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3 Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Bullying

3 Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Bullying

Bullying can ruin a child’s self-esteem. However, we parents are not helpless when our child comes home upset about being a target. The first step to prevent bullying starts with building your own emotional intelligence skills. Unlike IQ, which we are born with, emotional intelligence or “EQ” (emotional quotient) can be increased by some simple exercises. The simple definition of emotional intelligence is being smart with emotions.

Here are three ways to learn about your emotional reactions so you can be a good model for your kids.

1. Know Yourself

Knowing yourself is about increasing self-awareness, as well as recognizing patterns and feelings. It helps you understand what “makes people tick”.

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Encourage your kids to be curious about their emotions and those of others. This will help develop the ability to accurately recognize and appropriately express emotions. Emotional literacy can facilitate greater understanding, bridge differing viewpoints, and prevent kids from ostracizing and dehumanizing others.

One way to practice emotional literacy with your kids is with a mirror, piece of paper, and pencil. Take turns picking and expressing an emotion, observe the facial expression in your mirror, then (from memory) draw a picture of that emotion. Warning: the exercise may lead to lots of laughter.

2. Choose Yourself

This is about building self-management and self-direction. It’s the ability to consciously choose your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

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We can teach our children to apply consequential thinking. This is the ability to pause and assess the influence of feelings so that we are careful about our choices. Help your kids learn to ask themselves what will happen if they act in a certain way. For example, if I hit the bully back, what will happen next?

When we teach kids to engage their intrinsic motivation, they respond and act on their own feelings rather than those of other people. This inner compass will take years to develop, but it starts with something as simple as letting the mismatched socks go to school! For kids to believe that they can shape the world around them, they need to practice with making decisions from early in life. As Babara Colorosso, author of The Bully, Bullied and the Bystander suggests, one of the most critical life messages that we should send our kids is, “I have agency in my life.”

Practice optimism. Especially for victims of willful acts of meanness, optimism is probably the most powerful EQ skill. Help your children see that adversity is a temporary (T) and isolated (I) situation that can be changed with personal effort (E). Utilizing TIE is an effective way for many kids to deal with adversity in life.

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3. Give Yourself

This is about aligning your daily choices with your larger sense of purpose. It comes from using empathy and the value-based decision-making.

All of us are born with the capacity for empathy. Like any muscle in our body, empathy can be strengthened through intentional practice so that we can turn intentions into habits. Ask your child to imagine how a classmate who is being bullied feels, then explore ways they can respond (you can model this).

Finally, children also need to feel connected to something larger than themselves. Pursuing a noble goal can start with something as simple as connecting to nature. Children can be taught to align their daily choices with the principles and purpose of kindness and service to others. They can participate in pro-social acts, such as sharing, cooperating, or helping, without expecting personal benefit or reward.

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Here’s an applicable quote from the Dali Lama Foundation, “For children to learn kindness, we need to surround them with compassion and kindness. Nurturant environments are rich with acceptance, tolerance and empathy and we can build these environments in the every day places that children live.”

Conclusion

When we parent through consciousness (Know Yourself), choices (Choose Yourself), and connection (Give Yourself), we afford our children and ourselves space to develop the skills of emotional intelligence to prepare them for dealing with the array of adverse situations in their lives.

For free emotional intelligence parenting courses and other resources, please check out 6Seconds.

Featured photo credit: Little Girl in Amusement Park via picjumbo.com

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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