Parent-child Trust Building for Parents of Young Children
Sometimes children are our best teachers when it comes to raising them to understand the value of trust and emotional intelligence. Karen Stone is a Six Seconds Certified EQ practitioner and founder of Softstone, Inc., a company committed to the emotional well-being of children. She wants to get this across in everything she does. Karen was bullied as a child at school and at home and realized that her unhappiness and bad choices came from her childhood. Her love for children inspired her to create a set of popular educational toys and an EQ curriculum for K-3 children to help them develop EQ. Her main toy/character is a seven pointed star named CJ for Creator of Joy. Darren, who died of cancer at aged 40, continues to inspire her to make the world emotionally safer for children.
As an adult, Karen began to come to terms with the emotional scars from childhood. At first she did not trust herself or others, but a long quest for personal understanding and learning about emotional intelligence led her to Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence, and eventually to Six Seconds. Karen spoke with me about her journey.
“My life had begun to fall apart and I began to want answers about why. I started a spiritual journey, did workshops nonstop, and I came up with these seven things that resonated through all the reading, so CJ became seven points.”
Many of Karen’s CJ points are related to Six Seconds Know, Choose, Give Model and competencies and we have put them in parentheses for emphasis.
- Positive self-talk (Know Yourself)
- We choose everything (Choose Yourself)
- Service builds feelings of worth (Give Yourself)
- Affirmations help to quiet the mind (Exercise Optimism)
- Forgiveness and accountability (This builds trust in yourself and others)
- We are all one and playing sustains hope (Empathy and Optimism)
- Gratitude takes us from victim to empowerment (Optimism)
“The seven voices were created out of the behaviors and skills that are set up to stimulate the emotional brain when it’s in its fastest growth period in early childhood.
I would encourage parents once their children have learned CJ’s seven voices to build trust and their awareness by saying, as their children leave the house for school, ‘Don’t forget to be a CJ, a creator of joy!’, and when they get back parents can ask, ‘How were you a creator of joy?’ Children can say they were grateful for their buddies, or they gave gifts of love, that kind of thing. It stimulates quality conversation at the dinner table about sharing kind voices, choosing happy thoughts, being a great helper and being grateful, etc.”
How did you encounter Six Seconds and how does it relate to CJ?
“I was following Six Seconds for a long time. I decided it’s important to learn the community. I went to an EQ Café in New York and met Susan Stillman, Director of Education (link to bio). I wanted to learn how Six Seconds approaches EQ and young children. I use Six Seconds all the time. I use the six seconds pause (link) to change my frame of mind.”
“Trust is built relationally. You can’t build trust through technology. I build trust through service. Children need to learn to help each other, to assist each other. I have a whole program about how to do a great job as a helper. For the teacher, I have a “helper wheel” with all the classroom jobs that spins so each child gets to do every job and a circle of thanks day each week so they can be thanked for doing a good job.
Trust is built by making mistakes in an emotionally safe environment, being able to overcome them, and feeling good about trusting themselves to be a great helper. Being able to connect through helping is also a great way to build confidence and learn how to delay gratification by meeting others needs before your own.
There was very little communication in my home about emotions, other than to learn what wasn’t right about me. So, I didn’t trust myself.
The most important thing is to teach children how to trust themselves.
I also think parents don’t trust themselves. I think that communication is the key to building trust, and that’s what we need to drive home to parents. You’ve got to talk to your children, play with your children, all of that builds trust. They have to know that they can depend on you, and you’re going to be there when they need you.
The key to trust is to be in relation to one another and to provide certain support to each other, it goes both ways. Parents and kids are a community, and they need to help each other move through this world, and that is not easy.”
“That’s kind of a full circle. Parents model behavior. Children learn from their parents. And if I had learned from mine, I would have been the biggest bully of all. I internalized it instead, and I blamed myself. Instead, parents can learn to build emotional intelligence, empathy, trust, accountability, self-confidence, and make children feel valuable. If they do, children will know what to do when the times comes. They will be able to creatively figure out what to do.
Parents are not going to be there with their children every day.
We have to build a kinder, more loving world. If we can start with our little ones, we can do that.
Children are so vulnerable they need to understand their own loveability.Once I learned who I was and that I was full of goodness, I solved my own problems. I had a strong foundation. Children need to know there is a support system.”
Any final thoughts on trust that parents can take home with them?
Trust that if they’re kind, kindness will come back. They will find it in others.
They need to model it wherever they go. We’ll spread it around the world.
From Karen’s website: http://eqforchildren.com/emotional-intelligence/
“Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a direct result of learning the skills that promote managing one’s emotions and thinking in a positive framework. Working as a family or in the classroom with different personalities is significantly easier when we have an understanding of the language of feelings and emotions and how to manage them effectively. Becoming an emotionally intelligent family or classroom secures an emotionally safe environment that promotes growth and learning.”