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HomeHealth & BehaviorEmotional Well-Being

10 Mindful Minutes

Page 3 of 3

By Carol Lloyd

A crash course in emotional intelligence

What's great about the book: the advice is based on solid evidence about how the mind works and the best practices that have emerged from positive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In developing these ideas, Hawn partnered with an impressive army of experts including cognitive neuroscientist Adele Diamond, “Flow” author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and neurologist Helen Neville. It's stuff we parents need to know. We have the power to teach our kids to be grateful (and why that's important), or how to talk to a child who is completely stressed-out about the test the next day.

Every parent also needs skills to help themselves take a proverbial chill pill when family life spirals out of control. What I did try from the book actually worked: one activity has parents teach their child about the amygdala – the "guard dog" of the brain that always responds with a fight or flight response and sometimes gets us into trouble. After I had this talk with my younger daughter, she loved the metaphor of the guard dog and mentioned the ‘mygdala when telling a story about a classmate getting mad in her classroom.

Parents, the only people that can fix civilization

What's difficult about this book is that it presents what can feel like an overwhelming task: it's a lot to learn, as well as to teach. I'm already steeped in this stuff and I have a child with insomnia who desperately needs techniques for quieting her mind, but have I found the mindful minutes I need to help her create a new habit? I hang my head in shame.

That’s the thing about parenting. We are all victims of our urges, emotions, and impulses. Indeed, almost every societal problem is the result of people not behaving with enough self-awareness and self-control to act responsibly. But children are at a particular disadvantage. Unlike the rest of us, kids have had fewer years on the planet to observe how our minds sometimes make us do things our minds later regret – whether it's yelling at a friend or eating three pieces of cake.

The good news is that parents are children's best bets in learning these lifelong lessons. We can help our children find peace of mind through knowing their own minds: thanks to Hawn we’ve even got a step-by-step manual to do it. That it's up to us to make it happen is also the bad news. But like so many of the biggest educational challenges facing our children, it's really all up to us, the parents, to not just read (or write) the book, but be mindful enough to make it happen.

 

is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

02/6/2012:
"Wow, such negative comments! People, get a life! I thought it was a good review. Yes, it did encourage me to buy the book. And yes, it painted Goldie Hawn as a sometimes flawed person. Lightbulb! We are all flawed and none of us deals with stuff in the ideal way we think we would. "
01/30/2012:
"Excuse my language but I need to use a word that is not in my vocabulary to myself. what would Goldie hawn know about parenting, check her daughter and who knows the other children. these phonies drink, smoke are promiscuous and more.and she wrote the book which I doubt as it possibly is using her name to sell. To me some of the most deranged people are those in Hollywood. I will not go more into detail but people will buy good ,it will get excellent reviews and yet you also praised it knowing the situation. You may write here but it needs to be broadcast,please do not make the book a success from a woman who is stupid.. had children and other cared for them as she cavuted all over the world with a different partner "
01/30/2012:
"I think that it was unnecessary and Self serving to for the reviewer to To share a personal and biased Account of an association with Golden Hawn and her daughter . The review should be of the Book and nothing more. I find The book to be insightful and Helpful as a Mom & a Mimi. "
01/30/2012:
"It's always good when someone jumps in there with all hands and feet (and funding) and creates something to solve real problems. One thing I was aware of as one of those teachers who 'left after 5 years' was that the increased labeling and drugging of children was the SOURCE of the problems that Ms. Hawn's program seeks to solve. The other thing I learned after much research is that psychologists in the schools starting in 1963 were the turning point -- the down turning point of our crisis in the classroom. Now there are over 20 million kids on psych drugs like Ritalin, Cylert, etc. And the ADD and ADHD labelling is rampant. The brain and the mind are two totally different things. The book that is the GOLD STANDARD for a description of the mind and its 2 parts is DIANETICS. Once I read this I had so many answers to problems I was having as a teacher, a mother, a citizen, a wife and how to solve these problems that it opened up a whole new world for me. Recently I spoke with a Baptist Pastor whose high school teacher (in Detroit back in the 70s) gave each student the DIANETICS book and told them to read it and write a report on it. Long story short, this Pastor and 15 other male athletes from his school were given scholarships to a west coast college to play basketball. After 2 months, there were only 3 who stayed and the others went back to Detroit. This Pastor said that not having ever been outside of Detroit and the Black community, He was able to put to practice what he learned and feel comfortable in new surroundings. And this happened when he joined the Navy as well. He lives in Bel! aire, CA now, an upscale area of Los Angeles. If the parents and teachers start saying NO to the prescription drugging of children to 'handle their behavior' then a program like this might have a chance of working. And being able to differentiate between the brain and the mind would make it even more successful. "
01/30/2012:
"Great article...excellent book for classroom and home. "
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