Tag Archives: adoptive parents

The STOP Plan – A Giant Tool for Eliminating A ChildBad Behavior

The Stop Plan

Parents need lots of tools when it comes to controlling negative behavior, for as Abraham Maslo noted, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

Sometimes, behavior is so unacceptable, it must be stopped immediately.  The STOP plan is designed for those times.  Use the STOP plan when someone is :

  • In danger or putting others in danger.
  • Hurting another including pets
  • Breaking the law
  • Destroying valuable property.
  • Bullying
  • Doing something others would find disgusting.
  • Stepping on your last nerve as a parent or care-giver.

Parents and care-givers have limits.  The experts talk a great deal about boundaries, but mostly in terms of parents not violating a child’s boundary.  Parental and care-giver boundaries also need protecting, and so “Stepping on someone’s last nerve” is included in the mix of unacceptable behaviors.

Here is how to use STOP:

  • S = Say the word stop. Say it loud, even angrily.
  • T = Tell the person what to stop.
  • O = Offer an alternative more positive behavior.
  • P = Physically forcing compliance if necessary, but add a positive even if obeying had to be forced.  Physically forcing compliance if the child does not comply with your command means using you hands.

More examples of the Stop Plan

  • STOP running toward the street, run to me instead.
  • STOP hurting your sister, go to your room and calm down.
  • STOP pulling the dog’s ears, pet her instead
  • STOP crossing the street when the light is red; obey the law.
  • STOP pounding the wall, go to your room and pound your pillow
  • STOP bullying your brother, apologize or go to your room.
  • STOP spitting on the ground, use a tissue instead.
  • STOP making me crazy with that noise,  go outside to play before I really flip out.

Stay In Control 

Behavior that makes it necessary to use the STOP plan usually finds a parent angry, afraid, or super stressed. Having strong self-soothing skills dampens those reactions, so you can enforce the STOP Plan more calmly and easily.

To strengthen your self-soothing skills: buy my eBook Creat Calm in Your Life. Costs  only $2.99 which is less than a latte.

Two Warnings

  1. Use physical force carefully. With the preschooler, just sweeping them up in your arms and giving a gentle hug works. With an older child, try a  hand on their shoulder. With a teen who is bigger and stronger, you may need a second person to help get compliance.
  2. Do not over use this plan. Lots of other tools work better and over use of any tool diminishes its effectiveness.

Thank you for all you do

Remember to share all you find of value on the internet.  All who post crave recognition. A like says “Thank You.” Comments say you have read and thought about the post. Sharing is a gift to three people: the blogger, the people you share with, and you for your kindness blesses you.

Katherine

Post Inspiration: This post inspired  by the  WordPress Daily  Prompt: Giant.

Go here to learn more about the Daily Prompts.

Links of Interest

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

Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much.  Take their advice and mine carefully.  Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart.  Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others.  As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.

Disclaimer two: Forgive my grammatical errors

If  you need perfect posts, you will not find them  here;  I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what  like me.  Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability,  Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense.  If  you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.

How to Strengthen The Ability to Deal With Sorrow

The parenting and motivational gurus push happiness. Not always good. However, good memories matter.

Good memories strengthen your #emotionalintelligence.

Turn a good memory into an Emotional Fitness Exercise. Breathe in, focus, breathe out, smile and say “Thank you.”

EMOtional Fitness Thoughts

My earliest good memory. Sitting in the sun and talking to my father, no one else was around; he was painting the picket fence that surrounded the house where I was born. I was three.

I also include among my good memories: days at the beach;  visiting the neighborhood horses with my dog Lady;  reading books at night under the covers so my parents wouldn’t know; a midnight walk as a child when my parents woke me to see the Aurora Borealis on one of their very rare visits to the Eastern United States;  my first love and I dancing at my Senior Prom; one of my aunts teaching me to crochet; finally, learning how to post during a riding lesson; and many, many more.

I can also list bad memories, but they only make me sad or mad or feel like a bad person. Not useful for the most part.

One of my complaints about talk therapy is that it goes over and over and over bad memories. That is only useful until you make some sense of them to improve your behavior by understanding your feelings better. Improving behavior can range from not hurting other living things, not seeking revenge or just feeling better about you and those around you.

Sad or bad memories come visiting on their own, and even as I typed the above, some bad memories attached themselves to my good ones. However, the more you focus on remembering the good memories, the stronger they become.

Parenting advice

Parenting Tip One: Do not go over board trying to create “Happy Times.”  Look at my good memories. Many came on their own, some in mostly quiet moments.

Moreover, the more often a good thing happens, the less special it becomes. Think the over load of birthday parties and Christmas. Too much.

I still remember my first movie “Dumbo the Flying Elephant.” With TV and Videos kids have lost the special pleasure I found in that one and in many others that were special, because movies were rare treats.

Parenting Tip Two: Work to teach your child to savor the moments of what is good. My Mom used the rationing forced on her by World War to teach me to eat mindfully with full enjoyment. How? By giving me one square of a much coveted Hersey Bar and telling me to let it melt in my mouth so I could enjoy it longer. Worked.

Parenting Tip Three: Make reaching success after a long struggle should be held in store as a good memory. That is why the trauma experts emphasize “Survivor” instead of victims.

Parenting Tip Four: Make  memory books. A memory book can just be a page or two.  Here are some get started ideas.

  1. Establish a memory box or a memory file for each family member.
  2. Keep the memory box or file where you can quickly put items for them memory book in it.
  3. Establish a routine for making memory book pages. Devote one evening a month to making memory pages. Use as a rainy day activity.  The important thing is to start making the memory book and to keep adding to it as time goes by.
  4. Establish a routine for reviewing existing memory book. Birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s Day, graduations are all good times for gathering the family around and reviewing memory books.

Parenting Tip Five: Tough times are also good times for lr creating a page for a memory book.  Here are two examples

  1. The death of a loved one and that includes a pet.  often  a page will suffice, some basic facts, a picture, how much was loved, how much will be missed, a comforting quote.  Other times you and the child might want to create a separate memory book devoted entirely to that person. Useful when grandparents move on.
  2. Anticipating a painful change. The separation of parents and the move to a new house. Have the child take some pictures of his room, his favorite spots in the neighbor hood, friends visiting, parties or celebrations there  End it with a picture of the new home.

Parenting Tip six: Add to your good memory file as a parent during your child’s early years. Making a memory book helps. But here’s another trick: Pause each night before you head to bed and looking in on them as they sleep. Worked for me.  Then when the teen years come always end your day with a “Good night, I love you, sleep well” message.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.

Katherine

This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt

By the Dots: We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

However, when writing a Memory Book there is no need to try to please the grammar kings when creating a memory book. Just do it.

LINKS OF INTEREST

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

Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)

 

 

 

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.

chicken360feedback

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.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

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.

Katherine

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.

LINKS OF INTEREST

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

Need Help? What Parent Doesn’t? How to Find Mentors and Others to Help

Anyone caring 24/7 for a child needs a Mentor and an  Added Care Team.  As the saying goes: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Unfortunately, many of today’s villages have been torn apart. Some parents commute two or three hours a day, others hold two or three jobs outside the home. Some can only be home during weekends. Divorces tear out hearts. Grandparents live miles, even states away. Too many  children are in the care of people paid to care; that might be okay if those people care. Not all do.

When I grew up in the forties and fifties, I lived in a small town of  about 5000 people. I was born during the depression, lived through World War II. I remember blackout curtains and air raid drills. I remember the sirens announcing the end of the war, the horror of the pictures and films of those being released from concentration camps or killed when the A bomb was dropped. I remember crouching under my desk during drills prompted by fears of the cold war and atomic bombs. I knew darn well my desk was not a bomb shelter, but kids have to humor adults in power.

Polio fears abounded until Jonas Salk’s vaccine wiped it out. I had the measles, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough. My life was probably saved by the discovery of penicillin—I spent a year in bed recovering from Rheumatic fever; twenty years on penicillin kept further attacks and heart damage at bay. There were other dangers and problems, but mostly as a child I was unaware of the evils that are part of this world.

Why did I feel safe living in such scary  times? Because I was  protected by a village of relatives and neighbors. Not all were kind or good. My maternal grandmother was a user and abuser of people, mostly my parents. I was told to never be alone  with “Uncle Charlie.”

But in my small home town, I roamed free by the time I was eight or nine, walking to and from school, then taking myself and my dog Lady around to the farms surrounding the town. These were gentlemen farms, mainly used to stable horses. I visited them to feed the horses.

The owner of one said never to go in the pasture, her horse would trample me. I suppressed the laugh as his horse, Gerry Jim and I always raced up and down the pasture, his nose on my shoulder.  If I tripped, he was more careful than my brothers at not stepping on me. He was lonely and so was I. He gave me strength and I hoped I added pleasure to his life.

I wandered free because back then people minded other people’s business particularly when it came to the children of the town. For a period, I thought my mother was a witch because she always seemed to know where I was and what I was doing. She didn’t, of course, know all; but her friends in the village kept their eyes on me and let Mom know where they had seen me and what they had seen me doing.

Not so today, although my two sons grew up with pretty much the same freedom because we lived in a small town where they could and did ride their bikes all around.  The village was weaker, however, and now is weaker still  with the possible exception of small apartment buildings.

When we lived in the Bronx, our apartment building was five stories high and each floor had about 10 apartments. Moreover, most of us entered through a common door before dispersing to our homes. We knew each other and for the most part took care of each other. Part of the team was a super and a building manager who both made sure to know everyone and would and did go above and beyond. We also has connections to the local synagogues and had friends in each that could be called on to help in various ways.

Moreover, the neighborhood although mixed, was not a hundred per cent safe—there was a murder right around the corner. However, there was still a group of old-time residents, some Irish and some Jewish, who kept an eye on what was happening and would either intervene in some situations or call on the police to settle more serious problems. The local shopkeepers were also watchful eyes. I might not go strolling outside my apartment after midnight, but for the most part I felt safe in this ‘hood’. So relatives, neighbors, shopkeepers formed added circles of care around me both as a child and an adult.

Not so much now, for we  in an apartment complex that has three stories, but each apartment has its own entrance.   After two years of  living here, I do know some of my neighbors by  but only two by name. I also  have gotten to know a few of those with dogs from the surrounding building by name. The building maintenance men serve as a partial watch group, but are not around at night or on weekends. Finally, the closest shops are two blocks away.

One of my kids lives in a small town and knows most of the residents. He has driven the school bus during his businesses downtime.

The other son lives in more of a development and is more isolated from neighbors. He has a talking relationship with one neighbor and that neighbor is more hostile than caring.

I suspect that many of you reading this are in my second son’s situation. In fact this son and his wife asked us to move to Colorado when we retired, so they could have us around to help when they became parents. We were major players in their added care team. The more space between you and the rest of your neighbors, the less they are likely to be part of your added care team and the more important it is to spend some time building one.

how to create an added care team

Start by thinking  carefully about who involved in your child’s and your life that are helpful. These  form part of your Added Care Team.

You can map your Added Care Team using an exercise I have taught to those who worked for me when I directed mental health crisis teams in New York City before, during, and after 9/11.  Think of your Added Care Team as having three circles, one inside the other.  Here is a template:

The inner circle dubbed “Angels” maps  family members and friends you can call knowing they will help, not just with words, but with actions. One of my Angel Friends got out of bed and drove to the airport to pick up one of my kids when my car refused to start and I had no AAA. Other Angels make dinner when you are sick, take care of your kids when the boss keeps you late, lend you their car, and lend you money.

You are lucky if you have two or three among family who you can call Angels. You are even luckier if you have two or three friends that are worthy of being dubbed Angels.  Many people have only one or two Angels.  And the saddest thing when I directed a crisis teams was to discover those who had none.

The Part-time Angels are those who will help when they can or help in very specific ways. Some are friends. One of my part time Angels when I was raising my children could be relied on to care for my kids in a pinch, but would never lend her car. Another could  always cheer me up, but never gave any concrete help.

Some Part-time Angels are paid to do a job, do it well, but will go above and beyond when you are in need. I think of a gas station attendant back in the days when we didn’t have to pump our own. A tire blew out on my car and he saw me standing by the side of the road,  pulled over, changed the tire and would not take anything but a “Thank you.” I think of the super in our  Bronx apartment building, the shop keepers in that ‘hood’ who would often go above and beyond.

The final circle, dubbed Paid Angels, are those whose job is to care and to be there to help during their working hours.  Doctors, lawyers, caseworkers, nurses, nurses aides, teachers, child care workers, some coaches.  Not all belong in your circle of care; some just do a job; the ones who really care, who treat you and yours like people and not patients or clients are the ones who belong here.

MORE ADVICE

Mind your manners when dealing with any of your angels.  The ones on your Added Care Team are people and they need to hear “Thank You” and “Please” and “May I” just as much as the rest of us do.  They also need quid pro quos—their back scratched because they scratch yours.

Moreover you can’t abuse them. If they care for your kids when you are sick, the favor must be returned. If they lend you money, you better darn well better pay it back and soon.

For those paid Angels that go above and beyond, a Thank you note with a cc to their boss is in order. In today’s electronic world, such notes are very easy to send and worth their weight in gratitude.

THAnk yOU FOR ALL YOU DO

Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness right now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.

Katherine

INSPIRATION FOR THIS POST

This DAILY PROMPTMentor Me – Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

I think I was lucky in having parents who taught me well and their best lesson was that you always had a choice to be kind or cruel and that the wisest choice was always kindness.

FREE POSTER COACHES

Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters. To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often. If not soon if for you, let me know and I will give it priority status.

Poster Coaches can also be used at Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters. Most are free now, but I do plan to start charging for most in the near future.