Tag Archives: parenting

Should I Talk to My Children about My Mistakes? (Dr. Richard C. Horowitz)

It can be tough talking to our children about the mistakes we made growing up, especially when a direct question deserves an honest and authentic answer. Dr. Richard Horowitz offers some excellent insights and tips on how to handle situations like these.

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Should I Talk to My Children About My Mistakes, Dr. Richard HorowitzDoes talking about the mistakes I make and have made in my life weaken me as an authority figure to my children?

This question speaks to the core issue of modeling. That is acting in a manner we wish our children to act. On one hand, as role models for children, parents want to present themselves as being pretty terrific people. When children look up to us it meets our needs for love and belonging. When children are obedient and follow parental advice the adult’s need for power is met. We associate these interactions with highly positive words like respect and admiration.

However, sometimes being on a pedestal can be a precarious place. We might want to mask our frailties in order to preserve our image of perfection. The fear that our children might lose respect for us if we admit weakness can lead to a loss of ourselves and a model that our children just might perceive as unattainable. A child who feels s/he can never equal his/her perfect parent loses self-esteem and will often give up trying. This is the downside of being the perfect role model. This is especially true for younger children who tend to aggrandize the power of adults in general and their parents in particular.

Adolescents by the very nature of this stage of development are far more prone to question the capabilities and judgment of parents. Parents with adolescents who are dealing with the “hot topics” are especially vulnerable to questions about what they did when they were teenagers. As long as it isn’t overdone, most parents find that their children enjoy hearing stories about what it was like when they grew up. Consequently, our children want to know how we handled the challenges of personal freedom, partying and dating. The challenge is to respond in a way that is authentic and validates the concern of the child without giving them the message that since their parents pushed the envelope and wound up alright, they too can indulge in these behaviors.

Below are some suggested ways to respond. However, remember that the parental response should be sincere and be the product of some adult reflection about our true beliefs and values on these topics. Teenagers have a good sense of what is “real” to them and if we sound too perfect or preachy they will shut us off.

What I did and the mistakes that I made should not be an excuse for your decision-making.

The legal consequences for some of the behaviors I indulged in were not as severe as they are today. (This is especially true for possession of controlled substances.)

A lot more is known today about the physical harm done to our bodies due to tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.

The consequences of unprotected sexual activity can be deadly.

If I knew then what I know now I would have behaved differently.

The price I paid for my excesses were ……………………….

What we really must focus on is how to get your needs for freedom and fun met with few negative consequences.

 

The other side of the coin is the parent who constantly gives voice to his/her own shortcomings. Either through blaming others and/or themselves for things not working out as planned they model a victim or helpless role. This extreme can create a sense of anxiety in a child. The message they receive from the helpless parent is that the world is a scary place with little ability to control what is happening in life.

Family Centered Parenting, Dr. Richard HorowitzThe middle ground is what we should be striving for. Our children need, for their sense of well being, to experience their parents as sufficiently masterful to create a safe place for them. Young children, as mentioned, will naturally view their parents as powerful figures so we really don’t have to stretch the issue with excessive self-praise. However, children do need to develop resiliency – the ability to bounce back from adversity. We learn how to be resilient through modeling and experience. Parents who acknowledge an error or problem then take responsibility for its solution are demonstrating resilience to their children. They have not attempted to hold the impossible standard of perfection as an indicator of self-worth but have modeled the reality that things do go wrong and mistakes happen. The key is not indulging in self-pity and, after acknowledging the fact that something has gone wrong, acting in a way to make things better.

A related issue is how we deal with our mistakes when it specifically regards an action we took with our children.

An illustration might be useful.

Martha came home from work at her usual 6:00 p.m. time only to find that her 12 year-old-son Ron was not at home. There is a standing rule in the family that if Ron is playing at a friend’s house after school he is to be home by 6:00.

 

Martha is annoyed and starting to get a bit worried about Ron. At 6:30 she starts calling Ron’s friends. On the fourth call she reaches his friend Wayne’s mother. She says that Ron is with Wayne and they are working on something in the garage and she will go get him. Martha is really angry now that her fear has subsided. She tells Ron to get home immediately and that she will deal with him when he arrives at home.

 

When Ron comes in, Martha immediately tells him that the rules in the house, which he agreed to, required him to be home at 6:00. She is quite direct and tells him, “Go to your room until dinner. After dinner we will process what went on.” Ron protests, “You are unfair, I didn’t do anything wrong.” Martha replies, “Get to your room, you are on Shut Down until after dinner.” Ron is obviously furious but complies.

 

After a rather unpleasant dinner, Martha says she is ready to talk. Ron tells his mother that two days ago he had told her about working on the school project with Wayne until 7:00. He reminds her that she was talking on the phone and he came into the room and said excuse me and asked permission to go to Wayne’s the day after tomorrow to finish a science project. He said that she nodded her approval.

 

Martha listens and does remember the incident. She was on the telephone talking to her sister about a relationship issue and was quite absorbed in the conversation. She vaguely remembers Ron saying something about a science project but she thought he said that he had to call Wayne to discuss it. Martha now has a choice. She can stonewall her son with comments like. “See what happens when you interrupt me when I am on the telephone” or she can admit that she misunderstood him and ask for his suggestions on how this type of situation can be avoided in the future.

 

Certainly the admission that an error was made and that she is sorry that she assumed that he had broken a rule instead of first asking for an explanation will serve several purposes. First, Martha models for her son that people make honest mistakes and when they realize it, they will take responsibility for correcting them. Second, the dialogue between Martha and Ron is now problem solving oriented, involves Ron in decision-making, and shows how feedback can be used to make improve a family practice or system. Martha’s admission and willingness to communicate is a good example of putting Family Centered Parenting into practice. ###

 

Dr. Richard Horowitz is better known as “Dr. H,” The Family Centered Parenting Coach. His book is entitled, Family Centered Parenting: Your Guide for Growing Great Families. [website]

 

Life Lessons Learned in a Texas Oil Field (Dr. James Sutton)

Thoughts of Fathers Day (2017) still bring back memories of how my dad once helped me manage a frightening and emotionally extreme situation. Although he was not a professional educator, my father still stands as one of the best teachers I ever had. –JDS

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Life Lessons Learned in a Texas Oilfield, Dr. James SuttonMy first driving lesson came close to killing me and my father.

In late junior high and early high school, I had a summer job of working with my father in the oilfields south of San Antonio. On a slow day, we piled into Dad’s company vehicle (a Dodge) for my very first driving lesson.

Collision Course

I lost control of the clutch, and we lurched into a collision course with a battery of oil storage tanks. As I panicked, my right leg stiffened; my foot jammed the accelerator to the floor.

It was all over; there wasn’t a shred of doubt in my mind about it.

But Dad didn’t panic. He quickly cut the ignition and turned the wheel just enough to avoid hitting the tanks. We plowed safely into the soft, sandy bank of a water pit.

He was not upset; I WAS. I vowed I would never, never, ever again occupy the driver’s seat. I was done … finished!

Life Lessons Learned in a South Texas Oil Field“Jimmy, what’s this car doing right at this moment?’ he asked patiently, certainly sensing my panic.

“Well, uh, well … nothing, Dad. The car’s not doing anything right now.”

“That’s right. And it’s NOT going to do anything. Unless you make something happen, this car simply will sit here until it’s a pile of rust.”

Lessons Learned

We continued the lesson. I learned to drive that day, but I also learned two things that would follow me for life. I learned that Fred Sutton, although not a professional educator, was an excellent teacher. I also learned that knowledge, confidence in one’s skills, and meaningful relationships (certainly including spiritual relationships) are powerful antidotes for whatever the world might throw at any of us.

I’ve often thought how easy it would be for a parent to scream out or yell at a son or daughter caught up in such a situation, especially when that parent is also frightened. Who could blame them; most of us have “been there.” It would be a pretty natural response.

Life Lessons Learned in a South Texas Oilfield, Dr. James SuttonI believe Dad intuitively knew that lecturing me about my driving mistakes would have served no real purpose. True to that thought, he never said another word about it to me. If he figured I had learned that lesson well enough with no need for additional reminders, he was correct.

Over the years, I have tried to follow his example, but not perfectly, by any means. Put another way, here’s what I believe it means:

It’s easy to be part of the problem, but it’s so much better to be part of the solution.

Dad passed away in 1998 after a gallant struggle with cancer. Since then, there have been many times when I wished I could climb back into that old Dodge for just one more lesson from a great teacher.

 

A nationally recognized (and now mostly retired) child and adolescent psychologist, author and speaker, Dr. James Sutton is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network.

 

 

Giving Children Too Much Power (Christy Monson)

Giving Children Too Much Power, Christy MonsonJonathan, age three, had a sore throat and a hacking cough. He woke up about midnight, coughing and crying. He couldn’t breathe.

Dad held and rocked him for a little while and then gave Jonathan to Mom to cuddle while Dad ran to the store to get medicine.

Power Problems

After Jonathan took the medicine about 2 a.m., he wanted to watch a movie. Dad said it was time for bed, but Jonathan cried. Dad turned on the movie. Mom shook her head in disbelief and went back to bed. At 4 a.m. when the movie was over, Jonathan wanted to play. Dad and Jonathan built a tower of blocks until about 4:30 when Jonathan fell asleep. Dad carried him to the bedroom and then went to bed himself.

Solution: Structured Choices

In a situation like this, Jonathan, at age three, isn’t old enough to have good judgment. Dad and Mom need to be responsible for making these middle-of-the-night decisions. Giving some choices is a good diversionary tactic, especially at 2 a.m. when Jonathan is crying.

Dad can take him to bed, but Jonathan can decide:

Will the bedroom door be open or shut?
Do I want the hall light left on?
Will I snuggle my favorite teddy under the covers or keep him on my pillow?

Family Talk, Christy MonsonChildren need the opportunity to make selections. Learning this skill will be a great benefit to Jonathan as he gets older. A parent can give him the gift of democracy by establishing limited freedom with choices.

Start a Family Council

Family councils are a great place for youngsters like Jonathan to become proficient at decision-making as they up. Councils are a great venue for parents to teach children to brainstorm ideas, single out several choices, and pick the best one. Parents can plan together, work out their parenting styles, and teach their children how to be proactive. ###

Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].

 

Raising Kids That Succeed: When Beliefs Matter (Guest: Dr. Lynn Wicker)

The Changing Behavior NetworkIn this informative and eye-opening interview, Dr. Sutton interviews educator and author, Dr. Lynn Wicker, on the critical parenting characteristics of beliefs, intention and purpose.  The Changing Behavior Network presents “Raising Kids That Succeed: When Beliefs Matter.”

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Beliefs Matter

Dr. Lynn Wicker, Raising Kids That SucceedTo a great extent, our lives follow our beliefs. Strong beliefs can carry us through difficult tasks and difficult times. Weak and ineffective beliefs, on the other hand, can bring failure and disappointment over and over again.

Yes, beliefs matter a great deal, especially when it comes to effective parenting. Few jobs will ever be more important that this one.

Empowering Beliefs

According to our guest on this program, Dr. Lynn Wicker, author of Raising Kids That Succeed, parents that feel empowered and confident in their beliefs as parents will more often see those beliefs contribute powerfully to the success of their children. In fact, Dr. Wicker will share evidence of this truth based on an eye-opening survey she conducted.

Raising Kids That Succeed

Parents that believe they are empowered to raise successful sons and daughters also parent with intent. Dr. Wicker will encourage listeners by sharing how success as a parent comes from day-to-day intent and purpose to fulfill that vital role.

Dr. Lynn Wicker

Raising Kids That Succeed, Dr. Lynn WickerA certified speaker, trainer and success coach, Dr. Wicker has 30 years of experience in public education, where she has held leadership positions in K-12 and higher education, including the directorship of a developmental research school. Dr. Wicker’s passion and purpose in life is to inspire individuals to find their own success and live their lives with purpose. The full title of her book, the one we are featuring on this program, is Raising Kids That Succeed: How to Help Your Kids Overcome Life’s Limitations and Think Their Way to Lifelong Success. (25:44)

www.LynnWicker.com

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BONUS: Dr. Wicker offers a complimentary download of the introduction and first chapter of Raising Kids That Succeed. [link]

Quick Tip #3: How to Create a Powerful Trigger to Help When A Child is Scared (Michelle Cohen)

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

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MCohenPhotoWhen a child is gripped with fear, it is sometimes hard for them to remember the words they could say to make themselves feel better. What if instead, they have practiced a very visceral (and FUN) physical pose that whenever they enact it, they are flooded with positive and empowering feelings that automatically trigger relief from their fear?

In this Quick Tip, author Michelle Cohen shares a forceful technique her clients have used with great success. She calls it the “Power Stance” and it is designed to automatically cause positive emotions to flood through the body, relieving the scary thoughts and helping alleviate anxiety. (3:25)

MCohenbookAuthor Michelle Cohen and her projects have been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, MTV, NPR’s “All Things Considered”, and in People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and the Washington Post. Michelle has given thousands of private intuitive guidance sessions, exponentially changing the way her clients perceive themselves in positive and permanent ways. This tip is from her book, Actually, There is Something Under the Bed: A Parent’s Guide to Empowering Their Child in the Dark, available on Amazon. For more information, go to Michelle’s website  [link].

 

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Family Centered Parenting (Dr. Richard Horowitz)

BTRadioInt

Dr. Richard Horowitz shares his concerns about the challenges of child rearing in today’s times, and he outlines an effective and meaningful family-centered approach to parenting.

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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)

http://www.growinggreatrelationships.com

 

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Break Free of Parental Pressures (Guest: Debbie Pokornik)

DebbiePokornikphotoBeing a responsible parent is a tough enough job without wondering if you are doing the job “right.” But, if you’re a parent, chances are there have been times when you have questioned your decisions and actions regarding your children.

Well, guess what? That’s pretty normal. Even when we try to do the “right” thing as parents, it often doesn’t feel “right” to us. Shouldn’t that matter?

According to our guest on this program, Debbie Pokornik, it matters a lot. Pressures of parenting today cause many moms and dads to second-guess their parenting strategies and skills. As a parent educator and author, Debbie will help us tackle this issue of parental pressures and doubt, and she will share her insights as she offers ways parents can improve their role, and feel better about it.

Debbie Pokornik is the CEO (Chief Empowering Officer) of her company, Empowering NRG. She guides individuals to live empowered lives by helping them disconnect from negative energies like self-doubt, fear and guilt, as they learn to reconnect with their inner wisdom. She is also the author of the award-winning book, Break Free of Parenting Pressures.  (27:53)

www.debbiepokornik.com

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Family Centered Parenting (Guest: Dr. Richard Horowitz)

RHorowitzphotoParenting 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.

There’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)

http://www.growinggreatrelationships.com

 

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Raising Responsible Children: It’s NOT About Rules (Guest: Marvin Marshall)

Sometimes rules are very necessary. How could you ever have a sporting event without rules for the game? But in the raising and teaching of young people, rules and their enforcement can become a sticking point, especially with defiant and difficult youngsters.

So what’s the alternative? According to our guest on this program, Dr. Marvin Marshall, the alernative is responsibility. To fully understand what he means, ask any child or teen, or group of young people, this simple question:

“Had you rather I give you RULES or RESPONSIBILITIES?”

Responsibilities imply willing compliance and self-correcting, self-directed behavior. Rules, by their very nature, imply enforcement and consequences. The job of being Mom or Dad is tough enough without adding Sheriff to the job, also.

In this program, Dr. Marshall will explain his ideas on teaching responsibility, and he will suggest five ways parents can teach and encourage responsible behavior.

Dr. Marvin Marshall is a career educator who writes about and teaches responsibility-based principles for raising and instructing young people. He wrote the landmark book for educators, Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards, and is also the author of the multiple-award winner for parents, Parenting without Stress: How to Raise Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own. (26:12)

www.MarvinMarshall.com
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COMING SOON! Growing Up Ziglar: Lessons Learned and Shared, Part One (Guest: Julie Ziglar Norman)