Stop Ignoring, Start Interpreting for Better Discipline

Guess what? The nagging and yelling aren’t working. Learn how to keep words to a minimum, nix harsh punishments, and develop a more positive approach to navigating ADHD with your child.  

Like all kids, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sometimes make bad choices regarding their own behavior. No surprise there. But to make matters worse, parents could often use a few parenting tips themselves, and err in the way they discipline misbehavior. Instead of using firm, compassionate discipline, they move into what I call the ignore –nag-yell-punish cycle.  

First, the parent pretends not to notice the child’s bad behavior, hoping that it will go away on its own. Of course, this seldom works, so next the parent tries to urge the child not to do such and such. Next, the parent starts yelling and scolding. When this doesn’t produce the desired result, the parent becomes extremely angry and imposes harsh punishments. I think of this fourth stage as the parent’s temper tantrum.  

This four-part strategy (if you could call it that) isn’t just ineffective. It makes life needlessly unpleasant for every member of the family. 

How can you avoid it? As with any other pitfall, simply being aware of it will help you steer clear of it. At the first sign of starting on the wrong path, you can stop what you’re doing and make a conscious decision to try something else. Take an honest look at how you respond when your children misbehave. What specific situations are likely to cause you to go down this path? How far down the path do you typically proceed? How often? 

Let’s examine the ignore-nag-yell-punish strategy more closely to see why it doesn’t work – and come up with some strategies that do. 

Why Ignoring Doesn’t Work 

By ignoring your child’s misbehavior, you send the message that you neither condone nor support his misbehavior. At least that’s the message you hope to send.  

In fact, your child may read your silence as “I won’t give you my attention or concern” or even “I reject you.” That can wound a child. On the other hand, your child may assume that your silence means that you approve of his behavior or will at least tolerate it. “Mom hasn’t said I can’t do this,” he thinks, “so it must be OK.” 

Even if your child correctly interprets the message that you’re trying to send by ignoring him, he has no idea what you want him to do instead. In other words, ignoring your child doesn’t define better behavior or provide guidance about how your child should behave next time.  

Instead of ignoring him when he does something you disapprove of, I recommend another “i-word”: interrupting. That is, quickly move people or objects so that your child is unable to misbehave. 

For example, if your children start quarreling over a toy, you might say, “Alex, sit over there. Maria, stand here. I’ll take this and put it up here.” Similarly, if your teen comes for supper with dirty hands, immediately take his plate off the table and silently point to his hands if you feel the need to tell your child what you expect of him, tell him once, very clearly. Then stop talking.  

Don’t Be a Nag 

Why is it important to keep words to a minimum when disciplining your child? Because, as I often remind parents, words are like tires. Each time they rotate against the pavement, they lose tread and become less efficient at starting, stopping, and steering. If you spin words out endlessly, they’ll become less efficient at starting, stopping, and steering your child. Eventually, your words will have no “traction” at all – as tires will eventually become bald. 

If the chatterbox parent is ineffective, so is the parent who barks orders like a drill sergeant. To break the yelling habit, tell yourself that you won’t open your mouth until you’re calm enough to speak at a normal volume and in a cordial tone. Often, all it takes to calm down is to spend a few minutes alone – something as simple as excusing yourself to get a glass of water may do the trick. 

Taking time to cool off will also help you avoid the last and most counterproductive element of ignore-nag-yell-punish. 

Punishment vs. Undoing and Redoing 

Parents often assume that by punishing a misbehaving child, they’re helping to build the child’s conscience. Not so. In most cases, harsh punishments, like spanking, simply encourage a child to become sneaky to not get caught next time.  

A better approach is to impose consequences that are appropriate to the offense and respectful of your child. Ideally, the consequence you impose for a particular misbehavior will involve undoing or redoing the situation. The consequence for carelessly spilling milk for example, might be that your child cleans up the mess (undoing), and, then pours another glass and sets it in a safer place (redoing). No need to blame or yell. No need to impose harsh punishments (for example, withholding food).  

If you’re careful to recognize your first steps down the ignore-nag-yell-punish path – and to substitute the strategies I’ve described – you’ll find yourself on a different path, one that leads to a better relationship with your child. It’s a trip I highly recommend.  

Tips for Helping Children with ADHD Deal with Aggression

Kids with ADHD tend to have outbursts more often than other kids their age. Most of the time, these flare-ups aren’t threatening. Kids might yell or slam doors. But sometimes, they lose control and become aggressive. 

Here are five tips on how to curb the aggression of a child with ADHD and ODD. 
 
1. Cut down on electronics. For kids with ADHD, too much screen time can make symptoms worse. Set a timer or limit the number of hours of electronic use per day (the suggested amount of time is no more than two hours for the entire day). During the periods of the day when you child would have been streaming a TV program, offer alternatives – go out for a walk, cook together or try out a new activity once a week. 
 

2. Teach your child compromise and negotiation skills. Kids with ADHD have difficulty being flexible and compromising. Adapting to new situations and rules they’re not accustomed to isn’t a pleasant activity for them. Establish a set of “rules.”   

 

3. Help your child express his or her emotions positively. Kids who learn how to express their emotions in a healthy way grow up to be supportive of others, perform better in school, have better relationships with partners and peers, have better coping skills, and have an overall healthier sense of self. 
 

4. Show your child stability and structure. Children with ADHD need structure and routine. Daily routines and a predictable, organized schedule help make your child feel safe. Maintain consistent house rules. Remind your child of your expectations and the consequences of not meeting those expectations.

   

5. Exercise. Exercise is a fantastic activity for anyone, even for kids without an attention disorder. But for kids with ADHD, it’s particularly helpful. Science has proven that exercise is a great way for kids to unleash and unwind; it’s also a way to work out any feelings of anger and frustration. 

 

Experts say that even 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day can help kids with ADHD manage their moods. It can even decrease or eliminate the need for medications that are prescribed to aid in symptom management. It’s also an excellent way of reducing aggression. 

 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

How to Raise Well Mannered Children

Tip #1:  Have Clear Expectations 

Children thrive if parents can have clear expectations for behavior and enforce those standards consistently. Determine what your expectations for your kids are on everything from how they perform at school to curfews, household chores and even things like using profanity and what their bedtime is during the school year. Be specific and then make the consequences equally as clear.  

Tip #2:  Model Appropriate Behavior 

Remember that you always have an audience when your kids are in your presence. We’re human so we’re going to get irritated and speak harshly or display a temper now and then, but just as soon as it happens and you catch yourself, stop and apologize in front of your kids. By explaining why you’re sorry to your kids, you demonstrate that we need to be held accountable for our action.  

Tip #3: Be Affectionate Often 

When a child hears phrases like “I love you,” or “How’s it going?” or notices that you stopped what you’re doing when she enters the room and is greeted with a loving smile, it means the world to a child.  When you display affection to your kids and other family members, you’re validating to them how important they are to you, which sends the best positive message you could ever deliver.  

Tip #4: Teach Problem Solving 

When kids are exposed to problems that allow them to be part of the solution, it builds important skills that will carry over into their adult life including how to manage their behaviors. 

Although kids crave structure and boundaries, they also love and need to exert their independence. As they grow, obviously they’ll have more opportunities to make more involved decisions, which in turn will aid in their problem-solving abilities. 

Tip #5:  Teach Behavior During Play Time 

Forbid name calling. Compassion starts with what’s acceptable and what’s not. Let him know that being kind to others is the rule and hurtful words are not allowed.  If you get involved right away, you are sending an important message that kindness trumps everything and that name calling is not going to happen. 

Tip #6: Request Respect 

If your kids are taught how to respect themselves and others, they will learn good coping skills for dealing with anger and frustration in appropriate ways that are not verbally or physically abusive to others.  

 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

 

 

 

 

How to break the “Be Careful!” cycle? 

 
Toddlers love to take the most mundane things and turn them into the most anxiety provoking things ever for us parents. Real talk? How many times a day do you find yourself saying, “BE CAREFUL!!”🚨 
 
Here’s the deal, when it’s a nonstop barrage of “be careful!”, your kid either a) paralyzes in fear b) completely ignores you c) gives you a puzzled look and doesn’t ACTUALLY learn what is dangerous. 🙈 
 
When we verbalize OUR worry and anxiety to them, they internalize it. What does this mean? Their little fight-or-flight response gets triggered. 😧 
 
This is GREAT if in real danger. But, if they’re actually safe in that moment, hovering and constantly telling them to 🚨”be careful!” can signal “the world isn’t safe” and “don’t take risks!” “be hyper vigilant and on guard at all moments!” Basically, our anxieties become their anxiety. 
 
Risky play is crucial for healthy growth and development. Research shows that “parents who… encourage[d] their kids to push their limits to a greater extent had children who were less at risk of exhibiting anxiety disorder symptoms…” 
 
So, how can we break the “Be Careful” cycle? 
✨Pause, take a deep breath 
✨Does this situation present serious harm? 
✨Why does this make me uncomfortable? 
✨Is my child learning skills right now? 
 
Some situations require you to do nothing and other situations require you to help your child foster awareness or problem solve. So, we’ve now reserved the 🚨”BE CAREFUL!”🚨 for when they truly SHOULD completely stop in their tracks with fear – dangerous things like running into the road, about to burn themselves, etc. 
⁠ 
So, instead TRY THIS. Guide their awareness + problem solving skills: 
✨Bring awareness to their bodies 
“Woah! You’re practicing your balance! You’re really listening to your body! Way to go!” 
✨Notice how? 
“Notice how the water under your feet makes the rocks slippery.” 
✨Do you see? 
“Do you see that big branch up ahead?” 
✨Do you feel? 
“Do you feel how wobbly that branch is when you climb over it?” 
✨Problem solving 
“That branch up ahead is in the way, what should we do?” 

It’s important that we let our kids engage in risky or challenging play because it’s a great way for them to practice problem solving skills. Let the children know to proceed with caution, but don’t make them be afraid to fall. They need to learn how to get back up, dust themselves off, and move forward. 
 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

6 Ways to Show Faith in Your Child

Notice the Little Things

We all just want to be seen and heard. No exceptions. 

A child’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. 
 
Noticing the little things to your child feel like, 
 

you see their world through their eyes 
you value their creativity 
you notice their attempts 
they matter to you 

Growing kids need a lot more motivation and appreciation than we adults do. Lack of this appreciation and motivation leads to a complexity in kids. 

The formative years of our lives, shape us in a big way. When kids get enough appreciation, they develop into secure adults with healthy self-esteem. 
 
A valuable boost to a child’s self-esteem can be attained when you appreciate your child and motivate them.  

Build moments of positive connection with the little things in life.  

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

6 Ways to Show Faith in Your Child

When Your Child Hits Your Other Child

“What should I do when one child hits my other child?” ⠀⠀ 
⠀⠀ 
👉🏻When you have a child who hits/bites/kicks and another child who has been hurt and you approach the situation after it has already happened, it is important to start with the child who has been hurt. ⠀⠀ 
⠀⠀ 
💕Tell the child who did the hurting that you see them and that you will talk with them in a minute. 
⠀⠀ 
❤️This shows the child who is hurt, the outcome of their actions (causing pain to someone else). ⠀⠀ 
 
❤️Second, it shows the child who is hurt that their pain matters to you and that you see them. ⠀ 
⠀⠀ 
❤️Third, it slows you down enough so that, in the moment, you don’t make choices, which don’t align with your values of how you are going to discipline. ⠀⠀ 
⠀⠀ 
👉🏻As you slow down to respond to your hurting child, you are allowing your brain time to calm down so that you can access your own logical thinking again and approach the child who was hitting from a place of curiosity and calm. ⠀⠀ 
⠀⠀ 
❤️Once you have spent a few moments with your hurting child, you can then go to the child who hit and with curiosity try and understand what happened and what your child may need to learn so that they can get their needs met in a way that doesn’t involve hitting! ⠀ 
 
You could narrate what happened, focus on repairing the relationship, and stay curious about what skills your child may need to learn or work on for the future. 
 
This is a simplification of what happens in these moments, but we hope you find this helpful. ⠀⠀ 
⠀ 
Do you have sibling fights in your home? 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

A Parents Job as a Role Model

As adults, our priority should be ensuring that we create an environment where children learn to respect boundaries, where they feel comfortable enough to be themselves, an environment where there is mutual respect and an environment where they feel seen and heard. 
 
Criticism at such an early age can lead to fear, guilt and shame because children are unable to unpack it. 
Guide them by modeling the behavior and values you want to see in them. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

What to Do After You Yell at Your Toddler?

Positive parenting is a journey that takes not only practice and patience but the ability to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. 
 
A fixed mindset is about seeing the qualities of yourself, your child, and all the circumstances around us as unable to change. Whereas a growth mindset is believing that things can change with time, effort, and persistence. 
 
And once you make that shift to a growth mindset, you’re able to expand your capacity to embrace challenges, to continue through obstacles, to learn from mistakes, to seek out inspiration and other successes instead of criticizing yourself for not measuring up. That’s what’s possible when we have a growth mindset inside of parenting. 
 
So, when you’re in the heat of the moment and react in a negative way to your toddler’s behavior (like yelling or punishing), I invite you to be easy on yourself and understand that reacting that way doesn’t make you a bad parent. That it isn’t a permanent response to everything your child does in the future. That if you want to make a change, you CAN. 
 
You always have the opportunity to repair a relationship by making amends. 
 
Here’s how:   

1. Take Ownership by saying, “I felt frustrated and yelled at you.” 
2. Acknowledge the impact and say, “How was it for you? Got it. You felt sad when mommy yelled.” 
3. Apologize then say, “I’m sorry that wasn’t my intention.” 
4. Move forward by saying, “Next time, I’m going to step back and take 5 deep breaths.” 
 
Avoid beating yourself up by remembering that you are human and allowed to make mistakes. Having a growth mindset can change your whole outlook and feelings about parenting a toddler. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Let’s talk about… P L A Y!

Play encourages creativity, increased dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength!  
 
Play can lead to feelings of confidence, competence, and resilience in children!  
 
Play is POWERFUL.  

For most people, learning involves acquiring a specific new skill, such as memorizing alphabets, counting, writing, etc. They often believe that playing is only for fun and involves no actual learning. 

However, according to studies, playing is learning. Children learn through playing. 

The importance of play in early childhood cannot be underestimated because playing is essential to a child’s growth. 
 
Another added benefit of play is strengthened child-parent bonds! As a parent, consider joining your child in play. Allow your child to set the scene and take the lead – this gives you an opportunity to experience your child’s world and connect on a deeper level!  

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Essentials for Parenting Highly Sensitive Children

Highly sensitive children are at risk of internalizing a lasting and highly damaging sense of shame – a sense that they’re somehow “lacking” compared to more outgoing siblings and peers. Parents and other significant adults in their lives need to do all they can to prevent this unwarranted sense of shame from taking root. 

If you have a highly sensitive child, the following points are likely just reminders for you. However, they may be helpful for others who are important to your child too. 

Value your child 

A highly sensitive child’s experience of the world may be different from yours, but it is real. He or she is not “faking” tantrums or frustration to get attention or manipulate you. Your child can’t adapt to “be like you” and the sooner you can gratefully accept the child you have, the happier you will both be. 

Validate your child 

All highly sensitive children eventually notice that they are different from other kids. Your child needs to know that you value them and that they are not an oddity. Remind them that many people are like them. 

When they face their weaknesses or failings, they need you to counter their self-doubts with a more balanced perspective. Bringing up a success to match a failure is important for wiring your child’s brain for self-esteem.  Remind them of their unusual strengths in another area. 

Protect your child 

To build confidence in a new situation, your highly sensitive child will need to take smaller steps than other children, with lots of encouragement from you. It’s extremely important not to force your child to go beyond what they’re comfortable with. Pushing this child to help them “get over their fear” will backfire terribly. Certainly, don’t let others pressure your child to do something he or she is not ready to do. 

Accept that a slower pace means peace 

Highly sensitive kids thrive on predictability and routine, and they need much more down time in their schedule than “regular” kids. Any intense experience should be balanced by a quiet, restful “retreat” that allows them to regroup emotionally.  

Cultivate patience 

When discipline is called for, always remember that even a stern talking to can be crushing to these kids. Generally, they’re harsh self-critics, quick to condemn themselves as “bad” or “useless” when they mess up. It’s a good idea to conclude discipline with a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. 

Don’t fret about all the “fun things” your child seems to be missing out on, advises Aron. Your child doesn’t have to live the same childhood that you did. He or she has their own ideas about what is “fun.” Stay positive, be proud of your child and predict a great future for them, and you’ll help your child stay positive too. 

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  

Helping Your Child Build Healthy Self Esteem

When a child’s self-esteem is positive and well balanced, they aren’t afraid of making mistakes because they recognize within themselves the ability to try again. They can manage worries, frustrations and the learning process well. Especially when parents can encourage and support them along the way. 

Here are ten parenting practices that promote healthy self-esteem: 

1. Use encouraging words: Self-esteem is reinforced when children feel confident in their abilities, even when things are tough. Encouraging words help children stay the course. 

2. Welcome boredom into your home: When boredom shows up, children start to get creative. They tap into their inner resources, discover their interests and learn to rely on their own abilities.  Allow for plenty of unstructured time for your child every day. Even better if you can get them outdoors! 

3. Validate feelings without eliminating every obstacle: When your child is struggling, try to validate and listen. Have faith that your child will be able to feel a full range of emotions and get through their feelings.  

4. Teach self-care skills: Show your child how to care for their body, belongings and home. Self-esteem really starts with knowing you can care for yourself, so allow your child to be an activate participant in their care from the very start. 

5. Listen: Strive to make time to be together each day so you can listen to your child talk about accomplishments, fears, worries, ideas and more. 

6. Acknowledge worries:  When a child feels like her worries are being understood she is better able to deal with them and move forward. So, try not to dismiss worries and instead acknowledge them.  

7. Have courage & bkind: Our children really are watching us and reflecting on the choices that we make. Face your own obstacles, fears and worries with courage. Highlight the good and how you worked things out.  Of course, it’s ok to be authentic and admit defeat, but strive to do so with general compassion and kindness towards yourself.  

8. Welcome mistakes and imperfections: See these as opportunities to learn, to persevere or to know when to quit and move on. Each mistake can be a chance to learn something new, or at the very least to model what it takes to problem solve. 

9. Spend time together: Play, fun and laughter are incredibly powerful ways to connect to your child’s heart and mind. Children that feel connected to their parents feel good about themselves. This practice has tremendous potential to reduce stress, misbehavior and increase your child’s well-being. 

10. Use connected, positive discipline: Focus on working together, on understanding the root of the problem, setting limits well and being present. A respectful, kind and clear approach to discipline helps your child feel secure, loved and understood. A great mix for growing up with a healthy and with balanced self-esteem. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog