Tag Archive for teaching

A Prep School for Young Love

I discovered an amazingly impactful prep school for young adulthood romance, aka, young love. Notice I said “impactful” not “effective.” This prep school can effectively promote healthy romance in young adulthood, but it can also effectively promote problematic, drama-filled and even violent romance in young adulthood. Makes you wonder if we even want our children to attend this prep school, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, you have no choice about whether your children attend. They will and do attend this prep school. Fortunately, you have total control over staffing and curriculum! The prep school is your home. The staff are the parents of your children (that’s you). The curriculum is your marriage and your parenting strategies.

Researchers at Penn state recruited 974 adolescents to assess this prep school (Read about it in Parents May Help Prep Kids for Healthier, Less Violent Relationships.) They met with the young people three times between sixth and ninth grade to gather information about how their families got along, how consistent and harsh punishment was in their home, and how they interacted with their parents. Then, when the children were around 19.5-years-old, the researchers asked them about their romantic relationships including their feelings of love, their problem-solving abilities, and whether they ever engaged in physical or verbal violence with their romantic partner.  They discovered three curriculum and staffing guidelines for the most positive and effective prep school for young love.

  1. A prep school that produced young adults who engaged in better problem solving within their romantic relationships utilized staff (parents) who created a supportive home and practiced positive parenting (Dunkin’ Donuts & A Better Behaved Child tells more). Supportive home and positive parenting practices strike a balance between rules and relationship. Parents in such home lead in love, promote values built on a foundation of love, and discipline from a position of love. (Where are you On the Parenting See-Saw )
  2. A prep school that produced young adults who felt more love and connection in their romantic relationships promoted a positive engagement between children and staff (parents). Work to create a close bond with your children. This will involve investing time in their lives, following through on promises, and learning about their interests and hobbies. Engage with your children in daily routines, play, and activities that promote connection. (Here are 3 Simple Ways to Bond With Your Child)
  3. A prep school associated with a lower risk of violence in young adults’ romantic relationships was one which built a more “cohesive and organized family climate.” In other words, the family prep school provided enough structure and love to promote a sense of security and safety. It provides the structure of a predictable daily life that allows each person to have a fair understanding of the “next event” as well as their role in the home.  It also provides the love that undergirds each person’s sense of inherent worth and value while guiding them toward a healthier, independent life. This combination of structure that flows from love promotes cohesion and stability. In this balance of structure and love, curriculum includes validation and problem-solving, learning to persist, acceptance of temporary failures as learning experiences.

If you are a parent, you currently run a Young Adulthood Romance (YAR) Preparatory School for your children. I propose you implement these three curriculum and staffing guidelines for your children today. You will be so happy you did when they bring home their boyfriends or girlfriends in the future!

What I Learned About Parenting Fixing My Wall

I had to fix a hole in our bathroom wall. The towel rack had pulled out leaving a hole; so I set about to fix it. Unfortunately, I am not a handy person. I did my best, but when I pulled the towel off the newly hung towel rack it pulled right out of the wall again…leaving an even bigger hole.  I followed the directions printed on the patch material I purchased. I asked the staff at the hardware store. With every “repair,” the hole grew larger. “One last time,” I thought. “I’ll try one more time.” So I stood at the store staring at the display of materials for patching a wall. I tried to reason through my experience to figure out my next step…my last step. An employee offered his explanation. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, “Already tried that…made the hole bigger.” After he left, another shopper said, “Hey buddy.” (I always wonder if something shifty is coming when I hear that.) “What that guy said…it won’t work. It’ll just make a bigger hole.” I knew that! He had my attention and continued, “I do this for a living and I’ll tell you exactly what to do.” He spent the next five minutes explaining how to fix the hole in my wall. He even drew a few simple diagrams. I went home with renewed hope and followed his instructions to the letter. The towel rack supported by the repaired wall is now the most secure towel rack in the bathroom.

I could not have fixed the towel rack and the hole in the wall without the help of that man. He met me at my level of knowledge and taught me. He gave me guidance, introducing ideas and concepts while remaining responsive to my questions. He was friendly and patient. I tell you all this because I learned four very important lessons about effective parenting from this one interaction with my “construction mentor.” Let me explain.

  1. The man waited until the employee had left and then spoke with me one-on-one. He was sure to have my full attention and he did not try to “correct” my difficulties in public. Effective parents also teach in private. Rather than “correct their children in public, they move to a private place and speak to their children one-on-one. They make sure they have their children’s full attention and speak to them one-on-one in a calm and respectful manner.
  2. The man saw my need for help patching a hole in the wall and hanging a towel rack. He didn’t just explain how to fix the hole in the wall but how to fix the hole AND make the spot strong enough to hold the towel rack. He didn’t teach me how to fix the toilet, either. He simply addressed the need I had at the moment. Effective parents meet their children’s need “at the moment.” When their children begin to whine, they explore the need rather than simply yelling at them for whining. There will still be time for teaching, but find out what your children need first and then respond to that When responding to your children, let them lead you to their need rather than deciding what they need.
  3. The man taught to my level. He even drew simple pictures I could take home with me. Those pictures really came in handy for my limited skill set. Effective parents meet their children at their children’s developmental level and skill ability. They do not expect a four-year-old to understand what a 12-year-old does. Nor do they assume their 12-year-old knows how to do something just because they’re twelve. Instead, effective parents teach their children how to do what they want done. They teach keeping the level of their children’s ability to understand in mind.
  4. The man allowed me to ask questions and made sure I understood his instructions. He trusted me to do the job after I had received his instructions. Effective parents allow their children to ask questions and effective parents trust their children to do the best they can.

A trip to the hardware store and a fallen towel rack resulted in my learning how to fix my wall and, more importantly, four great lessons to put into practice as a parent. Give these four tips a try with your children. They may end up being the most secure children on the block.

3 Steps to Teach Children Better Behavior

Effective discipline involves teaching appropriate behavior, not just punishing negative behavior. In fact, the most effective discipline focuses first and foremost on teaching positive behaviors with these three steps.

  1. Mother And Son Doing LaundryModel the behavior you want to see in your children. If you want honest children, model honesty. Tell them the truth. Keep your promises so they know “your word is good” and truthful. If you want your children to avoid drugs and alcohol, live a drug-free lifestyle. If you desire polite and considerate children, be polite and considerate to your children as well as the adults around you. if you want children who have clear boundaries, set clear boundaries yourself. if you notice your children consistently engaging in some negative behavior, check your own behavior. Make sure you are not modeling that behavior in some way. Teaching positive behavior begins with you your own behavior. Model the behavior you want to see in your children.
  2. Point out the effect of you children’s misbehavior on those around them. Statements like “If you run through the crowd, you might knock someone down and hurt them,” “Your friend is sad because you won’t share,” “People in this restaurant are getting irritated with your loud behavior.” Pointing out the effect of their behavior on others can help your children learn to consider the consequences of their behavior, recognize how others are responding to their behavior, and to have empathy for others.
  3. Teach your children the behavior you desire. Don’t expect your children to know what behavior you expect. Show it to them. Explain it to them clearly. This may be as simple as cleaning their room with them or folding clothes with them so you can teach as you go. It can also include heart to heart discussions on topics like drugs, public behaviors, dating boundaries, expectations around driving. You could speak about these topics directly or through characters in stories or movies, current events, or experiences of friends. Whatever the topic, keep the expectations clear and concise. Avoid lecturing and nagging. Just dive in clear, concise and to the point. I know. It may seem like our children should already know better. But, how will they know unless we teach them? We need to make sure they know. So teach them again. The conversation may feel awkward; but a little awkwardness is worth the assurance that our children know exactly what is expected of them. And, that awkward conversation will actually contribute to a deeper relationship as well.

For a great example of this behavior read Dunkin’ Donuts & a Better Behaved Child and notice how this mother:

  1. Modeled the behavior she desired by staying calm.
  2. Explained the effects of her child’s behavior on others.
  3. Taught her child the behavior she desired.

Enjoyed the results!

Family Honor & Respect in a Card Trick

Did you ever see “The Colour Changing Card Trick” on YouTube?  It is a cool card trick…and so much more. In fact, the “so much more” makes the trick astounding and teaches us an important lesson about family. Take a short 2 minutes and 43 seconds to watch “The Colour Changing Card Trick” in the video below. You won’t be disappointed. Then read what this trick taught me about family.

People learn and grow; they mature and change. More to the point, your spouse, children, and parents learn and grow. They mature and change.  Taking the time to recognize and acknowledge how they learn, grow, and change honors them. Adjusting our response in accordance with their growth also honors them and communicates respect for them. Unfortunately, we often miss the real changes, the significant growth, because we focus on some small aspect of their life or behavior that has irritated us. We focus on the “cards” and miss the all the changing shirts, table cloths, and back drops. Let me give some examples.

  • We recall the time a family member was late in picking us up and tell that story for years, but never acknowledge how many times they were there for us when we needed them…or how they have grown more responsible over the years.
  • We focus on a family member’s angry reaction to some pet peeve and neglect to recognize how patient they have become in the last year or how patient they have always been in so many other areas.
  • We constantly talk about our children’s messy room while ignoring how well they clean their dishes, the car they drive, or the desk they study at.
  • We bring up the time a family member said something obviously wrong (“Is this chicken…or is this fish? I know its tuna, but it says ‘Chicken of the Sea.’) while neglecting to acknowledge how intelligent they are and how much more knowledgeable they have grown.

I’m not saying we need to let inappropriate behavior run amok in our families. Inappropriate behavior needs addressed. But, we show respect and honor when we recognize how our family members have changed and matured. Take a look at the “big picture,” the whole picture. Notice the changes your spouse and children have made. Admire their maturing character. Acknowledge new behaviors and attitudes they have developed in response to lessons learned. Notice the changing colors of their life as it grows ever more mature. It’s a great way to show honor and respect.

6 Tips to Make Your Children’s Emotions Your Friend

I often meet children described as having “anger management problems.” They blow up in Sauer seinanger, yell, and scream. They may even get physically aggressive. As I talk with them and their family, I discover these children often have little or no language for emotional expression. As a result, they have no delay, no buffer, between their emotion and their action. They impulsively “act out” any emotion they experience. Anger impulsively leads to aggression. Joy and excitement translate into uncontrollable energy. When these children and their families learn to put their emotions into words and, even more important, learn to connect with one another through their emotion, impulsive acting out often decreases. Self-control increases. Mutual understanding and intimacy grows. In reality, these children did not have anger management problems. They had limited emotional expression problems. Fortunately, parents play a huge role in teaching their children to put emotions and feelings into words. I say fortunately because that means you, as a parent, can help your children learn this skill. So, put on your coach’s hat and get down to the business of emotional coaching with these tips.

  • Accept your children’s emotions. It sounds cliché, but it’s true: all emotions are acceptable. Whether your children experience happiness or sadness, pleasure or anger, allow them to have their emotional experience. Accept their emotion. (By the way, the Pixar movie Inside Out does an excellent job of showing the benefits of allowing the experience of every emotion.) Do not judge or evaluate your children’s emotions. Doing so may leave them feeling like something is wrong with them. Simply accept their emotion. Sure, put limits on the behavioral expression of that emotion (“You can be angry, but we do not hit”), but be open to their experience. Allow them to experience all their emotions.
  • Explore the emotion and the context in which it occurs. Become curious about your children’s emotional experience. Where do they feel that emotion in their body—their stomach, head, arms, legs? Does it make them feel better or worse? Is it heavy or light? What happened right before they experienced the emotion? What are they thinking? What is the priority revealed in the emotion? Answering questions like these requires you to focus on what is happening “inside” your children, not just their outward behavior. Your goal is to listen and understand their emotion so well that you can completely empathize with it from their young perspective.
  • Keep your interaction as conversational and intimate as possible. Avoid lecturing and explaining. Spend more time listening, clarifying, and understanding. If you lecture, your children will shut down. Their eyes will glaze over and their mind will drift. You will have missed an excellent opportunity to connect with them. Keep it conversational.
  • As your children begin to calm, encourage them to think more about their emotion. Help them to recognize the priority, need, or desire behind the emotion. Think through possible actions they could take to actually satisfy that need or effectively communicate their priority. In essence, problem-solve an effective response to the situation that aroused their emotion.
  • Empower your children with appropriate labels for their emotions. The ability to label an emotion carries great power. A label allows people to express their emotion rather than impulsively act it out. People who can label and communicate their emotions have a better chance at investing their emotional energy in reaching a satisfactory result rather than expending the energy on physically acting out.
  • Encourage your children to recognize how their actions impact those around them. Make them aware of the emotions displayed by those who witness their behavior. Gently point out the subtle cues of how others respond to them. This teaches them to recognize those cues independently and adjust their interaction accordingly.


We could list other tips, but these six provide a great start. If you want more information on emotions and your children, read Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, an excellent book by John Gottman.

Dunkin’ Donuts & A Better Behaved Child

I stood in line at Dunkin’ Donuts when a mother and her young son entered the store. They line was moving very slow. As we waited for the opportunity to pick out our donuts, this boy’s excitement began to bubble over. Suddenly, the levee that contained his excitement Mother And Son Doing Laundrybroke. He burst out into loud sounds, large gestures, and a quick run in circles around his mother. His mother calmly picked him up and smiled. He smiled back as she said, “You are really excited for your donut aren’t you?”  His eyes grew so large with excitement and joy I thought they might pop out.  “But,” she continued, “Do you see all the people already eating their donuts?” The little boy looked around and nodded. “We will get our donut soon.” He hugged his mother at those words. She continued, “In the meantime, all the people eating donuts now don’t want to be disturbed by someone running and yelling. So…, (I don’t know if she paused for dramatic effect, but I leaned forward waiting for “the rest of the story”) will you stand patiently with me while we wait for our donut?” The young man smiled and shook his head yes. She set him down and together they stood, hand in hand, patiently waiting for their turn to order a donut. I stood in line and smiled. I had just witnessed a wonderful example of the effectiveness of inductive parenting.


Inductive parenting is considered the most effective parenting style for helping a child internalize social norms and family values. Three components make it so effective. First, inductive parenting communicates how actions affect other people. When this young mother told her son to “see all the people…,” she raises his awareness of others. She did not judge or lecture. She simply made him aware. In doing so, she taught him to have empathy, to think about other people, to see things from their perspective. She encouraged him to experience his behavior from another person’s point of view. Her son will learn to recognize how his behavior affects others in positive and negative ways as she continues to do this. In short, he will earn to be respectful of other people.


Second, inductive parenting teaches the benefits of “social cooperation.” When this young boy’s mother told him ‘the people eating don’t want to be disturbed by someone running and yelling,” she was teaching him social cooperation, to think about other people and be considerate of their rights and desires. He learned that respecting other people involves cooperating with their desires, not just thinking of his own desires.


Third, inductive parenting gives a positive behavioral alternative. The mother described above did this when she asked her son to “stand with me while we wait.” Not only did this young man learn to be aware of the impact of his behavior on others and to respect other people by cooperating with their desires, but he learned how to do this. In addition, his mother stood with him, hand in hand as they talked about their plans for the day. He learned and experienced the joy of interacting with his mother while waiting in line. Most likely, he saw the smiles of other patrons as they witnessed a mother and son having a positive, respectful interaction (after all, she made her son aware of them).


Using the three components of inductive parenting will help your child internalize your family values. One more tip to help the process along: do not lecture. Simply state the expectation or raise your child’s awareness and move on. Keep it brief and to the point. Even better, as your children learn the expectations ask them rather than tell them. “Is that how we act in public?” “How do you think your behavior is making other customers feel?” “Is that how a young man/lady behaves?” Asking questions encourages your child to process what they already know. Each time they process what they know and think it through, the more likely they will act on it in the future.

Parents, Get Out of the Reaction Rut

Many parents believe that a good punishment will end misbehavior. “If the punishment is military policepowerful enough, children will learn their lesson.” “If we just have enough rules, our children will be good.” Unfortunately, these statements are not true. The key to addressing our children’s misbehavior is NOT punishment. In fact, there is no single key to addressing misbehavior. Addressing misbehavior is actually more like putting a puzzle together…there are many parts to the puzzle and they have to be assembled in the right way to make a complete picture.  One piece of that puzzle is realizing the need to address the before, during, and after phases of behavior.


The Before Phase: We can avoid many incidents of misbehavior simply by planning ahead and preparing our children for upcoming events. We do this naturally with toddlers when we put safety locks on cupboards even before we bring them home from the hospital or remember to take their favorite blanket on our trip to grandma’s house before they even ask about it. As our children grow, we continue to address potential problem areas by establishing routines. For instance, a good bedtime routine can prevent many difficulties that occur around the process of getting our children to bed.  Mealtime routines, morning routines, and cleaning routines all help prevent unwanted behaviors as well as teaching daily life skills. Parents can also prevent unwanted behaviors during the “Before Phase” by talking with their children about “what’s next.” For instance, explaining the purpose of a “store run” as well as the expected behavior can often prevent misbehavior. If there is an especially problematic situation that you consistently run into, you may want to role play that event at home. You can then take a few “trial runs” in which you simply go through the motions of an activity without having to accomplish any particular goal (like going through a grocery store without any intention of buying anything). Practicing behaviors in the Before Phase can prevent many unwanted behaviors and teach desired behaviors at the same time.


The During Phase: No matter how much we plan ahead, our children will still misbehave at times. The key to responding during the event is to intervene rapidly and calmly to redirect the unwanted behavior. Intervene rapidly. Intervene as early in the behavior as you can. Do not let the behavior escalate; intervene early. Intervene calmly. Children follow a parent’s lead. If the parent escalates, the child escalates. If the parent stays calm, there is a greater chance the child will calm.  Redirect the behavior. Rather than simply complain about the misbehavior and tell them to stop, redirect them to another more appropriate behavior. Doing so offers your child a solution to the question, “What can I do then?”

Woman - Tough Rapper

The After Phase: After the misbehavior has stopped and all parties have calmed down, discuss what happened. The After Phase is a wonderful time for teaching. Discuss why the misbehavior is not wanted, restate the expectations and boundaries. Teach your children what other behaviors (appropriate behaviors) they can engage in. An important and often overlooked aspect of teaching appropriate behavior is to set firm limits and clear expectations while showing empathy and compassion for your children’s desires. Help them learn that you empathize with their feelings, wants, and desire, but you also have firm behavioral limits and expectations that need to be met. For instance, you empathize with their anger, but have a clear expectation of appropriate ways to express anger…teach them the expectation. Or, you empathize with their boredom and their desire to run around, but have clear limits on the appropriate places and activities in which running around is allowed…teach them the limits and appropriate activities for the appropriate place.


Responding to misbehavior in the Before Phase, the During Phase, and the After Phase will help you get out of the rut of reacting to misbehavior and into the joy of teaching the behavior you desire for your children.

Have Fun, Eat, and…What?!

My family and I just returned from a wonderful visit with my wife’s sister and her husband’s family. While there, we enjoyed dinner with three families. Between these three families, we Family having a big dinner at homehave 6 lovely daughters ranging in age from sophomores in high school to freshman in college. Add three sets of parents and one grandmother to those six young ladies and you have a meal with 13 people around the table. Some would say that number unlucky, but we would disagree. We had a lovely meal. As we enjoyed our meal together, I realized how fortunate we are to have the opportunity for this kind of extended family experience. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and talking. At one point during the preparations, one of our daughters realized we had no bread…a catastrophe! But, 6 creative teen women soon came up with a solution and we enjoyed crescent rolls with dinner. In fact, everyone contributed to the meal—some cooked the main dish, others brought side dishes, and others brought dessert.  Some helped prepare the meal and some helped clean up afterward. While eating dessert we enjoyed several rounds of the game “telephone”—one person whispers a message into the ear of the person next to them. That person whispers it to the next person and so on until it returns to the person who first stated the message. As we laughed about how the message had changed from the beginning to the end of “telephone,” I remembered a study I had read (I know, who thinks about studies in the midst of fun…go figure). Anyway, researchers were exploring where children learned “rare words.” The researchers listed 2,000 rare words and then searched within families to discover where children learn those 2,000 rare words. Only 143 were learned through reading. But, over a thousand (that’s over half) of the words were learned at family mealtimes. Family conversations enhance vocabulary! Sounds like a great headline. As I contemplated that little tidbit of how children learn vocabulary, I realized just how much our family members learned during our wonderful time together. We learned how to cooperate with one another in completing a goal (getting dinner on the table and then cleared off after we ate). We learned how to problem solve (so we could sit in the right places, enjoy crescent rolls, and pass all the food to everyone present). We learned how to interact in a social setting. We learned how to listen carefully, how to join a conversation, and how to excuse ourselves politely. We also learned how to show gratitude and appreciation for gifts given…or simple politeness when someone passes us the gravy. Most important, all this learning was done in a spirit of camaraderie and fun! If you want to learn all these things in your family…and instill each of these values in your children…enjoy meals together as often as you can. Have fun, eat, and become better people all around!

Open the Door for Change

I had the opportunity to attend a conference focused on attachment relationships this weekend. One workshop reviewed how we encourage growth and change in other people. I realized how much this information applied to our parental role of promoting growth and maturity in our children. So, I wanted to share this process for opening the doors to change for our children. It is not a simple “3-step-plan” to reach 100% compliance from your children. In fact, maturing children do not always comply with their parents. However, this process will open the door for our children to grow and mature, sometimes in unexpected and surprising ways.


Opening the door for our children to change begins with looking at them. Yes, look at them…look at their appearance, their intellect, their humor, their world, their fears, their interests…. I know it sounds strange, but how often do we truly look at our children? I know I have had the experience of suddenly seeing my children and thinking, “Man, they are so grown up…when did that happen?” or hearing a comment come out of their mouth and thinking, “Wow, they are getting smart!” If we do not look at our children on a consistent basis, we will miss their growing maturity. We will think of them as that bright-eyed, adoring child we had so much fun with. So, take a look at your children. Notice how much they have grown. Recognize their interests and how those interests have changed and developed over time. Observe their changing friendships as well as their social interactions with peers in general, teachers, and other adults.


Make eye contact with your children as often as you can. Value them, and your relationship with them, enough to stop what you are doing and look into their eyes when they talk to you. Turn off the TV, put down the IPhone, forget about work, and focus on your interaction with your children. Watch for the sparkle of excitement in their eyes when they tell you about an exciting experience. Notice the tears of frustration that well up in their eyes when they talk about a fight with a friend. Recognize the fire in their eyes when they report an injustice done to a friend. Give them the gift of being valued enough to have your total attention…and eye to eye contact.


Finally, make sure your responses and interactions with your children remain contingent on their need. If they come to you looking for someone to listen, listen rather than teach. If they want to joke around, joke around rather than expounding on the virtues of taking life seriously. When they express sorrow, anger, or fear, accept their emotion. Respond to their emotion rather than trying to talk them out of it or minimize it. In other words, remain aware of their emotions, needs, and desires so you can respond sensitively to your children.


When parents practice these skills and make them their habits, they will develop a stronger alliance with their children. Their relationship with their children will becomes stronger and more intimate. Trust will grow. Children will feel more secure. And, experiencing a trusting, secure relationship will empowers your children to grow. Knowing they have a secure relationship with their parent will open the door for them to explore options, make wise choices, and learn from their experiences. But, it all begins with establishing that trusting, secure relationship built by looking at our children, making good eye contact when they interact with us, and intentionally responding to their needs, not our own.

One Powerful Discipline Tool

Parents who discipline effectively have many parenting tools. For instance, most parents utilize rewards and consequences to teach appropriate behavior. “The Super Nanny” loves to teach families to make effective use of “time-out” and consistent routine’s to elicit positive behavior from children. I’m sure many of you can name several other tools that you have used in your parenting journey. I want to add yet another tool to our parenting toolkit; after all, the more tools we have the better work we can parent. The tool I want to add to our parenting toolkit is: (drum roll please)…the mirror!

What’s that you say? The mirror? Yes. When our children misbehave we can often gain important clues about their misbehavior by looking in the mirror. Children learn many of their behaviors from us, their parents. They imitate our positive behaviors and our negative behaviors. They even learn from our subtle behaviors, those we engage in without even realizing what we did. In fact, children often seem to pick up on our worst behaviors quickly and accurately. Who hasn’t had the experience of a toddler, at the worst possible moment, blurting out some phrase she heard her parent energetically say in a moment of frustration? Not only do children pick up and imitate our rash behaviors and subtle character flaws, they practice them as children, without adult constraint. The unfortunate truth we have to face as parents is: many times, the behavior we see in our children is a reflection of our own behavior. Watching our children’s behavior is like looking in a mirror. So,

     ·    If your children seem ungrateful, check your own level of gratitude

·    If your children seem irritable, check out your own display of irritability and frustration

·    If your children seem oppositional, consider how well you accept the influence of others in your life and how you respond to other’s requests

·    If your children talk back and have a “smart” attitude, consider how you talk to and about others

 If you discover that your children’s behavior is a reflection of your own, take these two actions:

     1.    Change your behavior. Confirm the values for which you want to be remembered. Begin to act and speak in a way that will truly reflect those values in your life.

2.   Apologize to your children. Apologize for setting a bad example. Let them know you are changing your behavior. Tell them why you have decided to change. And, let them know you would like them to change with you.

The mirror is a challenging, yet powerful, tool to use in discipline.  It can change your life and your children’s lives for the better. Use it wisely…use it carefully…and use it often.

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