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Parenting Problem: Help, My Cute 3-Year-Old Is Bossing Me!

 5-year-old sticking tongue out

Be the Parent! Don't Let Your Cute Child Boss You!

When you're child bosses you as if she's the parent, you have a parenting problem. Our expert parenting author, Dr. Partridge, wrote a book entitled, Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child. He is sharing a counseling story from his book.

Kristi's Problem Story

One beautiful spring morning an equally beautiful young mother came for an initial appointment with her exceptionally beautiful three-and-one-half-year-old daughter.

We chatted a little with daughter, Kristi, present so I could gain a sense of Kristi's manner and style. Kristi was bright, articulate and pleasant - really quite a delightful little girl.

As I showed her the toys in the adjacent playroom she was comfortable there as long as we left the door slightly ajar so she could hear her mother's voice (without hearing what we were saying).

Her mother was truly concerned with Kristi, "She's charming with other people - as you just saw - but with me she's not warm and affectionate...She is demanding - almost mean in her assertiveness with me."

This mother had returned to part-time graduate studies in the Social and Behavioral Sciences at a nearby university when her daughter was two and a half.

Kristi enjoyed preschool, though she was overbearing with other other kids. Mother didn't see this as anything that would be difficult to correct if it became severe - the big problem was her own relationship with Kristi.

Her marriage was good, except that her husband was a career naval officer and was away so much, even when he wasn't at sea.

Kristi got along with her dad - "It's me, or her, or us that's the problem. Really, I'm the only parent she has most of the time, but she is acting like she is the boss.

Kristi's History:

She had been cuddly and cozy with me, but then it was as if she couldn't be the boss and affectionate at the same time - it's like she wants to be the parent but doesn't know how to be loving too.

"I have not been a neglectful or abusive parent, but I'm afraid of what is happening to Kristi. In my studies I have read about attachment and bonding theory and I'm scared she might become sociopathic - that's what the books say can happen when the bonds of trust break ..."

The Doctor's Diagnosis

I said I was sure that the problem is the relationship - mother/daughter, parent/child has slid out of perspective. The grass is in the sky and the sun is rolling about on the ground. The sense I make of it is that Kristi feels that closeness to you could result in surrender of her power, control, and autonomy that she has come to enjoy. I'm not thinking the bond is broken - it's just wobbling in an unsteady orbit. (From pages 87-89.)

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To find out how Dr. Partridge helped Kristi's mom put the sun and the earth in their rightful orbits and get the right balance between herself and her daughter, pick up:

Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child

Cover Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control

Available at Amazon.com

It's time to PRAISE Dr. Partridge for his wise counsel in helping parents raise their children. He's has an amazing perspective and sees the big picture for children and their futures. His book is committed to helping parents change bad habits before they get too serious.

 

Dr. Partridge
Dr. Partridge

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parenting with Baby Brain Insights: How to Use Music!

 

Happy Baby
My Baby Brain Loves Music!

If you're a parent and your baby could tell you how music helps his brain, would you listen? Our expert  parenting author, Deborah McNelis, has written the most practical information with simple activities  entitled, Brain Insights: Love Your Baby~Making Connections in the First Year. Here is an excerpt: 

 3 - 6 Months: Moving to Music 

Dance with me. Turn on music. Hold me close and move with the music.

It feels good to enjoy rhythm and music together. My brain likes and responds to patterns.

Baby Activity: Which Is the Same?

To make sound shakers use empty and clean film, yogurt, or sour cream containers. Put salt in two and popcorn seeds in a third container. Shake the two matching ones for me to listen to. Shake the third one. Watch my reaction when I hear that the last one is different from the first two.

Do it another way: When you do this again, put something in the container that will make a different sound. For example: rice, cereal, macaroni etc.

(Never let me open the containers!)

Baby Brain Connections News

At birth I have over 100 billion brain cells with very few connections. Providing new experiences creates connections between the cells. This is what makes my brain actually grow.

Traveling Tunes for Babies

While riding in the car, sing songs to me. I will like that you make the time fun for me.

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Let's PRAISE Deborah McNelis for her award winning The Brain Development Series of which Love Your Baby is part of the series. I like how Deborah takes the latest research and gives us practical information with activities for increasing our babies' and young children's brain development. The card packets are beautifully designed for each age level.

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Deborah McNelis Face

        Deborah McNelis

 Pick up Brain Insight: Love Your Baby~Making Connections in the First Year

 

www.braininsightsonline.com

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Parenting the Shy Child: How Imagination and Two Hands Can Help

 Girl bigstock-Girl-15371141

How Imagination Uses Hands to Overcome Shyness

If you're a parent you want to help your shy child with a fun imagination strategy, here's a method you can use today. Our expert parenting author, Dr. Charlotte Reznick, is sharing an excerpt from her book, The Power of Your Child's Imagination.

 

Listen as Whitney uses her own hands to talk to each other. Find out how this strategy began to open her up.

How Whitney's Self-Interview Helped Her Talk to Herself

Whitney was an extremely shy eleven-year-old who was just learning to communicate with herself this way. We were working on opening her up to what brought her joy. Her hand-to-hand interview is a great example of how this works.

Whitney's Dominant Hand (DH)

Whitney's Nondominant Hand (ND)

DH: Why don't you speak up?

ND: I don't know why.

DH: I want you to speak up.

ND: I don't think so.

DH: Let's just try a little bit. I won't get mad. I want to talk.

ND: Okay, I like to sing.

DH: Thank you. I like to sing too. What else do you like to do?

ND: I like to dance.

DH: When would you like to dance?

ND: Next Thursday at 5 p.m.

DH: I will ask my mom to look into a class.

ND: Good.

DH: What else do you like to do?

ND: I like to write stuff.

DH: What kind of stuff do you like to write?

  ND: Stories mostly, and plays.

DH: Would you like me to write more?

ND: Yes.

DH: What else do you like to do?

ND: I like to swim.

DH: I don't like to swim. How do we resolve this? 

ND: We don't have to go.

DH: Would a bath be as good as swimming?

ND: Uh-hmm.

DH: How often?

ND: One to three mornings?

DH: Thank you. When would you want to talk again?

ND: Welcome. Not now.

DH: Is it okay if we talk every day or something?

ND: Yes.

Our Author's Explanation of the Results

Because Whitney was new to this, her questions and answers were short and simple. As she got comfortable, they became more fluid.

She also seemed to contradict herself, but ambivalence is a natural part of life. Some part of her was curious about swimming; another was wary. These are the contradictions that nondominant writing negotiates well.

This time the solution was a bath; next time she could invite herself into a real pool. All kinds of possibilities arise when a child establishes such communication with herself.

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I liked how this hand-to hand interview was both fun and helpful to Whitney. Dr. Charlotte has filled her book with so many creative ways to use the imagination. Her work is amazing.

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Pick up The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success

Cover The Power of Your Child's Imagination
Available at: Amazon.com

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Let's APPRECIATE Dr. Charlotte for her outstanding book filled with tools to help our children handle life's daily struggles.

Author  Dr. charlotte_reznick
Dr. Charlotte Reznick

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Parenting Problem: How Do I Discipline My Out-of-Control Teen?

 Boy teen angry bigstock

How Do you Discipline Difficult Adolescents?

If you're a parent and your teenager is angry, wild, or out-of-control, how do you discipline him or her with consequences that help? Our parenting expert, Marney Studaker-Cordner, is sharing her advice from her book, The Whipped Parent.

 

How to Choose a Consequence

Things to consider when choosing a responsive consequence:

1. Are you responding to your adolescent while you're emotional?

If you're feeling angry, hurt or frustrated, wait until later to choose the consequence. You can let your adolescent know by saying,

"I'm upset right now and need time to determine how I'm going to respond to your behavior. I'll let you know when I've decided what I'm going to do."

2. Is the consequence fair?

Does it fit the severity of the behavior? You may want to come back to this question after reading Chapter Thirteen on exaggerating and minimizing.

3. Has your adolescent already received a consequence?

It may be unnecessary for him to be given a second consequence. For example, if your child swore at the teacher, he probably already experienced a natural consequence, like school detention. Is it necessary to provide a responsive consequence yourself?

4. Have you developed a fail-proof consequence?

When developing a fail-proof consequence, it may be helpful to think about what your teen likes,or things he wants and asks for. Fail-proof consequences are very difficult to come up with when you deal with someone like Jack (He's mentioned in earlier chapters.). You might be able to find only one or two effective consequences. If that's all you have, use it carefully and consistently.

How to Develop a Fail-Proof Consequence

1. Start by selecting a consequence you think may be fail-proof.

Be specific. What is the exact length of time the consequence will be given for? When will it start and end?

2. Now, check it, to see if it is fail-proof.

List the possible reactions your adolescent may have to this consequence. List all you can think of, covering as many scenarios as possible. If you choose to respond to his behavior of breaking curfew by not giving him rides anywhere for the week, what might he do in response? Hitchhike? Steal your car and drive himself? Steal someone else's car? Walk?

3. Do you still have control over the consequence?

After each of your adolescent's possible reactions ask yourself if you still have control over this consequence. Remember, you can control only your own behavior, so if the consequence depends on your adolescent going along with it, it isn't fail-proof... (to read more advice on consequences go to page 94.)

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I like Kimberly's advice about consequences. As parents we need to really think through the consequences we choose because out-of-control teens will do everything in their power to get you to give up the consequence. It takes a consistent courage to stick to your word.

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Pick up The Whipped Parent: How for Parents Raising an Out-of-Control Teen 

The Whipped Parent

Available at Amazon.com  

Let's APPLAUD Marney Studaker-Cordner, MSW, CSW, Kimberly Abraham, MSW, CSW, with Kathryn O'Dea for writing a book so many parents with out-of-control teens can turn to for advice. A book where the authors understand the problems and offer wise solutions is a treasure indeed.

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How Parents Can Help Kids Achieve Success with Delay of Gratification

 Bigstock-The-teenager-with-a-heap-of-te-31973282

How Could a Better Definition of Delay of Gratification Help Him?

If you're a parent who wants to raise successful kids, keep reading. Our expert parenting author, Neil McNerney, will explain delay of gratification and share advice on how to teach it to our kids. Let's find out his excellent advice.

 

Why Delay of Gratification Is Difficult for Kids:

What is one of the hardest things for kids? Delayed gratification. Kids want things right NOW, NOW, NOW! As they grow into their teens, that doesn't go away.

It sometimes even gets worse in the teen years. A kid's focus is on the thing that will make them feel good immediately, whether it's a new piece of technology, something on TV, or something friendship-related.

If we think kids should naturally be able to delay gratification in order to get the "important" things done first, we've got another thing coming! Kids are not wired that way.

If we are honest about ourselves, most of us adults aren't actually wired that way, either. I know I'm not! In fact, delaying gratification is probably one of the hardest things for adults to do as well.

What Is Delaying Gratification About?

Hal Runkel, author of ScreamFree Parenting, shared this definition with me:

"Delaying gratification means giving up what I want right now for what I really want out of life."

What do I really want? I really want to be about 25 pounds slimmer. What do I want right now? A double cheeseburger with fries. And a chocolate shake!

Now, you might be the type of person who has no trouble delaying gratification, but most of us can relate to how hard it is for a kid, after seven hours of school, to be able to say, "I'll do my homework first, then I'll play with my friends." Yes, some kids are naturally like this, but they are few and far between.

What Should We Do?

a. Stay "On Message." Being on message means to keep repeating the theme: "You will get to do the fun stuff after you have done the not-so-fun stuff. If we keep that message consistent, it will eventually have the effect we desire.

b. Gotta Do's vs. Wanna Do's. This was a phrase I heard from a parent. She would tell her kids that there are two types of things we do in life: gotta do's and wanna do's.

Gotta do's are those things we "gotta (got to) do in order to be successful: chores, hygiene, homework, practicing etc.

Wanna do's are those things we "wanna(want to)" do in life: playing, computer time, TV, friends, etc.

Gotta comes first, then Wanna comes after. It's a great, simple way to remind our kids about a big part of success. (From pages 94-95)

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I like how Neil used the "First This, Then That Formula." As parents we must stay on message by consistently repeating our statement. Wasn't he clever in explaining the formula with "Gotta do" and "Wanna do?" I agree the "Gotta do" comes first, then "Wanna do."

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Pick up  Neil McNerney's popular book, Homework: A Parent's Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out to get the good advice you want.

Cover Homework

Available at Amazon.com

Let's APPLAUD Neil McNerney for explaining Delay of Gratification in terms we can tell our kids and, hopefully, motivate them to choose the path to success.

Neil McNerney
Neil McNerney, M.Ed., LPC

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How Did These Parenting Exercises Tame an Angry Dad?

 

Bigstock_Father_Son_Conflict_7146816
Learn Special Exercises To Tame Your Anger!

If you're a dad and act like an angry bear at your whining kids, you must read this. Our parenting expert and author, Katherine Levine, is sharing an excerpt from her book, Parents Are People Too. She teaches a dad to use a scale to measure his temper from one to ten. A low score is good. Find out how he brought his temper down from the explode mode to one of serenity.

 

This Angry Dad's True Story

A father once came to me asking for help. He was particularly concerned about the frequency with which he was blowing up at his nine-year-old son. He remembered his own father yelling at him, and the memory was not a good one.

Parenting Exercise: Practice, Practice, Practice

He had also already tried some relaxation exercises and so didn't have a lot of faith in mine. He was an avid basketball player, however, and when I told him what I just told you, (practice, practice, practice) he acknowledged how important it was to practice, practice, practice.

As he told me, "Larry Bird practiced harder than anyone else on his team even after he became a star for the Boston Celtics. He'd be in the gym when the others went home, and he'd be there before the others showed up."

This dad understood the importance of practicing. We worked together and designed a program just for him, which he practiced for ten minutes when he got up in the morning, after eating lunch, and at night before falling asleep. He practiced during every waste moment that came his way.

Instead of flipping channels during commercials, he practiced his self-soothing program. At boring meetings, he practiced. About four or five weeks after I started working with him, he came and reported the following:

How This Angry Dad Cooled Down

"Yesterday I came home tired and ready to kill. My kid met me at the door whining about how mean his sister was being. I said to myself, "Nothing has changed."

Then I took a feeling temperature and I was at an eight, going on explode. Next, I took a deep breath, trying to get enough air to let him have it.

He's too old to be running to Daddy, I thought. As I was breathing in, I found myself saying that stupid phrase you taught me to help slow down the growth of a negative feeling. "Breathing in," then "Breathing out," and then "Smiling." And as I made that stupid little half-smile of yours, I knew I was going to take a time-out.

I just put my hand up, made a time-out sign, and walked straight to a comforting hot shower. By the time I had dried myself off and changed my clothes, my feeling temperature had dropped to a mere serene three.

What seemed like the end of the world had become just one of the annoying parts of being a dad-the price I pay for the good times. (From pages 77-79)

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I like how the angry father used Larry Bird's consistent basketball practicing to practice the breathing techniques Katherine taught him. His use of her scale to measure his temper feelings was quite effective. Time out worked well for him too. Because of this story those of us who are mothers or fathers can profit by using the same exercises. Thank you, Katherine.

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You may pick up Katherine's book, Parents Are People Too: An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents

Cover Parents Are People Too_
Available at Amazon.com

 

Let's give THANKS to Katherine for her book full of emotional fitness exercises for us to be the best parents we can be.

Katherine Gordy Levine

Katherine Gordy Levine, MSS

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Parenting Tips: How to Use Stories to Develop Your Child's Powerful Mind

Mom and child on lawn reading
You Can Expand Your Child's Mind with Books

If you're a parent of a preschooler, books from the library hold wonderful stories for developing your child's mind. Our parenting expert and author of Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky, is sharing 5 ways to increase your child's learning through reading.

Choose Books from the Library to Build Your Child's Vocabulary and Mind

With preschoolers ~

1. Use books as conversation starters. Ask children to put themselves in the place of the characters and imagine what the characters might be feeling or thinking. Using Judith Viorst's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as an example, you could ask: "Why do you think Alexander had such a horrible day? Would you want to move to Australia?" And if your child likes this book, have him or her look for other Alexander books.

2. What and why questions are wonderful prompts for discussion. Ask your child to guess what is going to happen next and then see if it comes true.

3. Encourage your children to ask you questions about the stories. If you answer, share your process for finding the answer: "I didn't remember whether the boy in this story had a sister, so I went back to the beginning of the story to find out."

4. Select stories whose emotional themes resonate with your child. If your child doesn't like to go to new places or thinks there are monsters under the bed or is interested in dinosaurs, there are book on these subjects.

5. Select stories that play with language. Children are beginning to know letters and their sounds, and there are many clever books on the alphabet or with great rhyming refrains that help children play "sound games." If there's a rhyme in the book, ask your child how many other words he or she can think of that sound like that word (e.g., rat, sat, pat, brat, scat, fat). (From pages 150-151)

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Having been a teacher, child and family counselor, and mother of 2 boys, I know Dr. Galinsky is right.  She knows how to engage children and prepare them to love reading. Each of these methods will help you connect with your kids in wonderful ways. She has many more practical suggestions waiting for you in her book.

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Pick up Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs

Cover ~ Mind in the Making
Available at Amazon.com

Let's THANK Ellen Galinsky for her research and excellent suggestions for using stories to develop your children's vocabulary and mind. She is a true expert.

Ellen Galinsky
  Ellen Galinsky

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8 Parenting Tips: Survey Shows How Religion Helps Teens!

 Family Praying bigstock--10375241

Find Out How Religion Can Help Families

Can parents who raise teens with religion help kids make good life choices? Our parenting expert and author has research to prove it. Dr. Parnell Donahue shares an excerpt from his popular book, Messengers in Denim. Let's find out what he's learned and his 8 parenting tips regarding religion.

 

Religion News Service recently reported on the National Study of Youth and Religion, which has been described as the most comprehensive research ever done on faith and adolescence. Four of five teens in this survey of 3,000 teens and their parents said that religion is important in their lives.

And among parents who said religion was very important in their lives, two-thirds of their children said the same. Most importantly, the survey said that teens with strong religious convictions are more likely to:

. Do better in school

. Feel better about themselves

. Shun alcohol, drugs, and sex

. Care about the poor

. Make moral choices based on what is right rather than what would make them happy (From page 91)

Dr. Donahue's Recommendations and Parenting Tips

1. Belong to an organized religion and attend services regularly.

2. Insist that your kids attend with you and are attentive to the service.

3. Observe your religion's tenets in your home. Read religious books and view religious programs on television.

4. Make sure your teens attend youth group or other structured high school religious education programs.

5. Make use of those teachable moments to express your thoughts and your religion's views.

6. Respect others' religions.

7. Bless your children, your family, and your friends. It shows them you believe what you preach. Blessing even those who dislike you is even more telling.

8. Make religion a habit. (From page 95)

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I like Dr. Donahue's straightforward approach to the importance of religion. Religion offers the values and group support that can help teens make good choices and experience spiritual love. Many popular writers shy away from discussing religion and therefore avoid a powerful force for good.When you read Dr. Donahue's chapter on religion, you'll enjoy true teenage stories.

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Pick up Messengers in Denim: The Amazing Things Parents Can Learn from Teens

Messenger in Jeans Book

Available at Amazon.com

Let's give Dr. Donahue the PRAISE he deserves for sharing the powerful tool of religion and what it can do for our teenagers. You'll love the true stories he shares about teens in his chapter on religion too.

Blog Optimistic Dr. Parnell Donahue

Dr. Donahue

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Upset Mom Asks: How Can I Get My Son to Respect His Girlfriends?

If you're an upset mom with a disrespectful son, you must read this. Our parenting expert and author, Annie Fox, is sharing an excerpt from her book, Teaching Kids to Be Good People. She offers you the following question to answer and then gives her solution. Let's learn more about the problem and Annie's solution.

What Would You Teach Here?

I found out my son pressures girls for "second base" and if they don't comply, he dumps them. His last girlfriend told people he dumped her because she would not put out, but some girls go along with his demands! I am a single mom and I'm very upset to have raised a boy who'd do this to girls. How should I talk to him about this? (Page 46)

Answer to Mother's Question about Son, Respect, and Girlfriends

"How does a single mom talk to her son about respecting girls?"

You might say something like this, "You are old enough to have girlfriends. And I know that there are girls you like. That's why I want to talk to you about boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. You may think it's all about what you want. But a relationship is a two-way street. If you want a good girlfriend, you have to be a good boyfriend."

Then close your mouth, and listen to what he has to say. I'm guessing he's never thought about it in this way before. He may just shrug and say, "I don't know."

That's when you say, "OK, I understand that you may not know. After all, they don't teach classes in this in school, though they probably should.

But guys need to learn it, so I'm going to teach you. I can tell you what being a good boyfriend means from the girl's point of view. Here's what you need to know: No girl likes to be pressured into doing things she's not ready for. Guys who pressure girls to 'do stuff' are being disrespectful.

The kind of girls who make the best girlfriends are girls with self-respect. They will stand up for themselves. They will say, 'No, I'm not going to do that. And I don't like it when you pressure me. So just stop.'"

Listen for his answer. Ultimately you want him to realize that as his mom, it's your responsibility to teach him to treat people with respect. That includes teachers, friends, kids he may not particularly like, and girlfriends. This isn't about sex, it's about respect and empathy (taking the other person's point of view.)

Tell your son you have some information that he's been pressuring girls to do things they don't want to do. Tell him this is wrong. Finish it up like this: "Maybe you didn't know it was wrong before we had this conversation, but now you do. From now on, I expect you to always treat people with respect. If I find out that isn't the case, there will be a consequence. We understand each other, right?" Right. (Page 208-210).

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I like how Annie Fox gives parents a question to consider. In her answer she gets to the core of the question. She ends with letting the son know there will be a consequence if he doesn't treat others, girlfriends included, with respect. What a help to parents who don't know what to say or how to get the message across.

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Pick up Annie's book, Teaching Kids To Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century in soft cover or as a Kindle:

Cover Annie Fox Book Teaching Kids

Available on Amazon.com

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Let's HONOR Annie Fox for her practical advice on helping parents raise teens with character.

  Author Annie Fox

       Annie Fox, M.Ed.

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