Archive for the ‘60-60 theory’ category

Expectation is the most powerful APP

September 26, 2011

Laura, mother of Zia, 3, alerted me that there’s an APP  for kids to do chores. It’s basically an electronic reward system. I’m against all reward systems and paying kids for chores, unless you want to guarantee:

1. You will go bankrupt, unless you get them to pay for what you do for them;
2. They will always have to be paid/rewarded for anything they do;
3. They only work for extrinsic motivation and do not develop authentic intrinsic motivation;
4. They work for the lowest motivation for humans of all ages: money; and
5. Get more hooked on electronics running their lives.

The company’s goal is to sell more APPS. They get a star for creativity. Like all reward and praise systems, I guarantee this one will lose its shine over time.
The best way to motivate children to contribute around the house is to expect them to do so, do it with them, and enjoy the time and effort spent together. I have many happy memories of doing dishes with my siblings and my four children: raking leaves, cleaning the garage and more. Yes, they were chores. We had teamwork. I learned self-discipline, a characteristic that I use every day when working, eating, exercising and living.

Here’s what Laura says about her daughter and chores with my comments in brackets. Laura read my book.

She loves to do them and does not think of them as ‘chores’ [What’s wrong with calling it what it is?] She helps clean the table for dinner ever night and helps mommy with the shopping with her own little list made by me. She also helps me make parts of the meals by dumping and pouring. [Fantastic way to engage little kids in cooking, keep them busy while waiting for dinner and avoid screen time. Every family can benefit from this practice.] She helps set the table with a place mat I made for her. She helps with cat-care and loves to brush my very gentle cat and it’s her job to do it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She helps feed the cats by putting out their bowls after dinner time.”

I congratulate Laura for expecting Zia to do chores. This is the most powerful way to get kids to do anything. Laura also has:
1. Started early. Research shows when kids start chores by age 4, they do better at age 24 when compared to non-chore doing peers.
2. Included Zia in the family work and doing it together. This makes it fun for the child, teaches skills and self-discipline, and nurtures her self-esteem because her contributions count.
3. Connected with Zia through chores. A strong parent-child connection is the best way to prevent entitlement, keep kids off drugs & alcohol, and encourage them to make good decisions as they mature, so when they become teens and they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour – in your car, they will make good decisions. They will be wearing a seatbelt, going the speed limit, sober, where they said they’d be with friends you know and like, making good decisions about sexuality with a condom in their pocket, with you installed in their conscience.

Chores are worth the investment of time and energy, even though less than 20 percent of kids have to do them. Take the time to have a family meeting today and ask your kids what they want to do, then help them do it regularly.

Advertisements

Addicting games and your kids

August 8, 2011

video game addiction, addictinggames, addictinggames.com, video game violence, video game, violence in video games, kids and video game addiction, is my kid addicted to video games?Ryan G. Van Cleave Ph.D. describes his journey to hell and back over addicting  games.

The August doldrums have set in, the glow of summer has dulled. Parents will do anything to keep the kids entertained and not squabbling, including what I call “sugared screen time.”

My biggest fear for our 4 children (now 23-30) was addiction — like drugs, alcohol, anorexia, bulimia, gambling, and video games.
I just read, “Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game addiction” by Ryan G. Van Cleave Ph. D. Wow. Powerful. I love first-person stories told with disarming honesty.
His brutal page-turning honesty has phrases like: “I didn’t get help until I’d sunken so far into a virtual existence that there was damn near nothing left for me to return to in real life, which is why this book begins with me on a bridge at the end of my life.”
That’s powerful self-disclosure about the destruction of the havoc World of Warcraft wreaked on his life. Most video game consumers are like Ryan — 20- or 30-something. He says little about how video games can desensitize humans to violence. Ryan’s focus is addiction and the difficulty of kicking the virtual habit.
I love to give books like this to tweens and teens so they can read a compelling true first-person account of addiction. “A Million Little Pieces” By James Frey, true or not, offers the same first-person horror that I hope instills fear and good decision. Warning: Ryan describes sexual exploits so preview the book. It might be too much for middle-schoolers.
My 60/60 parenting theory goes like this. Invest the first 12 years in loving them unconditionally, having family meetings to set reasonable boundaries together that are enforced by firm, friendly and consistent parents, avoid reward and punishment, capitalize on the trio of family dinner, family chores and family meetings, and use natural and logical consequences that are related, respectful and reasonable.
This style of “discipline” will make a difference in your family life. Children learn mutual respect, responsibility, self-discipline, self-esteem and how to make good decisions. S/he will use that good decision-making ability to choose well as teenagers when they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour, most likely in your car. That day is inevitable unless your child escapes to Mars from age 13 to 19.
The goal is to get them to choose wisely when you’re not around. This requires a positive relationship based on mutual respect. Plant those seeds from birth to 12.

For the gamers, have a family meeting to negotiate a reasonable amount of screen time per day and how to monitor it. Remove screens from bedrooms. Kids need adults for guidance. Enforce agreements in a kind, firm and consistent manner. When kids are involved in setting limits they are more likely to abide by them. Use video game time judiciously as video gaming has replaced TV as the preferred in-home babysitter.

Teach them the valuable life skill of moderation so they don’t end up addicted to World of Warcraft like Ryan Van Cleeve.

Firm friendly follow-through

March 21, 2011
Kids having fun in the snow, playing, learning natural and logical consequences, how to make good decisions, going 60 miles away, 60 miles an hour. Parenting: about. How to parent, Teenagers, tweens, toddlers, school age, how to parent, parenting teenagers, setting boundaries. related, respectful, reasonable, "Dr. JAne Nelsen, Ph.D. " "Dr. Alfred Adler" "Dr. Rudolf Driekurs" Learning to make good decisions is really important. Parent/child relationship, "tough love" starts early. playing in snow is fun.

Teach kids NOT to skate on thin ice!

On Saturday a scout leader at the Polar Bear Derby (rescheduled from January) told me that he had repeatedly warned his son and the other kids to stay away from the half-melted pond.

Alas, his child got wet.

“I had to take him home for dry clothes and bring him back,” the scout leader said, shaking his head with disappointment.

How wonderful to know Dad will bail out Junior no matter what.  

Or is it wonderful?

Kids who never experience the related outcome of their decisions do not learn to take responsibility for their actions.

Junior learned:

  1. He doesn’t have to listen to Dad — even when his safety is at hand;
  2. Dad will bail him out and he still gets to participate , despite his poor choice.
  3. He can continue to make bad decisions because good ol’ Dad will bail him out.

I’m interested in the big picture and what precedent Dad set. Tough Love is a group of parents of young adults who have realized they constantly enable their child to make bad decisions. The parents must learn  to say No, I won’t bail you out again from the poor choices you made, which often involve substance abuse and addiction.

It’s hard for parents to say “NO” or to deny Junior the Polar Bear Derby.

Dad could have let Junior experience being wet and cold. Junior could have asked to be taken home or gone inside the lodge to warm up.

Ideally, Dad could teach Junior to listen at home, BEFORE the Polar Bear Derby. It takes time, patience and consistency to teach children to listen and make good decisions. Investing the time, patience and consistency in making small decisions may someday save your child’s life.

The goal is for children to become teens who will make good decisions when they become teenagers and they’re 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour.

Will the young person who is 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour:

  • Be driving the speed limit?
  • Wearing a seatbelt?
  • Be with friends you know and like?
  • Sober and focused on driving?
  • Have told you the truth about where they are and what they’re doing?
  • Made good choices around sexuality?

Start now to teach good decision-making by giving children enough rope to burn but not enough to hang. Let them experience small repercussions, like being cold and wet during the Polar Bear Derby, forgetting homework or mittens, not being able to find their sporting equipment because they didn’t put it away.

It will pay off in the long run.

Parents can prevent teen drinking

January 4, 2011

According to research presented on NPR this morning: “The teens who were being raised by so-called indulgent parents who tend to give their children lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were among the biggest abusers of alcohol.

“They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking,” says Stephen Bahr, Ph.D., author of a study of 5,000 teens on drinking. “The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager’s own judgment.

The key is to develop good decision-making in children from ages 2 to 12, so when they become teenagers and they are 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour, they will choose wisely.

Cultivating good decision-making starts when children are young and they experience consequences that follow the Three Rs — related, reasonable and respectful. Thanks to Jane Nelsen, Ph.D. for the Three Rs of natural and logical consequences.

For example, when a youngster misbehaves in a restaurant, when Dad says, “Stop or there’s no X-Box for a month,” it does not inspire the child to make an informed decision because it is not respectful, reasonable or related.

A consequence that meets the three Rs would be for Dad to say, “Behave yourself or we leave the restaurant now.” Then they leave the restaurant. It’s requires less talking and more action.

Parents who sign up for my workshops fall in one of the two extremes described above. They set too many limits or too few limits. Democratic parenting allows for power-sharing and for children to learn to make good decisions by experiencing the natural and logical consequences of them.

It takes time, training and thinking. Parents just have to be slightly smarter than the teens and tweens and children, and have a plan.

Top 10 worst fears for teens

September 23, 2010
teens don't always make the best decisions. Teenagers need a solid foundation to make good decisions. Teens need to avoid risk. They need to feel self-confident and have high self esteem, make good friends and avoid substance addiction

Walking on stilts is a harmless avocation. Notice what's in their hands at this party.

Tonight [Sept. 23]I’m giving a workshop at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford, Mass.,  “How to Make Peace with Your Spirited Child.”

I often open with a discussion of the greatest fears for our children — what can happen when youngsters are motivated by fear instead of desire.

Using fear, praise, reward and punishment to discipline children can result in the Three Rs — rebellion, revenge and resentment and lead to a breakdown in parent-teen relationship and teens making decisions [like the ones below]  influenced by rebellion, revenge and resentment against parents.

The root of “discipline” is “disciple” which means “follower of a teacher.” We parents teach our children.

My goal is to teach youngsters how to make good decisions so when they become teenagers they’ll choose wisely when they’re 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour. I call it the 60/60 theory.

Young people can make so many bad decisions. Below is my short list of greatest fears.

I broke down my big list into seven categories — the body, sex [the biggest list!], the mind, technology, legal, social and school/career.

I most worried about drug addiction because it’s so pervasive, long-term and difficult to cure.  My teens and young adults brushed against a few of these top 10 worries and walked away. I felt scared, angry and out-of-control and compassionate for them.

  1. Substance addiction
  2. Anorexia/obesity
  3. STDs — Sexually transmitted diseases
  4. Low self-esteem – depression – suicide [can go hand-in-hand]
  5. Feel isolated from family and school [THE greatest danger to teens according to extensive research]
  6. Be a victim or bully — sexually, socially or online
  7. Break the law and go to jail for a long time
  8. Develop a long-term disease, injury or disability from poor choices
  9. Connect with friends who crave risky behavior
  10. Fall in love with someone with bad character

What’s on your top 10 greatest fears for your children?

Have fun this summer & stay safe

July 26, 2010
Children can benefit by learning to swim to stay safe.

Every child ought to learn to swim. Photo from the City of Carson, Calif., Recreation Department

There’s still four to five weeks left of summer and enough time to get to some of the things on your “to do” list with the children. I hope teaching them to swim is on the list.

The leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 in Massachusetts is drowning. WATCH THEM! Drowning is a silent death. They can slip under water and disappear in an instant. If you have a swimming pool in the backyard, the most dangerous pools are the ones with the house as the fourth wall.

Make sure every one of your children learns to swim and safe comfortable in the water. Otherwise non-swimmers must wear a life jacket at all times around water. Use life jackets like bike helmets — all ages wear them automatically.

Helmets make good sense. Upon purchasing a ski helmet, my brother Stephen said, “My head is my most valuable asset.” He’s right. Parents – model wearing helmets. Most bike fatalities are adults. Only one-seventh of the bike fatalities in the US were for youths under age 16. There’s a website dedicated to bike helmet safety. http://www.bhsi.org/index.htm

Wearing bike helmets falls under teaching children to make good decisions when you’re not around. When parents use natural and logical consequences that are respectful, related and reasonable (thanks Jane Nelsen Ph.D.), children learn the relationship between their decisions and the outcome. They learn to make good choices, an important life skill. We want teens to choose well when they’re 60 miles away going 60 miles an hour.

Partner with your young people to make good decisions together. Give tweens and teens a long leash if they’ve proved trustworthy. When asked, “Mom, can I take the MBTA to Harvard Square?” put it on the family meeting agenda and talk about the maturity needed for such an excursion.

Children are more likely to get struck by lightning than to be kidnapped and murdered by a stranger. The probability is one in 1.5 million. Most missing children have been abducted by an estranged parent, someone they know or have run away.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Have a family meeting and talk about safety and what they want to do as a family before school starts.

Here are some places to learn to swim around Lowell, Mass.

FREE lessons through the DCR – started today, July 26. Contact them to see if your child could sign up.

Aug 2-Aug. 31 Lowell YMCA

Fall lessons: UMass Lowell Recreation Center

Teens have to learn the hard way, just like us

May 6, 2010

I surfed into this story about “Allison” who refused to get enough sleep for more than a year, despite pleading and arguing by her mother. It’s a great example of my 60-60 theory.

Teens have to decide how much sleep to get. Teens are charged with  making good decisions. Feeling tired all the time is the natural  consequence of not getting enough sleep. Parents are helpless to  "make" teens go to bed early. Parents have to allow teens to  make their own decisions and feel the love and logc.
Photo illustration by Sean Simmers

“For a year, I led Allison to the water, with few results except comments on how I was ‘ruining her life’ and ‘punishing her.’  Then after a full year of us enforcing a bedtime routine, Allison started to go to bed on time without complaint!

“I was, I am, beside myself with joy. I asked her, ‘What made you start going to bed at 10:00?’ Her reply, ‘Oh, I just got sick of falling asleep in class all the time.'”

This is an excellent example of how teens make their own decisions and live with the natural and logical consequences of them. Nagging and arguing didn’t work for Mom, neither did yelling at her every day and night, according to Mom. Allison had to get sick of falling asleep in class all the time.

Here’s one method to teach good decision making for children in preparation for adolescence: to use the first dozen years to allow children to experience the natural and logical consequences of their decision making. Parents must practice minding our own business when kids don’t do homework, forget lunch money, library books, uniforms, instruments and more. Experience is the best teacher.

By the time they’re teens, hopefully they will have had enough practice choosing well that they can be trusted when they’re going 60 miles an hour, 60 miles away. Their lives will depend on it, and there’s not much parents can do about it at that point.