Social Skills

Hero-worship: what a bunch of

By | December 16th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

I always say I’m a girl of the ’80s. I remember things like moon boots, leg warmers, pegging pants, the jerry curl. It was a generation where the more color you wore, the better. Actually, “more” was better in almost everything. More bracelets, more lace, more volume! Thinking back to that time I remember how much I idolized my rock stars. Prince, Michael Jackson, George Michael, Whitney Houston, David Bowie and I could go on…they were all larger than life in my book. I wonder how “more” played a role in their lives. I was living my simple life with absolutely no clue what it was like to live in their shoes. But I dreamed of meeting them and was sure I could convince them I was cool enough to be their confidant. I could hang!

Now due to their lifestyles, they are arguably gone earlier than they should have been. (With the exception of one.) The lifestyle at one point I dreamed of being a part of. When you are honest about how you feel about your favorite singer as a teenager it is not unlike being in puppy love times 10.  Because you don’t jump up and down, cry, and lose your ever-loving mind over your first love. Oh, right you could hang! Easier to keep a kernel from popping in a popcorn popper.

I was driving my kids to school while I was listing to one of these epic songs. One after the other that is. Suddenly it hit me that my 12-year-old and twin 10-year-olds were getting into that phase of idol worship. When they start to compare themselves with their what are now commonly called “you-tubers” as well as singers. They are beginning to create these personas that are like a fact-based drama. It is important for me to remind you that at 10 and 12 our children are still very active in looking to their parents for affirmation. So, when my 10-year-old casually asked me to watch something funny from his favorite you-tuber the next time, you better bet I was right by his side. I wasn’t there to judge what he thought was funny. I was there as a spectator for what was going on around the game. Asking questions. I wonder what he does when he isn’t playing games.  Do you think he likes to play ice hockey? (my son’s favorite sport.) I just wanted to humanize this kid who played a game on you-tube. He isn’t so different.

When I’m wrong, I’m wrong and I will admit it. So here is my pride and I’m throwing it out the window as I admit that I have ignored my kids on countless occasions when they have told me about their adventures on you-tube. It bores me to tears. I limit their time not just because I don’t think it’s a good use of their time, but then it limits the amount of time that I have to smile and pretend I’m listening. Those days are over for good! As my children are building their self-worth and identity, I want them to know that the people they look up to for their success are just people. They have their challenges and faults. Enjoy them for what they offer you in the way of entertainment, but do not use them as a guide for values and self-worth.

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How Wearing Different Hats Can Help Your Negative Self-Talk

By | September 25th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Pessimism is not your friend. It does not have to be your enemy. Have you ever heard the phrase, “if you don’t know its broke you can’t fix it?” Part of being in charge of your life is learning how to listen to your self-talk, and TALK BACK!
It sounds a little crazy. I’ve just asked you to talk to yourself, which doesn’t always have the greatest social response. I’m asking you to do it mindfully, not on autopilot.  When you are having one of those days that the world has turned against you and you find yourself missing old coping strategies…use this time to benefit you.
Take our your faithful journal and start writing what it is that you say to yourself in these times of dread. How do people support you or not. How is your career? Your home life? Your health? Your sex life?  Don’t censor yourself and certainly don’t worry about being grammatically correct. That would just piss you off! At some point when your pen stops moving so fast…because I’m sure it could go on for days…take a breath and try and put on a “hat”. 
First of all, you have already helped yourself by writing some of this jumbled negativity down. Its a mess living in that head of yours, with what you put yourself through. If this is all you can do today put the journal down and know you are not done!
The therapeutic side of the lesson is well underway…writing your woes. I stated at the beginning I wanted you to take back charge. Learn! To do that pick one of your phrases and respond to it. It isn’t always easy, especially if you are feeling sarcastic. So take one phrase and force yourself to look at it and answer it with three different “hats”.
Hat 1: The child. Without justification, explain the thought to a child. Perhaps to yourself as a child. For the purpose of this exercise assume that you care about this child and you never want them to feel the same way. What can they do? Write down whatever comes up for you. This self-reflection is what the exercise is about.
Hat 2: The lover. I would wager that your most intimate partner has heard most of your negative talk, and perhaps of the remorse that follows. Write it down. Our partners have a way of helping us build our thickest walls of protection so as not to be hurt…but they also have a way of melting them down and getting to what’s real.
Hat 3: Your ideal self. Be honest…how many times have you caught yourself talking shit and yelled, SHUT-UP? You know the harm. Your inner-most self or ideal self is in there thinking what the heck is he doing with all this potential! How do you answer to yourself for your negative thought? Don’t just write down your confirming thoughts…I want to know the thoughts that you are trying to crush out. (read that part again!) In between your thoughts, there’s this little voice that’s saying there’s hope. I want you to write down more about what’s being said between the lines, as it were.
At the end of the day, you get to choose what to do with this information. The more you do this exercise…the less jumbled the negative self-talk becomes and the abler you are to call upon what you need to hear to push forward. The goal is to be successful!

 

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Where Did Vlinder Come From

By | September 29th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

A question I get asked a lot is how I came up with Vlinder. Was it something I played as a child or did I discover it while I was over seas. No…the answer is it is a compilation of a number of things over my career. One thing I like about social service is I am in an element that is easy to learn from others. That is what inspired me to create Vlinder. Picking and choosing the best pieces was the easy part of creating Vlinder.

My background is in Sociology. I believe in the concept that characteristics are developed and maintained within a society or social group rather than existing inherently. That thought should empower you to affect change in your child. This is the first lesson in Vlinder. Change is inevitable because your world is ever-changing. You can impact what it looks like.

In the late 90’s, when I worked first in prison and then with at-risk youth teaching life skills, I took lessons in team building, communication, stress and anger management, motivation and value recognition. You will find each of them interwoven in the game.

In 2006 when I first started having children I began to realize that there is a difference utilizing a program in theory vs. in practicum. I realize that sounds silly since my child was just a baby, but I realized that some of the expectations that I had for others, no longer applied to myself. The lessons themselves were still valid, but the application seemed unrealistic. It was like giving someone the tools without the instruction booklet.

I got another job working with youth and learned the importance of teaching expectations and most important recognizing growth. It wasn’t the first time that I appreciated this practice. It was, however the first time I had see it on such a large scale without the use of another “parenting style”.

At this point I had three children. I made a point not to bring my work home. I didn’t for a number of years, until that fateful day that my own children’s behavior put me over the edge and I realized that I wasn’t utilizing my skills at home. That “aha” moment was the biggest lesson that my children have given me.

I was reminded of the inspiration I had early in my career and how unattainable it felt after having children of my own. Now that my children were of an age when they needed direction I had a chance to make a change.

There are no chapters to read, no questionnaires to fill out, no exercises to complete. Vlinder is an experience for the whole family to benefit from. The beauty of it is that you can personalize it so that it is already part of your routine!

I hope this answers the question. Keep them coming! admin@ourbreakthroughs.com

For those of you that are just joining us, welcome. There is more at www.ourbreakthroughs.com.

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Barriers to Communication

By | May 11th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , |

We go through life doing our best to be understood. But lets face it, it can be difficult. So many people coming from so many different walks of life. Each person having their own experience filter which has the ability to distort a message. The best we can do is be aware of the challenges of effective communication and do our part. As parents we do a little more by teaching our kids.

Communication is a skill. Spoken communication relies on three personal factors. First, self-concept, which impacts how you organize your world, which in turn affects how you communicate. Second, the ability to give information clearly and finally being able to listen effectively. Without understanding a message communication cannot take place.

These eight barriers to communication impact all three of the above personal factors. As you read through the list think about how often you are the donor or the recipient. Later you can think about how you can do it differently.

1. Perception and interpretation  It is not possible for two people to experience the same thing the same way. We all come from different genetics, backgrounds, education, experience, etc which all impact the way we take and interpret information.

2. Generalizations and bias  We are used to seeing things a certain way and it takes effort to open our minds.

3. Jumping to conclusions  We often get to the outcome before we have been given all of the facts.

4. Assumptions  The idea that perceptions are unique is all but ignored when someone presumes that others thoughts are like their own.

5. Multiple meanings  All messages can have different meanings when viewed from different angles or different perspectives.

6. Dilution  A message loses its intended meaning the more interpretations or people it passes through.

7. Message sent, but not received  This is a selective listener, picking and choosing parts of the message that they want to hear but filtering out the rest.

8. Physical barriers   These are all of the physical and verbal barriers around you every day; noise, delays in transmissions, length of message, restrictions in asking questions, and/or the attractiveness of the message.

We have just touched on some basic difficulties in communication. Look forward to more blogs on communication in the near future. For now take these common barriers and see what you can do differently in your own style to make a difference in the way you hold a conversation with others. In particular the way you speak with your kids. I know I perceive things differently then they do and I certainly jump to conclusions when I hear something crash!

For more information please visit www.ourbreakthroughs.com. I would love to hear your comments.

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Self-fulfilling Prophecy and Parenting

By | May 10th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

Have you ever thought of how self-fulfilling prophecy affects your parenting? First we have to define self-fulfilling prophecy, because I have a suspicion that not too many parents have stopped to think about it. Which is too bad because it could change the outcome of many negative experiences for the better.

Self-fulfilling prophecy is a concept that suggests that you project the outcome of an event before it occurs, and then make it happen. Have you ever presumed that somebody didn’t like you so you put up a wall to make sure you wouldn’t get hurt. That wall put off the person who then had no choice but not to like you because you weren’t approachable. It’s not that you weren’t a nice person or that you didn’t have things in common.

Take the same scenario and challenge yourself to greet people you don’t know with openness and kindness. Now you are approachable and now you recognize that you have something in common with this person and can make the choice to strike up a conversation or not.

Another example is thinking I’m going to be so mad when I get home and see… You are projecting an outcome prior to the event happening and in the meantime you are planning your course of action which includes feeling the emotion of anger, which is a difficult emotion to let go of. When you get home it isn’t as bad as you thought…but you are already angry and overreact.

You are driving home to the same scenario. This time work on keeping an open mind, remembering this too shall pass, and how you can make this a learning situation. You aren’t starting angry. You can assess whats happened with a clear head. It changes the outcome of the event.

Self-fulfilling prophecy is a cycle  which in our two examples started with, you have beliefs that influence our actions toward others, which impacts other beliefs about us, which causes others actions toward us, which reinforces our beliefs about ourselves.

Now that we have defined self-fulfilling prophecy do you see how it can affect your parenting?

How can you use this concept in your favor? Have you ever used an affirmation? An affirmation can be a belief which affects how we treat others, which impacts others beliefs in us, which causes other actions toward us, which then reinforces our belief or affirmation. Now you know that affirmations can work, you just have to believe in them!

For more information please visit www.ourbreakthroughs.com. I welcome your comments.

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