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Ron Huxley's Parenting Toolbox

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.

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ParentingToolbox.com

Inner Healing

Kingdom Coach

Laughter Therapy
DIY Parent

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When kids want something, they’ll ask..and ask…and ask until you cave in. You can teach them to unlearn this annoying negotiation tactic by saying just three words: “Asked and Answered.”

The technique comes from parenting book author Lynn Lott and shared on the Positive Parenting Solutions blog, which writes:

The concept is simple. When seven-year-old Daniel begs to dig a giant hole in the front yard and gets “no” for an answer, chances are he’ll be back in five minutes asking again – this time with a “pleeeeeeaase” just so you know he really, really wants to dig the hole.

Instead of repeating yourself or jumping in to a lecture, avoid child nagging by getting eye to eye and follow the process below:

Step One: Ask, “Have you ever heard of ‘Asked and Answered’?” (He’ll probably say no.)

Step Two: Ask, “Did you ask me a question about digging a hole?” (He’ll say yes.)

Step Three: Ask, “Did I answer it?” (He’ll probably say, “Yes, but, I really ….”)

Step Four: Ask, “Do I look like the kind of mom/dad/teacher who will change her/his mind if you ask me the same thing over and over?” (Chances are Daniel will walk away, maybe with a frustrated grunt, and engage in something else.)

Step Five: If Daniel asks again, simply say, “Asked and Answered.” (No other words are necessary!) Once this technique has been established, these are the only words you should need to say to address nagging questions.

Both parents are going to have to be consistent in using “Asked and Answered” for it to sink in (especially for kids who are exhaustingly persistent in their badgering). Once it does though, hopefully this technique will help you stop sounding like a broken record.

Child Nagging & Negotiating | Positive Parenting Solutions

In researching for my book, I have talked to a lot of divorced parents to find out where the majority of the conflict in co-parenting arises. It seems the number one topic that is brought up is communication. Not just communication between the parents, but communication with the kids when they are with the other parent. It can be very upsetting for a parent when he/she has to go seven days without seeing his/her kids and the other parent doesn’t allow the noncustodial parent to talk to the children.

Due to the controversial nature of calling/texting the kids, it is often put in as a provision in the custody agreement.  During mediation, the parents may agree on what they think is appropriate for calling and texting. While the custody agreement is in place so there is a baseline to work from, the goal is to work toward open communication between all parties.

I have discussed this with most of my divorced friends and everyone seems to think that talking to the kids once a day when they are with the other parent is pretty appropriate.  However, there are some parents who choose not to allow that.  They won’t have the kids return calls, won’t play messages for the kids and may even seek legal action to keep the other parent from contacting the kids.

While the parent prohibiting the contact is protecting his/her privacy, he/she is also causing anxiety for the children. Rather than knowing the other parent can’t contact them, the children go to bed each night thinking the other parent doesn’t care or has better things to do.

You can’t explain to a 10-year-old child that you can’t call them because mommy went to court to prohibit it.  You can’t tell your teenage son that you aren’t allowed to text him about basketball tryouts or his big science test because his father had it put in the court order. While your anger may make you want to tell them, you know it is not in their best interests to possess that information.

My ex has always called at least twice a day for over nine years now.  Although most would say that is excessive, it doesn’t bother me because I don’t have to speak to him anyway.  With caller ID, I can see it is him and hand the phone to one of the kids.  They enjoy their daily talks with him and when I have asked them about it they have said that it makes them feel good that dad wants to be a part of their lives even when they are not with him.  If it makes them feel good, then why in the world would I fight it?

Some people may think over twice a day is excessive, but as far as I am concerned, he is their father and when we were married he got to talk to them even more than that.  Why take that from either of them?  I don’t even know how often he texts them because HE IS THEIR FATHER.  If he wants to text them, then he can.  And if I want to text them when they are with him, then I will.  No matter who they are with, we are both still their parents.

Because of this open attitude we have about phone calls/texting, I can’t even begin to understand people who attempt to limit contact with the other parent without there being an abuse issue or an addiction problem.  While there may be separate lives with the parents, there is only one life for the children.  Just because they are with one parent and not the other does not mean that their other parent doesn’t exist for them during that time.

Following a divorce, children have many needs that only their parents can meet. It has been proven that kids need their parents to remain involved. If their parents do not remain involved, the kids will question their love. Good communication with your ex regarding the kids should be of the highest priority, but even more important is keeping the right mindset so that you can encourage the relationship between your kids and the other parent. Your children more than ever need you to put them first. Divorce is a time when parents inadvertently make a lot of parenting mistakes, so don’t purposely cause them more problems by sabotaging their relationship with the other parent. Read more from Valerie DeLoach at her blog, Life in a Blender.

50 Everyday Ways to Love Your Teen | Psychology Today:

Small Actions that Help Teens Thrive

  1. Notice who they as people, not just their academic achievement.
  2. Celebrate their differences and special needs.
  3. Ask what was best about their day.
  4. Surprise them with a hug—just because you love them.
  5. Show your gratitude for their presence in your life.
  6. Leave an encouraging note in their backpack.
  7. Exercise together.
  8. Help them discover meaningful after-school and summer activities.
  9. Laugh with one another.
  10. Enjoy naturebeauty, and art together.
  11. Smile when they walk into a room.
  12. Welcome their friends to your home.
  13. Get to know their friends beyond surface conversations.
  14. Praise them for who they are, not just for what they do.
  15. Listen first. Speak last.
  16. Thank them for their ideas and suggestions.
  17. Help them critically think through decisions.
  18. Advise, counsel, and support them.
  19. Allow them to make their own choices.
  20. Encourage them to serve the public good.
  21. Believe in their abilities to overcome challenges.
  22. Support and encourage them as they struggle.
  23. When they show courage, let them know you admire them.
  24. When they solve a problem, help them reflect on what they learned.
  25. When they plan an event, congratulate them on what went well.
  26. Talk about real world challenges and invite their opinions on moral issues.
  27. Let them know it is okay to feel confused.
  28. Don’t judge or impose your beliefs on them. Adolescence is about figuring it out for oneself.
  29. Help them connect their heads with their hearts.
  30. Show them how to care for others by modeling empathy and compassion.
  31. Talk with them about your heroes and role models.
  32. Discover their heroes and role models.
  33. When you are angry and frustrated, demonstrate how to manage your feelings instead of lashing out at others.
  34. Teach them about being safe online – and off.
  35. Be a cheerleader for them when they feel down.
  36. Optimism is contagious. Cultivate it in your home.
  37. Don’t just watch movies together; discuss the messages and ideas in the stories.
  38. Help them see the good side of getting things wrong.
  39. Share the little things you notice about them that you cherish – the way they giggle, munch their food, or comb their hair.
  40. Thank them for their kindness.
  41. Embrace their adolescent awkwardness. They’ll grow out of it.
  42. Try not to embarrass them in front of their friends – or ever.
  43. Allow them to see you cry.
  44. Help them find meaning through loss and grief.
  45. Talk to them about their futures; encourage curiosity about different career paths.
  46. Apologize when you are wrong.
  47. Let them know when they inspire you.
  48. Admit when you make a mistake and what you learned as a result.
  49. Be a sounding board when they need one.
  50. Encourage connections with adult mentors.

©2013 Marilyn Price-Mitchell. All rights reserved. Please contact for permission to reprint.

What is Theraplay?

You may have heard of “play therapy” for children but  have your ever heard of TheraPlay? This pioneering approach to attachment-based, family therapy is one that I have been practicing for many years and still find it one of the most practical approaches to working with families, particularly children who have endured trauma. 

Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

In treatment, the Theraplay therapist guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child’s behavior and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.

We call this “building relationships from the inside out.””

Support National Adoption Day Nov. 23 
CWLA

Help support National Adoption Day on Nov. 23. This national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families is an annual, one-day event celebrated the Saturday before every Thanksgiving. It honors families who adopt, encourages others to adopt children from foster care and builds collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations. Find out more at http://www.nationaladoptionday.org

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. 

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