Tag Archives: Self care

Ten Tips to Solve School Struggles.

Did your beloved child start off the school full of excitement but now grumbles and groans at the thought; or worse cuts totally out? Read on.

Cartoon "Child hates school."

I love to watch the line of first graders on the first day of school. All except a few shy ones wear  happy faces and are eager to enter the halls of learning.

Contrast that to drop out rates  of teens. Two problems dominate  the path to hating school: bullying and failure to learn.

I loved school, and am what is called a life long learning, this despite several struggles that often lead to hating school. Those struggles?  Bullying, and having two learning disabilities (LD). All living creatures are programmed to avoid hurt.  If something about school hurts and is not counted balanced by pleasure, resistance to school grows.

I was not physically bullied but was shunned and friendless during elementary school. Shunning is a subtle form of bullying. Why was I shunned? I changed schools in the second grade and was the first newcomer to my class. Friendship groups were already established and I was not included.  Exclusion from the in groups hurts, hurts more when it is accompanied by more obvious bullying.

As for my LD struggles, these were not formally diagnosed. LDs were not recognized as impeding learning until after I had graduated high school. My sons were dx with them in the late 79s; that was when I realized mine were part of my families genetic mix.

Here are some thoughts about what kept me a lifelong learner.

1. My parents emphasized trying over outcomes.

2. My mother branded my brain with the words “Nothing ventured nothing gained.

3. I am a bit brighter than the average bear as the saying goes. Not politically correct, but a fact of life that promotes school success and love of learning in some. Note the words “in some” and think about this. There are many types of brightness.

Howard Gardner, the guru of multiple intelligence, notes these types of  intelligence:

  1. Linguistic or word smart.

2. Logical or mathematical smart.

3. Music smart.

 4. Spatial or picture smart.

 5. kKnesthetic or body smart.

 6. Interpersonal or people smart.

7. intrapersonal or self-awareness  smart.

8. Naturalistic or nature smart.

9. Existential smart: the capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

10. Pedagogical intelligence, the ability to teach.

Gardener recently claimed he was no longer in the business of naming more intelligences and was leaving that up to the next generation of researchers.

We all have more or less of each type of intelligence.. Some of us can do math; some cannot. I cannot. One of my learning disabilities is Dyscalculia or Math Dsylexia. I cannot do the simplest addition or subtraction because the numbers jump off the page or reverse; moreover, I cannot remember number facts. But I can do logic. Probably explains why I got A;s in Algebra, but Cs and Ds in all other math courses.

My other learning disability is dysgraphia which involves problems with writing, grammar and spelling) kept me uncertain and also humble.Also explains why no matter how much I edit, small mistakes are always there. Drives many readers away, but not all.

  4. I was blessed with teachers who saw my intelligence and built on it while down playing my weaknesses.

5.  My two learning disabilities  brought mega uncertainty into my life. Why was dealing with the  uncertainty a good thing?

Jerome Kagan, guru for understanding people,  notes that the  desire to overcome uncertainty motivates us almost as much as the need for food or the desire to have sex.  He also notes  uncertainty can push us to keep going or to get rid of it by blaming others or ourselves or just not trying.

I was bright enough to have success in many areas, but despair overcame me in terms of math.

Why is humbleness good? For me it meant knowing, I did not know all the answers and had to look to others instead of relying only on my own knowledge or beliefs.

So what Emotional Fitness Training Tips to I have to improve your child’s lifelong ability to keep learning. They are summed up in this poster coach.

let learn

More parenting tips

In addition to the  above, the Following tips help parent’s keep love of learning in their children.

Parenting Tip One: Find your child’s strengths and support them. 

Parenting Tip Two: Make it clear every one has both strengths and weakness.

Parenting Tip Three: Allow as much free play time as you can manage particularly for the pre-schooler. 

Parenting Tip Four: Be alert to your child’s learning style. I learn with a gentle distraction in the background; I learn best by reading. If I am listening to a lecture, I most take notes. One of my sons learns best by listening without taking notes. This link takes you to a good article about learning styles. 

Parenting Tip Five: If your child starts resisting school, get serious about seeig if  bullying or a learning disability are lurking and doing damage to your child’s life. 

Go here for information and links about about bullying. 

Go here for help with Learning Disabilities. 

Parenting Tip Six: Related to LD’s fear of failure can also lead to  problems taking test. My ebook Tame the Test Anxiety Monster help when performance anxiety is a problem. 

Parenting Tip Seven: Develop your and your  child’s self soothing skills.  Buy my eBook.  Self-Soothing to Create Calm in Your Life.   The exercises in the book will relax you more than a latte and cost less.

Parenting Tip Eight: Make sure your child knows what matters.  Most negative feelings are responses to things that really do not matter in the long run. Being cut off in traffic, breaking a fingernail, not being able to buy the newest gadget, someone else’s rudeness—these are just not worth getting upset about.

What really matters? Wise men across all ages have taught what matter is being kind, caring, and fair. Translated into advice for parents, this means teach your children to practice kindness by stressing that manners are all about kindness. The earlier you teach manners the better.

Parenting tip nine: Learn to hold Successful Family Meetings. Well run family meetings teach important life skills including manners, how to negotiate, and problem solve; promote positive togetherness; and ease the stress of parenting.

Another of my books teaches you the art of making family meetings successful. Here’s the link to that book. 

Parenting Tip Ten: Strengthen yours and your child’s self soothing skills.  And yes I have an eBook to help with that: Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. All my books cost less than a movie ticket and last longer.


Sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting.

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


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt  but pertains to it: Lazy Learners -Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill? Thanks for the prompt suggestion, BasicallyBeyondBasic!


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)


Dealing With Nay-sayers of All Ages: Three Tips

Shrinks have a name for those who never say yes–Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It is a disorder because it rules the person’s life, they  rarely if ever say yes.


Praise an ODD and they will often start putting themselves down. As a parent, offering  to give a higher allowance will see the ODD child  refusing. Why?

Because it is winning the will struggle that matters.

Very few  deserve the ODD label. Power leaders, and that refers to most parents, however, can learn a great deal about handling negative behavior in general by understanding when disobedience becomes a disorder.

We all engage in ODD behaviors from time to time. Some more than others.

Think about it? Do you like always being told what to do? Some enjoy the comfort of not having to make decisions, but most do not want to be micro managed. That is why  disputes often arise when arises between drivers and riders in cars.  According to a poll  back seat driving lead to more fights between married couples than anything except sex and money.

Here is a quick symptom list describing ODD: Loses temper, argues with adults, refuses to do what is asked,  annoys others on purpose, is touchy and irritable, blames others, seems spiteful, seems to seek revenge. and to enjoy being disobedient; however, he or she does not break laws that are felonious or criminal.

Problem: As with so many labels, these symptoms are often a matter of  judgement. Almost everyone at one time or another shows such symptoms. Many of us beak the law. If you drive most likely you have exceeded the speed limit or failed to stop or yield when the law says you must.

Be warned, don’t practice medicine without a license. Don’t try to diagnosis self, family, friends, students, staff. The professionals have a hard enough time  agreeing on psychiatric labels. Instead learn how to help

Parenting tips

These tips will help not just parents but all dealing with major nay-saying.

Parenting tip one: Understand what makes someone ODD.  Disobeying feels powerful and often the person feels powerless, or felt so as a child.

Some who show this disorder grew up in violent homes, were beaten as children or saw fighting parents, or were victims of major emotional abuse. Many had major problems in school; some lived in lots of different homes.

Other reasons: As a child, the person only got attention when s/he was doing something wrong. This can happen in large families or in families suffering from a great deal of stress. Also happens because some families worry praise can spoil a child or youth, while other families take good behavior for granted. Finally, the youngest child in a family  is often  over bossed or feels over-bossed.

Parenting tip two:  The overall strategy is to avoid all power struggles and arguments. An ODD child or adult gets jazzed up and juiced by the fight. The longer s/he can keep from obeying, the more powerful s/he feels.

Teens often feel the need to assert their power and that can lead to minor Gotcha wars. Read about teens and Gotcha Wars in this post. 

Specific ways to cut down on negative behaviors include:

  • The child or adult must be able to do what is asked. Many children having problems in school have learning disabilities that make it impossible to do what is asked. We would never ask a blind person to read the printed page. Children are often asked to do what they cannot do. The same is true of employees. Know the other person’s abilities.
  • Rules must be clear, written down, and posted where every one can see.  See this post for rules that matter: safety, respect for self, others, property; and obeying reasonable laws. 
  • Punishments must be clear and not leave any room for arguing.
  • The authority figure must follow these rules.  If the adults don’t obey rules, lie, con, bully, fight or steal, so will those they are trying to lead.
  • Strengths must be acknowledged.
  • A reward system for good behavior is as important as punishments for unacceptable behaviors.
  • A culture of obedience matters. One of the difficulties currently facing many parents, teachers, and bosses is the general encouragement in all kinds of media to portray parents, teachers, and bosses as either stupid, mean, or dishonest.
  • All involved need to handle anger and resentment properly.
  • Self-soothing skills are also helpful. Buy my ebook: Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. 
  • Consistency matters. All rules, rewards, and punishments must apply to all, all the time and every time.

Parenting tip three: There is a good side to ODD behavior. ODDs  are conveying important messages. Listening to dissenting voices is not always easy, but is usually more productive than only hearing those who always agree with you.

Minimally, a nay-sayer is announcing something about him or herself.  Also remember, humans would probably still be sitting in a tree, shivering from the cold, and getting rained or snowed on if mankind’s rebellious children did not show us how to climb down, use fire, take advantage of caves.


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.


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt. Out of Reach –  Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?

However, it sparked this response. Financial success for my writing efforts has been out of reach. Would have made my life more secure, improved my self-confidence, but would not have stopped me from writing for it is a passion . A passion is something you must do no matter what the outcome. Healthy passions give meaning to life and mine seems healthier than many.


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

Improve Yours and Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence Now

Strong Emotional Intelligence (EQ) help you  get along with others. The earlier your child learns to apologize for hurtful behavior  the better.

How to apologize.

Children can start learning to apologize as soon as you start using time out for violation of the of The Rule of Respect. That rule? Respect all living creatures.

Jo Frost teaches ending time out by having the child apologize: “Once your child has completed the agreed set time on the Naughty Step, crouch down so you’re on the same level, use a low and authoritative tone of voice, and explain why you put her there. Ask her to apologize, and when she does, praise her warmly with a kiss and a cuddle. Say ‘thank you’, go back to what you were doing and forget about the incident. ”

Before the child can talk, the above assures s/he will begin learning the rules needed to get along in life.  Even if s/he does not fully understand the words,  stopping the behavior, punishing it and then giving a  hug and cuddle will end her hurt and your anger. The relationship pain caused by the punishment will be healed.

As the child grows into greater understanding, two things need to be taught. The first: what accidental means, but that it still needs an apology. Do this by not punishing accidents. Explain you know it was not planned behavior, but  also demand an apology.

The second: Apologies must be sincere. This is more difficult to teach, but having the child tell you when apologizing what s/he did that was wrong starts the process.

What if the child smiles when apologizing,  ask “Why are you smiling?”

Sometimes, the smile is happiness at being out of time out, but you need to make sure. Sometimes it is a nervous smile, because the child is not clear on what s/he did wrong. Repeat what was wrong, how it was hurtful, and then give the hug.

As always what you model is what your child learns best. So think about the last time you apologized. Also think about the last time someone felt your behavior was hurtful. Did you apologize or not?

Bonding grows between people when hurts are acknowledged. What about unavoidable hurts we inflict on each other? Think of a child needed a painful shot or more simply not getting what s/he wants for any number of reasons?

Then a quick apology is still in order. Here’s one: “I’m sorry we cannot stay at the playground longer, but I have to get home to make dinner.”

Another? “I know you hate time out. I am sorry about that, but my most important job is teaching you right from wrong.  What you did was wrong and you need to sit and think about how to do better.”


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.



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

Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
The five components of emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)




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

This does not mean letting go of concern or love for the child. It does mean stopping as many efforts to control as possible and working to influence instead.

If you feel this is the course you must follow, 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 does mean changing course.

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  lead 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: When ever 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, vesting custody with the other parent 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 friends 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.   The child must admit to using and to be willing to go.
  6. Job core has worked in some situations.
  7. Child welfare agencies might provide  placement. TThe 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. Make the probation department part of your Child and Family Team.
  10. Some children want and can be declared emancipated minors. They can seek help from a legal aid 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.

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 keep the rest for future reference. Hopefully, you won’t need to go the whole ten yards.


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.


This post was inspired by this a WordPress Daily Prompt, Only Sixteen – Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

When I was sixteen, I was a Miss Good Two Shoes. Then I fell in love with a bad boy. Drove my parents crazy, but they knew enough to let the romance die a naturally death. It did several years later.


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



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.