5 Strategies for a Better Parent Child Relationship

Here’s an excerpt from a textbook. It’s about a parent who is not in synch with his or her child: “Such a parent would have moments of intrusiveness that appeared to be emotional invasions into the infant’s state of mind. These were generally not hostile in nature; a parent might suddenly grab a happliy playing child and shower him with excited hugs and kisses without warning, disrupting the child’s focus of attention and state of mind. That is, the parent would try to be connected, but in a way that was not contingent to the child’s communication.” #1- How To Get In Synch The parent is not on the same page. Yes, parents have to move over to their child’s page, not the other way around, starting in infancy. Parents who have no history of being treated with any sensitivity at all will have a hard time with this. But–here’s the clincher–giving up is not an option! That’s one more job of a parent. Here is how to practice getting more and more able to “read” what page someone is on (You can do this with adults or children; doesn’t matter): Step 1: Guess what they’re thinking/experiencing at the moment and explain to yourself why you think so. Step 2: Check it out with the person. In a very casual way, just say, “You know, I want to be a more aware person. I’m trying to understand you a little better, so I hope you’ll help me. What I’m trying to do now is guess how you feel and why. Can I run by you what I came up...

Parents, Have You Done Your Trust Building?

She sits sullenly looking at the floor. They all do, the teenagers roped into therapy by angry parents. “It isn’t enough that she isn’t doing her homework; it turns out she’s online with boys behind my back,” growls Mrs. Portnoy. “She’s only 14 and I’m scared to death what she’s getting into.” Sylvia continues to stare at the floor. Not a sign of life. Mrs. Portnoy continues, “I’ve pleaded, I’ve argued, I’ve yelled…” Sylvia suddenly comes somewhat alive, remarking, “‘Screamed’ is more like it.” For some reason, the teens seem to have found the subtle distinction between yelling and screaming. I’m always impressed with that—and saddened, too, that they should have had so much exposure to the two forms of expressed anger that they can make such fine distinctions. “Yes, that’s right,” glowers Mrs. Portnoy, “because nothing I say or do works.” “We both try,” Mr. Portnoy pleads, perhaps slightly embarrassed by his wife’s forcefulness. There I sit, compelled to be diplomatic towards the poor Portnoys who truly want the best for their child, are clueless how to get it, and—worst of all—are causing much of the problem their child is facing. I must be loving and gentle with the Portnoys in helping them because if I’m the least bit challenging, the least bit confrontative, the least bit offensive (and people can take easy offense when hearing that they did something wrong), they’re out the door and Sylvia will be resigned to an awful life: a life of self-doubt, low self-esteem, confusion, and self-hate. She may also get involved in drugs, gangs, or early pregnancy. This is not an...

8 Secrets For Getting Your Defiant Child To Cooperate

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News “She stands there and sasses me,” the poor young mother cried. “She won’t go to time out. What can I do?” Time out is an effective way to turn behavior in school-age children around, but it must be part of a comprehensive program of positive discipline. Here are secrets that you would not have realized are absolutely necessary to get your child on your side.  Secret #1 -Time Out Is Painful. It Is A Partial Rejection Of The Child. It Can Therefore Only Be Instituted Successfully When You Are Connected to Your Child In a negative environment, the child is simply going to tune out the purveyor of that negativity. Can you blame her? No one wants a steady dose of unpleasant interaction. Either the child will tune out, leave, or sass. Those are the three sure signs that the environment has been negative.   The antidote is to build on a foundation constructed with a strong connection with your child. The relationship with your child, if it’s good, has the resilience to overcome little bouts of negative experiences such as routine punishments and scoldings. Take the time to listen to your child. That is the single most important building block of a good relationship. After all, is it quite fair for you to expect him to listen to you when you don’t listen to him? The theory that children don’t like to talk to their parents is nonsense. I raised four and there were no such obstacles between us. Right now, it may be he won’t tell you anything but...

For Successful Parenting, Tell Your Inner Child to Just Keep Out of This

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News, p. 15 “I can’t do anything with her,” Mrs. Porter said plaintively, “I am absolutely starting to lose it.” “Starting?” her husband asked with genuine surprise and a roll of the eyeballs. “Listen,” he confided in me, “my wife’s just as bad as our seven-year old when they get going. You should hear them.” “Tell me more,” I said to Mrs. Porter. “To be honest,” she admitted, “he’s right. I don’t know how it all degenerates, but something inside me goes haywire every single time Sabrina acts up, and all the wonderful parenting tricks you’ve taught us go right outside the window.” Brain Efficiency Accounts For Automatic Reactions — But They May Be Out Of Place In Adult Interactions “Guess what?” I tell them, “You’re not alone. Your brain is causing this and we can get you out of it!” It’s at this point that I explain a little bit about how the human brain works and why the best mechanisms it has to offer can mess you up later on in life. Efficiency is one of the most outstanding characteristics of the human brain. In neurobiological terms this means that when childhood memories are recorded for future use, those memories are stored in very rough categories. “Harmful,” for example, could describe the face of a toy doll that resembles a frightening dog. As a child, when you’d see the doll-face, you might have gotten scared because it resembles the scary face of the big dog. As an adult, there’s no logical reason in the world why you should become momentarily...

You’re Going To Be A Role Model For Your Child So Be A Good One

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News, p. 22. My son hunches over that computer day after day and I fear he’ll develop a curvature. “Exercise!” I say and I get the rolled eyeballs. “Where in the world does he get that from?” I wonder. Ha! I know the answer only too well. He gets his focus on his work from yours truly. He gets putting his work first above exercise from yours truly, too. I remember the time he decided to lift weights. I was ecstatic. “Now the mold will be broken,” I thought. Now, he’s taking care of his health unlike his mother who always had to force herself to exercise. (Let’s not talk about his father who never even got far enough to consider forcing himself to exercise, let alone doing it.) I was so wrong. When push came to shove, he stopped pushing and his work came first. Not two minutes to work out. “Can’t you lift weights for ten minutes?” I ask. “Surely you can make ten minutes.” “Won’t mean a thing, ten minutes,” he sighed, exasperated with his nagging mother. Just like me. If I can’t find a half hour to take my wonderful walk, I admit the truth, I just skip it. And we all know, especially me, how important that walk is. Especially at my age. But what about at his age? “Wait a minute, DrDeb,” you’re probably saying, “Aren’t you proud that your son has such a great work ethic?” Oh, I am. I am. I’m just saying that being a great role model is a double-edged sword. They...

Common Enemy? – Not This Grandma!

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News, pp. 15, 22. Congratulate me! I’m a grandma again. And for those of you who haven’t tried it, I recommend it. Seriously. Heck, adopt a grandchild if you have to. It’s sweet. But, I’ll tell you, I am perplexed about this “common enemy” thing. You’ve heard that joke, I’m sure, the one that goes: What do grandchildren and their grandparents have in common?—A common enemy. (The parent to one, the child to the other.) Ha, ha. Maybe you can help me out. Please. Write; call. I need to have this explained. What am I missing? When I think of my daughter, the new baby’s mom, my heart melts. It always did. She is the nicest, sweetest, smartest girl. Maybe you know her. If so, you’d surely agree. So how could she be my enemy? And my sons, when they have children, will they turn into an enemy, too? I don’t think so. I can’t imagine it. So what gives, here? My Kids Missed Adolescent Rebellion, Too You know, come to think of it, I remember being in this same confused place not so long ago. Just a few years ago, I had four teenagers living under my roof. At one time. And I distinctly remember people telling me about their teenagers undergoing “adolescent rebellion.” And I kept looking for it, but it didn’t happen. Each of my adolescents went on to develop a full-fledged personality without ever going through what people like to call “rebellion.” As a matter of fact, if we’re going to plumb my memory banks, I can’t say...

How Do You Discipline a 20-Year Old?

Your child is not, technically, a child any more; he or she is 20, over age in a couple of states; past the age of consent in others. But he needs discipline; boy, does he. What do you do? There are two answers to this. One is: You better do it; it’s never too late. And the other is that you actually have a few things going for you that you didn’t earlier. So if the first answer is that you better do it, the real question is how? You certainly can’t yell, fight, threaten, or “lose it” or you may as well throw in the towel. How to do it? — With the least display of emotion, the most neutral tone, you take away what you can, such as the car keys and money. You don’t do his laundry any more or cook his meals. No explanation, no discussion, no threats, nothing. Now pay attention to the strategy here: If you don’t go lecturing and threatening, you just take it away, then he’ll have to come after you asking what’s going on. See? And your reply? — Very cool. Something like, “I’m really sorry. You know I wanted to lend you the car. I got a tickle out of thinking how you’d matured and you were responsible and all. And then you went out with that Rob, after you assured me you wouldn’t, and, I just don’t feel secure and safe lending you the car. Believe me, I’m more disappointed than you are.” When you don’t deliver the message with anger, he has nothing to fight about. When...

Those Kids Must Be Doing SOMETHING Right

The saddest family walked into my room not long ago. The tension in the air was so great, I could hardly breathe. The parents smiled and were quite pleasant as they addressed me and their children, so what was I picking up? The daughter, a teen, had a glum expression and sat with her arms crossed. She, clearly, was unhappy. But was she just a manipulative person who was cross when she didn’t get her way? That seemed to be her parents’ thought as they argued and negotiated their way through the first 20 minutes of our session. Now, in truth, if these parents had been operating from the rest of this website, they would have gotten gold stars. They were not abusive. They were not putting the children down. They had good rules. They stuck to the rules (more or less). They tried to not let the kids walk all over them. Was it their fault that the children needed so much control? How To Create Low Self Esteem Without Abusing Your Child The answer is: Yes. Yes, it is their fault. The object of controlling a child is to foster self-control. The object of discipline is to foster self-discipline. If parenting is not accomplishing that then all the rules, all the consequences, are for naught. You will only foster rebellion. Or resentment, or just plain pain. This child was in pain. And the worst of it was that with all the rules and all the consequences and all the arguments, negotiations, and deals, she was totally convinced that whatever was wrong was wrong with her. Even when...
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