Uncategorized

Children are not born resilient

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In PreK-Corner, I share and have discussions with you about issues that cover the journey children take from birth to school age, and how this journey will affect them throughout their lives.

Let’s start with adult resilience and an example of a basketball. A deflated basketball is still a ball, but because it is void of air, it cannot do what it was designed to do. Once it is filled back up with air, it can then bounce and even be used to score the winning basket. Unexpected tragedies or traumatic events in life may knock the wind out of us, but with acquired inner strength and support, we can bounce back. The ability to bounce back is called resilience.

 

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Another definition of resilience is a speedy recovery from problems and the ability to recover quickly from setbacks. As adults, we, through life experiences, have learned to be resilient. However, sometimes as adults, we take for granted that young children have this ability naturally or that they are born resilient. For example, I have heard adults say, “He is young. He (or she) will get over it.” Research reveals that children who have not learned to cope with trauma may never get over it. Children need adults to teach them how to develop strength, acquire skills to cope and help them recover from hardships. These skills prepare children for future challenges they will face as teenagers and into adulthood.

Children learn resilience from the adults in their lives. Resilient adults are described as having healthy relationships with family and friends, self-confidence and demonstrate a positive mindset. They see themselves as secure rather than as victims and set an example for young children by dealing with stress in healthy ways instead of using harmful coping outlets such as substance abuse.

A few years ago, I attended the funeral of a neighborhood friend’s grandmother. At the homegoing service, a young boy who was about 5 years old appeared to be sad, afraid and very confused as he looked at his great grandmother lying in a casket. He was walking up to adults in the family trying to ask questions but was lovingly directed to be quiet and sit down. The death of a family member is a traumatic experience for all especially for young children. Some of his stress could have been alleviated if someone would have had a conversation with him before the funeral about what to expect, answer his questions and address his fears and concerns.

We adults sometimes get overwhelmed with how we are feeling during times of hardship and unintentionally disregard what children are going through. It is essential to use these moments as teachable opportunities. With the help of the adults in their lives, such as teachers, caregivers, guardians and parents children can learn to be. Resiliency causes them not to let setbacks keep them from becoming secure in their ability to fulfill their purpose in life. Look for more on resilience in next month’s column.

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Let’s continue the discussions as I share topics about young children and their journeys from birth to school-age. After you read the columns you may use the format below to ask me questions or request topics. I will aspire to answer questions and to cover requested topics in up-coming PreK-Corner with Dr. Mattie columns of the Recorder News Paper.

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Uncategorized

Getting on the same page when disciplining children

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This month we will discuss another factor in disciplining young children. There are various factors to take into consideration when talking about discipline for young children. One crucial factor is the role of consistency. Every adult who interacts with children plays a role in their social, emotional and learning journey.

Consistency plays an essential role in children developing trusting relationships with adults. One example is that of the father and mother discussing and coming to an agreement about when and how they will discipline and with what method. 

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An example of this would be children who can talk back or be disrespectful when visiting grandparents, an aunt’s or uncle‘s house but get in trouble when they do the same to other adults like their teachers. Are we sending mixed inconsistent messages to children when expectations are not the same from every adult? When I was growing up, we knew that the way we spoke to our teacher was to be with the same respect given to our mother. If not, there was a consequence. 

Another area that guidance should be consistent is between the pre-school and parents. Dr. Bernard Arons, a noted psychiatrist, stated, “A child learns how to approach the world by observing the behavior and values of the people around him. The more consistent the message he gets, the more stable he feels. Without consistency, kids have a hard time controlling themselves. Consistency between parents and caregivers is very important.” 

Some of the childcare providers, pre-school teachers and directors I spoke with when I researched to pen “A Discipline Guide for Child Care Providers” shared the frustration they perceived as not having enough support from the children’s parents with discipline issues. They shared that most parents seemed to be at a loss as to how to correct undesirable disruptive behavior when it happens at home and that parents often look to them for advice and answers.  

I suggested the possibility that the discipline strategies used in the pre-school could become consistent with the procedures recommended for parenting. For example, there are four recognized parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved (learn more www.verywellfamily.com/types-of-parenting-styles).

Researchers revealed that children have a positive response to the authoritative parenting style and have a higher possibility of becoming responsible adults who are comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas. I suggested that in collaboration with parents, the pre-school could incorporate the authoritative parenting approach into the school’s discipline policies and procedures. Training for parents and teachers on the school’s policies and procedures is beneficial before and during implementation.

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Let’s continue the discussions as I share topics about young children and their journeys form birth to school-age.
After you read the columns you may ask me questions or you may request topics for me to cover in up coming columns in the Recorder.

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Uncategorized

Effective Parenting

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Last month we discussed a few of the challenges that come with disciplining someone else’s children as well as our own. Because discipline is an extensive and subjective area of conversation, let’s keep our discussion on it. There are many perspectives on how children should be disciplined. Spanking a child is one of the most controversial. Let’s continue our discussion by looking into the significance of spanking when guiding children. I am also using the term “guidance or guiding” mentioned in the previous column with the term discipline in this discussion. 

I was a young single mother right out of high school, and at that time, I didn’t know what to do or who to ask when it came to disciplining my daughter. I thought if I spanked (hit) her I was a bad parent and if I didn’t spank her, I was letting her be bad and spoiling her. It was a very confusing time. 

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At some point, the government got involved and created laws that it felt were needed to protect children even from their parents and guardians. Many news reports exposed that more and more children were showing up in hospitals with severe bruises, broken limbs and loss of life. The perception in the reported incidents was that many of the injuries came from the way parents were disciplining or spanking their children. Unfortunately, reports of children being seriously injured by the hands of their parents are still happening today.

Parents who were not causing injury when they disciplined their children paid the price for the stigma that has become attached to the concept of spanking. Most of these parents have become apprehensive although they may feel that they wouldn’t cause any harm physically or mentally to their children.

Have you heard the phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child”? I searched and could not find this phase in the Bible. However, the Bible does provide wisdom when it comes to disciplining children. Bible verses related to the discipline of children from the King James Version (KJV) by relevance. Proverbs 18:19: “Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame.” Through years of gaining insight from the Bible, other research and from personal experience, it became evident to me that children need some form of guidance for correction, protection, and direction.

As mentioned in the previous column it is important to know the child. The rod may not always mean to guide by spanking. I found that because my daughter’s feelings got so hurt when she thought that she had done something that would cause me to be upset that I did not need to spank her, reproof or “a good talking to” worked to provide guidance. 

One thing we know for sure is that consistently coming from a place of love when guiding children will not hurt them. We will continue our discussion on discipline next month. If you have any questions, please contact me. 

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Let’s continue the discussions as I share topics about young children and their journeys from birth to school-age. After you read the columns you may use the format below to ask me questions or request topics. I will aspire to answer questions and to cover requested topics in up-coming PreK-Corner with Dr. Mattie columns of the Recorder News Paper.

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Uncategorized

Disciplining Someone Else’s Children

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Have you ever heard yourself say “If you were my child I would …”? Well, you may fill in the blank. The reality is he or she is not your child so what do you do when faced with a child you feel is being “bad” and out of control. Disciplining children should not be a battle.

When we battle with children, no one usually wins. Every child is uniquely different in temperament and personality.

Not only is it vital to know the child it is also essential to know yourself. What causes us to react the way we do when faced with the challenge that disciplining a child brings.

 

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In future columns, we will discuss some of the things that motivate adult responses to children in more depth, but for now, we should realize that when disciplining our children or someone else’s there are times when we might need to take a personal time out. I suggest that one way to know that you may need a time out is when you think to yourself “Oh NO you didn’t.” This thought may be a sign that you are taking what the child did personally or that you are becoming angry. When discussing children, a Bible verse may come to mind that I will share because as we know, there is no better authority. Ephesians 6:4 (ESV), “Fathers do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Taking a timeout means to stop, take a deep breath or walk away from the situation with the child. Taking time to think about what you are doing and saying in response to what has happened is crucial. It only takes a moment to say or do something that could cause emotional damage or deep anger in a child, which may take a lifetime to get over.

Children are little human beings who have good days and not so good days. My experience observing children as they interact with their peers and with adults is that there are usually underlying reasons for their actions and reactions. It is up to guardians, parents, and teachers to know how and when to respond.

There is a lot of research conducted on the topic of discipline. Researchers have given it many titles and approaches such as guidance, redirection, self-regulation and teachable moments, which provide insight into discipline methods that are age appropriate. I have found that one positive way to impact a child’s behavior is to interact with them from a place of love consistently, even when disciplining children, they should still feel loved.

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Let’s continue the discussions as I share topics about young children and their journeys from birth to school-age. After you read the columns you may use the format below to ask me questions or request topics. I will aspire to answer questions and to cover requested topics in up-coming PreK-Corner with Dr. Mattie columns of the Recorder News Paper.

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PreK Corner

Introducing PreK Corner

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Greetings to you all, I’m Mattie Jones, Ph.D., and I’d like to introduce PreK Corner with Dr. Mattie. In PreK Corner with Dr. Mattie columns, I am looking forward to sharing and discussing with you issues that cover the journey that children take from birth to school age and how this journey will also affect them throughout the rest of their lives.

My columns will be written for those of you who have children, teach and care for children, are guardians (uncle, aunts, grandparents), youth ministers, childcare services providers and all who love and want to know more about children. As a teacher, education administrator (principal) and author, I have more than 25 years of knowledge working with parents, communities, and children.

 

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As an education administrator, my responsibilities included ensuring the development and provision of high-quality support services for families and active community involvement policies. Some of the leadership positions I have held at higher learning institutions extends from functioning as a professor, the director of the early childhood education and teacher preparation programs.

I’ve had success working with parents, early learning providers, teachers and presenting professional development opportunities. The respect and knowledge I gained from studying and conducting research have guided me in the writing of books and the developmental implementation of programs. I stay informed by being involved in community organizations that support the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children. I was honored to receive the 2017 Indiana Early Care and Education Hoosier Educator Award by the Indiana National Association for the Education of Young Children (INAEYC).

Determination, passion, and purpose are the reasons why I founded PreK-Keys. PreK-Keys is a consulting Service that specializes in early learning. We provide keys that open the doors to the successful progression of young children. Key services include child outcomes data analysis, professional development, discipline (guidance), presentations, workshops and much more.

I am thankful to have this opportunity to share with you. There will be times when you may be challenged beyond your comfort zone as we attempt to look at children differently. I invite you to be my partner as we discuss things such as how childhood trauma affects the learning of children and why and what relationships are best for young children. There will be possible discussions around such issues as helping children deal with death and how we as adults are role models for children, preparing children to be resilient, self-regulated and other vital issues that children face on their journey.

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Let’s continue the discussions as I share topics about young children and their journeys from birth to school-age. After you read the columns you may use the format below to ask me questions or request topics. I will aspire to answer questions and to cover requested topics in up-coming PreK-Corner with Dr. Mattie columns of the Recorder News Paper.

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