Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Stop Talking So Your Kids Can Listen!!!!!


One Mom has made herself this sign and posted it everywhere – both at home and at work.  She is completely amazed at the 180 degree change in her child’s behavior since she stopped explaining herself with words, words and more words.

When I first met her, I told her that sometimes the only thing you need to do to command your child’s attention is to use alpha speech, be clear, concise and commanding in your instructions and act like you expect to be obeyed.

But I didn't really think that would happen for them.  Their 6 year old was getting daily notes home from school and was wildly defiant with his parents.  Also, when I first talked to her, she was speaking so rapidly that she soon had me talking as fast as she was!  Neither of us could keep track of where the conversation was going!!

But in just 3 meetings, she really understood that she talked too much.  And that the more she talked and explained, the less her son was listening.

Talk about a Herculean effort!  But once she stopped talking about behavior, stopped asking him why he was misbehaving, and stopped micromanaging every minute of every day his behavior improved 100%. 

Misbehavior at school had meant that he went to his room after school.  They had been doing this for months and sadly told me it had no effect.  But then they told me they were inconsistent - letting him off the hook if he “forgot” or “lost” the note from the teacher.  And when he did bring home the note, Mom asked him the rest of the day why, why, why.

I encouraged them to restate the rule: if his daily note from his teacher is either negative or forgotten, he will go to his room after school.  They decided to ask no more questions about whatever the note said – just implemented the consequence.  And they did not ride him about EVERY single aspect of his existence.

Within 1 week, they reported a completely changed little boy.  Not one negative note for a whole week and an easy, happy child in most every aspect.

I certainly can’t guarantee such great results and I do think this little guy is going to regress and test his parents a bit, but I do know that the absolute FIRST step in commanding your child’s attention is to act like the leader of your family – with a few clear, concise words when giving directions.


Yes, it really can be that simple!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

LPC - In the News!!

LPC was featured in the "In the Field" Column of the Refresh magazine of the Buffalo News today.

Also Scott Scanlon, editor of the Refresh magazine wrote a blog about my business today:


Check both out and let me know your thoughts!!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

To Spank or Not To Spank

The hidden elephant in the room, right?  When I am coaching, this is a subject that parents NEVER bring up.  Prevailing wisdom equates spankings with beatings and no one wants to admit they have ever spanked a child because they don’t want to be accused of child abuse.  Ok, fair enough.

But spankings can be a reasonable disciplinary choice; if and only if a spanking is defined as 2 – 4 swats with an open hand on the clothed back side. Anything more than that constitutes a beating and is outrageously unacceptable.

So then, do I believe in spankings as defined above?  Well I do and I don’t.  Of my 2 kids, I spanked the oldest once and the youngest never.

Spankings should not be the first choice of handling misbehavior.  And they really don’t work well on kids younger than 3 or older than 6 or 7.  There are so many more options to establish your parental leadership that I rarely see a need for spankings.  The best consequence is one that greatly limits a child’s freedom – like early bedtime, room confinement, losing a bike for a week, being told they can’t go to a friend’s party.  And these types of consequences, when applied sparingly and strategically, make a huge impression on kids.  Children generally begin to rethink their behavior choices in ways that make the need for major consequences decrease dramatically.

Parents who levy major consequences are hardly mean parents when they only need to do so occasionally. They use consequences to assert their leadership, help their kids listen to them better and become more obedient. By the way, obedient children are clearly happier and more secure children!

Of course, it stands to reason that good parental leadership is focused on issues that matter.  Parents who try to micromanage kids, impose lots and lots of rules, and say “no” or punish twenty times a day exhaust themselves in their parenting. They exhaust and confuse their kids too - to the point that children may not know what is expected of them (because the rules likely change all the time).

So when is spanking a good idea?  When you need a child’s attention right now – because of danger or an emergency circumstance – and you absolutely have to stop a behavior or instill how wrong their action was.  My daughter’s one spanking was at age 3 when she pulled away from me to chase a butterfly across the road.  Thank God, there was no car coming.  I chased her, grabbed her arm and delivered 4 swats with my hand on her bottom.  Additionally, our daycare Mom spanked her once, too.  That was the day she went into the forbidden 4 square mile cornfield – can you imagine the danger and difficulty of finding a child who might get themselves lost in a fully grown cornfield? She was spanked – again with open hand – and confined to the house for the rest of the day.

So I do believe that spankings have their place but only in limited situations for young kids.

Other misbehaviors deserve thoughtful parents who think through their parenting values and then implement them strategically!