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Character Building: How to Empower Your Child to Think and Be Happy

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Building character with our special formula empowers your child to think and be happy. It involves a sentence with a cue and a solution. With it you'll learn how to lift his mood and help him become a happier person.

The Character Building Formula for Happiness

Part one: The blueprint is simple. One sentence holds the key. The first part of the sentence is the cue. It is the thought or action that can be a problem or a pleasant event like, being asked to play, losing a game, feeling sad, enjoying a sunny day, or being called a name.

Part two: The last part of the sentence is the solution and can be positive self-talk with an upbeat feeling, or a constructive action.

Part three: Help your child turn the cue and solution into a rhyme to repeat often. Why? Rhymes have rhythms that are easy for brains to remember.

The formula looks like this: cue + solution + rhyme = positive self-talk.

One more thing, teach your child to create mind connections by taking 5 deep breaths while focusing on the solution. That's long enough to create positive mental patterns if done often. Now let's see how it works.

The Parent/Child Conversation

Discuss how the mind can develop negative ruts. If we drive our thoughts into the same ruts over and over they'll become deep, unpleasant and discouraging. We do this by repetitive negative thinking. Constant repetition hardwires thought patterns in our brains. Happiness comes from steering our feelings onto positive pathways with better thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Annie's Problem

Let's say your Annie is a picky eater. You want her to try at least one bite before she says, "I don't like it." Of course, she doesn't have to like everything she tastes but one bite isn't asking much.

To help her open her feelings, empathize when she says,


"I don't like it."
"You fear it won't taste good."
"Yes, and I might barf."
"That would feel bad."
"Yes, and you might make me eat it anyway."
"If it makes you sick, I wouldn't make you eat it."


Speaking in this way helps her feel understood and is a good way to help free her from her stuck position. Talk about the cue and the solution and how important it can be to her happiness. Help her create the formula in a rhyme. Here's an example:

"If there's food I might not like, then I'll smile and try a bite."

The first part of the sentence holds the problem. The second part pinpoints a solution. Encourage her to use this formula with 5 deep breaths while focusing on smiling and taking a bite. Ask her to let you know when she does. Appreciate her efforts. Of course, the best rhyme is one your child creates because it's truly hers.

Jason's Problem

Your Jason hates losing and can be a poor sport. Empathize with his emotions first because children tend to feel more than they think. That's because their right brains where feelings are located are more developed than their left more thoughtful brains. Sympathizing with their moods helps them release negative feelings and frees them to make better decisions.

Work with him in developing his own self-talk poem. It could sound like this:

"If I'm mad and lose a game, then I'll say, ‘Calm down. Be tame.'"

Be sure he hardwires it often with positive feelings and 5 deep breaths that focus on being calm.

Here are other examples of cue and solution rhymes:


1. If today I'm feeling sad, I'll remember something glad.
2. If the sun is shining bright, I'll look up and say, ‘Alright!'
3. If some children call me names, then I'll think, ‘Don't play their games.'
4. If a kid asks me to play, then I'll smile and say, ‘Okay!'

(If you and your child have trouble rhyming, consider Googling the "Rhyme Zone."

Conclusion for Character Building by Empowering Kids to Think and Be Happy

When you want to raise happier kids, teach them to create self-talk rhymes that include a cue and a solution. When they breathe 5 deep breaths while focusing on the positive solution, they'll be creating brain pathways to a happier life. The formula is fun, easy, and builds character too.

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Jean Tracy invites you to sign up for her FREE Parenting Newsletter and receive:

80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Kids

101 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Cooperate

To help your child remember their manners with rhymes pick up Jean's kindle book, Character Building for Kids: Cartoon Guide to Good Manners Have fun discussing the stories.