Every parent we have ever met wants to have a smart child and be a smart parent. Raising a child is the most important responsibility anyone will ever have and can provide the most pleasure and reward.

SMART PARENT/SMART CHILD is the revolutionary philosophy that all children are incredibly intelligent from the moment they are born. When parents have learned understanding, respect, highly developed communication and relationship skills and development related expertise, it is amazing what a child can accomplish and, in fact, each child will achieve his maximum potential.

Our mission is to help you achieve that goal. The key to a child's education and success is a skilled, knowledgeable, informed and educated parent.

This blog addresses specific issues, to really be the best parent possible the book is a must!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The History And Experience Of Explosive, Destructive And Violent Behavior In Very Young Children.

I hesitated to discuss such a deep and disturbing behavioral condition during this calm, warm summertime. But experience tells me that negative and disturbing behaviors do not get better with time. So as always, I will share the experiences now rather than later.

We have now lived through four separate family situations where children between the ages of two to five have displayed behaviors that were both self-destructive and outwardly violent.

The behaviors that eventually surfaced at daycare were:
1. Throwing furniture.
2. Not only nail-biting, but biting all the skin around the nails, initially on their fingers and then on their toes. In one case, we observed the child’s toes were covered in band aids, obviously the child revealed this purposely by removing his shoes.
3. Running across the street unattended with the parent left behind at the daycare entrance.
4. Locking himself in the bathroom when the parent arrived to pick him up.
5. Kicking and communicating with the parent using foul language.
6. Biting the sibling.
7. Physically kicking and hitting the parent.
8. One of the children responding to a playmate who was concerned that biting the skin on her hand “must really hurt” and the child responding “It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as I hurt inside”

Behaviors revealed by the parent:
1. Inflicting harm on family animals.
2. Threatening the sibling with physical harm.
3. Afraid of being alone in a room.
4. One parent’s fear that they were raising a serial killer.

In trying to understand what family conditions could have caused such behavior, we compiled a profile of each of these families. I was surprised and really shocked to realize that three of these families fell into the same profile in most of the major categories.

A profile of outward symptoms for these three was:
1. Each family consisted of two parents and two children living in the same home.
2. In each case, the mother was the primary income provider. Both parents worked long hours, with most of these hours outside the home. They often brought work home to complete in the evening. They were also committed to on demand travel which could accumulate to 10% to 15% of their total hours.
3. In each case, the father was self employed in a creative field which resulted in an unpredictable schedule and income. It also created a situation where this parent was not only the sole caregiver, but he was preoccupied with searching for employment or preparing for a secured assignment. Since this situation was so unpredictable, the dad often found himself as the caregiver and worker at the same time. In these circumstances he shared that he expected the children to entertain themselves. He shared that this demand often triggered an angry outburst.

The profile for the fourth family:
1. Both parents worked outside the home with long working hours and frequent travel for both of them. Back up care when both were traveling is unpredictable and could involve family members or any caregiver that was available.
2. There was very little family time on any given day. Most frequently, the dad would drop off and pick up the children.
3. The mom was less likely to be home before the children went to bed. In this case, one child went to bed completely silent and the other child constantly screamed when the mom picked them up.
4. These children usually teamed up when it came to destructive behavior.

We obviously were unaware of the depth and severity until each of the children demonstrated an aspect of it during regular care or when the parent came to pick them up.

We were surprised and alarmed that none of the parents had considered therapy, or as often happens, shared these details with us. They obviously needed help to understand and correct these behaviors.
In every case, we were able to recommend an expert who visited the home, as well as observed the child’s behavior at the daycare. They all committed to family therapy. This has to be the approach as it is not just an issue for the child but for every member.

Everyone in the family had to make changes. A common recommendation that was made in each case was the importance during the first five years of quality and quantity time with the mother who plays the major nurturing role at the beginning, and in each case had to increase their direct presence with the child.

I realize parents are committed to providing their children with the best physical environment as possible, however their emotions and psychological well being is even more important!
The more I think about these families, I am surprised that they did not ask for our advice or seek outside help when the behaviors first started.

Each family though the situation would improve over time. That typically does not occur without a planned strategy.

Each child finds ways to express their feelings. When their actions become so destructive and abusive and harm is self inflicted: get help immediately!!!

The behaviors noted in these cases is not normal. Fortunately children in our care who experience any sort of conflict and display aggressive behavior at home will eventually bring them to daycare as a cry for help!

Do not ignore them!

If we encourage even one family to get help before a serious problem escalates, it will be worth having shared these very disturbing family relationships!

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness!

Friday, July 14, 2017

No blog this week

Hi everyone, I'm working on a blog that is about a serious subject and I want to make sure it is really well done, talk to you next week!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Why Dads Deserve A Special Day!!!

My apologies to all the amazing dads out there who follow my blog, because of personal issues I missed the appropriate timing of this blog. Sorry!

1. The proud look on the face of the dad walking his twins sons in the double seated stroller down Sunset Boulevard.

2. Five year old Martha happily leaves daycare early with her dad to attend a performance of The Nutcracker.

3. All the dads who encourage a challenging risk for a child building their confidence and maturity i.e. taking the training wheels off the bicycle or climbing the tree branch that looks too high.

4. The sight of the dad at the supermarket with an infant in the shopping cart and a three year old helping him push the cart while they discuss the grocery list.

5. The dad who asks to be taught to make braids that his daughter wants.

6. The dad who encouraged his wife to attend an award dinner in Europe acknowledging her publication of a design book while he cared for a six month old and a four year old.

7. The entrepreneur dad who takes his daughter to the office at least once a month to expose her to the environment and lets her sit in on the meetings.

8. The dad who takes time off from work to take his two year old son to the auto show.

9. The dad who picks up his son and daughter and takes them to the court to play basketball.

10. All the dads who hug their children when they drop them off at daycare and also when they pick them up. You feel like it is the most important moment to them.

Even though thousands of dads are directly and deeply involved in their child’s life, it is still very heartwarming to see a dad/child connection, especially in a non-traditional scene.
Thanks and congratulations to all the dads who have a lose and meaningful relationship in their child’s life!

Friday, June 30, 2017

What Are The Most Common Omissions And Errors That Parents Make and What Are The Consequences?

A lack of pre or early planning regarding parental expectations, both in terms of behavior and values, can have significant consequences.

1.       Tom and Marla are stunned that their daughter Sandy has essentially taken control of their time together. Meal times especially have turned into a nightmare. To get through them, they are giving in to her in terms of food choices and actions. She has reduced the menu to two items, plus a sip cup full of water and then will demand a snack thirty minutes later.

2.       Liz and Dan cannot believe that they have to pick up Charlie even at the age of three, regardless of where they are or what the issue is. He totally ignores their requests, especially when they need to leave where they are. This is true no matter how many times or different ways they ask him to do so. They usually find themselves walking away with a screaming, kicking child.

3.       Ellen and Paul are shocked and sad that five year old Christopher has become a compulsive liar. Ellen especially considers herself a truth teller and has to admit she does not believe a word he says.

4.       Douglas cannot believe his three year old son Timothy is constantly crying for everything. I.e. a slight body contact, even when self inflicted, or any request that requires a “no” response, even from friends, not being first for an activity or given food he does not want.  This is a situation that before Douglas was a parent he was extremely critical of when he observed it with his friends’ children.

What do all these parents have in common?

Not one of them considered it necessary and actually essential that they discuss and agree on the behaviors and values they wanted for their children prior to the birth.

This timing is preferable so they prevent extreme emotions being part of the discussion. If a child is already a part of the family, try to approach the discussion as openly and unemotionally as possible so the decisions are appropriate and effective.

I am continually surprised at how often parents had no idea what their partner’s beliefs, experiences and life lessons were.

Most of my parents are from culturally different backgrounds which makes this discussion and agreement even more important!

Solutions and Guidelines

1.       Tom and Marla had to treat meal time as both family social time, and nutrition education time. Everyone must be seated together with no interruptions. Everyone needs to be eating the same food in a relaxed atmosphere. It is a huge advantage to serve one food group at a time. This helps your child get a well balanced meal and understand food group benefits. Also involve your child in food related conversation. Understand that they may not adapt to this change instantly. Believe me, it works! During this introductory period, they may not be completing the meal. Do not give them a snack because you think they may be hungry. They will make it up at the next meal, trust me. Do not become a snack family!

2.       Firstly your child must listen to you. Only speak what you really mean and follow up on it! If you have not been doing this, you must start now! Whichever parent speaks is in charge. If the other parent has a hard time being quiet, all they can say is “You have to listen to Mom or Dad” Do not elaborate. If a change of location or activity is involved, give them a five minute advanced warning and then a two minute warning. You can refer to your watch and teach them how to read it. This really helps. Your child will probably test you, do not change the message or the directive. Make sure they understand the rule before you go anywhere.

3.       Usually a child learns to lie by accident or by imitation. They tell a lie initially because they feel they will be in trouble if the parent knows the truth. Even though the parent suspects they are lying, they do not challenge them or investigate the statement. They need to make a strong commitment to their child that under no circumstances will they be disciplined if they tell the truth. There may be consequences if there is a reparation involved as well as potentially an apology, but that is all. Make it a teaching moment! This was not the situation in our study but there is a possibility they have witness their parents in a lie and bragging about the success of the lie. In this, the child imitate the parent’s behavior and the only solution is for the parent to admit their mistake and never repeat it.

4.       Timothy had continued to cry over everything because he was getting attention when he did so, which is what he really wanted. The only time he should cry is when he is seriously hurt, physically or verbally. The parent should identify that and provide the appropriate solution. If that is not the case, say immediately, “I will not talk to you until you stop crying” and do that. If you want your child to change a behavior, be clear on what you expect. Period!

Both parents have to be in agreement on acceptable behaviors and values or any one of their directive and solutions is unlikely to happen and become a reality.

Have ongoing discussions privately until you achieve success.

You are responsible to raise a socially skilled and educated child. That will only happen if both parents are committed to it!

Good luck! 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hope you had a great memorial weekend.

I am working on a project that I hope to share with you soon.

Talk to you next week.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Important Distinction Between When Your Child Has a Choice And When You Absolutely Must Be In Charge!

Somehow many parents have become unclear or confused about their role or intimidated and just plain afraid of their children.

We are experiencing more situations where parents are hesitant to be firm regarding their expectations and the children are taking control.

Some examples:
1.       Amelia and her mom arrive at daycare and Amelia requests that her mom stay and read a book to her. The initial response is “I can’t, I am already late for work.” Amelia begins to hit her parent with her fists and the follow up is, “Well just a short story because I don’t have time.” When the child chooses a long story, her mom comments on that fact, but instead of making a change, proceed to read the book.

2.       Pamela has taken charge of her wardrobe choice every day. Consequently, she has come to daycare in the same dress for a week. It is obvious that Pamela is completely in charge and when questioned, her mom shares that when she suggests an alternative, Pamela begins throwing her clothes around the room and refuses to get dressed.

3.       Marina has recently started to play in the schoolyard when she is picked up instead of going directly to the car. Every time the dad suggests leaving, she begins screaming. Finally, after a week of this interaction, the dad shares that she has been using this screaming tactic at home and they find themselves giving in to stop it.

These parents and many others have given control to their children and that decision has led to highly aggressive behavior on the part of the children.

It is disturbing to see how often parents are controlled and intimidated by their children. Once a parent gives up their responsibility to socialize and teach their child to understand and respect rules, it can quickly spiral out of control.

We recommend the following solutions:

1.       Amelia’s mom has to decide before leaving home what her needs are. If in fact she is late for work, then she states that before they leave the house. “We are not going to be able to read together when we arrive at daycare. I will need to leave quickly but we will have an extra big hug before I leave!”

2.       Pamela needs to place all the clothes she has worn on any given day into the hamper when she is preparing for bath time. She should never have the choice of wearing the same clothes twice. This includes undergarments and socks. Before bedtime reading, she and a parent can select two outfits for the next day, then she will be able to make the choice of one of them or she can mix them up.

3.       Once the dad has stated that they need to go straight home and not remain in the playground, then he has to keep his word without exception as that has probably not been the case. He may have to either take her by the hand in order to exit or, worst case scenario, pick her up if there is no other option.

As you can tell from these examples, none of these situations happened overnight. They are the result of a parent/child relationship turned upside down.

1.       Always remind your child exactly what you expect from them and what is going to happen.

2.       Your child is more interested in getting what they want than in following rules and regulations that will help them become responsible human beings. Both parents have to follow the same behavior standards and expectations 100% of the time. It only takes one error or misstep to open the door and to lose control.

3.       Respect yourself and your child when you are being undermined as a parent, the results can be negative and long term.

4.       Children do not want to be in control, no matter how much it appears that they do. It is very scary for them to not have a confident parents.

If you haven’t already scheduled as parents to review established behavior standards and guidelines, do it now!

If you need help seek it now!

Good luck! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Critical Importance Of The Mother/Child Bond!

Mother’s Day is always when I spend extra time reviewing and analyzing the status of that most important of relationships.

The last year has been one in which that bond was the focus of the children’s behavior, more so than usual.

A few of our moms have taken on significantly more responsibility in their professional lives. This has had a measurable effect on the time available for them to spend with their child.

It took us a while to also become aware that the change was not only a time issue, but also a quality one.

Some patterns developed:

1. The children were having a hard time leaving their mom when being dropped off at daycare. They would do thing such as: requesting additional hugs, hang on to them, requesting an early pickup, being read to before departure, standing at the sliding glass door and watching until they disappeared. These were all new behaviors.

2. These children also displayed anger issues such as screaming to get attention, breaking down their friend’s building structures or games, biting their nails or skin, and generally becoming somewhat hostile vs. the friendly children they had been.

3. When their circumstances became more intolerable, they began transferring some of their loss feelings to their teachers. This behavior has been a reoccurring approach, over the years, when a child wants something fixed at home and needs our help.

4. The most sad and disturbing situation I experience was a mom requesting that she spend Mother’s Day alone as her gift. The dad and children had to leave their home for the day. I can’t imagine what the children were thinking. Alarmingly, it was the first thing we were told the next day.
We have always shared with our parents that the quantity of time they spend with their children is important, but the quality is critical.

Especially when the quantity is reduced and limited, moms must not allow anything to interfere with their time together.

1. No phone
2. No computer
3. No friends
4. No distractions

Most children need the first 4 to 5 years to really create a lifelong bond with their mom. They are much clearer on their place in the world.

I am always applauding my moms when I see and know that the time they spend with their children is truly meaningful, setting an example and building their self esteem.

Our future is in your hands! Handle it with love and care!