The Uplifting Power of a Smile #PowerOfASmile

A smile is contagious. What does a smile infect you of? I dare say happiness. I think everyone will agree that a smile is something that brings on contagious happiness. A smile can make or break your day as well as other people’s days. How would it make you feel if you realized far too many children don’t want to smile or can’t smile due to cleft lip and palate? It’s sad, but don’t lose hope there is an organization out there ready and willing to help more children smile! There is an organization out there that is working hard to raise funds to correct cleft lip and palate issues children are born with. Some children suffer speaking, breathing and eating problems with cleft lip and palate as well, this wouldn’t make anyone wish to smile even if they could, right?! Smile Train is here to help bring more smiles in their #PowerOfASmile campaign.

What is Smile Train?

Smile Train is an international children’s charity that has worked in 85+ countries around the world who, through Smile Train’s sustainable model, provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery in their communities.. Smile Train has a network of 2,100+ partner surgeons and has helped more than one million children in 15 years, but there are still millions of children living with unrepaired clefts. Smile Train surgery can take as little as 45 minutes and can cost as little as $250 (£150). Smile Train’s Mission Statement: Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate.

How Can you Help?

Visit Smile Train’s website and see how you can donate. Share this blog post on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +. Write your own story or social media status update to spread more awareness of the #PowerOfASmile campaign from Smile Train. Remember to use that exact hashtag when sharing.

Need More of a Visual Approach to Realize the Importance of this Organization?

Smile Train has a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. Smile Train’s model provides training and funding to empower local doctors in developing countries provide 100%- free cleft repair surgery in their communities. Join us and change the world with the power of a smile.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Smile Train. The opinions and text are all mine.

5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers

Raising children is no piece of cake, each day you are forced to adapt to a new challenge. I firmly believe my two sons, specifically, were put on this planet to lighten me up and keep me on my toes. Little do my boys realize, I have zero balance on my toes. It’s a constant juggling act around here to keep things steady. The easiest way for me to explain my parenting techniques is to share with you my personal favorite 5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers. These are tried and true techniques that worked for me, but let it be known, these are techniques I have done since DAY ONE. If you are just coming into this and trying it for the first time, understand it won’t be something that works in a couple of days; keep on it Mama and Daddy, things do get better!

5 Tips to Raising Positive Children

ONE - The ever so obvious first step is to lead by example; start living your life in the positive. Bills have you hanging your head low? Kids stressing you out? Learn to find that happy place, the one thing you can do for just one minute that will allow you to breath and come back swinging with a smile! For me, it’s music. Each night I decompress in the kitchen while cooking dinner and doing dishes over music, Pandora app is the chosen musical player and the genre depends on what type of day I had.

TWO – Never underestimate the power of your words; if you want your children to be positive thinkers, then you must learn to be a positive thinker. Homework a challenge? Kids ready to run and toss that homework in the trash? Total meltdown central? Allow your children, through your example, to step back from their homework. Provide your children a way to evaluate their own reasons for a meltdown, think about it, know the emotion they feel and work towards a solution that will allow them to complete what they have to in a way that is less stressful. This teaches your child to use their mind and words to solve an emotional problem with a positive outlook.

THREE – One can never have too many hugs; a simple hug as often as possible through out your child’s day never hurt anyone. A 20 second hug has also been shown to release the happy hormones in every one; whether a child or adult. So take time to hug more often because that is one way to show love and affection to your child with minimal effort. A 20 second hug can do far more to teach your children to be positive thinkers than any words you speak. Remember, actions speak louder than words, correct?!

FOUR – Teach your child how to brainstorm; we live in a very technologically driven world, social media makes it so that we don’t have to use our brains as often, please do not underestimate the power of teaching your child to use their mind. A great way to teach your child to be a positive thinker is to teach them pros versus cons lists, written with a pencil and a piece of paper. You know that old school; make a column with pros on one side and cons on the other to help you  make a valid decision based on your scenario. This old school method will teach your child to focus on the pros vs cons and in turn will allow them to eventually realize more often than not the pros aka the positives of a situation may be more beneficial than the cons aka the negative.

FIVE -  Use your words effectively; your kids have you all stressed out, ready to scream! You want so badly just to run away because your “what I can handle” meter has reached a near overload. This is okay, it happens to the best of us. We are human, remember? It is how you handle that meter about to explode that can teach your child to be positive or negative. Knowing who we are as an individual can benefit your child in so many ways, learn to use your words, learn that it is okay to tell your child that you are at your limit and need a moment to go breath. This teaches your child to use their words when feeling overwhelmed with negativity and to be able to think wisely about the words they say next. Time can make a difference in the words we use.

Well there you have it, my five tips, of course I am sure you may have some more and I would love to hear them. Please leave one comment below with a tip of positive parenting that will enable children to be positive thinkers, I will be happy to hear your tips & suggestions!

Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!

 

{Child Abuse Awareness Month} What WE Can do to Help our Youth #endchildabuse

Another Monday is here and today I decided to report in via YouTube, rather than by blog post. This video discusses what child abuse perpetrators look like, bet you can’t guess what they look like? Also the video goes on to discuss ways for us to help the youth who are in our lives, that can be your own children or other children in the community.

Be that person for our youth, because every child enjoys a chance to thrive in life and enjoy life to the fullest! Be that one person a child can turn to and be that one person who can do everything in their power to ensure another child is taken away from an abusive scenario!

Have a wonderful week and may your Monday bring you happiness. Xo

National Child Abuse Awareness Month – April 2014

Two topics this month are bringing me into an area of research, Autism Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month. Today I discuss child abuse awareness and the topic of child abuse for it hits home very deeply with me.

This year the discussion on a website I ventured upon is to “Make Meaningful Connections” and that is the area I will focus on today for it’s the most beneficial way to help bring more awareness to child abuse and to help detect child abuse.

Who does child abuse affect and what does the perpetrator and victim look like?

Many adults I know were abused in one way or another in their youth, the sad reality is there is far more abused children than many care to open their eyes to or realize. Abuse comes in many forms and in all honesty, is usually done by someone close to the child; be it a caregiver, educator, camp counselor, church official, parental unit or relative. A majority of child abuse also goes undetected and under-reported, I think we all know that we are born with defense mechanisms that can kick in to help us hide the pain or dangers we may be placed under. It’s difficult to know for sure if a child is being abused if there are not outwardly obvious signs. A perpetrator looks like your every day, average person and can be one of the most friendliest people you meet. The reality is that people who abuse children have no boundaries in ethnicity, background or social standing. All too often someone who is placed in a predominant role of helping to care for a child, yes that can even mean parents, are found to be abusive in some form or another. Remember, a child abuse victim can look just like you or me because they have learned to cope with the life that they live for fear of their perpetrator doing more harm to them. Also remember, the perpetrator doesn’t always fit into a stereotyped appearance.

How can Meaningful Connections Help an Abused Child?

Children who are abused, specifically by someone they love and trust, can destroy their trust in adults as a whole. Honestly, abuse can destroy a child’s trust in other children too, for fear that they will be ridiculed or be told it’s their fault for what has happened to them. A child who has been abused has had their whole world ripped apart by a mean, horrible person who has deep inner issues so badly rooted in their blood that they feel ruining and hurting a child is perfectly acceptable to do. Once a child has been so deeply wounded with abuse, it will be difficult for them to know who to open up to, who to tell the truth to. This is where a meaningful connection comes into play. If you can be that one person for any child, whether it be your own or someone else’s, you will have opened the door to building up trust with that hurt child and in turn the child will eventually start to discuss things that have happened to them. A meaningful connection with children can help open the doors to them to get help now, rather than later. Getting help now versus later will be the difference between a confused, hurt adult or a well balanced, educated adult.

What Can you Do Help End child Abuse?

Honestly, I don’t think child abuse will ever stop. There are far too many broken adults in this world who have a cycle of reliving their past hurt by placing harm upon children in their own environment. If adults can’t get the therapy they need by admitting they have a problem, then there is little hope to ending child abuse as a whole. What we can do to help children, is to bring more awareness to child abuse. Be that meaningful connection to the children that are a part of your world. Gain the trust of these children and be that open minded listener they  need. Child abuse can be physical, emotional and sexual, the list can go on and on. What matters most is for you to be that one person out of many that takes the child’s hurt and listens, hears them out and does what they can to report abuse of any kind to the proper authorities.

How Can you Help an Abused Child?

Once you realize that you have been talking to a child who has been abused, all you can do is really be the support they need. Encourage them to trust the authorities who are placed to take care of the legal aspect of child abuse. Explain the scenario that may play out at the child’s level and be that one person they can run to when they feel no one else cares to believe them. Realize that emotional abuse is a tricky form of abuse and difficult to prove to anyone, for emotional abuse is strictly based on the feelings of a child. We all know that children may not like a strict parent and in turn it may appear as if they are retelling a story to you of emotional abuse, but as the adult listening to that child, take time to keep your ears open and realize the difference between a strict parental unit and an emotionally abusive situation.

The simplest way to help an abused child is to be their rock! Teach the children skills to cope with abuse that they are unable to get away from, teach the children skills that build their self esteem so that one day they can speak up for their own self against their perpetrator and in turn still have a chance at a successful adult life.

 

 

Spanking Your Child Doesn’t Teach any Lessons

Let’s start this post off by saying that I am not telling you how to discipline your own children, I am simply writing this as another view on why spanking doesn’t teach any lessons and therefore shouldn’t be a form of punishment for a naughty child.

Why Spaking Doesn't Teach Lessons

To spank or not to spank your child. That is the question. I think this is something parents discuss far before their children are even born; how will we discipline our child?! With so many techniques out there in today’s world, it’s no wonder parents are found with a hefty choice to make. Do we spank and do old school punishment styles that both you and I probably grew up with? Do we embrace a newer, more accepted approach of discipline such as the time out?

Decisions. Decisions.

I am guilty of having spanked my children from time to time. It’s happened. I admit it. I have found though, that it never works as a means to teach any lesson. Spanking far too often is done in a moment of high frustration and ends up being something a parent can do harder than necessary. This borders into child abuse. Hence why so many push that spanking should not be a form of discipline. I have more of an acceptable simple opinion to cite regarding the decision to spank or not to spank.

Hear me out.

Does spanking as a means of discipline teach any lessons? I for one feel that my job as a parent is to teach my children right from wrong. As a parent, it’s my job to teach consequences for actions. As a parent, it’s my job to teach my children to find a way to learn from mistakes or naughty behavior. As a parent, it’s my job to teach children to think about their actions. Does spanking a child teach any 0f those vitally important life lessons? I say not.

Why I think the time out for discipline is the best option out there:

  • Children are learning, so making mistakes and being naughty, as us adults like to call it, are all a part of children attempting to learn boundaries, self constraint and what’s acceptable behavior or not.
  • Providing a place in your home for a time out, where the child sits alone for one-minute-per-age, allows your child the time to calm down from whatever situation just occurred. Calming down is the 1st step.
  • A time out when enforced consistently with the one-minute-per-age technique will allow your child to think about their actions and feel sorry for that or allow them to realize when they are naughty they won’t take part in “life as they know it” for a specific time frame.
  • Placing a child in a time out, citing why they are being placed in the time out, and walking away to allow them alone time in a spot designated for time out sessions; shows your child how to handle frustrations. As a parent, you may be frustrated, if you use the time out, it teaches children to take time to breath, think and come back to the “real world”.

Teaching children life lessons such as; taking time to calm when upset, thinking about your actions, knowing that the real world doesn’t accept mean behavior, learning boundaries and being taught that the adult is the boss no matter what or simply teaching them to use their words when in high frustration mode, are all such important lessons you, the parent, should be teaching.

Spanking, to me, only teaches our children that they will get beat if they don’t follow rules, if they test boundaries, if they make a mistake. I firmly feel that spanking will teach a child to handle frustrations, mistakes of others, etc etc with violence. I firmly believe a time out teaches children to use their words, think about actions and take time to breath when frustrations are high.

Those are all life lessons I would much prefer teaching our future leaders, wouldn’t you?


“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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