July 12, 2005
The Response-Able Parent Newsletter
Welcome! This is a free newsletter on becoming a
Response-Able parent raising Response-Able children.
Our mission is to strengthen families and improve
parent communication skills (including our own) by helping parents learn
practical, usable verbal strategies for raising responsible, caring,
"Observe more, do less."
2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
How would it change your approach to conflict if
you believed that being right doesn't work? Why not check it out today?
3. Bumper Sticker
Spotted on Ford Crown Victoria in Rosemont, IL:
Live from the Inside Out
4. Article: "It's Not Fair."
"It's Not Fair."
by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
"It's not fair" is a common childhood complaint. Parents hear it all
"How come I didn't get any? It's not fair."
"He got more than I did. It's not fair."
"You let her stay up later. That's not fair."
How do you respond when your child tells you, "It's not fair"? Do you
race around attempting to make sure everything is perceived as fair? Are
you on guard to make sure that love, gifts, attention, and privileges are
doled out evenly in your family? If so, you might be doing your children a
disservice. Here's why.
When your children use "It's not fair" language, they are assuming the
victim stance. They are activating a core belief that life should be fair
at all times, and when it isn't, they feel unjustly treated.
In reality, life is not fair. Two people can be speeding down the
highway and only one gets a ticket. Two people can be exposed to the same
virus and only one gets sick. The reality of life is that fairness is not
applied to everyone at all times. Life simply doesn't unfold that way. To
allow our children to expect otherwise is to set them up for reoccurring
disappointment and frustration.
The "It's not fair" cry is an outgrowth of a faulty assumption that
all children should be treated equally. If you buy into that myth, you set
yourself up for constant complaints and hassles.
Please do not attempt to be equal and fair to all your children at all
times. If you do, you are setting yourself up for manipulation. Once
children know that you're trying to be fair and attempting to set things
up so everything looks even, they can then use your positive intention to
plead their case, manipulate you, and encourage you to feel guilty.
Trying to make things equal for children will cause a lot of pain for
everyone involved. Even if you manage to parcel everything out in equal
portions, those portions still won't look equal through the eyes of your
Aim for equity rather than for equality. Equity means that all
children have comparable opportunities to be loved and appreciated and to
have their needs met. Equity does not mean that all children are treated
the same way. As you know, no two children are the same, and there's no
reasonable rationale for treating them as if they were.
For example, your older child may wear glasses, while your younger
child does not. If you treated them the same, both would have to wear
glasses. But the youngest one doesn't need glasses and the older one does!
Your youngest child, however, does need braces, while the other one's teeth
are perfectly straight. So the youngest child gets braces. The older gets
glasses. The only thing you need to guarantee your children is that they
will each have opportunities to get their needs met.
Recently, a father we know bought his daughter a volleyball net,
poles, and ball. He brought nothing home for his son.
His daughter asked, "What do I get these for?"
"Since you're going to volleyball camp and trying to make the varsity
this year, I thought you might need them," her father replied.
"What did you get Austin?"
"Austin isn't trying to make the varsity. Later, when he needs
something, he'll get it. Different people have different needs. Right now
it seemed like you needed these."
Next time you hear "That's not fair," explain to your children that
you're not attempting to treat them equally. Tell them, "Different people
have different needs." Say, "I address needs. I don't try to be fair or
make things even. Tell me what you need, and we'll talk about seeing if we
can make it happen for you."
"Fair" means more than everyone doing the same thing the same way at
the same time. "Fair" means everyone getting what they need when they need
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments:
Parenting with Purpose. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on
raising responsible, caring, confident children. For more information about
how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their
websites today: www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com.
5. Did You Know?
1. One-third of U.S. gun owners with children under
age 6 keep an unlocked firearm in their home. Guns are kept unlocked in 56
percent of homes where children visit. Eighty percent of men and women
report that it is solely the man's responsibility to store the guns. Every
two hours in America a child or youth under 20 is killed by a firearm.
2. You can forward our parenting e-zine to friends and relatives. Just
scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on Send to a friend. You
will be able to send it to several friends if you choose.
3. You can elect to be deleted from this newsletter mailing list at
any time. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the delete
button. We had two people ask to be deleted last month and we're just
about over it now.
4. If your child is holding books very close, holding her head at an
angle when she reads, or covering one eye when she reads, she may have a
vision problem. Have her eyes tested by an optometrist.
5. Raising a Reader/Writer is the new parent program being offered by
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman. This two-hour session gives parents
practical ideas they can implement immediately to help their children
learn to read and write with real interest and real talent. Contact Thomas
or Chick at www.thomashaller.com or www.chickmoorman.com to begin the
discussion of bringing this important topic to your group or community.
Limited dates available. Call now.
6. It isn't early curfews that keep teens out of trouble, it's respect
for their parents. We offer parent programs that help parents create the
respect necessary to keep their teens out of trouble. Ask about our
Creating a Culture of Accountability seminar.
7. You may reprint any of our articles in your organizational
newsletter without our permission. All we ask is that you print it in its
entirety and add the following tagline:
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of The 10 Commitments:
Parenting with Purpose (available from Personal Power Press at toll-free
877-360-1477). Visit www.thomashaller.com and www.chickmoorman.com for
more useful parenting information.
6. We Get Emails
Hello Chick and Thomas,
My next-door neighbor has two children. They are 9 and 11 years old.
She wants them to read over the summer and not spend so much time watching
TV and playing video games. In order to encourage her children to read she
is paying them two dollars for every book they read. According to her,
they have read several books already. Something in my gut tells me this is
NOT a good idea.
What is your opinion?
Want My Kids to Read Too
Hello, Want My Kids to Read Too,
Thank you for your question. Trust your gut.There is real reason to
feel uneasy about the process your neighbor embraces.
We are totally opposed to contests, stars, stickers, money, vacation
trips, or any other external rewards to bribe children to read. Your
neighbor is not helping her children learn to read. She is helping them
learn that reading is so boring and so awful that we have to pay people to
One major problem with rewarding kids is that it does not help them
develop a commitment to a task or a desire to keep doing it after the
reward stops. When the payoff ends, so does the activity. At the end of
the reward cycle, children who are rewarded for doing an activity actually
choose the activity less often than children who were never rewarded to
begin with. In essence, your neighbor is creating children who will read
less in the long run.
With the system employed by your well-intentioned neighbor, children
do not come to see themselves as readers. They attribute the behavior of
reading to the reward, not to themselves. They see themselves as a person
who reads for money rather than as someone who reads for pleasure, to find
meaning, to be entertained, or because they love it. They have learned that
the point of reading is to get the reward.
Paying kids to read or providing any other form of external motivation
actually harms internal motivation. As external motivation increases,
internal motivation erodes. The more a child is rewarded externally for
doing something like reading, the greater the chance he or she will lose
interest in the activity once the reward ends.
Read to your children, take them to the library and bookstore, let
them observe you reading. Talk to them about the meaning you get from
books. Create a quiet reading time before bedtime. These activities, done
regularly, will do more to help your children become excited readers than
any amount of money you could pay them. Your money is better spent on
buying books. Invest it in your children at a local book store.
Chick and Thomas
Chick and Thomas cannot respond personally to all the e-mail questions
they receive. They will from time to time pick selected questions to
publish in their e-zines.
7. Schedule of Events
July 20 - Dexter, MI
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words that Wound,
Morning Star Child Care, Dexter, MI. For information contact Terrie
Anderson at 734-424-9193.
Aug. 16 - Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Cooperative Strategies for At Risk Students,
Dearborn Academy, Dearborn, MI. For Information contact Stacey Mahe at 313-982-1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug. 17 ? Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Creating Responsible Learners, Dearborn Academy,
Dearborn, MI. For Information contact Stacey Mahe at 313-982-1300 or email email@example.com.
Aug. 31 - Ann Arbor, MI
9:00 am - 12:00 pm, The Teacher Talk System, Gretchen's House Child
Care, Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Ann Arbor, MI. For
information call Heidi McFadden at 734-761-2576 or email
Sept. 7 - Lansing, MI
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, The Teacher Talk System, St. Thomas Aquinas School,
Lansing, MI. For information contact Mary Jo Scofes at 517-281-9949 or
Sept. 7 - Lansing, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound,
St. Thomas Aquinas School, Lansing, MI. For information contact May Jo
Scofes at 517-281-9949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 15 & 16 ? Traverse City, MI
9:00 am - 3:00 pm (Sept. 15th), 9:00 am - 11:00 am (Sept. 16th), The
Verbal Response System, Eaton County Juvenile Justice Association, Shanty
Creek Resort, Traverse City, MI.
Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 or email him at
Contact Thomas at 1-989-667-5654 or email him at
The 10 Commitments: Parenting with
Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in
Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility
To find out more about workshops, seminars, and
keynote addresses presented by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller, contact
them at (toll-free) 877-360-1477 or visit www.thomashaller.com or
Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Haller's
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