APSGO Parenting Blog

A few years ago I was addressing the members of a downtown church where the group was a mix of young and old, professional people, stay at home moms and retirees. The conversation centred of course around APSGO’s emphasis on relationship building and like many people, they were drawn into this idea of looking at very serious behaviour issues and coming at them from a rather different direction in order to deal with them. Not surprisingly, the notion that the best way to deal with the behaviour is to not focus on it but to focus instead on changing how […]
Helen, I have a 16 year old who has absolutely no respect for me or his mother or brothers. I could list so many obnoxious things that he does, but there is one issue which really irritates me and spoils the mood for everyone. We sit down every evening to dinner as a family. Derek knows that we place a lot of effort into this event and try to make it an enjoyable time for everyone. It’s a chance to chat and exchange the news of the day and laugh at some of the days problems. Derek persistently shows up […]
How to listen There are two ways to listen: Listening to reply. Listening to understand. The first is the one most of us use. While our teen is talking, we’re formulating our response: a comment, advice, a criticism, a rebuttal, a correction, a suggestion, or an opinion. But it’s amazing what can happen when you stop rehearsing your answers and just pay attention. Larry King said, “I never learned anything while I was talking.” How unfortunate. I know what he means, but if you’ve ever spent time with a good listener, you know how much you learned! Some of the […]
Suzanne Kranz (adapted from Jane Bluestein’s The Parent’s Little Book of Lists) from APSGO Fall News 2008 Make excuses for their behaviour: “He has a disorder.” “It’s genetic.” “She’s been diagnosed with XYZ.” “It’s hormones.” “He gets it from his father.” “It’s a learned behav-iour.” “It’s because I’m a single parent and his dad/mom isn’t around.” “It’s the friends she hangs out with.” “He didn’t make it onto the soccer team.” “Her teachers don’t like her.” Refuse to believe they’re capable of doing what they’ve been accused of doing… …and refuse to believe they’re capable of better! Rescue them. Do […]
Dear Helen, At a workshop you gave on parents in conflict, you discussed the merits of different parenting approaches in the same family. Would you please repeat the points you made at that workshop? C., Bowmanville Gladly. Here goes: The idea of parents being on the same page is misleading “common sense.” Who has the right page?! But differences in approach need not be a stumbling block to co-operative parenting. Parents have different views on many issues such as books, politics and sports, so it is natural that they may differ on parenting, too. Children understand this and are comfortable […]
There is a truth which is not acknowledged by those who are in authority over others and who live ‘by the book’ and that is that rules are intended to establish conformity. What is the appeal of conformity and why would anyone want to maintain it? While conformity can be comforting, particularly to ado-lescents, where it provides a sense of belonging, this is true only if it is self-imposed. It is very different when rules are imposed externally by parents or teachers who mistakenly see it as a way of gaining a greater degree of control over children. Consider the […]
Dear Helen For several months we have been implementing your suggested plans with our daughter, an incredibly bright thirteen-year-old who was, until now, seemingly bent on self-destruction. We have a long way to go, but because things are so much better around our home, we feel very hopeful about her future and our sanity! Our question is not really about our daughter but about us. When we explain to friends and family what we are doing, they seem skeptical. The general idea seems to be that we don’t have any rules and our daughter is ‘getting away’ with all sorts […]
by Sue Kranz (from APSGO News Fall 2007) Ask anyone what they expect from their relationship—whether that be with their teen, their spouse or their boss—and they will usually give you a list of what they believe the other person should be doing. It’s highly unlikely anyone will say, “Aah, yes, here’s what I expect from myself.” I’ve lost track of the number of times parents have asked me, “But shouldn’t I have expectations?” Of course you should. Absolutely. You should expect only the best, and you should have only the highest standards—for your own behaviour. “What will the neighbours […]
Dear Helen, I have a fourteen year old son who earns money by doing chores around the house. This week we had an agreement that he would clean out the garden shed and organ- ize the gardening equipment and other odds and ends. He completed the work and although he took a lot of time to get it done, I was satisfied with the job he did. In the mean time however, I got a call from the school that he had skipped several classes. I haven’t paid him yet. He had asked that I pay him on the week- […]
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