Release destructive emotions


We All Want Attention, Affection and Approval! Use Active Listening to Help your Child Feel Validated

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Find the extra time. Yes, teens take more time to parent. You need to be there when your teens want to talk about what is churning in their heads. Start out by listening – don’t half listen while you think of something else.” – Marilyn Heins

“Nobody understands me” is a common complaint of young people. Feeling different from others and feeling alone creates more confusion and conflict in the adolescent mind, which is working so hard to find an identity. One study showed that most behavior problems were caused by the child’s not feeling heard by adults.

The research says that feeling invalidated by others is the most common reason young people act! Young people do not feel respected when they are ignored, not listened to, or order to feel differently. They feel put down and reason that others do not care about them, so why should they care about themselves. They seek others in rebellion like themselves who seeming care and start to adopt values of giving up, alcohol and drug use.

attention, affection, approval

Underneath all these new behaviors of insisting on being left alone is the child’s ongoing need for the Three Big A’s—attention, affection and approval. Young people do not feel respected when they are ignored, not listened to, or order to feel differently.

“Why questions” typically do not work in getting to the root of why your youngster is acting the way he does. Children do not feel validated when parents ask them why they feel the way they do and then tell them how the “should” act. They also feel invalidated when you do not approve of their friends. A cardinal sin for most young people is being dissed by someone. They are furious and defensive when parents call their friends names. Some young people have a misguided sense of loyalty to their friends and keep hanging around people they would normally let go of just because their parents talk disrespectfully about the qualities of the friend.

Philosophizing and dismissal of a child’s problems will make him shut you out and become “parent deaf.” The time of the teen years are at a time of life when he is trying to interpret his world which is changing rapidly. It stings when a parent puts him down by calling him too sensitive, a crybaby, a whiner, stupid, too dramatic or a drama queen.

Underneath all these new behaviors of insisting on being left alone is the child’s ongoing need for the Three Big A’s—attention, affection and approval.And of course structure and clear, strong limits. I love the cartoon showing one porcupine talking to another who says, “Just once, I’d like to be petted!”

Our kids are like that at times. Prickly on the outside but needing that nurturance and connection even at the same time they deny it. They want you to love them despite how irrationally they are acting. So take a deep breath, drop into your heart to find what you really want for them at those moments when they are driving you crazy. That takes you out of your anger in the moment and puts you back in a space of rationality and clarity. Find your loving intention before words come out your mouth.

Lynne Namka is a Happy Psychologist who writes about love and life. She’s a wife, the mother of three, grandmother of three and a desert gardener who lives and practices in Tucson, Arizona. Her award-winning website is

Putting up Barriers Between You and Your Child By Over Parenting

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“You can’t scare us. We have kids!” – As seen on a plaque in a thrift store

Don’t over parent! There are some things that you can do too much of that will have a bad effect of your children. There are parent behaviors that WILL shut your child down and make him inaccessible for your input. When parents jump in and give their child solutions or lecture him, the child feels like he is not smart enough to figure things out on his own. In addition, when the parents put the child down through name-calling, criticizing and shaming, the child feels that there is something flawed about himself. You can put up walls, which destroy the opportunity for your wise guidance if you play the expert while talking to him.

over parenting, barriers, judgements

Over parenting by judging, moralizing, preaching, lecturing, ordering, directing and commanding or demanding makes the child feel stupid and unable to solve his own problems. He then becomes insecure and does not trust his own decision making process.

Over parenting by judging, moralizing, preaching, lecturing, ordering, directing and commanding or demanding makes the child feel stupid and unable to solve his own problems. He then becomes insecure and does not trust his own decision making process. Your overbearing judgments set up the scene where the child makes poor choices.

Don’t be a fear-based parent communicating that fear to your child by trying to control him to keep him safe. Vent your fears, worst-case scenarios and anxieties for your child’s safety elsewhere, keeping your negativity and barriers away from your child. Talk to a trusted friend, someone in authority or a counselor. One mother who was deathly afraid of the water, wisely kept her fear to herself and enrolled her children in swimming lessons. Learn stress management skills to deal with your own anxieties about the worst fear that you have about your child.

Sex, drugs and out-of-control behavior that endangers your child’s life are a possibility during the teen years. Parents of teenagers have realistic fears. They also can take on some irrational fears. Talk to other parents to determine if your fears are based on reality or just come from that big dark hole of fear in yourself.  Band together and find out what particular dangers the local peer culture presents. Then get a plan of how to deal with them.

Are you running on fear instead of running on faith? Most parent fears come out during anger at their child, making him feel controlled. Over parenting or making negative judgments about his decisions and criticizing your child’s choices will create insecurity in him. Arguing and disagreeing will only entrench your child in his way of thinking. Instead, ask your child to give the pros and cons of his choices and discuss the rationale behind each.

Without your feedback as to the reality of his perceptions and assumptions about the unfairness of the world, his distortions will continue. His confusion and sense of hopelessness will increase, resulting in more anger. This is a major teaching time for your child. Keep the lines of communication open and be aware of when you start over parenting. Keep the positive feedback going while challenging errors of thinking flowing. The thing to treasure above all else is positive communication that emphasizes connection and belonging.

More discipline techniques are given at my web site. My hobby is bringing the best parenting advice from the world of psychology and infusing it with my good common sense. Here are several articles you can search for:

 * Parents Get Mad Too!
* Things For Parents To Say To Ward Off A Child’s Mad Attack

* Turning It Around: What To Say To A Child Who Hurts Others

* Correcting a Child In a Positive Way: Cues To Break Into Inappropriate Behavior

How to Talk with a Kid with a Bad Attitude

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Maturity is the ability to take responsibility for the mistakes you make and spend more of your time in a consciousness of love. Maturity is choosing to move on from negative beliefs and emotions stuck in your mind and come to terms with the debits and credits that life has afforded you. Maturity is also choosing kindness and love in every situation.” – Lynne Namka, Your Quick Anger Makeover Plus Twenty Other Cutting-Edge Techniques to Release Anger!

Attitudes! Some young people use bad attitudes to keep adults away. Apathy, sullenness and disrespect are ways that some young people say “Get out of my face. I don’t want to talk about it.”

It is hard being a parent of a child who displays a perpetually sullen attitude. Parents are unprepared when their formerly loving child starts to withdraw from the family (which is normal teen age behavior) and respond in short, hateful phrases (which is not.) They go to a place where there is “no more nice” and, in place, is a moody, temperamental kid with an attitude that just won’t stop!

Yet, in the simplest sense, a negative or bad attitude about life is the child’s way of asking for help. Most adults do not know how to help children when they are rude and react in anger and helplessness. Sarcasm and putdowns can be a sign of hidden anger.

Bad attitudes are catching. Children learn back talk from listening to their peers. Negative attitudes spread from one group to another. Television and media sarcasm and put-downs are now the norm at many schools and peer cultures. Younger students “catch” rude answers and comeback from the older students. Children that are bullied and called names, then turn around and use those names on others. This perpetuates the cycle of hurt and shame that creates bullies. Negativity is becoming the norm in certain subcultures of young people. For some, it is “cool” to be sarcastic and say put downs to peers.

bad attitude, anger, teens anger

A negative or bad attitude about life is the child’s way of asking for help. Most adults do not know how to help children when they are rude and react in anger and helplessness. Show love with sweetness and gentleness and show it with toughness and boundaries.

Some children’s anger comes from being disappointed and hurt and not knowing how to express unhappy feelings to get the pain out. Some anger is real as a result of being hurt. Some anger is a result of realistic expectations that were not met and some anger comes from unrealistic expectations.

Anger in some children is based on not having limits placed of their behavior when they were young giving them a sense of entitlement. Do you get gratification from having the best-dressed child, with name brands? Have you shielded him from the natural consequences of his misbehavior? Have you rescued him from educators/coaches who disciplined him? Do you go to battle with the legal system when he has broken the law? All of these decisions on your part can have a detrimental effect on your child.

Other anger is based on irrational thinking and assumptions that are wrong. Some of children’s anger is displaced on parents – they had a bad day at school so yell at you. And sometimes, your anger at outside events gets displaced on your kid.

Fight attitude with an attitude of your own – the “Tough Beans” approach. Say to your child: Sometimes the beans (life) are hard. When that happens, you just have to chew harder! You have to try harder. And in combating a child’s negative attitude, you have to get tough. This is the “When the going gets tough, the tough get hardy” approach.

You don’t have to take it on the chin with teen disrespect. Be strong upfront while granting your child’s requests. Don’t show any signs of weakness – kids can read these cues like a book. Later on, you can be a marshmallow mom or dad after your youngster has shown flexibility some maturity and demonstrated responsibility. Be the strong authority figure in your home as you set the values you expect your children to live by. No wishy-washy communication. Remind your child that kindness is an important part of your family. Don’t let the trashy media culture and cynical peer culture train your children. You only get to put your values in your children for such a short while.

Teach them that connection to each others is one of the most important family values. Nobody loves your kids the way you do. Show it with sweetness and gentleness and show it with toughness.

Sign up to Time To Love Yourself, in the top, right corner of this post, to receive your free eBook, “Your Quick Anger Makeover” by feelings expert, Lynne Namka. Packed with the newest ideas about how to understand and liberate anger and other unwanted, raw emotions, this ebook is a practical, light-hearted guide to take you through your wildest and woolliest feelings. Perfect for every family. 240 pages, a $19.95 value. Don’t miss this great opportunity!

Reviews of Your Quick Anger Makeover:

“You have written an encyclopedia on anger!” – Rami Katz, M. S. W.

“Your Quick Anger Make Over is not only about anger. It reinforces what it is to be normal with feelings. It answers the questions of what are the boundaries and what are the extremes of human emotions. Boundaries were misinterpreted for me when I grew up. This book helped me realize the continuum of normal emotions and behavior and where I fit on this continuum. I enjoyed the chapter on defensiveness and how to change. I can evaluate myself in a realistic way and become more accepting with myself.” – Karen Seibert, teacher

Don’t Go With the “S” Word – Sarcasm

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Stop, stop, stop using sarcastic words! Sarcasm is a learned habit of moving away from problem solving. Sarcasm is a form of dishonesty as you say one thing but mean another. It is a technique of distraction moving away from the issue at hand. It teaches disrespect.”- Lynne Namka

Sarcasm. Teens, and even tweens, can become quite verbal in saying things they don’t mean in an attempt to show their superiority to best you. They have years of practice of going for the jugular veins with their peers using put downs to show verbal superiority. Put downs are a form of sport with young people. They can joust with words with Olympic competence. Don’t you go there. It will be disaster if you do. You won’t win. No one wins in mind games of derision and scorn. Think of sarcasm as a typical teen trap baited and waiting for you to fall into to. Sarcasm can be a factor in teen bullying.

The worst thing you can do is to run to the brink with your anger, then bail out and agree to what your child wants. Getting angry and then giving in is a sure-fire invitation to your child to do whatever he did to push your buttons to the max. Over and over!

teen saracism

Children learn that there are different expectations of how they are allowed to express themselves in different social situations. Sarcasm is never appropriate. This is the time that you have to install healthy values and boundaries in your children.

Roll with the emotional punches – those highs and lows of teen dramas. Of course, you will have to stop freaking out over the latest fads and fashion. As a client told me recently, some advice that helped him was “Nobody ever died of a messy room!” Your overreaction to the temporary bizarre ideas and ways of dressing just makes young people desire them all the more. Let normal childhood phases run their course! Don’t make a big deal of their fads and they won’t have a reason to hold on to them. Think of Romeo and Juliet—if their parents hadn’t objected to the romance so much, they might have gotten tired of each other.

So even if sarcasm is ripe within the teen culture, don’t allow it to take over your home. Even young children learn that there are different expectations of how they are allowed to express themselves in different social situations. The language that is allowed on the playground or pool hall is not always the language allowed when speaking to grandma or at church. Set a strong boundary of what you will allow in your home. Say something like, “You may throw your put downs and smart remarks with your friends. This is how you joust for power with them. However, I will not allow the use of sarcasm here at home. You may not speak sarcastically to adults or younger children. We will use the words of loving kindness with each other as a family. You have the right to call me on this when I step out of bounds.”

Then hang a sign on your fridge which says, “Respect Spoken Here.”

Boundaries! We all need ‘em. So set them again and again with your children. Tell them what you want. Teach them what is and is not allowed in your family. This is the time that you have to install healthy values in your children. Speak up for kindness and respect. Model it and call your children on verbal behaviors that do not go along with the family program of “Respect Spoken Here.”

Want more ideas on learning to set clear and appropriate boundaries? Go to my award-winning web site

What Do Today’s Teens Want?

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Most families go through a period during their child’s adolescence in which the parents and kids have trouble living together. If you have problems, you have lots of company.” – Robert and Jean Bayard, How to Deal with your Acting-Up Teenager

A few years ago, an eccentric English woman followed dogs around to find the answer to the question, “What do dogs want?” After weeks of spying on them, she concluded that dogs just want to run around with other dogs. Cats just want to lie around and occasionally chase something that moves fast.

Teenagers, on the other hand, want to:

  • Be left alone by their parents.
  • To be loved and nurtured by their parents. (Yes, I know that’s contradictory, but it’s the nature of the beast!)
  • To be in with their friends.
  • Being on the computer playing games, surfing and instant messaging their friends.
  • Be up on the latest fads and know more about the latest technology than their parents.
  • Be left alone by all grownups.

And paradoxically enough, teens want to be listened to by their parents! So while they insist on pulling away and isolating themselves, they still want to be seen and heard!

Teens, identity, parenting techniques

Remember that the driving forces of the teen years are fueled by the search for identity. It’s just a phase so keep your cool as a parent.

Remember that the driving forces of the teen years are fueled by the search for identity. Young people need to be seen as cool. They have an intense need for privacy as they sort out who they are engage in what seems mindless activity to you. It is normal for teens to isolate themselves and spending more time in their room, plugged into ipods, playing constant videogames and instant messaging with their friends on the computer.

There is a conflict between the need for connection and the need for autonomy and most kids swing back and forth. The forces within them is the need to be like you (have your values) and be different from you (try on values modeled by peers, media, entertainment) while developing their identity.

The most important thing for you to remember to keep you sane during this time is that children go through a phase of identity seeking and the need to be separate from the parents. Expect it so that you won’t be dismayed by the pull-away-from you stage.

Keep telling yourself that most teen baffling behavior is a phase they will pass through IF you don’t freak out about it. And if you don’t reinforce it with too much attention. Don’t make their issue about you and get wounded by their lack of interest in the family. It’s about identity! What teens are doing is for the most part normal and part of their identity search. They will get through this seemingly selfish phase of their life if you learn some tools to handle your emotional reaction.

Positive parenting is the theme of this blog. Share this with blog with others who share your interests in helping children grow up to be the best they can be.

The Okays about Feelings for Kids of All Ages

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Humans have feelings. Loads of feelings. All kinds of feelings. That’s the miracle of being a human being. We just have to learn to feel our feelings and work with them, that’s all.” – Lynne Namka from How to Let Go of Your Mad Baggage

hurt feelings, upset teenager

It is okay to feel sad and angry when you have been hurt. It is okay to feel confused if you don’t understand. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay for you to take care of yourself.

“It is okay for you to feel any way you feel.

It is not okay to take bad feelings out on others.

It is okay for your feelings to change.

It is okay to feel sad and angry when you have been hurt.

It is okay to feel confused if you don’t understand.

It is okay to feel scary inside. It is okay to cry when you are hurting.

It is okay to ask for help. It is okay for you to take care of yourself.

It is okay to ask for a hug or to be held.

It is necessary that you do something to calm yourself down.

It’s not okay to act out your feelings when you are upset.

It is most certainly okay for you to be yourself.

We can learn to work with our God-given feelings

It is okay for you to be who you are.”

Lynne Namka, Parents Fight, Parents Make Up: Take Good Care of Yourself

Review of my book: “Parents Fight! Parents Make Up!” is a great resource for helping children deal with witnessing parents fighting – an all too common event and one that can be more confusing and even traumatic than is often considered. Just reading through this book can help the healing process, as it gives kids the opportunity to address the problem, and the fun illustrations will also help them relate. There are also a number of suggestions that will help kids deal with this and many other challenging situations – great tools for building inner strength.” – Brad Yates, C. Ht., Author of The Wizard’s Wish and Co-Author of Freedom At Your Fingertips

This book can be ordered directly from Talk, Trust and Feel Therapeutics at

The Sads, Mads, Bads and Glads: Owning Feelings

I Love You So Big! Blog- Lynne Namka, © 2011-13 
“Life is a schoolhouse. We Human Beings are the pupils. We are here to learn about our feelings. This is the Great Human Drama where Human Beings learn to balance their emotions. Everyday experiences of Life’s Drama present a personal curriculum. Our emotions provide us with opportunities for understanding and growth, for feelings are to be experienced and expressed so that we can evolve. All we need to do is sign up for the course work so that we can get to be a real, grownup Human Being Who understands that “To feel is to heal.” – Lynne Namka  How to Let Go of your Mad Baggage

We can all learn to be more effective in dealing with our feelings. Developing Emotional Intelligence prepares children to live in today’s chaotic society. Emotional Intelligence has been found to be far more important than IQ, technical skills or experience in determining success in the family life and the business world. You can help your child learn a set of emotional skills that help him realize his best and highest self. To develop a strong sense of what is right, a child must learn how to deal with his feelings so he is not at the mercy of wildly-swinging emotions. 

Psychological research gives information on what is required to live a happy, successful life. These life skills are being competent at what you do, stopping errors in thinking, dealing with feelings of inner distress, conflict negotiation and being connected to friends. Other research shows that having faith in something greater than yourself creates good mental health. Other necessary skills are taking responsibility, cleaning up your mistakes and using self-regulatory skills to persevere when work becomes hard.

Talking about feelings is one of the best ways to keep emotional ouchies from building up. The research shows that people who talk about or write about distressing feelings release them quicker and get to feel better in the process. Dealing with the feelings starts with identifying them, allowing them, and then owning them and being responsible for them. The trick is to allow the feelings and learn to cope with them, not giving them power over you.

To not deal with feelings is stay confused and rationalize the feeling away. This creates repression and then the feelings come out in some underground fashion such as blaming or judgments against others or self or acting out! Pain that is not talked about can turn to angry attitudes and behavior.  People who have trouble expressing their feelings often turn them into anger, anxiety or depression or turn to alcohol, substance use or addictive activities. Helping your child label and express feelings is one of the greatest gifts you can give him.

Children express feelings

Helping your child label and express feelings is one of the greatest gifts you can give him.

Teach your child an emotional language of the feeling words so he can describe what is going on inside. Feelings help people organize behavior and guide actions. Your child will benefit from having a depth of feeling words to draw from. Show this list to your child and ask for the local slang words his or her peer group uses to express feelings.

How Do You Feel? Kids’ Modern Day Feeling Words

Awesome      Prickly      Jittery      Funky
Bummed       Annoyed
   Surly        Crushed                
            Tolerable   Stubborn   Bored
      Pissed      Stressed  Fed Up

My life mission is to teach people how to use their feelings in ways that foster empowerment and do not hurt others. My web site that offers over a hundred articles on expressing feelings in healthy ways can be found at us on Facebook at and 

Responsibility is a Key Skill for Becoming a Healthy, Happy Person!

I Love You So Big! Blog- Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Family is the first social unit for developing the qualities of the heart. A true family grows and moves through life together, inseparable in the heart. Whether a biological family or an extended family of people attracted to each other based on heart resonance and mutual support, the word “family” implies warmth, a place where the core feelings of the heart are nurtured. Family values represent the core values and guidelines that parents and family members hold in high regard for the well-being of the family. Sincere family feelings are core heart feelings. They are the basis for true family values. While we have differences, we remain “family” by virtue of our heart connection. Family provides necessary security and support, and acts as a buffer against external problems. A family made up of secure people generates a magnetic power that can get things done. They are the hope for real security in a stressful world.” – Doc Childers and Howard Martin, The Heart Math Solution

Unhappy families have the rules of “Don’t talk, don’t trust and don’t feel.” The rules for straight communication and good mental health are “Do talk. Do trust. Do feel.” Many people have learned the unfortunate habit of blaming others. Children who have a fear of being criticized cannot handle the negative emotions that surface when being given negative feedback and the child stops listening to reasonable criticisms or requests. The defensive child can become agitated and angry when adults set reasonable limits or ground him for misbehavior. Putting the responsibility for one’s feelings on another person or an outside source makes the child helpless to change things

Taking responsibility for words and actions is a sign of maturity. Gay Hendrix, author of books on healthy living, says, “Mental health problems are basically disturbances of responsibility. Neurotics take too much responsibility; people with character disorders take too little. As a human, you tend to see and experience responsibility as a burden or a restriction of your freedom, when, in fact, it is the path to wholeness and to incredible freedom and light. It is exhilarating to know yourself to be wholly responsible for your life.”

Responsible Heathy Kids

Remind your children that they are responsible for their anger outbursts and they can learn to express anger in ways that do not hurt others or themselves

Being responsible means being accountable in word and deed. Knowing that how you act and what you do makes a difference on impacting others. Being reliable and dependable and choosing a mature outlook without the mind clutter of always looking for a good time and avoiding hard work.

Remind your children that they are responsible for their anger outbursts and they can learn to express anger in ways that do not hurt others or themselves. The way that they deal with intense feelings is a decision that is always their responsibility. Owning their problems, judgments, beliefs and feelings are part of being a responsible person.

One anonymous wise parent said, “The teachable moment, which is the key to teaching values and behavior, happens right after you praise a child for something has done that please you, that represents a valued behavior you would like to see repeated and, more than repeated, become a part of his personality.” To reinforce the positive attribute of responsibility in your child, praise, praise, praise whenever they exhibit it.

Talk to your children about the values of becoming a responsible person. Praise virtue. Praise effort. Praise moral decisions. Praise to high heavens. Praise character loudly and often.

“Like” us on Facebook at and for inspirational messages and positive energy.

Teach Your Children to be Hardy and Resilient

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“When the going gets tough, the tough get hardy.” – Anonymous

Identity is knowing your values, who you are and what you stand for and being able to relate to others. Children become more secure in themselves if they develop the concept of resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a set fall. It is the response of jumping back up to reassure yourself and problem solve instead of staying down for the count in desperation.

Becoming resilient and dealing with overwhelming emotions is related to the ability to recover from upsets quickly. Resilient people learn from the negative events that happen to them. They become stronger because they have dealt with adversity. They develop flexibility in regulating the high emotional and physiological arousal that is generated by the problems in their life.

Resilient Children

Resilience training includes those things that children can say and do to come back after they take a hit or fail at a task.

Resilience is the ability to keep a positive attitude and function well in life in spite of adversity. The best way to make children happy is to give them a sense of themselves as a hardy person so they can find their own way in the world. Springing back, rebounding to come back to a positive position and using the idea of buoyancy to recover strength and good humor quickly are metaphors of resilience. Resilience training includes those things that children can say and do to come back after they take a hit or fail at a task. 

Hardships are part of life. We all get caught in troubles, troubles and more troubles at times in our lives Too many troubles and too many bad feelings can pull us down into a downward spiral.

Talk to your children about becoming tough and hardy. Remember the punching bag clown that bounces back when knocked down? The harder he is punched, the more he bounces back. He made himself resilient so he can’t be knocked down for good. Remind your child that he or she can learn positive coping tools to help bounce back when things go wrong.

Warn your children about how victim-thinking can turn them into becoming a loser: “You can be a “sit down and do nothing except feel sorry for yourself kind of person” or you can be a go-getter. Make your mind flexible by saying Helper Words when bad things happen. Don’t snap. Make your resilience a million rubber bands strong! Resilience means that you spring back and don’t let unhappy experiences keep you down. You recover your strength and get yourself back into a problem-solving place.”

And remember Dr. Marilyn Hein’s sage words: “Give up being the ‘Family Happiness Manager’; it can’t be done. Heins continues, “The reality is that no matter how good we are at parenting and how much we may want to, we cannot make our children feel happy all the time. As a matter of fact, we cannot control how anyone else feel … be patient. No parenting intervention works instantaneously.

See my interactive FLASH video for children on my web site on resilience called Become the Bounce Back Kid. It’s also on You Tube at Then pass the link on to other parents who value teaching this necessary social skill of resilience to their children.

Teach your Children the Skills of Reasoning

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“I am responsible for what I see, I choose the feelings I experience and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me, I ask for and receive as I have asked.” – A Course In Miracles

We all need the skills of healthy reasoning. Teach your children how to think – not what to think. Having an open mind is one of the best signs of being a healthy person. Teach problem solving skills by talking out loud when you have something to figure out. Use these self-talk statements yourself as a means of instilling them in your child.

Teach Healthy Reasoning Thinking Skills Children

Asking your child to reason things through gets better results than telling him what to do.

Alternative Thinking
I can think up many solutions to this problem. I’ll list them.
I know that there is always more than one choice to any problem.
If the choice is between A and B, I’ll take C or G or X, Y or Z. Or strawberry jam. Or pepperoni pizza!
The more choices I have, the healthier I am!
I can always make choices that make me feel good!
I feel good when I choose things that represent who I really am—a loving human being.

Consequential Thinking 
Wait a minute, I’d better think about this.
What will happen to him if I do that?
How will it effect me if I choose this solution?
If I choose ____ then I have to take the consequences.
This is one of those “If I ___, then ____ will happen.”

Means-Ends Thinking     
I better take this apart and look at it.
I’ll take this one step at a time and figure it out.
Let’s see, the first step is _______, the next step is _____.
I wonder how many steps are to this problem. I’ll count them….

Perspective Taking   
There is more than one way to think about this.
I’ll look at this action through his eyes. Now through her eyes.
I can walk in his moccasins and see how he sees it.
I feel good about letting people have their own opinions.
We can agree to disagree. You don’t have to see it my way.

Social-Causal Thinking
What happened is connected to what I did before.
How did my actions bring this about?
What did he say that brought up my mad feelings?
If I do A, he might do ____, or if I do B, he might do _____.
Hmmm, I wonder what might happen if I do ____
I’ll watch to see how he reacts when I get angry.

Setting Boundaries
Wait a minute! I don’t want to do that.
Why would I ever consider doing that.
That doesn’t fit for me. That’s not for me.
I’ll think it over and get back to you.
Hey, I’m strong enough inside to say no. I don’t want to do that.
I feel good about not giving into peer pressure.

Asking your child to reason things through gets better results than telling him what to do. Teaching the children to widen their thinking skills help prevent behavior problems by giving them tools to get their needs met. Teaching the many sub-skills of how to think gives them tools that will last their life long. So ask lots of questions about reasoning with your youngster and you will find how much he or she really knows.

Are these ideas helpful to you? Pass this blog on to others in your address book or mention the blog on Twitter or Facebook using this direct link.

 The Perfect Gift for Children in Your Life

anger management

 The Mad Family Get Their Mads Out 

Available in ebook or paperback

For Books & Curriculums
on Heathly Feelings
anger management
Check out