Saturday, August 01, 2009

At-risk children are often exposed to violence

All antisocial people abuse their family members, but not all are violent. Often antisocial people are preoccupied with weapons even when they are not violent. This preoccupation influences children because weapons are symbols of aggression and can be used to intimidate and produce fear even if there is not violence in the home.

Antisocial people are also drawn to violent entertainment because they gain pleasure from aggression. The violent entertainment serves the same function for them as pornography does for others, it gives them pleasure because it triggers their dominance motives.

Typically children who have an antisocial parent are exposed to all kinds of violent media. They are also exposed to weapons on a frequent basis in a way that promotes thinking about aggression. This exposure to violence occurs in the context of a home where the antisocial parent behaves abusively toward other adults and often the children. Remember, verbal and financial abuse set the stage for the exposure to media violence and weapons to damage the child's developing personality. It is the total package here, not just the presence of a weapon in the home.

To learn more I recommend you visit the Safe Start Center sponsored by the US Department of Justice. They have an excellent free publication that discusses the risks of exposure to violence to the mental health and well-being of children. To get this publication click here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

My child hits me, his own mother!

Why do children hit their mothers? Is this a sign you are a bad parent? Stay tuned to find out

Friday, September 28, 2007

Parenting, Emotional Intelligence and the At-Risk Child

Parents all want to help their kids be as intelligent as they can be. Intelligence is not just one dimensional. It turns out there are many different intelligences. Among these are verbal, visual-spatial (artistic), athletic, musical and emotional intelligence. At risk children are often gifted in intelligence. It is important to understand that giftedness may not extend to all areas of intelligence. There is one intelligence that predicts success in friendships, marriage and career. That intelligence is emotional intelligence.

At risk children are at risk in part, because they have a hard time with emotional intelligence. They may be intellectually bright but at risk children may be "learning disabled" when it comes to emotional intelligence. Furthermore, at risk kids who fail to develop emotional intelligence may be handicapped for life. Emotional intelligence is is required for all three abilities of the inner triangle that I discuss in my books: ability to love, impulse control and moral reasoning. Remember, it is problems in these three abilities that cause risk for ADHD, addiction and antisocial behavior.

Emotional inteligence means capacity for emotional self-awareness, self reflection, anger management, reading other people's social cues, empathy, joy in affection, impulse control, self motivation, and the ability to delay gratification. Ability to love requires, emotional self-awareness, anger management, reading other people's social cues, empathy and joy in affection. Impulse control includes self motivation and the ability to delay gratification. Moral reasoning requires empathy and self reflection. Parents need to explicitly work on building these aspects of emotional intelligence in at risk kids.

I have put together a set of tools to help you build your at risk child's emotional intelligence. At the top of the list are Just Like His Father? and The Child Well-Being Workbook. These books teach you about the core character ablilities: Ability to Love, Impulse Control and Moral Reasoning. They also provide you with explicit exercises for building these abilities in your child and yourself. The rest of the tools found in The Parent's Store-Emotional Intelligence Page, are especially selected to go with these books and meet the needs of at risk kids.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Enhance your child's moral reasoning with tools for teaching moral values

Just Like His Father? A Guide to Overcoming Your Child's Genetic Connection to Antisocial Behavior, Addiction and ADHD, AND The Child Well-Being Workbook introduce parents to the idea that genes code for temperament, and that temperamentally at risk children need intensive parenting. The books also provide a framework for that intensive parenting which takes at least 15 years.

The intensive parenting that at risk children require involves encouraging the development of three specific abilities I have called the Inner Triangle. These abilities are 1) Ability to Love 2) Impulse Control and 3) Moral Reasoning. On a regular basis I want to provide you with even more tools for parenting your at risk child.

Just Like His Father? and The Child Well-Being Workbook both include chapters on enhancing your child's moral reasoning ability. The process by which children come to understand morality is called moral development. During moral development, kids learn moral values. Values are emotional connections to ideas. So moral development means to fully possess the moral emotions of caring, guilt, respect and shame, and knowing moral rules. We may not think that guilt is a good emotion to experience. While excessive guilt is not good, recent studies show that too little guilt is a cause of behavioral problems. In order to have respect, children and teens must be capable of shame. So while shame is not a positive force in a child's life, it is important that children be capable of shame. Many child development experts agree that today's parenting practices are not helping children develop the capacity for moral emotions.

I have recently reviewed a number of parenting aids that will help you enhance your child's moral development. These may be found at The Parent's Store, Character Building Page and are all affordable. All the products in the character building section of the store will help parents of elementary school children and teens teach moral values. Moral values are a combination of moral thoughts and moral emotions. Moral values lead to positive character traits like caring, citizenship, cooperation, courage, fairness, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Among current the list of recommended resources is a great book for kids What Do You Stand For? By Barbara A. Lewis. There is also a teen version of this book. The true stories, inspiring quotations, thought-provoking dilemmas, and activities in this book help kids grow into capable, moral teens and adults. This award-winning book is a must for parents of at risk kids.

There is also a book for young children, 26 Big Things Small Hands Do written by Coleen Paratore and Illustrated by Mike Reed. AGES 1-4, Go beyond “A is for Apple” with an alphabet book that builds character. As children learn and review their ABCs, they discover positive actions they can perform with their own small hands—like applauding, building, giving gifts made with love, helping, planting, recycling, and volunteering.

There are also games, magnets and stickers that promote positive character traits and values.

I am continually adding pages of resources to The Parent's Store. Some pages are simply links to recommended books, games and toys. If you have a product you would like me to review for inclusion, email me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Teach your child with movies

If you are raising an at risk child, I strongly recommend you visit Teach with Movies. The team at this web site has put together a wonderful resource for parents and teachers. The idea is simple, get out the popcorn and the drinks, sit back and enjoy a great movie with your family. After the movie discuss the relevant themes. This is where Teach with Movies helps you. In addition to recommending the best movies, they have put together discussion guides for these movies. Topics they have covered include:


Alcohol & Drug Abuse Ambition Bad Associations Breaking Out Brothers Caring for Animals Child Abuse Coming Of Age Courage Courage in War Crime Disabilities Divorce and Separation Education Families In Crisis Father/Daughter Father/Son
Female Role Model Fighting Friendship Gambling Addiction Grandparents Grieving Human Rights Humility Illness (Serious) Justice Leadership Male Role Model Marriage Mental Illness Mother/Daughter Mother/Son Parenting Peace/Peacemakers Peer Pressure
Rebellion Redemption Revenge Romantic Relationships Running Away Self-esteem Sexual Orientation Sisters Sportsmanship Spousal Abuse Suicide Surviving Taking Care Of Yourself Talent Teamwork Work/Career


trustworthiness Respect Responsibility Fairness Caring Citizenship

They also index by age:

Three Years Four Years Five Years Six Years Seven YearsEight Years Nine Years Ten Years Eleven Years Twelve Years Thirteen Years Fourteen Years Fifteen Years

I cannot reccomend this program more highly. The subscription that supports this work is only $1.00 each month. Those who purchase anything from The Parent's Store receive a coupon for $1.00 off this already low price.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

More on Anger Management

At risk children often have problems managing anger. At risk children may become angry more easily than other children, so they have more anger to deal with. They also may have less impulse control, so they are more likely to explode verbally and physically in response to angry impulses.

When other children are at the other end of your at angry risk child's verbal and physical aggression, they are likely to react by rejecting your child. Interestingly, good impulse control in kids predicts popularity with peers. Sadly, the at risk child craves social status and popularity but behaves in ways that undermines his standing with peers.

It is important that we parents teach our at risk kids anger management techniques. To help you do this, I recommend Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out by Jerry Wilde, Ph.D. We are happy to offer this book through The Parent's Store. You can get Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out, Just Like His Father? and The Child Well-Being Workbook for only $25.oo

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sign up for our NEW program

Many parents have written me about their lives with their at risk children. The most common question is, "I do everything I can to love my child and be firm with limits and he/she is still a handful!"

If that is you, don't give up. We now have an online program for you and your kids this summer. The program is called FIT AND SMART. It has three components:
1. 30-60 minutes of exercise each day for you AND your child.
2. At least 20 minutes of reading each day for you and your child.
3. Weekly story writing for your child.

Exercise treats anxiety and depression in adults and will help with child behavior. Exercise is a WIN-WIN for everyone.