Tag: attention

Standing Up to Teen Defiance

How to deal with teen defiance, love and logic, parenting classes, denver, co

Big Problems with Teen Defiance

Siblings and rivalry go hand-in-hand so it’s no surprise that 14 year-old Preston taunts and pesters his younger brother, Kyle. Recently, Preston refused to stop pestering his brother and was provoking him by throwing things, hassling him and doing anything he could to elicit a response from his brother just for entertainment. This was much more interesting to him than sitting down and doing homework.  As mom listened to the bickering, name-calling and yelling, she wondered how she would diffuse the situation without aggravating her defiant, strong-willed adolescent even further.

Parenting was so much simpler when the boys were little but now as a single mother of 3 boys, parenting was often aggravating and left mom wondering what to do. After all, two of her three sons were teenagers and had outgrown the parenting strategies that had worked long ago. She wondered how it was possible to reprimand her sons when they became defiant without putting herself in harm’s way.

Taking a Stand Against a Big Kid

When Preston refused to leave the room even when mom demanded it, it was apparent that he had his own agenda. Finally, he left the room but only to return minutes later exhibiting the same behavior that got him in trouble the first time. At that point Preston was worked up and mom was frustrated at her son’s unwillingness to cooperate. Nothing was resolved and mom felt miserable with the state of her family, but it was time for bed. There was no way that this mom was going to try and reprimand her strong-willed teen when he was clearly fired up. She knew better.

Get Out of the Red Zone

Stepping away and allowing her son a chance to cool down elicited a much different response the next morning. After a good night’s sleep, mom decided to tackle her son’s growing defiance when the situation was no longer in the red zone. That morning, she took her son’s phone away for the defiance he had exhibited the night before. Although he was unhappy with his mom’s decision, he was no longer fired up and he begrudgingly handed over his phone.

Be Persistent

After surviving a day without his cell phone and then getting it back, Preston was back to his old tricks. He was taunting his little brother and pestering him for no reason.  This time, however, mom set boundaries immediately for his unwanted behavior and stuck to them. A quick glance from mom along with a calmly executed, “This looks like defiance” was all it took for him to stop. Preston had figured out that his mom was not willing to let his poor behavior be left unchecked..

This was a big wake-up call for her son and a feeling of accomplishment for mom.

She had busted through the fear of angering her teen and was able to take control of the situation with minimal struggle.

Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT
©2014 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

This Little Song Stops My Toddler in Her Tracks!

Ice Cream coneDear Kerry,

We used to have 5 tantrums a day with my 2 1/2 year old little girl.  After switching from time-outs to  the Love and Logic’s “Uh Oh Song” we maybe have one a day.

The best part is that now that I can redirect her behavior with just the words “Uh Oh.”  It was really a life saver when we were at a wedding and she was starting to misbehave I just said “Uh Oh,” and she stopped and said “I promise, I promise, I will listen.”  

My husband is wanting to learn more Love and Logic skills because he sees that this is working so well.   I now feel like we can have more joyful days again!!

Thank you for all the amazing parenting tips! We hit a really rough patch for a while and I feel like we finally have the tools to take on the issues when they come up!

 —Jodie

Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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How Many Ways I Can Be Naughty at Bedtime?

Putting Toddler to Bed

Three year old Wes used to play his favorite game at bedtime. It was called, “See how many ways I can be naughty.”

He was the only one enjoying the game. His single, working dad certainly did not. Wes was very creative in how he played the game: he ran away when it was time to put on his pj’s. He clenched his jaw when it was time to brush his teeth. He screamed and threatened to wake up his baby brother. He jumped on the bed when it was time for tuck in. Sound familiar? It’s a very popular game amongst the little people. It’s a game though, that doesn’t usually end well for either the child or the parent.

Wes’s game ruled until Daddy came up with a better game called “Earn a Minute.” This game starts at the beginning of bedtime when Daddy whispers to Wes, “For every step of bedtime that you do cooperatively, you earn a minute of You-n-Me time. If you get enough, we might be able to read a whole extra book!” “Game on” for little Wes. He might as well wear a sign that says, “Will Cooperate For You-N-Me Time.”

Here’s how the scoring works
Brush teeth: earn a minute.
Go potty: earn a minute.
Wash hands: earn a minute.
Get undressed: earn a minute.
Get in the bath: earn a minute.
Cooperate with being washed: earn a minute.
Get out of the bath first time you’re told: earn a minute.
Hold still while being dried: earn a minute.
Put on PJs: earn a minute.
Climb into bed: earn a minute.

Wes has mastered this “game” and he savors his ten minutes of special Daddy-time before going to sleep. Dad is happy because the extra story time takes less time than all the hassling did, and father and son both get happy snuggle time instead of exasperation and negative attention.

Every now and then, Daddy mixes things up and says, “We’re not playing tonight, so you might as well be a rascal.” Well now, when Daddy invites Wes to misbehave, it’s not as much fun for Wes and the power struggle is over.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Life in a Pinball Machine

I am standing in the kitchen getting breakfast ready for my family…

Parenting Help - Love and Logic ParentingPalmer (6) is banging on the counter with an action figure while he asks for a drink. Landon (2) is playing on the floor at my feet with his new and very noisy digger, saying “Play, mommy!” Keaton (9) is downstairs hollering at me to come down and build his new Lego set with him.

Our houseguest, Mike, is wondering aloud if I am REALLY not cooking a full, hot breakfast for him this morning. My husband is sitting on the couch reading an interesting new book and wanting to share tidbits of it with me.

On the outside, I look calm and composed, but inside, I am thinking (quite loudly) “HELLO, has anyone noticed that there is only ONE of me in this house right now? Are there only five of you who want my attention and help right now? Only five?” Well, come to think of it, the two birds need their medicine, and the fish needs food…if it’s not already too late.

So there, that totals eight male beings who want and need me at this very moment. I feel like I live in a pinball machine and I am the ball!

These are the times when I can either blow up and go off on all of my loved ones at once, or I can stop and figure out when and how I can get some time for my own sanity preservation. There is no point in being angry at my children for having so many needs, because that is the nature of children. I can long for someone else to insist that I take time to relax and take care of myself, and that would be ever so lovely. But ultimately, I am the only one who knows what I need, and it is my responsibility to make that happen.

So I tell myself to hang in there and do what I can. Then I plan ways to “re-fuel” during the day. In the van on the way to church, I’ll leave the phone turned off and listen to soothing music. I’ll sit and watch a movie with my boys this afternoon. I’ll let the house be messy until my cup is re-filled. I’ll try to go to bed early enough to read before I fall asleep.

Whatever it takes, I, and all the moms and dads out there, have got to find ways to keep our cups full. Kids, and life in general, require so much of us, and if we let ourselves get drained, we are depleted and have nothing left to give. It is not selfish to take care of ourselves; rather, it is a gift to give our children parents who are available and can cherish their innocence and beauty.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Can ADHD Kids Learn, Remember, and Behave?

Q: Can kids with ADHD really learn, remember, and behave?
A: ABSOLUTELY!

Q: What’s the secret?
A: Use the very same techniques proven effective with kids who don’t have ADHD.

Q: Are you kidding?
A: No! Here’s why. Children with ADHD have the very same behaviors as children who don’t have ADHD. They just display them far more frequently and intensely. For example, all kids fail to pay attention from time to time, forget what we ask them to do, argue, occasionally misbehave in impulsive ways, and experience bouts of excessive activity, etc.

Q: So, will Love and Logic work with my child with ADHD?
A: Yes! In our CD Calming the Chaos we teach how to match the high frequency and intensity of their challenging behavior with a high frequency and intensity of Love and Logic techniques.

Q: So there’s hope?
A: Yes! As long as you don’t get tricked into believing that they’re incapable of learning and behaving.
Thanks for reading.


Dr. Charles Fay
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Dad and Shopping

Marge’s kids had a history of keeping her upset during shopping trips.

They ran all over the store and were frequently lost. They had trained her to keep her eye on them to the expense of her doing her shopping.

Contrast that to my own dad, who trained his kids to keep their eyes on him instead.

We’d enter the store and as he went through the front door of Republic Drug he’d be saying, “Well guys, try to keep up. I’ll be moving kind of fast. Hope you don’t get lost, but if you do, find one of the security guys over at that desk. He’ll probably help you find a way to get home. I’ve never seen a kid lost for more than a few months.”

As he said this, he never looked back. Needless to say, we stayed close. Not only did we believe that his word was good on these shopping trips, but any other time he opened his mouth, as well.

It wasn’t until years later that he admitted to us that he had talked to the security people before he took us shopping, and these trips were nothing but training sessions.

He was a strong believer in the idea that advance training could save him a lot of time and frustration later.


Jim Fay
©2009 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, Ph.d.& Love and Logic® Institute

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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