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Family and Parenting

Raising Responsible Kids

A high percentage of animals raise up responsible offspring. Their young leave the nest and learn to successfully fend for themselves. What percentage of American parents do you think get those two jobs done? My definition of successful children is growing up to solve their own problems emotionally and financially. They live contentedly on what they make, and they get along with those they live with. This usually requires at …Read More

Being Positive with Children Who Aren’t

Almost every child from time to time acts negative. They act like they want to ruin things for everybody—peers, adults and even themselves. At times like this, if you’re the care-taking adult (parent, teacher, grandparent, babysitter, child care or day-care worker), you’re going to have a hard time knowing why or how to be positive. But you need to know. And some children seem to be negative most all the time. It …Read More

Power Struggles Between Parents and Children

All parents from time to time find themselves locked into an ongoing power struggle with a child. The parent’s natural instinct response to a child’s misbehavior is met with more and more of that behavior. My suggestions here will require parents to go against their instincts. Many of the ideas below can be found in two excellent programs for parents. One is Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP), at www.lifematters.com. …Read More

How and Why to Spoil (or Not Spoil) Your Kids or What Spoiled Kids Need

If you’ve ever wondered why so many people spoil their children, it’s simple. They get two big pay-offs. First, the obvious: it’s easier just to get through the moment by indulging children’s demands, rather than stopping to teach them a lesson. And the more subtle reason is that by living for and through the child, they can avoid all their own feelings, issues and responsibilities. It’s like a drug—a pain-killing …Read More

Parenting Rebellious Teens

Sixteen-year-olds look completely different from the way they looked at twelve. Even more striking is the difference in their personalities. Parental influence has declined by roughly half, due to more influences from peers, media, hormones, boyfriend/girlfriend, and the huge internal need to feel grown-up by acting different from you. Yet parents do not adjust their expectations so much. They still expect similar compliance with similar rules compared to what worked …Read More

Triangles Can Help or Hurt Communication

Sometimes when we want to talk with someone, we assume they wouldn’t understand, or worse still, wouldn’t listen. Maybe they’d even fire back some criticism at the messenger so they didn’t have to deal with the message. So we send our message through a third party. This is called a ricochet message, or a bank shot, but these terms imply it just happens once. Usually messages keep coming this way, …Read More

Teaching Youth About Right and Wrong (Part 1)

If you’re like most American adults, you are concerned that some of the youth in your family are going to mess up their lives by bad habits and choices on some moral issue. The ones I hear about the most are sex, money, family, religion, and drug or alcohol abuse. All too often, efforts to talk with younger people about such matters end in greater frustration for both parties, and …Read More

Teaching Youth About Right and Wrong (Part 2)

Last time I gave seven ways to challenge young people in your family to think along moral lines when planning their lives (see Part 1). To review, there are good times to use either: Punishment or Reward (pain or pleasure), Promotional or Emotional Consequences, Prophecy or Parable, Lecture or Modeling, Teaching consideration of self or Others, Protecting the child or also the Child’s relationships, and Teaching discipline or Self-discipline. (If you missed this, email …Read More

Stephanie & Paul, April 2007

We come together and treat each other in a spirit of love, joy and peace, to support the missions of each individual family, to celebrate our similarities and our differences, to work through our misunderstandings, to help each other out, and to enjoy making memories together.

−Stephanie & Paul, April 2007

Should your Adult Child Live in or out of your Home?

    ADULT CHILDREN: SHOULD THEY BE IN OR OUT OF THE NEST? PARENT: My son wants to move back home, with his tail between his legs. This is the second time he’s lost his job and his girlfriend under the same circumstance: saying he wants to get away from his friends who are pot-heads, again, and to come home awhile and “figure things out.”   I’m embarrassed to tell …Read More