Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 Parent's Top Ten List

For four years, Whole Hearted Parenting has presented the annual Parent’s Top Ten List which contains ten suggestions for creating a more harmonious, cooperative and respectful family in the New Year. You can get your free 2010 Parent's Top Ten List by clicking here. Because this list is succinct – no explanations of the concepts – you may be curious about the “why” behind some of the suggestions. Y ou may also be wondering what difference you might see in your family if you practiced a few or all of the suggestions on the list. Let’s look in more detail at a few ideas from our 2010 Parent’s Top Ten list.

Suggestion #1 is Notice and recognize your child’s improvements. Sometimes it is easy to only notice – and point out – a child’s misbehavior, mistakes or shortcomings. If a child makes A’s and B’s on his report card along with one C, the C often gets the most attention. Begin to notice even small improvements. A challenge in our house is my daughter getting ready for school in the morning. That is my challenge. She is happy not getting ready for school! Part of her job in getting ready for school is turning off the lights, radio, and the fan in her room. Another part of her job is putting all of her dirty clothes in her hamper. Rather than feedback being about the things she did not do – You forgot to put your clothes in the hamper – it is more encouraging to recognize the things that she did do – You turned off the fan and radio. That’s great! Focusing on your child’s successes and improvements is not only encouraging for your child, but for you as well. What we focus on is what we get, so the more we focus on improvements, the more improvements we will see. Notice how you feel and what you are thinking when you shift your focus in this way. If you are thinking “Man, how many times do we have to go through this before she cleans up after herself?” you will most likely feel frustrated or angry. Your frustration and anger will be reflected in your tone of voice. If you are thinking, “She is getting it! The clothes are in the hamper!” you will feel encouraged. You will feel better AND be more encouraging with your child.

Suggestion #3 is Eliminate “don’t”, “share” and “be nice” from your vocabulary. Let’s look at each of these. The curious thing about “don’t” is that we don’t really recognize it. For instance, if someone said to you, “Don’t look at the person on your right. Don’t look!” you will probably (and immediately!) look to your right. Our brains do not process the “don’t.” The choices are overwhelming! To create clarity for your children, tell them specifically what you would like them to do rather than what not to do. I nstead of “Don’t jump on the bed” or “Don’t put your feet on the couch” say, “Sit on the bed” or “Feet down.”

“Share” and “be nice” are used frequently with younger children. Children learn to share on their own without parental intervention. In fact, when parents request that their children share, most of the time their children are too young to understand what it means. Have faith that your child will willingly share and will learn to do so through his own social relationships.

Saying “Be nice” has a double whammy. First, children do not understand what it means so they are not clear on what to do to be nice. Second, it gives the message that unless we tell our child to “be nice” that they are unkind, bad or whatever their view of “not nice” is. To avoid this double whammy, tell your child what you want him to do. If your child is grabbing toys from a friend say, “Toys are for picking up gently. Use toys these toys on the floor. Mary is playing with that one.” You can also say, “Ask Mary to hand you the toy you would like to use. Grabbing can hurt.” Talk about these skills in terms of “friendship” or “teamwork” skills. If your child is going over to a friend’s house say, “Have fun! Use your friendship skills.”

The language that we use is powerful. Our focus is powerful. Enjoy your 2010 Parent’s Top Ten List and let us know what shifts for you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

iPods, Nintendos and Cell Phones, Oh My!

If you have a child or grandchild who is of school age, there is no doubt that you -- or Santa -- have received a request for an electronic device as a holiday gift. The request could be for an iPod, a cell phone, a Nintendo, a DVD or a Wii. The choices seem endless! You probably also heard that "everyone in my class (or school or the universe) has one". Many parents are in a serious quandry about children and electronics -- from the high price tag for a gift for a young child to the impact that use of the device has on the child's development.

You know your child. Use that knowledge in making your decision about giving an electronic gift. You can also set healthy limits on the use of any electronic devices -- including television viewing. Here are a few recommendations from Whole Hearted Parenting on managing electronics:

· Place electronics only in common areas of the home, not in a child’s bedroom.
· Monitor electronic game use and content.
· Set a clear structure around use of electronics that includes homework and household responsibilities first being completed before plugging in. Include limits on the length of time children are permitted to have “screen time”.
· Do not permit use of electronics before breakfast, right before bedtime or during meals.
· Unplug! Turn off the television, computer and game devices. If you are drawing a blank on what comes next or how to handle a bored child, here is a great resource. Awarded the Good Parenting Seal by Parental Wisdom (www.parentalwisdom.com), Unplugged Play: No Batteries, No Plugs, Pure Fun, is a parent’s guide to over 700 ways to inspire valuable, creative play.
· Establish a family game night to play board and card games together.
· Create and tell stories as a family.
· Encourage kids to move more. Screen time is sedentary time. Permit unstructured outdoor play.
· Reconnect with nature – plant a garden, walk in the woods, talk about trees and insects and watch the sky!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Key to Enjoying the Holidays

Whole Hearted Parenting’s blogs and podcasts during the last month have been about creating peace during the holiday chaos, shifting the focus to giving and gratitude, and choosing stress-reducing gifts for parents. Today, after mailing a dozen boxes to family and friends for the holidays, I was thinking that the key to enjoying the season was organization – planning ahead, checking items off the agenda and then relaxing with a big sigh when I was done. Yes, there is a certain satisfaction to being complete with tasks. Even thought I did feel lightness in my being when walking out of the post office, my epiphany was realizing that completion and planning were not the keys at all.

For the holidays – and for life, really – waiting until the agenda items are all complete to allow yourself to experience the joy of the season – and of life, really – means postponing the wonder of the moment. I realized that I do this postponing a lot, constantly running through that mental check list, especially when it involves an event or a special occasion. That kind of thinking restricts enjoyment. I also realized that even when I feel the relief of having completed the tasks, the actual event feels less potent because I had stopped enjoying the moment in preparation for enjoying the moment!

The key to enjoying the holidays is not planning, organization, or having the most detailed checklist. It is deciding to enjoy the holidays. Once you make that decision, the experience begins. When you find yourself scanning your mental agenda or feeling stressed, decide again to enjoy every moment. With that decision, you are in the driver's seat. It is you driving your enjoyment rather than your agenda driving you.

Decide right now to enjoy every moment and see what a difference it makes! Let me know how it happens for you.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Gifts that Reduce Stress for Parents

Nicole Flamer – mother of three children on the autism spectrum and host of the radio program You Aut to Know – opened our interview on Sunday, November 15th with the findings from a recent study on the mothers of children with autism. The study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, found that the levels of a hormone associated with stress were extremely low with these moms, consistent with those experiencing chronic stress, such as soldiers in combat. In the interview, we talked about the stresses of parenting and what parents can do to increase balance, calm and composure.

With the holidays approaching, I began thinking about gifts for parents that would assist them in handling stress – gifts with the direct payoff of increased calm. What better gift could there be? Here follows a list of gift ideas that parents can put on their wish lists. These are ideas for grandparents who are looking for a gift that would truly make a difference for their children and their grandchildren. There are even some suggestions for gifts for children to give their parents, and they cost absolutely nothing. Parental stress directly impacts children, spouses and the “weather” in the family, so consider a gift that creates calm.

Gifts that Relax the Body
These gifts not only relax the body but also carve out a special time for stressed parents to nurture themselves. Give the gift of a massage or series of massages. There are massage therapists who will work in your home, or if you think mom or dad would benefit more by experiencing a relaxing massage away from home, find a spa or chiropractor’s office that has a licensed massage therapist on staff. Giving a series of massages will encourage your recipient to continue on a regular basis.

A card for a series of yoga classes will also assist parents in taking time for themselves each week. Yoga impacts both the mind and the body. Through the breathing exercises and asanas – the postures practiced in yoga – parents will restore and maintain their sense of well-being, increase their strength and flexibility and gain the skills to regain composure outside of the class.

Gifts that Provide Time and Support
If you check out your thoughts when you are feeling stressed, you might notice that they are usually about “not enough.” For instance, you might be thinking “I don’t have enough time for this” if your child spills a glass of milk right before leaving for school or “I don’t have enough help” if you are exhausted and have one more load of laundry to do. Those thoughts, which Dr. Becky Bailey calls “trigger thoughts”, take you from calm to angry. A gift that provides time and support can make a huge difference.

Consider making coupons that entitle the owner to one hour of babysitting, one hour of laundry, or cooking a meal. Children can make a book of coupons offering their services to clean up the kitchen after dinner, make mom or dad a cup of tea, feed the family pets, or fold clothes.

This can become a fun craft project and making your coupon booklet is easy to do on the computer.

Gifts that Provide Parental Guidance
When parents have the tools in their parenting tool box, they are more flexible and relaxed when things come up. Consider giving the gift of a parenting course. This will not only reduce parental stress but it will also positively impact the family for generations.

The International Network for Children and Families offers the Redirecting Children’s Behavior™ Course. Check the website for resources and instructors in your area. If you are in south Florida, visit RCB South Florida.

To equip families to build a connected and cooperative family team in 2010, Whole Hearted Parenting is offering a holiday Creating Family Team Package loaded with experiential exercises that build effective communication and cooperation. Parents will watch their children become leaders and supportive team members as the family engages in family meetings, setting family goals and creating a family mission statement. The Package consists of three hours of individual coaching, the three-part Success Strategies for Family Meetings program, and two fun and informative books.

When thinking about your holiday gift for the parents in your family and network of friends, go for one that relaxes the body and mind, provides time and support or provides parental guidance. Your gift can help make 2010 the best year ever for the entire family.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Peaceful Holidays Part 1

Halloween is over and the holiday rush will soon begin. We all have special memories of the holidays, and as parents, we want to create equally special memories for our children. The relentless commercial pressure to purchase the latest toys and gadgets can make it challenging to keep the holidays focused on love, gratitude and peace. The changes in normal routines – even fun changes like visiting family members – can be disruptive. To create those endearing and enduring memories, we can employ some tips for managing what we do during this wonderful time of the year. Here are a few suggestions to make your holidays peaceful:

Have a plan to handle requests for gifts. Having a plan to handle the requests will help you parent peacefully. Here are a few suggestions:

a. Create a request list (i.e., a letter for Santa or wish list) and route all gift requests to that list. When asked to purchase something, say “That sounds like a great addition to your list!”

b. Avoid commercial television, a huge source of advertising aimed at children.

c. Avoid power struggling over requests. When your child says, “Look at how pretty! Please buy it for me!”, follow these three steps to prevent a power struggle:
o Make them right (“You are right! That is such a pretty doll!”)
o Acknowledge their desire (“I would want a doll like that, too!”)
o Fantasize about it (“What would you do with that pretty doll? What clothes would she wear? How would she get along with your other doll?”)

For more on Peaceful Holidays, please listen to our Parenting Tip of the Week at http://www.lexy.com/feed/?id=576. We will be talking about ideas for peaceful holidays for the next few weeks. At http://www.wholeheartedparenting.com/ you will also find articles under "Resources" and our e-book, Parenting Week by Week has several chapters on reducing the stress and creating holiday family rituals.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Talk So Your Children Listen

This week – Wednesday, October 7th to be exact – we are doing a teleseminar on How to Talk so Children Listen. It could truthfully be called Be Heard by Everyone because we address powerful communication skills that are helpful in any relationship. If you are feeling the frustration of constantly repeating yourself, seeing your child’s rolling eyes and arms crossed tightly over his chest, hearing the myriad of excuses, receiving defensiveness and a lack of cooperation, this is the workshop for you.

How DO we talk so that children listen to us?

One way is to actively listen with full attention to your child. Not only will that model the kind of listening you desire from him, it will also let your child know he is heard. Active listening involves making eye contact, maintaining a body posture that shows interest (such as your body forward with arms at your side rather than crossed) and an interested expression. You do not have to actually say anything. Get down on your child’s level or bring him up to yours and listen with full focus.

Another communication skill is to look for the feelings behind your child’s behavior and behind his words and then acknowledge them. For instance, if your child says, “Mary said she is not my friend,” an empathetic response might be, “That must have hurt.” A non-empathetic rescuing response might be, “That Mary is such a mean girl. I’ll have a talk with her mother.” The rescuing response stops the communication. The empathetic response that gives a name to your child’s feelings is an invitation to a conversation. Those are conversations in which we really get to know our child and they get to know us. They are rich.

Another helpful communication tip is to simply describe the problem rather than tell your child what to do. This allows him to take responsibility without engaging in a power struggle. By simply stating the problem, there is nothing for him to push against.

I invite you to join us Wednesday, October 7th at 9:00 PM for more on How to Talk so Your Child Listen. Click Here to register.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Parenting Blogs: A Great Resource

It seems like everybody is blogging! Blogs are a terrific resource for all kinds of things, including parenting. With the frequent updates, variety of topics, and different views, blogs can give you new information, assist you in seeing things in a new way, and point you to another blog with even more information! Here are a few blogs on parenting that you might find helpful:

· MomsMiami – Edited by Charlene Pacenti and sponsored by The Miami Herald, MomsMiami is a very comprehensive blog, with Mom2Mom forums, lists of events for children, video and a place to “swap your stuff.” I blog for MomsMiami and enjoy it very much. Charlene arranges events at interesting places and has included our RCB South Florida team as speakers.

· Parental Wisdom –Tina Nocera of ParentalWisdom.com created and writes this blog, and her articles are thoughtful, loving and timely. Posts include “It’s a Bird; It’s a Plane; It’s a Helicopter Parent!”, “Pets Help Kids through Divorce”, and “Paying Our Dues to be Part of the Village.” Tina is a skillful connector, and I enjoy reading her posts.

· Sun-Sentinel – The Sun-Sentinel recently launched their parenting blog called Moms & Dads, and I’ve been invited to join their team of guest bloggers. Sun-Sentinel staff write columns, so there are a variety of topics and views.

· One Year in the Making – Although not specifically written for parents, the posts by Marijo Puleo are uplifting to read and carry over into parenting. Marijo writes inspiringly of family and her journey.

To find blogs, go to Google and click on “more” at the top. From the drop-down list, choose “Blogs” and then enter your search criteria.

Let me know your parenting blog discoveries and I’ll post them here and add them to Parenting News. Blog on!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Redirecting Children's Behavior

I’ve been talking to groups and individuals lately about power struggles and how the use of force is different from the use of influence. Power struggles – those tug-of-wars over who is right and who is the boss – are universal. You’ve probably experienced them with your children, spouse, manager, co-workers, and your own parents. Recall the amount of energy you are willing to spend proving how right you are! Ever notice that with all of that energy, nothing ever gets done? Nothing is accomplished in a power struggle and no one wins.

Through continual power struggles, a child learns that he can feel powerful when he resists, powerful when he proves that others are not the boss of him, and powerful because mom goes ballistic. The truth is we want our child to learn to feel powerful through cooperation, powerful through negotiation, powerful through helpfulness, and powerful through concern for others. Children who feel powerful in those positive ways grow into adults who are empowered. They then raise children who are empowered. When your child feels powerful, he will not power struggle. He has other options. When you feel powerful, you will not over-power your child. You have other options.

Your young children are not going to end the power struggles. It is up to you. There may not be a model for you to visualize when you decide to parent in a different way. That was how it was for me. I had no clue how to handle resistance without force. Taking the Redirecting Children’s Behavior™ course was the kick-start for my journey. It was in the RCB course that I learned how to recognize power struggles, how to get out of them and how to prevent them. The workshop on power struggles is still my favorite after ten years of teaching RCB because every day I see the difference that using that information has made in my family.

If you are experiencing power struggles at home, I invite you to take Redirecting Children’s Behavior™. You will become more influential and more peaceful. It will make a difference in your life, your family life and the next generation.

To find information on courses in south Florida, click here. To find courses across the country, click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One New Thing

Summer is a special time. It can be a time of flow, during which children and adults experience less structure, more creativity in activities and the time to do something new. In fact, one step in creating a highly connected, cooperative summer with your family is to commit to doing one new thing together.

Remember the Billy Crystal film City Slickers in which a group of guys does something different every year? They ran with the bulls in Pamplona, did some skydiving and went on a cattle drive with Jack Palance. City Slickers was our in-flight film on a trip to France in 1995, and it inspired me to learn to ride horses. Having always loved horses, I had been too afraid of them to ride. The message we got as children was that horseback riding meant certain death. The film inspired me to learn something new and get over my fear. Riding evolved into owning a horse, meeting many terrific people involved with horses and even competing in a few hunter-jumper shows. I did break my hand, AND I’m still here to talk about how much fun it was! It was also something that my husband and I did together and we later introduced our daughter to riding.

Commit to doing something new as a family this summer. Talk about it with your children in a family meeting and decide by consensus what experience you wish to have. From staying at a dude ranch, climbing, or learning to scuba dive or ice skate, your family will create amazing memories as well as build a connected family team. Everyone will feel capable as they learn something new and someone may even discover a new hobby or passion. A decade from now you will be saying, "Do you remember the summer when we did _____?" You fill in the blank!

Explore nineteen other suggestions in Twenty Steps to a Summer that Rocks! Cooperate, Coordinate and Connect while Creating an Amazing Summer, available at our bookstore.

Inspire a family by sharing the experience that you most remember from your childhood summers. Add your comments!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Speak the Most Powerful Love Language

With many moms and dads travelling for work, we are seeing more of what I term “frequent flyer families.” Time zone changes, length of time spent working away from home and one parent single-handedly assuming the responsibilities at home are all challenging. Parents may also be experiencing what Jeff Kleinman calls “shift parenting” where both parents are at home but each parent works a different shift on the job. One parent may assume morning tasks at home and the other assume the “homework shift.” Keeping connected as a couple can be difficult in both circumstances.

Here is where knowing our own love language as well as the love languages of our spouse and children can make a huge difference. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell wrote
The Five Love Languages of Children to assist parents in discovering their child’s primary and secondary love languages. Speaking all five languages is terrific and really focusing in on your child’s primary and secondary love languages speaks volumes.

My primary love language is gifts. From the first time my dad opened his suitcase and pulled out a doll that he had brought me from one of his international Air Force missions, I felt totally loved.

Knowing your own primary love language allows you to let others know how they can best let you know that you are loved. Knowing your child’s and spouse’s love languages allows you to help them fill what Chapman and Campbell call the “emotional love tank.”

If you are a “frequent flyer family,” you will know to put love letters in your spouse’s suitcase if his primary love language is words of affirmation or to let him know that you fixed that leaky faucet if it is acts of service.

If it is physical affection, you will know to plan a little “shift overlap” time for a backrub or for simply being together watching a sunrise or sunset if his language is time.

Discover your love language and share it with your family. Find out each family member’s primary love language and speak it often. Running on a full “emotional love tank” is awesome

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aren't We All on the Same Side?

“The Other Side of Adoption” appeared in the June 7th Akron Beacon Journal. It is about Celeste Billhartz, who was adopted as an infant and is now collecting stories from “women who didn’t have any say in surrendering their newborns.” Travelling a path blazed by Ann Fessler, author of the 2007 book The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade, Celeste is in the process of creating a coffee table book and a theatrical production from the stories and poems of the mothers she interviewed.

Celeste is shining a light on the adoption process to end coercion. She is placing an honoring spotlight on birthmothers. On her website, The Mother’s Project, she is also asking that we end adoption. She urges ”women-of-conscience to not adopt”. She even accuses those who adopt – termed “adopters” – of participating in abuse and “behaving like greedy, selfish pigs.” The light feels quite a bit dimmer.

Instead, let’s shine a light for strong adoption laws that honor birthparents and adopting parents. Let’s shine a light on our past by permitting access to original birth certificates. People who were adopted, and I am one of them, deserve to know their biological history.

Let’s recognize the truth of adoption. As one reader posted “While I do feel for the women who were coerced and tricked into signing adoption papers, I ask them to remember that their story is not every woman’s story. I know first hand that adoption can be a very positive choice for a birth mother.” Choice is the keyword. The truth is in choice.

Viewing the adoption process as an immoral system driven by infertile white women bent on spending thousands of dollars to buy babies does nothing to end coercion. More important than the fact that this is not true, blame does nothing to empower birthmothers. In fact it has the opposite effect – it is self-victimizing. It turns off the light to the magnificence of who birthmothers really are – who all mothers really are.

Let’s turn on the light. We are all in this together. We are all on the same side.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Exhausted Parent Part Deux

It was such a pleasure meeting Jeff and Beth Kleinman at a workshop for MomsMiami.com on Saturday. Not only were they totally enjoyable to talk with, but after the workshop, Jeff posted a blog on the very real topic, “the exhausted parent.”

We need energy to parent consciously, and it is vital that parents take care of themselves. When we do, we model taking care of ourselves for our children and we have the energy to parent responsively rather than reactively. When we are exhausted, we may become what Jeff termed “the explosive parent,” a humorous twist on the book
The Explosive Child. Our knee-jerk reactions, especially when we are tired, stressed, or sick, are usually the things we look at in retrospect and wish we had done differently.

What can we do when we are out of steam and just don’t want to do one more thing?

· Recognize when you are tired. Let your body be your barometer. If we deny our exhaustion and continue to press on, we resent what we are doing. Our resentment shows up in how we talk to our children.

· Find time to do what recharges you. Listen to calming music on the way home from work. Meditate. Walk. Read. Ask for time alone at home for fifteen minutes. Take twenty minutes each day just for you.

· Request support. Our family is our first team, and sometimes leaders – parents, presidents and CEO’s – get tired. As a leader, it is great to ask your family for support not only because you will receive some welcome assistance but also because your children learn how to contribute to their team.

· Give your children more responsibilities around the house. Young children are very capable of washing dishes, assisting with cooking, folding clothes and much more. As an extra bonus, they will begin to recognize just how capable they are! As an even extra bonus, you will begin to recognize that you do NOT have to do it ALL.

· Reconnect with your spouse or partner. I feel the most stressed when my husband travels. If you feel like you are a member of a tag team who only exchanges information like ships passing in the night, take time out to reconnect. Have a weekly date night (or day!).
Refreshing Relationships is an amazing weekend course to rekindle the love and connect at a very deep level.

· Monitor your self-talk. It is difficult to be cheery when your inner conversation is discouraging and stressful. If you notice that you are thinking what Dr. Becky Bailey calls “not enough” thoughts – not enough time, not enough energy, not enough money, not enough support – shift your thoughts to ones that are more encouraging.

· Acknowledge your gratitude. Write down or at least think about the things for which you feel appreciation and gratitude. This is terrific to do at the beginning and ending of your day.

Taking care of you is not selfish. It actually is your job. A job well done in this case is one that both you and your family will appreciate!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Our View on Spanking Reflects So Much about Us

The online article Spanking is NOT an Effective Parenting Tool (http://www.squidoo.com/no-spanking) offers alternatives to corporal punishment as well as resources for parents. The comments from readers reveal that the debate about spanking continues – over six decades after Dr. Spock advised that spanking was counter-productive and that cooperation could be gained through peaceful means.

One reader commented that we should not spank when we are angry but that spanking was sometimes necessary. A furious, out-of-control parent who spanks a child is certainly terrifying. The calm parent who chooses to spank may have a heart-felt desire for his child to learn a lesson; however, the child will not see his parent’s compassion. Instead, he will see the most significant person in his life, a person who claims to love him, consciously choose to hurt him.

Another reader stated that “consistent discipline, including spanking, in the early years of childhood sets the foundation for respectful and pleasant tweens and teens.” Children who are spanked may act respectful out of fear. That child may become compliant or may become a resentful teen who learns to hide his mistakes. Those years may then seem more pleasant for the parent, but at a steep cost for the child and for the relationship.

A third parent commented that spanking should only be used as a last resort, and this view seems to be the trend. I have never met a parent who enjoyed spanking, only parents who did not know what else to do.

Our view on spanking reflects our basic belief about how we as people learn. Does a child need to feel bad in order to learn? Is a child bad for making a mistake and does he deserve to be punished? Are others the cause of the hurt or pain that we feel and do they deserve to be punished for causing this pain? For proponents of spanking, making a change to more peaceful parenting means stepping into a different world view about misbehavior, learning and making mistakes. It means stepping into compassion.

In Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, Marshall Rosenberg suggests that we ask ourselves two questions. First, “What do I want this person to do that’s different from what he or she is currently doing?” The second question is often not asked. “What do I want this person’s reasons to be for doing what I’m asking?” The answer to that question is crucial. As Rosenberg states, “When we submit to doing something solely for the purpose of avoiding punishment [or gaining reward], our attention is distracted from the value of the action itself.” In other words, do we want our child to do his homework out a love of learning or because he is afraid he will be punished?

Spanking comes at a high cost – in a parent’s relationship with his child, in the family and in the world. Children who are spanked do not see their parent’s compassion. Instead, they become a part of our culture of violence. Over six decades ago, Dr. Spock attributed “the American tradition of spanking” as a factor in the high rate of violence in the United States. Six decades later we know so much more, and yet the answer remains the same : There are other ways to teach our children.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Redirecting Children's Behavior South Florida Teaches Workshop on How to End Power Struggles

Twenty-eight parents who reside at the Community Partnership for the Homeless in Miami attended I Don't Want To and You Can't Make Me: Effectively Handling Power Struggles on April 21st. Taught by Jane and myself as representatives of Redirecting Children's Behavior South Florida, this was the first in a monthly series of parenting workshops that we will be presenting at Community Partnership.

There was a warm feeling of community in the group of parents who participated in the workshop, many contributing to the discussion with suggestions that work for them. One mom puts her children “in charge” of areas in which they do well, such as laundry and cleaning up after meals. By allowing her children to lead, she not only side-stepped power struggles but also gave her children an opportunity to be successful. Another mom gave her son choices about when to do his chores rather than demanding that he do them immediately.

Formed in 1995, Community Partnership for the Homeless is a 501 C 3 non-profit organization with the mission of offering dignity and hope to all so that no persons sleep on the streets of our community. There was a palpable feeling of helpfulness and community at the residence. Whatever this group is doing, keep doing it!

We look forward to our next workshop on Handling Conflict Peacefully on May 19th!

For more on RCB South Florida, please visit www.RCBSouthFlorida.com.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day

This Wednesday, April 22nd, is Earth Day, a day set aside to inspire awareness about our Earth. We can inspire our children's curiosity about our environment and our impact on it in fun and informative ways. From turning off lights to composting to planting native plants, we can have fun while making a difference.

For ideas on how to inspire your children, please visit http://www.wholeheartedparenting.com/ and click on Families Go Green. You will find resources on how to determine your carbon footprint, programs where you can combine a family vacation with environmental activities in our National Parks, printable cards for children, websites with creative ideas for involving your children in environmental issues, and more.

Have a great week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Whole Hearted Parenting has a Blog!

Whole Hearted Parenting now has a blog! Please visit for articles, comments and news of interest to parents and teachers. If there are topics you would like to know about, please e-mail Maggie at maggie_macaulay@msn.com.

We have some terrific teleseminars coming up in April, including Taming Those Tantrums (4/14), Taking the Hassles Out of Homework (4/20), and Would You Like a Little Cheese with that Whine? Effectively Handling Whining (4/28). Anyone in the United States can access these fun, live workshops that are done over the telephone and online. Audio downloads will be available.

Looking forward to more blogging!