Tag Archives: how to parent


Pre-schoolers’ feelings control their thinking. A wish feels real; and is assumed to be real. Not so.  Intelligence is based on reality not wishes.

The younger the child, the more wishes and dreams seem real - a good example of tunnel vision.

This cartoon is  an example of wishful thinking. IMAGE BY abeerfortheshower.com

Wishing is fun, but also means being in a tunnel and not seeing all there is or could be. That can mean as the above cartoon suggests not understanding enough to choose the career that will work for you. But it also is a form of tunnel vision and tunnel vision limits options. 

 The ad people of today are playing up children’s wisdom, but children only seem wiser than adults, particular when script writers put words in their mouths. And yes, children do sometimes seem wiser than wise.  Most parents have moments when a child makes them stop and  marvel at something poetic the child says.

Reality check:  Young children do have poetic moments, but thinking that makes great thinkers could get them killed.  Why we make our small children hold our hands crossing the street or in parking lots and discourage playing with matches.

All humans start their lives caught in tunnel vision. As we age hopefully we see wider vistas. However, Thomas Phenlon, a parenting guru I admire, notes that one of the biggest ways parents harm children is by treating them like miniature adults. That means thinking children are critical thinkers.  Not true, critical thinking, what some call intelligent thinking develops as children age.

Here is some good news for all. Intelligence is limited by our genes.  Not a politically correct notion, but wishing won’t change that we are not all equally endowed with intelligence.  Part of intelligence is Emotional Intelligence meaning thinking about what your feelings are suggesting and knowing when to act on those suggestions and when not to.

The good news? Emotional Intelligence is learned, not gifted and can always be improved.

More good news: Studies show that Emotional Intelligence is more important in living the good life than intelligence in general and is more important than money, education or social class in getting ahead.

Parenting tips

Pre-school aged children cannot think beyond  the feeling of the moment; school aged child cannot think beyond what can be seen, heard, or touched; starting with the preteens,  teens and adults become more and more able to think broadly and to see many options,  an essential  when it comes to solving many of life’s problems.  The ability to think about what might allows you to experiment and think about many possibilities, not just one or two.

Parenting tip one: Stay aware of age and stage.

Parenting tip two: Do not worry  about a pre-preschooler’s fantasies; at the same time, point out the make-believe stuff. Label play and make-believe as pretending or imaging. Do so in a calm matter of fact way.

Parenting tip three:  Keep the fun in fantasy.  Saying “It is fun to believe in make-believe” when hanging up the Christmas stockings will not in any way diminish the child’s pleasure, but does pave the way for when s/he begins to understand what is real and what is not.

Parenting tip four: Allow as much choice as possible, but label choices  “You have two choices” works well when  you can let the child pick one or the other. A good choice? Note, “A wise choice.” Not so good a choice label it”Not the best choice.”  Also hold to safety and other major rules as “Not a choice.”

Parenting tip five: Once the child stops believing in the Santa Claus or similar myths, start asking as you movies or media together “What’s real about that?” or “What’s fantasy about that?”

Parenting tip six:  As the preteen or teens are entered continue the discussions suggested above, but go deeper.  When easy way to encourage deeper thought is to say “And” when the child or teen seems to have reached a limit in his thoughts.

Also, see this post on sneaky hypnotism for other ideas.


I do lots of puzzles to improve mine – I enjoy them.  But having fun is not enough to keeping my critical thinking abilities  improving.  The experts say, such puzzles only improve you thinking skills if they are challenging, so push yourself. I always do those that are above my level and cheat by getting help from the answers, only I do not call it cheating, but learning.

Another way I work on this one, is by visiting Word Press’ Daily Prompt and thinking about how the prompt applies to what I am posting

How does this post relates to this  Word Press Daily Post PromptFirst Light – Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

The first thing I wrote this morning was on Facebook, trying to find out why my  friends  had not liked my first effort to put my 12 Emotional Fitness Exercises in a video format.  Only three had liked it. So I reposted the video and wrote “Only three of you liked my first video effort.  Hoping some will tell me what you did not like, so I can improve it.”

Last time I checked I was getting lots more likes. I had hoped people had just not seen the post; they do slip by.  However, I would also be happy to see some criticism.

Do you see how this opened my mind to other possibilities?


All the handouts and poster coaches used in a blog post are being posted at the store so you can download them for free.  As I am a Jill of All and have family life, some things take longer than others to get posted.  If a poster  isn’t up  yet, you will find lots of other offerings including inspirational quotes or more EFTI exercises.

Following my Emotional Fitness Training blog provides support and  provides information about human development, mental distress and illness, counseling, and therapy.



Please rate this material. Doing so helps me. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.



The Step Up to Obedience Approach provides eight  disciplinary strategies that give the child lots of chances to obey, before a punishment happens.


STEP ONE: STOP OR IGNORE .   IF DANGER EXISTS USE THE STOP PLAN   Here is how to use STOP:  Say the word STOP.  Say it loud, even angrily, TELL the child what to stop. OFFER an alternative more positive behavior. PHYSICALLY enforce compliance if necessary but always end with a positive once child has complied with your command.

Examples of the Stop Plan: “Stop; a car is coming, we will get the ball later. Thank you. ” or “Stop hurting your sister; use words instead. Thank you.” or  Stop spitting, use a tissue. Thank you.” or “Stop going through my purse, you need to earn your allowance if you want money. Thank you.

Forcing compliance must be done without leaving bruises or marks on the child. Leaving marks is “Assault and Battery” and can lead to charges of abuse.

If a child’s behavior cannot be stopped without leaving a mark, you and the child need outside help. Meanwhile, work to keep every one safe. If the child is doing something dangerous call 911.

The STOP Plan is also useful for those other times when behavior is totally  unacceptable, Use the STOP plan when a child is:

  •  In danger or putting others in danger,
  • Destroying valuable property,
  • Bullying another child or hurting a pet,
  • Doing something others would find disgusting,
  • Breaking the law.

 IF SAFETY IS NOT AN ISSUE OR THE BEHAVIOR NOT TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE,  TRY IGNORING.  When  the behavior does not need stopping immediately, consider ignoring.   Ignoring means not paying attention particularly to attention seeking behaviors or minor rule infractions.  Often given time, children self correct.  If the child does not self correct, then the next step is feedback.

STEP TWO: A STERN LOOK  Often all a child needs to self correct is a reminder. A Stern Look accompanies by shaking your head “No” often words. Then when the child self corrects you can praise or  just say “Thank You.

STEP THREE   FEED BACK – Feedback provides factual information about what is happening delivered in a calm, mater-of-fact voice.  This poster coach explains:

Feedback rulesFeedback is best used when compliance is optional or can be delayed.  When that is not the case and you want to deliver a message that suggests stopping try non-verbal scolding.

STEP FOUR: BROKEN RECORD.  Taught in assertive training, this simply involves repeating the last statement.  Broken Record can be used with Feedback and then again if you move up to  requesting obedience

 STEP FIVE:  ASK FOR OBEDIENCE.  Do so politely“Please remember our rules.”

STEP SIX: ANGRILY DEMAND OBEDIENCE.  Restart the rule angrily and add “I expect you to obey, now.”

STEP  SEVEN:  123 COUNT TO PUNISHMENT.  This provides the child with a final chance to avoid an agreed upon punishment.   When the child continues to resist abiding by the rule, say “One.” Continued disobedience gets a “Two.”  Three and a punishment is put into play.

STEP EIGHT: PUNISH.   The rules and punishments must be known before hand. Punishments should also be able to be enforced without the child’s consent. Taking away privilege—not being able to play with a special toy, loss of special time with a parent,  no dessert with dinner, loss of  television time, loss of  allowance, cell phone or computer time, and for a teenager taking away use of the family car are examples of privileges that can be removed.

Extra work is a punishment that requires the child to cooperate.  Extra work , however, is a good followup punishment and often useful to help a child prove he or she is willing to learn from the experience or make amends for misbehaving.Some parents take away holiday presents, birthday parties, vacations, visits with a parent who lives else where or visits with other treasured relatives.  These are not privileges but important ingredients in a child’s feeling cared for and must never be used as a punishment.

State the punishment using TAG. Here is how to put the TAG option into play.        T = Tell the child what  rule has been broken.  A =.Announce the agreed upon punishment. G = Give a positive and give the child responsibility.

Example:  The school called and said you cut three classes today. You cannot use the car until you do better. That means a week with no cuts.  You did better last week  I hope you can get your act together again  I know you like doing things the right way.  It is up to you.”

After announcing the punishment, end the conversation then and there.  If you must, get up and leave the room while saying something like “I don’t have time to discuss this further, you broke the rule, you know the punishment, I have more important things to do.”

All of this is much easier said than done.  So do the best you can and make sure you have lots of support. Following my Emotional Fitness Training blog provides support more frequently.

More may be needed.  When you have tried the above and it has not worked, more is needed. Next Parents Are People Too blog post. 


All the handouts and poster coaches for used in a blog post are being posted at the store so you can download them for free .

As I am a Jill of All and have family life, some things take longer than others to get posted.  If a poster  isn’t up  yet, you will find lots of other offerings including inspirational quotes or more EFTI exercises.



Please rate this material. Doing so helps me. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.



This ad drives me crazy. It represents one of the most prevalent uses of Sneaky Hypnotism on the media.  Ask a teen if s/he can spot the ad person’s tricks.

Experts need to create doubt about your ability to get by without their help.  Otherwise no one would seek their services.  Can you see how this one uses Sneaky Hypnotism to do that?

By using a  child asking super smart questions to creates doubt in the father about his smarts, and in viewing adults about their smarts.  Doubt makes you pay closer attention.

Then, of course, the ad intends to create worry about the future, specifically a family’s financial security.  Worry draws you in.

The very use of the word Expert is also  hypnotizing. Many people claim to be experts and are mainly expert at selling you something.

Finally, the motto “Own your tomorrow” points to the future.  As this EFTI post about day dreaming discusses, thinking about the future, often  pulls a person Parenting tip three: into a  trance state..

Parenting tips

Parenting tip  one:   Increase your child’s awareness of Sneaky Hypnotist’s  tricks.  Using the media as I do in this post works well with teens.

Parenting tip two: Learn all you can about hypnotism.  Knowledge is power. That is  why I have made this month Sneaky Hypnotism Month on my EFT blog. Here’s one of those posts.  It is a Sneaky Hypnotist ploy on my part.

Parenting tip three: Find an ethical hypnotist to teach you and your child self-hypnotism.  Here’s a WIKI HOW SCRIPT LINK to start you off.

Parenting tip four:  Embed this message in your self-hypnosis script: “I control when I go into a trance. When in a trance, I do nothing that will harm me or others.  I do nothing I will regret later.  

Parenting tip five: Watch the ads, as I do, but with your child and comment on  Sneaky Hypnotist tricks. Doing so improves your child’s awareness of who or what thoughts are trying to control others mindlessly.


Apply this WordPress daily prompt to today’s post. Two Right Feet – What are the things you need to do within 30 minutes of waking up to ensure your day gets off on the right foot? What happened the last time you didn’t do one of these things?

See my answer at the bottom of this post.


Keep working to stay strong, I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult, relationships painful, dreams lost. Staying strong and practicing the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises keeps me better able to practice deliberate kindness.




Don’t think you can afford a life coach? Like a live 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.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meeting. For example, this is one of the most popular and can be used during check in at family meetings:

A Feeling thermometer

MY ANSWER TO IMPROVE YOUR THINKING SKILLS  PROMPT –  Two right feet.   Honest hypnotism helps you start the day right. When I wake up I use two EFTI exercises which admittedly are designed to superuser you of the value of my exercises. The two exercises I start the day with are always Practicing Gratitude and Remembering What Matters.

Stay strong, it takes work but EFT makes it easier



Sharing a Jewish Holiday Story and Rituals and some Parenting tips.  Fun and loving holiday rituals increase emotional fitness aka Emotional Intelligence.

At The Sukkah and a story about it by Tsivya Frieder

We celebrate Sukkah with our Aish friends  Barry and Tsivya Frieder. Read on to hear her amusing and thoughtful tale about setting up their Sukkah.

The Sukkah Saga By Tsivya Frieder

 The day after Yom Kippur I unenthusiastically decided to deal with the sukkah challenges.  I knew I was supposed to run to begin working on the sukkah as soon as I broke the fast, but, oy! Iknew I would be dealing with “stuff.”That’s just the way it is, when you’ve got a structure, canvas walls, tools, strings of lights and 200 decorations.“Oy!”

The first year we had this sukkah we had four canvas walls.The second year we had three canvas walls.Now we have two canvas walls, two blankets and a couple of sheets.How could we possibly misplace two large pieces of canvas?

As the day unfolded, the sukkah challenges began. It took hours to find the two heavy-duty staplers, one of which had no staples and the other had only a few (the box of staples never turned up)–the colored lights had artfully hidden themselves under Chanukah material–a tree had quietly doubled in size and was now leaning over 95% of the sukkah, rendering it unkosher-a horizontal beam of the sukkah was two inches away from the vertical beam it was supposed to be flush with–every time I needed any item, it had sneakily crawled under something even if it had been in my hand two minutes earlier- -and, inexplicably, one of the small, domestic staplers fell apart in my hand, which in a house that has maybe a dozen staplers is not what you call an insurmountable obstacle, but in a house where the sukkah is a half-mile hike down the hill and into the gulch can represent an adjustment in the actual work time.  You know, “stuff.”

And I needed skach, and that meant getting out the old chopping tools and doing the pruning I had put off all summer, with the blithe expectation that I would actually have the time to do it so the boughs would be fresh for the start of the festival. (Last year I had efficiently gotten the skach to early that it was all dried and crumbly by the start of the holiday.For the initiated, crumbly skach means oddly flavored food.)

I stepped out of my house and found a hill of skach practically sitting in my front yard.

On the precise day I decided to bite the bullet and deal with skach, my next door neighbor decided to cut down his bushes, the very bushes that had been sitting there unmolested for several decades.

Not only that, but when he found out what I was up to after I was able to speak coherently, he helped me lug the sweet, piney branches down to the sukkah.

But it doesn’t end there. Little miracles occurred all day long.

Instead of dropping  wgat I was doing and running out to buy more heavy duty staples, I decided to use the few I had to hang up the walls and see how far I got.  And, unbelievably, the last staple I had was the last staple I needed to put up the walls!

Unexpectedly, a close friend of ours who removes tree stumps was able to come racing over and remove the offending branch that was looming over the sukkah, rendering it kosher again.He also fixed the problem of the separating beams and then raced off again.

HaShem may be hidden in the world, but at times He’s not very hidden.

And there was more. My plans for being in the eruv were just not working out for Sukkot yom tov. Although I had begun working on pulling things together weeks before, I found myself having to change neighborhoods just days before the holiday started. I had a choice: I could grump about the situation or I could choose to believe that HaShem wanted me on the East Side for some reason. He had some surprises in store for me and I could borch or I could find the gifts.

I decided to do both. I grumped for a while and then put a cheery face on things. Then grumped some more. Then waxed philosophical. And all the while I was wondering why does HaShem want me on the other side of town?

 In short order, it became obvious that the process of seeking out hospitality was putting me in touch with an entire community that I had very little to do with. I realized with a shock:I have grown comfortable and complacent, stuck in a rut!  My passion is building community, and here is large community I’m mostly out of touch with! And what an open-hearted community it is!  The people I reached out to had suggestions and invitations, and some took time out from their hectic pre-yom tov schedules to have long conversations with me and hosts, going over options and brainstorming possibilities.

 In the end we had so many invitations from this very hospitable community—from old friends, people I had known for years but hadn’t visited before, and people I had not met yet—that we ended up hopping from one sukkah to the next, and still ran out of time before we had visited everyone. We heard new devar torahs, participated in Torah discussions that were radically different from the crowd we normally hung out with, and played with totally adorable children and babies (one of whom nibbled her way down the challah I was holding for her and took a bite out of my finger).

Who ever thought that the dreaded Plan B could result in what felt like a three-day party? Hmmm.

Our sages tell us that we can’t know the reasons HaShem causes things to happen. However, we can catch glimpses of some of the effects.

One effect is the possibility that the next time my plans are not working out the way Iwant, I might remember to trust that HaShem knows exactly what He’s doing! Just a thought….

 emotional fitness thoughts

Religion gives  children a start in learning right from wrong. Rituals are fun ways to build a child’s understanding of his or her religion as well as to build a good memory book. Both are important Emotional Fitness Tools.

Setting up a Creche is a Christian family rite. Decorating the Sukkah a Jewish family rite.

The more we understand about each other’s religion the more we can create Peace on Earth.


Tip one:  Whatever your religion, spiritual, or philosphical beliefs, and the younger your child, the more s/he needs to have rituals and stories that teach him right from wrong.  The more s/he can take part in the ritual in a fun way, the better.

Tip two: Make sure the rituals are fun. The younger the child, the more important this is.

Tip three: As you child grows in greater understanding expect questioning. Being too dogmatic or fanatic may drive him or her away.  

Better than arguing is remembering no one does religion exactly the same way.  Pope Francis is not Pope John; The current Dalai Lama is not the last Dalai Lama, Hillel is not Akiba.

This allows you to take a critical view of your religion’s negative teachings and disavow what is not kind.  Being kind and caring is what all religions agree on. Where they disagree is who that applies to and how to treat those outside of the tribe, family, or religion.


Go to the EFTI store and browse its offerings for inspirational quotes or exercises.  Subscribe to be notified of new additions.


Please rate this material. Doing so helps my ratings.  This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful. One star – Reinforced my knowledge. Two  Stars –  New  information.   Three stars – New useful information; Four stars- Very good.   Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and stay strong.