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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.

The Entry Point

By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

In my recent post, Go The Distance, I pointed out the importance of teaching ourselves and our children how to “stay with” a situation even when it feels hard, uncomfortable or boring. Some readers asked me how to begin.

Currently, many of us have been inadvertently filling our minds and hearts with the subtle energy of fear in all its forms- anxiety, pain, insecurity, anger, violence and the result is that we experience inner restlessness, unhappiness and become critical of ourselves and others.

The remedy is simple yet requires discipline and practice. A discipline to reverse the insanity of racing around like a nut to slowing down and resting in the moment! The true moment is the moment you connect with your awareness. The entry point: is your awareness that “I am aware.” The practice is your commitment to making the discipline a part of your everyday life. You do this so you can access dropping into the present moment when you need it most. Otherwise it remains illusive and inaccessible.

Slowing down seems so counter to the definition of success. Yet, “if in fact, the highest, most creative work is the work of consciousness, then in slowing down, Marianne Williamson, a thought leader, says, “we are not doing less, we are doing more…we are shifting from outer to inner.”

Rather than seeking approval or acceptance from our culture and peer pressure to determine who we are; we find our way though awareness. When we go within, in this way, we connect fully to our peaceful self. This is how we cultivate emotional maturity instead of blaming, worrying, judging and feeling frantic.

The key to establishing control is to spend a part of each day completely alone and enter the silence. Use the time to review your feelings and concerns; cultivate an attitude of non-attachment. You can accomplish this by the practice of paying attention to your thinking mind. This state of awareness is a way of being alert, yet you stay grounded. Holding this moment and this one, too. Slowing down everything from clock-time to your heart beats.

When you slow down to realize that the inner you is not your thinking mind. The inner you is the observer of your thoughts. You are actually learning how to watch your thoughts and feelings as they arise without getting caught in them.

Once you stop living in your thinking mind and start trusting the inner you, the peaceful you is a major turning point. The entry point is awareness. Close your eyes and say “I am aware.” Stay there. Use your determination, your intention to turn away from the day and bring your attention inward to your breathing. And breathe fully, slowing, naturally. When you do, you’ll notice that your peaceful self is always there even though you may go through much of your day out of touch with this peace. From your quiet mind, your intuition comes forward, your creativity comes forward.

Only through this entry point of awareness can you become ready. And when you are ready, you can take advantage of situations as they arise like the last few seconds of a football game. Because you’ve trained yourself to concentrate, focus and be aware. Perseverance allows you to hold on while the universe delivers the opportunity for a miracle—perhaps it’s a miracle catch!.

The Practice of Awareness Exercise:

Now, reread this article. Notice your reaction to this suggestion to reread this article slower than you did before, half the speed as before. Any thoughts come up, like “ I don’t have time”— “I have so much to do.” How can you be aware of your self when you are constantly future oriented- “I need to go here, I need to go there”… Slow yourself down enough that you still your mind. Slow down so that you have accessibility to the entry point of awareness. Discipline yourself to come into the present. Remember, the thinking mind always wants to keeps you busy, out there, far from your treasure within —inner peace.

The Time Travel Technique

Cultivate Healthy Happy Self-Esteem

The Time Travel Technique

By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

Have you ever heard or had someone say to you, with good intentions of course, how can you be so dumb as to…!”

Educational social psychologist, John Gottmans research on the impact of criticism reports that five positive to one negative criticism mars the individuals self-concept. In other words, it takes five times as many praises to one critical comment to restore a persons esteem. That is why the old saying which my mom often referred to is so true: you catch more flies with honey!

You can capture your childs heart with sweetness and honey words of praise using the following.The Time Travel Techniqueillustrates a clever way to anchor your childs attention in his/her innate positive personal aspects to leverage fostering feeling good about him/herself.

Self-love is essential to self-esteem. You can cultivate the capacity for your child to feel good about himself as he grows into his future-self. How? By helping your child name and know those traits about himself hes proud of and appreciates about himself. Listing the positive virtues acts like a propeller for healthy, positive self-concept. Consistency is key to the development of positive self-regard.

Heres how you can make it work. Start with those physical attributes your child was born with such as, the color of her hair, the dimples in her smile, the brightness of his eyes, etc. and name those attractive aspects after a bath or hair washing. The Time Travel Techniquebegins by bringing your childs attention to:

1.the PRESENT moment Oh, your hair looks so beautiful today, especially shiny after its washed!

2.Then travel to the PASTI remember when you were a little baby, the color of your hair in the sunlight brought out the beautiful color!

3.Next travel to the FUTUREAnd I know tomorrow when you brush your hair after a wash, it will glimmer and glow that special color!

Allow your voice to have a rhythm which your child can follow. Jumping back and forth in the fashion of jumping double-dutch. Notice you can use your voice to lead your child’s reasoning back to the past babyhood, then present, then future self and back again. Back and forth, all the while inserting “yes!” and “you see that?” and “yes!”

Lets try this technique to point out behaviors that reveal qualities you want to develop in your child. You can give your child the compliment that matches their capabilities and competence in this way.

1.Bring your childs attention to the PRESENT moment And you know, honey, that was so kind and caring of you to give your baby brother some of your toys to play with.

2.Then travel to the PAST And, yesterday, I noticed how you want good things for other family members and your friends too; like when you read Grandmas favorite book to her! Yes!”

3. Travel to the FUTURE And I know tomorrow, when someone needs your kindness, youll give them your caring attention by asking can I help you?’”

This script serves as a method to have your child envision or visualize a positive self- image. I call this phase-ology.It is the science of visualizing into the future using precise scripting or narrating.

When you help your child know his significance and identity, you cultivate a strong sense of self. By pointing out the behaviors that are life-long skills in managing his emotions, your child receives social and emotional education. Try this next one, its the most valuable capacity he can master.

1.Bring your childs attention to the PRESENT moment: Hey, Jerry, I noticed you calmed your-self. You calmed down using self-talk! I heard you say to yourself: ‘dont punch, stay calm.

2.Travel to the PAST When you were a baby in your crib, you could calm down by singing and humming to yourself, did you know that?

3.Travel to the FUTURE Yes, and I know tomorrow, youll remember to slow down, breathe and sing to yourself instead of hitting and throwing things. Yes, and thats because inside you, you have a special way of calming yourself naturally and automatically by humming and singing. Do you see that? Yes, that’s so wonderful, really, honey!

As parents and teachers, we can either “uplift” our children and others or tear downby our energy and the words we choose.

You can make a difference in the way your child feels about him/herself by putting FOCUS on the now, anchoring a knowingness of the self from the past, then bringing attention to the future-oriented behavior. Thats how you time travel with parental potency and positivity, instead of yelling, reprimanding or criticizing.

Remember the magic ratio is 5:1. It takes five positive comments to offset one negative comment. So be on the alert to catch your child in the act of doing something he/she can be proud of and remark on that, reinforce that good thing about your child and youll get good behavior. But more importantly, your child will grow a truly good feeling about him/herself and his capabilities. Look here This is the basis for healthy self-concept.

Go The Distance

or “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

Our home team, the New England Patriots, won Super Bowl 51-having the biggest comeback in Superbowl history. Yeah! After the game,Tom Brady was interviewed, having achieved his fourth Superbowl MVP (Most Valuable Player) award to which he replied, Football is a game of energy, motion and attitude.

Yes, and I say, life is also a game of energy, motion and attitude. (Keep that thought, well come back to it.)

Brady often referred to his teammates and coach Belichick as major contributors of his good fortune. He admitted, the team didnt play as well in the first half; the score was 3-28 in the Falcons favor. But in the locker room at half-time, something amazing happened because by the end of the game the Patriots against all odds and the clock running out, tied up the game 28-28 and for a Superbowl first, they went into over time and won the game 34-28, a SUPER FININH!

Do you think for one minute, the Patriots started feeling sorry for themselves during the game? No, because they were not through going the distance to the finish line. Great athletes train themselves body and mind to stay in the moment with focus and concentration. The Patriots are trained to be present, moment by moment. One play at at time.

We are enrolling others all the time- either to the dreams we hold or to our problems. Its intrinsic when we enroll to the possibility. We are using the law of attraction with our voice, vision and verve. Our voice because we say it, our vision because we see it and our verve because we believe it. This is the kind of unwavering combowere talking about – energy, motion and attitude. Do you have it, does your kid? And if not, how do you develop the qualities necessary to go the distance? In the old days, my parents called it stick to it-ive-ness!

I believe staying the course requires a mental discipline along with a physicality of health and stamina. Today, many children who have symptoms of stress overwhelm, lack the mindset and skill set to hold vision with passion and commitment. Both can be learned using good nutrition, exercise and stress management.

In my private practice I help children who are anxious and depressed learn new habits of thinking and behaving. The key factor lies in practicingtolerance for feelings of discomfort, such as worry, anger and pain, rather than medicating and numbing the feelings of discomfort. An inability to manage ones emotions wisely causes stress symptoms such as restlessness, lack of concentration and impulsivity. Prolonged stress without relief leads to physical illness. So it is important to raise awareness by providing relief using effective stress reduction methods.

The ability to get up, try again, hold the vision of your finish line is the distinction between those who have the mind set and skill set and those who dont. Awareness is a mind/body discipline. A discipline that only comes from a quiet mind, a mind cultivated by basic training of mindfulness meditation.

In the meditation itself you learn how to just sit, be still physically and emotionally by watching and breathing. Watching thoughts go by- just letting them be without judgement or trying to change them. Watching them drift by like a cloud in the sky. As you do, something happens. You start to feel an expansiveness, a freedom, a peace that cannot be disturbed even though you may do through the day unaware of this peace, it is always there.

The more you get in touch with your true self, your peaceful selfthe more old habits and limiting beliefs drop away. Your body/mind is an asset when you learn to take care of it and discover your treasure within.

Making Your Child’s Spirit Calm & Bright Over the Holidays

Guided Imagery Relaxation

with Fingerhold to Calm Your Child

By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

The holidays are exciting for children and adults alike, but they can also cause intense outbursts for children unable to manage their emotions. Also because children are so open, they are very  sensitive to picking up on the emotions of other children and adults in their environment around them. Everyone is stretched and stressed from the hectic atmosphere leading up to the holidays.

The following techniques may be helpful when your child is becoming overwhelmed and can help your child learn the valuable social-emotional behavior of calming down.

Guided Imagery Relaxation is a powerful form of mind/body medicine helping children help themselves be calm, reduce stress and negative strong emotions.

For over twenty years, I have been developing these techniques to assist children with conditions from anxiety to chronic illness. Guided imagery activates your child’s imagination using cadenced storytelling, music and breathing designed to create pictures in the mind that calm and settle the listener.

When you open your child’s mind to the power within themselves to regroup and return to balance, you awaken their inner energies of self-regulation, centering and positive self-talk. All three are necessary to gain mastery for emotional intelligence.

The fingerhold is a simple practice of holding each finger. You can choose the finger with the corresponding emotion that is of issue (see diagram). Or you can hold one finger at a time and complete a cycle of all five fingers. The thumb hold is for upset; the index finger for scared; the middle finger hold for mad; the ring finger for worried and the pinky finger for feeling bad.

The fingerhold has a self-soothing quality; it is one reason why children suck their thumbs or other fingers when they are upset. But more importantly, the technique is grounded in ancient healing traditions.

This technique is based on Eastern Medicine philosophy that believe we have life force energy that flows through our bodies, along pathways called meridians, from our internal organs out to our fingertips and toes. According to Eastern tradition, when we cannot move our emotions through, they get blocked. You and your child can unblock the stuck energy of emotion using the mind/body wisdom always available, ready to be tapped. 

Coupled together, guided imagery and the fingerhold techniques can help release the blocked energy and provide relief, especially with young children who are experiencing overwhelming or difficult feelings. Being able to actively do something provides your child with a sense of control which leads to feeling calm and centered.

You can use the Energy & Meaudio program with your child to calm down while practicing the finger hold.

The Guided Imagery Relaxation Journey from MindWorks for Children audio sample link is here at your fingertips!

http://drroxannedaleo.com/store/product/energy-me-relaxation/

For some children just choosing one finger and using that finger hold is effective. Otherwise, you can go through each finger one at a time. Hold each finger with the other hand for 30 seconds -1 minute for children (longer for adults 2-5 minutes for it to feel useful). Hold gently but firmly. You dont need to squeeze very hard, just enough to feel some pressure. You might even feel a pulsing as the energy moves through.

If you like use this text sample and insert the circumstance or situational stressor where I have indicated below.

The MindWorks for Children program called Energy & Me is about learning to tell your body how to use relaxing energy. Sometimes we may feel very full of energy. We may rush too much or bump into things. Or maybe we just need to calm down when we are mad or have bad feelings. It helps to learn how to slow down. (Add your childissue if different from the suggestions). Lets try right now, make up a picture in your mind, in your imagination! See yourself on your favorite soft chair or bed. Now breathe slowly and easily. Say: I am calming down. Hold your thumb. Breathe and say: I am calming down.

Say: I am calming down. Hold your index finger

Say: I am calming down. Hold your middle finger

Say: I am calming down. Hold your ring finger

Say: I am calming down. Hold your pinky finger

Slowing down our breath as we pay attention to it, can calm us.

Breathe and say: I can do it ! I can! I feel calm right now!

We are all energy beings. Our body is electric. Children pick up our vibe, so first calm yourself down before attending to your childs stress level. This will make all the difference is the success you achieve when helping your child use new techniques. With daily practice, your child will learn how to handle challenging situations constructively.

Be resilient! Be calm! Happy Holidays!

Special Added Feature: Energy & Me coloring page at:

http://drroxannedaleo.com/store/product-category/free-coloring-pages/

THANKSGIVING FOR EVERY MEAL

Thanksgiving for every meal because it’s a sacred interconnected event!

Let’s come together in praise and thanksgiving daily. Let’s demonstrate our appreciation for all there is, for all we are, connected to the web of life and each other.

When we do, we help our children acknowledge the realms of nature and spirit. In this way, they begin to recognize that in the daily breaking of bread, every meal we eat is a sacred interconnected event.

We are connected to the cycles of the moon, to the rain and shine, the root of the root, the farmer, the plants and the entire Universe in a mouthful!

This is what we honor and bless with all our hearts- right here, right now.

The Unmarked Trail

In today’s increasingly complex, and sometimes harried world, our children are more vulnerable to symptoms of stress. Feelings of anger, worry, nervousness, depression and loneliness can escalate for children who are unaware of how to manage stressful events. Both positive and negative life events can cause stress in the mind/body system. Children’s inability to know how to manage these types of emotions may be displayed in behaviors such as angry outbursts, impulsivity, aggressiveness, defiance and withdrawal. Disconnection from emotions may also be exhibited in physical symptoms such as headaches, changes in eating and sleeping patterns and lowered immune responses. This can be distressing for children at all ages and for the parents and teachers working with these children. Scientific findings in mind/body studies assure us

the body’s wisdom has a built-in mechanism for regaining clam and balance if we learn skills to elicit the relaxation response. But it seems the most common reaction to stress is to ignore the warning signs, missing the opportunity to restore well-being using natural methods. More importantly, parents must find within their own apparatus the spontaneous ability to parent with power.

Often, I am approached by parents of middle school students whose kids are expected to keep up with the accelerated pace of academic and social life. This pressure includes the preparation for standardized testing and excessive use, almost an addictive quality of connecting with peers through mobile devices. Ask your child to put away his phone and you would have thought you’d asked him to cut off a limb! The intense objection is so alarming, most parents are at loss for their authority in the moment and give up.

If parents themselves haven’t already rushed to get their kids on prescription drugs -thinking this will help; many more kids are smoking marijuana to decompress or buying medication from their peers to ease the chronic anxiety they feel.

What is happening to our kids? In this age of technology there is more dysfunction than function. Our culture is promoting numbing out.

I believe what is missing is the tolerance for discomfort, for “not knowing”. What do I mean by tolerance? I mean we are human beings having a human experience and part of that is having a range of emotions from happy to disappointment from frustration to anger from sadness to pain. All of our feelings there to be felt, appreciated and most importantly grow from. Often discomfort informs us of a need for change, readjustment and adaptability.

Do you notice your family atmosphere is more chaotic than calm, more frantic than fun?

What is missing is the ability to establish a feeling of inner strength, security, confidence and feeling good about yourself —no matter what is happening in life.

I believe what is essential is for parents to reclaim your power to parent, not by using a particular strategy but by recognizing the absolute potency of attachment, specifically “bonding” with your child. When you know how to strengthen the bond you have with your child, you draw him closer. You do this when you act as his compass point. And one of the easiest way to

develop this skill and bonding experience is to make time to be with him. To be present.

Discover together the pleasure of hiking the unmarked trail.

Turn off the cell phone and turn on your physicality with your child. Get outdoors-shoulder to shoulder, stay close, give of yourself, tell him your story as you walk in nature, breathe, feel the freedom, the expansiveness, the life force energy all around you! Allow the “not knowing” of where the trail will take you to become the way of being in the moment…moment by moment…allow the “not knowing” to connect you and keep you safe…allow the “not knowing” to let your child lean on you as a guide…

Here’s the secret sauce: Give your child something of you that he cannot get from his peers, devices, or drugs. Tellyour story, it is the most powerful thing that distinguishes you from everyone else!

Perhaps, you could take a picnic lunch, sit under a tree or by a waterway and tell your story.

A story of a time in your life when you felt anxious, scared, afraid and what you did to help yourself. Maybe it was that you took vigorous bike rides to cope or ran as fast as you could to blow off steam, wrote in a journal, painted, sculpted, took out hammer and nails and build something. Whatever it was, it is the most powerful form of connection you can use to restore the attachment relationship.

What is the quality of a parent “being present”? Presence has the quality of staying with; feeling with. When you can feel with your child, the feelings of discomfort as well as that of pleasure, you model “being present” to all emotions. You are actually holding a space inside your heart, not rushing to take away the pain, but instead, being able to give witness, support and reassurance in an energetic way of being with the pain, first and foremost. Rather than rushing to take action which pushes the pain away or denies it.

We always rush to take the pain from our child or avoid it in the first place.

We can only foster emotional intelligence by flexing the muscles of maturity to withstand unwanted emotions; to feel and accept them thereby developing inner strength. Discomfort allows us to stretch ourselves to make room for discomfort without pushing our feelings away or avoiding them altogether. Life is both pain and pleasure. It’s normal.

Be your child’s compass point, then point the compass itself true north and hand it to your child to navigate the way ahead. While he does, share your story of taking one step at a time in the direction of your dreams.

Tell about the importance of having inner vision, even though your trail is unmarked and there are no sign posts on the path.

Tell of the passion in your heart for your vision in such a way as to transmit the feelings of that vision successfully accomplished and seeing it done!

I know this communication is powerful; it ignites our imagination while listening to the story-teller. I know because my Dad could bring his young life to life every time he told me the story of how he fell in love with Mom. He was sixteen, she was fourteen years old, their dates were at he corner store for an ice cream or a stroll through a park. But always, they would share vision. Dad would do this by taking Mom by the hand and hiking up a mile high stairway in Edgewater, New Jersey overlooking the Hudson River and New York skyline. He’d sit next to Mom holding hands they would dream a dream of a better, more glorious life for themselves.—going to college, getting a degree to become a Certified Public Accountant, designing and building their own home, having children and a happy family. Against the odds and hard knocks; it all came true.

Power Your Response-Ability

The third key to stress-hardiness is response-ability. Instead of react, the stress-hardy person responds. It is not what happens to you, it is how you respond to it that effects you.

Did you know that when you perceive a threat whether physical or emotional, your body can produce chemical signals that trigger your stress response? When your body is in stress mode

without relief (which is like a car in overdrive) you wear your body out, developing symptoms such as headaches; upset stomach aches; muscle tightness in neck and shoulders; and problems with indigestion and sleep. Visualization and guided imagery are powerful techniques because the brain makes no distinction between real or imaged information. The pictures or movies of our mind are driving our physiology. Guided imagery is not a tool of self-deception; it is a tool of self-direction!

This is why it’s important to use your response-ability and save yourself from unnecessary stress symptoms. When you do, you are able to stay calm rather than feeling anxious, irritable, angry or sad.

You choose how to respond in a moment’s notice with the vigilance of a race car driver. When you react, you are not choosing deliberately. Response-ability requires seeing where your attention is in the moment and holding focused awareness. As a driver, you can see through your windshield the car crashing right in front of you. But in order to avoid crashing yourself, you just keep calm and clear. When you do, you are able to drive around the crash site.

Let’s practice using these resources and activities:

  1. Create an obstacle course in your backyard for your child to complete.

  2. Go biking with your child and pay attention for ways to take a detour and take them.

  3. Play pick-up sticks.

  4. Build routines designed to foster response-ability. Model for your child ways you respond with awareness. For example, when you and your child have a broken connection by a misunderstanding or an argument, instead of impulsively reacting with anger or negative emotions, demonstrate a heart-felt way to rebuild the bridge of communication by beginning a conversation like this: “I am determined to see things differently; let’s look at this again.”

  5. When you begin determined to see things differently, you are asking yourself to think differently about any situation that upsets you. You realize that even if the situation is not your doing, your way of interpreting it, is completely in your control. Here’s another way you can cultivate insight, say to yourself: “I am never upset for the reason I think.” “I give people and events the meaning they have for me and I can choose differently, now, in this moment.”

  1. Use creative resource teaching tales:

Joseph Had A Little Overcoat By Simms Taback The story of Joseph whose ingenuity and perseverance gives him the ability see the value of something held dear as it changes over time.

The Rough-Faced Girl By Rafe Martin The story of a young girl who maintains her sense of dignity and self-worth in spite of hardship and cruelty.

The Empty Pot By Demi The story of a boy’s truth, in the guise of an embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded.

Embrace the Magic of Now

The second key to stress-hardiness is the ability to live in the present moment; not living in the past or the future. Those who live in the past have a tendency to say things like if only

I hadnt done this or that, I wouldnt have this problem. Other times, you might find yourself worried about the future which sounds like what ifall these things happen to me, then what?

Oh no! Ill really be in trouble.

The following are ways you can cultivate present moment awareness:

  1. Model for your child a mindset of being present FULLY. Put away the cell phone and look into each others eyes when you speak. Play a game of sixth sensory knowing with your child. Remind them that our ancestors had to develop a keen sense of perception to the world around them for survival. In our modern age, we don’t have saber tooth tigers who threaten our safety, but we do need our kids to have “situational awareness”. What I mean, is that, more often than not, our children are walking around with there heads in their mobile devices. Kids have become less and less concerned about their immediate surroundings. Most of the time they may be safe but we are not teaching them the art of discernment which develops their keen sense of potential threats that exist. As a rule, routinely, ask your child to shut off her/his phone and pay attention. With your eyes and ears wide open- watch and breathe for just a moment. Ask them what they perceive?
  2. Next, ask your child to close her eyes and see if she can “feel” or perceive someone entering her personal space. Ask her to tell you how close or far you are standing from them. Keep practicing until your child’s accuracy increases.
  3. When your child is apprehensive about upcoming events, try this. Remind your child that in the present moment,nothing bad has happened yet. In this moment, all is well. Mentally, stop the “railroad train of never-ending worry thoughts” by choosing to stay in the present. Awful-izing the worst possible outcome is not using emotional intelligence. Staying present to exactly what is happening is wise. Staying present and open to all of our emotions is a practice of mindfulness, self care and patience. Instead of joining your child in their worry thought, you be calmand send that calm energy out. Your child feels your emotions. To help yourself in the cultivation of calmness, use this phrase with your child: “You have a special way of landing on your feet, even when you worry about things that could go wrong! So stay focused on this moment. In this moment, all is well.” You keep directing your child’s focus by saying: “Remember,(___say your child’s name), you have what it takes to do what it takes to get the job done! But for now, you are here with me and you are safe.” Say to your child: “Take a deep breathe…be still…feel your inner self be still…breathe…feel the peace within you in this magic moment of now. It is always available, even though you may go throughout your day out of touch with your peace, you can come back to it right now…breathe…rest…turn your attention away from the day and bring your attention inward to your breathing…breathe…be still in this magic moment of now.”
  4. Use the bell of awareness for practice. Today, most mobile devices have bell tones you can set whenever you like. Set the bell tone to ring every hour. When the bell rings, let it be a reminder to be here, now. Then, breathe, let go of worry, say: “all is well in this moment; I am safe; I am calm.”

5. Once again, teaching tales come to the rescue! Martin Waddells Cant You Sleep Little Bear and Lets Go Home Little Bear are favorites for young children.

Stay tuned, next we will look at the third key to stress-hardiness: Response-Ability.

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