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Parenting Problem: When Teenagers Fight Your Discipline

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Disciplining Teenagers Isn't Always Easy

If your teenager fights your discipline and you feel unsure about what to do, our parenting skills expert, Annie Fox, is here to help. She authored the amazing book, Teaching Kids To Be Good People. You'll find out what a 15-year-old girl did, how her parents disciplined her, and their doubt about their methods. Annie will share her response to the parents.

The Problem:

A 15-year-old daughter was told she couldn't date an 18-year-old boy. She acted like she agreed but she dated the young man behind their backs.

If This Was Your Teenager, What Would You Do?

1. Would you shrug your shoulders and give up?

2. Would you yell and scream?

3. Would you lecture her?

How the Parents Disciplined Her:

1. They took her cell phone away.

2. They grounded her.

3. They said they'd restore her privileges when the relationship was over.

The parents contacted Annie wondering if they overreacted. They wanted their daughter to understand their perspective. 

Annie's Wisdom for Parents

1. She agreed that the daughter was too young to date an 18-year-old.

2. She agreed that the daughter defied them.

3. She agreed that taking away the cell phone and grounding their daughter was appropriate.

4. She acknowledged that getting their daughter to understand their position was unlikely.

5. She also suggested, if their daughter didn't change her attitude, that the family see a family counselor. (Pages 121 and 220)

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Jean's Thoughts

I like Annie's wisdom. She analyzes difficult situations with clarity. Many parents experience the problem mentioned here. Sometimes they're uncomfortable and wonder if they were too harsh. Even when they're kind, firm, and consistent, their teenager is likely to fight hard to get her way. 

In my opinion, parents need to stick to their reasonable rules even when life at home is miserable. If they don't, their adolescent may treat them with even more disrespect and behave even worse. Why? Because they know they can get their parents to back down.

I agree with Annie that finding a good family counselor may be the best next step. If the teen rebels and won't attend, at least the parents will receive support and professional advice.

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Let's PRAISE Annie for her insights and support for parents and teenagers. She is an online advisor to teens and parents around the world. Annie has 30+ years of experience.

Author Annie Fox
    Annie Fox, M.Ed.

Pick up Teaching Kids To Be Good People: Progressive Parenting for the 21st Century. You find the questions, stories, and advice you need.

Cover Teaching Kids To Be Good People

Available at: Amazon.com

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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Friendship Skills for Kids: How to Help Your Child

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Teaching through Scripts Helps Kids Make Friends


Do your kids need friendship skills? If so, our parenting skills expert, Dr. Donna Volpitta, is here with advice from her popular book, The Resilience Formula. She'll share scripts for coaching your child that can help him make friends. Including others, sharing, and compromising are three areas where she'll help you with scripts that work.

Scripts for Making Friends

One of Dr. Donna's talents is scripting, teaching your child what to say. Her dialogues include questions that help your kids think. For instance, your goal for your toddler is "to simply get her to play near one another, not with one another." You might say, "Can you say, "Hi, I'm Lilly?" Then Dr. Donna suggests you ask your Lilly to show the other child her toy.

Toddlers find sharing difficult. Dr. Donna advises you to help toddlers take very short turns and teach them to ask questions like, "Sarah, can I have a turn please?"

Dr. Donna also gives scripting suggestions for teaching your child how to include others and how to compromise. In fact, she has easy scripts for you to use with your preschoolers, elementary, middle school, and teenage children. Each script takes into account your child's developmental age.

Sample Scripts for Making Friends

Suggest your elementary child say, "Can I play with you guys?" Or, "Hey, Sarah come swing with us."

Suggest to tweens and teens to bring a snack when they study together. Or ask friend to find time to show her something. 

Dr. Donna adds more depth to these suggestions in her book. She believes that teaching kids to be proactive increases their chances for making friends.

Three Scripting Goals for Parents

1. Help children know what they can say, not just what they can't say.

When you use scripts that teach your child what to say, he'll be better equipped to handle himself well.

2. Give children power to control their play but also teach the skills to do it right.

This can be a delicate balance but if you keep this goal in mind you'll be wiser about when and how to script.

3. Teach kids to stick up for themselves while caring about others' feelings.

Scripting can help your kids know the best words to use for both caring about others and sticking up for themselves. (Pages 111- 131)

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I like how Dr. Donna shows parents exactly how to use scripting throughout her book. She offers simple dialogues you can easily use to help your child make friends. When children learn to share, include others, and compromise, they possess skills that will help them throughout their lives.

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Let's APPRECIATE Dr. Donna's work with parents and children. Dr. Volpitta is a former classroom teacher with experience in both general and special education. She holds a doctoral degree in Learning Dis/Abilities from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has four children.

Dr. Donna Volpitta
Dr. Donna Volpitta

Pick up a copy of her book, The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive Not Reactive Parenting and learn the scripts for successful parenting.

Cover Donna

Available on Amazon.com

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Jean Tracy, MSS

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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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Jean Tracy, MSS

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Homework: 2 Solutions for Power Struggles with Your Child!

 Homework_a

 Help Your Child with Homework But Don't Do It!

 Are you in a power struggle with your child about his homework? If so, Neil McNerney, our parenting skills expert and author of, Homework: A Parents Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out, is here to share powerful 2 powerful insights and strategies. I'll share some reactions too.

Why Do We Use Rewards and Punishments? ~ The First Insight

Neil's found that most parents would say, "To change behavior." He says kids want to do well in school but if you push too hard to get them to do their homework, they may push back. Let's imagine as the parent you say,

"Go upstairs and do your homework!" Your independent child might think "'Dad can make me go upstairs to do my homework, but he can't actually make me do it.'" (From page 115)

Neil believes the reason we have consequences for our kids is not to change their behavior but to teach them about life. Why? Life works this way:

1. Do well and good things will probably result.

2. Do poorly and bad things are likely to happen.

The First Strategy for Avoiding Power Struggles

So how does Neil suggest we get out of power struggles and teach our kids how life works? Creating experiences about life is a good way for them to see the bigger picture. For instance, if they don't do their homework and play games or watch TV instead, their grades are likely to suffer. If they do their homework their grades will probably improve.

Second Insight about Power Struggles

We need to lead instead of focusing on whether something is working. Create situations for learning through helping your child experience consequences. Don't look at the results too quickly or, like many parents, you might give up.

Second Strategy for Dealing with Homework Conflicts

Measure your results by YOUR actions, not your child's results. Neil gives the example of establishing a rule like, "When you get your homework done by 8 p.m. ~ you get to play video games. And, of course, Neil advises, "Be consistent." (From pages 115-117)

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I like Neil's insights and strategies because they help us Be the Parent. We need to put our left brains in charge with logic and planning. That means we need to think rather than react with lectures, yelling, or demanding. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of those behaviors, especially our children. Besides they could create consequences that teach our kids the wrong lessons about life.

Teaching kids about the real world is superior to worrying about each little result our child experiences whether it's about homework, chores, or helping others. Like Neil also suggests, let's give up worrying and let our children experience what happens when they avoid their responsibilities. Let's start planning by setting up reasonable rules too.

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Give THANKS to Neil McNerney, a professional counselor who also spent 7 years as a school counselor, for sharing his expertise. Neil speaks nationally giving keynotes and workshops. He is also on the faculty at Virginia Tech.

Neil McNerney
Neil McNerney, M.Ed.,LPC

Pick up his book, Homework: A Parents Guide to Helping Out without Freaking Out. You'll learn ways to get rid of constant worry, anger, temper, and guilt. Instead, you'll learn loads of positive parenting strategies.

Cover Homework
Available at Amazon.com 

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Please support today's author and share your opinions about this blog post. Just click on the COMMENTS link below. It will open up for you. We want to hear from you.

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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