First things first.
Wow, what a year: the uncertainty, stay-at-home ordinance, shutting down in-person experiences, loss of jobs, closed playgrounds, social unrest, and the disturbing fact that a virus is on the loose around the world. Sounds like a movie to watch on TV…but instead we all got to live it. Congratulations, we made it through.
Now is the time to live on to make things better, safer, more just. Now is the time to do our part in creating a society that values life, love, understanding, acceptance, compassion, mutual respect, and empathy. Now is the time to take responsibility for sending our kids back to school with a skill set that helps them recognize the good in one another and themselves. All this starting within our own homes, and then extending to all those around us.
“It’s important for parents to remember that even kids without social anxiety are going to feel nervous because they’re out of practice,” says Robyn Mehlenbeck, director of the Center for Psychological Services at George Mason University. “It’s like with math: If no one does it over the summer, they lose all of that. So, expect that there are going to be social hiccups, and that’s okay. It’s normal for everybody.”
This summer increase your family's Social and Emotional Intelligence by:
Increasing Your Family's Social and Emotional Vocabulary
Increasing your family’s social and emotional vocabulary will afford your household the ability to navigate the ‘social hiccups’ and effectively express themselves whether the situation is challenging or positive. Language is powerful and our words matter. What better way to enhance communication than building vocabulary?
The How To - For Yourself and Your Family:
- Define different emotions as a family and talk about them. The more feelings we can understand then more capable we are to express them in a pro-social manner.
We all need to practice reengaging in healthy social activities, reconnecting with friends, confidently creating healthy new relationships through the positive words we share in our relationships, and most importantly in the relationship we have with ourselves.
Mary Alvord, co-author of “Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents” tells us, “At the core, resilience is the belief that while you can’t control everything in your life, there are many aspects you can control, including your attitude.”
Our attitudes are built on the words we tell ourselves. Most of us have an inner dialogue that is constantly running through our minds that is not in service to living into our best selves, therefore so do our children.
So how do you stop the chatter and redo the record? A record that plays the tune and words that will support, encourage, and strengthen your relationship with yourself. Positive self-talk ultimately allows you to access a place of empowerment inside yourself by deciding to let go of the words that hold you down and choose the positive self-talk that lifts you up. When we engage in positive self-talk, we naturally engage with others in the same way.
The How To For Yourself and Your Family:
- Emphasize your attention on what you want, rather than wallowing on what you do not want.
- Practice by: Identifying areas in life that are uncomfortable or a concern.
- Pinpoint how your self-talk is negative and not helping to shift the situation.
- Role play with your family new ways to engage in positive self-talk that would help you feel better about the issue.
- Make sure everyone in your family participates in the process.
- Always end by acknowledging how well each person did.
Henry David Thoreau said, “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.’
If we want our lives to change, then we must change…starting with the words we tell ourselves. This practice is not hard. Start with the awareness that you can control your thoughts, which lead to your words, that are followed by your actions. Living a happy, fulfilled life is a choice. Live into this awareness with every challenging situation. Shift negative self-talk to positive self-talk. Teach this practice to your family and afford your children the skills they need to love themselves.