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Growing Great Families

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WebTalkRadio.net HostParenting is a life long journey. Unfortunately, children do not arrive with an instruction book and navigating family life has become more hazardous in our instant communication, highly competitive and relationship-challenged environment. This informational show is your GPS for the life-long parenting journey. Join us as we travel together to find the greatest fulfillment and happiness in our roles as a parent and in the life of your family.

 

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Growing Great Families – What you shouldn’t say to your children

In our travels and work with families we try to tune in to how parents are communicating with their children. At times we just want to hit the pause button and give the parents some feedback on why what they are doing or saying simply won‘t work. Since that is not possible, we decided to […]

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Growing Great Families with Dr. Richard and Jane Horowitz

Dr. Richard Horowitz and his wife, Jane, are partners in Growing Great Relationships (GGR). GGR is a relationship and parenting coaching practice serving couples and families seeking to enhance family life and improve communication skills. Richard holds a doctorate in education from Rutgers University and for over 40 years has worked with families and children in a variety of educational and institutional settings.
Richard is the author of Peaceful Parenting: Parent Empowerment And Child Empowerment and Family Centered Parenting – Your Guide For Growing Great Families. Dr. Horowitz has served as adjunct faculty at two universities, is a past–president, trustee and group facilitator for Men Mentoring Men, a non-profit organization supporting men and the redefining of masculinity, and he is also a former Peace Corps volunteer.
Jane Horowitz is a relationship coach who has worked for over 25 years with organizations, individuals and families on problem resolution and life-skills enhancement. She has served as Executive Director of a non-profit agency providing services, advocacy and coaching to individuals and families with disabilities. Jane is the 2010 recipient of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities Family Advocate Award.

Together, they are the parents and step parents of six children and have three grandchildren.

 

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  • Growing Great Families – What you shouldn’t say to your children

    In our travels and work with families we try to tune in to how parents are communicating with their children. At times we just want to hit the pause button and give the parents some feedback on why what they are doing or saying simply won‘t work. Since that is not possible, we decided to summarize the most common declarations of frustrated parents and suggest alternatives ways of approaching a situation. It is important to understand that none of us are perfect and from time to time we might say something to our kids that we regret.
    The problem is when we make a habit of these responses and become chronic abusers of things we shouldn’t say. For example, parents will often respond to an upset child, especially a teen, with, “I know how you feel.” On the surface this appears like a caring response. However, most of us believe that what we are feeling is unique to us as an individual and someone else could never really know how we feel. A better response might be, “You really seem upset right now.” The difference is that in the second retort you are validating how the other person is feeling without comparison to yourself. This opens the door for further problem solving with the child rather than being dismissed with, “You are not me, you don’t know how I feel.” Another example is something we hear quite often from frustrated parents, “If you don’t cut it out you will (get a spanking, be grounded for a week or something equally harsh),” The problem is that the parent is probably angry and not thinking clearly and the threats will be difficult to carry out. In addition, the child is learning to continue an inappropriate behavior until the parent makes a threat.
    We discuss other common communication mistakes, such as using always and never, telling a child to just get over it or stop crying – big boys don’t cry and telling your child not to hang around with__________. Again we provide alternative strategies to help parents avoid some of the knee jerk responses that really do not lend themselves to sound discipline.

  • Growing Great Families – Parenting The Exceptional Child

    Children who are exceptional, either those with disabilities or those with special gifts present unique challenges for families. Today we are going to spend some time talking about parenting a child with a disability. We will follow up on our next show with parenting a child who is gifted and talented.
    We start with defining what we mean by a disability. A condition – either physical, emotional, cognitive – that impairs an individual’s functioning in such a way that accommodations are needed to compete on a level playing field with individuals without a disability. We remind our listeners that the degree of impairment is more important than a label or a diagnosis in assessing the needs of a child with a disability. One must examine an individual’s specific needs based on how well they function in a variety of settings rather than just respond to the name of their disability.
    In addition we discuss the similarities and differences of how different disabilities impact on family life. At times, despite the obvious challenges, the purely physical disabilities are easier to accommodate than the hidden disabilities – emotional and cognitive. We point out, for example, that divorce rates among families with a child with a disability may be as high as 80%. In addition, siblings of children with a disability often feel abandoned because of the extra time and energy devoted to their brother or sister with a disability. We hone in on specific parenting practices that help families to manage and thrive despite the fact that there is a child or children with a disability in the family. Following the Family Centered Parenting strategies will help with the caution that there is just a smaller margin of error in implementing the recommended practices. We conclude with a discussion of what makes some families more successful than others – by successful we mean making the most of their abilities rather than being victims of a disability.

  • Growing Great Families – Kids Harming Themselves: Cutting & Suicide

    There are alarming increases in self-injurious behaviors and suicide attempts by teenagers. Today we will attempt to give an overview of the issues and what parents can do to protect their kids. We will show how self-harming behaviors like cutting and suicide attempts are related because they both reflect attempts by teens to cope with emotional overload through self destructive choices.

    However, cutting is not a gateway to suicide. Cutters do not articulate that they want to die rather that is their attempt to cope with emotions that they can not express. We share the words of a former cutter who describes how, “Cutting helps relieves stress, to be able to feel something, or to have control.” Shockingly a study in 2006 found that 1 in 5 students at two Ivy League schools say that have purposely injured themselves. These numbers are consistent with what counselors at high schools and middle schools report.

    In our discussion about teen suicides we attempt to bust some common myths about teen suicide and offer parents and caregivers concrete suggestions on what they need to look for. One common myth is that talking about suicide with depressed teens may prompt them to kill themselves. This is not true. Actually, most adolescents attempt suicide to call attention to the emotional pain which they are suffering. They want to live. If they receive the help they are asking for they have no need to attempt suicide again. Only one percent of all survivors of suicide attempts kill themselves within one year, only 10 percent within ten years.

    We discuss the steps parents can take to protect your children/teens. Most importantly, know your child. Be aware of changes in their moods and plans. Validate what you see and hear before problem solving. Keep the relationship even when disciplining and seek help whenever possible.

    We attempt to connect the dots between self-injurious behaviors and teen suicide and show how both are need fulfilling choices. We conclude with some ideas about what is missing in our kids lives and why does life seem so stressful to today’s teens.

  • Growing Great Families – How well do you know your child’s brain?

    We are learning so much about how our children learn and interact with the world from research by neuroscientists that we decided to devote this show to help parents relate this research to everyday parenting. We will be drawing upon a recent book, “Welcome To Your Child’s Brain” for most of what we share. The book is based on current research and authored by two prominent neuroscientists, Dr. Sandra Aamodt and Dr. Sam Wang.

    To best frame the information we are going to use a twenty item quiz. You will hear the questions in a multiple choice format and then we will share the correct answer with the thinking behind it. We start with – Which of the following is a good way to get your child to eat his spinach? The possible answers are: a. Cover the spinach in melted cheese. b. Start the meal with few bites of dessert. c. Feed him with soy-based formula as an infant. d. All of the above. e. None of the above. Incredibly the answer is d. All of the above. The reason being is that the child will associate the spinach with a positive taste. This is especially true if we give a sample of the dessert 9 seconds before the spinach or other food that our children may shun.

    Another question which pertains to an older child – Which of the following activities is likely to improve a child’s school performance? The possible answers are a. Studying with a friend. b. Listening to music while studying. c. Taking breaks from studying to play video games. d. All of the above. e. None of the above. Surprisingly the answer is c – Taking breaks from studying to play video games. Research has shown that two study sessions with times between them can result in twice as much learning as a single study session of the tame total length. This is called spaced training.

    This is just a sample of the breadth of information now available to parents about how learning about our child’s brain can make parenting a more manageable and fulfilling journey. Join us to hear more.

  • Growing Great Families – Cool Moms – Managing The Challenges of Family Life and Career

    As we were thinking about how to acknowledge the start of a new year on our show our thoughts turned to the topic of the New Year’s resolution or intention. Either formally or informally we try to look at the new year as a clean slate, a time to commit to making changes in our lives. Unfortunately, unless we really do it in a systematic way our good intentions tend to fall by the wayside. This is especially true for parents who are feeling overwhelmed and are experiencing a degree of dissatisfaction in the trajectory of their lives. That is why we thought it would be a good idea to invite an individual who has not only lived this journey but has made it her mission to help women make important changes in their journeys.
    Nancy Root, founder of Cool Moms Only, is with us to offer guidance on how to find that elusive balance of being a successful parent while achieving one’s professional goals. After working in corporate America for over 25 years while balancing the demands between a professional career and family Nancy likes to say “I am Survivor.” The road is not easy for women today. We have many roles in life; wives, ex-wives, mothers, sisters, sister-in laws, daughters, daughter in-laws, granddaughters, employees, managers, co-workers, business owners, room mothers, community volunteers or organizers, and friends. The list is endless and so is our desire to do it all, be it all, and have it all continues.
    Nancy will share her story about why and how she created Cool Moms Only and how Cool Moms Only can be a resource for women to start and stay on the path to fulfill their dreams. We will also discuss with Nancy about what a Cool Dad’s role is in our changing family structure Nancy leaves us with her prescription for a productive life – the four L’s – live, laugh, learn love.

  • Growing Great Families – 20 Secrets To Growing A Great Family – Part 2

    As we think about the coming new year we are going to share more of our suggestions regarding some of the greatest concerns that parents tell us they have raising their children. We begin with a fundamental question, “Is There a difference between discipline and punishment?” Although commonly interchanged there are distinct differences between a punishment approach to child rearing and a discipline approach. A punishment such as a removal of privileges, or a quick spank takes little time for a parent to administer. However, although swift, it tends to diminish the self-respect of the individual receiving it while simultaneously shifting responsibility from the “punishee” to the “punisher.” Discipline is often more challenging and time consuming because of the need to engage in discussion and processing. The only way for a child to truly take responsibility for his behavior and commit to changing that behavior is through dialogue and coaching.

    “Isn’t negotiating with a child just an excuse for being a pushover parent?” Many parents get uptight when they hear or read that negotiating with children is a good idea. This reaction is rather surprising when we consider how important negotiating skills are in order to be successful in our personal and work lives. Somehow there is a misperception that negotiating with adults is OK but when we do it with children there is a loss of power. Negotiating is empowering for all parties regardless of their age.

    We are often asked “What’s wrong with an occasional spanking when my child misbehaves? My parents did it to me and I turned out OK.” There are very limited times where physical force is appropriate. The price we pay for resorting to violent means to control behavior is great. The most significant consequence is that we are modeling through our behavior that violence is an acceptable way to resolve problems. After the spanking, the event is over. When we use a discipline approach instead, we get to the heart of the misbehavior, and instill individual responsibility that will keep a child from repeating the offense.

    We also deal with concerns about relocating, peer influence, managing technology, behavior modification, parenting teens, sharing our mistakes and school concerns.

    If you would like a free copy of our “20 Secrets To Growing A Great Family” just email us at info@GrowingGreatRelationships.com

    We wish you all a wonderful new year of growing your family great!

  • Growing Great Families – 20 Secrets To Growing A Great Family – Part 1

    As we think about the coming new year we are going to share our suggestions regarding some of the greatest concerns that parents tell us they have raising their children.

    We begin with, “How can I get my children to follow rules and do their chores willingly and without reminders?” The most important step is the process followed by the family in establishing rules and chores. Many parenting books simply say parents must make rules and have their children follow them. This approach fails because, to kids, parents making rules without their input often experience those rules as arbitrary and unfair.

    “How can I find the time for myself as an individual as well as meeting the needs of my children?” In our typically over scheduled household, the ones who lose out the most are often the parents. Parents should take stock on what they need and work within the family system to figure out how their needs can be met. At times parents need to give themselves permission to back off from some of their child’s activities.

    We are often asked, “What can I do to keep my children from using drugs or alcohol?” High-risk behaviors such as substance abuse certainly top the list. Our information-age culture certainly serves to increase the natural anxiety parents experience in their attempt to protect their children from the excesses of behavior that kids are constantly exposed to in the media and in the community. Although we associate these high risk behaviors with adolescence, it is unwise to wait for our children to become teenagers before we begin to discuss these issues within our families. Parents first need to focus on prevention. Prevention involves preparing our children for the choices they will have to make far in advance of the time they will actually have to make those choices.

    We also deal with concerns about communication, bullying, positive reinforcement, time outs, conflicts with caregivers, homework and dealing with exceptional children.

    If you would like a copy of our “20 Secrets To Growing A Great Family” just email us at info@GrowingGreatRelationships.com

  • Growing Great Families – Why are they so difficult?

    Not surprising, the most frequent questions we get from parents revolve around the parenting of teenagers. The teenage or adolescent years present so many challenges for both the youth and his/her parent it is no wonder why this period of child rearing is so stressful. On a previous show with an adolescent expert, Dr. Judith Kaufman we focused on some of the issues dealing with parenting teens however we might not have paid sufficient attention to what parents can do. We decided to re-visit the topic with a different approach. We start off with a quick summary of what is so unique about development during the adolescent years.

    Some of the key points that parents need to be aware of are linked to the overriding theme of adolescence – that is figuring who I am as an individual. To accomplish this necessary step in development teenagers will start to push away from their parents and substitute the opinions of their peers above all else.

    In addition, the adolescent brain is also going through changes. For example, the ability to make good decisions about risks and to make plans is part of the Executive Function skill set. Research has demonstrated that during the teen years the part of the brain that controls Executive Function is not fully developed despite the fact that at the same time our teens are achieving independence and are called upon to deal with complex choices including coping with body changes and their sexuality.

    Our recommendations for parents start with effective communication principles. Communication is how we build and maintain relationships and parents of teens need to be very mindful of how they communicate with their children in order to be there for them during this stressful period of development. We highlight and illustrate how validating what we hear and see in our children’s behavior coupled with active listening skills insures that we keep the communication door wide open with our adolescents.

  • Growing Great Families – Protecting Your Kids From Sexual Predators

    The Penn. State tragedy has certainly brought the issue of sexual exploitation of children back on the front page. Much has been written and discussed in the media and the internet about the horrific acts of the former coach. It also reminds us about past reports of similar activities by members of the clergy and others in position of authority.

    Since our focus is parenting, we will devote this week’s show to what parents can do to protect their children from sexual predators. In addition to sharing some factual information about sexual predators we have invited Dr. Ed Adams, a clinical psychologist who has done extensive counseling with adults who were victimized as children, to share his insights on understanding the dynamics of sexual abuse.

    We also offer parents important information that helps frame the discussion by utilizing the format of a true false quiz. The quiz highlights how much of what we think about sexual assault and sex offenders has been based on the myths we have all heard. For example, many parents only teach their children to be careful around strangers because they believe that most men who commit sexual offenses do not know their victim. However, the facts are that 90% of child victims know their offender, with almost half of the offenders being a family member. Of sexual assaults against people age 12 and up, approximately 80% of the victims know the offender. Another myth that is dispelled is that most child sexual abusers use physical force or threat to gain compliance from their victims. The reality is that in the majority of cases abusers gain access to their victims through deception and enticement, seldom using force. Abuse typically occurs within a long-term, ongoing relationship between the offender and victim and escalates over time.

    We close the show with practical tips for parents. Educate your children about protecting themselves without making them fearful of adults, listen with your eyes as well as your ears to what your children are experiencing and, most importantly, help your child develop a positive sense of themselves and their connection to the family.

  • Growing Great Families – It’s Mid Year — How is your son/daughter doing in school?

    In our show at the beginning of the school year we talked about what parents need to do to prepare for the school year. The school year is nearing half way and for many children the work has become more difficult and problems are becoming apparent. This is a particularly critical time for parents to get involved before problems become overwhelming and the school year comes to an end. Children who do not receive the reinforcement of good grades and recognition by their teachers for positive performance often seek negative attention and develop a self image as someone who is not able to learn.
    Learning is about taking risks. If someone does not have confidence in their ability to learn they will stop trying in order to avoid failure. We discuss what a parent should look for that there are problems when they are not getting negative reports from the school. Comments from kids like, “school is boring” or “my teacher doesn’t like me” are not to be taken at face value and usually are indicative of difficulties with learning. In addition, parents should pay attention to changes in mood or increases in requests to stay home from school because of illness. These can also be signs of school issues.
    We talk about what parents should do and differentiate between a child already deemed eligible for special education and one who is experiencing learning problems for the first time. Parents who already have an IEP or 504 plan should make sure that these learning contracts are being properly implemented and arrange a meeting to discuss changes if academic and behavioral goals are not being met. If your child has not been classified as needing special education and is experiencing learning issues, it is essential that you contact your child’s teacher(s) and arrange a face to face conference if possible. Share your concerns, and seek responses from the teacher. Agree upon some short term goals and plan a follow up conference. It is important for the parent to take notes that would be useful if the parent needs to go beyond the teacher and contact a supervisor of principal.
    We close the show with a discussion about getting kids to do their homework – often a battleground issue in many families.

  • Growing Great Families – Holidays – Is Your Family Ready?

    It is pretty clear that holiday madness has begun. Advertisements for pre- black Friday sales, seasonal commercials on TV and Christmas decorations and displays blossoming make it abundantly clear that there is no escape from the holiday hype. However, along with holiday excitement it can also be a stressful time for families. The media reinforces idealized images of what the holidays are supposed to be. We see well dressed, happy families with obedient children bearing abundant gifts enjoying each other’s company and eating sumptuous meals in perfect harmony. These images create expectations that are often hard to meet.
    We know parents do have concerns based on past history and current challenges and, instead of pushing them aside, dealing with these issues before hand can go a long way in reducing stress and problems. In order to make sure that we hone in on what parents are concerned about we asked parents to share their fears in the form of questions. We picked those that appeared with the greatest frequency and we will try to answer them. For starters several parents described this type of situation. “We are invited to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. There will be a number of family and friends and her dinners are quite elaborate and last several hours. My 11 year old son has ADHD and I am worried that he will not be able to sit through the dinner and do something impulsive that will embarrass me. What can I do?” For this and other situations that our parents have described we emphasize the importance of planning ahead. Based on prior experience parents can anticipate what difficulties lay ahead and with discussion and collaboration come up with strategies to cope these challenges.
    We conclude with a role play illustrating the wrong way and the right way to handle a typical conflict with a family member during a holiday get together.

  • Growing Great Families – Expanding Horizons

    We have often talked about the importance of our children, especially teens, building resilience by experiencing a broader picture of the world and by overcoming obstacles. Several factors have made this more difficult today than in the past. Suburban life styles, fewer teens working after school, heavily scheduled activities and parents who might be keeping too tight a rein on their kids limit teens exposure to some of the realities of life. In addition, if they live in a community without diversity they have few opportunities to interact with peers from different cultures.

    Today, along with our guests John Slocum and Beth Lieberman of AmeriSpan, we will offer suggestions on how to expand our children’s horizons. Teens experiencing a different culture and language would certainly be a great strategy and John and Beth will tell us how to make it happen. Their company, AmeriSpan, offers a variety of overseas programs for language and cultural study for teens alone and for teens and their families. They explain how their programs operate and how they meet the concerns of parents regarding supervision and safety. One of their programs for families traveling together resonates with our Family Centered Parenting process in that the family as a unit engages in a project together to learn a new language and to experience a different culture.

    We also offer families some ideas on how they can expand the horizons of their children when they don’t have the financial means to support their teens participating in an overseas experience. We close with stories about how these types of experiences benefited our families.

  • Growing Great Families – Caring For Others – Social Justice and Family Life

    Most parents try to teach their children to generally follow the golden rule – “do on to others as you would have others do on to you.” There are a number of values embedded in this simple statement. In Family Centered Parenting we talk about a family creating a vision statement which in essence often turns out to be a variation of the Golden Rule. Parents and teachers want to see children work and play together, to show respect, to not bully, to solve problems non-violently and to be understanding and tolerant of others, or in non-political terms – Social Justice. Although some people, when they hear the term social justice, associate it with a political ideology – particularly left/liberal – when it comes to families, we mean fairness, caring about others. Others being siblings, extended family and the community at large.

    We have invited two guests who are actively involved in helping families and schools teach and reinforce the values of fairness and the importance of helping others to join us. Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner are co-founders of Reach And Teach, a company working to transform the world through teachable moments. Derrick and Craig will share specific programs and strategies to help parents increase their children’s awareness of the importance of caring for others and how they can contribute to making their world more tolerant and respectful. We reinforce the importance both for the individual and society at large of volunteering and participating in programs that benefit the community. One particular program of note is the effort to combat bullying by showing bystanders, the non-bully non-victim, how they can become “up-standers.” Up-standers are the majority who can use their voice to show the bully that he/she is not supported and they will speak up in defense of the victim.

  • Growing Great Families – TIME OUT IS A WASTE OF TIME

    We often encounter families punishing children with time outs. Depending on the age, the time outs range from sit in the corner for five minutes to no TV for a week. However, the behaviors often seem to repeat despite these punishments. Still many so-called parenting experts continue to advise parents to use time out as their main disciplinary strategy.

    In this and upcoming shows we will offer alternatives to time out that are based on understanding the difference between discipline and punishment. Although some view the two words as interchangeable they reflect a fundamental difference in what a parent wants to accomplish – stop a misbehavior once or teach responsibility so that it doesn’t happen again. We will role play a scenario of a typical punishment intervention and, after presenting an analysis of the differences between discipline and punishment, we role play an alternative disciplinary intervention for the same situation.

    To get to the heart of the differences between discipline and punishment, we share a quiz form our Family Centered Parenting book. For example, punishment is grounded in terms of retribution or revenge where discipline emphasizes teaching ways to act that will result in successful behavior. Another example offered is that when punishing responsibility is assumed by the one in authority disciplining responsibility is assumed by individual who commits the infraction. We also offer parents suggestions on what to do if a child is not willing to engage in a disciplinary dialogue. In that instance we recommend a “shut down” and explain how that is different from a time out.

    We conclude with a personal story of how discipline can work with a three and a half year old.

  • Growing Great Families – Who’s Taking Care of My Kids?

    Child care is a huge issue for parents. From the occasional babysitter to a full time Nanny, parents can’t always be with their children and must defer child rearing to another. It is a big topic, therefore we will break it down and focus today’s show on the more permanent type of non-institutional arrangements. We also have a guest with us, Katie Herrick Bugbee, the Managing Editor at Care.com, an online resource connecting families with babysitters, nannies, senior aides, pet care and housekeepers, who will provide valuable insights into the selection and relationships between parents and nannies.

    We discuss the fact that although non-parental child care has always been an issue for families parents are telling us the decisions parents must make today are more complex and costly. One factor is the increase in two working parents and single parents has increased. When the adults are at work, somebody has to take care of the kids – especially before they are of school age and for school age children after school care. In addition, today’s parents are more cautious and probably have fewer options because they are less likely to have extended family locally, there are fewer teenagers available for babysitting, their increased concerns about child safety and more regulations of independent childcare providers.

    Our guest helps us understand the complexities of the relationships between the more permanent in home childcare provider, the nanny and the parents. Katie will give valuable tips for families on how to find a nanny and most importantly how to create the working relationship that brings a level of comfort to the parents and at the same time allows the nanny to form strong bonds with the children and parents.

    We conclude with a discussion of the importance of using Family Centered Parenting family meetings as the logical format for bringing the nanny into the life of the family and to be proactive in establishing family rules and resolving conflicts over discipline and household rules.

  • Growing Great Families – Family Centered Parenting – Your GPS for the Parenting Journey

    We have often made reference to our Family Centered Parenting process and book yet we haven’t fully explained Family Centered Parenting® (FCP). In this show we will start with an explanation of the general principles of the FCP approach.

    Family Centered Parenting is a parenting program based on the notion that a child is part of a family system where all family members make choices to get their individual needs met within the context of the family unit. Parenting becomes need fulfilling for adult caregivers when they feel successful as parents through understanding their own needs, the utilization of effective communication skills and the implementation of the family meeting process as an essential element of family life.

    FCP practices and strategies also empower children so that they too recognize that their behavioral choices are need fulfilling. Children learn to meet their needs through behavioral choices that are responsible, appropriate and consistent with the values of the family.

    FCP is different in that, unlike other parenting programs and books, it is not narrow focused – meaning parenting for a particular trait or disorder. Nor is it a cookbook type approach which gives a specific response to a given situation. Instead, FCP starts with the “Why” before the “How.” By building on a philosophy of human behavior which informs us of how we want and should treat our children, FCP provides a firm foundation for our parenting practices. We talk about the importance of regular family meetings and how they serve as the cornerstone to the FCP process. We explain how family meetings are used to create a family mission statement, discuss and negotiate rules and solve problems. We close the show by sharing how FCP principles helped us in our personal parenting journeys.

  • Growing Great Families – Family Centered Parenting – Your GPS for the Parenting Journey

    We have often made reference to our Family Centered Parenting process and book yet we haven’t fully explained Family Centered Parenting® (FCP). In this show we will start with an explanation of the general principles of the FCP approach.

    Family Centered Parenting is a parenting program based on the notion that a child is part of a family system where all family members make choices to get their individual needs met within the context of the family unit. Parenting becomes need fulfilling for adult caregivers when they feel successful as parents through understanding their own needs, the utilization of effective communication skills and the implementation of the family meeting process as an essential element of family life.

    FCP practices and strategies also empower children so that they too recognize that their behavioral choices are need fulfilling. Children learn to meet their needs through behavioral choices that are responsible, appropriate and consistent with the values of the family.

    FCP is different in that, unlike other parenting programs and books, it is not narrow focused – meaning parenting for a particular trait or disorder. Nor is it a cookbook type approach which gives a specific response to a given situation. Instead, FCP starts with the “Why” before the “How.” By building on a philosophy of human behavior which informs us of how we want and should treat our children, FCP provides a firm foundation for our parenting practices. We talk about the importance of regular family meetings and how they serve as the cornerstone to the FCP process. We explain how family meetings are used to create a family mission statement, discuss and negotiate rules and solve problems. We close the show by sharing how FCP principles helped us in our personal parenting journeys.

  • Growing Great Families – Teenagers – Responsibility, Resiliency and Finances!

    We acknowledge the dilemma for parents of teens in granting them independence while at the same time monitoring their actions to make sure they are making good decisions. It is clear that in order for teens to mature into responsible adults they have to develop resiliency – that is the ability to bounce back from the inevitable disappoints and setbacks we all experience. However, there is substantial evidence that fewer teens and emerging adults can cope with the stress of daily living. Recent studies show a sharp rise in the diagnosis of depression among this population that researchers attribute to a lack of coping skill resulting from over parenting and insufficient opportunities for teens to learn how to be independent. The phenomenon of the “helicopter parent” is certainly a good illustration.

    In this show we will focus on one aspect of fostering independence among adolescents – financial responsibility. Since we are all aware that the issues surrounding managing money are often highly contentious among parents and teens a tool that can make this a better experience for parent and child would be very helpful.

    Our invited guest, Evan Jones, Vice President of marketing at Bill My Parents, will explain how his company’s Bill My Parents Spend Smart Card has created a great tool to help parents and teens manage money. Evan will explain how the Spend Smart card gives a teen the opportunity to make purchases that are monitored by parents at the time of purchase while developing good spending habits. The technology behind the card allows the teen to use it without the risk of overdrafts or interest expenses.

    An additional feature in the Bill My Parents program is that it is highly consistent with our Family Centered Parenting process, not only provides financial planning tools, but even more importantly encourages an on-going conversation between teen and parent about spending and financial responsibility.

  • Growing Great Families – When Parents/Caregivers don’t agree on how to parent.

    In the parenting journey, the child’s parents/caregivers will at times disagree on how to handle a specific situation or on their parenting strategies. This happens often, and has a significant impact on parenting. In our show we will look at what is often behind these disagreements and what can be done about it.

    As we are all aware, children need consistency in their lives. Predictably helps them feel secure and aware of their boundaries. Parental disharmony not only causes the child to feel unsafe but also promotes triangulation, a child playing one parent against the other. This does not end in early childhood but can continue into emerging adulthood – especially around independence and money matters. The “mom lets me do it” excuse when confronted by dad is a typical strategy for a child to employ when playing one parent against another.

    There are a variety of reasons why caregivers disagree about parenting. These include gender based perceptions of authority and the parenting styles that the caregivers were subjected to when they were children. Not being on the same page becomes more of a problem when parents are divorced and in blended and step households. Children who are co-parented in two different households are often subject to two different parenting styles. This becomes especially critical if the divorced parents are not communicating – a fairly common situation. Blended families, by definition, are bringing two different families together with the challenge of creating one united family.

    We also address the issue of relatives and hired childcare workers who have scheduled time with the children but want to manage the children in a style differently than the parents. The solutions are basic but often difficult to implement. The keys include feeling secure about your parenting style, planning for change in living situations and finally getting the caregivers who have differences to agree on a trial program that they both will adhere to for a designated period of time. The results will provide the data for going forward. We close the show with a personal story from Richard that will provide some further insights on the problem.

  • Growing Great Families – ADHD On The Rise (Part 2): What parents can do.

    More and more children are getting a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of children with the condition rose from 7% in 1998-2000 to 9% in 2007-2009, for both boys and girls.

    Whatever the underlying reasons for the condition’s rise, a tremendous amount of money is being spent on health care and educational interventions directed at ADHD, not to mention other costs to parents. In 2005, using an estimated prevalence of only 5%, researcher’s estimated the societal cost of this diagnosis (mental illness) to be about $42.5 billion.

    It’s not all bad news; it could mean that with greater awareness of the condition and better access to health care, more children who have ADHD get a proper diagnosis, which is the first step toward seeking appropriate treatment. Given the costs, both economically and emotionally, to families with a child with ADHD we have devoted two shows for our listeners to dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding ADHD and to provide specific strategies for parents and teachers to manage the behaviors of a child with ADHD so that their children can compete and succeed.

    We follow the overview presented in the first show with a more in depth explanation of the physiology of ADHD and the impulse control and organizational skills impairments that result for young children, teens and adults. We again review the pro’s & con’s of medication and alternative interventions as an adjunct to parenting practices that benefit both the ADHD child and parent. The four key principles of behavioral intervention – Relationship, Brevity, Novelty, Structure – are illustrated along with specific tips on to implement these interventions. We close with concrete and detailed techniques for parents, teachers and adults with ADHD to help compensate for the struggles brought about by this disorder.

  • Growing Great Families – ADHD On The Rise: Is It A Cause For Alarm Or Just Better Diagnosing? Part 1

    More and more children are getting a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of children with the condition rose from 7% in 1998-2000 to 9% in 2007-2009, for both boys and girls. In some areas of the United States those figures are even higher. In the past 10 years, ADHD prevalence increased 10% in the Midwest and South.

    Whatever the underlying reasons for the condition’s rise, a tremendous amount of money is being spent on health care and educational interventions directed at ADHD, not to mention other costs to parents. In 2005, using an estimated prevalence of only 5%, researcher’s estimated the societal cost of this diagnosis (mental illness) to be about $42.5 billion.

    That’s not necessarily bad news; it could mean that with greater awareness of the condition and better access to health care, more children who have ADHD get a proper diagnosis, which is the first step toward seeking appropriate treatment. Given the costs, both economically and emotionally, to families with a child with ADHD we have devoted two shows for our listeners to dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding ADHD and to provide specific strategies for parents and teachers to manage the behaviors of a child with ADHD so that their children can compete and succeed.

    We explain how ADHD is both under diagnosed and over diagnosed and provide families with the questions they need to ask their children’s teachers and physicians to make sure that a proper diagnosis is made. In addition, we discuss the pro’s and con’s of medication and behavioral interventions and illustrate the social skills challenges that many children with ADHD encounter when dealing with peers. We close with concrete and detailed techniques for parents, teachers and adults with ADHD to help compensate for the struggles brought about by this disorder.

  • Growing Great Families – Child Safety – Are we over protecting our kids or are we asleep at the wheel? Part 2

    This week we continue our conversation with our two experts on child safety. If you missed Part 1, please go to our archives and listen – there’s lots of great information there!

    No one would disagree that making sure our children, often referred to as our most important natural resource, are safe is the number one priority for parents and for society at large. Therefore, we decided to focus this show and the next on child safety. We present data to frame the core issues involved in keeping children safe and to help us understand the issue of child safety in depth and to offer parents specific tips on keeping their children safe in and around their homes and community, we invited two distinguished guests to join us – the Honorable Nancy Harvey Steorts, former Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and currently President of Nancy Harvey Steorts International, www.NationalSafetyExpert.com, and Michele Welsh Founder of Safety Tat, www.SafetyTat.com.

    Nancy Harvey Steorts has had a distinguished career. As an international consultant, media commentator, speaker and author, she remains committed to the concept of quality and safety for the consumer. President Reagan appointed Ms. Steorts Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Michele Welsh is the inventor of Safety Tat, a temporary child ID tattoo, the parent of three young children and a successful entrepreneur who has been interviewed on many TV and radio shows and magazine articles.

    The data, as reported by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2006 reveals that there were about 17,000 child deaths that were not naturally caused. 11,674 were as a result of unintentional injury, 3,418 from homicide and 1,774 from suicide for a mortality rate of 20.6. The numbers for 2002 were a bit higher with a mortality rate of 21.3. A slight improvement but still the unnecessary loss of 17,000 children

    .

    With the help of Nancy and Michelle we look at all aspects of child safety from understanding and preventing child abductions to the way parents can make sure their children wear helmets when riding their bicycles. In addition we will address the more chronic issues that affect the well being of our kids – childhood obesity and the impact of poverty.

  • Growing Great Families – Child Safety – Are we over protecting our kids or are we asleep at the wheel? Part I

    No one would disagree that making sure our children, often referred to as our most important natural resource, are safe is the number one priority for parents and for society at large. Therefore, we decided to focus this show and the next on child safety. We present data to frame the core issues involved in keeping children safe and to help us understand the issue of child safety in depth and to offer parents specific tips on keeping their children safe in and around their homes and community, we invited two distinguished guests to join us – the Honorable Nancy Harvey Steorts, former Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and currently President of Nancy Harvey Steorts International, www.NationalSafetyExpert.com, and Michele Welsh Founder of Safety Tat, www.SafetyTat.com.

    Nancy Harvey Steorts has had a distinguished career. As an international consultant, media commentator, speaker and author, she remains committed to the concept of quality and safety for the consumer. President Reagan appointed Ms. Steorts Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Michele Welsh is the inventor of Safety Tat, a temporary child ID tattoo, the parent of three young children and a successful entrepreneur who has been interviewed on many TV and radio shows and magazine articles.

    The data, as reported by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2006 reveals that there were about 17,000 child deaths that were not naturally caused. 11,674 were as a result of unintentional injury, 3,418 from homicide and 1,774 from suicide for a mortality rate of 20.6. The numbers for 2002 were a bit higher with a mortality rate of 21.3. A slight improvement but still the unnecessary loss of 17,000 children.

    With the help of Nancy and Michelle we look at all aspects of child safety from understanding and preventing child abductions to the way parents can make sure their children wear helmets when riding their bicycles. In addition we will address the more chronic issues that affect the well being of our kids – childhood obesity and the impact of poverty.

  • Growing Great Families – Back to School – Mixed Emotions

    Given the displays in stores, ads on TV and the hopeful look on the faces of many parents, school is either starting soon or has just begun. However, we realize that it is a mixed bag for both parents and kids. Parents look forward to the stricter routines dictated by the school calendar yet will miss the more relaxed summer family schedule. Also, if there were school issues that were unresolved at the end of the last school year the new year starting reminds us that they must be re-visited. The additional stress on schools because of cutbacks and a media obsession with test scores has also added to parental anxiety about their schools.

    Kids also have mixed feelings about going back to school. Despite their outward gloom, many kids really look forward to the structure and routine of school along with reuniting with friends. On the other hand, if school has not been a place where kids have achieved recognition, then the idea of going back to school becomes stressful for them.

    We explore these contradictions and offer specific strategies on the best ways for parents to both be engaged in their child’s education and also how they can work with other parents to deal with the external issues of budget cuts and sagging teacher morale. Parental engagement includes creating a rich language environment by reading to kids and encouraging them to express their thoughts and ideas; monitoring homework without getting overly involved, setting and monitoring kids schedules and activities and responding to school issues quickly and effectively.

    We close with our segment, “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” where we relate how our personal parenting stories and what we learned can be the solution for you.

  • Growing Great Families – The traditional family, a thing of the past?

    In Family Centered Parenting we have been mindful not to place a set definition of what constitutes a family. Despite the implication on the part of parents listening that we are not talking only about a traditional family defined as children living with their biological mother and father, our message is that whatever way a family defines itself as a family is our definition of family.

    This is especially true given some startling data that we share. There is ample evidence that the so called traditional family is now the exception. Almost 7 out of 10 of American youth are living in non-traditional families with 3 out of 10 living with a single parent and another 3 out of 10 are living in step or blended families. We discuss what these numbers mean for the well being of children. Some startling information is revealed. For example, a recent study indicated that children of divorced parents are seven times more likely to suffer from depression in adult life than people of similar age and background whose parents have not divorced. Furthermore, 75% of children/adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families and more than one half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts lived in one-parent families when they were children.

    We offer specific suggestions and advice so that children growing up in single parent households or blended families are not doomed. However, it does mean that parents in the non-traditional situations have to account for the higher degree of risk placed upon the children. The crucial words are Plan, Plan, Plan. Being mindful of the risks and making sure through family meetings, effective communication and paying close attention to your kids emotional state can help non-traditional families not only survive but potentially thrive.

    We close our show with our segment “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” – where we relate personal parenting stories and how what we learned can be the solution for you.

    Listen to our radio show – Growing Great Families – on WebTalkRadio.net
    http://webtalkradio.net/shows/growing-great-families/

  • Growing Great Families – Kids & Money

    From toddlers putting coins in their piggy banks to teenagers paying for car insurance, money management is huge issue in the life of a family. When not handled thoughtfully, issues surrounding money can become a constant area of family friction and disharmony.

    Parents need guidelines and suggestions on how to establish and share their values concerning spending, saving and responding to the challenges of living a fiscally responsible lifestyle.

    To help us address these issues we have called upon an expert guest, Gene Dickison, President and Chief Financial Advisor of More Than Money Financial Group. Gene offers parents a comprehensive overview of the values children need to embrace about financial matters. He stresses the importance of starting the money discussion with young children and offers practical suggestions on setting guidelines for spending and saving taking into account the resources of the family. Parents with considerable means as well as parents facing financial hardship will learn the importance of involving the whole family in managing finances.

    Gene’s approach to involving the family is consistent with the practices of Family Centered Parenting in regards to utilizing family meetings, getting input from the children before decisions are made and stressing individual responsibility in making choices. We also take on the mundane but often troublesome debate about allowance and paying for chores. Should children be paid for doing their chores and be docked if they don’t complete them? Our approach might surprise you.

    We close our show with our segment, “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” where we relate our personal parenting stories and how what we learned can be the solution for you.

  • Growing Great Families – Teenagers: Where parents fear to tread.

    Philosopher Raymond Duncan wrote – “The best substitute for experience is being sixteen.” Then there is an old Yiddish proverb that tells us that, “Small children disturb your sleep, big children your life.”

    Today we explore why the parenting of adolescents so fraught with angst for parents and what parents can do to not only survive the parenting of teenagers but actually enjoy the process. To help us we are joined by Dr. Judith Kaufman, Professor of Psychology, and Director of the School Psychology Training Program at Farleigh Dickinson University. Dr. Kaufman is a nationally and internationally known expert on adolescent behavior and has published extensively on the subject.

    With Dr. Kaufman’s help, we identify how our biology and current culture shape adolescent behavior. In addition, we explain how our institutions and our modern family life might actually be contributing to the phenomenon of adolescence extending into our children’s early twenties. We remind parents, that utilizing communication practices that validate – not necessarily agree – with what our teenagers are experiencing and providing increasing levels of responsibility in decision making are the keys to reducing the stress of parenting teenagers. Parents of adolescents need to maintain their sense of humor and remember what it was like for them to negotiate this important life passage. Sharing, when we are invited, on how we handled ourselves – both the good and the bad – during this turbulent period of development can be of great comfort and support to our teenage children.

    We close with our segment “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” where we relate our personal parenting stories and how what we learned can be the solution for you.

  • Growing Great Families – Parent Blunders: You don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent

    With so much parenting information and advice now available in books, magazines, internet blogs and “ezines”, parents are feeling tremendous pressure in figuring out how to precisely navigate the parenting journey. In addition, advice from friends and relatives – especially grandparents – makes the experience even more confusing. This week we will relieve some of the pressure parents are feeling to be perfect parents and to alleviate their fears that a parental mistake will have dire consequences for their children. We begin with debunking the pervasive myth that parenting accounts completely for how our kids turn out. We provide insights into the external, often uncontrollable by parents, events that shape our children’s future.

    On one hand, this truth appears on the surface to put even more pressure on parents to be perfect about the things they do control. However, by adhering to Family Centered Parenting strategies, parents learn about the most crucial things parents need to do yet still leave room for the occasional parenting mistake. The most fundamental notion for parents to remember is that your children will do what you do, not do what you say. The importance of modeling and the fact that human beings learn by imitation cannot be over stated. For example, when we control our emotions and practice the values we preach, we are teaching our children appropriate ways to deal with the challenges they face on a daily basis. Parents need to remember that they also model that being perfect is not realistic. When a parent makes a mistake, usually a temper driven outburst, the way they handle it sends a clear message to the child that when we mess up we can re-group, make restitution and learn from the experience.

    We close with our segment “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” where we relate our personal parenting stories and how what we learned can be the solution for you.

  • Growing Great Families – He Just Doesn’t Listen: Is there something wrong with him or could it be us?

    Countless articles on parenting and TV reality shows like “Super Nanny” highlight issues about kids out of control or who rarely listen to their parents. Even early childhood educators report increasing violent or anti-social behavior among their students. Are we experiencing and epidemic on what is labeled by the mental health community as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)? This show will examine the apparent increase in negative behaviors among children and offer explanations as to what is happening and what parents can do about it. You will learn about a cluster of factors that might explain the increase in defiant behavior among children – starting with TV violence.

    A March, 2011, report by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry indicated that American children watch an average of four hours of television daily. Unfortunately, much of today’s television programming is violent. The consequences for kids are that they become numb to the horror of violence, and they tend to imitate the violence they observe on the screen.

    In addition, we explore how both neglectful and over parenting also contributes to oppositional behaviors and how ADHD, when not properly treated, often starts a progression of impulsive behaviors that lead to full scale Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Parents coping with the defiant child need to learn new strategies and techniques for disciplining their child. Learning how to curb misbehaviors without saying “no” and learning to control emotions when disciplining a child are crucial steps for parents to take. Following the Family Centered Parenting model, parents will learn how to discipline in a way that helps the oppositional child without engaging in the power struggle that actually feeds out of control behaviors. Our show concludes with a question from our audience that speaks to parenting approaches by a mom and a dad that are polar opposites and allows the oppositional child to inhabit the powerful role as being the center of attention.

  • Growing Great Families – Being A Parent Doesn’t Mean Being a Martyr

    A print advertisement for a luxury minivan was titled, “Being a parent doesn’t mean being a martyr.” The implication is that if you do have to drive an un-cool minivan for the sake of the kids at least you can tart it up. A bumper sticker on a passing vehicle stated, “I have no life my daughter plays AAU Basketball.” Again, the message is to equate involved supportive parenting with martyrdom. In general, parents today are highly supportive of their children. There is nothing wrong with that as long as parents don’t lose sight of limits and consequences. As often occurs, parents need to keep in mind that our greatest weakness is often an over extension of our greatest strength. The question we will address is, “Have parents gone too far by defining support as sacrificing their own needs and always putting their children first?” In other words, has the notion of support gotten so out of hand that being a parent means being a martyr and if had has, what can a family do about it? We also explore the downsides for the kids when their parents, by their behavior, choose to be over involved in their kid’s lives. Although the kids might enjoy it in the short run, studies suggesting an increase in young adult depression might be a result of over parenting and not giving kids a chance to learn from their mistakes and bumps in the road. Over parenting can include too many scheduled activities and not giving young children the opportunity to learn and explore at a healthier and relaxed pace. We close with our segment “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” – where we share a personal story and what we learned as parents from the experience.

  • Growing Great Families – My 24 year old son is coming home. Can we handle this?

    This is a question that is being asked by more and more parents then ever before. According to a recent article, 26% or more than 1-4 adults ages 23 – 28 lives with his or her parents. Even more startling is survey results which revealed that 80% of college graduates moved back home after getting their diplomas, up significantly from the 63% in 2006. The reasons are largely economic, with a tough job market, industry downsizing and 2011 graduates leaving college with an average debt of $22,900. What can be done to keep this experience from becoming a nightmare for both parent and child? The most important thing is to be proactive. If possible, before your adult child returns to the nest or shortly thereafter, hold one or more family meetings where the three R’s – Roles, Responsibilities, Resources – are openly discussed and agreements are reached. If family meetings are part of the family’s routines the tasks is easier. However, it is never too late to initiate the family meeting process as an integral part of growing a great family. Especially important when holding meetings with young adult children is for all parties to be honest about their needs and to give voice to the discomfort that surrounds the dependency relationship created when the adult child comes home again. We also recognize that with all the good planning there will be bumps in the road especially if the return home starts to last longer that expected. Again, the family meeting is the venue for resolving disputes and recalibrating expectations for both the parent and child. There are also positive aspects to having your young adult children return home. If managed well it builds a positive life long relationship between parent and child. We conclude with our “There’s got to be a better way” segment where we share how we as parents have coped with the adult child relationship question.

  • Growing Great Families – Summer Time – Family Stress or Family Fun?

    Summer time – kids out of school, vacation opportunities, kick back time yet also the potential for family stress. Multiple choices, lack of structure, kid’s brain drain, and limited resources can make the summer a negative experience for a family.

    The unintended message of a recent commercial for a GPS device provides some clues to help a family plan a vacation that meets the needs of all family members while creating closer bonds among members of the family. We illustrate how the family meeting process, an integral part of Family Centered Parenting, can be utilized to engage the family in creating a vacation plan that is owned by the family and that increases the odds that the vacation will truly be memorable. Utilizing brainstorming and practicing effective communication principles all members of the family are encouraged to take part in researching and planning the upcoming vacation.

    We also know that parents are rightly concerned with the potential loss of academic skills during the summer. On one hand, kids do need a break from “school work” but not necessarily a hold on thinking and learning. We offer creative tips on how learning in the summer can be fun and not feel like the kids are still in school. Other issues addressed are child care needs, teenagers seeking jobs and preparing the kids for the return to school – especially when there is a transition to a new school or moving to a new community.

    In our concluding segment, “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” we will share what we did as parents raising our kids to enhance the summer time experience for both the kids and the parents.

  • Growing Great Families – Is There Really a difference between Mothering & Fathering?

    What do fathers bring to parenting that is unique? Is a poor father better than no father? How do fathers inspire their kids to achieve? What do single parents have to do to replace the energy not present in the household? What do men have to do to be better fathers?

    With Father’s day around the corner, it is appropriate to pay attention to the important role fathers play in raising children and how male energy benefits the child development process. When half of all American school children do not live in a home in which their father is present, there is an urgent need to explore, illuminate, acknowledge and strengthen the diminished image of fatherhood.

    Starting with a discussion of gender differences sparked by the media controversy over parents raising a child without giving the child a specific gender identity, we discuss how gender norms are shaped both by biology and culture. Research has taught us that beyond the obvious differences, the male brain is wired differently than the female brain and these differences have a profound effect on how we approach relationships and make decisions. We continue the discussion with an explanation of why a father’s presence is often the only thing that keeps many kids from falling victim to juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and dropping out of school.

    We’ll discuss the important questions above and talk about why fathers tend to be more physical in their play behavior with their kids and why that’s good. Finally, we conclude with our personal anecdotes of our experience with fathering

  • Growing Great Families – Bullying – The Whole Story (Part 2)

    Not surprising, the bullying story hasn’t faded away. Parents and educators are seeking answers on why bullying seems to be on the increase and what are the appropriate means to respond. Schools have adopted strict anti-bullying policies yet there is no certainty that they are effective. This is particularly the case with cyber bullying – texting, social media – where determining jurisdiction is difficult when schools try to distinguish between private speech and getting involved because of the negative impact on a student. Last week’s guest, bullying expert Izzy Kalman, provided evidence that the increase in anti-bullying policies might, as an unintended consequence, actually have contributed to the rise in bullying. His rationale: more attention creates more problems. By over using the term bullying instead of labeling incidents as assault or extortion we are not providing our kids with the tools to combat social interactions that are unpleasant but do not rise to the level of a crime. Our discussion will offer concrete suggestions for schools to deal compassionately with students who are stressed by name calling and social exclusion without having to feed the counterproductive anti-bullying frenzy. Furthermore, schools need to find better ways to deal with the perpetrators than merely exclusion. Parents play an important role in helping their children respond to bullying. Utilizing suggestions from our Family Centered Parenting program, parents can learn to prepare their children through role playing on the best strategies to confront the bully. We also ask parents to take a hard look at their own behavior to make sure that they are not thoughtlessly sending messages to their children that show a lack of empathy and a desire to win at any cost – the traits of a bully. Finally, listen to our own stories of how we dealt with bullying during our childhoods.

    Listen to this practical discussion on understanding the issues surrounding bullying and what parents can do to support their children.

  • Growing Great Families – Bullying – The Whole Story (Part 1)

    Are you confused by all of the stories in the news about bullying? The bullying story doesn’t go away. It seems that each day there is another report in the news about a bullying incident. The most tragic concern children who have committed suicide allegedly as a response to being bullied. Legislators across the country have introduced laws designed to require schools to adopt strict anti-bullying policies and procedures. Is bullying really as bad as the media suggests? Is there more bullying going on today than in the past? How come some children can survive bullies but others fall apart? What can you do as a parent if you are convinced your child is a victim? What does a parent do if they believe their child is becoming a bully? Many of these questions remain unanswered because of changes in the way children are bullied and to a change in attitude about how we should deal with bullies. It is clear that there has been a sharp increase in what might be labeled as “non-violent” bullying. The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names do not harm me” seems less valid in our text messaging, social media world. Spreading rumors or divulging secrets told to so-called friends via Facebook, etc., is a lot easier than getting in someone’s face or passing a note in a classroom.

    Our guest, renowned bullying expert, Izzy Kalman, founder of Bullies2Buddies, will help explain the increase in bullying that will surprise you. Izzy’s anti-bullying programs do not rely on punishing a bully – unless they actually engage in assault – but on teaching kids how to respond to a bully. Basically, Izzy will illustrate verbal techniques that disarm the bully and empower the intended victim.

    Listen to this thoughtful and provocative discussion on understanding the issues surrounding bullying and what might be a radically different approach to the problem.

  • Growing Great Families – Kid’s Sports – What’s the Purpose? Has the need to win gone too far and limited participation?

    Are you an over-involved parent? Have you taken the time to figure out what you want your child to gain from the sport’s experience? Are parents sacrificing their needs and the needs of the entire family to chase the myth of fame? Are parents over identifying with their child’s success and pushing them for a parent’s bragging rights?

    Listen to a thoughtful and provocative discussion on understanding how seeking elite status for our kids is actually causing far more harm than good. As our top athletes perform at higher levels of achievement, those that are left behind are sitting on the couch playing video games and eating junk food. Is the epidemic in childhood obesity a direct consequence of taking the fun out of participating in sports? Where does the teenager who didn’t make the team go to continue to enjoy his sport or learn a new one?

    We will also try to unravel the contradiction between a coach reacting physically to the perceived misdeeds of his swimmers and the mixed reaction of the parents – prosecute the coach or give him a round of applause?

    In the last segment we will share what over 3,000 high school coaches disclosed about their concerns in dealing with parents – especially the over-involved parent and the athlete wanabees. Coaches all across the country are struggling with parents not respecting their authority, giving contradictory messages to their kids and spreading rumors and accusations through texting and social media.

  • Growing Great Families – Motivating Your Child to Achieve

    The Tiger mom used shame and punishment as strategies to motivate her kids. Is there an alternative? Richard & Jane along with their guest Dr. Alan Levine, mathematician and tutor, discuss alternative strategies to raise high achieving kids without raising stress levels that can be destructive for the child and the parents.

  • Growing Great Families – You Want Them To Talk, You Better Listen!

    Are you listening so your children want to talk with you? Is your car breaking up your family? Isn’t punishment and discipline the same thing?

  • Growing Great Families – So Whose Values Are They Anyway?

    Join us to find out how a fortune cookie can help make a breakthrough in your parenting style. Also, are your pre-teen’s clothes too suggestive? And, finally, what to do when getting your child dressed in the morning becomes a struggle.

  • Growing Great Families – Programming Your Parenting GPS

    In a recent interview, Ralph Macchio, the original Karate Kid and current Dancing With The Stars contestant, said that parenting “is the toughest job on the planet.” He’s right on! Join us as we talk about the life-long journey of parenting, what we can learn from a recent tragic family story in the news and some tips about how not to get into a battle about homework – particularly as the nice weather starts to put our kids in vacation mode.