Category Archives: thinking

Parents Worksheet


Pay for the behavior you want:

My response to __________ throwing a fit is ____________________________.

I feel ___________________ when she _______________________.

3 behaviors that get on my nerves the most are ___________________, _____________________ and ___________________.

3 good behaviors that she has are ___________________, __________________ and ____________________________.

The behaviors that I spend the most energy correcting are _________________, _______________________ and _________________________.

The way she reacts to my corrections are _______________, __________________ and_________________________.

The way she acts when I express anger or impatience is ___________________.

I end up having to _____________________ when she misbehaves ___times a day.

The way I respond to good behavior is ______________________________.

 

Advertisements

The Imaginary Sniper


What do you see when your fingers are propped above the keyboard in the

anticipation of writing a post or story?  Anyone could logically say there is a blank space or page.  And while this is true, there are many of us who tend to imagine the onset of disaster if a mistake is made.  Maybe you type a letter or word that just doesn’t seem right.  Maybe you end up writing a whole sentence that doesn’t fit.  It’s called an error.  You can fix this.

Writing a grammatically incorrect sentence is far different from hitting someone in the nose.  Revising what you typed is a temporary setback or even a way to learn more about writing.  It is not a crime.  An error in typing is not going to bring on imminent danger.  I can tell you this all day long, but a lot of us will still think, feel and imagine an imaginary sniper ready to shoot us upon the first stroke of the key.  Why else would you sit there and think about what to say?  What is with the hesitation?

Writing is simple.  I’m not saying talent comes easy.  But the task of putting words on paper or the screen is an elementary function which most of us have.  Using your fingers to make words is something that human beings can do in any state of mind.  The ability to create a fluid, coherent message with words will only come with practice.  But the fingertips have to touch the keys.

To understand my claim about the imaginary sniper, try writing a story on a general subject as soon as the blank page appears.  Or get a notebook out and apply the pen or pencil immediately.  Don’t stop for corrections.  Just continue writing.  Pay attention to how your body reacts.

Catalyst


Sometimes we have to get our foot in the door on the matter of developing healthy relationships.  The most basic functions for human beings are scary and awkward.  Take conversation between people from two different age groups.

One person is seven or eight years old and the other is forty.  Maybe both of them live in the same household, but because of age they are worlds apart.  In terms of development, this is true.  A forty-year-old person experiences life physically much different from someone who is thirty years younger.  Kids usually don’t have the same aches and pains.

There is also a significant gap in the context of cultural preferences such as music and other forms of entertainment.  And what is a big deal to the youngster in second or third grade is most likely old news to the adult.

Conversation between the two is mostly restricted to happenstance and brief.  There’s nothing wrong with this.  Normal development includes a gradual shift in priorities and the person’s relative connection to their current age group.  To live in the present and take advantage of growth, each child, teen or adult is getting in tune with acquired abilities.  Even though children don’t have to pay bills, they do have to learn how to tie shoes and ride bikes.  We all have to pay attention to keep up with relevant information.

I will argue there are benefits in crossing the generational line in terms of sustained conversation.  One of them is trust.  I will explain.

At some point in a child’s life, he is going to face a choice between keeping a secret that is eating him up or disclosing it and getting help from a wise adult.  Which action do you think he will pick if there hasn’t been some way to talk on common ground with an adult so far?  In general, I see very defensive kids who cross their arms and frown quietly towards the expectation of what might happen with such freedom of speech.

On the other side of this, the adult usually has more faith in the child who demonstrates more of a vocabulary than “whatever” or “yeah”.

Another benefit of being able to hold a discussion with someone of a different generation is the widening of perspectives.  Each age group holds a limited view of how the world operates for other people and the ways in which things can be done.  Isn’t the knowledge of one hundred different angles to go at a challenge better than only one?  Remember the exercise that some of us new parents had to go through for the first baby in the home?  You crawl around on your hand and knees to see what the house and possible hazards look like for a child of six or seven  months.  Adults have grown used to walking around with their eyes seeing everything from an average of five and a half to six feet above the floor.

The physical way we see the world closely matches the context of interacting with others.  If I’m six, I will talk mostly of six-year-old related things.  I’m not going to talk about how much higher the water bill was this month.

But if I watch a movie with grandpa and I’m encouraged to speak at length about five or six different scenes with him afterwards, then I stand more of a chance understanding how to talk an adult.  There’s nothing scary about conversation after all.

 

Windfall


The first three things I would do if winning the lottery are:

1. Buy the best magazine-editing software on the market.

2. Invest in helping out Moore, Oklahoma.

3. Talk with a successful financial-adviser.

Of course, even without winning the lottery there is still the Red Cross number.

And it never hurts to invest in the other things a little at a time.

Self-Pity: Rise of Conversations


Self-pity starts with anger.  I write a story in the head about who is getting in the way of my efforts.  I come very close to being like a dog, whose feet are shocked from the floor of the cage.  My will saps with the expectation of getting more shocks, held captive within four walls of my making.   Negative thoughts bulldoze any voice of solution.  My anger takes an even bigger role in decisions and I float passively in the ooze of righteous indignation.

Who dares say that I can let go of the insane repetition of wasteful tasks and putter around in circles?  How dare you tell me what I can and cannot do?  And that face you put on while your mouth spews forth the proposal of a better idea.  Worse!  You say I should just walk away from it all!  Can you see my face?  And did you hear what I just said?  Do you see my teeth flashing while I put down your way of life?  Let’s repeat this again and again!  I can do this all night long while laying in the dark with the covers over my head.  I can come up with a million make-believe scenarios where I’m on the cross, bearing my wounds and saying “Just finish me”.

But screw it.  I’ll sit at the table with my laptop and type every single word.  A conversation in my head can be a story on the screen too.

To smoulder or live life.


English: Jack and Jill by Dorothy M. Wheeler

English: Jack and Jill by Dorothy M. Wheeler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jack and Jill go up the hill to fetch a pail of water.  Jack falls down and breaks his crown.  Jill skips along to the other side of the hill and continues to take the pale to where it belongs.  She does think about Jack and hopes he will dust off and catch up with her.  Her wondering is interrupted by a colorful tune from the cellphone and she is soon on the way to drop off the bucket and head over to Sally’s house for lunch.  Maybe they would go out later.

Jack kicks around rocks for a while and by mistake attracts a cloud of angry bees.  Oops!  Apparently, in the middle of all his huffing, puffing and wild throwing he sent a rock flying into a hive.  Ten minutes and one hundred bees later, he’s lying on the ground and moaning.  The stings produce ugly bubbles with a red prickly center in each all over his face.

Jill is sitting at Sally’s house on the porch laughing it up over the stories of their other friends antics.  Jack’s name comes up as well.  Both of the girls plan a late night and drink their tea.  Doug pulls into the driveway in his hopped up four-wheel-drive work truck and jumps on to the porch; soon adding to the laughter about goofy friends.

Meanwhile Jack is running from a two-hundred-pound wolf.  He smacks himself hard against a tree, but manages to get a grip on the lowest limb and climb up to safety.  Laying in the upper part of the tree, he starts to wonder where Jill went to.  She told him earlier about the possibility that Sally might call.  He thinks about punching her in the shoulder later for leaving the hill.  His face is burning.  Both of them had the task of taking the water to dear old Miss June’s house.  She’s been sick lately and paid them the day before to fetch water.

Jack sees that the wolf stops waiting and trots off back into the woods.  Jack has to take the chance of getting out of there on his own.  He forgot to charge his phone last night.  Hell of a moment.  But he has to get out of the tree.  Jill, Sally and Doug aren’t there with him.  It’s either lay around and moan on the big branch or climb back down and run.  Then Jack will be able to help make his group of friends into a foursome during a night on the town.

No Magic To It


Some people assume that their words have magical powers; like when a father tells his son to concentrate and worker harder.  How many times does he have to say this?  Does his son’s brain automatically change gears and get right to it?  Test the idea and watch what happens.  Just stand there and say “work harder and concentrate”.  Write down the number of times you can say this in a day and mark down the amount of progress noted.  If you have to say it, there isn’t much of a chance, until you do some work.

In order to see new results, we sometimes have to mix in new types of activities and boost our vocabulary.  Our brains and bodies have a hard time running on empty when we’re expected to pick up on a different way of doing things.  To expect otherwise is like waiting for some magic potion or fairy dust sprinkled, or the wave of a magic wand.

This is why I carry around a kitchen timer and other tools in my therapy bag when visiting the schools.  It helps a person to know where the limits are, so we can establish a direction (and get out the timer).  If concentration fails after thirty seconds, then we obviously need to work towards a minute.  Of course there has to be some personal motivation behind it.  Maybe the kid wants to get something done right the first time and not spend hours on homework in detention or after school.  But then, maybe he likes this kind of punishment.  There maybe some gain in attention from adults in this respect and he likes it.

Nevertheless, this persons brain may not know how to just get with it at will.  And so we educate.  Knowledge is power right!  Yeah, the reader can fight me on this, but he or she may want to know how I help the client with an awareness of their own type of thinking.  And this is where the drawing pad comes in handy.  Over the course of many sessions, I have observed the results in black, white and color how different people (kids) respond to the directive “make a picture”.  The subject of a drawing could be an emotional situation or a simple description of the family.  If markings are made all over the paper in an erratic fashion and the picture is not being completed, I will take back the pad and draw an outline of something; number the parts and have him color it in by the numbers: 1-10.

If the child or preteen responds well to competing for stickers, I say “Each part has to be colored in order.  If you start with any number but one, you don’t get a sticker”.  The task sounds elementary.  To some artistically inclined people, the exercise of coloring in parts by correct order probably goes against the virtue of creativity, but let me explain.  There is my observation of how relaxed and methodical a person becomes when doing such an activity.  The brain, hand and use of coordination has to work in a step-by-step manner.  The task gets done and it actually makes sense!  And here, we have a prescribed way of doing things many times over.  Repetition is the mother of skill.