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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Creating Effective Rules to Instill Positive Discipline in Children

Enforcing rules on children is necessary for effective parenting. Rules promote safety and structure to a child’s life that create order and set them up for success at home and school.

Situations usually arise when parent’s attempt to enforce these rules and a child resists. This leads to parent is nagging, cajoling, and negotiating with the child to compile.

Setting up effective rules will make instilling positive discipline much easier. The follow pointers will show you how to create effective rules.

Enforcing the Do’s, Not the Don’ts

Children hear the word “Don’t” and “No” all the time. It’s no wonder that “No” is one of the first words that children learn to say. Most rules appear in a negative form for example, “Don’t Run” or “Don’t touch”.

The problem with the negative form of rules is that they do not present the parent’s expectations. The common rule of “Don’t Run” does not exclude skipping, hopping, crawling, spinning, etc. - all of which could or could not be acceptable behavior. Children think concretely. Therefore, this rule means that anything else is acceptable.

The positive form of rules creates a parental expectation, which is extremely powerful. Instead of the “Don’t Run” rule in the example above, we say, “We must walk in an orderly fashion”. This rule provides a clear expectation of their behavior.

Here’s some common transformation of rules from Negative to Positive.

Negative Statement: “Don’t Run”

Positive Statement: “Please walk in an orderly fashion”

Negative Statement: “Don’t Touch”

Positive Statement: “Let’s only look without touching”

Negative Statement: “Don’t Push”

Positive Statement: “We need to keep our hands to ourselves”

Negative Statement: “Stop throwing around that toy”

Positive Statement: “We need to play with toy properly”

Write and Post your New Rules

Writing and posting your new rules will give a visual account of your expectations. You need to review these household rules with your child on a constant basis. The more you speak of these rules, the more the child will naturally integrate them into their mindset and lives.

For each rule, you can write the consequence for not following the rule. Natural consequences are great to add here. For example, the rule of playing with toys properly, the natural consequences would state that you will take the toy away for the rest of the day or that you will not replace broken toys. Statements like these develop responsibility in children.

Follow through

All is lost without follow through. Rules that parents do not followed through on are as good as no rules at all.

Developing effective rules helps to instill positive discipline in children. They also encourage children to increase their level of responsibility. These factors make parenting and applying the rules much simpler – providing better family harmony.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Good is the Enemy of Great

Jim Collins wrote an awesome book, Good To Great. The book is worth the cost just to read the first line, which states, "Good is the enemy of great".

Why do I think it's great?

Because it's so true. You see, most people, including myself, once we reach the good level, we're satisfied with our success and remain at status quo. Think of it this way, we know at a job, a bad employee gets either fired or quits. The good employee is performing good enough that they aren't fired but they aren't performing at their best either.

Anthony Robbins says "If were not climbing, were sliding". In other words, being good now is being only mediocre a year from now and poor in five years. The world is evolving and standing still means losing ground.

What is the answer to this dilemma?

Become a constant learner, that's the only answer -- constantly expanding ourselves. The Japanese call this Kaizen or constant and never-ending improvement.

I read some scary statistics yesterday that actually prompted me to write this journal.

  • 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book.
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
  • 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion.
    --Jerrold Jenkins.
  • Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
    --Bookselling This Week, November 10, 1997.

Do you want to make a profound difference in your life? Do you want to go from Good To Great?

The answer is simple.

Pick up and read an entire book. That alone will put you in the 90 percentile.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My First Phone Interview Today

Today was an exciting day. I gave my first phone interview to Bruce Barber. The interview stemmed from a blog I posted on Halloween Safety Tips at my blogspot.

How did he find my blog?

You guessed it, Google!

It was a pleasure speaking to the public about this very important topic. He asked some great questions about how does it seem that child listen to their Martial Arts Instructor when they wont listen to their parents. Terrific stuff!

Bruce Barber Productions

I find the stories of people I meet very compelling. Bruce Barber owns a production company and was (in his words a zany) morning radio show host. As he got older and had children, he wanted to produce a show that helped parents and the community with relevant content.

His new weekly show aired in the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York called The Real Life Survival Guide features useful tips for living, based on interviews with people from all walks of life, sharing personal experiences and advice. Check out his new website at Bruce is one of my living heroes now.

This pre-recorded interview will air a couple of days before Halloween. Ill post the link to the interview once it is available.

Our Pearl S. Buck International Cause

Bruce gave me the opportunity to plug Ester and my new charity pursuit to sponsor children through Pearl S. Buck International. If your interested in donating to our cause, please visit our website at and hit the donate button.

Ester has really championed this cause so much that she has me excited about it. Ester set up a presentation at our school for November 14th. Our black belt candidates as part of their Black Belt requirements will work on setting up charity functions for the cause.

This phone interview made me realize that we need take our Pearl S. Buck cause from a local level to a state and national level. Instead of thinking on the scale of $1,000 of donations, we should be thinking at the level of $5,000, $10,000 etc

One last note: Yesterday, I got asked to perform a webinar. More to come on that later

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day Check this out! Today is Blog Action Day - the day that thousand of bloggers around the world blog on the same topic. This year's topic is "the Environment".

Therefore, I am blogging about my campaign to plant trees. For the last few years on Earth Day, our school hands out seedlings to the local community to raise awareness of the importance of trees and reducing our carbon footprint. So far, we have given away hundreds of seedlings and through an article written in NAPMA now with our very own Coach Tom Callos. The idea has taken root (no pun intended) in many schools throughout the nation, planting thousands of trees.

Why plant a tree?

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society provides the Tree Tenders Handbook that explains the many advantages of planting a tree.

Heres some of the benefits to planting a tree:

  • Trees release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide to freshen the air we breathe.
  • Trees remove ozone and other air pollutants, as well as trap dust and dirt.
  • Trees save energy and reduce cooling costs.
  • Trees increase the value of your home
  • Trees improve health (Hospital patients with views of trees recovered 10% more quickly from surgery)
  • Trees encourage serenity and relaxation
  • Trees reduce violence (studies proved this phenomena)
  • Trees increase pride in local communities

Do you want to get involved?

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society provides free Tree Tenders classes. For more information, visit their website by click here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Halloween Safety Tips: How to Trick-or-Treat Safely with Your Children

Children love trick-or-treating for Halloween. They get a chance to dress up as their favorite characters or scary monsters. Halloween is great fun but it also has its host of safety hazards, lurk in the shadows. Keep your ghouls and goblins safe during trick-or-treating by observing the following rules of Halloween Safety.

1. Have an adult with you – A child should never treat-or-treat alone. Halloween is a great time to talk to your child about the importance of Abduction Safety.

2. Trick-or-Treat in daylight, if possible – Get an early start and complete your trick-or-treating by sun down.

3. Carry a Flashlight or Glow Sticks – Kids enjoy carrying glow sticks, but they also ensure that passing cars will see them.

4. Walk, Don’t Run – Running is a major cause of accidents for children during Halloween. With the not perfectly fitting costumes and reduced visibility from the mask, slips, trips, and falls are common. Reduce the risk by enforcing a walk, no running rule. Also, make sure their costume does not drag on the grounds.

5. Don’t Cut Across Yards – Remember you are at someone else’s house. Demonstrate courtesy by walking on the sidewalks instead of cutting across lawns.

6. Wear Shoes that Fit and are Comfortable – Nothing can ruin a great time with your kid more than them whining that their feet hurt and you are a mile walk from home.

7. Take Your Mask off – Masks cut down on your visibility. Pull the mask up between houses and return your ghoulish mask at the door.

8. Only Go to Lit Houses and People You Know – If the lights are not on, chances are that they are not at home or they don’t want to join in on the Halloween fun. Respect their boundaries and pass this house for a more trick-or-treat friendly home.

9. Stay Away from Animals – Halloween is exciting for children and animals are excited too. Some animals might display territorial behavior because you are walking on their property. It’s best to avoid the problem and stay away.

10. Walk on Sidewalks – Stay clear from the roads were a car might not see you’re child. Warning your children to stay away from cars that slow down and offer you candy or try to get you to come over. Also, teach your kids never to get into anyone’s car.

11. Never Enter a House without Your Parents – While your child is trick-or-treating, advise them about the dangers of entering a house without a parent accompanying them.

12. Don’t Eat Any Candy Until Your Parents Check It – Parents should examine all candy before eating. To avoid the temptation of eating a few pieces on the road, make sure to eat something before heading out on your trick-or-treat adventure.

Children look forward to Halloween and trick-or-treating. By observing a few rules, your ghouls and goblins will enjoy a fun and SAFE time.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Teaching Tip: Enforce The Do’s, Not Don’ts

You hear it all the time. As parents or teachers, we attempted to enforce rules on child. Most of the rules appear in a negative form like “Don’t run” or “Don’t touch”. Enforcing these rules, tend to promote resistance by children as they attempt to control their surroundings.

Instead, change your thinking to reinforce positive statements by enforcing the Do’s, not the Don’ts.

Turn all your statements into positive statements. Here’s some examples:
Negative StatementPositive Statement
“Don’t Run”“Please walk in an orderly fashion”
“Don’t Touch”“Let’s only look without touching”
“Don’t Push”“We need to keep our hands to ourselves”
“Don’t jump on equipment”“Please, use the equipment properly”
Negative statements may stop behavior but don’t provide direction for the student which in turn, causes the student to return to the behavior. Positive statements enforce good behavior, provide directions, and set positive expectations.