Behavior

What is Self-Awareness and Why is it Important in Counseling

By | March 3rd, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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What is Self-Awareness and Why is it Important in Counseling

Self-awareness is the ability to be cognizant of one’s lived experiences, thoughts, and abilities. While self-awareness is something that most humans have the capacity for (and is sometimes considered a major distinction between humans and other animals), self-awareness can be used specifically in counseling sessions to help both the therapist and client.

This article will cover what self-awareness is, how it can be beneficial instead of hurtful in a therapy session, and how one can cultivate it.

Self-awareness has been defined as:

“an accurate appraisal of a given aspect of one’s situation, functioning, or performance, or of the resulting implications” (Clare et al., 2008).

Self-awareness has also been defined as:

“a mental state in which the contents of one’s consciousness refers to a given aspect of knowledge about oneself” (Tacikowski et al., 2017). Self-awareness is also thought of as a “hallmark of the human mind”.

To put it simply, we can say that self-awareness is an awareness of the self, with the self-being what makes one’s identity unique, including thoughts, experiences, and abilities. One example of self-awareness would be the ability to self-reflect on our identities or our personalities, such as knowing what makes our experience different from someone else’s experience. Recognizing this difference is a key part of self-awareness, as it can be used in an empathetic manner.

What are the Benefits of Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is important because “accurate self-awareness is essential for optimal daily life activities, as it allows adapting individual behavior to different situations according to one’s actual abilities. Accurate self-awareness thus prevents risky or withdrawal behavior” (Chavoix & Insausti, 2017). In other words, self-awareness allows us to know what our limitations are and allows us to make choices based on our capabilities.

What are the Benefits of Self-Awareness?

An investigation by Sutton (2016) examined the component parts of self-awareness and their benefits. This study found that the self-reflection, insight, and mindfulness aspects of self-awareness can lead to benefits such as becoming a more accepting person, while the rumination and mindfulness aspects can lead to emotional burdens. Mindfulness, interestingly, led to both benefits and costs, indicating that more psychological research should be done regarding mindfulness. As for self-awareness, it seems to be important to self-reflect without brooding about one’s negative memories and traits.

Why is Self-Awareness Important in Counseling?

Self-awareness is crucial for psychotherapists because “therapists need to be aware of their own biases, values, stereotypical beliefs, and assumptions in order to appropriately serve culturally diverse clients” (Oden et al., 2009). Self-awareness has also been called a “precursor to multicultural competence” (Buckley & Foldy, 2010). In other words, self-awareness allows counselors to understand the differences between their lived experiences and their client’s lived experiences. This can help counselors be more nonjudgmental towards their clients and help them better understand their clients.

Self-awareness in a counselor can also help a therapy session be more effective. For example, therapists who rated themselves as more self-aware during a session felt more positive emotion towards their clients, and their clients felt that their sessions were more helpful as well (Williams & Fauth, 2005). The researchers suggested that the therapists’ abilities to manage their self-awareness are specifically what helped the session. This is important because self-awareness can have negative consequences in a therapy session.

Downsides of Self-Awareness

While self-awareness is a crucial part of counseling, it is important to bring some nuance into the situation. “Momentary” states of self-awareness in which therapists suddenly become more self-aware can actually be distracting to counseling patients and harmful to the session (Wiliams & Fauth, 2005; Williams, 2003). That is if a counselor is not self-aware for most of the session but suddenly makes a connection to themselves (perhaps by discussing their own feelings seemingly out of nowhere), this can hinder the therapy session. A possible explanation for the fact that some research shows counselor self-awareness is bad while other research shows self-awareness is good is the difference between self-awareness and “self-focused attention”.

Self-Awareness vs Self-Focused Attention

For our purposes, let us say that self-awareness consists of being mindful of our identities and lived experiences (and how they relate to those of other people), while self-focused attention consists of simply thinking about ourselves. For example, self-focused attention might mean that a counselor thinks about how anxious they are about the therapy session, which leads to the client feeling that the counselor is not paying attention to them. Self-awareness, on the other hand, would mean that the counselor realizes that the fact that they are anxious about the session may indicate that the client is anxious about the session, and uses this to try to help the client’s anxiety as well as their own.

In other words, “self-awareness might be [a tool] to decrease the negative impact of hindering self-focused attention on counseling self-efficacy” (Wei et al., 2017). That is, being self-aware about all aspects of one’s thoughts is crucial, rather than simply being aware of the current emotion one is feeling. Some of the strategies that therapists can use to stop self-awareness from being distracting (by simply being self-focused attention) include remembering to focus on the client, their needs, and the goals of the counseling session (Wei et al., 2017). Another strategy is using self-awareness as a way to better understand the client, rather than only being self-aware of one’s thoughts and appearing distracted.

How to Cultivate Self-Awareness

One study interested in training self-awareness in counseling students actually had the students attend at least ten counseling sessions for themselves (Oden et al., 2009). This succeeded in raising self-awareness and led some participants to claim it also helped them understand the role of a counselor more. This is similar to a study showing that medical students can increase their empathy by roleplaying a visit to the doctor as a patient (Kelm et al., 2014). These two studies show that empathy is an important part of self-awareness, and can lead to an increased understanding of one’s role.

The Kelm (2014) findings also indicate that practicing aspects of self-awareness such as self-reflection and insight are actually themselves ways to increase self-awareness. Indeed, a study examining the use of

How to Cultivate Self-Awareness

the Birkman Method in pharmaceutical students confirmed this (Maxwell et al., 2016). The Birkman Method is a psychological self-assessment that was shown to increase levels of self-awareness in pharmaceutical students.

Mindfulness has also been proposed as a way to train counseling students to be more self-aware, but more research needs to be done to see if it is an effective training option or not (Stella, 2016). That said, mindfulness is sometimes considered an aspect of self-awareness in psychology research (Sutton, 2016). This indicates that it is certainly worth exploring a connection between the two.

 A Take Home Message

Self-awareness is an important human trait that can benefit oneself and their social relations. Self-awareness is particularly important in a counseling setting, as therapist self-awareness can make a therapy session more effective. There is not as much research on the importance of client self-awareness in counseling, and since some mental health issues and brain diseases can affect self-awareness this seems to be an important point to investigate (Steward et al., 2017; Vannini et al., 2017)

At the end of the day, if you are a therapist, it is important to cultivate self-awareness to maximize the effectiveness of your sessions. If you are not a therapist, however, the prosocial benefits of self-awareness show the importance of everyone being self-aware. Whether you want to be more accepting of yourself or more accepting of others, cultivating self-awareness is a good place to start.

About the Author

Joaquín is a writer who was first introduced to psychology through behavioral neuroscience research. This research experience was focused on addiction with the hopes of ultimately helping people change their habits. Joaquín was born in Nicaragua, now lives in the United States, and believes positive psychology teachings can improve people’s lives in both countries.

Help is Around the Corner For Your Teen and Their Social Media Addiction

By | February 16th, 2019|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Generally speaking, I like to write my own blogs, it’s what makes me a blogger, right? But sometimes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. When I came upon this article in Psychology Today I realized I’m tired of reading the same thing with a few words jumbled around. Susan did a great job offering some tools for parents to use with their children. In fact, my thoughts of rewarding with more time with family…already used! So today I’m giving credit to a well-written article. For my readers, if you would like help implementing some of the ideas that you read today in a behavior plan you know how to reach me! www.ourbreakthroughs.com.

13 Parent Assists to Help Children Become Tech-Savvy Users

From phone addiction to Fortnite, how to protect kids from digital missteps.

Posted Feb 06, 2019

Like many lately, my friend Alice’s son is addicted to Fortnite, the video game of the moment. Unsure of what to do, Alice offered her 12-year-old several hundred dollars to abandon Fortnite for a month. He refused without hesitation. So a few weeks later, when I asked a young man in his 20s to explain the sensation to me, he instantly likened Fortnite to “crack.”

For many parents, who might already have to nag their children to put down their phones or log off social media to do homework, this kind of tech dependence—where parents must pry their seemingly bewitched children away—is at a new level of alarming.

In a The Wall Street Journal article about Fortnite, calling it an “unwinnable war,” Betsy Morris wrote: “The last-man-standing video game has grabbed onto American boyhood, pushing aside other pastimes and hobbies and transforming family dynamics.” Even for parents who concede that technology can be powerful learning tools for children, the family conflicts arising from the Fortnite phenomenon or incessant texting are frustrating reminders of what technology has become for users of all ages: a mind-numbing distraction and time suck. Is it possible for families to achieve balance—between raising their children to be savvy and tech literate, but not face developmental harm?

Mountains of research reveal all the ways technology influences children’s and teens’ language skills, their brain development, their social interactions, their sleep and more. Common Sense Media found that 50 percent of teens feel “addicted” to their phones. The Pew Research Center discovered that 59 percent of US teens have been bullied or harassed online. Negative reports make it tricky for parents to find a happy medium and accept technology as beneficial especially when trying to protect their children or simply get their attention.

A Look on the Bright Side

As parents, we are so worried about our children’s addiction to their devices and the negative effects of technology that we overlook the positives. A study in American Psychologist, “The Benefits of Playing Video Games,” concludes that the skills learned while playing video games translate into positive social behavior with friends and family members.

The Family Institute at Northwestern University also shines a brighter light. In a review of numerous findings on digital effects, it found encouraging news for parents: “Several studies have suggested that digital forms of communication do not dictate the quality of interaction and relationships [for children and teenagers]. Rather, the quality of the pre-established relationships often determines what effect using digital forms communication will have.”

Be it developing social skills, fine-tuning time management, or simply learning to use technology wisely, parents have an important role.

Enter Parents

Tech is ubiquitous and a teaching tool used increasingly in schools and for homework assignments. Similarly, texting, Facebook, Instagram and the like are not going away. In spite of excessive hours spent on technology, parents can teach children and teens to strive for balance, to harness technology so they are not harmed by it.

An important caveat: Beginning at very young ages, taking devices away or using screen time as a reward is likely to increase time spent on screens by 20 minutes a day for children age 5 and younger, according to a study in BMC Obesity. The same probably holds true for older children and teens.

Approached with acceptance and understanding, parents can encourage children to be sensible technology “users” in all its forms. Diana Graber, the founder of CyberWise and an International Digital Literacy Advocate, has an approach that will help parents relax. Although technology is relatively new to many parents, kids, on the other hand, have grown up with it, but Graber is confident that we can help our children “build a healthy relationship with technology.”

13 Parent Assists to Help Children Become Tech Savvy

Graber makes these useful suggestions to help build social skills:

  • Teach children and teens to look people in the eye when talking to them.
  • Have consistent, unplugged family time.
  • Set up an email account for younger children and practice writing emails with subject lines, greetings and sign-offs.
  • Engage in kindness online with them: review a book or rate a restaurant you liked; “like” someone’s photo or Facebook post.

Early on, be sure you and your children understand the scope of media and how information can spread far more widely than intended. Graber believes it’s vital for both parents and children to know the meanings of:

  • Social media site
  • Tagging
  • Screenshot
  • Upload
  • Post
  • Drive home the fact that what they put online is very difficult to erase.
  • Be sure they understand who will look at their social media in the future: college admissions personnel; potential employers; prospective dates.
  • Guard your present and future digital reputation by being selective in what you share.
  • Share community service, involvement in a cause, commitment to a project or idea you created.

 

Given the many potholes to avoid, with a small time investment, parents can turn their children into savvy digital users. While the jury is still out and studies on many aspects of kids and technology often produce conflicting results on privacy, time spent on devices, games, and computers, no one can disagree: technology puts knowledge at everyone’s fingertips. Following Diana Graber’s lead goes a long way in calming parents’ many worries.

For more, see Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology.  

Copyright @2019 by Susan Newman

In other words, “for children and teenagers who already have well-developed social skills, using digital media to interact does not harm their relationships or social development. In contrast, if a child or teenager does not have strong social skills or an in-person social network, that child or teenager should be encouraged to continue exploring ways to build these skills and to balance time towards that goal with their screen time.”An essential lesson to get across is the importance of the digital footprint a child may have left online that will affect her in the future. Graber recommends these reputation-saving lessons: In her book, Raising Humans in a Digital World, she explains the role parents play to assure kids have the skills they need to act responsibly. Parents can guide their children to think critically about how they use technology and what they put out in the world.

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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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Breakthrough’s Vlinder: Reward Programs that Work

By | October 2nd, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Vlinder is a set of tools that help parents create structure and modify behavior in a game-like kit.

Game pieces include: a personalized task sheet, over 100 reward cards, and a stamp pen

Game pieces include: a personalized task sheet, over 100 reward cards, and a stamp pen

Vlinder provides you with all of the “game pieces” you need to set up a positive reinforcement system with your children. It encourages responsibility by tracking your child’s tasks to completion and offers them the opportunity to earn rewards by “drawing cards” when they reach certain goals.

Responsibilities are not limited to chores around the house, but also include nurturing relationships in the household and community. It also fosters family team-building and communication.

Each child gets Task Sheets to track their responsibility progress. Task Sheets include: 1) morning responsibilities,2) a space for goal setting and tallying daily rewards, 3) a full description of each responsibility and how to earn rewards, and 4) blank spaces to personalize the tasks.

Task sheets can also be completely personalized online using a fun, innovative, and interactive tool on the Vlinder website.

By completing tasks your children will earn stamps, helping make their way toward drawing Reward Cards!

Reward Cards provide the incentive and motivation for your child to follow through with the responsibilities.

When your kids earn enough stamps, they can “cash them in” by drawing Reward Cards. In the game, there are Reward Cards provided for smaller rewards, larger rewards, money rewards, and Bummer Cards.

Bummer Cards provide extra incentive to motivate your kiddos to complete tasks so they can earn more opportunities to draw cards!

Parents, you will find that Vlinder improves communication in your families by encouraging your children to participate actively with you and each other throughout the game.

Kids will be proud of the progress they make and the independence that comes with it! You will be delighted when their behavior improves and more teamwork is happening in your home!

Breakthrough’s Vlinder can be found at www.ourbreakthroughs.com/shop/

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5 Mind Numbing Steps for Kids Craving Structure

By | September 2nd, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Children crave structure. They appreciate knowing the rules and how far they can push. It is one of the reasons for learning how to set rules is important. Learning how to set boundaries can be difficult which is especially true when it comes to children; we want them to have more than we did. A parent told me “our generation has ruined it”. We get our kids what they want when they want it. When it comes time to give a gift there is little from which to choose. It is time to set some boundaries! Let’s look at five steps for setting boundaries:

  1. Discover why you are setting a boundary. It is important to have a good understanding of the problem before trying to brainstorm solutions. You may miss your target altogether. 
  2. Explore and identify different solutions to the problem. Depending on your need, come up with as many solutions as possible and generate a list. There are no dumb ideas. Sometimes the whackiest idea (or ideas in combination) make a fun and appropriate solution.
  3. Choose the idea you will use. Don’t be afraid to combine lots of different ideas in setting your boundary. If your “problem” is that your child pesters you for treats at the grocery store, then some ideas might be: avoid taking your child to the store or allow them to accompany you but have them choose to spend their own money.  This combination of options easily becomes: don’t take your child to the store unless he is willing to spend his own money.  Important: Don’t throw away the list just yet. You will probably want to revisit some of your ideas later!
  4. Implement your solution. Using the example above, take your child shopping.  This may appear easier than it is. Make sure to be prepared to allow him to spend his own money. Allow him time to pick the one thing that he can afford. Stick to your guns. Consistency is key.
  5. Evaluate. If your child has stopped pestering you in the store, it appears that your job is done! Congratulations! If, however, they pick their item and begin pestering for more, then make sure you have allowed enough time to implement your solution.  You may need another trip to the store.  If that doesn’t work, then it is time to start from square one and make sure you have identified the right problem. Revisit your solutions and put another one into effect. This can be a long process. The important thing is being consistent once you set a boundary so that you can see what works and what doesn’t.

You may find that you have to go through the steps several times before you get the result that you want. The point to remember is that your child will be better for understanding the boundaries that you are setting.  The time you have together to visit, plan and perhaps the dream will be priceless. 

  For more helpful tips on positive reinforcement and tools to help implement them in your home please visit our website at www.ourbreakthroughs.com

Behavior management games are a fun way to get started. Check out Vlinder on our website. It’s quick and the kids love it!

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How to Discipline Your Child – Punishment isn’t the Way

By | February 23rd, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

by Amy Mc Creedy

original article can be located on http://bit.ly/positiveparentingsolutions

We want our children to learn from their mistakes and not repeat them. So the natural thought is to send them to the “time out” corner or up to their room to “think about what they’ve done.” Except they don’t. And they’re likely to keep up the same behaviors despite the punishment. So, how do you know how to discipline your child?

Often, we equate the term “discipline” with punishment. But the word “discipline” comes from the Latin word “disciplina,” which means “teaching, learning.” That’s the key to correcting our kids’ behaviors – giving them the tools they need to learn a better behavior. When we discipline in a way meant only to punish and have the child “pay” for their mistake, it doesn’t help our child learn how to make the right choice next time. No one likes being ordered around – punishment can lead to power struggles, and because our kids know this poor behavior gets them attention, they’ll keep doing it.

When it comes to knowing how to discipline your child, we can focus on three key areas: giving them the positive attention they need and crave, taking time for training, and setting limits and sticking to them.

1. Fill the Attention Basket

Kids need attention, plain and simple. If we don’t keep that “attention basket” full of positive attention, kids will seek out any attention they can get – even negative attention. They’ll push our buttons with negative behaviors because to a kid, even negative attention is better than no attention at all. This doesn’t mean you have to be at your child’s side 24-7 – just taking a few minutes a day to spend one-on-one with your child, distraction-free and doing something they want to do, will reap immense rewards in their behavior.

Take 10 minutes once or twice a day with each child playing a game they’ve picked or reading their favorite book. Let the phone ring. Stick the cell phone in the closet. When you fill your children’s attention baskets positively and proactively, your kids will become more cooperative and less likely to seek out attention in negative ways. Life is busy for everyone, and finding extra time in the day may be daunting at first, but think of this as an investment in your relationship with your children and in improving their behavior. When it comes to knowing how to discipline your child, giving them what they need to avoid poor behaviors in the first place can have a great impact.

2. Take Time for Training

As you think about how to discipline your child, it’s important to remember that the word discipline is rooted in meanings of learning and teaching. The best way to discipline your child is to help her make better choices. You can role play the behaviors, using a calm voice. “I’d really like to play with that tractor when you’re done.” “I’d like a snack, please.” Switch roles and pretend you’re the child, and let your little one direct you through making better choices. Be encouraging when they do make the right choices. “I see you worked hard to clean up the playroom all on your own! That’s such a big help. I really appreciate it.” “Thank you for sharing the book with your brother. How kind!”

3. Set Limits and Stick to Them

Kids thrive when they have structure and know their boundaries. Don’t go overboard with hundreds of rules, but focus on what’s most important for your family. Be clear about the ground rules and what happens when someone breaks the rules – make sure that everyone understands the consequences ahead of time and that the discipline is related to the misbehavior. If they forget to put away their dishes after dinner, they have to load and unload the dishwasher. Cleaning their room because they didn’t do their homework isn’t related. Most importantly, be consistent. Follow through every time with the agreed-upon consequence when kids push the rules.

Overall, remember that knowing how to discipline your child is rooted in helping them learn how to make the right choice, not punishment. Be firm and give them the attention, rules, and boundaries they need.

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Why Writing Thank You Notes Teaches Good Manners

By | January 21st, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

You may or may not advocate handwritten thank you notes in your home; no doubt, you have your reasons either way. Some folks believe the practice is outdated and the idea shouldn’t be forced on unwilling kids. Others were taught when they were young that writing letters of thanks after receiving presents was a polite measure and want their kids to do the same. Perhaps no one is right or wrong, but kids can benefit from expressing their gratitude by writing thank you notes; here’s how.

Appreciation
The act of writing thank you notes make kids think about the thought and care that goes into buying and wrapping the toys and gadgets they receive. The gifts themselves are super-exciting, of course. However, realizing friends and relatives care enough to be thoughtful adds a positive emotional dimension to receiving presents.

Gratitude
There’s more to gratitude than the recognition presents come from someone rather than appearing out of the blue. Studies show the art of being grateful makes people happy; it’s a well-being tool. Once kids tune into gratitude they can use it in all areas of life to boost happiness.

Writing for well-being
Many kids use computers instead of writing words on paper. Nonetheless, research reveals there’s a connection between expressing feelings in written form and well-being. Kids who get used to writing about what’s on their minds, whether to say thanks for gifts or share how they feel about events in a journal, can reduce stress.  If your child finds this type of writing, he or she might continue to write, not only to express gratitude but also for enjoyment and anxiety reduction later in life.

Good manners
Teach your kids good manners and they will thank you somewhere down the road of life. Etiquette is a useful social tool that makes people stand out from the crowd: it helps them forge friendships and make a terrific impression. The habit of being polite gained from writing thank you notes will give them the edge as they mature.

Handwritten thank you notes are just one way your kids can show appreciation for gifts. Nevertheless, putting gratitude down on paper rather than using another method is beneficial since doing so teaches them life lessons you won’t want them to miss.

Original Post can be found on Child Development Institute

Article was written by  

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Vlinder Elf Tips

By | December 12th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

It’s that time of year when parents get a couple of extra hands to keep an on eye on things. I’m talking about the elves. I appreciate using the little guys and gals to help bring some order into the home. There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that this is helping your quest to maintain long term change and not adding additional stressors to your kiddos. It’s a nice break having Santa’s naughty and nice list as a motivator but since we know you aren’t going to send a present back to the North Pole we need to keep it real.

Some children are more prone to anxiety than others. You are feeding that by suggesting that they may not get the gifts if they don’t perform. Careful how much power you give the elves and remember not to put into jeopardy that which will not be taken away. This tradition is meant to be fun.

Using the elves to create order in your home is a type of reward system. Depending on when the elves show up at your house, the reward takes a long time to get there. One way to manage this is by setting up other forms of positive reinforcement. Rewards are not always presents and candy. Some ideas are sitting at the table with mom or dad to write a letter to a loved one, special one on one time or tons of kudos and high fives! Be clear why the reward has been earned if you want to see it repeated.

Finally, if you use your elf for behavior management then please remember that they, the elves, also “see” the positive behavior. Allow your kiddos time to reflect on the positive reports that the elves will be reporting to Santa.  Personal pride goes a long way.

If you have any questions or suggestions for today’s entry please contact us on our website, www.ourbreakthroughs.com. We love visitors and invite you take a look around while you are there. If you would like to sign up for our free newsletter there is a form provided on the home page. Happy Holidays!

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Why Does Vlinder Work? Behavior Management

By | September 2nd, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Good question! Something that I, as the creator, should be able to explain to you.

For those that have never read my blogs…Vlinder is a behavior management game or program that uses positive reinforcement to reward clearly set expectations. For more information visit the website.

This is not about how to play or even how it works…this is about WHY it works. The ABC’s of behavior management rests on three aspects: antecedents, behaviors and consequences. Antecedents are events that occur before behaviors present themselves. If a child doesn’t have a good meal, didn’t get enough sleep, and got news that they weren’t going to their friends house then those are the antecedents to the temper tantrum that followed. The tantrum is the behavior that you are trying to discourage. Parents generally have a built in consequence for poor behaviors which can be anything from avoidance to a time-out or even worse.

Taking this example and using Vlinder means that you set the expectations before the antecedents have a chance to impact behavior. Clearly the child is in no shape for a play date. Expectations are set for what is reasonable for them to achieve the goal either later in that day or the next day. What can they do to earn this time? Have a rest or eat more breakfast? Complete some of their morning responsibilities. Note that in this example they are not losing their playdate…they are working towards it. You have gotten the same result without a tantrum.

That is the simple explanation of why Vlinder works. We looked at the ABC’s of behavior management and we took control at “A” (antecedents).

There are times of the day that are typically more stressful than others. If you use Vlinder to structure time you will be amazed at how much smoother time will play out. Not only will you have more cooperation but you will have more time for yourself as your players know what they have to do…as their expectations have already been laid out for them.

As with any behavior management program, results will vary. I am the first to admit that the first couple of times that you try this new approach it can be confusing for your child and a tantrum may still follow. Habits are hard to break. As they come to see that you follow through with your promises they will begin to work hard. Stay positive as you see them trying. When they question just acknowledge that this is not earning their “stamps” (part of the game) to go to their play date.

For more parenting tips or information on using positive reinforcement visit my website at www.ourbreakthroughs.com!

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Angry in a Flash

By | June 4th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

There is more in a moment of anger than we credit; many different internal and external factors are at play. We have little control over some, but, we always have control over our reactions. We need to remember that when it comes to our children. Everyone has experienced when spilled milk one day is just an accident and the next day it is clumsiness and cause for a stern talking to.  It’s confusing to be a child.

Anger is the result of three things, something happening, how we experience it and ultimately how we react. The parent who experienced the spilled milk and was angry one day but wasn’t the day before had other internal and external things that affected their response. Lets take a closer look at the difference between internal and external factors and how they affect a person’s anger.

As we progress through life events go through our experience filter. It’s this filter that helps us decode how we feel about everything based on past experience, culture, upbringing, gender, race, or religion. Those feelings ultimately direct our reactions, impacts how we respond, even to something as simple as a glass of spilled milk. How would a glass of spilled milk impact you? If it makes a laud noise? If it breaks something? If you are embarrassed in front of friends or family? These are all examples of internal things that provoke anger because it is how we respond to external stimuli. These events alone are not a common trigger. Even though the events are external they are going through your experience filter and your internal belief structure that is impacting how you are relate to an incident.

Other internal factors that are easier to relate to are fatigue, pressure, conflict and insecurity. These have direct impact on how we choose to respond to an event.

When thinking about external factors one must think about the events that he or she experienced and the circumstances under which they occurred. For example think about the things in your life that caused you stress. Did you come up with any frustrations, annoyances, abuses, injustices, harassments, hurts, disappointments, or threats? These are all stimuli that activate your anger. It is clear that not all of us react the same way. A bully might see an insult as humorous from someone smaller; however, if threatened his response would be quite different. External factors are different from internal in that they alone can cause anger. They don’t need to go through your experience filter to stimulate a reaction.

It is understandable that people have different reactions to the same event. No two days are the same and our experiences throughout the day have an impact on how we treat those who cross our path. Understanding the factors that go into anger gives you a tool set to make different choices. Knowing that you are walking into a situation when you are tired and feeling vulnerable should warn you to go easy or to schedule a better time to have important conversations. If your child spills a glass of milk and you feel your temperature rise ask yourself some very important questions.

    1. Where is my stress gauge?
    2. Do I already feel anger about another incident?

These questions might help you from making saying and doing things that you will regret later.

If you have any questions or you would like to look up more information on behavior management, please visit our website at www.ourbreakthroughs.com. Vlinder is a behavior management game created to encourage communication, cooperation and connection in the family. To learn more visit us here.

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