Archive for 'Articles'

Apr 21

In their longitudinal studies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice found some daunting statistics on child abuse and neglect. Their “findings strongly indicate the relationship between abuse and neglect and delinquency and adult criminality and violent behavior.” Although no single factor is likely to account for development of criminal behavior, the importance of childhood victimization as a risk factor for delinquency, adult criminality and violence has become increasingly recognized.

• Figures for 2003 indicate that nationally about 96,000 children (under 18 years of age) were sexually abused.

• Abused, neglected children are 4.8 times as likely to be arrested as a juvenile.

• Twice as likely to be arrested as an adult.

• 3.1 times as likely to be arrested for a violent crime.

• 17.5 % of dependent children have been sexually abused (male and female; all ethnicities).

• ¾ of perpetrators are friends or neighbors.

• Age at highest risk for sexual abuse in males – 4 years of age; females – 14 years of age.

Abuse, Defined.

Abuse, according to Websters: A corrupt practice. Misuse (drugs), coarse, insulting speech. Mistreatment.

Abuse: Any act or absence of action either physical or emotional, that violates the well-being or dignity of the individual.

Derogatory: Expression of a low opinion or disparaging remark.

Disrespectful: Lacking regard or concern or to treat as unworthy or lacking value as a human being.

Apr 21

First and foremost our number one goal for kids we work with, all kids we work with, is to produce “self-efficacy”. By that we mean, “self-reliance”, “persistence”, “courage to endure adversity”, “resilience”, and “confidence”.

In order to achieve this we believe we must focus on certain aspects of a child’s makeup. Primary in our focus is “attitudes, values, and beliefs”. Secondarily, we focus on anti-social behaviors. Thirdly, we focus on personality factors. You will learn more today (probably more than you ever wanted to) on the mechanics of how we approach this change process.

Charles Swindoll once wrote: “We cannot change the past – we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

We use a tool called, Thinking, Changing, Rearranging, which is really a primer on Rational Emotive Therapy developed by Jill Anderson. A major premise of this tool is not letting your emotions control your life, that facts are more important than feelings, and that you can’t control events and others, but you can control how you react to them. It’s a rare person who doesn’t get discouraged but we all must learn to endeavor to persevere to be successful.

The value of courage, persistence and perseverance has rarely been better illustrated than the life of one famous American:

At age 22 – Failed in business
“ “ 23 – Ran for Legislature and lost
“ “ 24 – Failed in business
“ “ 25 – Elected to the Legislature
“ “ 26 – Wife died
“ “ 27 – Had a nervous breakdown
“ “ 29 – Ran for Speaker of the House and lost
“ “ 31 – Defeated for election
“ “ 34 – Ran for Congress and lost
“ “ 37 – Elected to Congress
“ “ 39 – Defeated for Congress
“ “ 46 – Defeated for Senate
“ “ 47 – Defeated for Vice President
“ “ 49 – Ran for Senate and defeated
“ “ 51 – Elected for President of the USA

This is the record of Abe Lincoln.

Also, central to our approach is accountability. Choice and free will are the cornerstones of our philosophy. We believe that regardless of a child’s background they can learn to do things differently, see things as they truly are, and learn to think rationally. Unfortunately, most of the kids we work with follow Ziggy, the cartoon characters philosophy of “I like things the way they aren’t”.

We want kids to actually get better not just feel better. Good mental health is not the absence of problems; it’s learning to cope with problems rationally.

Apr 14

Throughout history parents have been troubled by the behavior of their teens. When both teens and parents are prepared and aware of these commonly known hallmarks of adolescents, it makes the “transition years” much easier to cope with:

Adolescence is a time of pronounced changes in…
• Body
• Emotions
• Attitudes and values
• Intellect
• Relationships with peers, parents and others
• Freedom and responsibility

Typical teenage behaviors/changes.

Physical changes
Endocrine glands release hormones that cause.
• Sudden growth spurts
• Development of sex characteristics
• Mood swings

Emotional changes
• Tied to hormonal activity
• Preoccupation with sexuality
• Moodiness
• Impulsiveness
• Anxiety
• Restless energy
• Daring risk-taking

Social changes
• Trying to create a personality
• Inconsistent demands for responsibility/independence
• Idealism
• Peer relations
• Communications

• Peer relations
• Personal views on attitudes/values/beliefs
• Conflicted opinions

Apr 07


“I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Frank Herbert “Dune”


“Courage doesn’t always roar. Some times it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.”


Fear can stop us from making the changes we want to make in our lives. It can cause us to not take the first steps because the thought of changing our lives completely can be frightening. Why? Consider some of the following issues:

Our fear of trying to change and then failing:

Most people don’t make significant changes without mistakes. These setbacks are a part of life. Some people view these mistakes as failure and revert to past unhealthy behaviors.

Our fear of being vulnerable:

We believe that we can always get what we need, regardless of how we have to get it. If we stop using these tactics, are others going to take advantage of us? Will we become like people we’ve taken advantage of or manipulated?

Our fear of the unknown:

If we make major changes in our lives, what kind of person will we become? Will we be able to handle painful situations that arise? Will we be able to live up to other’s expectations? Will we be able to earn back the trust of others? Will we like and feel comfortable with the person we have become?

Recent Academy Award winner, Jeff Bridges, was asked about ‘fear’ and about doing the role he was about to do. He said, “Fear is your friend, it’s like fire. It can warm your home or burn it down, you have to respect your fear but not let it control you.”

Our fear of giving up:

After trying hard to change, will we be discouraged and quit? Will we fall back into our old attitudes of self-pity? “Why try?… Who cares?… Who am I kidding?… I can’t do this…” Will our old habits return and take control of our lives again? Will we be like the people we despise?

Fear is a powerful force that can hold us back in some situations – but it helps us in others. My fear of failure can motivate me to weigh decisions more carefully. If we listen to those fears they can stop us from doing wrong. But our personal fears can also be a wall – a wall we feel unable to climb. It’s tempting to use our fears as an excuse for not changing. Yet, if we deny these fears, we give them even more control over our lives.

Change is possible if we face our fears… if we recognize, accept and deal with our fears. We can do this through hard work, refusing to give up and accepting the help of others. For some, it will not be one day at a time; it will be one moment at a time.

Mar 31

“If you are patient in one moment of anger you will avoid 100 days of sorrow.”

Many people who have not learned to understand anger within themselves struggle to recognize it as it approaches, only becoming aware once it has exploded and become overwhelming. Learning to identify anger as it begins to escalate is an enormous step in taking control of anger within yourself.

Definition of Anger:
1. [n] belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong (personified as one of the deadly sins)
2. [n] a strong emotion; a feeling that is oriented toward some real or supposed grievance

Physical Cues –
Anger is a normal reaction to a perceived threat. All animals have certain physiological reactions to threat which allow us to respond physically: for example, to run away from danger, to fight to protect ourselves or our family, or to ‘freeze’ in order to avoid being seen by another creature that poses a danger.

Examples of physical cues girls have listed in discussion:
Ringing in ears
Feeling over heated
Clench jaw
Get very quiet
Heart begins to race
Get knots in stomach
Experience a back ache
Make fists
Get sweaty palms
Feel legs shaking
Tap feet

These signs can be used as ‘cues’ to let you know when your anger is escalating and you need to take control before things get out of hand. Some of these cues may take place sooner than others. If you tune into these physical cues to anger, you can learn to recognize them earlier and respond to your emotions in more planned and effective ways.

Ask Yourself: What can you do to control your physical cues? What coping mechanisms could you use that could help you stop the escalation of anger? Have you ever controlled your physical cues in the past, if so how? What would it look like when you do control your physical cues?

Emotional cues –
When people get angry they frequently notice themselves starting to feel differently.  It is important to notice how you are changing internally when you experience anger so it can be kept in control.

Examples of emotional cues girls have listed in discussion:

These signs can be used to help you identify when you are getting angry. These emotions are not always bad emotions, but when used to fuel anger they can be hurtful. When these emotions are noticed in relationship to anger it is important for you to take control of these emotions so they do not spiral out of control.

Ask Yourself: Why do you notice emotional cues when you are beginning to experience anger? How is anger tied into your emotions? What can you do to control the emotions you are experiencing due to anger?

Mar 24

A parent’s basic job is to meet your child’s needs in the following 4 categories:

Physical: Doing all you can to keep your child safe and healthy
Keeping them safe
Good nutrition
Rest and exercise
Medical care

Emotional: Showing love, encouragement, providing security

Intellectual:  Help your child enjoy learning, provide learning tools, games.
Involvement in school.

Social:  Teaching appropriate behavior providing discipline. Teaching social skills.
Encouraging character development.

Mar 17

Einstein said:
“The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives”.

A recent survey completed by State Farm Insurance Co. took a look at America’s “moral” fabric, concluding it was at the least “frayed”. Some highlights of this survey include: The top five “absolutely essential” values that parents want for their children are honesty, respect for others, self-discipline, academic excellence, and self-sufficiency. When asked about their success in teaching these values to their children, 50 percent said they had done a good job on teaching courtesy, honesty, and academic excellence. However, only 38% said they had been successful in teaching self-sufficiently and 34% said they had successfully taught self-control.

Years ago Father Flanagan said, “There are no bad boys.” This is a reference to his belief that we are born good. Some other schools of thought believe we are born “innocent” but not good, that goodness must be taught.

There is certainly no shortage of external factors that can and do effect “goodness” such as, music, TV and movie violence, proliferation of pornography, absence of fathers, poor discipline in schools, poverty, to mention a few. All of these factors to varying degrees affect goodness. mobdro apk free download Do parents want their children to be “good” people; of course they do. Most parents, however, do not make “goodness” a primary concern.

Ask yourselves the following questions:

Would I rather have a kind child with average intelligence or a brilliant child who wasn’t kind?

How much time have I spent developing my child’s ethics relative to other achievements?

Do I reward goodness (kindness) as I do grades or making the soccer team, and do I react less seriously to character deficiencies than to scholastic or other deficiencies?

Would I allow my child to cheat to achieve something significant?

Do I insist my child thank people?

If you asked your child “what do you think I most want for you – to be happy, smart, successful, or good?” How do you think they would answer?

As parents we clearly communicate what we care about most, whether we realize it or not. If I could offer one piece of advice to all parents of young children, it would be to “work hard” at being sure goodness or moral competency is equally balanced with other values and expectations in your child’s life. Ultimately, as our children grow and become adults it becomes equally important to us that our kids have become not just happy and successful, but that they are good people too. It is high irony to raise a child who you of course love but don’t much like.

Mar 10

The American Heritage Dictionary defines assertiveness as expressing oneself confidently. It is the balance of looking after your own needs and boundaries, while also respecting those of others

There are 3 basic styles of interpersonal behavior and communication styles:

1. Aggressive: Blaming, accusing, threatening, abrasiveness. Does not respect the boundaries of others.
2. Passive: Subject to inaction. Without responding. Meekness. Will not defend one’s own position, and may be manipulated by others.
3. Assertive: Expressing true beliefs, thoughts, feelings. Will speak their mind or defend their boundaries while respecting those of others.

Being assertive means acting in your own best interest; being either passive or aggressive is not. When you learn to be assertive, meekness, withdrawal, attack, and blaming are no longer needed. The essence of being assertive is to be direct, not manipulative and to be honest, but tactful. Addressing your position or opinion respectfully but firmly is being assertive.

Types of Assertion:
1. Basic Assertion: A simple expression of position. To some one who constantly interrupts, for example, “Excuse me, I’d like to finish what I have to say.”

2. Empathic Assertion:
Includes 2 parts: a) Recognition of the other person’s feelings
b) Standing up for your position

“I understand you’re in a real bind, but I have too much to do so I can’t do your chores too, sorry.”

3. “I” Language Assertion: Useful in expressing difficult negative feelings. A 4-part statement:

a) When – Describe the other person’s actions
b) The effects are – How the actions affect you
c) I think / feel – Optional description of thoughts, feelings
d) I wish / I’d prefer, etc. – You describe what you want.

“When you constantly interrupt, I feel disrespected and discounted. I wish you’d be polite and wait until I am finished speaking.”

“When you criticize me in front of others without trying to help, I think you’re just trying to hurt me or make a fool of me. I’d prefer you give me constructive feedback privately.”

Mar 04

(Most overriding rules)

Don’t apologize for parenting; it’s an obligation you must carry out and do your best.

Don’t feel guilty when you must say no, it’s presumed the decision is well reasoned and thought out.

Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.

Don’t be inconsistent with the standards you’ve chosen to raise your child with.

Don’t be rigid and in flexible; Don’t lose your sense of humor.

Don’t put an over emphasis on feelings. The facts of a situation are more important.

Don’t stress self-esteem over self-control. Self-control is more important.

Don’t accept disrespect.

Don’t expect your kids to always like you or appreciate you.

Don’t make decisions before you think. Get some space between you and the situation first.


Do expect parenting to be difficult.

Do parent! Families are not democracies; somebody has to be the grown-up and be in control.

Do make the best decisions you can. Reasonableness is the key. You decide what’s reasonable.

Do spend time with your kids. Show interest in what they do and value.

Do be consistent with family values and morals.

Do be flexible and maintain your sense of humor and perspective.

Do judge your kids by their behavior and especially their goodness. Reward acts of goodness.

Do apologize if you are wrong.

Do be vigilant, pay attention to changes in your child.

Do know their friends and their parents.

For Divorced Parents:

1. Be polite and civil to each other in front of your children.

2. Don’t share negative feelings about each other with your children.

3. Talk to each other directly, never use your children as messengers. Keep them out of the middle.

4. Don’t compete for your child’s loyalty or affection.

5. Respect each others rules.

6. Communicate, cooperate, and be consistent for your kid’s sake.

Feb 24

Something I read recently amazed me as to its application in what we try to impart to kids in our programs.

Remarkably, it was written in 1779 by Ben Franklin: this is paraphrased from “The Morals of Chess”

Look into the future and consider the consequences. Think about the real advantages to yourself, than wonder about the impact on others and how that might reflect on your life. Imagine how you might defend your position.


Examine the bigger picture including the dangers, the possibilities, and probabilities. Be braver about options that scare you.


Don’t make moves in haste or in passion. Keep the rules and guidelines of law, etiquette, and commandments. Understand that once you’ve made your move, you set into play a series of events over which you may not have recourse, from which you might suffer in your soul as well as your life.