PayPal Headquarters Book Chat on “Confident Parents, Confident Kids”

Check out my chat last week at PayPal Headquarters with Mike Todasco, Senior Director of Innovation about the new book, “Confident Parents, Confident Kids.” Mike Todasco, PayPal,  and the many caring parents who attended, thank you for a truly rich dialogue!

 

Also — Starting today – Don’t miss the Happily Family Conference: Mindful Parenting for High Needs Kids. Sign up here: https://conference.happilyfamily.com/?orid=4168&opid=14

This Week! FREE Online Happily Family Conference…

Mark your calendars —  and join me this week — January 23-27th! This is a major highlight of my wintertime enrichment opportunities. I love joining expert parenting hosts and friends Cecilia and Jason Hilkey for this rich, insight-filled online conference. Register here and you’ll receive links each day to five or so interviews (between 30-45 minutes long typically). You’ll walk away with new tools, ideas, and the inspiration to try them out to improve in your role as a parent.

Check out a few experts and their interview topics:

Dr. Rich Hanson –      Resilient: How to Grow and Unshakeable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

Iris Chen  –      From Tiger Parenting to Peaceful Parenting and Unschooling; One Mother’s Journey to Self Awareness

Dayna Abraham  –     Parenting with a Partner When You Have a High Needs Child

Kim John Payne  –     Being At Your Best When Your Kids Are At Their Worst

Dr. Laura Markham. –   Tech, Social Media, Emotional Health and Resilience

Dr. Christine Carter  –  The New Adolescence: Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction

Jennifer Miller –   Can We All Just Get Along: Using Fair Fighting to Build Family Harmony

All interviews are posted for 24 hours free and at your convenience. Watch one or many depending upon your interests. Please join me for this upcoming event!

Sign up FREE here! 

Martin Luther King Jr’s Call to Action Today: Unlearning Implicit Bias 



“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“What is Martin Luther King Jr. saying to me?” I ask myself each January and the answer that returns is always fresh and significant. Though the need for valuing, seeking and embracing diversity is urgent and pressing in our homes, our schools and our workplaces, where do I turn my attention? How can I make a difference?

In our roles as parents and or as educators, are we doing all that we can to raise a generation of includers, of strength-finders, and of caring-in-diversity relationship seekers? In fact, it’s important for us to realize that children, even infants, begin learning bias in their earliest years. Where do they get these messages of bias? Directly from us.  

Implicit bias can be difficult to admit or even understand since it creates a paradox in our thinking, speech, and actions. Though we may believe that all individuals – genders, cultures, ethnicities, LGBTQ – are capable of doing a particular job, for example, we may harbor schemas, or abstract layers of knowledge from many years of limiting messages from others, that conflict with that belief and produce opposing stereotypes. Though we may not articulate a directly offensive view to a woman getting that job, for example, our attitude or tone used when discussing the woman might represent our underlying schema beliefs that, whether we desire or not, “teach” our child biased values. If, for example, we encounter a new person of another culture and approach cautiously prioritizing our safety when we would not do that with a new person of our own culture, then it sends a clear message to our young child. 

Just as all people cannot be fully self-aware since we all have blind spots being too close to our own skin, so too all have developed implicit bias over a lifetime of messages that create power-over dynamics where there are differences. Research has uncovered a number of ways in which we can unlearn our implicit biases. I’m hearing Martin Luther King Jr. tell me this is work I must do. In fact, it’s a responsibility each of us must undertake as contributing citizens, if we are to raise confident kids and become the confident parents we want to be.

Since modeling is predominantly how our children learn implicit bias – watching and listening to you – let’s focus on how we can change ourselves first. Using the CASEL social and emotional competence framework of the five core skills we need to build in ourselves and our kids, here are some research-based strategies for unlearning our own implicit bias.

Conduct a safety self-test to raise self-awareness. 

Because we are caring, educated individuals, because we may view ourselves as change-makers or global citizens, it’s uncomfortable (at best) to admit that we have implicit bias. However, instead of allowing guilt and shame from stopping us do the work we need to do, it’s critical to admit that we all have it by the very nature of living in a culture with a diverse range of others. So help raise your own self-awareness as a very first step. Conduct an audit of your own thoughts and feelings. Pick a week (this one seems one in which you might be more motivated inspired by the words and actions of Martin Luther King Jr.). Each time you go to a coffee house, restaurant or bank, notice how you interact with others. Who do you say hi to? Who do you feel safe with? What is the color of their skin? Intentionally say “hi” or act kindly to others who look different from you and check your feelings. Safe, unsafe? This will raise your awareness that there’s work to be done.

Become intentional about changing your thinking habits to increase self-management. 

Now choose the following two weeks (since it takes at least two weeks to create new thinking habits) to create new ways of thinking when you are interacting in your community. As you go about your day and encounter others, intentionally seek out those who felt “unsafe” to you when you conducted your audit. In the quick moment of interaction, utter in your mind, “safe,” to begin to turn around your perception. As you walk away, ask yourself, “what’s their back story?” Imagine the most empathetic, compassionate back story of pain, struggle, endurance, courage and kindness as you consider their story. Cultivate a character in your mind who is endearing and beloved as you watch his life movie.

Seek interaction with other races, cultures, genders, or same sex partners to cultivate social awareness and create relationships.

Numerous research studies have demonstrated that as individuals get to know a person who differs from them, their biases are shattered and they feel greater compassion for the “other.” Increased interaction helps us view people as individuals rather than as part of a larger culture. So on daily errands, become intentional about creating small talk with those from other races, cultures, or LGBTQ. How can you generate conversation, get to know something about that individual, and help shatter your own implicit bias? Consider the multiplying effect of doing this with your child by your side. Your child will not only experience your modeling but also, learn with you about another individual in their community with whom they would not normally interact.

Participate in service as family to activate your responsible decision-making skills. 

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve,” is another favorite quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Each time you sign up to serve your own or another community, you have a chance to dispel implicit bias. Whether it’s serving dinner to a homeless population or bringing supplies to shut-in seniors, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with individuals you may never encounter in your daily routine while showing care for them. Include your family and all will have the chance to enact kindness and come away feeling nourished and cared about from those you’ve served as is always the experience with genuine service.

May we not become complacent or point the blame at others for the lack of understanding and acceptance of some humans. As parents and educators, we are called to address implicit bias as a core responsibility of raising the next generation. How can we become inspired by the model of Martin Luther King Jr. to take action in our lives to change the world one person at a time?

 

Want to take the learning further?

Check out the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning’s Equity Brief entitled: Equity and Social and Emotional Learning; A Cultural Analysis

Living the Questions

Happy new year to you and your family! I can’t help but linger on the big questions during the gray days of January. After the decorations have gathered dust and been put away, there’s a bareness and a simplicity to our home. That lack of clutter allows me some clarity of mind as I consider those questions that, in the busyness of our days, don’t typically get asked. 

In addition, I’ve recently been challenged on the very role and purpose of family. Why do we choose to live in a family when we could choose another lifestyle? It made me consider. As a researcher, I went directly to the literature. But then, I paused, moved away and considered for myself. Why is family life so important and what purpose does it serve in our lives that no other context can serve?

There were two commonalities I found as I sorted through writings on families from the science-based to the philosophical and spiritual. Family offers a support for our physical and mental health. The implication of this is that our own health and well-being have a direct impact on the well-being of others in the family so care for ourselves and others is a priority. The second is that family serves as the hub of our core values. As we anchor to those values, we can see evidence of them in our everyday choices and actions. Becoming clear as a family about what values we want to intentionally embody, nurture and promote can offer us a focusing path as we learn about and improve ourselves and our ways of parenting.

Here are some of these questions you might consider too.

What do I stand for? What does our family stand for?

What is my life about? 

What gives me a sense of meaning?

Who do I want to be as a parent? 

What do I value as a parent and as a husband or wife, daughter or son and family member?

How am I living those values and in what ways am I not? 

Where do I need to become more intentional to ensure that I am living my values?

How am I helping my son or daughter discover their own sense of purpose and meaning?

How do I regularly share power with my son or daughter to ensure they are growing their responsible decision-making skills?

How am I contributing to the world? How am I finding small ways my son or daughter can contribute?

I find the following quote so comforting as I consider the bigger picture. May you live the questions this January to start the new year in a considered, reflective way.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Today:

Jennifer Miller of Confident Parents, Confident Kids will be doing a fireside chat with Mike Todasco, Senior Director of Innovation at PayPal Headquarters (and long-
time dear friend) in San Jose, CA. Can’t wait to talk about parenting hopes and dreams and how we can promote social and emotional competence in ourselves and our children with the PayPal Team. Thanks Mike Todasco for this awesome opportunity!

On PBS Kids… “How to Coach Kids through Big Emotions”

Confident Parents, Confident Kids is delighted to partner with WNET Thirteen, the New York flagship PBS affiliate and PBS Kids to produce articles, resources and videos for parents related to supporting and helping our children learn about their big feelings. Today on PBS Kids’ blog, check out the following article on using emotion coaching with your young child. The article begins…

Young children can have big feelings, but not yet know how to handle them. Parents and caregivers can learn how to use coaching as a simple tool for responding to a child’s upset to build her emotional competence.

Coaching can become a powerful way to help children become more self-aware, understanding their own feelings and how emotions impact their choices. It can also give them valuable practice in responsible decision-making. Parents who use a coaching approach express confidence that their child will succeed in their efforts. Rather than fixing a problem for their child, they focus on helping their child identify and better understand their feelings and then, think through their own solutions to a problem. Read full article on PBS Kids.

And check out the related video with versions in English and Spanish! Parenting Minutes: Expressing Emotions

 

Cultivating Family Flow for the New Year!

What is it… why you want it… and how to get it!

“I had no idea it was so late!” my ten-year-old exclaimed lifting his head up after a few hours of finely-crafting origami Star Wars figures with his cousin, Grandma and myself who were equally entranced in our crafting projects. Clearly, we were experiencing flow – family flow. We lost track of time, deeply engaged in the creative work in front of us. The top researcher on this topic and author of the national bestseller Flow; The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, explains flow this way:

Flow is…

“that state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”1

Flow activities seem to have a few aspects in common. They are that:

    • there is a problem that needs solving;
    • there is a sense that we have the ability to work toward solving it;
    • we bring our creativity to the task;
    • the process of working on the problem is the focus (not the outcome or product);
    • the goal feels enjoyable, important or worthwhile.

There are also a few conditions that seem to work against the creation of flow. Flow cannot exist:

    • if the individual is feeling self-conscious (like others are watching and judging);
    • if the individual feels she did not choose the problem but it was forced upon her; or
    • if the person feels anxious about the outcome or product of her work.

Children are already well-equipped for engaging in flow since they enter that state each time they are playing. Imaginative play, social play, and physical play are all sources during which children experience flow. And you, as a parent, certainly have noticed. When you try and stop the play to move on to the next activity, you often get a disoriented and upset child. After all, they were in a reverie of focused attention. Their goal is to keep the enjoyment going. Your goal to move on is disrupting their flow.

Flow calms. That focused attention is the experience of mindfulness, being fully present. And because focused attention is required for success in school, these experiences of flow, if protected and encouraged, can offer children the chance to exercise their self-control, the executive function that is said to be a predictor of success. They block out noises around them. They do not get easily distracted by the movements of others in the room. They are completely centered on the task at hand. Isn’t that also the kind of attention that’s needed when taking a high stakes achievement test or performing anything with excellence? The flow state offers that chance to rehearse the vital skill of self-control in an enjoyable, highly desirable way.

Not only does Csikszentmihalyi argue that flow is important in family life, he writes that it’s an essential ingredient in order to sustain and grow families over the long run. Without it, he claims families will ultimately become frustrated at impasses with one another and bored and disengaged. That’s because when we engage in flow together, we are engaging in learning. And through that learning, we are individually developing while simultaneously connecting, deepening our trust and intimacy.

Csikszentmihalyi says that the formula for establishing family flow is trust and unconditional acceptance. When engaged in learning – and our children are consistently engaged in learning whether it is academic or social or emotional or physical – we show our children that we have confidence in their ability to learn anything or achieve any goal they set their mind to.

Activities can begin as flow-producing, like a new team sport or a new friendship, but can change if parents begin to focus their comments and energies on outcomes as in, “we need to work toward winning every game,” or judging the friend as in, “I don’t like the way she talks.” The intrinsic value of the activity goes away as the outside voices begin to produce self-doubt.

In the big picture, families can cultivate flow as a part of who they are and how they function. Though the positive goal we set for ourselves will differ from family to family, maximizing each member’s ability to learn and grow and maximizing how your family team learns and grows together can be a focusing force. Here are six ways a family might do this.

  1. Practice Real, Humanly Flawed Unconditional Love.

Here’s what the wise philosopher and poet – a go-to source for my personal renewal – Mark Nepo writes:

Unconditional love is not so much about how we receive and endure each other, as it is about the deep vow to never, under any condition, stop bringing the flawed truth of who we are to each other.2

Yes and wow! How can we do this for our children who hang on to our attention and reflections on their identity?

  1. Learn about our Children’s Development.

Learning about our children’s development extends our patience as we begin to understand why they challenge us as they do. Instead of irritation or upset, we can recognize the learning taking place. We put the frustration in its place recognizing – this challenge is a normal part of what they are going through at this age/stage. We can more easily grasp why they are faltering or even failing in some areas. In order to develop, they have to fall down or fall short. When we know that they are working on a new level of understanding, we can better support that development. This site often provides developmental guidance and check out the NBC Parent Toolkit for lots of resources on each age and stage. Make this the most important birthday gift you give to your child by reading about his or her developmental milestones each time a new age arrives.

  1. Problem? Poor Choice? Begin with the Magic of Compassion.

When problems arise, if we stop, breathe (to calm down) and activate compassion in our minds, it will help us become responsive to our children and allow us to transform a challenging moment into a teachable moment. Compassion will push us to discover our child’s perspective.

We can ask three questions:

“What is motivating our child right now? What is his goal here?”

“How can I best help or support his learning?”

“What can I learn from this?”

  1. Do Emotional Coaching.

Research supports that emotional coaching works. 3 When your child is upset, name the feeling and ask if your labeling is correct. The simple act of naming an emotion can help a child feel more understood. Reflect on feelings about problems. And show your confidence in your child’s ability to find a solution. Ask “What do you think you could do about this?” And follow your child’s lead. When children feel capable of solving their own problems, they are going to be more likely to dig in and work through challenges engaging in flow. To learn more about how to use emotional coaching in your parenting, check out: Coaching, A Tool for Raising Confident Kids.

5.  Lean into your own Developmental Journey.

Our development is never-ending. We can recognize that the inner call to our next learning challenge – as toddlers have when they know it’s time to walk – does not end with adolescence. It continues though, as adults, we tend to mute that drive in service to other goals. Listening and leaning into your own adult developmental journey means following your own learning wherever it takes you. Often that can mean facing discomfort, even pain. It can require looking at aspects of ourselves we’d rather ignore. But if we lean in, we’ll have greater empathy for our children who are faced with daily developmental challenges. And we’ll actively participate in family flow as we focus on learning as individuals and as a family.

Coaching can also be a great source for adults to get in touch with their own developmental edge. If you want to identify a credentialed coach in your area for yourself, check out the International Coaching Federation’s site. Or read about adult development. Check out: The Adult Years; Mastering the Art of Self-Renewal by Frederick Hudson. 4

6. Stay on your own Mat.

I love this phrase borrowed from Yoga and frequently, repeat it to myself as I am challenged. First, it means not comparing yourself to others. And not comparing your children to other children. It can also mean that your problems are yours and yours alone to solve. And your children’s problems are theirs and theirs alone to solve. We can support, encourage, coach and love but we can’t do it for them. If we do, we take away their power and their opportunity to learn and internalize the most valuable social and emotional skills that will help them become resilient during even greater challenges to come.

The small experiences of family life matter too. And there are a million different ways we can experience flow in our time together. Anytime we play together, we have the chance to experience flow. Anytime we participate in creating art together whether that means a dance party, a crafting corner, or a music-making jam session, we can experience flow. When we discover the wonder of nature in our backyard or at a park, when we cook or bake, when we participate in service to our community, and when we read together, these all can produce the experience of flow. Even when we gather as a family to solve a problem together, there is an opportunity to experience flow.

I asked my ten-year-old son when he experiences total engagement in an activity – when he loses track of time. He responded – “bowling, vacation, and school.” I asked “When or what are you doing when you experience flow in school?” and he responded, “Anytime! All the time!” Learning can be a joy in families. Particularly if we are aware of ways we can cultivate those times, they can become our most cherished memories!

References:

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, Harper Collins Publishers.

Nepo, M. (2000). The Book of Awakening. Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. San Francisco, CA: Canari Press.

Gottman, J. & Declaire, J. (1997). Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child. The Heart of Parenting. NY: Simon and Schuster.

Hudson, F. (1999). The Adult Years, Mastering the Art of Self-Renewal. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Happy New Year and may it bring you lots of love and learning!

Originally published on 4/19/18.

Rudolph Is the Parents’ Holiday Anti-bullying Lesson Worth Unwrapping

The beautiful story of a lovable, unique reindeer going from victim to hero is beloved by generations with a rich history and many hidden stories to reveal. Rudolph provides a well-known context for use to explore the roles of bullying, causes, and proactive solutions. In addition, the history of the story is a rich one, which adds depth to the children’s fable. The story and history of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer have many social and emotional learning gifts for us to unwrap.

“Called him names” – the situation and roles of bullying

At the start of the story of Rudolph, we all know the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. Name calling is known as social aggression, which is any negative behavior designed to embarrass and/or affect another’s social network. In addition to name calling, the other reindeer were also “excluding” Rudolph as “they would not let Rudolph join in any reindeer games”. Being excluded is another common and hurtful form of bullying. Name calling and excluding are classic bullying and for a very classic reason: for being different (Rudolph’s red nose).

It is helpful to understand the common roles involved in bullying in order to address it. Those roles are target, aggressor, bystander and hopefully an ally or allies. In the story of Rudolph, because he was the one being called names, he would be the “target” of the bullying. The “aggressor” is the person or persons doing the bullying behavior, which in this case, sadly would be “all of the other reindeer”. Unanimous bullying is rough and definitely the stuff of legend. Reindeer apparently are prone to a herd mentality. A bystander is someone who notices the bullying but does not encourage or discourage it, a kind of “Switzerland” role. We can only assume with all the name calling and excluding going around the North Pole that someone would have noticed, most likely the elves.  You might make the excuse that the elves were very busy making toys, but since they are Santa’s reindeer caretakers and are known for their keen sense of hearing, they must have known. So for our story, the elves were the “bystanders” in the bullying roles. However, do not get too upset about the elves. They clearly did not join in on the bullying as there is no mention of them also calling Rudolph names or excluding him. Many people are bystanders and perhaps they did not know what to do to help Rudolph. This article will show you what can be done.

A surprisingly cold overall reindeer climate at the North Pole

Another concerning part of the story is that Rudolph did not seem to know what to do to advocate for himself. The North Pole at the time definitely needed to put both proactive and reactive systems in place for bullying prevention and an overall-positive reindeer climate. A reactive system would be if all reindeer and reindeer supervisors were educated about the roles involved in bullying and on what to do after the bullying had started. A proactive anti-bullying system would be supports or structures that may have prevented the bullying altogether, such as teaching the reindeer skills for responding to others, taking someone else’s perspective, showing empathy and advocating for others.

If a strong system was in place perhaps the elves would have acted as allies, and they could have done a lot to help instead of acting as bystanders. 

These are common ways to be allies. They could have been a “confronter” and stood up for Rudolph; even something as small as “that is not a jolly thing to do” may have stopped the bullying. They could have been a “supporter” by supporting Rudolph through his trials comforting him after the bullying and helping him work through the problem. The elves could have been a “distractor” by distracting the reindeer when bullying, by changing the topic or telling a holiday joke. Some things they might have said to distract would be; “I hear there is a snowstorm coming in. Do you think we will be able to do the delivery run?” or even “Have you heard the joke about why Santa is so jolly?”

Rudolph also might have known some tips for a target. He could have stood up for himself by stating in a strong but non-threatening way “I feel hurt when someone bullies me, so stop bullying me”. Rudolph could have spoken to a friend, parent, or leader about the problem. Rudolph, however, was a wonderful role model as he did not let others’ negativity prevent him from being himself and shining his light.

Santa – The ultimate ally

Rudolph is eventually saved in the story by perhaps the ultimate ally, Santa. It is very possible Santa knew about the bullying and looked for a reason to give Rudolph a leadership role. The fog was possibly just the opportunity he was hoping for so he could turn things around for Rudolph. Perhaps there was an elf or a reindeer that did notice the bullying and reported it to Santa. Regardless, Santa is the perfect ally as a respected leader of the reindeer who had the vision to see what made Rudolph different as a strength rather than a weakness. This is a powerful way to turn around bullying and a wonderful way to see difference. What if we asked ourselves when we notice someone is different, how that difference is a strength? Better yet, what if we all tried to help them make that difference a strength?

“Poor Rudolph” – Empathy, the antidote

The author invokes a critical bullying antidote with the passage “They would not let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games”. By saying “poor Rudolph” the author was trying to get the reader to feel some empathy. In fact, he was also doing it by just telling Rudolph’s story, as it helps us engage in two key parts of empathy, (1) noticing how another is feeling and then (2) seeing it from their perspective. The third part of empathy is feeling with someone or feeling at-least a little bit of what they are feeling. This would be different for every reader, but the emotional ride of the story from poor Rudolph to going down in history surely evokes empathy in us all.

Without this appeal to our empathy, a reader might have thought all of this bullying behavior could be warranted for flaunting his red nose, a kind of “who does he think he is walking around with his red nose all stuck up in the air.” This is exactly why empathy is so important. When we recognize how others are feeling, see things from their perspective and feel a little of what they are feeling, we are putting ourselves in the position of another. Doing this is putting ourselves in another’s shoes or in this case horseshoes and if we were in those shoes, we would not want to be called names or excluded. 

Rudolph for grown-ups – “Going down in history”

Empathy is at the core of our humanity and relates directly to the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have done to you”. Without a perspective of empathy, we are prone to “other”-ing or to distancing ourselves from another person or group of people. To make them different from “us”. This psychological distance allows us to be callous or unfeeling towards them. Bullying and exclusion starts with othering someone for their difference. The small comments grow into rationale for exclusion or social aggression, “Othering” taken to broad extremes has allowed horrors such as Native American removal, slavery, the Holocaust, and many more throughout time. In fact, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written by an author, Robert May, who was inspired by his own painful childhood experiences as a Jewish boy targeted by bullying. The story was created during a time of great personal sadness for May, during a global background of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Smothering othering with empathy using Rudolph

Empathy is really seeing ourselves in another, and it breaks down “othering” as it forces us to think about how we would feel and how we would want to be treated. Empathy can change bullies to bystanders and bystanders to allies. This is why the work of teaching empathy is so critical to creating safe inclusive communities and a better world. So, this holiday season as you share the story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, talk about the gift of empathy within the story. For younger children ask them what they think Rudolph might be feeling at each stage of the story. Talk about bullying and how to be an ally. For older children, consider adding the deeper history of the story. But most of all, use the story to remind all to see what others are feeling, put themselves in their shoes, and act from a place of compassion.

Perhaps the lesson of Rudolph can help make us all go down in a more empathetic, peaceful, and inclusive history.

 

Guest Author Rudolph Keeth Matheny is a social and emotional learning teacher, speaker, and author. He is named Rudolph, after his grandfather, who dramatically escaped the Holocaust on “Kristallnacht” and immigrated to America. He then worked in a warehouse and sent most of what he earned to help family members and friends escape. HIs mother, out of concern for his being bullied, nicknamed Rudolph “Keeth,” which is what he has been called all his life. Now that he knows more about his grandfather, he embraces Rudolph both in his name and in his work. He is a co-author of School-Connect, a research and evidence-based social and emotional learning curriculum that is now in over 2000 schools. Check out his site, SEL Launchpad!

*What an absolute joy to learn from and partner with Rudolph Keeth Matheny this week! It’s an honor to publish his outstanding article. – CPCK

#parenting #antibullying #SEL

Learning about the World’s Holidays…

Expand your Children’s Social Awareness by Learning More Together:
About Some of the World’s Major Holidays…

These two posts have become an annual favorites! Because of the numerous holidays celebrated through the fall and winter months, it is an ideal time to discuss how people celebrate around the world – both the uniqueness of traditions and also the many commonalities. When doing the research, I was struck by the number of similar themes and symbols for the following world holidays. Most notably, the major holidays celebrate light in the darkness, show gratitude for food, family, and life and pause for reflection or prayer. I was so enriched by learning about the beautiful traditions of celebrations around the world. I hope you will take a moment to share these with your family. Happy holidays! Read the full article with brief summaries of each world holiday.

About the upcoming Winter Solstice…

This December 21, the shortest day of the year, will mark the turning from dark to an increase in sunlight. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the coldest time of year and in the Southern, it marks the Summer Solstice. The traditions that recognize this passage seem to touch numerous cultures around the world and date back to ancient times in which the Mayan Indians, ancient Romans, Scandinavians, and others celebrated. Years ago, my own neighborhood friends would gather on this day, say some words of gratefulness for the gift of light in our lives, and each person would contribute a stick or evergreen branch to the fire. This tradition has remained in my memory as one of the most sacred I have attended. All of the major world holidays involve an appreciation for light in the darkness as a previous article explored including Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa. As we approach this passing of dark to light, I reflect on the themes cultures throughout the world have recognized, appreciate our commonalities and consider how we can learn from their wisdom and reinforce those themes in our own family. Read the full article on the Winter Solstice.

PBS Parenting Minutes

Check out the new, short parenting videos!

Confident Parents, Confident Kids is honored to partner with WNET New York, the flagship PBS Affiliate, in creating “Parenting Minutes,” videos dedicated to educating parents about simple, research-based ways to promote children’s social and emotional development. WNET has just produced and published two new video shorts along with printable tip and fact cards to serve as helpful reminders of the lessons in the video. Videos can be viewed in either English or Spanish. Hope you’ll check them out and share them!

Video One: Expressing Emotions

Video Two: Sharing Feelings

Thank you PBS – WNET for these valuable resources and your commitment to children’s social and emotional learning!

Speaking Tonight in Chicago, Hosted by the Family Action Network…

Jennifer Miller of Confident Parents, Confident Kids is excited to speak tonight in northern Chicago sponsored by the organizations listed below and hosted by the Family Action Network. What a joy to speak in a community that not only talks about the importance of children’s whole development, but invests their time, money, and focus on research-based social and emotional learning in their schools! If you live in the Chicago area, hope you’ll join us! Grateful to @RogerWeissberg and @LonnieStonitsch for this opportunity! Here’s to Confident Parents raising Confident Kids!

Event Sponsors

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