5 Life skills; kindness

Dictionary definition

The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate’ oxforddictionaries.com

Adult perspective

Maybe its just me, but kindness seems to be in short supply these days. It could the news outlets I watch but the media seems to be full of hateful intolerance. This is probably why I watch less news now!

As an adult, I like to show random acts of kindness whenever possible, although this has become a bit of a balancing act. In my recent experience, kindness can easily be mistaken for weakness and if you don’t establish proper boundaries, plenty will seek to take advantage of that.

I still prefer to offer a hand if I can.

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Parent perspective

I want my cubs to know how to:

  • Be kind to you first!
  • Set limits
  • Listen
  • Give time
  • If you can help; do help.

First and foremost, children have to learn how to be kind to themselves! I catch my cubs in negative self talk quite often and I’m quick to challenge it. As earlier readers may remember, I’m big on autosuggestion. I try to reframe their points of reference, whenever I hear a ‘I’m not very good at that’, I ask them to add the word ‘yet’. I then remind them that no one is born good at something and that while natural talent can play a part, discipline, determination and self-belief are usually the strongest determining factors.

Negative self-talk will kill any ability you have to help others because a lack of self-belief will leave an opening for exploitation.

For reasons of self-preservation, kindness, at any given time should be a finite resource. We need to teach limits and for our children understand the need to draw a line in the sand. They’ll have to learn what their tolerance levels are which initially will have to come from experience. Recognising patterns and learning these lessons will help them make better decision in the future.

Active listening! hear [sic] we go again. My cubs have listening down to a fine art. Usually things I don’t want them to hear. Things that they will only then repeat again in company. People will always tell you who they are; you just have to listen.

Balancing the needs of yourself versus that of others is a valuable skill. You must put your needs first, but help where you can. Time is the most precious gift you can give but take care that it is not wasted.

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Child’s perspective

Cubs will emulate the most influencial adults in their lives. If we engage in negative self-talk, they will too, because we’ve normailsed it. I try to openly congratuate myself for things, or reflect on an event where my acting differently may have produced a different outcome. I externalise my inner thought processes for them to hear.

I’m a bit of a fan of Freud, so watching the cubs develop through the id, ego and superego was fascinating. Without dipping too deeply into the structure of human psyche, toddlers are controlled by the id and the immediacy of their desires, as this is necessary for survival. Young schoolers learn to control those desires through the development of the ego and superego. The id and the ego will set limits! if a situation isn’t beneficial then interest is quite quickly lost. In the development of the superego, selflessness is a new attribute to wrestle with. I don’t think that swinging pendulum stops until well after the teenage years.

As this sense won’t develop for a while for my two, I’m happy for them to roleplay sharing and sympathy until they find a natural level they’re happy with. Youngest’s helpful side shows itself inĀ  acts of independence such as tidying his room. He’s pretty bad at it but there are two important factors at play; 1) he gets a sense of accomplishment and 2) he thinks he’s doing it for me. It works. Eldest will often interupt her own play to help me with a chore, especially if she thinks I’ve been on my feet for too long. I called her chief helper when she was younger.

 

Conclusion

Conscious of cramming too much learning into tiny minds, I try not to rob the cubs of their childhood and their right to get things wrong.

Positive reinforecment of desired behaviour is most effective; I try to live these attributes and lead by example. They experience me listening and giving time. They also experience me setting limits; not just with them, but with others. I help others when I can but more importantly, if I don’t help someone, I’ll explain why.

True kindness is an act of strength! but the greatest acts of kindness should be spent on oneself.

BSD

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Push

Ever had one of those days, weeks when you just can’t seem to get motivated?

It’s happening to me a lot at the moment and I can’t quite pinpoint why. I suspect my diet is to blame.

It’s actually probably a combination of things that I’ve slowly let creep up on me but it knocks on into everything.

Recognition 

Is key. For me, it’s the workouts that drop off first, reflecting a lack of energy. This in turn leads to an inability to ‘power’ my way through the working day or week.

This is enough warning for me to take action. Depending on how bad I’m feeling, I’ll do a debrief of recent events; the objective being to find that something that needs addressing. An issue at work, a parental worry or something more fiscal is usually at the heart of the matter.

Ordinarily I’ll tackle things head on but every now and again, the needle goes into the red and the tank is empty.

crushed

 

Turning point

I have a word; a key phrase that I’ve conditioned myself to quickly take stock and re-energise myself whenever I say it…

Push

Well push, actually..

Just that, and that alone.

Pavlov

I read a book after I finished studying psychology entitled, ‘SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION’ by Emile COUE.

It’s a little dated, so the vernacular can seem out of place but the premise is very much valid today. To summarise, it discusses the transformation of your physical environment by controlling your cognitive process.

I’ve mentioned before, that thoughts become things and this carries on that theme. For me, associated with me closing my eyes and saying ‘Push’, my breathing automatically slows, which in turn brings down my heart rate which calms my physical being.

I also quickly cycle through memories of past adversity, which I have successfully overcome.

It’s not easy and it doesn’t always work but more often than not, I find from somewhere, the energy to get through whatever wall I was facing.

I’d like to try something new; do any of you have a keyword or a process for overcoming adversity?

Let me know in the comments and lets get a discussion going.

XperiaZ3 722

BSD

Co-parenting goal

The beginning of this week was a test

My ex and I had recently been discussing joint holidays due to the cub’s ages. Stories of child abductions etc. are enough to make any parent shiver so we decided (for the time being anyway) that we would plan a trip together.

Nothing major, just a camping trip in the New Forest. My daughter’s love of wildlife would be satiated and my son would be in a new environment, great for his development.

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Mental set

What I didn’t want to do was ruin the experience by relentless arguing.

Whilst our relationship was deteriorating we’d successfully managed not to argue in front of the kids. I wasn’t about to foul this now whilst on a break so I went about adjusting my behavioural confirmation biases through a process of autosuggestion.

I believe in quite a few things. I was raised as a Christian, fell out with the premise but have recently fallen in again. I believe in the law of attraction, in that what you think about most you will manifest. I also believe that with practice, you can control your environment by altering your perception to whatever the heck is in front of you.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy but the application of counter scripts to the behaviours that you know you will witness work wonders when they do indeed arise. This made responding to them, or not, slightly less stressful. After all, what better way to put all those years together to good use than by counter-scripting every single element of their behaviour that caused frustration.

All for a good cause

She arrived. We loaded the already packed car and set off. I promptly went to sleep. Tactic one completed.

I woke up for a snack break then we set off again; I went to sleep again.

We arrived. It was a lovely site if a little water logged so we looked for a suitable pitch. Found one, in a clearing under light canopy; perfect.

Tent pitched; no dramas

Sleeping quarters sorted; no dramas.

Cubs running relatively free in a beautiful forest and staring in amazement at wild cows and horses.

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Proper planning prevents poor performance

Success! 3 days passed and we remained civil throughout. More importantly the cubs loved it. My daughter, ever the adventurer discovered a total of 4 frogs, 2 newts, an extremely tame Robin and a Treecreeper. She missed the Tawny Owl, whose mid-night screech went right to my very D.N.A and had me wide eyed and staring for quite a while.

There was one fall from grace; a heated sentence or two regarding dirty clothes but this was quickly quashed. It was probably more to do with 3 nights on a hard forest floor whilst my camping mat remained safe and warm in the garage, than our normal head butting.

Advice

So that’s the key; prepare yourself mentally and you can get the outcome you require. I’m sure it was equally as testing for her as I’m no saint. It also helped that it was a short period of time or I’m sure we’d both have got more snappy.

Autosuggestion wins the day. And sleep.

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BSD