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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are you addicted to your phone?

Are you a habitual smartphone user? Tonight we will look at the new phenomenon that is taking hold of millions of phone users and you can decide if you are addicted and some steps to crush the behavior.

You say that many people have become habitual users of their smartphones. I understand you have a quick checklist to see if someone fits the criteria.

· Do you check your email more than is necessary. Be honest with yourself, are you checking a need or a want?

· Are you annoying people with always being on your smartphone? Have people made comments about your usage?

· Does the thought of not checking your smartphone create anxiety? Once again, be honest with yourself. Try to put your phone away for an hour and see what happens.

What creates our habitual need to always be checking our phone?

· Researchers suggest that we feel important when we get a text, email or other notifications. It builds our self esteem

· Researchers also suggest that our connection triggers something in our brain when we get email or a text and many times those things have a positive impact and make us feel wanted or needed

· Many people feel alone, isolated and checking emails, Facebook, twitter, makes them feel connected with the world and others.

· Checking has also become a fashionable way to isolate, avoid interacting and avoiding things we don’t want to do… it has become an insulator

· The brain connects with the positive feeling and then a pattern arises and we want to feel that positive rush again, and so we check habitually

What are some tips for those of us who just discovered we may be habitually in love with our smartphone?

· Acknowledge: The first step is always awareness so you can address the issue. Denial only further charges the habitual behaviors.

· Make free-zone times: Set times when you agree to not look at your smartphone. Perhaps that time will be during dinners or meal times with others, or perhaps after a certain time of the night.

· Establish free-zone places: Maybe that location will be the bedroom, the kitchen or perhaps on a vacation

· Evaluate: Be honest and determine what “purpose” the smartphone has for you and take small steps to minimize the behaviors and interact more face to face vs. through the phone

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are your kids strong willed?

Strong willed children

Do you have one of those strong willed children? We hate to call them stubborn, but you know who they are… whenever you say something they say the opposite. Tonight we’ll look at some creative methods to parent that just might lower the verbal intensity and have your kids adhere to some smart parenting.

This is a topic all parents seem to struggle with. Strong willed children always seem to be challenging for parents. What are some of the strategies you have to share with us?

· Dealing with stubborn children doesn’t have to be a constant fight.

· Use your “brains” and outsmart them.

· Kids who are strong willed want more control and the way to give it to them is to offer choices that fit your criteria for options.

Give us some examples of how we can create “smarter parenting”

· Chores- always a difficult challenge

o Play beat the clock. Make it a game… I bet you can’t clean up this area before the timer goes off. Stubborn kids love challenges and games. Keep a chart to win stickers towards a reward

o You wanna. Your child wants to do something and instead of saying, we can’t do that, try saying, “of course you can do that as soon as we get these toys put away.” The change in focus will make a dramatic difference

· Bedtime- kids always want to stay up later

o Offer the opportunity to stay up a little later, but help them get ready to actually fall asleep by offering them time to go to their room and do something quiet like reading or playing quietly. Tell them if they are quite read they can stay up a little longer

o Offer up the same option but tell them they can pick a book between x and y and you can read it together and stay up a little longer. This creates quiet time prior to bed and increases your connection

o Strong willed kids see this as a win if you present it in that fashion

· Choosing clothes

o Your child never likes what you pick out so let them choose their own clothes—but wait, if you don’t like their choices, then narrow down the choices in the closet.

o Rotate the clothes every couple of weeks so they have new options

o Give them a choice between two or three outfits and let them choose what they want to wear for the next day

o Perhaps they don’t want to wear a coat to school—try putting them in the car that’s cold and when they ask you to turn up the heat or they are complaining about being cold, then take out a jacket you have hidden in the trunk. Let them face their consequences

Stubborn kids need to feel more control and have options, and a smart parent can still have their way by outsmarting their child and still do positive parenting.

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