228: Do you TELL with eyes open and ears attentive?

It just makes sense, if you want to build positive relationships and improve situations, it matters what you say and do. Especially in difficult situations, where you and others may not see eye to eye, your words and actions really matter. Every person is merely TELLing a point of view. You TELL whatever you see, hear, and pay attention to in a given moment.

The TELL message has made me realize if you genuinely want to TELL for good – build stronger relationships and improve situations…

You interact with open eyes and see beyond yourself. You really look with your eyes to see the other person; you notice body language; you look to see them. You look at them kindly, softly and with curiosity.

You listen and hear with attentive ears. You realize what is being said to you is more important than what you have to say.

You pay attention to the other person. You notice what may be happening in the other people’s lives and recognizing/accepting it may be different than your own life. Somewhere I read, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” So true… when we pay attention to others, we are being generous by looking for their needs, who they are, and where they are coming from.

We TELL everything. We teach and encourage depending on how well we see, hear, and attend as we interact. We demonstrate how well we listen depending on where our eyes, ears, and attention are focused. It isn’t until we have eyes open and ears attentive that we show someone love and care.

To build strong relationships and improve circumstances, it requires seeing, listening, and paying attention in the ways described above. Of course, the best case is when everyone interacts with a set of open eyes and attentive ears, but my experience is that is often not the case. However, each person can choose for themselves to TELL with eyes open and ears attentive.

Isn’t it true that our strongest relationships are with those who interact with open eyes and ears attentive? Especially when faced with a difficult situation where we don’t see eye to eye, or like what we hear… opening our eyes and ears to each others’ point of view is how we get through situations and grow stronger relationships. These interactions make us stronger.

So now, I can’t help but think about the younger person in our lives. The youth and adult will seldom see eye to eye about situations.  The younger person does not have the life experiences to possibly see most situations the same way as an adult. We as the adults have so much to TELL them, and we want to have a strong relationship with them. Yet, too often the youth are expected to do more listening and paying attention to adults. What they really need are adults who see, listen, and pay attention to them.

When we don’t see, hear, or pay attention to another consistently, chances are likely this relationship is not getting stronger. When we do see with open eyes and hear with attentive ears, we are more than likely building a deeper relationship with that person.

Today, can we all put a little extra effort into seeing, hearing, and paying attention for good….especially towards the younger people in our lives?  #TELLforGood

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040: Consequences give children a concrete stepping stone on journey of growth

The Show & T.E.L.L. Blog shares ideas about interacting with children. The TELL Our Children mission is to inspire and mentor caregivers to understand how every interaction can teach children ideas, encourage some ideas more than others, and how to listen better so you are better able to build the thinking in a child. You must first hear what ideas a child currently has in order to offer better ideas. And, finally every interaction is done with love. In upcoming blogs, I will speak in more depth about teaching, encouraging, listening, and loving while interacting. Today, I wish to continue with the idea of consequences. Last post, I introduced the thought:

Interact with consequences in mind. Proper consequences can make the interaction more real for the child. Choose consequences the child understands so the child is better able to choose beneficial behaviors over limiting ones.

You can click on the title to link to this post. These posts are part of the “How can I T.E.L.L.?” series which started in May.

We T.E.L.L. a child so we can help develop a child’s thought system. Thinking about and including consequences in our interactions is a concrete way to help children connect ideas. A child can relate a certain situation to something positive, or something negative, and this can help the child understand and make a better decision.

Can you think of areas in your life where you choose because of the consequences? For example, you may avoid drugs because the negative consequences. The positive consequences are also obvious. Or you may relate improvement to success, which causes you to keep learning.

As children gain life experiences, they are learning about the consequences explicitly and implicitly. We can explicitly use consequences to help shape a child’s choices. Many have asked specifically about disciplining a child, usually in reference to a punishment. When a child misbehaves, explicit consequences can help shape the child’s choices. The question discussed last post is relevant here: what is in it for the child?

When my children were young and I felt a time out was needed (usually for both of us!), I would often ask after the time was up, “Do you know why you were in time out?” I wanted to be sure my child connected the time out with a specific situation.  Then, I may ask “Should we try again?” to give my child a chance to do better. Then I could point out how nice, or job well done. They key is to link not just negative consequences (avoiding time out), but also the benefits of choosing better.

As children get older, you can ask them to think about the positive and negative consequences for a specific behavior. For example, in the past I have asked students to write down 10 things answering, “If I continue to miss class and not put forth effort, then…” The list usually includes ideas associated with bad grades, not being ready for next class, not ready for college, just to name a few. After talking about the negative consequences, I shift the conversation and ask something such as, “Now what if you start coming to class and put forth effort, what could happen then?”

This gave students freedom to consciously choose. In the end, I could say something like, “Now you know what can happen positively and negatively here; it’s your choice. I will continue to encourage you to make the better choice, but ultimately it’s up to you. Let me know how I can help you choose better.”

To discipline a child in a T.E.L.L.ing way, we think most about disciplining the mind in a beneficial way. A disciplined mind allows for better choices. When you T.E.L.L., you build a child’s thinking. You don’t force the child to think a certain way; he learns to think for himself. He learns to recognize positive and negative consequences.

This week:

Think about the consequences you use to shape your child’s thinking. What is your tendency? Do you point out positive consequences as well as negative ones? Do you help connect beneficial behaviors with positive rewards? Make a point of finding opportunities to connect positive behaviors with beneficial consequences.

If you find you have to redirect a child’s behavior, consider using the time out strategy mentioned above, or if you have an older child, use the make a list of consequences strategy. Another form of the time out strategy is to ask the child to write a letter about what happened and what may need to be thought about next time.

Raising a child is a wondrous journey. Helping children learn about consequences, positive and negative, gives them a concrete stepping stone to grow toward something better.

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