Tag Archives: parenting

ADOLESCENCE JUST A PHASE? HOPEFULLY – 10 TIPS FOR DEALING

hugs

Parenting a teen whose behavior is unacceptable is like hugging a cactus. Nothing  seems to work to improve things? Not even hugs?  Laugh if you can and then read on.

Parents are told teen angst is a phase, but when it goes too far, parents need to think lots more.  What is too far? Criminal behavior, chemical addictions, physical cruelty to animals, small children and other people, self-destructive behavior.

If you feel this is what you are dealing with, the following tips will help:

Parenting Tip One: Is it as bad as your think?   Use this five point scale to decide just how out of control your teen is.

5  Your child has been arrested for a felony, has run away more than once; drinks or drugs; has no friends; dropped out of school; threatens suicide; harms self with cutting or head banging; beaten up by others or has unexplained bruises.
4  None of the above but has been stealing from you, lying, breaking curfew and out all night; possibly having unsafe sex; travels with peers who have been arrested or are known drug users; diets although not fat; sullen and depressed most of the time.
3  None of the above, but lies: at least one friend doing drugs or arrested; breaks curfew and has been out all night at least once; won’t tell you where going or what doing: appears depressed half the time; school problems.
2  None of the above, may tell white lies; needs nagging to do what needs doing; rude to you; depressed some of the time; some school problems, but passing most things; breaks curfew, but never stays out all night; has only one or two friends.
1  You are worried but after taking the test realize you child is basically okay. This may be a sign you are over worrying. Start working on you. Get my eBook Parents Are People Too.

Parenting Tip Two: Make sure you have done all you can do, then let go. When  you have done all you can do and a child  is continuing to spiral out of control, adults must stop trying to control.  That is what is meant by “Letting go.”  This does not mean letting go of concern or love for the child; it mainly means  holding to house rules, and not rescuing if the child s/he gets in trouble.

Parenting Tip Three: Get support. Letting go is not easy and once you start making the necessary changes, the child will  become even more difficult as a way of testing your resolve. You will need lots of help from people who care for you and the child. Some of these service providers may want to serve on the team and this is acceptable only if you feel they are supportive of you as well as the child.

The best way to garner support is to create a Child and Family Team.  Such a team should be made of family, friends, various service providers, professionals, and any one else who knows the child and will support you.  Any school counselors, therapists, or social workers working with child should know you have formed a team and be kept informed of it’s actions.

You might also want to tell the principal of your child’s school.  Why?  The child may complain and try to get you reported to the child abuse hotline.

If the child appears to be engaging in criminal behavior outside the home, adults should befriend the local community affair’s police officer and tell him/her of the above plan.  It would also be wise to share your concerns that the child is engaging in criminal activity, although some parents and care-givers will be reluctant to do so.

Parenting Tip Four: Be very clear about what matters: safety and respect  tops  the list. An out of control child is not safe, endangers others,, and has no respect for self, others, or reasonable laws.  Worry when these rules are broken, worry lots less about the smaller rules.

Parenting Tip Five: When rules that matter are broken, strip away a  privilege.  No money even for lunch at school;  no use of telephone including cell phones; no house key; no use of no goodies in his/her bedroom—radio, tv, games.

No listening to explanations, which is a privilege to those who respect others.

If you have been doing the above to no avail, move on to the next tip.

Parenting Tip Five:  Write and deliver a Declaration of Emancipation.  Such a document  give the child freedom from your rules, but make the child fully responsible for her or his life. Detail the  responsibilities you will be turning over to your child. Say something like:

”You seem to feel you are old enough to set your own rules.  I am granting you that right, but know that as an adult you will have to take care of your own needs and accept whatever consequences life hands you.”

 “Because you are not yet eighteen, I am obligated by law to provide you food, minimal clothing, and shelter.  I will not do anything more, including bailing you out if you get arrested or caring for your child should you get pregnant or get someone else pregnant.  You also need to know I will contact the police if you bring any criminal activities into the house or engage in criminal behavior while at home.”

 “I will provide you with life’s necessities, not only because it is required, but because I do care about you. I cannot support some of your behaviors, but  I will always work with you when your requests and behavior are responsible.”

 “I do have to lock the door to stay safe, and I will let you in when you come in at my set curfew or if I hear you, but as you know I sleep soundly.  Also know that the neighbors have told me they will call the police if you create too much noise in trying to wake me.  I understand Covenant House has a shelter that will put you up if you can’t get home by my bedtime or you might sleep  out at a friend’s house.  Do keep yourself safe.”

Use you Child and Family Team to plan when and how to deliver this to the child.  Do not do it alone, you  need  team members with you when you deliver the Declaration to your child.

Parenting Tip Six: Whenever the child says s/he will straighten up, do not cave in too quickly. Privileges need to be earned back one by one. Have the  child meet with one of the other adults on your team and draw up a plan for winning and keeping your trust.

Schedule a time for you to hear the plan within a reasonable time frame. Meanwhile, the child must continue living as an adult.

Parenting Tip Seven:  Show you care with small  “niceties” such as:

  1. Cooking a child’s favorite food once in a while. Saying, “I thought you might like this.”
  2. Putting  on child’s type of music or TV show once in a while.
  3. Leaving small and unexpected presents on his/her room on the bed.
  4. Inviting to movies or other family outings.
  5. Celebrating birthday and other holidays as if the child was behaving.
  6. Considering a very small “love allowance.”  Such allowances are given no matter what the child’s behavior.

Parenting Tip Eight: Consider having the child live somewhere else.  

  1. If you and the child’s other parents are not living together, and the child has been living with you, consider vesting custody with the other parent. This  might work, particularly if that is what the child would like and the other parent agrees and has not been previously found to be a child abuser.  If the child wishes to live with the other parent and the other parent does not agree, don’t get drawn into a fight.  Just tell the child to discuss that idea with the other parent.
  2. A relative who wants the child and the child wants to live with; a friend’s family.
  3. If you are wealthy, try a private school or a good camp or wilderness experience.  Proceed with caution, as many are unregulated and sometimes abuse their residents.
  4. Placement in a private psychiatric facility – insurances including Medicaid often cover the costs.
  5. Consider a drug rehabilitation program if a child drinks or drugs.   Works best when the  child admist to using and is willing to go. However, sometimes works when forced on the child.
  6. Job core has worked in some situations.
  7. Child welfare agencies might provide  placement. The downside? You might be  found to be neglectful, but that is preferable to allowing the child to continue to rule the roost in your home in dangerous and unacceptable ways.
  8. If the child is arrested and in detention, most often Juvenile Justice authorities will want you to take the child back home.  You will need to be in immediate contact with the discharge planning staff.  Make it clear that without lots of support from juvenile justice, you do not feel you can keep him/her out of trouble. With the support of the court and fear of detention, some youth straighten up.
  9. You will do best at brokering for the child to live else where, if a lawyer represents your interests: the courts will provide one  to protect your child’s interests.
  10. Make the probation department part of your Child and Family Team.
  11. Some children want and can be declared emancipated minors. They can seek help from their lawyer if this is their choice.

Parenting Tip Nine: Control your feelings.  Out of control children are comforted if you show upset. Some even want you to blow and get abusive. Why? It lets them rationalize their behavior. If you are crazy or abusive then their bad behavior is excusable.  I call that  Gotcha War. 

Staying calm when a child is defiant is not easy. My eBook Self-soothing to Create Calm is full of quick and easy exercises that properly learned and practiced keep you from blowing your cool.

Remember you can read Amazon eBooks on any of your devices by using this free application.

Parenting Tip Ten: Not sure this is what you need,  but still worried? Remember this is a last resort. You may not need to follow the advice given above.

However, I suggest taking  what might be helpful and keeping the rest for future reference. Hopefully, you won’t need to go the whole ten yards.

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

This post was inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt, Phase

OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST

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

LINKS OF INTEREST

PRACTICE KINDNESS

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.

Katherine

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TO PRAISE OR NOT TO PRAISE? PARENTING TIPS ON EFFECTIVE PRAISE

Toddlers thrive on applause, but as the child grows and thinks more clearly too much praise creates two problems: entitlement and narcissism.

Cartoon about narcissim

PARENTING TIPS

Too much praise creates what some call “praise junkies.”  The  child grows dependent on the praising adult to define good and bad.  S/he  may feel pressure to get more praise but only by doing what the parent praises.

Too much praise keep children from finding  their own paths to feeling good or bad and particularly when it comes to accomplishments.  Jerome Kagan among others makes it clear that children seek to  quotes about morality in children

Doing something because you feel good about what you can do is always better than doing something to please someone else.

Many cultures do not praise. East Asian cultures while known for high-achieving and highly motivated students, despite the fact that parents rarely praise.

Many European cultures do not have words or phrases meaning “Good girl” or “Good boy.”

Research also show that  children who are praised are less likely to take risks They fear the loss of  praise. as they may fear they won’t receive positive feedback.

Finally, praising can be viewed as lying once the child develops the ability to better compare himself to what is praiseworthy in real  life.  Three  examples.

  1. A five-year-old who enjoyed painting and drawing stopped these activities completely at the age of six when she realized nothing she drew came close to reality. She had moved from the stage called Magical Thinking to the one known as Concrete Thinking. She later shrugged off all parental praise as biased lies.
  2. A seven-year–old girl became angry at her parents once she figured out Santa Claus was not a living person. She felt lied too. She later called Santa Claus “An invention of grownups to make kids behave.”
  3. A twelve-year-old who previously loved Little League and dreamt of becoming a major league player,  told his parents, “There are only 600 major league ball players, I will never be good enough to be one.”
  4. He was accurate and he spent much time on the bench. Sadly, he also stopped going to major league games or watching them on television.  He was also angry at his parents for “making me think I was good enough.” He had moved to the stage of abstract thought. He could about many possibilities instead of just one or two mainly driven by his own experiences.

Parenting tips

Tip one: The older your child, the less you should praise.  

Tip two: Do not praise character traits. Example, “You’re a good girl”, “You’re so good at this”, or “I’m very proud of you”

Tip three: Better than praise: describe effort and outcome.   Examples: “you tried  hard” or “I see how carefully you crayoned within the lines” or “You did it.”

Tip four: Let your child fail.  Use failures to talk about strengths, weaknesses, and talents.  Emphasize trying your best, learning from mistakes.

Tip five: Make it clear you think what matters most is being kind and making the world better. Teach manners and that includes cleaning up when you mess up.

Tip six:  When you child enters his or her teen years, talk about mission and goals. Use the exercises in the eBook  Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals as your starting point. Buy it now, it costs less than a latte.

Go here for a free digital PDF download of my newest eBook, Cross Train Your Brain with Twelve Easy Exercises.  It will be free until March st. If you read it please that a few seconds to send me a comment that I can use as an endorsement or how it needs improving.

This post was inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt – Pat on the Back – Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.

Practice Kindness

Remember to share all you find of value on the internet as it is an easy act of kindness.  Everyone craves recognition. Sharing is a gift to three people: the person whose post you are reading, the people you share with, and you for your kindness bless you.TA like says “Thank You.” Comments says you have read and thought about the post.

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 even when your children are grown can be a struggle.

LINKS OF INTEREST

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

Katherine

 

The Etiquette of Touch: Good Hugs Bad Hugs

As a child, I hated being swooped up in one or another relatives’ arms and hugged. They may have loved me, but I hated their unwanted hugs.hugs

At the same time I love  hugs and hugging. But it is tricky.

Because I worked as a mental health professional with children, I was written up once for hugging a child. She was five, we had worked together for several weeks. When she saw me at a support group my boss was attending, she rushed up to me gave me a big hug and clung to me for a few moments. My boss frowned and wrote me a memo saying it was against agency rules to have physical contact with patients.

Did I stopping hugging the kids or grown ups who came at me with open arms. No. I only obey reasonable rules applied reasonable. The “No touch” rule for professional has its merits.  However, rejecting someone who wants a hug is hurtful  and good therapy seeks to help not damage.  What to do? Here are some tips.

Parenting Tips

Tip one: All unwanted touches are bad touches. 

Normally, I want hugs from David. But if I am angry I do not. He had to learn that lesson and has. Children are much the same. When teaching time out, the younger the child the more they seem to want a hug when it is over. Not always.

One of my foster children stiffened when I tried to hug her. A clear sign, she did not want my hugs. I noted her response and apologized.  She explained she had been sexually abused and it started with hugs.

Tip two:  Be aware of sexual feelings hugs and other touches created in you and others. 

If you are a parent, you know that sooner or later the hugs and kisses your child once delighted in will  turn a bit sour.

When that happened to me, I communicated my new attitude toward hugs by meeting my father’s attempt to hug with the sideways hug. In time he got the message.

Understand: my father did not think of our hugs as sexual. They were not, but felt that way to me. Nor was I absolutely clear on why I no longer liked them.

Tip three: Handle inappropriate or unwanted touches,  but do not over-react.  

When a girl tried to unzip David’s fly he called loudly for me. The girl fled.  She was told to discuss the incident with her probation officer and that we would report it so talking about it was not a matter of choice.

When hugged too long by one  boy I pushed him away and said “Those kind of hugs are for grownups who want to be hugged that way.” He was also told to discuss this with the professionals involved in his care.

Then there was the medial intern I met in an empty hall when I was young,  apparently attractive, and working in a hospital. He spread his arms and came toward me obviously intent on give me a bear hug. I looked as if I was going to accept, but at the last minute ducked under his arms and said, “Thank you but no thank you.”  He never bother me again..

Whistles and cat calls with no intent or ability to touch is  not the same as actually being hugged. The feminist movement has made a bit too much oof these; I have been told by a number of young women they feel raped by such behavior. Awfulizing and denigrating of actual rape victims.

Men working at a construction site are not going to leap over the fence and rape you.  They are bored and wanting some distraction. You can take the whistles as a compliment or an assault. Seeing them as assaults is over-reacting.

I assumed the men were paying me a compliment. I usually dropped a small curtsey, smiled and kept walking. Got some laughs and we both felt okay.

Now as a subway rider, I got groped and eventually found that either stomping  on the not-gentleman’s  or saying loudly “Keep your hands to yourself” worked. I didn’t need to try the knee in the groin, but assume that might also convey the desired message.

Younger children might try something they see on the media or see their parents doing. Deep kissing for example. That is best handled, by noting such kisses are grownup kissed and only for two grownups who both want such kisses.

Tip four: Set your child free to reject hugs. Never say “Give Aunt Rosie a hug or a kiss.”  I cringe when I hear parents saying that. My tactic is always to say,  “Only if s/he wants; otherwise a hand shake or “Slap me five” will do.”

Lots of times I get the handshake and most of the time a “Slap me five.” When I get a hug is freely given and that delights me.

Don’t like this tip? Remember most sexual abuse directed toward a child comes from relatives or family friends. Your child needs to start owning his or her body early on.

If you have other tips that might help parents, feel free to share.

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 Word Press Daily Prompt  I Can’t Stay Mad at You;  Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?

Practice forgiveness is one of the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.  It does not involve forgetting.

how to forgive

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)

 

Use Rating Scales to Teach Your Child What Matters

Knowing what matters keeps decision making on track. Teaching children how to rate things keeps them on track.

Rating scale poster

How to practice  Emotional Fitness Training’s Rating Exercise: Every time you feel tempted to complain, rate the complaint: Trivial is one; Life Changing trauma is ten. Hurts but not for long is five.

parent advice

The younger the child, the more s/he lives in the now and what matters is feeling okay or good.  Rating scales can be taught to a child as soon as he or she begins toddling. Why then? Because the child is getting a few bumps and bruises, but also because s/he is acquiring language. This age and stage lets you teach your child to rate pain:

  1. “Big hurt”  if the child is crying inconsolably.
  2. “Hurts” for small weeping moments.
  3. Tiny hurt for when child complains but seems able to comfort self.

For the big hurts, keep saying “Big Hurt” as you comfort the child.    For the “Hurts” repeat that one word and when the child stops crying, smile, hug,  and say “Good job.”

For tiny hurts, ignore or say “Tiny Hurt, well handled.”

By the way, some experts say there are only two emotions: pleasure and pain. Makes some sense by also important to realize that as we grow what feels pleasurable or painful becomes personal.  Need an example? Here’s one based on my experience as a foster parent.

Many of the children who came to live with us, had been abused or seriously neglected. The logical assumption  would be that living with foster parents who were not abusive would be pleasurable. Not so.

As one young man said, “Please beat us once in a while. You treat us better than our parents and that hurts.”

Fritz Redl and David Wineman in their book Children Who Hate called this inability to tolerate good enough parenting “Treatment Shock.”

In my work and life, I have found three elements working in terms of pleasure or pain.

  1. Deprivation of basic survival needs leads the list. And sexual deprivation is included as a basic survival need, although survival of the species not the individual.
  2. Physical pain.
  3. Emotional pain including uncertainty and fear of pain.

As children grow, each of these three elements can be rated.

  1. Survival needs are rated in terms of their impact on the body. Water needs? A bit thirsty vs dehydrated; Food needs? Mildly hungry vs near death from starvation. Sexual needs? No sexual tension versus aroused enough to violate safe sex rules including forcing sex on someone.
  2. Pan has already been discussed. but useful to think about uncertain and fear of pain in the following ways.
  3. Emotional pain?  Rate on tiny hurt, hurt, and big hurt scale. Think about uncertainty in terms of  mildly curious to disruption of core beliefs enough to act violently to those who believe differently. Fear of pain? Reasonable caution vs immobilizing fear.

But it all begins with teaching a toddler to rate pain.

What to do if your child is past the toddler age? Once a child is in school, you can take a direct approach. Again your response starts the process. Look for when a child is “awfulizing” a trivial hurt.

What’s awfulizing? Albert Ellis founder of the Institute for Rational Living coined this  word. Most simply put it involves  making mountains out of ant hills.  Think of the teen who won’t leave the house because of a pimple you cannot see.  Or the Little League who drops a fly ball and acts like he or she lost the World Series.

You have a number options, but the best is simply to ask the child to rate how bad it is. You can do that by saying, ” suspect by  next week you won’t feel so bad, and by next month you will hardly remember feeling so bad and by next year, you will have forgotten this entirely.” I usually add, “Life goes on.”

My mother’s response to awfulizing  took these three forms.

  1. “Suck it up Butter cup.”
  2. “Be glad it isn’t worse.”
  3. “Life goes on.” Which is where I got that one.

Many of today’s parenting gurus would find my mother’s edicts hurtful. These tend to suggest if you cannot praise, say nothing. I disagree. Part of being a parent is preparing your child for the realities of life. Hurt is a reality and learning to rate hurts realistically an important life skill.

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO

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

Katherine

P.S. This post was partly inspired by today’s WordPress Daily Prompt.

Ripped from the Headlines! Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

I thought about the controversy over Starbucks Christmas Cups. Stupid to waste time on something so trivial. Well, at least in my Cranky Old Lady’s Opinion.

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