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Fishful Thinking: Dealing with Disrespect

One of the things I’m dealing with right now is back talk from Burke. It’s more than just “talk” … it’s the full gamut of disrespect. I’ll get a foot in the face. I’ll get raspberries when I’m trying to discipline. I’ll get faces made. You get the idea. (Maggie’s not too far behind, but she’s much more subtle about it at this point…)

It’s been really frustrating for me, so I decided to browse around my trusty Fishful Thinking resource to see what I could find. Bingo! Not just one, but two articles: Dealing with Disrespect and How to Handle Back Talk. I won’t copy the entire articles here, but I will give the bullet points for each.

Dealing with Disrespect:

  1. First, calm yourself.
  2. Give clear feedback.
  3. Refocus on your goal.
  4. Resist the temptation to retaliate.
  5. Try to hear your child.
  6. When it’s over, it’s over.

This article goes into each one in more depth (and gives examples of what to do and what not to do).

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How to Handle Back Talk:

  • Don’t attack
  • Don’t belittle
  • Don’t condemn
  • Define what the problem is
  • Define how to rectify it
  • Figure out what can be done to prevent it in the future

This article also includes examples of back talk at each age level – and how to effectively respond.

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These points may seem like common sense, but what a great reminder. It’s so easy to lose yourself when you’re in the moment! And of course, that’s what Burke is looking for … “Let’s see how many of Mommy’s buttons I can push.” Boy does he have my number. But not for long! πŸ™‚ This is what I’ll be working on for the next few weeks…wish me luck!!

Another kick-in-the-teeth reminder I got was a simple status update from a friend on FB: “Trying to remember that the kids have had to be quiet and good all day and need to blow off a little steam.” DUH, Nancy. As much as I’d love for them to be wonderfully good and nice and quiet at home, I’d much rather that they be good at school…so I definitely need to remember to let them be loud and crazy when they get home from a long, quiet day at school.

How do you handle disrespect from your kids? Any good ideas for me?

Fishful Thinking: Practicing Kindness

This month’s Fishful Thinking newsletter is about practicing kindness and encouraging random acts of kindness.

Dr. Reivich states, “As a parent, think about the questions below to deepen your own awareness of kindness.” I know she meant “in your head,” but I figured I’d work through those questions here.

  • How do you feel when you help someone or do something kind for another person?
    Obviously, I feel an incredible sense of joy when helping others. I do go through the “Am I doing this for how it makes me feel, or because I really want to help the other person” question, but during our phone conversation with Dr. Reivich, she confirmed that it’s OKAY to do it because it makes you feel good…what better win-win situation could there be?
  • What character strengths do you pull on when you are being kind (love, empathy, compassion, etc.)
    I think what I pull on depends on the situation and the person. If it’s something for a family member or friend and not something I really want to do, it’s all about the love for that person. Otherwise, it would have to be empathy and compassion. I often wonder what it would be like to be in that person’s shoes, and how I’d feel with the help.
  • When someone does something kind for you, how do you respond?
    I’ve gotten MUCH better at just saying, “Thank you!” It’s crazy to think about how hard it used to be to just accept kindness and be happy with it.
  • What messages did you learn as a child about being kind?
    The one thing that sticks out in my head comes from my Dad. I have clear memories of him taking the time to talk with anybody. It didn’t matter if you owned a shop, were a farmer, worked the cash register, or lived on the street. My Dad would chat with you – and still does!
  • How do you promote kindness in your children?
    Right now I’m struggling with how to get them to be kind to each other, so when I see them really helping another out – or even just offering to grab a juice cup for the other – I try to comment about how nice that was.Otherwise, I try to take them along with me when I know I’ll be doing something for someone else – like bringing a meal to a new mom or something. We’ll talk about why the person needs the meal and why we’re doing it on our way.

Here’s what I’m struggling with: promoting vs. bragging. I sometimes end up doing a spontaneous random act of kindness and I’d love to have that “rub off” on my kids; but it usually happens when they aren’t with me. For example, a few months ago at the grocery store, there was an older woman in front of me in line who didn’t have much in her cart. She ended up being around $1.00 short and was digging around in her change purse looking for more money that she obviously didn’t have. She started looking at her items trying to decide which (obviously needed) item to put back, so I dug out a dollar and handed it to the teen-aged cashier. The cashier looked at me like I had 3 heads before she realized that I meant to cover the balance. The older woman was obviously a little uncomfortable, but at the same time instantly grateful. (After she left, the cashier told me that I had just made HER week – she’d never seen anyone do that before…she had thought I was in a hurry and trying to pay for MY stuff instead of waiting.) BUT…my kids weren’t with me when this happened. And I didn’t do it for the “bragging rights” (although, I guess I did just announce it here…), but do I come back and tell my kids all about it so that they’d think to do something along those lines later on in their life? Or is that just bragging? And how do I get them to do the kindness thing without needing to do the bragging thing (or does that even matter, as long as they’re kind?) I just don’t know the answer – but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The second part of Dr. Reivich’s letter is:

…sit with your family and create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. By creating the list, you are setting a goal for your family, making it more likely that you will actually do those kind deeds. See if you can get to fifty or one hundred simple kind acts and then put a star next to each one your family accomplishes. Make it a goal to do at least one act of kindness each day.

To cover my bases, I asked Burke and Maggie if they knew what “kindness” meant. Maggie immediately answered, “Be nice!” *phew!* We ARE doing something right here! πŸ˜‰

While I have no delusions that we’ll do one act of kindness each day, I know that if we practice, we may eventually get there. So here’s the list Burke, Maggie, and I came up with:

  • Draw pictures for others
  • Give food to others
  • Give new toys to others
  • Throw away paper (garbage) when you see it on the ground
  • Doing beadwork and bringing it to someone else
  • Knit a blanket for someone else
  • Holding the door open for the people behind us
  • Saving a seat for someone special
  • Letting someone go in front of you in line
  • Helping Logan (or someone small) reach something high

I’m hoping to add to it bit by bit…and perhaps one day we’ll have it all starred. πŸ™‚

Fishful Thinking: Positive Habits

I recently attended my very first meeting as a Fishful Thinking faculty member. And I cannot even begin to tell you how inspiring it is to listen to everyone! The meeting was only an hour long, but could have easily gone on for a lot longer – with very few complaints from everyone who was there!

Anyway, the meeting kicked my butt into gear for another wonderful year of Fishful Thinking. One of the things we chatted about was concentrating on the positive things in life rather than the negative. (An incredible example that was shared by Kelli, and then expanded on, was a Warm Fuzzy chart where the kids identify kind acts in each other and award warm fuzzies for the kind act. I’mΒ  SO doing that in my house!)

To get my kids starting to think more positive thoughts, I did the Positive Habits activity with each kid – individually. Here are their (unedited, mostly unprompted) answers. (Keep in mind that we were outside while discussing these; I suspect if we were inside, I would have gotten much different answers!)

Maggie – Age 5.5

What are some things that you can do today that you weren’t able to do one year ago?

  • Flips
  • Dress up
  • Hug my mommy
  • Swing
  • Ride my bike
  • Hula Hoop

How does it feel to do those things?

  • Happy!
  • Really, REALLY happy!

What are some things you’ll likely be able to do a year from now that you can’t yet do?

  • Easter Hunt
  • Show things at school I really like (like flips)
  • Swim without noodles

What is a positive habit that you’d like to begin?

  • Draw
  • Eat more salad
  • Make nice soup

What are three things that we can do together to help develop this positive habit?

  • Plant salad stuff
  • Go to a farmer together
  • Go to the store together

Burke – Age 5.5

What are some things that you can do today that you weren’t able to do one year ago?

  • Make snow angels
  • Play baseball
  • Play Freeze ball/freeze tag
  • Hula Hoop

How does it feel to do those things?

  • Good! (with a BIG smile)

What are some things you’ll likely be able to do a year from now that you can’t yet do?

  • Skateboard
  • Ride my bike without training wheels
  • Draw
  • Eat lunch at school

What is a positive habit that you’d like to begin?

  • Practice baseball
  • Practice reading

What are three things that we can do together to help develop this positive habit?

  • Give kisses and hugs
  • Throw a ball back and forth
  • Find books at the library
  • Play at the playground

Logan – Age 3

What are some things that you can do today that you weren’t able to do one year ago?

  • Baseball
  • Dig holes
  • Feed myself

How does it feel to do those things?

  • Good! (with a BIG smile)

What are some things you’ll likely be able to do a year from now that you can’t yet do?

  • Baseball better
  • Swing in Burke and Maggie’s swings (out of his baby swing)
  • Climb poles
  • ABCs

What is a positive habit that you’d like to begin?

  • Practice baseball

What are three things that we can do together to help develop this positive habit?

  • Go to a baseball game
  • swing a baseball bat
  • throw my shoes

Maggie – Age 5.5

What are some things that you can do today that you weren’t able to do one year ago?

  • Flips
  • Dress up
  • Hug my mommy
  • Swing
  • Ride my bike
  • Hula Hoop

How does it feel to do those things?

  • Happy!
  • Really, REALLY happy!

What are some things you’ll likely be able to do a year from now that you can’t yet do?

  • Easter Hunt
  • Show things at school I really like (like flips)
  • Swim without noodles

What is a positive habit that you’d like to begin?

  • Draw
  • Eat more salad
  • Make nice soup

What are three things that we can do together to help develop this positive habit?

  • Plant salad stuff
  • Go to a farmer together
  • Go to the store together

Friday’s Fotos: Beauty Detour

The weather was really nice at the beginning of this week, so Burke, Maggie, Logan, and I went on a Beauty Detour in the back yard. (Fishful Thinking!)

Then Logan decided to get daring on the glider swing…which, of course, he *loved* every minute of.

"Look at me!"

"Who needs a seat??"

I’m trying to take a step back and not have a heart attack every time he does something daring…but it’s so hard!! heh πŸ™‚

Saturday Snapshot: Colorful Thinking

A recent Fishful Thinking activity is the Colorful Things game. You express certain feelings through certain colors. We chose to use Rainbow Goldfish for our game.

Burke didn’t want to play, and Logan just wanted to eat the fish…but Maggie seemed to really enjoy it!

At first, we went over what the different colors would mean – and what our faces would look like with that emotion. (I think we mixed up the colors a few times, but we still had fun!)

Sad

Angry

Happy

…and she decided that green meant throw up, but I’ll spare you those pictures πŸ˜‰

And here’s a video for what things make Maggie sad, angry, and happy.

(57 seconds)

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Go over and have a look at what others are doing on this sunny Saturday.

I Did It!!

On Wednesday, I presented a Parent Enrichment “class” about Fishful Thinking to Burke and Maggie’s preschool. There were about 30 people there…probably about 1/2 parents and 1/2 teachers. The teachers received credit toward their teaching certification for attending. (How cool is that?? πŸ™‚ )

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Now, if you know me at all, you know that I’m SO NOT a public speaker. In high school, I was always the stage manager … never on stage. So this is actually a huge deal for me. It’s not something that I’d like to do all the time – but it was a great bunch, and I actually had a lot of fun!

Before going in, I kept telling myself that the message is so great … even if I completely mess things up and all they get out of it is “Fishful Thinking is a great tool to help you raise optimistic kids…go see the website,” I’ve done my job. LOL!

I prepared a folder with a CD pocket in the front. In the CD pocket, I placed the FT brochure and the cute little booklet. I put 6 articles I printed out (double-sided – save a tree!) in the big pocket: 1 for each of the 5 ingredients and an extra one that just resonated with me. I had business cards printed out and used double-sided tape to attach it to the front of the folder. And I had some left-over pens from the summer’s kit to attach to the side. And, of course, I had Goldfish to hand out as well. πŸ™‚

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Once there, I introduced myself, gave a little bit of background about me, Pepperidge Farm, Dr. Reivich, and Fishful Thinking. Then I went into my schpeal.

For each of the 5 ingredients, I explained what they were and then broke the crowd up into smaller groups of 4 or 5. I handed out the questions that came with the Ambassador kit and got the groups really thinking about things for about 5 minutes or so…and then brought them back together and asked a group or two to share what they came up with. It was neat to overhear the discussions – these questions really got everyone thinking! We chatted a little bit more about the ingredient and I’d give a fact or two that I found on the Fishful Thinking website.

I then introduced a “kid” activity that went along with the ingredient. I had done a few of them with my kids, so I brought along “samples.” (The treasures box went over REALLY well – especially since it can be used in families with kids of all ages).

At the end I told them about my absolute favorite thing that’s come out of Fishful Thinking so far: The Shake Off the Frustrations Dance πŸ™‚ And then answered questions.

I presented a sign-up sheet for a Yahoo Group I created for anyone interested in knowing when a new article or activity is introduced…and the night was done!

I had a few people come up and just gush about how great the program sounds and how they can’t wait to hear more. One of my kids’ teachers came up and mentioned that they were thinking about how they do things, and were really happy to know that they DO do things that were mentioned when I was talking (for example, setting small – attainable – goals that kids can master like picking up all of the green blocks).

All-in-all, it was a really great experience.

Something’s Gotta Give

It’s official. I do too much and it’s starting to feel like plates are crashing down on my head.Β  Sure…some of it is (hopefully) just a one time thing – like last night’s Fishful Thinking presentation at Burke and Maggie’s school. But some of it – like teaching Sunday School – isn’t. I need to start prioritizing and I need to learn how to say “no, I just can’t do it.”

Obviously, my job isn’t negotiable. And frankly, I actually enjoy doing it – when I have the motivation πŸ˜‰

My blog is non-negotiable as well. It’s my one outlet to get thoughts down to help work through things…and the only place that I journal about the kids!

My second job is so tiny and infrequent that I think it’s okay to keep that one going. It can get stressful when my boss says “Hey, can you look this over and have it edited by noon tomorrow?” …but he doesn’t do that too often.

I *LOVE* being a part of my twins club, so I highly doubt that will be dropped at any point in the near future. The membership position looks like it might be shifting slightly due to our move from Yahoo Groups to BigTent, so that may lighten that load anyway. (Plus, I’ll be changing positions next year. More about that one later though.) I haven’t been able to go to many of the recent COPE meetings for the club – and I really miss those. It’s fun to go out and chat with other ladies who totally get what you’re going through. Or to give some advice here and there since I’ve already been through a lot of it… The General meetings/Board meetings have stopped being monthly, so there are only 4 months out of the year where I feel like I have at least one thing going on each week.

The Fishful Thinking stuff isn’t really all THAT time-consuming. Since I had the presentation last night, it was consuming things for the past week, but that’s pretty unusual. Plus, I *REALLY* like the message that Fishful Thinking brings to the table. I do most of that “sharing” online, or while waiting for Burke and/or Maggie, so it’s time that would have been “wasted” anyway. πŸ™‚

Sunday School? *sigh.* It terrifies me. πŸ˜› I’m not a teacher. I don’t know WHAT I was thinking when I said “sure! I’ll help out!” when Pastor L. asked…I think I was thinking “I’m new…might be a good way to meet more people.” And … it has been. But it still terrifies me. Those poor kids are learning about the bible from ME?? Yikes. At least they’re only 4 and most of what we’re doing is coloring pictures to go along with the stories. . .One of the teachers has already backed out (with good reason), so that leaves only 3 of us (we rotate months of being teacher/helper/off). I’ll fulfill my obligation, but I really don’t think I’ll sign up for it again next year. I AM afraid it might be one of those “hey, we’ve already gotcha” things, and it’ll be tough to get out of next year though.

I also committed to a women’s circle at church. It’s just starting up, so I thought perhaps it would be another good way to meet more ladies around town without feeling like I’m crashing an established “club”. They meet monthly – and on a weekend! – so I think that’ll be pretty good. We’ve had one meeting so far and it’s a fun bunch.

I did just say “I just can’t do it” to another women’s group at church…it’s one that meets in the middle of the week and my heart sped up just thinking about trying to attend it each month. I felt terrible saying “no” … and it was hard!! But I did it.

It’s a start…and I KNOW I have a hard time saying “no, thanks” when people ask me to do things…and apparently, knowing is half the battle πŸ˜‰

Makes My Monday: Pleasant Surprises

When I logged into my Fishful Thinking Ambassador’s portal this morning, I saw two things that made me smile.

The first was my name on the list of winners for the week. (Who can’t use an extra $50 around the holidays??)

MMMFT(Please excuse the black-outs…personal information that’s not mine to share.)

And second was a Top Idea mark for my post on Saturday!

mmmTI

Not only does receiving accolades Make My Monday, but being a part of such a wonderful community does as well (probably even more so…)

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Head on over to see what else makes people’s Mondays (there are always some really good ones!)

Saturday Snapshot: Treasures

I realized that my kids are starting to understand a lot more than they did when I first started with Fishful Thinking, so I browsed through the website looking for some older activities that we could do on this rainy Saturday …and found the Treasures Box one!

cimg0246

We ended up with treasures like “The sun shining” and “A full moon” and “Getting a card in the mail” and “Ballet Class” and “Drawing class” πŸ™‚Β  I can’t wait to see what else they come up with! (My contribution so far is “All 3 kids helping to clean up!”)

cimg0254

As an added bonus, this is also helping me to prepare for a presentation on Fishful Thinking I’ll be giving to the parents and teachers at Burke and Maggie’s preschool this week. πŸ™‚

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts this one. Go over and have a look at what others are doing on this dreary Saturday.

Random Updates: Dancing, Grapes, Birds, and Fish

I have all these pictures and updates that relate to nothing but themselves, so I figured I’d just do one big post about them all. πŸ™‚

Dancing
Remember last week? Marjorie wanted a skirt for dance class? Well, mom that I am…I couldn’t say “no”

CIMG0232

(Yes, she has crocks on…we’re still in the car here πŸ™‚ )

Grapes
Remember the grapes we found in our back yard? They’re now ripe!

CIMG0178

100_5283

And Jessica – my nanny – peeled and seeded them and then had Marjorie help her bake a grape pie! Holy cow. It’s delicious!!

CIMG0234

(I also learned something…if your fruit pie looks like it will be runny, just add an egg and it will firm right up while cooking. Who knew??)

And a little story. Marjorie had a few blueberries in her hand and told Daddy that she wanted to make a blueberry pie. He kept telling her that we didn’t have enough blueberries for a pie, so she became thoughtful … apparently she remembered the bucket full of grapes we had picked earlier in the day and said, “Grape pie!” We’d never heard of grape pie before…

Birds
Remember Marjorie’s birdhouse? I finally got around to taking a picture of it hanging up.

CIMG0196

Fish
Remember Fishful Thinking? Logan can’t wait to learn more fun activities either. πŸ™‚

Logan Borrowed Mommy's Fishful Thinking Hat

Logan Borrowed Mommy's Fishful Thinking Hat