Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Parenting a Teenager Made Easier in 5 Steps

Parenting a teenager can be a challenge and require a lot of skill and energy. However, there are a few tips that can help make it a lot easier. 

parenting, teen, rules, parent, child

Step 1: Be positive about your expectations.

Studies show that people often perform and act according to what is expected of them. If little is expected, little will be achieved. This is known as the Pygmalion effect, and it has been seen with the expectations a parent has of a child. 

If you expect that your teenager is going to fail in school, for example, this increases the likelihood that they will fail. However, thinking the opposite can have a positive effect. It's important not to have expectations that are too overwhelming (become the President) or too specific (my son is going to be a quarterback), because expectations become limiting, but rather to have positive expectations based on the teen's interests, skills and personality. 

Step 2: Use rewards, not punishments.

It has been shown that punishments have a varying effect on discouraging a negative behavior, but rewards are guaranteed to work to encourage positive behavior. Rewards don't have to be material, as many times sincere praise will work very well to encourage the teen. 

Usually, with teenagers, parents tend to focus on the negative behaviors, sometimes taking the good things for granted. This actually serves to perpetuate the negative behaviors more. However, shifting the focus and being generous with praise can help you achieve better results.

Step 3: Adjust limits

Teenagers need different limits than children, and what is more, they need limits that are adjusted as they grow up. However, it often happens that parents don't revise the limits until a serious fight happens or something else equally out of the ordinary occurs. To prevent this, it's a good idea to revise limits consistently to maintain a balance between the teen's freedom and responsibility. 

Step 4: Remain calm

Teens are dramatic, as their emotional experiences are often extreme. They say they “hate” their parents, which is something no parent wants to hear. However, in the face of these emotions that the teen yet can't control, it's very important to remain calm and be there for them, as these outbursts usually don't reflect actual hatred, but pain and anger that the teen doesn't know how to handle yet. 

Step 5: Keep communications channels open

While the teen needs more freedom, they still need guidance and help. It's very important that they can feel as if they can receive it in their own home with their family. Teenagers need to be able to come to their parents with different problems and situations, so they shouldn't feel like they would receive only blame or anger. Rather, they need to feel that they will be supported. For this, it's important to reinforce these ideas through words and actions.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

You Must Be Patient With Yourself

I was recently told that I need to be 
more patient with myself. 

growth, meaning, meditation

The idea of "having patience" is something that most people desire to have in their lives. Simply put, it just makes things easier. We believe that there are ways to be "taught" how to be patient and that you can be good or bad at it as well. One thing that most people must know about patience is that it needs to begin by focusing on having patience with yourself.

Recently, I have been getting more involved with meditation. Between the science behind it and the personal benefits, it really is a valuable tool to have in your life, but with all great things comes a price tag and in this case, it is patience. The patience is not only found within the amount of time you meditate for but also with the thoughts that flow through your mind during that time. 

Our minds are very active. Inner dialogue is constantly up and running, seemingly impossible to turn off. Not only is this normal, but it is actually okay. Patience includes acceptance. An acceptance that we are imperfect and our minds are active creatures. 

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood" 
~ Stephen Covey, Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This quote could having multiple meanings, depending on the individual reading it. For me, it highlights the importance in the order of operation while trying to experience personal growth. First, seek to understand yourself. Second, let others into your wonderful world. Having patience with yourself will change the way you communicate with other people, create less stress in your life, change your perspective on some of life's most important pieces, and ultimately make you feel happier with who you are. That is life's real adventure. 

Patience is not just a concept 
that can be "taught". 
It must be lived.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Don't Risk Burning Out

When most people think about being productive, they think of the number of hours worked. Flipping that mindset may actually have a bigger impact on you and your productivity levels.

What does this mean? Focus on your breaks, mental replenishing, and refueling.

Here are 10 ways, featured in Entrepreneur Magazine to improve you mental refueling during the work day:

    1. Take Multiple Small Breaks: Schedule two 10-15 minute breaks in the morning and 
    two 10-15 breaks in the afternoon. Use this to break up a sometimes monotonous day. Research shows that more focused smaller chunks of work with multiple breaks yields more productive time.

    2. Actually Enjoy Your Lunch: Don't settle of a "working lunch". Go outside or just change the scenery while you enjoy your food. The change in scenery redirects your thoughts to less work-related topics.

    3. JUST THINK: Use 10-15 out of your day (mornings are nice) to just reflect on your life. How are you feeling? What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? 

    4. Get a life!: You schedule your appointments with other people, why not schedule them with yourself? Make sure you have a calendar designated for your social life and doing things you enjoy.

    5. Take up a new hobby: New hobbies can create new brain patterns, including getting you out of auto-pilot at work. Take up something you find fulfillment in and stick with it. 

    6. Get your booty moving: More blood flow to the brain equals better brain power! Get your booty moving at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity to experience all of the benefits.

    7. Get away: A vacation can be tough for a lot of people to swing but time wise and financially speaking. When possible take mini-vacations of the weekends. Rent a cabin and just relax, or go somewhere more active, your choice. 

    8. ZZZ:
     We all know how important sleeping is and it may be even more important than you think. Catch 7-9 hours of sleep to wake up fully energized. 

    9. Take some of the load off: Learn to accept help from others! Trust in yourself and the other person can help facilitate this, but delegating work related tasks to take the load off is important to your mental state and how effective you are as a leader in the work place.     

    10. Smell the roses: Get outside! Studies show that being outside has a positive impact on your mental state and results in higher engagement with your work following your short walk in the park.

    Try all 10 or just one at a time, it is all up to you. One thing is for sure, we could all benefit from these pieces of advice.