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Your Attention is Your Biggest Reward.

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Dear Parents,

Your attention is one of the biggest “payoffs” you can give to your children for their behaviour. This is both good and bad. When children behave in appropriate ways, we sometimes give them attention, and the attention is a reward that causes them behave that way more often. When children behave inappropriately, we are more likely to pay attention to them, and we do this with our words, touch, time, and emotions. This often takes the form of correcting, scolding, nagging, having logical discussions, arguing, questioning, threatening, etc.

Unfortunately, the research in human behaviour clearly shows that this attention is reinforcing or rewarding the very behaviour we want to eliminate. Since parents are about 4 to 5 times more likely to respond to an inappropriate behavior than to an appropriate behaviour, we often get in the trap of rewarding and building the very behaviors that annoy and bug us so much.

One great skill for dealing with inappropriate behavior is to give your attention to another child until the first child starts behaving appropriately. A mom I was working with told me that as she arrived home from work, she declared to her 7 and 9 year old kids, “Hey kids, lets go to the mall tonight and do some Christmas shopping. As soon as you get your homework done, we can go.” The 9 year old piped back, “I’m not doing my homework. I hate homework!” Calmly, the mom said, “Well, son, that is up to you, but you will have to deal with your teachers.”

She then turned to her 7 year old and said, “What is your homework tonight?” The 7 year old pulled out her books and mom talked to her and watched her start her homework.” In a few minutes, she noticed that the 9 year old had started his homework at the other end of the kitchen table. She walked over, patted the boy on his shoulder and said, “Thanks for getting started on your homework.”

What the mom did was to withhold her attention to the inappropriate behaviour of refusing to start homework. She could have had a long discussion about the importance of a good education, or tried to coax the 9 year old into doing his homework. She could have raised her voice and demanded that he start, or she could have done any of a number of other responses that would have given more of her words, touch, time and emotion to the inappropriate behaviour. Although any of these may have gotten the child to start his homework, it would have been rewarding and building the “complaining about homework” behaviour she disliked.

Also note that once the 9 year old started the appropriate behaviour, the mom walked over and acknowledged the behavior without any mention of the inappropriate behaviour. This is very important in the long run as it rewards and builds the appropriate behaviour.

One important note for teenagers is that you must be very subtle.
If a 14 year old complains about doing homework, and you walk over to the 11 year old and tell the child how much you appreciate him/her doing the homework, the 14 year old may just yell, “Hey, I hear you. I know who you are really talking to. If you want to talk to me about homework, talk to me and not him!”

Ignoring junk behaviour (behaviour that does not hurt, damage, ordestroy) can be one of your best parenting tools. Try it, you will be amazed. If you have some questions about how to apply this skill, or have a good story to share, please give me a call or send me an email.

I would love to hear from you, and there is no charge ;-)

Happy Parenting!

Love,

Novita Tandry
Educational Psychologist
Tumble Tots & Leaps and Bounds Indonesia

Why Do Families Need Rituals

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Dear Parents,

Why do families need rituals?

What’s a ritual? It’s a routine with meaning. Children love ritual. Repetition, the comfort of belonging, the sense of wonder, magic, and celebration — all create a bonding experience that nurtures both kids and parents. Rituals hold families together.

Why do we need rituals? It’s primal. They help us move emotionally from one place to another; they ease pain, acknowledge growth, and create connection.

Rituals are invaluable to families, as most parents discover. Daily rituals like bedtime stories and goodbye hugs make separations easier and provide comfort and security. Traditions like taking a picture on the front steps on the first day of school and letting kids stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve help children integrate the changes of the year. Rituals like Idul Fitri, Christmas Eve mass communicate values in a visceral way.

In a secular culture, many parents who don’t relate to organized religion find that rituals and traditions give the sense of meaning and anchoring they seek. All rituals reinforce values and create connection.

Studies show that happy families not only have many treasured traditions, they constantly evolve new ones that help them find their way through the inevitable changes of growing up, as well as create warm bonds and a sense of security.

“So how do we start traditions?”

Your family already has its own traditions, from Sunday morning pancakes to observing holidays in a certain way. The way you celebrate birthdays, mark the passing of pet or observe a special day, the way you say goodbye to each other every morning or shop for clothes each school year; all are the stuff of which memories are made.

Have a blessed & happy weekend!

Happy Parenting! @>–
The Hardest Job You Will Ever Love

Love,

Novita Tandry
Educational Psychologist
Tumble Tots & Leaps and Bounds
Indonesia

The Greatest Gift

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Dear fellow friends,

The greatest give you can give yourself is yourself — filled with self-love. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time giving this gift and are more concerned with giving others love than they are in giving it to themselves. That’s backwards!

Self-love fees great! Loving yourself and who you are creates a satisfying feeling of contentment. Instead of fighting with yourself, beating yourself up or being hard on yourself, you accept yourself in your own imperfect skin. Romantic love feels great but being able to give love to you all the time trumps that!

When I began to love me, I also began to work out in the gym when I was in the middle school, run in the park, take vitamins and supplements, and be more vigilant about what I eat. Loving yourself makes you want to take good care of the one body you have. Doing whatever you can to improve and maintain your health says, “I love me!”
Happy loving yourself!

Happy Parenting!
The Hardest Job You Will Ever Love

Love,

Novita Tandry
Educational Psychologist
Tumble Tots & Leaps and Bounds
I n d o n e s i a
www.novitatandry.com

Encourage a Positive Sense.

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Dear Parents,

The best way to promote self regulation in children is to encourage a positive sense of well being. When children have a positive sense of well being, they are healthier both mentally and physically. The also do better in school, have better test scores, and feel happier than their peers who do not have a positive sense of well being.

Helping your children have a positive sense of well being can be accomplished through using a positive parenting approach with your children. There are several things you can do that will promote well being:

• Empower your children. Teach your children to be responsible and accountable by allowing them to make choices independently. This can occur from a very young age. By allowing your children to make decisions and control their lives even in small ways, they will learn to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions.

• Believe in your children. Communicate with your children and tell them that you believe they are capable of doing whatever they dream of doing. Even if it is not something you envision for their future, by allowing them to envision success in doing what they dream, they will develop a stronger sense of self and be more likely to believe in their own capabilities as well.

• Allow your children to be individuals. Instead of encouraging your children to live without questioning in school, in politics, in life encourage them to think for themselves, learn to express and articulate their own opinions. By valuing your children input and thoughts, you teach them to value their ability to contribute positively to their world.

Good luck!
Happy Parenting!

Love,

Novita Tandry
Educational Psychologist
Tumble Tots & Leaps and Bounds
I n d o n e s i a

Genuine Appreciation

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Dear Fellow Parents,

Genuine appreciation involves honouring your kids for what they are and where they are at. It involves being aware of how unique and wonderful they are. Its recognition of their self without comparison.

Showing appreciation is easier in the form of gratitude. To praise your kids is one way of doing that. You can also do that by showing recognition like a little thank yous or humility.

Another way of showing appreciation is through respect which involves your care, concern, fair treatment and courtesy. This opens up a whole array of ways you can show your children that they are special and you love them:

little thank yous spoken or written,
appreciating hugs,
recognising looks,
little things that show you think of them, …

Thank God It’s Friday! Splendid Friday.

Happy Parenting!

Love,

Novita Tandry
Educational Psychologist
Tumble Tots and Leaps & Bounds
I n d o n e s i a

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