6 Tips to Avoid the Most Common Parenting Mistakes

Blame the parenting gurus if you are confused about about praise,  natural consequences, and the uses and abuses of punishment.  These tips should help.

6 Parenting tips

Parenting tip one: Stop treating children like adults.  Keep the following in mind when teaching children to obey reasonable rules. 

  1. Pre-school kids live very much in the moment. So if you yell “No”  or even spank that moment is bad; but if quickly followed by a hug and the words  “Good going” that moment is good, and so on and so on.
  2. Pre-school kids do not code reality well. Which is why adults have to keep the little one’s safe. Example, a kid wearing a super man cape who thinks s/he can fly down a flight of stairs and not get hurt.  How to help: Start early on to label things as “Make-believe” or “Fun Fantasy.” Do this with Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. The kids will not understand and the fun will go on, but you are at the same time teaching a child to figure our what is real and what is not.
  3. Thomas Phenlan’s One, Two, Three, Magic. works best when rules are being broken.
  4. Once a child can read concrete rewards for good behaviors (token system)  is useful.  Not getting a reward becomes a punishment.  Kids Making Change explains token systems so all can understand.
  5. Teens are designed to question the rules of adults. Moreover, when with peers, the best good kid can be lead astray by those breaking rules.  What helps? Being forced early on to obey reasonable rules. Then as the teen years approach allowing your children to spread their wings and learn from life. This is when the advice of the communication experts starting with Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effective Training works best. 
  6. All kids of all ages and that includes many adults needto beforceably stopped when engaged in behavior that hurts physically or is immediately dangerous.  That is when the STOP Plan works well.

The Stop Plan

Parenting tip two: keep rules simple. That is the purpose of linking all rules to the word “Respect.” The younger the child, the more some things need to be drummed into his or her little head.  To paraphrase the song: “You’ve got to taught before you are six or seven or eight not to do the things your parents hate.”

Parenting tip three: Model what you want. Most parents don’t, but for the big rules you must and you must so consistently.

Parenting tip four: Talk less and act more. The communication experts have made talking and explaining a fetish. You zone out when talked at, and so do your kids.  That is why  1-2-3 Magic  works. Three word and you take action.

Parenting tip five: Make sure the child knows the punishment for breaking a rule when being punished what rule was broken.  Amazed me as a foster parent that when asked what rule had been broken necessitating a punishment, many teens confessed to a host of other sins, but not the one I was punishing them for.  Enlightening and eventually lead to this  CARE Plan.

The CARE Plan

Parenting tip six: Reward more than punish.  Think for a minute about how often a small child hears “No.” No is important for children to hear,  but children also need to hear what they are doing well.  Why  once the “No” is obeyed, “Thank You” or “Good listening”  needs to follow and  along with a hug for the young ones and a happy face for teens.

There are other ways to make the good times rock more often than the necessary negatives.  Special times, just because I love you gifts, well placed praise, family fun and games are just a few.

More tips from the Parenting Gurus I trust: Jean Tracy  who is a fellow graduate of the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. This link takes you to her videos. I am jealous of her talents, amazed by every post of hers I read,  and grateful she is a friend.

Kenneth Blanchard and his One Minute Manager – meant for the busienss world but excellent advice for parents and a very quick read.

Hiam Ginott –  he started the emphasis on communication, but did not think it solved all problems.

Supper Nanny Jo Frost She does family meetings, rule setting, rule enforcement and time outs  perfectly.

Adam Katz – Dog trainer.  Dog trainers get punishment and reward better than most parenting gurus. Adam Katz is my favority on-line dog trainer. In this link he talked about how the Hippie generation – almost me – has messed up dog training. I cringe everytime I see Dogs pulling their owners around in the park instead of the owners being in control.

I often link my posts to the WordPress Daily Prompt.  Today’s suggested:  Don’t You Forget About Me – Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

I discuss this in my eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your  Goals. I think every parent’s mission, should be to be remembered as tough and loving.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.



These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Give Your Child An Emotional Life Saver – A Pet

A WordPress Daily Prompt asked “What was your favorite plaything as a child?” Mine was not a thing, mine was my dog. Lady was her name. Picture of a dog

I was a shy and lonely child with few friends. Then my mother decided the family needed a dog. She found Lady at the local pound. I found a best friend and was never lonely again.

The post also asked how your childhood play thing remained part of your adult life. I have never been without a pet since Lady became mine.  Most recently, as aging has deadened my hearing, I have become an advocate of service dogs.

Here’s mine:punky

As we were exploring getting a service dog I discovered many were scamming people looking for Service Dogs. For example, I was told by one trainer, he would need 50 hours at $50 an hour to train one for us. Nonsense. Not for a Hearing Assisted fog.

I also discovered, I could buy a badge saying my dog was a service dog on the internet for a whole lot less. Many people do that so they can travel free with their non-service dog. Not honest and a threat to those who really need a service dog. .

Here’s the down and dirty. For seeing eye dogs it does take hours of training. The same for Guard Dogs. But all I and most people need to claim their dog is a Service Dog is a Doctor’s note saying one is needed and way.

That did not satisfy me.   A bit too loose. A well-trained service dog starts by being well-trained and then being socialized to be in public with the best of manners. He or she should also be trained to do three things the person cannot do on their own.

There are service dogs do amazing things. Most of you know about Service Dogs for the Blind, but there are numerous others. The ten most common are Hearing Assistant, Diabetic or Seizure Alert Dogs, Mobility Assistant Dogs and that include Large Dogs trained to help a person’s balance. Mental Health Assistant dogs can be trained to soothe and calm panic attacks and to disrupt impulsive agressive behaviors.  Some also speacialize in helping socialize children.

Lady was not certified, but she moved me away from my shyness, and out into the world.

parenting tips

Parenting tip one: Read this Wiki How  to learn more about service dogs and how to train one.

Parenting tip two. Get your dog from a shelter. Some breeders are scamming the public by charging more than is reasonable by claiming their dogs are bred to be service dogs. Going to a shelter rescues a dog and the people at the shelter will help you find a dog with a temperament suitable for Service Dog Training.

An added bonus – Shelter dogs are already trained and often neutered. We got our Punky as a rescue dog and he was house broken, trained to sit, stay, come, fetch, and heel. He also had all his shots and was neutered.

Parenting tip three: Don’t get a puppy.  Look for a dog between nine months and two years.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.



These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Smell Smoke? Don’t Panic, Have a Plan – 3 Parenting Tips

Senses warn of danger. However, smelling smoke in the middle of the night  should activate a plan, not panic.  A laugh first:

Savage Chicken CartoonWhy this post? Because the WordPress Daily Prompt suggested this: Smell You Later – Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

If you remember my recent post on Four Rules to the Good Life? Respect for self, others, and property headed the list. The First Commandment related to respect? Safety.

The smell of smoke in the middle of the night should transport you and yours to safety. The best chances of that happening? Thinking ahead and doing the following.

Parenting tip one:  Actively teach your kids to respect fire.  Know of at least one first in a house started by a five year old playing with matches in a closet.  His parents had just said “Danger” when lighting a fire. Not enough.  Our kids started helping light candles at the age of three, helping build and light camp fires at the same age. Learning to cook on a gas stove helped a bit.

Parenting tip two: Have fire drills.  Here is a Kids Health article all about fire safety.  The down and dirty – teach kids not to open a closed door when the fire alarm goes off or they smell smoke.  The fire  might rush in after them. The younger the child the more likely s/he will want to run to you.   Establish where the child is to wait for you to come to his or her room. By the age of six or seven, children can  be taught to use an alternative exit if smoke starts to come into their room and you have not come to them. Then drill all of the above into their little heads.

Parenting tips: You and your child need strong self-soothing skills to stay calm in any emergency. So yes, here’s a call to buy my eBook Self Soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. 

As I always note, my eBooks cost less than a latte and last longer and are healthier.

Emotional intelligence aka emotional fitness is about staying calm so you can think wisely.  Her’s  a quick introduction to the 12 Daily Easy exercises. 

Here is a video  by Daniel Goleman about teaching children to self-sooth.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.



These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.


5 Tips for Leading Your Cubs to the Good Life

Like it or not, if you are a parent, you are the leader of a pack. You owe it to your children to know the how the best leaders lead. First a laugh.


TY Doug for giving me a laugh, something to think about, and something to share.

Did you laugh? Then you know the drill about being asked for feedback and then being keel-hauled.  Bad leadership. Very bad leadership. What to do? These tips and the books mentioned offer the best leadership advice for parents.

Parenting tip one: Learn the difference between abuse and punishment.  I have worked in the Child Welfare field. I know the difference, Many people do not.

What is report-able abuse? Physical abuse involves inflicting harm on a child that leaves marks. Even then there are degrees of abuse. A hard slap leaves a red mark, so that is abuse; but when reported, circumstances may make it unfounded. Why? The mark has usually faded by the time the child protective worker visits. If the slap occurs in public however, and the police are involved quickly, then it may result in what is called founded abuse. The parents will have to go to court and prove their are not abusive.

Spankings are not abuse. Only when a spanking is really a beating that leaves marks  it is abuse. This runs counter to much of the ranting by many parenting gurus, but most spankings do not leave marks and are the sign of frustrated parenting.

Emotional abuse is a bit more complicated and much harder to prove.  Briefly it is  commonly defined as  behavior by parents or caregivers that keeps a child from growing normally. It includes: ignoring, rejecting, isolating the child, corrupting the child. verbally assaulting, terrorizing, neglecting the child’s education,  health or mental health.

Parenting tip two: Remember as Gregory Bateson noted: “Communication is response. ” 

Try this memory exercise; it will explain Bateson’s idea.  Think back to your childhood? Find the times you knew you had better behave or else.  The look from my mother came first and when not heeded, an angry word attack.  Others have reported

  • “Pointing at the closet where the strap hung.”
  •  “A raised hand.”
  •  “My full name.”
  • “Grabbing my shoulder and pinching.”
  • “A mean laugh.”
  • “The words, “Cruising for a bruising?

Effective punishments results in changed behavior. All the punishments are effective, when the unwanted behavior stops.

Parenting tip three:  Remember the three things make punishment less effective:

  1. The child cannot do what he or she is being asked to do. Why age and stage matter, not just physical age, but also chronological or mental age.
  2. The child’s temperament varies the response. A sensitive child may need only “The Look” to obey; a bold child may need much more before he responds positively to a punishment
  3. The child has become habituated to the punishment. We get used to almost anything. Have you heard about the frog put in a pan of cold water that eventually becomes so hot the frog dies?  The more often a certain punishment is used, the less it works. Why it is good to mix things up.

Parenting tip four: These books should be read by all parents.

  1. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard – A quick read that covers all the basics needed to be a great leader.
  2. Parents Are People Too by Katherine Gordy Levine – My emotional fitness program for parents. You need to stay calm and in control of your emotions is you are going to put Blanchard’s advice into practice.  You can get a used copy for a penny plus shipping or an eBook copy. I think it is a book to keep around and dip into off and on as your child is growing.  I wrote it after realizing as a foster mother providing short-term care to troubled teens that if I didn’t control my feelings it was useless to expect my kids to control theirs.
  3. These three books relate to Age and Stage:
  4. This link takes you to  books and videos by Jean Tracy  She is my favorite modern-day parenting guru and  provides sound problem solving approaches for the many problems and dilemmas facing most parents. Follow her blog.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.


Word Press’ DAILY PROMPT inspired this post with this question. Dear Leader: If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing this year, what would you like that to be?

Train all parents in the above leadership skills.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.