Monthly Archives: January 2016

How to Motivate My Child | Part 5


How to motivate through big behavior issues

What do we do if our child has a major behavior issue?   How do we motivate through it? Most of the children who come through our Sheridan House residential program are there because of a major behavior issue.   This does not mean that they are failures or that it is hopeless, by any stretch. Behavior modification is all about teaching that there are positive rewards when you make the right choice and negative consequences for the poor choice. One of the best motivations is relationship.   If the residential children make the right choices then they have the free time to hang out with the staff. (this doesn’t mean that the staff “remove” their relationship for the poor choices, just that the children have chosen free time rather then work. There are many times that a staff member will go sit with a child who has chosen to be outside working to communicate support. )

One thing that we always must communicate is our love. If your child is making poor choices, then consequence the choice and attempt motivate them to make the right choice. For example, say your child comes home with a “D” or “F” on their interim report. The natural consequence for that may be extra study in that class. Go the extra mile and if your child is having a good attitude about studying spend some time helping them. When they reach the goal of a good grade and earn the free time back go crazy. Have a special dinner and maybe a family game night to celebrate. Take the time to creatively communicate your love and support through difficult seasons. That you are not only your child’s cheerleader but you are on their team!


For more insight listen to today’s podcast on motivation.

How to Motivate My Child | Part 5 2016-01-29T21:00:38+00:00

How to Motivate My Child | Part 4


Six Basic Steps to Motivating Your Child

Here is a basic checklist of things to look over when processing an area that your child needs to be motivated in.  These are all things that we as parents can do.  The first three are questions to ask yourself before preceding.

The first question is, has anything changed in my child’s life recently?  Process from your child’s point of view, things like a move, the birth of a sibling, or even things going in with you as a parent your child can pick up on.  It may be as simple as having a conversation with your child explaining things or communicating that you know that things are different for them at the moment but you are there supporting them.

The second question is, how is the relationship?  Ask yourself, does my child always feel that I’m proud of them or does my praise focus on one sibling more than another or am I only praising performance? Spend some time processing how you can consistently communicate that you are proud of your child.

Thirdly ask, why are we in this hole? Do I need to do a better job teaching my child time management or can I simply spend some extra time helping my child with this subject? Often times this is all that is needed for extra help with schoolwork.   If you feel that this is not the case, like we have said earlier this week, spending time with your child’s teacher should give valuable insight into what is going on in the classroom.

The next three steps to motivating our children are easy actions that we can take. The fourth step is be sure to cheer effort.  Our cheering need to not be solely outcome based.  They may not have gotten an A on that book report they spent so much time on but be sure to praise the hard work put in!

The fifth step to motivation is constantly encourage.  When your child is in the midst of working through something we can be their constant cheerleaders.  “I know you can do this!” or “you are doing a great job,” should be a constant mantra.  Our children’s belief in themselves comes from our belief in them!

Lastly something that can help your child is to know how you came through a personal hardship or failure.  There maybe some stories from your own life, currently or past, that may encourage them that they can get through this time.  It is great for our children to know that we are not perfect.  How we handle our mistake or hardships can be a testament to sticking with it!

For more insight on these six basic steps listen to today’s podcast.

How to Motivate My Child | Part 4 2016-01-28T21:00:58+00:00

How to Motivate My Child | Part 3


The Word “We”

One area that many parents find difficulty motivating their children, is schoolwork. There are many different simple ways to motivate a child to study. One of the first things that you need to do is, like we discussed yesterday, know what motivates your child. Some children do well coming immediately home and getting homework out of the way. Other children need a break and need to do something physical to blow off some steam from sitting all day. Other children would study well if they had something to make that time feel fun, like a snack. Still others, who are more relational, would focus great if they were able to sit in the kitchen and do homework while mom was making dinner.

But what happens if this is all tried and your child still is falling behind at school? Before trying to get to the bottom of anything you need to communicate to your child not that this is “their problem” that needs fixing but that this is our problem that we are going to work on together. Some children just need a little bit of extra help in an area of study. Maybe they have fallen behind a bit and just need some help sorting through it. If your child is unsure of why they are behind maybe a quick meeting with their teacher would help it become clear. Remember that the most important thing to your child is not to feel like they are alone dealing with a problem, but that they have mom and dad on their side!


Listen to today’s podcast for more information on motivating your child.

How to Motivate My Child | Part 3 2016-01-27T21:00:16+00:00

How to Motivate My Child | Part 2


Take The Time To Learn What Motivates

Every child is different and there are different motivational triggers for each person. Make sure that you are taking the time to know your child well enough to know what will motivate them. That being said there is one thing that tends to motivate everyone no matter what the personality. That is positive reinforcement.

We all want to hear that we did a good job or that someone is proud of us no matter what our age. Make sure that you are not only trying to push your child to do well but that you are positively reinforcing even the small things. Most of the time when a child knows that they are going to be praised for a job well done that is enough of a motivation in and of itself. There are many types of positive reinforcement; things such as verbal praise, giving a hug or even taking the time to be there with your child when they are doing something. All of these things communicate that what they are doing is worth it.

Make sure that you are taking the time to praise effort not just performance. Taking time to simply praise the positive may be all the motivation that your child needs.


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on motivating your child.

How to Motivate My Child | Part 2 2016-01-26T21:00:48+00:00

How to Motivate My Child | Part 1


Check Your Motives

The first thing we need to do when processing motivating our children to do something is ask ourselves why. Is this an area that they need to be motivated in for their future success? Is it something that will better their character? Or is it something that really only makes us feel like a successful parent.

There are many reasons why we may be a performance-oriented parent. Click Here to find out more.


For more insight on motivating your child listen to today’s podcast.

How to Motivate My Child | Part 1 2016-01-25T21:00:12+00:00

Sibling Rivalry | Part 5


Sibling Rivalry and Personalities

There are many aspects of parenting where our children’s different personalities may have an affect.  Sibling rivalry can be one of those areas.  If you have a child who is very sensitive you may be tempted to rescue them whenever they get their feelings hurt.  This may not help them in the long run, however.  If our job is to train our child for adulthood we may need to help our sensitive child learn how to cope.  There are obviously times we need to step in when picking on each other goes too far.  When our sensitive child gets their feelings hurt we may just need to take some time to talk them through it.   Many times they are getting picked on because of their reaction.  Teaching them how to cope will help them not only in the school years but also help them to not wear their feelings on their sleeve as adults.

The other child we can take extra time with is the child who is our leader.  Our goal should be training up all of our children to be future leaders but our first-born has been naturally placed in this role.  We can start allowing them areas of leadership.  As the oldest they will have more privileges then their siblings as they grow, so their responsibilities will grow as well.  Having a sense of ownership in their leadership role will help with the sibling rivalry we just have to guide them.

Take the time to come up with a plan for the different personalities in your home.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry | Part 5 2016-01-22T21:00:38+00:00

Sibling Rivalry | Part 4


Don’t Just Manage Sibling Rivalry Train For Relationship

There are so many times that we get caught up in attempting to manage the fighting between our children we forget to give opportunities for relationship.  There are several areas where we can train our children to enjoy and ultimately serve each other.  This may not be something that comes naturally to our children so we need to look for opportunities to help them with it.  Make sure there are routine times for sibling fun in your house.  Game nights are great for family interaction.  Have a weekly “fun Friday” where you allow your kids to have a big slumber party in the living room with popcorn and a movie.  It is our job to create experiences to promote camaraderie in our kids.

Another area to focus on is training our kids to serve each other.  Look for areas where you can help one child serve the other.  For example, your older child has a big test to study for and it is their job to do the dishes.  Talk to your younger child and have them help you do the dishes for the older one.  Make sure the child is receiving plenty of praise from you as they help you do the dishes.   This is a great training opportunity that so often we miss.

Make sure that you take the extra time to create opportunities for fun and service.  It will go along way in helping your children’s relationship with each other.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry | Part 4 2016-01-21T21:00:28+00:00

Sibling Rivalry | Part 3


Using Sibling Rivalry for Training in Impulse and Attitude Control

Siblings are a great learning and practicing tool for marriage and coworkers.  Utilizing this for training in both impulse control and not allowing someone else to control our attitude is important.  We touched on how to do this yesterday.  Make sure you are consistently communicating what the other options to fighting are.  When you hear fighting from the other room you can take that moment to remind your children, as a warning for their behavior, what the right choice would be.  After the warning, if the inappropriate behavior continues then a consequence can occur.  By doing this you are reminding your children to use self-control or to control their impulses.  Immaturity would say to retaliate when someone does something to you.  Maturity would be able to look past it and deal with it appropriately.

The next thing we can utilize siblings for is to teach our children that attitude is a choice.  You can choose to let someone else’s actions control your mood or you can refocus both yourself and your mood.  Again in both of these training opportunities positive reinforcement goes along way.  This may mean more work for us as parents as we look for things to praise.  We also sometimes mean well and then get too busy to mention it when our kids make the right choice.  Take the time and effort to go crazy for good behavior; that sometimes speaks more loudly then consequences for the poor choices.


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry | Part 3 2016-01-20T21:00:09+00:00

Sibling Rivalry | Part 2


Using Sibling Rivalry as a Training Tool

It is so easy to get irritated and frustrated when our children don’t get along. Constant fighting between siblings can be exhausting for parents. However, sibling rivalry is a great teaching tool for our children to learn many life lessons.  One lesson is how to handle it appropriately when someone irritates you.   Another lesson is conflict management.  The lesson that life is not always fair can also be taught through siblings.  Keep focused on the importance of these lessons and come up with a plan for utilizing sibling rivalry for training.   This will help give purpose for dealing with these issues and help us as parents to not feel so frustrated.

Take time to set up parameters on where the line of inappropriate behaviors is.  Then have a family meeting to discuss this line, the consequences for stepping over the line and options for appropriately dealing with the conflict.  Giving your children options on how to appropriately deal with it when their sibling irritates them is part of the training.  They can talk to their sibling, remove themselves from the situation or refocus on something else. Another key to training is not only handing out consequences for inappropriate behavior but also rewarding the positive.  If our children make the right choice and avoid the fighting we need to make sure we are going crazy with praise.


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry | Part 2 2016-01-19T21:00:52+00:00

Sibling Rivalry | Part 1


What Is Sibling Rivalry?

This week we will discuss a topic that anyone who has more then one child will deal with, sibling rivalry.  We need to take a step back and realize that sibling rivalry is a normal behavior.  It can be used as a signal behavior for parents.  The children may be in need of attention, they may be blowing steam from a stressful day, and the behavior can simply mean that they are tired or bored.

As a parenting team, we need to evaluate what our plan will be.  At what point are we going to get involved and what are the unacceptable behaviors?  We can look at this behavior as another training opportunity.  Our children need to be able to work some of these issues out on their own.   It is part of learning how to live in close proximity with another person.  If they do not learn at home their first experiences with this will be in the college dorm or when they get married.  There is a point where we as parents will need to step in for guidance.  We will spend the rest of this week discussing the balance of helping your children work out the issues of sibling rivalry.


Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry | Part 1 2016-01-19T12:07:34+00:00