Parenting Your Child to Self-Esteem

It is important that we discipline in a way that teaches responsibility by motivating our children internally, to build their self-esteem and make them feel loved. If our children are disciplined in this respect, they will not have a need to turn to gangs, drugs, or sex to feel powerful or belong.

The following ten keys will help parents use methods that have been proven to provide children with a sense of well-being and security.

1 – Use Genuine Encounter Moments (GEMS)

Your child’s self-esteem is greatly influenced by the quality of time you spend with him-not the amount of time that you spend. With our busy lives, we are often thinking about the next thing that we have to do, instead of putting 100% focused attention on what our child is saying to us. We often pretend to listen or ignore our child’s attempts to communicate with us. If we don’t give our child GEMS throughout the day, he will often start to misbehave. Negative attention in a child’s mind is better than being ignored.

It is also important to recognize that feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are. So when your child says to you, “Mommy, you never spend time with me” (even though you just played with her) she is expressing what she feels. It is best at these times just to validate her feelings by saying, “Yeah, I bet it does feel like a long time since we spent time together.”

2 – Use Action, Not Words

Statistics say that we give our children over 2000 compliance requests a day! No wonder our children become “parent deaf!” Instead of nagging or yelling, ask yourself, “What action could I take?” For example, if you have nagged your child about unrolling his socks when he takes them off, then only wash socks that are unrolled. Action speaks louder than words.

3 – Give Children Appropriate Ways to Feel Powerful

If you don’t, they will find inappropriate ways to feel their power. Ways to help them feel powerful and valuable are to ask their advice, give them choices, let them help you balance your check book, cook all our part of a meal, or help you shop. A two-year-old can wash plastic dishes, wash vegetables, or put silverware away. Often we do the job for them because we can do it with less hassle, but the result is they feel unimportant.

4 – Use Natural Consequences

Ask yourself what would happen if I didn’t interfere in this situation? If we interfere when we don’t need to, we rob children of the chance to learn from the consequences of their actions. By allowing consequences to do the talking, we avoid disturbing our relationships by nagging or reminding too much. For example, if your child forgets her lunch, you don’t bring it to her. Allow her to find a solution and learn the importance of remembering.

5 – Use Logical Consequences

Often the consequences are too far in the future to practically use a natural consequence. When that is the case, logical consequences are effective. A consequence for the child must be logically related to the behavior in order for it to work. For example, if your child forgets to return his video and you ground him for a week, that punishment will only create resentment within your child. However, if you return the video for him and either deduct the amount from his allowance or allow him to work off the money owed, then your child can see the logic to your discipline.

6 – Withdraw from Conflict

If your child is testing you through a temper tantrum, or being angry or speaking disrespectfully to you, it is best if you leave the room or tell the child you will be in the next room if he wants to “Try again.” Do not leave in anger or defeat.

7 – Separate the Deed from the Doer

Never tell a child that he is bad. That tears at his self-esteem. Help your child recognize that it isn’t that you don’t like him, but it is his behavior that you are unwilling to tolerate. In order for a child to have healthy self-esteem, he must know that he is loved unconditionally no matter what he does. Do not motivate your child by withdrawing your love from him. When in doubt, ask yourself, did my discipline build my child’s self-esteem?

8 – Be Kind and Firm at the Same Time

Suppose you have told your five-year-old child that if she isn’t dressed by the time the timer goes off, you will pick her up and take her to the car. She has been told she can either get dressed either in the car or at school. Make sure that you are loving when you pick her up, yet firm by picking her up as soon as the timer goes off without any more nagging. If in doubt, ask yourself, did I motivate through love or fear?

9 – Parent with the End in Mind

Most of us parent with the mindset to get the situation under control as soon as possible. We are looking for the expedient solution. This often results in children who feel overpowered. But if we parent in a way that keeps in mind how we want our child to be as an adult, we will be more thoughtful in the way we parent. For example, if we spank our child, he will learn to use acts of aggression to get what he wants when he grows up.

10 – Be Consistent, Follow Through

If you have made an agreement that your child cannot buy candy when she gets to the store, do not give in to her pleas, tears, demands or pouting. Your child will learn to respect you more if you mean what you say.

How Long Is Your Sick?

sick-child-rexThis is from an article in the British Medical Journal and explains how long common illnesses last in children.  This should be informative and relieving to parents as they experience their child’s illness.

“In most (90%) of children, earache was resolved by 7-8 days, sore throat between 2-7 days, croup by 2 days, bronchiolitis by 21 days, acute cough by 25 days, common cold by 15 days, and non-specific symptoms by 16 day.”

I recommend to my patients high dose vitamin D3 once a day for 3 days at the first onset of an illness to boost the immune system, saccharomyces boulardii for non-bloody diarrhea and high dose probiotics and/or Histamine DAO for allergies. Please check with your physician for the appropriateness of these supplements before taking them.


Thompson M, et al. BMJ,2013;347: f7027

Why your diet isn’t your fault: three healthy steps to healthy eating.

In 2000, according to the USDA, each individual in the U.S. consumed over 150 pounds of sugar. Sugar is addictive and you are likely an addict but it may not be entirely your fault. The good news is you can blame your parents and bodily stowaways.

Your food culture will become
your child’s food culture. You eat the way you are shown to eat. In other words, the way you eat today is how you will eat tomorrow. Essentially your
parents created your palate.

It feels good to blame your parents for your problems. 
Unfortunately, your children will do it to you unless you make a change. Once you recognize you are part of the solution you have taken the first step.

The second step is to understand that the microbes living in your gut can compel you to eat a specific diet. If you eat lots of sugar then the bugs have adapted. You are filled with sugar-loving bacteria and yeast rather than vegetable craving bacteria. Sugar craving bugs make you crave sugar.

This means you can view yourself as a puppet to the sugar bugs that live inside of you. The old adage that you become what you eat is really true. Fortunately, you can be Pinocchio and change from puppet to puppeteer. You cut the puppet strings by changing the gut microbiome.

The third step is to make a conscious effort to eat less refined sugar and more natural sugar, consume grapefruit seed extract or
biocidin to eradicate the bad bacteria and yeast, and replenish your gut with good bacteria by taking a probiotic.

Read labels and understand your consumption. Most sugar in our food comes from processed corn. This was not always the case. Our grandparents consumed natural unrefined sugars largely from cane and beets.

Unfortunately, food manufacturers do not have to separate added sugar from naturally occurring sugar in foods.

Added sugars come in many forms, so look for labels that include:

  • Cane juice
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Invert sugar
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • White sugar
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Malt syrup
  • Anhydrous dextrose

The consequence of remaining a puppet are dramatic yet avoidable. Today, more than 1 in 3 adults in the United States have “pre-diabetes.” In addition, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t even know it.

Leave Pleasure Island and don’t allow you or your children to become diabetic donkeys. Cut the puppet strings by repopulating your gut with vegetable-craving bacteria. Do not give your children reason to blame you. Teach them a healthy way to eat as a lasting multi-generational tribute of your love.

Fighting with your teen can be a good thing

A growing body of research suggests that this can actually be a good thing. How disagreements are handled at home shapes both adolescent mental health and the overall quality of the parent-teenager relationship. Not only that, the nature of family quarrels can also drive how adolescents manage their relationships with people beyond the home.

In looking at how teenagers approach disputes, experts have identified four distinct styles: attacking, withdrawing, complying and problem-solving.

Adolescents who favor either of the first two routes — escalating fights or stubbornly refusing to engage in them — are the ones most likely to be or become depressed, anxious or delinquent.

Those teenagers who take the third route and comply, simply yielding to their parents’ wishes, suffer from high rates of mood disorders. Further, teenagers who cannot resolve arguments at home often have similar troubles in their friendships and love lives.

In contrast, teenagers who use problem-solving to address disputes with their parents present a vastly different picture. They tend to enjoy the sturdiest psychological health and the happiest relationships everywhere they go.

So how do we raise teenagers who see disagreements as challenges to be resolved?

Compelling new research suggests that constructive conflict between parent and teenager hinges on the adolescent’s readiness to see beyond his or her own perspective.

We also have evidence that parents can make the most of their teenagers’ evolving neurobiology by being good role models for taking another person’s perspective. Adults who are willing to walk around in their teenagers’ mental shoes tend to raise teenagers who return the favor.

garden-variety disagreements offer the opportunity to help young people better understand themselves and others, building in them the lifelong skill of finding room for civility in the midst of discord.

No parent looks forward to fighting with his or her teenage child. But the friction that comes with raising adolescents might be easier to take when we see it as an opening, not an obstacle.


Are You Right or Happy?

1002645_750430854975010_433043976_nI think of the conundrum often – since I am a married man. I know I am right. Or so I perceive that I am right and this is the crucible. Perception.

I can still be right in my mind and not have to exert my ego to control the situation and the person. Using my ego would be wrong and thereby discount my rightness. I recall my dad saying, “You can be so right that you are wrong.” True words.

Now, after years of alchemy, also known as marital counseling and mental walkabouts, I choose happy. And happy is a choice. Rather happy is more of a verb.

I write this as we raise our children in a home with different people and different perceptions. Stop being right and start being happy so your children know what joy is like. When you stop you will see that your kids show you everyday what joy is about.