Tag Archives: Parent Effectiveness Training

How to Make Amends After You Scream and Shout

When your last nerve is being stepped on do you scream and shout, then burn with shame? Common parental behavior. The Care Response eases all.

The CARE Plan

#emotionalintelligence building blog post for #parents and #teachers.


Not so long ago children were taught parents knew best. Today children are taught parents should make children happy. Moreover, when Thomas Gordon proposed that parents need to act like therapists.  He listed these  twelve things parents should never, ever do:

  1. Order
  2. Warn
  3. Advise
  4. Persuade
  5. Moralize
  6. Judge
  7. Approve
  8. Shame
  9. Interpret
  10. Sympathize
  11. Question
  12. Distract

Boggles my mind that his advice is now the gold standard for child rearing. The saddest thing? Gordon’s advice raised expectations higher than any parent can reach.  The result? Much parent bashing and an increase in parental guilt and Shame.

This tactic is common in the business world and is called  Raising  the Goal Post  It means constantly asking people to do better and better  as a way to increase productivity. In time it burns people out or reduces safety.  Moreover, it is a Fallacious or False Argument, what Emotional Fitness Training calls Twisted Thinking.

All this from a man who actually parented only one child and that was  a step daughter.

By the way, his advice best applies to step parents and parents of rebellious teens. Step children’s parents should let the child’s natural parent be the teacher and disciplinarian. Rebellious teens are Gotcha Warriors and best left to learn from life. See this Wiki How if you don’t know how to win a Gotcha War.

Gordon’s bad advice has also infiltrated the school system in the USA. Not helpful.  Hopefully,  these parenting tips will prove more productive than trying to be your child’s therapist.

Parenting tip one: Sharpen your self-soothing skills. How? Learn and us an easy Emotional Fitness Exercises. 

Parenting tip two: Accept imperfection. Unless you physically abuse your child, never praise, comfort, or show love, you are a good enough parent. Perfection is unattainable and a false goal.

Parenting tip three: Learn to forgive yourself and others. Not easy, but possible.

Parenting tip four: Use the CARE Plan

Parenting tip five: Teach your children the skills necessary to survive in real life. To do  that you must use eleven  of Gordon’s banned twelve.

Which one should you not use? Shaming.

By the way, shame is nature’s way of stopping us from doing the unforgivable. It develops in all children at around the age of three. Jerome Kagan says it is nature’s way of preventing the Sin of Cain. Shame also has a cultural part. It starts as an instinct, but the cultural learning determines much of what we feel shamed about.  All but shame are parenting tools that when used properly promote growth.


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.



A WordPress Daily Prompt:Slash and burn: Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.

Done. Good advice for when you are tempted to scream and shout at your child. Cut slash and burn as soon as you realize you have lost it, calm down and use the  CARE Plan.


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.




Two things make my advice better then most.  I’ve been there and done that. Many bloggers without professional credentials, who are or have  raised a child or two dispense tea, sympathy, and advice, but also lack a deeper awareness of many problems. Some professionals have dealt with numerous children in their offices or other places of business, but don’t really understand the complexities of being a parent in today’s world.

My advice is better than either because I am both a trained clinician and I have lived with, loved, hated, feared, fed, cleaned up after, wiped tears, punished, praised and worried about hundreds of kids.  Two were my own; three hundred and sixty-six were foster children, mostly teens and all in trouble with the law in one way or another.

Some would think me psychotic to have opened my home to so many others.  Certainly, it was out of the norm, but I assure you I am not certifiable, nor is my husband.  We are more normal than not which means we quarrel, we get down, we love, we hate, we make mistakes, but we function;  we do what has to be done, we keep moving ahead, we keep love alive, we take reasonable care of our health, we are responsible citizens. More proof our sanity: our two sons talk to us and have forgiven our blunders as we have forgiven theirs.  Both depend on us to help raise their sons.

We both left the work world to be special need foster parents, so we could both be part of raising our children.  When we stopped being foster parents, I returned to my profession.  I ran two  group homes and then directed mental health teams aimed to keep kids out of jail and out of psychiatric placement.

Both experiences lead to my personal theory about about theories and advice. Most theories that gain support apply to many people much of the time.  No  theory applies to all the people all the time. Because some apply, some of the time,  none should be thrown out.

I also have developed a super sensitivity to parent bashing.  Most often it is done by offering easy answers to hard problems.  The book Siblings Without Rivalry is my chief example of how parents are held accountable for more than they can be expected to control.  The only way to have siblings without rivalry is not to have a second child and then you will be bashed for having only one child.

I love Super Nanny, but to bring about change, she goes and lives with the troubled parents she seeks to help.  Moreover, I am willing to bet, some families she visits don’t get promoted on her show.  Parenting is hard work, parents do not control all, some advice works for some parents some of the time, but nothing works for all parents all the time.  My professional training means I have lots of different ideas about what might work.  It also means I know when more than good parenting is needed.

What’s a parent to do:  The best advice builds on what you already do that is working, but when what you are doing isn’t working, time to experiment.  Try something new, but also allow some time for it too work.

It also helps to know what is expected behavior for  age and stage of life and to tailor your response to unacceptable behavior accordingly.

Parent Effectiveness Training, one of the best selling parent advice books harmed many as far as I am concerned.  The author promoted the idea that parents should behave like therapists and rely on natural consequences to teach right from wrong.  Here’s the kicker: that only works well for teenagers providing parents have laid the proper foundation.

The short version of  age and stage rules for disciplining are:

  1. Don’t discipline babies.
  2. Keep toddlers safe.
  3. Might makes right once the terrible twos set in and proper use of time-out works best.
  4. Once a child can read, “Lets make a deal” is a good approach–an allowance and other rewards for good behavior.  Loss of privileges, and time in your room for unaccpetable behavior.
  5. For teens, Parent Effectiveness Training’s ideas generally work well.

One other tip, when nothing seems to work, it is probably time to seek professional help and that means starting with a professional evaluation of the child worrying you.