— Helene Goldnadel Classes

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February, 2019 Monthly archive

Research indicates that unprecedented numbers of children are experiencing record high rates of depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders even with the advantages of a solid education, financial stability and parental involvement. Parents often feel helpless, out of touch or, many times, unaware that there is even a problem. Developing a “healthy sense of self” can give a child the resilience necessary to avoid such pitfalls. A positive sense of one’s self is also critical to the development of a young person’s emotional health. Here are steps discussed by Helene Goldnadel you can take to begin to make a difference

 

1) Expose your children to and let them learn to manage complex challenges. Do not solve problems for them, rather, allows your child to learn from their mistakes. If parents constantly step in and solve problems for their children, they interfere with the development of the child’s ability to self-regulate. This is a key component of learning to handle difficult obstacles and emotions from within rather than turning to more harmful coping mechanisms (i.e., drugs, destructive relationships…). It can be hard to watch your child struggle with a problem or a disappointment but that which is gained from learning to manage such challenges is far greater than what is learned if parents are constantly trying to shield their children. Tolerate their resentment, anger, and disappointment when they do not get what they want. If they ultimately handle it constructively and on their own, let them know you value their effort. Stress to your children the value of internal resources over external as a safety net when they are struggling,

 

2) Encourage motivation to come from within. “My parents will kill me if I don’t get good grades” is an example of a child who may be more motivated by angst than by his or her own internal desire to succeed. This stress can occasionally keep grades up but the resulting anxiety can lead to many other issues. Avoid criticism and rejection. If you need to correct your child, make it informational rather than personal. For example, “I am disappointed in the way you handled that” goes a lot further than “You are such a disappointment.” Let them know you value, in order, their: individuality, effort, grades. Another way to help children develop internal motivation is to allow them time for quiet exploration. It is not only okay but is actually beneficial to do “nothing” once in a while. This is often the time children find their inner compass, a comfortable home base – that sense of knowing what to do in a given situation. Daydreaming, thinking about one’s self and future or just “chilling” are critical processes in self- development. Saying “I need to think it over” is a good sign. Not all play needs to be structured and organized. Games without set rules, and fantasy play are important contributors to a child’s confidence, self reliance, and problem solving abilities. Time to explore without scrutiny and evaluation can help our children become more flexible and creative thinkers.

 

3) Support versus intrusion - understand and appreciate the difference between the two. Support is about the needs of the child. Intrusion is about the needs of the parent. Despite good intentions, intrusion can do more harm than good. Controlling or overly involved parents, (popularly referred to as “helicopter parents”) can leave kids feeling angry or alienated. It is important to show more concern with who our children are rather than how they do. Studies show that two of the biggest risk factors to a child’s emotional well-being are: academic pressure and disconnection from parents! Decrease pressure to excel. High expectations and pressure are two different things. High expectations, support and encouragement have been shown to promote achievement and competency. Pressure typically promotes stress. When love is experienced as conditional on achievement, problems will arise.

 

4) Be in control rather than controlling - Firm limits are essential to healthy development. The majority of child psychologists report a lack of limit setting at home among many of their troubled patients. Parents sometimes avoid setting limits for fear of making their children angry or upset. Regardless of what kids may say, this is not what they want! It is essential that children believe their parents have the ability to impose limits and to prevail if there is a conflict. This enables them to feel safe as they venture forth in the world. It is natural to test and resist limits but without them the resulting feelings of confusion and fear can lead to risky behaviors. Limits are best set however, by being in control vs. controlling. Avoid using psychological control or manipulation (“you did this to me”) or imposing feelings of guilt and shame (“I can’t believe you handled it like that.”) Open a dialogue instead: (“How do you think you could have handled that better?”) Truly listen to what your child feels he or she needs. You don’t have to agree but children at least want to know they are being heard. Modeling your own self control, valuing who your child is, paying attention to their strengths and idiosyncrasies as well as tolerating their disappointment and anger when things don’t go their way will help them not only respect but appreciate the limits you set.

 

5) EAT DINNER TOGETHER! Yes it can be hard but according to adolescent psychiatrist, Madeleine Levine: “Families who eat together five times or more a week have kids who are significantly less likely to use drugs, have higher GPA’s, less depression and fewer suicide attempts than families who eat together two or less times a week.” Finding ways to build emotional closeness like family dinners, family meetings or family outings mean a lot to children even if they don’t admit it.

 

6) Avoid depending on rewards or bribes. Defaulting to materialism when problems arise make meaningful connection with your children difficult. Offering our children nice things does not necessarily contribute to emotional problems. It is a risk factor however, when they believe from our behavior or values that these luxuries are the things that matter most. Avoid teaching that external rewards equal happiness. There is a fine line between thinking material goods will solve problems and thinking drugs or sex will. Children need to learn to change their behavior for themselves not for “stuff.” Money can be a powerful motivator to get a child to do something we want and most parents are guilty of using rewards to some degree. Share enthusiasm with them for things that make you feel good and productive rather than material things. Above all remember that status, money, possessions and achievement while nice, are not factors that lead to a healthy sense of self.

 

Remember to seek help and guidance if things feel overwhelming or if an issue seems too heavy to handle alone. Sometimes our own childhood experiences make it difficult to implement what we know is right or to be the kind of parent we hope to be. With baby steps, fresh perspective and guidance, anything is possible!

 

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Children do not always know how to select an appropriate book that they find interesting. Often the cover of the book or the topic of the book attracts their attention. They check out the book from the classroom, school, or community library without ever opening the book to see if it is going to hold their interest.

 

We can foster a love of reading by helping them choose appropriate books that they find interesting. Begin with a list of possible books or authors. Librarians and teachers are good resources for this. You can also find reading lists online. Helene Goldnadel suggests to not forgetting to take their interests into consideration. Find three to five of the books on the list. Then have the child choose one.

 

Once the book is chosen, open the book to a random page and have the child read it out loud to you. If it is a picture book, have them read a page. If it is a novel, have them read about one hundred words.

 

Use the five finger rule as the child reads. For each mistake, raise a finger. If the child misses five words (five fingers), then the reading level is probably too difficult. Gently point this out and go back to the other books that were originally selected. Repeat the process until an appropriate selection is made.

 

You should also check their comprehension. Many children can read the words without understanding their meaning. If the material of the book is too complex or sophisticated, encourage the child to choose a different book.

 

Reading often increases a child’s knowledge base and vocabulary. Helene Goldnadel observes that by helping the child choose appropriate, interesting books, a parent can help the child develop a lifelong love or reading that can directly impact their success as a student and even their career choice later in life.

 

Encourage children to talk about the books that they read. Read the same book as your child and you will find that you can have some really interesting conversation and make more of an impact on their comprehension of the reading material!

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A child’s interactions with others, his observations, his sharing of ideas with others help him to begin his reasoning skills. Autonomy is being able to select one’s course of actions without respect with those around him/her and his/her views. He/she is able to think for himself/herself. Autonomy is self-regulation. Autonomy is moral reasoning. Expressing ideas, observing adults and older children, and interacting with them help them to develop moral reasoning. Creative play and pretend play help children to act out scenarios, reason, and respond to others’ ideas.

 

Young children show affection and feelings of liking and disliking. Language is important in the development of social feelings. They learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. As a child is spoken to, there is an exchange of attitudes and values. This exchange can lead to mutual respect. The child learns the norms of society and how to act in appropriate ways.

 

Also read: Child Discipline – Tips and Important Reminders by Helene Goldnadel

 

According to Jean Piaget, a renowned child psychologist and child cognitive developmentalist, children become aware of rules early. They view rules as fixed, unchangeable and having been pronounced by those in authority, such as parents, teachers, or other significant adults. They have a hard time viewing other children’s accidents as accidents. Young children typically have not constructed concepts of intentionality. Young children between the ages of two and six years do not consider motives in their playmates actions. They are egocentric, believing everyone thinks the way he does and that he cannot see another’s point of view. A child’s thinking from his/her point of view is always logical and makes sense and he/her expects everyone to agree with him/her. As he/she continues to develop, egocentrism slowly fades but is renewed in a different form during cognitive development. Later he/she can empathize and understand, or start to understand his/her peers’ upsets and problems. His/her own experiences can help him/her understand his peers better.

 

Right and wrong can often be played out as children engage in creative play. They play out scenarios during dramatic play as they role play in dress-up costume play. They role play mom and dad in the home center and situations they have witnessed their parents experience. They judge what is right or wrong as they act out heroes and villains. As children engage in creative play, they make judgments. They may ask themselves, “What would the fireman do? Who started this fire? Was that the right thing to do? As a fireman, I need to help save people and put out the fire, so no one gets hurts.” As children play pretend dress-up and act out scenarios, they create dialogue, and improvise props, conversations, and script. They learn from each other, what is proper and what is not, what are the rules and mores associated with the situation they are acting out.

 

Puppet play also provides this same type of moral building education through child’s play. They make up stories and create a presentation for other or just for their own entertainment. As the children are engaged in developing their play or presentation, there will be discussion on what is right and proper, and what are the rules their characters will follow, and how the puppets will carry out their dilemma and problem solve the situation.

 

The development of the scenario help the children learn the mores of society, the rules to the game of life, and helps in the being less egocentric and able to feel and understand others’ points of view. This helps in the building of autonomy and doing the right thing without respect to counter influences around him. The rules of society and his family are reinforced through creative play and autonomy can begin to develop. By the age of six or seven years moral reasoning can be in place and autonomy developed.

 

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Puzzles are one of the oldest pastimes for children, and there is very good reason parents have been purchasing them nonstop for many generations. Besides giving parents quiet time to do housework or just relax, there are many benefits for children who regularly play with puzzles of all varieties. Helene Goldnadel discusses some of them below:

 

Mental Stimulation

Puzzles are a constant source of mental stimulation for children of all ages, even if they are simply reworking the same puzzle over and over again. They have to think through the best strategy for fitting the pieces together, such as doing the edges first and filling in the middle or vice versa. They are also challenged from the first piece to the last as they try to locate specific pieces and match the connecting parts up so they resemble the picture on the box.

 

Even electronic toys and educational games currently on the market can rarely compete with the consistent challenge presented by a simple puzzle.

 

Hand-Eye Coordination

Developing hand-eye coordination is extremely important for younger children, and puzzles are a great way to do it! The reason small children have to use oversized puzzle pieces and try a bit harder to fit them together is because they haven’t yet developed the coordination required to skillfully put together a puzzle with small pieces.

 

Babies start out with wooden peg puzzles with their tiny hands being guided by a parent. With time they are able to match the shapes and do those puzzles on their own, then graduate to oversized floor puzzles and eventually to the small pieces of 500+ piece puzzles. This is a reflection of the gradual development of hand and eye coordination.

 

Reasoning & Problem Solving Skills

Solving a puzzle also demands problem solving and reasoning skills. Children are constantly confronted with small problems that must be solved in order to complete the puzzle successfully. For instance, when it comes down to those last few missing pieces which are all similarly colored, the child must determine which one goes in which spot. This is usually done by process of elimination, trying one piece in each hole until it fits somewhere.

 

With time, children are able to solve these little problems much faster.

 

Creative Interest

Many children also are sparked to creative activities by working puzzles. They enjoy looking at the pictures on the box and of the completed puzzle and will maybe feel led to draw, paint, and color pictures that are similar in nature.

 

Many children latch onto particular types of puzzles, such as a child who loves animals and the child who likes bright red fire engines. While developing all of the above skills, puzzles often open a doorway to creativity as well.

 

Quality Time Together

Finally, puzzles are often a great pastime that families can enjoy together. Sitting over a difficult puzzle parents are able to get their children to open up to them and talk about things they would be more timid about in other situations. This is because their mind is distracted and they are doing an enjoyable activity while chit chatting casually.

 

Obviously, children and parents alike have many reasons to enjoy working puzzles! From developing real life skills for young toddlers to giving older children something relaxing and enjoyable to do on a rainy afternoon, there are obviously many reasons generations of parents have purchased puzzles for their children!

 

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