Click here for 411 FOR PARENTS: Resources for the New Not-Normal Essex County Food Distribution on Thursday 6/4 CLICK HERE for details.

March 2020: Mindfulness, COVID-19 info for parents, mistakes as opportunities

Welcome to the March 2020 edition of Let’s Talk, COPE’s new monthly parenting newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you up to date on parenting-related news, offer useful parenting tips, and provide you with insights via various topics from our website SPENJ.ORG

In this edition we’re focusing on mindfulness, explaining why you might want to find a way to integrate some kind of mindfulness “practice” into your life, both for your own well-being and to be a better parent.

Please let us know what you think of our newsletter – just drop an email to copeletstalk@gmail.com or sjohnsoncope@gmail.com. Send us any topics or issues you want to learn more about. We want this newsletter to be informative, useful, timely and worthwhile, so your feedback is very important. And if you’re not receiving the newsletter directly from us (sjohnsoncope@gmail.com) and would like to “subscribe”, just shoot an email to the addresses above! 

Thanks, 

Susan, Ruth, Logetty, Sharlene, Keira and Carol 

COPE’s Parenting Team

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We hear and read about mindfulness a lot these days. It’s such a common term that it can hard to ask what it means and how to “do” it. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Basically, it is the work of focusing your thoughts on something physical (Often breathing or looking closely at something) to “turn off” the loop of worrying or thinking about what you’re doing or have done or thought.  Here’s an excerpt from an article about simple practices will breathe space into your daily routines.

Next time you’re stuck in traffic, try this:

Mindful Driving: Drive Yourself Calm, Not Crazy

There’s nothing like heavy traffic and impatient drivers to trigger the “fight or flight” response. That’s why road rage erupts and stress levels soar, while reason is overrun. The worse the traffic, the worse the stress. Los Angeles, where I live, has some of the worst traffic around, and some of the most un-serene drivers. Emotions run high, tempers flare, tires squeal.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, the snarliest traffic jam can provide an excellent opportunity to build your mindfulness muscle, increase your sense of connection to others, and restore some balance and perspective. Click here to read more.

Here’s a link to a short video explanation of mindfulness.

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Recent parenting news you may have missed:

Coronavirus remains at the top of the news. Click here for a link to a New York Times article How to Prepare for the Coronavirus. With your kids, check out this NPR story—there’s a link to a 3-minute story and to a comic exploring the virus with tips for staying healthy…did we hear “wash your hands”? ) You can find the latest news updates about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by clicking here. We’ll keep our website updated as new information becomes available.

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March’s featured parenting tip: 

Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity

Reframe the message! Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. So, what can we do as parents to encourage this “growth” mindset? Click here to read more.

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The Tip of the Week is updated on the website every week or two during the school year. Click here to see the current Tip of the Week. 

Upcoming parenting workshop: Mindfulness for Parents

March 14 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm at Union Congregational Church, Montclair
March 22 from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm at the West Orange Public Library


Click here for flyer with details and registration information (pre-registration is requested in case of schedule changes). 

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Mindful Parenting: Getting Your Emotions Under Control

We live saturated with information, plugged into devices using applications that daily, hourly and minute-by-minute repeat and reinforce messages that convey information, anxiety and concern. As parents we not only have to figure out what age-appropriate access we want for our children, but also how to manage our own responses to this never-ending barrage. Click here to read the entire article.

We found some websites with helpful resources to help begin to build mindfulness into your daily routine:

  • So you like the way you feel after practicing some deep breathing and want to find a way to fit some kind of mindful practice into your daily routine. One route is to use an app on your phone. There are some good free apps available. The magazine Mindful has some suggestions.
  • Want to start your week off right? Check out destressmonday.org where you’ll find a weekly tip for refreshing your mind.
  • Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity. Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. Click here to read the entire article.
  • This article is from our website and provides practical suggestions for starting to use one of the key tools of mindfulness. Can Meditation Positively Impact Your teenager? It Absolutely Can! A teenager’s life is full of stressful decisions and difficult emotions. Meditation is known to reduce conditions that start in adolescence, including anxiety, depression, and stress. Meditation is the purposeful focusing of the mind, which trains your mind to your mind to slow down, relax, and stay positive. Click here to read the entire article.

Feeling blue? Eat Dark Chocolate

Looking for a rationale to keeping a bar of dark chocolate in the drawer for emergencies? In a recent study a cross-sectional survey of 13,626 adults found that after eating dark chocolate, people experienced less depressive symptoms. If you only like milk chocolate, you’re out of luck, the chocolate has to have at least 45% cocoa. Click here to read the entire article. 

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Looking for more parenting resources? Click here to visit our parenting website: supportingparentsessexnj.org

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Mindful Driving: Drive Yourself Calm, Not Crazy

There’s nothing like heavy traffic and impatient drivers to trigger the “fight or flight” response. That’s why road rage erupts and stress levels soar, while reason is overrun. The worse the traffic, the worse the stress. Los Angeles, where I live, has some of the worst traffic around, and some of the most un-serene drivers. Emotions run high, tempers flare, tires squeal.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, the snarliest traffic jam can provide an excellent opportunity to build your mindfulness muscle, increase your sense of connection to others, and restore some balance and perspective.

Here are the steps to a simple behind-the-wheel practice I’ve been doing for a while. I’ve found it can work wonders.

1. First, take a deep breath. This simple, yet profound advice helps bring more oxygen into your body and widens the space between the stimulus of the traffic and your heightened stress reaction. In this space lies perspective and choice.

2. Ask yourself what you need. It may be in that moment that you need to feel safe, at ease or you just need some relief. Understanding what you need will bring balance.

3. Give yourself what you need. If ease is what you need, you can scan your body for any tension (not a bad thing to do while driving in any case) and soften any tension or adjust your body as needed. You can sprinkle in some phrases of self-compassion, such as, “May I be at ease, may I feel safe, may I be happy.”

4. Look around and recognize that all the other drivers are just like you. Everyone on the road wants the same thing you do—to feel safe, have a sense of ease, and to be happy. Chances are you’ll see a number of fellow drivers who look a bit agitated, but you might also catch that one who is singing or actually smiling, and this will dissipate some of your own stress immediately. You can apply to all of them what you just offered to yourself, saying, “May you be at ease, may you feel safe, may you be happy.”

5. Take another deep breath. In 15 seconds or less, you can turn around your mood by applying these simple tips. When you feel the frustration of traffic rising, choose whatever you need to work on, and offer that condition to others. If you need to feel safe, say, “May I be safe, may you be safe, may we all be safe.” Breathe in, breathe out, you’ve sowed a seed of happiness.

This is an excerpt a Mindful.org article, entitled 5 Simple Mindfulness Practices for Daily Life.  

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Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity

Reframe the message! Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. So, what can we do as parents to encourage this “growth” mindset?

To give children confidence to feel good about themselves and their abilities to ultimately get it right requires that parents lay a foundation, all of which are building blocks of positive parenting:

  • Manage expectations: this strategy only works when expectations are realistic. What is being asked should be age/developmentally appropriate.
  • Set a good example: when you get frustrated or mess up, do you rage or laugh at yourself?
  • Be patient with accidents and mistakes. Calmly having kids clean up their own messes teach responsibility and that these things do happen.
  • Recognize effort; find the positive and ask what lesson was learned.
  • Don’t solve your child’s problems for her. Throw a lifeline to help her understand her mistakes and focus on how to find solutions.
  • Empathize. Show you understand and believe in your child’s abilities.
  • Consequences still matter. Don’t skip the conversation about how to right a wrong.
  • Stay in the moment; don’t shift focus to past mistakes.
  • Problem solving doesn’t always work in all situations; some problems can’t be solved, know when to try a different approach.

The process of how you do something sometimes matters more than the result or outcome. The lessons that stay with you are the ones that you own. The key is to make figuring something out a part of the fun.

Want to read more: How Making Mistakes Primes Kids to Learn BetterLearn From Mistakes and How Praise Became the Consolation Prize.

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411 for Parents: Resources for the New Not Normal

Follow us on Instagram @copefamilies

For Young Adults, Quarantining With Parents Turns Back Time https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/well/family/young-adults-parents-quarantine-virus.html (May14)

Signs of Depression During the Coronavirus Crisis https://childmind.org/article/signs-of-depression-during-coronavirus-crisis/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=how%20to%20recognize%20signs%20of%20depression&utm_campaign=Weekly-05-12-20 (May 12)

A Coronavirus Pandemic Resource Guide for New Jerseyans https://www.booker.senate.gov/coronavirus (April 21)

COVID-19 Resources for NJ Parents, Families, Communities & Professionals http://www.njparentlink.nj.gov/njparentlink/current/covid-19.html (April 21)

PBS Storytime with Michelle Obama https://www.youtube.com/pbskidshttps://www.facebook.com/PBSKIDS/http://www.pbs.org/about/blogs/news/mondays-with-michelle-obama-story-times-with-penguin-random-house-and-pbs-kids-streaming-on-youtube-and-facebook-start-monday-april-20-12-noon-et/ (April 21)

Free Crayola Coloring Pages https://www.crayola.com/featured/free-coloring-pages/ (April 15)

RWJBarnabas Health Resources https://www.rwjbh.org/patients-visitors/what-you-need-to-know-about-covid-19/covid19-parent-resources/ (April 15)

Navigating co-parenting in a time of social distancing and quarantines https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/03/27/navigating-co-parenting-time-social-distancing-quarantines/ (April 8)

You Are Not Your Child’s Teacher https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/03/you-are-not-your-childs-teacher-quarantine-education.html (April 8)

Stress and Coping during COVID-19 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html (April 8)

Virtual zoos and yoga: What can kids do for free during the coronavirus quarantine https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article241591331.html (April 8)

50 great books to entertain quarantined kids, whether they’re newborns or high schoolers https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/reviewedcom/2020/04/01/coronavirus-50-great-books-kids-all-ages-read-quarantine/2909410001/ (April 8)

Levar Burton Reads: The Best in Short Fiction Handpicked by the Best Voice in Podcasting http://www.levarburtonpodcast.com (March 27)

Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus Practices, resources, and articles for individuals, parents, and educators facing COVID-19 https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/greater_good_guide_to_well_being_during_coronavirus?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=f6a0979943-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_Mar_26_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-f6a0979943-68453239 M(ARch 27)

Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/03/food-safety-and-coronavirus-a-comprehensive-guide.html (March 27)

National Drug and Alcohol Fact Week Interactive Kahoots (A game based platform for learning) Games https://us11.campaign-archive.com/?u=7eb5b4c216c0d42711af53c0f&id=5a2515534e&e=2aab2ccc5a (March 27)

Humor: Schedule of A Quarantine (March 27)

Essex County Covid-19 testing info. https://www.essexcovid.org (March 27)

Common Sense Media: Free Online Events and Activities for Kids at Home (updated regularly) https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/free-online-events-activities-kids-at-home-coronavirus?j=7711684&sfmc_sub=183647957&l=2048712_HTML&u=143747071&mid=6409703&jb=2326&utm_source=covid19_freeactivities_20200323&utm_medium=email (March 27)

Looking for ways to engage your teen?

Okay Teens: What’s Your Coronavirus Plan? https://www.bayareaparent.com/Article/OK-Teens-Whats-Your-Coronavirus-Plan/ (March 27)

Life Bucket Skills for Teens https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-life-bucket-list-life-skills-teens-20200317-klpxjooa5zdvhlpjxpllj4ufwa-story.html (March 27)

Governor Murphy’s tweet with emergency hotlines. (March 23)

Here’s a comprehensive list of online resources, including online recovery meetings. (March 23)

 The Child-Mind Institute’s article Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis has helpful suggestions for your family’s well being. (March 23)

The Today Show published useful tips (drawn from the homeschooling community) for making school-at-home both a learning environment and one that can help you parent well. (March 23)

From Baristanet: Learning in the Time of COVID-19: Montclair Teachers and Parents Offer Ideas https://baristanet.com/2020/03/learning-in-the-time-of-covid19-montclair-teachers-and-parents-offer-ideas/ (March 20)

From Audible.com:  Stories for children are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablethttps://stories.audible.com/start-listen?mi_cmp=21b6d7d8b2f846dc&mi_ecmp=486622220&mi_sc=t&mi_u=amzn1.account.AFARQRS5K3CHXSS2MGQGXVOAXFEA (March 20)

Just for Laughs: https://twitter.com/getthebagcoach/status/1239716925653090305?s=12 (March 20)

From BuzzFeed: 18 At-Home Ideas To Keep Kids Busy And Entertained During The Coronavirus Outbreak https://www.buzzfeed.com/melissaharrison/educational-resources-activities-kids-coronavirus?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Playfull%203%2F18&utm_term=Parents%20confirmed (March 20)

Looking for a way to get screen time under control: The best free parental control software and apps 2020 https://www.techradar.com/best/parental-control (March 20)

20 old-school ways to keep kids busy without screen time https://www.mother.ly/child/how-to-keep-a-preschooler-busy-other-than-screentime (March 20)

Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings: amazingeducationalresources@gmail.com https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t3r618pd8MAi6V87dG2D66PtiKoHdHusBpjPKXgm36w/htmlview?sle=true#gid=0 (March 20)

 Just for Laughs: Toilet Paper Exercise Routine https://www.elitereaders.com/kaisa-keranen-toilet-paper-exercise/

50+ Free LEGO Instructions: Learn How To Be a Master Builder! https://www.mykidstime.com/things-to-do/master-builder-lego-instructions-how-to/ (March 20)

Where to Stream Your Favorite Musicals  https://www.todaytix.com/insider/nyc/posts/where-to-stream-all-your-favorite-movie-musicals (March 20)

7 Science Based Strategies to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety (March 11)

Here’s a 30 second video showing you how to keep your cell phone clean and germ free. (March 11)

Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus. If you want to print out the comic to make a Zine, click here.

From The Los Angeles Times, A coronavirus danger: Touching your face. Here is how to stop doing it. (March 11)

State of New Jersey Department of Health Information for Communities and the General Public (March 5)

From Reddit: The WHO sent 25 international experts to China and here are their main findings after 9 days

World Health Organization rolling updates on coronavirus (COVID-19)

From The Los Angeles Times, advice on how to stop touching your face (March 5)

World Health Organization rolling updates on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Covid-19 from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network added 3/2/20

From The New York Times: Wash Your Hands. No, Like This: Scientists say that a common technique for applying hand sanitizer, one recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is inferior to an alternative method with twice as many steps.

Here’s a link to a poster you can print out at home and hang over the sink as a reminder of how to wash properly.

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Jan 2020: Science of Happiness podcast, Flu prevention, Saying ‘no’ to your children

Welcome to the third edition of Let’s Talk, COPE’s new monthly parenting newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you up to date on parenting-related news, offer useful parenting tips, and provide you with insights via  various topics from our website SPENJ.ORG

This edition features podcast on the science of happiness, a tip on keeping your family flu free (we’re all concerned about the new coronavirus) and an article intended to lend support when you have to say “no!”Please let us know what you think of our newsletter – just drop an email to copeletstalk@gmail.com or sjohnsoncope@gmail.com.  Send us any topics or issues you want to learn more about.  We want this newsletter to be informative, useful, timely and worthwhile, so your feedback is very important.   And if you’re not receiving the newsletter directly from us (sjohnsoncope@gmail.com) and would like to “subscribe”, just shoot an email to the addresses above!

Thanks.Susan, Ruth, Logetty, Sharlene and CarolCOPE’s Parenting Team

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Recent parenting news you may have missed:

As if we werent all already worried about this years very unpleaseant flu varieties, now we have the Wuhan coronavirus to keep us awake at night. Click here to read the CDCs Healthy Habits to Prevent Flu.  If youd like a reminder to stick on your refrigerator, heres a pamphlet from NY State Department of Health (And keep reminding your family to wash their hands!) 

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Looking for an antidote to the stress in your life and the 24/7 news cycle?

Try the podcast The Science of Happiness.  Learn research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe.

Episode 56: How to Make Time for Happiness

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The Tip of the Week is updated on the website every week or two during the school year.  Click here to see the current Tip.   

February parenting workshop:  Parenting as a Team

February 8      10:30 am – 12:00 pm Union Congregational Church, Montclair

February 16 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm West Orange Public LibraryClick here for flyer with details and registration information (pre-registration is requested in case of schedule changes).  

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January’s featured article:

Setting Limits:  Why saying no may be the most important gift you give your children

It’s hard to say no. Ask any parent of a young child, especially when it has been a long day at work, near the end of a long, rainy weekend day, or in the cookie aisle of the supermarket. There are plenty of times when it feels easier just to say “yes” just to get a little peace and quiet. These are the times to refocus yourself and remember just how important it is for children to have clear, consistent limits.         

When parents set boundaries and expectations, they are helping their children feel safe and secure. If the rules are clear and children know what is expected of them, they learn not only how to regulate their own behavior, they also learn what your family values are.

This doesn’t happen overnight. When you begin establishing rules and limits and consistently making your expectations clear over time, you are providing your children with a toolbox of skills they can use to navigate the emotional and behavioral challenges they will face throughout their lives. 

It’s both impossible and undesirable to manage setting limits at all times and in all circumstances. What matters most? Protecting your child from harm, looking after personal property, respecting and caring for other people—these are commonly-held principles for everyone.

The limits and boundaries you set depend on what is most important to you as a family; while the guiding principle remains the same (“A good night’s sleep is important”), the details (actual bedtime) will of course change over time as your child develops physically and emotionally.  Click here to read the entire article.

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons: What Making Mistakes Teaches UsSaying “No!” and meaning it a big part of parenting; equally important is how you frame conversations about your child’s mistakes.  Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity. Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. Click here to read the entire article. 
More Info on Setting Limits

Remember that children learn by pushing up against limits; as a parent, setting those limits and holding firm isn’t conflict. The boundaries parents set for their families keep everyone safe, reinforce a family values, and teach children how to live with others.

For toddlers and young children:  It’s all about safety and establishing a routine for babies and very young children, but even when speaking to young children, how you communicate these limits is important.  Click here to read the entire article.

For older children and teens:  It’s important to keep your cool when talking about limits with older children and teens. Not only are you teaching self-control and responsibility, as a parent, you’re modeling that behavior.  Click here to read the entire article.

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Looking for more parenting resources? Click here to visit our parenting website: supportingparentsessexnj.org

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More Information on Setting Limits for Older Children and Teens

It’s important to keep your cool when talking about limits with older children and teens. Not only are you teaching self-control and responsibility, as a parent, you’re modeling that behavior.

  • Rules need to be specific. Have a family discussion so that everyone is on the same page and understands both the rules and the consequences. 
  • Create dialogue by involving your child in developing the rules and consequences; that way, even if they are not fully satisfied with the boundary, they will have a better sense of the rationale behind it.
  • Consistently follow through with consequences.
  • Recognize and encourage success and effort
  • Keep the conversation going so that the boundaries you establish change both as your child grows and matures and can handle more responsibility. If rules aren’t respected, keep talking so that problems can be addressed before they get too overwhelming.
  • Reach out for help. There are lots of resources in the community: counselors at school, clergy at houses of worship, community organizations like COPE or others on our website.

Further Reading

Questions for Setting Limits

From Australia: Independence in teenagers: how to support it

Advice about having the hard conversations with your teen:

What should I teach my high school-aged teen about personal safety?

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More Information on Setting Limits for Toddlers and Young Children

It’s all about safety and establishing a routine for babies and very young children, but even when speaking to young children, how you communicate these limits is important.

Explain the limit in a positive way that explain why there is a boundary:

  • “Hold my hand when we cross the street. There are lots of cars and you might get hurt.”

Use an “I-message:”

  • “I can’t let you throw sand, you might hurt someone in the sandbox. Unless you stop, we’ll have to go home.”

Consequences should be logical:

  • “If you yell loudly at the movie, we’ll have to go home because other people can’t hear.”

Use “when” statement to communicate your expectations:

  • “When you have washed your hands, you can have a snack.”

Offer choices:

  • “It’s cold outside, you can wear your sweater or your jacket.”

Further Reading

5 Ways to Set Limits  by Eleanor Reynolds

Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: Creating Structures and Rules from the CDC

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Making Lemonade Out of Lemons: What Making Mistakes Teaches Us

Saying “No!” and meaning it a big part of parenting; equally important is how you frame conversations about your child’s mistakes. Turn making a mistake into a problem-solving opportunity. Brain science research tells us that making mistakes can help us learn. Doing it wrong should send the message to work harder to get it right, not discourage you from trying. So, what can we do as parents to encourage this “growth” mindset? To give children confidence to feel good about themselves and their abilities to ultimately get it right requires that parents lay a foundation, all of which are building blocks of positive parenting:

  • Manage expectations: this strategy only works when expectations are realistic. What is being asked should be age/developmentally appropriate.
  • Set a good example: when you get frustrated or mess up, do you rage or laugh at yourself?
  • Be patient with accidents and mistakes. Calmly having kids clean up their own messes teach responsibility and that these things do happen.
  • Recognize effort; find the positive and ask what lesson was learned.
  • Don’t solve your child’s problems for her. Throw a lifeline to help her understand her mistakes and focus on how to find solutions.
  • Empathize. Show you understand and believe in your child’s abilities.
  • Consequences still matter. Don’t skip the conversation about how to right a wrong.
  • Stay in the moment; don’t shift focus to past mistakes.
  • Problem solving doesn’t always work in all situations; some problems can’t be solved, know when to try a different approach.

The process of how you do something sometimes matters more than the result or outcome. The lessons that stay with you are the ones that you own. The key is to make figuring something out a part of the fun.

Another piece of developing your child’s confidence by allowing them room to learn from their experience, both good and bad, is backing off from being the over-involved parent. Sometimes demonstrating love by being in the middle of your child’s life experience blocks them from developing the very independence and resiliency you want from them.

Here’s an interesting take:  When to Advocate for Your Child and When to Back-off.It’s a quick read and will help give you some perspective.

Want to read more: How Making Mistakes Primes Kids to Learn BetterLearn From Mistakes and How Praise Became the Consolation Prize.

Don’t forget that how you communicate is as important as what you communicate. Here’s a link to a simple chart for giving good directions.

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Dec 2019: Teen suicide, Alcohol-free parties, Active listening

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the second edition of Let’s Talk, COPE’s new monthly parenting newsletter. This newsletter is intended to keep you up to date on parenting-related news, offer useful parenting tips, and provide you with insights via  various topics from our website SPENJ.ORG

We have a holiday-related tip for you, but we also spotted some information about the teen suicide epidemic that we want every parent to be aware of – scroll down for more.Please let us know what you think of our newsletter – just drop an email to copeletstalk@gmail.com or sjohnsoncope@gmail.com.  Send us any topics or issues you want to learn more about.  We want this newsletter to be informative, useful, timely and worthwhile, so your feedback is very important. 

Thanks.Susan, Ruth, Logetty, Sharlene and CarolCOPE’s Parenting Team

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Recent parenting news you may have missed:

Did you know that suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 24?  According to an expert quoted in a recent New York Times article ‘The Crisis in Youth Suicide’ , “We’re in the middle of a full-blown mental health crisis for adolescents and young adults.”  We want everyone to be aware of the information in Jane E. Brody’s article. 

For more information on help lines and other crisis resources, check out the Topics for Parents/Crisis on SPENJ.ORG main menu or our list of hotlines and hotlines for teens.   And if you suspect your teen has a friend in crisis and you want to know how to help, read our article When Your Teen has a Friend in Crisis.

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December’s featured parenting tip:

Be a Role Model at Holiday Festivities 

The holidays are a hectic time of year, filled with gatherings and celebrations with family and friends. Don’t forget to be a role model for your children, especially teenagers. It’s a time for greater care and responsibility as well as merriment. If you’re going to be drinking at a holiday party, make a plan for getting home safely ahead of time. Talk about who is going to be the designated driver or if you’re going to use a ride sharing app to get home. Know your limits: use this interactive calculator to determine your blood alcohol level, based on your weight, alcohol consumption and hours spent drinking. 

Check out the website Rethinking Drinking for taking a look at your drinking habits and how they affect your life.

The Tip of the Week is updated on the website every week or two during the school year.  Click here to see the current Tip.  

Upcoming COPE parenting workshops:

December 15     Active Listening        West Orange Public Library

January 11  Successful Launching Starts Today  Montclair

January 12 Successful Launching Starts Today     West Orange Public Library

December’s featured article:

Active Listening Skills Enrich Your Parental Communications

It’s easy for the important things to go out of focus when you are getting your family’s dinner on the table, helping with homework and making sure your child has what they need for their extra-curricular activity. At times, children are telling us things and we just go through the motions of hearing, but we’re not really listening. When this happens, we can miss little cues that tell us how they are doing and how they are feeling.

Listening and hearing your child is crucial to their development. When your child is sharing a part of their day with you, it’s important to show that you are listening; knowing that they are being heard provides a sense of security and reinforces good self-esteem. Start by looking at how you listen; as you become a better listener yourself, you will be able to help your child learn these skills.

Active listening skills aren’t complex; you need to focus your attention on the speaker, suspend all judgement, and listen for the emotion as well as the words. When the speaker has completed a thought try to verbally restate/summarize what you just heard, avoiding adding your own interpretation. Next, check-in to make sure you’ve understood what the person is saying to you, ask: “What I think I heard you say was…is that right/did I understand you?”

The key is that you are not trying to come to an agreement, but you are just listening and acknowledging that you are hearing what they are saying (not what you want to hear).   click here to read more.

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Looking for more parenting resources? Click here to visit our parenting website: supportingparentsessexnj.org

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  • You are receiving this email because you have signed up for email updates regarding parenting workshops offered by COPE’s Community Programs.
  •  To better serve you, we would like to send you periodic e-newsletters (no more than once a week, more likely once a month, we promise) with our parenting tips, important parenting news and any new articles we have written and posted on the spenj.org website
    •  If you want to continue to receive these periodic parenting tips as well as notification of upcoming parenting workshops, you do not have to reply to this email. We’ll keep your name on our mailing list.
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Nov 2019: Chores, Resiliency, Vaping

Dear Parents,

Welcome to the first edition of Let’s Talk, COPE’s new monthly parenting newsletter.  As part of our work in supporting area parents via workshops etc, we are always on the look out for useful parenting tips and important news that parents need to be aware of.  In addition, we regularly delve more deeply into various parenting-related topics that we post on our website SPENJ.ORG.  This newsletter is intended to share this information with you in an easily accessible format. 

Please reply to this email and let us know what you think of our newsletter.  Send us any topics or issues you want to learn more about.  We want this newsletter to be informative, useful, timely and worthwhile, so your feedback is very important!  

Thanks!

Susan, Ruth and Carol

COPE’s Parenting Team

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November’s featured parenting tip:

Time for a Parenting Re-set: Making Sure Those Chores Get Done (and Not By You) 

One cliché of parenting is complaining that no-one else helps around the house. Pay attention next time you feel like no one is helping. Every time you do the job that you’ve been nagging your child to do, not only are you making more work for yourself, but you’re reinforcing the lesson that they don’t have to do it. They are learning that procrastination pays off and that you don’t mean what you say.

Time for a parenting re-set. Once you’ve told a child to do something, you can’t do it for them! Next time your child disappears without hanging up her coat, fails to empty the dishwasher, or doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the hamper, STOP!!. Don’t do the job yourself and don’t yell up the stairs. Instead, track down your offspring, remind them of their responsibilities, and supervise the task to completion. If you fail to do this, you are teaching your child that your commands are meaningless.

You should also give some thought to consequences. They might be trivial, like leaving the laundry on the floor and shrugging when your son complains that his favorite t-shirt isn’t in the drawer, or more serious, like telling your daughter that she can’t go to the mall with her friends until her chores are done. Don’t let the moment pass because it feels easier to let it go; it only gets harder and you’re not doing your child any favors by skipping this opportunity to teach responsibility.

The Tip of the Week is updated on the website every week or two during the school year.  Click here to see the current Tip.  

Upcoming COPE parenting workshops:

November 17   Communication & Boundaries   West Orange Public Library

December 7     Active Listening          Union Congregational Church, Montclair

December 15     Active Listening        West Orange Public Library

November’s featured article:

Raising a Resilient Child

As a parent you know that a healthy diet, exercise, and a good night sleep are important for your child to grow and thrive. These are all about keeping the body healthy as well as nurturing social and emotional well-being. For a child to truly thrive, their mental health and intellectual development are two – but not the only other – aspects of development to pay attention to as a parent. And you can apply these same concepts to your own well-being. You’ve probably heard the term “resilience.” Resilience is, very simply, the ability to quickly recover from adversity. 

How does resiliency fit into your parenting goals? You can think about it as teaching your child to be a “half-full” kind of person and fighting the negativity of seeing the bad stuff in life as what defines you. Being able to adapt well in the face of challenges: turning around your day when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed; using “not doing well on a test” as a challenge to figure out how to do better next time and learn from less than satisfying results; not being devastated after losing the big game; how to mourn falling out with your best friend or breaking up with a girl or boy friend and not being defined by the ended relationship; as well as more serious adversity, trauma, or tragedy. 

What is the key to thriving in the face of the bad stuff? It is a kind of balance, of having the “muscle memory” of thought patterns and behaviors that replenish physical, mental and emotional reserves to bounce back.

Like so much of parenting, cultivating resiliency in your child means that your behavior and responses set the example that your child will mirror. Being resilient means developing your own emotional bank account.  click here to read more.

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Recent parenting news you may have missed:

We try to keep current on topics that are important to parents.  Teens and vaping are important news right now – here is some reliable information from trusted sources.  

Quick facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes from the Center for Disease Control 

Helping Teenagers Quit Vaping  from the NYTimes

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Looking for more parenting resources? Click here to visit our parenting website: supportingparentsessexnj.org. ___________________

  • You are receiving this email because you have signed up for email updates regarding parenting workshops offered by COPE’s Community Programs.
  •  To better serve you, we would like to send you periodic e-newsletters (no more than once a week, more likely once a month, we promise) with our parenting tips, important parenting news and any new articles we have written and posted on the spenj.org website
    •  If you want to continue to receive these periodic parenting tips as well as notification of upcoming parenting workshops, you do not have to reply to this email. We’ll keep your name on our mailing list.
    •  Only want to receive notification of upcoming workshops? Hit reply and write in the subject line: workshops only.
    •  Only want these newsletters?  Hit reply and write in the subject line:  newsletters only.
    •  If you would like to removed from all of our emails: Hit reply and write in the subject line: Cancel.
Let's Talk is made possible by GCADA
Let’s Talk is made possible by GCADA
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