Coffee and Carpool Website
Resources Mentioned in the podcast
Nicole Black: I'm raising kids who give their kindness freely to those around them and that will change the world.
Liz Weaver: Hi, this is Liz weaver and you are listening to the learning success podcast and information packed podcast with the latest news, information and tips to help you overcome a learning difficulty for anyone suffering from a reading difficulty writing difficulty, a math difficulty a focus problem, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia or ADHD. This is the place for you. The learning success podcast is brought to you by learning success system.com.
Phil Weaver: Hello. Welcome to the smart child. Bad grades? Podcast a podcast by learning success where we help you with tips on how to embrace your child's brilliance and a reach so they can reach their full potential. Today I am here with Nicole Black. Nicole Black is a recovering elementary school teacher and she runs the the website coffee and Carpool where she has lots of parenting tips. She teaches how to raise kind kids and mom hacks anti bullying and lots of other great stuff. So welcome Nicole.
Nicole Black: Thank you for having me.
Phil Weaver: Oh, it's great to have you. Nicole has participated with other projects with us and this is our first live conversation. So this is exciting. So Nicole today is going to talk to us mainly about raising kind kids. But I would like to actually go ask a couple of other questions from things that you talk about in your blog.
Phil Weaver: So one thing that I can tell from that you are very much into school readiness. So I'm assuming you're doing like a lot of really fun, maybe nonacademic things with the kids just to get their brains active.
Nicole Black: My kids are now all school age, so I have a seventh grader, a fourth grader, and a second grade art though they have been in school for quite awhile. And you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but I'm still a teacher at heart. And so every summer we will really focus on avoiding the summer slide. And we do academics projects at home. We do a ton of reading. There are books in every room. I used to joke literally the car, the bathroom to kitchen and we keep books everywhere. So they see us reading. They are reading or constantly just being surrounded by fantastic literature and then a lot of play based learning. My youngest daughter went to this, the most incredible preschool where it was all outdoor education. So the first half of every single day, no what the weather, unless it was hello freezing or lightning coming down. They were outside and so we've continued that here and so she has a mud kitchen that she just goes out and plays and creates and now she's coming in the kitchen and cooking with me and cooking for us and it's connecting with just learning and really hands on fun ways that are meaningful to the kids.
Phil Weaver: That's fantastic. There are actually studies about outdoor learning that show it may spur on neuro-plasticity.
Phil Weaver: It was fun. She came home covered in mud head to tell every single day. Yeah, it was worth it. It was incredible.
Phil Weaver: Definitely. I'm, a country boy at heart. We were raised that way. We were raised in the country and in mud and cow pies workand all.
Phil Weaver: So so how about like the things that would be distractive to the kids that some parents would use a lot just to occupy them like electronics? Do you limit it? How do you deal with that?
Phil Weaver: You know, obviously I try to, we all try to, but real life sneaks in and screens have a place in our, in our lives and they're very, so we do allow screen time here. I try not to put a strict limit on it because sometimes things happen. I work from home, I need some flexibility. Sometimes I'm on an interview and they're home from school and that it just happens. So we try to keep them as active as possible, as busy as possible, but also give them a board time. I have found that when we take away screens in the afternoons, they get upset for a little bit and they're constantly on board. I don't know what to do. And they kind of end up being a little bit more bickering towards each other and then it settles in and they find something to do and they either go their separate ways or they come together as a threesome.
Phil Weaver: Last night they came up with this game that involved darts and a map of the United States and we just went with that. We're like, okay, great. We sent them on a walk with our dog with some walkie-talkies around our neighborhood. So we try to limit the screens, but screens are a normal part of what we kind of have. And since my kids are older and we can use learning apps and we can, they can my son is really into words, a friends now and it's helping his spelling skills so we're able to use them, but we do try to limit them.
Phil Weaver: Sure. Yeah. It's interesting that they they get irritable. I mean, that's pretty obvious when you think about it because they are such a easy entertainment for the brain and you take that away.
Phil Weaver: There's a, there's like always a little buffer of like, I know it's gonna get worse and then it'll get better and then they go find something they draw or they're creating or they're playing soccer in the backyard or exploring somewhere. So,
Phil Weaver: All right. Very interesting. Yeah. In today's world it's difficult for parents because they do need both. It is definitely part of our world and grow and more so every day that you can't get it if they take them away from the physical activities of body activities and all of that can run into trouble. Yes. So good. So on your website you say, those of us who have kiddos with special needs also have those who don't. And that's an interesting statement because I know a lot of times when there is one child that is taking all of the attention that the others can, can suffer for that. And so you obviously recognize that and deal with that. So it can you, can you speak to that?
Phil Weaver: Yes. So my eldest daughter has a rare genetic condition. She has an invisible disability, if you will, called aniridia. She doesn't have irises. The colored part of our eye that comes other just issues in life. So she has low vision, she has for depth perception. She can't see far distances depending on the day and how tired she is. She can be classified as legally blind. And then my middle guy has severe food allergies. So actually I struggle even more as that, as being a special need because his is much more life threatening than hers is. And so then my youngest daughter is my healthiest kid and she doesn't have, we just, I literally was at the pediatrician yesterday on her part of the appointment. Took maybe 10 minutes, just like, do you have any words? No you don't. And she came home, she's like, how come you spent so much time talking about her brother?
Phil Weaver: He said, well, we had other things that we needed to talk about. So it's part of it. It's part of the game and they're sensitive to it and it helps them understand that everybody's different. I think kids who are raised with siblings with special needs have this incredible empathy and they understand bigger picture of things and they have a bigger capacity for loving everybody and everything just as it is. But there are some negatives, there are some negatives to it. And so we tried to really spend quality time with each child and pour into them and love them using their love language. So that we're really connecting almost as like a proof of love activity. So we were moving. I love, it's obviously we all love our kids, but when we take the time to prove it to them, it, they know it in a much deeper way and it alleviates sibling jealousy and rivalries and it builds a stronger family identity. And I wholeheartedly believe it actually sets them up to want to be kinder to everyone else around them.
Phil Weaver: I see. So you're proving it to them with individual attention.
Phil Weaver: Well, whatever each child needs. So my eldest needs quality time. My youngest needs physical touch. My son is physical. He will constantly just be wanting to hug and touch. So I give that to them. I, I laid down next to them, I stop what I'm doing and just lay. The other day, my daughter was on the couch and you had a rough day and I knew it and I just came and I just like wrapped myself around her. I didn't say anything. I just put my arms around her and she at me and she said, I love you too mama. And I didn't say I love you. She just felt it. But if I had done that to my oldest daughter, she would have been like, oh, you're heavy. Get off of me. Quality time, like the touch is not her jam. So knowing what your kids need is really powerful because then you can give them exactly what they need when they need it.
Phil Weaver: Right. Yeah. You said their love languages, is that, is that from the book ?
Phil Weaver: Yeah, I think it's Gary Chapman. He has the five love languages. He has quizzes online for free, you can figure out what your, your love languages, what your kids are and then you can give them basically what they're needing to prove how much you love them. I think it's really powerful stuff.
Phil Weaver: That is powerful. So you did that with your kids?
Phil Weaver: Honestly, I figured it out. I didn't even use the quizzes for them. I read, I listened to a podcast that he was doing basically children and adults too, but children show love how they want to get it. So my youngest always touching me and pulling on me and hugging me and I'm like, let's talk about body space issues all the time with her. She just wants to be touched. So I that to her, that is not my lovely watch. I do, it's my husband's love language. So I have to like remind myself, okay, he wants a hug right now. I should give him a hug. I don't need as many hugs to get through my day. My eldest daughter though wants quality time. So then that's more my love language and I get that. So I set aside time or lunch dates or tucking her in at bedtime, just the two of us or just closing the door and having a conversation. Just the two of us. . That wouldn't communicate the same way that the quality time would for her.
Phil Weaver: Hmm. Interesting. So this, this is a little bit off subject, but you mentioned your daughter has no depth, perception or limited depth perception.
Phil Weaver: Yeah.
Phil Weaver: Okay. So you might notice one of my eyes is not quite right. I've lost an eye, the vision of my eye at 19. Okay. And Iof course lost depth perception. Yes. I have depth perception now. That's fantastic. Yes. And it was amazing. It's an amazing, it's kind of a long story of how it came about, but I figured out that my brain actually uses, instead of using parallax like most humans do it uses just the movement in the background. So the different perspective. Okay. Everything at a different distance has a different perspective. So, probably what's happened is my right occipital lobe, cause I've lost my sight in my left eye, didn't have any use. So it remapped to process perspective more. . It's just, you know, I find these, these things about the human brain amazing. It's amazing. Just mind blowing. It's not like I trained my brain to do that. It did it then it took me like, I dunno how long to figure out how am I doing this? How do I now have, because I do kung fu. So it's, there's a need for depth perception. So anyway, so I just thought I'd mentioned that it's, it's very interesting. The brain is an amazing thing.
Phil Weaver: It totally is Okay. So bullying, you have a really great definition of bullying. Jamie, you,
Nicole Black: Oh yes. Well bullying, I haven't looked at it in awhile. I had to step away from some of the bullying things I was writing because it was getting emotionally kind of hard for me. Who I haven't, I honestly, I haven't pulled up that definition in a while, but my daughter, because of provisioning was heavily bullied. She was targeted because of that, but also she just kind of marches to the beat of her own drummer and kids who are different or who are perceived as different. It doesn't even have to be that they're different, perceived as different. They can often be the target. So kids are mean and unkind and they're usually thoughtless because they're egocentric. And so parents struggle with and teachers too with the definition of bullying. So they think that anytime a kid is unkind, they're bullying. That's a bully, not necessarily.
Nicole Black: So sometimes kids just are mean. So bullying, when we know the true definition, then we can really help the situation and know when to step in and when to give support to our kids. Went to Mama bear and escalate it quickly. So bullying is repetitive. It's it's an imbalance of power, either perceived power or so like somebody older or younger, taller, bigger, more of a group, lots of a group or a social construct. So if they have social clout and this one is, you know, doesn't fit in it's repetitive and then you've asked them to stop and it continues. So well. These tend to be manipulative and sneaky and they're very usually very, very smart because they can do it right in front of an adult often and the adult, unless they know exactly what to look for, they miss it. And there's four different kinds of bullying.
Nicole Black: So it's not just the typical one that we think are the physical bullying, stealing of the milk money that we see, like, you know, on TV or movies. It's their social emotional bullying or relational bullying. There's mental bullying and then there's of course cyber bullying now, which is awful right now. All of them do damage. I think the emotional bullying, the relational bullying tends to do the most damage, if you can believe it, cause those leads the scars the longest. So there are ways to bully proof our kids because they're gonna. I think there's some crazy statistic, like 90% of us in the world will either be bullied, be a bullier, or be a bystander. Witness bullying. And it's true for me and it's definitely true for my kids. Yeah.
Phil Weaver: And there's better, better ways to act in all three parts.
Nicole Black: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.
Phil Weaver: Yeah. It's I mean we've dealt with bullying a lot teaching martial arts. I mean, that's just one of our main things that we do. And the bullies, the one thing that you did mention on the website that really construct me as is, it has to have intent, right. Because it can be mistaken if they're just, they're not understanding the social norms, whatever. And especially we had a lot of Asperger's kids and that, and they, and they're not really quick to understand that, but once they do, and then they realize, oh, this is mean.
Nicole Black: Hmm. Yeah. If you, if you tell a child, stop, this hurts my feelings, don't do this or this is hurting me. I don't do this now. And they continue it and you're getting into bullying behaviors. But a lot of kids, again, they unintentionally hurt people's feelings. They don't think their ego. Third, you know, their little ego centered brains, they're not developed yet to figure out that thing is their fault. And so where they see things work things out without thinking things through, they're not mindful of other people's feelings. It can happen. But if you tell a child that's hurtful, don't do that again. And they continue it. Now you're getting into bullying behaviors.
Phil Weaver: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Yeah. And you mentioned how intelligent and manipulative somebody has been a bully for some time can be. Yeah.
Nicole Black: The sad thing is and it's not an excuse by any stretch of it, but it is an explanation. Almost every single bully has been bullied. Yup. If you look around one of my daughters, this child, he was so mean to her and I watched at a school wide event, he was in the corner and his father was in his face winging at him, berating him for not getting a good enough grade on the school project in front of everyone. Like, Whoa, it's bad. There you go. That explains it. And I felt sorry for that child in that moment because he was the victim of bullying and then he passed that on learned behavior. He passed it on.
Phil Weaver: Totally learned behavior. Absolutely. They're getting it from somewhere. Yeah. We used to actually, cause we would have a classroom of, you know, 40 50 kids in our country school and we had a 60 foot mirror, the whole length of the school. And we would actually have to turn our back to the bully and watch the mirror out of the corner of her eye because we knew it was going on, but we couldn't get, we couldn't catch it. There was so sneaky. Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. But we didn't, we only, we had almost a, maybe in our entire 20 years, there were like two that we didn't turn around. So,
Nicole Black: Well, here's the thing. I mean from my experience is that, you know, I focused on kindness. I believe that raising my kids to be timed is essential to their overall happiness, their wellbeing, their success in life, the world, a better place. But not everybody shares that value with me. No, there's more. I know that there's way more of us than there aren't, but there are a lot of families who don't focus on kindness or myriad of reasons. Their basic needs aren't being met or are there like a other in survival mode that fight or flight has kicked and don't know where their next meal is coming from or they feel like they need themselves are living in a tougher neighborhood, don't feel loved from somewhere else. So there's lots of reasons why are, and then it, it can easily more into this unkind kids are kind of, they walk amongst us because kind, kinda adults walk amongst us, you know, in life. Right?
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Phil Weaver: How did you grow up? Did you grow up in a kind way?
Nicole Black: Incredible. I have, I'm not speaking in past tense. I have incredible parents. They live 30 minutes from me. I have, I'm the oldest. I have a younger sister and a younger brother and we're all still super close. We live within an hour of each other with each other often. I had great models. My mom was my girl scout leader. The value of being honest and integrity and being kind to others and being a helper in life. Just helping people when you can was instilled in me from a very young age.
Phil Weaver: That's awesome. That's awesome. Very good. Yeah.
Nicole Black: I'm a girl scout a lifer. It's part of who we are and married an eagle scout. Like it's just, it's, it's who, it's who I am and who I surround myself with absolutely.
Phil Weaver: Very good. Yeah. Okay. So what is kindness? How do you define it?
Nicole Black: You know, that's super tricky I think because we say be kind and we don't ever then explain it. So I think kindness is a lot of things. Kindness is being, I think kindness is going out of your way and helping somebody else make their day a little bit better, make your day a little bit easier. Preferably both. It's including other people. It's running around behind you and not slamming the door in someone's face on accident. It's being mindful of people around you knowing that you're not the only one sticking to the right. So people can ask you or manners. It's no, it's, it's not expecting anything in return for your kindness. Oh, we sometimes confuse kindness with niceness. We use them interchangeably in our society and I think they're very different. So nice people, you know, that's great, but that's not for me. That's not my goal.
Nicole Black: So Nice. People tend to, they're trying to get something for it. They're trying, they're kind to the CEO, but not the janitor. That's kind. People are kind, no matter what, it's not conditional on who's watching. It's not conditional on what they're going to get in return or if they're gonna get something out of it. They're doing it out of the goodness of their heart. You all's good. Yes. Because they can it, it lifts people up because you actually like people kind people like people and they want to help and make the world a better place, even if it's just for a second, even if it's just for that one person. So that's my definition of it.
Phil Weaver: So basically, the difference is you're, you're putting out it out there with no expectations of any return.
Nicole Black: It's not conditional. I'm going to be kind because I've chosen to be kind in my house. We talked about kindness at an option. Like we're just going to be kind. But kindness is in life. It's a choice. And if you're choosing to be kind all the time then you're kind. There are days when I don't feel like being kind, but I'm also not going to then be mean. I don't retaliate towards people that hurt me or wrong me. I can walk away and protect myself emotionally without being mean, but I have chosen to be kind because that's, that's what makes me feel good about myself. That's a that I have chosen. Nice. People tend to do it when it is convenient or if they think they can maybe get something out of it. It's more like the Eddie Haskels of the world. No. Do you remember, leave it to beaver where he was so nice to the adults and then as soon as the adults were gone, like that persona was kind of gone.
Nicole Black: So Nice. People aren't always as manipulative as that, but sometimes there's just an . If I leave a bigger tip, my boss will see it. Okay, that's nice. You're leaving a good tip. That's a good thing for that, for the server is you did it for no other reason than to leave a good tip. Because A, we're a great server. I, you know what's going to help their day. Or they mentioned that they had, you were talking, you mentioned they had bills. You do it just because you know it's going to be amazing. You don't do it for the recognition that's on the kindness side. That makes sense. It's the same action. But the motivation is different.
Phil Weaver: It makes a lot of sense in it. And it goes right into something that, you know, I teach my students that you are a certain attribute because you do that thing. You don't do that thing because you're that attribute. Yeah. And what, and what that's saying is that one of the things interesting that I think that happens when you act in the way that you're describing is that you are telling your subconscious mind what type of a person you are. When you do something without any expectation of return, then it's gotta be telling your subconscious mind that, that, that, you know, what other reasoning can it, can it give, right? I think it gets it's own little brain back there. Yeah. I have heard quite a number of you know, an example, oh, I've heard of a lot of really wealthy people say that they became wealthy act or they started giving away wealth in ways that could not be perceived that nobody would know anonymously. Right. not, not for a return. So, and you can do that with, of course, any attribute, right?
Nicole Black: Yes. There's tons of stories like that, that are so great. So don't wait to be wealthy to give what you have. If you have, you can give away a nickel, so absolutely generosity being giving out to those who are less fortunate because there's always going to be somebody who is less fortunate than you are. So giving and when you can, as often as you can before you feel like you can. It's amazing. And there's so many stories of people who gave away their last $5. I think Tony Robbins has a story like this with our last $5 and then the next seconds something happened that changed their lives.
Phil Weaver: Yes, yes. Yeah. There are a lot of stories like that. It's fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. and how do you instill these, these values in your kids? How do you make sure that they understand that it's the way to be?
Nicole Black: Yeah, so one thing that we've done from the very beginning from when they were very young is we only have two family rules. That's it. We don't have a long list. And I'm a rule follower. I tried to run a, you know, a respectful home where they're, they're respected, I'm respected, it's positive parenting techniques, listen to them and we screw them. We're not authoritative in that way. But at two rules, one of them is to listen the first time. So if I ask you to do something, you do it. And that takes care of most safety things and just life things. But the other one is be kind. It is one of our only two family rules. And when we talk about our family rules and we talk about them almost every single day, mr getting out of out of my car as they're going, I, I'm dropping them off to a play date.
Nicole Black: As the breaking a rule, we talk about it, we broke our family rule. What are two family rules first time listening and be kind? And so when we put that much emphasis on it, we're showing them that we value it. And that's one of the simple ways. Keep simple too because then it's easy to remember. My toddlers knew it, they had it memorized, they knew your first time listener and be kind. And we talk about it when they are following the rules. You were following our family rules. I appreciate that. That was a really fine thing to do. So we are relentlessly consistent about it. I let a lot of things slide cause you have to pick your battles as a parent. Kindness is when I choose to pick every single time I called them out on even the smallest of things because the small things, sarcasm, the little digs, the mean little kickbacks, those add up to create a family environment that is negative and just feels unsafe and feels not welcoming.
Nicole Black: And so I focus on that. Even the small little moments, I focus on those and those are the battles that I picked. I leave the socks on the floor and we'll get to those later. But I focus on the kindness, talk about it often they know that I value it. Sure. Constantly doing positive reinforcement. You're catching them both. So we praise all the time. So we, there's two ways to praise. I think kindness, you can praise the behavior. While it was a really kind thing to do that's incredible. Or you can praise the child. So you are kind, I try not to label kids with those kinds of things, but with kindness I do it. You are a kind kid. You are a kind boy. You are just so kind. They keep hearing it. They will believe it. It will become part of their inner voice.
Nicole Black: So we are constantly praising and then we can, we can wean them back from it because again, we want their kindness to be unconditional. We don't want them to expect the praise. But for our young kids, for kids who are really struggling, we dumped the praise on heavy cause then one it increases the likelihood that they'll want to keep doing it and you repeat behaviors that get the most attention. So we keep putting the praise on it and then we can bring them back from it. We can walk back from it and I can just really get my son when I see him do something finder it like we do a lot of, I love you signs so I can flash, I love you. Sign like I saw you, I saw that kindness, that's amazing. But I don't have to then say it every single time and then if the unkindness kind of kicks back in, my kids kind of go in waves during the summer when they home together, if bickering started. I had to then dumping the phrase back on again when I saw even the smallest acts of kindness, then it reminded them, oh yeah, yeah, that's right. This is how we do.
Phil Weaver: Right, right. Yeah. What's said in that type of training? In the dog world, they call it clicker training, but it works fantastic with humans too. And I do it all the time myself. So yeah, they've, I've got certain things that I do when my students do really well, you know, and I'll clap my hands and jump up and down and stuff like that. It's funny that I ask him, I've asked him like, what do I do when you do something well and they don't know. It's so they just see it all the time. They're like, I don't know. You don't do anything. Yes, I do. So yeah, and you said praise, so you praise the behavior and praise the child. That brought me to think about like all the growth mindset stuff we're talking about praising the child about being smart as can actually be really detrimental. But it works for kindness though.
Nicole Black: When the growth mindset thing started becoming you know, a hot topic issue and I love it and it's amazing. Yeah. Worked hard on that. Focusing on that. The the process of walking, my dog is barking. I'm focusing on the process, focusing on you know, how they felt about doing it, how hard they worked, their effort. I think that's incredible with kindness because we want to, this is something you definitely want to keep going with. I think you can praise both. You can. I always ask them, how does this make you feel? Did it, how did it feel good to be kind? And we talk about the, and we pause it so we can connect to the emotion of what they're feeling to their action. And because scientifically they've shown that your body releases dopamine when you do something that's kinds of someone else, when you give to someone else, whether it's a kind word, a smile, helping someone you really don't mean. So connecting that moment when it feels really good and you feel happy too, being kind, it then reminds them to do it more often. So I don't mind using the label kind and labeling child while you're a really kind kid cause it keep going. I see where the smart becomes detrimental. And so we've about, I don't know, three, four years ago we stopped using that label can of just label.
Phil Weaver: No, it makes perfect sense. Brilliant. I really liked that. And so yeah, you mentioned that dopamine hit and so that has to be immediate. Yes. Correct.
Nicole Black: Well, when I see him I could be inclined. I can say, oh my gosh, how did that feel for kids who have less emotional intelligence or who are struggling a little bit? Or maybe I can't connect the two. I can say to them, you must feel really proud of yourself giving done the emotion at that moment. You Do, you feel happy. Do you feel proud of yourself? Even ask them. You can tell them or you can give them no say, how do you feel right now? And they feel they'll come up with use of the word good. I feel good rates. Yes. Let's keep doing that. Feels good to be good. It feels good to give goodness to the world.
Phil Weaver: So you're actually teaching emotional because you're, you're getting them to go inside and seek. How does that feel?
Nicole Black: Yes. Kindness is all, it's all connected, right? So connecting their emotional intelligence, it actually increases their buy in for wanting to be kind more often because you realize the one more client, it feels good and we all want to feel good more often. I think that's just brain chemistry in us. Then it increases them to be kind to more often because they'll get that reaction. That's one of the many reasons why kids and teach kids to be kind. It feels good. It just lifts you up. It improves their life and their day just for a second or for bigger depending, but it makes you feel good.
Phil Weaver: Right, right. Well dopamine is highly addictive and that's, that's a good thing. So for advantage, right? Yes. Use it. Very, very awesome. Awesome. Okay. So when they're not intentionally being mean, but they don't understand, how do you deal with it?
Nicole Black: Yeah. so we have a poster hanging in our, we have it in our kitchen and we have it in our upstairs in our hallway because that's between your two rooms and it says think, and so it stands. I did not create it. I redid it so that it fits for us and I have a copy of it on my website, but it's spells out and says before you speak, and oftentimes with our kids, it's after you speak. We evaluate. What they said is, I need you to think, was that true? And this works for my second grader. It works for my tween. She's like, yeah, what's your, I'm like, okay. It was true. She said something mean about her sister or your singing is bad. Was it true? She's like yeah it was true. I'm like, okay. And it might have been true, the H in think is helpful.
Nicole Black: Was it helpful? Is it helpful to tell her that her singing is bad? She's like, well, maybe it was helpful because then she won't sing bad again like, okay, so let me go down to the I. Is it inspiring? She's like, no, that's not. It's fine. I'm like, yeah, probably made her feel kind of crummy or because it's my older daughter and she has more emotional intelligence. I'll ask her, how do you think that made her feel? How would you feel if someone said that your singing was bad? So we walk, I walk them through it, and then n is it necessary? Is it necessary to tell her that her singing is that? No. If we don't have something kind to say, then we can just keep our mouth shut. We can ask her to stop maybe, or we can leave the room and then the K is, is it kind?
Nicole Black: No, it's not. We don't, it's not kind of put our judgment on other people's things. She won't sing anymore in front of us, so I walk them through, and again, this is one of those things like when do you pick your battles with this stuff? I pick them every single time. If I hear unkindness, I pause and I walk my kids through this. I want them to take the time to realize that they were either being hurtful on accident. A lot of the times it's unintentional or hurtful kind of on purpose, just they were kind of just pushing each other's buttons, trying to get that last little dig in and walking them through the think model has really helped my kids mindful of other people's feelings with themselves in other people's shoes, and again, this is really, really hard because our kids, their little brains, they're still so egocentric. It's not their fault, but we can teach them to think of other people and how other people might be feeling.
Phil Weaver: Right. Does that process eventually become somewhat automatic with them?
Nicole Black: Yeah. If you, if you do it often enough. Absolutely. So now I can just look at my kids and say, I need you to think. Just think, just pause and think. Or if I can see, one of my children had said something kind of unkind to the other. I pause both of them and I look at the other one who wants to like kind of go back and like, well you can be mad without being mean. We don't need to retaliate. When you think, think about what you're going to say before you say it. Is it true? Is it helpful? We go through it. Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it, you can just say, don't say that that hurts my feelings. You need to stop. So walking them through and it does become more of a habit. Anything you do repetitively becomes a habit. It becomes their knee jerk rather than that knee jerk to be like jab back. It can be, hey, that wasn't cool. That's not kind, don't talk to me that way.
Phil Weaver: Right? Right. At the subconscious level, you're probably overriding that knee jerk and building a new,
Nicole Black: But it comes with a disclaimer like, are kids going to be perfect all the time? Are they going to be kind all the time? Absolutely not. My kids are not perfect. They are not kind 100% of the time, but they are kind of, more often than not, they are claimed without being prompted. More often than not they are. It's becoming a habit. It's becoming their goats too, so I'm needing to regulate their behavior. Last, I'm blessed to have a referee. Our home is calmer and more peaceful and it's just happier and I can, I can be there rather than having to constantly parent their relationship. Okay,
Phil Weaver: I see. Good. So you mentioned between your, your your kids when one's not kind to the other. And what about other kids when they're not kind to your children?
Nicole Black: Well, this is really, really tricky because a lot of parents have written saying, keep my heart. And my biggest concern is my, my child doesn't understand why. I tell them to be kind and they are kind. But then other people aren't good. Either hurts their feelings, they don't understand yet. Or if he's not going to treat me, how come I have to be claimed? Oh, focusing in on the why. Why were kind. And he helps kids with his art. So we're kind, no matter how other people treat us, I don't have to be a doormat. I don't have to take it, don't have to be friends with people that make us feel bad about ourselves. Every preschool teacher probably hates when I say this, but I don't make my kids be friends. Everyone. You have to be friendly and I have to be kind, but forcing our kids to be friends kind of sets them up for unsafe from this.
Nicole Black: With that said, they don't need to pick abuse emotional or physical abuse unkind, so I walk my kids through this. You can walk away, you can go somewhere else, physically go somewhere else. We talked about the difference between paddling and telling and getting help when you really need it and kids who, feel competent and are able to and get competence from things like Kung Fu. I put my daughter in karate so that would great.To instill confidence to say no, stop. You don't get to talk to me that way. No, not all kids can do that based on their personality or their confidence level. You can always walk away, go find kids that lift you up, that make you feel good, that are fine, but we have to walk them through it and let me talk about it a lot. We talk about kindness a lot, being a what a good friend is, what a good friend does. What a good friend wouldn't see you as a friend says to you, I won't be your friend unless you do this. And they're not really being a kind friend and walk away because in our family, that's not how we do things. Right. Walking them through this because they're not going to be able to handle it on their own. I really not. And this stuff happens in like the kindergarten yard. Sure. Oh yeah. It happened shockingly young,
Phil Weaver: Huh? I know it does. I know it does. Yeah. You mentioned some that may not have the, the ability to just say stop or, or that, yeah, that, yeah. That's something that we, we train a lot. We even with five-year-olds, we do a drill called the back off drill and we just have like somebody in impersonating a bully coming at them until they can put their hands up and yell at on it loud enough. Stop. No. And not just kids. We, my wife teaches a lot of women the same, the same drill. An Important skill. It is. And it takes a long time to break through that emotional barrier to do it, but we find that once a person does, they're changed forever. So it's, it's pretty amazing. Tattling and telling you said yes. What's the difference?
Nicole Black: Okay, so tattling is trying to get somebody in trouble. Okay. Telling is getting help when you need it. So teach, I taught my kids from a very, very young age and this was more because they were the constant, the whining of, you know, she did this, she did that and I wanted to break it. Then I came to realize as I started diving into kindness is that it actually is really powerful for other reasons. So you want our kids to get help. We want our kids to know that help is available to them if they're experiencing a situation that is above their ability to handle it. So when my daughter was bullied, he didn't want to get her bullies in trouble. She didn't come tell me. And I was writing about bullying and I was writing about connections with my kids and I was coring in to her and it still happened.
Nicole Black: So I needed to, then I realized I needed to focus more on, you can always tell me and she was afraid of what I was going to do cause she knew I was gonna get really, really upset. And so I started to learn to bottle my emotions a little bit more and keep more of an even tone when she was telling me these big things and then kind of go mama bear leader. So but tattling is just trying to get someone in trouble. So I tell my kids, come and tell me if someone is hurt or if someone is about to get hurt. So, and that's hurt, that's physically hurt. And then when they come to me, I often say to them, go, and if it's a situation that is safe for them to do, so I say go tell, go tell that person, say stop.
Nicole Black: I give them the words, tell them no, I don't like it. Tell them this is my toy. You can have it when I'm done, give them the words that they need so that they have, they're starting to build up their toolbox of language that they have to be able to interact with people in in positive ways without needing to come to me every single time. With that said though, there are some times when they do need to come get an adult. They have to come get an adult because it's not appropriate for them to take care of it on their own. So teaching difference is really valuable.
Phil Weaver: It's certainly certainly good. So you've given us a lot of examples, but are there other ways that you get your kids to be kind just more often?
Nicole Black: Yeah, we work on it all the time around here, so we have a lot of fun challenges. We have a different one for every single holiday. We have a countdown calendars to Christmas and Hanukkah. We have letters that we write to service men and women and veterans. We do lots of fun activities. I had a fidget spinner, kindness activity and tic TAC toe kindness, the one that I used for my kids. And it's actually, I'm a free resource on my website and anybody's welcome to it and it's the ice cream. That sibling kindness challenge that was looking for a way my eldest was sometimes forgetting to be kind to others and I want my kids to be kind to everyone and that's important, but the biggest impact is going to be our own home. So I really wanted to focus on creating a kinder home and I want my eldest be kinder to her siblings.
Nicole Black: And so every single time it's goes back to the positive reinforcement and the praise. And I had to, because she was really struggling with this, I had to kind of up up the rewards a little bit and then we can wean her off of it when it's, it becomes a habit that every time she was crying and I gave her a list of ideas, she got to color in an ice cream cone and when she had 20 ice cream comes in, she got to take her siblings to ice cream. Now my eldest daughter, based on her personality here, the carrot versus the stick kind of a thing. She loves money and so she was old enough, and I could do this with her because I knew her personality so well. Every time I saw her be unkind. She, oh, the ice cream jar, 50 cents money was really, that's her currency literally and figuratively is her currency.
Nicole Black: So, oh, the ice creams are 50 cents and that was money she was going to never have to use to pay for the ice cream? No. If she was only unkind once she put 50 cents in the jar and all the other ice cream cones had been colored in because all the trainers she had done, I would pay the remaining balance at the ice cream parlor. She kept putting money in and it was unkind. She'd have to pay for it with her own money. So I have to tell you, it was slowly starting to work. She was coloring in her ice cream crowns and I drop off my two youngest first at school and she's in the back seat and all of a sudden I heard, good luck on your test today. Have a great day. I'm like, just something simple as greeting as siblings and saying goodbye.
Nicole Black: It was amazing. It was amazing. I'm like, that was so kind. Oh my goodness. Just mentioning because you knew that they were studying in the car ride over and she's like, is that, can I color an ice cream? I'm like, yes, you can color an ice cream cone. And so when she got to finally take her siblings to ice cream, the joy on her face, like every ice cream makes everything better. But the joy on her face was so amazing because it's just, it allowed her to then share her kindness with them and it's become more of a habit. And yet she still needs reminders of course. And every once in a while we have to bust out another version of it and start, start from the start from the top and do it again. But I've been able to wean her off of it.
Nicole Black: Can I get you a cup of orange juice this morning? And she got up three cups rather than just one cup for herself. So it is happening more and more and I can regulate it less than less, which is amazing. She's thinking about people, other people a lot more. Yes. And more importantly for siblings. She thinks about other people. That's usually siblings are usually the last ones. We tend to be kind to them and we kind of, they push our buttons and we have to share space and share parents and raising kinds. Siblings is one of the hardest parts of raising our kids to be fines. And there's hundreds of things we can be doing to raise kids. I wrote actually an Ebook it's going on sale soon, but I wrote an ebook about raising pine siblings because there are so many things we can and the change in our home is, it's miraculous when they're kinder to each other.
Phil Weaver: Alright. Right. Well we'll make sure to link to the resource you mentioned. Okay,
Phil Weaver: Perfect. Yeah, I mean you can get to anybody
Phil Weaver: And all that. Sorry. Yeah, fantastic. So what mistakes do parents make when they're trying to raise kind kids or what are the walls?
Nicole Black: There's a few, one of the thinking that you can talk about at one time and being done with it. It's got to be on repeat. So we can't ever tell our kids one time so that, you know, pick up their dirty socks, dirty socks right here on my floor. So we have to be relentlessly kinds of stuff, constantly reinforcing, constantly talking about it. So making it again, me proving to them that it's, that it's valued in our homes. They're talking about it often becoming a broken record. So that is one. Another one would be, I'm trying to raise nice kids. So we talked about this, so raising kids and asking him to be nice to each other and teaching them the difference in the sense of focusing more on the kindness. So what kind, because this was going to be fine. We're kind because it makes him feel better. I have another resource and I'd be happy to send you the link and it's a list of all five and more importantly on a side stack them and then something to try at the bottom of each that we just avoided altogether. Okay. Fantastic. Happy to send that to you.
Phil Weaver: Yeah, that'd be great. Well, cool. We'll put those in the links. You've really given me quite an education and kindness. I'm should be thinking about this a lot and incorporated and sent to training in that. It's really quite a deep subject.
Nicole Black: It can be. And you know, it's funny because it's so simple. Yeah. okay, so be kind. So my kid's school that our elementary school, they are starting a kindness initiative and it's fantastic. Basically they're just taking like a little piece of it and they just said, be kind. Excuse me. They just said be kind. And that's all they said. But kids need to know what kindness sounds like. They need to know what kindness feels like, what it looks like, what it doesn't look like. So what does it mean to be a good friend? So we talk about this with our kids and adapt and really dive in and show them. And when you see kindness in the world, we use teachable moments. When we see kindness, call it out. When we see unkindness in a book, in a TV show, we call it out. Make it a thing.
Phil Weaver: Great. So this is, this has been a really fantastic, is there anything else that you would like to mention about kindness, your website or your Facebook group?
Nicole Black: Oh yes. So we have a group of like minded parents that believe that this is essential. It's called the raising time kids met. We're literally starting a movement because we know raising one kind kid can change the world. The ripple effects of kindness can be, are, can go on forever and can be unstained for years. So please come over and join us. There's actually a free resource in that group for kind sibling wolf playing. Like if they're struggling over the last cookie or they're struggling over who gets to choose what show to watch, there's options that you can give them. So you can give them the words, give them the role playing ideas and that is completely free inside the group. So just know that there are other likeminded people. If you find this essential like I do like we do and there are resources and we have them and you are welcome to that.
Phil Weaver: Great. All right. I really agree with your philosophy, but change happens at the individual level. It's just can't help that happen anywhere else that has to happen with yourself and of course then passing it down to our children.
Nicole Black: Well, much and kindness in the world on TV, social media, we see things that are disturbing are just kind of Kurt us to our core and we can't change those things. Usually on a personal one, on one level, I can't go out there and change what's happening. I can change what's happening in my home. I have complete control over that and raising kids who then spread that kindness to others. I'm raising kids for me, so their kindness and gives their kindness freely to those around them. That will change the world. I'm sure more of us are doing that. We can take it over and this can be hotter than the heat.
Phil Weaver: It can happen quickly. It's an ex exponential function, right? Yes, yes, yes. Absolutely. Very good. Hey, this has been a fantastic conversation, so thank you very much.
Nicole Black: My absolute pleasure. I will talk about kindness forever.
Phil Weaver: Yes, I'm sure we're going to meet to have you on here again. When I have some more questions about kindness,
Nicole Black: I would be happy to. Alright, thank you. Thank you.
Liz Weaver: Thank you for listening to the learning success. We hope You enjoyed it. We also hope you have learned something useful, something that you can take back and improve your life with today. If you would like to say thank you, the best way for you to do that is to share this podcast with a friend. Help us help others along this journey, and if you haven't already, please rate and comment on the podcast. Every rating helps us and helps this podcast and get out to more people. We appreciate it and we appreciate you. Thank you again and make today a great day. No one should have to live with alerting difficulty.
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