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The essence of parenting doesn’t occur in the schedules, checklists, and daily chores. It occurs in the moment by moment encounters that happen between family members. These tiny experiences that repeat a thousand times a day offer parents a change (or a redo) to install values, model behaviors, and equip children with emotional tools for successful living. The ultimate goal of parenting is to create prosocial, proactive human beings, not compliance driven, homework completing robots. 

17 Hugs A Day

My wife and I have a joke that we tell each other and family members: It takes a minimum of 17 hugs a day to feel normal. I will confess that there is no scientific research that supports 17 hugs per day therapy…at least not yet. Nevertheless, we have come to recognize that need for touch and have adopted the idea that hugs, at least 17 is what gets us through the daily life hassles. At a recent conference on Attachment Theory, where there was some real scientific data, a presenter on PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that stated that data suggests that the little stressors of everyday living can add up to the same effects of someone who has undergone a single, major life trauma, like a robbery or death of a loved one or car accident.
We let these little incidents of life go by without any real concern. Perhaps we feel embarrassed to admit how much a poor marriage or teenager defiance or even workplace stress really does affect us. Can parents acts as prevention specialists for our children. As adults, we need 17 hugs just to maintain normal living? Our children need them to counter the cumulative effects of stress on their lives to avoid PTCS – Post Traumatic Childhood Stress.
If you don’t believe there is a such a thing, just observe children interacting on a play ground. There are some mean things thrown back and forth on the jungle gym, let me tell you! Add to that some homework pressures and the constant media bombardment of negative words and images and what child wouldn’t feel slightly traumatized? As parents, the least we can do is give some touch therapy with a few hugs a day.
John Bowlby, the great attachment theorist, stated that attachment is essential to normal development. Guardians are supposed to be our safe haven from life. Home should be a place of refuge from the constant stress of school and work. Granted, there are chores and homework to be done but how can you carve our 30 minutes a day for some connection. Parents are quick to use Time-Out, how about some Time-In? It might be good for mom and dad too. Starting today, give a few more hugs than usual. It is OK to start slow and work your way up. And yes, teenagers love them too. You just have to be a little more crafty in your approach.  

New evidence shows that certain types of praise can actually backfire, making kids less successful and giving them low self-esteem.

One recent report explains the results of two experiments that compare the results of “person praise” (praise for personal qualities) and “process praise” (praise for behavior). Overall, person praise (“You are so smart!”) predisposed children to feel ashamed following failure, since they attributed the failure to their own self – some intrinsic quality. Process praise (“You worked really hard!”), on the other hand, did not have this effect, as children attributed failure to a factor that they can control – some extrinsic quality.

A similar study reveals the results of three experiments that tested the effects of inflated praise. Overall, inflated praise sent the message that kids need to continue to meet unreasonably high standards. Inflated praise decreased challenge-seeking behavior in children with low self-esteem, causing them to miss out on learning experiences. However, in children with high self-esteem, inflated praise had the opposite effect. It inspired these kids to continue to set high expectations for themselves.
Generic person-centered praise implies that a child has a specific quality, such as intelligence, aptitude, or other talent, that is responsible for his or her achievements. Non-generic process-centered praise implies that a child’s achievements are performance-based. Person praise has been found to increase the attention that kids pay to errors – their own and others. Such attention is caused by the belief that an error threatens the possession of a positive trait. Further, after an error or failure, children who received person praise displayed less task persistence, less task enjoyment, and worse task performance.

In general, inflated and/or person-centered praise undermines motivation in children with low self-esteem. However, when sincere process-centered praise is heaped upon children, it encourages performance that is attributed to controllable causes, promotes autonomy, and establishes attainable standards and expectations.

We all think our children are great, and so we should. But, as parents we must also be mindful of setting our kids up for failure with inappropriate praise. Praising hard work seems to be a much better motivator than praising intrinsic qualities that the child has no control over.
Achievement is the result of performance and behavior, not always inherent traits, and children should be motivated to love learning, engage in new experiences, and even risk failure to achieve goals. Praise should help children flourish, instead of becoming an obstacle to success.

via Punishing with Praise | Brain Blogger)

It just dawned on me…the blog has been online for 15 YEARS! It has had many faces and transformations but it has always been a labor of love. Tell a friend about it and help me celebrate.

What is in your Parenting Toolbox? A study on the most widely used parenting tool revealed that most parents use time-out or spanking to discipline their children. When asked how effective their primary tool was only 1/3 stated that it worked consistently for them. That left 66.9% that felt it didn’t work. Why use a tool that doesn’t work? Because parents don’t know what else to do…

This is the mission and goal of the Ron Huxley’s Parenting Toolbox: To give parents the right tools to do the job of parenting.

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An unsolicited endorsement by Kathleen Karns of the Toddler Tamer.

“Raising a family today can be an almost overwhelming challenge with the diverse differences in the family both socially and culturally. We are a society of single parent families and mixed families that do not fit within the parameters of the traditional, two parent family. When tackling everything from step-parenting to behavioral problems with children, the unprepared parent can feel as though they are drowning.

To provide solutions for this social chaos, family therapist Ron Huxley enters the fray with his phenomenal system called the Parenting Toolbox. By utilizing the vast array of services and educational tools available with a subscription to, struggling parents can find the information and resources that will equip them to face the challenges associated with raising their children in today’s world. The Parenting Toolbox offers an array of tools that will enable you to become a better parent:

  1. Knowing that the most important role that you can have in life is being a parent and learning to express the value of parenthood everyday provides the beginning steps to face all of the challenges that children can bring into life.
  2. You will learn new and variable ways of disciplining children without always resorting to corporal punishment that will stimulate the mind and instill respect.
  3. Either open or improve the lines of communication between parents and their children.
  4. You will be able to learn what more about the ways you were brought up affect the way you raise you own children and provide the means to change these parental patterns.
  5. Not only will your own self-esteem get a boost that it needs, you will be able to teach your children about their own innate value.
  6. Parents are given healthy ways to deal with their anger and stress in ways that will be helpful and non-abusive.
  7. Creative strategies are introduced to deal with challenging behaviors in children in safe and productive ways.
  8. Games, puzzles, and other creative exercises both strengthen the parent’s ability to communicate important concepts to the child but also enable the child’s ability to think and reason in social settings.
  9. Parents no longer have to be in the dark when it comes to ways to raise their children that will promote spiritual growth. Parents can learn ways to incorporate their spiritual heritage into the lessons and sources provided by the parenting toolbox.
  10. More than this, Ron Huxley and the parenting toolbox will equip you with something even more valuable: guaranteed life long support. This is the real commitment that makes. It will be there through every stage of a child’s development to provide not only just the right tools to make you a better parent but also support through groups of parents and professionals who have been there before.

Whatever the situation, you will be able to count on the resources of this amazing system to give what you need when you need it.”

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