www.chickmoorman.com --- www.thomashaller.com August 15, 2005
The Response-Able Parent Newsletter #44

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.


In This Issue

1. Quote
2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
3. Bumper Sticker
4. Parent Talk Tip: The You/I Substitution
5. Article: Spoiling Children: The 7 Myths
6. Did You Know?
7. We Get Email
8. Schedule of Events

1. Quote

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

Henry David Thoreau

2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

How would it change your thinking and your behavior if you parented today as if the thoughts you have about your children make them into what they will become?

3. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a Gray Saturn in Traverse City, MI:

Girls Can Do Anything

4. Parent Talk Tip: The You/I Substitution

"Here's what you have to do."
"You're not listening to me."
"What you did was unthoughtful."
"You make me so furious!"

Sentences such as these are often used by parents to influence and shape their children's behavior. While the intention is positive, the effect is one of increased tension. In essence, a troublesome situation is made worse.

To get the results you want, consider changing the YOU in your language and parenting stance to "I." "Here's what you have to do" can be softened to "I would like you to consider this alternative." By replacing "you" with "I," you come across as less demanding. The child is then less likely to react with resistance and reluctance and more likely to consider your ideas.

"I'm not sure I'm being heard when I see your eyes on the TV when I'm talking" sounds less accusatory than "You're not listening to me." "I didn't enjoy not being able to find my hammer when I needed it" keeps your Parent Talk focused on the problem and is preferable to "What you did was unthoughtful," which places all the emphasis on the child.

"I get furious when I find food left in the family room" is Parent Talk that owns your feelings. Once again, it keeps the focus on the situation, not on the child. "You make me furious" points to the child and inaccurately communicates that the child is responsible for your feelings.

Notice when you begin your sentences with YOU. Determine if it would be more appropriate and less confrontational to use "I" instead. Change your language and you have a good chance of changing the response you get.

5. Article: Spoiling Children: The 7 Myths

By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

Myth #1: You will spoil your baby if you handle her too much. You should let her cry sometimes.

Reality: You cannot spoil a baby. Babies need to be touched, squeezed, cuddled, and held. Babies cry because they are hungry, sick, wet, messy, or want attention. Pick up your baby and hold her. Do it as often as you like.

Myth #2: Kids shouldn't grow up believing they can have anything they want.

Reality: It is desirable and an example of effective parenting to teach children they can have anything they want. They may have to work for it, though. And they may not get it at this moment.

When you're shopping and your child asks, "Can I have one of those?" respond with, "Sure, how are you going to pay for it?" or "What are you willing to do to get it?" Ask, "How much money do you have?" or ""Do you have a plan for getting it?"

Our job as parents is to help our children learn they can have whatever they want if they're willing to work for it. During the process of figuring out how to get whatever it is they want, they may learn about problem solving, planning, setting priorities, and goal achievement. They may even come to see themselves as being able to create what they want in their own lives. That's about as far from being spoiled as you can get. We call it "self-responsibility."

Myth #3: Spoiled children exist.

Reality: There is no such thing as a spoiled child. The concept of "spoiled" is an inference, a judgment that people make after noticing behaviors.

Are there children who act as if they are entitled? Yes. Are there children who whine until the parents cave in? Yes. Are there children who pout if they don't get their way? Yes. Are there children who seem unappreciative of small gifts? Yes. Does that make them spoiled? NO. It makes them children who have learned or are trying out new behaviors in an attempt to get what they want.

Children who exhibit these behaviors are not spoiled. They are children who are choosing inappropriate behaviors, behaviors that need to be redirected, behaviors that need to be replaced with other choices. These are children who need to be taught more effective ways of interacting, of asking for what they want, of expressing their feelings.

Myth #4: "Spoiled" is a good descriptor of some children.

Reality: "Spoiled" is never an accurate descriptor of children. "Spoiled" does not describe a behavior. It judges it.

Do not label children "spoiled." Not aloud, nor in your head. When you label children as spoiled, you tend to believe they are spoiled. When you believe they are spoiled, you are more likely to notice anything they do that could be interpreted as spoiled. When you see things that can be interpreted as spoiled, you prove your belief to yourself that the child is indeed spoiled. Your belief then becomes entrenched and you eventually communicate that belief to the child and she begins to see herself as spoiled.

Myth #5: It's important to tell children when they are acting spoiled and call them on it.

Reality: Labeling children spoiled or telling them they're acting spoiled is never a good parenting move. When you call a child spoiled, what he likely hears is "spoiled rotten." Do you want your child thinking of himself as spoiled rotten?

When you notice yourself thinking a child is spoiled, ask yourself, what is the behavior he is manifesting that I'm judging as spoiled? Then communicate a description of that behavior along with any other helpful information you need to share. "Jenny, I see you sitting with your head down and a frown on your face. Would you like to tell me about that?" "Chico, that sounds like whining. Whining doesn't work with me. Your best hope of getting what you want is to tell me in a normal voice and explain what you're willing to do to help get it." "Roland, I noticed you paid little attention to Grandma's gift and shared no words of appreciation. Is there some way you could honor her giving even if you didn't like the gift?"

Myth #6: Children who have an abundance of material things are likely to be spoiled.

Reality: Not true.

A friend of ours recently bought a horse for his two young boys. When a close friend heard about the purchase, he said, "There you go again, spoiling your children."

Is it spoiling the children if they contribute to the purchase price, clean stalls, and play a role in feeding and grooming the horse? Is it spoiling them if they learn about safety around large animals, bond with another of God's creatures, and develop the self-discipline it takes to become an accomplished rider? Is it spoiling them if they connect with their father by working side by side in the barn, sweating, laughing, and learning about each other?

The fact that a child has a 10-speed bicycle, a horse, or a convertible is not an indication of whether or not he or she is spoiled. Look instead to how the material object was obtained, how it's being used, and what the child's attitude toward it is. That will give you more information about how "spoiled" he is than the amount of material things he has.

Myth # 7: Spoiled children need to change.

Reality: No, parents need to change. Parents need to change their attitudes about spoiled children and see instead a child who is attempting to satisfy her needs with an ineffective behavior. They need to change their own behaviors and be willing to take the time to teach new behaviors to their children. They need to be willing to confront, deal with conflict, and take the time to do solution seeking.

Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. Thomas and Chick 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 at www.thomashaller.com and www.chickmoorman.com.

The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose

Preview Book

6. Did You Know?

1. One out of every eight children born in the United States is born to a teenage mother.

2. One out of every 24 children born in the United States lives with neither parent.

3. One thing your teenage boy will not tell you: He thinks about sex a lot. A big rush of testosterone occurs about the time he hits junior high. An overdeveloped hypothalamus sets off sexual thoughts and behavior during that period of his life.

4. One dollar of every sale of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose goes to Healing Acres Equine Retirement Ranch, Inc. For photos, mission statement, and ways to contribute to this worthwhile cause go to www.healingacres.com.

Visit Healing Acres' Website

7. We Get Emails

Hello Thomas and Chick,

I just read your article, "Banishing Bedtime Blues." I loved it. It made so much sense to me. Do you do consulting? What is the Parent Talk System?

I have a two-year-old and we are expecting a new baby any day now. My toddler is not fully verbal and we are having trouble getting her to vacate the crib and convert to a toddler bed. Any advice you could give is greatly appreciated, as we are all greatly sleep deprived.

Thank you,

Soon to Be a Mom Again


Hello, Soon to Be a Mom Again,

Thank you for the feedback on our article. Glad you found it useful.

We will answer your three questions in the order you asked them.

1.) Yes, we do consulting. We travel all over the country as well as internationally to present our seminars and workshops. You can find the topics we offer on our websites, www.thomashaller.com and www.chickmoorman.com. Also, a listing of upcoming events is included at the bottom of all our newsletters.

2.) The Parent Talk System is a style of communicating with children that creates emotionally healthy family relationships. It is comprised of a series of verbal skills to help parents achieve their desired goal of raising responsible, caring, confident children. Each year we offer two Training of Trainers workshops to develop local facilitators to take the skill-training back to their communities. For further information on this exciting training opportunity go to http://www.chickmoorman.com/PTtrainerTraining.html .

3.) Congratulations on the new baby. In terms of the toddler/bed dilemma, we suggest you consider allowing your child to vacate the crib on her schedule. It sounds to us as if you want her to vacate it on your schedule. Rest assured that she will vacate the crib. It will be a lot easier on all of you if you allow her to do it when she is ready.

You have a young child who will have to be sharing the attention of Mommy and Daddy real soon. You can expect that she will revert to some younger behaviors when the baby comes. That is normal. If you force her to give up the crib for the baby, she will resent it and the baby as well.

Put a toddler bed in the room with the crib. Use it for other activities, like reading stories, playing a game, etc. Make it a habit to read together in the toddler bed right before bedtime. Give her some special attention there, like backrubs. If you don't coerce her, eventually she will make a natural and peaceful transition.

Best wishes.

Thomas and Chick

8. Schedule of Events

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 e-mail 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 e-mail 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 e-mail hmcfadden@gretchenshouse.com.

Aug. 31 Ann Arbor, MI
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers, Ann Arbor, Pattengill Elementary, Ann Arbor, MI. For information contact Joel Ottenbreit at 734-323-6059 or e-mail ottenbre@aaps.k12.mi.us.

Aug. 31 Ann Arbor, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound, Ann Arbor, Pattengill Elmentary, Ann Arbor, MI. For information contact Joel Ottenbreit at 734-323-6059 or e-mail ottenbre@aaps.k12.mi.us.

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 e-mail 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 e-mail 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 Moorman at 1-877-360-1477 or email him at ipp57@aol.com.

Chick's Website

Thomas Haller

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

Thomas' Website

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 Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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