Tag Archives: Parent advice


Do you know the six rules of safe drinking?  Have you taught them to your child?  Think that was all you needed to do? Think again.

IMAGE BY: Visual Photos

IMAGE BY: Visual Photos

“My kids made me stop smoking when they were six and seven. Not that I smoked that much. Maybe, three cigarettes a week, if that.  I was proud if they saw me lighting up and yelled at me.  Didn’t think I’d have to worry about drinking and drugging.  How wrong I was.”

You can do all the right things to keep your kids sober, but that doesn’t mean they won’t drink, drug, and get addicted.  Addiction comes from a genetic predisposition or from drinking and drinking and drinking, something teens do in cultures that push drinking and rebelling.  If you are reading this, you probably live in such a culture or your child is involved in a peer group culture of drinking and drugging. What can you do? Read on.


Tip one: Learn the  Seven Rules of  Safe Drinking.  Here they are:

Rule one: Indulge only if you can buy legally.   Keeps you out of jail.

Rule two: Define a drink or drug dose properly. A drink means twelve ounces of beer; four ounces of wine: two ounces of the hard stuff. Drug dosage only as prescribed for you, or what helps you relax without getting high. Seeking the high is part of the addiction cycle.

Rule three: Indulge no more than once an hour.   Chugging or doing shots can kill .   A indulging only once an hour also  keeps you from doing stupid things – like thinking you can drive or having a fight about something you might normally laugh off  or having un-protected sex with someone you just met or just thinking another supersize dessert is not breaking your diet.

 Rule four:  Indulge no more than three times a day.

Rule five:   Lay off indulging at least three days a week. This keeps tolerance from building.

Rule six: Do not mix drinks and drugs — including legal and illegal drugs.  Combining drinking with pot can kill as it suppresses the up-chucking instinct when the body cannot safely process any more alcohol.

 Rule seven: Don’t indulge and drive or use heavy or  dangerous equipment, or do risky things. 

Tip two: Observe these rules yourself. If the idea of having to follow these rules up set you, then you are at risk yourself.  Educate yourself.  Start working to abide by the rules, and if you cannot seek counseling from a drug counselor or start attending AA.  You can go to an AA meeting on-line meeting here.

Tip three: Enforce these rules when serving drinks to others.

Tip four: Post these rules where indulgers, including you will see them.  Places to post: in the entrance to your wine cellar, on your beer kegs, over your personal bar, where your Waterford wine and highball crystal is kept or favorite sports team beer glasses are lined up; in front of you at your favorite sports bar. Drugging? Near your stash.

If you cannot abide by these rules, more is needed, see a drug counselor or explore AA.

If you cannot abide by these rules, more is needed. The life you save will be your own. Don’t throw rocks at me or ignore me, instead see a drug counselor or explore AA.

Tip five: Living with someone who violates the rules even if you don’t?  You also need to get help and support.  You need to develop what I call an Added Care Team.  Start attending a support group — Alanon on line is a good place start, then find a local face-to-face meeting. When you have found a meeting you trust, add a drug counselor the group trusts to your added care team.

Tip six: Help is available but like many life experiences in some places has been polarized.  Hard core 12 Step People will insist there is not such thing as safe use for an addict.  They are probably right.  However, the hardest thing addicts face is denial.  “It ain’t me babe.”  The Motivational Interviewing approach is designed to cut through denial and I have found their approach useful.

Moreover, I think it is particularly important to start with this approach when dealing with teens.  Parents can do so much, particularly if the surrounding culture is a drinking and drugging one.

Tip seven:  Read my Parenting Survival Guide When Good Kids Do Drugs and/or Alcohol. It is volume 10 of the When Good Kids Do Bad Things series. Volume 1 is free.


Parenting is hard work and contending with a child who is drinking and drugging demands more than good parenting.   Hopefully, the above tips and resources will help you and your child survive  this hard time.


First, here is my thank you gift if you have just started following me.   It is a free quide to the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises. http://emotionalfitnesstraining.com/the-daily-dozen-emotional-fitness-exercise/These provide a quick start to stress reduction and feeling management.  Each exercise is backed by research, but most importantly all  are easy to learn, easy to practice and helpful to anyone dealing with life’s  every day problems or mega-stress.

You might find my Emotional Fitness Training®’s Pinterest http://pinterest.com/Emotfit/pins/ site helpful. Both of my blog posts are pinned there, but I also share lots of other information about staying strong both as a parent and as an individual.

As always thank you for following me and for your support. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me and others stay strong. Moreover,  you will be practicing kindness one of the Daily 12 and strengthening your emotional fitness.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dysgraphia/what-is-dysgraphiaIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well known learning disability and means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.


School struggles top must parent’s worry list.  Understandable in today’s world.
Hating school points to any number of problems.  School has its down moments for everyone, but hating school points to more serious problems.

parent advice for dealing with school struggles

This advice begins with some “when to worry” tips and ends with tips for how to handle worries.

Tip one: Check out expected age and stage developmental time lines.   Click here for access to the most comprehensive overview of what to expect when.  This list was put out by the Australian Goverment’s Department of Health.  It is the best I have found after much web surfing.

Most children don’t hit all on the times listed exactly, but being consistently at the bottom on any test should raise some concern; the more missed, the more one should worry.

Tip two:  Worry if a child cannot read simple sentences and if he or she reverses letters or numbers after the second grade – by then most have out grown these difficulties.  These are often signs of a learning glitch, disability or challenge. For more information about such struggles visit the web page of  The National Center for Learning Disabilities. 

Worry about a child that hates school to the point that getting him or her up and off has become the major battle of the day, with homework a close second? This often begins in adolescence, but can be seen earlier.

Tip three: Worry about bullying if the hatred of school develops suddenly.  Bullies often make threats that keep kids from sharing that they are being bullied.  This Stop Bullying Webpage is the place to go for more information about bullying, including what to watch for and how to help.

Tip four:   Do this simple ADD test: ask your child to stand without moving for three minutes. Make a game of it for younger children by saying you want to play army.  Without moving means eyes straight ahead, hands at side, breathing regular.  Then ask the child to rate how hard he found standing still on a one to five scale.  One is easy, five couldn’t do it, three so-so.  If the child does not remain still or doing so was very difficult, ADD may be a problem. CHADD is a place to find information and help.

Tip five: If the school is worried, you should be worried – they do know kids.

Tip six: Do not just worry act.  Get a professional and complete psychological and learning evaluation.

Tip seven:  If the school offers an evaluation that is a good place to begin, but it is also wise to persue an independent examination from a psychologist trained to deal test intelligence, learning styles, and educational performance.  If you cannot afford to pay for a private evaluation go to your local mental health agencies specializing in children.

Tip eight: Never go to a meeting at a school without an advocate by your side.  As with the evaluation, the advocate should not be connected to the school. If the school offers an advocate take advantage, but also bring an independent advocate with you.  Independent advocates can be friends or at some point a legal adviser or even a therapist.

Tip nine:  Never lose hope for you child’s future.  School success is important, but studies show others things matter more.  Manners matter, so does finding a passion, so does developing a good work ethic.  Some say these matter far more than academic degrees.

Tip ten: Develop strong emotional fitness skills and teach the same to your child.  My book Parents Are People To, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents details how to do so.  For a quick start read look at my Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.


Parenting is hard work and if a child is struggling with school parents worry and suffer.  Hopefully the above tips and resources will help you and your child move forward.

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. 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.



WHY THIS TOPIC?:  Parents are right to worry about a child’s self esteem but too many parents and parent advisors think praise is the best pathway to high self esteem.  A recent article on the Kids Health webpage discussed self esteem and served as a prompt for this post.


The article made the point that self-esteem has at least two components:

Self-esteem also can be defined as feeling capable while also feeling loved. A child who is happy with an achievement but does not feel loved may eventually experience low self-esteem. Likewise, a child who feels loved but is hesitant about his or her own abilities can also develop low self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem comes when a good balance is maintained.

More and more parent advisors are moving away from preaching love only.  The idea that feeling loved is enough has been too easily turned into the idea that a child must always be happy. I am sure a few of you know the line from that tear jerking movie “The Love Story.”

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Hog wash.

The hard part about developing a sense of achievement is that it usually involves frustration, failure, and sometimes tears.


I have three suggestions for dealing with the bumps on the road to achievment.

Tip one: Learn and practice Calming Breath.  It is a simple self-self soothing exercise.

  1. Take a long slow breath in.
  2. Hold it until a bit of tension builds.
  3. Breath out slowly.
  4. Smile gently.

This can be enhanced by adding a calming slogan. My three favorites are:

  1. Doing what I can.
  2. Now is not forever.
  3. It’s all all right.

Teaching a child Calming Breath can start when he or she is about two. You can teach “Big breathe in. Hold. Blow out.”  It will take a while to learn and you have to model it.

As soon as you see the child can follow those commands add counting to make the breaths longer and slower.  Also count for the Hold.  A count of three is a good beginning. Then move up.  When that is mastered add the smile.

Tip Two: Embed helpful self talk into your child’s brain.  How? Find some slogans and use them frequently. My mother embedded “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” so deeply into my brain, it almost automatically sounds if shyness or fear of failure keeps me back.  She must have started early, and of course, as a teen I would roll my eyes and sigh.  Need a few examples?  Here are some that made my kids roll their eyes, but I also know helped get them through rough times:

  • Pop up.
  • Breathe.
  • Learn from this.
  • Life goes on.
  • New stuff is hard until it becomes old stuff.
  • If you  learn,  you haven’t failed.
  • Trying teaches you what you can and cannot do.
  • Remember your strengths.
  • We all have talents, but not all the same ones.
  • Remember what matters.

Tip Three: Acknowledge pain. Short praises are best, followed by silence.

  • Ouch.
  • That hurts.
  • Life is far from fair.
  • Failing to get where you want is painful.
  • Some days it goes your way, some days it doesn’t.

If the chiild uses your silence to vent, listen, nod your heard, make comforting sounds. When she seems to have wound down, ask “What next? How can I help?”

Tip Four: Praise what matters: trying,  good sportsmenship, kindness.

Tip Five:  Provide good times.  Good times and good memories offset bad times and bad memories.  When a child gets cut from a team, dumped by a friend, fails a test, purposively suggest doing something for fun. “Lets put that behind for a while; I feel like baking cookies, want to help?”  “When I’m feeling down and bad about myself, it helps to do something fun.  What can you do to cheer you up?”


Like this post or share it with someone who might find it helpful.  You will be helping that person, yourself, and me. Karma dictates  kindness is always returned.

You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises and strengthening your emotional fitness.

Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.  If regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about counseling.

Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent is also wonderful.