Parenting, teaching technique can bring positive changes to negative behaviorsFARGO - Tanya Fraizer’s 5-year-old daughter, Carly gets the concept of resetting. One day she approached her parents as they were having a slightly heated discussion, and said, “Mom and dad, just reset.” Everyone resets at the Fraizer house.
By: Merrie Sue Holtan, SheSays contributor, INFORUM
If you go
What: Tanya’s upcoming five-week coaching sessions
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., starting Tuesday (April 17)
Where: Old Chicago, 2551 45th St. S., Fargo
For more information on free workshops and full-day sessions, visit www.HeartToHeartConsulting.com.
FARGO - Tanya Fraizer’s 5-year-old daughter, Carly gets the concept of resetting.
One day she approached her parents as they were having a slightly heated discussion, and said, “Mom and dad, just reset.” Everyone resets at the Fraizer house.
Carly comes by the jargon naturally as it’s part of the jargon she’s used to hearing from her mom. Tanya is a full-time certified trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach, a parenting and teaching technique that uses positive reinforcement and was created by Howard Glasser of Tucson, Ariz.
Tanya owns Heart to Heart Consulting, which provides coaching, classes, training and speaking on the approach. Recently, she became the director of outreach and public relations for the Children’s Success Foundation, the national nonprofit organization that supports the mission of Nurtured Heart.
Nurtured Heart founder, Glasser, appreciates Tanya’s energy. “She is an amazing woman with an amazing purpose in her life. She jumped right into the leadership role,” he says.
In 1994, Glasser felt his therapy practice was not working. His classical psychological training and his gift of intuition led him to develop Nurtured Heart Approach to transform especially difficult child behavior from the inside out.
“I could feel the response start to grow,” he says. “It surprised me how it took off, especially after adding the idea of radical appreciation of greatness in children.”
Watering weeds or seeds?
A native of Cold Spring, Minn., Tanya graduated from Concordia College with an elementary education degree. She taught in early childhood education, and then found her niche as a parent educator, working at Cass County Social Services working with parents with children in foster care.
Not quite satisfied with traditional methods, she searched for a new approach to educating parents and finally found it with the Nurtured Heart Approach.
Tanya explains that this approach is a socio-emotional strategy used to strengthen families, couples, schools, organizations, businesses and individuals by the intentional direction of positive emotional energy.
Thousands around the world have learned to utilize the program’s skills and have seen a shifting of intense energy into creative and constructive behavior, flourishing beyond normal expectations, she says.
Tanya’s class series for parents, teachers, grandparents and individuals runs for five weeks, for a total of about 10 hours of instruction plus a private coaching session as a follow-up.
“These sessions are not a judgment zone, not a place for blame, not a place to be the perfect parent with perfect children,” she says. “Rather it is a place for revisioning the idea of parenting and relationships. You don’t want to wait until a crisis to learn the approach, though it is never too late to start.
“Nurtured Heart is a new way of thinking, where you learn to watch for success, to watch for greatness in your child. If you are only feeding negative decisions, that is what you get more of. It’s like watering the weeds and becoming a weed gardener instead of watering the seeds and growing flowers.”
It seems to be working with Carly, the wise preschool Yoda, who told her mom specifically how she had shown her greatness that day by her generosity to other pre-schoolers.
Carly, according to her mom, is by no means the “perfect child,” but the couple tries to discipline from compassion and the heart. She has well-defined rules, yet is forgiven quickly after rules are broken as she “resets” herself back to acceptable behavior.
Theresa Hest, a Minnesota State University Moorhead communication studies professor who teaches Family Communication, believes that language defines our identities and relationships.
“Words are weapons, and often our first response is negative or judgmental when someone does something we don’t like,” Hest says. “Because a child’s understanding of self is shaped by his or her interactions with others, only sending negative messages makes the situation worse. It is vital to address inappropriate behaviors, but we can send positive and accurate messages.”
The three stands
The Nurtured Heart approach builds its philosophy on three “stands.”
• Stand 1: Refuse to be drawn into accidentally energizing or rewarding negativity. Don’t throw fuel on the fire.
• Stand 2: Purposefully, strategically, and specifically energize and nurture success. Like saying, “I noticed that you were not using your hands to hit when you argued with your brother... that takes real maturity and power.”
• Stand 3: Set clear limits, energetically enforced with consistency. “Be absolutely clear,” Tanya says, “about where the ‘no’ is. Applaud the success of rules not broken, and reset behavior when the rules are broken.”
The approach also emphasizes developing inner wealth, a higher level of inner strength essential for children to handle growing levels of stress and pressure. The child is moved to invest energy and intelligence in great choices, even in the face of adversity.
Kelli Bourke, a special education strategist at Fargo’s Hawthorne Elementary, has been trained in the Nurtured Heart approach with Tanya as a classroom coach.
“Tanya really believes in this,” Bourke says. “She is so much fun, and pitches in to help in my classroom when I give her that ‘help me’ look. I’m changing my language with students, saying things like, ‘you are really showing good self control.’ ”
Preliminary studies show that Nurtured Heart is an effective tool for successfully placing foster children, reducing medication with conditions associated with ADHD and in reducing recidivism among juvenile offenders.
Some Nurtured Heart critics feel that the approach is “too nice” or “too soft.”
“We’re not living in a world of rainbows and butterflies,” Tanya says. “This is a disciplined and specific practice, where the expectations are high, the consequences clear, and hard work brings about enhanced relationship and a reduction in a child’s need to misbehave in order to be seen.”
Merrie Sue Holtan is a regular contributor to SheSays. She lives near Perham, Minn.