Tag Archives: Child abuse

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.


Today’s blog post was inspired by a Daily Prompt and details how  a hidden handicap might damage your child.

Boy being beaten for spelling errors

What follows is a variation on a Daily Prompt response I posted on Emotional Fitness Training, Inc.’s blog this week.  That prompt asked about experiences that shamed you.  The newest Daily Prompt asked you to write about  a time you couldn’t quite get your words or images to express what you wanted to express and what you thought kept you from expressing what you wanted people to know?

The constant barrier for me is a learning disability called dysgraphia. This is a little known and not visible disability that  most who suffer, most parents, teachers, editors, and other readers of a child’s written word know nothing about.

 A personal tale about living with dysgrapia

I deal with failed expressions all  the time.  each day when I put finger to keyboard and press to publish something I wrote, I face failure and possible  humiliation particularly by spelling purists and grammarians, but also by my inner critic.

I am an author who cannot spell.  Spell checker only helps some of the time with some words. Dictionaries help only when I have some idea about how a word might be spelled.

I am an author who also punctuates erratically.

I am an author who suffers from and with dysgraphia.

I am an author. I write and publish two blogs five days a week.

I am an author, Norton published my first book; Penguin my second book;  most recently, Metaplume has published sixteen of my eBooks.

I am an author and rejection and the pain of rejection visit daily.

I am an author, but first, now and forever, I am a writer. I cannot not write.  That obsession – perhaps  grounded in a desire to overcome  the difficulties and uncertainty dysgraphia burdens me with – may be what helped me eventually found me a published author.  Some pundits say the chief ingredient in obtaining a goal is persisting in your efforts to successfully cross the finish line.

 parent advice and tips ABOUT DYSGRAPHIA

Tip one: If you child is struggling in school, seems bright but can’t get with writing start by learning about  dysgraphia.  Dysgraphia is a  brain glitch that interferes with many writing related tasks.  For some it means sloppy hand writing.  For others it means difficulty organizing the thoughts in your head so you can get them on to paper clearly and easily.

For me, dysgraphia meant not being able to see spelling errors when I wrote, even when I could tell you the correct spelling.  A simple word like “the” becomes hte, eth, het; “now” becomes not; “not” becomes now: “ever” becomes never.

A related challenge that  has worsened with age, my brain has decided it knows better than I what word I am trying to write.  This means I might be wanting to write “thank you” but my brain decides I mean “thoughtful.” Not helpful and has placed a huge barrier to writing quickly and effortlessly.

Punctuation is part of the my writing error mix, but lies more in a memory glitch.  This one most affects my ability to remember simple numbers.  My social security number still baffles me at times; a new telephone number takes months to learn and even then numbers reverse.

Why these problems? I have what a strong narrative memory, but an almost absent semantic memory – the memory that allows you to recall isolated facts, rows of numbers, formulas, and punctuation rules.

In case  you wonder, I do not suffer from the better known learning disability Dyslexia.  I am a rapid and voracious reader.   Nor have  I ever suffered from writer’s block.

I am a writer, I have become a published author only by the grace of those who did not stop reading when hit over the head with one of my errors.  Let me say here, I know that for some people finding spelling and punctuation errors is a visceral blow to your being and to protect yourself, you often read no further.  As one well-known president noted “I feel your pain”  but I keep reading; many do not.

I am a writer and one with a brain and an open mind.  I have become a published author because beginning technology helped me catch many errors.

I also became a published author because beginning with my teachers in elementary school, many saw the brain behind the errors and honored that part of my being, not just the part that can’t spell or punctuate as most of the English-speaking world honors.

Tip two: Do not ask the impossible of your child and keep teachers from doing the same.  Contrary to the popular myth that all are equal and all can get all they want, just by trying hard enough, we are all mixes of strengths, talents, deficits, and flaws.   Those asking me to spell properly and expecting perfect punctuation, ask the impossible of me.  

When a child is failing in school or very unhappy in school, the most likely cause remains asking the child to do what s/he cannot do at that time. 

Tip three: Ally with your child: I was lucky to have been born during the years when pressure for academic success was moderate, particularly for women.  My parents wanted to me to do my best, but did were balanced.  Teachers were not pressured to by programs by “No Child Left Behind.” One of my brothers had a harder time, expectations were stronger at that time for boys to achieve academic excellence.

Tip four: Advocate for your child and do so respectfully.  Manners always matter.

Tip five: If it turns out your child has a major barrier to school performance find an advocate who can partner with you on your child’s behalf.

Tip six:  Early on teach your child to advocate for his or her learning needs.  This means knowing how you learn, what gets in the way of your learning, what your rights are, and how to explain to others your specific learning needs.

Tip seven: Encourage all your child’s interests and help him or her find an area that creates feelings of competence and mastery.  I learned to ride horses as a pre-teen and credit that mastery experience with helping me through lots of  tough times.  Having and training a dog, did the same for my husband.

Tip eight: Dream dreams with your child, but keep the lesson of American Idols failed-not-talented contestants.  Some who should have only sung in the shower were falsely encouraged to think they could be media stars.  Not helpful. Be realistic about your child’ strengths and  weaknesses.

Tip nine:  Help your child develop strong  soothing skills; learn and model them.  You might want to start with my eBook  Self-sootheing to ceate calm in your :ife.

Tip ten: Honor all work.  Gardeners and garbage menn add more value to our world than philosophers, professors, and doctors, but get less gratitude and few parents suggest garbage collection as a career.  But it is a worthy one.

Tip eleven: Be patient, most children with these sorts of problem if given support and help to learn the way they learn succeed at life.

Tip twelve: Do not try to predict the future, instead help your child live now while preparing for tomorrow/ Even the experts do know what the world will be like in five, ten, or twelve years.  Even predicting tomorrow’s weather is a guessing game.


People are more than their color, their clothes, their jobs, their religion, their nationality, and their ability to speak or write “properly.”  Most of us pride ourselves on our tolerance, automatic dismissal of another person for any of the above reasons  is prejudice, not tolerance. 

Life is hard and relationships often hurtful; staying strong is far from easy.  I fail often. But persistence and keeping on with what matters makes all easier. Note, I did not say easy, only easier.  You and your child will fail, but you fail less and succeed more if you keep trying on what is realistically possible.
Thank you for all you do. And share if you think another parent will find this useful. That will be practicing kindness and practicing kindness makes a difference in your world and mine.


Links and other articles of interest

Image by: (spellingdearest.com)


Got this from Facebook Friend Ruth Braithwaite.  Dancing combines two Emotional Fitness Exercises and is a wonderful way to be with your kids.

Today’s blog post was inspired by this Daily Prompt: Childlike Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.  “Sorry for hurts I didn’t mean; sorrier for the ones I did. You will understand more when you are all grown up.  Right now, we need to laugh, play, and dance.”

One of the rules for a good relationship is to make sure the fun and good times outweigh the bad times. Dancing together is fun particularly with the small ones.  Some teens can’t take dancing with parents or even seeing parents dance.  Life will go on.

emotional fitness training’s parent advice and tips

All parents have regrets and all kids have been hurt and often in ways parents never knew.  One emotional fitness tactic  is to know the difference between abuse, neglect, and good enough parenting.  Another is to repair the relationship when hurt is expressed.  

Tip one: Abuse is easiest to define as creating physical pain that leaves marks.  A spanking on a padded baby butt is not abuse.  A slap on a hand that turns it red is.  Sexual abuse is adult use of children for their sexual pleasure and need not involve intercourse.  Imprisoning a child is also abuse.

Tip two: Neglect is failing to nurture or  keep safe: always withholding love and affection; never praising; not getting a child medical care; not sending a child to school.  Neglect is also failing to discipline properly so children respect the rights of others.

Tip three: The CARE Response repairs hurt relationships.

  • C = Confront unacceptable behavior and sometimes this is done too loudly particularly when a child has stepped on your last nerve.
  • A = Allying with the child’s feelings and if you are very angry, you need to calm yourself first, and perhaps take a time-out. If that is necessary say “We need to talk about this when I am calm, I love you and I need to think things through before we talk some more.”
  • R = Reviewing what was unacceptable. Start by asking your child why he or she thinks you got angry.  Amazing some of the answers you will hear.  Be honest if you over reacted, but also state what was unacceptable about the child’s behavior.  End the review only when the child can say what he or she did that was wrong.
  • E = Ending on a positive note.  Sometimes this means a hug, sometimes it means you apologizing for your part, often it can be a simple “I know you will do better next time” or if you over-reacted “I know we will both do better next time'” gives the gift of loving.


Parents need lots of emotional fitness and my eBook Parents Are People Too is an Emotional Fitness Program specifically designed for parents.  It grew out of my experience foster parenting teens, but is also backed up by my professional knowledge as a therapist.

If you are parenting a teen, you might find my smaller eBook When Good Kids Get You in a Gottcha War helpful.

I always suggest plan Me-time, Family and Friend Time, and Quiet Time, daily and for longer weekend breaks.  Helps keep a better balance when you have to discipline.  You will be surprised at how the quality of your life and your children’s life will improve when you laugh and play together.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, share. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.


Articles and links of interest