Prevent Bullying with Assertiveness Skills

At school, on Social Media or on the streets, bullying seems to be an epidemic among our children and young people today. It’s imperative that we teach our children the assertiveness skills they need to stand up for themselves and express their feelings in a non-threatening and respectful manner when their rights are violated.

When children begin school, they may be extremely naïve about the variety of personalities they’re going to come up against – especially if they’ve been sheltered and protected at home. They may not understand why they’re being bullied and are clueless about what to do about it.

Childrem should be able to live a life free from bullying and arassent and it is time that we all took a stand against this. ~ Katherine Jenkins

Children may also be afraid to tell someone about the bullying because they’ve been threatened by the bully if they do. The situation could become extremely toxic and even dangerous if the children don’t know how to be assertive.

Unless and until our society recognizes cyber bullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent cictims will continue. ~ Anna Maeia Chavez

Here are some assertiveness techniques that should be taught by every parent and in every school today:

  • Don’t respond to the bully. When a child bullies another, they’re looking for a reaction. Teach your children to ignore the behavior and walk away. It’s likely that the bully will lose interest and try their bullying behavior with someone else. Don’t answer the bully’s questions and turn away immediately.
  • Stand up to the bully. Sometimes the situation requires the child to stand up to the bully rather than ignoring or walking away. When a child knows how to stand up for him or herself or someone else who’s being bullied, the child develops a sense of control and self-confidence that may discourage bullies. You can role play with the child about which action to take and how to handle various scenarios.
  • Assertiveness – not aggressiveness. Engaging with a bully in aggressive behavior is playing into the bully’s hands. Teach children how to stand up for their rights by keeping calm and stating what they want in a forceful (but not angry) manner.
  • Teach calming techniques. It can be infuriating to have to deal with bullies at school on a daily basis – but that’s just what some of our children face each day. Calming techniques such as taking deep breaths, learning to control aggressive tendencies and how to relax his or her muscles can help stabilize the situation.

Many kids have a problem with “tattling,” but there are times when seeking the assistance of an adult is the appropriate action. Attempt to get across to the children that safety comes first and if they’re threatened with physical (or emotional) harm, seek help fast.

Role-playing with the children is an excellent way to impart assertiveness skills they can use in a bullying situation.

We’ll leave you with a few other thoughts on how it might look to be more assertive for both children and adults:

  • Being assertive involves taking into consideration your own and other people’s rights, wishes, wants, needs and desires.
  • Assertiveness means encouraging others to be open and honest about their views, wishes and feelings so that both parties act appropriately.
  • Accepting responsibilities and being able to delegate to others.
  • Regularly expressing appreciation of others for what they have done or are doing.
    Being able to admit to mistakes and apologize.

 

Signs your Child May be Falling through the “Educational Crack” 

Fix the Educational Cracks with CalKids Learning AcademyMaking sure today’s children receive a quality education can be challenging no matter the child, but it’s especially difficult when you’re the parent of a kid with special needs.

Not having a clear diagnosis can make things even harder; you may feel like something’s not connecting for your child but don’t know what’s wrong.

After years of teaching, I have discovered certain signs to help identify a child who may require special help and would like to offer you some tips to help you feel more in control.

Take a look at these few tips and see if they might help you with your child. Additionally, at the end of this article you’ll see a short workshop we’re having to answer more of your questions while providing an evening of entertainment for your children.

  • If your child has trouble remembering recent events, they may have challenges with short term memory. Try reading them a short story or, if your child can read, have them read to you and see if they can remember the beginning, middle and ending of the story.
  • When your child is reading, notice if their eyes wander off the page – focus can be difficult for some children and even a clicking pen can distract them.

Does your school-age child write or see numbers backwards?

  • If this happens frequently, your child may need to be evaluated for dyslexia.

There may be different areas where children may require special help and, even with an IEP, you must meet certain standards to qualify for help.

To join us on September 26th 6-8 PM for a seminar on ways to help your child achieve greater success in school while the kids participate in a read-a-thon including pizza, stories, and fun RSVP by calling 661.600.6121 – thank you!

Help Your Kids Wish Upon that Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

How I wonder where you are

I wish I may, I wish I might

Have the wish I wish tonight…

 

Who doesn’t remember a time when they were young and wished upon a star? Perhaps you still walk out on a starry night and look at the heavens and find yourself filled with wonder and awe. Do you remember the hopes and expectations you had waiting for your wish to come true? Why not evoke these same feelings in your own children?

Kids can wish for so many different things these days. They may wish to visit Disney World or they may want to spend the summer camping. Or they may want something smaller such as a new toy.

Instead of simply wishing upon that star, you can encourage your children to turn this wish into a goal. Get them to write down this new goal and then together you can figure out how they can reach their goal.

Remember that it is never too early to teach your children the benefits of setting goals. If you set your own goal at the same time you can show them that it is acceptable to change and tweak your goal as you go along. It is very common for a goal to start as one thing and along the way it develops into something different.

The entire process of setting goals and reaching them can help your child in many different ways. This includes helping them improve their self-esteem; their self worth and helping them boost their confidence levels.

In addition to the above benefits, your child will learn that they can reap rewards from setting goals. This also helps them with developing a sense of purpose that will carry through with the rest of their lives.

Setting goals either by wishing on a star or writing them down will show your children that they can have certain things that they want. They will discover that the process can be fun and that dreams can and do come true.

Younger children will probably love the aspect of wishing upon a star while older kids will benefit more by writing them out and creating actionable steps. Just remember to help your children make this a fun process along the way. If the goal is too lofty you’ll need to help them break out the smaller steps that eventually lead to their larger goal.

Encourage older children to visualize themselves with what they are trying to achieve. They may want to be able to shoot lots of baskets without missing. Get them to visualize this as they close their eyes and see themselves shooting those baskets.

Another way to help your child reach their goal is by planning out their goal in more detail. This can be done by creating more of a step by step plan with them. This way they can see exactly what they have to do, and in what order, to achieve their goal.

During this process, your child will see that wishes do come true by using a plan of action. They will see that abstract desires and wishes can become a reality, especially when they decide to take action and do something about it.

Getting your children to set goals is an extremely powerful thing and something that will benefit them during their entire lifetime. They will learn how to make plans, set goals and carry them out. You are putting power into your child’s hands.

These techniques can be applied to many different situations including doing homework, learning a new skill and taking exams. Older children can plan out their steps for going to college and for choosing a career by making related goals.

Making wishes and setting goals can easily become a family affair. Get everyone involved this year and see if you can’t develop one strong goal or commitment for the entire family.

Teaching Acceptance of Imperfection to Your Child

We live in a world of striving too hard for perfection, and trying to obtain the unobtainable, whether it be riches, material possessions, or beauty. To look at any fashion magazine is to see this unrealistic ideal in action. This affects our children on a visceral level, and so we, as the people they look up to, need to do all we can to make them feel comfortable and confident in exactly who they are.

Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a law enforcement officer, or some other type of authority figure, little kids look up to you and admire you. Because of that, you have the rare opportunity to help these children in their search to figure out who they are. This comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of pride and satisfaction.

Any adult who has had an overzealous parent watching a baseball game or a dance recital we were involved in knows how stressful it can be. Our kids need less stress, not more, and we can help them by supporting them no matter what they look like, or how they perform. Kids want to do well for us – they’ve already placed that stress on themselves. We, in turn, need to support them in doing the best job or performance that they can while fostering in them that nothing and no one will ever be perfect.

Allowing kids to embrace imperfection is setting them up for winning in life. If the expectation is not utter perfection and flawlessness, this frees up their mental energy to have fun, do a great job, and learn a lot in the process. And that is what being a kid should be about – not a focus that is constantly on winning, achieving, and being the best.

There is a fine line between teaching kids to do the best they can in every situation they’re in, and making them feel as if they have to be the best in order to have worth and value. Much of this depends upon their perception, as well, and the type of personality they have.

As authority figures, we can help them become aware of their imperfections, and teach them how to see those as strengths instead of weaknesses. By teaching them the power of positive thinking, we set them up for a lifetime of seeing the silver lining and becoming happy, confident, and resilient adults.

Here is a short video by Brene Brown who is a research professor at the University of Houston. She spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is also the author of five #1 New York Timesbestsellers: The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring GreatlyRising StrongBraving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. Be sure to watch it to the end for more great insight into your relationship with your children.

Goal Setting for Your Child

While many adults set goals and New Year’s resolutions not many children attempt to do this. Why not help your children set goals or resolutions for the coming school year?

A number of teachers have asked their students to identify 3 to 5 goals to accomplish during the school year and there is no reason why your child cannot set a goal and this is a great habit for them to get into. Their goal could be something as simple as reading one book each month or learning how to print their name by their 4th birthday. Other goals could be to learn how to tie their shoes or even to help mom in the kitchen at dinner time.

Getting your children into the habit of setting goals and reaching them will help them in all areas of their lives. They will learn it is possible to set a goal and reach it and that this process can actually be a fun one.

You could always make your child’s goal relate to yours in some way or another. By doing this, everyone in the family can be working on similar things. For example, you may want to exercise more so why not involve your kids too? Help them decide what type of exercise or sport they would like to participate in. Family sports include things like skating, skiing, hiking, cycling, walking and running. Or you could all sign up for a self-defense class.

Once your child has decided on their new goal help them write it down and create a date for it to be in place. Try not to make the decision for them, give them ideas and suggestions but let them make the final choice.

Even very young children can set a goal for themselves, whether it is just cleaning their room or learning to get dressed without any help. Be available to give them help when it is needed, but allow them to try and figure out how to reach their own goals.

You should encourage your children to set a goal that can be achieved in a relatively short time frame. Getting them to learn how to tie up their own running shoes by spring would be a good example. Goal dates could be based around the changing of the seasons, based on their birthday or for the start of your annual family vacation.

Children will have a much shorter attention span so it is important that you are there to give them encouragement and support as needed. It may not be necessary for them to work on their goal every single day. Maybe putting some time aside on the weekend is sufficient.

Older children can have larger goals, possibly ones where they have to save money in order to get something they have dreamed of owning. Or you may offer to pay half if they save up the other half. This teaches children that they have to work to get things in life. Plus they will value their new item more if they had to spend some of their own cash for it!

Once your child reaches their goal let them know how proud you are of them. Share their success with other family members too. Then encourage them to set a new goal. Goals can be set around personal achievements, the desire for a new toy or wanting to join a new sports team or take up a new hobby.

If their goal is a little harder for them to achieve, help them write out a plan of smaller steps so that they can actually reach their goals. Remember to help them learn to enjoy their journey by making it fun.