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How to Talk to Your Kids About…Difficult Subjects

Last updated on November 2nd, 2018 at 11:10 pm

As parents, we will have numerous opportunities to talk to our children about tough subjects. Topics like death, drugs, bullying and sex…it can be intimidating to know how to engage in these types of conversations.

To make it even more challenging – talking to your children about drugs is a very different conversation than talking to your kids about death. That’s why we created the “How to talk to your kids” series – to give you the advice and tools you need as a parent to handle each subject – no matter how tricky (or uncomfortable) it gets.

On a positive note, although each situation will be different, there are some key points to remember that we can use with our children to help any and all tough conversations run more smoothly.
  • Start the Conversation-Early:  Naturally, we want to put off the “tough topics” until we have to. But instead of waiting for these tough topics to find you and your family, start early and talk to your children first. For example, instead of waiting for your child to tell you they have been approached by a stranger, reference the “How to talk to your kids about strangers” post and prepare them first, so they know what to say and how to handle the situation long before it happens.
  • Create an open environment:  Provide opportunities for your children to talk about how they feel, what they are worried about, what they are hearing and seeing at school and through the media. We do this by not judging, not over-scheduling our children (so we have time to be with them), and being available at the crossroads to listen. Spend one-on-one time together and build trust.
  • Listen to your child:  Determine when your children like to talk. Maybe it is right after school, or at night before bed. Be available during those times. Then let go of your own agenda and really hear your child. Don’t just listen so you can talk. Get to their level, look them in the eyes, and talk less than they do. Don’t ever shut them down and remember that you don’t have to comment on everything.
  • Be honest:  Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have all the answers to their questions.  Be honest and tell the truth. We see this a lot with the topic of death. Parents don’t know how to talk to their children, so they might say “grandma is just sleeping.” This just causes more stress and confusion and now you have to answer more hard questions, like “when is grandma going to wake up?” (Keep reading the “How to talk to your kids” series to learn more tips on how to handle specific conversations such as death, sex, drugs, and even what to do when mommy is sick).
  • Be patient:  Tough conversations take time. Don’t worry about saying it all the first time you converse. Listen more than you talk, and be patient and hear the entire conversation.
  • Stay on their level:  Answer your children’s questions on a level that they can understand. Simple words and explanations work best. Keep the facts appropriate for their age and don’t include more facts than necessary.
  • Use everyday opportunities to talk:  Did you just watch a movie where a child was bullied? Use it as a lead-in, to a conversation about bullying. Keep your eyes and ears open for the opportunities that present themselves everyday. They can be natural “openers” for the tough topics. Dr Michele Borba, recognized expert in parenting, bullying, youth violence, and character development, offers some wonderful advice to parents on how they can recognize bullying at any age.  As she says “the more we know about bullying, the better we will be able to parent our children”
  • Revisit:  Talking about the “tough stuff” once is not enough. Revisit the topics and make yourself available when they have questions they want to revisit.

As parents, if we want to successfully talk to our kids about tough topics, we have to first develop a trusting and comfortable relationship with them. The above 8 suggestions can help us set the stage to better prepare them, and you, for the tough conversations and situations to come.

The Techniques of a Predator: Part I – Trust and Romance

Last updated on November 2nd, 2018 at 11:10 pm

Potentially, the most dangerous risk associated by minors going online is the risk of being groomed or attacked by a sexual predator.  Online predators are very well-versed at knowing what to say in order to get what they want from their targets. They approach minors on frequently used apps, often pretending to be a minor themselves.  They also find them while using popular online games, including Roblox, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, and others.

“It’s an unfortunate fact of life that pedophiles are everywhere online,” warns FBI Special Agent Greg Wing, who supervises a cyber squad from the Bureau’s Chicago field office.  Special Agent Wesley Tagtmeyer, who also works out of the Chicago office in undercover operations, states that in his experience, about 70 percent of kids will accept “friend” requests regardless of whether they know the requester.

Examples of interactions with online predators:

In one of the best known cases of online predators, Amanda Todd, a 15 year old girl from British Columbia, Canada, was targeted by a man in the Netherlands.  As this video explains, the man who came after her knew exactly what young Amanda wanted to see and hear and he gave it to her. The result was the suicide of a young woman who was taken from us far too soon.

His arrest in this case showed that he was similarly attacking at least 39 victims.  In some cases, predators do more than engage with their targets online. Apps like Whisper or Tinder include geographic features designed to let people find others nearby to attempt meeting them in person.  While some consenting adults might choose to use this for casual sex, predators use them to find nearby victims.

In suburban Philadelphia earlier this year, a man started talking with a 14 year old girl on Whisper.  She mentioned that she was depressed and had been fighting with her mother.  He convinced her to give him her address so that they could watch a movie together because in her words, he seemed “nice”.  Police reports indicate that he arrived within five minutes, took the girl into her bedroom and raped her, leaving immediately after.

The basics:

Many online predators are very patient and will stalk prey the way a lion goes after a gazelle, going after the young and possibly (emotionally) vulnerable.

There are several techniques that predators use to get images or videos from their targets. In many cases, they entice the minor to send the images and parents would be surprised to find out how often the juvenile sends the requested pictures, without realizing the risks involved. In other cases or if enticing doesn’t work, the predator simply demands/threatens the child to get what they want.

In the case of Amanda, her attacker befriended her at the beginning.  In the case of a family I know personally, her attacker took the opposite approach and almost immediately threatened to attack her family if she did not send him naked pictures. Worried for her family’s safety, she complied.

In part one of this two part series, we will focus on how online predators coerce their prey through trust and romance and what we, as parents, can do to make these tactics less effective. In part two we will go on to discuss how when these appeals fail, predators will often shift to bribery or even threats.


Predators know that it will take time to earn someone’s trust. They create an elaborate online presence, often using multiple accounts.  These accounts often interact with each other to create the appearance of a genuine person who has been online for a long time.

Often, predators find a boy or girl who may not be popular or socially adept and treat them very well.  The predator takes time to develop a trusted bond with their victim. They ask for a very safe picture, such as headshot.  They compliment them and tell them how pretty or handsome they look.

They ask what kinds of music or books they like.  Remarkably, they say that they like the exact same things, creating a bond that the victim sees as finding someone who finally “gets” them.  Eventually, they ask for racier pictures until they finally get what they want. This technique can often lead to threats to get more pictures or videos if they stop sending the images, a routine known as sextortion.


Similar to the trust process, the parties may actually be involved in an actual relationship, either in person or just online.  Eventually, trust is earned and perhaps it exists both ways, but if/when the relationship ends, the problems can begin in the form of Revenge Porn, the distribution of intimate images from former lovers to embarrass or otherwise cause them harm.

In some cases, the person who wants the other person to send racy pics will start simply by asking for a fairly tame picture, such as picture of a girl wearing a bikini or in her underwear.  While both essentially show the same amount of skin, there is a stigma often associated with the later. Either way, such pics often involve a pose that might be embarrassing if seen by the general public, family members, teachers, etc.

One middle school guidance counselor in my county explained that what she often hears from students who send such pictures is, “If I say no, they may not like me.”

If even racier pictures are requested and denied by the other person, predators might say something like, “You’d send it if you really loved me,” or “I just want something to look at when you’re not with me.”  This approach can be very effective to someone who is in a relationship and doesn’t want this issue to cause a problem &/or end the relationship.

Preventing the Trust or Romance Approaches from Working

Schools focus on the hard skills: reading, writing, etc.  While some teachers may put emphasis on soft skills, it is often left to the parents to encourage these skills.  These skills are now collectively referred to as emotional intelligence. In his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, Dr. John Gottman does an excellent job at not only helping parents raise emotionally intelligent children, he specifically discusses how marriage, divorce and death can impact children. Traumatic events such as those often leave children vulnerable to outside influences, including online predators.

The best thing that parents can do to help prevent these approaches from working on their children is to promote your child’s self-esteem.  

This will make the predators less likely to be able to trick them into believing that they are really their friends.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Nobody should ever send intimate pictures to anyone.  Even assuming that the recipient would never use them against the person, devices do get hacked or stolen.  Imagine the trauma when a romantic rival of your child finds the opportunity to “borrow” your child’s phone and sends images from the phone to others?  It’s just not worth the risk – ever!

In part two of this discussion, additional techniques used by predators will be explained.  Also included will be shocking news from a new study on sextortion, conducted by the co-founders of the Cyberbullying Research Center, so keep an eye out for it.

How Can a Cookie Teach My Child to be Calm?

Last updated on November 2nd, 2018 at 11:11 pm

All children benefit from learning relaxation skills.

One of the most commonly used and effective relaxation skills is deep breathing. Deep breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) involves slow, deep breaths through the diaphragm to initiate the body’s relaxation response. Relaxation skills are important to master because they can help children better manage anger, stress, fear, and anxiety.

Children may be resistant to learning and implementing relaxation skills. Teaching children to relax using a playful technique is an effective way to break through the resistive barrier.

An engaging intervention to teach diaphragmatic breathing is the Cookie Breathing Game (Lowenstein, 2016).

The child is directed to follow these steps:

  • Put your hand on your tummy, where your belly button is.
  • Slowly breathe in through your nose for three seconds and feel your tummy move out.
  • Slowly breathe out through your mouth for four seconds, and feel your tummy move in. 
  • Make sure your shoulders and chest are relaxed and still.
  • Only your tummy should be moving in and out. 
  • To help you learn this special way of breathing, imagine a yummy batch of cookies that just came out of the oven.
  • As you breathe in, smell those yummy cookies!
  • But they’re hot, so you have to blow on them to cool them down.
  • As you breathe out, blow on the cookies to cool them down.

A game is then played to help the child practice. The child rolls the dice and does Cookie Breathing slowly and properly two times when an even number is rolled. The child gets a point if an odd number is rolled. The child gets a cookie once four points are earned.

Repeated practice is required when building relaxation skills; thus, home-based practice exercises are strongly encouraged. Parents should learn the Cookie Breathing technique as well so they can coach the child to practice the strategy at home. Practicing at bedtime is recommended as this helps the child relax in preparation for sleep.

Reference: Lowenstein, L. (2016). Creative CBT interventions for children with anxiety.  Toronto, ON: Champion Press.


When Should I Get My Child a Dog…and What Should We Get?

Last updated on November 2nd, 2018 at 11:11 pm

A few years back I wrote an article about what was the best age to get your child s dog and what breed you should get. Apparently over the last few years, this article has been viewed numerous times, so our editor asked me to go over it, update it a bit and maybe add a few more ideas along the way. For those of you who read the original article, I hope you find the add-ons helpful; for those of you reading it for the first time, I hope you also find it helpful and informative.

sad puppies shelterOver the many years I have been working with dogs and their people, I have heard so many different responses to this same question: “I promised my son a dog when he was old enough to take care of it” and “I told my daughter if she does well on her report card, we would get her a dog” and I have also seen the after-effects of this; the child reached the age the parent thought was necessary for them to get the dog, now the dog is used as a threat… “It’s your dog…. You wanted him and promised to take care of him. If you don’t clean up after him, we’re getting rid of him.” I have even had multiple customers call, asking me to take the dog to my house as a way to ‘show the child we mean business.”

So, let me explain a few things to help you make an informed decision on when it is right for your family to have a dog, and what dog might best suit your family. First, notice I said ‘for your family to have a dog.’ It is not realistic to think any child can be completely responsible for the care and well-being of a dog. While a child can help with many responsibilities, always remember… you will be the primary care taker. Ultimately, the right age for your family to get a dog is when it is something you want and you are ready for the commitment.

Similarly, I have also been asked many times over the years about getting a second dog… usually the typical time I am asked about this is when the kids are old enough to go to school full time and the stay-at-home parent is going back to work, and they think Fido needs a companion. We dog trainers have a saying about this, “Never get your dog a dog.” If you want a second dog and are ready for the commitment of a second dog, that is fine. But there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • There is no guarantee that your current dog will be as excited about another dog living in their home as you expected him to be.
  • If you think Fido is going to train the second dog, you are going to be very disappointed. If they do get along, and all is fine, while there are certain things the new dog will learn from Fido, they still need to be taught by you how to behave and follow commands.
  • Seriously reflect on the training you did with your first dog… If your reason for getting another dog is because you do not have as much time for the first dog as you would like, and therefore think they may be lonely, ask yourself realistically if you are going to have the time to do the necessary training for dog number two!

If you have made the decision that you want (and are ready for) a dog (or a second dog), the next step is research. Learn what you can about the different dog breeds. It is not enough to Google something like “Best Dogs For Kids.” It is not a bad place to start… and may list some breeds that are generally not good with kids, like a Chow Chow or a Lhasa Apso, but it is way too general. Just like every child is different, so is every dog. You want to do this prior to walking into a shelter or finding a breeder because these places have a way of tugging at your heart-strings, and the majority of the time, you will end up getting a dog on impulse. Whether it is because you couldn’t bear to leave the dog there, or because it is just so adorable… Remember, all puppies are adorable, but just like your kids, they grow up. So having a basic knowledge of dog breeds will help in your decision. Also, you don’t want to choose one for an individual family member (yourself included) but decide on what is going to be best for the entire family.

I had a friend that had decided to get a puppy, only she insisted it had to be very tiny… what they call a ‘teacup’ Yorkshire Terrier. She had a two year old and a four year old. I told her I did not think this was a great breed for her specific family. When she insisted she had always wanted one, I told her, “If you had always wanted a two seat convertible, and you were pregnant, would this be an ideal car for you?” Sometimes you can get away with saying things to a friend to get your point across that you just couldn’t say to a customer!

So how do you choose?

I have compiled a list of some important questions that may aid you in your decision making process.

  • What are your children’s ages? This is an important question because if you have a small or young child, a tiny dog might not be the best choice for you, as it wasn’t for my friend. Why not? Because little kids’ hands are often unsteady, or move very quickly… two things that can frighten a small dog, or make them feel like their safety is threatened. This is when they tend to go into the ‘fight or flight’ mode we talked about in other articles. And a very large breed dog can easily knock over a toddler or young child. So for these reasons, a medium sized dog might be your best option. One that is big enough to feel secure with small hands, but small enough to not topple over a little child.
  • Are there any allergies? For those of you that do not know what it is that makes people allergic to dogs, there are three things that most commonly make people react: The fur, the dander, and the saliva. Many people mistakenly think that a dog with a short coat will shed less than a dog with a long coat, but it is actually the opposite. Dogs with a short coat usually have fur, while most dogs with long coats have hair. Dog hair, just like our hair, grows, which is why they need to be groomed every 4 – 6 weeks (depending on how short you like to keep the coat.)
  • Are you a cleaning fanatic? Dogs with short coats, especially ones that may have feathering by the ears, paws, and tail need to be brushed so they do not become matted and tangled. The shedding is worse in the summer and the spring (what people call the shedding season). Dogs with long coats need to be brushed daily and be groomed to keep the hair short. And find out which dogs are droolers! If you are a neat-freak, a mastiff is not for you!
  • What are the finances like? Another important question. Big dogs come with higher expenses…. vaccinations and medicines, they eat more, have much bigger poops, etc.  Also, some boarding facilities charge more for larger dogs, so if your family vacations a lot, you might want to consider this a factor as well. And if you prefer to vacation with your dog, many hotels (even pet friendly ones) have weight restrictions on dogs you can have. As for grooming needs, a non-shedding dog needs to be groomed regularly. (Some people buy the clippers and learn to do it themselves to save money.) You also want to consider the genetic dispositions of a breed if finances are tight. i.e. many people get bulldog pups because they are cute, fat and wrinkled… but most do not know that in general, it is a very unhealthy breed that requires quite a bit of money to properly take care of. They suffer from hip, skin, breathing and eye problems, have allergies, and have a short life-span.
  • Is your family a very active one or more sedate? Again, an important thing to consider. Many places are pet friendly nowadays, and allow you to take the dog with you. If you all enjoy camping, hiking and swimming, a dog like a bulldog who has difficulty breathing and a very low stamina is not the ideal pet for you. A Retriever or a Beagle might be a better choice. Same holds true in the opposite end of the spectrum. If you are a laid back family that prefers reading or TV, then a dog like a Weimeraner, who is in constant motion, will be more of a source of frustration for you than an enjoyable pet, and a dog like a Border Collie will not be content just lying around all day doing nothing… they are happiest with a job or task to focus on and their boredom can lead to serious destruction of your precious things!
  • Dog Taking Happy Handsome Black Boy Child for WalkAre your kids outgoing or shy? A shy quiet child may not do well with a bossy herding dog, like the Australian Shepherd or a dog that needs a firm upper hand such as a German Shepherd or a terrier. Or even a Golden Retriever puppy that calms down quite a bit when they are older, but are definitely a handful and a ball of energy when they are babies! They may do better with something like a Havanese, who is content to hang out with humans of any age and rarely challenges authority. But the flip side of that is that if you have a very loud and boisterous family, that may frighten or intimidate a small dog like the Havanese. You might be better off going with a dog more secure with itself, like a West Highland White Terrier (Westie) or a Bearded Collie.
  • How helpful, in general, are the kids when it comes to chores? If every chore your child is asked to do turns into an argument, do not think the dog is going to be any different. They will enjoy all of the fun things with the dog, but it will become a battle when it is time to do the ‘not-so-fun’ boring everyday things, like feeding, brushing, walking and cleaning up after him. It is this reason I stress please do not use getting a dog as a reward for good behavior.  I have heard all of the promises kids make beforehand to get a dog, but rarely are they followed through with, especially when they have something else much more interesting on their minds than letting the dog out and waiting until he is done to let him back in.
  • How obedient do you want your dog to be, and what steps are you willing to take to ensure this happens? Remember, just like kids, dogs are not born with good or bad manners, they must learn them. But unlike children, what is instinctual and acceptable in a dog’s world is very different from what is acceptable in ours. Another potential issue is, if you decide on getting a rescue dog that is a little older, it has been raised in another person’s house… and what was acceptable to his original owner may be very different in your house. For example, getting up on the furniture may have been perfectly OK where he came from, but not in your house. So you have to remember that some training will be necessary. And although the kids can help with many of the dog’s needs, like feeding him, remember, it is very important that you always supervise their interactions.
    • You can’t just tell a child to ‘feed the dog’ without first teaching the dog to sit and stay and wait until their food is placed on the floor. An over-excited dog or pup is likely to jump up on the child, and may accidently hurt them.
    • Do not allow your small child to walk the dog on the leash outside until you have taught the dog not to pull. Otherwise, a nervous or excited dog can run into the street, pulling your child with them.
    • Finally, a small child will not know how to be very careful with a wire dog brush around sensitive areas like the eyes and ears, so they must be taught how to do it properly.

I will end this by giving you a link that may help you on your journey in finding the right dog for you and your family. It’s a questionnaire that you can fill out and it will give you several options of dogs that might be a good match for you and your family, and also recommend my favorite book Choosing a Dog For Dummies to help you chose the right breed for your family.  The reason I personally like this book is because when I want a quick synopsis on a breed, I do not want to have to search twenty pages to find the one thing I am looking for. In this book, each page focuses on the highlights of one breed: Temperament, size full grown, good with kids, protection level, grooming needs and genetic issues to look out for.

Still not sure…call a professional and ask their opinion – the IACP always has folks willing to help.

Happy dog hunting!

How to Raise Kids With Manners in An Uncivilized World

Last updated on October 24th, 2018 at 12:02 am

REALITY CHECK: A survey conducted by US News & World Report found nine out of ten Americans felt the breakdown of common courtesy has become a serious problem in this country. A huge seventy-eight percent of those polled said manners and good social graces have significantly eroded over the past ten years, and is a major contributor to the breakdown of our values in this country. What’s more, 93 percent of adults feel the major cause of rudeness is because parents are have failed to teach respect to their kids.

What a sad commentary!

Make no mistake: courtesy does enhance our kids’ chances of success! Using good manners will enhance your child’s reputation in all arenas—home, school, and the community. Scores of studies find that well-mannered children are more popular and do better in school. Notice how often they’re invited to others’ homes? Kids like to be around kids who are nice. Listen to teachers speak about them using such positive accolades. Courteous children also have an edge later in life: the business world clearly tells us their first interview choices are those applicants displaying good social graces. They also get more “second” job interviews, and usually even the job. You just can’t help but react positively to people who are polite and courteous. By prioritizing polite behaviors with our children, we can enhance their social competence and give them a big boost towards success.

Every child has an “off day” and forgets their manners, but here are signs from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions that indicate that your child may need a more serious “Manners Tune-up.”

Signs a Manners Tweak Is Needed

  • A typical response is an impolite tone (sarcastic or surly) delivered with disrespectful body language (rolling eyes, smirking, shrugging shoulders).
  • Impolite behaviors are now more frequent or becoming a habit.
  • Constant reminders are needed to reinforce manners that you thought you had  already taught
  • Discourtesy is causing friction in your everyday relationship and breaking down your family harmony.
  • Social experiences and peer interactions (birthday or slumber party invites, dinners, etc) are hindered because your child lacks certain social graces or doesn’t feel comfortable using them.
  • Discourtesy is ruining his reputation among friends, parents, teachers, relatives, and family.

Parenting Solutions to Enhance Social Graces

All three of my sons attended a wonderful cooperative nursery school led by an incredibly caring teacher, Jeanette Thompson. The very first impression I had of the school was how well-mannered the children were. And, through the years as I put in my “coop” hours, I understood why her students were so polite:  Mrs. Thompson never taught manners at a special time, instead she taught students manners all day long through her own example. Every sentence she ever uttered contained the word “please,” “thank you,” or “excuse me.” It was impossible for her students not to be polite. She used to always tell the moms, “Manners are caught, not taught.”

Was Mrs. Thompson ever right! I also learned an important secret from my children’s teacher: The first step to teaching kids good manners is to make sure you model them yourself. Amen!

Disrespect, poor character, and diminishing moral intelligence are increasing. Here are a few solutions to enhance good social graces in your children and give them that edge for a better life based on Mrs. Thompson’s strategies of raising a well-mannered child.

1. Stress Courtesy

Good manners are among the simplest skills to teach children because they are expressed in just a few very specific behaviors. We can instantly point out good or poor manners to our kids: “Wow, nice manners! Did you notice the smile on Grandma’s face when you thanked her for dinner?” or “Eating before waiting for the others to sit down wasn’t polite,” We can modify our children’s manners: “Next time, remember to say ‘Excuse Me’ when you walk in front of someone.” And we can always tune them up: “Before you ask for the dish, say “Please.”

2. Point Out the Value of Manners

Discuss with your children the value of good manners. You might say, “Using good manners helps you gain the respect of others. It’s also a great way to meet new friends. Polite people just make the world a kinder place.” Once kids understand the impact good manners have on others, they’re more likely to incorporate courtesy in their own behavior.

3. Teach A Manner A Week

When my children were young I taught them a jingle, “Hearts, like doors, will open with ease, if you learn to use these keys.” We’d then print a manner a week on a large paper key and tape it on our kitchen door as a reminder. Every child in the neighborhood could recite not only our jingle, but name the manners that are the “keys to opening hearts.” It helped me recognize “catching new manners” doesn’t happen overnight: it takes consistent effort to enhance them in our kids.

How about teaching a “Manner a Week?” Write the manner on an index card, post it on your refrigerator, and then hold a contest to see how many times family members hear another member use the word.

Here are a few to get you started:

“Please., Thank you., May I?, Excuse me, I’m sorry., Pardon me., I’m glad to meet you,, You go first.,May I introduce….? Please pass…, ”

Just remember that the best way for kids to learn a new skill is through seeing the skill and then practicing it. So do the manner with your child — or as a family, and then provide fun ways to practice, practice, practice until the manner becomes a habit!

4. Correct Impoliteness Immediately

Use the 3 Bs of Discipline: When your child uses an impolite comment, immediately correct the behavior by using the three “Bs” of discipline: “Be Brief, Be Private so no one but you and your child is aware you’re correcting your child, and Be Specific.”

“Starting your dinner without waiting first for Grandma to sit down, was impolite. Being polite means always respecting older people.”

Waiting for the right time when only your child can hear your correction, preserves dignity but still lets a child know behavior is unacceptable.

5. Acknowledge Politeness ASAP

Please also remember to point out the moment your child uses those manners and let him know you appreciate his efforts. The quickest way to shape behavior is by pointing out the moment a child does the action the right way.

“Thank you for using your polite voice! Did you notice the big smile on Grandma’s face?”

“You waited for everyone to sit at the table before you started to eat. So polite! Thank you!”

6. Practice Manners

A friend of mine who really wanted to make sure her children “caught good manners” started a unique family tradition: Once a month, she asks her children to help her plan a party. The children plan the menu, set their table–with only their “company dishes”–arrange a centerpiece of hand-picked flowers, and then sit in their “Sunday best.”

The party is just for their family, and it’s the time my friend helps her children practice table manners such as “please pass,” “thank you,” “May I be excused?” (as well keeping your napkin on your lap, chewing with your mouth closed, waiting for others to speak, and learning which fork to use with each course).

Yes, it takes a lot of work, but she swears it’s worth it, especially when so many people comment on how well-behaved her children are.

7. Identify the Underlying Cause of Your Child’s Incivility

If your child has a more serious case of rudeness, then it’s time to dig deeper and discover the reason. Here are the most common reasons kids backslide in the manners department (and if you notice any of these issues in your home it’s time to roll up those sleeves and do some serious manner teaching) Manners not modeled or prioritized at home; Impolite peers or adults are being imitated; Music, movies, or TV that flaunt rudeness are having a bad influence; You’re allowing her to get away with it; Fatigue, stress or illness;Testing the limits; Never taught particular etiquette skills. What’s your best guess? Fix it!

Good manners do not develop naturally but instead are the result of considerable effort, patience, and diligent training. There’s no way around it. So keep encouraging your child’s efforts and teaching new manner skills until you get the results you hope for.

And don’t settle for less. Please! It’s our best hope for a civilized, well-mannered world!


Dr Borba’s new book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is available at

Join Pediatric Safety in Supporting Vulnerable Children

Last updated on October 14th, 2018 at 08:25 pm

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors, and the giving spirit is starting fill the air. Are you and your family looking for something to do this fall?

How about something you can do together that raises money for something wonderful? We’ve got some ideas.

Let us introduce you to some children’s health charities and fundraising events that we here at Pediatric Safety think are absolutely worth your time. Vulnerable children and their families depend on organizations and events like these to help support them in their time of need.

Please join us and support one of these great causes and help make the lives of these families, who have already been through so much, better.

Rett Syndrome

“Rett syndrome is a rare, non-inherited genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, including seizures, scoliosis, and digestive difficulties.”

Children with Rett syndrome are believed to be able to understand a lot more than they can communicate and express a wide variety of emotions.

The trademark symptom of Rett syndrome is almost continuous repetitive hand movements when the child is not sleeping.

Fundraising has a signature fundraising program called the Strollathon. This is their 16th year and they have over 25 locations participating around the country.

Their goal is 1 million dollars and they are almost halfway there.

For more information on how to donate, volunteer, or participate check out their website here.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude’s was founded in 1962 and is one of the world’s leading treatment and research centers for children with cancer.

Since 1962 treatments invented there have helped move the childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% and their patient’s families never pay a dime.

They have treated patients from across all 50 states as well as other countries and have been able to do so primarily through individual’s donations.


Join Pediatric Safety in supporting the Sons of Thunder as they run in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend because “all a family should worry about is helping their child live.”

You can sign up to donate directly, sponsor a team, or you can participate in the marathon weekend yourself! Check out all the details here.

Autism Speaks Walk

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.” ~

Roughly 1/59 children is affected by autism.

Autism speaks has funded nearly $150 million predominantly in scientific grants. The results of which have led to an additional $396 million in autism-related funding. They seek to support innovative research and lifelong supports and services for those affected by autism.


They have walks all over the country at different times throughout the year.

Find a location near you and participate in one of their fundraising walks or donate to them directly on their website.

Other Upcoming Fundraising Events:

Children’s National Health System – They have several events coming up in the Virginia area that you can check out here.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital – Big Lots just announced a national fundraising campaign to benefit the hospital, details here.

Children’s Miracle Network – They have national and local partners who have fundraising events year round. Or you can host your own!

National down syndrome society – They have upcoming events all across the US. Check them out here.