Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Foster Parenting Manual

The Foster Parenting Manual

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The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parent…

The 5 Love Languages of Children
More than 1 million sold!You know you love your child. But how can you show it so they really feel loved?The #1 New York Times b…

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
“Julie Lythcott-Haims is a national treasure. . . . A must-read for every parent who senses that there is a healthier and saner wa…

When a couple has a new child, it is certainly a joyous occasion.  It is also a tremendous lifelong commitment.  It starts with the basic necessities of food, shelter, cuddling and clean diapers.  It seems like hard word, but you quickly discover how easy the infant stage is compared to the terrible twos and threes.  During the toddler years, parents often deal with the stresses of screaming kids, temper tantrums, and irrational demands. 

Beyond the toddler years, until about the age of 6, children learn to communicate quite well but still don’t have a full sense of responsibility or logical understanding.  Beyond the age of 6, children become quite capable of appreciating their responsibilities.  At this point, logic and reasoning can be used with greater success by most parents.  But for some parents, their children become defiant, abusive, or obnoxious. Such behavior problems can last through to the teens.  If these problems are not solved, they can lead to a very unsuccessful adult life for your children.

So what is a parent to do in order to deal with these various problems?  How do parents arm themselves with the right education and skill set?  Here are some basic recommendations.

First – the toddler years are ripe for setting up a loving and nurturing family environment while simultaneously instilling a sense of responsibility for bad behavior.  During these years it is absolutely critical to teach your children that they are unconditionally loved.  it is also important to deal with bad behavior effectively.  This means picking appropriate consequences (such as “time outs”), and enforcing these consequences without judgement or emotion.  Parents need to enforce realistic punishment at the time of the bad behavior, or else the toddler won’t understand the connection between the behavior and the consequences. 

Parents can also learn influential language skills when their children are quite young, with a goal of learning how to influence the mood and behavior of the children.  Language skills, for the purpose of influence, are often taught to sales professionals, marketers, and those who do professional presentations.  There is absolutely no reason why these same skills can’t be used on young children to covertly direct their behavior and actions in a way that makes your life easier.  The key starting point for using these influence skills on children is to “enter your child’s world”.  Always begin a dialogue by letting your child know that you understand what they are saying or asking for.

Beyond the age of 6, tools of influence may not be enough for the really tough cases of disobedient children.  I believe that many child behavior issues are the result of kids not understanding how to solve their own problems.  This belief was instilled in my by listening to the teachings of James Lehman, MSW.  Once children learn to solve their problems, the bad behavior disappears.  Therefore, as a parent, it is important to keep in mind that one of your most important jobs is to teach your children how to solve their own problems.  Kids can’t be permitted to punch holes in the wall because they are depressed about something.  They need to deal with the problem while still being held accountable to certain behavior standards.  

To learn more about parenting toddlers or difficult kids, visit either the the Talking To Toddlers website or read my review of The Total Transformation by James Lehman.

The father of a second grader bragged, “Jesse received 100% on his math and spelling tests.” Are you unsure about your child’s character? Do you know how he really thinks and acts? If you’d like 9 fun parenting tips for building his character, look inside.

“Wonderful!” said his grandparents.

Jesse smiled, “It’s because I have a big brain.”

We grill our kids about homework. We fuss when it’s sloppy. Good report cards make us proud. Why? We want our children to succeed. Like the father in the story, we love bragging about their “big brains.”

What about Character?

Would you like to brag, “Yesterday my children earned 100% in character?” Training your children to do homework is easy. Training them to do the right thing is harder unless you have the right tools.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

9 Parenting Tips and Tools for Building Character:

Become the Character You Want Your Children to Follow.

1. If you don’t want your children to swear, don’t swear.

2. If you don’t want your children to gossip, speak kindly of others or say nothing at all.

3. If you don’t want your children to lie, tell the truth.

Get Your Children to Think about Character:

4. Go to the library. Ask the librarian for inspiring stories about character.

5. Read and discuss those stories with your children.

6. Choose simple character quotes and sayings to inspire them too.

I remember my mother’s voice, “A stitch in time saves nine.” That quote still inspires me to take care of problems before they become too large

Other Character Building sayings included:

Don’t air dirty laundry
Actions speak louder than words
Walls have ears
Always look on the bright side
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Which wise sayings will you choose to inspire your children?

Get Your Children to Talk about Character.

Use dilemma discussions. Children love to give their opinions. It makes them feel you value them.

7. Pretend a bully lives next door to you. He calls you names, puts you down in front of other kids and punches you. What will you say? What will you do? Why?

8. Pretend you earned a bad report card. You don’t want to show to your parents. What will you do? Why?

9. Pretend your friends are outdoors playing your favorite game. You’re supposed to finish your chores before you play. Your parents might not notice if you play before you work. What will you do? Why?

Dilemmas like those are easy for children to discuss.

Praise them for their good solutions. When the real dilemmas test their characters, they’ll remember their own good advice. Your discussions will help them do the right thing.

One more thing, don’t easily jump in with your opinion or tell them they’re wrong.

Conclusion for Building Character in Children:

Building character doesn’t have to be difficult. Use the right tools. Be the model you want your children to follow. Get them to think with character building stories. Inspire them with wise sayings and quotes. Encourage them to talk by using dilemma discussions. These are some fun ways to build their smart brains and caring hearts. Start today. Help them earn 100% in character.

Jean Tracy, MSS, invites you to subscribe to her FREE top-rated Parenting Newsletter, “Tips and Tools for Character Builders” at and receive 80 fun activities to share with your kids.

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