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Showing posts from January, 2010

Stopping Misbehavior Easier Than You Might Think

A mom once asked me for help with a situation involving her two boys, ages 5 and 7. She said they were constantly fighting at the morning breakfast table. She wanted a quick-fix solution to the problem because it was driving her crazy. As in all instances when I am asked about behavior situations, I need more information about what was going on just before and during the problem. This additional information helps me assess what may be causing the problem and come up with possible solutions. I asked mom what she is usually doing at the time of the fighting and she told me that she is scurrying around to get lunches made and the house picked up before they leave for the day. She admitted she is likely to be barking orders and making demands on the boys out of frustration for always running late. We can all relate. My solution for her… sit down with the boys at the table, set a timer for 10 minutes, and for her not to talk, just listen. She thought it was the dumbest idea she had ever he…

Parents Confusing Kids: They say don't tattle but you better report problems to us

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I spoke with a New York reporter today who was working on a story about the mixed messages adults send children about not tattling, yet they want their children to bring problems to the adults attention. On one hand, adults encourage children to “tell mommy when something is wrong,” and then on the other hand, mommy yells at little Johnny when he follows through and complains about something his sister is doing down the hall. Is this a mixed message? You bet. 

 I encourage parents to remove “tattling” from their vocabulary and don’t bring any attention to it. A child should be encouraged to always bring something they see as a problem to the caregiver’s attention because the child has to develop the sense as to whether something needs an adult’s attention or not. This will be developed over time through the healthy experience of interacting with the adult in reporting a problem. This means that every time a child brings a problem to the adult, the adult should remain calm and ac…

It's Christmas and We're Raising Olivia

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It’s Christmas day and I've got a few minutes when everyone at our house is busy. I have a soon-to-be twelve year-old stepdaughter and I’m enjoying raising her and having the opportunity to influence her in so many positive ways. I've been Olivia’s step dad since she was 8 years old. My own children are grown and all in their twenties, leading productive lives. I’m getting to do it all over again and I love it. The Christmas gift that seems to have been the biggest hit was the knee-high sneakers we got her. You know, those black canvas things with the white rubber soles. She’s got them all laced up and has had them on since we opened gifts this morning (they looked the best with her pajamas and bathrobe). 

It’s been wonderful this morning, watching her be a little girl once again, a nice break from the regular hormonal rages and her regular disdain for wanting to be with her mother and I. It seems like just yesterday, she was 9 and collecting Webkins. No more. One day …

Kids, Computers, and Porn

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A mom called me for help this week. It seems that her 9-year-old son and some of his friends were playing on her computer (with her permission) and visited a viral porn Web site. When mom went on the computer that evening, the porn pop ups wouldn't stop and the graphics were XXX and outrageous. She called an IT shop to come and fix the virus problem but was concerned about the sex acts her son had been exposed to. 

Her question to me was, what should she tell her son about what he saw and his inappropriate surfing that most likely pulled in the virus. I told her that it was a good time to have a male family member have ”the talk” with him, even though she wanted to wait until he was ten. I also told her that she should have a few words with him, calmly, about rules for surfing the Web and how viruses can cause problems on the computer. The bottom line though, was that it was not his fault for surfing the Web and there should have been measures in place to keep him safe. 

I ask…