Common Myths about Kids’ Learning and Success

Adolescent in graduation gown

Sometimes, kids’ worst obstacles are their own parents’ misconceptions about kids’ learning and success. As a teacher, I have seen many kids struggle on a daily basis to meet the extremely high and unrealistic expectations their parents set for them. These high expectations for children usually go hand in hand with expectations parents set for themselves.

Such extreme standards bring pressure, tension, pain, depression and a great feeling of inadequacy, both for the parents, and the child. Unfortunately, children carry this feeling with them into adulthood, and raise their own kids using the same misconceptions.

Here are some common myths I have heard over the years, about what will bring success and facilitate kids’ learning.

Myth #1: Kids’s learning is improved by pain and punishment

It is true that humans over time have learned through cause and effect. They improve and evolve by seeing the consequences of their actions.

However, using punishment as a teaching tool does not make children learn what you think (not even if you call it “consequences”). They learn to be afraid and to avoid the punishment. The lesson you were trying to teach them is completely lost. This is because the need to avoid pain is stronger than almost anything and they will do whatever they can to avoid it.

The more painful the punishment, the less they will learn of what you are actually trying to teach them.

Read Common Myths about Kids’ Learning and Success »

How to Eliminate the Top 7 Parenting Struggles

Father holding his young sons

Last month, I wrote about the top 7 things parents struggle with: emotions, social pressure, information overload, money, relationship and physical body. I think that if parents knew how to manage these things in their life, it would be easier and more enjoyable for them to parent their children to be happy, healthy and successful. Here are 7 tips to improve your skills in each area and eliminate the respective parenting struggles.

How to manage your emotions

Whenever you have a strong feeling and feel you are about to burst, stop! Examine the feeling, ask yourself “what is that thing I am feeling now?” giving it a name will slow you down and move you from your primitive brain – the fight or flight mode to the “thinking” mode. It will make sure you are more composed in your relationship with your children.

Read How to Eliminate the Top 7 Parenting Struggles »

15 Parenting Mistakes

Teenage girl looking anxious

Parenting is the oldest and most important jobs in history. Without it, we would not have over 7 billion people living on this planet. Most people want to be good parents. They want to raise responsible, happy, independent and successful kids. Even if we have kids for the purely biological reason of reproducing, we must ensure the future of our offspring, right? So nobody wants to make too many parenting mistakes.

I have been a parent for 26 years. As an educator, I also worked with many kids and had a lot of contact with parents on the way to becoming a parenting expert.

Over the years, I have written over 1,500 articles about parenting, happiness, and education. All my articles focus on the mission of raising happy, successful, friendly, smart, responsible and independent children. The rules of parenting are very clear and there is a variety of things you can do as a parent to ensure that your offspring will survive, be happy, be successful and your bloodline will continue for years to come. What you need to make sure is that you pass on to your kids more than just “blood”, more than just the things that transfers the second you conceive your kids (those genes stored in sperm or egg).

Parenting is also about transferring what is in your heart – your attitude. If you have the right attitude, you are more likely to be able to ensure a good future relationship for you and your kids. If your attitude is bad, you run the risk of being erased from your children’s lives. If you want to know how serious this is, read our post Divorcing Your Parents to see how many people are not in a relationship with their own parents. Imagine trying to pass on your legacy when you are not involved in the lives of your kids and grandkids.

Some parenting mistakes are not easily fixed, but it is never too late to start making a change. Here are some of the parenting mistakes that many parents make that can destroy the relationship between them and their children.

Read 15 Parenting Mistakes »

I’m Always Late for a Very Important Date!

White rabbit and his watch

Time is a precious resource. Some say it is the only resource we have. Have you ever missed something important because you came just a bit late? This happens to a lot of people, and sometimes too many times. The outcome can be very problematic.

There are some people I know who are always late. They are rushed, don’t think clearly and are in a total state of chaos. Many kids grow up in such households and learn to be the same when they grow up. Parents who are always late raise kids who do not value their own time and miss many opportunities.

Being late from time to time is very natural. It is a good idea not to be in a total state of panic for being late by one second. It happens. We are only humans. The thing is, what you generally do becomes a habit. After three meetings that you turned up to, late or on time, gives you a label: punctual or always late!

People who are labeled as always late are not necessarily always late, but the attitude towards them is more negative. Can you think of a person you know who is always late? Your level of trust in them goes down. Things are harder for them as well! If they need to start every interaction by apologizing for being late, they are put in an inferior position right from the start.

All in all, being always late is not good for anyone. It creates negative attitudes towards you, which is not something any parent wants for their child.

Here are some tips to make sure you are not an “always late” person and you are not raising the “always late” kids.

Read I’m Always Late for a Very Important Date! »

Top 7 Things Parents Struggle With

A family lying on top of each other

I recently did an interview for a radio station about parenting. They wanted to know what were the top things parents struggle with. I have seen hundreds of parents over the last 28 years. If I had to list every struggle, the list would never end – parenting is hard! So, I figured the best thing to do would be to group challenges by category.

Parents today struggle with seven main things. Not surprisingly, parents today struggle with roughly the same things their parents struggled with in the past. Today, they just give it a different name, maybe to feel a bit more modern or advanced. Same struggle, different shape.

Parents need to take on a management role as soon as they have kids. Unfortunately, not everyone is a good manager and parents often struggle with it. If they were lucky enough to learn if from their own parents, cool! If not, they may struggle with it as a parent. Unfortunately, people spend more than 16 years of their lives in educational institutions that are obsessed about teaching them to manage their homework but not any other part of their lives.

School does not teach us to manage our time, our emotions, our friends or relationships, our physical body, our money or a budget. So it is no surprise that people struggle with it in their teens and then they struggle with it as adults raising kids. They then can’t teach their children how to manage any off these things either, because no one can teach what they don’t know.

Here are the 7 main challenges parents experience.

Read Top 7 Things Parents Struggle With »

Teen Life Sucks (or Does it?)

Baby toes

Sometimes, when I talk to teens, they tell me that teen life sucks.

It is sad to hear them say that at a time in their lives that is supposed to be wonderful, interesting and exciting. The teenage years are when they form their identity and it is sad to hear that they came to the conclusion that teen life sucks.

It is sad because if they believe it sucks, they are more likely to feel that it sucks. If they think teen life sucks, their subconscious will create a self-fulfilling prophecy, and their life will actually “suck”. It is not the thought that makes it true, it is that subconsciously, the thought will lead to action that will make it true. Whatever you believe, this is your reality.

I love those Buddhist quotes and there is one in which the Buddha said it perfectly, “Wherever you go, there you are”

My motto is that in life, you get what you focus on. If you get up in the morning and you focus on what sucks, you will get exactly that, life that sucks!

Teen life is complicated and involves many aspects. Yes, there are components that do not work the way we want them to. Sometimes, they work to our advantage and sometimes they do not. It is still a far cry from considering teen life as sucking completely.

Read Teen Life Sucks (or Does it?) »

Developing Good Character Traits for Children: H to Z

Love. the seed that produces the fruit of the spirit.

Good character traits are what every parent wants for their kids. We all know and believe that this can set them up for good, healthy, successful and happy lives. If we let go of the belief that character is something we are born with, something that is carved in stone, we realize that we, as parents, have the power to instill positive character in our kids.

We can give our kids those traits that they are going to need to run a happy and successful life, by instilling strong beliefs that support and build these good character traits.

In the last chapter, I gave examples of good character traits from A to G and what beliefs will support them. Here are the H- Z (well, H to W at least) traits and the beliefs that will support them.

This post is part 3 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

Read Developing Good Character Traits for Children: H to Z »

Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children: A to G

Parent watering a child

This saying is as true for grownups as it is true for kids. We are what we think. If you want to know who your kids are, ask them what they think of themselves. Whether they think they are smart or not, happy or not, friendly or not, they are always right.

If you want to build their character, you need to instill character-building thoughts in their minds. Their thoughts become words, their words become thoughts, and their thoughts become actions. These actions become habits that become their character. Their character determines their destiny.

As I said in the previous chapter, a belief is like a seed, if you repeat the belief over and over again, it is like watering the seed. When the child hears the belief expressed enough times, the seed develops strong roots and becomes a conviction, like, “I am a very responsible kid”. The child stops thinking of it as a behavior and it becomes a character trait, a personal quality that they possess, “I am a very responsible kid”.

Here are examples of thoughts that will help build your kids’ character. If he/she adopts these thoughts/beliefs, they will turn into character of time. It is important to talk to kids about their character, what it means to them and what it means to you. Give them examples of times when they have shown a particular trait in a nice way and how it helped them in life. If you cannot find examples from their life, give examples from your own life, when you showed this trait and how it helped you in life. This will make it is easier for them to adopt the trait.

This post is part 2 of 8 in the series Helping Kids Build Character

Read Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children: A to G »

Language Acquisition: Do Young children Need a Second Language?

Hello in Different Languages

For years, people have been researching the acquisition of languages. One aspect mentioned in some of this research is the distinction between Primary (“mother tongue”) and Secondary language. I believe this distinction is essential for maximizing the power of learning another language.

Primary and secondary languages are stored in different places in the brain and through a different process. First, second and third primary languages are learned by creating patterns from a load of seemingly random information, while secondary languages are learned by using the primary languages as reference and building a “translation net” to map the secondary language back to them.

Experts still argue about the critical age for forming primary languages, but they all estimate it to end between the ages of 7 and 12. This leaves the early childhood educators to deal with this important channel of education in the most critical age – the early years.

Read Language Acquisition: Do Young children Need a Second Language? »

Doing No More Than the Average in Education

Most people put in 25%, great people put in 50% and the few amazing people put in 100%

Last week, my kids were guests at a primary school assembly at a school which was not their own school (Tsoof is in his fourth year at university and Noff is in Grade 9). At dinner, they shared their experience with us.

“The deputy principal”, Noff said in shock, “Told the kids they would be getting report cards soon and that if they got a ‘C’ they should be very happy, because ‘C’ meant they were at the average level expected for their grade”. Tsoof joined Noff in her surprise, not believing they had heard this coming from a deputy principal. I was proud of them for rejecting the idea that getting a ‘C’ or the average score expected of them was something to be happy about.

Tsoof said, “How can you expect kids to aim higher if you tell them that a ‘C’ is what they should aim for?”

Noff said, “They think they’re helping their students feel better about getting a ‘C’, but it only makes them give up on doing better” (she is just 13 years old).

Gal and I sat in front of them feeling very proud of our kids for saying that the average is never a good enough aim.

Read Doing No More Than the Average in Education »