Don’t battle teens and ‘tweens

Do you often feel as if you’re on a battleground with your teen or ‘tween? Sometimes it’s a matter of communicating in a different way to achieve a different result. We all need to feel validated, heard, as well as understood, so instead of dreading your differences, be resourceful in the way you present your information. Deliver your message in a calm manner that can be received more easily. Speak to your teen the way you’d like to be spoken to. It’s pretty remarkable how well your teen will respond when (s)he feels understood or validated. When you speak and lead with love, your message will be heard. For how-to’s, read the full article, “Don’t battle teens and ‘tweens”.

How to handle a teen: Sixteen going on 6

Sometimes teens behave like toddlers. They roll their eyes, slam doors, stomp up the stairs and say whatever comes into their mind, without thought or consideration. Although it’s a more mature version of a toddler tantrum rolling on the floor crying, kicking or screaming, it’s still a temper tantrum.

It’s so important to know, understand, believe and remember that a teen’s brain is not fully developed, so they act impulsively, sometimes dangerously, and really do need parental boundaries to keep them safe. We get fooled or caught up in the chaos because teens are often as big in size as we are, and they talk a good game, so we listen. Consider your response before giving it, set limits and stick with them. Getting a teen to act their age, take responsibility and behave responsibly can be a challenge, but it can be done. If you’re struggling with frustrating teen behaviors, read more in “Sixteen going on 6” .


Teaching with Love will get the result you want

To many times we react out of frustration or anger, rather than teach what we want. Our emotions get the best of us, just as they do with young ones. When we continue to struggle with staying calm and self regulated, it’s no wonder they struggle with it as well.

Plan ahead and commit to staying calm, so you can move calmly through the moment and teach whatever it is that you want. Six simple steps to getting there include:

1.Gain an Understanding- of child development, appropriate expectations or of the reason for the chaos.

2.Respond differently than you have in the past. This creates new interest or attention, because it’s not part of the routine. New patterns create different responses and new behaviors. Use lots of empathy, because everyone wants to feel understood.

3.Decrease your “no” responses, and answer with a yes, when. Nobody likes to hear “No, you can’t, but after dinner you may.” Cut to the chase and use the second part of the sentence for a “Yes, when…” “Yes, when dinner’s over, then you may…..”

4.Remain calm when you see resistance. Rather than force the matter, speak quietly, and rephrase with “We’re going to….., so how can I help.” An offer of help will almost always melt non-compliance or anger.

5.Ignore the attitude and focus on the action. Ignore the eye rolling or stomping up the stairs as your child, ‘tween or teen goes to clean their room. Recognize the positive action of going to clean their room! When you ignore the attitude, it falls away because your child isn’t getting any attention for it. Try it!

6.Saturate your child with positive reinforcement for the exact behavior that you want to continue. Rather than criticize and complain for what he’s doing wrong, continuously tell him what he’s doing right. It works with everyone.

 To read the full article with suggestions on how to teach with love go to “Teaching with love can cure bad behavior”.


Kids would do well, if they could do well.

Does your child constantly whine, beg, negotiate, cry, or resort to a dreaded kicking, screaming tantrum? So many parents don’t know what to do to stop the spiraling cycle or avoid it before it starts. It’s all about changing patterns and habits; both yours and your child’s.

Most adults would agree that they struggle with change, and find it challenging to do things differently than what they’re used to. It’s understandable then, that children have an even more difficult time, because they are less mature and have fewer experiences to help them accept change or self regulate.

Most children need what may seem to be an excessive amount of repetition, application or opportunity to try and try again, along with a saturation of positive recognition for their efforts. Don’t wait until they do it perfectly, which would be an achievement, because it’s your enthusiastic encouragement of their small efforts that leads to success and achievement. Read more about how you can support better behavior and better listening, with just a few small, yet consistent changes in…..Tips to move kids from defiant to compliant.


Simple changes for challenging behavior

So many families are challenged with chaos or disruptive behavior, but continue unhappily day in and day out, unable to make lasting, productive changes. Responding rather than reacting, or making changes is difficult for most people. We begin with good intent and motivation, but eventually our old patterns and habits return because it’s just easier to do what we’ve always done, without thinking. Consequently, those inconsistencies cause confusion, which causes non-compliance. Before continuing, consider these well known statements.

*Nothing changes if nothing changes. *If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. Oh, and one more. *The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

So, when you’ve decided that what you’re dong isn’t working, and you really want to make changes to support a calm, stable family life, read how to develop and stick with a plan to really make it happen. Read a simple overview of brain patterning, how experiences become patterns, and how to set up a simple behavior plan to get the results you’re looking for in my article “Reachable, teachable New Year’s resolutions“.

The 5 R’s of Punishment

When kids misbehave, no matter what their age, our typical go-to’s are time out, no TV or dessert, taking away toys or privileges, or full out grounding for older ones. Then, an hour later, a day later or even a week later, they do it again! Haven’t they learned? With all the many times we’ve punished- yet they do it again, why haven’t we learned that punishments don’t change behavior? Punishments cause humiliation, embarrassment, anger and fractured relationships, but they don’t teach anything new.

So what does happen when we punish? The result is what I refer to as The 5 R’s of punishment, and unfortunately, Responsibility isn’t one of them. Initially, when called out on a misbehavior, Resistance builds; resistance for taking responsibility, so blaming others occurs. When we continue with threats of punishment, Resentment builds. When our own children resent us, and feel they’ve been treated unfairly, not only does it distance us from them, but they’re unable to learn a new behavior, which was supposed to be the point of the punishment. OK, so next comes Rebellion. For this, I’m reminded of a cartoon of a child in a time out corner. The bubble comment said, “When I’m in time out, I’m sure not thinking of what I did wrong, I’m thinking of how I’m going to do it again without getting caught!” Does that seem familiar? Retaliation comes after the punishment, because humiliation makes it difficult for emotional reconnection. Kids retaliate by sticking a tongue out at a sibling, kicking the dog, knocking over a chair (by accident?), a rude response, or passive/aggressive eye rolling behind mom’s back. Even at this point, the punished child hasn’t taken responsibility or learned a new, better behavior. The last R is Revenge, which is doing it again without getting caught. So now they sneak, lie or steal to get what they want.

So, what’s a parent to do? Teach with patience, with thought and with logical consequences. When logical consequences are given without anger, kids can take Responsibility, understanding what needs to change. Read more in the full article, Take a Timeout from Time Out at

When fear takes over

Anxiety is often very difficult to overcome. It can emerge from nowhere, strangle our emotions and consume our ability to function. Luckily, after a few anxious moments, most of us are able to re-set with breathing techniques and self talk so we can move through the challenge to accomplish our goal. We have the advantage of past experiences that remind us we can do it.

What about the kids? Sadly, many children don’t have that bank of success from which to withdraw, so they remain anxious throughout their uncomfortable experience. Frightening experiences layer upon each other, filling big holes and long ditches of fear, unless we provide the support and encouragement that is needed. Too often parents minimize the depth or reality of their child’s challenge. It’s up to us to provide whatever is necessary to pull them from frantic fear, and enable them to experience the many joys of life. To read more about how you can help your child through anxious moments, read