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Parenting & Family Tools by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Are you the type of parent you thought you would be? Has your family turned out like you dreamed? If not, let Ron Huxley and the resources of the Parenting Toolbox help you heal and restore that dream family today.

Media and Consultations: rehuxley@gmail.com

Check out some other blogs by Ron:

ParentingToolbox.com

Inner Healing

Laughter Therapy
DIY Parent

Recent Tweets @ronhuxley
Depression Screening Tool
Depression is a serious illness that can be 100% treatable. It is a common problem for parents and can have a big impact on your ability to interact positively with your family. If you are experience severe symptoms, please seek help immediately. Remember, this is completely treatable and you can turn your life around but you must seek help…
Symptoms:Are you concerned you may be suffering from the burden of a depressive disorder? Find out by completing our simple but accurate Depression Screening Tool.Treatment:Most depressive disorders are readily improved through counseling and coaching while more extreme situations may require a combination ofmedication and psychotherapy. You Are Not Alone:Of all of the emotional experiences a person will ever suffer during their lifetime is the pain of depression. The fact that more than 20% ofAmericans will experience some form of depression in their lifetime is no consolation for your discomfort.  Each year more than 5% of the American population suffers from a depressive disorder. Depression is one of the most common and most serious mental health problems facing people today.You Are Not to Blame:Depression is a serious mood disorder which affects a person’s ability to function in every day activities. It affects your work, your studies, your family, and your relationships.It is a misconception to believe that depression is a problem of weakness, nor is it just a “blue” feeling. Depression is a serious mental health problem that can be alleviated. Today, much is understood aboutthe causes and treatment of this mental health problem. We know that there are biological and psychological components to every depression.  Most especially, depression is not your fault.So What Does Cause It?:Depression in some forms and at some times is a perfectly natural and “healthy” response to an event such as the feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one. Depression experienced after certain medicalprocedures (such as postpartum depression) is however clinically recognized. Your family history and your genetics can also play a part inthe greater likelihood of someone becoming depressed in their lifetime. Increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with thatstress may also contribute to depression. Depression has as many potential causes as there are people who suffer it.Depression caused by medications or substance or alcohol abuse is not typically recognized as a depressive episode.
If I Feel That I Am Depressed What Can I Do Now?:Take a few moments and complete our online depression screening tool.Review the results and if suggested get the help that you need. 

Depression Screening Tool

Depression is a serious illness that can be 100% treatable. It is a common problem for parents and can have a big impact on your ability to interact positively with your family. If you are experience severe symptoms, please seek help immediately. Remember, this is completely treatable and you can turn your life around but you must seek help…

Symptoms:
Are you concerned you may be suffering from the burden of a depressive disorder? Find out by completing our simple but accurate Depression Screening Tool.

Treatment:
Most depressive disorders are readily improved through counseling and coaching while more extreme situations may require a combination of
medication and psychotherapy. 

You Are Not Alone:
Of all of the emotional experiences a person will ever suffer during their lifetime is the pain of depression. The fact that more than 20% of
Americans will experience some form of depression in their lifetime is no consolation for your discomfort.  Each year more than 5% of the American population suffers from a depressive disorder. Depression is one of the most common and most serious mental health problems facing people today.

You Are Not to Blame:
Depression is a serious mood disorder which affects a person’s ability to function in every day activities. It affects your work, your studies, your family, and your relationships.

It is a misconception to believe that depression is a problem of weakness, nor is it just a “blue” feeling. Depression is a serious mental health problem that can be alleviated. Today, much is understood about
the causes and treatment of this mental health problem. We know that there are biological and psychological components to every depression.  
Most especially, depression is not your fault.

So What Does Cause It?:
Depression in some forms and at some times is a perfectly natural and “healthy” response to an event such as the feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one. Depression experienced after certain medical
procedures (such as postpartum depression) is however clinically recognized. Your family history and your genetics can also play a part in
the greater likelihood of someone becoming depressed in their lifetime. Increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with that
stress may also contribute to depression. Depression has as many potential causes as there are people who suffer it.

Depression caused by medications or substance or alcohol abuse is not typically recognized as a depressive episode.

If I Feel That I Am Depressed What Can I Do Now?:
Take a few moments and complete our online depression screening tool.Review the results and if suggested get the help that you need. 

Researchers have long thought that there are four distinct parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and uninvolved. While parents generally exhibit some combination of these four styles, most practice one dominant style. 

As Christians, we believe God is our Heavenly Father. So what are the theological implications of the four parenting styles? Is there one that is more clearly a Christian approach to parenting?

Scripture clearly teaches that God is not uninvolved in the lives of His children. Psalm 68:5 describes God as a Father to the fatherless, and Jesus referred to God as Father almost 200 times throughout the Gospels. Isaiah 40:1 speaks of God’s desire to “comfort” His people, just as a parent might do in the wake of disciplining a child. It seems clear that Scripture reveals God in the role of Heavenly Father. 

That is not to say we will always feel comforted. We may have long periods of spiritual hunger and darkness in which we feel neglected by God. For most Christians, these “dark nights of the soul” (a term introduced by St. John of the Cross in a poem in the 16th century) end in resolution and reassurance of God’s presence and activity in the lives of believers. “Dark night” seasons may be purposeful to facilitate greater dependence on God, or they may be in response to unconfessed sin or a lack of repentance. It is critical to note that the dark night seasons are not indicative of an uninvolved God.

Likewise orthodox Christians rarely view God as a permissive God. He is not so focused on His desire to have a relationship with us that He is willing to completely set aside all His expectations. Christians who have been influenced by “pop theology” may have the idea that God wants nothing more than for them to be happy. They may use their belief in a permissive God to excuse all manner of immoral living. A permissive God is clearly the invention of an immature and selfish society and is inconsistent with God as revealed in Scripture.

Many people view God as an authoritarian Heavenly Father. This view focuses on the divine attribute of holiness. Because God is holy, He has the expectation that we also be holy (Lev. 11:44, 1 Pet. 1:16). However God’s expectations of us do not contradict His desire to be in relationship with us. Romans 5:8 says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 

God recognizes that we are unable to be holy on our own. Therefore He has made a way for us to enter into His presence. The great lengths God has gone to so we may be in relationship with Him reveal the value He places upon us. A strictly authoritarian God would lose His desire to be in relationship with us if we were not able to follow His rules.

Most parenting research reveals that the best parenting style for raising healthy children is the authoritative parenting style. I would argue that the authoritative parenting style is also the most reflective of our Heavenly Father. 

Authoritative parents are not weak. Their expectations of their children are high. They do not easily give in, but they do take into account the feelings and needs of their child. They are strong yet gentle. Christian authoritative parents use parenting as an opportunity to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit. When they are angry or disappointed with their children, it is at that very moment that they exhibit “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). 

God has clearly communicated His expectations to His children. There are rewards for meeting His expectations and consequences for falling short. As parents, however, we reflect our Heavenly Father when we parent our children with a healthy balance between relationship and rules.

- See more at: http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/print-edition-article-detail.php?id_art=29415&pricat_art=1#sthash.SUvhBVBi.dpuf

From the office of Ron Huxley, founder of the Parenting Toolbox…

"I don’t believe anymore in coping, suffering, or managing our pain. I believe in overcoming, restoring, and wholeness. It is time for traditional mental health to raise the bar on our expectations for ourselves and our families. No one wants to be a limping, functional person when they can be completely healthy and happy. I am currently on my own journey now, exploring how  to make this a reality. Contact me for more information and/or set up a consultation time to start the road to a real life." 

Review by Ron Huxley

A study in the Journal of Attention Disorders looked at the differences or similarities of identifying ADHD symptoms in children between Fathers, Mothers and Teachers. It didn’t surprise me that fathers reported fewer symptoms than did mom and dads. This is probably due to the fact that dads, typically, spend less time with children than do moms and teachers. It isn’t a gender issue as a teacher could easily be a man as well as a women. Having said that, parental roles played out by gender may have some influence over what is noticed and what is not. The interesting finding of the study was that moms and dads correctly diagnosed the problem at the same rating. Apparently, dads can spot ADHD when they see it - the question, I suppose, is do they see it. 

Share your thoughts on this by posting a comment here or at our Facebook page or on our Twitter Stream

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.

What works for you? Share with us by clicking the comment button or go to Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/parentingtoolbox

or share with us on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ronhuxley

Playing favorites: play a game today with your children about “favorites” by asking what is their favorite ice cream, color, birthday surprise, book, animal, family activities, etc.  Learn more about your child and yourself.

Building Community Resilience for Children and Families is a guidebook that provides information about building community resilience, helping communities improves their capacity to respond effectively to natural or man-made disasters or acts of terrorism. To be most effective, community plans must address the emotional well-being of residents, including children. Putting strategies in place before an incident occurs enhances the community’s ability to improve its outcomes after an event.

Building Community Resilience for Children and Families is a guidebook that provides information about building community resilience, helping communities improves their capacity to respond effectively to natural or man-made disasters or acts of terrorism. To be most effective, community plans must address the emotional well-being of residents, including children. Putting strategies in place before an incident occurs enhances the community’s ability to improve its outcomes after an event.

New Social Skills Group for Kids: Visit our new page on how to improve your child’s social skills at http://parentingtoolbox.tumblr.com/skills-4-kids or go to our special url at http://Skills-4-Kids.com

"He Never Acts This Way At School!"
By Ron Huxley

"The energy which makes a child hard to manage is the energy which afterward makes him a manager of life." — Henry Ward Beecher"

by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Have you ever heard a parent say this or perhaps said it yourself? Why do some children misbehave at home and not other settings, like school? While the opposite situation might be true, where the child misbehaves at school and not home, let’s look at this common parenting frustration.

Teaching is a good definition of balanced discipline. In fact, the word discipline comes from the root word “disciplinare”, which means to teach or instruct. Most parents understand discipline as reducing inappropriate behaviors (punishment) instead of helping children achieve competence, self-control, self-direction, and social skills. Of course, all parents want this. But reinforcing appropriate behaviors seems like a luxury or fantasy when parents are having problems with their children. One reason for this may be the act of juggling work and family that so many contemporary parents find themselves performing. In this situation, only the most annoying or irritating behaviors are sure to get a parents attention. Children quickly learn that good behavior or even quiet, self-directed behavior rarely gets the attention of overloaded parents. Good behavior is one less thing a parent has to deal with while bad behavior guarantee parents attention. This is what educators and therapists call “negative attention” - a powerful reinforcer of children’s misbehavior.

So when parents say their child doesn’t misbehave in school, perhaps we should investigate the school/teaching model a little closer to see what frustrated parents can use when disciplining their children. Of course, as any teacher will admit, perfect behavior from children never occurs at school or anywhere else. But, let’s compare school behaviors to home discipline and ask a few questions.

Schools are learning environments. Discipline requires a learning environment characterized by positive, nurturing parent-child relationships. Is your home a learning environment or an entertainment center? Are their books, activities and private spaces for children?

Teachers use a curriculum. Discipline occurs when a plan or structure is in place for children. Do you know what you want to teach your children? What values or ideas do you want your children to believe? Is there a set time or routine for learning these things? Are you available to the child for help and instruction? Do you have materials available to educate you about topics you want to teach your children? Are there regular discussions about daily responsibilities, spiritual ideas, personal dreams, and problem areas? Grades are used to evaluate a child’s progress in school. Discipline can be both an instruction and a measurement of children’s behavior. What grade would you give your child in hygiene, social ability, responsibility, etc.? What rewards (physical or verbal) are given for “A” grades? Are parent-child conferences held to discuss strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for improvement? Do children get regular feedback from parents on how they are doing at home?

Teachers are in charge of the classroom and model appropriate behavior. Discipline is most effective when parents remember that they are the leaders of the home and “practice what they preach.” Are you firm and consistent in your discipline with your children? Do you model appropriate behavior for your children? Do you give the things, to your children, that you ask for, from your children, such as respect? Do you say what you mean rather than threaten or bribe children? Do you have a list of rules posted where children can see them? Do you allow children to “raise their hands” and ask questions? Do you listen attentively to those questions and give an appropriate answer?

Children, in schools, are given opportunities to explore and understand the world and themselves. Discipline is about internal control and not just external control. Do you give your child choices that require him or her to think about consequence? Are children recognized for behaving in an appropriate manner? Are there any “field trips” that children go on to inspire, instruct, or experience appropriate behavior? Are children give opportunities to act in a responsible and trustworthy manner? Are children encouraged to help their siblings and work as teams? Are there any parties for celebrating hard work?

Classrooms have rules that children must follow. Are their assigned seats at the dinner table or car? Are there any rules about waiting, talking, and seeking help? Do children get to “line up first” or “pass out the snacks” for exemplary behaviors? Are consequences given for inappropriate behaviors? Do children get warnings about misbehavior? Do children get to go to recess when they misbehave? Are the rules discussed with the children, posted where everyone can see them, and frequently reviewed?

Schools have recesses, school holidays, and summer breaks. Discipline is about doing nothing as much as it is about doing something. Do you allow your child to make mistakes and decide difficult (but not dangerous) situations on their own? Are there healthy balances between fun and chores, rest and responsibilities, work-time and playtime? Do you allow your child to simply be a child? Are developmental expectations appropriate to the age and abilities of your child? Do you allow yourself to be off-duty by having other adults to watch over your children? Are plans made, in family meetings, for fun as a family? Is quality time a regular part of your time with your children?

While this may not cover all aspects of school routines or discipline practices, it does ask some very reflective questions. It is possible we missed the most basic reason for children’s different behaviors, namely, novel situations and conditional love. Novel situations refer to a phenomenon that affects a child’s behavior, for good, when in a new environment. A new environment is unpredictable and may require a child to be on his or her best behavior until the child learns what the rules and consequences are or what they can get away with. Home is often predictable. The child already knows what they can or cannot get away with.

Conditional love refers to the communication of worth a child will get from another individual based on their behavior. A teacher may only consider certain behaviors to be worthy of his or her love and care. At the root, this is a good strategy. It advocates reinforcing only positive behaviors and ignoring negative behavior. But the fruit of it can have devastating consequences for children’s self esteem. A child’s sense of self should never be based on conditions. A child is worthy of love, dignity, and worth regardless of what they do. Reinforcement and even approval can be placed on a child’s behavior to communicate what is appropriate or inappropriate. A child may not feel this conditional love at home, knowing that mom will always love him or her and so manipulate this to their advantage.

Take a few moments to review these questions. If you are one of those parents who have said, “My child never behaves this way at school?” maybe now, you can finally find out why, and be able to say your child behaves appropriately at home as well as school.