Parent Workshop


Once upon a time when I was a young mom and an ele­men­tary school teacher I felt pretty sat­is­fied with my abil­i­ties and accom­plish­ments. I was doing it all well. I was doing my best. But I was wrong. It was when I took a course to help stu­dents become more respon­si­ble that I real­ized how easy it was make things bet­ter. I was taught spe­cific strate­gies that impacted the qual­ity of my life in a huge way. I real­ized the impor­tance of par­ent edu­ca­tion and it was then that I started on this jour­ney to make par­ent edu­ca­tion more com­mon­place. In my expe­ri­ence, both per­sonal and pro­fes­sional, moms and dads who are aware of par­ent­ing strate­gies enjoy more peace­ful par­ent­ing and most impor­tantly, raise chil­dren that are bet­ter adjusted, resilient and inde­pen­dent.

I recently became cer­ti­fied to teach a par­ent­ing pro­gram called SYSTEMATIC TRAINING FOR EFFECTIVE PARENTING or STEP. It is well respected and evi­dence based. The train­ing I received reminded me of sev­eral strate­gies that I knew, but had for­got­ten. I have since employed some of those strate­gies with my cur­rent stu­dents and was very pleased with the results. Children became more coop­er­a­tive and worked with greater moti­va­tion. It’s just a reminder that we all need refresh­ers. Elevating our par­ent­ing skills needs to be a high pri­or­ity. I know you agree. STEP has renewed my pas­sion to edu­cate par­ents and I am thrilled to share this knowl­edge with you.

I will be host­ing work­shops on an ongo­ing basis. Exact dates and times will soon be announced and will be flex­i­ble to accom­mo­date busy sched­ules.

Beginning work­shops will meet in my liv­ing room so it will be an inti­mate set­ting. The cost is $250 for the entire 7 week pro­gram with a 30% dis­count for your par­ent­ing part­ner. The only addi­tional cost is the par­ent hand­book which can be pur­chased on Amazon or directly from STEP pub­lish­ers

Please let me know if you are inter­ested in attend­ing. We will then set a time that works for every­one. I promise you a most valu­able expe­ri­ence.


Learning from Mistakes



Learning from Mistakes

There is a fine line between pro­tec­tion and con­trol. As a new mom, I had this over­whelm­ing desire to shield my baby from pain, sad­ness and any­thing else that was less than won­der­ful. Babies require 100% pro­tec­tion, how­ever babies grow and our expec­ta­tions need to grow accord­ingly. As new par­ents, my hus­band and I catered to our child’s whims and wishes a lit­tle too much because we didn’t like to see him sad. Before we knew it, we were entrenched in bad habits that led to giv­ing in to their demands, help­ing too much and mak­ing excuses for bad behav­ior. We par­ented too much from our hearts.

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold

I can’t imag­ine a par­ent not show­er­ing their child with love and praise. There are many times that par­ents will con­sciously choose to pro­tect their child the con­se­quences of their mis­takes. When you are faced with a choice between pro­tect­ing your child and let­ting them expe­ri­ence the nat­ural con­se­quence, it is help­ful to think about what is in your child’s best inter­est in the long run. What would be gained from step­ping back as com­pared to shield­ing them? You want your child to feel loved uncon­di­tion­ally, but you have to be care­ful to clearly com­mu­ni­cate your expec­ta­tions for respon­si­ble behav­ior. A child that feels they are free to make mis­takes and get away with­out con­se­quence may not work hard for good grades, may not learn to be finan­cial respon­si­ble, and may also engage in activ­i­ties that are dan­ger­ous.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life can be far from auto­matic. It may actu­ally be more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. It is my phi­los­o­phy that there are many times par­ents should allow mis­takes in life to teach impor­tant lessons.  As a par­ent, you get to make those deci­sions as the sit­u­a­tions arise. While eval­u­at­ing your options, I encour­age you to con­sider long term rather than short term goals.


Good Job



Good Job


Motivating chil­dren and build­ing con­fi­dence is impor­tant. Parents and teach­ers do their best to accom­plish this goal and it is help­ful to keep this one prin­ci­ple in mind:

Compliments that are spe­cific are more pow­er­ful than com­pli­ments that are gen­eral.

When a par­ent sees her child draw­ing a pic­ture they might say you are doing such a good job or I like your pic­ture. There is absolutely noth­ing wrong with that but if you can be more spe­cific it will impact your child even more. Imagine telling a child “I like your pic­ture and I espe­cially like the way you added details,” you not only give a gen­eral com­pli­ment but you point to some­thing spe­cific that your child can really ben­e­fit from. Think about our adult world. If our boss told us that we were doing a good job or that the report we did was good we obvi­ously would be happy. But if they were spe­cific about why they liked our work or what about the report was par­tic­u­larly good we would know the com­pli­ment was sin­cere. It would also help us know what in par­tic­u­lar they liked so we could build on it.

As a class­room teacher it was easy to sur­vey the room and com­pli­ment the class on how well they were all work­ing but imag­ine if I walked around the room and gave spe­cific com­ments to sev­eral stu­dents that were per­sonal and authen­tic. This would be sig­nif­i­cantly more pow­er­ful.

I always told my chil­dren that I loved them and was proud of them. Unconditional love and praise is a beau­ti­ful thing but often it becomes mean­ing­less if chil­dren don’t con­nect with it. Elevate your praise from “good job” to “I like the way you did______  .” The smile on your child’s face will be your reward.


Parenting Styles



Parenting styles are as diverse as peo­ple. Our atti­tudes about par­ent­ing are often affected by our par­ents in that we either repli­cate or go the other way. New par­ents may eval­u­ate par­ent­ing styles in a more aca­d­e­mic fash­ion and choose a phi­los­o­phy based on research and per­sonal deci­sions.

As a par­ent edu­ca­tor I respect all par­ent­ing styles and only help par­ents learn strate­gies to help with goals they desire to reach. If some­one were to ask me my opin­ion I would rec­om­mend par­ent­ing less from the heart and more from the head.

I was struck today by the con­trast of par­ent styles I wit­nessed. One dad told me that his pol­icy is Get Over It.  When his chil­dren whine about their feel­ings being hurt or a dis­ap­point­ment he says: “get over it!” This is not a com­fort­able way for me per­son­ally and I am not sure he responds in that fash­ion as often as he states, but the effect of not rein­forc­ing a child’s sad­ness may indeed be that the child learns to be strong and less sen­si­tive. It could also result in neg­a­tive per­son­al­ity traits. On the same day a fam­ily came to see me for tutor­ing. The child was famil­iar with me and our activ­i­ties but decided not to coop­er­ate and would not even resign to come into my home. Trying to be a sen­si­tive and under­stand­ably alert to some warn­ing signs, the mom stayed with her son as he tantrumed for a pro­longed period of time. I sug­gested that the mom cease pay­ing atten­tion to her son and that she and I engage in con­ver­sa­tion. Five min­utes later the lit­tle boy stopped cry­ing, engaged with me and was able to sep­a­rate from mom and par­tic­i­pate in our tutor­ing ses­sion.

Paying close atten­tion to a child’s feel­ings is an approach I per­son­ally feel com­fort­able with. In this sit­u­a­tion, how­ever, it was clear that the child was seemed scared but was really act­ing the part. Reinforcing this behav­ior would even­tu­ally lead to more of the same. Trusting that he was in no dan­ger and that he was in capa­ble and car­ing hands dimin­ished the power of his manip­u­la­tion. If the mom had not respected my opin­ion she would have ended the ses­sion and never come back. The child’s behav­ior would become more pow­er­ful and destruc­tive.

As par­ents learn to address their child’s needs it is help­ful to get in touch with their own moti­va­tions and the ulti­mate effect on their child. Perhaps send­ing a mes­sage to a child that their feel­ings don’t mat­ter, in the case of the get over it dad, is a bit heart­less but allow­ing a child to con­trol the entire fam­ily because their feel­ings are of pri­mary impor­tance can be just as dam­ag­ing.

The answer; par­ent con­sciously and notice what you pay atten­tion to. Your child looks to you as they learn to nav­i­gate their world. 


Enabling Our Children.….Why?


Good Parents Great Kids


Why do we enable our chil­dren?

Are you a par­ent who thinks they are doing too much for their child?

Is your child lack­ing in moti­va­tion or respon­si­bil­ity?

Ask your­self these impor­tant ques­tions:

1- Is my help truly nec­es­sary?

2- What is my moti­va­tion for help­ing?


Many times par­ents help or enable their child because they want their child to suc­ceed. This will usu­ally help in the short term as the child com­pletes tasks, gets to appoint­ments on time, is well pre­pared and turns in ele­vated assign­ments. Does the par­ent feel pride as their child excells? Would the child have excelled with­out their help? What mes­sage is the child get­tinng from this help? 

The prac­tice of enabling becomes more appar­ent as the par­ent feels obliged to inter­vene for the child’s con­tin­ued suc­cess. The suceess of their child becomes a goal for the par­ent when it should be a goal for the child. The con­tin­ued assis­tance by the par­ent cre­ates a sys­tem whreeby the child depends on the parent’s help and there­fore becomes a pas­sive par­tic­i­pant. There is dimin­ished moti­va­tion and often the child resents the par­ents for their input. In the long term the par­ent must decide whether to con­tinue this sup­port or demen­strate trust in their child.


Think about that for a moment or two. Would you ever con­sciously want to con­vey to your child that you don’t trust them? Demonstrating trust in your child is huge. If you are faced with the option of demon­strat­ing to your child that you have faith in them and you choose to involve your­self to insure bet­ter results then you must look in the mir­ror and ask your­self if your motive is ulti­mately self­ish. Yes, self­ish. That may sound harsh but it is imper­a­tive that you sep­a­rate your own ego from your child’s suc­cess. Parents nat­u­rally feel proud of their child. It is unhealthy for both the par­ent and child when the need to see a child suc­ceed trumps the abil­ity to do what is nec­es­sary to raise a respon­si­ble child.

Give your child the gift of inde­pen­dence, con­fi­dence and respon­si­bil­ity by show­ing them that you have faith in them.…and walk away. 


Am I Hurting My Child By Doing Too Much


Am I Hurting My Child By Doing Too Much

My son used to leave his juice glass in his bed­room each night so that by the end of the week there was lit­er­ally at least seven glasses or mugs in his bed­room. I would ask and ask and ask……………. but even­tu­ally I gave up and just brought them down­stairs.

There were so many times I helped him when I should have let him han­dle the sit­u­a­tion or accept the con­se­quences.

When I look back and ask myself why, I find that, besides want­ing to avoid con­fronta­tion, I also had a strong desire to pro­tect him and see him suc­ceed, even when the suc­cess was par­tially unearned. I was look­ing at the sit­u­a­tion self­ishly as well as short term.

A con­trol­ling par­ent can inter­fere with the goal of rais­ing a respon­si­ble child.  Our chil­dren will be more respon­si­ble if we, as par­ents, choose to some­times take a more pas­sive role. Of course we need to be pro­tec­tive but often we take the idea of pro­tec­tion too far and then com­plain when our chil­dren are irre­spon­si­ble.

Our chil­dren begin life help­less and par­ents must do every­thing for their tiny infant, baby and then tod­dler. But we often grow accus­tomed to this role and fail to see when we can do less. The real­iza­tion that we are doing too much may go unde­tected for a period of time. That may be long enough for your child to get the mes­sage that they can do less and mom and dad will take care of it.  In my opin­ion, it is best to keep the con­cept of teach­ing respon­si­bil­ity as a pri­or­i­tized goal. Test the water often and see just how much your child can do for him­self. Think about how we teach a child to walk or ride a bike or swim. We give sup­port in grad­u­ated stages until voila. They do it them­selves.

The same is true for other activ­i­ties that have mul­ti­ple steps such as get­ting ready for school, clean­ing the room and prepar­ing for bed­time.

We all learn through prac­tice as well as from mis­takes. When my son attempted to pour milk in his cereal bowl and spilled all over him­self, the floor as well as under the fridge, I did not stop him from try­ing again. I less­ened the poten­tial mess by giv­ing him a small amount to pour. I guided his tiny hand so his aim was bet­ter. I assisted him while encour­ag­ing more and more inde­pen­dence. That was easy to do. Many par­ents have dif­fi­culty allow­ing their chil­dren to make mis­takes and would rather do more for them until they can do it well them­selves. I work with many par­ents who still wipe their child’s bot­tom and pick up their toys even though they are clearly old enough to do it them­selves. When I ask why, the answer is always, because I like it to be done right.  These par­ents are deliv­er­ing a mes­sage that is destruc­tive. Give your child the gift of inde­pen­dence, con­fi­dence and respon­si­bil­ity by allow­ing them to be as inde­pen­dent as pos­si­ble.

Natural Consequences

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life is far from auto­matic. It is actu­ally more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. There are many times we should allow life to teach our child impor­tant lessons.

For more infor­ma­tion about nat­ural con­se­quences please read my book:
Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle avail­able on Amazon and Kindle

Danger Signs

How do you know when you are doing too much for your child?

  1. You become anx­ious when your child has a dead­line or becomes frus­trated.
  2. Your first response to your child’s prob­lem or com­plaint is to give advice or take over.
  3. You find it unbear­able to see your child strug­gle.
  4. You fre­quently do some­thing your­self instead of wait­ing for your child to do it.
  5. You feel the need to micro­man­age their eat­ing, appear­ance, or social life.
  6. You tend to over­step your bound­aries as a par­ent and dis­re­spect their pri­vacy.

Pulling Back

If enabling your child has become a pat­tern it will be more dif­fi­cult to make a change but it is well worth the effort.

Begin with a dis­cus­sion about what you have learned and why it is impor­tant to change how you engage in your child’s life. Adding points such as respect for their abil­ity and con­fi­dence that they can han­dle any sit­u­a­tions with­out your help will be appre­ci­ated and help to focus on what is gained rather than what they might inter­pret as a loss of assis­tance. Reassure them that you are not desert­ing them but teach­ing them to be more self reliant so that as they grow up they will be able to be more inde­pen­dent. There are many oppor­tu­ni­ties and priv­i­leges that respon­si­ble and inde­pen­dent chil­dren have that their coun­ter­parts do not.

When they come to you for help, lis­ten rather than advise and ask them what THEY think they could do. Give them time to prob­lem solve and don’t expect an answer in five sec­onds or even five min­utes. They are used to you fix­ing things and there will be an adjust­ment time. Bite your tongue and do less. Tell them: “I know you can do this. I have faith that you’ll fig­ure it out.”

Sharon Youngman is a par­ent edu­ca­tor liv­ing and work­ing in Manhattan. She is the author of Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle and the founder of Good Parents, GREAT Kids.

Contact Sharon for a free con­sul­ta­tion:



Calm Down



Teaching Self-Calming Skills

by Jessica Minahan on January 30, 2013
The fol­low­ing was an arti­cle directed to teach­ers to help chil­dren calm down. This is a noble goal but con­sid­er­ing all that teach­ers must do these days it is highly unlikely that a teacher can use this tech­niques as often as it may be needed.
Parents, how­ever, could cer­tainly ben­e­fit from this approach. I espe­cially like the ther­mome­ter strat­egy. Becoming more self aware is a highly effec­tive tool when prac­ticed at times of calm rather than dur­ing an inci­dent. 
The fol­low­ing was taken directly from the arti­cle so you can pick and choose what makes sense to you.

You need to calm down.” This is some­thing I hear a lot in my work as a behav­ior spe­cial­ist when a stu­dent starts to get agitated—answering rudely, refus­ing to work, mak­ing insult­ing com­ments or whin­ing. A teacher might tell a child to “go sit in the bean­bag chair and calm down” or sim­ply “relax.”

The prob­lem is, many stu­dents don’t know how to calm down. This is espe­cially true for chil­dren who dis­play chronic agi­ta­tion or defi­ance.

File 1947When a child behaves inap­pro­pri­ately, I find that it’s almost always due to an under­de­vel­oped skill. Recognizing and teach­ing under­de­vel­oped skills is one of the key strate­gies Nancy Rappaport and I talk about in our book, The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students.

All chil­dren will ben­e­fit from learn­ing self-calm­ing skills, but for some chil­dren, learn­ing this skill is so essen­tial to their suc­cess at school that it’s impor­tant that class­room teach­ers focus on it as well as spe­cial­ists, such as coun­selors and spe­cial edu­ca­tors.

What’s the best way to teach self-calm­ing skills to an indi­vid­ual child in your class­room? Here are three sim­ple steps to take:

1. Teach the student to identify emotions.

Students who exhibit anger in the class­room are often described as “going from 0-to-60 in a split sec­ond.” In real­ity, how­ever, the student’s emo­tions prob­a­bly grew more grad­u­ally from calm to frus­trated to anger, but the teacher (and the child) didn’t notice the build-up.

Teaching a stu­dent to iden­tify this esca­la­tion is essen­tial if she’s to learn how to catch her­self on the way up. A help­ful tool to use is an emo­tional ther­mome­ter. When the child is calm, share the graphic with her, explain­ing how emo­tions often grow in inten­sity from calm to frus­trated to angry. Give the child a copy of the ther­mome­ter and ask her to pay atten­tion to where she is on it at dif­fer­ent times of the day over the course of a few weeks, check­ing in with the child as needed to dis­cuss what she is notic­ing.

Another way to teach a stu­dent to iden­tify emo­tions is to do a “body check.” When you notice signs of frus­tra­tion first begin­ning, label it for the child and explain how you know: “Your shoul­ders are hunched and your fists are clenched, so I can see you’re frus­trated right now.” Over time, the child will learn to iden­tify when she’s frus­trated with­out your cues.

2. Teach the student self-calming strategies.

Once a stu­dent can iden­tify when he’s frus­trated or angry, he can then make use of a calm­ing strat­egy. However, find­ing the right strat­egy for a spe­cific stu­dent is like find­ing the per­fect pair of shoes—you may have to try a few out before find­ing the right fit.

Also, stu­dents who are just learn­ing to iden­tify their feel­ings of frus­tra­tion may need fre­quent reminders to uti­lize a par­tic­u­lar strat­egy. The calm­ing strate­gies I have found to be most use­ful with ele­men­tary school stu­dents include:

  • Reading a book
  • Deep breath­ing
  • Listening to music
  • Drawing
  • Yoga stretches
3. Practice with the student.

Like any skill, prac­tice is key. Each day, at a time when the stu­dent is calm, ask her to role play what she looks/acts like when she is frus­trated or anx­ious. Then ask her to prac­tice her self-calm­ing strate­gies.

To make the prac­tice most effec­tive, have the stu­dent do the role-play in the area of the class­room she’s most likely to go when she’s actu­ally upset, such as the read­ing area or bean­bag chair. Then when she goes there in a moment of frus­tra­tion, she’ll be more able to use the cor­rect strat­egy in that space.

Some stu­dents will learn these skills quickly, and oth­ers will need con­tin­ued sup­port over time. Self-calm­ing train­ing takes only a few min­utes a day but it’s impor­tant that you focus on it daily with a child until you see the child begin­ning to take hold of the tech­niques. Not only can it pre­vent chal­leng­ing behav­ior moments in the future, but it is an essen­tial skill for suc­cess at school, at home and in social set­tings.


Show Faith and Increase Independence

Another gem from Jane Nelson.…my hero 🙂 

One of the biggest mis­takes some par­ents and teach­ers make, when they decide to do Positive Discipline, is becom­ing too per­mis­sive because they don’t want to be puni­tive. Some mis­tak­enly believe they are being kind when they res­cue their chil­dren, and pro­tect them from all dis­ap­point­ment. This is not being kind; it is being per­mis­sive. Being kind means to be respect­ful of the child and of your­self. It is not respect­ful to pam­per chil­dren. It is not respect­ful to res­cue them from every dis­ap­point­ment so they don’t have the oppor­tu­nity to develop their dis­ap­point­ment mus­cles. It is respect­ful to val­i­date their feel­ings, “I can see that you are dis­ap­pointed (or angry, or upset, etc.).” Then it is respect­ful to have faith in chil­dren that they can sur­vive dis­ap­point­ment and develop a sense of capa­bil­ity in the process.

Have faith in chil­dren to han­dle their own prob­lems. (Offer sup­port through val­i­dat­ing feel­ings or giv­ing a hug, but not by res­cu­ing or fix­ing.)


It is also impor­tant to take time for train­ing. Adults often expect chil­dren to accom­plish tasks for which there has not been ade­quate train­ing. This is more typ­i­cal in homes than in schools. Parents may expect chil­dren to clean their rooms, but never teach them how. Children go into their messy rooms and feel over­whelmed. It may be help­ful to clean the room with your chil­dren until they have more train­ing. This is also a great way to cre­ate con­nec­tion.


Be sure and use “Curiosity Questions.” (We will be cov­er­ing curios­ity ques­tions in a later blog post.) Instead of telling chil­dren what to do, ask curios­ity ques­tions. “Where do your dirty clothes go?” “What do we need to do before we can vac­uum the floor?” Children are great prob­lem solvers when we give them a chance.


Patience is prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult part of show­ing faith in our chil­dren. It is almost always more expe­di­ent to solve prob­lems for our chil­dren. This is par­tic­u­larly true when we are under time pres­sures.   In these cases we can take time later to explore solu­tions for the future. Ask your chil­dren exploratory ques­tions. “What hap­pened?” “What caused it to hap­pen?” “What did you learn?” “What can you do in the future?”

When time pres­sures are not an issue, prac­tice hav­ing patience with your chil­dren. Allow them to prob­lem solve on their own. Allow them to feel a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ment. Allow them to work through their feel­ings. They will need these skills in the future.

It may help to remem­ber that who your chil­dren are today, is not who they will be for­ever. Someday they will be nag­ging their own chil­dren to put their dishes in the sink and to clean their rooms.  Remember that exam­ple is the best teacher. Model what you want for your chil­dren, take time for train­ing so they learn skills, have reg­u­lar fam­ily meet­ings, and then have lots of faith in them to become the best they can be.


Short Term Goals

Short term over long term goals has no place in fam­i­lies or copo­ra­tions. 

I was recently struck by a let­ter to the New York Times edi­tor in the paper on September 2, 2012.

The sim­i­lar­ity exists in the focus on short term gains.

Too often in schools and homes chil­dren are dri­ven by strate­gies that impact the here and now but lose sight of the big­ger pic­ture.

If you want your stu­dent to do well aca­d­e­m­i­cally they have to be encour­aged to be curi­ous, moti­vated by sub­jects that inter­est them, be ade­quately rested and fed and feel con­fi­dent in the  learn­ing process.

If your sons and daugh­ters are to grow up to be inde­pen­dent, respon­si­ble, happy and suc­cess­ful, par­ents must remem­ber to do less when a child can do more and demon­strate that sat­is­fac­tion and hap­pi­ness are truly derived from things money can­not buy.

To the Editor:

There was a time in the not so dis­tant past when many, if not most, pub­licly held cor­po­ra­tions, includ­ing the one for which I worked, embraced in their mis­sion state­ments, codes of con­duct and sim­i­lar pro­nounce­ments a respon­si­bil­ity to serve mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers: their stock­hold­ers, of course, but also their employ­ees as well as cus­tomers, sup­pli­ers and the com­mu­nity in which they oper­ated. Today, all too many com­pa­nies, in deed and often in word, artic­u­late a sin­gle-minded oblig­a­tion to serve only their investors by focus­ing exclu­sively on prof­itabil­ity.

As a result, we have wit­nessed cor­po­rate down­siz­ings and out­sourc­ing of jobs; restruc­tur­ing of pen­sion plans or their com­plete ter­mi­na­tion; reduc­tions in health care ben­e­fits; and wage stag­na­tion in spite of increased pro­duc­tiv­ity. Domestic sup­pli­ers have been squeezed or, more often, replaced by cheap for­eign sources. Customers seek­ing ser­vice are con­fronted with auto­mated answer­ing machines and for­eign call cen­ters. Environmental con­cerns are viewed as obsta­cles to prof­itabil­ity.

At the same time, the senior man­agers of these enter­prises have seen their com­pen­sa­tion grow expo­nen­tially as a reward for their per­ceived con­tri­bu­tions to the bot­tom line.

Sadly, what these cor­po­ra­tions fail to appre­ci­ate is how their obses­sion with the bot­tom line is shrink­ing their mar­kets, both domes­tic and for­eign. The large num­ber of peo­ple unem­ployed, under­em­ployed, afraid of los­ing their jobs or with­out the means to pay all their bills per­pet­u­ates the present world­wide eco­nomic cri­sis.

Add to this the unwill­ing­ness of busi­nesses to pay their fair share of taxes to sup­port edu­ca­tion, health care and the infra­struc­ture that is crit­i­cal to their suc­cess. In the end, these self-serv­ing prac­tices endan­ger the very prof­itabil­ity their prac­ti­tion­ers seek to enhance.

We need to return to the ear­lier model of the cor­po­ra­tion as a good cit­i­zen. Doing so can help ensure the long-term via­bil­ity of our free enter­prise sys­tem.

Port Washington, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2012


Increase Responsibility Using A Checklist

There’s A Checklist For That

Everyday rou­tines can be exhaust­ing.

You know the kids are going to:
Ignore you
Put up a fuss
Do it slowly or poorly

You are tired of get­ting aggra­vated so you:
Give up and do it your­self
Or learn to let them do it it their own way

Many sit­u­a­tions fall into this dance of par­ent and child:
Getting ready for school
Coming home from school
Helping with chores
Cleaning room

Though there are many things that we try to ana­lyze and per­fect, for many rea­sons par­ents often resign to the stan­dard
prac­tices that come nat­u­rally but may not be effec­tive. When we take the time to eval­u­ate we can make big changes. A check­list, com­bined with bet­ter under­stand­ing can pro­vide har­mony in the home and more respon­si­ble chil­dren.

Sarah was a mom of 3 dar­ling girls ages 2, 4 and 6.
She fre­quently com­plained that the girls ganged up on her and it was espe­cially ter­ri­ble at bed­time.
Gymnastics in the bed­room includ­ing jump­ing on bed and using the win­dow sill as a bal­ance beam was their rou­tine. Once in bed the party con­tin­ued, start­ing with soft whis­pers and soon esca­lat­ing into wild laugher. Often the girls would sneak out of bed and get mas­sive amounts of food with­out the par­ents hav­ing a clue, only to find the remains under the bed the fol­low­ing day.

1- Examine and trou­ble shoot
What might be inter­fer­ing with your intended goal?
      When we exam­ined the sit­u­a­tion we saw that the girls had got­ten into a rou­tine that needed to be stopped in order to see change. The 6 year old, deprived of night time rest had resorted to tak­ing a long nap in school which made it harder for her to be tired at night.

The plan was to cre­ate a new look to bed­time. The fam­ily, includ­ing the girls and I made a check­list of what needed to hap­pen once the bed­time rou­tine was ini­ti­ated. Since one of the prob­lems was the amount of time mom spent talk­ing and read­ing at
bed­time we added a time com­po­nent so cud­dling and read­ing was rea­son­able. Talking would be saved for day­light hours, at least till things fell into place. I took pic­tures of them to fur­ther invite buy in. The neces­sity of sleep was explained. They knew that most flu­ids would stop after 6:00 and the restroom would be used prior to bed­time so access to the bath­room was not going to be granted. They also knew.…..and this was super impor­tant.…. that mom would be sta­tioned out­side their door and would know if there was any talk­ing or whis­per­ing.
2- Create a check­list
Think about what it would look like if your child inde­pen­dently, or close toin­de­pen­dently, began and fin­ished the cho­sen rou­tine. A bare bones approach is just as effec­tive as one that gives lots of details. Logic and the par­tic­u­lars of your sit­u­a­tion will guide your deci­sion. Do a run through to check for accu­racy.
• Let your child be involved with the sequence of events
• Have your child pose for pic­tures for each step. iPads make insert­ing pics very easy
exam­ple for Going to Sleep:
Take a bath
Put on paja­mas
Eat a snack
Brush teeth
Story time:15 min­utes
Cuddle time: 5 min­utes each
Close eyes, think of some­thing nice

The reward for a suc­cess­ful bed­time would be a prize that they had already picked out.
After many suc­cess­ful bed­times the girls tran­si­tioned to a star chart which trans­lated to a fun fam­ily trip. Now it’s just their rou­tine and rewards are unnec­es­sary.

The day we began mom and dad made sure the girls were tired out from the day. The check­list was brought out and the girls coop­er­ated. Once they got into bed the lights in the entire apart­ment were turned off.
Mom made sure they could clearly see her right out­side the room tak­ing away the temp­ta­tion of get­ting out of bed to assess the sit­u­a­tion.
They had rel­a­tively few issues and after only one bath­room request (which was ignored) and one warn­ing about whis­pers, they fell asleep
within min­utes.
Mom kept expect­ing the drama to start but the evening was unevent­ful, with the excep­tion of the silent cheers of a relieved mom and dad.

As the days unfolded the girls con­tin­ued to embrace this new rou­tine. The effect of har­mony at bed­time had pos­i­tive effects in the day­time as well includ­ing increased respect and coop­er­a­tion. School time naps ended and the teacher reported bet­ter focus.
I know that this sit­u­a­tion was extreme but the same process can be applied to more mild issues.
A mom I worked with was mis­er­able about how her child kept com­ing home from school and dropped their stuff all over.
She said she’s tried every­thing but a con­ver­sa­tion with her child which resulted in a jointly cre­ated check­list solved the prob­lem.