Archive for Everett’s Blog – Page 2

Most Important Parenting Skill

In good relationships children thrive

Relationship Key to Successful Parenting

From the day your baby arrives your number one goal should be to get to know and love this precious gift. The key to developing close caring relationship is consistent respect. Ask yourself, “Am I being respectful? How would I feel if someone talked to me like I talk to my child?”

Respect Leads to Good Relationship

Respect the rights of your children as individuals. He/she has a right to privacy. Don’t demand the child confide in you. Instead, offer to be there if needed. Respect his right to have a secret. Respectful treatment comes across as caring or valued. Any time you make your child feel small, shamed, guilty, non-existent or embarrassed, you put her down, deny respect, destroy safety and damage self-esteem.

Obstacles to Communication

Obstacles to communication include disrespectfuol treatment; taking a child’s specialness for granted;  disliking in them what you dislike in yourself; you-judgments; confusing behavior with the person; focusing on weaknesses instead of strengths, not taking them seriously; breaking trust. When you repeat what your child tells you in confidence, he is not likely to trust you again.

Personal Involvement

Sadly,. many parents who truly love their children wonder why the children don’t feel loved. Respect and direct personal involvement on the child’s level can make the difference. The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference. Focus on the child, not on what you are doing for him. The  child concludes, “I must matter because my folks take time to be with me and treat me with respect.”


Parent’s Book of Me

Identify your many faces

Advice from Virginia Satir

Children are often asked to make a book of themselves. Maybe this would be a good exercise for parents to do for themselves. Virginia Satir wrote a book called “Your Many Faces”. She starts the book “I want to get you excited about who you are, what you are, what you have, and what can still be you. I want to inspire you to see that you can go far beyond where you are right now.”

Make a Book of Yourself

Compiling this book of you would mean collecting pictures of yourself from birth until the present. Include excerpts from journals and diaries, letters sent and received, pictures of you interacting with friends and family, recurring dreams and fantasies. See if you can identify your many faces.

How does God and spirituality fit into who you are? Who had a part in forming your perceptions about yourself and good or bad parenting? How are those perceptions working in your own parenting and grandparenting? Do you judge your many faces as right or wrong instead of recognizing the potential they have to help you become a better parent and human being?

Important to Accept and Manage Your Many Faces

Satir shows in her book that we need to recognize and accept all of our many faces and then to learn to manage them well. That can be effective in becoming the best parent you can be. Some parents don’t accomplish this until they become grandparents. They become wonderful grandparents, but not so good parents. They miss so much of the joy.





PreKindergarten-Good or Bad?

Children learn through play

Expanding Early Education

Today’s Sacramento Bee printed an article by David L. Kirp, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley advocating expanding early education in California. He based his claims on the premise the Committee for Economic Development sees early education as a major difference maker. Members of the CED include 100 of the top business leaders. Kirp added, “The current and past Federal Reserve chairs, Janet Yellen and Ben Bernake agree.”

I Don’t Agree

I am not convinced. I taught first grade for seven years, raised three children and  became a marriage and family therapist. I have counseled families, children and teenagers, and many excellent teachers. The school in which I taught had a highly successful transitional Kindergarten to bridge the gap between K and first grade for non-English speaking students and others who needed more time for readiness. That program worked beautifully.

How Early Is Early Enough?

What Kirp is advocating is formal public schooling for three and four year olds. Kindergarten at age five started out as a fun time for children to get used to the discipline of being in school. They went on field trips, learned social skills, took naps, played games, formed bands with cymbals, drum sticks, bells, and drums, and were given other opportunities to be creative. Most children started out loving school. Now the curriculum is much the same as the first months of first grade used to be. Homework is sometimes required.

Creative excellent Kindergarten teachers came for counseling. They talked about being required to teach in sync with other Kindergarten teachers, all on the same page at the same time. For the best teachers teaching had become a nightmare.

Children Learn Through Play

What business leaders and some college professors don’t seem to get is children learn through play. Three and four year olds should not be fettered with time commitments and pressed to perform. They need to be free to color out of the lines, build cities and forms out of blocks and boxes, cuddle their pets, and build solid family relationships.

When I became a teacher the emphasis was on development of eye/hand coordination, maturation differences, reading readiness. Now the thinking seems to be push the child into formal schooling earlier and earlier and he will be more likely to go to college and contribute more to the economy. What often happens is children are sick of school and the outside pressure to learn by the time they reach the 7th grade.

Public Money Should Be Spent in Better Ways

Public money would be better spent on schools’ sponsoring a monthly parents night out with children left at the school making up their own entertainment–singing, dancing, games, writing, crazy fun things they have planned. Instead of PreK we need classes for parents with an emphasis on relationship skills. The first three or four years of life,  a time of discovery, children free to sleep, play, eat, be cherished and discover themselves and the world around them.




Fostering Self-Esteem in Children

Making Emily feel important

Self Worth Determines How We Live

We need to feel loveable

We need to feel competent

We need to have a sense of belonging

To Develop Self-esteem…….

Children need to be treated like a unique separate person

Children need focused attention

Children need trust

Children need acceptance without judgment

Children need to have their own feelings and perceptions

Children need to be heard with understanding

Children need to be loved and respected

Children need to manage themselves and their belongings

Children need to be children

Rate Yourself as a Parent

If you haven’t made goals for your parenting, start with fostering self-esteem in your children. How are you doing? What do you need to give more attention? Focus on each child. What does the child need more of? Accidental parenting may not give your children what they need.

Relax and Enjoy Your Children

Enjoy your children.

Parents Were Blamed

When I was in graduate school, psychology books blamed mothers’ behavior for some serious mental illnesses their chldren had. Mothers agonized over what they must be doing wrong. Of course, we have since learned that mental illness can be in the genes and have nothing to do with bad mothering.

If a child has some noticeable success, most mothers respond, “I don’t know how he/she accomplished that.” If, on the hand, the child has experienced some kind of failure, parents often respond in anguish, “Where did we go wrong?”

Worry! Worry! Worry!

When you are a parent, worry comes with the territory. Most parents act like they think they should be perfect. They worry about everything. Are the children getting enough sleep? Are they safe? Are their friends a bad influence? Are they eating well? Are they happy? Am I really cut out to be a parent? It goes on and on. Instead of enjoying discovering who each child is, we worry, worry, worry.

What Can You Do to Worry Less?

What can you do to worry less and enjoy your children more? Start with one or two things you feel you can do. It might be to read a good book on parenting. Take a look at the things you have done to get to know each other. One highly productive activity is to eat dinner together at a kitchen table. When our three children were growing up we had family night once a week. We had a short “business meeting” followed by something fun. To find out more about how to have successful family nights, read Chapter 4 in “How to Get Kids to Help at Home.” You can start with short meetings when children are three or four years old.

“For me”, said one mother, “moderating our total screen time was extremely important.” That included TV, computer, iPad, iPhone, and hand-held devices. That means setting examples for your children. What you want is family interaction which builds relationships.


There is no such thing as perfect parenting. Relax and enjoy your children. They grow up fast.


Children’s Problems


Ben's cat is a comfort.

What Brings Children to Counseling

At the Evolution for Psychotherapy Conference in December, I attended long-time child expert, Violet Oaklander’s class on “What Brings Children to Counseling”. Dr. Oaklander’s best-selling book, “Windows to Our Children” has been used by hundreds of therapists who work with children. She talked about eight issues that bring children to therapy.

l. Struggle for individuation.

Healthy sense of self  may be difficult for some children.

2. Egocentricity.

Child is cognitively and emotionally unable to understand separate experience. Blames self and takes responsibility for trauma.

3. Introjects.

Child lacks the maturity and cognitive capacity to reject what doesn’t fit for him/her. Takes in negative messages and develops a faulty belief system of self.

4. Getting needs met.

Child will do anything to get her/his needs met, often adapting inappropriate ways of being in the world.

5. Expressing emotions.

The child learns that expressing emotions, especially anger, is unacceptable. Needs to learn healthy ways to express emotions.

6. Limit setting.

Parents must set limits for the child’s health and safety. How it is done is what makes the difference.

7.  Cultural expectations.

Children learn what is expected of them based on the particular group in which they live. Problems arise when the child becomes part of a new culture.

8. Systems.

There are many systems that affect the development of children besides the family system which we tend to blame for every problem. Some of these include the school system, court system, medical system, church system.

Our task as parents is to teach our children how to manage themselves and develop confidence, values, and concern for themselves and others. With love and caring parents can help their children learn from any difficult issues they face.



Ten Common Mistakes Parents Make

Last weeks blog gave ten suggestions for getting Kids to help at home. Today’s blog will identify ten common mistakes parents make. Do you do some of them?

Common Mistakes Parents Make

l. Talk too much. Act, don’t talk.

2. Expect from children what they don’t do themselves

3. Fail to get children’s perspective

4. Assign mundane tasks, rather than challenge

5. Fail to allow natural consequences

6. Overindulgence

7. Too much directing

8. Do too much for them

9. Assigning overwhelming tasks

10. Focus on what they don’t do, rather than on what they do.

If you have my book, “How to Get Kids to Help at Home”, chapters 5, 6, and 7 will give you information about what you can expect from young children, juniors, and teenagers. That will keep you on track in age-appropriate parenting. Just remember. There is no such thing as perfect parenting. If there were, our children would not learn how to cope with an imperfect world.



Will Rogers said it best, “We have the best congress money can buy.” The same could be said about our president. You could substitute the word, “worst “ in the above and still have it right.

Did you feel during the last election that you did not know for sure who to vote for? I did. There were so many lies being told in print, on the inter net, television and the news about the candidates and the issues that I did not know who or what to vote for. I cast a ballot, but I felt it never mattered what the outcome would be.

There is a saying that whoever tells a lie often enough it will be believed. Money does talk when you spend enough of it to buy adds on the media. It is hard to comprehend, how the Supreme Court could ever decide that money is a form of free speech. If money were not a factor in public decisions on how to vote, why would political parties send money to a charity in Arizona so it could be sent back to California to influence the elections there?

Politicians in Washington do the same thing only on a broader scale. As I have said in my book, “The Third Party”, we will lose our freedom to money interest if we do not have meaningful campaign funding reform.

This is the last time I will write about this subject. I am 82 years old and nobody cares what I say.

Gun Contol

A lot has been said and many suggestions have been made about what should be done to stop the killings with guns. Limiting clip capacity, background search of buyers, and outlawing assault weapons seems reasonable.

However, the suggestion that we arm teachers in school is ridiculous and very dangerous. A teacher and administrator for more than thirty years asked, “Would a loaded gun go in the desk drawer”? Even a locked drawer has easy access. Should a teacher strap a gun to their bodies while teaching science or leading students through Hamlet?  Would teachers go regularly to the necessary training?

What would really happen in a gunfight between a teacher and a killer in a room full of students? It is a terrifying thought.


A mistake:

I have a shotgun in my upstairs bedroom closet that I once used when I was a bird hunter. At the time we had Nombo, an exchange student from Japan, living with us. When my children were young, I proposed to them this hypothetical situation:

In the middle of the night a noise coming from down stairs wakes me. I grab the shotgun, load it, and open the bedroom door. I see in the dim light coming up the stairs a figure of a man with a gun in his hand. I asked them, “What should I do?” With one voice they, shouted, “Shoot him.”

I said, “Okay, I shoot him, but when I turn on the light I see Nombo dying there on the stairs. He had taken a shower and, so he would not disturb us, he went down stairs to dry his hair. What I mistook for a gun was the hair dryer.”

 My last Christmas:

In the middle of the night I heard a noise coming from downstairs. I take my loaded gun from the closet and creep down the stairs where I see a man stealing presents from under our Christmas tree. I point my gun at him and shout, “Stop and raise your hands.” He quickly turns toward me and shoots me dead. What good did a gun do me? I’m not a killer.

The gun is never loaded.

My son, who was less then ten, had a habit of pointing his cap gun at people and pulling the trigger. I told him that he should not do that. It was dangerous. He said “Dad, it’s not loaded.” I told him a gun is always loaded and never point a gun at someone unless you are prepared to kill that person. I could see I did not get through to him with my advice, so I slipped caps into his unloaded gun when he was not around. He understood the truth of what I told him when he pulled the trigger of his “unloaded” gun. I have read many accounts in the newspaper of people being killed by a supposedly unloaded gun. Did you know that removing the clip from many types of guns does not unload the chamber? One Marine, that should have known better, killed himself while cleaning his gun when there was still a bullet in the chamber.

Two of my friends admitted to cheating in military training so they would qualify to carry a forty-five automatic. After several hours of training they could not hit a target twenty feet away. Are you an expert with a gun or are you like many who could not hit the inside of a barn with the doors closed?

In California there is a good law that requires gun owners to keep their guns out of the reach of children. They even sell locks that fit over the trigger to keep guns from being fired. Now all the owner has to do is politely ask an intruder to wait while he gets his gun and unlocks it.