- Do you end up preparing three meals every night, and tire of being a short-order cook?
- Are there endless negotiations over food, and battles have exhausted you?
- Do you worry about health concerns because your picky eater is so stubborn, and only eats junk?
If so, then you likely know that you share this struggle with millions of parents. And yet, the situation is almost always easily resolved…with clear guidance and a firm commitment to build healthy patterns of eating. As a Licensed Psychologist, I have witnessed the most stubborn of picky eaters surrender their habits in just a matter of days.
However, because you are changing a pattern of behavior…the change is not always easy. In fact, many times you will have to overcome your own personal struggles with false ideas…such as, “I can’t let them go to bed hungry.” Well…yes you can. IF…you realize that they are choosing to go to bed hungry after you offered them wonderful, yummy food. They have to learn from their choices.
If you decide that you will feed them junk food, in response to their refusal to eat healthy food…you set up a pattern where their resistance is actually “fed” and rewarded by you giving in…and letting them eat junk food. This is a recipe for disaster…no pun intendedJ
Anyway, here’s my quick-start version of what you must to do to start getting a handle on your picky eater.
QUICK START GUIDE FOR HELPING YOUR PICKY EATER!
- Adjust your mindset.To expand the foods your child eats, it is essential to let go of the idea that you can (or should) force or demand your kids to eat healthy food. Please notice my choice of words carefully, as we must drop the idea of “demanding” our children to eat.This is not to say that you relinquish the goal of healthy eating. We do not. It simply acknowledges that forcing or demanding your children to eat healthier will not work.
- Start out by assertively cleaning out your pantry.Get rid of all the junk food, sodas, potato chips, ice cream, candy bars, etc. Simply do not have these foods in your house as an option, and instead substitute healthy alternatives…such as an abundance of fruits and vegetables.Many folks want to make these changes slow and easy. My suggestion is to take the opposite approach. If it’s junk food…it’s JUNK. So throw it away. You really don’t need to read another article, or take another week to talk about it.
For some, you can be methodical and consistent…and you can take out a food a week. But for most, that’s just not reality. One food gets deleted from the pantry, and within a month, another one or two substitutes find their way back ‘home.’
- Announce: “I’m no longer the short-order cook.”Now…you must walk your talk. Prepare healthy meals with a variety of foods. After you prepare a meal, let the kids know that this is the meal for the evening. There will be no additions or changes, depending on the preferences of anyone in the family.Yes, I know that sounds radical for many of you who believe your children won’t eat the good stuff you prepare for everyone, but it’s just not true.
It is true that they will continue to demand that you be their personal on-demand chef…as long as you are willing to do it.
- If children complain or resist eating the healthy food, use this very simple formula for communicating with them:”You have a choice. Eat what’s here…and you will feel good. Or…don’t eat, complain, pick at your food and you will feel hungry. You choose.” Now…just leave them to decide.
- If any of your children refuse to eat, simply do not resist or battle with them. Don’t argue with them, and don’t allow them to get alternative food. Just stick to your guns about the food that is available, and that they are free to walk away hungry.If children complain and pick at their food, do not talk to them during these times WHILE they are complaining. Instead, engage with someone else at the table, simply ignoring their complaints and criticisms of the food. When your child begins to talk without complaint or begins eating, engage and talk to them freely.
- Don’t worry if they go to bed hungry a few nights. All will be okay. They will readily survive an occasional night here and there without an evening meal.Instead, you must trust that the natural learning processes of nature will begin to take hold in the days ahead. When your children learn that there will be no fights over food, and that no other options are available after a meal, the hunger that they experience eventually becomes a powerful teacher and instructor. They will learn to eat what is offered MOST of the time. Simply don’t sweat the other times, as they will grow fewer and farther apart.
As a reminder, the guidelines outlined in this article will eliminate and reduce symptoms of picky eating. If you son or daughter is exhibiting more serious symptoms consistent with a possible eating disorder, it is imperative that you obtain a professional evaluation and possible intervention.
Limits are important for children because they teach kids what to expect about reality. As they go through the educational system, get jobs, have friendships and romantic relationships, there will always be limits.
Life sets limits on all of us, and learning to live happily and effectively within them is a skill we acquire through our childhood experiences. But many parents are unwilling or unable to set and maintain limits. Here are a few examples:
Recently, I counseled a single father whose six-year-old son regularly goes to bed between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, falling asleep in front of the TV set with his dad. Dad says, “Ryan just doesn’t want to go to bed, and I can’t stand for him be mad at me.”
Another client complained about the money she was spending on her two children, both in elementary school. She explained that she couldn’t go anywhere without having to stop at Wal-Mart or the mall to buy something for the kids. If she didn’t, they’d “throw a fit.”
Still another recent example comes from an executive mom who works 60 to 70 hours a week, leaving almost all the childcare to an au pair. To lessen her guilt, she does whatever the kids want on weekends. Now…three years later…Mom says, “My daughter thinks she’s my boss. How did that happen?”
What could you learn from these examples? Well, perhaps it’s clear to you that kids need limits, and yet, like many parents, you struggle to hold the line on the limits you set.
What might cause you to be reluctant or unable to set and maintain firm limits?
- Anxiety about repeating your parents’ mistakes, so you overcompensate.
- Fear that the consequences of your kid’s choices will traumatize them.
- Afraid that they will be harmed by their upsets.
- Fear that your kids won’t like you when you stick to your decisions.
- Guilt about feeling that you haven’t been around enough.
- Fear (in a divorce) that you’ll lose your connection to your children.
- Fear of embarrassment over the tantrum you can’t control in public.
Such fear-based parenting decisions will not prepare kids for the reality of life.
There’s a different way. Children need and benefit from limits. It’s not just Dr Cale’s theory here. This is well documented with lots of research, and we all know…it’s just “common sense.”
What if kids don’t get experience realistic limits? They grow up thinking that there are no limits set by society (when there are) and they falsely believe there is no consequence for many of their actions (when there will be). They also learn dangerously inaccurate expectations, particularly when minimal efforts on their part are rewarded with significant returns.
It can be remarkably seductive to get caught up in the loving responses young kids give to parents when parents soften the limits they have set. It can make you all warm and fuzzy inside, if you aren’t paying attention. If you are paying attention, then you see how you have just destroyed the integrity of your word. When this is repeated over and over…then the real damage begins to unfold as you see that your word is not respected with your kids.
YOU CAN AVOID THIS! It’s essential to keep your focus on the long-term vision of what you want your children to learn. Make your decisions with that that vision, and your values, clearly in min. If you abandon that vision to avoid pain or fear, you’re relieving your immediate anxiety rather than making healthy parenting choices.
Is it easier to buy the toy than deal with the tantrum? Yes! Is it easier to let them watch one more TV show than struggle over turning it off? Yes! Is it easier to do those chores yourself than make sure the kids do them? You bet!
All of these are short-term solutions to anxiety and fear…and they produce long-term problems of growing complexity. It may seem easier in the short term, but in the long term, you’re better off setting limits and sticking to them. If you don’t, there’ll be more trouble down the road.
- If you say “no” and then give in to a tantrum, your children learn that “no” is simply a signal to have a tantrum. They know they can get what they want.
- If you say it’s bedtime and then allow them to stay up for another hour because they whine, your words are a signal that it’s time to whine.
- If your teen keeps calling and asking to stay out another hour, and you repeatedly negotiate, then your words are only a signal for negotiation. Eventually, your words demand no respect.
Bottom line: For your kids to learn about reality, you must set limits for them to experience. For your words to have meaning, you must stick to the limits you set. Not just on your good days, but every day.
One of the most consistent drains on our energy and our enthusiasm is to live in a world where kids are constantly arguing. They argue about bedtime. They argue about eating their vegetables. They argue about homework. They argue about which show to watch. They argue about who owns what toy. They argue about whether it is going to rain or not. They argue about whether it is too cold for gloves.
Sometimes, as children get older, many of us might be inclined to see these arguments as signs of good negotiators or attorneys. Don’t be fooled!
Such Arguing Children Do Not Become Good Negotiators or Attorneys.
Children who are constantly negotiating and arguing over every daily responsibility or necessity learn to waste much of their life energy and ability on useless arguments. You see their time is wasted arguing sometimes for hours over a task that would take them ten minutes.
They become ‘conditioned’ to invest themselves in these worthless arguments, and over time, you see their energy and attention evaporate from those tasks that are more important. If not careful, some of these same children learn to argue with teachers, peers, and coaches in the same manner.
These Children Argue in Ways That Empower False Thinking.
This is what is really dangerous. When children grow up arguing over every little thing, they come to believe that their faulty arguments are worthy of attention and validation.
When kids are arguing over bedtime, it is as if they believe that they know what is best for them — when it comes to bedtime. This is not true. Parents know better.
When children argue about whether or not they should do their homework, they think they know best about homework. They do not. Parents know best.
When kids argue over whether they should eat their vegetables or not, the argument empowers the belief that they should not eat vegetables. Kids do not know best about which food is good for them. Parents do.
If not careful, you will find them arguing as if they know best about absolutely everything. As they move into middle school or adolescent years, you will see that the negotiator has now decided that they truly know more about everything! And…they are willing to tell you about it!
Over and over again, most of the arguments that are driving you crazy have no basis in a valid or meaningful position. While the argument itself is enough to drive you crazy, it is important to realize that these arguments present more risk to your child’s future than it appears. They are not learning to become good attorneys; they are learning to believe arguments that will only waste their life and time.
Stop It Now…While You Can. You have the power to turn off these arguments in your home.
The Secret to Ending All Worthless Arguments and Negotiations
I have always found this to be true: Children never argue with parents who don’t argue with them. It’s that simple.
Your children will only argue if you are willing to stay in the ring with them. So step out of the argument. Not after trying to have the last word, but as soon as the argument begins. Just step out of it. Don’t explain it. Don’t try to get them to understand or agree. Just don’t argue.
When your children say, I don’t want to do my homework…don’t argue. When they say they don’t want to go to bed, or eat their veggies, or take out the trash…don’t argue. When you say no, and they want to argue…just don’t do it.
Hold your ground with your decision, but DO NOT argue about it. (Remember: you never win anyway…and it usually just ends ugly!) So stop it now…while you can.
When you do so, the wise choice to NOT argue will require you to learn how to manage your children’s behavior using your action—not your words. I encourage you to invest in gaining the parenting tools that support your strength as a parent, rather than continuing in these worthless arguments wasting your time and theirs.
The title of this article might seem a bit strange to you. Yet, it’s not strange at all, once you understand where I am going here.
When dealing with children who are moving through those preadolescent and adolescent years, our tendency is often to end up responding to them in very controlling ways. We speak to them as if we have control over them, and we don’t. We make the same mistake with younger children, but often we get by with it for years.
The bottom line is that we don’t control our kids. The more that we end up falling into the trap of trying to control them, when we don’t have control, the more we end up in feudal battles and constant struggles. It’s frustrating to think we have “control” when we don’t.
In many ways, when you open to this truth, you also open to an enlightened way of parenting that gives you tremendous power to teach your kids critical life lessons.
First, however, let’s review what it sounds like when you’re really trying to control your kids, and it’s not working. It could sound like…
- “Cut off that TV now.”
- “Stop hitting your brother.”
- “Eat those vegetables.”
- “Clean up your room.”
- “Do your homework.”
- “Get off the phone.”
You notice the theme. These parents are responding to their children as if they did have control. Do you like to be talked to in this way? Of course not! And neither do your kids. More importantly, it doesn’t reflect reality. We simply don’t control their behavior with our words.
So what’s the alternative?
The alternative is to shift your focus from controlling your kids to controlling the environment. This is a critical distinction that shifts your focus from the illusion of having control over your kids (because you don’t) to the reality of what you do control: your home environment.
In fact, you control everything that your kids really care about. You control whether or not there is a TV or cable in the house, whether the car goes to soccer practice, whether the phone works, and even what food is in the refrigerator. You control everything that they care about.
How does this work on a practical basis?
- Tim doesn’t want to eat what is on his plate. You control whether there is desert, a snack or relief from his hunger two hours later. Let him know that he doesn’t have to eat, but that there will be no snacks until the next meal, and that he might go hungry. The choice is his, but the control is yours.
- You ask Abby to turn off the TV. She ignores you. You control whether the TV remains on or off. You could turn off the TV, and disconnect the cable for the next 24 hours. She chooses how to respond to your request, but you control what she cares about…more TV.
- Caroline remains on the telephone after you’ve asked her to get off. Again, you avoid repeating yourself, and looking foolish by demanding she hang up…while she ignores you. Instead, you take control of your home by unplugging the phone and letting her know that she has no telephone privileges until the next day.
- Joey refuses to do his homework. You have tried to force him in the past, but he gets very obstinate. So, focus on what you control. Shut down all the toys, TV and video games before Joey gets home. Let him know he can take as long as he wants…but there’s no fun until the homework is done.
See how simple this can be! Instead of trying to control your kid’s actions, you focus on controlling the environment in response to your children’s choices. This enables your kids to learn from their choices, and releases you from trying to force or demand behavior.
Notice how this reflects the reality of life. No one stops us from speeding, but yet there is a consequence when we do. No one stops us from going over our cell phone minutes, but we pay a price when we do. No one says you can’t show up late for work, but when you do, you may find yourself looking for a new job.
Reality: Life doesn’t control our actions. We do. And yet, life does give us consequences for our choices. You want the same for your kids at home…so that they are prepared for life.
When you really get this approach, you expand your power as a parent. You move into a world where you focus on teaching your kids rather than controlling them. This will revolutionize how you deal with your kids, and get you out of the world where you use endless words to try to manage behavior. Words will not teach the lessons you want to teach. Consequences will. And you control all the consequences that are really important to your kids.
Be willing to take control of your environment, and create daily opportunities for your kids to learn from their choices. When you stick to this fundamental, many of your normal parenting challenges are eliminated within weeks.
When socializing on the Internet, many teens are exposed to “cyber-bullies.” Cyber bullying occurs when highly negative or abusive language is used, or there are threats of violence or assault. Over the past five years, researchers have seen a 50% increase in the amount of cyber bullying that teenagers experience.
Surveys of teens Internet behavior reveal some disturbing trends.
Typically, cyber-bullies represent no real threat. In the wide majority of circumstances, this takes the form of ugly comments about looks or friendships or boyfriends. For most, this has relatively little consequence. However, some teenagers are deeply bothered by the conversations they experience.
Teen discussions online often use harsh language. If you allow your teenager to chat freely on the Internet, without monitoring their conversations, it is likely that you are missing a very disturbing trend. Absent any parental limitations, teenagers often end up using harsh, and profane language. In my parent coaching practice, I see more and more examples of teenagers whose parents do not model such language, and the adolescent does not use such language at home. However, on the Internet, they become “one of the crowd” and ultimately end up using very abusive and ugly language.
Internet chat rooms become very personalized. Another growing trend is for chat and instant messaging (IM) sessions to take on a highly personalized quality. As if no one is watching, teens (and particularly teenage girls) will open up and share the most intimate thoughts and feelings. In doing so however, they then open themselves up for ridicule and attack. These can get very ugly. Many parents are appalled when they discover the true nature of the dialogue that goes on in their homes!
The teenagers who are most vulnerable are the newbies, who are not particularly Internet savvy. When new to the Internet chat world, adolescents are often not prepared for the harsh language they experience. Many feel traumatized, and deeply hurt, by how quickly conversations deteriorate into personal attacks.
Those who are quite savvy, and who use the Internet frequently for socializing, express fewer incidents of cyber-bullying behavior. This appears to be the result of learning not to take the conversations personally. However, very few parents would view these discussions as healthy.
What can parents do?
- Use parental controls on your browser. Then monitor. Monitor. Monitor.
Most parents will affirm that they do monitor their child’s activities. However, your teenager is likely much more savvy than you are. It is not enough to occasionally walk by and look over their shoulder. You need to make sure the parental controls are always activated. You don’t need to know more about computers, but you must know more about monitoring the computer than they do!
- Purchase “ghostware” to know what your teenager is doing when you aren’t looking.
It is relatively easy to install software on your computer that will allow you to monitor what your teenager is doing. Unfortunately, you may be able to trust your teenager, but you can’t trust everyone that they are meeting online. It is essential to carefully monitor communications, to ensure that your teenager is following guidelines that you can support. This also gives you a tool for keeping track of their language, and the quality of the exchanges. You can see every keystroke made when they are online, or writing an email.
They won’t like it…but…the Internet is the gateway to the entire world…the good and the bad. In my opinion, it is fair game to warn your teenager that this is not a confidential form of communication, and that you will be watching over their shoulders. They don’t need to know exactly how you are doing this. You just need to keep an eye on things, and have integrity by letting them know you will be watching.
- Keep the computer in a central area of the home.
There is a growing trend for teenagers to have a computer in their bedroom. With several teenagers in the home, this makes monitoring computer usage difficult.
It is much easier if you establish a ground rule that requires the computer to be within eyesight. In this way, your presence serves as a significant deterrent to behavior and conversations that you would not approve of.
- Establish clear consequences for violating your guidelines.
Establish guidelines about the kind of language that you approve of. Also, make it clear that your teenager is not to have their profile on websites such as Myspace.com or Facebook.com. Furthermore, make it clear what types of websites are off limits for them, such as sights containing adult language and content.
Once you have established these guidelines, then make sure that your teenager understands that there will be a consequence for violating the guidelines. If you make clear that they’ll lose the computer for a week, and then follow through with that consequence, your teenager will learn to honor the guidelines that you put into place.
If you follow these simple principles, I think that you’ll find that you can keep a handle on your teenager, and make sure that they are not a victim of cyber-bullies, or other negative influences online. Read more about this on my new blog, at www.TerrificParenting.net.
THE THREE C’S: CALM, CARING AND CONSISTENT
THE FOUNDATION FOR TERRIFIC PARENTING
What are the most important components of good parenting? I invite you to consider the power of the calm, caring and consistent parent.
This is, of course, about remaining calm in the face of difficulty and struggle. It’s not about remaining calm when things are easy. Most of us can do that.When life isn’t giving you what you want, this commitment is about keeping your cool in the face of challenges. You may often find that your children don’t give you what you want (in terms of behavior and emotion). When you can stay calm in the face of parenting struggles, you can begin to use reasoning, intellect, and the skills that you’ve learned throughout the years to solve the problem in front of you. However, when you lose your cool, none of those resources are available to you. The tools you have learned about all go flying out the window!
Staying calm in the face of turmoil provides an additional benefit. You provide a healthy model of how to walk through the world. Our children will often find that the world doesn’t give them what they want…and keeping our cool is essential for success.
This may seem obvious, as I have never met a parent who has stated that they didn’t care about their children. That would be crazy! Of course we care!The secret here is about HOW and WHEN we show that we care. It’s not about unconditional love for our children, as that is a given. It’s about the caring behavior that flows from that love, and learning to master HOW we offer our caring.
For example, nurture lots of caring and attention for the moments that you value. If you care about kindness, be attentive to it. If you care about hard work and effort, notice it. If you care about cooperation, give your attention to it. If you care about healthy eating, nurture it.
Give lots of caring to the things that you really care about.
On the other hand, make sure that you don’t show lots of caring for things that you don’t value. If you don’t want more drama, whining, negativity…then don’t show lots of caring attention.
Thus, the lesson here is to learn to care with discretion…when it comes to specific moments and behaviors. Care in a way where you give your energy and caring to that which you really care about…and make sure that you’re not caring about the things that will not serve your children.
Let’s imagine you put up some fleas in a jar and put a metal lid on the jar. After doing so, you would hear this “ticking” sound as the fleas where jumping up against the lid of the jar. The fleas are quite literally bumping against the limits of their reality at that moment.
Within just a few moments, the ticking noise calms to a complete quiet, and we would see the fleas jumping in the jar, and coming within a half an inch or so of the lid.
Even with their tiny “flea brains” they have learned to respect the limits imposed by the lid on the jar. Every now and then for a few minutes, you might hear an occasional tick, but then it is eventually it is completely silent. The learning is complete.
You can then do a magical thing. Take the lid of the jar off, and you’ll see that the fleas keep jumping, but stay within the limits they just learned moments ago. They don’t jump out!
How did the fleas learn to honor this limit so quickly…with just a little flea brain? They learn because there was a consistent limit.
This “metaphor” is remarkably important as you consider the role of consistency in your parenting. Just think about it…a flea learns to honor the limits when limits are consistent. But lets imagine for a moment that that lid on the jar kept changing…moving up and down when the fleas would jump. Would they ever learn with an inconsistent limit? Doubtful.
The same is going to be true for your children. If you place limits on their behavior, and the limits keep changing from day to day, or from parent to parent, children have trouble learning where the limits are. If bedtime is at seven thirty, but it moves to eight o’clock when you have a “good day” then you are going to be in trouble. The same is true for homework routines, healthy eating and all the rest. Your children will be constantly negotiating and pushing the limits…if you are inconsistent.
The three C’s set a solid foundation. When you remain calm, you show discretion in your caring, and you’re impeccable in your consistent setting of limits, you will undoubtedly establish a solid foundation for your children.
We all understand that life can be remarkably challenging, and that raising a family makes it more challenging, and having a strong-willed or difficult child multiples the struggles. In all situations, we still have to remember the vital importance of maintaining the most impeccable model as parent we can be. As a parenting coach, I am fond of reminding my clients that “You can’t expect your children to act better than you do.”
How often are we willing to compromise what we know is right to indulge the emotion of the moment? If we are willing to be reactive like this, then here’s what our children see:
- When Mom doesn’t get me to do what she wants, she can scream and yell at me.
- When I don’t listen to Dad, he can throw a tantrum.
- When Mom and Dad don’t agree, they can fight and yell at one another.
So please understand: All your child knows is that Mom and Dad can yell, scream and fight with each other if they are unhappy. In fact, your children may also see you throwing grown-up tantrums; whining, complaining at them and sometimes…even fighting between yourselves (just like siblings).
Inside Your Child’s Brain: Imagine that there is always a small recording device in your child’s brain. This recording device is always recording information, and always striving to understand how to handle things.
This recorder is taking notes about how to handle frustration, how do deal with anger, and when to complain and when to react. It never stops recording, and pays close attention to every comment.
But the recorder is especially designed to record the events that are more intense, more emotional and more memorable. Those take a special place in your child’s memories, and serve as a guide to handling life.
How does your child understand the rules of life? For some, it sounds like this: When you don’t get what you want, you just throw a fit. It’s okay to yell and scream. It’s okay to even embarrass yourselves in front of others, in order to try to get what you want by yelling and screaming. It’s okay to be disrespectful if you are angry. And it’s certainly okay to fight and yell to get what you really, really think is important.
Do you see how this works?
It is simply impossible to try to coach your children into remaining calm, when they face frustration, if you can’t model this yourself.
It’s impossible to teach your children to remain respectful and reasonable, when they aren’t getting what they want, if you have shown them that loosing your cool is acceptable
when you get frustrated or upset with someone.
What do you do when things get difficult? What do you do when you had a tough day?
How pleasant are you to strangers who are short with you? How calm are you in the face of turmoil and stress?
Answer these questions, and you will have a good sense of what your kids are learning to do when they have had a tough day, or when not getting what they want from life.
There will likely be times when your son or daughter gets rejected or excluded. They don’t get called for a birthday party, or they weren’t picked to be on the sports team, or someone called them an ugly name. All of these can be hurtful, and your child will benefit from the right kind of support.
For some of you, these moments will be infrequent. Your child usually fits in. That’s fortunate.
For others, your children may not be so fortunate. They may be a bit awkward…maybe a little “geeky”…or perhaps just very shy. Sometimes it’s just the clothes they wear. At other times…it’s about a “difference” that makes your child stand out, and other children make fun or ridicule them for it.
But at one time or another, almost everyone will experience getting picked or rejected by their peers. It’s going to happen.
You can likely see the consequences. Your child might be moping around a bit. For some children, they will talk with you about it. But, for many children, you’ll pick it up from their behavior. Other than the obvious emotional upset, there are other consequences of such rejection.
Rejection and exclusion reduces self-control.
Some interesting research suggests that kids who feel excluded or rejected demonstrate a loss in the sense of self-control. In other words, they perceive themselves to have LESS control over their choices that is true.
For example, when feeling excluded and rejected, children tend to initiate less, they tend to give up easily, and they are more inclined to over eat, or to eat junk food.
What is clear is that being rejected reduces a child’s normal motivation to control their own behaviors. With lowered motivation for self-control comes more reactivity and more need for “immediate gratification.” Your child may show less patience, and want it right now!
Parents: You can do something about this!
The same research suggests a reason to be optimistic and hopeful. Researchers found that when we are made aware of the change in behavior, corrections can be made.
In other words, this same research suggests that when parents point out the change in behavior by specifically noting that, “Sweetheart, you seem to be giving up too easily on your math and ask me for help when I know you can figure this out. Try a little harder, and I will check on you in a few minutes. I know you can do it.”
That type of supportive coaching by parents will help to turn things around for children.
In specific situations where your child has experienced rejection and you see a change, you can simply comment on the change in behavior, and emphasize that, “I know this isn’t easy, but it’s not good that you are letting it stop you from doing your best. You can do better, if you try.”
You may notice more impulisivity, or that they are eating more, or that they seem more easily frustrated. That’s where you gently comment on their behavior, and let them know that mom and dad are absolutely confident that they can do it better. This seems to be remarkably beneficial in these situations, and it’s very simple.
Here are a few more examples:
“John, you keep throwing down your pencil today. That’s just not like you. I know
it’s frustrating to not make the team, but I also know that you can do better with your
homework. Why don’t you take a few minutes off, and then come back and get that
done while keeping your cool.”
“Alicia, that’s the third time that you’ve yelled at your brother today. I understand your friends were mean to you today, but you can handle this better, and I expect you to do that. The next time that you lose your temper, you will need to take a timeout.”
“Stephen, you seem to be eating like a mad man today. You can slow down, and finish what you have in your hand…but that’s all. I know that you are upset about the teasing today, but eating like this will not help. We can talk about it more if you want, but eating more is not the answer.”
The strategy here is that you comment on their behavior, affirm that it’s okay to be upset, but also insist that they have more control and that they can do better.
Isn’t this simple? And yet the preliminary research suggests a powerful effect on short-term choices with you children.
Try it out and see if it doesn’t make things better for your kids. Rejection is a tough experience, and we can all get ‘hooked.’ If your child gets too caught up in the feelings, their behavior will reflect it. This strategy gives you a tool to help pull them out. Let me know how it works at DrCale@TerrificParenting.com
“End Daily Battles Over Food, Stop Serving ‘Special’ Meals Every Day, And Relieve Your Worries Over Your Child’s Health!”
“The Easy to Follow, Step-By-Step Action Plan To Transform Your Picky Eater
Into A Healthy Eater”
Dear Worried Parent,
Are you tired of losing sleep? Do the worries over your child’s eating? Are you frustrated from cooking special meals every day? Are you just playing exhausted from battles over food? If so, then you will want to read every word of this article. Look, I have been helping parents who are just plain worried sick over their child’s picky eating habits, and the potential health problems that come with it.
Most of these hard-working, exhausted parents struggle, plead, cry and sometimes fight and even scream out loud because their child refuses to eat good, healthy food! It’s enough to make you crazy!
As a Licensed Psychologist working with families for 23 years, I accidentally discovered that there is one UNIQUE STRATEGY that Mom and Dad must master TO QUICKLY ELIMINATE THOSE STRUGGLES AND BATTLES OVER FOOD FROM YOUR HOME.
If you give me the chance, I will show you how to:
|Never have a battle over food…|
|Forever end cooking separate meals for your children…|
|Make certain that they eat healthy food consistently…|
|Get rid of tantrums, crying and all upsets over food…|
|Hang up your ’short-order cook’ hat for good…|
|End All Your Worries over their unhealthy eating forever!|
|Even if – you’ve unsuccessfully tried other approaches that worked for a while and then stopped.|
|Even if – your child’s picky eating is so bad they will refuse to eat at all.|
|Even if – your son or daughter is unusually strong-willed, stubborn or even diagnosed with some other condition.|
This approach has been tested and proven with hundreds and hundreds of children, with all variations of picky eating – from only wanting to eat junk food to not eating much at all.
Dear Mom or Dad,
Are you ready to pull your hair out because you are fed up with fixing special meals? Are you worried that your child doesn’t eat healthy? My daughter weighed 42 pounds
The common advice doesn’t seem to work, with YOUR CHILD… and you wonder why? You have tried everything (you think). You have negotiated. You have been kind. You have tried to talk it out. You have tried being firm. You have gotten angry. You have gotten frustrated, and you have done the time-out thing! It’s really frustrating… right!
And You Wonder If Something Is Wrong
With Your Son Or Your Daughter?
But guess what. There is nothing wrong with anyone here. When I first started helping other parents who had children who would refuse to eat healthy, I just followed the traditional ways I had learned and used myself. Sometimes this strategy worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Then I tried other approaches I had been taught in graduate school, and again…it was hit or miss… especially with certain children.
Then, I Discovered The Key! It Was Like
A Hidden Secret Ingredient That Made Everything Come Together
I would like to claim some genius ability in pulling this out of all my research and experience, but that is not the case. I really just discovered this solution because I worked with so many families who were struggling, and I had so many chances to learn the ONE ESSENTIAL CHANGE that every parent must make to end fussy eating… regardless of whether your child is 3 or 13!
This may surprise you: The truth is that most of what causes fussy eating to get worse is the misleading, and inaccurate advice you are given, in magazines, books and yes… even your pediatrician’s office. When you discover how easily you can change these eating habits. You just may want to write a few letters of your own!
Okay, I did say “How easily you can change your child’s eating habits.” Didn’t I? Well, compared to another tantrum over dinner, or another “special meal” you have to make, or any more missed vegetables… this easy to follow, step-by-step action plan will be a walk in the park. Yet, I don’t want to deceive you here… there will be a few tough days ahead… and for a select few of you, you may have a week or so where you have to stick firmly to the action plan.
But the learning is quick, and the change become immediately noticed. Even with the most stubborn and oppositional kids. My system works, and it works quickly. I guarantee it.
Picky Eating Is Not Just A Phase
Important Point: Most Kids Don’t Grow Out Of It.
Do you realize that your child’s picky eating can lead to developmental problems? Or even unhealthy eating habits that can follow them into adolescence and even adulthood?
You have every right to be concerned. Children begin developing their lifelong eating habits at a young age, and it is up to you to make sure you have to tools to stop their picky eating in it’s tracks before it becomes a bigger, more stressful problem.
I’m sure you have heard, “don’t worry, they will grow out of it” or “it’s just a phase”. But this is not something you should take lightly. Your child is growing and developing right now and it is up to you to make sure they eat what you fix for them – instead of just the same thing every day.
I know every parent wants the best for their child, but waiting for them to grow out of it is not an option unless you are willing to risk your child developing unhealthy eating habits or just simply not developing properly.
You Are Not Alone… Because Picky Eating
Has Almost Become An Epidemic
I see it more and more, parents are concerned about their children eating healthy, as they should be. I have worked with thousands of families, guiding them with tools that transform children and create healthier, happier lives.
I see more and more families struggling with not just one, but two or three kids who are very picky eaters.
Like you, these parents want their children to eat healthy. In their efforts to make sure that their children eat, parents give in to demands, tantrums, and stubbornness around picky eating.
Sometimes that means parents just walk away. Sometimes there are arguments over eating habits. Often it means that Mom or Dad becomes the family “short-order cook.” Regardless, the result is a growing trend of children who are becoming picky eaters.
Picky Eating Has Grown Out Of Control Because Well – Intentioned Parents (Just Like You) Have Been Given Bad, Unhealthy Information
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then you have a picky eater on your hands.
Hi, my name is Dr. Randy Cale and for the past 23 years I have helped thousands of parents, just like you master and overcome the daily struggles that all parents face.
My passion to help parents by using practical, real life strategies that gets real results has lead me to be featured in the Wall Street Journal, on NBC and on Fox News— just to name a few.
I am often referred to as “The Parent’s Psychologist” by pediatricians, teachers and the media… as well as the parents I work with. The reason for this is the fact that I focus (well… let’s call it an obsession) on helping parents master the skills to get you through the daily struggles and challenges we all face.
Why You Should Trust Me To
Help Your Picky Eater
I developed the Help Your Picky Eater formula after I kept running into a ‘brick wall’ with my families who had picky eaters. Over and over, I heard the same struggles, and to be honest…I had lived with a picky eater and I knew these battles personally.
But in the spirit of openness, let me be clear. I really stumbled upon this formula after seeing how the common advice we get from magazines, books and even the pediatrician fails us…over and over. You have been led down the wrong path. How do I know? Because…the battles just get worse. The worries over health just become more intense. The negotiating just feels more and more ‘wrong.’
And it is…WRONG. It’s wrong that you have been so misled by the news media, and by the popular press about how to handle this. I know this now…because when you are doing things ‘right’— your picky eater will begin eating healthier in just days… and most of your battles and struggles will be over in less than 21 days. From that point forward… smooth sailing. (I guaranteed it…or you get your money back! More about this later.)
Imagine… just two weeks from now… being able to plan your meals with complete peace of mind, as you have surrendered all worry about picky appetites and fussy eaters…
If you’d like to end those useless battles over food, bring peace to your mealtime and have a normal conversation (without mention of food), then this might be the most important letter you’ll ever read.
And Here’s why:
I know you may be skeptical, In fact, I would hope that you are a bit reluctant to believe everything you read here… because I know my results may be hard to believe.
But the ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ is a no-nonsense approach to attacking these daily struggles head-on. You get a specific, step-by-step guide that tells you exactly what to do and what to say. No detail is left out.
There will be no more begging, pleading and negotiating over food when you complete my ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ guide. It’s been proven time and time again. And the best part is you can rest easy knowing that your child will eat exactly what you prepare for them.. without any fighting or complaining.
It’s Time To Get Control Of Your Picky Eater, and Teach Them How To Eat Healthy
(Without Battles & Struggles)!
I feel certain that you want your children eating healthy, and that it’s likely that you have had many conversations about good eating habits and children.
You just need real-life practical strategies and tactics that will guide you step-by-step to discovering the road to ending healthy eating once and for all.
You can turn that picky eater into a healthy eater, with this powerful information aimed at transforming those picky eating habits. Here’s a proven formula that is remarkably easy to implement.
And, unlike the psychobabble you read elsewhere… there’s nothing for you to figure out. You know exactly what to do and when to do it.
I have created a step-by-step guide that has successfully worked with hundreds of families struggling with mealtime battles. This step-by-step guide has been refined with years of clinical experience, and walks you through a simple, but remarkably effective process that you can start today!
When It Comes To Picky Eating…
Less Talk Leads To More Action
In many ways, it’s about the old saying, “less is more.” In other words, when it comes to eating problems with kids, you must become parents of action… not parents of words.
Now the secret is not random or punitive action… it’s action that actually teaches your kids what you want them to learn. In the ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide, you will discover precisely what actions will predictably teach what you want your kids to learn… that’s how to eat healthy!
Now, I know you’re probably skeptical. That’s normal and beneficial. Let me give you three good reasons why you should keep reading, and consider my step-by-step guide carefully.
My ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ Step-by-Step Guide Gives You
|A clear formula for relief that you can easily follow… so…|
|You can raise fit, healthy children that will grow into fit and healthy adults.|
|A simple and practical step-by-step guide for healthy eating has a proven track record… so…|
|You are not going to waste your time and energy.|
|A complete solution you can master in less than an hour… so…|
|You can get started right away… without days or weeks to read a book.|
|Principles based in the psychology of learning… so…|
|You begin to get results in a few days… not weeks.|
|A strategy that will end all useless battles over food… so…|
|You won’t have to continue to worry if your child is growing and developing properly.|
|Relief from your constant dancing around food demands and worries… so…|
|You can have peace of mind that you child isn’t developing unhealthy eating habits.|
Parents Are Constantly Sending Letters And Emails Praising The Help Your Picky Eater Step-by-Step Guide
Parents that have used my step-by-step guide find that their home life is much more relaxing. Just read a few of these letters and see for yourself:
Ready To Try The ‘Help Your Picky Eater’
Step-by-Step Guide For Yourself?
You can get your children to eat healthy, quit fighting over food and you can have a calmer, more peaceful home – Just like the thousands of satisfied parents who rave about my Help Your Picky Eater step-by-step guide!
You Owe It to Yourself And Your Child
To Help Them With Picky Eating
With an understanding of the lessons I have learned over the years, you can alter the immediate and the long term future for you and your children. Not only do you save your time and energy, by not wasting it with endless theories that only work with some children some of the time. But you get an action plan that includes the key ingredient that I have found essential to success for every picky eater.
While I write this, I know some of you are skeptical and that’s okay. I probably would be too. But I have created a simple, step-by-step action plan that has helped hundreds and hundreds of parents, just like you, finally get peace at their own dinner tables. The ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide is an easy to follow action plan that will show you the secrets to ending picky eating right now so you and your family can have a better, less stressful, more peaceful life… for only $37!
You see, from my side of things, I know that life can be better. Not next year. Not five years from now. Not after they graduate from high school. But things can be better in just a few days! Why would you keep suffering when relief is so close? I have seen it hundreds of times in working with every type of family, every style of parenting, and every variation of a strong willed or oppositional child. They all get it! Every child gets it. WHEN you get it.
Ready To Try The ‘Help Your Picky Eater’
Step-by-Step Guide For Yourself?
Get The Only Proven, Step-By-Step Behavior Guide To Help Your Picky Eater!
Help Your Picky Eater step-by-step guide gives you a clear, straight forward game plan that tells you exactly what you need to do and how to do it. No more theory and untested approaches. You get the formula that works time and time again. This plan is different. The results you get will be different… it will transform your home. I promise it, and stand behind your investment.
Look, I want to be very clear with you in your struggle with picky eating. This step-by-step guide brings you a solution that works the wide majority of time. If it doesn’t work for you, you will see that I stand behind this unconditionally. It either works like it has for hundreds of families and you wake up a week or so from now realizing that this was an amazing bargain, or. You let me know it didn’t work for you, and get your money back.
By the way, if you were to consult with me to get this information, it would likely involve 4-6 sessions of family therapy at a cost of $680.00 to $1020.00. You get the advantage of this information that distills years of clinical experience into a simple, practical step-by-step guide with a proven track record. But I’m not charging $1020.00 for this valuable resource. I’m only charging a fraction of that for ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide. I’m only charging $37.
Why Only $37 Dr Cale?
This is a common question, and I think I would ask that too. Look, my practice is booming and I am as busy in my office as I want to be. I could publish this in a traditional way, but that takes years and years of effort and still. The publisher may not accept it. So here I am, reaching out with a solution that can make a difference for you, and you get it right now…
I often wonder why parents hesitate to take action now… since the benefit of this step-by-step guide will bring daily peace to your home and ensure your child eats a healthy meal… everyday. For less than a couple of movie tickets you get ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide sent directly to your email, there is no waiting and no shipping cost.
And there’s no risk for you! If you apply the principles in this step-by-step guide, and it doesn’t work for you…just send me an email and you will get your money back!
You Really Get Much More Than Just A Step-by-Step Guide, You Really Get…
|Psychologically, you get peace of mind… and relief from the daily battles.|
|What is it worth to have NO MORE BATTLES?|
|Physically, you get healthier kids… and an end to rotten eating habits|
|How much would you give to end your worries?|
|Practically, you get saved from the enormous drain of being “short-order cook”.|
|How much is your time worth?|
|Emotionally, your energy and enthusiasm is no longer squashed by the fears of where these unhealthy patterns of eating could take you and your family?|
|You begin to get results in a few days… not weeks.|
|A strategy that will end all useless battles over food… so…|
|You won’t have to continue to worry if your child is growing and developing properly.|
|Relief from your constant dancing around food demands and worries… so…|
|If I could guarantee you a healthy eater… Would you hesitate… or would you Take Action Right Now!|
In the ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide, I provide you with a step-by-step guide to end your picky eating problems. You can transform your home…and bring relief to your family today!
What You Need To Do Right Now
You can end the struggle, frustration, and frustration that picky eating causes. It’s all up to you, if you are ready to discover the secrets then you need to order ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide today.
You will instantly have access to ‘Help Your Picky Eater’ step-by-step guide that gives you the tools to stop picky eating and get back your life. It’s not like they grow out of it. Unless you show them the way, their picky eating will just continue to get worse.
Order right now and give your child and yourself the life you both deserve…. you really have nothing to lose but the fights over food that is wrecking your sanity…
Here’s what you get with the Help Your Picky Eater Download Package:
In the Help Your Picky Eater Package, you get a downloadble E-book which you can read right away. This is a PDF document you can read on your computer, or print at home. You also get my Picky Eater Guide on mp3 audio program, which you can listen to immediately. In addition, as my gift to you, I have included several bonuses. In fact, I have more bonuses in this offer than any other program package I have put together.
Included is my complete Guide to Healthy Eating and Healthy Living. This is a new program, focused on the core lessons that allow you to gain control over your kitchen, as well as the routines in your home. At the core of this program is a method to help your family get healthy again, without the battles, the worries and the constant sense of failure.
In addition, I have included “Cooking Fast and Cooking Healthy” This is a recipe book, created specifically for Terrific Parenting by a privately commissioned chef. These recipes are both healthy, and easy to prepare. Great tools for making progress.
Finally, I have a research summary, on what we know about picky eating, it’s causes and solutions that work.
Let me break the package down for you:
Help Your Picky Eater Step-by-Step Guide ($47.00 value)
First, you get Dr Cale’s Help Your Picky Eater step-by-step guide. Dr Cale walks you through every detail to make certain you are ready to get success. From the changes you make in your home, to the message you give to your picky eater, to the way you handle the battles over food, THIS IS THE ONLY STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE that will take you from picky eater to healthy eater in just a matter of weeks.
If you are looking for a bunch of theory, this isn’t it. This is Dr Cale’s practical guidebook that doesn’t waste any time getting you started. You can read through it in an hour or so, and by tomorrow…you will be on your way. This program has been featured in newspapers, TV and applauded by desperate moms and dads across the country.
|Ways to talk to your children about divorce|
|Key lessons for preventing emotional trauma|
|Guidelines for beginning a co-parenting plan|
|Essential considerations for custodial arrangements|
|Specific ways to protect your children and keep them out in the middle|
|Specific ways to protect your children and keep them out in the middle|
FREE BONUS #1:
Cooking Fast. Cooking Healthy. ($47.00 value… included)
This amazing bonus is all about how the correct recipes are critical to your long term success, and why these recipes fit perfectly with a healthy eating game plan. It’s not about putting sugar-like “sauce” over veggies (although that’s what most people do… making excuses like, “Well, it’s okay to do that just to get them to eat something healthy.”)
Dr Cale commissioned a nutritional expert to hand-select these recipes, and gears them toward the active family who needs healthy meals without flavors that are excessively challenging for the typical picky eater.
|How to quickly select healthy meals that everyone can eat.|
|How to prepare meals fast that fit with your picky eating program.|
|How to simplify you life on those crazy days when you need a simple recipe that’s good for everyone.|
Not bad, right? But that’s not all you get! Because I’m also throwing in:
FREE BONUS #2:
MP3 Download of “Help Your Picky Eater” ($47.00 value… free)
Are you beginning to see how valuable this package is? With this bonus you’ll be able to download and listen to Dr Cale step-by-step guide you through this program.
|Learn Better From Listening Than Reading.|
|Need Repetition and Can Easily Listen Over and Over.|
|Need Repetition and Can Easily Listen Over and Over.|
Imagine how you’d feel if you knew could listen to the program any time, to make sure you have the details right! YOURS FREE when you order Help Your Picky Eater. You are reading this, aren’t you?
Well the good news is, that’s still not all. Because I have another gift for you.
FREE BONUS #3:
Healthy Eating & Healthy Living ($47.00 value… free)
You don’t know it yet but, at the end of this bonus you’ll know everything about developing healthy routines for the whole family.
Here’s a short list of what this amazing bonus contains:
|How to manage ALL aspects of your child’s daily routines, from eating to homework.|
|How to support an active, healthy lifestyle and do so without being controlling.|
|How to easily limit unhealthy habits, whether eating, exercise, TV or video.|
And actually, there is much more here! This is a brand new program just out of the editing phase, and actually sells for $99.00 on it’s own… and you get it free!
FREE BONUS #4:
Dr. Cale’s Comprehensive Research Summary On Picky Eating ($29.95 value… included free)
Dr Cale insisted that we add this bonus. Over 25 hours of painstaking research went into this step-by-step guide. This walks you through the current state of the research, what the implications are for your family and lays the foundation for why Dr Cale’s approach works. This is a remarkable step-by-step guide, and it’s also free.
Here’s a brief list of what this science-driven bonus contains:
|How to understand the real risks of picky eating.|
|How to view the role of family dynamics, personality and behavioral conditioning..|
|Why medication is not the answer, and where to look instead.|
And this is only the beginning of what is contained in this step-by-step guide…
Phew… that’s some list of FREE Gifts and bonuses, right? A total of $170.95 in bonuses alone…
The total value is $217.95… Yours today for $37.00.
But I don’t know how long Dr Cale will keep these bonuses up there. It’s part of a marketing test we are doing. They’re worth a lot on their own, but Dr Cale wants to make certain you get remarkable value for your investment.
Key Point: It’s important to know that Dr Cale has many solutions for you as a parent. He is making this remarkable offer, in part, to gain you as a lifetime customer. He believes that your home will be transformed with these products, and that you will return again and again when you have parenting questions. Thus, he is willing to offer all of these solutions in this package to help you decide that this program will turn picky eaters into healthy eaters in your home, and that it’s well worth the investment. (This is a marketing test however, and if this approach doesn’t work, we will stop the promotion.)
And don’t worry, if for any reason you’re not happy with the content, you have a complete guarantee to protect your investment.
Reality Check: This program works, and it works well… but it doesn’t work all the time. I believe it will work for you. But in reality, nothing works for everyone every single time. I know that. With only a minuscule 1.7% return rate however, I know that most parents are remarkably satisfied and happy with my Help Your Picky Eater Step-by-Step Guide.
However, if it doesn’t work for you, no worries my friend. I will gladly refund your monies, and you can keep all of these products for yourself as my gift. I want you to be happy, I want you to be satisfied.
That’s about as fair as it gets, don’t you agree?
And hey, don’t take my word for it on how great this package is. Remember what other parents…just like you…. have to say about it.
You can’t leave this page empty handed, can you? I sure hope not…when an end to your worries is staring you in the face.
For a mere $37.00, you’re getting the answers you need… PLUS MORE. You have our absolute money back guarantee that this will stop picky eating fast… or you get every penny back. Now, you can only get this product from this website… It’s not available in libraries or anywhere else on the net. Just imagine being able to get these answers downloaded to you right away.
I am hoping that you don’t leave just wishing for something that’s free and easy. Look, I find you usually get what you pay for… right?
I promise you… This is worth paying for. Not only for your personal sanity, and to end the squabbles and fights over food—but to get your child on the path to heathy eating.
If You Knew With Absolute Certainty…
I believe… if you knew with absolute certainty that this program works… you would buy it now! Right? For less that 3-4 picky eater meals…you can be done with it! Good bye picky eating!
How could you not invest in your child’s future health? How could you not risk a few bucks on a solution to bring sanity to your home? Oh… I forgot.
You have no risk. I am taking it all away. You can try it…and if it doesn’t work…you get every penny of your money back. No hassles. No battle.
It’s your call.
Is it time to turn that picky eater into a healthy eater today? I vote yes. Click below to invest in this life changing step-by-step guide, and you will never look back. My solutions have helped thousands of families and Help Your Picky Eater will help you. Invest now…
Either way, I only wish the best for you and your family.
Randy L. Cale, PhD
Licensed Psychologist & Parenting Expert
P.S. Don’t forget, you’re getting $217.95 worth of total product value (including bonuses) for just a fraction of that price. Everything to end that picky eating and get you started in putting one meal of healthy food on the table, and putting an end to the whining, the negotiating, and the battles over food… So if that’s what you want to do, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
P.P.S. Some of you will not believe that you can really stop you picky eater in their tracks. I understand. If that’s you, I hope you remember that your child will not grow out of this on their own. And fancy recipes with chopped up veggies is not the answer either. You know that. You need a new game plan, this is a proven formula for success… right in front of you. Don’t delay any longer. Click on the “Add to Cart” button, and end your worries now.
P.P.P.S. In my early years, a long, long time ago, my coach often repeated the words of my grandfather: “If it ain’t working… then stop doing it”.
If you have a picky eater.. .then it ‘ain’t workin.’ And it’s time to do something different. Here is a solution which solves your problem. And you take no risk. If it doesn’t work…you get your money back. No questions asked.
In other words, you have everything to gain… and nothing to lose. Now is the time…
With the New Year underway, many of us pause to consider how we can enhance our children’s happiness and satisfaction. Yet, we are often somewhat disabled from taking the kind of action that can really make a difference…because we simply don’t know what to do.
In this article, I want to introduce three simple, yet practical ways that you can begin to make this the best year ever for your family.
Recent research from brain-behavior studies provides wonderful guidance to help us understand how the brain works. We know, for example, that most of our decisions occur quite literally “in the blink of an eye.” The brain seems to work at almost light speed, and most of our decisions are made without our conscious awareness.
Furthermore, many, if not all, of our day-to-day choices are activated (or de-activated) by some external event. It could be a question from a parent, a friend, or a co-worker. It could be an alarm clock. It could be someone’s voice in the background. It can also be activated by an internal thought, which turns our attention to a preexisting belief or conclusion. So…how can you use these findings?
- You Can’t Nurture What You Want By Focusing On What You Don’t Want
In the world of parenting, we would all like to “activate” thoughts and behavior that lead to happiness and success. You play a major role in activating healthy patterns by how you invest your energy and attention.
One powerful mistake that we make is a very common one. We have a natural tendency to focus on what we don’t want…rather than focus on what we do want. Think about how easy it is to notice what’s not working in your relationship with your children, rather than build on what is working. Consider how often the bickering pulls you into the lives of your children playing, while you ignore moments of cooperation when things are going well.
So…here’s the critical distinction to hold: Notice how often you want to point out behavior you don’t want, people you don’t like, moments you don’t appreciate, and situations you can’t stand. Instead, quickly drop these in your mind, and turn your attention to what you do want, and notice all that you do appreciate in your children and in your life. This is a critical first step to helping to shape an amazing year.
- Avoid Negatively Biased Questions
Another subtle, but powerful, way you shape your children’s thinking is through the questions that you ask. Almost every question contains some form of an assumption or bias. Some assumptions are bigger than others. Some are skewed positively and others are skewed negatively. Some contain bias that is harmful, pointing your children in the direction of pessimism and helplessness, while other assumptions bias your children toward optimism and success.
For most of us, there is little awareness to the nature of the questions that we ask at home. Let’s look at a few questions that “prime” your child’s brain for failure and unhappiness.
- Why didn’t you pick up your room?
- Why are you always so grumpy?
- What did the coach say when you missed that foul shot?
- How many did you get wrong on your spelling test?
- Why did you lie to me?
- Why do you keep making the same mistakes?
- What’s wrong with you son…you don’t seem to listen?
Notice where these questions direct your child’s attention. They direct your child to a thought or belief that includes a “presupposition” that is negatively skewed. It’s critical to eliminate these types of questions as a daily practice, and instead…
- Use Positively Biased Questions to Prime for Success and Happiness.
Let’s imagine you took a few moments to consider what positive and healthy presuppositions you would like to build into your conversations with your kids. I must assume it would include positive experiences such as:
- Listening in class.
- Learning, excitement.
- Thoughtfulness and kindness.
Most of you would view all of these as positive experiences for our kids to have. So let’s talk about creating questions that prime the pump in positive ways. Here are a few examples:
- Sweetheart what did you learn in math today?
- How many of your spelling words did you get right today?
- What did you enjoy about your visit to the museum the most?
- When you were in school today, what thoughtful and kind thing could you do for your teacher?
- In soccer practice, I wonder how much you will enjoy learning to be a better player.
- Close your eyes sweetheart, and just remember all that you learned last year. Now tell me, how might you possibly use that learning to make a positive difference in the lives of others?
- Who do you love sweetheart? Who loves you?
- When we go to your grandmother’s tomorrow, in what ways could you show kindness and thoughtfulness to her?
Choose your questions carefully, and presume positive responses before you ask the question. You’ll notice not only through the change of behavior, but by the reports of your children. They will tend to focus more and more upon the focus of your questions.