Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Questions from Readers: Discipline

A mother writes, “Our four year old doesn’t know what the word wait means. When she wants something or wants somebody else to do anything she expects her wishes to be obeyed immediately. When she doesn’t get her way, she makes life miserable for everyone in the family by complaining or screaming or begging. I’ve tried to sit down and explain to her how everyone has to wait for things sometimes. While I’m explaining, she seems to understand, but five minutes later there she goes again demanding this or that and expecting everyone to stop whatever they’re doing and do what she wants

My husband says its better to give in to her and avoid all the unpleasantness. He says she’s young and when she’s better able to do more things for herself she’ll stop demanding so much of us.

Do you agree?”

Absolutely NOT !!. We parents must act like parents, guiding and disciplining not coddling and giving in.

When a child of any age is a demander, whether her demands are for time, attention, or the things money can buy, she should be promptly put in her place. Stop talking to your daughter and start acting. Recognize that the best way for her to learn how to wait or take turns is to get a lot of practice doing it. . As a family, give her plenty of chances to wait Unless her request is of an emergency nature , remain pleasant but firm in not satisfying her wishes despite her insistent and annoying behavior. In very few words, warn her both before and after her outbursts, that her actions will never be rewarded. by getting what she’s demanding. And stick to that promise. Much sooner than you think she’ll learn to stop, look and listen to you before leaping into a temper tantrum.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Too hot to handle

From preschool through college, there are times that our sons, daughters and grandchildren get too hot to handle. They flare up when they are denied some freedom or privilege or possession which they consider rightfully theirs. Frequently, those growing up see red when adults try to give them advice…even good advice. Teens, in particular, view almost any kind of warning as an insult to their maturity and good judgment and as proof positive their parents don’t trust them to make their own wise decisions.

A blog reader gives an example of one of these tugs of war in the adult-child relationship:

“Our nineteen year old daughter, Judy, on her way back to college after a visit

at home for the holidays, became very irritated with me. I was warning her against being sure not to pick up any hitch-hikers, even female ones, or drive as if she didn’t realize that there were a lot of crazies on the road who made their cars into death weapons”

“There you go again,” she responded sharply, “always saddling me with warnings every time I move out the door. It’s just too much to take. I’m already loaded down with a lot of school stuff to think about, money juggling, my almost non- existent social life. I don’t need another burden laid on me, ya know”

“My first inclination was to lash back at my daughter’s rudeness. Instead, I replied simply, ‘ I didn’t mean to weigh you down with an extra burden. I don’t want to make you so uptight about all the dangers in the world that you’re afraid to enjoy life. But, try to understand the burden I’m asking you to carry. It’s a care package because I care so much about you and want you safe.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Everything changes but change itself. True or false? False if we’re talking about understanding what children need. Here’s why--

More than three decades ago when I began broadcasting my IN THE LEARNING CENTER programs on C.B.S. radio, I formulated two basic principles for raising children which have never changed. The first is, that no is a love word. Children of all ages want and desperately need limits, structure, discipline.

My many years of training and experience working with young people has proven to me that too many sons and daughters are being killed with kindness or what their parents and teachers think is kindness. These children are allowed to remain irresponsible, impulsive, unappreciative and unproductive. They are being destroyed by those permitting them to grow older without having to grow up. This belief resulted in my book: NO IS A LOVE WORD, explaining all the No’s we must say to youngsters and the No’s we need to avoid.

My second unchangeable concept is that the four letter word about which we need to be most concerned is not the one so commonly and endlessly spouted in movies, the media, music and by our children, themselves. It is the word “time”.

Each of us has only twenty four hours in each day; that is unchangeable. How we use that time is our choice. In some families, more hours are spent talking at children or about them rather than listening to them. More moments are devoted to taking the fast and easy way out by allowing them to duck their responsibilities rather than requiring them to help at home, work hard in school, etc. More hours are devoted to finding ways to keep them from bothering us rather than spending time guiding and communicating and nurturing them.

From the twentieth century in which I began my work through the twenty first in which we are now, modern technology has created many amazing labor saving products, But hi- tech has not been able to change the labor of love parents provide when they give their offspring, structure, limits, and time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Elephants and Crocodiles

Every parent, grandparent, neighbor and teacher needs to know the difference between raising elephants and raising crocodiles.

Baby elephants grow to adulthood as either productive, friendly animals or destructive beasts. In some countries, elephants become man’s best friend and partner in labor. Others are circus performers, entertaining child and adult alike with their tricks.

But there are also baby pachyderms who grow into violent creatures; they live only for the joy of crushing people and property beneath their huge feet or with their powerful trunks.

The elephant’s early training and treatment determine what way he will develop.

Baby crocodiles, on the other hand, have no chance. They emerge from their eggs deadly killers, waiting until they reach full biological growth to practice the violence inbred within them. Unchangeable, they follow a destructive direction from birth to death.

Unlike the crocodile, the young of the human species are not born bad; they are made bad. Those who are sexually molested, verbally abused, or physically or emotionally neglected, are in serious danger of growing into crocodiles. It is estimated that 80% of all the males and females convicted of crimes were abused children, youngsters imbued with the killer instinct for violence.

Take a good, long look at your own child. Are you raising him to be a crocodile or an elephant? Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, neighbor, teacher etc. of a child and you don’t like what you see, don’t waste your time crying crocodile tears. Set your sights on getting that child and the adult raising him help before it’s too late. Help is there, from Parents Anonymous, the hospital in your area and many other local, state and federal child abuse centers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Punishment, part II

Does the punishment fit your son’s or daughter’s crime?

How can you tell unless you know not only what happened but WHY?

When a youngster of any age lies, back talks, hurts somebody physically or emotionally, destroys someone else’s video game, sports equipment, electronic devices, or anything else he knows he wasn’t supposed to touch in the first place , it’s not easy for even a good parent to stop, look at what was done, and listen before taking action.

But that’s exactly what smart disciplining requires!

Difficult as it is for you, as one of today’s overworked, overwhelmed Moms, Dads or grandparents, to find the time to listen to your child explain why he did what he did or even make excuses for his misbehavior, try doing just that. Before lashing out with the threats or the punishment, wait until you have given your son or daughter a few minutes to explain why he misbehaved. If he remains silent, simply and calmly ask:: “Can you tell me why you did that?”

Long ago, I chose this successful way of disciplining not only our own biological children, foster children, grandchildren , etc but also the thousands upon thousands of other people’s children with whom I have worked over the years. It works because it recognizes the fact that there are usually not just two side to every story but three… in this case, the parent’s side, the child’s side and the truth. The truth is rarely found unless the other two sides are heard.

Fair punishment encourages a child to do better, Unfair punishment encourages him to get even.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How to punish your child- part I

All children misbehave at times. When you were growing up, you did too. If you’ve forgotten all the times you talked back, didn’t listen, or spitefully did exactly what you were told not to do, just ask your parents or some other relative what you were like as a child.

Since it’s perfectly normal for your son, daughter or grandchild to sometimes pay no attention to what you say, want her to do or not do, etc. you will need some strategies for punishing her. Here are some suggestions to make your punishment result in making a youngster of any age get better rather than get even.

1. Don’t wait too long to do the punishing. For example, don’t wait until another adult in the family, Dad, Mom, a grandparent, etc. comes home to either do the punishing or decide on what should be done. If too much time has gone by between the bad behavior and your response to it, your child, especially a young one, could easily forget what she did wrong.

2. Don’t continually threaten that “the next time you do that …the next time you do that” you’ll be punished. How many next times will you continue to warn her about but never follow through? If you constantly threaten to take action but never do, your son or daughter is no dummy. She learns that you don’t say what you mean or mean what you say.

A word of warning!. While timing is important, try not to deal with a misbehaving child until you’re calm enough to do it. Try slowly counting backwards from thirty to zero or walking into another room a few times and then back again before taking action. It can often provide the pause that refreshes your wise judgment and common sense in how t ofirmly but fairly handle the offender.

In the next blog I’ll give a few more “crime and punishment” examples for dealing with misbehaving children. Do you have any other ways for punishing children that have worked for you?

Please share them with other parents by writing me at: Dr.LonnieC@gmail.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Becoming a parent

Becoming a parent is a lot easier than being a parent. Simply because a seed is implanted and is, in time provided food, clothing and shelter does not mean a healthy, hardy, happy creation will develop and grow. Not at all.

The nurturing of a child is like the growth cycle of a flowering plant. The plant needs constant moisture and light to nourish its root system and grow strong. Human affection, attention, respect and trust are to children what sunshine and rainfall are to plants. Without them, the young wither and die.

Freedom to grow in its own shape and in its own way is another similarity between plants and children. For sons and daughters this means freedom of speech, to express their own ideas and opinions and have adults really listen, , freedom from fear that they will not be abused, physically, sexually, emotionally, etc, and freedom to make as many of their own decisions as they are capable of, etc. But the freedom can not be limitless nor more than the age or ability of the particular child is able to handle.

In providing freedom to children, the freedom must be balanced. Adults need to make clear that letting a youngster have her say does not necessarily mean letting her them have her way. Giving a son or daughter freedom and choices should not be seen by either her or her parent as the right to do whatever she wants; . it is, instead, the privilege and the responsibility to speak, to listen and to do what is right.