“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…

10 Dangers of Encouraging Obedience and People-Pleasing

It’s not as desirable as it sounds! Parents can’t choose the mates of their children or the behavior of their children. You actually can’t choose anything for your children without disempowering them. —Abraham* So many of the parents and teachers who come to my presentations (especially ones like “You Can’t Make Me!” and Dealing with Difficult Students,…

6 Reasons to Not Ask “Why”- For Parents

No more excuses! This post is about not asking for excuses by asking your kids to explain why they did something wrong or forgot to do something they were supposed to do (or had agreed to do). This is a common pattern that will create problems and can undermine your authority. Here’s why asking “why”…

11 Reasons to Use Boundaries- For Parents

Establishing your authority with boundaries * Boundaries allow you to express your limits and to communicate the conditions or availability of certain privileges that your children desire. * Boundaries prevent conflict and build win-win power structures. They help you take care of yourself while attempting to accommodate your children’s needs or desires. * Boundaries build…

9 Things to Remember when Setting Boundaries- For Parents

Practical tips for making boundaries work * Use boundaries to let your children know your limits and tolerances, your availability, the conditions under which you will participate in some activity, which privileges are available, or the conditions under which a privilege is available to your children. Use boundaries to give your children information they can…

10 Characteristics of Healthy Adult-Child Relationships

Description of the characteristics Healthy, functional relationships between adults and children (including teacher-student relationships) are characterized by the following. Increasing the presence of these characteristics in your relationships is a great way to improve commitment, communications, cooperation and consideration, and reduce stress and conflict as well! This list applies to parents and care-givers as well…

Rules and Beliefs of Unhealthy Systems

Foundations of unhealthy adult-child group systems For much of my recent career, I have referred the following two lists (“Rules” and “Beliefs”) as the basis for the paradigm in which many of our current practices and polices exist. The information comes from Alice Miller’s work (cited below) and represents destructive, if common, ideas which cumulatively…