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Character: The Story of a Child Who Became an Out-of-Control Teenager

 Angry Girl Opening Gifts
       Spoiling Kids Stunts Their Character!

If you're a parent raising a spoiled child, listen to how this child became an out-of-control teenager. Our parenting expert, Dr. Partridge worked with immature kids.  

While consulting to a suburban school district, I heard about Marise, a beautiful auburn-haired girl of seventeen. I had been contacted by her parents to see what could be done to save their daughter from an increasingly troubled life.

Because she was so bright, and such an attractive child, she had been the pride of both her parents and grandparents. From infancy she was the family's center of attention. They delighted in lavishing clothes and toys on Marise, and so indulged and protected her that she was rarely inhibited or under any stress.

When she entered preschool, Marise saw no reason why things had to change. She demanded- and generally received - special attention.

During my conferences with her parents, they recalled Marise's primary teachers had observed that if her intelligence or clever social manipulation didn't produce quick success, Marise would reuse to participate. If school work came easily, fine. If not, Marise regarded it as too boring, too difficult, or claimed she didn't feel well.

Through middle school, Marise was simply a chronic underachiever. But at fifteen, she was a full-fledged truant, completely out of parental control. When her parents tried, too late to establish limits, Marise ran away.

By the time I became involved, Marise had dropped out of hight school, had been on the run in a nearby city and was thought to be deeply involved in sex for drugs. Her parents had coaxed her home for one more attempt to turn her life around, but her prognosis was dismal. Time for character building had run out.

Immature Character Development

It is not surprising that so many aspiring adults have no concept of what it means to take responsibility for themselves. They have never moved beyond the three-year-old behavior pattern of blaming everyone else wen things go wrong. Because they're hooked on infantile, immediate-gratification patterns, they are unable to put together meaningful efforts toward accomplishment.

Equally tragic, they have not learned to meet others halfway in the give and take of human relationships. They are doomed never to know real human love for they lack capacities for empathic concern.

Without ability to tolerate frustration, they are at the mercy of their own tempers, like a two-year-old who explodes in a tantrum every time he doesn't get his way.

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If you're parenting a child by spoiling him/her, you can change. To find out how, Dr. Partridge has written Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child  available on Amazon. He knows how to help parents.

Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control

Let's APPLAUD Dr. Partridge for sharing this story to help us to understand why we must not raise a spoiled child who may become both an out-of-control teenager and an immature adult.

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Dr. Partridge
  Dr. Partridge

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping teens deal with grief? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Parents, Are You Raising A Defiant Child and Want Solutions Now?

Angry Child
        Are You Raising a Defiant Child?

If you're a parent and  you think your child is defiant, Dr. Michele Borba, our parenting expert, will share 4 red flags and one simple solution and one parent's answer. Her expertise can be found within the covers of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. In this blog, I'll skip around within her helpful chapter, "Defiant." Let's find out what she says.

Question: "I know every kid is going to defy his parent every now and then, but how do I know when my son is defiant or just being a normal tween with raging hormones?"

.Here Are Four Red-Flag Alerts that a child has crossed over the line and headed into "defiant territory:"

1. Disrespectful. Defiant kids are way-above-average rude but also surly and blatantly disrespectful.

2. Self-centered and blind to anyone else's feelings. They want their needs met, and do so means flat-out refusal to comply with (let alone listen to) anyone else's requests.

3. Striving for control. They put themselves in charge, basically stripping their parents of authority and pushing adults - and as far as they can push - to do what they want, stopping at nothing.

4. Holding family harmony at bay. Family members feel as if they're walking on eggs and are held hostage when these kids are around. page 76

One Simple Solution:

Defiant kids can wear you down and push your buttons big-time. The minute you yell, argue, or even appear agitated, the struggle goes up a notch. So find one simple strategy to keep yourself calm during those tense interchanges with your kid. It will be different for every parent, but here are a few options:

1. Take a slow, deep breath.

2. Visualize a calm spot in your mind.

3. Tell yourself, "Stay calm"

4. Take a sip of water.

5. Excuse yourself and go to another room.

6. Pray

7. Lock yourself in the bathroom.

Find what works for you and practice it until it kicks in when you need it most. page 81

One Parent's Answer ~ a mom from Tulsa shares:

Any little issue with my twelve-year old turned into a full-blown argument. He had to have control. I finally realized I was playing right into him by screaming back, so I came up with a few phrases. The trick was to calmly deliver one line and keep repeating it whenever he pushed me:

1. "I'm sorry, but that's the way it is."

2. "I understand, but those are the rules." Or

3. "Okay, but you'd better get started."

The real trick was to not argue back and get into a power struggle. I knew I was doing something right when he said, "What's wrong with you? You're not the same." The difference was I wasn't giving in or screaming back, so he couldn't win. page 84

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I took the liberty of skipping around Dr. Borba's chapter entitled, Defiant. There is  much more excellent material within it especially if you suspect you have a defiant child. Her book is on Amazon  The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

Cover The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

Let's give Dr. Michele a BIG HAND for sharing her helpful parenting information about defiant behavior.

Dr. Michele Borba            Applause_18229118
Dr. Michele Borba

You may connect with Dr. Borba at http://www.micheleborba.com/

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for dealing with defiant behavior? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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7 Best Character Building Hopes for Parents Who Love Their Children

  Smiling_Girl_With_Books
Character Building Hopes for Children

If you're a parent and have high hopes for your children and their character, you must read what our parenting expert and author, Shefali Tsabary, PhD says. Most of us would heartily agree with the first part of her sentences. But, for me, the second part makes her list of hopes even better. Let's find out if you agree.

7 Best Character Building Hopes for Parents Who Love Their Children

1. Not that they will be a good achiever, but a good learner

2. Not that they will obey you, but that they will respect you

3. Not that they will blindly follow your dictates, but that they will seek your counsel

4. Not that they will follow your vision, but that they will create their own

5. Not that they will achieve "success," but that they will live a life of purpose

6. Not that they won't fail, but that they will find the courage to start again

7. Not that they won't hurt others, but that they will find the grace to ask for forgiveness (page 173) 

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Do you agree with our expert author? When I took time to think about each hope, I felt Shefali Tsabary took me into the deeper values I really want for my children and grandchildren. How about you?

Join me in APPLAUDING Shefali Tsabary for sharing her hopes for children from her Amazon book, The Conscious Parent.

Shefali Tsabary, PhD
Shefali Tsabary, PhD

Cover ~ The Conscious Parent

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions about parent's hopes for their children? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Homework Story: Struggles and Strategies between Kids and Parents

Homework Teenage boy

Homework Struggles between Parents and Kids

Parents, do you struggle to get your kids to do their homework? Our parenting author and homework expert is also a counselor. Neil McNerney, has four strategies that could work for you and your student. Listen for these elements as you listen to the story in his book, Homework: A Parents Guide.

4 Strategies for Parents

1. Stay Calm.

2. Be Clear about the choices.

3. Add "It's your choice."

4. Change the subject; leave the room.

The Story of Homework Struggles

"Your son has a big project due in two weeks. He has had two months to work on it. You have helped him set up a plan so that he gets a little bit done every week. The plan has collapsed; he hasn't followed through on the weekly goals and now is very far behind.

"Get off my back!" he tells you. "I can get it done in plenty of time. Why don't you ever believe me? I'm not an idiot, you know."

You pause and tell yourself that you aren't going to take the bait this time and are going to ignore, for the time being, the disrespect. You review the fact that you have tried being both the Supporter and the Consultant, but with little effect. So you calmly tell him,

"You have a choice this afternoon. Either you work for two productive hours on the project or you will not go to the football game tonight. If you work on the project this afternoon for two hours, then you are free to go to the game. I will decide if the two hours have been productive. It's your choice."

"By the way, I'm making pizza for dinner. What toppings do you want?"

He says, "This is stupid. I hate your pizza anyway."

You then put that imaginary piece of duct tape across your mouth, and leave the room before you undo all of your good, calm leadership. Parents need to pick their battles.

Do you see each of the four elements at work here?

1. You stayed calm (didn't react to the disrespect).

2. You were clear about the choices (football game or stay home.)

3. You said, "It's your choice." (In fact, you said it twice.)

4. And you changed the subject and got out of there. You didn't take the bait even though he was again disrespectful.

Good job! Now try it in real life! (from pages 77-78)

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You might have wondered how Supporter and Comforter fit in the story. Neil McNerney explains it in his Amazon book, Homework: A Parents Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out.

Cover Homework

Let's APPLAUD Neil McNerney for sharing one of his many excellent examples on how to deal with kids and homework struggles.

Neil McNerney
Neil McNerney, M.Ed., LPC

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for dealing with homework struggles? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Character: Story of a Good Kid and a Bad Home

 Drug syringe
   Good Kids Can Come from Bad Homes?

How can a good kid come from a bad home? Can such kids grow in character too? Our authors today say they can. Let's listen as our parenting experts who are also therapists as they share a true story.

"Remember our philosophy? Your child has his own personality, his own brain and he is choosing how he wants to be. "Good" kids can come from bad homes and environments. "Bad" kids can come from good homes and environments. We could give many examples of kids who have risen above bad situations, just like this one:

A Story of Character ~ A Good Kid Coming from a Bad Home

Candy is sixteen years old. She was raised in a crack house. She doesn't know who her father is, and her mother is a crack-cocaine addict. Candy remembers spending many of her younger years being hungry. Once in a while, when her mother was sober enough, they would walk to the soup kitchen to get a free meal.

When she became a teenager, Candy decided she needed to talk to someone about her life. She got on the bus, went to a mental health agency and asked if she could see a therapist.

She never missed an appointment during the year she was in therapy. In spite of a terribly difficult childhood, in which the odds were certainly against her, she is turning herself into a successful individual.

She attends school during the day and works part-time in the afternoon and on weekends. She is saving money so she can eventually get her own place to live.

Candy has expectations of herself that include going to college, having a professional career and someday living in a nice home with a husband and children.

She's taking the steps to accomplish those goals. Born with a personality than mind that will take her where she wants to go, Candy is a survivor." pages 68-69

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For me, we have two heroes in this story, Candy and the therapist who believed in her. Candy shows us that good kids can come from bad homes. I bet you know people with great character who have risen above their difficult circumstances too.

Let's give A BIG HAND to the therapists and authors of The Whipped Parent, Hope for Parents Raising an Out-of-Control Teen.

The Whipped Parent           Applause_18229118

By Kimberly Abraham, Marney Studaker-Cordner, and Kathryn O'Dea

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What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping teens deal with bad homes? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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How Do Kids, Pets, and Friendships Fit Together?

Cover Waffles and Pancakes
           Kids, Pets, and Friendships

Kids and pets can be best friends or not. Our expert parenting author, Cindy Springsteen, shares a lesson in love and friendship in her book, Waffles and Pancakes. Let's find out why this is a good book to share with your child.

The story starts in a pet store. Two hamster friends are bought on the very same day by different owners. In their new homes one was neglected and the other was cherished.

The author helps children see each hamster's perspective. Kids learn that Waffles'  Waffles are very different from Pancakes' when the two hamsters meet again and discuss their lives. 

The boy who owned Pancakes learned something important about love and friendship from the owner of Waffles.This lesson is great for your children too.

I read this colorful children's book to my 4-year-old granddaughter, Allyssa. I never know what she's going to say. After the story she had great empathy for the lonely hamster because she looked up at me and said, "I love you, Grandma, because you play with me."

Then we had a discussion about how she plays with her cats, Sabby and Boo. She giggled about playing with her goldfish.

If you want your children to love, care for, and play with your pets, read Waffles and Pancakes. They'll learn about empathy too.

This lovely little book is perfect for naptime, bedtime, and family discussions.

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Let's THANK Cindy Springsteen for writing her book about pets, kids, and friendships.

 Cindy Springsteen        Applause_18229118

  Cindy Springsteen


Waffles and Pancakes can be found at Amazon.com

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What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping kids treat their animals with love and respect? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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Can Teaching 'Perspective Solve Your Kids' Fights?

Brother and Sister
Can Teaching Perspective Solve Kids' Fights?
 

Would perspective" help stop your kids from fighting and promote peace in your home? Both research and our expert parenting author, Ellen Galinsky, say so. Ellen will show us how she used what we know as 'seeing the other person's point of view' (perspective) to help her children.

Perspective

"I realized that if I was going to help my children learn to take each other's perspectives and be more friendly with each other, I was going to have to see the world as each of them saw it. To teach this skill, I needed to learn and use it myself.

For, example, my son used to get furious at his little sister. To my husband and me, his outbursts seemed like unexpected bolts of lightening-and he would get into trouble. Applying the notion of perspective taking, I decided to step back and watch my children, paying special attention to the scenes that led to an outburst. When I did, I discovered that my daughter wasn't the innocent victim I had assumed. She was doing subtle things to annoy her brother, like chewing with her mouth open.

I also could see that from her perspective, her behavior was a way of getting her big brother's attention. These clues had been invisible to me until I looked at the situation from each of their perspectives.

Later, during what we called "special time" (a family tradition of spending time alone with each child, usually at night), I explained to Philip what it must be like for Lara to have such a big and competent brother (though she was no slouch herself).

I told him to think of her teasing as quicksand. He had to look for it, avoid it-and never fall into it. He got it right away, and her subtle provocations had a lot less power.

I told Lara that I had warned Philip about the "traps" she was setting for him and that if she wanted her brother's attention, she didn't have to annoy him to get it. We began to plan times for them to do things together, and that helped too." Pages 73-74

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Perspective, seeing the other's view, is a powerful tool to teach our children. Just asking questions like, "Why do you think he did that?" can help our kids see the other's perspective. Why not observe your children for how and why they annoy each other? Talk to them individually about seeing their brother or sister's perspective. Then ask them to come up with a solution.

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Ellen Galinsky        Applause_18229118
Ellen Galinsky

Let's APPLAUD Ellen Galinsky for bringing this powerful parenting tool to us from her popular Amazon book, Mind in the Making.

Cover ~ Mind in the Making

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What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping teens deal with grief? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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A Father's Letter to His Son: Can You Spot the Lie?

Son and Dad Laughing
    Letters to My Son Promotes Values
 

In Letters to My Son, parenting expert, Jamie Bohnett, reminds his boy of a game they used to play called, "Spot the Lie." If you're worried about your children becoming too materialistic, you must play this game with your kids too. 

Dear Son,

Materialism is one of the legacies that my generation has passed on to yours. We Baby Boomers, and those who have come after us, did not hear "No" very much when it came to our spending.

Many of us have passed on a sense of entitlement to our children. As I wrote in my last letter, debt is a huge problem for families today. Consumer credit and mortgage debt are both at a highter percentage of disposable income in America that every before. In other words, what families owe versus what they are worth has never been so hight. We have lost sight of the concept of savings and delayed gratification and have oped out for debt and instant gratification.

Remember when we played "spot the lie" as we watched Super Bowl commercials together, when I gave you a quearter for every lie you could identify? I was fighting materialism with materialism!

For example, the lie in a beer ad may be, "If you drink our beer you will have beautiful women attracted to you." That is what we need to continue to do when it comes to this craziness. We need to consiciously identify the lies that the media constantly bombards us with.

Also, son, we cannot just "play defense" in this. The best way to keep a healthy focus in this areia is through serving others and practicing generosity. You remember our family mission trips to Mexico and Central America? As a family we could learn to bless those who have less materially. That latest video game or gadget doesn't seem so vitally important to have when you have just helped put a roof over the heads of a family of six for the first time in their lives.

You are not what you do and you are not what you have. The more stuff we have, the more we have to take care of, and the more that the stuff we own has the potential to ultimately own us. I know that you know this. This is just a reminder. We have not always done real well with this, but a least we have engaged in the battle.

In His grace,

Dad"    

pages, 80-81

Let's applaud Jamie Bohnett for his inspiring letter to his son.

Jamie Bohnett                Applause_18229118
Jamie Bohnett

 

Pick up Letters to My Son and share the values in this book with your children too.

 

Cover Letters to my son
 

 

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping your children deal with materialism? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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  • 

****** If you liked this article, please write a comment and send it to your social media sites below.


The Problem: When Parents Respect and Teenagers Don't!

Teenage girl angry
When Parents Respect and Teenagers Don't!
 

If you're a parent who respects your kids and feels disrespected in return, keep reading. Our expert parenting authors of The Whipped Parent will share the painful problem with expections and Brandy's story.

What Do You Expect?

How do you know when you have an expectation? A good clue is if you find yourself saying or thinking something close to, "Julie will always...Jason needs to...if Jill would just...my son will...my daughter will not..."

If you feel angry, frustrated or disappointed because your teenager won't do what you believer he should do, it's a safe bet you've got an expectation that's not being met.

Brandy Booker's Story:

Brandy Booker's mom once said: "I give Brandy respect, and I expect she'll respect me."

(Uh-huh, so does she?)

"NO. She constantly swears in front of me, which is totally disrespectful and unacceptable. She needs to stop."

(Uh-huh, and how can you control what she says?)

"Well, I could...I could...I guess I really can't."

(Right.)

"That's because Brandy is the only one who has control over Brandy's mouth. Even if you got the masking tape out and taped her mouth shut, she'd just pull it off. Then she'd probably head to the phone and hit the speed-dial to Protective Services for child abuse."

Expectations Set You Up for Disappointment

If Ms. Booker continues to expect that Brandy will respect her and stop swearing, she will continue to set herself up to be disappointed. Expectations set you up for disappointment. That's because Mrs. Booker's expectation is ultimately under Brandy's control. pages 36-37

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The authors of The Whipped Parent are counselors and have experience working with such problems. They know how to help if you give respect but don't receive it in return. You don't have to be a whipped parent. So what can you do? Here's their book:

The Whipped Parent by Kimberly Abraham, MSW, CSW ~ Marney Studaker-Cordner, MSW, CSW with Katherine O'Dea.

 

What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping parents deal with disrespect? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

******

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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  • 

****** If you liked this article, please write a comment and send it to your social media sites below.

 


Parents, Why Did This Teenager Compare Peer Pressure to Fleas?

Boys Teenagers
                 What Peer Pressure?

Parents, are you worried your teenager will give in to peer pressure? If so, you have to read the response Dr. Parnell Donahue received from 14-year-old Marc. Dr. Donahue, a parenting expert and pediatrician, asked Marc about peer pressure. Let's listen to this story.

Marc's Story about Peer Pressure:

Dr. Donahue: "Do any of your friends smoke?" I asked.

Marc: "Not if they want to be my friends," Marc answered.

Dr. Donahue: "How much alcohol does your best friend drink?"

Marc: "None."

Dr. Donahue: "Do you have any friends who use marijuana of other drugs?"

"No. I have really good friends," he said proudly. "You'd like them." He paused for a moment and then asked, "Can I tell you something?" He leaned over conspiratorially, as though he was about to tell me where Osama Bin Laden was hiding. "If you sleep with dogs, you'll get fleas," he said quietly.

Dr. Donahue: "Hmmm, I guess you're right," I replied, but I really wasn't sure where Marc was coming from with that statement, or where he was going with it. I'm not a vet, I'm a pediatrician. So I repeated, "If you sleep with dogs, you'll get fleas means...?"

Marc: "Well, say you're at a party and everybody is smoking pot, but you're not, and the cops come in," Marc began. "They will take you all away and it won't matter what you say. They and everybody will think you smoked too. So you will have their fleas, and no one will believe you're innocent."

Then he smiled that all-knowing smile kids use with adults to say "Gotcha!"

Dr. Donahue: "That's great!" I exclaimed, trying to reclaim face for not understanding initially. I was in awe, too. "I wish I had been as wise as you when I was 14. Too bad all kids don't know that." pages 112-113

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Why not share Dr. Donahue's story about Marc with your teens? Ask them what they think. You never know where the conversation will lead.

Let's give Dr. Donahue a BIG HAND for sharing this story in his book, Messengers in Denim.

Cover Messengers in DenimApplause_18229118
  
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 What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for helping teens deal with peer pressure? Please answer in the comment link below. We want to hear from you.

Lady with megaphone
With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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****** If you liked this article, please write a comment and send it to your social media sites below.