Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

As Mike was coming home one night, he found a puppy in the street. Who can resist a tiny, helpless, homeless puppy?

When Mike’s parents saw the dog, they reluctantly said yes he could keep the dog. But the dog was his responsibility. Mike would have to feed and water the dog, take him to the vet, and pay his vet bills. And the dog was to reside outside primarily.

Mike is 23 years old, so the requirements to keep the puppy didn’t seem harsh or extreme.

Mike’s mother agreed to buy an insulated doghouse. She also bought the dog a plastic swimming pool because “he seemed to love the water.”

Mike sort of kept his agreement with his parents. Sometimes the puppy was left with no water. Sometimes Mike took off with his friends for the weekend, so it befell his parents to take care of the puppy.

Now, as in many families, everyone in Mike’s family works outside the home or goes to school all day. So no one is home during the day. And dogs become bored. One boring day the dog ate all the shrubs.

A friend gave Mike’s mom some beautiful Japanese iris, each marked by color. When she planted the iris, she was careful to place them according to the color scheme in her garden. The next evening the dog removed each plant from its hole.

Mike’s mother planted the iris again, giving up on the color scheme. The following morning they were out of their holes again and strewn across the yard.

Then came the weekend. Everyone was going out of town. Mike, Mike’s father, and his sister had already left town.

Two hours before Mike’s mother was to catch a plane, she walked past the kitchen door and saw the dog. ‘Who’s taking care of the dog?’ she thought. Of course she already knew the answer. She got the dog in the car and took him to her mother’s house for the weekend.

The following Monday, Mike’s mother informed him that because he was not taking care of the dog, the dog had to leave. She gave Mike six months to find a home for the dog. After that, he would have to go to the dog pound. Mike agreed.

Five months passed. The dog continued to miss meals and eat shrubs. The mother kept issuing warnings: “The dog goes in four weeks… The dog goes in two weeks… Please find a home for the dog… The dog goes in one week… Please, please find a home.”

Eventually Mike was forced to take the dog to the pound.

For the rest of that week everyone was angry at the mother. Her husband and children gave her dirty looks. They avoided talking to her. She was an outcast in her own family.

Being responsible has more down sides than most of us care to look at.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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It might be an eye opener if I focused on the ways people persecute each other in the course of a day. Here are some all too frequently used ways to persecute someone:

Blame someone else when you go off your diet.

Smoke in the home of someone who doesn’t smoke.

Be late for an early-morning breakfast date.

Don’t send an RSVP when the invitation clearly calls for it.

Let everyone else in the company know you’re going to fire someone before telling the person himself.

As you’re leaving a meeting on Friday, tell a subordinate in an ominous tone you need to talk with him Monday.

Allow a sales clerk to ring up your purchase first, even though you know someone else was ahead of you.

Always wait until the second notice before paying a bill.

Say you’ll mail a friend’s letter and then let it sit in your car for a week.

Refuse to let another driver pull into your lane.

Make your carpool sit for 10 minutes while you finish getting dressed.

Be a half-hour late for a dinner party and don’t call. And when you get there, don’t apologize.

Stay in bed until the last minute and then scream at the children to hurry up and get ready for school.

Don’t make your child-support payments on time.

Cancel a dental appointment five minutes before you are to be in the dentist’s office.

Make a lot of noise in the morning, even though everyone else is sleeping.

Don’t tip the waitress because the food doesn’t taste good.

Tell a job applicant you’ll call on Monday to tell him whether he got the job, and then don’t call.

Smoke a cigar at a meeting.

Lecture your child for an hour on his transgressions and bring up everything he has done wrong in the past.

Let your dog bark for hours outside in the middle of the night.

Simply hang up when the party on the other end says “Hello” and you realize you’ve called a wrong number.

Lend a book to a friend when you’ve already promised it to another friend.

Never pay back the petty change you borrow.

Throw your spouse’s coffee away without asking whether he or she is finished drinking it.

Use someone else’s idea but take all the credit.

Do you know any other ways that you may be persecuting someone?

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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A 24-year-old daughter had to move back home because of her financial problems several weeks ago. Both mother and daughter were concerned that the arrangement might not work, and they asked if I had any tips on how to keep their relationship happy.

I suggested that one of the best techniques I knew to side step an argument was to refrain from making critical comments. I further suggested that both the mother and daughter write down their complaints. Writing them would dissipate their own feelings without damaging the relationship.

Less than a week had gone by when mother and daughter decided to share their lists with each other. This was not part of my plan. However, as they read their lists, their laughter grew. It seemed that the mother had a preoccupation with bathing and water and the daughter was preoccupied with Mom’s appearance.

Here are some of the items the mother had on her list:

Don’t you brush your teeth first thing in the morning?

Are you going to wear that shirt again without washing it?

Would you please get your car fixed before your engine blows up?

Isn’t that the fourth shower you’ve taken today?

There’s a button missing on that blouse.

Do you have your glasses?

Wear a jacket. It’s cold out there.

Stop watching television and go do something constructive.

Your room is starting to look like a pig pen. Where is your pride?

Don’t forget to call your friend back.

The daughter listed these comments:

Those shoes look ridiculous.

Why are you wearing pantyhose with your shorts and sandals? If you could just see yourself.

Can’t you drive a little faster?

Get those curlers out of your hair!

That’s not the way to pronounce her name. It’s Oprah, not Oufrah.

Don’t you ever shave your legs?

Are you going to stand here and listen to my entire conversation?

Are you going to wear that? It has got to be a hundred years old.

Why don’t you just chill out, relax, calm down.

After going over each other’s lists, mother and daughter decided that they both needed to keep their criticisms to themselves if the relationship was to be a happy one.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.
Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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I walked into the kitchen the other morning and there was my husband’s dirty cereal bowl, a few toast crumbs, and a half cup of leftover coffee sitting on the table. “No big deal,” I thought.

I picked up the coffee cup and bowl, carried them to the sink, rinsed them out, and put them in the dishwasher. I also wiped off the table and wiped up some coffee grounds that my husband had obviously spilled while making coffee.

When I saw the milk sitting on the counter, I felt a slight twinge of annoyance. I hate it when people leave milk unrefrigerated. But when I found that the milk was still cold, I thought, “no big deal,” and put it in the refrigerator.

I prepared breakfast for our daughter, packed her lunch, grabbed a cup of coffee for myself, and went upstairs and got dressed for work. As we were about ready to leave the house, I did a final check. I turned off the light in my daughter’s room, “no big deal,” I unplugged her curling iron, which she had forgotten to turn off, “no big deal.”

We jumped in the car and I remembered it was Tuesday. My husband had forgotten to put out the trash. I jumped out of the car and instructed my daughter to do the same. The two of us lugged the trash cans out of the garage and to the street. The one I was carrying spilled and I got something icky on my hand. No big deal.

I went to the car, got the keys, unlocked the house, washed off my hands, remembered that I hadn’t defrosted anything for dinner, pulled out a package of hamburger, got back in the car, closed the garage door, and we were off.

Half way to school my daughter told me she had to have four dollars. I looked in my wallet and all I had was a twenty. I needed the twenty because I was going out for lunch. “Oh well,” I said, “Take the twenty. I’ll work it out, no big deal, I’ll stop by the bank.”

That night I found the cat didn’t have food in his bowl, poor kitty, so I got out the bag and filled his bowl. The cat is not my responsibility, but no big deal. While I was at it, I washed out his water bowl, gave him fresh water, and cleaned his litter box.

The week rolled by with a lot of “no big deals.”

On Friday I went to the garage to get my car and there sat the trash. That day I was running very late so I let the trash sit.

That night as I drove in the garage, I saw the trash. I walked in the house and gave everyone a loud lecture on what being responsible means…turning out lights, putting your dishes in the dishwasher, making sure the cat has food, putting out the trash.

My family looked at me like I’d lost my mind. My husband said quizzically, “What’s the big deal?”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”.
Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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Many arguments between parents and children could be avoided if parents were more conscious of the way they communicated with their children.

Here’s a communication tip you can start using today.

The Broken Record Routine
If Bobby asks you to drop him at the mall and you don’t want him to go, tell him, “No, I don’t want you at the mall.”

If he responds, “But Mom, all my friends are going,” don’t say, If everybody jumps off a cliff, are you going to jump off too?

Instead, go for solution and simply state, “I don’t want you at the mall.”

If Bobby tells you you’re the meanest person in the world, don’t respond. He’s simply venting his frustration. If he keeps nagging, keep your voice even and repeat, “I don’t want you at the mall.” Then walk away if possible.

At some point, Bobby will get the message and you’ll save yourself and family needless arguing.

Observations only
If your 12-year daughter has left her dirty dishes sitting in the family room, simply make an observation: “Your dirty dishes are in the family room.”

If her room is a mess, make an observation: “You have a lot of things lying around in your room.”
If you think she’s been on the phone too long, you might say, “You’ve been on the telephone for quite awhile now.”

Simply making an observation keeps you from being critical and invites your child to develop her own conscious.

Will stating the obvious get you the results you want? Not always, but sometimes.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”. Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com



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Shockingly, half of all kids are bullied. And at least half of all kids should bear the name “Bully.” We know that bullying goes on all the time among students, thanks to the media, but what’s happening on the home front? A far bigger story is to be told.

For example, the child who refuses to get ready in the morning and constantly makes her siblings anxious and late for school is involved in bullying behavior. Likewise is the child who goes into her sister’s room and simply helps herself to whatever article of clothing she chooses, despite the fact that she’s been told repeatedly to stop.

Then there’s 11-year-old Dan, who hides his sister’s hair dryer and toothbrush to get a reaction out of her. And whenever he walks by his younger brother, he gives him a punch in the arm. And he forever is grabbing the remote and switching channels on his siblings.

Parents may be annoyed regarding these behaviors because of the ruckus they create in the family. Rarely however do parents think of these behaviors as bullying. But they are!

What I tell parents: if one child constantly reacts negatively to another child’s actions, instead of focusing your attention on the child who is reacting, take a look at what she’s reacting to. She may be prey to a bully as opposed to falling into the category of, “kids will be kids” or “he’s just kidding” or “he’s younger than you.” These statements rescue the bully and are excuses for bad behavior. Worse, such excuses contribute to encouraging one of your children to bully another.

Parents also fall prey to children who bully. A child who simply can’t accept the answer “No” and keeps pushing and nagging, twenty, thirty, forty times until the parent caves is a bully.

If 14-year-old Jessica is reprimanded for anything, she punishes her parents by refusing to talk with them. She’s been known to carry on this behavior for several days. She also decides when she’s ready for bed. No amount of telling her to go to bed has an effect. You might say, “This kid does what she damn well pleases.” Once when told she couldn’t go out with friends, she jumped out of the second story window and joined them.

Anytime a child repeatedly intimidates, threatens, scares, frightens, browbeats, coerces, terrorizes, or tries to lord their power over another family member, be it a parent or a younger or older sibling, they are bullying. Or calling like it is, that child is a bully. Other bullying behaviors in families: name-calling, hitting, pushing, refusing to let another pass, purposely embarrassing, making faces, and taking and breaking other family members’ things.

So how do you get a bullying child to stop?

The first step is to name it. Call it like it is. Most kids do not think of themselves or their behavior as bullying. Example, “You are being a bully. Stop.” (Don’t tell him he is acting like a bully. This sugar coats his behavior. He is a bully).

The second step is to isolate the bully from the rest of the family. For example, if at a restaurant and your 9-year old keeps kicking his sister under the table after you’ve told him to cease, tell him he is a bully and take him to the car. No offering dinner afterward. Bummer for a parent but it’s imperative that parents protect all of their children. You protect the child who is being kicked and you help the bully to stop this behavior.

If you have a child that constantly badgers you, never ever give in because if you do you reinforce this behavior. You as a parent have to show more grit than your child. I once had one of our boys stand in the corner. I think he was about 9 at the time. He told me he was going to stand all night. In my head I thought, Well, I will sit at the table all night knowing that he would get more tired standing than me sitting. In the end he caved and apologized. Translated: we were both winners.

Do keep in mind. Bullies are not born. Bullies are made because their behavior is not checked. Some kids are more difficult than others (heaven help those parents) but no child should be permitted to intimidate or be allowed to grow into a bully.

Doris Wild Helmering is a clinical social worker, nationally known author, television and radio personality, has appeared on Oprah three times, and has written eight self-help books, numerous booklets, and a weekly syndicated newspaper column for twenty-four years. Her most recent books are The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World and The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide. (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/07/prweb14530687.htm).  She is in private practice where she does marriage and family therapy as well as counseling parents and kids. She has served as a consultant to a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as several school districts.  See: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.



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One mother confessed that when she looks at her overweight daughter, she sees her as a failure. And then she translates her daughter’s failure into her own failure.

“I try to hide my disappointment and discontent with the way she looks,” said the mother, “but it’s always there. I make subtle comments, which really aren’t so subtle. In the past I’ve said, “I heard about a great diet book. Should I buy it for you? “I’ve also said, ‘It’s a great day; let’s go for a walk.’ What I’m really saying is, “You need some exercise.’ The worst comment was when I said, “‘Why, you have a double chin just like me.’ “When I look at her, I think she’s lazy. She has no pride. I wonder where I went wrong.”

Another woman confided that it makes her sick to watch her daughter eat. “I want to say, ‘Stop eating that roll and butter. Don’t you have any respect for yourself?’ I don’t dare say anything because in the past I have and it just makes her mad and not want to be with me.” “I never stop bugging my daughter,” said one mom. “I’m always coming up with a plan. I take her articles and books on weight loss. Last year I enrolled her in a weight-loss program and she lost 50 pounds. Then she gained it all back. My next plan was humiliation. I told her I loved her, but the world hated fat people. This month I’ve offered to pay for her to enroll at a gym. Does all this do her any good? It doesn’t seem to help her, but it helps me feel as though I’m doing something.”

“My daughter is 70 pounds overweight and seems to be on her way up,” moaned another mom. “She eats all the time. Her room is full of candy wrappers. I’m thin, and I just don’t get it. Nothing I say to her has an impact. She’s sweet and a successful high school student. She plays in the band and has lots of friends. I know she’s unhappy with her weight, but she can’t seem to get control of it.”

Yet another mother said, “The worst time for me is when I have to introduce my daughter, who is at least 90 pounds overweight, to someone she’s never met. I cringe. I think that the person must be thinking how ugly she is. I smile and am chatty and act like everything is fine, but on the inside I feel terrible and know it’s not fine. I feel bad for my daughter and bad for me.”

“What am I to do?”
If you are a mother having bad feelings about an overweight daughter, you know that your daughter also is struggling with feelings about her weight. The best course of action is to ask her directly, “Is there anything I can do to help you with your weight? Or would you rather I said nothing?”

Some daughters want their mothers to bring them diet programs and suggestions. This keeps the problem out in the open as opposed to pretending there isn’t a problem. Other daughters will ask that their mother not push food or tempt them with homemade cakes and cookies. Some don’t want their mothers to say anything about their weight problem. They already know they have one, and they’ve tried any number of diets and exercise programs.
If you truly want to be helpful to your overweight daughter, be a good model by following a healthy diet and exercise regimen yourself. Ask your daughter what she wants from you regarding her weight. And then have the strength and courage to give her what she asks for.

To take care of your own feelings about her weight, confide in one of your close friends from time to time. And then perhaps become a bit philosophical and ask yourself, “Why did I bring this child into the world?” I bet your answer has nothing to do with her weight.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide.” and “Thin Becomes You”. Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com


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