Archive for the ‘Responsibility & Children’ Category

Summertime success, really?

July 22nd, 2013

Okay, I bet I got you thinking…what’s the CQ up to talking about “SUCCESS” and summertime in the same sentence?

Yup, it’s kinda funny to think of summertime as a time when you want to encourage success, but it’s so filled with opportunities to learn, grow, and explore beyond the classroom.

So I ask you dear reader to think about what summertime success would look like for your child. Then ask your child what a successful summer would look like for them? You may even want to get some art supplies and get creative with this.
I imagine there are quite a few differences, and lots of opportunities for learning from each other.

Here’s the beauty of this exercise- both of you have a visual creation of what’s important, and from here you can begin negotiating the differences.

Your kiddo wants more electronics time and you want more reading time, look to find a way you can both get your needs met, and teach the art of compromise.

They want to go a sports camp with their friends, and you want them to join the academic camp, how can you come up with a compromise and create a win:win?

Life is all about negotiating differences, learning to communicate your needs, and how to be flexible when things don’t go your way.

Now that you and your child have an agreement on what a successful summer looks like, be a detective and collect evidence of positive moments.

As you’ve heard me mention before, Dr. Rick Hanson talks about Taking in the Good, and savoring positive moments.

Here are some ideas to savor summertime success:

*Take Instagram pictures of summertime success moments (both your definition and theirs)
*Create a Wordle  (word cloud) with key phrases or words that describe your child’s
summer of success
*Make a collage of words and images depicting their summertime goals
*Put together a scrapbook or Smashbook of summer highlights (need some inspiration
search Pinterest for ideas)
*Make a summer movie and include a highlight reel from key moments of summertime
* Get creative and ask your kiddo to come up with ideas to celebrate their successes!

Need help negotiating differences and create a win:win with your child? We hear you! Join us on the upcoming International Parents and Professionals Community Support call “You Can’t Make Me: Effective Boundaries and Follow Through for Motivating Kids! Practical and positive strategies to build cooperation, responsibility, and mutual respect with children” Click here to learn more

Using art to teach boundaries, respect, communication, and cooperation

July 9th, 2013

Last month’s International Parents and Professionals Community Support call was with Dr. Jane Bluestein and we talked about practical and positive strategies to build cooperation, responsibility, and mutual respect with children (if you missed this ‘must listen to call’ you can find out more here

It got me thinking about how important it is to set boundaries and clear expectations with kids. Also, the importance of very specific and concrete consequences (both positive and negative).  I find that the kids who struggle the most are often the ones whose parents flip flop on boundaries (sometimes a NO turns into a YES) or a child’s negative behavior triggers you to lose your cool or frustrates you to the point that you give in.

Summertime means more time with your family, more sibling time together, and more unstructured time. All of that can lead to arguments, annoyances, and frustrations.

You can teach your kiddos lots of great skills using art, such as respecting boundaries, communicating wants, cooperating, and learning consequences.

Here’s a creative playful CQ activity:

Get a large piece of paper and set the rules for playing together. Let your child know how long you’ll be making art and the expectations (such as helping pick-up the materials, asking for help, etc). Explain that you’ll be working together or that they will be working with their siblings. Pick a theme to create, this time of year an underwater theme or at the beach is a fun theme to explore. Tell your child that they can create on one side of the paper their own scene, and you (or their sibling has the other side of the paper) and explain that the middle of the paper is where they can create things together. Be clear that they need to ask before touching another person’s materials or going on the other person’s side. Let them know what the consequences will be ahead of time for good choices and poor choices. If your children are doing this together monitor the process, provide feedback, and explore choices.

Depending upon your child, you can provide basic materials such as markers or crayons, or you can provide sensory materials such as glitter glue, pom-poms, finger paint, or play-dough. Use this experience as a teaching opportunity to explore respecting boundaries, develop communication skills, such as asking for what you need, tolerating frustration, and organizing materials. Recognize positive choices and explore consequences of poor choices.

Every moment is a teaching moment, so help your child develop the skills to understand and respect boundaries, communicate their wants, and learn the consequences of their choices.

Got impulsive, distracted, overwhelmed kids? “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

February 25th, 2013


Are you looking for ways to help your child become more organized and focused? Tired of always reminding them to do what you asked? Frustrated by forgotten school work, disorganized rooms, and “I need that by tomorrow” last minute shopping trips? Worried that your child will not have the skills to succeed as a responsible independent adult?

It’s scary and overwhelming… so let’s come up with a plan to help your child and take of some of the stress and worry off you.

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) monthly Support Call Tuesday, February 26th. Dr. Laura will be speaking on the topic “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

You suspect your child has ADHD, or perhaps you work with children who have impulsivity issues. You may be wondering if this term is being over used (and over diagnosed), you want to explore alternatives to medication, or provide the families your work with more concrete skills to help their child. Don’t miss this informative support call on a topic that impacts so many children & families!

On this call you’ll discover:

  • The struggles that parents of children with impulsivity and attention issues face. It’s good to know you’re not alone and what to expect if your child is diagnosed or you suspect that they have ADD/ADHD.
  • You’ll leave with a better understanding of your child’s behaviors and some of the things parents try to do that just don’t seem to work (and may make things even worse).
  • As a professional you may want to throw your hands-up in the air because of frustration and lack of changes. Before you do so you’ll want to learn more about how what you’re saying just may not “stick to the brain” of a child with ADD/ADHD.
  • I’ll reveal of “how-to”, easy to implement, creative tips and strategies that will help diminish power struggles over homework, daily tasks, and listening, so your child is set-up with skills for success.

You’ll leave this call with empowering information and a plan to help children with ADD/ADHD. Don’t miss this complimentary call for IPPC members. Click here to find out more

Resistance is futile, or is it?

September 5th, 2012

“Resistance is futile” Even if you have never watched a single episode of Star Trek, you may have heard this quote. It’s the message the Borg tell other alien races as they intend to assimilate them into their collective on their quest for perfection. Wow, pretty heavy stuff!

As a family, we too have a collective mentality of how we believe others should behave, and when they don’t respond accordingly it can push all of our buttons.  Children may resist our requests to do what we asked, even stuff we perceive as simple, such as a few homework problems. The feature article below provides tips and a CQ creativity activity to help you and your child navigate resistance without resorting to yelling, lecturing, and arguing.

Being a creative type I love freedom and flexibility. When I was younger I was very resistant about anything that felt like it was limiting my spontaneous creative expression.  So schedules, to do lists, and homework were all met with resistance.  It felt like another thing that needed to be done, which took time away from my creative playtime; and as a foot-dragging perfectionist I would wait until the very last minute before I started.  Yes, I would get good grades and my room would be cleaned, but it would be at the 11th hour.

I bet a few of you can relate from your own experiences, or from seeing your child “dance the resistance dance”.

Here are a few things I learned which may help you navigate your own resistance and the resistance you encounter with your child:

  1. Have a conversation: Back in the day it was often “my way or the highway” when it came to doing things such as homework and chores.  The adults made the rules and children were expected to follow the rules, period.  It created a lot of resistance in our household. Now I often see parents who overcompensate and give their child too much freedom and flexibility and then wonder why things don’t get done. So have a conversation with your child about when they want to do their homework, what chores they do, etc. Look for a win:win and test it out. If your child is successful at what you’ve agreed to, that’s great. If they are having difficulties following what they agreed to, then revisit the conversation.
  2. What are your expectations: Are they realistic, do they align with what your child is capable of, does it respect their opinion?  I recommend being flexible, yet concrete, when setting expectations. That means you and your child can work out the details and compromise how and when things get done, but you are very clear and concrete with what you’ve both agreed to.
  3. Acknowledge the anxiety/fear of getting started: If your child has high expectations, the need to do things perfectly, or they fear that they not good enough or they may be embarrassed by doing it all wrong then allow an opportunity to explore these feelings.  Sometimes parents resist acknowledging feelings because things just need to get done quickly and it feels like that will take too much time. The reality is that if you take the time to help your child identify their feelings, acknowledge and understand their point of view, and they feel heard, then it’s often easier to move on to what needs to be done.
  4. When you become angry or upset how do you respond?  Take a minute to think about your physiological response when you are upset. Does your throat get tight, your stomach churn; where do you feel it in your body?  What do others say about your behavior when you get upset? Do you repeat yourself again and again, do you lecture, get louder, leave the room frustrated, or say hurtful things?  As a child my parents would yell and I would then become more resistant and shutdown, and now as an adult when I get upset I lecture or repeat myself until I feel heard. We are all doing our human dance, and when you are aware you are of your triggers and reactions you can consciously choose to change how you respond.
  5. Open your heart with love and compassion: It’s so easy to slip into frustration when others are not doing what they “need to do” or what you asked them to do.  There are many useful tools and strategies to help children change their behaviors; however, at the core of these behaviors are often feelings around being lovable, good enough, worthy, and safe.  You can show up with love, kindness and understanding so you can help your child move through difficult feelings and negative behaviors.  Expecting a child to change their behaviors is unrealistic if you continue to respond to your child in same way. You must be willing to soften, learn, and grow together, and that can be really hard if you were not raised that way. The good news it that you can learn how to communicate in a more supportive way and help your child move through resistance.


CQ Playful Creative Activity:


Here’s an activity to help you connect with your body sensations, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors when you get upset. Create an outline of your body on piece of paper with markers. If your child is doing this activity you can trace their body outline, or else you can draw it on a piece of paper. Think of something specific that makes you upset, and allow your body to feel it.  What does it look like, where is it in your body, what color is it, what are you thinking, what are you feeling, what does your body do. Become aware of your physical and emotional response and what triggers you.  Take the time to explore and process this experience, and if your child is creating an image, use it as an opportunity to connect with an open heart and understand their experiences.


If you grew up in a household where compassion and understanding and respect was lacking and you feel like it’s really hard to communicate without being reactive, you are not alone! We have a remarkable community of parents and professionals who desire in their hearts to teach children to communicate with love and compassion.  Come join our international community as we learn, laugh, and grow together.


Difficult Teenagers: How to Motivate & Understand Them

September 30th, 2011

Guest Article by Dee Mason

‘I don’t know what to do with this kid. He’s got to go!’ This was my introduction to Matthew, a difficult teenager who was driving his teachers mad. No one could cope with him and almost all of his teacher/pupil relationships had broken down. When he wasn’t chatting he was distracted. His lies were works of art. He was likeable, with blonde spiky hair and vivid blue eyes, full of intelligence and guile. He seemed more mature than the other seventeen year olds. He didn’t have an agenda; he just tried to get through every day by lying, ducking and diving, doing the minimum to stay on the course and the maximum to fuel his enjoyment of life.

My Job
My job at that time was to take on the most difficult teenagers in the college, befriend them, and help them be successful. I knew it would be a challenge, and I was up for it. I came to see that these students were Mavericks and they respond well to slightly maverick solutions!

My Room, My Rules
I had very, very few rules.
Rule One: No Sniffing
I provided tissues. “Arrrrgh….I can’t stand it!” I’d say, handing them the box. This was a) true but b) I came to understand that it was also an act of ‘mothering’ that the teens didn’t mind at all. I realized that teenagers are still very much living with one foot in their childhood. The ones that were failing just needed a little more time to move on. I brought in bags of sweets often. They loved to feel they were special and a little bit spoiled. After all, everyone else in the school was shouting at them. These small acts of mothering seemed to give them a feeling of security and helped build trust.

Rule Two: Right! Work now!
I always let my growing band of outlaws chat away about their issues for a while. We talked about boyfriends, and parent’s divorces, and peer bullying. But there was always a moment in their hour and a half session time when I would say ‘Ok, time for work! Half an hour. Go!’ Because they had been able to talk and relax they never seemed to mind. After half and hour (or longer if they were happy to continue) we broke and chatted again. It worked well, and slowly their grades crept up.

Rule Three: Working In Silence

This was really important. Kids seem to be bombarded with noise all the time. I failed to see how it could help easily distracted teenagers in this crucial period of their education. I did not allow iPods. I wanted concentration. Peace. Silence. It worked like a charm. It was such a novelty to these children to spend half an hour with their own thoughts. “I got more done in the last hour than I did in the whole of last week!” Often they came from chaotic homes where they were forced to do homework in the corner of a living room surrounded by piles of baby clothes and magazines, with TV and younger siblings all vying for their attention. I truly believe that experiencing silence and focused concentration showed them something they did not know they were capable of, thinking.

Rule Four: Organization

When a student was referred to me I would always ask them ‘What do you want to do? What is it you really want to happen?” Often it was a simple wish to be able to finish their studies and get a job, or go to University. It was a sincere wish. Kids don’t turn up to school day after day to experience failure and feel anxious. Why would they? They keep coming back because they want to succeed. We looked at their messy notes and put them in order. We got a list of targets to work towards. We made lists and ticked thing off. I stuck a long sheet of paper on my wall, showing the weeks till exam time, with a movable Monty Python-style ‘Finger Of Doom’ which crept along the line, week by week, as a visual reminder.

Why Did It Work?

It worked because it was theirs. They felt part of a gang, one that defied everyone’s expectations. The gang that had their own place in the school. They were respected by me, and respected me in turn. They trusted me, because they knew I cared. One of the greatest tensions when working with children is the extent to which you show them, and admit how much you genuinely care for them. I was never afraid to own those feelings. They knew it. And because they knew I’d go the extra mile for them, they went the extra mile for me.
And Matt, the boy they were about to exclude from college? I asked him “What’s it like being you?”, and it all tumbled out. I decided that he needed an immediate assessment for ADHD. He was off the scale. No-one had picked it up in 17 years. Listening to what children say is the very first step in helping them. Not many people really listen to children, even ones whose job it is.
We worked with it, and around it. With a huge amount of patience and a lot of laughs we made it. He got his exams and went to University. No expulsion. His last email to me said, “If I could share it with you I would”. That last smile he gave me was reward enough.

Dee Mason is a freelance writer and proud parent of two. She specializes in the arts and travel, and writes on behalf of Adams Kids in the U.K

Do You Rescue Your Child?

September 20th, 2011

How much support does your child need?

If you have a relationship of any kind, with a spouse, friend, parent, or child, then you have encountered someone else making a decision you would never dream of doing. There is pain seeing that person making a choice your know in your heart is just not the “right” decision for them. Ironically, the closer we are to the person, the more we believe we know what’s right for them, and often we will make comments or demands upon them, based upon our knowing what’s best.

We would never dream of telling our co-worker what they are wearing is wrong and they should change, yet it becomes almost a duty to be hypercritical about what our spouse or children are wearing or doing. Often when tasks that are delegated to those in the household are not completed, we jump in to do it.  Heaven forbid your child wear wrinkled clothes to school because they left their laundry on the floor.

Most parents who rescue fear what others might think or that things won’t get done exactly right, or if they don’t control the situation their child may fail or get hurt.  Most people rescue because they love those around them and they don’t want to see them hurt. However, rescuing sets up a whole new set of problems.  The person you rescue doesn’t get to learn from their actions.  They don’t learn how to self-correct, or make changes when they are off course, since they have had someone doing that for them.  They don’t learn how to overcome obstacles and when they do arise (and they always do) they are unprepared.  I’ve had many young adults in my office who just didn’t know how to handle tough stuff because their parents did it for them when they were growing up.

The question that most people ask is how do they know when to intervene.  The first question to ask, is it a safety issue? Meaning if you don’t intervene will someone get hurt physically?  If it is a safety issue, step in and set a boundary.  All other issues are not black and white. I love to challenging parents to talk out the choices and consequences with their children. For tasks such as homework and household chores personal accountability works wonders.  Have a neutral discussion (without getting emotional about the topic) and develop a contract to help identify what will be done and what are the consequences. Contracts do work, when they are done right, meaning they are respectful of each person’s needs and there is an incentive to change for both parties.

For things such as bullying at school or children who are having emotional problems a more supportive role is necessary.  Parents often step in too early and attempt to stop bullying, which may cause more social problems for their children.  Brainstorm with your child solutions, allow them to test some out before you become involved.  If things continue to be a problem and it becomes a psychological safety issue, there may be a need for more direct involvement.

Encourage your child to take part in choosing their consequences; if they have done something wrong, ask them to come up with the consequences. You’ll be amazed at how they will learn from this, with less tantrums and more personal accountability.

Here’s the important part to remember, those who rescue others become resentful.  They will do, and do, and do, and then finally get upset that everyone treats them disrespectfully and takes advantage of them.  Stop the cycle of rescuing so you don’t fall into this pattern, and you allow others an opportunity to learn.

Here’s a creative activity to help you identify times when you rescue.  Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.  On the left side write the word rescue and on the right side write the word support.  Fill in the page with images and words of times when you rescue (what you say and do) and what it might look like if you supported that person instead.

When you become aware of your tendencies to rescue then you can choose other ways you can support your child and other family members.  If you or your child is in need of more support we can help. Click here to schedule your complimentary support consultation.

Teaching Responsibility: Help your child make & keep goals for the school year

August 15th, 2011

Got a child heading back to school and you want to help your child become responsible and accountable for the school year? Help your child create goals for the school year and provide your child with creative tools to be successful.

Here are some creative ways to help your child articulate and track their academic goals:

Ask your child to create an image (or use magazine collage) and ask them to make artwork representing their school goals. You can make it easier to define by taking a circle and filling in different sections for different goals they are striving to achieve.

For example inside of a circle they would section off each piece of the pie and create images and words inside of that section that represent their specific goals. Areas could include academics (a slice of the pie for each subject) friendships, social activities, and sports.

Another way to keep track of goals would involve creating an altered book by recycling an old book and creating a scrapbook of images and words representing the different goals your child is working towards. You can use an old out of print textbook, vintage yearbook, old children’s book, or visit a used bookstore. Cover the pages with paint and then use magazine collage to decorate the pages. Visit the craft store for additional scrapbook embellishments to personalize your child’s goal book.

The benefits of creating a personalized image or book of your child’s goals allows your child to create what a successful academic year would look like for them, holds them accountable for what they are creating (rather than you nagging them), and allows them an opportunity to reflect back at the end of the year on what they accomplished, and what they could improve upon. Plus it’s really fun to have a book or image of the year they created.

Need some more support to help your child be successful? Schedule a complimentary Child Support Consultation by clicking here!