Ask Dr. Robyn: How do I teach respect in my home?

Ask Dr. Robyn Silverman: Creating a Respectful Environment in My Home (Video)

Every parent has trouble with disrespect in the home from time to time.  Children are going to test boundaries, push your buttons, and learn about risk and consequences. It’s part of growing up! Of course, parents need to teach children respect, expect respect, and model respect if they’re going to get it! Dr. Robyn Silverman answers a reader’s question about how to create a respectful atmosphere in the home and provides 10 tips on the ABCs of respect.

Everyone has New Years Resolutions. The one thing I want to concentrate on this year is making sure my home is a place of respect. With 3 growing boys, it can get kind of rowdy in here. I don’t mind the noise but I do mind disrespect in the house. Even my husband and I have gotten caught up in it. It’s got to change. How can I set the tone for respect in my home for 2009?         –Lisa B, Tulsa, OK

Related articles:

Mommy, I hate you!

You’re Bothering Other People!

Dr. Robyn Introduces the Powerful Word: Respect

10 Tips on Teaching Respect

Send Dr. Robyn a question!

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Top Students: Does Self Discipline Trump IQ in Children and Teens?

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Today I received the following question about children’s self discipline vs smarts from Mary in Charlotte, North Carolina:

“I have a quick question–since the Powerful Word this month is Self Discipline, my husband got into this discussion about our son (age 14) and daughter (age 11) who have very different study habits. We were just wondering, can kids with great self discipline do better in school than kids who are the smartest?”

Hi Mary-

Here’s a quick answer to your quick question!

People often point the finger at unprepared teachers, boring lesson plans, inadequate books, and overpopulated classes when it comes to student underachievement.

Interestingly, research has actually shown that:

  • Self discipline predicts academic performance more robustly than did IQ.
  • Self discipline has also predicted which students would improve their grades over the school year.
  • American children, in particular, have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short term gratification for long-term gain, such as academic success.
  • Compared with more impulsive peers, highly self disciplined 8th graders earned higher GPAs and achievement test scores, were more likely to gain admission to selective high schools, had fewer school absences, spent more time on homework, watched less TV, and started their homework earlier in the day.
  • Highly self disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic performance variable in one study, including report-card grades, standardized achievement test schools, admission to a competitive high school, and attendance.

As you can see, the Powerful Word, self discipline, has long lasting and important effects! So encourage your children to attend those character-based Power Chats with open ears and continue your family meetings!

Just a quick note: I’m so glad that your family is benefiting so much from the curriculum. We’re all very impressed that you and your spouse are engaging in discussions about the powerful word of the month. Congratulations on making character development a family affair!

Keep your questions and comments coming! Thanks, Mary!

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Reference: Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents (Duckworth & Seligman)

The POWer of Self Discipline: Three Reasons Goals Fail to Reach the Finish Line

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“Use Self Discipline to execute your plan or find that the lack of it will execute your dreams.” –Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman–February Self Discipline Quote of the Month

As it’s now February and we are taking inventory on how well we’ve done so far on our New Year’s Resolutions, the February POWerful quote of the month struck a cord with some parents at top Personal Development Centers using Powerful Words.

One parent, whose family is currently doing a “POWerful Challenge” (her personal challenge is to lose 50 pounds) wrote, “I jotted down your quote this month and it’s on the refrigerator. I want to remember it when I am thinking about breaking my diet plan. My son, Nathan, is working on improving his grades in school and getting an A on his next math test. We all want it to work but I’m already seeing the excuses dropping from our lips when it’s time to get to work…What are some of the things we should look out for that can prevent our kids or ourselves from reaching the goals we set out to reach this year? And how can I explain these pitfalls to my child?” (Carole- Austin, TX)

Dr. Robyn’s 3 POWerful Ps of Failure

Self Discipline helps us greatly in goal-setting and goal-getting. It puts us in control. But once we allow self discipline to slip, there are 3 POWerful Ps of Failure ready to take the reins.

Procrastination: Put off for tomorrow what could be done today!

We are all guilty of falling into the trap of procrastination. When explaining procrastination to very young children, I use a concrete term since again, they are concrete thinkers. I say it is a monster called “Mr. Delay” who tells you to wait another day…and another day..and another day before getting to work. Helping children to prioritize and set a plan so that goal-getting takes place at a certain time each day or each week can help to squash procrastination.

Pushback: Resist change—Also known as, “I don’t wanna!”

When we charge towards our goals, things change. It’s human nature to want to stay at our comfort level in our Archie Bunker chair with our feet up. We want to achieve our goal, but we want everything to stay the same. When working with children who are dealing with push-back, you can help them to understand that it’s OK to feel uncomfortable when we are going after something we really want—in the end, it will be worth it—and you can bring them back to why they wanted to achieve the goal in the first place.

Projection: Blame it on the Dog!

As an educator, this is one of my favorites. Projection means placing the onus and the blame on someone else when a goal is not achieved. You may have heard, “Dad forgot to put my homework in my bag,” or “the teacher only explained it once that is why I didn’t get an A.” When explaining this concept to children, you can use concrete terms by asking them to picture a slide projector from school or showing them the film projector at a movie theater. The projector doesn’t put the picture on itself; it puts it on a screen. When we blame someone else when we do not achieve a goal, we are being like the projector. The person or thing we blame is the “screen.” The people who achieve their goals are people who take responsibility to get things done on their own and take the responsibility when they forget to do so as well. When we project blame onto someone else, we give them the power to decide the outcome of our goals and dreams.

Self Discipline is a powerful force in goal-setting and goal-getting. On your quest to achieve your New Year’s Resolution this year or your POWerful Challenge this month, I wish you and your family the self discipline to stay in the driver’s seat.

You have the power! Take the reins!

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Using Self Discipline to Get Organized

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In my recent post, Being a Role Model: Am I self disciplined?, I must have hit a nerve. Several people wrote in and told me that the self discipline questions prompted them to take a good hard look at their own ability to discipline themselves. Question #2, “How much time do you waste looking for something you lost (or don’t know where to find) each week?” was a particular ringer. Issues of organization, or lack there of, applies to all of us.

Nobody’s perfect. The questions, even as I wrote them, sparked a response in me. I was preparing to write an article for the South Shore Senior News on Body Image (due out in March) and, I confess, I couldn’t find some of my notes. I eventually found them—but at what cost? I wasted 45 minutes of my time and felt frustrated and annoyed at my carelessness.

So, this weekend, my husband Jason and I decided to get organized. It was time. After all, the Powerful Word of the month is self discipline—we don’t want to just write about it; we want to live it! We cleaned our home from top to bottom, including delving into the dreaded closets that housed much of the clutter that we hadn’t dealt with in months. We went through what seemed to look like mountains of paper. We donated towels and sheets that hadn’t left the linen closet since we moved in. We recycled boxes and bottles that had been pushed aside. By the end of the day, we were exhausted but we had to admit, we felt, well, lighter.

Would you like to get started too—but not sure where to begin? Julie Morgenstern,“The Queen of Organizing,” and the author of Time Management from the Inside Out and Organizing from the Inside Out, has a formula to help get rid of clutter.

JULIE’S ORGANIZING FORMULA

  • Sort: Identify what’s important to you and group similar items

  • Purge: Decide what you can live without and get rid of it (e.g. donations, sales, storage, garbage).

  • Assign: Decide where the items you keep will go. Remember, make it logical, accessible and safe.

  • Containerize: Make sure they’re sturdy, easy to handle, the right size, and that they look good. The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.

  • Equalize: Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain what you’ve done

It can be difficult to purge old items. You may wonder to yourself; “will I need it?” It’s this type of question that can stop us in our tracks and halt progress. But really; if you haven’t used it in a year (or 2 or 3), the likelihood is pretty low.

There is one thought that goes through my mind when I am getting rid of clothes, linens, and other household items and I am feeling unsure about parting with them: Do I want it enough to deny access to someone else who actually NEEDS this item and will USE this item? I picture the person in that coat, scarf, or pair of shoes, being able to stay warmer this winter or walk into a new job feeling proud of a “new-to-her” outfit. Those thoughts make me realize that the item no longer belongs in my closet—hanging there without purpose—it belongs to someone else. Our own self discipline (and in this case, generosity, charity, and citizenship) can help others. This is an important point to help children understand.

One last thought. When my Dad passed away in May of 2006, we were all devastated. But what made the loss even harder was the task of having to go through an avalanche of disorganized papers, books, pictures, and office items that had never been sorted, purged, assigned, containerized, or equalized. I’m not bringing this up to be morbid–I just know my Dad would have hated to see us laboring over the mess he left. It has given me just one more reason to discipline myself and get organized. The old adage isn’t always accurate “if I don’t do it, no one else will,” because in many cases, when we leave a mess, someone, eventually, will have to clean it up.

Here’s to making one small change this month that can help you…and may just help others too!

Have a POWerful Month!

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