Outline of Parenting Issues for Discussion

Blended Families

  1. Problem occurs when there is an expectation that the stepparent and child will somehow have an instant familial attachment.
  2. Divided loyalties
  3. Boundary Issues
    • Who are the real members of the family.
    • Relationships between step-chldren.
    • What space is mine vs ours.
    • Who is really in charge?
    • is time divided?
  4. Language issues
    • What do I call stepparent?
    • What is acceptable?
  5. Where do I live and what schools do I go to? Whose house is it?
  6. Jealousy issues.
  7. Secret of Family Self-Esteem (by Anne Cassidy)

    1. Family members treasure their home, and each feels he has a personal stake in it.
    2. Parents are organized so the family isn’t always playing catch-up.
    3. Plenty of good food is available.
    4. Family members avoid excessive criticism and focus on strengths.
    5. Family members believe in each other, in good times and bad.
    6. Parents and kids respect one another as individuals.
    7. Family members are affectionate to one another.
    8. Parents cultivate their marriage.
    9. Parents have some friends of their own.
    10. By appreciating the family’s heritage, parents give children a sense of belonging to a larger, special community.
    11. Family members make time to have fun together because they know it’s important.
    12. The family has traditions everyone enjoys.
    13. Parents bolster their own self-esteem.

    The Results of Misbehavior typically indicates what kids are after

    1. Attention
    2. Power (Self-esteem)
    3. Revenge
    4. Control

    Effective Parenting

  8. Predictable
  9. Consistent
  10. Natural consequences
  11. Enforceable

What do you want for your teens? (From Active Parenting)

  1. Courage (to live your values)
  2. Responsibility
  3. Cooperation
  4. Self-Esteem

Styles of Parenting (From Active Parenting)

  1. Autocratic – Limits without freedom
  2. Permissive – Freedom without limits
  3. Authoritative – Freedom within expanding limits

Four Ways Parents Discourage Kids (From Active Parenting)

  1. Focusing on mistakes and weaknesses
  2. Expecting the worst or too little
  3. Expecting too much
  4. Overprotecting and pampering

Turning Discouragement into Encouragement

  1. Build on strengths
  2. Show confidence
    • Give Responsibility
    • Ask your teen’s opinion or advice
    • Avoid unnecessary rescues
  3. Value the teen as is
    • Separate the deed from the doer
    • Appreciate your teen’s uniqueness
  4. Stimulate independence
    • Allow your teen to take reasonable risks
    • Help your teen develop a sense of independence

Ten Prevention Strategies for Parents (Drugs and Alcohol) (From Active Parenting)

  1. Be a positive role model and teacher of values
  2. Educate your teens about the risks of drugs, sexuality, and violence
  3. Establish clear guidelines for behavior
  4. Provide healthy opportunities for challenge
  5. Consult with teens about how to resist peer pressure
  6. Monitor and supervise teen behavior
  7. Work with other parents
  8. Identify and confront the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
  9. Calmly manage a crisis should one occur
  10. Manage your own feeling

Five Goals of Teen Behavior (From Active Parenting) (Behavior is goal driven)

  1. Contact/Belonging
    • Positive outcome – Contributing/Cooperation
    • Negative outcome – Undue Attention-Seeking
  2. Power
    • Positive outcome – Independence
    • Negative outcome – Rebellion
  3. Protection
    • Positive outcome – Assertiveness/Forgiveness
    • Negative outcome - Revenge
  4. Withdrawal
    • Positive outcome – Appropriate Avoidance
    • Negative outcome – Undue Avoidance
  5. Challenge
    • Positive outcome – Safe Adventures
    • Negative outcome – Thrill Seeking

How conflicts between divorced parents hurt kids (From Cooperative Divorce)

  1. Diminishes the parents’ role as protector
  2. Complicates the child’s role identity
  3. Fails to teach effective conflict-resolution skills
  4. Threatens loss of stability or abandonment
  5. Puts the child in a loyalty bind

Divorce Rules (From Cooperative Parenting and Divorce)

  1. Do not talk badly about the other parent.
  2. Do not talk about the other parent’s friends or relatives.
  3. Do not talk about the divorce or other grown-up stuff.
  4. Do not talk about money or child support.
  5. Do not make your child feel bad when they enjoy their time with the other parent.
  6. Do not block a child’s visits or prevent them from speaking to the other parent on the phone.
  7. Do not interrupt a child’s time with the other parent by calling too much or by planning activities during their time together.
  8. Do not argue in front of your child or on the phone where he/she can hear you.
  9. Do not ask your child to spy for you when he/she is at the other parent’s home.
  10. Do not ask your child to keep secrets from the other parent.
  11. Do not ask your child questions about the other parent’s life or about their time together.
  12. Do not give your child verbal messages to deliver to the other parent.
  13. Do not send written messages with your child or place them in their luggage.
  14. Do not blame the other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in your life.
  15. Do not treat your child like an adult, it causes way too much stress for them.
  16. Do not ignore the other parent or sit on opposite sides of the room during your child’s school or sports activities.
  17. Do let your child take items to the other home as long as he/she can carry them back and forth.
  18. Do not use guilt to pressure your child to love you more and do not ask your child where they want to live.
  19. Do realize that your child has two homes, not just one.
  20. Do let your child love both parents and see each parent as much as possible. Be flexible even when it is not part of the regular schedule.

Not My Kid by Beth Polson

  1. Parent Denial
    • Parent denial is dangerous because it allows the drug use to continue and to grow
      • Types of Parenting Denial
      • Minimizing Behavior – “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”
      • Accepting the Con – “Did you have a nice time at the party, dear?”
  2. One of the biggest drug cons is the art of throwing the attention on someone else.
  3. Playing the good kid is the best way to keep parents in the dark.
    • Ignoring Advice – “It’s none of your business.”
    • The Blame Game – blaming your spouse for your kid’s drug problems.
    • Looking for Another Cause – “Tell me it’s anything but drugs.”
    • Kids will be kids – “When I was your age….”
    • Nothing’s Wrong – “I didn’t see anything. Did you see anything?”
  4. Kid Denial
    • Denial to others
    • Denial to self
    • Types of Denial
    • Minimizing the problem – kids maximize the minimizing
    • Repressing behavior – No matter how bad his behavior becomes, he still sees it as how “cool” he was.
    • Explaining trouble away
    • Blaming others – No kid blames drugs for his actions; he’d rather find a person to pin it on.
    • Blanking out feelings
    • Rationalization
    • Euphoric recall – only remembers the highs, not the lows
    • Blackouts
    • Stages of Drug Use
    • Stage 1 – kids take drugs only when it’s convenient and when they’re available.
  5. Experimentation
    • Stage 2 – Move to actively seeking drugs. – Dual lifestyle begins
      1. Conning begins – wants people to think he is straight and doing constructive things with his life.
      2. Passive withdrawal periods turn into aggressive, angry periods.
      3. Lack of motivation or loss in interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, and future goals begin to appear.
      4. No longer needs friends to get high
      5. Takes drugs to feel good and to self-medicate.
    • Stage 3 – Getting high has become the most important thing in life.
      1. Uses drugs to feel good and to avoid bad feelings.
      2. Drops all pretenses of being straight
      3. Getting high daily
      4. Overdoses may begin to occur
      5. Crime increases
      6. Usually the first contact with police occurs in this stage.
      7. May begin to deal drugs in order to pay for his own supply.
      8. Increase in health problems.
      9. The highs are accompanied by strong lows.
      10. May have thoughts of suicide
    • Stage 4 – Final stage before death
      1. High “All the time”.
      2. Can’t stop using.
      3. Chronic emotional pain
      4. Thoughts of suicide increase
      5. Varieties of Enabling
        • Ignoring the behavior
        • Hiding the behavior from the other parent
        • Accepting the blame
        • Fixing it
        • Fixing the situation
        • Fixing the behavior
        • Fixing the consequences
      6. Making a treaty – Saying it is OK to do drugs because in some way the kid is entitled.
      7. It’s nothing new – Not acknowledging the legitimate danger of drugs and alcohol and letting your child think you see drugs as part of the growing up experiment is enabling.
      8. It’s not so bad – Kids who agree to limits cannot keep their end of the bargain.
      9. Protective Alliance – The parent who is not in the fraternity, the parent who is trying to stop drug use and drug behavior becomes the enemy.
      10. Wanting a Better Life – Parents enable their children by smiling on the extended play period of adolescence. Drug use produces selfishness. The more a parent gives, the more they help, the more druggie kids take advantage and the more they manipulate.