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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.



Need Help? What Parent Doesn’t? How to Find Mentors and Others to Help

Anyone caring 24/7 for a child needs a Mentor and an  Added Care Team.  As the saying goes: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Unfortunately, many of today’s villages have been torn apart. Some parents commute two or three hours a day, others hold two or three jobs outside the home. Some can only be home during weekends. Divorces tear out hearts. Grandparents live miles, even states away. Too many  children are in the care of people paid to care; that might be okay if those people care. Not all do.

When I grew up in the forties and fifties, I lived in a small town of  about 5000 people. I was born during the depression, lived through World War II. I remember blackout curtains and air raid drills. I remember the sirens announcing the end of the war, the horror of the pictures and films of those being released from concentration camps or killed when the A bomb was dropped. I remember crouching under my desk during drills prompted by fears of the cold war and atomic bombs. I knew darn well my desk was not a bomb shelter, but kids have to humor adults in power.

Polio fears abounded until Jonas Salk’s vaccine wiped it out. I had the measles, mumps, chicken pox and whooping cough. My life was probably saved by the discovery of penicillin—I spent a year in bed recovering from Rheumatic fever; twenty years on penicillin kept further attacks and heart damage at bay. There were other dangers and problems, but mostly as a child I was unaware of the evils that are part of this world.

Why did I feel safe living in such scary  times? Because I was  protected by a village of relatives and neighbors. Not all were kind or good. My maternal grandmother was a user and abuser of people, mostly my parents. I was told to never be alone  with “Uncle Charlie.”

But in my small home town, I roamed free by the time I was eight or nine, walking to and from school, then taking myself and my dog Lady around to the farms surrounding the town. These were gentlemen farms, mainly used to stable horses. I visited them to feed the horses.

The owner of one said never to go in the pasture, her horse would trample me. I suppressed the laugh as his horse, Gerry Jim and I always raced up and down the pasture, his nose on my shoulder.  If I tripped, he was more careful than my brothers at not stepping on me. He was lonely and so was I. He gave me strength and I hoped I added pleasure to his life.

I wandered free because back then people minded other people’s business particularly when it came to the children of the town. For a period, I thought my mother was a witch because she always seemed to know where I was and what I was doing. She didn’t, of course, know all; but her friends in the village kept their eyes on me and let Mom know where they had seen me and what they had seen me doing.

Not so today, although my two sons grew up with pretty much the same freedom because we lived in a small town where they could and did ride their bikes all around.  The village was weaker, however, and now is weaker still  with the possible exception of small apartment buildings.

When we lived in the Bronx, our apartment building was five stories high and each floor had about 10 apartments. Moreover, most of us entered through a common door before dispersing to our homes. We knew each other and for the most part took care of each other. Part of the team was a super and a building manager who both made sure to know everyone and would and did go above and beyond. We also has connections to the local synagogues and had friends in each that could be called on to help in various ways.

Moreover, the neighborhood although mixed, was not a hundred per cent safe—there was a murder right around the corner. However, there was still a group of old-time residents, some Irish and some Jewish, who kept an eye on what was happening and would either intervene in some situations or call on the police to settle more serious problems. The local shopkeepers were also watchful eyes. I might not go strolling outside my apartment after midnight, but for the most part I felt safe in this ‘hood’. So relatives, neighbors, shopkeepers formed added circles of care around me both as a child and an adult.

Not so much now, for we  in an apartment complex that has three stories, but each apartment has its own entrance.   After two years of  living here, I do know some of my neighbors by  but only two by name. I also  have gotten to know a few of those with dogs from the surrounding building by name. The building maintenance men serve as a partial watch group, but are not around at night or on weekends. Finally, the closest shops are two blocks away.

One of my kids lives in a small town and knows most of the residents. He has driven the school bus during his businesses downtime.

The other son lives in more of a development and is more isolated from neighbors. He has a talking relationship with one neighbor and that neighbor is more hostile than caring.

I suspect that many of you reading this are in my second son’s situation. In fact this son and his wife asked us to move to Colorado when we retired, so they could have us around to help when they became parents. We were major players in their added care team. The more space between you and the rest of your neighbors, the less they are likely to be part of your added care team and the more important it is to spend some time building one.

how to create an added care team

Start by thinking  carefully about who involved in your child’s and your life that are helpful. These  form part of your Added Care Team.

You can map your Added Care Team using an exercise I have taught to those who worked for me when I directed mental health crisis teams in New York City before, during, and after 9/11.  Think of your Added Care Team as having three circles, one inside the other.  Here is a template:

The inner circle dubbed “Angels” maps  family members and friends you can call knowing they will help, not just with words, but with actions. One of my Angel Friends got out of bed and drove to the airport to pick up one of my kids when my car refused to start and I had no AAA. Other Angels make dinner when you are sick, take care of your kids when the boss keeps you late, lend you their car, and lend you money.

You are lucky if you have two or three among family who you can call Angels. You are even luckier if you have two or three friends that are worthy of being dubbed Angels.  Many people have only one or two Angels.  And the saddest thing when I directed a crisis teams was to discover those who had none.

The Part-time Angels are those who will help when they can or help in very specific ways. Some are friends. One of my part time Angels when I was raising my children could be relied on to care for my kids in a pinch, but would never lend her car. Another could  always cheer me up, but never gave any concrete help.

Some Part-time Angels are paid to do a job, do it well, but will go above and beyond when you are in need. I think of a gas station attendant back in the days when we didn’t have to pump our own. A tire blew out on my car and he saw me standing by the side of the road,  pulled over, changed the tire and would not take anything but a “Thank you.” I think of the super in our  Bronx apartment building, the shop keepers in that ‘hood’ who would often go above and beyond.

The final circle, dubbed Paid Angels, are those whose job is to care and to be there to help during their working hours.  Doctors, lawyers, caseworkers, nurses, nurses aides, teachers, child care workers, some coaches.  Not all belong in your circle of care; some just do a job; the ones who really care, who treat you and yours like people and not patients or clients are the ones who belong here.


Mind your manners when dealing with any of your angels.  The ones on your Added Care Team are people and they need to hear “Thank You” and “Please” and “May I” just as much as the rest of us do.  They also need quid pro quos—their back scratched because they scratch yours.

Moreover you can’t abuse them. If they care for your kids when you are sick, the favor must be returned. If they lend you money, you better darn well better pay it back and soon.

For those paid Angels that go above and beyond, a Thank you note with a cc to their boss is in order. In today’s electronic world, such notes are very easy to send and worth their weight in gratitude.


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.



This DAILY PROMPTMentor Me – Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

I think I was lucky in having parents who taught me well and their best lesson was that you always had a choice to be kind or cruel and that the wisest choice was always kindness.


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.


Kids love jokes, but need to learn not make hurtful jokes and then how to deal with hurtful jokes. Here are some hurtful jokes.

cruel jokes

Laugh at these? Someone didn’t? Cruel jokes are the sign of prejudiced minds.

Hope these jokes offended you. Offensive jokes illustrate how prejudiced the human race is AND we all have our prejudices.    Why?

One reason: Our brains like to keep things simple and easy. Simple leads to the twisted thinking called generalization.

Another reason:  Part of being social animals means figuring out where you rank. We constantly compare ourselves to others. Then, we create mean jokes so we will feel better about ourselves by putting  others down.

As Gallager, a comedian, notes “I need wrong to get laughs. I need a normal world so that I can be abnormal, and that’s my problem. Comedians need prejudice.”

Thinking you are not bound by some false ideas about groups of people is delusional. Think about the early hurts in your life and how that lead to a prejudice on your part.

Here’s a personal example, when I was five-years old a red-head came up to me  on the play ground and for no reason I could figure out slapped me across the face and walked away. And yes, I remain a bit wary about red heads. A personal prejudice that I own and work against.

Prejudices are learned in three ways

  1. Personal hurts that generalize to a specific group.
  2. Modeling parental prejudices.
  3. Following the crowd whether school mates, religions teachers, the media.


Parenting tip one: Remember age and stage.  The younger your child the more hurt by others will lead to prejudices. Think of the stored up prejudices against parents which stay hidden until the teen years.  Combat early hurts by clearly labeling some as accidents. Label intended hurts as wrong. Punish your child if s/he intentionally hurts someone.

As your children enter school, gently dispute prejudices particularly those on the media. Talk about why others hurt people. Teach how to handle hurt and anger in healthy ways.

During the pre-teen and teen years talk directly about prejudices. Very useful topic for family meetings.

Parenting tip two: As always you have to clean up your own act, so you model better ways to your children.  As the song from South Pacific notes:

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Parenting tip three: Reduce your prejudices by doing the following.

  1. Talk of specific acts of specific people.
  2.  When labeling behaviors think of the following words: kind, cruel, dangerous, thoughtless, criminal,evil.
  3. Some unacceptable words can be linked. These include thoughtlessly cruel, criminally dangerous, or evil and cruel.
  4.  Know that all group labels are guilty of generalizing and generalizing is twisted thinking. Every person is unique and a blend of traits.
  5. Seek balance.When labeling a person’s behavior think how cruel, how often, to how many. Also think balance: how kind, how often, to how many, and for what reason. Do the same with cultures.
  6.  Remember what matters; be grateful; practice kindness; laugh; play; enjoy the good; speak out against the bad, but in thoughtful ways. What you do and how you do it matters.
  7. Protest offensive jokes. How? Don’t laugh. Raise you eyebrows and look a bit disgusted. Stay you find the joke highly offensive. Use such jokes as teachable moments for your kids.
  8. Take less offense if the teller is a comedian or cartoonist. Some cultures suggest killing cartoonists who offend – an evil and cruel practice.


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.



Dealing With Offensive Jokes (Forbes.com)
Thinking About Humor ( meor.org)
Critical Thinking (en.wikipedia.org)
Yes/and Thinking (bigthink.com)

inspiration for this post

April Fool’s Day 2015 was one source of inspiration.

Word Press’s Daily post’s DAILY PROMPT: Fool Me Once It’s April 1st! Pull a fast one — publish a post that gently pranks your readers.

I didn’t prank, but I was inspired.


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 some in the near future.


Trying to keep your kids happy? Stop. Kids know how to be happy. What they need to learn is how to deal with suffering  and to move on without bitterness.

To get the good, you need to endure the pain

With all the emphasis on happiness circulating around those dispensing advice to parents, pain tolerance is neglected. Not good.  How do you build pain tolerance in your children? Here are six  parenting tips that will help.

Parenting tip one: Self-soothing is an essential skill when it comes to enduring life’s slings and arrows. Self-soothing skills can be taught at any age, but when teaching, remember age and stage. Infants need to learn the ABC’s of self’-soothing.  That is done by not rushing to comfort. Sleep is the best time to ignore cries for help. Most night-time criers will cry themselves to sleep or back to sleep and wake up happy and cheerful. 

Parenting tip two: Teach pain rating skills, start by teaching the child to rate  physical pains can begin as soon as the child learns to walk and talk. Applaud tumbles when the child gets up and goes on. But if the child cries rate the pain for the child. Here is a useful rating scale:

  • Immobilized by pain and cannot even come to you for comfort say, “Big, big pain.”
  • Rushes to you and has a hard time calming down, say, “Big Pain.”
  • Calms down easily once in your lap, say, “Middle-size Pain.”
  • Stops crying without coming to you  say, “Small Pain.”

As the pain decreases note “Pain getting smaller” and then “Pain  gone.”

Parenting tip three: When the child can talk fairly well teach Calming Breath .  See this Breathing Buddies link.  Add lots of other self soothing skills particularly Remember What Matters.  See the link to Creating Calm for more suggestions. 

Parenting tip four: By the time a child enters school, you can talk more about learning to understand and tolerate pain.   Use the Porcupine story  to teach  that  hurt is part of all relationships. As pain can lead to the desire to hurt others, it is also important to teach making amends and forgiveness. 

Parenting tip five: Teach teens the art of winning Gotcha Wars.  That means you need to learn that art. See the link for my book of the same name.

Parenting tip six: Get your child self-defense training. FTolearating pain and forgiving others  does not mean allowing abuse. Moreover, self-defense boosts self-confidence.  Take family lessons. Best resource for this:   Peace Jojos.

 As always you need to model what you teach. Bad news? Not really for by teaching these skills strengthens them.  As you teach your child, you will increase your ability to tolerate pain and add to your ability to enjoy the good.


Another way to survive the pricks of close relationships is to follow the Five in One Rule. That rule? For every prick there must be five kisses or the equivalent of kisses.   And as always abuse cannot be tolerated.

If you are new to the idea of emotional fitness exercises visit this blog page: Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises to get started  improving your emotional intelligence.

Thank you all for all you do to care and share with others. Doing a little matters a lot.




I use these prompt  ideas to think about what to write.  If I know what I am going to write, the prompts challenge me to see if what I wrote fits in with the prompt.

Here’s this post’s prompt. Third From the Top: Head to “Blogs I Follow” in the Reader. Scroll down to the third post in the list. Take the third sentence in the post, and work it into your own.

The laughs on the Daily Prompt for the third post was just a picture as for many bloggers it is Wordless Wednesdays and only pictures are posted.

I hadn’t heard of Wordless Wednesdays, but now I know and I will now declare some posts as  .  Not this one, but I did work a picture into it via a Poster Coach. Of course Poster Coaches are not wordless, but will  work for me, when I do not have time to post.