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Parents constantly ask me how they can get their children to do what they are asked, without making a fuss. I want even more! I want our children to do what they have to do with a great attitude and without having to be asked. I hope you find these tips helpful


  1. 1. Who is in charge around here? You! You are the parent. You make the decisions and what you say goes. You can be a loving, supportive parent who listens actively to what your child has to say, but you are still the parent and the proverbial buck stops with you.
  2. Before you give your child an instruction, think about it for a minute. Is it important? Does your child have the ability to do it? If so, speak in a firm, polite voice that communicates your confidence in your child's willingness and ability to attend to the task at hand.
  3. When your child does as asked, give a sincere thank you that let's your child know how pleased you are.
  4. If your child does not do as asked, consider the element of surprise. Say nothing but decide upon a consequence that you are confident you can act upon without anger.
  5. Maintain a calm, even disposition no matter what is going on. Do not react. Behave in a way that feels right for you, but keep your mood and emotions in check at all times.
  6. Make it feel good for your child to do the right thing. Focus five times as much attention on what your child does right than on what they do wrong. Praise loudly, sincerely, with full eye contact and focus. Conversely, negative behavior deserves as little attention as possible.
  7. Treat your child with true respect. Motivate and encourage instead of lecturing and scolding. In every situation, allow your child the gift of doing what he can and should do independently. Hold the bar high and motivate your child to reach it. Let him know that you believe he can achieve what is asked of him, but that you are available to help him along every step of the way.
  8. Help your child develop his self worth by focusing on his acceptance, belonging, and his competence. Make sure your child understands that he has your full acceptance, that he belongs as an active member of your family at all times, and that he has the competence to do what is expected of him.
  9. When you have a quiet minute, ask yourself how you might be contributing to your child's behavior problems. For example, are you engaging in unnecessary arguments, making mountains out of molehills, or so absorbed with a problem at home or at work that you are less "present" than your child needs you to be? Be honest with yourself and make changes as you see fit.
  10. Every day we have numerous opportunities to share our unconditional love and acceptance with our children. Pick one action every day to demonstrate the true depth of your love and respect for your child, and you will be amazed at the incredible change in your child's behavior

Elizabeth Pflaum lives with her husband and four children in Westchester, New York and provides individual parent coaching to clients and their families. She offers parenting classes and workshops throughout the tri-state area, is a frequent guest parenting expert on WABC’s Eyewitness News and other television shows and writes articles about all topics relating to parenting and childhood. For more information, visit her website at

"Just to tell you, I got kissed tonight, but that's all I'm gonna say about it," he announced as he climbed into the car. Into his booster seat, because, at 10, he is still too short not to need one. "Really?" I said, my voice higher than I intended it to be. "Who was it?" I ventured a guess since I only knew the name of one girl from his acting program.

"No, and I told you, that's all I'm going to say about it. It's private."

And so it begins.

The flag has now officially been planted in the landscape of our mother/son relationship.

His life is going to be more and more his, and less and less mine.

Oh hell no, I'm not going down without a fight.

"You know you can tell me anything," I said casually.

"I know." he responded.

I know. But nothing more. The words just hung there.

Meaning: "I know I can tell you anything, but tough noogies for you old lady, I'm not going to. Not her name. Not the location of the kiss. Not the conversation leading up to and following it. Not the nature of the kiss. I will not divulge if it was an 'awwww, you're so adorable let me peck you on the cheek' kind of kiss or an 'I know I'm an older woman of 12, worldlier than you, but I am madly drawn to your diminutive size and brilliant mind. Kiss me, you fool.' kind of kiss. And I most certainly will not give you any clue as to whether or not it did anything to my 'boy parts,' or whether we're planning a Spring or Summer wedding."

Now I am quite sure we cut the umbilical cord on the day of his birth, cuz, like I was there, but why does it feel like it's been cut again?

Read more....

Over 450 elementary school students have already signed up for the 15th annual Young Writer’s Workshop to be held on March 20th. Students in grades three throuogh five will have the opportunity to choose two courses from a list of 46 offerings that will be presented by talented writers.

This year’s conference features a celebrity line-up including author and athlete Tim Green, who will give the keynote address and offer signed copies of his new book for young readers, The Rivals. Green’s book The Dark Side of the Game is a New York Times bestseller and he is a news commentator and an NFL star who played for the Atlanta Falcons for eight years.

Acclaimed author, wife, mom, sister and friend Carol Weston will lead a master workshop on writing first person fiction. Sometimes call the “Teen Dear Abbey” many know Weston for the advice column she has written for Girl’s Life Magazine for 25 years. Her books include Diary of Melanie Martin and Girl Talk and she will offer insights on telling a story, creating conflict and suspense and bringing characters to life.

The amazing Peter Lerangis will lead a workshop called “So You Want to Be An Author, REALLY? He should know what it takes as over 3 million copies of his books have been sold. He is the author of two books in the series The 39 Clues as well as books in the well-known series The Babysitter’s Club, the Drama Club, Abracadabra and Spy X.

Also on the program are representatives from the world of film and stage, sports, television and radio and the web. The line-up is impressive and here are just a few of the offerings…many of which sound exciting for people of any age:

In “Pitch it,” Literary Agent Scott Waxman will show students how to present their book concept to an editor or publishing house.

At “Good Evening, Here’s the News!,” veteran television producer Lee Hoffman will discuss the essentials of writing an attention-grabbing story.

From the world of blogging, Beth Feldman, the found of will instruct students on how to create their own blogs in her workshop, “Blog It!”

In her session, “Get the Story Write/Right!,” former People Magazine reporter Brooke Stahhyra offers her advice on writing a piece on a celebrity or public figure using very few words.

Representatives from the Picture House in Pelham will discuss film criticism, producing a commercial and adapting a written work to the screen.

There ‘s something for every aspiring writer, media mogul, poet or filmmaker. So make sure your child participates in this wonderful event.

Students are asked to bring gently used books to donate to the Childcare Council of Westchester, Inc. The goal is to collect 2010 books.

To learn more about the Young Writer’s Conference and to sign up go to


Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday at the Greenburgh Nature Center. These FREE events for children and parents will be held on Thursday, March 11, 2010 from 4:00-5:30 pm and on Thursday, March 18, 2010 from 4:00-5:30 pm. This program is recommended for children ages 2-8 years of age.

Children will watch Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax Movie and be able to see and touch live animals. Supervision will be provided by GNC staff members.

Meanwhile parents can share their ideas for the Future Playground and learn about the Core Master Plan.

Snacks will be provided. Pre-Registration is suggested. The Lorax hard cover books and stuffed animals will each be available for a $10 donation. Proceeds will be used for the GNC Playground.

The Greenburgh Nature Center is a 33-acre woodland preserve with trails, pond, gardens, and outdoor animal exhibits, including a birds of prey aviary. Our indoor exhibits include a live animal museum with over 100 specimens, exhibit areas focusing on nature and the environment, a greenhouse with botanical exhibits, and a gift shop.

The Center is located at 99 Dromore Road, off Central Park Avenue, in Scarsdale, NY. Parking is free, and handicapped parking is available. The center’s grounds are open daily dawn to dusk throughout the year. The Center’s indoor exhibits are open daily except Fridays and a few holidays, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekends.

Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583

Coping with a child who cannot consistently manage his anger is one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. Some parents may feel trapped in an endless and pointless argument or power struggle. Others may respond with more anger of their own, precipitating a dangerous spiral of rage that can actually damage the parent-child bond. I believe that the cornerstone to raising children who can manage anger and frustration appropriately is to do so ourselves and to recognize that managing anger is a learned skill.

Whether we like it or not, our children observe everything that we say and do, and then model their own behavior accordingly. What is your child learning in your home about how to express and manage anger? What do you need to change in your own behavior to raise a child who can manage his anger and emotions? Take a quiet moment to reflect on how you speak with others whose behavior may have annoyed you; anyone from the traffic guard, to the person bagging groceries in line at the store, to your mother-in-law, your spouse, or your child. If your child follows your lead, will you be proud of his character, ability to tolerate frustration, or his level of compassion for others?

Model healthy expressions of anger: Let your children hear you express anger in a calm voice, highlighting the difference between assertiveness and hostility. Show your child how you might use deep breathing, yoga poses, music or journaling to help manage your anger. Don’t be afraid to show your child that you are a person with feelings too. This helps our children to see us as the real, three-dimensional beings that we are. The key is to let our children know that we have the ability to control our own emotional states, as do they, and that it is our responsibility to do so.

Acknowledge your childs efforts to manage his or her anger and praise genuinely and specifically:
You might say something like, “I am so proud of the way that you stayed calm when your little brother knocked over your block tower, I know you felt angry but you did a great job of staying in control.” Later, at the dinner table, you might mention the story to the whole family and let everyone know how proud you were.

Ignore irritating behavior when possible: For example, sometimes the best thing to do when faced with a child who has thrown himself on the floor in a screaming fit of rage is to simply walk away. Obviously it is important to keep safety in mind at all times, but a tantrum without an audience is like that falling tree in the forest. Does it really make a sound? Usually, it just picks itself up and moves on when the tantrum ceases to be effective.

Love unconditionally and hug often: Sometimes all an angry child (or adult) needs is a really big hug that communicates love and appreciation. An angry child is not a bad child, simply a child who is struggling to manage their inner state. I know some will argue that the hug simply reinforces bad behavior, but that has not been my experience at all. Making eye contact, hugging gently, and mentioning that you know how hard it is to feel out of control, can be extremely effective in ending an angry outburst. I also like to send the message that your love does not shift with your child’s mood, and that when your child is out of control, they can still turn to you for help getting back on track.

Provide plenty of opportunity for physical exercise: Kicking a ball, shooting baskets, jumping on a trampoline, doing jumping jacks, punching a punching bag, and skipping are all excellent ways for children (and adults) to relieve anger and frustration. As you observe your childs anger rise, silently and gently lead him to an activity involving exercise. The key here is to avoid any verbal exchange or a continued argument. You might just take your childs hand, lead them to the activity that works best, and get them set up. You might also say that you two are like mini detectives and you want to count how many punches, jumps, whatever, it takes to make the angry feelings go away.

Maintain clear boundaries and know in advance when to say no: Boundaries are not a form of punishment, but a clearly understood set of rules. When rules are based upon our core values, children recognize the power behind the rules and are ultimately less likely to test them.

Provide as many opportunities for success as you can: Not surprisingly, children who are frequently reprimanded, may view themselves as inferior to their peers and siblings. The best way for a child to feel successful is to succeed. In most situations there is a task that your child can do well enough to earn sincere praise. When a child sees that sparkle in your eye, and hears your specific and sincere praise, he learns many lessons. He learns that he is not all bad, that he is not defined by his poor choices in the past, that he has the ability to be important and useful for his family. Most importantly, he learns that he can please you and the other central people in his life.

Elizabeth Pflaum lives with her husband and four children in Westchester, New York and provides individual parent coaching to clients and their families. She offers parenting classes and workshops throughout the tri-state area, is a frequent guest parenting expert on WABC’s Eyewitness News and other television shows and writes articles about all topics relating to parenting and childhood.

Elizabeth is especially excited to partner with Robin Gorman Newman, noted author and founder of Motherhood Later...Than Sooner to present a series of Teleseminars, beginning the first Wednesday in March.

Topics will include:

  • Authentic parenting and effective discipline
  • Taming temper tantrums, back talk, and promoting respectful behavior
  • Keeping it all together: taking control of our emotions, our stuff and our time so that we can spend these most precious resources in a way that enhances the life we wish to lead
  • Juggling our own needs with those of our family, career, and home as we achieve our goals
  • The power of positive parenting and the successful use of it in any parenting situation
  • Back to Basics  Implementing routines and schedules to manage lifes daily struggles and chores with a smile

For more information on this or similar topics, or to register for the series, visit Elizabeth Pflaum on the web at

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