Teens, Drugs and Alcohol (Guest: Judge Tom Jacobs)

BTRadioIntThis is a re-post of a popular interview with Judge Tom Jacobs.


It has been said that our young people are our greatest natural resource. Whatever affects their welfare and safety ultimately affects us all.

In a previous interview with retired juvenile specialist, Judge Tom Jacobs, we discussed issues and concerns regarding teens and their use and abuse of technology and the internet. Judge Tom is back with us, and the topic is a serious one, indeed: our teens and tweens, and problems and heartache associated with drugs and alcohol. These concerns deepen when that drug or alcohol-impaired young person is behind the wheel of a vehicle, or when judgement is affected to the point that poor decisions and resulting behavior create devasting and irreversible consequences.

The progression of substance abuse has reached an alarming state. Syntetic marijuana, synthetic stimulants, and other substances are difficult the control as they skirt the law. These substances are dangerous; leaving in their wake permanent brain damage, physical disabilities, and even death. Judge Tom will tell us how we can step up and address this serious problem that so affects our young people.

Tom Jacobs is a retired juvenile judge, having spent 23 years on the bench. He is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info, a teen-law website and go-to source for and about young people and the laws that affect them. He’s also the author of the books, What Are My Rights? and Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. (26:31)


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4th of July: 56 Dedicated Men (Clyde E. Nichols)

BTLifesMomentsJim Gentil, my friend in Austin, Texas, has been sending me powerfully encouraging newsletters twice a week for a couple of decades now. This story by Clyde E. Nichols was in a recent publication. It grabbed my heart as well as my attention. I’d like to pass it on to you as a reminder that taking a stand for what one sees as being right can be costly. Freedom, of course, isn’t free. –JDS


bobflagOn July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, 56 delegates to the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence declaring independence from Great Britain and giving birth to the United States of America. Have you ever wondered what happened to those men? Here are a few examples:

Carter Broxton was a wealthy trader who saw his ships sunk by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas Nelson, Jr. of Virginia raised two million dollars by mortgaging his property to supply the French allies. He was never reimbursed by the struggling new government and lost everything he owned.

Thomas McKeam’s possessions were taken from him by the British and poverty was his reward. Vandals and enemy soldiers looted the properties of Josiah Bartlett, William Ellery, George Clymer, Lyman Hall, Button Gwinnet, George Walton, Thomas Heward, Jr., Edward Rutledge and Arthur Middleton; the latter four were captured and imprisoned.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. A Tory betrayed Richard Stockton, his home was burned, his possessions destroyed and he and his family were forced to live on charity.

John Hart returned home to find his wife dead and his 13 children vanished. Weeks later he died of exhaustion and a broken heart. Lewis Morris and Philip Livingston suffered fates similar to Hart’s. John Hancock, one of the wealthiest men in New England, lost his fortune during the war having given over $100,000 to the cause of freedom.

Five of the fifty-six were captured by the British and tortured. Twelve had their homes ransacked, looted, confiscated by the enemy, or burned to the ground. Seventeen lost their fortunes.

Two lost their sons in the army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six lost their lives in the war from wounds or hardships inflicted by the enemy. Despite their hardships, not a single one of them defected or failed to honor his pledge. They paid a terrible price for our freedom.

Saturday, July 4th, 2015, marks the 239th anniversary of the birth of our nation. Along with the fifty-six who signed for us, let us “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

If we will, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “This nation shall have a new birth of freedom and government of the people, for the people and by the people shall not perish from the earth.” ###

Quick Tip #1: How to Praise a Compliment-challenged Youngster (James D. Sutton)

BTQuickTipQuick Tips are short, to-the-point audio tips, interventions and strategies intended to help the listener effectively manage an issue or situation with a child or adolescent.


Jim415smIt might sound a bit strange even to suggest that some children and teens are uncomfortable with compliments, but it’s true. Pay the compliment-challenged youngster a compliment and he or she is apt to discount it or refuse it altogether. A heartfelt compliment or statement of praise can turn into an ugly scene if we’re not careful.

In this Quick Tip, psychologist Dr. James Sutton shares an intervention technique he has used successfully many times. He calls it Strategically Placed Compliments, or SPCs. This strategy helps a compliment to “stick” by eliminating the opportunity for it to be refused. (3:43)

ebook cover ISEsmPsychologist Dr. James Sutton is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network. This tip is from his latest book, Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem (revised), available for immediate download. For more information, CLICK HERE.


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Dealing with Media’s Effect on Our Children (Guest: Bill Ratner)

BTRadioIntThere is a very real concern that our children spend too much time online or with activities on computers, tablets, smart phones, and other digital devices. Opportunities for social interaction, family time together and even fresh air and exercise just aren’t there like they were before the digital age hit us full-force.

And, of course, there are concerns about internet and cyber safety. Predators are out there 24/7; they represent a valid concern to the welfare of our children. We obviously want our kids to be safe.

Our guest on this program, Bill Ratner, author and Hollywood voice-over specialist, suggests there is another presence that overwhelms our children through their digital devices: the media. Kids face a marketing blitz that’s supported by advertisers paying billions each year to target them specifically. In this program, Bill will give us an insider’s take on the problem, and what we can do about it to better protect our children and grandchildren.

BRatnerbookEven if you’ve never met Bill, you have likely HEARD him. He’s a leading voice-over specialist and voice actor in thousands of movie trailers, cartoons, television, games and commercials. Through his connections in advertising, Bill has been the voice of many leading corporations.

While raising his family, however, Bill realized his own children were being bombarded by media messages he helped create. This became a driving force behind the development of a program of media awareness for children and the writing of the book, Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth Behind Media’s Effect on Children and What to Do About It. This book is the focus of Dr. Sutton’s interview with Bill on this program. (35:19)


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A Lesson in Character (Dr. James Sutton)

BTCounselorThe best classroom for learning character is life itself. Unfortunately, we are often too busy to pay all that much attention to it. In those moments we, along with our kids and grandkids, can miss a life-changing, golden moment.

Jim415smThose opportunities have a short shelf-life.

I can still clearly remember a day when a lesson in outstanding character happened right in from of me. Since I couldn’t get away, I had to attend to it.

Frozen in Fear
I was in a line of cars waiting to merge into traffic from a shopping center parking lot. A woman at the head of the line obviously was fearful and uncertain about getting into the traffic.

She sat frozen in her automobile. Everyone was letting her know about
it, too: Honk! Honk! Honk!


I probably was just an instant away from joining that chorus when the driver directly behind her jumped out of his vehicle and stepped into the street. He halted the oncoming motorists, and then motioned for her to get into the traffic safely. Problem solved.

Honestly, getting out of my car and helping her never occurred to me in that moment. I don’t know if his kind, effective gesture was noticed by anyone else, but that scene has been alive in my memory ever since.

A Part of the Solution
That moment could not have taken more than 40 seconds, but it represented a life-long lesson. If I ever encounter a situation like it in the future, I now know how to be a part of the solution instead of one of the herd piling up on the problem.

Unfortunately, I was alone in my car that day. If my son or daughter (or any one of my subsequent grandchildren) had been with me, observing that young man and what he did to solve the problem, it would have been a teachable moment like none other. Oh, I told them about it later, but it wasn’t the same as being there. But I do hope I was able to encourage them to be more mindful of moments just like that one.

But that’s the same message for all of us, isn’t it? For the sake of ourselves and our families, it pays to be more even more mindful of what’s happening in our lives and the role it asks of us. There will always be a place for those choosing to handle frustration with presence, grace and solution-driven insight.

These folks become professors in the Character Classes of Life. ###

ebook cover ISEsmPsychologist Dr. James Sutton, is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network. This story is from his latest book, Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem, revised (available for immediate ebook download). For more information, CLICK HERE.


Family Centered Parenting (Dr. Richard Horowitz)


(This is a re-posting of an earlier radio-style interview with Dr. Horowitz.)


Parenting can be a difficult, tough and demanding job. After all, our children don’t arrive with instructions. The task of being a parent often is through trial and error, with successes and mistakes being part of the process.

RHorowitzphotoThere’s little doubt that the structure of the family has changed in recent years, putting more challenges on parents than ever before. The good news is that most parents want to do their best in raising and instructing their children and in managing the challenges that crop up along the way.

Our guest on this program, Dr. Richard Horowitz, is the founder of Family Centered Parenting. He has experience and insights on managing critical issues affecting parents today. He will also share how our overall philosophy of behavior and how we communicate with our children can make a tremendous difference in the quality and success of parenting outcomes.

RHorowitzbookphotoDr. Horowitz has been working with children, schools and families for over 35 years. As a professional educator and agency provider, he has filled a variety of roles including teacher, school administrator and CEO of a case management organization. He and his wife, Jane, founded Growing Great Relationships, a coaching/training practice to help families, educators and family support providers who work with young people to face the challenges of parenting, schooling and creating a stable family life.

Dr. Horowitz, a highly evaluated presenter and trainer, is the author of Family Centered Parenting: Your Guide for Growing Great Families. (25:56)



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Letter from a Father: A Call to Duty

BTLifesMomentsGeorge Washington is referred to as “The Father of Our Country,” but it’s interesting to note that he never had any children of his own. He married a widow named Martha Custis; she had children. Her grandson was named after his step-grandfather: George Washington Custis. Washington and this boy were close.
G. W. Custis had a daughter named Mary Anna Custis; she married Robert E. Lee. In turn, the Lees named the first of their seven children G. W. Custis Lee. So Washington and Lee were related, but it took their wives to make it happen.
There’s no argument Robert E. Lee was one of the finest generals to ever come out of West Point. His brilliance as a military leader was matched only by his spiritual values, a deep sense of duty and honor, and his role as a husband and father. (His personal involvement in the Civil War was not about slavery; it was about Virginia.)
Here is part of a letter Lee wrote to his son, George  Washington Custis Lee. The boy was away at school. Although this letter was penned over 150 years ago, it contains a father’s message that is timely even today.


… In regard to duty, let me in conclusion to this hasty letter inform you that, nearly a hundred years ago, there was a day of remarkable gloom and darkness. Still known as The Dark Day, it was a day when the light of the sun was slowly extinguished, as if by eclipse.

Quill PenThe legislature of Connecticut was in session. And as the members saw the unexpected and unaccountable darkness coming on, they shared in the general awe and terror. It was supposed by many that the Last Day, The Day of Judgement, had come. Someone in the consternation of the hour moved an adjournment.

Then there arose an old Puritan leader—Davenport of Stamford. He said that, if The Last Day had come, he desired to be found in his place, doing his duty. He therefore moved that candles be brought in so the House could proceed with its duty.

There was quietness in that man’s mind, the quietness of heavenly wisdom and inflexible willingness to obey present duty.

Duty then is the sublimist word in our language. Do your duty in all things, like the old Puritan. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less. Never let me and your mother ever wear one gray hair for lack of duty on your part.####

History tell us young Custis Lee was faithful and obedient to his father’s call to duty. He rose to the rank of major general in the military of the Confederacy, commanded a full division of the Army of Northern Virginia and, for a time, was an aide-de-camp to President Jefferson Davis. He lived into his 80s during a time when that alone was quite remarkable.


Teaching Children Kindness (Christy Monson)

BTAboutThemHow do we teach children appreciation and compassion? Helping children become empathetic is an ongoing process. The habits we create in childhood will last a lifetime. Are we not all a Work-in-Progress?

CMonsonphotoThe Cookie Jar Incident
James rushed into the house after school.

“Mom, can Tom play?” Tom stood in the door way, waiting.

James hurried to the cookie jar and helped himself to a handful.

Mom entered the kitchen. “Tom is welcome to stay until it’s time for soccer practice.”

She turned to James. “Would you like to offer Tom some cookies?”

“Oh, yeah,” said James. “I forgot.”

Tom got his cookies, and the boys hurried off to play.

A Teaching Moment
Small incidents like this occur in all our homes daily. Mom could just let this incident pass, but it was an important teaching moment for James. Just before bed that night when things were quiet, Mom talked with James about it.

“How do you think Tom felt when you grabbed some cookies and didn’t offer him any?”

James thought a minute. “Umm, not very good.”

“How would you feel if Tom did that to you at his house?”

James hung his head. “Mad that he had cookies, and I didn’t.”

Mom rubbed James’s back. “Good thinking. It’s no fun to watch someone have treats when you don’t get any.”

James smiled.

“What will you do differently next time?” Mom asked.

“Be sure to give some to Tom.”

Family Talk BookMom’s Wise Approach
Notice how Mom taught James a very valuable lesson in caring:

• She handled this situation without attacking or blaming.

• She used open-ended questions (Ones that can’t be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’) to find out if James understood the concept of sharing.

• She praised James for his insight.

• She finished the conversation by asking James what he would do differently next time, helping him to set a behavioral goal to go with the sharing concept.

The BEST Way to Teach Kindness
Mom modeled the behavior she wanted James to learn. She treated him as she would have him treat others. I’m always amazed when I see a parent lecturing a child in a belittling way about love and kindness. What is the meta message Mom and Dad are giving?

Mom may need to have this conversation several times before James really internalizes it. No one paints a masterpiece or gives a musical concert without a lot of practice. Let’s give our children time to grow and become the best they can be—and that takes time and effort.

And while we’re teaching our kids, let’s evaluate our own lives. Is there room for improvement? Remind yourself to be kind when you remind your children. ###

Visit Christy’s website [link] for more information on her books, free downloads on helping children through divorce, death and tragedy, and other pertinent information for helping children become the best the can be.
To access Christy’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right, entering “Christy Monson.”


Healing the Father Wound (Guest: Keith Zafren)

BTRadioIntAn autographed copy of Keith Zafren’s book, How to be a Great Dad: No Matter What Kind of Dad You Had, will be given away June 18th in a drawing from the Support Forum membership.


The Father Wound is a powerful and descriptive concept; it’s all too real to many. It represents the emotional damage done to an individual by a male parent. Intentionally inflicted or not, a Father Wound can run deep and stay there, robbing one of much joy and purpose in life.

KZafrenphotoFather Wounds can be blatant and obvious, as with a father that is consistently absent, abusive, compulsive or addicted. In other cases, Father Wounds are more subtle, as in the case of a father that is physically present but emotionally absent, harsh, judgmental or critical, or the father that had difficulty showing support and expressing affection to his children. It’s very possible the father in this instance was himself wounded as a child.

Too often, wounded individuals feel they are to blame for the hurts they suffer. Consequently, the Father Wound is buried and covered over, but it doesn’t go away. These folks then become at risk for wounding their own children.

KZafrenBookHere’s the good news: Father Wounds CAN be healed. Our guest on this program, Keith Zafren, author and founder of The Great Dads Project, understands the Father Wound all too well; he experienced it. But Keith also experienced the healing of the Father Wound, and he graciously shares his research, findings and practices regarding intervention. He will walk us through the steps and processes involved in getting to a point of peace and purpose, a place where hurts of the past no longer hinder one’s present.

Keith is a Jack Canfield certified Success Skills Trainer and the author of the award-winning book, How to Be a Great Dad: No Matter What Kind of Father You Had. Through his years of work as a pastor, as a founding board member and fatherhood trainer for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, and, as mentioned, founder of The Great Dads Project, Keith has touched the lives of thousands. ( 32:05    )



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How You Can Learn to Create Structure for Your Teen with Behavioral Disorder

BTAboutThemTeens that have behavioral disorders need structure from parents in order to reduce bad behavior and maximize positive behavior. However, many parents don’t know how to create structure that really has an effect. Frustrated parents that feel they are just punishing their teenagers all the time, with no real results, need to learn successful methods on creating structures for teens with behavioral disorders.

Behavioral disorders in teens are common, with conditions like oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, reactive attachment disorder and conduct disorder topping the list. While more boys than girls seem to develop behavioral disorders, parents of all troubled teens should learn the signs and symptoms of behavioral disorders in order to create an appropriate plan to deal with them.

How You Can Learn To Create Structure For Your Teen With Behavioral Disorder

What follows are five steps that you can follow to successfully create a structured environment. (For a detailed and very informative infographic, CLICK HERE)

1. Recognize and reward good behavior. Rather than become a parent who is constantly critical and always punishing, make sure you recognize when your teen does something right or contributes positively in some way. Rather than tangible rewards, use praise, recognition and increased responsibilities to highlight the good behavior.

2. Set up a routine. Children and teens thrive on stability and predictability, so setting up a home routine that is consistent, calm and reliable will help a lot. Getting up and going to bed at a set time is a good start, starting homework at a certain time, and assigning chores to be completed on certain days, are all good examples. Children and teens with chaotic lives are less likely to be able to control themselves and their behaviors, so you can help a lot by setting up the household schedule to keep everyone on track.

3. Create a list of consequences. Together with your teen, create a list of consequences for bad behavior. Do this in a calm moment when both of you are not emotional. Allow your teen to help create the list and come up with some of the consequences. For example, missing the designated curfew without calling will result in the loss of the teen’s cell phone for a week. Setting up the house rules and the consequences of breaking them will get both parent and teen on the same page and everyone will know what to expect.

4. Find stress relievers. Teens deal with a lot of stress. When they don’t have a healthy outlet, sometimes that stress results in bad behavior. Whether its hobbies, recreation, entertainment, sports or exercise, you can encourage your teen to participate in activities that relieve stress and boost self-esteem.

5. Provide unconditional love. Rebellious teens frequently test the boundaries of parental approval and constantly wonder what it would take for their parents to stop loving them. Extreme bad behavior can cause a lot of tension between parents and teens, but expressing love in all circumstances can help teens feel the security and support they need in their daily lives.

Successful implementation of structure in the home can really reduce stress for parents and help teens gain better control over their behaviors and impulses. When there are set guidelines for both parents and teens, home life will be a lot smoother and teens will be better able to transition successfully through adolescence.###

This article is provided courtesy of the Liahona Academy.