This week I practiced my strength of bravery and took on board the challenge of posting 5 vlogs in 5 days. I chose the theme of communicating with your children, and particularly teens, as this is a challenging area for many families. Mine included!
Now, these vlogs aren't perfect (as it is the first time I have done this). However, I have had feedback that the content is useful. They explore why we communicate with our children, whether our communication is parent or child centered, how we can set the scene for communication by making ourselves available, layering a conversation and how to respond when your teenager actually does talk to you!
I have posted a link to one of the videos below. You can find the five of them at
I would love if you commented on what you found useful, and what else you would like me to vlog on.
Positive Young Minds will also be running practical workshops where the ideas in the videos will be expanded on and you have the opportunity to practice some mindful communication skills. If you are interested drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What would you buy as a souvenir on a trip? Would you buy a 5x5 Rubik's cube? You would if you were one of my children. Why? was my question. Because it's cool was the response. We do have a Rubik's cube at home that has been picked up and put down, without being solved, a few times over the year. So I was a little bemused that this was their bring home choice from a recent school camp.
What I didn't expect was that they would pick up the 3x3 and spend most of their waking time over the last two days working at completing the cube. They have shown determination, enthusiasm, creativity and curiosity. They have researched the internet, explored apps and worked with their father (their mother is way to visual-spatially challenged to be of any assistance). Now they have started writing up their own instruction sheet. When they have been frustrated they have tried a different approach.
As a mum it's great to be able to step back and see this determination, to watch them developing a strength of perseverance. Why, because perseverance entails voluntarily finishing what you start, despite obstacles and with pleasure. It's not them finishing something after I've prompted and nagged. Perseverance increases self-confidence as they learn to trust their abilities.
Common steps needed to develop perseverance include.
I also pointed out to them that they are showing perseverance and how great that is to see.
As parents we can have a huge impact on helping our children develop perseverance. What are they passionate about? What goals could they set around this? How can they achieve these goals? Praise their efforts, help them work through their frustrations.
How long does it take to solve a Rubik's cube? I can't actually answer that question yet. But with they will get there.
I wonder how your year is going so far? Are you one of those people who approach life full on, with lots of energy and feel fully alive? If so, you will probably find you score highly on the character strength of Zest or Vitality. So what is Zest?
Zest is one of the 24 identified character strengths. Character strengths or virtues exist across all cultures. These characters tend to be what we use when we are feeling most connected with ourselves and the world around us.
If you are full of zest or vitality you will be enthusiastic and throw yourself into life. High levels of zest are associated with increased life satisfaction. Zest helps us overcome fear.
Although Zest may not come naturally to you, like any character strength it can be improved, and given the high association between this and life satisfaction it is worth working on. Somethings that can enhance Zest include social contact, physical exercise and doing new things.
Just as well you can work on these things, because when I recently re did the survey Zest was not one of my high ranked strengths,
....In fact it was my lowest strength...
On the plus side my top three strengths are Perspective, Judgement, and Curiosity, which is probably a good fit for a psychologist.
Are you interested in finding out more about your strengths, and in working with them to be happier?
I'm wondering what sort of conversations you are having with your young person about how school is going for them so far this year.
As a family, yesterday afternoon we had a special 'getting through the week' ice cream treat and a brief check in. Some of our discussion centred on what everyone's character strengths were.
Yes, mum may be a little bit of a nerd sometimes....
This page link below takes you to an article called 'Setting yourself up for a great year'. The article gives some suggestions for how older students can take a more positive approach to their studies. Although it doesn't talk directly about strengths, it highlights opportunities schools provide for your child to use strengths such as curiosity, self-regulation, perseverance, zest, hope, humour, bravery and social intelligence.
When you look at this article there may be a suggestion that jumps out at you as a good fit for your child.
If so, it could be that you are recognising a match between the suggestion, and a strength of your child. If you think your child may benefit from the suggestion you may want to discuss this suggestion with them, ........ or print the article out and leave it lying around on the kitchen table.
* My aim is for these posts is meant to useful, interesting and/or inspiring. They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Dunn is a Child Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds.