Hidden Food Rules

Sharing food is a social activity that brings people together, but the way we eat can be an obstacle to making connections. Last night in group we discussed hidden food rules (also known as manners). We had a great discussion about how food is an important part of any social gathering (think meeting for coffee and all of the meals associated with holidays), but once we get together over a meal, the eating should be less distracting than the conversation. Here are a few of the hidden food rules we identified:

 

1. Chew with mouth closed; talk with an empty mouth (this involves carefully following the rhythm of the conversation to know when to take a bite of food and when to wait.)

 

2. Ask for things you need to be passed. This becomes a chance to make eye contact and contact with people in the conversation who you might not have connected with.

 

3. Use utensils as expected. Unexpected behaviors like eating with hands becomes distracting to conversation and be isolating.

 

4. Prioritize conversation. Remember why you are there, and prioritize talking over eating.

Wise Words

There’s no “should” or “should not” when it comes to having feelings. They’re part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings.

—Fred Rogers , The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

Should I Give My Child an Allowance?

Artist Jason Jones 

Artist Jason Jones 

One of the things that we wish for our children is for them to be as responsible (or more responsible) with money as we are. Giving your kiddo an allowance is a great teaching opportunity, and can ease the pain point of them asking for new and different toys. No amount of allowance is too small to start teaching financial literacy. When you give your child their allowance, this is a great time to talk about principles of saving, spending, and giving. I know some families that have their child keep separate envelopes for each purpose. 

I strongly recommend that once you give your kiddo the money, you honor their choice of how to spend it.  All of their choices, including poor choices and choices that provide only short term gratification are opportunities to learn lessons about needs versus wants and short term vs long term payoffs. 

I also strongly suggest that you not tie allowance to household chores.  As important as it is to learn about honest pay for honest work, it's equally important to learn that some things are done just because you are part of a household without the expectation of reward.  

Intuiting Intent

Understanding the emotional intent of others can be daunting. This is where we get into some of the most common every day challenges that cause the biggest misunderstandings such as "laughing at" vs "laughing with" and "on purpose" vs "by accident".

This we begin a "theory of mind" curriculum, which will work towards developing an understanding of the motivations and intentions of other people. Neurologically, this relies heavily on a class of neuron called "mirror neurons" which activate when we watch another person and play an important role in decoding facial expression. 

We will be working on understanding the mirror neuron system, as well as learning strategic ways to gather information using contextual clues. 

See you in group!

Self Advocacy

image by Jason Jones

image by Jason Jones

School is back in full swing and the honeymoon period, if your child had one, is probably over. One of the most important skills your child can learn for success in relationships, school, and work is how to be an effective self advocate. Self advocacy means awareness if your strengths and challenges, identifying your goals, understanding the balance of rights and responsibilities, and effectively communicating these to others.

This week we will be learning about effective self advocacy with peers, teachers, and family members. We will be discussing points such as:

-Finding the balance between courteousness and assertiveness.

-Understanding and using a chain of command.

-Knowing your rights and responsibilities.

-Clearly communicating concerns and needs.

-Asking for help.

See you in group!