It’s not easy being on the leading edge

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Ever since you became a parent, you question everything. You worry that you will be a failure and mess your kids up. You wonder if you are parenting the “right” way. Even if you feel like you aren’t making any progress, if you are choosing to pave your own path rather than do what’s always been done, you are a progressive parent.

You have the hindsight and foresight not to repeat unhealthy patterns that have been passed down for generations. You know what didn’t work for you and you don’t want to make the same mistakes with your kids. The…

It’s the root of all your problems…

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I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it was early. That moment when you went from being an innocent baby to an imperfect “work in progress”. As a newborn, when you cried, no one would dare suggest that you were broken. There was a reason for your tears. You might have been hungry, tired or in pain, but of course, you were innocent. It would be ludicrous to suggest otherwise.

You grew and learn to walk and talk without having to be motivated or explicitly taught anything. It was just allowed to happen naturally. You were not corrected when…

Thinking it can has lead us into battle with ourselves and our kids

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It’s funny that even though we have all been human for our whole lives, very few of us understand what really drives human behavior. I’ve been alive for over 40 years and I feel like I am only beginning to crack the code.

I’ve always been obsessed with understanding what make us tick and being a teacher has given me the perfect laboratory to study this first hand. I’ve spent years puzzled, and what threw me off for a long time was the common misconception that “good” behavior must be consciously taught and externally motivated.

Most of us believe that…

The dangers of this overgeneralized term

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Lately, I’ve been pondering what true personality really is. For a term we use so liberally to describe something as important as who someone is, do we actually understand it?

Wikipedia was not much help. In fact, according to Wikipedia, there is “no generally agreed-upon definition of personality” (source link). Although many of the definitions I found were quite different, the common theme was that personality is considered a stable quality, as opposed to emotions which can fluctuate moment by moment.

Most sources define personality as a mixture of a variety of elements such as habits, temperament, attitudes, beliefs, opinions…

You may have lost the battle, but here’s how you win the war!

Image by Anna Ventura from Pixabay

In the last few days, I’ve had a few intense standoffs with some of my students where I chose to back down and let it go. When we “give in” to a child, it’s often viewed as weak or even irresponsible…

But by me letting go of my need for them to do what I was asking or admit their mistake, it brought their defences down enough that I was able to get to the heart of what was going on. It wasn’t really about what it was about. It almost never is.

Sometimes we need to let things go…

And here’s why I refuse to change

“You’re not being consistent enough”!

“He behaves that way because he knows he can get away with it.”

“It’s not fair to the other kids that she is getting special treatment.”

As a teacher, I know I’m regularly judged for being unfair and inconsistent with kids. This is one of the worst things to be accused of. It comes with the presumptions that you are incompetent, lazy, and weak. If you are a parent or educator, perhaps you’ve been judge for this as well.

The rules of consistency and fairness have been so grilled into us that few would…

And that’s when something unexpected happened!

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He was the textbook definition of a bully. One by one little kids were coming up to me with the same story.

“Adam is scaring me!”

“He keeps grabbing and pinching me!”

“I told him to stop and he just keeps hurting me!”

I was visiting this Kindergarten class just for the day, so I did not know much about Adam other than what his teacher had told me in the morning. He was always picking on the other kids and would almost always do the opposite of what he was told. The school staff had tried numerous strategies…

This is a bold claim, but hear me out!

Watch the video version of this article here.

I’ve spent the last 2 decades in the most ideal laboratory for studying human behavior.

A classroom.

At first, I did what any teacher does. I shared my wisdom and knowledge. I taught them “right” from “wrong”. I managed their behaviors with rules, rewards, consequences, and praise.

This seemed to work for most kids, but there were always a few that would not comply to these conditions. …

How demanding compliance from kids thwarts true cooperation

Compliance: The state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards. (Oxford Dictionary)

Cooperation: The action or process of working together to the same end (Oxford Dictionary)

How many parenting and teaching methods, techniques and strategies are there out there that claim to magically get kids to cooperate? The answer? Too many…

I think I’ve tried them all in my teaching career and spent years wondering why they weren’t working as magically as they were supposed to. …

They need us to free ourselves

Image by Bessi from Pixabay

There are so many opinions out there on how to parent the “right” way. As an educator, I have lots of ideas too about what we can do differently to up-level the experience for the next generation.

It’s so important for us to challenge our old ideas and strive to do better. But when we are bombarded with so many idealistic approaches to parenting, we may begin to think that what we are striving for is perfection.

Our perfection is the last thing kids need. In fact, what they need most is for us to free ourselves from our need…

Sheila Sims

Public School Teacher working to shift the paradigm for how we raise and educate kids. Access support for families and educators at

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