Blog Posts by Nathan OLeary

  • "I Love My Child...But Sometimes I Can't Stand Him!"

    You'd do anything for your child, but you feel guilty about admitting the truth, even to yourself-sometimes you don't like him very much. It's a secret that many parents of acting-out kids share, but rarely confess to anyone. James Lehman explains how dealing with a difficult child can take its toll on the parent-child relationship, and he gives you some practical advice on how to handle it.

    When parents say they don't like their child, I think that dislike almost always stems from their child's inappropriate behavior. These parents are understandably frustrated because they're tired of the constant backtalk, yelling and arguing. Or they might not like the way their child treats them, their siblings, or their teachers at school. And personally, I can really understand that. This article is directed toward those parents.

    I think there are also periods of time when parents don't like their child because of a certain stage their son or daughter might be going through-adolescence,

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  • User Post: Kids Stealing from Parents - What You Need to Know Now

    Has your child been caught stealing from you or someone else? Have you found him using your credit card for online gaming, taking money from your wallet without asking, or even taking big ticket items from the house? The anger, disappointment, and lack of trust you feel can be destructive for your relationship. Carole Banks, MSW and Parental Support Line Advisor has some advice.

    If your child has been caught stealing, you might have wondered, "Why would my child do this after everything we've taught him?" Many parents question their own abilities and wonder where they've gone wrong with their child when theft is involved. While it's disappointing and frustrating for parents when their child steals, I firmly believe that in most cases, it's a behavior that can be changed.

    Related: Change Your Child's Behavior Today

    I think it's also important to understand that there is a big difference between children under the age of 6 taking something compared to older kids who steals. Really

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  • Parenting Differences? How Your Child May Be Using it Against You

    What do you do when your spouse doesn't parent the same way you do? Hands-down, this is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Empowering Parents. "I want to set limits and give consequences, but he thinks I'm being too hard on our kids," said one mother recently. "I'm tired of being the bad guy all the time!" Not only is that unhealthy for your relationship, it's not good for your children, who often use that lack of agreement to take advantage of the situation.
    James Lehman, MSW, sat down with EP Editor Elisabeth Wilkins to talk about this difficult issue. Read on to see why fighting with your spouse over parenting actually undermines your own authority in the long run.

    James, why do so many people end up at odds about how to parent their children?

    JL: To me, marriage is like a book. There are many pages in the marriage, with different pages representing different aspects of your life. You have parenting, household duties, extended family, and of course,

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  • Tired of Yelling at Your Child? Stop Screaming-and Start Parenting Effectively

    If you're a parent, you've probably been there: your child says or does something that pushes your buttons, and the next thing you know, you're yelling at the top of your lungs-and she's responding in kind. Afterward, you feel drained, upset and frustrated and wonder why it always has to come down to a screaming match. Janet Lehman, MSW, explains how you can move from being "The Screamer" parent to one who communicates effectively.

    Why do parents yell and scream at their kids? I think most people scream because they're frustrated. At the exact moment in time when you lose it, you don't feel like you have any other options; it becomes like a knee jerk reaction or a trigger being pulled. In other words, you don't think about what you're doing, you just respond.

    Parents can also let incidents with their child's behavior pile up. They go from situation to situation compiling their frustration with their kids. Eventually, they react by screaming rather than with a response that

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  • 6 Things You Should Never Say to Your Child

    Do you find yourself saying things to your child during an argument without even thinking about it? Let's face it, it's almost impossible to be detached or objective when your child is in your face fighting with you. And naturally, it feels like a personal attack when he's saying rude things or calling you names. During those moments, it's all too easy to respond with something hurtful. All of a sudden, your feelings take over-your emotions jump into the driver's seat and your thinking moves into the back seat.

    Almost every parent has gotten mad and said things to their kids they wish they could take back. The trick is to figure out how to remain in control so you don't end up saying something you'll regret. Though this is easier said than done, trust me, it is possible-and it's a skill you can learn, just like anything else.

    On the Parental Support Line, we hear from people all the time after they've had arguments with their kids. They call us to get perspective and to find out

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  • "Loser!" How Labels Stick to Your Child-and Affect Behavior

    "Freak. Loser. Idiot. Geek." These are just some of the ugly labels kids throw around every day at school. Chances are, your child has been called names even worse than these. The sad fact is that the more times your kid is called a hateful name, the more he'll start to believe it's true. This week, we sat down with "Teen Whisperer" Josh Shipp to talk about the dangers of kids using labels, and to hear why he believes your child's sense of identity is at the core of good self-esteem-and good behavior.

    EP: Josh, you say that you were given a lot of labels growing up. How did that affect your behavior?

    JS: I was a so-called "prom baby," so from the time I was born I had a label. As a foster kid, I was destined statistically to fail, and people treated me that way. The fact is that most foster kids don't graduate from high school. And believe it or not, a huge percentage of homeless people-some studies say as high as 50 percent-are former foster kids. If you have a learning

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  • 6 Things You Can Do to Get Your Kids back on Track before School Starts

    For a teenager, there are many ways to say "screw you" to your parents. And for underachieving kids, being motivated to do nothing is one of those ways. I believe that when kids are so-called lazy, that's really an attitudinal issue about "Why bother, my life's not going to get any better anyway." And when kids develop that kind of attitude, many times there's a lot of stuff going on in their lives which overwhelms them. Resisting their parents' expectations is one way that they can feel like they're in control. For these children and teens, the path to power becomes a game of withholding and resisting, and they often sink under the waves at school. The sad part is that this game only works until they're young adults-and then no one else will be willing to play it with them.

    What to Say to Kids Who Had a Bad Year Last Year

    For the kids who had a hard time in school the previous year, parents should be talking to them about what they learned from that hard time. After all,

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  • 7 Ways to Start Parenting More Effectively

    Many parents write in to Empowering Parents and ask, "Is it too late to change the way I parent my child-and will it actually work if I do?" In this article, James Lehman explains how you can change the way you parent, and why your child's behavior has a much better chance of improving when you do. James gives you 7 ways to be a more effective parent, starting today.

    Some parents are afraid that their child won't change no matter what they do. Many find themselves reacting automatically when their child behaves inappropriately; as soon as he acts out, they're yelling and screaming, or getting sucked into power struggles. And even when parents try something new, it's easy for them to get discouraged. Some try to do different things from time to time, but when these methods seem to be ineffective, they eventually give up. This is true especially if the behavior has been a problem for years and they haven't been able to do anything about it.

    I've found that if you don't really take the

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  • Consistent Parenting: Unlock the Secret

    "Being consistent is the hardest thing of all," many parents tell us. And it's so true-it's easy to lay down a rule and then let it slide when you're tired or in a hurry. In this article, James Lehman explains why consistency is the key to your child's behavior-and tells you ways to keep on track when you feel like giving up.

    When your child is young, he starts to learn simple math. The way he learns is through a process called "rehearsal and repetition." At first, simple addition and subtraction are the most alien concepts in the world to him. But slowly, he begins to understand that two and two equal four-and then he builds on that knowledge. Consistency is imperative. Look at it this way: what if two and two didn't always make four? How would your child learn addition if the rules were always changing? If that was the case, he would never learn how to solve math equations correctly or adapt his learning to tackle more complex problems. This learning process is called

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  • When Kids Get Violent: “There’s No Excuse for Abuse”

    Violence is the extreme end of aggression. Remember that not all kids who are aggressive become violent. When children and teens use violence to get what they want-whether it's punching a sibling in the stomach or punching a hole in the wall-it usually involves a scenario where they're being told "no" to something they want to do, or they're being told they have to do something they don't want to do. What actually happens is that the child gets frustrated and angry and hasn't learned any other way to deal with these feelings than to strike out-often at the adults involved.

    One way of looking at this is that your child's frustration, disappointment and anger are problems that he solves by being violent. Another way of looking at this is that the kid's use of aggression and violence has worked successfully so far. It's become his primary problem-solving technique and a means for gaining power in the home. When he hears the word "no" and feels frustrated and powerless, he hits someone

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