A Quick Parent’s Guide to Cultivating Leadership in Your Kids

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Did you know that kids can start developing leadership qualities as early as their preschool years?The sooner children learn to use their leadership skills the more opportunities for success they will have.

Consider the follow strategies to help your children take command of their lives and grow up to be more productive and happy.

Understanding the Basic Principles of Leadership

  1. Develop emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the basis for sound leadership. Kids can work on accurately identifying specific feelings in themselves and others and managing them constructively. This way they’ll solve emotional issues more easily, get along better with others and avoid destructive behavior.

  2. Generate compassion. Keep the focus on caring for others. Let your children know that the purpose of becoming more influential is to have a positive impact on society. Life is full of opportunities to serve others and recognize that we’re all connected.

  3. Take charge of your life. Show kids they can take an active role in making things happen. Help them to understand that they create their own outcomes rather than viewing life as something that happens to them.

Leadership Development Strategies for Younger Children

  1. Delay gratification. There are valuable life lessons in learning to plan ahead and work for rewards. For example, help your kids to understand that by going to bed on time, they get a longer bedtime story.

  2. Learn to read emotions in faces. It’s important to become sensitive to non-verbal cues. Play games with your own facial expressions or you can draw pictures. Discuss how someone may look if they were preparing to eat an ice cream cone versus surprised by a loud noise.

  3. Choose your words carefully. Encourage kids to select words that convey their affection for others. Ask them to talk about what they like about their siblings or friends.

  4. Practice teamwork. Demonstrate that it’s fun and effective to cooperate with others. Spend time washing dishes or picking up toys together. Sign up for softball or split up into teams for playing charades.

Mind your manners. Show kids how to act appropriately in different social situations. Praise your kids for mastering basic table manners and acting as gracious hosts when you have guests in your home.

Getting your kids off to a good start with leadership skills can create a better life for them and help them to become a positive influence on others. When children learn to manage themselves and get along with others, they’re better prepared for happiness and success.

And the most important is to be leaders ourselves and teach kids by example!

What are some ways you teach leadership skills to your children? Please comment below.

9 Things Emotionally Healthy Parents Do

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You know a few emotionally healthy people. Their relationships seem to go smoothly. They get their work done on time. Happiness appears to be their most common emotional state. They don’t have financial challenges. They maintain a healthy bodyweight.

They don’t seem to any more talented or intelligent than you. What’s the difference? Why do they manage life more easily and effectively than you do?

Emotionally healthy people do things that others do not:

  1. Create healthy boundaries. Successful relationships require healthy boundaries. When boundaries are undefined or unhealthy, the relationship will eventually have a negative impact on your life. Consider where you’re vulnerable and create boundaries to protect yourself.

  2. Delay gratification. Whether you want to finish school, lose 20 pounds, or get your work done before 5:00pm, it’s necessary to delay gratification. For example, eating a cupcake now is more gratifying in the moment than declining. But in the long run, forgoing cupcakes will help you meet your goal of losing weight. Those that act impulsively and can’t delay gratification lack the ability to follow through with wise long-term decisions. If you make life easy on yourself in the short-term, you pay the price in the long-term.
  3. Emotionally healthy people can be by themselves. “By yourself” doesn’t mean sitting on the couch with a pizza and Netflix. You’re not alone. You actually have two companions with you. Can you sit quietly, by yourself, with nothing but your thoughts? Or does anxiety about your life create too much discomfort? How much time do you spend distracting yourself from reality?
  4. They are able to adapt to change. Do you go with the flow or does any change throw you for a loop? Emotionally healthy people are able to roll with the punches and maintain a positive attitude.

  5. Deal with discomfort effectively. Those that can’t deal with emotional discomfort lead chaotic lives. It’s only when the discomfort of not taking action becomes so great that they’re finally able to do something. By then, it might be too late. When you can take a deep breath and take effective action in the face of emotional discomfort, life is a snap.

  6. Love others. Only emotionally healthy people can truly love others in a positive way. To care, trust, and attach to another person honestly requires good mental health. Think about your kids…

  7. Take care of themselves physically. Do you only eat when you’re hungry? Do you make healthy food choices? Are you able to get yourself to exercise even if you don’t feel like it? Do you go to the doctor and dentist regularly? If your emotional health is up to par, you can do these things consistently.

  8. Emotionally healthy people are reliable. Can people count on you to keep your word? Fulfilling your promises and obligations is one sign of emotional health.

  9. Act proactively. Are you able to look ahead and see the potential sticking points and then avoid them? Or do you wait until the wheels are coming off before you take action? Living well isn’t just about skillfully dealing with challenges. Ideally, it’s about intelligently avoiding them when possible.

Are you emotionally healthy? Emotionally healthy people do things that unhealthy people do not. The ability to control impulses and deal with emotional discomfort effectively are two of the most important components of emotional health. Do you need to make a change? Work to create habits that support these areas. While it’s possible to make these changes by yourself, getting professional help can be even more effective.

Please share your thoughts. How do you make yourself feel better? Are you teaching your kids healthy emotion habits, or there is something you think you might need to work on?

Wake Up, Mama!

So I’m sitting here with my morning coffee and thinking, What a day I had yesterday

My son, Noah, had at least 10 tantrums, which was unusual, and at one point, I was just ready to flip out and had to just walk away, except he followed me to the kitchen, bawling his eyes out, and grabbing my leg. I looked down at him and his little face, and my heart just melted. Must be tough to be in a bad mood all day and not knowing how to deal with those emotions. So I picked him up, told him I loved him, walked around with him for about 3 minutes, just giving him kisses and hugs, and he fell asleep with his little angelic smile on. I laid down next to him and nothing else mattered. He just wanted to be loved on all day by his mama…

I spent the rest of the day thinking about how irritated I was because of his constant wining that day, but then I thought of myself having those days occasionally when nothing just seems right. We get so upset at our children for being extra needy sometimes that we turn to some unhealthy stress relievers like sweets, cigarettes, alcohol, or binge shopping–just to make ourselves feel better. Or we snap or yell at our kids, or even spank them in the heat of the moment. Or we do both. Afterwards, we feel guilty about eating that extra piece of cake and gaining that extra pound, in addition to feeling guilty about snapping at the child. So it goes… that vicious cycle that repeats itself. And no one is truly happy, and no one’s need is met.

What if there was a better way? What would it look like?

I remember my mom beating me up just this one time when I was fairly young because I was refusing to leave the house when it was time to go. That was the only, and the most memorable time that got imprinted in my memory from that age. After that, I was always an obedient girl. It wasn’t typical behavior for mom, so I wasn’t used to that. It hurt deeply though. I learned my lesson quickly and never did that again. What if my mom just sat down with me, hugged me tight and talked to me for a couple of minutes instead? Maybe she would be a few minutes late wherever she was supposed to be, but we would have preserved the same sweet relationship as before. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

By refusing our kids love (at any age) at their ugliest or neediest moments, we show them that they are only valued when they act like good little boys and girls, and that their negative feelings are not acceptable, and that their need for our attention is not ok. They look at how we deal with stressful situations, and they learn from us, which then causes all kinds of havoc in their lives when they grow up. For example, they can become too controlling in their relationships, or angry and lash out at others, or turn to self-destructive behaviors because they don’t know how to accept and validate their own feelings when life gets hard, so they go numb.

What if I am having a bad day and complain to my husband and just act needy, but what he does is reject my “wining”, not pay any attention to me, or raise his voice to “stop being a baby” and goes out with his buddies to a local bar? Is our relationship going to grow stronger? Am I going to feel better? Or, what if he just hugged me for a few minutes and said, “Sorry, baby, your day is not going so well. Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” How would that change the whole situation. Just having your loved one acknowledge your feeling can make a whole world of difference. Maybe, you will forget all about having a bad day, but smile and say, “Let’s do something fun together! It’s really not that bad anymore.”

Now, of course, wining and tantrums shouldn’t become such a habit that we just get manipulated on a regular basis. There should be certain limits, but my belief is that as mothers, we should really take care of our own emotional health first, so that we learn better, healthier ways to manage stressful situations and not be left feeling guilty afterwards. Our children will learn from us and then teach the same habits, whether good or bad, their own children.

So wake up, mamas! Let’s take care of ourselves and love and nurture our children, whether they behave or not. They will remember love and hurt forever…

Please comment. What are the different ways that you deal with stressful situations when it comes to your little ones? If unhealthy, how does this make you feel afterwards? What do you wish you could do differently?

#motherhood, #habits, #stressmanagement, #love, #nurturing, #emotionalhealth, #relationships, #childrenneedlove