Teach Children the right skills once and they will benefit for life.
Research shows that teaching children stress reduction (resilience building) skills has a significant positive effect on outcomes longitudinally. Even children who are not expected to do well because of early hardships do better than expected if they learn these skills. Improvements seen include:
More likely to graduate from high school
More likely to go to college
More likely to graduate from college
Less likely to abuse drugs
Less likely to abuse alcohol
Less likely to commit crimes
Less likely to smoke cigarettes
Less likely to have a baby during teens
Less likely to die from street violence
Less likely to become depressed
Less likely to commit suicide
What do parents want that isn’t on that list? Why aren’t we teaching this to all children?
These skills create beneficial habits of thinking that reduce stress throughout the lifespan, regardless of the source of the stress.
For the citations, see Our Children Live in a War Zone.
Give your children a better chance at success. Learn the skills that matter and share them with your children.
Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. She is an expert in teaching people how to adjust their mindsets in any way they deem helpful in reaching their dreams and goals. Her books are available here.
One year ago my “to do” list for this week included “Finish editing suicide prevention book.”
Then I logged on to the internet and learned that Robin Williams had died by suicide.
I felt a lot of different emotions that day. I remember wondering if I had written the book sooner if I could have made a difference. I was very certain that I did not want to appear to be capitalizing on Robin Williams death. I was saddened by the loss, knowing that his was a rare and beautiful talent that brought so much that was good to our world. I worried about my daughter who was in another state visiting a friend because she had to be one of his biggest fans. I worried about the contagion effect, how someone who was suicidal might think that if Robin Williams could not make his life feel better than how could they expect to do so.
I remembered times in my life when I was suicidal and did not act on those feelings and felt grateful. I remembered those who had been suicidal whom I had helped feel better and felt more gratitude for the knowledge I had gained that allowed me to be of benefit and for being in the right place at the right time.
I put the book aside for a while. I thought the world was too raw to receive it as it was and perhaps I was also too disheartened not to have been in the right place at the right time for Robin Williams. I’ve always had an overactive sense of responsibility for others. This was no exception.
I had a month across the pond planned and I decided to finish editing the book after that trip. The week before I left I had lunch with a friend who knew nothing about the book I was writing. During lunch, she shared with me that a close friend of hers was suffering because her boyfriend had ended his life. I took that to be a sign that I needed to get the book finished. I was too late to help Robin Williams, but there were hundreds of thousands of others who were still suffering and thousands of them would make a fatal mistake each year.
When I returned from my time overseas, I finished the book and it was published last Autumn. I’ve still been hesitant about being perceived as attempting to capitalize on Robin Williams’ death so I worked hard to put the book on Smashwords in an electronic version–something that had a steep learning curve for me. I did not really like the electronic format because citations and other helpful information did not translate well into the electronic format. I’m still not satisfied with the version on Smashwords, but it contains the essence of the helpful information. I frequently give electronic copies away. The current coupon code for Smashwords is JW78C. The print version is better, in my opinion. The print version is available here.
The focus of Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way is to prevent suicide through the use of Primary Prevention. Hand washing is an example of primary prevention of disease. Primary Prevention is something done that is truly preventative–not just early detection. Via early prevention, the undesired outcome is actually prevented. Hand washing prevents the spread of illnesses. Primary Prevention for suicide prevents the sustained low emotional states that can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide and also builds strengths. It is not just for those who are already in low emtional states, although it is beneficial to them. The time to use primary prevention is before there is a problem so the problem won’t develop. Every adult and child can benefit from this form of primary prevention.
I wish everyone a wonderful life. If my work helps you live a better life, it fills my heart with appreciation of where my life had led me and the knowledge I’ve gained along the way.
If you are thinking that maybe you’d rather be dead or that those you care about would be better off if you were, call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor. Or, call your doctor, dial 911, or go to an emergency room. For a free detailed booklet on depression and its treatment, go to: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml
In my Another Opinion posts, I answer questions that were asked of syndicated advice columns–providing another opinion.
In the July 30, 2015, Charlotte Observer a recent retiree asked Amy Dickinson how to respond to the question, “What do you do all day?” The retiree stated he was feeling put down for no longer working full time and signed his letter – Retired and Happy
Amy’s advice was fine, as far as it went, “Use it to begin a conversation that might be interesting.” (paraphrased)
Going deeper with the answer would be of more benefit to Retired and Happy.
Humans use labels to describe ourselves. Many labels are attached to us even before we’re born (i.e. our age, racial heritage, socioeconomic class, etc.) Others labels are attached to us as soon as we’re born (gender, healthy, unhealthy, fussy, good, etc.). This pattern continues throughout life. We then internalize those labels and use them to define who we are. Our self-esteem is often tied to the labels we accept as self-defining. Life is a series of stages that we pass through. We define ourselves by the labels attached to us at specific stages (student, adult, single, married, divorced, doctor, graduate, lawyer, businessman, athlete, parent, retiree, etc.)
When we transition from one stage (label) to another it is important that we stop judging our worth based on a label we have outgrown.
The former student who continues to judge herself by always being right becomes afraid to take risks she should take because she is still attempting to get straight A’s. As a businesswoman, she has to learn to take risks if she wants to succeed.
The newly married individual can experience significant adjustments such as making sure the plans he makes don’t conflict with his wife’s plans.
The college football linebacker has to adjust his diet when he gets a desk job because he is no longer burning as many calories.
The working woman decides to stay home to raise her children has to adjust her perception of self or she will be frustrated at the lack of intellectual stimulation and adult interaction she receives, which can result in her seeming needy to her spouse who is still going to an outside job each day.
The wife whose stay-at-home husband returns to the workforce after the children go to college must adjust her expectations about the chores he will continue doing at home, or he will feel overburdened.
The recently disabled individual must adjust the basis of his self-worth if it was tied to his physical prowess or face extra and unnecessary problems with plummeting self-esteem on top of dealing with the physical challenges.
The recent retiree who feels a bit defensive when people ask him what he does all day is reflecting that he feels less valuable now that he is no longer going to working. Seniors have significant value that is unique to them–the wisdom each of us gains from life experiences. He is simply using old criteria to judge the worth of his current activities. A simple adjustment in the basis for his self-worth will enable him to see the question about how he spends his days as the innocent conversation it is and not a condemnation of his choice to retire. It may take a little work to adjust the basis because many of us are taught that we are only valuable when we are contributing through work, but a change of perception is possible and will make life better for him.
Until he makes this shift, he will have difficulty taking this common question into stride, despite his great answer, “Whatever I want.” He’ll enjoy his ability to do whatever he wants far more when he’s not fighting a sense that his value as a human being is less because he is retired. It’s not.
Interested in learning more? Sign-up for one of our FREE, no risk, no pressure introductory evenings where we give you helpful information that can help you and information about programs that can help you change your life to what you want it to be in every area.
Everyone has gifts they have the potential to give the world, their community and their family. Too often these gifts remain hidden because we do not believe in our ability or our potential.
If you ever discourage a dream–your own or someone else’s–ask yourself what gifts your discouragement may be holding back from the world.
Humans have an amazing capacity to rise to the occasion when given the chance. Without hope of success, we don’t give ourselves the chance.
If this post can inspire even one person to at least try to follow one of their dreams, it has succeeded.
We barely know what hidden depths lie in ourselves. So often people are surprised by what they are capable of given the opportunity (or sometimes, the challenge). How can we possibly know what another could do?
Believe in Yourself
Christopher Maloney did not believe in himself for years. He filled out the application to be on X-factor five times and then tore it up because he did not have enough faith in himself to be on the show. Others discouraged him and told him he was not good enough. Finally, after moving in with his Nan to take care of her, her faith convinced him to try. Here is the result:
One of my teachers once said something that I think is totally appropriate to say to everyone, “What right do you have to deprive the world of your gifts?”
Magic happens when you believe in yourself.
What would it take for you to believe in your dreams? Whatever that is–Do it. Trust yourself.
The approach the solution to employee engagement has been taking is misguided. Ask yourself why engagement numbers are down to 30% levels according to recent Gallup surveys. Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently surveyed 20,000 employees worldwide and half of them feel disrespected by their bosses.
If you’ve ever watched Criminal Minds or countless other shows, you know that it is not the intent of the communicator but the reception/perception of the receiver that determines the message that is communicated. Someone who feels disrespected frequently (by teachers, family, friends, society) will not feel respected because the boss is careful about how he or she communicates. Often, these individuals do not respect themselves so they certainly don’t expect others to respect them. They want it–absolutely they want it. They want someone to come along and give them respect and magically make them feel better. They don’t know that they can’t feel respect until they respect and like themselves. They allow a negative string of self-doubt to tarnish their existence.
Until they respect themselves they can’t feel the respect others show them. Ask anyone you know who has made amazing progress in their life what made the difference for them. They will tell you that it was when they changed their perception about them self. People treat us as we expect to be treated. We give off clues and when we do not respect ourselves we might as well have a neon sign floating above our heads letting others know. It is obvious to anyone who does respect them self. It’s obvious because they know what they are willing to tolerate and what they are not willing to tolerate.
I had my own journey where I went from not feeling worthy and not thinking I was good enough. When I changed my own view of myself, the way everyone else treated me changed. I mean everyone. From bosses/employers, to significant others, my children, my parents, and even the clerk at the grocery store. It felt magical. When I changed me, the non-verbal clues I sent that others read (often unconsciously) changed.
Few people in our society truly feel worthy of self-respect. They have negative voices in their heads constantly criticizing themselves. Or maybe, like me, they were taught they had to earn respect but never given a way to calculate when that task was complete. If you have to “earn it” how do you know when you’ve done accomplished it? I had long since earned a lot of things before I began believing I had earned them. When I changed my belief from “I have to work hard and prove myself before I can have that (respect, executive promotion, six-figure salary, nice house, etc.) to I have earned this and I deserve this, it all came. In the space of two years my entire life changed and all those things I had been striving to prove myself worthy of came quickly and easily.
I’m not special. I’ve seen other people change their beliefs about their self and their life changes, too. I help people make this transition and I see the changes they experience as a result. No, I am not special, but I am worthy. Everyone else is worthy too, but so many just don’t know it.
You have to believe you deserve respect. So many don’t. I wish everyone could learn to respect themselves. You have friends who don’t, maybe you don’t either.
You know the friend, the one who is amazing and inspires you,yet when you compliment they wave your accolades aside as if their accomplishments are nothing or flawed. I’m not talking modesty here. You know him or her. The one who truly does not believe they are worthy of the praise you’ve giving them. That businesses continue attempting to make this about the manager and about changing the manager baffles me. It is the employee who needs to learn they are valuable and worthy of respect so they can actually receive it. Until they do, they have an energetic wall up that blocks them from perceiving the respect they are shown.
Helping employees value and respect themselves will enable them to receive the respect their boss feels toward them. It will also make the bosses respect more authentic because how you treat yourself is usually reflected in how others treat you.
It is possible to decide how you will treat others and treat them that well regardless of how they feel toward themselves but that takes a lot of work and few people consciously make that choice. I saw a video earlier today that reflects how few consciously make that choice. First, a disclaimer, I do not believe that clothes make the person, but in many cases the person who does not respect themselves does not dress well–it is an indicator of how the person perceives him or herself. It’s not always true–sometimes people dress especially well to cover up insecure feelings–but it is true often enough that many people will make assumptions about a person based on their attire. And sometimes, the very secure will dress for comfort because they are not seeking approval from others. Now, for the video:
It’s clear in the literature across the ages, from the greatest thinkers of all time to scientific literature being produced in the best Universities of the 21st Century. You have to respect yourself first.
Working on management has limited returns for employee engagement because it treats a symptom, not the root cause of the problem.
Give employees the knowledge and skills they need to increase their self-respect.
Summer Reading!? I graduated. I don’t have to do any summer reading.
If you’re thinking that, you’re on the path to failure.
There is more new information every day than any one person can keep up with. You don’t have to know it all, but if you don’t make an effort to keep up with information in areas that interest you, you’re living in the slow lane.
So choose a career that excites you because that will make keeping up pleasurable. That is one of the big keys to success.
Beyond keeping up in your chosen field, creating a winning mindset is even more important to your success in life…in your relationships, in your career, and in your choices. That is what I encourage new graduates to read The Magic of Thinking Big.
Yes, it’s an old book but it is timeless if you add zeros to the “big” salaries. The advice is sound and for almost everyone raised in the typical educational institution, it will change the way you think in positive ways. In school you were asked to conform but nonconformist thinking is the thinking that solves problems. Conformists are still looking at problems and believing they are roadblocks when successful thinkers are seeing the opportunities inherent within the solutions.
Pick up a copy and start your summer reading today. It may be the most valuable $10. you ever spend.
Oh, and don’t forget to have fun this summer. It’s important.
Best wishes for a future that is more than you dream of it being.
Resilience alters the outcome of childhood trauma and abuse in a positive way. This is important because the level of abuse (physical, sexual, and verbal) is over 30%. Recent research has also demonstrated that verbal abuse often has the worst long-term negative impact. This seems counter to what we feel the greatest revulsion to, but when evaluated for the day-to-day life-long effect, this outcome begins to make more sense.
Verbal (psychological) abuse tends to create repetitive negative thoughts. Depending on your age, imagine a record, CD, or MP3 playing over and over again, undermining your ability to believe in yourself or even like yourself.
“Psychological abuse of a child is a pattern of intentional verbal or behavioral actions or lack of actions that convey to a child the message that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value to meet someone else’s needs.”
For the most part, Americans tolerate far higher levels of psychological abuse than are healthy. We welcome television shows into our home where abusive behaviors are modeled and often considered humorous. Just because such behaviors are common does not make them healthy. Our paradigm about healthy behavior needs to shift and education is the key. Many of the parents are merely repeating the behavior they witnessed as children or are emulating what they’ve seen on television with no awareness of the long-term consequences to children they love and want the best for. It is lack of knowledge, not lack of goodness, that leads to most psychological abuse. We remain silent when we witness parents demeaning their children in public. We do not have acceptable social interventions to help educate others about the potential long term consequences of their behavior.
I will probably always remember a young Mother in the grocery store telling her toddler how stupid he was for putting a can of food she had sat next to him in the cart into his mouth. There are times when I will say something but other times, such as that one, I felt any effort to educate her would be met with repudiations and possibly resentment for my interference. I was tired that day but what will be the long term consequences to that child of his Mother not knowing the damage she was doing by labeling her son stupid? Humans live up to the expectations others put upon us (Pygmalion effect (PDF)).
The damage is made worse by our tendency to teach our children to hide their feelings, to “keep a stiff upper lip” or “be strong.” There is nothing wrong with being strong but everyone needs a time and place where they feel they can safely release pent-up frustration, emotional hurt and anger or it becomes an infected wound that will eventually cause greater problems.
If the following behaviors are commonly tolerated in your home, consider modifying the behavior.
Frequent yelling or screaming
Using “the silent treatment” on family or friends to show displeasure or disappointment
Negative comparisons to others
Treating one another as if the person does not have significant value or worth
Destroying treasured possessions or memories
Mind games designed to make the victim question his or her sanity
Misplaced blame (i.e. blaming a child for a parent’s problems)
Sabotaging a child’s plans (such as withdrawing permission for a desired activity or making plans that interfere with the activity without a good reason and/or to deliberately interfere with the child’s ability to enjoy the activity.
Showing favoritism is a form of discrimination and can have life long consequences to self-worth to the disfavored child and neuroticism for the favored child.
Inappropriate conversations with children about other family members that create distrust, emotional pain, etc.
Compulsive lying and denial of promises made
Deliberately painting the child in a negative light to others
Teaching the child to perceive the world in ways that will interfere with success (i.e. encouraging racism)
Encouraging socially or legally unacceptable behaviors (i.e. violence, bullying, alcohol and drug use, theft, lying)
Rage and ridicule of the child or of other members of the household
Isolating the child from appropriate social interactions
Too much or too little control over the child for age and development level (leaving the child alone for long periods of time or sitting with an older teen for hours every night supervising homework completion
Repeated and frequent sarcasm
Setting unrealistic expectations and then demeaning the child for not meeting the unattainable expectations
In time our society will recognize the undesired consequences of these abusive behaviors. All mentally healthy parents want the best for their children. Those with less than optimal mental health also usually want the best for their children but do not understand how to provide the nurturing environment. It is not that parents with the most emotional and mental damage do not want the best for their children so much as it is their own needs are far from met so meeting those of a child is beyond their ability unless and until their needs are addressed.
Many of our television shows demonstrate psychologically abusive behavior as if it is normal behavior. Well, it may be normal in our day and age but at some point in the future it will be widely recognized for the dysfunctional behavior it is.
You and your family will benefit from recognizing it sooner rather than later.
If you recognize some of these behaviors as your own but believe you cannot stop, please seek help. Professional help can work wonders when the individual is motivated to change. If you’re more inclined to seek improvement through learning, one of our classes will provide the information you need to know so that you can change ingrained behavioral and thought patterns. Behavior is largely the result of habit. When you understand how to successfully change the habits, you can change anything about yourself that you wish to change.
You don’t have to live with that negative voice in your head. It is not who you are. You are worthy of more, of a better life than you can enjoy with that repetitive negativity robbing you of your joy.
Children know at a very young age when the words hurt. When a child this young is covering his ears in response to the words being spoken it is a sign that the way the child is interpreting the words is damaging his self-esteem.
Healthy self-esteem is critical if the child is to fulfill his potential in life. It is much easier to sustain healthy self-esteem than it is to build it back up after it has suffered damage.
You want the best for your family. If behavioral patterns in your home do not support the best outcomes, take action. You are not stuck. Improvement is possible–but not if you continue doing as you’ve always done. Changing the outcome begins by changing behavior.