Sunday, October 18, 2020

3D Snapshot of the Mien of a Tween: not a Pretty Picture



My 12 year old son is stealing money out of my purse. He has a long history of defiance, sneakiness, and lying. He is also disrespectful, and disobedient. 

We suspect he's been stealing money for many months, although we've just now confirmed that he definitely is. We don't know what to do. He is currently already in trouble for defiance, and he has no door on his room, and he spends the majority of time in his room as a form of discipline. We are at the end of our ropes. 


 In addition to the BIG 3 D's (Defiance, Disobedience, and Disrespect), as well as sneakiness, lying ,and stealing--your preteen son sounds like he is fully expressing his sinful nature with which he was born. It sounds like any discipline strategy being employed is not working, and that this has been an ongoing issue. The fact that he has had a "long history" of several of these behavioral matters, AND the fact that he is on the precipice of entering the tumultuous teen years indicates that these difficulties may get worse before they get better . You need someone to walk you through effective strategies, leadership techniques, an efficacious, loving, discipline philosophy--basically, an organized simple plan that transfers the burden of his misbehavior to the offender(your son) and not to the parents. You have too many issues for me to deal with in this Q and A forum.  So here is my answer: HIRE A PARENTING COACH, asap!.....I will be glad to help you if you would like to get in touch with me; and there are many other capable coaches on this website as well. For you to enjoy your son's teenage years; and to ensure a more calmer, serene home environment, an investment of a few hundred dollars is ever so worth it. Please consider it. 

Mike Smart, CLPC

"Parenting OutSmarted"

937-925-6136 or

Sunday, August 16, 2020

On-Fleek Slang a bit too Woke for Momma


I have a 14 year old boy that talks nonsense incessantly. He is a good-natured kid, and I don’t think he speaks out of malice. He picks on his sister and me almost constantly. For example, I will say could be anything..and he will reply, “Liar!” And then tell me I just got “epic owned.” He told me that he means no harm, and I do believe him. He and his friends banter that way. Only, I am not his friend; I am his mother. It gets wearisome, and borders at times on disrespect. I am a home educator. I am wondering if our being together most of the time has created a case of familiarity breeding contempt. Or is this natural to living with a teenage boy? Should I just let it go as something that will pass with maturity? 


Let me answer your last question first: NO.....Using slang phrases directed toward a parent such as "epic owned", "liar", "dude" "freak", etc., is a way to disrespect and tear down the authority of a parent. As a teacher and coach of teens , as well as a parent, for most of my life, I was able to connect well with that age group, and truly enjoyed that quirky stage of life. But I never accepted a student going too slang on me and calling me "dude" and the like. You need to tell your son that he and his "posse" can be as "slang woke" as they wanna be--with each other, but not you. 

There is some truth in the idea that "familiarity breeds contempt" but that really has no bearing as to whether you should accept his behavior as only a stage of immaturity. It is disrespectful. Feel free to "cancel that culture." 

Contact me if you need followup.

Mike Smart, CLPC

"Parenting OutSmarted"


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Conquering a Three-Year Old Quarantine Quagmire

My son is 3 yr and 3 month old, he was very careful and neat. recently he started to get very aggressive especially during the quarantine in the house. He has been staying home for a month now. He will do anything to hurt and does not care of the consequences. He has lots of energy and is getting hyper, yesterday he pumped the scooter into the glass cabinet, I told him though it will break, he said it is OK I do not care, until he broke it. He will do what he wants no matter how many times I repeat no. He started to break his toys after playing with them for few hours. I put him time out, he refuses and kicks and says bad word, and his voice started to bother the neighbor so I quit doing that. Although we do not fight or say bad words at home. He tends to watch aggressive things on you tube more than anything else. the end point is he likes to hurt and be aggressive and not listen.
When family calls to talk to him, he talks and say I do not like you until they say something he is interested in like candy toys, he will change his mind. also He started hitting me , his mother, he really hurts, sometimes he uses whatever tool he has in his hand to hit and hurt. How can I help him?

Sounds like we are dealing with the Totally Terrible Twos---that has lasted into the Threes. The Good News is that since he is only three-plus years old,--with a bit of short-term pain-- you will be able to teach him that it is his job to listen to you; not your job to listen to him. He needs to learn the lesson that it is in his best interest to obey you; not the reverse. Another bit of Good News: YOU are the one that needs to change. Once he recognizes the "new" authority figure in his life , he will then change for the better. Are you willing to change? Are you willing to put your boy through some emotional pain? "A loving mother disciplines the son she delights in." It is time for you to "run the show."  Each of your son's infractions you listed above--some of which are quite egregious--point to your inability to know how to be an authority figure in his life. Your enabling seems to be hindering your parenting. But your concern and love for your son also tell me that you can become an amazing mother!  But before it is too late---and it isn't----you need to hire a Rosemond Parenting Coach. I would be glad to be your Coach. My information is below. There are other very qualified Parent Coaches on this website as well.  There are too many things going on in your situation for my answer here to be of much help. Your thinking needs to be retrained. The nice part is that he is only three, and once you are retrained into a Benevolent Disciplinarian, you will see some success quickly. Some final points to ponder: During this "reign of terror" of his, why does he still have his scooter? Why does he still get candy and toys? With all his hurtful, verbal and physical aggression and disobedience---why is he watching aggressive things on YouTube?
Feel free to contact me for help.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pre-Teen: A Lingering Fever

Image by Hanna Kovalchuk from Pixabay

We are having some trouble with our 12 year old son. I can see how things have progressed and how we haven't quite followed the Rosemond plan. He is very rude with his sisters, he talks back a lot and this is when things escalate. He gets upset when things aren't to his liking. For example, if they are doing something in school he finds boring, he gets really flippant toward the teacher, or when we tell him something he doesn't like. If it I were to focus on one problem it would be handling adversity or bad news or situation he doesn't like. The biggest problem is talking back after the initial reprimand. It has escalated and we don't know how to reel it back in. He has spent days in his room. When he goes to his room he slams things and yells. So, how do we stop the backtalking and deescalate things back to a normal level?

In previous generations, acts of disrespect and temper tantrums used to be solely the property of three to six year olds. I have worked with teens and preteens for decades as a teacher and basketball coach, and I have watched the rise of a total lack of emotional resilience among these older children as well. Your realization that you haven't used consistently the traditional Judeo-Christian discipline methods that Rosemond espouses in your son's life is a major positive step. The downside is that you need to understand that reigning your son back in, will be more difficult at age 12, and will get worse before it gets better--especially if not nipped in the bud.
Suggestion (a version of Rosemond's Strikes method):

Put a list of two target misbehaviors on an index card attached to the fridge. From what I gather the list should consist of:
A. Lack of Emotional Control(temper tantrums)
B. Verbal Disrespect and Attitude

Explain to your son exactly what those mean.

Initially, when he misbehaves in either of those two target areas, give him a strike. Allow him two strikes per day. On the third strike, he's out!  Give him a consequence; one that is memorable, and emotionally painful. Two strikes may be given for one offense if the behavior is egregious enough. But first, you and your wife(?) must make a list of possible consequences that you could levy upon your son that would be memorable. These consequences must be big. Examples include no TV, phone or video games for three weeks; early bedtime for two weeks; extra chores for a month; no hanging with friends for 12 days, canceling a birthday party,  etc. These should be your strike 3 consequences.

Points to remember: This will hurt for a time; if done right, a short time. Do not cave--especially when the "I hate you"s appear and the tears flow.  Never communicate or try to reason with him during one of his emotional conniptions. Just walk away. Stayed poised and calm as you leave, telling him you will let him know what his consequence will be.

I do recommend hiring a Rosemond Parenting Coach. It will be worth the investment.  There are a lot of nuances on how to implement this strategy that may help clarify the process. At a minimal cost, some professional support may be necessary

Ask yourself: Just as we fear (awe and respect) God, does your son fear you?? Or are you a bit afraid of your son? Does your son know without a shadow of a doubt that it is HIS job to listen to you? Or does he believe it is YOUR job to listen to him?

During this time of enforcement, show him extra affection and love when the  "iron is cold."  Those times may be few and far between at first, so take advantage of them. Eventually one day, you will be singing along with a famous 19th-century author:

        Thank Heaven! the crises-
              The danger is past,
            And that lingering illness
              Is over at last-
            And the fever called "Pre-Teen"
              Is conquered at last.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"   

Monday, April 20, 2020

6 Strikes in 1 At-bat

Hi John, my 9yr old daughter has taken to raising her voice, screaming, arguing, sarcasm and just downright disrespect when things aren't going her way. We have a target misbehavior chart and she can easily get 6 strikes within a tantrum - focuses on yelling, doing as you're told and harmful behavior (this last one is probably redundant). I am in the process of cleaning out her room for a lockdown when she gets home. During the tantrum she very much becomes the victim - it's not fair, everyone always takes, no-one ever does anything for me, etc... And then becomes sorry. One thing she always does is question what she has done - we always say it's the disrespect and how she is talking, but she doesn't seem to understand this??? Am I on the right track? What else can I do? I'm feeling quite deflated, upset and not sure of myself. Thanks ☹️

It sounds like you could use the help of a certified Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coach. It may be worth the reasonable expense. However, I do believe you are on the "right track"; and if you're not? So what?!!  As long as you "say what you mean and mean what you say", and don't cave---almost anything will work.  Be consistent and be patient.  And have a sense of humor when you can.
It does sound like a " lockdown" may be in order.  I wasn't quite clear on the Target Misbehaviors--was "Harmful Behavior" one of them?  That seems to be too broad of a category. Maybe you could have just two fairly specific Target Misbehaviors:  Emotional Rants and Disobedience, for instance.
Also, I don't believe a child should garner all six strikes within an episode;maybe two at the most. Remember, you can give a punishment before six strikes if you deem it necessary.Is there a "Tantrum Room" at your disposal in which you can put your daughter for 10 to 30 minutes? You can make use of that and an alarm clock as well. Another little strategy during one of her conniption fits:  tell Gertrude she has 3 minutes to run around the house five times;rain/shine/ hot/cold--doesn't matter. And the clock starts NOW!  It's amazing how that physical exercise release sometimes does help the child calm down.
Also, how do you typically respond when she throws a tantrum? Conversely, how do you respond to her when she "feels sorry"?

May I also recommend utilizing the Art of Obliviousness----whenever your daughter employs her negative attention-seeking behavior.
Be oblivious to her yelling by "making a phone call"; ignore her temper tantrum by walking away to "do the laundry."  Give your husband a kiss on the lips and laugh and hug with him while she is melting down.  In other words, pretend not to notice your daughter and her egregious behavior while it is occurring, because you're busy doing other things. Later, when things have calmed down, you can always mete out strikes or give consequences. The key is to NEVER respond to her by yelling, losing your poise, or giving her attention while the "iron is hot."  And remember:  her "side of the story" is irrelevant--you're not going to listen to her excuses, especially while her emotions are out of control.
        Let me know how the lockdown works. And, if necessary, employ a Rosemond Parenting Coach--who is always more-than-eager to help.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Terrible Twos Part II: The Teen Years

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

My daughter is 14 years old and she thinks she is crazy in love for a boy in her school , same grade. She doesn't have a smart phone . But she bought an old phone from a friend for 80 dollars and used the phone to chat with her friends and the boy without our knowledge. We found that out yesterday. She hates me and my husband and wants to live at her friends house as they are the most loving and caring people in the world. She also writes about how she hates me as a parent and uses very strong cuss words to describe me as I am against her getting a phone.She tells me that she wants to pack her things and leave the house. Please advise.

Your daughter has hit the "Terrible Twos Part II"; thus ending the Season of Leadership and Authority(ages 3-13). She truly is exerting her independence---which can be good if done in a profitable way for parent and child. It appears she is not doing it profitably. I, personally, have waded through the rumbustious waters of raising three daughters who were all in high school at the same time. And I lived to tell about it--ha!
      I would recommend investing a few hundred dollars in hiring a Rosemond Parenting Coach.  One online response to your above concerns from an expert in teen behavior may not be as helpful as you were hoping. There are just too many issues to cover. There are some concerns and questions that I have as well that may require more information.  Remember: You DO need to handle a teen differently than you did when she was a child.
 Food for Thought:  Where is the phone that she bought, without your knowledge? Does she still use it?  What were the consequences/punishment  for her doing that?  The defiance and disrespect she has shown in her writings---her hateful rhetoric and use of cuss words, etc., ---are a bit alarming, but not horribly unusual in families. Were there consequences for any of that?   Her writings? To whom is she writing these things?  As far as her relationship with the boy, have you established dating rules in your household?
     At this age, maintaining an open/sharing/communicative relationship with your daughter is key. At this point that sounds like a monumental task. But it is possible, with help.   But you will need to have a Meeting of Matters with your daughter where items are discussed such as what exactly are Privileges--and how Privileges are determined to the degree that the teen is responsible. For instance, having a smartphone is not a Right--it's a Privilege. And receiving a privilege is dependent  upon her ability to be responsible--in her behavior, choice of friends, language, family chores, grades, etc. To address  these concerns and others,  and to discuss how to lead a Meeting of Matters with your child, I suggest your hiring a Parenting Coach.   It WILL be worth it. This needs to be nipped in the bud NOW.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted" 

Saturday, February 15, 2020

It Takes a Man to Teach a Boy to be a Man

I read John Rosemond's June articles on fathering and see the pattern he sees all the time: grown-up sons who amount to nothing.  I have 3 boys ages 9, 7, and 4 and want much better for them.  There are hardly any good books on fathering and John's books give advice to both parents. 

The only books I can recommend on being a husband and father are Rev. CR Wiley's books, "Man of the House" and "The Household and the War for the Cosmos." 

Does John have any specific advice and timelines on what fathers should teach their sons?  For example, should fathers teach them how to make things, repair things, personal finance, self-defense, how to talk to women, etc? When should fathers teach their sons things?

I've noticed that women are primarily interested in safety and nurture and men are much more "law and order" and are more-inclined to give their boys freedom to take risks.  It seems to me that emphasis on safety and nurture are detrimental after a certain age and definitely prevent boys from developing into men.  This is where fathers are really important.  Does John (or anyone else) have an opinion on how to raise boys who are resilient and self-motivated?

 In general, in a two-parent home, the primary responsibility in raising boys should be gradually transferred from the wife to the husband when the boys are still in elementary schools. I'm not positive about your marital status, but either way--the ball's in your court now with your sons. Remember: IT TAKES A MAN TO TEACH A BOY TO BE A MAN. And this is NOT to underplay the importance of the mother in a boy's life whatsoever.  But I do believe you are correct in saying that safety and nurture should gradually give way to more risk-taking freedom. You want to teach your boys how to protect others, not to have to be protected by others.  I also believe that teaching boys about personal finances, household/car repairs, self-defense, etc., are very important skills  to be taught. But the traditional, Judeo-Christian view of the characteristics that make a man:  good manners, good citizenship, toughness, sacrifice, composure, responsibility---should be taught from day one; especially the art of how to treat women. Teach your boys  to hold the door open for women and  say "yes, Ma'am" and "no, Ma'am." Teach them that women are to go ahead of them in line. Teach them to value the opinion of a woman as much as  or more than their own. And don't allow pornography to infiltrate their lives in any way.  And the only way for a boy to learn these skills is to practice them. A man without manners is not a man at all.

We don't want to raise wussified men. Love your sons dearly, tenderly--but never coddle them or allow them to play the victim. Some of what I said is not politically correct, and you will not hear much of this from some of the books on parenting. So YOU will have to teach your boys--starting now. It is never too early. And once you have trained them and they have mastered these concepts,  they will stand out from the rest of the world. They will be different than most--but in such a good way! 

Contact me for any further advice.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"


3D Snapshot of the Mien of a Tween: not a Pretty Picture

  QUESTION: My 12 year old son is stealing money out of my purse. He has a long history of defiance, sneakiness, and lying. He is also disre...