July 12, 2005
The Response-Able Parent Newsletter #43

Welcome! This is a free newsletter on becoming a Response-Able parent raising Response-Able children.

Mission Statement

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, confident children.

1. Quote

"Observe more, do less."

Magda Gerber

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 the time.

"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 children.

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?"


"How come?"

"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 it.

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.

Preview Books

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 do it.

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 lovelac3@hotmail.com.

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 lovelac3@hotmail.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 hmcfadden@gretchenshouse.com.

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 email mjosie7@aol.com.

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 mjosie7@aol.com.

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.

More Dates

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 or email him at ipp57@aol.com.

Chick's Website

Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at 1-989-667-5654 or email him at thomas@thomashaller.com.

Thomas' Website

The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose

Preview Book

Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility

Preview Book

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 www.chickmoorman.com.

Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Haller's Healing Minds, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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