Ellen Jackson is the author of Positive Parenting Toolkit – Practical, science-backed tips for mindfulness, problem solving, resilience, online well being and helping your family to thrive. Ellen is also one of the women I have met in person through blogging and who I love the opportunity to catch up and chat to when I can. Ellen is a workplace psychologist, internationally published writer, speaker and consultant to organisations Australia-wide.
And as a mum to two boys aged ten and even, Ellen knows the reality of parenting. Positive Parenting Toolkit is not an e-book written by an expert without practical in the trenches experience. Ellen’s understanding of family life is evident in her honest description:
Families have their ups and downs, their tensions and challenges and their good days and bad. Parents get frustrated and kids fight. There are misunderstandings, hurt feelings and resentment. Cracks form in our relationships at times despite our best intentions. You can’t put a group of people with differing personalities, opinions, agendas and life experience together day in and day out and expect permanent happiness and harmony. That’s not how people work.
Through out the e-book Ellen shares science backed information on key areas of positive parenting and then follows this up with actionable tips – giving you examples of how you can implement elements of positive parenting to your family. There are pro tips at the end of each section which gives you details on where you can find further information on that particular topic.
The e-book isn’t just for parents of younger kids either which I loved. There are dedicated tips on how to apply positive parenting strategies to teenagers and as a mum to three teenagers, these were greatly appreciated. What you do with younger kids doesn’t always work with teenagers, so it was great to have info tailored to how I could action these tips with the older kids.
Some e-books I purchase I have to print out because I find them too hard to read on my computer, but the Positive Parenting Toolkit is easy to read online and beautifully formatted. At 30 pages it is long enough to give you super useful insights into the minds of your kids and tips on how to manage situations, but not too long that you step away from the e-book feeling overwhelmed.
Here are two of my favourite take aways from the e-book:
As we get older we learn to worry. Kids in upper primary school years (8 to 11) become aware of others and start to engage in social comparison – the tendency to evaluate their performance against others.
In adolescence we develop abstract thinking skills. We can anticipate the future and with that comes fear of what might be.
This is a normal process of development but as a consequence we lose that natural ability to stay in the moment and we easily become consumed by our inner world, worry and anxiety.
Ellen then share strategies for how we can help kids in these age groups become more mindful. A key tip here is that we need to be role modelling mindful behaviour ourselves!
I loved the section on How to Help Your Kids Solve Problems and Ellen explains why this is so important for kids:
No-one escapes challenge. For kids challenges range from tying your shoes when you’re little, to solving a maths problem, to navigating complex friendships. Children who see challenges as roadblocks or insurmountable crises get stressed and overwhelmed or learn to avoid the situations in which these challenges arise. When kids view life’s challenges as problems to be solved they develop a growth mindset – one that says, ‘I can’t do this yet, but if I keep calm, explore the options and persist, I will figure it out.’
Research has also shown that when kids develop a positive and constructive approach to solving problems it improves their mental health. To help parents encourage problem solving skills in kids, Ellen shares in detail a systematic five step process we can teach our kids, with tips on how to do it. In summary the process is as follows:
- Evaluate the situation
- Explore all options
- Consider consequences
- Select the best option
- Review and evaluate
The e-book has excellent tips for Parenting in the Digital Age which I think every parent should read. You can buy the Positive Parenting Toolkit E-book here and it is currently on sale for $AUD8.50. If you are looking for strategies and tips on how to help your family thrive and use a positive approach to parenting your kids, then I highly recommend purchasing the e-book.
I found the start of a new year was the perfect time for me to read it and with children heading into year 7 and year 12 this year, I definitely know the positive parenting strategies I have picked up from the e-book will help me through out 2019 as challenges arise.
You can subscribe to Ellen’s newsletter for more tips and resources for living a flourishing life at potential.com.au/subscribe . Ellen’s excellent podcast is called The Potential Psychology Podcast and is free and available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Stitcher. Each week on the podcast Ellen interviews an expert to uncover their tips for wellbeing, performance, positive parenting and fulfilling your potential.