Category Archives: Parenting

The Truly “Mean” Parent: Are You One of Them?

One of the most common themes I hear from parents with unruly children is the fear of being labeled a “mean” parent. Here are few points that these parents don’t seem to understand:

  1. It is okay to set and enforce limits that upset your child.
  2. It is okay for your child to cry… and cry… and cry… and cry… when you set a limit that he or she dislikes.
  3. When your child makes statements such as, “I hate you,” they really mean, “I hate the fact that you have authority over me.”

Too many parents give in to their children because they are worried about being a “mean”P1020049_edited parent. They become anxious and emotional when their children oppose the limits that have been set. As a result, these parents typically do whatever they can to pacify or appease their children. By appeasing their children these parents feel that they can avoid the dreaded label of “mean parent.”

What these parents don’t realize is that the truly “mean” parent is THE ONE WHO GIVES IN. These parents set their children up for future failure. Imagine what it must be like for the child who gets whatever he or she wants just by crying. How successful can these children be when they begin school, work, or a new relationship? These children fail to learn an important and essential trait called self-discipline. Without self-discipline these children will struggle through life. Mean parents are the ones that allow this to happen.


If your child is crying because he or she is afraid- be reassuring and understanding.

If your child is crying because he or she is hurt – be nurturing and compassionate.

If your child is crying because his or her feelings are hurt – be comforting and supportive.

If your child is crying because he or she doesn’t like the limits you have set… too bad!

Positive Parenting: Are You Doing it Right?

“Effective discipline begins with positive parenting,” is one of the many quotes I recently read on one of my many social media pages. It’s a great quote that certainly makes sense, but it would have been nice if the author had expanded on that thought. Since that wasn’t the case, I decided to take my own little “stab at it.”

So, with no further ado…

Positive parenting involves the use of firm but fair discipline. This means that parents need to be assertive when stating expectations (or when giving instructions) without sounding too wishy-washy or timid. It is equally as important for parents to be reasonable and just when dealing with their children. Failure to do so is likely to result in further behavior problems.

Positive parenting involves the ability to communicate with one’s child in a calm, positive, and constructive manner…without resorting to yelling and/or threatening. An “out-of-control” parent is rarely, if ever, effective.

Positive parenting also involves a high level of patience and empathy. Understanding a child’s feelings and motivations will (in most cases) lead to a more positive result with regards to managing that child’s behavior.

It is important for parents to choose effective consequences if improved behavior is the desired result. This includes positive and negative consequences. Ineffective consequences are unlikely to motivate a child to behave better…and a lack of motivation usually means a lack of change.positive parenting

Positive parenting means being involved and being connected to one’s children! Children need to feel as though they are not only loved and cared for, but truly appreciated by their parents. Spending quality time with one’s children is essential to building that child’s self-esteem and developing their self-worth.

So there you have it. The five short paragraphs above are how I would define “positive parenting.”

If you are interested in becoming a more positive or effective parent then The Parent Coach Plan is perhaps something you should look into. It is a simple and effective behavior plan that promotes positive parenting.

Reality TV and Parenting

This last decade of television programming has brought with it a huge influx of reality-based shows that now seem to be on every channel one turns to. Many of these shows are ridiculous in nature, but there are some true gems among them. When I say “gems,” most of you probably assume that I’m talking about American Idol, Big Brother, or even Survivor. While there are millions of individuals that evidently find value in the above-mentioned shows, these are not the ones that I would describe as “gems.” I am instead talking about the small but highly informative group of “self help” shows. Dr. Phil, Nanny 911, and Supernanny all fit into that category. Yes, I realize that Nanny 911 is no longer on and that Supernanny is only being shown in reruns, but these shows do offer parents an entertaining format from which important parenting and/or relationship skills can be learned.

It is now possible to learn how to effectively use time out (or the “naughty spot” as it is referred to on Supernanny) or to recognize the warning signs associated with common childhood disorders (as identified by Dr. Phil on his show). Nanny 911 taught frustrated parents the correct way to put a non-compliant sleeper to bed as well as how to get fussy eaters to eat. These are only a few examples of the advice, tips, and techniques that parents can learn from these shows then use to effectively manage their difficult children. Clearly, there is a lot that can be learned from these informative shows. If you are a frustrated or overwhelmed parent looking for solutions to your child’s unruly behavior, give these shows a try. You’re likely to learn valuable parenting and discipline tips that can benefit your family and/or child (unless, of course, Dr. Phil’s guests are there in an effort to fix their annoying habits of juggling in their sleep or of unintentionally burping the alphabet every time they drink a sip of soda!). Looking for help with YOUR difficult or challenging child?

In addition to watching these shows, you can find a wonderful set of parenting and discipline tools at the following sites:

Young woman watching television, rear view



14 Things I Once Did That I Sincerely Hope My Daughters Never Do

  1. Took a dare that I never should have taken.   Yes, I was about 13 years old when a good friend of mine (even to this day) offered me $10 to eat a big ol’ chunk of canned dog food…I believe it was ALPO (is that even around anymore?).  Anyway, the result?  Well, I almost choked to death…seriously.  Not only that, but it took me over 13 years to collect that $10…by that time the $10 was only worth about $1.65!  I hope my daughters are smarter than me (although something tells me I didn’t set the bar too high!).  Never do something stupid simply because someone dared you to do it (or because you felt pressured to do so).
  2. Drank more than I should have. Seriously?  This is a subject I could write a whole book about.  Just don’t do it.  Have fun, but pace yourself and maintain control of your faculties…you’ll be so happy that you did.
  3. Dated someone that I shouldn’t have. Again, I could write a whole book on this subject (actually, that’s not a bad idea!).  Anyway, never date someone just to “pass the time,” to boost your self-esteem, or because you are “lonely.”  Wait for someone that deserves you, someone of substance, and someone who is worth your time…you’ll be glad you did.  Please, don’t EVER date someone that you intend to “fix”…you won’t succeed and you’ll undoubtedly get hurt…trust me on this one!
  4. Allowed someone to talk me into a “multi-level marketing” endeavor.  They all end the same way…(90% chance you will have wasted a considerable amount of your time and have lost money in the meantime).
  5. Betrayed the trust of a close friend or family member. Thankfully, my “incident” was very minor…thank goodness!   Friends and family are too important…don’t do anything to jeopardize those relationships (assuming those relationships aren’t toxic)!
  6. Took unnecessary risks. There are so many things that I can look back on and think to myself, “What the heck was I thinking?”  The less of those moments you have, the better.
  7. Took on the responsibility of a pet before I was ready. Trust me, pets are a lot of work and they don’t deserve to have an owner that isn’t prepared for the responsibilities that go along with owning them.  WAIT until you are ready!  Keep in mind too, that pets are considered “baggage” if you happen to be single and looking.
  8. Worried too much about what others thought of me.  It doesn’t matter what other people think of you.  “Like” yourself first and things will flow from there.
  9. Maintained a long friendship with a highly toxic individual. Seriously, don’t waste your time.  These people will literally suck the life out of you.  If I could only have all of that wasted time back!
  10. Took on unnecessary debt. Just because Visa was “generous” enough to issue you a credit card does not mean that you need to use it to indulge in gratuitous spending sprees.
  11. Loaned a significant amount of money to someone. Go ahead and do so, but always assume that you will never see that money again…and that the relationship you once had with that individual will be very different than it was before you loaned out the money.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t be generous, but be smart about it.
  12. Sent naked pictures over the internet. Actually, I’ve never done this…and neither should you!  EVER!
  13. Put my social life ahead of my studies. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being social, but balance it well and don’t let your social life derail your ability to do well in school.
  14. Allowed myself to believe that certain behaviors were wrong even though they were NOT. Often times, religion has us believing that a lot of “natural” or “normal” behaviors are wrong…when they, in fact, are not.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.  If the behavior isn’t illegal, harmful to yourself or others and/or if it doesn’t intrude upon anyone else’s rights then there’s a good chance that the behavior you are engaging in is perfectly okay.  Use good judgment.  Enjoy your life…but be cautious.

So here you have ‘em…just a few of the mistakes that I made that I hope my daughters are able to avoid. Stay tuned for parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the mistakes I made that I hope my daughters never make.

Seriously, you don’t actually believe I’ve made THAT many mistakes, do you?

The Family Meeting: Purpose, Agenda, and Tips

Family-Meeting-620x480One of the most practical ways to address family issues on a regular basis is to conduct a family meeting each week (or month).  A regularly-scheduled and well-orchestrated family meeting can go a long way towards developing structure, consistency, and even cohesion within the household.



The purpose of a family meeting is to gather the family together in one place for a period of time each week/month so that members can spend constructive, quality time together discussing various issues or concerns that might need to be addressed.  This also affords each family member an opportunity to “be heard.”



It is best if each family meeting follows a consistent agenda.  Some “agenda” ideas are as follows:

  • Discuss any particular issues that might need to be addressed within the family.
  • Discuss family rules (as well as the consequences that will be earned for breaking them).
  • Discuss family problems then brainstorm possible solutions to those problems.
  • Discuss the roles and expectations that each family member has.
  • Announce plans for upcoming outings, vacations, and/or events.
  • Delegate chores to each family member.
  • End each family meeting with a fun little “family game.”


  1. Determine a set of “Family Meeting Rules” during your first meeting. Be sure to write them down and follow them during each meeting.
  2. Have the family meeting at the same time and place each week, allowing for emergency time changes as necessary.
  3. Make sure ALL family members participate and are able to be heard.
  4. Put all decisions from the meeting in writing. Have each family member sign the sheet when the meeting ends (see our “Family Meeting Minutes” worksheet).
  5. Keep things positive! Have rules against specific behaviors like name-calling, interrupting, insulting others, or using inappropriate language.
  6. Minimize distractions. Turn off smart phones and eliminate TV’s and/or radios from the equation.

“Family Rules” Suggestions for Parents

Ashley 7Though many families have “unwritten” family rules, it never hurts to have them posted in a place where all family members can see them.  Family rules should be clear, specific, and stated in the positive (try to avoid too many “no’s”).

Trying to come up with a list of family rules?  Here are some suggestions to start out with:

1.  Homework must be finished before…(playing with friends, watching TV, going outside, etc.)

2.  Dessert will be served after you have eaten (1/2, 2/3, all) of your meal.

3.  Dirty laundry belongs only in the hamper.

4.  Your bedroom must be kept presentable at all times.

5.  Food is to be kept out of…(the TV room, your bedroom, the basement, the car, etc.)

6.  Everyone needs to be on time for dinner.

7.  Shoes must be worn outside at all times.

8.  Voice levels must be kept reasonable while inside.

9.  Chores must be completed before…(dinner, bedtime, TV, playing, etc.)

10.  Showers/baths must be taken…every day, every two days, three times per week, etc.)

11.  Shoes need to be kept off of the furniture.

12.  Electronic devices are to be turned off (or kept away from) the dinner table.

13.  Appropriate language is to be used at all times.

14.  Hands must be washed after using the bathroom and before meals.

15.  Trash belongs in the trash can.

16.  Clean up after yourself.

17.  Avoid being wasteful (use only what you need, re-use things when possible, recycle, etc.).

18.  Get permission before having friends over.

19.  Knock before entering a closed door (especially if you know that someone is in there).

20.  Treat other family members with respect.

21.  If you disagree with a limit (or with a direction that has been given to you) then do so calmly and without whining, arguing, bargaining, complaining, or being rude. You will only be listened to if you state your disagreement calmly (though this doesn’t mean the limit or direction will necessarily change).

22.  Only interrupt a parent that is on the phone if there is an emergency that can’t wait.

23.  Refrain from dangerous, careless, aggressive, and/or risky behavior.

24.  Brush your teeth (once, twice) per day.

25.  Wear clothes that are appropriate for the circumstances and the weather.

These 25 family rules should get you off to a great start.  Perhaps a family meeting is in order…and during that time you could discuss these potential family rules and even discuss the consequences that should be expected for violating them.

If you’d like to take things a step further and actually put into place a child behavior program then please visit for more information.

Getting Your Kids to Clean Up Around the House: A Fun Little Game to Try

603579_10152297786818006_413681953_nHere’s a little game or “contest” I tried with my kiddos a few days ago when our house was beginning to look a bit…um, disastrous. It actually motivated them to clean up most of the house and they seemed to have fun doing it.

I started off by telling them that I was going to write down four random things that needed to be done around the house. In this instance, I chose the following:

  1. Put the soda can on dad’s computer desk into the recycling bin
  2. Straighten the pillows on the loveseat
  3. Vacuum the entryway
  4. Wipe down the kitchen table.

I wrote these tasks down on a piece of paper then I folded it up without showing them what was listed. I instructed them both to start cleaning and told them that whoever ended up doing what was on the list would get a special treat. One “treat” was available for each task that was completed.

Since my kiddos had no idea what was on the list, they had to do as much cleaning as they could, as fast as they could, in the hopes that one of the tasks they completed was one from the list.

I then went and took a nice long shower and told them that I would be checking their progress once I was done.

By the time I came out of the shower, our house was in pretty good shape! The floors were vacuumed, the table was wiped down, all of their toys and other items were put away (except for that soda can on my desk!).

The other part of the deal was this: For EACH task that did NOT get done, BOTH of them would owe me a 5-minute foot massage!

In the end, one daughter earned two treats (an ice cream sandwich and 15 extra minutes on her iPad before bedtime), my other daughter earned one treat (an ice cream sandwich), and I earned a 5-minute foot massage from each of them (due to the forgotten soda can!)…not a bad deal all the way around.

And we ALL got a clean house!

The Entitled Child

“When a child is allowed to do absolutely as he pleases, it will not be long until nothing pleases him.”  -anonoymous

entitled childThis quote perfectly describes the “entitled child.”  Too often, I’ve had to sit back and literally “bit my lip” while watching friends of mine make a parenting style out of this quote.

Children need boundaries, limits, and expectations.  They also need a parent with a backbone.  Too often, parents find that it is simply easier to give-in to their children rather than enforcing limits and/or rules.  They don’t want to engage in a power struggle, or worse yet, make their child upset.  I say “LET THEM BE UPSET!”

There’s no reason any parent should have to bend over backwards simply to appease their child…this is what creates an entitled child.

An entitled child believes that he deserves to be treated special…that he should get “preferential treatment.”  This is a great way to teach narcissism.

How can you tell if your child is entitled?

He or she is more of a “taker” more than a “giver”

He or she complains about having to do basic chores

He or she always wants an option that wasn’t offered

He or she frequently tries to bargain or make deals

He or she pouts when things don’t go as desired

He or she is impatient and/or has a low frustration tolerance

He or she expects others (usually the parents) to fix their problems

He or she always expects to have the “latest” fad or fashion


How can you avoid raising an entitled child?


Discourage the “materialistic” mindset

Teach and practice patience

Help your entitled child “give back” to the community

Get out of the habit of rewarding your child for every positive behavior

Avoid allowing your child to negotiate options that weren’t offered

Avoid bailing your child out of trouble every time

Set firm limits and enforce them

Family Preservation Specialist? Have we got a tool for you!

family preservation

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, “ Family preservation services are short-term, family-focused services designed to assist families in crisis by improving parenting and family functioning while keeping children safe.”

In other words, “family preservation” is a service that basically describes exactly what it intends to do – which is to preserve the family. These services are typically community-based and aimed at preventing family crises that might otherwise result in the abuse, neglect, or out of home placement of the family’s children. Family preservation specialists meet with clients, often daily, to teach such skills as positive parenting, conflict resolution, anger management, coping-skills, and activities of daily living (ADLs).


Family Preservation Specialists work with parents to improve their overall parenting skills and to assure that the parents are providing a safe, stable, and nurturing home for their children…one that is free of neglect and/or abuse.

Conflict Resolution

“Teaching families how to resolve their conflicts in a calm and constructive manner” is another goal that family preservation aims to achieve. Effective conflict resolution can easily prevent a “difficult situation” from escalating into a full-blown crisis.

Anger Management

The ability to manage one’s anger is an important skill that each family member must learn. Family Preservation Specialists are often able to provide a variety of anger management techniques or they can direct the person in need of such skills to a relevant training, class, or counselor. Coping-skills play a major part in managing one’s anger.

Activities of Daily Living

“ADL’s” involve basic living skills such as hygiene, job-searching, budgeting money, accessing services, paying bills, managing time, and so on. Family preservation services generally offer tips and advice related to each of these daily activities.

Family Preservation Help?

The Parent Coach Plan is an in-home child behavior program that could greatly benefit those that work with families, especially those that work in the position of Family Preservation Specialist. The Parent Coach Plan is a basic “how-to” guide for parents that are looking to provide a more consistent and structured environment for their children. It includes discipline tips, parenting advice, behavior management tools, and even a section that helps teach coping-skills to children. Then, of course, there is the behavior program itself…easy to use and highly beneficial to anyone that uses it!

To learn more about The Parent Coach Plan, please visit us at Agencies can even purchase multiple books (behavior programs) at our discounted bulk rates.


The Parent Coach Plan: Helping Those That Help Others

Compassionate Disciplinarian or Parental Bully?

“Discipline through intimidation” is no different than “correction by bullying.”meme parenting discipline

Don’t be a parental bully!

Not too long ago, I was eating at a local fast-food restaurant and couldn’t help but observe the interactions between a group of family members sitting only a few seats away.  Let’s just say that I was an unwilling participant in this family’s very public drama.

Anyway, it appeared that the father and daughter (who, I’m guessing was about 8  years-old) were at odds regarding something that had to do with the meal.  I’m not sure exactly what the issue was but it didn’t seem to be anything worthy of the father’s response.

I was literally shocked when I saw this father get into the face of his young daughter while basically taunting and challenging her.  The father escalated the situation in doing so, and clearly the mother didn’t seem to think this response from the father was out-of-the-ordinary as she basically went about her business of eating without any qualms.

This father was a bully.

I couldn’t help but wonder what went on behind closed doors at this poor family’s home.  If this father was willing to act the way he was in a public setting then imagine what he might be willing to do in private.

I wish I could remember the circumstances that led up to the over-reaction from the father…but as I recall, it was certainly not deserving of half his response.  It saddens me to think that there are so many children like this who are born to parents that simply never should have pro-created.  I understand that everyone has a right to do so…but these same people also have a responsibility to take on that role in a nurturing and dignified manner.  Children should be celebrated, despite their often challenging behavior.  These situations should be used to teach, not to bully.

Children do not deserve to be used as a emotional punching bags for parents that can’t control their own emotions or who have an unhealthy need to dominate or control others.  I can only hope that this was not “typical” behavior for this father…but something tells me that isn’t the case.

Be a compassionate disciplinarian, not a bully.

End rant.


Tips for Kids for When They Go to a Friend’s House

  1. Be thankful and appreciative of the things your friend’s parents do for you. “Thanks for having me” is the last thing you should say as you walk out their door. You should also say thanks when they give you (or even offer) food, drinks, or snacks…or after the parent has driven you and your friend somewhere.
  2. It is okay to accept what is offered to you (if applicable) but do not ask for food or drinks while over at your friend’s house (especially if you are at a neighborhood friend’s house). If you are thirsty then simply say, “I’m a bit thirsty, can I have a glass of water?” If they let you have some…then great! If they offer you something else…then that’s even better!
  3. If your friend’s parent cooks you something for lunch or dinner then at least be respectful enough to give it a try. Even if you don’t particularly like what was prepared for you, you can still be polite and eat as much of it as you can put down. Unless it is literally making you gag there is no reason to decline what was prepared for you.
  4. Assume that certain rules apply at ALL times while you are at your friend’s house:
    -No running or horseplay in the house.
    -Keep your voice at an indoor level.
    -Be polite to your friend’s siblings.
    -Wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
    -Wipe your feet off (or take your shoes off) before entering their home.
    -Respect any other rules that the parents might have.
  5. Bring money if you are invited places! If your friend’s parent invites you to go roller-skating then at least bring enough money to get yourself in the door. If you are invited to go to a movie then bring enough for the ticket and snacks if you intend to have any. Your friend’s parent shouldn’t be expected to cover your costs unless that is the arrangement to begin with.
  6. Help pick up or clean up. When it is time to leave then make sure you help put away any items, toys, or materials that were being used. If your friend is asked by his or her parent to clean up then don’t just stand there and watch – help out!
  7. Teen-boys-friendsStay off your phone or mobile device! You are at your friend’s house to spend time with your friend, not to text and “socialize” with others. Turn it off if you have to or leave it in another room…it’s rude to be constantly distracted while spending time with your friend.

Follow these guidelines when you are at your friend’s house and it is much more likely that you will be invited back. Ignore them and you just might end up having to look for another place to hang out!

My Daughter and Her Sticky-Fingered Friend

What to do if your child has a sticky fingered friend

A few nights ago, my daughters and I decided to watch a movie as we wound down from a long day of activities. We bantered back and forth briefly about our various options, then settled on one of our favorites–“Despicable Me.”

My older daughter shuffled up to her room to retrieve the movie but was –for some reason– unable to find it. “Strange,” we thought to ourselves, but not too unusual…perhaps it was simply misplaced or maybe even sitting amongst one of the scattered piles of “clutter” around the house (not that we have a lot of clutter, but yes, we do have a few piles!).

As we began to contemplate the potential whereabouts of our sought-after movie, we came to realize that this was the third time we had searched for a movie that wound up “missing in action.”

My daughters are pretty good about putting their movies away after watching them and there really aren’t many places in our house where the missing movies could have gone without being found fairly quickly.

Then it occurred to me…my daughter had had a friend over a few times recently and it turns out that this “friend” has a reputation for accumulating things that don’t belong to her (or so I was warned by another parent that had noticed this child hanging out with my child). Unfortunately, I had given the “friend” the benefit of the doubt and allowed her in our house to play with my daughters. I guess that was a mistake.

I thought back to the times that this friend was over in an effort to identify any “red flags” that I might have missed. Then I recalled a couple of times when the “friend” left our house carrying out a balled-up sweatshirt in her hands…and this was in the middle of summer! When I spoke to the parent that had warned me about the sticky-fingered friend she told me that the items that were stolen from her house were taken in the same manner.

We have since come to find out that we are missing about eight DVD’s, including four of our favorite family movies, including one that is very difficult to come by.

The question now is: How should I approach this situation?

Option #1: Talk to the “friend’s” parents.

This seems like the best option but from what I’ve been told both parents are highly protective of their daughter. I have since found out that these parents have been approached by two other parents in the past with issues related to stealing and property damage…and both times the parents denied that their daughter was involved. This now appears to be my least likely approach.

Option #2: Set up a “trap.”DSC00096

This would be simple. Invite the friend over and confront her as she is leaving, especially if she is leaving the house with a balled-up piece of clothing I her possession. We could even go so far as to set up a hidden video camera in my daughter’s room to record the friend’s actions.

Option #3: Use social media.

We thought about posting on Facebook that we were missing some movies from our house and that we would like them back (this girls has a Facebook page is “friends” with my daughter). This may not do much but it will at least let the friend know that we are onto the fact that our movies have been taken. We could even go so far as to hint that we know who it is. I’m not too sure about this idea. It certainly isn’t my favorite, but it IS an option.

Option #4: Employ natural consequences.

We could simply chalk it up as a learning experience and replace the movies ourselves. Naturally, the friend would not be allowed over again and my daughters have already said that they don’t want to play with her anymore anyway (even though they were pretty good friends). Given the circumstances, this is probably the route we’ll take.

What would you do?

Why I Love Being a Single Dad …

Single Dad
I recently had a conversation with a married friend of mine in which he complained about the difficulties he was experiencing as a “co-parent” with his wife. After we hung up, I got to thinking about the things that I appreciate about being a single dad. With no further explanation, here’s the brief (and certainly incomplete) list of what I came up with…

1. Nobody is there to undermine my efforts to raise a happy, healthy, well-disciplined child. The last thing any parent needs is another parent that “rescues” the child from valuable lessons whenever one is about to be learned.

2. When one of my daughters used to get hurt it was usually mom that provided comfort. As a single dad I now get the opportunity to demonstrate my “comforting” skills.

3. When my daughter, her friends, and I throw a dance party there are no other adults there to laugh at my dancing abilities (or lack thereof).

4. Single women are often mesmerized by single dads…and hey, I can use all the help I can get.

5. Quality time…with no distractions.

6. I get to do it my way…no consulting or adjusting my parenting style to appease the emotional needs of another parent.

7. Being the biggest influence with regards to my daughters’ future relationships…being able to teach them what is acceptable and what is not with regards to relationships.

8. Being able to build memories that will likely last way beyond my time here.

9. Having an excuse to watch my favorite “kid’s” shows…shows that I wouldn’t otherwise be caught dead watching!

10. Two words: Disney Dad!

There’s no doubt that I could add a handful of other benefits that go along with being a single parent…these are simply the first reasons that popped into my mind. Can you relate to any of these?