Blog Video: Can Fighting Parents Help Kids Feel Safe?

A boy I counseled had often seen his parents screaming at each other. He acted out  their behavior. The school contacted his mom and dad.

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You Can Create a Happier Marriage!

Even though their son yelled at, hit, and hurt other kids on the playground, his dad said, "Boys will be boys!" This his sister started causing similar problems at school. Finally, the parents paid attention. That's when the school contacted me.

The kids did what they saw the parents do. Yet deep inside, they feared their folks would divorce.

If fighting is hurting your marital relationship and your kids are being affected, you CAN change. In today's brief blog video, you'll find 3 miserable marriage traps, 3 questions to ask yourself about each trap, and 3 ways to overcome the trap. You'll also find 4 helpful communication tips for couples.

Watch the video as often as you want. You can even download the script below the video to use the information when you need it.

Go YouTube to watch How Fighting Parents Help Kids Feel Secure

or watch it here:

  

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Invest in your marriage and pick up:

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Solid advice from long-time lovers

5 marriage traps you must escape

1 marriage formula all lovers need

89 low-cost dates for busy parents      

Dating coupons to cut and choose   

21  dating tips to start using now 

You CAN have a happy marriage, secure children, and  a bright future. 

 

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With warm wishes, 

Jean Tracy, MSS

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How Kids Can Make a Difference - 7+ Great Ideas

This Boy Is Making a Difference!
This Boy's Tutoring Is Making a Difference!

STORIES RULE, WHEN KIDS RESOLVE TO DO GOOD DEEDS, they follow the message today's parenting expert and author, Miriam Laundry, shares in her new book, I Can Make a Difference."

This book promotes what children need for a healthy character - a caring heart and a thoughtful mind. 

Your Kids Will Love This Storybook Because:

1. It begins in your child's familiar setting - the classroom.

2. The teacher, Mrs. Ruby, gives each child a positive task.

3. The task makes her students think about how they could make a difference.

4. The story gives the reader more than 7 ideas for doing good deeds.

5. The 3-T Formula at the end of the story is perfect for great discussions.

6. This beautifully illustrated book ends with a special pledge every child can take.

Two Suggestions for Using This Book:

First Idea ~

I suggest parents and teachers read it with their elementary age children and pause to ask them:

1. What do you think Alex's teacher wanted her class to learn?

2. In the beginning of the story did you think Alex was kind of selfish? Why?

3. How did Alex's class help him see his good points?

4. Can you name some ways Alex and his classmates made a difference?

5. What good deeds could you do to make a difference?

Second Idea ~

I encourage parents and teachers to ask their children to create a simple list of what they could do to help others. Post those good deeds on the bulletin board or refrigerator as a reminder. At the end of class time, at dinner time, or at bedtime ask, "How did you make a difference today?" This daily practice could create a healthy mindset in your children.

*******

As I read this book with my grandkids, I asked them the questions and learned special things about each child. They even brainstormed more ideas for making a difference.

Books like Miriam Laundry's will help your children look beyond themselves and show them how to care about others. Because of its terrific message, Miriam's book rules!

Let's THANK Miriam Laundry for making a difference by writing this book. Her story will help your children build a healthy character.

Author Miriam Laundry I CAN

Available at Amazon.com

******

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5 Ways to Help a Teenager Whose Friend Attempted Suicide

Author Pins Annie Fox +
Friendship Problems and How Teenagers Can Solve Them!

The Difficult Friendship Problem I asked my friend, Annie Fox, to discuss involves suicide. It's a tough subject to talk about but Annie said, "Yes."

I asked Annie because she is launching her new book, The Girls' Q & A Book on Friendship. I loved the format she used in her book and hoped she'd discuss my questions using the same format. She did.

Here Are My 5 Questions:

1. What advice would you give a girl who’s deeply affected by her friend’s recent suicide attempt?

Parents should be open to having conversations with their daughter about her feelings. She may not want to talk, but an encouraging, invitation to talk is important. Parents might say something like this, “We are upset about what happened. And of course, we see that you are too. We need to talk about it, as a family.” Obviously, parents can’t answer the question the girl might be focused on: “Why did she do it?” No one knows why. The friend herself may not exactly know why. And that frustration in not knowing, should acknowledged along with the fear behind this question: “What if she tries to do it again?” 

 

Girl Bigstock Homework.jpg 3046043
When Your Child Needs Help


Parents should be on the look-out for signs that their daughter is not bouncing back from this shock. Is she having trouble sleeping? Changing patterns of eating? Less interested in activities that usually give her joy and satisfaction?  Pushing away parents and friends? Shutting down conversation about how she’s feeling and/or acting? If the girl who is “deeply affected” by her friend’s troubled act, does not seem to be showing resilience in a week or so, she may need to speak with a counselor or a therapist. I always encourage parents who are concerned about the emotional well-being of their teens to seek professional help. The school counselor is a good place to start. If needed, he or she can probably provide some recommendations for family therapists in the community.

 

2. What can the girl do to help herself deal with the shock?

As I said above, the most important way of dealing with the shock is to have a safe place to talk about the shock and the residual feelings/thoughts in as much detail as needed. This is probably best accomplished with the support of a community-based psychologist or a licensed MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist). Choose someone who specializes in working with teens and depression. Not to infer that the girl is “depressed” but a therapist with this kind of experience is well-versed in helping people who are affected by a close friend or family member suffering from depression.

Bigstock_Woman_Having_A_Serious_Talk_Wi_13896974
It's Not Your Fault.

 

3. How can the girl help her friend want to keep living?

That’s a tricky one! A girl, who is so troubled that she would attempt to take her own life, has deep problems that no friend, no matter how compassionate and encouraging, is equipped to handle. It’s important that the girl recognize this, otherwise she’s likely to think it is her job, as a bff, to help her friend want to keep living. And if, heaven forbid, the friend has another downward turn and again attempts suicide (which is often the case, especially with girls) well, some day she is likely to succeed in ending her life. If that happened, it would be an added tragedy for the girl to feel guilty or in any way to blame herself for her friend’s death. 

Hopefully, the friend is getting the ongoing treatment she needs to feel happier and healthier, and to minimize her risk of spiraling down. There are things, though, that the girl can do to help her friend in the aftermath of a suicide attempt. For example, she should continue being the wonderful, caring friend she’s always been. She may also take on the role of a “buffer” to help protect her friend from the comments of others. What often happens in these situations, after a suicide attempt (especially when word gets out) other people may be unkind or insensitive to the girl who attempted to kill herself. That’s not going to make things easy for her at school or online.

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Be Caring. Be a Buffer. 

4.  What should the girl say to the kids at school who are curious about it?

It is not the girl’s job to be a spokesperson or a communications director for her friend. For anyone who approaches her for “comment”, the best response would be to say something like this, “She doing better and she doesn’t want to talk about it. I’m sure you can understand. I’m her friend and I respect that. You should respect that too. She just wants to be treated like normal. We can all do that, right?”

5. Is there anything the girl’s family can do for her friend’s family?

Teen suicide is the 3rd cause of death in US teens (11%), after accidents (48%) and homicides (13%). Yet there is a strong social stigma on suicide plus the inference that  the victim’s parents are somehow to blame. This prevents parents (who are already confused, distraught and feeling isolated) from reaching out for support. It also makes friends and family reluctant to reach out. If the girl’s family is close to the friend’s family, then it would be a kind and compassionate act to pick up the phone and show your support. It may not be the easiest conversation to begin, but you might simply say, “I heard about what happened, and I just want you to know that I care about ____ and I’m thinking about you and your family.” Simple words that could have such a positive effect on the friend’s parents.

Couple - Parents Making a Phone Call
Reach Out to the Friend's Family.

 

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I hope you can see Annie's wisdom in her replies to my questions. You'll find the same thoughtful answers in the 50 questions real girls asked Annie. None of the questions are about suicide but they are about the many social challenges girls face when friends let them down.

Pick Up Annie's Brand New Book: 

The Girls' Q&A Book on Friendship: 50 Ways to Fix a Friendship Without the DRAMA

Cover Girls' Q & A about Friendship Annie Fox

Available at: Amazon.com

Let's give SPECIAL THANKS to Annie Fox for answering the tough questions about friendship and suicide.

Author Annie Fox

      Annie Fox

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Brain Power : 6 Ways to Help Your Child Watch TV and Thrive

You've heard the warnings, "Television is bad for your child!"

You work Meme TV Strategieshard while your child watches lots of television. You worry about his brain. Will it be influenced by harmful TV shows? "What can you do? 

Today we'll share some research, 6 parenting tips, and a short YouTube video.

Parenting Advice from Research: 

1. Create consistent rules.

2. Follow routines.

3. Schedule a regular bedtime.

4. Read to children often.

5. Take kids to the library.

6. Teach youngsters their colors, shapes, and alphabet before kindergarten.

7. Avoid TV for children less than 2 years.

By doing the above you'll be setting the stage for raising successful children. But as your kids get older they'll tend to watch more TV. Could it ruin what you've taught?

You don't want your youngsters watching shows that poison their minds. You wish the TV producers would keep bad material off the air. But everyone says it's your responsibility to monitor what your kids watch. Is there anything you can do besides locking your TV in the trunk of your car or taking it to the dump? After all, there are great programs too.

You want your children to play, make friends, and have fun. Such healthy activities boost their brain power. So where does TV fit in?

6 Ways for Your Child to Watch Television and Develop Brain Power:

1. Limit TV time. Say, "Homework and chores first then TV." Encourage playing outside with neighborhood kids too.

2. Choose the programs that enrich their minds. Check the TV guide each week and find entertaining educational programs for them to watch.

3. Discover television shows that help your child with her research project or help excite her passion about saving whales, sharing her allowance with a child in another country, or something else.

4. Mute TV commercials and ask your child, "What do you think will happen next?" In this way you'll be influencing his thoughts.

5. Switch or turn off objectionable shows; the ones that promote violence, disrespect, and sex. Explain to your child why you don't want them to watch the inappropriate material.

6. Ask questions that promote thinking, listen, and then give your opinion. In this way, you'll be promoting your positive values through healthy discussions.

If you'd like 137 more ways to help your child succeed in school and in life, pick up your copy of Parents as Teachers

 

Parents as Teachers 137 Cover

Available at:

http://www.kidsdiscuss.com/parent_resource_center.asp?pr_id=kdeb006

You'll receive 137 ideas to help your child succeed from birth to 9 years.

Now for the Short YouTube Video: 6 Best TV Strategies to Help Your Child Succeed

137 Teaching Ideas from Birth to 9 Years

  

 

 

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The Confidence Gap: How Parents Can Boost Their Daughters

Girl Thinking
Building Your Daughter's Confidence

Could your daughter be more confident in her abilities, speak up more, and feel good about being a leader? “Yes!” say authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in their book, The Confidence Code. Both women are top-notch in their fields. One is a political correspondent and the other a news anchor for BBC World News America.

Katty and Claire interviewed successful women and men in politics, arts, sports, and the military to learn truths about women and confidence. Today they’ll share some of what they’ve learned, what beliefs and behaviors females must change, and some actions to encourage in our girls.

How Men and Women Differ in Confidence

In general, men feel more confident than women. While men tend to speak up, share their ideas more freely, ask for raises more often, and expect higher salaries, women don’t. They lack the level of confidence that men possess even if they are smarter and more competent. What’s the problem?

The “Confidence Blacklist” Women Must Change:

Over-thinking
Excessive people pleasing
Fear of speaking up and looking stupid
Ruminating about failures instead of ‘shaking’ them off
Seeing their success as “luck” instead of earned
Over-preparation
Perfectionism

Our authors found from interviewing successful women that they often wrestle with self-doubt. They interviewed male bosses who said that female employees often hesitate to share their good ideas. As a result, males who are less competent but more confident in their abilities, speak up and are rewarded.

The Good News for Girls

Confidence is the key and it can be learned. As parents, you’ll find many things you can do to help your daughter believe in herself and her abilities.

1. The Comfort Zone – Encourage your girl to expand her comfort zone. Praise her for her efforts to make friends, talk with adults, and speak up at meals with the extended family.

2. The Experiment – Urge your child to experiment speaking up in class. Suggest she notice whether her teacher or fellow students follow up on her ideas. If so, discuss her power to influence others. Cheer her on to speak up even more.

3. Thought-Stopping - Teach your daughter to “shake” off her failures. Let her know that over-thinking about mistakes lessens her confidence and holds her back. Ask her to come up with a powerful positive thought. Help her practice switching to it when a failure floods her mind.

Measure your own confidence with the Confidence Quiz. Then follow the suggestions to increase your confidence even more at:  http://theconfidencecode.com/confidence-quiz

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Our Gratitude goes to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman for their in-depth work to bring us information and strategies that help women and girls increase their confidence.

 Katty Kay, Claire Shipman

       Claire Shipman and Katty Kay

 The Confidence Code is a powerful book, filled with research, results of interviews, insights, and practical advice for women. The authors also have many suggestions on how to build confidence in your daughters.

The Confidence Code

Available on Amazon.com

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Childhood Fears: 5 Problems, 3 Causes, and 3 Solutions

 Boy crying

How You Can Help Your Child with Fears

Are childhood fears a problem in your home? If so, read the signs, causes, and solutions from our parenting skills expert, Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. Today she'll share 5 signs to look for, 3 causes for anxiety, and 3 keys to helping your children. 

5 Signals Your Kids May Be Worrying:

1. Sleep problems – fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, begging to sleep with you.

2. Avoidance behavior – upset about going to school, the doctor, or other situations.

3. Attachment frights – clings to you, won’t let you out of her sight, follows you to be safe.

4. Retreats to younger behaviors – sucking thumb, carrying security blanket, wetting the bed.

5. Bodily symptoms – shaking, crying, whimpering

Dr. Michele also lists others signs of anxiety on page 249. Let’s look at 3 specific anxieties your child may experience.

3 Typical Causes for Childhood Anxiety:

Children lack experience and strategies for dealing with problems. Here are some difficulties that many kids face.

1. Divorce – wondering what will happen to them, fearing parents’ quarrels, feeling abandoned and powerless.

2. Bullies – feeling like an outcast, worrying about the next encounter, fearful about what to do.

3. Violent images – playing scary video games, watching brutal movies, listening to hateful music.

Again, Dr. Michele shares more causes for frightful feelings on page 250.

3 Solutions for Helping Your Child Overcome Fears:

1. To support your child through divorce check in with how he feels, let him know what to expect, and assure him that you love him and he will be okay.

2. To assist her with handling bullies, suggest she stay with a large group, an older child, or a helpful companion. Advise her to talk to an adult she trusts for help. Tell her to stay away from places where the bullies hang out.

3. To help him deal with frightening images that scare him, monitor his video games, screen the movies he wants to see, supervise his music.

Dr. Michele advises you to take your child’s fears seriously, avoid belittling, be supportive, teach relaxation skills, and use ‘baby steps’ when helping your child face his fears.

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You’ll find a wealth of practical ideas for understanding childhood fears and helping your son or daughter deal with them on pages 248-254.

Let's THANK Dr. Michele Borba for her tireless work in helping parents help their children. She is an amazing expert.

Dr. Michele Borba

Dr. Michele Borba

Pick up The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.

Cover The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

Available at Amazon.com

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3 Fun Games to Boost Your Child's Vocabulary

IStock_000005867937XSister and Brother

If you’d like to increase your child’s vocabulary, check out these games from our parenting skills author, Carol Jossel. Carol is an expert learning specialist who’s written a parenting guidebook entitled, Other-Wise and School-Wise. It’s filled with wonderful ideas parents, homeschool parents, and tutors can use to have fun helping kids learn.

Best Word Games for Kids

1. Prefixes like co, anti, and dis come before the root word.

How many words can your family think up using prefixes? Feel free to use the dictionary.

Sample Prefixes

a. Prefix ‘co’ means ‘with.’

   Root word = pilot

   Together = ‘copilot.’

b. Prefix ‘anti’ means ‘against.’

   Root word = modern

   Together = ‘antimodern’

c. Prefix ‘dis’ means ‘not.’

   Root word = interest

   Together = disinterest

Discuss each part and how putting the prefix and root word together mean something different than the root word alone.

2. Sniglets: A sniglet is any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary but should. Look around the room and see how many sniglets your family can create. They don’t have to be real words. They can be your family’s fun words.

Sample Sniglets:

   a. Blotchslide is slapping the bottom of a catsup bottle to get the rest of the catsup out.  

   b. Brattled is the feeling you get when kids make fun of you.

   c. Doorslinky is the spring piece that prevents the door from banging against the wall.

Have fun building your own family vocabulary with sniglets.

3. Hangman:

Build vocabulary with the old favorite, Hangman. Use the words about a grade higher than your child’s grade. Write the correct words on a piece of paper to post on the fridge. Give a high five every time you hear him use one of the words correctly.

Carol's book has fun chapters on the brain, memory, spelling, and much more.

Carol’s vocabulary games came from page 136 in her creative book:

Other-Wise and Fun-Wise: A Parent Guidebook

Cover Other-Wise

Available on Amazon.com

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Parenting: Teaching Your Child to Be a Buddy Not a Bully

Charmaine Hammond and Toby
Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog, Teaches Kids to Be Buddies

Teaching your young child to be kind is easy when you read and discuss, Toby Says Be a Buddy Not a Bully.  Charmaine Hammond, our parenting skills expert, wrote this charming book about her pet therapy dog, Toby. Today, Charmaine is here to show how Toby teaches a classroom of students how to think about bullying.

Toby's Story about Being Bullied

Some dogs are like some children. They bully other dogs by barking, growling, and stealing their toys. This happened to Toby. The students wanted to know how Toby reacted. His actions showed the kids just what to do if they're bullied.

As Miss Charmaine told Toby's story, the children asked questions, shared their feelings, and gave their advice. Their teacher, Mrs. Johnson, asked, "What can you do if someone hurts your feelings, is mean to you, or is being a bully to someone else?" Before you read their answers, I suggest you get your child to share what he would do.

Toby's Message about Being a Buddy

Toby likes all the kids for who they are, even if their shoes are purple with polka dots. He sends the message that appearances don't matter. It's what in a child's heart that counts.

Toby's Book Promotes Kindness

Miss Charmaine gives the class 'homework.' She asks them to do acts of kindness to friends, parents, and animals before the day is over. You can ask your child to think of specific things he could do to be kind.

Enjoy asking the discussion questions. You'll  find out what your child really thinks about being a bully or a buddy. 

In the end, you'll find Toby's 4 rules to post on your fridge. They'll give your youngster the best ideas for dealing with bullies.

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This excellent book makes a welcome gift for Christmas and birthdays. The colorful pictures will capture your child's imagination and the messages will touch his heart.

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Let's THANK Charmaine Hammond for creating a series about her dog, Toby. Charmaine said it took a lot of training in the beginning before Toby became a pet therapy dog. Once trained, she took him to schools, hospitals, and even libraries to cheer people up when they were unhappy, not feeling well, or needed to learn to be a buddy.

Pick up Toby Says Be a Buddy Not a Bully

Toby  says Be a Buddy

Available at Amazon.com

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2 Parenting Stories: Teaching Your Child to Think Big!

Boy Ice Skating
Teaching Your Child to Think Big!

 Parenting tasks include teaching kids to think big. If your child locks out new experiences due to fear, our parenting skills expert and author of The Genius in Every Child, Rick Ackerly, is here with advice. He'll share two true stories in which parents unlocked the fear and taught their child to think bigger. I'll share 5 thinking keys that help children open up to a bigger life.

Three Lessons Rick Ackerly Teaches Parents

1. Quality involvement with kids may include more of your time. The stories of Jay and Peter make this point.

2. Choice on your child's part is important but not always. In Jay's story, Marta is a great example.

3. Being with your child while "he makes stuff happen," can be the key. Both the stories of Jay and Peter reinforce this idea.

How Marta Taught Jay to Think Bigger

Rick, a terrific story teller, shares how Jay preferred reading to making friends. He was a bright boy but had no social skills. All the kids rode bikes but not Jay. He locked himself into reading and out of playing. His mother, Marta, didn't give him a choice.

One Saturday morning, Marta told Jay, "Today you are going to ride a bike." Jay argued and argued but Marta made him get on the bike saying, "You can do it, and I will do it with you." It was the message Jay needed to hear.

Marta spent the day helping Jay ride his bike until he could do it on his own. Because of Marta's insistence, her involvement, and her assurance that she would be with him in this new experience, Jay made friends. Both his bike riding skills and his social skills improved dramatically.

The Story of How Peter Thought Bigger

Rick relates how he taught his son, Peter, to ice skate. No, Rick didn't show off how well he skated or tell Peter how much fun it was. Instead, Rick fell down. He picked himself up and gave Peter a huge smile saying, "Come on. You try." Peter took 5 steps, fell, and laughed. I like how Rick purposely taught his son to avoid fear of falling and choose laughter instead. (From pages 128-131)

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Both Marta and Rick chose quality involvement with the boys. They sent a strong message, "I'm with you in this new experience." Both boys prospered because of their parent's decisions. Although Rick promotes giving kids choices, he also knows there are times when parents must make the choice for them.

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5 Thinking Keys to Teach Your Kids

1. Be open to new experiences.

2. Think big to become bigger.

3. You can lock out or open up to new experiences depending on your thoughts.

4. "I can't" makes you weak. "I can" makes you strong.

5. Practicing and repeating new experiences, expands your life. 

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Let's RECOGNIZE Rick Ackerly for his genius in helping parents help their children. As a nationally recognized educator and speaker with 45 years of experience working in schools, Rick knows his "stuff."

Blog Potential Rick Ackerly educator
Pick up his book, The Genius In Every Child: Encouraging Character, Curiosity, and Creativity in Children and learn practical wisdom from this top-notch educator.

Cover - Genius

 Available at Amazon.com

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Motivation: The 3 Best Ways to Inspire Your Child to Learn

 Child daydreaming

Inner Motivation Is the Key to Learning

If inner motivation is the key to education, can you inspire your child to treasure learning? Our parenting skills expert, Carol Josel, and author of 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips, is here to share 3 big ideas. I'll share 3 bullet points for each.

 

3 Unbeatable Ways to Encourage Inner Learning:

1. Applaud your child's time and effort on a task by saying:

  • "You took the time to do a good job."
  • "What did you tell yourself to keep on working?"
  • "What does it feel like to see the results of your work?

Can you guess why saying, "I'm proud of you," isn't the best thing to say?

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing to say but it doesn't promote inner motivation (well, maybe just a little).

If you guessed that it urges your child to do well because it pleases you and that's outer motivation, you're right. You want your child to learn because she's motivated from the inside.

2. Believe in your child by saying:

  • "I believe in you."
  • "You've got the 'can-do' spirit.
  • "You have an awesome brain."

3. Set high but realistic goals for your child.

If goals are too high, your child might feel discouraged and give up. If the goals are too low it diminishes the accomplishment. Here's what to do:

  • Help your child determine a realistic goal to accomplish.
  • Show your child how to break the goal into smaller steps.
  • Use a big calendar and set due dates for accomplishing each step and the final goal. (These 3 unbeatable ways for motivating your child's inner learning came from pages 3 and 4 of 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips.)

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Carol is not only a parenting skills expert but also an educator and learning specialist. Pick up her 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips: Intermediate Grades and Up. Choose the tips that fit your child and watch her inner motivation soar.

Cover 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips
Pick up your copy at School-Wise Books. The time to motivate your child is now.

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Let's THANK Carol for sharing her expertise with us. Her tireless efforts to promote well-educated children deserve our praise.

Author Carol Josel
   Carol Josel

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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