Focused Friday – Q&A on Siblings Without Rivalry

April 18, 2008 at 6:35 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Question:  I have two young daughters.  They go back and forth between loving and hating each other.  When they love each other they play very nicely, but when they hate each other they can actually start hitting and punching each other.  Why do they do this and how do I stop it?

Answer:  There are times when young children are unable to express their feelings with words.  This is when they start to use physical actions to express their anger – they also use physical expression when they in good moods as well, for instance kissing and hugging.  When your children are kicking and hitting each other the first thing you do is separate them.  Put them in different rooms if possible. 

Try to say very little.  And be very careful to not label them.  At this point you have no idea how the argument started, who taunted who, has it been building or a whole slew of other questions.

And even if you do know the answer, still don’t label. 

What I want you to say is, “When you are ready to interact with others, you are welcome back.  I want you to stay here till you are calm.  Then you and your sibling will find another solution to this.”  Then you walk away.

As for the solution, while they are separated get a few supplies- paper and colored pencils, costumes, or puppets.  When they are settled and calm, have them use the supplies to come up with the solution, or to redo the incident.  It is important that each child have the opportunity to show what they thought was happenng. And it is just as important for the other child to hear and see it.  When the “BUT that’s not what really happened!” is whined/shouted out, respond with, “This is child’s (-actually say the name-) turn to share what happened.  You will have a turn in a minute.  And I will be just as interested in what you thought happened.”

Through all this procedure, it is extremely important for you to understand that as your children mature they need to express their displeasure.  Guide them to more acceptable ways of expressing themselves.  Never tell them they are bad for the feelings.

Question:  I understand that you home school your kids.  I do too.  I just started recently.  When they are home with you all day long how can you stop them from squabbling?

Answer:  When kids are new to home schooling they are often surprised by all the decision-making they now make.  At school there is limited free time and limited access to what to play with.  At home there is everything and more time to do these things.  Sometimes they need guidance about what to play and other times they need time separated from each other.  This separation does not have to be in the form of punishment.  It is positive intervention.  “It is now time for you (-actually say the name-) to play upstairs, while you (-actually say the name-) play downstairs.  And don’t worry we can switch if we need to.”

Have faith in yourself and in your kids.  Home schooling has wonderful rewards and as with everything has some tough obstacles. 

Question:  My husband thinks that when the kids are fighting it is good for them.  He thinks we should just sit back and let them at each other.  I want to have a house with peace, not fighting.  Is there anyway that I can stop them with out my husband’s support?

Answer:  Yes, you can stop the fighting without your husbands support.  When you kids are fighting tell them that you know they have a problem.  You respect their need to express themselves.  Now you would like them to learn a few different ways of expressing themselves, which does not actually involve fighting.  Be firm about this.  Tell them they have reached the point that plain fighting is just not working.  It is time to try other ways of solving problems. 

Now insist that they use another method to express themselves.  You can suggest drawing, acting, puppet shows.   If they are older and scoff at this, just say,  “I understand this is new and different, but you need to learn to behave in a way that your anger is heard, but does not lead to hurting others.”


In all these cases, and any case of sibling rivalry, it is often the child who seems to be acting out the most that is the most hurting or angry.  Look to each of your children knowing that inside is their special GEM.  Keep that thought foremost in your mind.  Through it all you will love them and build their self-esteem to be wonderful and strong.

Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget the Creative Crayon Club tomorrow!


Wednesday Wisdom: How to Say No and Really Mean It

January 24, 2008 at 10:37 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, teens, toddlers, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom | 2 Comments
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As a parent there is often the need to say no for an emergency.  And that comes easily enough.  But what about those regular times when you want to say no and your children just keep bugging you.  Either they just keep pleading and whining.  Or they look at you with such cute faces you feel you just have to give in.  Or they bug you so you feel the only way to say no is to yell and scream.  Only you really don’t want to give in and you don’t want to scream.  What can you do?

The first thing to remember is that you are the parent. Not just physically, but mentally as well.  This means you can expect your children to respect you.  This puts you in the attitude of having your children understand you are in charge.  It is both a simple idea and a profound concept. 

After you have adjusted your attitude to be the person in charge you can follow through with the simple “no.” A simple no is said with conviction.  It is used justly and respectfully of your children.  The idea of gaining respect from your children is as important as giving respect to them.

When your children look at you with those faces that just melt you, stay in charge.  Tell them they are so cute, but unfortunately the cute faces will not change your mind.  When they come to with a barrage of reasons they think you should change your mind respond with, ”I know you don’t understand, but the answer is still no.”  You need to keep your voice calm and even. 

When your children are bugging you to the point of exploding, first step away from them.  Collect yourself.  Take some deep yoga breaths.  When you are a calm enough go back to your kids.  Tell them, “The answer is no.  I have stopped yelling at you.  I realize that you will expect me to yell.  But I am trying my best to stop yelling at you.  I now expect you to respect this change in me and respect that the answer is no.”

With all three of these ideas you will be regaining your own self respect and through living you will teach your children how to expect respect from others and how to have self respect. 

Respect is one of the corner stones for a good foundation of high self-esteem.  When you give and take respect through the use of saying no and meaning it- without yelling at your kids– you establish an ability for your family to understand and accept the natural limitations of life without actually being limited by them.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Focused Friday: Internet Safety for Children

January 18, 2008 at 12:47 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, moms, Mothers, parents, Safety, Self Esteem, teens, Tweens | 2 Comments
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 Welcome to Focused Friday!  This week we are talking about how to keep your kids safe on the internet

Question #1:  

I am online quite a bit.  But I really don’t want my daughter to get on line as much as me.  How can I tell her that she must not be online as much as me?

GEM Answer: 
First you need to ask yourself why you are on line so much?  Is it important or necessary?  Are you learning something?  Or are you filling up time with being online.  If the last is your answer then, as much as I am glad to have you here, you need to curb your own time online.  Instead of being on line take time to be interactive with your daughter.  Ask her to show you some of her school projects.  If you show her how to spend time doing other things than being online she will emulate your new behaviors. 

If, on the other hand, you are the internet for important, necessary, or learning reasons then explain to your daughter that there are times for being online that are different for children than for parents.  Because you are the parent, allow yourself to create and make limits for your daughter.


Question #2:  

I am very concerned that my 13-year-old daughter is having a relationship online that is inappropriate.  How can I figure it out and stop her?

GEM Answer: 

The first thing for you to do is explain to her that you know of some people who get involved with people on line who they don’t know and it turns out to be a really bad situation.  Ask her if she has ever heard of any one like that.  Have a few conversations about other people, and what happened to them.  But try to keep the conversations to be about how to get out of the problem and how the kids came to parents or even counselors at school to get help. 

At some point, I suggest you let your daughter know about your concern.  Be sure to speak to her with concern rather than judging.  Let her know that you love her too much to let her get mixed up in a situation that would be harmful to her.  And also that it is your both your job and responsibility as a parent to protect her from harm.  Remind her of sometime when she was much younger and you protected her.  You want her to respect you and that means you must respect her.  But it does not mean you must let her do whatever she wants.


Question #3:  

I am in a real panic and your stuff came out just in time.  I know my son is communicating with someone online who he met in a chat room.  And they are thinking of meeting in person.  What do I do?

GEM Answer:  

You immediately speak to your son about the dangers of such meeting in person.  You simply forbid it to happen.  You explain to your son that the kind of people who want to meet boys from chat rooms usually have bad intensions.  The other alternative is to meet the person with your son, only in a very public place.  But I personally would not allow any of my children to meet someone whom they have met only in a chat room.

You should also inform your local or state law enforcement agency, the FBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


It is important to remember that the Internet has opened the world in amazing and wonderful ways.  Being committed, interactive, and responsible for your children in all their endeavors will give you and them the stability and foundation to be able to live peacefully and safely with the Internet.

Dont forget:  Our weekly GEM Parenting podcast for the week, “Keeping your Kids Safe on the Internet” is only $5.99 for a full hour of information, tips, and guidance on the best practices for making sure your kids stay safe online.  Dont wait….order your podcast today!

Just e-mail me at

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Monday Motivation: Children and Internet Safety

January 15, 2008 at 11:13 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, Motivational Monday, parents, Safety, teens, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Monday Motivation:

There is not a parent that I know who is comfortable with their children surfing the internet.  In the backs of our minds, we always fear the people lurking in the depths of cyberspace waiting to stalk our children.  Fear of the unknown?  Perhaps, but every parent should be prepared to protect their children from the invisible stalkers and predators that enter your home through your internet connection.

Join us this week for this discussion on how to keep your children safe on the internet

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

Focused Friday: Stop Yelling at Kids

January 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, Focused Fridays, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, teens, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Welcome to Focused Friday!  This week we are talking about parenting past the anger. 

Question #1:

I have been trying to figure out how to stop having rage with my kids for a few years.  I understand the concept of a change behavior chart.  But will it really work?

GEM Answer: 

If you honestly follow through with the chart and write down each time you do get too angry at your kids, and then you write down new ways to behave you will teach yourself to be different.  It does take time.  It will not be over night.  But it will work.  You must love both yourself and your children enough to do this.


Question #2:  

If my husband is hitting my child, with out real force, is this connected with rage?  Is it bad?

GEM Answer:  

I cannot tell if your husband hitting your child is connected with rage or not.  But I would guess it is connected with control.  And loss of control is a precursor of rage.  In other words loss of control is what happens before rage happens.  So you need to be on the look out about if our husband is building up to a rage or not.

As far as your second part of the question, is it bad.  It is always bad to hit a child.  There is simply no excuse as far as I am concerned.  There are so many alternatives to hitting a child. And every time a child is hit his or her spirit is damaged.  And sometimes the spirit can be damaged so much it is almost irreparable

Question #3:

Sometimes I am just sure I am just going to explode at my kids.  And I have this real physical change that comes over me.  I get real hot and sweaty.  Is this normal?

GEM Answer:  

It is normal to have a physical change when having a rage.  But it is not necessary to have the rage.  Anger can be expressed in many forms that do not result in a rage.  When you feel this physical change coming over you immediately remove yourself from your kids.  Don’t allow yourself to ever be near them when you know a rage is coming.

It would be helpful for you to work with someone on alternative behaviors.  If you are interested in working with me please e-mail me at

Question #4:

I know it is wrong to be extra sweet after I get really angry at my kids.  But I feel so bad and I want to make it up to them.  And if I don’t be extra nice after then what will I do?

GEM Answer:  

First, I want you to do something to stop having the “extra anger.”  You can try the behavior change chart, join a group dealing with anger management.  Second, when you have been too angry with your kids you do not need to be extra sweet.  There is this really strange thing about little kids.  They love their parents no matter how rotten they are.  So instead of using your energy to be extra sweet, I want you to use your energy to actually figure out how to stop your anger. 

For all of you I want to commend you for knowing you have something that needs fixing.  And now I want you to take the next step and fix it.  Of course you can seek help in many directions.  I offer you help to both change your behavior and build a lifestyle that will increase both your self-esteem and your children’s self esteem.  So get on with it and choose what you are going to do.  In this case you really need to act now.   If you want to go on the next step of your journey with me, I’d love to help.

Just e-mail me at

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.

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