Whatever Wanda! The Importance of Attitude (Guest: Christy Ziglar)

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CZiglarPhoto2The late Zig Ziglar believed strongly in the power and benefits of a positive attitude. He was quick to add that, although a positive attitude won’t solve every problem one encounters in life, it will help them accomplish considerably more than a negative attitude. Besides, as we will see in the book we’re featuring on this program, folks with a negative attitude steal their own joy. And life’s too short to for that, isn’t it?

Zig did more than just talk about the need for a positive attitude. He lived it, and, in doing so, he touched the lives of many with his own special brand of encouragement.

Zig’s message and influence now reach out to young children in the award-winning picture-story books authored by his niece, Christy Ziglar. In fact, this latest book, the third one in the Shine Bright Kids series, Whatever Wanda! is about ATTITUDE.

Wanda CoverIn this beautifully crafted and brightly illustrated children’s book, young Wanda is in need of a serious attitude adjustment. She struggles to understand why everyone in her town goes so crazy over the Annual Rubber Duck Days Festival and all things rubber ducky! She refuses to participate in any of the events until she realizes she is the only one not having fun. After a pep talk from the parade mascot, Wanda decides to change her mind and her outlook, and ends up having the best time of all!

Christy Ziglar is the President and Founder of Shine Bright Kid Company in Atlanta. Books in the series have been award-winning successes in their focus on choices, values and now attitudes. All of them feature a special highlight, a favorite and memorable quote from Zig himself. So, in a very real sense, Zig Ziglar’s legacy lives on in the pages of these Shine Bright Kids books. (26:44)


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The winner will be determined in a drawing from the emails received (and we will discard all emails after a winner is determined.) Registrations will be taken as long as this post is in the “top” position. RULES and PROCESS for book giveaway.

What is Self-Confidence, Anyway? (Dr. Frank Sileo)

BTSpotlightWe are featuring the work of psychologist Dr. Frank Sileo of Ridgewood, New Jersey in this post. His latest book, a children’s picture book entitled, Don’t Put Yourself Down in Circus Town: A Story About Self-Confidence touches on a very important topic regarding many children and teens today. For more information about the book, click on the photo of the cover in this post.


FSileophoto2Parents and other caregivers in the life of a child play an important role in developing self-confidence in that youngster and others. When parents and others accept their children, even when they make mistakes, it provides the groundwork for children to develop positive feelings and thoughts about themselves. When parents do this, they are providing the foundation for self-confidence.

As a parent or caregiver, it is very rewarding to see children exhibit self-confidence in various areas of their lives, from academics to sports to playing a musical instrument, to name just a few. Children who possess self-confidence tend to do well in school, take on challenges, do their best, persist in activities, and have an overall more positive view of themselves.


Self-confidence can be defined as our beliefs or thoughts about our skills and abilities. Examples of self-confident thoughts might be, “I am good at math,” “I am a good singer” or “I do well in school.” Children with self-confidence trust in their abilities, have realistic expectations, know their strengths and weaknesses, and are able to adjust to difficult or challenging situations. Children who possess self-confidence tend to jump into new situations with realistic thoughts about being successful at a task.

Self-confidence is built through repeated practice over time. When children practice in small steps, they build self-confidence. Persistence in a task, even when mistakes and mishaps happen, builds self-confidence. Confidence builds through action.

CircusTown_72dpiWhen There’s Difficulty

Children who lack self-confidence typically rely on the approval of others, such as parents, teachers and coaches, in order to feel good about themselves. They may avoid things or be reluctant to try new things. They may engage in self-deprecating statements or negative self-talk like, “I’m stupid,” “I’m no good at anything,” or “I’ll never succeed,” which results in feelings of anxiety, depression or despair. Children with low self-confidence often compare themselves to others constantly because they believe they do not measure up. Moreover, less confident children may be more prone to acting-out behaviors such as temper tantrums, crying, avoidance, and withdrawal from others and from tasks.

It should be noted that self-confidence is not a universal experience. For instance, children may feel confident in certain areas of their lives, while feeling less confident in other domains. An example of this might be a child that is confident as a reader, but has lower self-confidence in his or her math skills.

Building Self-Confidence

How can parents and other caregivers build self-confidence in children and teens? Here are several suggestions.

Communicate with your children. When children engage in self-deprecating statements, don’t be too quick to counteract them. Teach them coping and solutions to their problems. Problem-solve with them.

Model self-confidence for your children. Be mindful how you handle your own disappointments, obstacles and failure.

Focus on effort, not on results. When we focus on the effort, we are praising the steps needed to reach a goal, ultimately building on self-confidence.

Encourage kids to practice. The more they practice, the greater their chances of success and greater confidence. When kids don’t do this, they give up, act out, feel anxious and consequently display low self-confidence.

If you find that your child continues to struggle with confidence issues to the point that it interferes with academics, activities or relationships, it is recommended you consult with a mental health professional for further help. ###

 Dr. Frank Sileo, founder and Executive Director of The Center for Psychological Enhancement, LLC, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, is a licensed psychologist specializing in work with children and adolescents. He has written five books for children on topics including lactose intolerance, Crohn’s Disease, winning and losing, homesickness and self-confidence. His most recent book is entitled, Don’t Put Yourself Down in Circus Town: A Story About Self-Confidence. [Dr. Sileo’s website]



Building Strong Children (Keith Zafren)

BTSpReportIn a few weeks, the Changing Behavior Network will be posting an interview with Keith Zafren, founder of The Great Dads Project. Keith has an inspiring story to share, one mixed with heartbreak as well as joy. Fathers play an important role in the lives of their children and in society. Their impact can never be overstated, nor can the costs of children growing up without a father in the home be put aside or ignored.

KZafrenphotoThe National Fatherhood Initiative published a powerful article of Keith’s back in March of 2015. It’s entitled, “The Best Way to Build Strong Children.” Be warned; it is powerful.

As we prepare to hear from Keith himself on this issue so important to young lives and the society they will make, please read this article and share it with others.  [The Best Way to Build Strong Children]

KZlogoKeith Zafren is the founder of The Great Dads Project. Men who want to be great dads love the stories Keith Zafren tells, the practical skills he teaches, and the personal coaching he offers. Keith has spent seventeen years learning firsthand how to raise three great teenagers and stay close to them, no matter what. He coaches busy dads to not repeat the mistakes their fathers made, but instead, to create fantastic relationships with their kids. Check out his free video training course for men who want to be great dads.

150 Years of Character: Something to Share with Our Children (Dr. James Sutton)

BTLifesMomentsApril, 2015, marks the 150th anniversary of the official end of the Civil War. The more we know about General Robert E. Lee, the more his character comes through. In addition to being a stalwart military mind and arguably as fine a general as ever came out of West Point, General Lee had unusually strong dedication and insight into what mattered most.


As he made his formal Farewell Address to the Army of Northern Virginia, at least one of his officers didn’t want to hear it. He advocated for General Lee to let him take to the hills and countryside with his men in a guerrilla war instead of surrendering.

Lee refused, saying that the soldiers “would be compelled to rob and steal in order to live. They would become mere bands of marauders … we would bring on a state of affairs it would take the country years to recover from.”

That officer later shared his reaction to the general’s response. “I had not a single word to say in reply,” he said. “He had answered my suggestion from a plane so far above it that I was ashamed of having made it.”

The formal surrender of the soldiers of the Army took place two days later.


The Science of Happiness & Positive Family Psychotherapy (An Interview with Dr. Daniel Trussell)


The Changing Behavior Network caught up with Dr. Daniel Trussell to ask him about his very successful approach to family therapy. Here is what he shared with us.

Daniel, you practice positive psychotherapy and positive family psychotherapy. How is that different from traditional forms of psychotherapy?

Rather than looking at the pathology of the family and treating symptoms like behavior or attitude problems, the focus in on teaching the activities and behaviors that flourishing families exhibit. This changes the family dynamic and reduces the likelihood of future mental health problems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, is positive family therapy your invention?

Not at all. All the work I do is scientifically based on leading academic research found in the discipline of Positive Psychology – the Science of Happiness.

You practiced within a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) model before shifting to Positive Psychology. Why did that happen?

I still find a lot of value in using interventions embedded in cognitive behavioral therapy and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) as well. But over time I saw the limitations of CBT. A lot of my work has to do with attachment, family system dynamics and increasing family life satisfaction. I understood the importance of including a richer therapeutic experience than just diagnosis, symptom management and support to maintain treatment compliance if I wanted to help a family acquire the skill set to build resiliency, improve well-being, support self-determination and reduce tension.

What is the focus of positive family psychotherapy?

The Science of Happiness demonstrates that those who report optimal well-being and highest life satisfaction share common characteristics. Seligman found that optimal well-being only occurs when there are an abundance of positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and purpose and accomplishment. Langer determined that people with highest life satisfaction share the traits of being generous, loving, authentic, direct and open to new experience. Emmons et al show the health benefits from expressing gratitude. Altogether there are eight primary themes in positive psychotherapy.

What is a typical course of treatment in positive family psychotherapy?

First I help the family identify the activities that support optimal family functioning and those that cause the family to flounder. Next, we explore parental expectations and family attitudes along multiple dimensions and push aside barriers that keep the family from functioning well. This requires careful negotiation from each family member. Typically this includes an analysis of family rules, consequences for not following the rules, tasks that each member routinely performs to maintain household harmony and a reward system for successful outcomes. We look at how each individual’s unique strengths contribute to healthy family functioning and insure that activities are set up so each family member thrives.

How can our readership learn more about the Science of Happiness and positive family psychotherapy?

UC – Berkeley provides a fantastic free online course on the Science of happiness. You can go to www.EdX.org to register for this self-paced course. You might also want to pick of a copy of the How Families Flourish Workbook by Daniel Trussell for step-by-step instructions on optimizing family functioning.

Dr. Daniel Trussell can be reached at drdanieltrussell@gmail.com for more information on positive family psychotherapy. [website]
To access Dr. Trussell’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right, typing in “Dr. Daniel Trussell.”


Eating and Self-Injury Disorders: Finding the Door to Recovery (Guest: Melissa Groman)

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Beliefs, and the thoughts they bring on, can either guide a person’s life and keep it on course, or they can erupt into feelings that torment an individual without mercy. When that happens, any behavior that covers and soothes emotional pain and anguish is an option.

According to our guest on this program, eating and self-injury disorders are difficult to address because they serve their purpose, at least in the short-term. Like other behaviors that can become addictive, bingeing and starving, or the compulsive cutting of one’s own flesh, provide welcomed distraction and relief from much deeper pain.

These behaviors can become a cycle of self-abuse that occurs in more adolescent girls and young women than you might think. Ultimately, the cycle becomes a trap.

Is there hope for change?

MGromanbookOur guest on this program, Melissa Groman, psychotherapist and specialist in eating and self-injury disorders, suggests that, although recovery from these disorders is possible, ambivalence toward recovery can be a major obstacle. In this program, Melissa will share with us why this is so, what it takes for recovery to become a reality, and what caring parents, other relatives and friends can do to help.

Melissa’s trademark warmth, sensitivity and profound understanding of human nature permeate her work. She has more than 25 years of experience helping people live healthy, satisfying lives. Although she maintains a busy private practice, Melissa writes regularly for a number of magazines, websites and blogs. This program features her recent book, Better is Not So Far Away: Decide to Recover from Bingeing, Starving or Cutting. (27:43)


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WinThisBookSend an email with “Better” in the subject line to admin@thechangingbehaviornetwork.com
The winner will be determined in a drawing from the emails received (and we will discard all emails after a winner is named.) Registrations will be taken as long as this post is in the “top” position. RULES and PROCESS for book giveaway.



Feeling Invisible? Try This! (Dr. Tom Phelan)




Dr. Phelan: Much too often, I feel that nothing I do or say to my children is making the slightest bit of difference. It’s like I’m invisible in my own home. Any thoughts?


If you’re a parent living with small children, you may often feel like you’re invisible to your kids. After spending a day cajoling, reasoning, threatening and even screaming in an attempt to get your kids to behave, you may feel as if they never listen to you, much less respond.

TPhelanphotoBut all that talking is precisely the problem. If you feel like you’re invisible, you’re probably way too audible. When it comes to discipline, silence often speaks louder than words.

One Problem: An “Extra” Goal
Many parents complicate the job of discipline by setting for themselves two goals instead of just one. Their first goal is to get the kids to do what they’re supposed to do, which is fine. But when kids don’t respond right away, many parents add a second goal: getting the youngsters to accept, agree with, or even like the discipline. So Mom and Dad start reasoning, lecturing and explaining.

One Explanation Should Suffice
All this extra talking accomplishes only two things, and both of them are bad. First, it aggravates the kids, and second, it says to the children that they really don’t have to behave unless you can give them four or five reasons why they should.

One explanation is fine. But the mistake many parents make is trying to reason with their kids as if they were “little adults,” and too often adult logic does not impress or motivate young children. Once you say “No” to obnoxious behavior, you should save your breath. Further pleading will irritate you more and give the child a chance to continue the battle … and the behavior.###

Dr. Tom Phelan is an internationally recognized child and adolescent psychologist. He is the author of the aclaimed bestseller, 1-2-3 Magic! His website is www.parentmagic.com.


Teens, Cyberspace and the Law (Guest: Judge Tom Jacobs)

BTRadioIntThere’s little doubt that cellphones and the internet have created convenient and lightning-quick ways to communicate in a complicated world. Many lives have been saved because these tools were available.

But it’s also true that irresponsible, even unlawful, use of cellphone communication has cost people their dignity, their reputation, their livlihood, and even their lives.

???????????????????????????????Although the inappropriate use of cellphones and the internet is not just a problem among young people, evidence points to the fact that these tools in the hands of our children can be concern. Parents should monitor their use and take action, when needed.

But what sort of action? Overreaction can damage relationships, completely shut down communication and drive the problem even deeper. So the question remains: What are the potential problems (ranging from excessive calling and texting to sexting and cyberbullying), and what can parents and educators do to address them effectively?

Our guest today, Judge Tom Jacobs, has some thoughts on the matter, thoughts, suggestions and interventions compiled during the 23 years he spent as a juvenile judge in Arizona. As they say, Judge Tom has “been there.”

From his heartfelt concern for young people, Judge Tom founded and moderates AsktheJudge.info, a teen-law website for and about teenagers and the laws that affect them. And, of course, it’s a valuable site for parents and educators who want to stay current with issues that affect the safety and welfare of our young people.

Judge Tom has written several books for lawyers and judges, as well as for teens and parents, including “What Are My Rights?” and Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. (28:20)


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Why Kids STAY Angry (Dr. James Sutton)

BTSpReportHere’s a video Dr. Sutton originally posted on his YouTube channel in 2009; it has drawn a lot of traffic and interest. It’s on a topic that continues to frustrate and confuse a good many folks as they attempt to work with a child that’s angry … and chooses to stay that way.


Jim415smAnger in children and adolescents is one of the toughest behavioral issues to manage and “fix.” In part, this is because the expression of anger tends to “feed” the next angry outburst.

In other words, angry behavior is self-reinforcing as it creates “benefits” for a youngster. For instance, the child or teen who’s uncomfortable with peers being close to them might engage in behaviors designed to push others back to a more “comfortable” distance. If closeness bothers a youngster enough, any behavior that is obnoxious enough to produce the distance probably will be repeated. It’s tough on one’s social life, but it provides immediate relief.

(Although we’re talking about kids here, there are plenty of adults who do the very same thing, aren’t there?)

Consequence for poor behavior won’t do much to slow down a youngster who acts out to achieve relief. After a behavioral episode, this youngster easily can tell you all about the consequences to follow. For that reason, piling on more consequences isn’t always the answer.

I made this video in 2009 to better explain the characteristics, issues and behaviors of anger in young people, to share why I believe they are sometimes so resistant to change, and to offer insights into how we can better address the needs of the chronically angry child or adolescent.

The blog, ebook and newsletter mentioned at the end of the video have all been combined into this site, The Changing Behavior Network. The website is correct [link]. An updated telephone number is on the website.###

Dr. James Sutton is a nationally recognized psychologist that started out as a Special Education teacher. He is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network. His current book project, Improving a Youngster’s Self-Esteem (revised), is soon to be released through the Network.


Misunderstanding Your Child’s Emotional Awareness After Divorce … Teens, Too! (Rosalind Sedacca, CTT)

BTAboutThemParenting is always complex. Parenting following a divorce can add many other layers of distraction and confusion to the mix. That makes it even more important for parents to be aware of how their children are responding to the divorce.

RSedaccaPhotoOne common error parents make is that of misunderstanding the stage of development their children are at which can lead to unrealistic expectations. Too often parents will assume that their child possesses a better handle on their emotions and a deeper understanding of human nature than is really possible at their age. So when their child acts out or otherwise misbehaves, it’s easy to misconstrue their intentions.

Parents mistakenly see these small beings as little adults who bring adult reasoning and comprehension to daily circumstances. With that mindset, it’s easy to get disappointed when our child’s behavior doesn’t live up to our expectations.

When divorce enters the family dynamic, we often forget that our children are processing their feelings with limited skills and emotional awareness. We all know the complexities of divorce can become an enormous challenge for adults. Imagine the ramifications on youngsters or even teens!

Give your kids a break. How unfair (and unrealistic) is it to expect your children to fully understand what Mom and Dad are going through and then respond with compassion? Emotional maturity doesn’t fully develop until well into our twenties. Yet divorced parents frequently put the burden on their children to be empathetic, understanding and disciplined in their behavior when they themselves struggle to access those mature attributes themselves.

Parents can be especially misguided in their expectation about teens. By nature teenagers are very self-absorbed. They don’t yet have the full capacity to put others’ needs ahead of their own. In addition, most teens are not very future-focused, nor are they motivated by lectures about consequences. Part of the parenting process is to role model positive traits and to demonstrate the advantages of setting goals, planning ahead for the future, etc. Unrealistic parental expectations lead to needless conflicts with our teens which can easily result in a sense of confusion, insecurity, guilt or shame within their fragile psyches. Why get angry at your teen for not displaying adult maturity at a time when your own maturity may certainly be at question?

By understanding your children’s stages of emotional development as they grow, you are less likely to make the mistake of confiding information they can’t psychologically handle or asking them to play the role of mediator, therapist or personal spy. You’ll be more likely to have reasonable expectations for them and refrain from feeling disappointed when your child behaves as the child they still are! ###

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Divorce & Parenting Coach and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting, free articles, coaching services and valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, visit: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com.