Posts

Setting Limits Can Be Painful

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One day my 9-year-old daughter called me at my office to tell me that she had left her lunch money at home again and needed me to bring it to her. This typical forgetfulness by my children was quite annoying but something I thought I was supposed to resolve as a father.  On my ride to the school, I couldn’t help but think about the inconvenience.  More importantly, I suddenly became concerned about how responsible my daughter would eventually be as an adult if I was constantly remembering for her or rescuing her.

That evening, I gathered my three children for an impromptu family meeting to discuss a few changes that would take effect immediately.  I announced that from now on, they were solely responsible for remembering to bring with them any items they needed for school that day — lunch money, homework, and school projects.  I advised them that unless it was required for health and safety reasons, I was no longer willing to run home and retrieve what they left behind.  My responsibil…

Handling an Ungrateful and Complaining Child

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The child comes home after a sleep over and her mother has this fantasy that her daughter is going to come running in, wrap her arms around her mom and say, “I’m so happy to see you mom, I missed you. Let’s spend some quality time together.”

But instead of the scene she imagined, her daughter declares that she’s bored and begins complaining about all the things she doesn’t have that her friend has. Mom does her best to ignore it until the thoughts of how ungrateful her child is and memories of all the money and time she’s spent on her becomes too much.

What happens next is the last thing she wanted to have happen, but it does. Mom yells and her daughter yells back. Before too long, the day is wrecked, she sends her daughter to her room and their relationship is strained. And this all transpired because she gave her daughter permission to sleep over a friend’s house for the first time in a long time.

So let’s give mom some skills for her to practice and some knowledge that might help …

The Latest with Cooperative Kids

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Those of you who follow my blog might be wondering what happened to me, since my last post was in June of 2016. A parent who attended one of parenting classes even called me this past week to find out when the next class was being held and asked for some advice for her sister struggling with two preteens.
What happened was an adventure I set out on with the goal to fund phase two of the research project to create the evidence base I need for the Love, Limits & Lessons parenting class that many school systems are waiting for. The result was a training course I developed for workforce development youth workers around the country.
Today, I'm finally back at my desk, preparing to teach my parenting course locally to struggling parents and also, giving abused or neglected children and teens a second chance at the Florida Sheriff's YouthVilla. Working with foster children can be a real challenge and in many ways, dealing with challenges different from those who have stable homes a…

When Family Moments Don't Go As Planned

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I’m pleased to share the news that my fourth grandchild, Ashton John, was born last week. We arrived at the hospital just after he was born, and because both mother and son were doing great, we all got to meet and hold Ashton and welcome him to the family. After a while, the only person left to be introduced to Ashton was his sister Coraline, my 18-month-old granddaughter.

Coraline had already heard a lot about her baby brother. For months, her mom had been pointing to her belly and saying "This is your brother." If someone asked Coraline where her brother was, she would immediately point to her mom’s belly. And now it was time for her to meet him in person, so her dad brought her into the room.

She was very quiet as she cautiously walked over to the bed. She stopped and stared. After some encouragement, she climbed up onto the bed next to her mom and gently placed her small hand on her new brother. She even began to caress him and smile.

All of a sudden, the baby started to cr…

Avoiding Tantrums at the Store

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Do your kids drive you crazy asking you to buy them things while you're at the store with them? They start by asking for something they see, but as soon as you say "no" they begin to escalate the situation with pleading, demanding, and sometimes an all out temper tantrum. You try not to over react, but it seems like the only way to get them to stop is to give in and buy them what they wanted, yell at them to stop bugging you, or threaten them with punishment when you get to the car or home. 
By the time you leave the store, you are not a happy camper. On top of that, none of those solutions works very well. The problem with using threats is that what worked today may not work tomorrow. Giving in to your children's demands is even worse because it teaches them that making demands works, and then demanding becomes their go-to solution for getting what they want.
Try this tip the next time you head to the store with the kids. Before you get out of the car in the store&…

Why Parents Shouldn't Punish Their Children

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Punishment is a tool designed to make a child "pay for what they did" and to feel bad about the way they acted. The belief is that the bad feeling will stick with them and motivate them to not repeat the behavior or action.
But punishment has side effects that can create more problems for the parent then they originally had. For example, making a child feel bad can backfire and motivate them to hide and lie about their mistakes. It can also damage the parent/child relationship.
Think back to your own childhood and remember a time when you were punished. How did you feel? How did you feel about yourself at that moment? What did you want to do as a result of the punishment? How did you feel toward the punisher?

I've asked these questions numerous times in my workshops and not once did any adult say they felt good about anything in that moment. We now know that making a child feel bad about what they did affects the way they think and feel about them self.
You wouldn't buy …

7 Things Every Child of Divorce Needs

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PARENTS WHO LISTEN MORE AND SPEAK LESS. A child's emotions, thoughts, and behavior may be unstable during this difficult time. They need to be able to express how they feel without their emotions begin stuffed. Some of the things they say may be difficult for the parent to hear, so don't dismiss or minimize what is said or how they feel.

REGULAR ACCESS TO GRANDPARENTS. Relationships with your extended family may be difficult for you, but the kids still need them. Determine what access grandparents and other extended family members will have to your children and remain open to the fact that these adults can be very helpful during this difficult time. It can often times be easier for children to express their feelings to grandparents and others.

PARENTS WILLING TO TAKE A PARENTING CLASS. I'm
not talking about the inexpensive divorce class that most states require all divorcing parents to go through, I'm talking about a multi-session parenting class in which parents learn a…