Category Archives: Uncategorized

How I Almost Killed My Daughter…By Accident

daughterOkay, so here it is…a list of 7 ways in which I almost killed my daughter. If not for her resilience, my experience as a father may not have lasted past the first year. So glad she survived the errors of my ways!

With that being said, here’s my list:

  1. Didn’t slice a hot dog small enough when she was a toddler and she almost choked.
  2. Backed out of the garage and almost hit her, not realizing she had come out of the house to say goodbye.
  3. Didn’t put the “gate” up at the top of the stairs because I figured she was old enough to not try to navigate the stairs on her own. I was wrong.
  4. When she was one year-old I left her in a room for about 10 minutes…and in that room was a bag of packing peanuts that was within her reach. Fortunately, she had no interest in that bag!
  5. When she was an infant, I set her on a table at a restaurant (in her car seat) and forgot to stabilize it. She fell about 4’ off the table…face down. She was startled, but in better shape than me. Thank goodness she was still buckled in!
  6. Allowed her to play with Lego’s…way before I should have.
  7. Almost got into a car accident because I was too busy “appreciating her cuteness” in the rearview mirror.
  8. When she was in middle school I joined her and her friends during a dance party at our house. She almost died…of embarrassment!

This isn’t really something I did, but she once had a diaper that was so bad…it quite possibly could have killed her if I hadn’t changed it when I did.

So there you have it! I’ve confessed…and I feel much better now!

What to Do After Your Child has been Disciplined

after-disciplineAs parents, most of us eventually reach a point in which we are so experienced at dishing out consequences that we can practically do it in our sleep. Impressive? Yes. However, despite this incredible ability, there is still an important factor that is often overlooked by busy and/or preoccupied parents…and that is what to do AFTER you have disciplined your child.

More often than not, parents neglect to follow up with what I consider to be the important final steps to disciplining a child: processing, forgiving, and allowing the child to “save face.”

Keep in mind that these steps may not be necessary for all children but when a particular child is emotionally charged (after receiving his or her consequence) then these steps may go a long way in remedying the situation and turning it into a learning experience.

STEP 1: Process the situation

Make sure that your child…

1) knows which behavior it is that led to the consequence

2) understands why his or her actions were inappropriate, unsafe, or unacceptable

3) discusses some of the better choices that could have been made, and finally,

4) make sure that your child offers an appropriate apology.

STEP 2: Forgive

Calmly express your disappointment with regards to his behavior…but be sure to let him know that he is forgiven and that you are confident he will make a better choice next time.

STEP 3: Allow Your Child to “Save Face”

Find a subtle but kind gesture that allows your child to maintain his or her dignity. Apologize if you over-reacted or lost your temper while giving the consequence, give a quick but meaningful hug, say “I love you,” offer a Kleenex if he or she has been crying, etc. Let your child know that you appreciate his or her ability to accept and/or follow through with the consequence (if applicable). Be careful not to “reward” your child for his negative behavior by offering a treat (or such) afterwards.

So there you have it…three “follow up” steps to take after dishing out consequences.

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:

wwww.parentcoachplan.com

www.behavior-contracts.com

www.teenbehaviorcontracts.com

Young woman watching television, rear view

 

 

FREE Behavior Contract – Print and Use!

Hi Everyone!

I just created a new (and FREE) behavior contract that all you parents out there can use!  This free behavior contract is fairly general in that it covers a variety of behaviors and doesn’t stick to one specific behavior or character trait (like the others I have created for www.parentocahplan.com or www.teenbehaviorcontracts.com).  I have some other free behavior contracts available on our other blog over at www.freebehaviorcontracts.wordpress.com.  Again, the free contracts available on that site are all pretty generic…but helpful nonetheless.

free behavior contract

11 Tips for Being a Good Friend

good-friends

  1. Be considerate. Being considerate means that you are being thoughtful and kind.  Make sure to always take your friend’s feelings into consideration when making a decision that affects him or her.  Avoid doing things that will lead to hurt feelings or resentment.
  2. Be willing to make sacrifices for your friend. This means doing things for your friend that you might not otherwise want to do.  Maybe you play a game that he or she wants to play even though you aren’t really interested in playing it.
  3. Be supportive. Support your friend in any way you can.  If he plays a sport and you go to his game then cheer him on and root for his team.  If your friend has a cause that she believes very strongly in then you could show support by joining her in furthering that cause.  There are many ways in which you can support your friends.
  4. Be understanding. It helps to understand your friend’s moods and to know a little bit about what he or she has gone through in their life.  The better you know your friend the easier it is to understand him or her.
  5. Remember the things that are important to your friend. A good friend should know such things as what their friend’s favorite color, song, singer, band, foods, activities (and so on) are.
  6. Be a good listener. Good listeners make good friends.  Provide encouragement if your friend needs it.
  7. Avoid gossiping or talking behind your friend’s back. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to LOSE a friend.  Be careful what you say.
  8. Be positive. Nobody wants to hang out with someone that drags them down.
  9. Be willing to put your friend first at times. Let her go first when playing a game or allow him to make decisions about the things you are doing.  Avoid being selfish or greedy.
  10. Be loyal. Being loyal means that your friend can trust you.  It also means that you are dedicated and devoted to your friend.  You stick by your friend “through thick and thin.”
  11. Keep your word. If you say you’ll do something, then do it.  Be reliable and dependable.

 

Addressing Risky Teen Behavior

We all know the issues and concerns associated with teen behavior.  What teen hasn’t engaged, to some degree, in at least some sort of risky behavior?  After all, it’s almost expected during those years.

Risky behavior isn’t the only thing parents have to worry about when it comes to their teenaged children…there’s dating, driving, cell phone usage, participation in sports, substance use, social media, negative attitudes, unusual hairstyles, school grades, and so much more that parents must worry about.

So, what can parents do to alleviate this worry?  Is there anything that can be done to minimize this risky behavior?

Communication

The first step parents can take is to communicate with their teen.  Communication should be open, honest, constructive, and validating.  Avoid roadblocks to communication such as criticizing, yelling, over-reacting, name-calling, or monopolizing the conversation.  Your teen wants and needs to be heard.

Keeping Tabs

Next, parents need to keep tabs on their teens.  This means checking in on them regularly and insisting that they do the same.  When asked, teens should be expected to notify parents of where they are at, who they are with, and what they are doing.  If there is any reason to doubt where the teen is then verify it by showing up or by confirming it in another way (phone calls to parents or locations, etc.).

Searching the Web

Specific behavior issues might arise which need special attention.  Perhaps the teen is stealing, sneaking out at night, bullying, causing problems at school, or even texting while driving.  An excellent source for “intervention” ideas is the good ol’ internet.  Google the specific problem and see what others have done to address the issue.  There is a wealth of information out there waiting to be found.

Counseling or Other Treatment

If all else fails and the risky teen behavior becomes too much to handle then it might be time to seek outside help in the form of counseling or some other type of treatment.  If counseling is sought after then it would be best to choose a counselor or therapist that is the same gender as your teen and one that has a considerable amount of experience with adolescents and teens.  Hospitalization and residential treatment are also an option if safety becomes an issue or if there is suspected substance use or mental health issues.

Behavior Contracts for Teensaddressing risky teen behavior

If things are manageable but in need of a little consistency, structure, and accountability then perhaps you could try using a teen behavior contract.  Teen behavior contracts are designed to establish firm limits and clear boundaries.  Teens are then held accountable for their risky behavior since they are bound by the rewards and consequences outlined in the contract.

If you are interested in learning more about teen behavior contracts then please visit http://www.teenbehaviorcontracts.com/.

Teaching Kids to Take Pride in their Appearance

Here are a few tips for teaching children and teens the proper way to take pride in their appearance.

pride in appearance

  1. Shower and/or bathe regularly.  Children older than 7 years old should shower a minimum of every-other-day (my opinion anyway).  Children and tweens should shower daily once they hit middle school…though an occasional day off is acceptable every few days or so.
  1. Wear clean clothes every day. This includes clean underwear!
  1. Wear nice clothes that are practical, that match, and that are situation-specific. Be sure to consider the day’s weather and the day’s activities.   Children and teens should dress modestly and should avoid wearing clothes that don’t fit properly.
  1. Take care of your hair. Keep it clean, trimmed, and in style.  It shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of bed…nor should it look as though it is housing a small family of rodents.
  1. Wear deodorant and/or a nice scent. People that smell good always leave a pleasant and lasting impression!  Be careful not to over-do  it…too much is worse than none!
  1. Use accessories to add some pizazz! A nice bracelet, ring, and/or necklace will compliment most outfits.  Girls might want to sport a cute pair of earrings, a fashionable headband or a pretty bow to accentuate their hairstyle while boys might choose to accessorize with a baseball cap.  A nice pair of shades can boost anyone’s level of “coolness.”
  1. Maintain good oral hygiene. Take good care of your teeth.  Brush and floss them regularly and be sure to visit your dentist every six months or so for a good professional cleaning.  You may not be too concerned about your teeth as a pre-teen but as you get older you will be glad you established healthy habits with regards to your teeth. Tune in regularly to know more about that here.
  1. Smile often. Nothing shows confidence better than a nice smile.  People notice smiles and they enjoy being around people who display them frequently.

11 Annoying Behaviors That Drive Parents Crazy!

deal-with-an-annoying-kid-SuperBabyAs parents, I’m sure we’ve dealt with some (if not all) of the following annoying behaviors from our children.  Though none of them necessarily indicate a need for treatment or therapy…they sure do drive us crazy!

  1. Whining. This has to be the number one most annoying child behavior ever known in the history of ever!  I’d rather listen to fingernails down a chalkboard.
  2. Messiness. There’s nothing more annoying than kids that leave their messes all over the place…okay, whining is more annoying…but messiness is definitely high on the list!
  3. Dawdling. Kids that “take their time doing things” are making it tough for those of us that want to “get moving!”  This is the ultimate in passive-aggressive behavior.
  4. Complaining. If I hear “That’s not fair!” one more time then I’m probably going to do something that really isn’t fair!
  5. Impulsiveness. This is when kids fail to think before they act.  These kids can snatch, grab, hit, and pinch (and so on) when they are upset or frustrated.
  6. Tattling. There’s no reason for kids to do this unless there’s a safety issue at hand…and 9 times out of 10 there is not.
  7. Having a sense of entitlement. For these kids nothing is ever good enough for them.  You can offer five different things for dinner and they will always want a sixth option (most of the time these kids aren’t very appreciative of the things that they DO get because they actually expect it).
  8. Bickering. Without siblings this would not be a problem.
  9. Picky Eating. Enough said!
  10. Annoying Habits. You know, like nose-picking, nail-biting, constant humming, hair-twirling, picking at scabs, or simply bouncing all over the place!
  11. Ignoring (aka, Selective Listening). Little Johnny is only three feet from you but he still can’t seem to hear you when you ask him to take the trash out.  Mumble something about snack time and he’s there in a flash.

Can a Child Discipline Program Benefit Your Family?

Child discipline is no easy task. It involves a great deal of trial-and-error, countless hours of negotiation, high levels of frustration, headaches, and a level of stress that nobody should have to endure. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting!

Despite all of the challenges that go along with child discipline, there are things that parents can do to minimize the negative effects that go along with parenting a difficult child.

A child discipline program (or behavior plan) can turn those nasty headaches into sighs of relief and can minimize parental stress and frustration to levels that are barely noticeable.

What is a child discipline program?

A child discipline program is essentially a formal parenting plan that helps parents to guide their children towards better behavior. An effective discipline program will help to establish a firm, fair, consistent, and structured environment for the children. With these elements in place, improved behavior is sure to follow.

How will a child discipline program benefit my family?

As stated above, a well-executed discipline program will establish an environment that is conducive to better behavior. It establishes firm limits, clear expectations, and consistent consequences (whether positive or negative) for the child. For some children, these qualities alone are enough to motive them to behave better.

How do I know that a child discipline program will work for my child?

Simply put, you don’t. However, behavior programs have been proven effective in residential treatment centers, psychiatric facilities, and even in therapeutic foster homes that use them. If these behavior programs (discipline programs) can produce positive results in these types of settings, then imagine what they could do in your home.

If child discipline has you feeling like it might be time to “throw in the white towel” then perhaps a child discipline program is just what you need.

The Parent Coach Plan is one such program. This unique and easy-to-use behavior program is modeled after a highly successful behavior program that was once used in a prestigious facility that caters to children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral problems. Though The Parent Coach Plan has been modified for in-home use, it still possesses all of the same attributes that make it so effective.

If you are tired of dealing with the chaos and frustration caused by your child’s negative or inappropriate behavior then perhaps you should give The Parent Coach Plan a try.

“But I’m not sure if I can afford an expensive discipline program for my child,” you might say.

Well, the good news is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to purchase The Parent Coach Plan’s discipline program. It is offered on their site for about the same price as a newly-released DVD.

That’s right! You can purchase this incredible program for less than it would cost to take a family of three out for dinner! Not only that, but customers that purchase The Parent Coach Plan also get a FREE download

Discipline Program

Parent Coach Plan Program

($14.95 value) that includes a set of behavior contracts, a behavior chart system, a set of “Behavior Bucks,” and more. This download comes FREE with your purchase of the child discipline program (behavior program) and can be used immediately after your purchase.

Oh, one more thing: The behavior program (The Parent Coach Plan) also includes a section that includes parenting tips, discipline advice, and other information…as well as a “coping-skills” section and a section that includes an exclusive set of useful parenting tools!

We hope you consider giving it a try! We think you’ll love the results!

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).

Parenting

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 www.parentcoachplan.com. Agencies can even purchase multiple books (behavior programs) at our discounted bulk rates.

 

The Parent Coach Plan: Helping Those That Help Others

The Top 10 Most Annoying Child Behaviors

toddler-girl-having-tantrumAs parents, I’m sure we can all relate to some (if not all) of the following behaviors. None of them necessarily indicate a need for treatment or therapy…but they sure do drive us parents crazy!  This is my list of the 10 most annoying child behaviors:

  1. Whining. This has to be the number one most annoying child behavior ever known in the history of…well, EVER! I’d rather listen to fingernails down a chalkboard…or even Nickelback!
  2. Being Messy. There’s nothing more annoying than kids that leave their messes all over the place…okay, whining is more annoying…but messiness is definitely high on the list!
  3. Dawdling. Kids that “take their time doing things” are making it tough for those of us that want to “get moving!” This is the ultimate in passive-aggressive behavior.
  4. Complaining. If I hear “That’s not fair!” one more time…them I’m probably going to do something that really isn’t fair!
  5. Impulsiveness. This is when kids fail to think before they act. These kids snatch things, grab, hit, scratch, and pinch, (and so on) when they are upset or frustrated.
  6. Tattling. There’s no reason for kids to do this unless there’s a safety issue at hand…and 9 times out of 10 there is not.
  7. Having a sense of entitlement. For these kids nothing is ever good enough for them. You can offer five different meals for dinner and they will always want a sixth option. Most of the time these kids aren’t very appreciative of the things that they DO get because…well, they expect it.
  8. Bickering. Without siblings this would not be a problem.
  9. Sweaty, stinky, dirtiness! Shower already!
  10. Whining! What’s that? I’ve already mentioned this one? Yeah, well…it deserves to be mentioned again! It’s THAT bad!

So there you have it: My list of the 10 (okay, 9!) most annoying child behaviors imaginable!

Did I miss any?

Free Behavior Contract

Hi Everyone!

free behavior contractHere is a new (and FREE) behavior contract that I just put together in case anyone can use something like this to help generate better behavior from their little one (or not so little one!).  This free behavior contract is a little more “general” and “generic” compared to those that I wrote for our other sites (www.parentcoachplan.com and www.teenbehaviorcontracts.com).  The behavior contract packages I created for those sites are a bit more oriented to specific character traits and behaviors…though this one will get you off to a great start!

If you know anyone that could benefit from a free behavior contracts like this then please share this page with him or her via Twitter, Facebook, or via any other social media you use.  This free behavior contract will work with young children as well as older children or teens.  Sometimes all it takes for improved behavior is to write out your child’s expectations then have him or her “sign on the dotted line.”   A decent behavior contract will establish clear expectations and will also notify the child of the consequences (good or bad) that he or she will receive based on his or her ability to meet those expectations.

Click on the thumbnail to open up your free behavior contract!

 

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.

 

Parenting Quote of the Day – Mastering Emotions

This is a good reminder (especially for teens!).

Sometimes our emotions DO get the best of us, causing us to lose sight of those things that really do matter.  It’s all about perspective.

This parenting quote reminds me of another famous quote:

“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

Sometimes when I’m having a bad day I go and watch a show like “Intervention,” “Dr. Phil,” or even the news…it’s only then that I realize how petty my problems really are!

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?