Parenting with the HEART in Mind

Parenting tips and resources to grow the social and emotional capacity of your children and family.

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Weekly Parenting Tips

Parents need tools to develop their own resilience and confidence, as well as support their kids in growing their social and emotional skills. In Lorea’s weekly newsletter, you will find curated resources and tools for your parenting toolbox.

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Talk with Children about Racism and Injustice

In order to dismantle racism, we need to raise anti-racist children. This requires having difficult, yet important conversations about race, social justice and equity. Check out these resources to get you started.

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Coronavirus Resources for Parents

The global pandemic has impacted families in significant ways. Parents are faced with the challenges of supporting their children at home, carrying their own job responsibilities, and maintaining a sense of harmony in their homes.

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Weekly Parenting Tips

September 18

Do you want to be a better parent?

Do your kids play sports?

My girls both play soccer, which means I spend a lot of time watching soccer games during the weekend, and sometimes I observe interesting behaviors that provide good material for this newsletter.

Last weekend, I overheard a parent yell to their child in the middle of a soccer game:

Try harder! You can do better than that.

My eyes went straight to the child. Would these words motivate her or bring her down? When the parent finished saying these words, the 7-year old put her head down, and started moving slowly towards the ball. She looked defeated.

As parents, we all want our children to improve themselves and use the skills we know they have.

However, when we approach our kids with accusation (try harder) or judgment (you can do better than that), the outcome may be quite the opposite of what we intended. I assume this parent really wanted to encourage their child, but that was not the impact these words had on the kid.

What could we say instead?

Dr. Brooks says that empathic communication with our children can help us be supportive and encouraging parents.

In this article, he suggests considering the following three questions:

  • “In anything I say to my child, what do I hope to accomplish?”
  • “Would I want anyone to say to me what I have just said to my child?”
  • “Am I saying or doing things in ways in which my child will be most likely to hear what I have to say, not become defensive, and be willing to cooperate with me?”

I find the second one particularly helpful to check myself before I say something hurtful to my children.

I hope these questions will help you too, so you can apply more empathy and curiosity when you communicate with your kids in everyday situations.

September 11

Good Kids Can Be Mean

There is a big difference between bullying and being mean.

Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior towards another person that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Kids who bully tend to use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. There are three types of bullying: verbal (teasing, name-calling), physical (pushing, spitting, hitting) and social (embarrassing someone in public, spreading rumors). For more information, check out StopBullying.gov.

Bullying can have long-lasting negative consequences for those who bully and those who are the victims of bullying; this is why schools and parents work hard to eliminate bullying when it happens.

However, there are similar behaviors that although may not be considered bullying, can be very mean. Experiences such as being excluded from a game, being the source of gossiping or being avoided by peers can be very difficult for children and are common in childhood.

Even in supportive school communities and caring families, kids can be, intentionally or not, mean to each other.

As parents, we can teach our kids alternative behaviors if they are the ones being mean or help them navigate a difficult situation if they are the receivers of meanness. In this episode of Dear Highlights,  parenting educator Jennifer Millers explains how to support our children to be kind and effective advocates for themselves.

September 4

Emotional Literacy

Being able to name our emotions is an important skill. When children (and adults) can put a name to what they feel, they are better equipped to make good choices.

However, is annoyed the same as frustrated? Happy as content?

Many children can name emotions such as happy, sad or mad, but miss the subtle gradations in emotions because they don’t have the words to describe them. You may know an adult or two who also have a hard time naming their feelings…

Accurately naming emotions helps children to be clear about what is happening inside, so they can manage themselves in positive ways. According to neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, it is important that we help children distinguish between their different emotions and name them with precision. This is what she calls “emotional granularity.”

Barrett’s research showed that people who could distinguish finely among their unpleasant feelings were 30 percent more flexible when regulating their emotions, less likely to drink excessively when stressed, and less likely to retaliate aggressively against someone who had hurt them.

You can learn more about emotional granularity in her book, How Emotions Are Made.

And if you know an adult or two who need help with this, share with them my new online course Growing Your HEART Skills!

August 28

SEL and Parenting

This week, my friend and SEL parenting expert, Jennifer Miller, celebrated the 10th year anniversary of her well-known blog and parenting book, Confident Parents Confident Kids. You may recognize her name because I often share her insightful and practical articles in this newsletter!

This week, she invited me to celebrate this big milestone with her and a group of parents, who are also SEL experts.

We talked about what we have learned in our parenting journeys, how the pandemic changed us and what are currently working on in our parenting. You can watch the recording here.

And if you are inspired, let me know what you are working on in your parenting. It will help me curate additional resources to support your journey.

August 21

Ready for School?

Are you ready for the new school year?

For many children and parents, the start of the new school year is welcomed with enthusiasm and eagerness. However, it can also make children (and parents) anxious about starting school again.

While in many cases, this anxiety will go away as children settle into the new routines and expectations, there are things that you can do to support your child get off to a good start.

Here’s a great resource from the Child Mind Institute that can help you with this process!

And if you are looking to support yourself this fall, check out my new online course, Growing Your HEART Skills. I’d love to support your growth!

July 3

It’s Here! The HEART of Parenting

I have been away from home this week, teaching a course on Emotional Intelligence to aspiring principals at SPA, an intensive leadership program from Columbia University Teachers College.

Two times this week, my daughters called me crying because they missed me. It was very difficult to see them through the screen, tears flowing down their faces because Mama was not home.

If you are a working mom or dad, you know the emotions that come with this situation: guilt, sadness, sometimes even shame for being the cause of your own kids’ pain.

I had to sit with these feelings and honor their message: sadness helped me to focus on how important their love is, and guilt helped me to acknowledge my responsibility in the situation.

As parents, it is not easy to sit with our emotions, especially when we have caused pain to our kids. And yet, when we are able to do this work and cultivate our emotional agility, we are better equipped to teach and model it for our kids. 

So, how can we grow our social and emotional capacity to become more effective and compassionate parents? I’m SO excited to share that my new online course is finally ready!

Introducing…

Growing Your HEART Skills

Growing Your HEART Skills is a 7-module online course that will teach you the HEART in Mind Model and help you develop your social and emotional capacity so that you can become a more effective parent and live your entire life with more compassion, empathy, and peace.

As part of Growing Your HEART Skills, you’ll receive:

  • 7 Learning Modules that will teach you the five HEART skills step-by-step
  • 14 tools to help you dig deeper into what you’re learning in the course and implement it into your work and life, including a pre and post assessment of HEART skills

How does that sound?

While this course was created with educators in mind, HEART skills are as needed and relevant in the life of a parent. So, check it out! You can learn all about my new course and get started today by clicking on this link.

And since you are on my VIP list and I can’t wait for you to experience this course, I have a special offer for you! The first 20 people that sign up for my Course + Community will receive a FREE group coaching call with me. So don’t delay, and sign up today! I would love to see your name on that list.

Looking forward to supporting you in your HEART journey!

Resources to Talk with Children about Racism and Injustice

Resources for Adults Looking to Develop their Cultural Competence

Coronavirus Resources for Parents

The spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to impact the lives of many families across the globe. While many schools are back to in-person learning, there are many reasons that make the 2021-22 school year very difficult. Here are a few resources to support parents as they navigate the challenges of this ongoing pandemic. And if you need any support, please send me a note. I am here for you.

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