Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Read together 20 minutes every day. | The Children's Reading Foundation

Read together 20 minutes every day. | The Children's Reading Foundation: "The vision of The Children's Reading Foundation is that every child learns to read early and well, thereby reaching his or her full potential in school and life."

What is reading readiness?

What is reading readiness?: "Different reading readiness activities are included in all instructional programs. These ongoing activities are designed to teach reading readiness skills.
Reading readiness is taught separately in some instructional programs. In other instructional programs it is a part of the basic reading and writing instruction. The reading program you have chosen and modified will determine when and how you will handle reading readiness."

What is "reading readiness"? Learning To Read (Family & Education: Schoolwork: Helping Your Child)

What is "reading readiness"? Learning To Read (Family & Education: Schoolwork: Helping Your Child): "Reading readiness can mean lots of different things, but basically it means is your child ready to start reading? Does your child know what the letters are? Does your child know what sounds the letters make and that the letters scrunch together to form words?"

Reading Readiness

Reading Readiness: "Kindergartners who bring a simple of set of reading skills to the first day of school can look forward to years of success in the classroom. A University of Florida study shows kindergartners who’ve master simple reading skills as they start school tend to perform well through at least fourth grade. Experts often focus on letter recognition as the key skill for kids to learn."

Reading Readiness

How to Teach a Child to Read in Steps : Pictures & Phonics in Teaching K...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ten Alternatives to Spanking | Christian-Parent.com

Ten Alternatives to Spanking Christian-Parent.com: "Spanking is only a temporary solution to ongoing problems. Spanking usually leaves a child wondering what should I do differently so I don’t get hit again. Seldom are spankings followed by instruction on what the child needs to do or stop doing. It generally is nothing more than a release of the parent’s frustration directed toward the child. It teaches a child to comply because of fear rather than a sense of what is right or wrong. It teaches children that violence is an acceptable way to solve their problems. Children who are spanked often have a greater risk of low self-esteem, aggression, lying, cheating, depression and bullying. Spanking sets the example that it is okay to hit when a person is upset or angry. Below are ten alternatives to spanking that you might find helpful."

Six good alternatives to spanking - Behavior Issues - Parenting - Family Resource

Six good alternatives to spanking - Behavior Issues - Parenting - Family Resource: "Parents know that there are times when children are not amenable to reason. Many parents who spank their children consider it a necessary act of last resort. However, new research is increasingly showing that spanking teaches children how to act in aggressive and sometimes violent ways, which can impact on a child's chances of a successful relationships and job prospects. So if spanking is not the answer, what is?"

SpringerLink -

SpringerLink -: "This meta-analysis investigates differences between the effect sizes of physical punishment and alternative disciplinary tactics for child outcomes in 26 qualifying studies. Analyzing differences in effect sizes reduces systematic biases and emphasizes direct comparisons between the disciplinary tactics that parents have to select among. The results indicated that effect sizes significantly favored conditional spanking over 10 of 13 alternative disciplinary tactics for reducing child noncompliance or antisocial behavior. Customary physical punishment yielded effect sizes equal to alternative tactics, except for one large study favoring physical punishment. Only overly severe or predominant use of physical punishment compared unfavorably with alternative disciplinary tactics. The discussion highlights the need for better discriminations between effective and counterproductive use of disciplinary punishment in general."

Spanking in Early Childhood and Later Behavior Problems: A Prospective Study of Infants and Young Toddlers -- Slade and Wissow 113 (5): 1321 -- Pediatrics

Spanking in Early Childhood and Later Behavior Problems: A Prospective Study of Infants and Young Toddlers -- Slade and Wissow 113 (5): 1321 -- Pediatrics: "Conclusion. Among white non-Hispanic children but not among black and Hispanic children, spanking frequency before age 2 is significantly and positively associated with child behavior problems at school age. These findings are consistent with those reported in studies of children older than 2 years but extend these findings to children who are spanked beginning at a relatively early age."

CJO - Abstract - Spanking in the home and children's subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers

CJO - Abstract - Spanking in the home and children's subsequent aggression toward kindergarten peers: "Although spanking of children is almost universal in U.S. society, its effects are not well understood. We examined the longitudinal relation between parental spanking and other physical punishment of preschool children and children's aggressive behavior toward peers later in kindergarten. A total of 273 boys and girls from diverse backgrounds served as subjects. The findings were consistent with a socialization model in which higher levels of severity in parental punishment practices are associated with higher levels of children's subsequent aggression toward peers. Findings indicated that children who had been spanked evidenced levels of aggression that were higher than those who had not been spanked, and children who had been the objects of violent discipline became the most aggressive of all groups. Patterns were qualified by the sexes of the parent and child and subtypes of child aggression (reactive, bullying, and instrumental). The findings suggest that in spite of parents' goals, spanking fails to promote prosocial development and, instead, is associated with higher rates of aggression toward peers."

Spanking Moms Spur Aggession in Kids - ABC News

Spanking Moms Spur Aggession in Kids - ABC News: "While organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Effective Discipline staunchly advocate against corporal punishment, many parents continue to turn to the rod when disciplining their children."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Health and Nutrition for the Family - FamilyEducation.com

Health and Nutrition for the Family - FamilyEducation.com: "Keep the dinner options fun for your kids, get expert advice on dealing with your finicky eaters, and read parents' suggestions for healthy snacks."

Healthy Eating For Children Without Breaking The Bank!

Healthy Eating For Children Without Breaking The Bank!: "Healthy eating for children doesn't need to be diffcult OR expensive! Let Family Health and Nutrition help you find better ways of feeding your family without breaking the bank!"

Family Health

Family Health: "One member does not a family make. In today’s fast paced world, the focus can so easily stray from being a healthy family, especially when it comes to raising your kids.
Start here for analysis, help and advice toward making your family unit a healthy unit. Succinct, specific advice for parents on the go, as well as proactive tips for your children can be found in Family Health."

WebMD Children's Health Center - Kids health and safety information for a healthy child

WebMD Children's Health Center - Kids health and safety information for a healthy child: "Diagnosing viral illness as bacterial infection was the most commonly reported diagnostic error, closely followed by failure to recognize the side effects of medication."

KidsHealth.org : Parents Home Page

KidsHealth.org : Parents Home Page: "KidsHealth is the #1 most-visited website for children's health and development. You're now in the Parents area. At the bottom of each article, you'll find links to related features created for kids and teens. We encourage you to share them!"

Prenatal Health

Prenatal Health: "Importance of Prenatal Vitamins During Pregnancy
Prenatal vitamins are synthetic multivitamins which are vital for pregnant women. They play an important role in giving birth to a healthy child."

Prenatal Care: MedlinePlus

Prenatal Care: MedlinePlus: "Prenatal care is more than just health care while you are pregnant. Your health care provider may discuss many issues, such as nutrition and physical activity, what to expect during the birth process and basic skills for caring for your newborn.
Your doctor or midwife will give you a schedule for your prenatal visits. You can expect to see your health care provider more often as your due date gets closer. A typical schedule includes visiting your doctor or midwife"

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy: "Key to protecting the health of your child is to get regular prenatal care. If you think you're pregnant, call your health care provider to schedule an appointment. You should schedule your first examination as soon as you think that you are pregnant."

Fetal development: The first trimester - MayoClinic.com

Fetal development: The first trimester - MayoClinic.com: "You're pregnant. Congratulations! You'll undoubtedly spend the months ahead wondering how your baby is growing and developing. What does your baby look like? How big is he or she? When will you feel the first kick?
Fetal development typically follows a predictable course. Find out what happens during your baby's first three months in the womb by checking out this weekly calendar of events."

Prenatal Care << Frequently Asked Questions << womenshealth.gov

Prenatal Care << Frequently Asked Questions << womenshealth.gov: "Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. Take care of yourself and your baby by:
Getting early prenatal care. If you know you're pregnant, or think you might be, call your doctor to schedule a visit.
Getting regular prenatal care. Your doctor will schedule you for many checkups over the course of your pregnancy. Don't miss any — they are all important.
Following your doctor's advice."

Building a Healthy Body Image in Children

Building a Healthy Body Image in Children: "From the ubiquitous photos of barely clad, bone-thin celebrities like Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan to the emaciated models strutting their stuff on the cat walk, children today are inundated with media images that present thinness as a standard of beauty and elegance. Seeing these images over and over may lead them to think that their own bodies are not acceptable, leading them to develop unhealthy body images. And unfortunately, such negative feelings can sap self-esteem and set the stage for eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia."

Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls - MayoClinic.com

Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls - MayoClinic.com: "Girls today face significant pressure to be physically attractive and have a perfect body. As a result, many girls feel dissatisfied with their bodies and are at higher risk of developing mental health problems. There are steps you can take, however, to encourage your daughter to love her body, regardless of its shape or size. Find out what you can do to help girls develop and maintain a healthy body image."

Perfect Illusions . A Healthy Body Image | PBS

Perfect Illusions . A Healthy Body Image PBS: "Body Image is:
How you see or picture yourself.
How you feel others perceive you.
What you believe about your physical appearance.
How you feel about your body.
How you feel in your body."

Body Image: Loving Yourself Inside and Out

Body Image: Loving Yourself Inside and Out: "With a positive or healthy body image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape. She also feels comfortable with her body. With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame and anxiety about her body. Being unhappy with your body can affect how you think and feel about yourself as a person. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting habits, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Developing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman's happiness and wellness."

Parenting a child with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome

There are three common indicators of Autism:

Unusual and repetitive behaviors and/or narrow, obsessive interests

Poor communication &

Poor social skills, to include:

Lack of or difficulty with joint attention &

Significantly to extremely guarded interactions.

Often when people talk about Autism, they talk about the autism spectrum. Really, there could be 10 or more disabilities identified over the next 20 years. Two segments of the spectrum are autism and Aspergers. Autism is usually marked by a lack or great difficulty with joint attention and Aspergers is usually marked by great difficulty in interactions and social situations.
Do not diagnose Autism on your own, if you suspect a child may have autism, the earlier s/he is identified and diagnosed and receiving appropriate intervention the better. Please refer the child (if your own) or the child’s parents to a qualified medical practionaire, psychologist, or early intervention practionaire who can diagnose Autism using standardized assessments.  Some parents read information on Autism or watch a television show, decide that their child has autism and tell their doctor, almost insisting that s/he diagnose their child with Autism.  This is a huge mistake for the child.  If your child has some Autism like symptoms, it is VERY important that the correct diagnosis is made and the correct, best practice intervention is used for the diagnosis. Some of the supplemental materials below may provide some additional assistance.

This following section/story is from the perspective of the child with autism; (some of these basic ideas are borrowed from Dr. Richard Solomon of the PLAY Project

Imagine you accidentally stumbled into a rocket ship (I realize it is hard to imagine how this might occur but please humor me). The rocket ship takes off at incredible speed and leaves our solar system (fortunately there is food and water aboard) and in a few short days the ship lands on another planet automatically opening the door. Still somewhat shocked and dazed you peer out and see some very strange aliens with what appears to be four eyes, hands, and tentacles. They notice you looking out of the space ship (after all the ship made a great deal of noise when it landed) and begin to approach. You of course, have no idea what to expect, for all you know you landed on Aunt Gazeldalipsnor and they are furious. As quickly as possible you attempt to close the door (but can not) so you retreat back further into the ship and begin to pace back and forth, talking to yourself, wondering what you are going to do, obsessing about how you could possibly get back to your world repeatedly asking yourself what you are going to do and avoiding any possible glances at the open door. After what seems like hours, you decide to take a peek out of the door and see an even larger crowd of aliens gathering. Many are looking and pointing up to the sky and some are looking and pointing in another direction. They are making an unrecognizable shrill sound that though you did not believe it possible, causes you even greater anxiety. You do not dare look at what they are pointing to and immediately, with a gasp, return to even quicker pacing and repetitively asking yourself, “what am I going to do?”

After a while longer, one approaches the door and through the corner of your eyes you see an extended tentacle with what appears to be an oozing pile of goop. Immediately you turn away and return to pacing. Unfortunately you are near exhaustion and are not able to accelerate your pace. The alien places the goop on some sort of plate on a table just inside the space ship, and leaves. Nothing explodes and after a while, partially out of sheer exhaustion, you sit on the floor in a corner and begin to flap your hand uncontrollably. Strangely this seems to comfort you and eventually you fall asleep.

The following morning you awake and look for food but find that you have already eaten all that was previously stored. You glance at the goop and consider it might be food but can not bring yourself to taste it but notice a rather fascinating gadget on the wall of the ship and pick it up to study. It has a most interesting design and when you push certain buttons a screen appears. This is REALLY cool! You can do all kinds of things with it and all the rest of this strange place seems to just disappear as you focus on this fascinating gadget.

After a while you notice that you are very hungry even to the point of hurting a little. On the table you notice some additional items but have no idea how they got there. There is a sweet smell and you pick up a small firm but supple item that smells particularly sweet. Bringing it to your mouth you touch it with your tongue and though not a particularly good taste it doesn’t have a bad taste either. You are hungry enough that you bite down a little and a delicious juice oozes out into your mouth. Immediately you bite down and chew this item and get a great sensation as it moves down your throat. There are more and some others to try so you continue to eat what you like until you are not as hungry and notice that some of the aliens are still outside the door staring at you. This freaks you out and you immediately return to pacing which though exhausting, also helps you to calm. After pacing for some time, you again pick up the gadget and loose yourself in the things you can make it do.

This same routine continues for many days or months, you are not sure as everything seems to flow together including the anxiety that is almost your constant companion. Without the calming activities you have discovered, which have occasionally been interrupted by the aliens, you explode uncontrollably, your anxiety being so high.

One day, one of the aliens approaches you with some additional foods, making a strange noise and pointing to the food item, while you are eating, you glance at the food and the alien and being extremely hungry and recognizing the food as particularly delicious, you take some from the plate held by the alien but quickly return to pacing and then playing with another interesting gadget you had become aware of just a few days or weeks ago.

As you are investigating this new gadget you suddenly realize that the same alien who brought you the extra food is sitting inside the ship by the door investigating the same type of gadget as you. You quickly return to what you are doing.

Over time experiencing many of the same things that have occurred with food, you notice the same alien investigating a similar gadget to what you happen to be investigating at the time and one day you notice the alien getting the gadget to do something that you had never seen it do this is slightly intriguing but you return your focus to the gadget and again find yourself immersed in the gadget to the exclusion of everything else and this is comforting. Some days later you notice the alien’s hand moving towards the gadget you are investigating and the alien does something that makes the gadget do something new this is a shock but the new thing is so intriguing that you imitate what the alien did and the gadget does it again.

Days and weeks pass and you become aware that you are less anxious with the presence of the alien and start to accept a couple of others and even start to feel less anxious as they interact with you and show you new things you can do with different gadgets.

A few days later you find yourself gesturing to the alien to show you how to do something with one of the gadgets you even repeat the sound you know associate with one of the particularly delicious foods that had been provided and almost magically the alien brings you more of that food. Perhaps you can get things you want or need from these aliens. This communication continues to grow and you begin to enjoy these strange beings. Occasionally you still have feelings of anxiety but you are no longer constantly anxious and you even begin to wonder out of the rocket from time to time and notice the aliens pointing to a building not far away and a hill and other creatures on the hill. You also notice the warmth that comes from a glowing object in the sky and it makes you feel comfortable and even a little more relaxed.

As increasing activity, interaction, and even communication with the aliens grows, you one day notice the shiny outside of the rocket ship and realize it reflects the image of other things around you. You can see the building in the distance and when you move in another direction you can see some of the aliens you have become comfortable with, then you are shocked, you see yourself, and you look just like the aliens.

Many children with autism can show significant improvement with the right intervention at the right time.  Many countries around the world provide services for children with autism. Academicians and service providers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia as well as many other countries have and continue to do great research and provide great service to children with autism and their families. If you are not able to locate resources, please let me know where you are looking for services for and I will attempt to find them for you.

The best services will provide support to the child care center when applicable, and training and support directly to the parents and other family members.

In some ways, providing care for children with Autism is not too dissimilar to providing care for other children, with the exception that it requires more and sometimes significantly more patience and effort and what may typically be a spontaneous response from many children will be more guarded and difficult from a child with autism.

Perhaps you can think about it this way. A child with Autism is sort of like many teenagers, in their own world, wanting little to do with their family, and non communicative. If you were a parent of such a teenager I might recommend you get into their world and spend time with them there. This does not mean that you would engage in illegal, immoral, or unethical activities. I would not want you to start smoking pot or taking other drugs and attending inappropriate parties with your teenagers. I would want you to perhaps read some of the books they are reading so that you can discuss it with them, play some of the appropriate games they are playing, and learn about things they are interested in. Eventually you might be able to get your teen to have his or her friends over to your house for an appropriate party that while you are not right in the same room all the time, you can keep an eye on and assure that it is safe. You would want to find out what kind of food and legal drink they really like and provide if for the party. As you find out what their interests are and you learn more about their interest, instead of trying to show that you know a lot, you might ask them intelligent questions about the subject. Eventually they just might be interested in things that interest you and you might have a real relationship again.

"Today, 1 in 150 American children is diagnosed with autism. (This number seems to keep changing, I’ve seen it as many as one in 90. Part of the reason for the difference is the date of the research, the quality of the research, to include the sample, and what the researchers are calling Autism.)

Joint attention is a common significant deficit for persons with Autism.  So what is joint attention? Joint attention occurs when you reference an object, person, or thing, (pointing, looking) drawing the child’s attention, and the child is able to refocus on that same object, person, or thing with you. Joint attention is one of the most important aspects of autism treatment.

Fortunately we now know enough about Autism to know which children are most likely to benefit from intensive interventions and which types of interventions provide the most benefit for the child, considering: age of child, specific Autism Spectrum diagnosis, functioning level of the child, and willingness of the parent(s) to be active participants in treatment.

In many cases intervention can be provided for even less than $10,000.00 per year. Sometimes significantly less. If the right intervention is provided for three years to the child best suited to benefit from that intervention by a well qualified therapist properly implementing the intervention with active and continuing participation by the parent, government will literally save hundreds of thousands and in some cases even millions of dollars over the life of the child; plus it’s the right thing to do for the child and family. It’s the right thing to do fiscally, therapeutically, and humanely.
If it is the wrong intervention provided by poorly qualified interventionists without active parental(guardian) participation and without well written contextually mediated objectives, it is a disservice to the child, family, and taxpayer.
Depending on the type of intervention, the time spent by the parent can be either time set aside to specifically work on the intervention, a part of the parent and child’s typical routines, or a combination of both.
The right intervention for the right child, correctly implemented, will provide significant improvement in both functioning level and behavior.
More specific detailed information, references, and resources can be found at: http://www.bestoutcomes.blogspot.com/ and some additional linked websites.

Anxiety and Autism
Because of the communication difficulties often associated with disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy, anxiety and frustration are often heightened to extreme levels. Thus effective communication through whatever means available becomes a significant and almost overriding need. If the individual with the disability must develop the means, appropriate or not, to communicate their needs, they will. One of your very top objectives to help them meet their needs, reduce their anxiety and maladaptive behaviors, and help them communicate more effectively is to help them, with the assistance of professionals as needed, to develop an effective and appropriate means of communication.

Remember almost all behavior is functional. Some people need help to develop more appropriate means to communicate and get their needs met. Also, just communicating a need, without having the corresponding and appropriate need met, is worthless. This does not mean that you let someone get everything they want. Everyone has boundaries, and sometimes there are different and more appropriate means to getting a need met, such as the need for affection.

Supplemental Material:
Better Outcomes: How to write Measurable Behavioral Objectives, Goals and Plans
Current Autism Research or Hope for Autism
Caring for Children with Autism and Aspergers
NIMH · Treatment Options
Quality Treatment for Children
Afraid of Alzheimer’s: Current research and news.  This has been added because of some of the commonalities in the research.
Nightmares: Causes and help for children with nightmares
Parent Implemented Interventions for Autism (ASD)

Attachment Disorders

One thing that we know about the human brain and brain development is that our knowledge of the human brain is only in its infancy. In-spite of this, we have learning incredible things about the brain and brain development over the past 20 years; however our knowledge is still barely in its infancy.
During the first three years of life a typical healthy brain in a typical healthy environment has been estimated to create as many as three billion synaptic connections per second. At around age three the process slows down significantly; though we continue to learn and synaptic connections continue to be made. At about age ten, the typical brain will begin to purge (prune) unused connections. This is sort-of like cleaning out and organizing your bedroom, removing what is not or least important and making everything left easier to find. Some times the brain does not perform this function very well, creating an ever increasingly cluttered and disorganized mind where it is difficult to find and access information. Fortunately most of us are able to continue to learn and discard useless information and connections through most if not all of our lives.

These first few years of life are extremely important to our development in many areas including attachment, and relationships, and language.

Attachment is one of the most fundamental protective factors which can be developed by children.  With secure initial and ongoing attachment, many types of trauma and other difficulties experienced by children and adults are minimized.  (This is discussed in more detail under Resilience.)

Attachment is one of the ways we learn to care for each other.  When healthy from the aspect of both the child, parent, and others, it can bring great comfort, joy, and security.

There are many aspects of attachment, attachment disorder, and what is sometimes called detachment disorder.  Instead of rewriting what others have written better, I'll just direct you to the supplemental material linked below.  Please feel free to use the Google Scholar and/or Google Parenting Search engine below.

Supplemental Material:
Reactive Attachment Disorder
Attachment Disorders: Insecure Attachment and Reactive Attachment Disorder
Attachment research in eating disorders
Disorganised-disoriented insecure attachment, a pattern common in infants abused in the first 2 years of life, is psychologically manifest as an inability to generate a coherent strategy for coping with relational stress.
Attachment Disorder Behavior Following Early Severe Deprivation
Attachment disorders: Assessment strategies and treatment approaches - Attachment & Human Development 
Child Abuse & Neglect, Reactive Attachment Disorder: eMedicine Pediatrics: Developmental and Behavioral

Skin-to-skin contact: A natural way to treat postpartum depression? | Fox News


Almost anything to excess can be an addiction, cell phones, texting, internet, eating, television, obsession with money et etc.  Sex can also be an addiction, and at the wrong place, in the wrong situation, with the wrong person, can be devestating even once.  Somethings can be harmful even once no matter the circumstances, such as drugs and alcohol, gambling, and pornography; but their harm increases substantially with repetition.

Consistent messages and example are extreemly important.  Education is extreemely important.  Good self-efficacy is extreemly important. Involvement in positive activities that the child/teen enjoys and feels satisfaction in doing with positive peers and adults is also extreemly important.  Religion can and often plays a positive role in helping kids remain free from addictions...or clean up from an existing addiction.  The right professional help can also help kids and adults clean up from addiction.  This is not a problem to ignore.
Many years ago I saw a sign in a middle school that had a picture of a tween swimming under water.  The caption stated, "studies have shown that it is almost impossible to smoke marijuana while swimming under water." 

"For many, negative thinking is a habit, which over time, becomes an addiction... A lot of people suffer from this disease because negative thinking is addictive to each of the Big Three -- the mind, the body, and the emotions. If one doesn't get you, the others are waiting in the wings.”  Peter McWilliams

“All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation” 
W. H. Auden

"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."  Frank Outlaw

"Habits are first cobwebs, then cables."  Spanish Proverb

"A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in."  C. S. Lewis

"Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones."  Stephen R. Covey

"Not being able to govern events, I govern myself."  Michel de Montaigne

"Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself."  Abraham Joshua Heschel

My family on my mother’s side has a history of weight problems. Adding to the general problem, my maternal grandmother, (who when I was very young lived with us or we with her and for most of my life lived in a home next door to us that my father built for her) was an incredible baker. She made the most fabulous cinnamon roles, pies (especially the most incredible banana cream), sauces, and other incredible foods which we all loved.

I was a very active kid who loved the outdoors (this was aided by having only one station on the television). We had animals to care for, including a pony and then a horse as I grew older. When I was young, my mother and sister still living at home were both over weight. (My mother had lived through both the depression and a Montana flood where they lost everything. She could not stand to waste anything.) If there was any food left over, I can still remember my mother telling my sister to give it to me, because I was still skinny at the time. Well as you can imagine, that didn’t last very long and I have struggled with weight problems for much of my life.

There have been a couple of times when I was able to loose weight and be in very good shape and I am in the process of loosing weight and getting into much better shape now. When I was in college, I made a decision that I would no longer eat candy bars. I used to love frozen Milk Shake candy bars; however, eliminating candy bars is not enough. You can make yourself very fat by eating relatively healthy and even healthy foods. Unfortunately I have an eating addiction and I am predisposed to be fat. You could say it’s in my genes; but it is also in mine, and my family habits.

Currently I am considered pre-diabetic and have been on medication for this and high blood pressure. My liver enzymes have also been high and approaching dangerous. I have always walked a great deal; but weighed as much as 270 lbs at just under 5’7”.

As of today ( 9-10-10 ), I’ve lost 30 lbs and I’m still loosing and plan to loose another 60. My doctor told me today that my long term sugar levels were in the normal range and my liver enzymes were in the normal range. Everything else was also good.

Before I explain what I’ve been doing, let me tell you a little about stress, fatigue, and temptation; but before that even, I want to tell you about the Greer and Whitebird Grades in Idaho.

In Northern Idaho there used to be a number of windy steep grades snaking back and forth up and down canyon walls. Generally people would slow down and stay as far from the edge as possible while still staying in their lane, and in some cases they would move further to hug the safety of the mountain by moving into the oncoming lane if they could easily see there was no oncoming traffic. This move, of course, had its own dangers. Once when my father was still alive and in his youth, he was on the Whitebird Grade where he came across a traveler from a flatter part of the country who was stopped and paralyzed on the grade. He drove this other person’s car the rest of the way to get them to the top of the mountain. The Whitebird Grade is no longer in use; but the Greer Grade is still used by travelers on a constant basis. Both these grades remind me of an old story, which will help punctuate my point.

The story has been told about an old wagon freight company who was hiring a new driver. The route would require the driver to cross a mountain with a steep, dangerous, grade similar to those I’ve described. There were three people who applied for the job. The owner asked the first how long it would take him to drive the route. He was able to do it in about seven hours, racing to the adjoining town, dropping off and picking up freight and making it back to the original starting point. The second person was able to make the trip the next day in just six hours, this time he traversed the mountain so quickly that at an outside wheel of the wagon would actually leave the road for seconds at a time. On the third day, the third and final applicant took twelve hours to travel the route. While he made good time on the flat and safe parts of the road, he hugged the mountain side as closely and carefully as possible. The third applicant got the job.

Many people with addictions require expert help through established and proven programs in order to overcome their addictions; however, five key elements are almost universal.
1. Establish a specific plan with objectives and goals. (Create link to goals)
2. Avoid triggers, especially at times of fatigue and stress. (In many situations you must avoid them always.)
3. Collect and maintain regular, accurate, and honest, data.
4. Establish regular and concrete accountability with other people who will help to hold you accountable.
5. Acknowledge and celebrate success.

Discussion of the five key elements.
1. You can follow the link to learn more about establishing goals and objectives.
2. If you have an alcohol problem, you will find it easier to overcome your problem if you avoid bars and other people who drink. This may require you to make new friends. A difficult proposition; but also a cost of becoming and maintaining sober. It is the same for all addictions. Eating however, is a little more difficult proposition. You can’t just avoid food. Sure you can avoid some foods; but that’s usually not the biggest problem. In my case it’s sort of like an old joke about the stress diet where the person starts the morning eating healthy and in moderation and by bedtime has emptied the refrigerator, cupboards, and freezer. Part of the reason for this is that we have less self-control and discipline when we are tired and/or stressed. I have good control over what I eat in the morning and pretty good control over lunch; but if I start to eat in the evening, and there are always lots of triggers (things that make me think of food or make me want to eat) in the house, I have a hard time stopping and keeping it in moderation…and it just may be that because of my genetics, metabolism, age, and an almost lifetime of poor choices, I just can’t eat the same as other people. That’s just life and I’ve got to deal with it if I want to be more healthy and avoid many of the problems with advancing age and weight.
The only solution I could come up with for this element of the equation was to do as many of us have heard over the years. Eat breakfast like a King (still good reasonable choices), lunch like a Queen, and dinner like a popper. (In this case it is very poor popper who skips dinner because I don’t eat after 2:P.M. except for a handful of raw vegitables or berries) After I loose more weight I will probably stretch that to either three or four P.M.; but not later, because I have learned I can not stop when I’m tired, stressed, and/or there are lots of triggers around. As mentioned earlier I also walk, about 4 miles every weekday.
3. I weigh myself daily. I know lots of people say not to do that because it may be discouraging; however, I need regular data so I can adjust what and how much I eat for breakfast and lunch.
4. In my case, I have set goals and have set up accountability to family and friends on facebook. Some need something more concrete and possibly more strict, such as a drug court or a therapist who they have to report to (and present data such as test results) on a regular basis.
5. Always acknowledge and celebrate success, with others, and in a way that maintains your abstinence from whatever you are trying to overcome. For example: if you are trying to loose weight and you loose ten pounds, don’t celebrate over a Blizzard at Dairy Queen.

For additionsl information, please use the Google Scholar and/or Google Parenting search engines.  Type in the type of addiction you are concerned with and the word "addiction".

Supplemental Material:

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

Internet Addiction

Idaho officials take aim at pot substitute 'Spice'

Close to Home - Science: Animations

At CASAA our first priority is to reduce suffering caused by substance use and other addictive behaviors

Research about Alcohol and College Drinking Prevention

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Brain

Office of National Drug Control Policy

NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than 160 interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.  

Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers.

Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.  

President of UCC issues alcohol warning: Irish Examiner

Alcohol: MedlinePlus

CDC - Frequently Asked Questions - Alcohol


Remember, as always, Safety First!

The typical and recommended response to a tantrum is to ignore it whenever possible. This can be very effective when consistent. There are two potential problems with ignoring tantrums.

1. It can be difficult to be consistent across all settings and with all people.

2. There are times when there are safety concerns and it can not be ignored.

There are other ways to respond to tantrums which in some situations can be more effective and produce quicker positive results. With this said, one intervention does not work best for either all parents or interventionists or with all children or clients.

Many years ago I worked in an institution. During that time I spent some time working with a group of young adult men with sever developmental and behavioral problems. There was one young man who, when he would get upset and throw a tantrum, he would tear his clothes, throw beds and at times even tear sinks off the wall.

One day he started into a tantrum, I do not remember why, and he started screaming and tearing his shirt. I’m not sure what caused me to respond in this way, but I started yelling and also tearing his shirt. He immediately stopped with a shocked look on his face and mumbled the question “are you crazy?” That was the end of the tantrum.
Another time I was with a young man (about 10 years old) who was very upset because he wasn’t able to go on an outing (this was a consequence for his behavior). He was swearing and complaining about one particular staff member. I listened and then suggested that we write it all down. He just responded “naw” and that was the end of the tantrum. We of course discussed what got him to that point and on a long term basis worked on skills that would help to avoid the same problem. On another occasion a young girl (about 6 or 7) started throwing a tantrum in a clinic setting (screaming, kicking). I told her that she wasn’t doing a very good job of throwing a tantrum and that I could throw a better one. Which I did. There were two or three other adults in the room with us who joined in on the act, each trying to out do the other. She never threw a tantrum in front of me again.

My grandson is another example. He is almost four years old and had started throwing tantrums. The first time he did it I responded by saying “that’s just not working for me, why don’t you try….” I would then suggest different things like hitting the couch or stomping his feet a little harder and lying down and kicking his legs. Each time I would respond and say, “nope, that’s still not doing it for me” and suggest something else. Before very long at all he had given up. I believe I did it with him one other time and that has been it. More recently he thought screaming might work on me so I took him to a room, there were some other interesting things in the room but I wouldn’t let him play with them because our purpose was to scream REALLY loud and long. I told him we were here to scream and to go head, he said “no thank you.” He did not get to play with the things in the room but returned to what we had been doing instead.

Here’s the point for tantrums, another possible alternative. Ratchet it up, take it to the next step, perhaps even a challenge, and participate in the tantrum without becoming overly anxious. Make sure the person is safe. (Generally the head is where I am most concerned. You do not want to allow something that may cause damage to the child such as banging a head against the wall. There can also be other areas of concerns.) You can also redirect to safer ways to tantrum. Instead of ignoring, turn it into a game, such as a stomping contest.

Address what brought the child or person to this point in an appropriate and positive manner.
I wanted to add one thing to our tantrum discussion, it's not just that the child may be worn out, but children are smart, even children with disabilities are smarter than we often give them credit and they quickly learn that there's just no leverage in the tantrum, with adults who react in this way. It's more like, "hey this adult just doesn't get it, no use trying it on him or her any more."

It's similar to some of Milton Erickson's techniques where he just wouldn't get flustered and would actually jump right into the drama with the client. He believed that it wasn't his job to turn people around, just move them out of their entrenched trance by a degree or two and then allow them to figure it out and "right" themselves.

Reword the information below if used.

Dear Difference Maker,

After sending this note off to my daughter this morning, it occurred to me that people are traveling a lot this summer and that this information would help so many faced with Travel Tantrums by individuals age 1- 99 years old! What I recommended to her is what I used as a young parent as well as today out in the real word, day-to-day experiences. I hope it helps you Make A World of Difference in someone's life!

Our daughter writes:

I do have two things to check, so I'll be at baggage by 11:30 or so. That is, if I make it out of the plane alive. I love Clark dearly but I am just not sure how long he'll / I'll be able to stand sitting in the seat together. Let's all just enjoy this visit together, shall we, since it will be the last time I fly with him for quite a while. Love you all! M

I responded:

Hey there sweet momma! I understand your concern ... and here's a few traveling tips:

The biggest carry-on bag I carried on was all the things I knew would keep my kids' active mental interest - it was always bigger than my purse! You know the drill, food, toys, books, fun ... etc... but bring even more than you think you'll need. The bag full of interesting stuff (a new book, toy or two) is an adventure in and of itself.

Imagine a fun trip with the two of you having a delightful, adventurous time together.

Visualize a peaceful and enjoyable flight with your happy, sweet boy.

As I've mentioned to you before, kids 0-14ish are little barometers, and they pick up instantly on their parent's anxiety, fears and expectations. With that said ... what does it mean to pull your energy (anxiety) back in to your body?

Think of your body as it looks on those electromagnetic imaging photos of the human body, where you can see the heat emanating from around the entire body, usually looking orange, red and yellow. Those colors are energetically stimulating colors and come from a person who is heated up with worry and/or more inflammatory emotions.

Now, if one's emotions are peaceful due to making a decision to just enjoy the experience, the energy body has colors more like soft greens, blues, purples and pink = a soothing effect on everyone who comes into contact with you and your energy. You have felt both of these from people, I'm sure.

Over the next few days, think of the thing that concerns you most that Clark "might" do regarding the flight ... then, mentally make a decision to calm yourself with thinking about how you will remain green, blue, purple and pink throughout all of the different interests surrounding him.
Visualize Option 1,2,3 and so on as working and see Clark as contentedly playing and enjoying himself right in his own area. He can stand and play with his seat as his little playground, or sit and play in his seat with the table as his little work bench. And of course, there will be those frequent walks up and down the aisle to see how many people he can engage and entertain!

Visualize a sleeply, sleepy, sleepy Airplane Clark! I did this with your brother, and to this day, Brynie automatically falls asleep the moment the plane takes off and pretty much stays that way throughout! Brynie was very much like Clark in his enjoyment of a lot of mental interests and inner strength, willpower, determination and enjoying a lot of physical activity.

Just a few ideas ... have some FUN with them! They really do work with energetically managing kids. You can't fail at this, you can only get results. If you don't like the results you are getting, make yourself calm down and breath - thinking about soothing body colors.

And last but not least... what I teach to people of all ages, when faced with a situation that seems like it's about to go out of control, is to spell P-E-A-C-E in your MIND for at least 60 seconds - longest it will take is approx. 2 minutes - don't stop - 60 seconds will seem like a long time while its happening, but then after it's over it will seem like it wasn't much at all.

As you spell the word P-E-A-C-E in your MIND, you will also monitor your breathing and heart pumping. You will be amazed at how quickly everything around you starts to settle down if you can just do this one thing.

You may think this is a bit "out there" but this is exactly how I am making a difference, by teaching business professionals, educators and parents about these concepts!

Well, anyway as I said, have some FUN with trying some of these things ... we are so excited to have you come and visit!

Love you see you SOOOOOOOOOOON!


If you will be on a flight this summer with a young parent traveling with a 2 year old on a long flight, rather than become irritated with a child's discomfort and the young parent's anxiety about what a scene he is making, spell out P-E-A-C-E in your MIND and be helpful in this situation. Do NOT concern yourself with all of the other judgmental and condescending individuals on the plane, because P-E-A-C-E IS the highest transformational energy you can offer and will actually bring PEACE to other people as well.

AND ... don't forget to SMILE at people if you really want to transform a situation!

Happy Travels to you all... send us your P-E-A-C-E success stories. We always love to hear from you and share your successes with ALL of our Difference Makers.

Reaching out ...
Author of Make A Difference with the Power of Connection for Professionals & Parents
and The Power of Compassion: 7 Ways you Can Make A Difference
Available at: www.MakeADifference.com

PS ... And Speaking of PEACE ....We have some additional EXCITING NEWS... Musical artist, Faith Rivera will sing along to our www.PeaceTodayMovie.com at an event in Port Chicago, CA July 17th to an audience that will include the Obama's!

Congratulations to Faith Rivera ... what a wonderful dream realized! Her CDs and the DVD of this movie is available at: www.MakeADifference.com/music

Setting Events

When looking at why a child or anyone for that matter, does something, we often consider the antecedent, or what just happened before, or the consequence, or what happens right after the behavior for the reason. There is often some benefit to this; however, it can often be very shortsighted.
While we know there are specific triggers for behaviors and specific reinforcers for behaviors, knowing those does not paint the whole picture.  Often there are other variables, sometimes called independent variables, or Setting Events.  Some of these could include; but this is a short list:

Medical or Physical problems
General Health
Sleep Apnea and Sleep Cycles
Eating Routines and Diet
Inconsistency in Schedule or People
Daily Schedule
Staffing Patterns
Density of people (too many people present)
Stimulation (is the environment overly stimulating, this can change over time where initially it is not overly stimulating but becomes so as the person reaches and goes beyond capacity).
Sensory Issues

Some other Setting Events or Independent Variable may include: motivation, fatigue, hunger, intelligence, expectations, and stress.  The relationships a child has with the people around him or her and the relationships between the people around him or her can also be Independent Variables or Setting Events.

Supplemental Materials:
Assessment: Targeting the treatment towards the all the issues, not just the child.
CHILD BEHAVIOR: Why does s/he do that? and What can I do about it?
Quality Treatment for Children
What are some of the often overlooked independent variables? (sometimes referred to as Setting Events)
What is the Pyramid Model?
The Teaching Pyrmid
Dependent and Independent variables
Intervening variables

Secondary Gain: Getting out of something worse.

Have you ever wished you were sick, or for the power to go out so you wouldn’t have to do something? Ever wished that a tire would go flat so you’d have a legitimate excuse to be late? When something “bad” happens and you get out of something you might consider worse, that’s secondary gain. Sometimes you really do feel sick and sometimes you really are. You may not even be consciously causing it, it could be the stress and dread of the event causing you to get or feel sick. It’s not always; but sometimes it’s secondary gain.
This is the same with children.  It doesn't have to be conscious; but sometimes it can be. 
Sometimes it's difficult to really know if a child doesn't feel well because they don't want to go to school that day, or because they are really sick.  Sometimes they have a very good reason not to go to school.  Hopefully you have or develop a good enough relationship with your children, and a history of listening without harsh judgement and punishment, so that you can ask questions and find out what's really going on.  In some situations you may even need to ask other for input.
While my children were growing up, there was a rule of thumb.  If they were sick enough to miss school, then even if they felt better in the afternoon, they needed the extra rest and were not able to do any of the activities they might want to do in the late afternoon or evening.  During school, if they were too sick to attend, they probably needed to be in bed resting and not watching TV or playing games.
Two cautionary notes:  Sometimes people prefer to stay in bed because they are depressed and sometimes anything is better than going to school because of some significant fear.  Neither of these should be dealt with casually.  Often times they require additional professional help.  Your child's doctor and school, and sometimes even law enforcement may provide the resources you need.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum: What does your child REALLY want?

A few years ago I was visiting with an excellent young therapist. We started talking about data collection and about making it simpler to which she responded how difficult it was to simplify data collection on the aggressive behaviors she was observing and which she was at times on the receiving end. (It is important to note that the therapist was not in any danger of harm in this situation.)

This brought me back to my tired old record, which I play quite often, about finding the reason for aggressive or harmful behaviors and finding and teaching a replacement behavior.
It is important to do a thorough assessment of current levels of behaviors of the person that you are working with.
Occasionally it is important to reassess the level of those behaviors, especially if there is danger; you can not totally ignore them. Safety comes first.

Our conversation thought, brought me to talking about the Hawthorne Effect. A good therapist should have a good understanding of a number of different effects including Hawthorne, Pygmalion and Halo. See: http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/hawth.html#pyg & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_effect . You must ask yourself what the effect has been, is and/or will be of continually and frequently measuring an inappropriate behavior.

Wrath of Kahn “Nature abhors a vacuum.”

Parents also need to know and understand that what we focus on increases and there is almost always a reason for poor behavior.  Often the child is either getting something from the poor behavior or getting out of something negative, or both.  Lots of times what appears to be the surface reason is only a cursory reason, the real reason, the primary reason is hidden somewhere below the surface. 
Understand what the child is getting or getting out of because of the behavior and provide a more appropriate way to achieve the same or a similar goal.  Sometimes what they appear to desire is inappropriate and something you can not give them or let them avoid, that's when you need to look for the underlying reasons.  There are other tools on this site that will help you find them.  You are also welcome to ask questions in the comments section.
Supplemental Material:
Better Outcomes: How to write Measurable Behavioral Objectives, Goals and Plans

Love vs. Fear

Some may argue that there are only two emotions, Love and Fear.  All other emotions are manifestations of these two.  I am not going to go quite as far as to say that; but it does provide a great deal to think about deeply and the points of this simple little book are worth considering.  Read, study, meditate/ponder on it, and then you decide.
If you are a religious person, I would even recommend you do searches of the religious writings you believe in and compare what is said in this book.  The results may surprise you.  I will also not say that I agree 100% with everything in this book; but I would come pretty close.  You can probably get this or order it from your local library.  You can also purchase it online through the link below.


Do Experts Always Know Best?

Personal Responsibility, Not Only Good Practice; But, Best Practice in Treatment for Children


How can you know if you are getting the treatment your child needs?

Is the most expensive treatment always the best treatment for your child?

Billions of dollars are spent every year on behavioral treatment for children with developmental and mental health needs. Are you getting your dollars worth?

As a young couple, my wife and I owned a Ford Escort. It was a good practical vehicle that served our family well for many years. One day it developed an electrical problem which caused a short in the system. We had it back into the dealer over and over again trying to fix the problem. Fuses were replaced and we were told that it could be this or that but the problem continued. Finally the underlying issue was located. We kept a spare set of keys in the ashtray which would, as the car moved, touch just the right pieces of metal and wires to short out part of our system. As soon as this was discovered, and we stopped leaving a spare set of keys in the ashtray, the problem was resolved. This doesn’t mean that treatment for children is always that quick and easy (though sometimes it can be, as I’ll discuss below). This does mean that it is extremely important for the right intervention to be provided for the individual child and family.

Fifty years ago, one of the ways depression was diagnosed was by how the therapist felt after spending an hour with the client. While there is some basis for this, because of extensive research, both diagnoses and treatment are now more advanced and prescriptive.

So how do you know what the best therapy options are for your child? The following is not all encompassing and may not fit your situation; however, it is based on comprehensive investigation and analysis, and may be used as a guide for evaluating treatment options.

The following are a few things you might consider and questions you might ask.

Strength Based

The intervention will be strength based (increasing the positive). While this does not mean that the intervention ignores deficits or problems, the primary focus will be strengths. Safety should always come first; however, the long term and clear emphasis will always be on strengths and increasing appropriate functional behavior and the overall health of your child? 

Best Practice/Evidence Based Practice

As mentioned previously treatment has become and is becoming more and more prescriptive. Research is providing information about what works best for not only specific disorders; but in some cases even the individual nuances for the family and child. In many cases the research provides enough information to allow greater freedom of choice for individual families. There are often effective options from which you can choose.

There are two important questions which you can ask a potential service provider: a. is the recommended intervention/therapy developmentally appropriate? and b. is the recommended intervention based on research and Best Practice? After you have asked these two questions and if the answer is yes to both, ask the provider to show you the research and their qualification to provide this particular intervention.

Family Centered

The family is an integral partner in treatment and the parents are almost always experts on their own child. To the extent possible, the values and culture of the family should be honored and respected by the therapist. Individuals and families often have beliefs about how change takes place and what may be effective.  The therapist is usually only involved with the child for a relatively short period of time; the extended family and support system are almost always with the child more than the therapist and will continue to be, and have a relationship with, the child long after the therapist is gone. 

The therapist needs to understand the importance of the family, take it into account, and use the strengths and resources of the family to help the child.  Do you as a family feel honored as an important partner in the collaboration to help your child? Is family centered coaching a significant component of the intervention provided by the therapist? Will the therapist support and train you and possibly other family members in things you can do differently to help the child? Even for children with special needs, with ongoing training and support, when you learn and do what needs to be done, you are often your child's best teacher.

Parent and other Caregiver involvement in therapy

When therapy is integrated into the family and child's typical routines, more really is better. Whenever possible you, your family, and sometimes even friends, should be an integral part of therapy. Will you be taught things you can do to support, expand, and make therapy more impactful and meaningful for your child? Will there be continual follow-up and additional training to see how well you are doing and what you might do differently to adjust for better results? Does the provider listen to you as a partner and expert on your child?  Does therapy support and promote inclusion in typical healthy productive/enjoyable routines in which you and your family and your child's peers are involved, for example: 4-H, sports, scouting, school activities, church activities etc.?  Are these activities in which you would like your child to be involved? (See Plan Quality: Functional Outcomes below.)

This approach can make treatment both very effective and relatively inexpensive.

Providing consultation, feedback, and support to you does not mean you are a bad parent or doing anything wrong. It may be that this child simply has special needs. It may be that you need some additional support in the home to help the child make the needed improvements.

Additional therapies are being provided for the child if needed.

For example: speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health, developmental, high risk nutrition assessment and counseling, or other types of specialized and legally licensed or certified therapies. Is there a global approach to your child’s needs? This does not mean that the other therapists have to be providing direct therapy. Sometimes this can be included through consultation and evaluation. This is not essential for every child but the need should be explored through the Functional Analysis of Behavior. For example if communication is a significant problem, you may either want a speech therapist directly involved or consulting/collaborating with your primary therapist.


Collaboration is more than simply the exchange of information. Is there communication and an integration or support of services being provided by other professionals? Does the therapist working with your child, collaborate with and integrate suggestions provided by other therapists, the child’s physician, and the school? Sometimes two therapists can even provide interventions which are at odds with each other. If there is more than one therapy, you want them to be supportive of each other.

Functional Behavioral Assessment

Was there a Functional Behavioral Assessment? (Also called a Functional Analysis of Behavior.) This must include looking at the child in respect to his or her environments, sleep, diet, medical condition, medication, communication, routines, setting events (events or interactions that impact the child either directly or through others within the child’s environment), etc. Was a functional analysis of behavior conducted? This is especially important for a child three years or older.  Sometimes, a change or greater consistency in one or more of the above will bring about the change you are looking for in your child without providing direct treatment to your child. Sometimes putting a child on a healthy and consistent sleep and/or meal schedule, or taking care of a bladder infection (etc) is all that’s needed. Just like removing the keys from the ash tray.

Look at what’s going on around and within the child that may be causing or adding to the behavior or problem.

Plan quality: Measurable Behavioral Objectives

Quality and appropriate (including developmentally), Measurable Behavioral Objectives. Does your child's plan contain objectives that are so clear and concise that you know exactly what your child is to do and each time your child is to do it? Has it been written clear enough that you will understand when your child has achieved this objective?

Plan quality: Functional Outcomes

Quality and appropriate (including developmentally), Functional Outcomes. Are the outcomes and goals on your child's plan something that s/he will be able to use as a part of his or her normal routine? Is this a skill you would teach a typically developing child? If eventually, the child may be able to live on his or her own, is s/he learning something that s/he could possibly use prior to or at that time?  Are the outcomes functional and meaningful to you and the child? 

Service Providers often complain about the lack of interest and involvement from the parents, often, if not usually, this is at least partially the fault of the provider.  If the outcomes or in other words, the primary goals are not meaningful in a way that will have a direct positive impact on the family and/or child, then you as a family will be less likely to actively participate in therapy.  If you and at times other members of the family were not a real partner in developing the plan, then you and the family may be less likely to actively participate. In Becoming Solution-Focused in Brief Therapy, Walter and Peller, 1992 p.23, (quoting Bandler & Grinder 1979), the authors make a profound statement: “there were no resistive clients, only inflexible therapists.”  The best therapists will partner with the parent/guardian to assure that the outcomes are both functional and meaningful for the family and the child. 

Crucial Time Periods

There are especially crucial time periods for intervention; for example: early years, puberty, significant transitions, during changes and extra stress. This does not mean that intervention isn’t important for children at other times. It does mean that there are times when it is especially crucial, such as during the early years of life. So much is going on in the brain during the first three years of life. Whatever the issue is, don’t wait to see if the child will grow out of it. If you have concerns, seek for information and assessment from an early interventionist.

See resources in the US at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/child/development.htm

See resources in Canada at: http://www.socialunion.gc.ca/ecd_e.html


Medication is not needed for most children. If it is being prescribed, a children’s psychiatrist is recommended if at all possible. If there is medication is there close and ongoing communication between the therapist and the physician?


Does your child have a positive caring relationship with the therapist or do you believe that they will be able to develop one. (Knowing that the therapist personally cares about the individual is important for any therapy.) Do you have a good rapport with the therapist? Does therapy support positive relationships?

Oftentimes, strengthening positive relationships with family and friends for both you and your child, can improve the situation dramatically.

Order of intervention

When the issues are behavioral and/or social/emotional, there is an order to intervention. Safety and immediate health concerns always come first; however making adjustments to environment, schedules, and improving relationships when needed, come before direct treatment of the child. For further information please see: http://www.challengingbehavior.org/do/resources/documents/yc_article_7_2003.pdf and http://www.challengingbehavior.org/do/pyramid_model.htm


Once therapy has begun and usually within the first six months you will want to review progress. Is there evidence that the child is making significant progress with the existing interventions? (This may include maintenance for certain degenerative disorders or syndromes.) Can you easily recognize significant achievements made by your child which were written as specific goals and/or objectives on your child’s plan? Can the therapist show you data that is easily understood by you that relates directly to your child’s objectives? Ask your therapist about standardized assessments. Discuss changes in the results of these assessments over time?

In many situations intervention/therapy can and should be brief.
Find out if there is a governmental agency or a professional governing board that reviews this therapist/counselor or the agency that s/he works for. This information may be public and easily accessible. If the information is available find out what they have to say about the agency or individual therapist.
As mentioned previously, this is intended only as a guide and not a final determinant.  These are elements that may be helpful and which you may want to consider in making your treatment decision.

The Final Word

Even when there is progress in a center and/or community setting, without family involvement, adjustment, and sometimes significant change, any improvement for the child is less likely to positively and more generally help the child through the normal challenges and events of life.


1) Some of this may be regulated and/or restricted depending on how the intervention is being paid for;

2) Most states and provinces require certification and/or licensing. Always ask for verification that any service provider you work with has the appropriate and required certification and/or licensure;

3) Assure the provider carries liability insurance.

add contextually mediated objectives

Supplemental Material:
Quality Treatment for Children


Constipation (includes Reid’s story)

Focus: What we focus on Increases: Catch your children doing good

Look for opportunities to praise your children for genuine reasons.  Be specific, tell them what they did well.  Tell them you appreciate what they did.  Say things like good job (and then be specific about what they did)   or thank you for...
While there are times you will need to correct your children and I'll talk about how to do that in other parts of this site, you want to find genuine reasons to praise them (without overdoing it) and letting them know when they have done things well.
This will reinforce the behavior you want them to do more of. 
When you need to correct your children, make sure that you spend more time, at least twice as much time, catching them doing something well and telling them about it...without any underhanded comment attached.
Sometimes, you  can compliment your child ,and add that if they did it just a little differently, providing specifics on how they could do it differently and perhaps even showing them or doing it with them to make sure they understand completely, so they could improve the next time. 
If you complement with added instruction, be sure that at other times, you complement them without any additional instruction (at least twice as often).  You don't want your children to ever think that when they hear a complement from you they are also going to hear how it wasn't good enough or how they screwed up.

Supplemental Materials:
What is an Asset?
Nature abhors a vacuum

First Comply, Then Ask Why

When I was a new parent it was important for me to always explain everything to my children as well as I could.  If they had a question, I would explain.  If I wanted them to do something I would explain the reason.  My oldest, being very precocious, quickly realized that this was a way of getting out of doing something.  If I asked her to do something and she asked why, then after I explained if she were to again ask why, she could put off whatever I wanted her to do for a very long time. 
Wanting to keep my initial intent of being willing to explain things to my children I decided I needed to change my game plan just a little.  When she would ask why, I learned to say, first comply then ask why.  When she was doing doing whatever I had asked her to do, I would then ask if she had any questions.  Usually she did not.  As my four children grew older they usually preferred to avoid my long explanations, not just about reasons for doing things but about all kinds of things, so they asked even less.  I finally learned to ask, if there was a question, if they wanted the Reader's Digest (short) version or the long version.  Usually they only wanted the short version.  As they continued to mature, one child in particular; but two to a greater and greater extent, started to request the longer version and instead of a lecture we developed wonderful discussions which I enjoy immensely.  It is a wonderful blessing to have in depth conversations with your children, which to greater and lesser degrees I'm now able to have with all of my children.  The best conversations are those where we both learn something from each other and where sometimes, something said by one of children, causes me to gain greater insight and understanding.

Be willing to discuss and explain things to your children.  If you do not have a good reason for something, them perhaps you need to change the way you think and do some things, or at least you need to be willing to find out for yourself so you can explain it to  your children.


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Manipulate The Environment, Not People


Cleanliness and Hygiene

Crying: What to do about a crying infant/baby: When a baby cries, s/he is communicating something; but what?

This contains links to some excellent resources who say it much better than I can.
The period of purple crying: a new way to understand your baby's crying.

Crying baby: What to do when your baby cries: Mayo Clinic

12 reasons babies cry and how to soothe them


Consistency in Parenting (2)

A previous section also discusses consistency in parenting.  This section will look at it from a slightly different angle.
Many poor behaviors are caused at least in part by poor and inconsistent schedules, rules, and parenting. 

The more inconsistent the sleep schedule the more difficult it is to get a consistent good night's rest.  Insufficient sleep causes physical and mental stress.  It will negatively effect both your behavior and your child's behavior.

Regular consistent moderate healthy meals help both you and your children think more clearly and have the energy to acomplish what you need to get done, learn what you and they need to learn and think clearly, and also helps to reduce stress. 

Consistent rules help you and your children understand and keep boundaries.  As children grow and mature, the rules and boundaries will likely change and some may relax as children learn responsibility and act accordingly.  Rules also need to be consistent across adult caretakers; however, I have rarely seen it ruin a child's life when grandma and grandpa bend the rules, if only slightly, and in less critical areas.  (I'm serious when I say though, only slightly.)

People (Same People with consistent behavior)
Consistent adults are extremely important, especially for young children.  There is double meaning to this.  Children need to develop attachment, when they are younger, to a few nurturing adults.  Those adults need to be consistently nurturing in their behavior towards the child and towards each other.  This does not mean that appropriate boundaries, limits, and expectations can not be set.  They should be.  Positive discipline should be used when needed; however the overall attitude should continue to be nurturing.

Change amid consistency:
As your children grow and mature (including in responsibility), rules and schedules will need to be adjusted; however the core values you are attempting to teach and instill in them will remain the same...or as you continue to mature and grow in wisdom, your values may (and perhaps hopefully will) be raised to higher and higher levels.

Please use the Google Parenting and Scholar search engines below, or the site search engine above, for additional information.

Carefrontation Sandwish

Sometimes you have to confront poor or inappropriate behavior.  Sometimes it's an immediate response when the behavior occurs; but sometimes it's something you need to sit down and talk with your child about.
Be sure that the times of genuine praise far outnumber the times of criticism, or as I would prefer to call it here, carefrontation.
Praise for good and positive.  Make sure s/he hears and understands your praise.  Praise for specific things in front of other people.
When you do need to speak with your child about a poor or inappropriate behavior, start with something you appreciate about your child.  Talk with them about the issue that concerns you, including any consequence, and then finish with something positive about your child at the end.  If it's going to take some time for you to calm down enough to do it this way, then take the time.
Remember, you can correct immediately when a poor or inappropriate behavior occurs; however, make sure you genuinely praise your child, more often than you reprimand.

Supplemental Materials:
What is CareFrontation?
Carefrontation is a distinct move away from the old model of "Confrontation" that ... Carefrontation is different.
The Art of CAREfrontation
In 1978 Bernie Siegel originated Exceptional Cancer Patients, a specific form of individual and group therapy utilizing patients’ drawings, dreams, images and feelings. ECaP is based on “carefrontation,” a safe, loving therapeutic confrontation, which facilitates personal lifestyle changes, personal empowerment and healing of the individual’s life. The physical, spiritual and psychological benefits which followed led to his desire to make everyone aware of his or her healing potential. He realized exceptional behavior is what we are all capable of.

Anger, Parenting, Children: Feer, Feelings, Depression, Behavior, and Manipulation

“A man is about as big as the things that make him angry”
Winston Churchill

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”

There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen. ~Alexandre Dumas

Life is too short to hold a grudge, also too long. ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com/

He who angers you conquers you.  ~Elizabeth Kenny

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.  ~Will Rogers

Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  ~Malachy McCourt

Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger. ~Chinese Proverb

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools. ~Albert Einstein

Sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel. ~Author Unknown

I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.  ~Author Unknown

The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk.  ~Jacqueline Schiff

Anger is interesting.  Sometimes it is a manifestation of depression and/or the outward expression of fear.  While it may be a natural expression, exhibited inappropriately it can do tremendous harm.  Sometimes such great harm which is difficult if not impossible to repair. 
It can be a feeling and/or a behavior, it can be a manifestation of stress.  It's purpose can be purely manipulative.  Never allow yourself to be manipulated by anger, never use anger to manipulate.  Please feel free to ask questions and discuss.

This does not mean you need to or even should allow evil to be done to yourself or to others.  Boundaries and consequences are important for everyone to learn and grow, and to keep you and others safe.

Instead of any links, for further information, I recommend you use the Google Parenting and Google Scholar search engines below.  Use the word Anger associated with any of the words in the title and you will find a wealth of information.


Activity, do something active and positive, i.e. writing down feelings

God's Plan of Happiness | Mormon.org

God's Plan of Happiness Mormon.org: "It’s hard to move forward when you don’t know where you’re headed or why. God’s plan gives us the answers to life’s most basic questions like, “Where did I come from?” “What’s my purpose here?” And, “What happens when I die?” Knowing the answers gives us hope and helps us find peace and joy."

Active Children

Pros and Cons
too much vs too little

Protective Factors vs. Risk Factors





An asset can be many things. It can be financial, emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual, or social. It can be relationships, skills, time, attitude, energy, wisdom, values, or property. An asset can be almost anything.

Certain Developmental Assets have been found to be extremely important in the raising of healthy, caring, and responsible youth.

Every community, family, and individual has assets. The key is to locate, develop, integrate, and enhance, existing assets, being open to the possibilities. This can also require a shift in thinking. Instead of focusing on what is going wrong, one must spend more energy looking for what is going right. Instead of spending most of your time finding and recognizing problems, you must refocus your thinking towards solutions. It is usually easier to strengthen an asset than to eliminate a deficit. Amazingly, deficits often decrease or even disappear as assets are developed. An asset or strength based approach appreciates that the glass is half full, asks why it is half full, and then finds ways to fill it even more.

This is not a suggestion to hide your head in the sand and ignore deficiencies, which sometimes must be addressed. This is a suggestion that WHAT WE FOCUS ON INCREASES. Spend more time on the positive (or Assets), quickly deal with the deficits when it is required, and you will be amazed at how much more quickly the positive (Assets) increases.

(Note on disability: The author of this site is personally familiar with disability and does not want to minimize the effects and limitations of disability; however, it is also important to focus on abilities and how they can be maximized.)


You may also be interested in the concept of and research on Resiliency. Protective Factors and Developmental Assets build Resiliency.

"We find communities with a victim psychology. The difference with asset building is that you look at the assets that a community already has and where they are located. A community then sees that, yes, we do have a lot of things going for us, and through some rearranging we can fill in some gaps. But this is done through a position of strength rather than a position of bleakness. The difference is subtle but absolutely profound in terms of how a community begins to approach taking care of itself and becoming a strong community rather than a victim of circumstance."

Tom English, President

Oregon Council on Crime and Delinquency

"The asset-building vision represents the other side of the coin. Instead of focusing on fixing problems, it centers on nurturing the positive building blocks of development that all young people need. This approach contrasts sharply with traditional deficit-reduction approaches."

All Kids Are Our Kids

What Communities Must Do to Raise Caring and Responsible Children and Adolescents

Peter L. Benson

"Don't find fault, find a remedy."

Henry Ford

There are two paradigms around which there is a great deal of research, programming, and intervention. They are the Deficit Paradigm and the Strength Based Paradigm. Research has clearly shown the Strength Based approach to be more effective and cost efficient. (Focusing on strengths does not mean that you put your head in the sand and ignore deficits. It is simply a matter of focus and emphasis.)

Many individuals in communities, programs, and agencies, are beginning to talk about the Strength Based models of Protective Factors and Developmental Assets. Unfortunately, many of these same individuals still appear to be thinking in the Deficit Paradigm. Shifting from Deficit to Strength Based is more than learning a new language. It is a different culture, thought process, and intervention. From a strength based paradigm there are programs and interventions that can be delivered to the individual; however, the primary emphasis is on groups, communities, and environments. The emphasis is also on building more than on eliminating. For example it is easier to think of something else, than to not think of a cow. Try it! For thirty seconds do not think of a cow or anything to do with a cow. Do not think of any products that come from cows or from cattle.

(Think about it :))

It is impossible to not think about a cow, beef, milk, leather, or anything associated with Cattle. It IS possible to think about something else.

What we focus on, increases.

The two primary strength based models are Protective Factors, which help build Resiliency, and Developmental Assets, which also help build Resiliency. You might say that they are simply different sides of the same coin. Although we primarily hear about Protective Factors and Developmental Assets today, most of the foundation research was done around the concept of Resiliency. Resiliency tries and to a great extent answers the question, why do some people succeed and thrive in spite of multiple barriers and risks. Some people consider Resiliency as a Protective Factor and there is some truth to this; however, both Assets and Protective Factors may be easier to quantify and measure. Resiliency on the other hand is easy to recognize anecdotally. We all know stories about the person who grew up in horrible circumstances and yet became a great success. There are millions of people that we may know nothing about and who also grow up in extremely difficult situations and yet grow up to live good, contributing, and self-reliant lives. This is Resiliency.

We know from research that Resiliency can be built or diminished in both individuals and communities. We also know that no matter what the Assets or Protective Factors or Risk Factors on the other hand that an individual or community may have, there will be some that will thrive and some that will not. For the majority of individuals and communities though, we can have an impact by increasing Protective Factors and Assets, thereby increasing Resiliency. Protective Factors and Developmental Assets might be considered “Independent Variables” while Resiliency might be considered a “Dependent Variable” an “Intervening Variable” or in some cases another “Independent Variable.” For the most part we will consider Resiliency a “Dependent Variable.” Some of the ultimate dependent variables or outcomes are: a healthy lifestyle, productivity, contributing to society, and self-reliance.
The most effective way to build Assets or Protective Factors is in collaboration with the individual, group, or community; however specific interventions can also be introduced which will have a positive impact. Most of the more effective programs that use Protective Factors as an intervention avoid the concept of “Identified Patient” and instead focus on the group or community even when there is an individual of particular concern. Protective Factor programs have a tendency to focus on prescriptive intervention for a particular concern. Developmental Asset related programs have a tendency to have a more global or community impact.

Protective Factors can look at very specific individual issues such as: Initiative, Self Control, Attachment, or strong bonds with family or pro-social institutions such as schools and religious organizations. Protective Factors may also consider much larger issues such as community attitudes about drugs and alcohol.

Developmental Assets may be an easier way to develop a general program to improve Resiliency in individuals in a family, school, or community, while Protective Factor programs may be an easier way to increase Resiliency or general health and safety around specific issues.

Developmental Asset # 25 is “Reading for Pleasure”, and for elementary age children it states: “Children and an adult read together for at least 30 minutes a day. Children also enjoy reading or looking at books or magazines on their own”. We know from research that a very accurate numerical predictor for the need for jail space is reading levels in third grade. We also know that communication, which is a protective factor, as early as age two, is a strong predictor of delinquency behavior later in life. From this we understand that if we build reading and communication skills, children are more likely to follow the rules and laws of society as they grow.

There are many Strength Based Programs or Tools. Each has strengths and some limitations. To some extent, supporting any of them is more important than which one you support. Local ownership
and support for the program is easily as important and sometimes even more important that which program or programs are used. The best program in the world, imposed or where there is the perception that it is imposed, will usually become a failure or have very short term success.