Communication Skills Training: The Teaching Tone

“Porter, what is that?” asked my Chinese friend Phil when he was visiting our home this last week from China.

“The moon.” replied eight year old Porter as he looked at the sky.

“In Chinese the moon has a different name.” Phil went on.

Phil told Porter the two syllable word which means moon in Chinese, but Porter struggled with the new sounds. After a minute Porter was able to reproduce the sound combinations, but something was still missing. Phil had Porter listen to him say the word again and again so that Porter could make the sounds with the correct tone. Finally, Porter said the Chinese word for moon with the proper tone, soft in one place and more abrupt in another place. From this simple vocabulary lesson, Porter learned that good communication skills require two things, the action and the tone. Continue reading

Toddler Tantrums At The Most Inconvenient Times!

“But, what do you do when they are screaming, and it’s time to walk out the door?” a father asked me at a recent conference. “My strong willed three year old son is very difficult at those times.”

I looked at this wonderfully dedicated father, and felt his frustration. Who hasn’t felt the anxiety build when a child has a tantrum right when you are leaving for church or leaving for work? Let’s face it, there really are no convenient times for a child to have a temper tantrum. But, when a family is leaving it is one of the most inconvenient times to deal with a tantrum. The family is soon going to be with other people and they need to be ready to properly socialize. Starting a car trip with attitude problems and frustration can create other negative interactions with the people you are about to see. Continue reading

Old Fashioned Solutions For Modern Day Parenting Problems

Were there dangers for children back in the old days? Did parents worry about keeping their children safe from social ills like we do today? In his recent book, Mormon Parenting Secrets (don’t let the name fool you, it’s for all families and all faiths), Flint Stephens says that pioneer families did have fears and concerns about the safety of their children, but those dangers were often different than we face today. He says that pioneer parents were afraid of rattlesnakes and cliffs, high rivers and getting lost in the wilderness.

Modern families also have fears, but our fears are moral fears rather than physical fears. This is not to say that there weren’t any moral issues in pioneer times. But, as a general rule, people didn’t have time to be immoral. The demands of pioneer living were so time-consuming and the reputation a man or woman had with his few neighbors was so important that the laziness induced immorality, which is so common today, was rarely ever a temptation. Continue reading

Becoming A Youth: The Answer To Teenager Problems

“I am not a teenager and here’s why…” said a group of youth one day during a discussion on the article by Dr. Michael Platt, The Myth Of The Teenager. One after one each of the group of fifteen or so youth declared why they were not or would not be teenagers. They said things like:

“If we don’t want anyone to despise our youth, then we need to be worthy of respect, we cannot hope to be that by being a teenager. I want to be someone who makes a difference in other people’s lives, and I cannot do that by being a teenager.” ~Benjamin age 13

“We cannot walk as other men or talk as other men or do as other men, for we have a different destiny, obligation and responsibility placed upon us and we must fit ourselves to it.” ~Paije age 12

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Children Who Can’t Sit Still Cure: Problem Solving Activities

One Sunday our family attended a rare, two hour long church meeting. My children are very used to sitting quietly through one hour church meetings, but sometimes they struggle a little bit on a two hour meeting.

About three quarters through the meeting this past Sunday my eight year old son asked if he could go to the bathroom. I told him he could, but to hurry back. About twenty minutes later my husband leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Where is Porter?”

“I don’t know.” I said. “I thought he would be back by now. He went to the bathroom. We’ll need to go looking for him.” My husband sat back in his seat content that I was going to go look. “You will need to go look for him.” I smiled. “I can’t go into the boys bathroom.”

“Oh yeah. Oops. Sorry Bunny.” he whispered with a smile as he stood up and walked toward the door.

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