Common Sense Parenting

Studio 5 Contributor, Vikki Carrel, shares common sense message worth
repeating to your kids.

1. MESSAGE: You are what you think!!

Thoughts are POWERFUL – it is not possible to have negative and positive
thoughts simultaneously.
OPTIMISM is to expect good outcomes. Optimism lessens the impact of
stress and creates feelings of hope and belief. Optimists are more likely to
engage in action-oriented, problem-solving behavior.

Scenario: Prior to trying out for the school basketball team – encourage
your child to focus on their strengths not their weaknesses and to visualize
a positive outcome not a negative one.

“When you tryout today – focus on your amazing ability to dribble the ball
with both hands…see yourself shooing a three point basket. You will be

2. Message: Choose the RIGHT Choice not the Good Choice

choices vs. RIGHT Choices

The RIGHT choice is not always the fun choice but it is always the BEST

Correct choices build self-esteem and increase confidence.

Scenario: Help your child recognize which choice is the right choice vs. the
good choice by asking them to evaluate the options.

“Which choice is the right choice – going to the school basketball game
with friends or staying at home to study for an algebra test?”

3. Message: When the going gets tough – it may be best to laugh
about it.

Humor is a STRESS Reliever.

Research shows that humor lessens the impact of stress. Humor can help
people bounce back from defeats, disappointments and embarrassment.
Humor increases positive emotions.

-Moms are role models for their children when it comes to coping with

Scenario: Your daughter comes home from school and expresses her
frustration from striking out while playing baseball during recess. Put a
less threatening spin on the situation with humor. “Let’s look at the bright
side….as a ballerina you don’t need to be great at swinging a bat – you can
balance on your toes!!”

4. Message: You are Capable!

Promote feelings of competence.

For children to become strong, feel good about who they are, and draw
upon their inner resources, they must…

1. Get to know themselves well

2. Think of themselves as capable

3. Believe they can measure up to other’s expectations

Scenario: Take time to point out positive behavior, helping children to see
they can meet other’s expectations. Your son expresses doubts about his
ability to play a solo on his clarinet for the school play. He recognizes that
his teacher is counting on him to do a good job.

“You are prepared and you have practiced hard – you will do a great job. I
know Mr. Smith will be pleased with your performance.”

5. Message: You CONTROL yourself – not others.

ADVOCACY skills help children set personal boundaries.

Self- advocacy is to understand your strengths and needs and to effectively
communicate them to others.

Benefits of Self Advocacy:

-avoid and solve problems with family, friends

-make informed decisions concerning personal choices

-gain essential tools for defining and resolving problem

-set boundaries with peers

Scenario: Teach children to speak up for themselves by not speaking for
them. During a visit to the doctor encourage your child to speak to the
doctor about their health. “You are not feeling well – explain to the doctor
how you are feeling.”

6. Message: The key to happiness is hard work.

A strong predictor of happiness is working hard.
Teach children to work hard and doing a good job for themselves and
others – this will promote happiness. Research also shows that spending
money on someone else brings greater happiness than spending money on

Scenario: Use positive language with your children about hard work and
participate in service projects as a family. Make service fun! “On Saturday
we will be helping with the community clean-up project. This will be a
great opportunity for our family. After the clean-up we will get pizza.”

Vikki Carrel is an author, speaker and founder of The Empowerment

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