Family Fitness in 36 Seconds
One act. Three seconds. Twelve times. Equals 36 seconds a day. What’s the magic moment? A hug.
According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “The recommended daily requirement for hugs is: 4 per day for survival, 8 per day for maintenance, and 12 per day for growth.” A family’s emotional fitness can be aided by a mere 36 seconds a day.
But, the real trick, says neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak, is that the hug has to be associated with a “signal of trust”. Having some sign of confidence in the relationship, or potential connection, accompanied with the hug insures moods more at peace, security increased, and stress released.
Efforts can be made to remind us, and family members, of the 36-second hug habit. To strengthen the attachment process and hug therapy in your home I made 2 versions of the Hugs & Kisses Kit. (I threw in the kisses for good measure.) The idea is that the kit has chocolate candies and every time one is taken out, then a hug has to be given to someone as ‘payment’. The kit really isn’t necessary, just a fun reminder to get your family counting and keeping track of heart healthy hugs.
Here are a few other times to wrap your head (and arms) around.
• hug in morning
• hug at night
• hug to greet
• hug to congratulate
• hug to warm
• hug to protect
• hug to connect
• hug to apologize
• hug to energize
• hug to support
• hug to strengthen
• hug to surprise
Thirty six seconds to increase family fitness of heart and mind. Do you have the time today?
Get the DIY downloadable here @ Idaho Women's Journal for $2.
There's a crafty version and a quick version. I had the quick version of the Hugs & Kisses glass jar out during a party and there were hugs everywhere.
Try it out in your home and let me know how you like it.
1) Do acknowledge them
Talk to them when they come in. Show some interest. Get to know them.
2) Do show respect
Kids want to be treated like an adult, this is one area in which that works.
3) Do provide food
Food always works. Feed them. Even let them have access to the kitchen.
4) Do be some fun
Do something unexpected from the normal routine. Be a little playful.
5) Do avoid confrontations
This isn't the time to correct your kid. Do that later, where you can discuss.
6) Do remember them
Names, siblings, & unique things about them. Also, how your kid knows them.
7) Do make it peaceful
An environment that's void of contention makes a place people want to be.
8) Do leave a little space
Give them some room. Not the bedroom. But, some talking space to be private.
9) Do like them
Everyone has annoyances. Overlook them. See what your kid sees. Be open.
10) Do keep long hours
It doesn't have to be 'open all night' but kids like late nights. Especially weekends.
Bonus: Do treat them like family
Everyone wants to belong. Somewhere. Make it you and yours that they think of as 'family' when they need to connect. How you interaction with your kid's friends, and your kid, will benefit everyone.
What do you do?
10 Don'ts When Interacting with Your Teen's Friends
1. Don't try to be cool.
And painful. It never works when a parent tries to be cool.
2. Don't compete.
You lose when you make it about competing with your kid. Join a ball team.
3. Don't make fun.
Never use your kid (or their friends) as the punch line for a joke. Laugh at
4. Don't always jump in.
Let them figure a few things out. You don't always have to share the answers.
5. Don't look for friends.
Don't make your kids friends your friends. On FB or at home. Find your own.
6. Don't be pushy.
It doesn't have to be my way or the high way. Let some things ride.
7. Don't be fake.
Embrace & express who you are & be authentic. No need to use a bull horn.
8. Don't take over the conversation.
Be a small part of the conversation, don't be the conversation. Sometimes,
don't even talk.
9. Don't be sensual.
Do I even need to say anything? Sadly, yes. Turn your sexual brain off. Period.
10. Don't try to outshine.
The spotlight shouldn't be on you or how you feel. Your kid is the star.
Bonus: Don't embarrass.
This isn't about you. Then, again, it's all about you. Kids don't want to be embarrassed at all costs. You have the power to make sure that doesn't happen to them, or their friends. Make them comfortable, and keep them coming around. You won't end up being the jerk parent, or any of the above kind either.
What other "don't" would you add to the list?
Did a little surfing down memory lane and came across an article that I contributed to a long time ago and forgot about. It was about TV viewing and what can be done to curb the amount of time watching it. (We've never been big television watchers. There's just so many other really fun things to do.) I'm glad to report the things I said yesterday (relatively speaking) are still valid today. You can see if you agree.
Well, yesterday I talked about gift giving. Today I have something else on my mind. This morning I read an article about a NYC public school teacher who told her class of second graders, during a geography lesson, that there was no Santa. She was discussing the North Pole and the children assured the teacher they knew where the it was because Santa lived there. The teacher decided to clarify that myth and said that there was no Santa. Also, she felt a need to tell them that it was their parents who put presents under the tree for them, not Santa. What exactly that had to do with geography I don't know.
After the article, there ensued a back and forth in the comments section about whether kids should be told the truth, if they should even be told to believe in Santa at all, and every opinion in between. I have issues with Santa myself. I've never told my kids there was and never told them there wasn't. When they asked me I would always respond with, "What do you think?" Sometimes they'd say what they thought and sometimes they didn't. I let them talk. So, the belief in the man Santa has been perpetuated very little, if at all, in our home. But, the spirit of Santa and Christmas has.
As an artist I'm very aware of symbols and their use. We use symbols in society all the time. Santa Claus is a symbol. A collective symbol of the intangible attributes of joy, wonder, mystery and surprise that we have few other means to share and pass on. For most of society we have mutually agreed to do that. Just as we've nationally decided that the American Flag is a symbol of patriotism, wedding rings a symbol of fidelity and love, and yellow ribbons a welcoming back home. Whether we choose to embrace these icons and the ideas they represent are personal choices.
A lot of times people get so emotional that they miss the mark about what the problem is. The real issue with this situation is that this teacher believed, and acted on the idea, that it was her RIGHT to tell these children. She decided that Teacher usurps Parent. Put another way, Teacher displaces, supplants, confiscates, or cuts out Parent. This is a policy that is being perpetuated in some schools - teacher has more right than a parent to decide - on many issues like gender, sex, and religion. The problem with not seeing the core issue is that Parent then relinquishes, surrenders ands hands over their right to Teacher.
This teacher decided in that moment, without care, concern, nor consensus of others, that she would take on the role of Parent. In her "truth-telling" did she really have regard about how the truth was told? How the children might respond to it? That it might shatter their (not her) belief system? Is this truth age appropriate? Did she let parents know that she would be busting this tradition so that they could be prepared for the aftermath? Did she let the parents know after the fact with a note home? Did she teach about symbols in society? Did she teach about the different methods of gift giving? Did she teach about celebrations? Did she teach any historical context? These are things a real parent are concerned with. That differentiates Teacher and Parent. This teacher didn't care enough about the children, nor was she willing to take on the real role of parent, to consider the outcome and welfare for those children. I for one want to be a real parent, not some make-believe one that this teacher is trying to be.
I have 8 children and have been in a waiting room (or stuck at some other unforeseen place) a time or two with a toddler. In fact, often with several toddlers at a time. I found that these situations were not just the regular-boring-kind but the outburst-boring-kinds for kids.
One of the things that worked for me was the Mini Kid Kit. It was just a small bag in my purse that had travel size things, (tiny flashlight, metal play keys, mirror, bracelet, heavy necklace, hair clip, etc), items they never got to play with under normal conditions. Basically, anything that they were curious in and weren't allowed to play with; or small toys that they usually couldn't touch because they were "mine", kept their interest when they were outburst-bored in a public place. It helped to keep them quiet on many occasions.
This helped me not become the outburst mommy of the outburst toddler. If I felt like there was something in my power to do I became less frustrated and more in control of the situation. Toddlers, especially on the verge of tantrums, definitely need a mom in control of herself and the situation. The Mini Kid Kit was a tool for me to do that.
But there are 3 keys to the Mini Kid Kit
1) You don't give the child the whole bag, bring out items one at a time
2) They don't see the bag in its entirety so they don't fuss for the next item before they've explored the first
3) You take away the toy (and give them the next one) before they get bored with it
Rotate and re-rotate them around.
Hopefully, this little tip will help you. Go ahead. Grab a ziplock bag, add a few things in it, and put it in your purse. Done.
When my older children were young we decided to omit certain words from our family vocabulary. Words like "stupid" and "shut-up" we felt weren't respectful of each other and shouldn't be used toward each other.
On one particular day I was frustrated with something and called it "stupid". Oh man, my children were indignant. They didn't differentiate between things and people and were convinced that my behavior didn't match up with our established expectations. And when they went to church the following Sunday they reported my bad behavior to their teachers - "my mom said the 's' word!"
Luckily for me, I learned to control those words, even toward things, and their trust in me was restored. Though this may be minor on the scale of moral mishaps the idea of hypocrisy can be very destructive. Before we continue I like to define the critical words in the conversation so that we start out on the same terminology page, so to speak.
the practice of professing standards and beliefs contrary to one's real character
a pretense of having a virtuous character contrary to actual behavior
a pretense of moral or religious belief that one does not really possess
a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude
an act or instance of hypocrisy
To sum up, hypocrisy is practiced pretense. At times kids, teens in particular, have a real problem with their parents because of this practiced pretense or hypocrisy. Parents who don't act as they preach fall into this parent trap. The integrity trip-up, hypocrisy. And teens hate hypocrites! It doesn't have to be "major" deviations from professed piousness, minor detours will accomplish parental captivity. For those of religious belief, we automatically set ourselves up. We are preachers of something and when we fail at what we teach we are by definition hypocrites.