Checklist: Characteristics of Healthy Parent-Child Relationships

Evaluate your relationships Use this checklist to evaluate patterns in your current relationships with the children in your life (or even other adults in your life). If you have implemented a specific discipline or motivation approach, does it encourage relationships in which the following are true? Proactivity: ___ I focus on prevention–not reaction. ___ I…

I-Messages: The Handout

More information about a destructive communication pattern This handout was developed to accompany a free online article, “What’s Wrong with ‘I-Messages’?” I first wrote about the problems with using this formula to try to get people to change their behavior in 1991. Evidence based on outcomes of using this formula has only strengthened my opinion. There are…

How Do You Parent?

Noticing patterns in parenting styles Let’s examine your current parenting patterns and values. In each pair of statements, mark the one that you identify with most strongly, the one that “feels” most like you. ___ I respect the fact that my child has different tastes than I do. ___ I am often embarrassed by my…

Presentation: Parents in a Pressure Cooker

A comprehensive and positive approach for parents and caregivers Dozens of practical, positive, and effective strategies to help parents build kids’ cooperation, responsibility, and self-management in a caring, mutually-respectful, win-win environment. This program was designed as a half-day, full-day, or multi-day training to combine the discipline issues and power dynamics addressed in “You Can’t Make Me!”, with…

“Making Someone Wrong”

What does that really mean? In what has become a bit of a family joke, my husband and I can spend the entire day together in the house. Yet, regardless of how much time we’ve been talking or interacting, something happens the minute I reach for my keys to leave for a meeting, class, or…

It’s Only Disrespect if I Think it’s Disrespect

Attitudes are in the eye— and ear— of the beholder Do you have snarky people in your life? This post was adapted from material originally written for beginning teachers. The same ideas and strategies are equally effective in home and work environments, as well as any educational setting. Just substitute “student” (or “kid”) for “child,”…

Is Control the Goal? with Tammy Cox

The high price of trying to control children Episode Summary: Power is an intrinsic need we all have from day one! When it comes to adult-child relationships, power struggles are consistently at the top of the list. We all know that kids need limits and structure to grow into responsible adults, but there is also an…

“Magic” Sentences for Effective Communication

Positive language for avoiding conflict, negotiating agreements, and taking care of yourself “Magic Sentences” are key phrases that offer practical ways to use specific language to prevent, minimize, or de-escalate conflicts with others. Different sentences will be useful in different situations. These examples represent a win-win approach to relationships, and while they were originally developed for…

What’s Wrong with I-Messages?

Problems with a popular formula © 1991, 1999, 2003, 2013 This article was originally written for an issue of Families in Recovery, a parenting magazine that is no longer in print. Although the examples primarily feature parent-child interactions, the dynamics, issues, and alternatives are applicable to any relationship. A man in one of my workshops…

How to Avoid Meltdowns in Public

Practical tips for preventing (and handling) tantrums Most every parent fears that inevitable moment in the store when all eyes are on them because their adorable child is having a full-fledged temper tantrum.  Many parents will go to great lengths to avoid having these meltdowns in public, even giving into every unreasonable demand the non-rational…