Discussion Questions: Chapter Eleven

“Connection: The ‘Super-Protective’ Factor”

This chapter focuses on the emotional “glue” that attaches, connects, and bonds people, and builds trust. An authentic connection with parents makes it safe for children to be who they are. Called the “super-protective” factor, connection is a crucial ingredient in every healthy relationship.

“Anyone who has a computer knows that when you are having technical issues, you first check the connections: Is it plugged in? Has something disconnected…? This also applies to children. When things are not right with children, the first thing to do is ‘check the connections.’” (p. 182)

Q: Treating children with unconditional positive regard builds connection and trust. What are some actions and words you use to show your children they are connected to you, no matter what?

“The human need for connection is the most important emotional and social need of all, and a high quality of life is not possible without it. When the connection is disrupted or missing, it can cause a cascade of related problems.” (p. 182)

Q: Do you agree or disagree? Think of an example.

“Study after study shows that children really do need the attention they crave. If that need is not fulfilled through positive attention, they will ‘act out,’ doing whatever it takes to get attention—whine, yell, or fight with siblings. Negative attention… is better than no attention. Positive attention, on the other hand, results in better behavior with less need for acting out.” (p. 185-6)

Q: What are some positive ways a very busy parent can be attentive to a needy child in the moment – until they can give full attention later? 

“Sometimes when parents try to manage the demands of work, family, and money, the special bonds with their children can get shoved aside. When this happens children’s feelings can get hurt…. It is possible, however, to repair broken connections, and it’s up to the adults to take the lead.”

Q: One mom found that taking a stroll with her kid while holding hands helped them to feel close and reconnected. What are some verbal and non-verbal ways you use to get back in touch after you have dis-connected?

“Best-selling author and physician Gabor Maté agrees that positive attention can change even the most difficult of situations. When parents contact him about oppositional behavior, he gives them two weeks of homework before the first session…. He tells parents to focus on attachment to the child—showing him or her with every action and word that the emotional bond is more important than anything else…. Once parents build the habit of positive attention, the change in the child’s behavior becomes permanent.” (p. 185)

 

HOMEWORK: Try for one week to give your child nothing but positive attention. If you can do it for two weeks… it becomes a habit!

And our favorite question, in every chapter:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

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Discussion Questions: Chapter Ten

“Your Most Important Relationship”

You can’t take care of your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself. This chapter gives insights about self-understanding.

“…Any woman who did something to take care of herself was put down in her family’s hardworking immigrant culture for being ‘selfish.'” (p. 164)

Q: Does this sound familiar to you? Do you think it is true? How do you take care of yourself? How do you justify taking care of yourself?

“Nothing has a stronger influence on children than the un-lived lives of their parents.'” (p. 164)

Q: Do you have an “unlived life?” What are your unexpressed dreams and desires? Speaking these thoughts aloud helps you connect with your authentic self, model this to your children, and best of all, begin to transform these dreams into reality.

“If you were disrespected and rejected, blamed and shamed, put down and humiliated as a child, you may be recycling those cruel messages in your self-talk.'” (p. 166)

Q: Do you have an “inner bully?” How are you learning to stand up to or weaken that voice?

“Being authentic is paramount for good mental health and healthy relationships. Unfortunately, our culture tends to heartlessly thrust people in the opposite direction, demanding that they be artificial and untrue to themselves, even put themselves at risk to fit in or ‘succeed.'” (p. 169)

Q: How have you been personally ‘thrust in the opposite direction’? Have you seen this happen to your children?

“What is ‘Locus of Control’ and why does it matter?” (p. 170)

Q: This is an illustration Kristen made for Louise’s workshops, also published in The Winning Family. Who is pulling YOUR strings?

© 1993 Kristen Baumgardner Caven

© 1993 Kristen Baumgardner Caven

“Many forces keep us from understanding and becoming who we really are, or from grasping what is most important in life.'” (p. 173)

Q: Look over the sub-headings on pages 173-177. What traps do you fall into? What traps do you see family members falling into?

“Creating an authentic relationship with yourself is an act of healing.'” (p. 177)

Q: Look over the Avenues to Healing starting on page 177. Which ones have you used? Which ones might you be interested in checking out? What other avenues can you share with other parents?

And now for our favorite question:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

HOMEWORK: There are three activities on page 167 that you can do to lift your self-esteem. Choose one or more, and try them this week!

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 9 | Chapter 11 >>

Discussion Questions: Chapter Nine

“A Warm Family Climate”

When children feel warmth from their caregivers, they can relax and learn. This chapter discusses how warmth is blocked and how to open avenues.

“It has been proven over and over again that a warm, caring, and positive emotional climate builds resilience and other strengths that help children avoid bullying dynamics.” (p. 151)

Q: Did you grow up in a warm family or one that had a lot of emotional distance? Describe the dynamics. How did your family climate help you or hinder you?

“Society teaches us to be fearful.” (p. 152)

Q: Was your family tone more joyful or fearful? How did that affect your subconscious programming?

“…turn off the autopilot that repeats the past and learn to listen to intuition…” (p. 155)

Q: Have you ever caught yourself “parenting on automatic?” What happens when you become aware of what you are doing, what messages you are giving?

“It has been proven over and over again that a warm, caring, and positive emotional climate builds resilience and other strengths that help children avoid bullying dynamics.” (p. 151)

Q: Did you grow up in a warm family or one that had a lot of emotional distance? Describe the dynamics. How did your family climate help you or hinder you?

HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, or tired… check for all of these things when emotions are getting out of hand.

Q: When a child is hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, they need to get their needs met before making any progress. Is this also true for adults?

Ways to engage include: connection rituals, telling stories, using sweet words, touch, freewheeling play…

Q: What are some positive ways you engage with your kids?

 

And our favorite question….

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

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