t solve the problem. If you’re yelling and fighting over these issues, you’re giving him more power in the struggle, and you don’t want to do that. Here’s what to do instead.

Be Clear, Calm, and Give Consequences for Your Child’s Behavior

Make the situation clear for the child. Use “I” words. Say the following:

“I want you to get up out of bed and get ready for school.”

“I want you to do your homework now.”

Then leave the bedroom. If the kid doesn’t do it, then there should be consequences. There should be accountability.

If your child says, “I don’t care about the consequences,” ignore her. She will tell you she doesn’t care just as a way to feel in control. Or, she may not care now, but as consequences get applied consistently, she will eventually see compliance as a better alternative to consequences.

Therefore, give consequences. And don’t worry if the kid doesn’t like it. You are not your child’s friend, you’re their parent.

Related content: Unmotivated Child? 6 Ways to Get Your Child Going

By the way, if your child doesn’t get out of bed, he shouldn’t be doing anything else. He shouldn’t get to play video games. He shouldn’t spend four hours in front of the TV. If he’s too sick to go to school, he shouldn’t be going out of the house. These rules should be set and enforced consistently.

Give Effective Consequences

Understanding what is and what is not an effective consequence is critical. The right consequences actually motivate your child to good behavior. They put you back in control and teach your child how to problem-solve, giving your child the skills needed to be a successful adult.

Know that effective consequences are not punishments. Indeed, I say all the time that you can’t punish your child into behaving better.

I recommend all parents to read this article on how to give kids consequences that work. And take a look at this sample video from The Complete Guide to Consequences.

Let Your Child Experience Natural Consequences

I would always tell parents in my office that you have to have the courage to let her experience the consequences of her behavior. It takes a lot of courage for a parent to step back and say:

“Okay, you’re not going to do your homework, and you’re going to get the grades that reflect that.”

But in these cases, it can help to let the child experience the natural consequences of resistance. You don’t let the kid watch TV. You say:

“Homework time is from six to eight. And if you don’t want to do your homework during that time, that’s fine. But you can’t go on the computer, you can’t play games, and you can’t watch TV. If you choose not to do your homework, that’s your choice. And if you fail, that’s your choice too.”

Remember, natural consequences are an important part of life. That’s why we have speeding tickets. A speeding ticket is a natural consequence. If you go too fast, the policeman stops you and gives you a ticket. He doesn’t follow you home to make sure you don’t speed anymore. He lets you go. It’s your job to stop and take responsibility. If you don’t, you’re going to get another ticket fifteen minutes later.

Natural consequences help people take responsibility, and they can be used to help kids take responsibility for things like going to school, participating in class, and doing homework.

Don’t Forget to Use Rewards

Along with the plan to let her experience the natural consequences of her decisions, build in rewards for success if she does make the right decision.

For example, if my son failed a test, there was no punishment. But if he passed, there was a reward. It was very simple. We rewarded A’s and B’s. We didn’t take anything away for C, we just didn’t reward it.

So my son eventually strived to have A’s all the time. So with kids who resist, it’s important to have a rewards system as well as a consequence system.

Be Patient and Persistent

Calmly and consistently using effective consequences is your fastest and best way to get your child motivated. Just be patient and persistent as consequences do their job and your child begins to learn better problem-solving skills. And know that the vast majority of kids come around and get motivated once they are held accountable in a meaningful way.

Related content: Motivating Underachievers: 9 Steps to Take When Your Child Says “I Don’t Care”

Source: Empowering Parents

How to help children through the COVID-19 crisis

As the world works to contain the spread of COVID-19, parents and caregivers are having to juggle the needs of children who are home from school while often working to financially support their families. This pandemic is unprecedented in its scale and reach and it is dominating the news and the dinner table as families adapt to new information and safety measures. The changes we’re experiencing can be especially stressful for the young people in our lives.

1. Be aware of common reactions to crisis

Each child is unique in how he or she responds to frightening events. Some children may become more quiet or withdrawn, while others may become irritable or act out to get more attention. Many kids will begin acting younger by sucking their thumb or clinging to parents. It’s important to remember that these are all normal reactions to times of uncertainty and to respond in a calm and caring way.

2. Be prepared to deal with fears and worries

Common childhood fears may intensify after a crisis. Kids are often more afraid of the dark and being alone. Sleep problems and physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches become more frequent, especially for younger children who cannot verbalize their feelings. You can help children soothe themselves by reading stories, playing gentle music, giving back rubs and serving comfort foods. They need to be reassured with both words and hugs.

3. Create a sense of safety

Because children will feel vulnerable and overwhelmed, it’s important to initially focus on being protective and offering them physical comforts — blankets, favorite foods, calming activities — to restore their sense of security. Spending extra time together as a family is a refuge to kids in times of uncertainty.

4. Limit exposure to news

Don’t rely on the news to give your child the information they’re looking for. Sounds and images from news reports are often too vivid for children and make them internalize the trauma even more. It’s important to clarify their confusion and give honest answers, but stick to the basic facts and follow up with the reassurance that their safety is the most important thing to you.

5. Take time to listen

Make sure children have the opportunity to express their feelings and concerns. Asking open-ended questions (“What news did you hear? How do you feel? Do you have any questions?”) allows them to identify their needs. Actively listen without correcting or minimizing their emotions and follow up with clear statements of reassurance.

6. Encourage writing and drawing about the experience

Some kids may not feel like talking, so provide other ways for them to express themselves. Writing and drawing pictures can help kids deal with what’s troubling them. Use these as an opportunity to remind them that it’s okay to feel the way they do; you can help by continuing to listen and accepting where they are emotionally throughout the healing process.

7. Remember to play

Play is every child’s natural form of communicating and processing events. Kids can tell stories about what they’ve heard and how they feel, even if they don’t fully comprehend it. It’s also a healthy distraction from difficult circumstances and provides an outlet to relieve pent-up energy and stress.

8. Model healthy coping skills

Your kids will look to you not only for reassurance, but how to deal with their own complicated emotions. Allow yourself enough private time to process what you’re going through so you have the resources to be there for them. But don’t feel like you need to hide signs of distress all the time — should your children see you get upset, you can be an example by telling them that you may be feeling sad right now, but you have ways to help yourself feel better soon.

9. Monitor behavior over time

While it is normal for children’s behavior to change in response to crisis, symptoms of stress can become problematic if they linger. Simply keep an eye on changes in their sleeping, eating, playing, studying and socializing; if there are no improvements over time, reach out to a professional for help.

10. Inspire a positive response

Kids need to rediscover a sense of personal empowerment and resilience after an event very much out of their control. Help them direct their feelings constructively and consider what they can do to help others. One way kids can help is through supporting local and global organizations providing relief during this crisis. . Having them write a card, or volunteer along with family not only gives them something positive to focus on, but sets the tone for giving back through anything life brings.

We hope these tips are helpful as you and your children navigate this stressful time and adapt to our new normal during the COVID-19 crisis.