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Glass Half Full Day: The Power of Positive Emotions

Patty Lindley

Published on: July 15, 2013

Laura S. Kastner, Ph.D., author of Wise-Minded Parenting

OWL (Offer of Wise-Minded Learning): Glass Half Full Day

Wise-Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + TeensFamily challenge: Say only positive things for one entire day

Challenge the whole family to only say positive things for one entire day. Keep score. Everyone gets a point after they have shared a positive statement. If problems are identified, you still get a point for saying it in a “glass half full” fashion. “I see that you are violating the cell-phone rule by bringing it to the dinner table, but it gives you an opportunity to self-manage. And if you don’t, I get to follow through on consistency with consequences!” This exercise is meant to raise awareness that ‘most anything can be put in “glass half full” terms, if we try. Decide whether you want rewards or prizes. If the kids refuse to play along, parents still get to build and model this important muscle!

The List of Listening One-Liners

Use these responses when you hear your teen say something off-putting (critical, judgmental or mean-spirited), distorted (according to you), or wrong-headed (again, according to you). The goal of these responses to open up a conversation, avoid arguments about the facts, stay pleasant, or just be experienced as empathic. Sarcasm is off-limits. If you can’t deliver these genuinely, wait for another time. Non sequiturs are good too--off the wall, irrelevant but pleasant statements that do not follow from the teen’s quip, but also “don’t go negative!” which is the goal!).

  • “Maybe you’re right” “Point taken”
  • “I hear that you are disappointed.”
  • “Hmmm…. Could you say more about that?”
  • “You must have good reasons for saying that. Can you tell me more?”
  • “For you to say that, I imagine something happened that made you feel rotten. What was it?”
  • “Wow. I must say I see it differently, but tell me what led you to that conclusion.”
  • “Interesting point. I’ll have to ponder that one.”
  • “That’s a show-stopper. I don’t have a thing to say to that.”
  • “Whoa. I’ll give you space here and let you play the tape back. That was quite the zinger.”
  • “Ouch!”

Read about “The Role of Positive Emotions” in Wise-Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens, in chapter 5: Emotional Flourishing.

More OWL Videos

Lie Low and Wear Beige Lie Low and Wear Beige Find out what kids say when you aren’t reactive. Use this technique when you hear your tween or teen talking to other kids about stuff that normally you would have big opinions on (this often happens during carpool)... Glass Half Full Day Glass Half Full Day Challenge the whole family to only say positive things for one entire day. Keep score. Everyone gets a point after they have shared a positive statement. Becoming Teflon, Not Velcro Becoming Teflon, Not Velcro For kids, keeping negative behaviors at bay at school creates stress, which they often dump on their parents. Dumping also happens because parents intrude on privacy, enforce rules and have expectations... Embracing Negative Emotions Embracing Negative Emotions Negative emotions are opportunities for bonding. This exercise goes beyond acceptance and helps your teen experience you as understanding, willing to sit with them their negative emotions. Name That Emotion Name That Emotion People often don’t know how to describe how they feel, and kids especially can be confused and overwhelmed. Use emotional vocabulary, and encourage your child to do the same. Model Emotional Intelligence Model Emotional Intelligence All parents want their child to be able to recognize a feeling, understand its cause, label it accurately, express it appropriately and control the destructive feelings. The TEB Triangle The TEB Triangle Thoughts… Emotions… Behaviors… They each influence each other…sometimes, all at the same time. Emotional Trickery Emotional Trickery When we have our buttons pushed, our emotions trick us into thinking in extreme ways. This “fight or flight” response was created to save our lives in prehistoric times, but it rarely helps us in addressing problems with our teens. 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Family Lore Book: Writing your family’s history — over dinner Family Lore Book: Writing your family’s history — over dinner What are the best, worst, funniest, proudest, scariest and most unique moments in your family’s life together…so far? Compassion Meditation: Practice self-love with this simple technique Compassion Meditation: Practice self- love with this simple technique It’s been proven that meditation and mindfulness make your mind and body healthier in many ways. For the parents of teenagers, a little meditation can bring welcome calm and perspective. Don’t Just Do Something — Stand There! Don’t Just Do Something — Stand There! The next time you are really upset, instead of listening to your negative thoughts, or even actively trying to replace negative thoughts with realistic appraisals, try this technique of riding the wave. Try a Sandwich Try a Sandwich Dealing with problems by sticking to the facts translates to ignoring feelings and motivations. Try embedding the facts (the meat) within an empathic statement (one slice of soft bread) and a statement about expectations or problem-solving (the other slice of soft bread). Policy Review Policy Review Authoritative parenting is composed of warmth, authority and respect for the psychological autonomy of children. Authority includes making and enforcing rules, maintaining parent-child boundaries, and effective disciplinary measures. Praise: Focusing on the good kind, not the bad kind Praise: Focusing on the good kind, not the bad kind Praise is good when it is specific, genuine, accurate, intermittent, and in the right dose and tone for the person receiving it. In this form, it can build confidence, motivation and good feelings. The bad kind of praise is when it is excessive, inauthentic, constant, or non-existent. Buddha Meets Einstein Buddha Meets Einstein: Detaching from bad patterns An inspiring (paraphrased) quote of Albert Einstein: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What sloppy parenting habit do you have that you know is not helping you get what you want out of your kid, but you keep doing it anyway? “Hound Dog” Day “Hound Dog” Day: Sniffing out what you’ve been avoiding We tend to avoid things that make us uncomfortable or feel like a burden. What have you pushed to the outside of your awareness that requires more of your parenting attention? “Let It Be” Day “Let It Be” Day Kids often feel like parents constantly nag them, and they can be right. Give both of you a break by declaring an anti-nagging day. For this day, you will, under no circumstances, nag your teen.

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