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2008 INCAF www.incaf.

com



Produced by the International Network for Children and Families
Visit us at www.INCAF.com

Edited by Peace In Your Home
www.PeaceInYourHome.com
Welcome to Your Turn Misbehavior into Cooperation E-Book
In this e-book we will take an in-depth look at the four mistaken goals of
behavior. Each section includes a description of each of the goals and
following each is a section called Discovery Questions. This section
will help you to refresh, refine, and reinforce the concepts you learn in this
e-book.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 2
Table of Contents
1. 3 Steps to Redirecting Behavior
2. The Mistaken Goal of Attention
3. The Mistaken Goal of Power
4. The Mistaken Goal of Revenge
5. The Mistaken Goal of Inadequacy
6. An Ounce of Prevention


CHAPTER 1
3 STEPS TO REDIRECT BEHAVIOR
Parents unknowingly react in ways that reinforce unproductive behavior. For example,
we have all seen the child in the grocery store who whines for a cookie. Mom or Dad
says no a few times. The child turns her whine up a notch or two and, presto! The
child is given the cookie! The parent has just reinforced the childs misbehavior.

We need to learn how to redirect misbehavior. If we just stop the behavior by
threatening, yelling or punishing, the behavior will either escalate or the child will
learn to conform because she is afraid of the repercussions. However, if we learn how
to redirect the behavior, we teach the child to use more cooperative communication
in order to get her needs met.
There are three steps to redirecting childrens behavior. They are:
1. Check your emotional state.
2. Understand what your child is trying to communicate.
3. Meet the unmet need or redirect the behavior.
Step 1. Check your emotional state.
Have you noticed how your mental state can escalate a situation? I have reacted to a
situation where my child made a simple request and my reaction caused it to escalate
to the point where my child dissolved into a puddle of tears. Checking in with yourself
before you respond to a child is imperative to effective parenting. Parents who are
stressed tend to be less emotionally available for their children and less tolerant of
the childs challenging behaviors, and therefore cause the situation to escalate more
often.
The ideal first step is for you to self-reflect before you respond to your child. In those
moments of self-reflection, you tune into yourself and ask yourself these questions:
What is my state of mind right now?
Am I calm, loving and accepting or am I angry, frustrated and critical?
If you are calm, loving and accepting, you can go on to the next step. If you are not in
a calm, loving and accepting place, STOP! You will accomplish little by approaching
your child in this state of mind. Ask yourself, What do I need? Am I tired? Am I
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overwhelmed? Am I mad about something else? Take care of yourself by doing one of
the following. Take a break, breathe, count, do whatever you have to do to center
yourself and be the compassionate parent you want to be. You will achieve a more
effective outcome if you take time to do a mental check in.
The situation can easily escalate if you do not make the childs brain feel safe. One of
the purposes of the brain is to protect the body. If you do not make the brain of a
child (or adult) feel safe, the brain will respond with an attack, a defense, freezing or
over-compliance. The acronym SAFE can be used to help you to remember what to do
to make the brain feel safe. By doing the following things, you soothe the brain and
make it feel safe enough to listen and feel cooperative.
Step 2- Understand what your child is trying to communicate.



Children usually misbehave because their needs are not being met.
Need to feel valuable
Need to feel respected
Need to experiment and explore
Physical need (tiredness, hunger, or sickness)
Need to belong or be included
Need to be taught a skill
Need to feel loved
Need to be stimulated
Need to be heard
Need to feel understood
Need to feel supported
Need to feel wanted

Need to feel powerful/influential
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HELP THE BRAIN FEEL SAFE
Survey the need - what is the childs need? (Is she hungry, tired, sick, etc.?)
Appropriate touch - a gentle loving touch sometimes helps to soothe a child.
Friendly tone - use a non-threatening tone of voice.
Eye level - get on the childs eye level so she doesnt feel overpowered by your presence.


how to meet their own needs as they grow. When a child feels their need is not being
met, they often turn to mistaken goals. These goals are mistaken because they are an
attempt by the child to get their real need (to belong, to feel loved, etc.) met, but in
an ineffective way. Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs described the four mistaken goals in his book,
Children the Challenge. They are attention, power, revenge, and inadequacy.
Until you understand the goal of your childs misbehavior, you cant be sure how to
redirect their behavior. Unfortunately, no single discipline method will be effective in
every situation. You must take time to think about why your child is misbehaving in
order to determine what method to use.
One way to understand their goal is to determine how the child is inviting you to feel.
You will notice in the following chart that each goal makes you feel differently. Please
review the following Mistaken Goal Chart on the next page.
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Your job as a parent is to meet their needs and in the process, they will be learning


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INCAF
By Kathryn Kvols
If you feel
And if your
child has
this reaction to
a reprimand
And your
childs actions
seem to be

saying
Then, this goal is
most likely to be
Corrective
Measure
Teach your
child to
- Annoyed
- You want to
remind or coax
- Delighted with
your good
child
Temporarily stops
disturbing action
when given
attention.
I only count when
I am being noticed
or being served.
Attention
Do all of the
following as soon
as the child begins
to annoy:
- No eye contact
- No words
- Nonverbally
make the child
feel loved.
Ask for attention
appropriately.
- Provoked
- Challenged
- The need to
prove your
power
- Ill make you do
it!
- You cant get
away with this
- Intensifies his
actions
- Wants to win
- Wants to be the
boss
I only count when
I am dominating or
you do what I
want or when I
prove that you
cant boss me.
Power
- Give choices not
orders
- Dont argue
- Use friendly eye
contact
- Be firm and calm
- Give the child
useful ways to
feel powerful
- Win-win
negotiate
- Be a leader
- Hurt
- Angry
- How could you
do this to me?
- Wants to get
even
- Makes self
unlikable
I want to hurt
others as I feel
hurt.
Revenge
- Empathize
- Do not hurt back
- Re-establish the
relationship
- Make amends
- Use logical
consequences
that are not
punishing.
- Assert his
feelings of hurt
in appropriate
ways
- Takes
responsibility for
the results of his
behavior
- Despair
- What can I do?
- Annoyed and/or
pity
- Feels there is no
use to try
- Passive
- Withdrawn
- I cant do
anything right so
I wont do
anything at all.
- Im no good.
Inadequacy
- Dont coax or
show pity
- Arrange small
successes
- Avoid doing for
the child
- Find situations
for child to feel
valuable
- Redirect their
self-talk
- Accomplish and
overcome
- Feel capable and
worthwhile
MISTAKEN GOAL CHART


Step 3 - Meet the unmet need or redirect the behavior.
Discover what the childs need is and meet or address it. For example, if you are
shopping and your child starts misbehaving, he may be bored. One way to solve this is
to include him in on the shopping. Give him an item that he needs to find in the aisle.
Or ask him to give you five cans of soup. Both of these examples are teaching him and
meeting his needs for stimulation and inclusion.
Frequently, what looks like misbehavior, isnt. Sometimes the child needs to be
taught a skill or reminded of a skill. Teach your child a skill and make sure he has
consistently demonstrated that skill BEFORE you can expect that he will use it. For
example, you will have to teach, demonstrate, role play, and model conflict
resolution numerous times before you can expect your child to successfully navigate
the world of win-win negotiation.
Remember: All misbehavior is your child trying to communicate an unmet need. When
your child gets his/her needs met ( i.e. feels understood, valued, powerful etc.), there
is less need to misbehave. This is true of you too!
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DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
GETTING YOUR NEEDS MET
Below is a list of needs. Make copies of this page and have your family members rate
how well they are getting their needs met. Rate 1 for not at all and 5 always.
Need to feel valuable
Need to feel respected
Need to feel powerful/influential
Need to belong or be connected
Need to be feel loved
Need to be heard
Need to feel understood
Need to feel supported
Need to feel wanted
This is a great exercise to discuss at your next family meeting.
How to use this worksheet:
If someone in your family gets a three or lower on the needs listed above, you may
want to brainstorm how the family can help meet that need.
For example, three-year-old Jessica was stealing items from her brothers room. The
family discovered that Jessica was stealing to get her brothers attention (need for
connection). The brother decided to play with his little sister for 10 minutes after he
came home from school. The stealing stopped because Jessica got what she wanted
in an appropriate way.
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1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5


CHAPTER 2
THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF ATTENTION
Children need and are entitled to our attention if they are to grow into healthy
adults. They know instinctively that negative attention is better than no attention at
all. Children who have not been taught how to get attention appropriately will use
unproductive means to get an adults attention.
Parents who believe that it is their responsibility to make their child happy and
entertained run the risk of raising children who have an insatiable appetite for
attention.
Children who misbehave with the goal of attention seem to be saying with their
actions and words, Keep busy with me! The parent in this situation feels annoyed
and frustrated by their behavior
Children seeking attention may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:
Whining
Over sensitivity
Over eagerness to please
Being over dramatic
Procrastination
Showing off
Hyperactivity
Keeping you busy with them
Parents often react to these behaviors in non-productive ways, such as:
Giving in
Coaxing and/or reminding
Getting frustrated
Repeating yourself over and over
Doing more than you need to
Here is an example of the goal of attention that you might be able to relate to:
Mom is on the phone. Three-year-old Lily whines, I cant find my dolly. Mom tells
her to be quiet. Lilys whine becomes more incessant, making moms phone call
unbearable. Mom interrupts the call to find Lilys doll.
What has Lily learned? She has learned to be obnoxious until she gets what she wants.
Is that what Mom intended to teach Lily? Of course not! Here are the steps for redirecting
the mistaken goal of attention:
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REDIRECT THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF ATTENTION

Earlier in this session we discussed the three steps to redirecting childrens behavior:

1. Check your emotional state.
2. Understand what your child is trying to communicate.
3. Meet the unmet need or redirect the behavior.

Now that you have an understanding of what your child is communicating and how you
might typically react, its time to do step 3. Below are four steps to take when your
child is asking for inappropriate attention:
From the example above, this is what the four steps would look like assuming that
Mom has instructed Lily how to get Moms attention in an appropriate way.
Lily starts whining about her doll. Mom continues her conversation on the phone.
Without making eye contact or talking, Mom starts lovingly stroking Lilys back.
Typically, this fills the childs emotional gas tank and she will go off to play.
If this doesnt work, check to make sure you are following the steps. You may not
realize that you are talking. Or instead of being loving, perhaps you are being
impatient and wanting your child to go away. Also, if this is not working, your child
may have the mistaken goal of power.
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STEPS TO REDIRECTING THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF ATTENTION
Step 1. Make no eye contact with the child.
Step 2. Use no words with the child.
Step 3. Non-verbally make the child feel loved. For example, rub childs back,
hair or anything that is soothing to the child.
Step 4. Take action immediately. Make the child feel loved as soon as possible.


DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
REDIRECTING THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF ATTENTION
1.
Which of your children has the mistaken goal of attention?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
2. Check the box by the behaviors below that your child exhibits:
Whining
Over-sensitivity
Over-eagerness to please
Being overdramatic
Procrastination
Showing off
Hyperactivity
Keeping you busy with them
3. Check the box by the things below that you catch yourself doing:
Giving in
Coaxing and/or reminding
Get frustrated
Repeating yourself over and over
Doing more than you need to
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4. If your childs mistaken goal is attention, answer the following questions:
a). When your child asks for attention in an appropriate way, do you respond right
away or do you put it off?
Respond right away
Put off
b). What will you do next time?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
c) Have you taught your child how to get your attention in an appropriate way?
Yes
No
d) Do you have a signal or word(s) you have taught your child to say in a respectful
manner to get your attention?
Yes
No
If not, write what you will do to teach your child to ask for your attention in an
appropriate way. For example, you could teach your child to say, I need your
attention, I need a GEM, or I need some snuggle time.
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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Elements for a GEM (Genuine Encounter Moment)
Your child comes to you seeking your attention numerous times a day. Although it is not humanly
possible to respond every time with a GEM, responding this way several times a day will greatly
enhance their self-esteem.

Get on your childs eye level

Touch

Use a friendly tone of voice and eye contact

Focus %100 on your child

Respond from your heart not your head


e) Do you give your child enough GEMS or are you frequently too busy?
Yes
Too Busy
f) What could you do to help yourself to remember to give your child your 100% focused
attention several times a day?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
g) Do you have weekly dates alone with each child?
Yes
No
If not, make dates with each child.
A date is distinguished from a GEM in that a GEM is spontaneous whereas a date is
typically planned.
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Elements for a Successful Date:
A date should be planned by the parent and the child. A word to the wise: do not
agree to something that you would not consider fun. For example, if your
daughter wants to play dolls and you dont, your attitude will be reflected during
your time together. The effort will be self-defeating because you will resent being
there or wishing you were someplace else.

A date can be low cost i.e., bike riding, taking a
walk or going on a picnic.

The date should be one-on-one time.

Mark it on your calendar and make sure the date
is as important as a business appointment.

The date should be a minimum of 20 minutes.
A date says, You are important to me. I want to be
with you. Dates are especially important for busy
parents, families with several children, and
step-families.


5. Brainstorm what you would enjoy doing on a date with each child (and
your partner). Remember that each child is unique and what may be
fun for one child may not be fun for another.
Childs name: ____________________________________________________
Ideas: _________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
Childs name: ____________________________________________________
Ideas: _________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
Childs name: ____________________________________________________
Ideas: _________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
Childs name: ____________________________________________________
Ideas: _________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
6. Mark your calendar with a date for each child once per week. Dont forget
your partners date with each child and to plan dates with your partner!
Children would rather get negative attention than be ignored.
Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, Children: the Challenge
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CHAPTER 3
THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF POWER
No is the favorite word of child with the mistaken goal of power. These children can
be very challenging. When redirected, however, they can make wonderful leaders.
The child who has the mistaken goal of power seems to be saying with their actions
and words, You cant make me. The parent in this situation feels challenged and
angry because of their behavior. If the parent responds to this child by overpowering
him, the child can become more embedded in this mistaken goal or escalate to the
next mistaken goal which is revenge.
Parents get themselves in trouble when they perceive their childs behavior as non-
compliance. This line of thinking usually leads toward a trip down a tumultuous
spiral. Refrain from this thinking and ask, What does my child need? Perhaps he/she
needs space, quality time with you, to be allowed to express his wishes, or to have some
influence over the situation?
Children seeking inappropriate power may exhibit one or more of the following
behaviors:

Acting stubborn
Arguing
Bossiness
Saying no
Refusal
Persistent pestering
Always trying to have the last word

Parents often react to these behaviors in these non-productive ways:

Giving in
Threatening
Yelling
Overpowering children
Bribery
Arguing

REDIRECTING THE GOAL OF POWER
Earlier in this session, we discussed the three steps of redirecting childrens behavior:

1. Check your emotional state.
2. Understand what your child is trying to communicate.
3. Meet the unmet need or redirect the behavior
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.


Now that you have an understanding of what your child is communicating and how you
might typically react, its time to do step 3. Once you have identified a power
struggle, here are 11 ways to redirect power struggles:
1. Use Loving Guidance
Frequently we nag our children about what they should be doing, and as a result our
children become "parent deaf." Use friendly action instead. For example, you asked
your child to put his shoes away. He says, In just a minute." A minute goes by and
shoes still arent put away. Put a friendly smile on your face, pick up his shoes, put
them on his lap, walk away and say, Thank you. You may need to do this two or
three times. Stay calm and loving, yet firm. Do not get into a verbal power struggle
with him.
2. Find Useful Ways for Your Child to Feel Powerful or Influential
During a power struggle, our typical first thought is, How can I get this situation
under control?
It might be as simple as asking him for his help or putting him in charge of a particular
job. For example, if you are having difficulty with a toddler wandering off while
grocery shopping, put him in the shopping cart. Give him the shopping list and a
crayon and have him be in charge of checking off items on your list. Or, if you have a
toddler who refuses to put on her seat belt, designate her to be the Seat Belt Boss.
The driver cant drive until the boss has made sure everyone has his or her seat belt
on. If you argue with your teenager about money, have her balance the checkbook,
work on a family budget, or help with the accounting in your business. We all want to
feel powerful, and if we don't have opportunities to do it appropriately, we will seek
power in inappropriate ways -- like power struggles, or picking on siblings.
3. Teach Your Child to Say No Respectfully
You have got to be kidding, you might be saying to yourself. Why would I want to
teach them THAT?! Many of us were not allowed to say no growing up, and since
we weren't allowed to say no verbally, we learned to say it in a number of devious
ways -- like rebelling or doing a job halfway. Teach your children to respectfully say,
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Change your question to:
"How can I give my child more appropriate
power (or influence) in this particular
situation?"
If we dont find useful ways for our
children to feel powerful, they will find
power in inappropriate ways.


No, I dont want to do the dishes, but I will sweep the floor." This creates an
atmosphere of cooperation and support.
Teaching your child this skill deters your child from using passive/aggressive behavior
with you. It will also give your child the skill of saying no to peer pressure. Teens
frequently dont say no to peer pressure because they dont want to get rejected.
Operating from the fear of rejection often starts at home with parents not teaching
them this essential skill.
4. Give Choices
We all like to feel we have some control over our destiny, and our children are no
different. One way to do this is to let them make choices. For a younger child the
choice might be, Do you want peas or carrots for dinner?" or for an older child the
choice might be, "Do you want to set the table or make the salad?"
The purpose of giving choices is to empower him or her, not to manipulate the
child into doing what you want.
It is not effective to use giving choices as a form of manipulation, but to teach your
child the power of choices. When children understand unlimited thinking and can see
many options to the problems they encounter, it will empower them to not feel like a
victim in their life. This is an essential concept to teach your child. Of course, you
want to make the choices and the number of choices developmentally appropriate.
It is not our abilities that tell us what we truly areIt is our choices."


-Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Here are some effective questions to ask your child that will help stretch their
thinking.

What are the results you want?
What are your options here?
Think of one more.
Would you like to know some other options?
What are the consequences of that choice?
Will it get the results you want?
How will that choice affect others?
The best way to use your influence is to make your children into sensitive, aware
choice makers.
- Deepak Chopra author of The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents
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Doing the unexpected distracts your child and allows them to regroup. For example:
two children were fighting in the kitchen. Mom usually broke them up and sent them
begrudgingly to their rooms. This time, Mother decided to do the unexpected. Instead
of breaking them up, she started a wet paper towel fight. They had a delightful time
together and forgot about their power struggle.
6. Win-Win Negotiations
Most of us were not taught the concept of a win-win negotiation. We probably
experienced situations that were mainly win-lose. The most effective negotiations are
when both sides win and are happy with the end results. This can be challenging,
because you must listen intently to what the other person wants while staying
committed to what you want. Ask your child, "I see how you can win and that's great,
because I want you to win. How can I win, too?"
For example: Brianna, who was three at the time, and I were taking a bath. She
wanted little water and I wanted big water and the debate was beginning to get
heated. I remembered to take my own advice and asked, "I see how you can win by
having little water and that's great, because I want you to win. How can I win, too?"
She answered quickly, How about while you are in the tub with me, we have big
water and then when you get out, I will stay and play in little water? Brilliant, I
said as we proceeded to enjoy a leisurely bath together.
Think of a person in your life, past or present, with whom you couldnt win. What was
it like to be with that person? How did you feel? What did you feel like doing when you
were in this persons presence?
Now, think of a person in your life whom you feel like you could win with. What was
is it like to be with that person? How did you feel? What did you feel like doing when
you were in this persons presence?
Which person do you want to be?
When children see that you are just as interested in seeing them win as yourself,
they are more than willing to help figure out ways that you both can win.
7. Let Go of Your Position
Parents often have a certain way of doing things. If things dont go the way they
planned, they become upset or controlling. If this happens to you, ask yourself, What
is the worst thing that could happen if I let go of my position? Would that be so bad?
Can I handle this? What is the best thing that could happen? Will this matter five years
from now?
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5. Do the Unexpected


An example: a single mother who was an attorney had a son who was thirteen. They
would spend up to an hour arguing about his bathing every night. The other parents in
the Redirecting Childrens Behavior class recommended that she withdraw from the
conflict and not say anything to her son. Mom protested profusely, claiming that her
petulant son would NEVER bathe if she didnt intervene. The group was persistent in
their advice, and the mother promised to disengage with her son in the power struggle
regarding his bathing.
The next week, everyone in the class was dying to know what had happened. Here is
her report: Eric did not bathe for three days and he was starting to reek. However, I
bit my tongue and didnt say anything. Eric baited me: You havent said anything
about my bath for three days! And I responded with, No, and I never will. He went
to his room, came back a few minutes later, and asked, Never, ever? Never, ever! I
announced. He has been bathing ever since!
When you use coercion to get your child to do what you want, you may win the
battle, but is it worth disturbing your precious relationship?
Read the following poem to help you find areas where you need to let go.
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Let Go...
to "let go" does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else
to "let go" is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another
to "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences
to "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands
to "let go" is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself
to "let go" is not to take care of, but to care about
to "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive
to "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being
to "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes but to allow others to affect
their destinies
to "let go" is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality
to "let go" is not to deny, but to accept
to "let go" is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search
out my own shortcomings and correct them
to "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take
each day as it comes and cherish myself in it
to "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody but to try to
become what I dream I can be
to "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow from it
to "let go" is to fear less, and love more
-author unknown


8. Use Signals
Have you ever seen the Peanuts cartoon specials? What do the parents/adults
always say in them? They always say, Waugh, Waugh, Waugh! Our children learn
to tune us out when we talk too much. One way to prevent this is to use signals. For
example, a preteen was forgetting to say thank you to her friends parents when
she left their house. Mom asked her daughter, I know that you want to say thank you,
and I dont want to embarrass you in front of your friend. What signal could we use?
Her daughter suggested touching her gently on the elbow. The problem was solved!
It always works best to have the child come up with the signal because it will help
them feel like they have a part in the solution.
9. Use One Word
Our children hear brush your teeth, comb your hair, dont put that in your
mouth, stop picking your nose, etc. continually all day from many different adults.
Again, to eliminate excessive talking, just use one word. This will work even better if
your child picks the word. Tell your children ahead of time that you are going to stop
nagging, and that you will be using just one word from now on to tell them what
needs to be done. For example, if their shoes need to be picked up, instead of giving
a dissertation on shoe pickup, you could simply say shoes.
Or, if your child has said something sassy, say one word (such as redo) that means
you want to hear what your child has to say, but in a respectful way. Make sure you
say redo in a friendly voice, and with a smile. If you are willing to take a look at
your own misbehaviors and learn from them, you can also allow your child (and
partner) to say this to you!
Another example: A father had a teenage son whose school had
taken physical education out of the curriculum. As a result, this
teenager would come home with raging hormones that had no
outlet. He began to take his frustrations out on the nearest
victim. Dad explained to his son how he needed a physical outlet
and asked him how they could resolve this problem. They agreed
that Dad would say the word tramp (one of his sons favorite
forms of exercise) when he noticed his son was starting to
terrorize someone. This was his sons signal to go jump on the
trampoline in order to release his frustrations. The teens reign of
terror ceased to be a threat to the family, for which everyone was
eternally grateful!
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 21
Did you know that your child receives over
2,000 compliance requests daily from adults?


10. Ask Questions
Autocratic demands often set off the child who is power-hungry. To avoid this, ask
questions instead. For example, instead of demanding, Put your coat away, say,
Where does your coat go? to a younger child. For an older child, instead of saying,
Do your homework, ask, What is your schedule? Or, instead of telling him to do
his chores, ask, What do you want to get done today? If they dont mention the
homework or chore, non-judgmentally ask, Where will you fit in your homework/
chore?
11. Give Space
Some power-hungry children simply need space. Give them a chance to do what you
are asking on their own time. If you are in the middle of a power struggle, withdraw
and come back to the situation when you are both calm and have had a chance to
process it.
For example, a toddler didnt like getting her diaper changed. Struggles would ensue
that typically ended with the parent forcing the diaper change and the toddler crying.
The parents learned to ask her if she wanted her diaper changed. She would say,
No. The parents would respect her no and then ask again a few minutes later.
Using this procedure, she would happily allow them to change her diapers. This didnt
always work, and the parents didnt always have the time to give her some space.
However, it did dramatically reduce the number of diaper-changing meltdowns.
Another example: Andrea, age ten, would frequently lose it when her mother would
help with her homework. Instead of forcing her to understand and do the problem,
Mom learned to say, I noticed that I am starting to get frustrated. I am going to leave
and come back in a few minutes after I have calmed down. Giving her daughter
space reduced the amount of time spent on homework, because they fought less.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 22


DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
REDIRECTING THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF POWER
1. Which of your children has the mistaken goal of power?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
2. Check the box by the behaviors below that your child exhibits:
Acting stubborn
Arguing
Being Bossy
Saying No
Refusal
Persistent pestering
Needing to have the last word
3. Check the box by the things below that you catch yourself doing:
Giving in
Threatening
Yelling
Over-powering
Bribery
Arguing
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 23


4. Check the box by the tools you will practice this week:
Use Loving Guidance
Find Useful Ways for Your Child to Feel Powerful or Influential
Teach Your Child to Say No Respectfully
Give Choices
Do the Unexpected
Win-Win Negotiate
Let Go of Your Position
Use Signals
Use One Word
Ask Questions
Give Space
5. In what situation(s) do you get into power struggles?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
6. How do you normally handle this situation?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 24


7. In this situation, what triggers you?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
8. What tool do you think will be the most effective in this situation?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
9. What is one situation in which you might be able to use a signal?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
10. List 3 things on which you have a fixed position that you are willing to let
go. Here are some examples: what they choose to wear, the color of their hair,
whether or not their hair is brushed.
1.
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
2.
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
3.
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 25


Help Your Child Feel Influential and Valuable
Everyone wants to feel powerful and valuable, including our children. If we dont give
them appropriate ways to feel powerful, influential and valuable, they will get power
in inappropriate ways.
Here are some examples of ways to help your child feel valuable:
1. Allow him to help you in a way that you choose together (i.e., grocery shopping,
watering plants, writing checks, being in charge of family outings, washing
dishes, washing clothes, making a meal for the family, setting the table, etc.).
2. Share your feelings with her and allow her to be there for you (i.e., I am
feeling sad. Could I have a hug?).
3. Allow him to teach you something. For example, I learned that I dont play
enough. Will you teach me how? or I would like to learn how to use the
computer. Would you teach me?
4. Create appropriate ways for him to do what he wants and still remain within the
essential limits you have set. For example, I am not willing to let you ride your
bike alone to Jasons. However, I would be willing to let you go if you get your
brother to ride along with you.
5. Ask him for his advice. For example, What do you think I should wear to work
today? or I have this conflict at work with JoeWhat do you think I could do
about it?
6. Below are ways I will allow my children to feel powerful in an appropriate
manner:
a. _______________________________________________
b. _______________________________________________
c. _______________________________________________
d. _______________________________________________
e. _______________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 26


CHAPTER 4
THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF REVENGE
The child who has the mistaken goal of revenge seems to be saying with their actions
and words, I want to hurt others the way I hurt. The child feels hurt by someone or
something in his environment. The parent in this situation feels hurt, victimized, and
unappreciated. It is important that the parent finds the source of the hurt and
teaches this child how to express his hurt in a more appropriate way.
Children seeking revenge may exhibit one or more of these behaviors:
Blaming others
Saying hurtful things
Destroying property
Stealing
Acting entitled
Abusiveness
Making self unlikable
Intimidation
Hurting children, animals and/or self
Getting bad grades
Hanging out with the wrong crowd
Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
Promiscuity
Acting like they dont care
Parents often react to this child in non-productive ways, such as:
Giving in
Threatening
Yelling
Overpowering
Bribery
Hurting back
Punishing
Walking on eggshells
Not caring about the child, in order to protect yourself
Withdrawing affection
Losing trust
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 27


What is going on in your childs life that is making your child feel hurt? Here are some
possibilities:
Views your discipline as punishment
Is chronically sick
Is being bullied
Is being abused mentally, sexually or physically
Has a learning challenge
Feels disconnected from parent(s)
Didnt bond well with a significant adult as a child
Feels hurt by someone
Feels over-powered by someone
Is pampered
Does not have a good relationship with an adult
Doesnt like self
Is being teased at school
Is being excluded at school
Redirecting the Mistaken Goal of Revenge
Earlier in this session, we discussed the three steps to redirecting childrens behavior:
1. Check your emotional state.
2. Understand what your child is trying to communicate.
3. Meet the unmet need or redirect the behavior.
Now that you have an understanding of what your child is communicating and how you
might typically react, its time to do step 3. Here are some points to remember when
redirecting the mistaken goal of revenge:
Here is an ineffective response to the mistaken goal of revenge:
NATHAN! screams Mom. What have you done to my curtains?
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 28
Steps to Redirect Revenge
Dont hurt back.
Re-establish your relationship.
Validate their feelings.
Make amends.
Admit when you are wrong.
Empathize.
If someone else is the problem, help him find more healthy ways to handle the issue.
Teach him how to express anger and hurt in appropriate ways.


I didnt do anything, Nathan lies in a futile attempt to avoid Moms wrath.
What is the matter with you? Before he can answer, she threatens, Go to your
room. Wait until your father comes home!
Nathan slithers to his room, terrified of his fathers retribution but trying to not care.
What has Nathan learned here? To fear his father? Notice how Mom has inadvertently
made Dad the bad guy? Mom has no understanding of why Nathan did what he did and
nothing really gets resolved.
Here is an effective response using the steps to redirect the goal of revenge:
Mom says, Nathan, you must have been REALLY angry with me to cut my curtain.
[Empathize.] Did I do something to make you mad at me?
You broke your promise. You said you were going to take me to the movie and you
went back to work instead! All you do is work. Why did you bother to have me
anyway?!! retaliates Nathan. (Note that some children may not be able to identify
and express what they are hurting about. You may have to make some guesses.)
Oh, you're right, honey. I did break my promise. That was very wrong of me. [Admit
when you are wrong.] You must feel like my work is more important than you.
[Empathize.]
Yeah, you got that right! says Nathan, softening a little.
I can understand why you feel that way. It's not true. You are VERY important to me.
What can I do to make this up to you? (Make amends.)
You could take me next Saturday and keep your word, pouts Nathan.
Its a deal, says Mom as she takes out her calendar and writes down the date in
front of Nathan so he can see how important this is to her. Mom asks, Will you
forgive me?
Yeah. The corners of Nathans mouth curl up ever so slightly. They hug.
Later that evening, after Mom has made time to build her sons emotional bank
account [Re-establish the relationship]) and Nathan has had a chance to process what
has happened, Mom asks, Hey, I have a request of you?
What is it? asks Nathan cautiously.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 29


The next time you get mad at me like that, would you be willing to tell me how mad
you are instead of getting even with me? Cause I am likely to make more mistakes
like this, and besides, curtains are expensive! Mom says, half joking and half serious.
Ok. Nathan sounds relieved to know he has options.
What could you have said to me? Mom asks. [Teach him how to express his
anger appropriately.]
The conversation continues and mom adds, I would also like you to help pay for a
new curtain.
Notice that Mom did not grovel for her sons forgiveness. The make-up was
reasonable. Mom did not make excuses for her behavior nor did she defend herself.
Excusing yourself and defending only make the other person mad, because when you
make excuses or justifications it will make the other person feel like their complaint
is not valid. Punishing the child who has the mistaken goal of revenge will only make
matters worse. Their reaction to punishment is to escalate the situation or to act like
they dont care. I am sure you have heard the oft-used phrase, I dont care.
Notice that Mom also requested that he help pay for the new curtains. This teaches
the child to repair his mistakes and makes it less likely he will be destructive to
express his anger again.
What did Nathan learn in this example?
To express his feelings appropriately.
To be responsible for his actions.
To repair his mistakes.
That his mother cares about his feelings.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 30


DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
REDIRECTING THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF REVENGE
1. Which childs mistaken goal is revenge?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
2. Check in the box beside the behaviors below that your child exhibits:
Blaming others
Saying hurtful things
Destroying property
Stealing
Acting entitled
Abusiveness
Making self unlikable
Intimidation
Hurting children, animals and/or self
Getting bad grades
Hang out with the "wrong crowd"
Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
Promiscuity
Acting like they dont care
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 31


3. Check the box beside the things below that you catch yourself doing:
Giving in
Threatening
Yelling
Overpowering
Bribery
Hurting back
Punishing
Walking on eggshells
Not caring in order to protect yourself
Withdrawing affection
Losing trust
4. What is going on in your childs life that is making your child feel hurt? Check
the box beside the things from the list below.
Views your discipline as punishment
Is chronically sick
Is being bullied
Is being abused mentally, sexually or physically
Has a learning challenge
Feels disconnected from parent(s)
Didnt bond well with a significant adult as a child
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 32


Feels hurt by someone
Feels over-powered by someone
Is pampered
Does not have a good relationship with an adult
Doesnt like self
Is being teased at school
Is being excluded at school
Other _________________________________________________
5. How do you normally respond when your child does something hurtful?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
6. Which one(s) of the fowling redirections do you need to implement?
Dont hurt back
Re-establish your relationship
Validate their feelings.
Make amends
Admit when you are wrong.
Empathize
If someone else is the problem, help him find more healthy ways to handle the
issue.
Teach him how to express anger and hurt in appropriate ways.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 33


7. How will you do this?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
8. The mistaken goal of revenge can sometimes be difficult to heal without help.
What resources do you have available to help the situation? (School counselor,
therapist, etc.)
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 34


CHAPTER 5
THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF INADEQUACY
The child who has the mistaken goal of inadequacy seems to be saying with their
actions and words, I am not capable of doing what you are requesting of me. Leave
me alone. They have developed a pattern of learned helplessness. The parent in this
situation feels helpless or irritated by their behavior.
Some of the children who entertain this mistaken goal have a parent who has
expectations that are too high for this child, a sibling who is a hard act to follow,
or parents who have been over-pampering or consistently over-powering the
child.
It is imperative to redirect the childs self-talk and provide opportunities for the child
to feel capable, this will be discussed later in this chapter.
Children with the mistaken goal of inadequacy may demonstrate one or more of the
following behaviors:
Thinking everyone can do things better than him/her
Being afraid of new situations, meeting new people, etc.
Fearing criticism or falling apart when criticized
Reluctance to try new things
Tendency to isolate themselves
Wanting to numb out in front of TV
Avoiding sports or other competitive activities
Refusing to try
Feeling like he/she can never win
Feeling consistently over-powered by others
Acts as though he/she is resigned to being a loser
Giving up easily
Worrying excessively about failure
Saying negative things about self, i.e. Im stupid, No one likes me, I cant
do it.
Seeking isolation from others

Every child exhibits the above behaviors occasionally. Here we are talking about a
child who consistently demonstrates one or more of these behaviors.

Parents often react to this child in non-productive ways, such as:

Feeling inadequate as a parent
Feeling sorry for your child
Feeling frustrated because nothing you do seems to work
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 35



Feeling inadequate as a parent


Doing things for the child that they should do for themselves
Rescuing
Getting impatient
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 36



REDIRECTING THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF INADEQUACY
Earlier in this session we discussed the three steps to redirecting childrens behavior:
1. Check your emotional state.
2. Understand what your child is trying to communicate.
3. Meet the unmet need or redirect the behavior.
Now that you have an understanding of what your child is communicating and how you
might typically react, it's time to do step 3.
Here is an ineffective response to the goal of inadequacy.
The teacher notices that nine-year-old Natalie is doodling on her worksheet.
She says, Natalie, you havent finished your worksheet!
I cant, mutters Natalie, Im stupid.
Oh, no you are not. You can do this. Just try, coaxes the teacher.
Natalie puts her head on the desks and starts to snivel.
Oh, Honey, dont cry, says the teacher in a pitying tone of voice.
Here is an effective response to the goal of inadequacy:
The teacher notices that nine-year-old Natalie is doodling on her worksheet. She says,
Natalie, you havent finished your worksheet!
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 37
Redirect the Mistaken Goal of Inadequacy
Express confidence in the childs ability to do well.
Create situations in which the child can feel valuable and powerful.
Teach your child to use encouraging self-talk.
Arrange for small successes.
Avoid doing things for the child.
Avoid coaxing.
Break down tasks into accomplishable steps.
Ask them to stretch themselves a little further than what they think they
are capable of doing, i.e. do one more math problem, read one more.


I cant, mutters Natalie, Im stupid.
What do you think will happen if you continue to tell yourself that?
Ill be stupid! Natalie answers, perking up a bit.
Perhaps. What do you think might be a more helpful thing to tell yourself?
I dont know, says Natalie.
What if you say to yourself, I can do one more? suggests the teacher.
I can do that! Natalie brightens as she starts to do one more problem on the
worksheet.
In the first example, the teacher has inadvertently taught Natalie that a good life
strategy is to convince someone to feel sorry for you. In the effective response, the
teacher has taught her a valuable skill to help her when she gets stuck in life: to
change her self-talk. It is our discouraging self-talk that often prevents us from
achieving the results we want in life.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 38


DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
REDIRECTING THE MISTAKEN GOAL OF INADEQUACY
1. Which child has the mistaken goal of inadequacy?
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
2. Check the box by the behaviors below that your child exhibits:
Thinking everyone can do things better than him/her
Being afraid of new situations, meeting new people, etc.
Fearing criticism, or falling apart when criticized
Reluctance to try new things
Tendency to isolate
Wanting to numb out in front of TV
Avoiding sports or other competitive activities
Feeling like he/she can never win
Feeling consistently over-powered by others
Acts as though he/she is resigned to being a loser
Giving up easily
Worrying excessively about failure
Saying negative things about self, i.e. Im stupid, No one likes me, I cant
do it.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 39


3. Check the box by the things below that you catch yourself doing:
Coaxing
Feeling inadequate as a parent
Feeling sorry for your child
Feeling frustrated because nothing you do seems to work
Doing things for child that you shouldnt
Rescuing
Getting impatient
4. Are your expectations too high for this child?
Yes
No
5. What is going on that this child feels so incapable?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
6. What redirect will you try?
Express confidence in the childs ability to do well
Create situations in which the child can feel valuable and powerful
Teach your child to use encouraging self-talk
Arrange for small successes
Avoid doing things for the child
Avoid coaxing
Break down tasks into accomplishable steps
Ask them to stretch themselves a little further than what they think they are
capable of doing i.e. do one more math problem, read one more
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 40


CHAPTER 6
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
You can minimize the frequency of misbehavior by taking a few necessary
precautions.
1. Know Your Child
Learn to discern how your child acts during certain situations. For example, when
your child gets hungry or tired, does she become irritable and less cooperative?
Knowing your child will help you determine which intervention to use. Below are
situations that often cause disturbance in children:
Transitions
Disturbance in routine
Certain smells
Over-stimulation
Bright lights
Labels on clothes
Seams in socks
People in their space
Being hurried
Certain textures, including food
Being over-regulated
Goodbyes and hellos
Once you understand the reasons behind his responses, you can learn to work
with him, ease the hassles, teach new behaviors where they are needed, and,
most important, help your child understand and like himself.
-Mary Sheedy Kurcinka in Raising Your Spirited Child
2. Schedule Appropriately
We often over-schedule, which creates tension in our family. Stress creates fertile
ground for misbehavior. Stress is like a thief in the night often you dont know that
its there, but in the morning many of your valuables are missing. The valuable that is
missing in our homes is closeness. I cant emphasize enough how important it is to de-
stress your family. Allow yourself enough time so that you do not have to hurry. One
way to avoid hurrying in the morning is to have your child get school clothes, books,
and anything else she will need ready the night before.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 41


3. Look for Patterns
Look for patterns that precipitate misbehavior and find ways to intervene during that
pattern. For example, if your preschooler has a tantrum while you are running
errands, arrange to do your errands without her or shorten the amount of time you
spend on errands. If your child has difficulty with transitions (moving from one
activity to another), create a routine during transitions to make them go more
smoothly or focus their attention on the next adventure.
Here is another example: A father noticed a pattern. He would often fight with his
teenage daughter before his dates with her. The daughter would be so mad at him
that she didnt want to continue the date. After self-reflection, Dad realized he
initiated the fight because he wanted to work instead of being with her. Dad adjusted
his priorities and started to consider their relationship more important than his work.
The fighting stopped.
4. Make Agreements Ahead of Time
Children will do best when they know what their limits are. If you havent set limits
ahead of time, your message will be less clear, which leaves room for the child to bug
you until you give in. For example, if you are going to the store and your son usually
wants to buy things, tell him before going to the store whether or not he can spend
money. If he can buy something, tell him how much money he can spend and on what
sorts of items. For instance, you may not want to spend it on candy, but you would be
willing to spend it on a book.
5. Notify Your Child of Changes Ahead of Time
To avoid conflict, we sometimes do not tell our children about changes in plans until
the last minute. This makes our child feel like he/she lacks control and can upset
him/her. Tell your child as soon as possible about changes in plans.
Another time it is helpful to let children know about changes is when you are about to
leave. A phrase you can use is, You have ten minutes to complete what you are
doing, and then we will be leaving. And then again in two minutes give them another
notice.
6. Nurture Yourself
Take time to nurture yourself. When you feel like you have had time for yourself, you
are less irritable, more sensitive to the demands of situations and less likely to
overreact.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 42


7. Create Rituals and Routines
Our children (especially younger children) need routines and rituals. For example, one
mom picked her child up from school with a snack that her daughter could eat in the
car, and her daughter got to take her shoes and socks off when she got in. This routine
made the transition from school to home go more smoothly. Create routines around
the following issues:
Getting up
Getting to school
Being picked up from school
Homework
Mealtimes
Bedtime
Rituals are established traditions to celebrate special occasions. Rituals help children
to feel like they belong and are connected to something substantial, and they give
them something to look forward to.
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 43


DISCOVERY QUESTIONS
MINIMIZING MISBEHAVIOR
You can minimize the frequency of misbehavior by taking a few necessary
precautions.
1. Check which of these are difficult for your child:
Transitions
Disturbance in routine
Certain smells
Over-stimulation
Bright lights
Labels on clothes
Seams in socks
People in their space
Being hurried
Certain textures, including food
Goodbyes and hellos
Others: ________________________________
2. Are you over-scheduled?
Yes
No
3. What could you delegate or eliminate from your schedule?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 44


_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
5. What time of the day is your child most likely to misbehave?
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
6. What happens before the misbehavior occurs? For example, is your child
tired, hungry, over-stimulated? Has your child been with a friend(s), had
an argument or just been dropped off or picked up from school?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
7. What could you do to help prevent this from happening in the future?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
8. What are some situations you may want to make agreements about ahead of
time?
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
Here are some areas you may want to consider:
When you go to a store, what can they buy?
How much can they spend?
What can and cant they do at their grandparents house?
What can and cant they do at a friends house?
When can they date?
What are the parameters of a date?
How much money are you willing to spend on clothes?
How much money are you willing to spend on your childs entertainment?
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 45
4. What patterns do you see in your childs misbehavior?


9. Write what the agreements will be below.
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
10. Check which routines you have in place.
4. What patterns do you see in your childs misbehavior?
Getting up
Getting to school
Getting picked up from school
Homework
Mealtimes
Bedtime
Other: __________________________
11. You get to create your dream routine here:
a. Write 3 ideal routines. Dont limit yourself to what you think is possible. Let
your imagination run wild.
1. ____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
2. _____________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________
3. _____________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
b. What is one small step that you will take to make each of your 3 dream
routines possible?
1. ____________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 46


c. Ask for and write down your familys suggestions. Ask what ways will they
support you to make your dream routines happen.
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 47


Epilogue
Our Children, Our Future
The way we parent will, to a large extent, determine the future of our
society. We have a choice: to parent in a way that teaches our children to
be uncooperative, self-serving, irresponsible, and disconnected, or to
raise children who hold values deeply, are passionate, and maintain and
nurture close relationships.
It is no easy task to change old patterns. Make sure you are gentle with
yourself. Find someone to support you perhaps a spouse, a friend, or a
Redirecting Childrens Behavior class. Without support, its all too easy to
slip back into old, less effective ways.
Most important of all, love one another and be good to one another. The
individual members of your family can function like a battery that is, a
collective, recharging source of encouragement and support that allows
all of you to go out into the community and do the things you are
brilliantly capable of doing.
Visit our website www.incaf.com for more resources to help you be
successful in your parenting journey.
Always remember this;
There is nothing more important than
loving someone and being loved.
Continue to the next page
2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 48

Heals
Love
-Neale Donald Walch
is the energy which:

Expands
Opens up
Sends out
Stays
Reveals
Shares

2008 INCAF www.incaf.com! 49