Relationship Parenting (Mini Parenting Course)

Relationship Parenting (Mini Parenting Course)


Section I.   Social/Behavioral Problems in Children

A.     Children, when out of sync emotionally develop resistance to parent leadership.

B.     Children can become out of sync neurogically because of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Autism, Tourette's disorder, and other neurogical conditions.

C.     Children can become out of sync emotionally through missattuned parent leadership, or life experiences (abuse, neglect, adoption, foster care, entitlement based parenting).

D.     Children become aggressive, withdrawn, attention seeking and or perfectionistic to control their lives.   

E.      Parents need to feel successful.  Parents need to know that what they provide their children actually matures the child's life.


Section II. What helps children mature beyond the child's emotional behavioral (control) tendencies?

A.     Aggressive Children need: emphasis on structure, while maintaining nurture in the relationship.

a)      Structure – Setting boundaries adult to child.

b)      Effective Challenges – Causing the child to meet parent expectation (rules, referencing rules, playful contest, working with the child.

c)      Nurturing – Creating a healthy affection shared reciprocally in the relationship.

B.     Withdrawn Children

a)      Engagement – Celebrations of the child's attempts

b)      Nurturing – Creating a healthy affectionate reciprocal relationship

c)      Effective Challenges – (Provided selectively beyond engagement and nurturing).  Putting the child in position to 'risk' an attempt.

C.     Attention Seeking Children

a)      Structure – Provide attention on adult terms, not when child causes it.

b)      Effective Challenges – Causing the child to receive attention as parent sees the child's need for it. Limit attention, if the child isn't regulating attention well.

c)      Engagement – Helping the “Velcro®” child (the child who clings) take risks.

d)      Nurturing - providing normal healthy affection through parent leadership.

                    D.     Perfectionistic Children

a)      Structure – Provided adult to child.  Start and stop experiences based on child following.

b)      Effective Challenge – Helping the child risk doing things outside their comfort zone, that they have a reasonable likelihood of success within.

c)      Engagement – Celebrating who they are apart from what they do.


Section III.       The six (6) ways we really communicate:

       (Non-Verbal Communication)

a)      Eye Contact

b)      Facial Expressions

c)      Tone of Voice

d)      Body Tension, Relaxation, Gestures

e)      Touch

f)        Contingency – Timing in what we say, when we act. Our responses and how they match the child's need.


Section IV. Key words to maintain healthy relationships with children

A.     Attunement – Being in sync, responding to needs

B.     Mindfulness - Perceiving the child's need beyond our reaction to the child

C.     Mind Set – Having an intentional plan of response in mind.

D.     The three (3) levels of experience that parents must read

1.      Behavior/Content – What children present and/or say (attitudes and actions)

2.      Emotional Level – What children feel

3.      Core State – Primary emotions of love or fear

E.      When behavior becomes control – Patterns of behavior vs situational actions or reactions.

F.      Empathy and Compassion – Parents perceiving through the child's perspective, what they feel.

G.     Adult Time Out – Used when parents are upset, to calm feelings.

H.     Sensitivity Training – Helping the child face another persons feelings.

I.        Up and Down Regulation of Emotions - Reading when emotions are too high or too low for the child.

J.       Special tools for managing a child's over reaction

1.      Predictive Paradox – Predicting anger to disarm it.

2.      Dismissive one liners – Six (6) examples to dismiss manipulative attitudes.

Example:  Thanks for letting me know how you feel

3.      Presence and space – Evaluating how much space the child can handle, how much presence they need to regulate successfully.

K.    The 60 second lecture – 30 second of correction, 30 seconds of belief in the child beyond what he did.


L.      Learning to differentiate problems

1.      Mandatory – When parents require an action, acting to cause the outcome.

2.      Optional – When parents coach about a child's problem.  Parents see a problem, help the child see options.

M.   Parents as reward and consequence – The relationship is the reward, disapproval, the consequence.

N.    Logical and Natural consequences – Helping the child face the outcome of their choices, by allowing the outcome of their decision to take place.


Section IV. Learning to apply key concepts to children's problems


No more Plastic Car

Preschool:  Earlier in the day, three-year-old Cody received a new plastic car he had demanded at the store.  Upon returning home, Cody took his car and threw it at his sister.  Mom then corrected him for throwing his car. As she looked at him, Cody put the car on the floor and crushed it with his shoe.  He then looked at Mom and smiled.  Mom stood there looking shocked, as she experienced her son's behavior.  


Describe in your own words what you would say and what actions you would take in responding to this child: ________________________________________










No more Plastic Car


(Relationship Attitudes and Actions)


Looking at Mom, Cody smiled and crushed the car with his shoe.  Mom initially looked shocked at her son’s behavior.  Mom thought to herself, “I guess he had to find out if I can handle these ugly emotions”.  Mom went on to say, “Cody, I'm sad that you made that choice.  Now you won't have your car to play with and you won't have your other toys to play with for the rest of the day”.  Seemingly unfazed, Cody just stared back.  “And now”, Mom says, as she guided Cody by the arm, “You'll pick up the pieces of your broken car.  After that, you’ll give your sister’s arm a massage where you hurt her”.


Cody acted as if he couldn’t pick up all of the pieces and moved very slow in his actions.  He seemed to think that if he took long enough he would be saved by lunch.  Wrong! The rest of the family ate while Cody kept picking up the pieces.  Cody watched as everyone seemed famished and ate everything placed on the table. After he had completed his job, Mom made available to him the food that was left.  Mom praised him for picking up the pieces, even though it seemed hard for him.  She guided him through massaging his sister’s arm.  Mom then required him to be with her for the remainder of the day.  She made an extra effort to spend time rocking and holding him, and at bedtime, she read him a story and they took turns saying the “Bumble Bee Came Out of the Barn” (see book by Rick Sudsberry, Relationship Parenting) rhyme that resulted in playful tickles together.


Observations:  Mom presented the perspective that it was Cody's poor decision for crushing the car, not hers.  She empathically identified that she was sad at his poor choice.  She then required him to clean up what he had messed up.  She used presence and space to lead him wisely.  While Cody wanted to manipulate the situation by working slowly, Mom simply required him to miss the family meal time while he worked.  She did allow him to eat after he finished, but only made available what was left.  She didn’t allow access to toys for the day, but would give him a chance tomorrow.  He had to help his sister's arm feel better (massage under supervision).  Finally Mom, while requiring his presence for the reminder of the day, did continue to love and accept him.  She held and rocked him and played a favorite tickle game at the end of the day.  Tomorrow would be in a new day!



New Shoes

Grade school:  Derrick needs new shoes but doesn’t want to take time to get them.  He’d rather play with his friends on Ben's new three-wheeler dirt bike.  At 11 years old, this is the most exciting experience he's ever had.  After some debating, Derrick goes with his mom to buy the new shows.  He really likes them, and he can’t wait to show his buddies his new shoes. 

“Change your shoes before you go to Bens.”  Mom directs.  Derrick tries to distract Mom by talking about his excitement over summer coming.  He then hurries in the other room, then out the door.  When Derrick returned home he moved quickly past Mom rushing to his room.  Mom suspecting something was up followed Derrick.  Entering his room, Mom said, “Derrick, why did you run in so quickly and head straight to your room,” Derrick quickly replied, “I don’t know.”  Mom then looked down and saw he was wearing his new shoes and that they had a hole in the toe from dragging his foot while riding on the three-wheeler.


Describe in your own words what you would say or what actions you would take to deal with this situation: __________________________________________









                                 New Shoes


(Relationship Attitudes and Actions)


Derick left quickly and returned later after riding his friend Ben's new three-wheel dirt bike.  Mom had directed him to change shoes, but he had wanted his friends to see them.  Upon encountering Derick in his room, Mom discovers that he has a hole in the toe of his new shoes.  “Derick,” she exclaimed!  “You wore your new shoes, and now they are ruined.”  “Aw Mom,  they did’nt cost that much, besides the guy’s thought they where cool,”  Derick replied.  “Nevertheless,” said Mom, “You were told not to wear them.”  replied Mom.  “But, you were the one who wanted me to have new shoes.  If you didn’t want me to have them you shouldn’t have given them to me,” smirked Derick.  Mom continued, Derick I will not accept blame for you bad choice.  I'm, sorry you've made a bad decision and now you will have to wear those shoes until you can earn money for new one’s.”  Derick snapped back, “That's not fair.” “Thanks for letting me know how you feel,” replied Mom, “you can work for me.  I'll figure out the job you can do to earn money to replace your shoes.”  This is stupid,” said Derick angrily.  “Regardless of how you feel, this is what we’ll do.  Now change your shoes it's almost supper time, we'll talk later.  Later, after emotions were calm, Mom presented a list of duties to be performed and the amount of money to be earned per task for him to pay back the cost of the shoes.  She talked about other things during supper and presented an accepting attitude toward Derick.  Her tone of voice was compassionate, pleasant and accepting,  as Derick went about his tasks to earn payment for the shoes.  Mom stated, “There will be no more three-wheeler riding until new shoes are paid for and you can show me that you can make a better choice.  I love you, believe in you, and look forward to when you show me you can ride again.”  With that, she departed the conversation and went on with her evening.


Observations:  Mom used dismissive one-liners to avoid arguing with Derick.  Dismissive one-liners convey the attitude and words such as:  “regardless” and “never the less,” “Thanks for letting me know how you feel.” Mom reduced her son’s ability to manipulate, then provided space to let emotions calm.  Mom was empathetic about the fact that her son had made a bad choice.  Her consequence went with taking responsibility on his part, yet she did not sustain anger during the evening.  Ultimately Mom used presence wisely, space as needed, defused emotionality and caused him to face the outcome of his choice.  Finally, she believed in him beyond his behavior on this day.




The Boy who wouldn’t Make his Bed

Adolescent:  Drew, a 14-year-old was never interested in cleaning his room.  Every Saturday morning he got up at the very last minute before his soccer game.  He wouldn't make his bed and his room a disaster area.  Dad and Mom took turns yelling, threatening, and arguing with him.  He had answers for everything.  “You always bug me on Saturday's.  You don’t care if my team wins.  What’s the coach going to think if I don’t show up on time?  You don't want me to let the other kids down, do you?  The more parents talked, the angrier Drew became, until his parents would throw up their hands and finally take him to his Saturday game.  Mom and Dad continued to scream at Drew all the way to the game about his room.


Describe in your own words what you would say to this child and how you would at to manage this situation: 










The Boy who wouldn’t Make his Bed


(Relationship Attitudes and Actions)


Fourteen-year-old Drew and parents are going through their Saturday morning ritual of yelling and anger before the soccer match.  Parents have told him to clean up his room.  Drew's statements as usual were “What's the coach going to think?   The other kids are going to think I let them down.  You don’t want me to let the other kids down do you?”  Dad responded, “Drew I've asked you to make your bed.  I'm sorry you’ve decided to try and make this problem my problem.  The truth is, I'm going to drive you to your game as soon as your bed in made.”  Making the bed is women's work,” retorted Drew.  Mom raised her eyebrows, but did not respond.  Dad continued, “Never the less, when your bed is made, I'll take you to your game.”  Drew not knowing what to say stomped off.  He returned a few moments later.  “Okay, Mom and Dad I'm ready,” reported Drew.  “Is your bed made?” asked Dad.  “Yeah, let's go,” responded Drew.  “Son, I'm glad that you made a good choice, now we'll go on to what you wanted for the morning,” replied Dad.  Without further comment, they went to the game.


Observations:  Dad, beyond his directive as to what had to be done (the bed made), presented an attitude of concern, empathy and compassion for his son's dilemma.  He didn’t personalize the child's blaming attitude.  Mom didn’t overreact to his statement about women’s work.  Dad used a dismissive one liner to deflect “never the less.”  He also told his son how he could get taken to his soccer game.  While initially confusing to the child, the parent's response gave him a way to get to the game.  Dad ended the exchange with a supportive statement that believed in his son and what they could enjoy for the morning. 


These examples give ideas of how to manage difficult moments with children.  While not the total solution to maturing a childs life, they begin to set the tone for a healthy life, and later meaningful discussions.


Section V.  Take our online parenting course at home. 

This extensive course will give you many  ideas to effectively lead your child.  Discover many tools to deeply connect you with your child.  Learn key concepts that mature your childs thinking.  Enhance emotional maturity.  Review up to 10 parent child stories per age group that apply key concepts to emotionally regulate a child who has difficult moments or is developing difficult ways of relating.  Take the relationship parenting course online and practice parenting at home.



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