Friday, January 25, 2008

Blog Tour - Brenda Nixon

Today I have the opportunity to participate in a blog tour.

Brenda Nixon is a writer and speaker with a heart for families. Here is a short interview to get know her better!

Tell me a little bit about what you do for a living.
I travel to speak at parenting and childcare conferences, schools, churches, MOPS groups, parent expos, or anywhere I’m invited if the audience lives or works with kids. I belong to a couple of speakers associations and continue to read and learn as much as I can to continually improve my craft and service to others.

Since there’s a marriage between speaking and writing, I also write books and magazine articles about child behavior and guidance. If a person is going to speak to audiences about a topic, it’s natural to put those words on paper and publish. Most of my colleagues do both speaking and writing.

With my education background, I’m contracted to teach Ohio Health & Safety curriculum to childcare providers, and I am adjunct faculty at an Ohio university.

What topics do you address?
Number one topic: discipline. Close behind that are toilet teaching, understanding temperament, and boosting a child’s school success. Depending on the program planner’s request, some want my Kindergarten readiness talk and others just request a review of normal child development. To keep things interesting and fresh, each presentation is unique; some use power point, some use role-play, and some have silly jokes. When I was in Iowa recently, the event planner asked me to close an early childhood conference with “Women Are Winners” — a motivational, lighthearted talk about all the work women do. It’s based on the Proverbs 31 poem in the Bible’s Old Testament.

How do you balance building self-esteem with not letting my kids become prideful?
That’s a good (and common!) question. Self-esteem is a quiet, inner sense of value or worth. It isn’t prideful self-centeredness. It’s OK for parents to nurture self-confidence and inner worth in a child. To foster a healthy sense of worth, I actually encourage parents to allow their child to make mistakes. After all, we learn about our strengths and weaknesses from mistakes. Another way to build self-esteem is to use statements showing your confidence in your child.

Be aware of your manner of communication with your child. Avoid hurtful words that express unbelief and decrease his sense of competence such as, “Don’t you know anything?” or “You’re always getting into trouble,” or “You never listen!” At the other end of the spectrum, a parent could inadvertently teach prideful thinking if she said something like, “You’re the brightest, best kid in the whole world.” Now, you and I both know that’s not true. But it could give the child a sense of being better than anyone else.

What are some ideas for little things I can do to build my daughter’s self-esteem?
Don’t put down your child’s other parent. Think about it this way; it takes two people to make one. Your daughter is a combination of her daddy and mommy. So when you say negative, demeaning things about her other parent, you’ve just insulted half of who she is.

Value your child’s uniqueness. Kids don’t have to always agree with us or follow in our footsteps. They may have their own opinions, likes, and dislikes that differ from ours. Yet well-meaning parents often push their child to go into a sport, be an academic winner, or pursue the parent’s unmet dream. I love the little poem, “Accept Me” written by Ruth Reardon.

ACCEPT ME – for what I am
Not what I could have been or even will be.
Accept me.
Acceptance must be present tense, with no conditions, and based on reality.
If windows of your heart must rosy-tinted be
you have not accepted me.
See me as I am without distortion of your dreams . . .
A human being, beautiful, unique.
Free to grow according to the seen within myself.
Accept me – so I need not twist myself to fit your pattern. . .
But resting in acceptance,
can grow.

When do I need to start working on self-esteem?
At birth. Even babies can sense if they’re wanted, welcome, and valued. School-age kids need to sense that, as do teens! As parents, we can be our child’s resting place in a hectic, often hostile world.

What suggestions do you have for rebuilding my child’s confidence after a tough blow?
Be honest. If you’ve had a tough blow, share it with your child. I once told my daughters about a friend who betrayed me and how I felt, and they responded, “Really?” Kids don’t realize that we were kids at one time too, and we can understand their defeats and feelings.

You can visit Brenda's own website to learn more.

You can also follow Brenda's blog tour by visiting yesterday's post at Jenn Doucette's blog. Or go to Momma (and More) on Monday (1/28)!


spaghettipie said...

Thanks for participating, Kellie!

Brenda Nixon said...

Hey Kellie - thanks for interviewing me and allowing me to share some tid-bits with your readers.