A Frog in a Pot Will Boil

You may have heard the factoid about boiling a frog (please don’t try this at home)…

…if you drop a frog into boiling water it will immediately jump out of the pot.  But if you put a frog into a pot of water and slowly raise the temperature it will sit there until it’s cooked.

Why does this work?  The consistency of the water temperature slowly rising makes the frog adapt to its situation

The same is true with children. If we set consistent behavioral limits the child will adapt and maintain these rules.  It’s when parents waiver or give in that the rules of the household become blurred and the child begins to exhibit poor behavior – either out of frustration, anger, confusion or a little bit of all three.

Consistency is the Key

Consistency makes it easier for kids to learn how far they can go.  Testing boundaries is a natural part of maturing, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in.

The consistency ”tool’ is critical to any parenting plan.  Setting limits that are followed without drama and repeated battles is the glue that makes good behavior stick. Without consistency your “little frog” will quickly jump out of the proverbial pot and continue to ignore and disregard any further limits.  Once these learned-behaviors take hold they are very difficult to eradicate.

A 1 minute and 14 seconds video clip about How to Raise a Creative Child : Encouraging a Child’s Art Work at ExpertVillage.

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By Carol M. Edwards

Creativity and curiosity are innate qualities in children. From the first moments of life, babies are continually observing, feeling, tasting, listening and testing their environment. As they grow into toddlers and children, each experience and interaction is new and exciting. Enthusiasm to try new things is high. Their views are unbiased and fresh. Their perspectives come without judgments or prejudices. Their ceiling of creativity and flexibility in thinking has yet to be set. Nurturing these innate abilities from an early age will set your child up for a lifetime of creative and imaginative thinking.

Share your child’s joy and enthusiasm.

Children learn by modeling the actions and reactions of others. In the first couple years of a child’s life, adults tend to share the child’s exhilaration of discovery to a greater degree. When an animated two-year-old runs up, bursting with excitement, and points to a butterfly, as adults, our reaction generally matches their tone. “Oh, a butterfly! It is so pretty! Let’s follow it.” As children mature, our reaction tends to be more subdued. “Yup, I see the butterfly.” We might not even look up from what we are doing when we respond. Following our example, the child will learn that what they are discovering is not interesting or important. Of course, you are not going to respond in the same manner to a two-year-old as you would an eight-year-old and a fifteen-year-old. It is your level of interest, your willingness to stop what you are doing and turn your attention to the child that makes the difference.

Allow time for creativity and imagination.

Like any activity, planning and commitment is essential to success. Make creative activities part of your routine. If you can start when a child is young, routine activities are easier to adapt to. For older children, time may be a need for them to adjust to your change in their current routine or introduction of new activities. Start slowly, adding arts and craft or activities that require creativity and imagination. In addition, remember that creativity and imagination can come at the spur of a moment. Your child does not need every minute of their day planned. Unrestricted and unplanned play time is an important part of every child’s day.

Turn it off.

Technology rules out lives. Television, computers, mobile phone and games are fun and great in moderation yet leave little to the imagination. Make time for creativity and imagination. Start periods of time in your house where no electronics are allowed. Your child may resist at first, even refuse, but eventually the child will fill that time with games and activities. Model your commitment by joining your child in these electronic “black-outs” and join in their fun.

Do not be a dictator.

In the past, I have been guilty of trying to control every aspect of an activity. Statements such as, “We are all going to sit here until this activity is done so quit your whining,” or “Do it this way,” does so little for the creative process. Plan activities and projects with your children and mix it up. Avoid elaborate, drawn out activities. Exploring nature in your backyard or making goofy faces on paper plates are easy and quick activities that will fit in between required activities such as dinner, homework and sports. Allow the child to stop when they have had enough.

Pay attention to developmental age.

The attention span of a two-year-old is about ten minutes or less. Planning a thirty minute activity will fail. Your child has their own level of ability to focus. One issue with the attention span of children today is that it is getting shorter than children in the past. Pay attention to the length of your child’s attention span. With each activity or project, encourage the child to stay a minute longer. Even if they choose not to stay, over time their span will increase. Many times, if you continue the activity, your child will return and join you ready to create again.

Let go of perfection.

The final result is less important than the process. You may have a project you printed from the internet, intent on making it as directed, and your child strays from those directions. Allow their flexibility and creativity. Many times I have sat with my daughter for a craft project and she has suddenly says, “I have a good idea,” and goes her own way. This is the creative process in action. Let go of the control and see where that creative process takes them. Bite your lip when you see your child struggling and want to intervene. Sit back and let them experience the frustration and the reward of their creations.

Talk, talk, talk.

Enrich the creative process by talking to your child and yourself. Yes, talk out loud to yourself. Allow your child to hear the thought process going through your head as you work on an activity or project. Talk out problems you are trying to solve. Ask for your child’s input in your process. Encourage them to ask questions. Name objects, shapes and colors. Ask your child what they are doing, why they chose what they did and how they did it that way. When talking with your child avoid “baby talk.” Talk as you would in adult normal conversation. Don’t assume the child will not understand something they ask about. Many times when children ask questions, adults will answer children by saying, “You wouldn’t understand.” Let them decide if they understand or not.

Vary your child’s activities and experiences.

Expose your children to a variety of adventures, situations, and materials. Many activities require creativity and imagination however the same activity over and over deprives your child of the endless array of enriching experiences. Are you at a loss about what to do? Check out the internet, your local library, the events page of the newspaper, your child’s school and the resource at the end of this article.

Creativity and Imagination are not skills you teach your child however they are skills you can nurture and strengthen. It is a situation of “use it or lose it.” Think about the development of your child’s creativity and imagination as you do their physical development. Feed them and they will flourish.

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A 3 minutes and 28 seconds video clip about The Art of Parenting – Discipline.

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By Helen R Williams

For many parents, the words parenting discipline have very negative connotations. There is the association with their own childhood and the often unpleasant memories that thinking of discipline raises. Then there is the association of the word discipline with ideas around corporal punishment, with spanking, hitting and hurting children.

Some parents believe that the words parenting discipline and their idea of raising children should not be mentioned in the same sentence. To them it feels harsh and sounds punitive. They would instead like to think about theories of loving rewards, kind words and respectful boundaries.

Parenting discipline, for me, is about teaching children ways to grow that enable them to be safe, have self respect, self control, and empathy for others.

Our children need us to show them how, and they learn by modeling their own behaviour on ours.

For me, good discipline is about being firm, clear and consistent as parents – about being definite, kind and respectful – about showing, teaching and enabling our children.

I do not believe in harsh, punitive or punishing methods of discipline. But I am a firm believer that all children need to have boundaries and limits, and they need us to put these limits in place for them.

I believe that at the heart of good parenting discipline are explanations, conversations, teaching and consequences.

Teaching through Understanding

From an early age our children want and need our approval. They need to know that they are loved, cherished and wanted. They really do not like to be out of sorts with us and would always rather feel closely attached.

In other words they want to do what is right in order to have our constant approval. They want to know how to do the right thing and they need us to teach them the way to go about this.

By explaining and helping them to understand, our children can learn how to do the right thing.

This method of discipline works well when a regular place in the house is used as the ‘teaching and explaining’ place. Maybe you will choose to sit in the same place in the living room each time you explain what behaviour is required. I tended to sit my children up on a high bar stool at the kitchen bench so I could maintain good eye contact with them.

Ask your child to tell you what happened.

“I dropped food on the carpet”.

Then ask why do you think that happened?

“I was watching television”

What could you do differently next time?

“Sit at the table”.

How can we fix this?

“I can clean it up”.

Right, so please do that now.

Even very young children can learn better if there is a consequence for their behaviour. In this case, having to clean up and turning off the television was the consequence.

There is no punishment going on here, just natural consequences for their actions. This all takes time, attention and energy and requires that you are in a calm and considerate place with your child. If the behaviour is far worse than just spilling food, for instance, you may need to request time out until you calm down.

Your teaching conversation needs to be age appropriate and adjusted to your children’s ability. The beauty of this method is that children learn how to think about their behaviour, its consequences effects on others, and how to make changes and choices.

Parenting Discipline through Boundaries and Limits

Children learn best when rules are simply and clearly stated. As they grow and develop, you can allow your children to set their own limits and to decide what good boundaries are by constantly increasing their opportunities for making their own decisions.

As you watch children’s developing sense of responsibility, it is clear that they thrive on rules and limits. Listen to any group of children playing and it becomes clear that they set the rules for their games clearly and with positive intent. They like to know what is expected and how to go about it.

Setting simple limits and defining them in a positive way helps children to become good decision makers.

For instance, instead of saying, “Do up your seat belt”, try explaining that the car doesn’t move until all seat belts are done up! Instead of saying, “Don’t drop your food on the carpet”, try saying, we all eat best when sitting up to the table.

Setting boundaries isn’t about policing your children, it’s about teaching them to respect the rights and needs of others as well as themselves.

Parenting Discipline through Consequences

Older children learn quickly if they experience the consequences of their negative behaviour. They can quickly understand about cause and effect and learn how to have a sense of responsibility.

Experiencing consequences also helps children to become more empathetic and aware of their surroundings. All our actions have an impact somehow or other in the world and children who grow up knowing this become more considerate, kind hearted and compassionate.

I believe that experiencing the consequences of their own negative choices teaches children more quickly than any other ‘disciplining’ method. Children who are taught how to think, how to consider others, and how to take responsibility for their own actions become motivated, intuitive spontaneous and creative human beings.

They become thirsty for knowledge, develop a strong sense of personal responsibility and learn to be tolerant, warm and caring individuals.

Natural, reasonable consequences are a child’s best teacher. For instance, if you don’t wear a jacket you get cold and wet. If you forget your sports clothes you cannot take part. If you don’t pack your lunch you will be hungry. If you break or damage something through your carelessness, you must replace it.

Parenting discipline is about teaching your children with compassion and with respect to be the best they can – to think for themselves, to experience the consequences of their own actions and to take responsibility for their own behaviour.

The rewards are warm, empathetic, considerate, caring individuals who show awareness for themselves, their environment and for each other.

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A 5 minutes and 14 seconds video clip about Disability for Kids based on Behavioral Problems.

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