Archive for March 2017 | Monthly archive page

What Does Humming, Whistling, and Blowing Out A Candle Have In Common

What Do Humming, Whistling, and Blowing Out A Candle Have In Common
To Calm Your Child?
By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

The throat is the communication center of your body. Your throat can be used in verbal and
non-verbal ways: verbally as in speech, non-verbally as in humming.

Humming enhances your brain power and calms the nerves. Humming deeply, will create
more resonance. And creating more resonance generates the intention behind it. For example, humming softly, melodically in the ear of your child helps calm her. Whereas, humming in staccato (the musical signature of short, quick beats) or deliberate popping sounds can uplift your child’s mood from distressed to delighted.

Both kinds of humming is a kind of sonic meditation in which you vibrate! Literally, you vibrate your skull and brain with your lips closed. Doing this for about three minutes will put you into an altered state of consciousness and will transmit this trace-like state to your child which is very calming for both of you. Webster’s dictionary defines hum as “to run smoothly”. I love that!

This process has been well researched in the field of sound healing and it is called entrainment.
Entrainment is being in rhythm with our child, activity, surroundings and with the Universe.
Grandmothers singing lullabies and indigenous peoples using chanting and drumming knew
the power of sound healing. We can bring back these ancient practices for modern times as
we incorporate techniques for raising the resilient child.

Besides having the calming effect, it is interesting to note, that the humming vibration actually
wakes up your brain cells and makes you receptive to ideas and subconscious information. So if you want to tune up your brain, hum to yourself.

When you are attuned to your surroundings, you are able to pay attention to the vibrational nature of all life.

Let’s remember, in my last post, about the little 5 year old girl who said: “Mommy, I can’t catch
my breath! And mother responded in fear with “Do we need a trip to the emergency room?”

Now, what if, instead, the mother was able to use and respond with “spontaneous availability”.
The method my mentor, Tom Carpenter, referred to as moment-by-moment awareness to be available yet spontaneous.

Through this method, you are teaching yourself, first and foremost, how to be BOTH spontaneous and available. You do this by recognizing the fact that you can generate emotion
by choice.

Always begin by taking a few deep breaths before saying any words. Model this for your child
as the essential method of first aide.

Teach your child to connect with you for the purpose of calming down together.
We know from neuroscience when you exhale, as in blowing out a candle, the area of the brain
called the medulla oblongata triggers the “Relaxation Response” a process developed by Harvard cardiologist, Herbert Benson, MD. who wrote the New York Times best selling book by the same name. A must read if you want to be convinced of the beneficial effects for adults and children. I know how responsive adults were from my work as research assistant in Dr. Benson’s Mind/Body Clinic and positive results from my pediatric patients while at Boston Children’s Hospital with the gravely ill children in my charge.

Especially if your child is in a panic, you must use a strong signal to “reset” her. I do this by picking up my child, if she is small sitting her on my lap- if older, taking her by the hand to sit on the sofa. I have used my whistle or humming softly in her ear. Even more effective, is to place your child’s cheek against your mouth as if to kiss her but hum in staccato style “ma, ma, ma, ma, ma.” This sound is the first sound a child utters and causing immediate attentiveness.

Now, if it is possible setting up a calming space in your home ahead of time where you’ve placed a candle, is preferable. Light the candle and ask your child to blow it out. Then say, “Do it again, take a deep breath and blow out the candle!” Most children like this method because it has a positive association of blowing out candles on a birthday cake. I have also used blowing bubbles, especially effective outside.

This simple out breath, activates the brain and heart to bring about the relaxation response—
isn’t that amazing? Yes, and helpful for children in distress. Now let’s add some affirmations
you can say to yourself or with your child to change the atmosphere from upset to calm, from fear to love.

Looking her in the eyes say: “You’re ok, you can calm yourself.” Breathe.

Affirmations for Mother and Child

I am calm. You are calm.
I am safe. You are safe.
I am peaceful. You are peaceful.
I am love. You are love.
All is well.
And so it is.

Bring your intonation down as if to say “believe me!” And she will be reassured.

Remember, your children are not listening to you; they are feeling you!

Self-Esteem – Does Your Child Have It?

And Why Gold Stars, Stickers & Bribes Do Not Work!
By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

Do you believe your child will become a leader because she makes straight A’s on her report card? Do you think a shopping spree at the Mall or date at the nail salon spa will improve her self-concept?

These and other questions came to my mind when I recently counseled parents whose 7th grade daughter compelled them to reward her for good grades. They told me each of them told their daughter how proud they were but also decided to award her ten dollars for each A; she earned five out of six subjects.

I ask you, do you think rewards will motivate your child toward such attributes as happiness,
pride and self-confidence? How do we cultivate prosocial behavior helping our child develop virtues of kindness, generosity and excellence toward themselves and others? Behaviors that foster the idea: there is value in aiming for the greater good of all concerned as opposed to self-serving, ego-centric behavior?
Currently the trend is more toward: “what’s in it for me?” mentality.

Do you notice the more you bribe your child, the more demanding, inflexible and intolerable she
gets?

I believe only someone who has a strong sense of self can lead others. A leader knows the greater good of the whole.
A leader has clarity and holds that clear vision in front of the group. A leader motivates others to work together as a “unit”, a team, a family. A leader has the ability to redirect the team when necessary in order to stay on course.
A leader has qualities of self-confidence, full self-expression and competence. Most important, a leader is capable of balance between esteem and humility.

The reason gold stars, stickers and bribes do not work is because these are based on extrinsic measures to motivate a child rather than motivating intrinsically from an inner drive. Extrinsic rewards depend on outside forces. Parents and teachers rule and hold the standard of conduct rather than intrinsic reward which inspires conduct for its own sake. This gives the individual a feeling of pride because he feels good about himself.

Does your child feel good about herself? How do you know? How do you keep that feeling going as your child meets greater and greater challenges?

To answer these questions, let’s get back to our 7th grader who received ten dollars per “A” on her report card. Don’t you know, she was thrilled! Then the next day, realizing she had a test in French which she only rated a “B” average, she decided to cut class in dance, put in more study time in order to ace her French test.

Am I the only stickler here or can you also see there’s something wrong with this way of thinking? You trade off one bad habit for another when you bribe your child to get an “A” at all costs. In fact, you are creating loss somewhere else. In this case, it’s a lack of respect for the commitment to the dance class and poor time management because of distorted priorities,
judgement is off which leads to dysfunctional behaviors.

Am I being too harsh? I don’t think so, the most powerful learning mechanism is consequences. There is a cause and effect to everything in life. It’s one of the laws of the Universe, called karma. Karma acts like a boomerang. What you put out will come back, so watch your back!

A good way to teach your child this principle is to take your child outdoors to your backyard, throw the boomerang at him and let him see it circle back to the thrower. Now give him a turn.
Amazing thing, really. I had a friend who’d go into schools with his “Boomerang Program” to
illustrate this very principle; his programs were quite popular.

Doing something for its own sake can be the reward when fostered early in childhood. I remember the story my husband told me about his boyhood family vacation. His father decided
to drive cross-country to visit the National Parks of America. Six kids and two adults piled into “Woody,” their station wagon; thrilled to travel for five summer weeks! He described the scene to me: My father would pull into a camp grounds and park the car. Dad never gave orders, he didn’t say a word. My brothers and I appointed ourselves in charge of pitching the tent while my sisters brought out the food, pots and pans and sleeping bags. Everyone seemed clear how they were to contribute to the
task at hand and we just did-happily-what had to be done!

Recently I had lunch with a prep school classmate. She described her situation with her son. She and her husband decided to enroll Tyler (not his real name) in private school for fourth grade because he was not being academically challenged in the public school. When they made the switch, Tyler rebelled. One night during the first week of being in his new school, his mother said she heard him sobbing from his bedroom. This distressed her deeply. So she decided to allow him to go back to his old school for a day to visit his buddies and check out for himself what he was missing. To her surprise, Tyler could feel the difference being with his old friends and it wasn’t the same as the year before. He said to his folks, he realized the new school was better for him and more challenging. Basically, Tyler had an inner instinct that helped him figure out for himself that private school was a good place for him. He made the adjustment and thrived there.

Both of these stories illustrate a young person’s intrinsic motivation.

Whatever your religious tradition may be, invoking a spiritual dimension (expressed as “God,” the “divine,” or simply “love” or “caring” or “goodness”) can be a powerful way of helping a child find a deeper appreciation of himself and others. For me, having been raised in the Catholic tradition, this was put in terms of “God” and the divine — but you can adapt this to whatever your own beliefs or traditions are.

“We all have the extraordinary encoded within us waiting to be released,” says Jean Houston
one of the most influential thought leaders of our times.
In some form and in your own way, remind your child that all the energy, all the power, all the wisdom of the Universe is inside you right now, you are made in the likeness of the Creator. Claim your spiritual ID.

I remember being told God is like the ocean, you are a spoonful of that “God-ness”
that “goodness.”

The first key to embracing ourselves as divine is through giving. St. Frances said “It is in giving that we receive.” To give: attention, a love note, a smile, a beautiful flower is a gesture of just connecting to the other person to be kind and caring. This is a lesson many kindergarden
children learn through the model set by a parent or teacher.

Self-esteem is the awareness of our innate goodness. It is present when a youngster feels good about himself. I foster self-esteem by helping children to see the impact of their kindness or
of sharing by bringing their attention to the face of the other child who they gave to.
I would say, “Johnny, that was very thoughtful of you to give a cookie to Mary. Look at her
face, is she smiling? “
Johnny says, Yes!”
I say, “And how do you think that made her feel?
Johnny says, “Happy!”
I say, “And how does it make you feel to know you shared your cookies with her?
Johnny says, “Good.”
I say, “Yes, you are a caring person.”

SUMMARY OF KEYS TO BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM
1.Catch your child in the act of being caring and sharing and you will get more of that behavior.
Slow down the action by deliberately bringing attention of the one who gave, to the expression
of joy on the face of the other. This is an emotionally intelligent way of building your child’s self-esteem. Self-concept grows out of the positive and negative experiences in your child’s life;
so be on the look out for the positive ones and amplify the influence these experiences have
by making sure your child “sees and feels” good about himself in the process.

2 The second key to building self-esteem is found when we model how to take our attention off our own problems and worries and focus, instead, on what we can do for someone else. The
simple shift in thinking about “the other” – our brother, our sister, allows the child to lose track of
circumstance and create an act of kindness and caring for it’s own sake. An act of caring done without any expectation of getting something in return.

3.Prompt your child by having a short conversation about ideas that would help the other
member of the family or would offer an expression of joy and love for them. When you take the time to do this, you help your child truly know their own identity and significance.

4.Tell your child about the day or night they were born. Children love to here about the excitement of their birth. Use storybooks like: “Knots On A Counting Rope” by Bill Martin, Jr. and
“On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman.

5. Tell you child how you named him and why. This kind of personal information gives your child
awareness of his identity and significance. Read this bedtime story: “The Incredible You” by Wayne Dyer.

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