www.personalpowerpress.com July 10, 2006
The Response-Able Parent Newsletter #54

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.

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1. Quote
2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
3. Bumper Sticker
4. Article: The Seven Worst Things to Say to Your Kids During Divorce
5. Help Needed
6. Product of the Month
7. We Get E-mail
8. Make a Difference?
9. Schedule of Events

1. Quote

"Character is the ability to win an argument without saying a word."


2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

What if the results you produce with your children come less from what you are doing and more from the consciousness with which you are doing it?

3. Bumper Sticker

Seen in Newago, MI, on a green Chevy pickup camper:

My kid can rodeo better than your honor roll kid

4. Article: The Seven Worst Things to Say to Your Kids During a Divorce

By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

When you said the words, "I do," on your wedding day, the idea of divorce probably never entered your mind. Nor was it even a fleeting thought when you witnessed the birth of your first child. Chances are it never occurred to you at those times that one day you would be a statistic in the over 50% of marriages that end in divorce.

And yet here you are, considering divorce, separated, or already divorced. Today you find yourself dealing with issues of dating, visitation schedules, and feelings of animosity toward your spouse. You know that divorce is not the best situation for your children, but things have progressed too far to turn back now.

What do you do at this point to protect your children? How do you help them minimize the negative effects of a divorce? What do you say to them and how do you say it? How you handle yourself through the divorce process and the months that follow can be a determining factor in how well your children handle the struggles that divorce can bring.

Listed below are the seven worst things you can say to your children during a divorce. Avoid these and you?ll be on your way to helping your children make the transition in a positive manner.

1. "If you behaved yourself more, your mother wouldn't get so mad at me."

Your child is NOT responsible for your relationship problems with your partner. Hinting that your child is in some way responsible for your divorce wounds the spirit and slashes the soul. Regardless of what your child has done or said, putting responsibility on them is totally inappropriate.

Remember, a divorce takes place between the two married people in the relationship. Although divorce affects the children, you are not divorcing them. You are divorcing the person to whom you are married.

Even when you assure children that they are not responsible for the marriage breakup, most children believe they are somehow responsible. They think to themselves, "If I'd only been better, it wouldn't have happened," or "If I had just done something different, things would be OK with Mom and Dad."

If you really believe that your children are responsible for your divorce, then something is in need of repair in your parent-child relationship. Turn to a counselor, member of the clergy, or school personnel. Do it now. You and your children are worth it.

2. "Your mother is a tramp."

Name-calling in front of your children is inexcusable. Regardless of what she has done and how you feel about her, remember that this person is still your child's mother. If she has had an affair or done other mean things to you, it is not your place to tell the children about her behavior. Saying hurtful things to the children about their mother does not hit the intended target, your ex. It hits and hurts the ones you still love, your children.

Name-calling usually stems from feelings of anger and disgust. Stay in control of your angry feelings. Attempting to knock your ex down in this way does not bring you up in the eyes of your children. When they hear you using these words about their mother, they can see and feel the discrepancy in what you are saying and how they are feeling. They begin to distrust your words, and fear that you may be saying such things about them and their behavior. Their suspicion damages your relationship with them.

Kids need to look up to their parents. You and, yes, their mother are the two most important people in their lives. For years they have looked to both parents for comfort, support, encouragement, and direction. They will continue to do so even after the divorce. Speaking about their mother with words that are meant to wound only decreases the likelihood that they will look up to you in the future.

3. "What does your mother say about me?"

Do not put your children in the role of informant whose job it is to keep you updated on the events and happenings around Mom's house. They are not conduits of information to be pumped for information. Keep them out of the middle and off the witness stand.

By asking your children to report to you and keep you informed you are asking them to betray someone they love. They are caught in the difficult position of having to supply you with information or lie in an attempt to protect their mother. When you do this, your children have to decide what might be appropriate information to tell and what information Mom might not want you to know. This is not a decision that a child needs to be making.

If there is information that you feel you really need or want to know, go to the source. Be an adult and ask your ex the questions you want answered. She has the right to decide what she wants to tell you. If she is not forthcoming with the answers, sit tight. It is quite possible that the answer will come to you without ever having to ask your children.

The main focus of your communication with your ex should be about your children, their development, and their continued care. Those questions that do not pertain to the kids may not be any of your business. Ask yourself if the answers to your questions benefit your children or you. Be honest with yourself at this point. If it only benefits you, let it go. Your children are what is most important.

4. "I want to get back together, but your mother doesn't."

This statement may be true, but telling it to your children is nothing more than a play for sympathy. It is a subtle attempt to fix blame and make the other parent look bad. You are trying to place yourself in a positive light, as the only one who wants to keep the family together.

If this statement is really true, explore your role in how the relationship with your partner has gotten to the point where it is now. Tell your partner that you want to get back together and work on correcting the mistakes you made in the relationship. Your children have no place in that process.

If you want to look good and win your children's affection, do so with grace. Approach your partner with a loving heart. Model for your children how to separate and move on in a relationship without wounding the spirit of another. Show your children how to have an open heart even when you don?t want what another person wants. Divorce gracefully. It is the best kind of divorce your children can go through.

5. "No, I won't give you any money. I send your mother child support. If you need any money, ask her."

When you were married, did you sit down each week or month and show your check stub to your children? Did you share each aspect of the family budget with them, expecting them to understand the intricate nature of this system you designed? Probably not. They knew it existed and they became familiar with parts of it at times, but it was never a major concern for them. It was an adult matter that adults took care of.

The same holds true for child support. Your children do not need to know how much child support you pay and when you pay it. A child's request for money is not a request to be told about the family budget or about how much you pay for child support. Neither is it a request to hear about your financial troubles. If the money is not available, and there are times in non-divorce situations that this is also true, tell them that the money is not available right now without mentioning how much you pay for child support. Talk with Your children about what they want to do with the money. Help them create a plan on how to get the money they need.

The purpose of child support is to make available a percentage of the finances needed for everyday living. Your children need far more than what child support provides. Your children need extra love, extra attention, and, yes, extra money on occasion.

Don't get caught up in the financial end of your relationship with your children. Be careful not to attempt to buy their love with money. Instead, show your love with time and attention.

6. "I'm sorry I didn't get you last week. I was really busy."

When it is your evening or weekend to be with your kids, adjust your schedule so that you can give them your full attention. This may mean skipping the golf outing, rescheduling poker night, missing softball practice, or changing your hours at work. Create the time so that you can be present in your children's life. When it is your weekend and you don't spend it with your kids, they feel rejected. The message is that something has become very important to you and it is not them. Is that the message you want to send to your children? If not, then make your time with them a priority. Demonstrate to them that their time with you is the last thing to get cancelled.

If you are scheduled to have parenting time with your children and you don't show or you call at the last minute with a change of plans, your kids feel abandoned. If you take them to their grandparents' house for the day while you go on a golf outing, the kids question their importance to you. If you say to your daughter, "We can do that the next time we're together," and when next week arrives you don't do it, your integrity comes into question.

When you have scheduled parenting time, keep it. When you say you're going to do something together next time, do it. Your children remember, and they are building an image of their father based on your actions. What image of you do you want them to hold?

7. "I don't care what your mother said. You don?t have to do that if you don't want to."

No two homes are run alike. With the establishment of two separate homes comes the establishment of two sets of rules. The goal is to create as much consistency as possible between your house and your ex-wife's house.

Arriving at mutual agreement on issues of bed time, homework structure, video game and television viewing, and basic rules of respect for others' boundaries is important. While this type of consistency is valuable, the reality is that it is difficult for many divorced couples to achieve. It takes setting aside your anger, resentment, and feelings of revenge, and coming to mutual conclusions about important issues that affect your children. It takes two people behaving like adults focusing on what is best for their children.

To say to your children, "I don't care what your mother said. You don?t have to do that if you don?t want to," begins to create an imbalance in the structure that children need, especially in times of divorce. The implication is that they don't have to listen to their mother, that she doesn?t know what she's talking about, and that it?s OK if they defy her authority. This is your effort to exert power over your ex-wife by weakening her power with the children. You are attempting to undermine her authority and are using the children to get back at her. This is not your children's job. Putting them in this position gives them a sense of power that is focused in the wrong direction. A child's power needs to stay focused on managing their own behavior as they learn to make safe, caring, confident choices.

If you really don't think the children should have to do whatever their mother told them to do, take it up with her. Find out what was really behind her request or disciplinary strategy. If it is not a strategy you use in your home, talk to the children about how you handle similar situations at your house. Explain the differences in the approach each parent has taken, helping them see the outcome of their choices and the effect it has on them regardless of the house in which they reside.

Divorce does not have to be a devastating end to your family. It marks the beginning of a new family for you and your children. Focus on creating a new life together. Hold on to some of the traditions of the past and look for opportunities to create new traditions, new routines, and a newfound joy in being together. Show your children how to divorce gracefully by eliminating the seven worst things you can say to them during that critical time.

Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman 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. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today: www.thomashaller.com or www.chickmoorman.com.

The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose


5. Help Needed

Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller have begun writing Parent Talk Two: Verbal Skill Solutions for Your Most Pressing Parenting Problems. This book will build on the exciting skills delivered to parents in the first Parent Talk book and will focus on the specific problems and concerns that face parents in today's world. It will include parent talk that addresses the topics of whining, chores, back talk, physical aggression, bedtime, television, homework, cleaning your room, swearing, temper tantrums, sex education, table manners, and other potential problems.

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN. Please send us your ideas. What parenting concerns do you have right now? What challenges are difficult to handle? When do you find yourself wishing you had a parenting resource that you could go to find answers? When do you find it difficult to be the parent you always wanted to be?

Your help will assist us in creating a comprehensive, trouble-shooting resource, that will be practical and useful to all parents who want to raise responsible, caring, confident children in enlightened and loving ways.

Send your ideas to ipp57@aol.com.

Thank you for your help with this important request.

6. Product of the Month - Inspiring Children to Write

by Thomas Haller and Reese Haller

DVD run time: 60 min. ($19.95)

Introduce your children to the joys of writing and empower them with strategies that transform everyday experiences into stunning books with this captivating DVD by Thomas and Reese Haller. Inspiring Children to Write is a rare opportunity to see father and son present together on the topic of writing. This remarkable presentation features 9-year-old Reese Haller, author of the Fred the MouseTM Book Series, lecturing with his father, Thomas, on practical tools that make writing fun. In one power-packed hour you will learn stimulating strategies for broadening children?s writing horizons while expanding their knowledge and vocabulary with essential skills that result in children who love to write.


7. We Get E-mails

Dear Chick and Thomas,

I really enjoy your email newsletter.

Our 4-year-old son started summer camp this week, 3 days a week. Every morning is a battle to get him to get dressed and go to camp. He did great going to a pre-k program all year, but this is a different camp, different kids, counselors, etc. His conversation is that he doesn't want to go to camp. He'd rather stay home with mom and his baby sister. Well, he ends up going?and loving it, but not without a battle. Any suggestions on how to make this a more pleasant and positive morning experience?


Billy's Dad

Hello, Billy's Dad,

Keep the focus and the conversation on the benefit and the fun that the child has once he is at camp. Play down what is going on at home and play up what is going on at the camp. Ask questions about camp. Tell stories about when you were at camp. Ask him to show you what he did at camp. Play some camp games with him.

It sounds like the morning transition is mostly where the trouble exists for your son. We suggest you begin the morning routine earlier to avoid having the transitional period be rushed. Allow time for the mental and the physical transition to be relaxed. Give the child as much time as possible to make the transition.

Some kids fight their parents about going and then fight them because they don't want to come home. The middle is fine, but they need help making effective transitions.

Grant him in fantasy what you will not in reality. "I bet you wish you didn't have to go today. It would be fun to just stay home and relax. Not an option, though. Let's get ready." Acknowledge his feelings. "Sounds like this is one of those days when you would rather not go to camp." Don't try to talk him out of his feelings. Just let him know you heard them by stating,"You're feeling frustrated about getting ready for camp this morning. That kind of spoils the beginning of the day, doesn?t it?"

Let the child know that the option of choosing the attitude he goes with is his. Going or not going is not a choice unless it really is a choice and you decide to not battle and let him stay home. If you do give him that option, be aware that you will be pressured to allow it in the future.

Stay calm and use lots of empathy and nurturing.


Chick and Thomas


Hi Thomas and Chick,

There is a saying going around something to the effect of: Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

If consistency and time is needed for your Parent Talk techniques to work, how do I know if the parenting techniques I employ are going to be successful the 25th, 50th, 75th time or not at all?? How can I tell if I'm doing it right or need to change techniques?

Panhandle Bob

Hello, Panhandle Bob,

An interesting question you pose.

Before you use any parenting technique, whether from Parent Talk, The 10 Commitments, or another source, check to see if it resonates with your being. Do you think and feel that it will help you be who you want to be as a parent? Does it feel like the right thing to do for your family, your children, and yourself?

You have to have faith in the parenting skill you are implementing. Then, if you believe in it, consistency is the key. Some kids need more repetitions than others. The Parent Talk skills work if you work the skills. And it is also true that not every skill works with every child.

If you are repeatedly telling your child to stop whining without teaching him what to do instead, the child will continue to whine. Consistency won't help you here because you are using an inappropriate, malfunctioning tool. A hammer won't work where a screwdriver is called for. In that case it makes no sense to continue the parenting technique. One thousand repetitions of "stop whining" will not do the job.

Check it out inside when you are unsure if the skill is appropriate or if more repetitions are necessary. Trust your inner knowing. No one knows your child as well as you do.

Create a great day,

Thomas and Chick

8. Make a Difference

*     Are you ready to make a giant leap forward to actualize your potential as a healer of the planet?

*      Do you feel called in your soul to help parents consider the possibility that there might be a better way, an enlightened way to parent?

*      Are you interested in helping parents move from a fear- and shame-based parenting style to one that is love based?

*      Would you consider helping the parents in your community make a shift in perception that would allow them to become the change that will change our world for the better?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this e-mail is clearly getting through to you, and the dynamic, upcoming three-day training seminar in the Parent Talk System is definitely for you!

There is still time to register. To register or find out the July 27-29 program specifics, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ON-LINE.


9. Schedule

July 13 - Saginaw, MI
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers Presented by Chick Moorman, Guest Lecture for Early Childhood Curriculum Course 592, Saginaw, MI. For more information email Chick at ipp57@aol.com.

July 24 - Saginaw, MI
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Transforming Aggression in Children Presented by Thomas Haller, Saginaw Valley State University, Guest Lecture for Early Childhood Curriculum Course 592, Saginaw, MI. For information email Thomas Haller at thomas@thomashaller.com.

July 27, 28 & 29 - Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 4:00 pm, Parent Talk System: Training of Trainers Presented by Chick Moorman, Spring Arbor University, Dearborn, MI. For information contact Chick Moorman at 1-877-360-1477 (toll free) or email

Aug. 23 - Corunna, MI
AM, Creating a Culture of Caring and Respect Presented by Chick Moorman, Corunna Public Schools, Corunna High School, Corunna, MI. For information contact Kari Selleck at 989-743-4151 or email kselleck@corunna.k12.mi.us.

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 (toll free) or e-mail him at ipp57@aol.com.


Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at?989-667-5654 or e-mail him at thomas@thomashaller.com.


Copyright 2006 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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