The Reality Formula For Kids is indeed unique among the plethora of models out there for kids. But what exactly makes it so much more effective than what's out there already?
To us, and to those who have experienced The Reality Formula For Kids the differences are blatantly obvious because we have seen the simple effectiveness of it firsthand – in our own families, and in the hundreds of other families with whom we have shared it. Others notice the difference in the way our children interact with the world around them and ask us about it. “How do you get your kids to cooperate so easily? they ask? “Your children are so bright, inquisitive, and yet respectful and kind? Tell me your secret!” they comment. They notice how responsive, creative, and self-responsible, our remarkable children are. The results of this model applied wow parents and teachers who are willing to practice and apply the guidelines laid out step by step in this model.
We believe we have discovered the steps towards creating healthy, happy kids … and we have been successfully sharing these steps with parents, educators, or professional healthcare providers of all kinds for several years.
Most simply summarized, we call them:
The Seven Steps to a Happy Kid©
1. Observe our thoughts and notice that it is our thoughts that determine our feelings, whether they are happy thoughts or unhappy ones.
2. Practice accepting Reality as being the “what is” that resistance cannot change. We cannot control or eliminate it, but we can choose how to think about it.
3. Choose to befriend Reality and harvest happy feelings, or to fight against it, and become an Unhappy Kid. It's our choice.
4. Choose happier thoughts to replace the unhappy ones.
5. Be kind to others. Remember when we mistreat others, we feel bad, and they do too.
6. Own our part In every encounter. When we learn from our mistakes we grow.
7. Be respectful to others. Stay clear on what is our business and what is not.
We begin to see a major difference between The Reality Formula For Kids and other approaches to conflict resolution in the first Step listed above. The Reality Formula for Kids emphasizes the way kids think as being the true cause of their unhappiness! Rather than blame outside circumstances, the key to happiness is placed in the hands of the kids themselves, rather than what others say or do, or the external circumstances they may find themselves in. This step alone takes the focus off that which they cannot control (external events), and gives each child the ability to achieve peace of mind regardless of what else may be going on in their life.
The Reality Formula for Kids is a blame-free approach. Children from ages 4 and up are taught how to take responsibility for their own thinking and the reactions that come out from that thinking. Instead of finger-pointing, the focus is put on helping kids to discover and explore ways to move themselves towards happiness.
When we remove blame, shame goes out with it. Often we have witnessed children who bully others, step forward, without fear of shame, and take responsibility for their behavior. They own it openly … why? Because there is no punitive attitude, no shaming them or calling them bad kids. Of course, there ARE consequences that result from the choices they made. That’s Reality. But consequences are not punitive, but aimed instead to correct and teach kids healthier options for better outcomes.
The Reality Formula For Kids teaches that there are NO bad kids – only unhappy ones, who act in painful ways, because they believe the unhappy thoughts they think. Learning that it is what they think, not who they are that determines their reactions, helps children stop seeing themselves and others as being bad. The Unhappy Kid Triangle, one of the primary tools of the Reality Formula For Kids, demonstrates visually that kids, once on that triangle, will automatically move all the way around it … Those who bully others, points out the triangle, sooner or later get bullied. Even those who are the helpless victim, takes a turn as a bully somewhere along the line – perhaps by trying to get the bully into trouble in their effort to protect themselves, not realizing that in doing so, they invite more bullying. And those who intervene in the effort to rescue the victim from the bully, most often do so by bullying the bully to protect the victim, only to find themselves feeling victimized. This is the Unhappy Kid Triangle (known as the victim triangle in adult vocabulary) at work. It's a perpetual and vicious cycle that plays out in our families, in our classrooms, and in every room, everywhere, all the time. And most of us have no clue that there is any other way to interact! No wonder we are often so unhappy! We are living our lives on that painful triangle – and our children are on it with us.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
The Reality Formula™ uses Reality as a primary reinforcer for winning the cooperation of kids. Reality is just the way life is … and we teach children how to recognize it as a helpful guide, rather than as the enemy. After all, everyone is happier when they accept Reality, right? YES! Simply because we can never fight Reality and win. We will come away bruised and embittered every time we try to defeat it.
The Reality Formula For Kids brings children into a state of willing acceptance of the way things are. In essence, children learn how to make peace with Reality by learning how to work with it, instead of constantly fighting against it. Care-givers learn how to set boundaries with kids that are based on Reality, and so provide the perimeters needed for a safe, harmonious environment.
Through The Reality Formula For Kids, kids learn that we all sometimes play the bully role, and that doesn't make us bad – simply someone who is thinking unhappy thoughts that drive unhappy feelings and resort in hurtful behavior. They also come to see that the victim can also bully … And those who try to rescue run the risk of looking like nosy, bossy helpers, that invites bully behavior aimed at them! The good news is that there ARE happier roles possible on the Happy Kid Mat©. There is another triangle that offers happier options, but most of us do not know there is any other way. Teaching the model to kids is the best way to learn it for ourselves!