"Let’s Fix The Kids!" A parenting Resource Manual by



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"Let’s Fix The Kids!"
A

Parenting Resource Manual

by
James J. Jones
©1997 “Let’s Fix The Kids!”

1-800-FIX-A-KID (1-800-349-2543)

Web Site: www.fixakid.com

All Rights Reserved

6th Edition, 8th Printing

Table of Contents

Page
Introduction: 5

A strategy for putting the program into action immediately.

Chapter 1: PARENT TRAPS 13

Identifies 21 devastating parent traps and shows how to eliminate them completely. (Examples: anger, arguing, criticizing, rescuing, nagging, inconsistency, lying, controlling, rage, etc.)



Chapter 2: CORRECT PRINCIPLES 69

Identifies 13 correct principles which are the foundation of a healthy home. (Such as: freedom of choice, personal accountability, unconditional love, responsibility, work, earning, contracts, consequences and family government.)



Chapter 3: COMMUNICATIONS 109

Frees parents from their controlling, critical parent roles and opens effective and loving parent/child communications.



Chapter 4: FAMILY GOVERNMENT 139

Illustrates why the autocratic, permissive and democratic parenting styles are inherently problematic (power based) and why the Loving/Trust family succeeds.



Chapter 5: BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION 159

Provides parents with many very powerful scientific procedures and techniques to create desirable behavior and extinguish undesirable behavior. These work like magic!



Chapter 6: TOKEN ECONOMY 203

Builds character, skills and self-esteem by requiring that kids earn much of what they get and learn to manage their own time and resources. This does away with teen-age-retirement.



Chapter 7: CHILD DEVELOPMENT 265

Outlines critical growth patterns and stages using cognitive, moral and psychosocial developmental models.



Chapter 8: FAMILY SYSTEMS 301

Reveals how families function (and dysfunction) and how parents unwittingly pass on to succeeding generations their dysfunctional patterns of behavior.



Chapter 9: INTRODUCTION TO PERSONALITY 343

Provides a model giving uncanny insight into the various personality types and how to deal effectively with each one.



Chapter 10: PARENT EDUCATION AND STUDY GROUPS 359

Their importance and how to organize and conduct them.


Welcome and congratulations!

You are embarking on a great adventure. You have in your hands the “owner’s manual” that you should have been given when you first started to raise your children. The principles you will learn and practice can change your family permanently if you will consistently apply them. This program comes with written material for more in-depth study and with audio tapes for review, recall and personal encouragement and validation. Make sure that you utilize both the audio tapes and the resource manual together.



Parental commitment

When two parents or caregivers are present, they need to stay together. This means that they both learn and apply the program equally; no good guy/bad guy (good cop/bad cop) games. When one person wants to play “Santa Claus” at the expense of the other, it undermines the whole program and confuses the child. No power struggles or games between parents allowed!

Daily time commitment

Set some time aside each day to review this resource manual and the audio tapes. Strengthening your family and raising healthy, responsible children needs to be at the top of your list of priorities. Eventually only 10 to 15 minutes of review per day will be needed to keep you progressing and “on your toes”. However, in the beginning, more time needs to be dedicated to reading the material and listening to the tapes. Each day for the first month or so (or until you have read the entire resource manual and listened to all of the audio tapes at least once or twice) devote as much time as you can spare. It may take some extra effort at first but it will be well worth it.

Constant review

Each time that you listen or review you will gain more understanding. Your growth, and your family’s progress will be in direct proportion to time and effort; there are no shortcuts. You must comprehend the principles involved and practice using them. Sometimes one person in the couple has a difficult time reading. Some couples prefer to set aside time when they can read and study together. Still others find that they progress better when one (who has more time or wants to) will study a section and then teach the principles to the spouse in their joint study time.

Remember: Small, sure steps

Don’t take three steps forward and then allow two back. There is a pitfall in trying to incorporate a larger portion of the program than you have studied or are prepared to institute. Be thorough in your preparations, incorporate one piece at a time, and make sure that it stays in place. Do not jump to something new quickly and then allow your previous successes to fall apart. Whatever you institute must be sustained and continued to insure that your children will be convinced that you are very serious...and that “Let’s Fix the Kids!” is here to stay.



7 Sure steps to success

1. Personal study and review of the program daily. Do this through individual and joint spousal study of the resource manual and audio tapes.

2. Both parents totally committed to the program. Follow through every time! Consistency, consistency, consistency!

3. Hold regular husband/wife conferences (Executive Councils). Hold these as often as necessary at first but at least weekly after the program is going smoothly. This is for reviewing the program, critiquing its effectiveness, and making any necessary adjustments. These conferences are known as “Executive Family Councils”. Do not parent accidentally, by crisis or by the seat of your pants! Mom and Dad need to “huddle” often.

4. Hold regular Family Councils (all family members meet at least weekly).

5. Plan a systematic strategy to implement the program. Outline a plan which identifies each specific concept, or part of the program you will use, and the order and time it will be introduced.

6. ENDURE!.......ENDURE!.......ENDURE!...........ENDURE...........!!!! It usually gets worse before it gets better, hang in there, don’t quit now!

7. Participate in a parenting group on a weekly basis. Both parents need to attend, unless one parent is out of the picture.

NOTE: If there is another adult in the home (such as a grandmother) who is also fulfilling a parenting role, she should also be involved in all seven steps above. It is best to work with “X” spouses as much as is possible and attempt to have similar parenting standards and practices in both homes the children live in. For the sake of the children this is important (consistency). If this is impossible, teach the children the obvious fact that different households have different values; and that they are expected to follow the rules that are in effect in whichever home they visit.

Purpose of the tapes

The purpose of the tapes initially, is to give you great amounts of information, and expose you to new ideas and principles and some “How To” techniques. Also, as you continue to review the tapes months and even years from now, you will be able to instantly recall the Correct Principles which you have forgotten. Listening to the tapes again and again keeps you sharp and pulls you out of the bad parenting habits that we all have a tendency to fall into. Parents find that months later the tapes continue to validate and support what they are doing and keep them working consistently together. The tapes encourage and inspire us to “hang in there”.



How to use the tapes

Go through all of the tapes on a regular basis and listen more often to those tapes that deal with your most difficult problems. Listen to the tapes in your car, at work, during breaks or while doing chores at home. The tapes were meant to be fun, light, entertaining and still full of information and encouragement. Do not just listen to your favorite tapes over and over. It is not usually necessary to take a lot of notes, but you will want to stop the tape when you are struck with a great idea of how you can use the principles in your family. Record all such inspirations in the margins of this manual and review them as you study the manual.

Resource Manual uses

1. In some cases it is a source of information on parenting principles that is broader and deeper than the tapes provide.

2. It provides the master forms, charts, and explanations of how to use them.

3. It has an abundance of terms and parenting concepts that you must understand.

4. It is organized in such a way that you can easily find topics and principles that you need to get to fast for easy reference and problem solving.

5. It has a treasure of supplementary reference materials to give special emphasis as needed.

6. Most importantly it is for daily “quick reference”.

How to prepare for scanning

1. As soon as you get the manual, open it and begin exposing yourself to the new terms and concepts in each section. Quickly turn the pages and notice the topics and subheadings. Turn page after page, spending just a few seconds on each page. Thumb through the chapters and notice the heading and questions. Take about an hour or so to skim the whole manual.

2. Read carefully each section and highlight; this step is vital. It is the process of reading the manual section by section from beginning to end. As you read, highlight with a yellow marker everything that is important to you. Write your personal comments or good ideas in the margins. Mark, highlight, annotate, underline, circle, or do whatever it takes to make every page your page. Make sure that you understand and that you get the point or message of each paragraph. Every page is full of principles that are easy to understand. Highlight or mark each important concept in such a way that when you are reviewing that page again, the important information on that page will seem to jump off the page at you.

3. After you have thoroughly read, understood and marked a section, you are ready for future “scanning”. Remember that a good general always holds the ground he has captured because he does not want to pay for it twice in time, equipment and lives. Therefore, once you have spent the time and effort to understand the principles in a section, you do not want to forget (lose) them, and have to pay the price again in time and effort to learn them over.



Repetition, quick scan and review

The way to remember and drive the principles deeper into your mind is by reviewing them time after time. This is done by simply scanning over each page for a few seconds noting the titles, subtitles, and the parts you have highlighted. When scanning, force yourself to move rapidly. Quickly recall each concept, think about it for a second or two, and then move to the next one. As you become more and more familiar with the topics, you will soon be scanning some pages at the rate of just a few seconds or so, reviewing and hunting for items that you have forgotten.

You will find that when problems occur in the home, the situation itself will trigger your recall process and program information will flood into your mind. Some people, after reviewing for a couple of months, can actually see, in their mind’s eye, the pages that they have been scanning. By constantly (daily) reviewing the sections you will become so familiar with the material that you can review an entire section in just a few minutes. Remember: If you do not highlight and underline first, you will not have anything to “recall” when you scan.

Some parents scan each morning for 10 to 15 minutes in bed; others scan just as they retire at night. Some scan in the bathroom while others review on their lunch break; whatever works! This process almost becomes like speed reading as your eyes quickly glance at the major concepts on each page. Sometimes, as you scan, you will review and read again certain parts that have been forgotten; then you will go back to scanning again. In this way parents can master and internalize the simple concepts of good parenting in just a few weeks.



A sample strategic plan

Each family is unique, and therefore the time required to complete each phase can differ, as well as the order in which the program is introduced; it depends on the family.



Phase 1

(One to two weeks)

1. Review all materials as thoroughly as you can; listen to the first four tapes.

2. Implement the “Three Nevers” (parent action only); stop lying, arguing, and criticizing.

3. Study and highlight Chapter 1, “Parent Traps” in the resource manual.

4. Councils: Hold study meetings with spouse daily if possible and review your progress. Start holding Executive Council meetings (with spouse) as often as needed.

5. Have a date night with your spouse with absolutely NO discussion about the children.

6. Complete the Color Code test; review and discuss it.

Phase 2

(One to two weeks)

1. Begin daily scanning: everything you have previously read in the manual.

2. Study and highlight Chapter 2, “Correct Principles” and Chapter 4, “Family Government”.

3. Listen to tapes 5 through 8; review tapes 1 through 4 as necessary.

4. Councils: Continue to hold study meetings with your spouse each day, reviewing progress and Executive Councils as needed.

5. Have regular weekly date night, again with NO discussion of the children.

6. Begin using concepts and principles wisely (not too much at once), including Family Councils, first with spouse (practice) and then with children.

Phase 3

(One to two weeks)

1. Continue daily scanning of all material marked and highlighted (quickly, a few seconds per page) for five to ten minutes per day (Chapters 1 and 4).

2. Study and highlight Chapter 5, “Behavior Modification” and Chapter 6, “Token Economy”.

3. Listen to tapes 9 through 12, and review tapes 1 through 8 as necessary.

4. Councils: Continue study meetings with your spouse each day, reviewing progress, and meet in regular Executive Council (spouse) as needed.

5. Have regular weekly date night, again with NO discussion of the children.

6. Hold Family Council with children and explain to them the Family Council system, as well as the Token Economy, charts and earning systems. Set a date for beginning the Token Economy (How soon can we start earning money?).

Phase 4

(One to three weeks)

1. Continue the quick-scan technique for ten to fifteen minutes a day.

2. Study and mark the remaining chapters carefully.

3. Finish tapes 13 through 16 and review as needed.

4. Continue Executive Council and joint study with spouse, critiquing and reviewing regularly.

5. Continue regular date nights.

6. Continue regular Family Council meetings at least weekly.

Phase 5

(Monitoring and Improving)

Continue to do all of the following:

1. Scan for 15 to 30 minutes daily, chapter by chapter as necessary.

2. Start your parenting group with selected friends.

3. Review the tapes daily per subject as necessary.

4. Continue Executive Councils and spousal study as needed.

5. Hold weekly date night, and remember, NO KID TALK!

6. Hold regular Family Councils including the children in your review of the program and individual progress (rewards).

Parents Beware!!!

At this point the tapes and written material have been studied well enough to give you a good foundation for leading out. However, while there is a natural tendency to experience the momentum of optimism and excitement as the program is introduced, it is just as natural to experience strong opposition as the novelty wears off and certain individuals determine that they liked it better the “old” way. This is the phenomenon of the family system desperately struggling to get back to its dysfunctional state (homeostasis).

What is the most critical point in recovery? It is when Mom and Dad decide that they are truly willing (or unwilling) to pay the price to make the changes in the family that will produce happier and more capable children and assure peace, harmony and order in the home. If you give in, or give up now, it will be much harder to change later. Are you willing to pay the price?

Remember:

No other "Success" can compensate for

failure in the home!

Chapter 1

Parent

Traps

What is a Parent Trap?

Nagging, threatening, arguing, and criticism are examples of parent traps. They seem to work at first but they never build healthy relationships and eventually they just make things worse! A Parent Trap is a dysfunctional (harmful) pattern of behavior that a parent falls into while trying to get a child to:

1. Stop an undesirable behavior (such as bickering with siblings), or

2. Start a desirable behavior (such as clean his bedroom).

Parents use dysfunctional behavior and fall into parent traps because:

1. That is how they were trained by their parents,

2. They don’t know what else to do, or

3. Dysfunctional behavior often “works” for a while.

Parent trap behaviors are ultimately harmful to the child and the parent-child relationship.

Do your children train

you to be mean to them?

YES! When parents request politely and children do not comply, the children are actually “punishing” their parents for being nice to them. When parents scream and threaten and the children comply, the children are rewarding their parents for being mean to them. It seems that being nice doesn’t work, but being mean does! Being nice is punished and being mean is rewarded. Therefore children can actually train their parents to be mean and nasty to them!



NOTE: Here are a few of the many Parent Traps!

Study them well, learn to identify them, and then stay out of them; they can destroy the peace and happiness of your home!



Parent Trap #1: Anger

ANGER, a devastating parent trap, is often a secondary emotion. By that we mean that when a person has been hurt, humiliated, bullied, frightened or frustrated long enough they often convert all their vulnerability and pain into anger or rage which mobilizes them into actions that will change their world and stop their pain and frustration and get them what they want. This can be a toy, a job, acceptance, love, or compliance. Anger is an attempt to change our world, to control what we have not been able to control. Anger is a cry for change. Anger has a demand in it!



Is anger used to control?

YES! Anger is often used to control both people and circumstances. Unfortunately it usually “works” so well that many parents are (or pretend to be) angry a good part of the time in order to control their families. Like all Parent Traps, the more anger “works” (is reinforced) for the parents, the more they will use it. Many children will conform to the wishes of an angry parent more quickly than they will to a pleasant parent. Remember: People are angry in an effort to control things, to change what they are unhappy with, and ultimately, they are angry because they can’t control the world. Our stress level and anger will be reduced dramatically when we realize and admit that we can’t control everything, and should stop trying. “Controllers” lead disappointing lives!



Does anger achieve control?

No! Ultimately anger fails to control. Younger children are more easily intimidated than teens or adults. Angry people have only the power that we give them through our fear. You might terrorize younger children with your temper tantrums, but most teenagers quickly begin to realize that nobody can make them do something they refuse to do. Anger and coercion will break the spirit of some children (or spouses), but it will cause others to resent and rebel against you.

WARNING! Anger usually does serious harm to both the angry person and to the target child (or spouse).

Can anger be healthy?

YES! There is a “good” anger, an anger that is a healthy response when our boundaries are unjustly violated. Healthy anger is absolutely necessary for our survival. This type of anger allows us to overcome our fears and inhibitions, motivating us to take the action needed to protect ourselves and our loved ones. But most anger is not healthy or justified anger. Rather it is the result of being blocked from attaining our own (often selfish) goals! Angry people are not happy people, they are negative, frustrated, miserable beings and they are in pain. (Also, see NOTE #1, page 57, and Chapter 5 on Behavior Modification.)



What does anger communicate?

When we communicate angrily with a child some of the messages we give are:

“You’re not OK!”

“You’re stupid!”

“You’re not important!”

Anger demeans, discounts, humiliates and frightens. It destroys self-esteem and personal relationships.



Parent Trap #2: Rage

Some people allow themselves to become so angry they begin to RAGE. In this respect, rage is “runaway anger”. In a sense, the “rager” has an “emotional bowel movement” on his target. After emotionally relieving himself through venting and abusing, this “rageaholic” can put up with things until the frustration and pain builds to intolerable levels again and the cycle is repeated. The “rageaholic” settles his nerves or relieves his/her stress by angry emotional venting in the same sense that an alcoholic takes a drink to feel “normal” or settle his “nerves”.

Rage is inexcusable in the home. It has no place in our associations with our loved ones. It is NEVER justified. It DESTROYS!

Can we become addicted to rage?

YES! We can become addicted to rage as surely as we can become addicted to drugs. Some people medicate their pain, and whether with alcohol, drugs, nicotine, food, gambling, sex, or raging, it is all the same. “Rageaholism” is an addiction (obsessive compulsive behavior) and is destructive to all healthy relationships. Just as the drug user will go crazy without his next “fix,” the rager’s anxiety builds until his next “fix” of raging and venting takes place.



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