Friday, September 25, 2009

You mean I'm responsible?

I am still having a great time in Atlanta. Yesterday we visited the Georgia Dome, CNN and hiked to some incredible waterfalls. We were lucky enought to avoid additional rain, but they say more is on the way.

I would like to recommend a book that should help with parenting and assist you to create your best self. The book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. It is fantastic and it goes along with what I have been discussing in my blog. He states: "No problem can be solved until an individual assumes responsibility for solving it. When individuals blame someone else--a spouse, a child, a friend, a parent, an employer--or something else--bad influences, the schools, the government, racism, sexism, society, the 'system'-- for their problems, these problems persist. Nothing has been accomplished. By casting away their responsibility they may feel comfortable with themselves, but they have ceased to solve the problems of living, have ceased to grow spiritually, and have become dead weight for socity. They have cast their pain onto society. What we are and what we are not responsible for in this life is one of the greatest problems of human existence. For the entirety of our lives, we must continually assess and reassess where our responsiblities lie in the ever-changing course of events.

So I guess that means none of us are off the hook. (including me) We must always be questioning ourselves and continue working on that path to eternal perfection!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Today I am in Georgia doing a little book promoting and visiting my son who is working hard on an internship. One thing I know for sure...I love the south! It is so green and the people are so friendly. I am enjoying myself.

On my mind today is a comment a dear friend made. "People are going to be upset with you for stating in your book, ParentFix, that parents are responsible for their kids behaviors." She is right. A lot of people don't want to believe that statement. I have had a few angry parenting workshops where moms would have strangled me if they could. It would be a lot easier as a parent to blame your child's friends for their negative behavior. Or blame the dealer for your child's addiction to drugs. Or the teacher for the lack of motivation at school. But my belief, along with many professionals, is that as parents we need to be continually observant of our kid's behaviors. From their behaviors, we can determine their needs. When we can help our children meet those needs, the negative behavior disappears. I believe strongly in this because I have had such success with it with my own kids. I also have seen many other parents thrilled with watching this principle work.

The beauty of this principle is that it is never too late to start. So don't waste your time being angry at me, give it a try!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Senseless Discipline

The third most common mistake made by parents has to do with discipline. Did you know the word discipline comes from the Latin word disciple, which means to teach or to learn. Discipline was never designed to be a form of punishment. As parents, we often put more emphasis on punishment rather than focusing on teaching correct principals and behaviors. Remember, a mistake is not a mistake if a child learns something. When parents try to meet the needs of their child, instead of getting angry and inflicting senseless discipline, negative behaviors will disappear.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Second most common mistake

Most parents know this is a problem in their home, especially if they have teenagers. The second most common mistakes parents make is verbal abuse, which comes in the form of nagging or criticism. Too many parents are destroying their relationships with their children. Your children will not want to interact with you if they know that every conversation they have with you will be something they do not want to hear. As a parent, when you criticize your child, nag or speak negatively, you are making your child feel terrible about themselves. Bit by bit, when you demean your child in any way, shape or form, you are destroying self-esteem. In order to recover, they will find another way to feel good about themselves again. Negative behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse occur when a child feels bad about himself. When your child is confronted with critical decisions, it is the strength of your relationship that will make the difference in your child's ability to resolve them. Parents need to change this ugly practice and let love be the language that is spoken in their homes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Common mistakes parents make #1

As parents, we all make mistakes. The beauty of raising kids is the unconditional love our children have for us. If we continue to make mistakes and don't improve as parents our kids may give up on us and rebel when they are teenagers. To prevent that I came up with three of the most common and damaging mistakes we as parents make. Here is number 1:

1. Too Much Control Control is a major problem in today’s
families. Control creates battles between parent and child and
causes an immeasurable breakdown in family communication.
If we are to be successful in our families, we need to find a
compromise with control. Control is so commonplace we often do
not recognize when it is being used on us, nor are we able to stop
ourselves when we inflict control upon our children. A good
definition of control: When you take away someone’s rights or
freedoms, you are using control. Parental control takes away our
children’s choices. Not only does control take away trust in the
parent/child relationship, but children will seldom ask for your
advice or respond to your requests. When the behavior your child
is exhibiting is rebellion, there is too much control in your home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's go with another question today:

Q: I have read and loved your book. My only question is about discipline. I understand that it is unnecessary if I am doing the right things, but how should I react when say, my five year old kicks my three year old? I don't really know how to handle that. I explained that kicking is not okay and that it hurts people, but they are at each other's throats these days. What do I do?

A: What you are experiencing with your son is very normal and happens in every home. Even though it drives parents crazy, occasional fighting and teasing for kids is a form of play. Having said that, you don't want them to do it all the time. Here is how I would solve it. First, change your thought process when your children do something you think you should discipline them for. Most disciplines make the child mad at the parent and does not teach them how to change the behavior. Ask yourself why your 5 year old would want to kick the 3 year old? (If you can figure out the behavior, you can help him meet his needs and that will stop the bad behavior)

With kids this age lots of time they need more individualized attention. They can get kind of cranky when they feel they have to share you (or Christian) so they blame their siblings..thus the kicking. Doing this does takes time, but you will see an immediate change in your child's behavior and attitude towards their siblings. If you can spend time with them alone or make sure they get your undivided attention on a regular basis, it is amazing much more pleasant they become.

Another reason is they can be jealous of the younger sibling, especially if they younger child does everything right. Watch yourself and see if you are being more critical of the older one(which is easy) and then try finding ways to give them more praise.

It also might be that he is frustrated with something they can't accomplish so they will lash out at something or someone and usually the younger sibling takes the brunt of it. Try and observe what happens right before the kicking takes place and that should give you some idea why it is happening and how to solve it.

Sorry this is such a lengthy answer, but it is a process and once you start using it and have success it will come more naturally. The key comes in trying to understand the behavior. Your child doesn't understand why he is kicking. As you do this with your kids you are teaching them how to meet their own needs. As they get older, they will do it on their own naturally because you have done it with them. It goes along with Joseph Smith's statement of "teach them correct principles and they will govern themselves"

So in the end, it makes life easier for you! Let me know how things go.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I found as a parent it was difficult not getting angry when my kids displayed inappropriate behavior. Coloring on the walls, cutting the neighbor kids hair, picking their nose while on the front row during a school assembly, taking a nap on the class room floor during school...the list goes on and on. I have learned as a parent that behavior is key to parenting. I found the behavior of your child is an exhibition of a need that requires fulfillment. My first reaction and the most common reaction from most parents was to punish my child to try and make them stop the behavior. No matter how often I had them take a time out, sit in the corner or ground them, the behavior continued, often escalating to a higher level. When you punish a child for bad behavior, you are punishing them for having needs. That doesn't make sense. So I started trying to figure out what the need was, meet that need and voila, the behavior disappeared. For example, when I bought an artist's pad for my son, the coloring on the walls never again occurred. It is amazing how much easier it is to focus on understanding behavior rather then spend my time coming up with new forms of discipline!

I have a lot more examples of bad behaviors and solutions in the Behavior Chapter (Chapter 5 pg.76) in my book ParentFix. Go to for more information

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tough questions

I receive parenting questions on my webpage that I thought I would use as my blog today. That is always helpful for me when my brain is dead.

When problems occur with our children, we sometimes ignore, hide or pretend they don't exist. Better to ask the question when you are nervous about your child's behavior. It is also good to find out that we all struggle with kid problems. I have found it is best to face them head on for a solution...rather than ignore and have them surface years later in a more difficult format! Here goes:

Hi Maggie,
I am recently faced with a challenge my nine year old son has placed before me. He dared his 5 year old brother and his 4 year old cousin to take their clothes off and he thought it would be fun to take pictures of them (without thier clothes) with my brother's cell phone. I am not sure how to talk to him about it. I have talked with him several times about our bodies and private parts, and not letting anyone touch or see them. please help.

Hi Rie,
If it is an isolated incident, you can probably chalk it up to young boys inquisitiveness. I wouldn't be overly concerned. It gives you the opportunity to once again explain body parts and why it is not a good idea to expose yourself (or your brother) in pubic or in front of the camera. Explanations like this will need to occur often during the life of your child. Although I'm sure it is not something you look forward to, having open discussions with your child will strengthen your relationship. This is a teaching opportunity. Make sure you talk simply, anger free and with no punishments. Talk to him alone. Also, talk with your 5 year and explain this is not something that we do. And that our bodies are private, sacred and we don't touch each other. Assure them both that they should talk with you if anything like this ever happens to them. That you are there to protect them. Make sure to hug each boy and let them know you are not angry with them. You will have to apologize to your brother and assure him you have addressed the problem.

Now, if this is not an isolated incident, and has happened multiple times, this behavior may be a sign that your son has been abused or introduced to pornography. If that is the case, I would strongly recommend visiting with a child psychologist.

Please feel free to ask additional questions. I would like to know how things go.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Since I will be driving home from Northern California all day on Friday, I figured I had better post my blog tonight. I committed to blogging every week day and although I have no idea how long I will keep this up, I need to blog at least two days in a row!

After spending a few days with my daughter in the bay area, I would like to pose the question "How much do you do for your child?" "How much is too much or not enough?" So many parents differ on their answers to this question. Many parents believe we do too much for their children. That we need to step out of their lives and let them do for themselves. I personally believe that what you do for your kids differ with each child. And what they need will change at different points in their lives. I try (and I am not perfect) to let the child be the deciding factor. When they need me they will ask for assistance. Or I have asked if I can help them in a situation. If they are stuck and need help, they will readily say yes. Consequentially, when they don't need help, they will state boldly that they can do it on their own and I am no longer needed. The later is the tougher of the two to accept. But accept it I must!

Welcome to my blog....

I am creating this blog for all of us involved in parenting or should I call it nurturing. After 31 years of parenting, I have all kinds of tips to give and I am sure other parents will want to join in. Once you find something that works with your own children, it is natural to pass the good news on to others who might be struggling with the same kid problem. So I will start out with a few of my ideas and try to do it daily. Join me!