welcome to children 101

Children & Responsibilities

about children 101
mental health issues facing children
Mental Health: in the womb & the first year of life....
Mental Health: Two, Three & Four for more!
Mental Health: The Elementary School Child
Mental Health: The Chaos Begins - Almost Teens...
Emotions & Feelings
Just Love 'Em - What Children Need
Children & Fear
children & anger
Children & Control
Power Struggles
learning to communicate...it's a 2 way street!
Setting Limits & Boundaries
self esteem
Dealing with a bully
Character & Values
Social Skills
Children & Friendships
Children Need Extended Family Relationships
Lifestyle Factors
Children & Responsibilities
About School & Education
Sex Education
Spirituality & Children
Gifted Children
Children with Special Needs
Children with Special Problems
children with special gifts
Children & Stress
Child Abuse & Neglect
Dysfunctional Family Life
Children & Divorce
Parenting Tips
An Adoption in the Family
Single Parenting
Same Sex Parenting
Step Families
Foster Families
No Kids? Be A Mentor!
When Kids Self Medicate
When A Parent Dies
When A Sibling Dies
Children & Trauma
coping mechanisms for kids
teaching life skills

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think about how to tie your tie, dad....

do you have children or transport children?

click here... it's an emotional feeling "you tube video" that'll cause you to be more careful in how you transport your child(ren).

How to Get Your Child to Think for Themselves - By Jill Brennan

Do you find that you are continually telling your children what to do? Brush your teeth, put your plate away, make your bed, don’t forget your hat, put on your shoes…sometimes the list feels endless.

I don’t know what it is about putting on shoes but I used to have battles with both my children to put their shoes on. I remember one time screaming at Jake to put his shoes on because I had told him, maybe ten times to do it, and he hadn’t. He was playing or getting distracted or pretending he didn’t know how. Then I lost it, he burst into tears and his shoes still weren’t on. I’m sure the neighbours must have thought I was balmy yelling about shoes! Before I became a mother I would never thought that I could end up screaming about something so trivial.

After I thought about what had happened and I was shocked that I had exploded over such a simple thing but as any parent knows it’s the simple things that trip you up. The positive out of all of that was that I knew there had to be a better way.

I started off by asking Jake to put his shoes on and then just expecting him to do it. I refused to repeatedly tell him what to do. That helped but it wasn’t quite enough. Then I started asking him what he needed to do to get ready and after a short period of time, bingo! He got that going out meant shoes on. Sure there was the odd grumble but nothing like before.

If you’re tired of being your child’s personal alarm then try asking them questions instead. Questions like ‘what do you need to do to get ready?’ if you’re going out somewhere. Or ‘what do you do after you’ve finished your dinner?’ when they get up & walk away from the dinner table with their plate & glass sitting where they left them. Or ‘do you have everything you need?’ when they're about to begin their homework or go outside & play ball.

What is the difference between these two approaches? Well the first means you have to do all the thinking and all your child has to do is follow your instructions (it’s surprising how difficult that sometimes can seem for your child!).

Don’t get me wrong there is a time & place for straight out instructions but in many instances there is a better way & that way is by asking questions in order to get your child to think for themselves about what they're doing & what they need to do next.

If you consistently use this strategy then over time you will not even need to ask the question to prompt them into action. They will just do what needs to be done. No, really, it does work. Give it a try, you may be surprised.

I’ve been following the ask, don’t tell strategy for some time now with my two boys & ok, we do have the odd hiccough in the system but on the whole it works well & saves me the endless round of rote orders.

The best evidence I have that it works is that when we're getting ready in the morning & I tell them I’m going upstairs to brush my teeth they know that's their cue to put on their shoes, collect their bags & lunch boxes & strap themselves into the car. Then I come down & off we go. It makes getting out the door soooo much easier.

There's still the odd drama about which shoe goes on which foot or delays while they negotiate which toys to select & take with them in the car but even in amongst all that, it's still a dramatically streamlined routine compared to what it was & as a result, the odd fuss can be easily accommodated & rarely escalates to a stand off.

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nuture 101

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Parenting Pathfinders Formulate Behavioral Consequences to Encourage Personal Responsibility in Children
Introduction to Natural & Logical Consequences

Parenting Pathfinders track the natural and logical behavioral consequences of their children's behaviors so as to encourage them to become personally responsible for their own lives.

Parenting Pathfinders begin this tracking from birth and continue on into their children's adulthood. Pathfinders parent their children using principles listed in Section 3.

They activate their children's self-esteem utilizing the developmental parenting tasks over the life span as outlined in Section 4.

They formulate structures and policies as outlined in Section 5. They hug their children establishing lifelong bonding as outlined in Section 6.

The use of natural and logical consequences as a response to their behaviors, encourages them to take notice much earlier and more dramatically. The earlier they learn the impact of their behaviors on themselves the earlier they can learn to modify them and become more personally responsible for their own outcomes. This doesn't take away from the self-esteem and bonding efforts of parents but rather enhances them.

The use of natural and logical consequences is a thinking person's method of parenting. The goal of this approach is to eliminate all screaming, yelling, ranting and raving to get children's attention to the adverse impact of their negative behaviors.

Instead, this model puts the onus or burden on the children to recognize for themselves the impact of their own behaviors on themselves. The end result of implementing this model, along with the structuring outlined in Section 5, is to assist parents to do less direct disciplining, behavioral management, or over-parenting.

Once the consequences are recognized, agreed to, outlined and recorded, all parents need to do is remind children of the consequence if a negative behavior should occur. Pathfinders then watch to see that the children experience the designated consequence prescribed.

This takes time investment initially to identify natural consequences, develop logical consequences and record these for the myriad behaviors children exhibit. There's a need to modify the list as children grow older, circumstances change and developmental needs differ.

Pathfinders utilize the family meetings outlined in Section 5 to work out changed behavioral consequences with their children.

A natural consequence of a behavior is what happens naturally once it's exhibited. Most of the behaviors which children engage in can be modified by allowing them to experience the natural consequences.

The modifications result from children realizing the negative impact to themselves of the natural consequence for their behaviors. If the natural consequence is aversive enough to children they'll be intrinsically motivated to modify their behaviors in the future to avoid the consequence.

If the natural consequence isn't aversive enough or if it's too dangerous to children's welfare and if it would take too long to take effect, then Pathfinders develop logical consequences. The same goal of helping children to be intrinsically motivated to avoid engaging in unacceptable behaviors underlies the use of logical consequences.

Logical consequences are best when they're directly related to the behaviors in question and closely approximate the natural consequences as possible.

The notion of requiring children to accept the consequences for their own behaviors is at the root of Pathfinders' desires to let go of the need to control the outcomes for their children.

The monitoring and tracking of consequences requires that parents have a documented listing of consequences for all desired behaviors they wish their children to acquire. This is best handled by recording them in the policy manual outlined in Section 5.

The policy manual then wouldn't only list the agreed upon expectations of the parents for children's behaviors but also would include the natural and logical consequences if those desired behaviors weren't exhibited.

This provides both children and parents with a document to refer to on a regular basis to remind them of what the desired outcomes are and what the consequences would be if they don't occur.

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How to use the natural and logical consequences model of Parenting Pathfinders

Parents who decide to use the natural and logical consequences model of Pathfinder Parenting have major adjustments to make in their thinking, feelings and behaviors.

They must alter their views of discipline and child management. The use of the consequences model is a form of parent management which requires them to think things out in advance based on the natural outcomes of human behavior.

This form of parenting requires that parents place the control for their children's outcomes into their children's hands. The natural consequences for behaviors aren't always immediately obvious. It takes time to recognize them.

There aren't always natural consequences which parents will want their children to experience. For these they'll develop logical consequences. Deciding on logical consequences for behaviors for which natural consequences don't exist is a difficult task.

Parents who are prone to use guilt and manipulation to get children to conform, have a difficult time in adjusting to the natural and logical consequence model. Parents who have quick tempers &/or use intimidation to get children to conform find the change to the natural and logical consequence model a major adjustment in thinking and reacting.

Here are some rules for using the natural and logical consequences model of parenting.

1. Never use guilt as a natural or logical consequence to get children to conform to desired behaviors (e.g. don't use: "I would be so disappointed if you did...").

2. Never use the existence of natural or logical consequences as tools of intimidation to get children to change behaviors (e.g. don't use: "You better not do this or else the following will happen to you...").

3. Never use natural or logical consequences as tools of manipulation to get children to do as you wish (e.g. don't use: "If you didn't do it, then this wouldn't have happened to you...").

4. Never use natural or logical consequences as "get backs" to make children sorry that they didn't do as you wanted them to (e.g. don't use: "I'll teach you by this consequence to never do what I do not want you to do ...").

5. Never use natural or logical consequences as punishment for doing bad {e.g. don't use: "You've been a bad kid and this consequence will be punishment for what you have done...").

6. Never make logical consequences too different from the natural consequence for the behavior (e.g. don't use: "I don't care what you did. What I do care about is that this is what you're going to have happen to you for doing it...").

7. Never use a logical consequence when a natural consequence exists and it's safe for children to experience (e.g. don't use: "I don't care what the natural consequence is I want you to experience the following instead...").

8. Never use a natural consequence when the health and safety of children would be put at risk (e.g. don't use: "If you run out into the road, you might get hit by a car and die, so just go ahead and try it...").

9. Never use a natural consequence when it would take too much time for the consequence to actually occur (e.g. don't use: "You'll get a respiratory problem from smoking when you grow older so it's your choice if you smoke or not now...").

10. Never promise to use natural or logical consequences and then revert to an older form of discipline which will confuse your children as to what are logical consequences (e.g. don't use: "I know I promised you that if you did that behavior that this would happen to you, but I am so mad that I'm going to give you a spanking instead...").

11. Always be consistent in your use of natural and logical consequences (e.g. do use: "You've done the following behaviors and the natural or logical consequence for that behavior which was pointed out to your earlier are...").

12. Always spell out the natural and logical consequences clearly so that your children fully understand them and then record them in your family journal so that you have a permanent record of them (e.g. do use: "These are the natural and logical consequences and they're now recorded in our family journal so that we can be reminded what they are if we ever need them...").

13. Always warn your children in advance as much as you can of what the natural or logical consequences will be for behaviors so that you aren't placed into a position to come up with a logical consequence after the fact.

This helps the children recognize that natural or logical consequences for their actions are their choice and not just another form of discipline for unacceptable behaviors (e.g. do use: "You now know what the consequences for those actions are, so it's now your choice to do them or not.,.").

14. Always be positive when using natural and logical consequences and don't revert to old form with temper or angry outbursts when your children's behaviors don't please you (e.g. do use with no ranting, raving, yelling or screaming: " You did the following and the consequence for that is ...").

15. Always explain fully the natural or logical consequences in detail, so as not to leave your children in question as to their duration, intensity and directions (e.g. do use: "Now that you understand the full impact of the consequences for those possible actions, it's your choice to do them or not...").

16. Always make sure natural and logical consequences result in an immediate response which doesn't extend over a prolonged period of time during which children can lose sight of why they're experiencing the consequences (e.g. do use: "You'll experience this consequence immediately for what you've just done and you can decide for yourself if it was worth doing what you did...").

17. Always remind children that they're free to choose their own behaviors as long as they're ready to accept the natural and logical consequences of their behaviors (e.g. do use: "You're free to do what you want to do now that you know what will happen if you chose to do those behaviors...").

18. Always remind children that they're responsible for their own behaviors which resulted in a natural or logical consequence and that you'll not accept their blaming others for their choices (e.g. do use: "You did what you did and you can't point the finger of blame to other people, for this reason you'll need to accept the following consequence...").

19. Always remind yourself and your children that the goal of natural and logical consequences is to assist them to accept responsibility for their own lives so that they can grow up into self-sufficient, independent adults with healthy self-esteem (e.g. do use: "You'll benefit from the use of these consequences because they'll help you to become responsible for your own life...").

20. Always let others in your children's lives know that you practice the Pathfinder Parenting model of natural and logical consequences so that they can use the same model with them in the various settings your children are involved in (e.g. do use: "In our home, my children are used to the natural and logical consequence model so that they can learn to be personally responsible for their own lives and I'd prefer for you to use the same model with them...").

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Developing natural & logical consequences exercise:

Directions: In section 5 is a list of indoor & outdoor chores. In this exercise, you'll decide consequences for getting chores done.

In this exercise read each of the consequences listed under each chore & put N in front of the consequence if you believe it to be a natural consequence & put L in front of the consequence if you believe it to be a logical consequence.

Put NEITHER in front of the consequence if you think it's inappropriate & it fits more into the punishment mode of discipline. The answer key appears at the end of this section.

Pick up personal items in private room

__1. If you don't pick up your room, then I'll pick it up myself & I may just get rid of everything which I find on the floor.

__2. If you don't pick up your room, then I will keep the door closed so that no one will see it.

__3. If you don't pick up your room, then I'll take a quarter each day this week from your allowance it isn't cleaned up.

__4. If you don't pick up your room, then I'll give you a spanking each day I find it a mess.

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Pick up personal items in public rooms

__1. If you don't pick up your things in the public rooms by the time you go to bed, then you'll most probably not find them the next morning because, then I'll throw them away.

__2. If you don't pick up your things in the public rooms, then I'll make you pick them up before you go to bed.

__3. If you don't pick up your things in the public rooms, then I'll yell & nag at you until you get it done.

__4. If you don't pick up your things in the public rooms, then I'll pick them up because they bother me. I'll throw them onto the floor in your private floor.

Keep your room neat & picked up.

__1. If you don't keep your room neat & picked up, then it'll become such a mess that you'll find it hard to live in there.

__2. If you don't keep your room neat & picked up, then I'll not enter it until it is cleaned & then I'll remind you daily that it's a mess until you get it cleaned.

__3. If you don't keep your room neat & picked up, then I'll write notices & put them on your door to remind you to get it cleaned up.

__4. If you don't keep your room neat & picked up, then I'll deduct $1.00 each day from your allowance until it gets cleaned up.

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4.0. Pick up your dirty clothes and put them into the dirty clothes hamper.

4.1. If you do not put your dirty clothes into the laundry hamper, then you will not have clean clothes to wear when you need them.

4.2. If you do not put your dirty clothes into the laundry basket on time for me to wash them, then you will have to do your laundry on your own if you want them cleaned this week.

4.3. If you do not pick up your dirty clothes, then I will, but I can't promise that they won't all be bleached since I am doing whites today.

4.4. If you do not pick up your dirty clothes on the floor, then your room will begin to stink and you will suffer a lack of clean clothes and room stench.

5.0. Put clean clothes away in your own room.

5.1. If you don't put your clean clothes away in your room, then you won't be able to find them when you need them.

5.2. If you don't put your clean clothes away in your room, then I won't wash your clothes anymore since it seems like I am cleaning your clean clothes over and over.

5.3. If you do not put your clean clothes away after they are folded and ironed, then they will get messy and unpresentable.

5.4. If you do not put your clean clothes away in your room, then I will. But, I might not put them where you will be able to find them.

6.0. Set table for dinner and clean table after dinner.

6.1. If you do not set the table, then we won't have the utensils to eat with and we will not allow you to eat with us.

6.2. If you refuse to clean up the table and kitchen after the meal then you will not be allowed to eat the next meal.

6.3. If you don't help out before or after dinner, then you will be sent to your room for the next week until you apologize and write a 1000 word essay on why it is important to help the family out.

6.4. If do you do not assist us to get ready to eat or clean up after eating, then you will be not be participating as a member of our family and we will have to discuss at our next family meeting what steps we need to take to encourage your participation in this family. 

7.0. Doing all the rest of the household chores listed

7.1. If you do not do this specific chore, then you will find $.50 deducted each day from your allowance.

7.2. If you do not do this chore, then you will not get paid for it.

7.3. If you do not do this chore, then I will do it for youyou. But, then I will nag and complain about doing it and never let you forget that I did it for you.

7.4. If you do not do this chore to my satisfaction, then I will yell and scream until it is done to my satisfaction.

7.5. If you do not do this chore to my satisfaction, then I will expect you to get it done to my satisfaction before you can do anything else today.

7.6. If you do not get all of your chores done before Thursday night bedtime, then you will not be allowed to do anything this weekend until they get done.

7.7. If you do not get all your chores done by Saturday noon, then you will not receive your allowance for the week which is handed out at noon on Saturday.

7.8. If you do not get all your chores done today, then we will make you stay up and get them completed before you go to bed tonight.

7.9. If you do not get the chores done which are assigned to you, then we will let other family members do them and receive the portion of the allowance you usually receive for doing them.

7.10. If you do not do your chores, then we will hound you until you get them done.

7.11. If you do not do your chores, then we will give you one smack on the butt for each chore and each day the chore was not done.

7.12. If you do not do a specific chore, then you will lose the specific privilege earned for doing it as decided upon in our family meeting.

7.13. If you do not do your chores, then we will embarrass you by telling your teachers and/or coaches and ask them to point out your irresponsibility to your classmates and/or team mates.

7.14. If you do not do your chores, then we will call your grandparents and get them to make you do them.

7.15. If you do not do your chores, then we are going to go to a counselor to get you to do them.

7.16. If you do not do this specific chore, then I will get so mad that, then I will give you a beating you will never forget.

7.17. If you do not do this specific chore, then I will not speak to you until you get it done right.

7.18. If you do not get this chore done, then it will go undone.

7.19. If you do not get this chore done on the outside of the house, then all the neighbors will see that it wasn't done and they will think we are sloppy neighbors.

7.20. If you do not do this chore, then I will be very disappointed in you.

7.21. If we all chose not to do our chores, then it would be very uncomfortable to live in this house.

7.22. If you do not do your chores, then we will have to hire someone to come into the house to do it. We will have to use the money we would normally spend on family recreation and leisure activities to pay this person.

7.23. If you do not do your chores, we will not be able to have an organized household and there will be a lot of arguments, fights and dissension making this an uncomfortable place to live.

7.24. If you do not do your chores, then you are a pig.

7.25. If you do not do your chores, then you will become an irresponsible adult incapable of taking care of your own life and unfit to be a employee, spouse or parent.

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Answer Key: Developing natural and logical consequences exercise

1.1. L

1.2. N

1.3. L

1.4. Neither - Punishment

2.1. L

2.2. N

2.3. Neither - Nagging,overcontrolling

2.4. N

3.1. N

3.2. Neither - Revenge

3.3. Neither - Fixing, overcontrolling

3.4. L

4.1. N

4.2. L

4.3. Neither - Revenge

4.4. N

5.1. N

5.2. L

5.3. N

5.4. L

6.1. L

6.2. L

6.3. Neither - Revenge

6.4. N

7.1. L

7.2. N

7.3. Neither - Guilt inducing

7.4. Neither - Intimidation

7.5. L

7.6. L

7.7. L

7.8. N

7.9. L

7.10. Neither - Nagging

7.11. Neither - Punishment

7.12. L

7.13. Neither - Revenge

7.14. Neither - Intimidation

7.15. Neither - Intimidation

7.16. Neither - Punishment

7.17. Neither - Revenge

7.18. N

7.19. N

7.20. Neither - Guilt inducing

7.21. N

7.22. N

7.23. N

7.24. Neither - Belittling

7.25. Neither - Guilt inducing

Journal Exercise:

Directions: In your personal journal answer the following questions.

1. How do you feel about the use of natural & logical consequences as the vehicle to assist your children to become personally responsible?

What obstacles do you see in using them in your family?

2. How easy do you find it to come up with natural & logical consequences for encouraging desired behaviors in your children?

What makes this task difficult for you?

What do you need to do to help you make it a easier & more natural task for you?

3. How would you have responded to the use of natural & logical consequences if your parents used them with you when you were younger?

What do you think you would be like today, if they'd been used in a consistent healthy way when you were growing up.

4. What do you think your children will do if you begin to change the way you discipline to the natural & logical consequence model?

What do you think you will have the hardest time with in implementing this model in your family?

5. How effective has your current form of discipline been with your children?

How close was it to the natural & logical consequence model?

How difficult will it be to convert it to this model?

6. What's your response to this Pathfinder Parenting model to this point?

What do you like?

What do you dislike?

How practical do you find it for your particular family?

What needs to be modified for it to be effective with your particular family?

7. How much, of what you have read so far in this book, is relevant to you & your family?

How would it be useful or not useful in your family?

Why do you think much of what you've read is either useful or not useful to be used in your family?

8. What do you feel is blocking you from freely accepting the structure & philosophy of the Pathfinder Parenting Model?

Or what do you feel is encouraging you to so freely & openly accept & embrace the Pathfinder Parenting Model?

9. How does the natural & logical consequence model impact your willingness to either accept or reject the Pathfinder Parenting Model?

What alternative model of responsible behavioral shaping do you feel would be more appropriate for you as a Pathfinder?

Or why do you feel this form of behavioral shaping fits you so well?

10. What's the current status of your efforts to implement the recommendation of Pathfinders in your family?

What's preventing you from moving forward with them?

What do you need to motivate you to change your parenting approach?

What do you think accounts for your inactivity in implementing change in your family?

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Building Responsible Kids

By Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP
5 Apr 2001

Responsible kids. Sounds like an oxymoron! After all, aren't children the definition of irresponsible? Well, let me clear up this commonly held misconception. Kids are born with the capacity to become responsible people - it's all up to us.

Developing responsibility means becoming trustworthy or accountable for one's actions. Encouraging your child to become responsible should start at an early age. It'll take a lot of work & patience on your part, but it'll be worth every minute of effort, both for you & for your developing child.

Pouring the Foundation
You can't build a sturdy house without a firm foundation. The same is true when helping your child develop responsibly: If you don't lay the groundwork early & consistently, it'll be difficult for her to develop into a trustworthy adult. So when your child is young, take these steps to building a strong foundation:

  • Establish rules & appropriate consequences Help her understand that rules are to be followed & that there will be consequences if they aren't. This will encourage her to become responsible for her actions.

  • Help her develop concern for others Teach her to share & to think of others' feelings. Caring for pets & other living creatures is a good way to help kids develop empathy. Insist that she treat others in a kindly & mannerly fashion.

  • Give her chores From an early age, kids are capable of putting away their toys & helping with simple tasks. Completing chores will give her a feeling of accomplishment & self-sufficiency. It'll also make her feel like a member of the home team!

  • Allow her to make choices This should be done in an age-appropriate way. i.e., small children can choose a bedtime story, or make a choice from a selection of breakfast cereals.

Framing the House
As your child matures, she will have a steady foundation upon which to build a "house" of personal responsibility. As she frames her house, guide her in the following ways:

  • Whenever possible, act as advisor, not as director, in her life Give her increasing chances to make her own decisions while still under your roof. As a result, the world will seem a lot less threatening later on. And she'll know how to exercise good judgment if she has lots of practice in this area.

  • Continue to establish rules & follow thru with consequences Rules are not just for little kids! In fact, as your child heads toward the teen years, structure may become even more important. If kids become accustomed to following rules, they'll be equipped to establish structure in both their internal & external worlds once they leave home.

  • Encourage her to earn & manage money Developing a good work ethic & learning to manage money is key to becoming a responsible adult. Give her opportunities to earn money while she is still young. When she becomes a teen, assist her in obtaining part-time work. Teach her to save a portion of her earnings. Help her start checking & savings accounts & encourage her to begin putting money away for car insurance, clothes or college.

  • Help her understand the importance of giving to others Encourage her to participate in community service or volunteer work. Insist that she reach out to friends & family in need. Becoming a responsible person means looking out for others as well as oneself.

Without one final element, your child's house of responsibility will crumble: You must model responsibility yourself. In fact, your own actions will have more of an impact on her development than anything else! The task of helping her to become a responsible person may seem daunting. But I promise it's doable, one building block at a time!

Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP, is a psychotherapist and corporate consultant based in Stamford, Conn. Purcell contends that problems are a normal part of living, and that most dilemmas have straightforward, common-sense solutions. Purcell lives with her husband and teen-age daughter. Her e-mail address is: maudpurcell@aol.com

Last reviewed: On 13 Feb 2006 By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

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Encouraging Responsible Cell Phone Use - By Barbara McRae, MCC

Today, a teen's gift list is likely to include a cell phone right next to requests for video games and toys. But in the hands of a child without direction, a cell phone can be an enormous problem. How can you avoid the pitfalls and teach your teenager to use the phone responsibly?

With 25% of cell phone revenues coming from children and teens, it's no question that charges for excess minutes, text messages and email services can be a problem for parents. This is especially true now that cell phone companies are marketing to ever younger children.

What's more, as companies develop new features, parents will be repeatedly under pressure to buy new and improved phones for their kids. Then, there are all the accessories, such as carrying cases that match those of their friends, as well as the coolest new ring tones.

Which Plan?

Local unlimited plans can work if your child understands that they will be responsible for paying for excess minutes. Calls within the same network are usually free under the plan, which allows you to stay in contact with your child at any time.

If, on the other hand, your kid can't be trusted with minutes, opt for a prepaid plan. With these plans, when the minutes run out, the service goes dead.

Disturbing Use of Cell Phones

A few disturbing trends have emerged among teenagers with cell phones. Intimidating, and sometimes threatening, text messages are being sent to others. It has become so prevalent, in fact, that the practice has been given a name – "cyber-bullying."

Another trend is the use of “texting” and internet features to cheat during tests in school. But school isn't the only place your child can get into trouble with a cell phone. Your child needs to understand that there are laws against taking photographs and videos of people without their knowledge. The photo feature of a cell phone needs to be used carefully.

While some states have laws against driving while talking on a cell phone, it is best to avoid this practice. If your teen sees you doing it, he will probably also do it. For a teen with little driving experience, this is an accident waiting to happen. A hands-free device is an absolute necessity.

If your child spends time in internet chat rooms, make sure her cell phone number isn't being given out to anyone and everyone on the internet. Not only is your child at risk to predators on the internet, but these people will also reach out via cell phone if they get your child's number.

Sometimes, it makes sense to put your agreement with your child in writing, especially if violations of rules have been a problem. This will let your child know exactly what the consequences will be if the rules are broken again.

The Practicalities

If you haven't yet gotten a cell phone for your child, sit down and really think about how it will be used. The fact that all of her friends have one is not a good enough reason for the expense of a phone.

On the other hand, if it will allow you to keep better tabs on your child's whereabouts and/or make connections for pick-ups from school and activities, it may actually be a good investment. If you're divorced, a cell phone can be very helpful while your child is staying with the other parent, especially if you'd prefer to keep your contact with your former spouse to a minimum.

Another consideration is that emergencies do happen, and once your teen is driving, it simply makes sense to have a cell phone in case the car breaks down. Some telephones even have GPS tracking so that you can know where your child is 24/7.

Setting Limits

If you decide your younger child should have a cell phone, or if your teen is prone to breaking the rules, many phones have restrictions to allow you to set specific limits. For example, you can set the numbers that can be called and the numbers from which calls can be received. You can prevent internet access, text messaging, and other services that can be both expensive and problematic.

Still other phones have a timer feature which allows you to set the phone to shut down when you specify. This prevents it from ringing at school and keeps your kid from talking on the phone all night under the covers.

If you want to teach your teen to use the phone responsibly, your best bet is to require that extra use, email and text messages are paid out of allowance, wages from a job, or through chores around the house. If you set the list of numbers that can be called, your child could be responsible for paying for any numbers that are not on your list.

Many parents have a fear that their children will be on cell phones all the time, even at the dinner table. Again, the only way for children and teens to use cell phones responsibly is to have limits set and enforced by you. This includes restricting cell phone use where a land line is available so that family dinner time can stay out of the technological age.

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Teaching a Child Responsible Behavior Begins at Home - By Lori S. Anton

Parents are teachers, too. When it comes to child rearing, one of the most important lessons a parent can teach their youngster is responsible behavior. This means helping the child learn how to interact with others in a way that displays self-respect, as well as respect toward others.

No child comes into this world pre-programmed with good manners and virtuous attributes such as a willingness to share, consideration for the feelings of others, respect for others possessions, respect for authority figures, and a selfless attitude.

Consideration, responsible behavior must be taught while a child is very young so that it is instilled by the time they are older, when irresponsible behavior risks evolving into criminal behavior.

Teaching a child about responsible behavior begins at home. It is accomplished by setting a good example on a daily basis. Parents do this by being conscientious about exhibiting maturity in the ways they deal with other people, react to stressful situations, disagree with others, make choices, etc.

Parents can help their children grow into responsible adults by being a positive role model. Helping them learn how to think, feel, and act responsibly, and to pursue their own interests without becoming insensitive of the needs and feelings of others.

Accountability, fairness, honesty, courage, and respect toward self and others are important character traits. Many parents help instill these qualities by sharing deeply held religious and moral convictions with their children. Showing “why” these attributes are important as a foundation for ethical behavior, even when difficult or not materially rewarding.

Responsible behavior is a cultivated trait. It is a characteristic formed over time, made up of our outlook on life and daily habits. Responsible people behave that way whether or not anyone is watching, and regardless of how others may act.

There are several aspects of responsible behavior that should be highlighted to children. At the top of the list is respect and Compassion toward others. This should be the corner stone for all other aspects of responsible behavior:

• Honesty
• Courage
• Self-control
• Self-respect

Respect and Compassion: Responsible behavior is impossible apart from respect and compassion toward other people, as well as other life forms. Compassion dictates kindness and an unwillingness to intentionally cause suffering or pain. Respect dictates basic manners and consideration toward others. Concern is exhibited through both feelings and actions.

Honesty: To be honest means not only telling the truth to others; it means being honest with one’s own self. It means making decisions based upon truth and evidence, not upon self-serving motives or prejudice.

Courage: When a person is courageous, they take a position and do what is right, even when there is risk involved. It means facing duties instead of behaving irresponsibly, recklessly, or carelessly.

Self-control: Self-control is the ability to act responsibly, and resist inappropriate behavior. It involves sticking to long-term commitments, and dealing with anger and other emotions in a responsible manner.

Self-respect: When a child is raised to be honest, courageous, and to exhibit self-control, they automatically learn to respect themselves. It is as they respond to people and circumstances in a responsible manner and learn to make responsible choices that they discover self-respect.

And it is self-respect that will hold your child in good stead as they grow, mature into adults, and then perhaps become responsible parents with children of their own to rear.

For specific ways to teach children responsible behavior, visit the Savvy Baby Gear web site.

Additional Resources!

Teaching Children Responsibility

Having A Blast In Their Own Zone: Children enjoy having a sense of ownership of their time & space. Allowing them this will teach them responsibility

Practical Ways to Teach a Child Responsible Behavior - By Lori S. Anton

Responsible behavior doesn’t come naturally; it is a learned trait. It is important for parents to teach their children responsible behavior at an early age; a healthy respect for the feelings of others, and a strong sense of right and wrong.

Combined with setting a good example and involvement in a young child’s development of social skills, spend quality time with your child and instruct them about proper, responsible behavior. It can go a long way in helping to correct behavior problems that could lead to serious consequences down the road.

Everyday experiences are a parent’s best tool when it comes to teaching responsible behavior. Because this type behavior is a learned trait, it can become habit through repetitiveness.

Parents can effectively teach children with both words and deeds. Parents can always tell a child to respect others, and they may or may not comply in any given situation. But, when a parent consistently shows respect for other’s opinions, feelings, and possessions, they teach their children to do the same.

Actions + Words = Effective Training Methods

Our daily actions, attitudes, and social skills speak louder and much more effectively than words. As children watch what we do and ask questions, a golden opportunity is presented to teach valuable “life-lessons.”

“Mommy, why did you let that old lady skip in front of us?”

“Because she had only a few things to buy and we have a full cartload. I didn’t want her to have to stand in line for a long time.”

“Do you know her?”

“No. I’ve never met her before.”

“Then how do you know she didn’t want to wait in line.”

“Because she looked uncomfortable, and seemed to be in a hurry.”

By exhibiting responsible, considerate behavior toward others, children learn from our actions. As we encourage questions and answer in ways that explain why we did something, children better understand and become more conscientious of other people’s needs instead of just their own.

Story Time…A Golden Opportunity to Teach Responsibility

Another good method for teaching children responsible behavior is with the use of stories. Most children are enthusiastic when it comes to having someone read them a story. Select books that teach life-lessons, and then discuss what was read.

At www.savvy-baby-gear.com we suggest you encourage the child to ask questions, seeking the opportunity to emphasize good character traits, and the awareness that all actions – good or bad – will have consequences.

Every Day Presents Opportunities of Its Own

Consistency and application are keys when teaching small children about responsible behavior. Spend time with your child regularly. Encourage them to tell you about their day and things that happened; what they thought or felt, what they saw or heard, what they did or wanted to do. Use every opportunity to stimulate thoughts of awareness.

Put emphasis on positive feelings, emotions, and qualities such as bravery, thoughtfulness, compassion, honesty, kindness, etc. Help your children identify these traits in persons they know, characters they see on television, or people they read about. Help them to identify and cultivate these qualities in themselves. At the end of each day, ask, “How were you honest today?” or “Tell me two ways you were considerate to someone else today.”

Show Children How to Handle Negative Feelings Responsibly

Also help children explore acceptable ways to effectively deal with negative feelings such as anger, hurt, resentment, loneliness, etc. If a child expresses feelings of anger toward someone, avoid the urge to say that anger is wrong; instead, explore their feelings of anger with them.

Ask why they were angry, or ask them to tell you how angry they were. Help them understand that while it's natural to feel angry at times, how we express that anger is very important. There are acceptable ways to express anger, as well as unacceptable ways.

Tell them a story or cite an example of someone who experienced a particular negative feeling, then ask your child questions like, “What should Becky have done when she got angry?” or, “Why do you think Eric was lonely? What could he have done about it?”

Helping a child to understand the feelings of others as well as their own & appropriate ways to express those feelings, are big strides toward learning responsible behavior.

By spending time with your child on a regular basis & teaching thru example & discussion, you equip your child with good socialization skills & cultivate responsible behaviors sure to benefit them & others around them for a lifetime.

2006 Lori S. Anton, editor

the following web links are provided for your convenience in visiting the source sites for the information displayed on this page:

Parenting Pathfinders Formulate Behavioral Consequences to Encourage Personal Responsibility in Children

click here!

Click here to visit the Red Cross page that allows you to access your local chapter of the Red Cross by entering your zip code in the specified box, to see how you can help in your area. You can also call your local Red Cross Chapter that you can find the number for online or in your local phone book to volunteer for any openings that may need to be filled or you can find another way to help others there as well!

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