Tag: elementary schoolers

“Mr. Fisty”: Part 2

This is Part 2; to read Part 1 of “Mr. Fisty,” please click here.

After an exasperated parent coaching client of mine found some relief with his brilliant five-step “Mr. Fisty” process, new developments emerged (as they always do with kids) that caused him to use his creativity to come up with even more strategies for dealing with his 4-year old son who hit.

Recap: Putting Mr. Fisty into Time Out

As you learned in “Mr. Fisty Part 1,” Walker was empowered and taught that he was in control of his actions. This meant that when his fist, AKA “Mr. Fisty” had the urge to hit someone, the child talked to Mr. Fisty and talked him out of hitting. Sometimes this meant that Walker stuffed his fist into his pocket to help himself remember who was in charge. This externalized the offender and gave the little boy power to make a good choice rather than acting impulsively and getting in trouble.

After three weeks, however, putting Mr. Fisty in his pocket didn’t seem to work anymore. One day Mr. Fisty escaped and punched a kid at school.

Uh oh.

Mr. Fisty Strikes Again – A New Response

Walker’s dad’s response was to draw a hand on a whiteboard and say to his son, “It looks like you don’t have very good control of Mr. Fisty so here are five consequences for hitting, one for each of the next five days.” This caused the child to have to re-explain to Mr. Fisty why it is really important for him to listen and that is unacceptable to hit other kids.

The Five Consequences of Mr. Fisty

Dad reported that each morning, Walker would walk down the kitchen and look at the whiteboard to see what his consequence was for that day. When he saw “no dessert,” for the first day he whined, “Ah, dad, I love dessert!” Dad got to respond empathetically, saying how sad it was to miss dessert that day. Dad also got to ask Walker if he thought Mr. Fisty was learning how important it is to not hit.

Each subsequent day brought with it another consequence outlined on the whiteboard.

Externalize the Problem and Practice Positive Behaviors

This technique is called “externalization of the problem.” Dad externalized the aggressive, impulsive part of Walker and made it a separate character named Mr. Fisty. Next, dad built up the strong, resourceful part of Walker by putting him in charge of ornery Mr. Fisty. This gave Walker the chance to practice positive behaviors. When the effect wore off and Walker hit again, Dad decided that this was the time and place for a consequence. He was still able to empower Walker by talking about the consequence as something brought on by Mr. Fisty.

Address the Bad Behavior – and Don’t Forget to Celebrate the Good!

We parents always get to decide if we are going to punish bad behavior or focus on rewarding good behavior. I think there is room in healthy parenting for both…. as long as it is all delivered with as much love and compassion as we can manage on any given day and that it is done with the intention of teaching our children skills to be successful adults.

Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT
©2016 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.

“Mr.Fisty”: A Proven New Way to Stop the Pre-Schooler Who Hits

Hbanner_MrFistyNov2015An exasperated parent coaching client plopped onto the couch in my office recently and sighed, “How do I get my 4-year-old son to stop hitting?” At the slightest provocation, his son was hauling off and punching other kids at preschool. Needless to say, this did not go over well with teachers or classmates. The dad racked his brain to come up with a good “consequence,” a.k.a. “punishment” to get his son to stop.

Together, we came up with a completely different approach… what I like to call a “180 approach” and dad left, ready to give it a try.

Find humor and compassion instead of harshness and shame

Dad went home and talked to Walker about how hard it must be to keep his hands to himself, especially when he’s mad. With compassion, dad held Walker’s hand and folded it into a fist and said, “This little Mr. Fisty just loves to hit, doesn’t he? He must be trying so hard to protect you when you get stressed. Look how strong he is. He doesn’t mean to get you in trouble, but every time he punches someone, who gets in trouble at school?” Walker was listening intently, thinking about his rascal of a fist, and said, “I’m the one who gets in trouble, not Mr. Fisty!”

Empower the child to make choices and be in control

Together, father and son talked about how Walker was going to talk to Mr. Fisty and try to keep him from punching anyone. If Mr. Fisty got tempted, Walker was going to treat Mr. Fisty kindly, explaining to him how he had to stay in Walker’s pocket and that Walker would handle the situation.

Externalize the offender

This approach externalized the offender… rather than Walker being naughty, it was “Mr. Fisty” who was being ornery and Walker was the big boy in charge of things. Instead of Walker being punished and feeling bad about himself (which fuels more misbehavior), he became the big guy in charge of his fist. He felt empowered.

The plan worked brilliantly. Dad was thrilled. Walker maintained Mr. Fisty’s good behavior for a solid three weeks. This was a first for Walker to go three weeks without a single incident. Dad was so happy that he sent me a picture of Mr. Fisty.

Keep in mind, setbacks are inevitable

The story doesn’t stop here, however. Mr. Fisty did misbehave again. Dad’s response to the latest offense was even more ingenious than the first.

Stay tuned to read part two of the Mr. Fisty saga.

Insight on Managing Misbehavior

I call this a “180 approach” because it is often helpful to try an approach that is the complete opposite of what we think of automatically when it comes to handling misbehavior. The more a kid acts up, the more parents think they should come down hard on their kids. However, when we go for effective, powerful kindness in lieu of punitive discipline, we can meet our kids’ needs, fill them up, and change their behavior for the long-term. In this case, Dad had the chance to show compassion for Walker and teach him the essential skill of impulse control.
 
Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT
©2015 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.

Improve Your Kiddo’s Bad Sportsmanship in 5 Easy Steps

5 easy steps to help your child become a better team player.  Love and Logic Parenting Classes in Denver, COSeven year-old Elliott is becoming a bad sport at baseball. After his games, he complains about how unfair the ref was, how that throw WAS in, how he really did get that kid out. The ride home from games becomes an open arena for airing every grievance he has with his teammates and with himself. This is driving his parents nuts because they want him to be a good sport but aren’t sure what to do.

Here are a few ideas to redirect negativity about the game into something positive:

Ask Why Playing Perfectly is So Important.

When your child is feeling down about his performance in a game, ask him if he thinks he is more lovable when he plays perfectly. Remind him that in your family, imperfect people are the most lovable kind.  Go through and talk about some of the plays from the game: comment on the successful plays and discuss how every athlete in every sport has their shining moments and their disappointing moments.

Have Them Notice and Encourage the Other Players

At the next game, give your child the task of watching other players closely. Every time he notices that a teammate has a bad play, urge him to go give them a couple words of encouragement. What you want to focus on with this is building good sportsmanship rather than trying to squash bad sportsmanship.

Notice and Empathize Unfair Calls

There are always questionable and downright unfair calls in all kids’ sports. Empathize about how frustrating it is when there is an unfair call. Be specific! Name the kid’s feelings of anger, sadness, embarrassment.

Keep Score of the Good

Tell him you are going to watch him and count every time he handles a tough call with good sportsmanship (you can also use the terms “class” or “dignity”). After the game, celebrate all those good moments (ignore the bad) of good sportsmanship he demonstrated. Perhaps the higher the score, the higher the scoops on an ice cream cone? 🙂

Use Selective Vision

Make the focus on building what you want more of. Look for that with a magnifying glass and get blurry vision about the times he not quite so gracious.

 

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

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSWa Marriage and
Family Therapist
 and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapyand 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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Success Story: I Didn’t Say “Good Work”

Didn'tSayGoodWorkMy 3 year old son was struggling with a Buzz Lightyear puzzle.  It was one that didn’t stay together well and putting in one piece would dislodge another.  He’d get frustrated, but I had just read a Love and Logic article about the gift of giving our kids a chance to struggle.

I said “Keep at it.”

He worked for several more minutes and succeeded.

“Mom,” he proudly said, “I did it!

Instead of saying my normal, “good work,”  I used what Love and Logic suggested and asked him “Why do you think you did so well?”

He looked at me confused and I said, “Well, did you work hard, keep practicing, or keep trying?”

He said, “I kept trying and I did it!”

–Jeni

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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Disarming Defiance

For parents who deal with children being obstinate, defiant and challenging, here are a few thoughts on power struggles:

If we deal with resistance by struggling back, not only will we damage our relationship with our kids and set them up to be rebellious, but we will be very frustrated.  It is a child’s JOB to eventually claim control over his life and become independent.  “A child who feels he has no control over his life will spend much of his energy trying to manipulate the system and adults around him. A child who feels she has some control over her life will spend little time and energy trying to manipulate and control the parent” (written by Jim Fay).  We can create win-win situations and avoid power struggles by giving children choices.

Choices can make all the difference in the world.  Giving your child lots of choices gives him lots of opportunities to be in control.  “Would you like the red cup or the blue cup?”  “Would you like to hold hands in the parking lot or be carried?”  “Would you like to leave the park now or in five minutes?” (Ask five minutes before you really want to leave.)

The key to using choices is to offer two options, either of which will make you happy.  Always pick two choices you can live with.  “Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?”  Either way, I know my child has a coat if he needs it.  “Would you rather clean up your toys or have me do it?”  If I do it, the toys go to toy jail. (See short video about implementing Toy Jail below!)

If the child doesn’t choose, be prepared to choose yourself.  Also, never give a choice unless you’re willing to allow the child to live with the consequences of his/her bad choice.  Remember:  “I can live with either choice.”  If they protest the choice that gets made for them, apply loads of empathy and do not engage in arguing or explaining. Allowing our children to make choices and live with the results gives them valuable real-world experience in making decisions and learning about the consequences of their actions.




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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Avoid “If-Thens” With Strong-Willed Kids

It seems that just about every family has at least one child who spends most of his time trying to figure out what others want.. so that he can do exactly the opposite.

Frustrated by their testy behavior, it’s pretty darn easy to fall into less than effective parenting practices. I hear some of these at the grocery store:
“If you’re really good, then I’ll buy you a candy bar.”
“If you don’t stop that, then you’re going right to your room when we get home!”

When parents are unsuccessful with strong-willed kids it’s frequently because they’ve issued an “if-then.” When their spirited kids hear this, they think, “Now the fight’s on! I’ll show them!”

Ironically, stubborn kids are willing to receive consequences.. and miss out on rewards.. if it means winning a control battle.

When rewards come as a surprise to kids, they have no opportunity to sabotage themselves before they receive them. When we avoid warning them of specific consequences in advance, they spend less time fighting us and trying to figure out how to find the “loop holes” in our plans.

Dr. Charles Fay
©2010 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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How Do I Get My Kids To Cooperate?

How can you use the Love and Logic skill of enforceable statements to get kids to cooperate?

When kids hear “No,” they hear fighting words. Their defenses come up and the battle starts. So instead of saying “No,” say “Yes” to something else. Say what you’ll do, what you’ll allow, or what you have control over.

Think of what you do for your kids and what they want from you. That’s what you have control over. You decide when you give the snack, read the story, take them to the park — after they have picked up toys, finished their dinner, brushed their teeth, etc.

Instead of giving the command: “Brush your teeth”
Say: “I read stories to kids who brush their teeth.”

Instead of saying: “No, you can’t have a snack.  You haven’t picked up your toys yet.”
Say: “I give snacks to kids who’ve picked up their toys.”

Instead of saying: “Stop whining!”
Say: “I listen to kids who use their words.”

Instead of saying: “No, you can’t go to the park. You haven’t taken your nap yet.”
Say:  “Yes, I’ll take you to the park, after your nap.”

You’ll be surprised at how well enforceable statements work to get cooperation from your children.  We’d love to know which one works best for you!

Shelly Moorman
©2009 Shelly Moorman, 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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Some Thoughts on Video, Games, Computer Games, and TV

 

Over the past two decades, video and computer games have become dramatically more fast-paced, realistic, and stimulating.

Not long after their introduction, I began to suspect that these games had the same addictive potential as drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Today, family therapists and researchers have confirmed my fears. Listed below are some tips for helping your child avoid getting hooked:
Don’t allow your child to have a computer in their room.

Allow them to play these games no longer than thirty minutes per day.

If your child becomes sneaky, non-compliant, or defiant about this time limit, remove this privilege.

Children birth to six should spend no time playing these games, watching videos, or viewing television.

So-called “educational” games, videos, and shows are no substitute for real-life learning activities, involving movement, problem-solving, and human relationships.


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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The Love and Logic™ Vaccination Plan

Our world is getting more complex and dangerous for kids every day. How do we best protect them so that they will survive?

Resist the urge to overprotect!

Like vaccinations for physical disease, parents who apply Love and Logic allow their kids to develop decision-making “antibodies” by being exposed to plenty of small temptations, by being allowed to make plenty of small mistakes, and by being loved enough to be held accountable for their poor decisions.

It makes sense that if our child is about to run into a busy intersection or jam a fork into an electrical outlet, we’re going to step in. But how do we respond when the temptations they face have much smaller, more affordable price tags?

Lucky is the child whose parents are brave enough to let them make the mistake of wasting their allowance on bubble gum. Even luckier is the child whose parents also hold them accountable by refusing to give in when they beg for more cash.

Lucky is the child whose parents are brave enough to let them make the mistake of watching TV instead of finishing their science fair project. Even luckier is the child whose parents love them enough to resist the urge to do the project for them.

Yes! Lucky indeed is the child who understands through experience that every decision has its consequences.

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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Kids, Money, Loans

April has been declared National Financial Literacy Month. What a great time to teach your kids about loans! Many parents wonder if it is a good idea to loan money to your children.

The authors of Love and Logic® say yes. If your kids will need to know about loans as adults, they need some practice with small loans.

Jan proudly told her friend that she had just repossessed a $189 camera from her son.

“Oh, that’s terrible. How could you ever do that?” responded her friend.

“My son was really lucky,” said Jan. “We make loans to our son just the same way the bank does it. Now, at age 12, he understands all about collateral and the responsibility of paying back his loans. Compare that to my neighbor’s 21-year-old kid. His parents always let him off the hook for his loans and he had to learn when the price was higher. The finance company just repossessed his $17,000 car. I think my child got a real bargain. Don’t you?”

Keep your eyes out for my new book, co-written by Kristan Leatherman, M.S., available this summer called MILLIONAIRE BABIES OR BANKRUPT BRATS?. In the meantime, check out the special this week on Parenting with Love and Logic.

Thanks for reading.

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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