Parenting December 2020: Parenting Exhaustion Is Not Affirmation Of Parenting Excellence

John Rosemond

Living With Children by John Rosemond

Parenting December 2020: Parenting Exhaustion Is Not Affirmation Of Parenting Excellence

Q: We sent our daughter a recent article of yours hoping it might cause her to rethink her approach to raising our grandson. It was not well-received and she is no longer speaking to us. The child, age four, is quite ill-behaved. Our daughter makes one excuse after another for him: he was premature, he was hospitalized at age three and now has PTSD, he might have a biochemical imbalance, and so on. We feel that his real and only problem is lack of discipline. For example, when he’s with us, he’s perfectly well behaved. We love our grandson, but don’t like being around him when his parents are running the show. What should we do now?

Parenting November 2020: Let's Talk Tantrums

John Rosemond

Living With Children by John Rosemond

Parenting November 2020: Let's Talk Tantrums

As just about everyone who has lived with a child for more than two years knows, the most potentially dangerous thing one can say to a toddler is “no.” That single syllable strikes deep into the core of the reptilian portion of the toddler brain, arousing a reaction that dwarfs Godzilla’s most destructive rampage.

“Should I simply ignore my two-year-old’s tantrums?” a young mother asks.

 “Can you?”

She ponders that for a moment or two. “Not really.”

Ignoring is about as over-rated as it gets, especially when it comes to toddler tantrums. Nothing brings out a toddler’s inner Godzilla like being ignored. That same mother, for example, reported that when she ignored a tantrum, it quickly escalated into hitting, biting, and head-banging. If she began walking away, her live-in maniac would wrap himself around her leg, shrieking like a banshee.

The Food Fight

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

The Food Fight

Our 10-month-old son has recently discovered the joys of throwing finger food on the floor at mealtimes. He doesn’t seem to care if I feed it to him myself, one piece at a time, but isn't it important that he start feeding himself?

Not to worry. The emergence of “throwing food on the floor behavior” at this age, especially if a dog is waiting below, is indisputable indication that the child’s development, not to mention sense of humor, is proceeding according to plan.

Vitamin N: Does Your Child Get Enough?

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Vitamin N: Does Your Child Get Enough?

In 1972, a Stanford University psychologist conducted a study in which young children, individually, were offered either a small but immediate reward (a marshmallow or a pretzel) or a doubled reward if they were able to wait for fifteen minutes. In follow-up studies, researchers found that children who were able to postpone gratification experienced better life outcomes as measured by such things as SAT scores, academic achievement, and body mass index.

I have long maintained that well-done research in the so-called social sciences does nothing but confirm common sense, and it certainly seems commonsensical that impulsivity and difficulty delaying gratification have a negative impact on life outcomes. The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, as it is known, bears significantly on childrearing attitudes and approaches. Simply, teaching a naturally impulse-driven child to exercise restraint greatly increases the child’s chances of success.

Odd Children

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Odd Children

I have come up with a new psychological diagnosis, one that I won’t, however, be submitting for approval to the powers that be: simply, odd. My “odd” is to be distinguished from ODD, the acronym for oppositional defiant disorder, an invention that enables mental health professionals to obtain payment from insurance providers…but that’s another column entirely. Stay tuned!

Odd is what all human beings are. Starting from the top down, all adults are odd. I am odd, you are odd, Bill Gates is odd, President Trump is odd, Barak Obama is odd (must have diversity, you know), and so on. Most people, by early adulthood at the latest, begin to identify their personal peculiarities and realize they must be concealed from the general public lest they cause social and employment difficulties. Adults who fail to conceal their oddities are prone to becoming known as “jerks” and other equally hobbling nicknames. Or, they become mental health professionals, politicians, and famous actors who win Academy Awards.

Rewards & Punishments: Are Yours Effective?

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Rewards & Punishments: Are Yours Effective?

Psychologist B. F. Skinner, the formulator of behavior modification theory, was attempting to prove that the same principles that govern the behavior of amoeba, planaria, rats, dogs, and monkeys also govern the behavior of human beings. A very Darwinian proposition, indeed.

What my graduate school professors conveniently “forgot” to tell me: Skinner failed to prove his hypothesis, and no researcher has ever succeeded where Skinner did not. Some have claimed success, but all they’ve succeeded at proving, really, is the fact that human beings are economists by nature. From a very early age, humans weight benefits versus costs and make logical decisions, if not always rational ones.

Stop "Parenting" & Be a Parent

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Stop

One website is titled “How to Cope with Kids During Coronavirus.” Another, featuring a staged photo of an obviously frazzled mom with a toddler on her lap, tells the reader that “Parents are losing their minds having kids at home during coronavirus!” There’s yet another, advising on “How to Keep Kids Entertained During the Crisis.” On and on it goes, website after website counseling parents on how to deal with being confined at home with one’s kids.

The early Twenty-First Century may be remembered as the “Age of the Personal Soap Opera.” A person makes a soap opera out of a life situation, claims victimhood, garners sympathy, manufactures more soap opera, garners more sympathy, and so on. Soap opera begets soap opera. Forty-plus years of counseling experience has taught me that once a person becomes caught in the soap opera loop, it is harder than hard to get out.

Grand-families Can Have Grand Problems

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Grand-families Can Have Grand Problems

Q: Our ten-year-old granddaughter lives with us. We have custody of her but her father, our son, is now asking us for visitation privileges. I probably don’t need to tell you that both he and his ex-wife were not up to parental responsibilities. He says he’s cleaned up his act and wants a relationship with his daughter. She says she wants to see him, too. We’re not completely opposed, but we’ve heard all this before and are, of course, skeptical. She came to us two years ago with major behavior problems—disobedience and lying, mostly—and has improved some but not a lot since then. She’s been seeing a therapist for more than a year but my husband and I see no improvement. We recently found out that she and the therapist spend most of their sessions playing board games and doing crafts. My granddaughter wants to continue her therapy, but we don’t see how playing board games is going to bring about improvement in her behavior. Can you give us some direction here?

Ten Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and how to stop making them!)

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Ten Biggest Mistakes Parents Make (and how to stop making them!)

One of the “secrets” to a happy, healthy emotional life is to identify one’s bad, nonproductive habits and replace them with habits—slowly built—that are functional. That same principle is of the essence when it comes to a parenting life that is satisfying.

Most parents who want to do a good job but feel frustrated in the attempt are making a finite number of mistakes – ten, to be exact. If a parent who is making these common mistakes eliminates and replaces them with behavior that works, both their’s and their children’s frustration will practically dissipate.

Disobedient Kids Are Not Happy Campers

John Rosemond

Parenting by John Rosemond

Disobedient Kids Are Not Happy Campers

The myth of the first three years has it that whatever habits, traits, dysfunctions and so on that a child develops during this admittedly formative period are going to stay with him for life. That is not necessarily so. For example, Romanian orphans who had suffered severe emotional and physical neglect during infancy and toddlerhood recovered fully after being placed with American families. When put in play groups with American-born kids who were living with biological parents, they could not be identified reliably. The adoption-babblers have a difficult time explaining that, by the way.

Parenting - A Parent’s Help May Not Be Helping

John Rosemond

Living with Children

Parenting - A Parent’s Help May Not Be Helping

Q: After a recent talk in South Florida, women came up to me in droves asking,
“How much should I help my children with their schoolwork?”A: That not one man asked the question speaks loudly to the state of parenting in postmodern America. Men don’t ask the question because they know they are not trusted to do BIG parenting stuff like ensure their kids’ academic success.

My answer: “I can’t quantify that for you, but I do know that the more you help your child with his or her schoolwork, the more you will be called upon by said child to help. A child’s belief that he can’t do something is rarely fact-based; it’s usually instilled by well-meaning people, as in, his parents.”
Before drilling deeper into this ubiquitous issue, a few facts are in order:

What to Do When Kids Steal

John Rosemond

Living with Children

What to Do When Kids Steal

Q: Our 7-year-old son recently stole two small model cars from a playmate while he was at the playmate’s house. Apparently, he wanted to trade one of his toys for the two cars, but the playmate refused, so he stole them. When we found them, he claimed his friend had given them to him. We absolutely know that’s not true, but it’s been over a week and our son refuses to admit to the theft. He’s changed his story, then changed it back, so we know he’s lying, but still he refuses to budge. Nothing like this has ever happened before and we’re at a loss. We called an acquaintance of ours who’s also a therapist. She said that children who steal are often compensating for some insecurity and that punishing him could make matters worse. We have no idea what insecurity our son is dealing with or what to do about the theft and his lies.

Parenting - January 2019

It's All Pink

How To Nurture Your Marriage When You're Busy Raising Kids

Parenting - January 2019

Your marriage (or your adult partnership) is the foundation upon which your entire family is built. If your relationship is strong, your family will be stronger; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and quite simply, you’ll have more fun in your life. Even if you believe this, it can be hard to put your adult relationship in the position of importance that it deserves.

Parenting - February 2017

Elizabeth Pantly

Parenting - February 2017

Developing friendship skills takes time and experience. The only way young children will learn social skills is by practice, so even though there are plenty of bumps along the way, it’s worth scheduling playdates with other children.

Parenting - March 2016

Elizabeth Pantly

When Children Stuffle to Share: Here's How to Help

Parenting - March 2016

These are all normal, yet frustrating, scenarios for parents; but there is a simple solution to this problem—read on!

Children are often in their own imaginative world, and they don’t even hear your instructions half the time. Other times they may not think that you’re speaking to them, or they don’t understand what exactly you expect. Regardless of the reason behind it, children of all ages respond much better to purposeful, eye-to-eye conversations, than vague across-the-room requests.

What is in a Word?

Melody Walsh

What is in a Word?

What is in a word? According to one definition a word is “a single, distinct, meaningful element of speech or writing.” If words are so meaningful, why don’t we take better care of what we say and what we express to one another?

I have been guilty plenty of times for speaking without thinking first about my words. Of course, these mistakes still happen today. However, I am more conscious in the error of my ways. I am now able to correct my thinking before I voice my opinions of myself and others. 

Parenting - December 2015

Elizabeth Pantly

When Children Stuffle to Share: Here's How to Help

Parenting - December 2015

It can be frustrating and embarrassing when your typically sweet little child refuses to share. Fortunately, this is totally normal and there are things you can do to help. Sharing is a complicated social skill that your child will learn with the help of your guidance and plenty of practice.

Parenting - October 2015

Elizabeth Pantley

The Importance of Positive Self-Talk for your Children

Parenting - October 2015

A stressed-out child tends to rehearse these thoughts in his mind—over and over—until he becomes overcome with fear and worry. Negative self-talk can escalate easily, which then causes anxiety to increase. This is why it is so important to take the time to work with your child to make his self-talk more positive.

Parenting - August 2015

Elizabeth Pantly

Parents Feel Seperation Anxiety, Too!

Parenting - August 2015

It’s one of the secrets of parenthood: Not just children get separation anxiety! Many parents are unprepared for the feelings of sadness and emptiness they have when separated from their children. The emotions that pop up when you leave your child with a babysitter or when you watch your child ride away in the school bus can span from a dull ache all the way to worry and panic.

 

Parenting - July 2015

Elizabeth Pantley

Shopping with Kids, Oh What Fun!

Parenting - July 2015

Does your child hate to go shopping with you? 
Does your little one usually end up begging for candy, cookies or toys? 
And then, when you say no, is there fussing, crying or tantrums in the store? 
Let’s talk shopping—and how to have a pleasant outing.

Parenting - June 2015

Elizabeth Pantley

Why Short Cat-Naps Are Not Good Enough

Parenting - June 2015

If your child’s naps are shorter than an hour and a half in length, you may have wondered if these brief naps provide enough rest for your little one. You might suspect that these catnaps aren’t meeting your child’s sleep needs—and you would be right. The science of sleep explains why a short nap takes the edge off, but doesn’t offer the same physical and mental nourishment that a longer nap provides.

 

Parenting - May 2015

Elizabeth Pantley

Whether you’re on the phone, busy on your computer, or talking to another adult, it can be frustrating when your children constantly interrupt you. What’s surprising to learn is that they do it because they always get a response from you when they do! They’ve learned that you are willing to stop what you’re doing to answer them. Keep in mind that children are so focused on their own needs that they don’t realize that you have needs, too. They can learn how to pay more attention to other people’s needs as well as their own, which will help control these endless interruptions.

Parenting - January 2015

It's All Pink

Get Your Toddler or Preschooler to Cooperate

It's no secret that children crave independence—from picking an outfit to choosing a snack—so convincing yourself- appointed ™big kid∫ to cooperate can be a big challenge. Young children are driven by emotion and they live in the moment. Simply explaining what you want doesn't work! However by using a variety of child-friendly methods, you can bring about some happy cooperation.

Parenting - December 2014

Elizabeth Pantley

The 4 Parts to Discipline

The days are long and complications abound—there are many, many things we must get our children to do, or stop them from doing—all day, every day. Add the fact that children don’t always listen to us, or do the things we want them to do, and you can understand why parenting is a challenge!

Parenting - October 2014

By Lindsay Gifford

My Mommy Has Breast Cancer

My mommy had breast cancer and she survived. I guess that sounds kind of funny coming from an adult, but it’s just the way I felt when my mom was diagnosed. She was only 37 years old; I was 12. Each year as October rolls around and Breast Cancer Awareness Month shines the spotlight on this devastating disease, my family is reminded how lucky we are to still have our family in tact.

Parenting: The Volcano Effect

It's All Pink

Why Skipping a Nap Results in Meltdown

From the moment your child wakes up in the morning he is slowly using up the benefits of the previous night's sleep. He wakes up refreshed, but as the hours pass, the benefits of sleep time are used up, and an urge to return to sleep builds. When we provide naps, we allow a child a "fresh start" after each sleep period.