Posts belonging to Category Sharing

Ms. Curly Top and the Wonderful Couch Adventure


Ms. Curly Top  (age 4), has two parents and three older siblings, ages 9, 7, and 6.

She is, as her parents tell me, ‘tearing the family apart’. Their otherwise strong marriage is beginning to show signs of strain. In our meeting at the house, the little one in question was quite busy jumping and shouting on the couch and yelling “OLAY”. Where she got that word, remains a mystery. She had been asked many times to stop jumping on the couch, but that led to more jumping and even louder OLAY’S !Her three siblings were playing downstairs. The parents and I were in the family room with Ms-I-Will-Yell-and-Jump-on-the-Couch-and-Shout-OLAY-if-I-Want-to.

After repeated requests to get down from the couch, we gave some time warnings, counting clues, and at “That’s 3, no yelling OLAY and jumping on the couch”, all three adults got up and left the room.  We said nothing else. We literally removed her audience. She was so startled, she didn’t move. Almost immediately, we all walked back to where she had plunked herself on the couch and  I said, in an upbeat way, “Are you all done jumping on the couch, and yelling OLAY so that we can all be together nicely?” She yelled, “OLAY!” and did a jump worthy of an Olympiad.

We just said, “That’s 3, no jumping and yelling Olay” and walked back into the kitchen.  Within seconds, we all returned and I asked again, in a pleasant tone, if she was all set to be with us nicely. She gave an almost imperceptible nod.  We clapped and gave high-fives and sat back down with her. This time, she decided to play quietly with Dad who was the closest body to her on the couch.  There was no jumping. There was no shouting, “OLAY!” She had decided to stop.

Soon, Ms. Curly Top wanted an Italian Ice.

Her parents were fine with that. The other three had come upstairs and wanted some, too. We decided to continue practicing the process of sharing a simple request and then the follow-through. Mom and Dad asked for everyone to wait for 5 minutes for the Italian Ices. They were asked not to say one word about them until the timer went off.  We set it. If someone decided to say the illegal words, their time would, sadly, need to start again. We made it clear that we would be happy when it was time for the delicious treat.

Little Ms.-Has-Her-Family-Wrapped-Around-Her-Finger had NO idea what five  minutes was, but she ran back and forth to the kitchen, gazing at the timer. This was a very good sign: She was accepting the limit.

Soon, the kids formed a team, with the older ones letting everyone know what the timer information was.

No one said a word about Italian Ice. The timer went off. Italian Ices were produced for all four children.  Hands were washed, they all sat in their seats, and enjoyed their sweet treats.

The point of all of this was that Ms. Curly Top’s parents had not demanded anything. They had been respectful and clear. They got her attention without threats or punishments of any kind. All four children did a grand job of deciding to wait. Mom and Dad had set a limit, stuck to it, minus adult theatrics which had previously been the norm.

Of course, her parents were delighted when Ms. Curly Top decided to cooperate with their very reasonable requests and stars were added to her star chart.

Before I left, Little Cutie, now calm and loving, cuddled with me and said very earnestly, “Jean, I’m going to see some pretty fireworks really soon. It’s gonna be so so so pretty.”  Enjoying each other replaced ignored requests to stop illegal jumping on the couch.

Later that night, I received an email from the family, with an attached photo. When Ms. Curly Top’s parents checked  in on her,  she was found fast asleep, hugging her star chart!



Source: Today’s guest post is by Jean Hamburg, LICSW, a previous contributor to this blog. Jean is the  Author of Cooperation Counts! Life-Saving Strategies for Parenting Toddlers to Teens,  an effective guidebook for parents, to defuse family conflicts and help children make responsible choices.

Jean’s experience includes clinical specialties in the areas of child abuse and neglect, family therapy, developing and implementing treatment plans for at risk adults and children, anger management, crisis intervention, and classroom management issues.

You can follow Jean on her website:

You can access her blog posts: either via the website and blog button or

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New Nutrition Standards for School Meals

The USDA Office of Communications published the following bulletin on new nutrition standards for school meals on Friday, January 20th.

WASHINGTON, January 20, 2012 – First Lady Michelle Obama will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at Parklawn Elementary School to speak with parents about the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches.

This is an important accomplishment of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that President Obama signed into law last year, USDA is making the first major changes in school meals in over 15 years, and doing so in a way that’s achievable for schools across the nation.

nutritionThe new nutrition standards make the same kinds of changes that many parents are already encouraging at home, including ensuring kids are offered fruits and vegetables every day of the week, substantially increasing offerings of whole grain-rich foods, offering only fat-free or low-fat milk varieties and making sure kids are getting proper portion sizes.

To Be Continued…New nutrition standards will be published here when made public.



Tips from Those in the Know

Bedtime Tips for Parents of Young Children

Bedtime can be a difficult time for parent and child.  The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips for handling the times when your child cries at bedtime:

  • Wait a few minutes before responding; if the crying continues, wait longer each time before you respond to the cries.
  • Offer reassurance that you’re there, but don’t play, linger or turn on a light if you do enter the room.
  • Each time you enter the room, stay a little farther from the bed; eventually, reassure your child without entering the room.
  • When your child calls for you, offer a gentle reminder that it’s time to go to sleep.

Tips for Handling Winter Dry Skin

Winter weather and heat in homes and offices can lead to dry skin, which can be itchy, uncomfortable and even painful if the skin begins to crack.

The Cleveland Clinic offers the following tips for caring for dry skin:

  • Make sure your shower or bath water is lukewarm; never too hot.
  • Take baths or showers of no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Apply a moisturizer as soon as you get out of the bath or shower.
  • Wash with a moisturizing cleanser.
  • During winter months, moisturize with a heavy cream or ointment. Use a lighter lotion during summer.

About Public Tantrums and Car Crimes

tantrumThe following guest post is by Jean Hamburg, LICSW  who has just published Cooperation Counts! Life-Saving Strategies for Parenting Toddlers to Teens, an effective guidebook for parents, to defuse family conflicts and help children make responsible choices.

Jean earned her B.S. degree from Springfield College in Springfield, MA and her MSW degree from the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work, specializing in Child Welfare Services. Her experience has included clinical specialties in the areas of child abuse and neglect, family therapy, developing and implementing treatment plans for at risk adults and children, anger management, crisis intervention, and classroom management issues

The Tantrum

The kids in Ms.Tucker’s class had been excited for weeks. Timmy was having a birthday party at a favorite children’s restaurant.  Everyone was invited and everyone was coming.  This was way cool, especially since Todd was going with his friend and her mother!  The big day finally came and so did all of the kids, including Todd and his friend, Alissa.

Everything went smoothly until Todd’s Mom came to pick him up at the end of the party. Although everything had been picture perfect for two hours, as often happens, the last minutes did not go as hoped.  It was all because of a gumball machine that had been placed in a strategic location so that anyone near the exit could spot it clearly, and that’s what Todd did.  Not only did he spot it but he wanted a gumball really badly, and NOW!

In the blink of an eye, everything had changed.  When the answer was negative re: the longed for treat, all heck broke loose…A Tantrum: Todd was not exactly showing his best self.  Actually, he started screaming about the gumball and the screaming turned into SCREAMING!!

Unfortunately, to add to the chaos,  Mom’s car was parked in a no parking zone and Todd’s little brother Bobby was in it.  Mom could see Bobby (she was just inside the front door), and she definitely HEARD Todd.  So could everyone else.  This was the dreaded ‘big scene in public’ situation that every parent longs to avoid, but there it was.  What a nightmare!

Mom grabbed little Bobby from the car, left the emergency lights blinking, and hoped that her car would avoid being towed or ticketed.  Everyone was looking at the screaming Todd, who let everyone within hearing range know that he wanted a gumball, and he wanted it NOW.

Mom kept her cool.  She had been under this sort of pressure before.  She knew, and Todd knew, that she was not going to have a discussion under any such (tantrum) circumstances. 

As a matter of fact, all she said to Todd was, “Are you all set?  Are you all set to get into the car?”  Of course, he was not!  All Mom said was, “I see you’re not all set.  I’ll be chatting with Alissa’s Mom,” and she proceded to do so, removing her attention-briefly.  Todd kept screaming.  Within just a few seconds, she returned to Todd and kept to her script of “Are you all set?”, etc.  Todd was most certainly not all set, but Mom was not going to converse with anyone in wailing mode. She was not ignoring.  She was consciously disengaging.

In the meantime, the other parents had all sorts of advice for poor Mom.  She thanked them but kept to her script.  She also asked one of the parents to get the manager of the store in front of which she was parked, to request permission to leave her car where it was.

Soon, the other kids and their parents all left.  Mom, holding Bobby, hung around, continuing to use only the same script.

There was no gumball. There was no audience.  There was no discussion.  Finally, Todd gave a little nod, and the threesome got into the car.  The only thing that Mom said was, “I’m so glad you’re all set to get into the car.  Would you like the radio on?”  That was it.  Period.  There would be plenty of time to figure out the ‘issue’ at another time, but right now it was time to re-group, and that’s what they did.

There are no easy ways to handle a tantrum in public, or anywhere else, for that matter. This is only one way, but at the very least, Mom was being respectful and clear with Todd, while being  able to hold onto some adult  dignity, and that’s always a good thing.  There was another good thing.  The car had not been towed or ticketed, even though it had been left in an illegal location for quite a long time.

tantrum“Cooperation Counts! Life-Saving Strategies for Parenting Toddlers to Teens” is based on years of personal and professional experience.  The Cooperation Counts program offers useful tools to busy families who are looking for positive ways to get through the inevitable tough parenting times, minus yelling, punishments, bribes, begging and threats. The program is designed to help adults provide a respectful, predictable framework for discipline and praise. The chaos that results when a child decides to be uncooperative is dealt with calmly and effectively so that family stress is greatly reduced.

For more information about the book, program, and blog, visit:

Jean can be contacted directly via email:


Childhood Obesity=Increased Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Women’s health dot gov, a project of the U.S. diabetesDepartment of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health published an extensive article, on Dec 30th on a study of childhood obesity and the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

What follows is a summary of the full article written by Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter.

A new study has found that the length of time a person carries excess weight directly contributes to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Given that many of today’s young children are carrying a significant amount of excess weight from an early age, their chances of developing diabetes at some time in their lives is greater.

Dr. John E. Anderson, Vice President of Medicine and Science for the American Diabetes Association, said that research findings are pointing to what is now happening in our society, with more young children and teenagers diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than ever before.

“A disease that used to be confined to older people is creeping into high schools,” Anderson said. “At best, this is alarming. This obesity epidemic we have is fueling an epidemic of diabetes in young people.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1980 obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled.  Today, almost one in five American kids ages 2 to 19 are obese. That is about 12.5 million kids.

Researchers have found that the time spent carrying extra weight matters as much as the amount of extra weight.

“If you’re born in the year 2000 and the current trends continue unchecked, you will have a one in three chance of developing type 2 diabetes,” Anderson said. That risk increases for certain ethnic minorities, including African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics.

Diabetes is a systemic disease, and by its nature can affect almost every part of a person’s body. Someone with diabetes has a shorter life expectancy, and on any given day has twice the risk for dying as a person of similar age without diabetes, according to the CDC.

“We worry this will be the first generation of Americans who don’t live as long as their parents did,” Anderson said.

“What can be done to alter the potentially grim outlook? To start losing weight, kids need to adopt a set of healthy living skills that become part of their daily routine,” said Sheri Colberg-Ochs, an exercise science professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., who works with the American Diabetes Association.

“It’s not just the weight, per se,” Colberg-Ochs said. “It’s the lifestyle they’ve developed that caused them to gain the extra weight.”

First, kids need to be taught to eat healthy foods and to avoid foods that are fatty, sugar-packed or heavily processed, she said.

“When food is a lot more refined, it’s lacking in a lot of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your effective metabolic function,” she said. “Kids eat empty calories, and those calories go straight to weight gain.

But they also need to become more physically active, she said. Exercise has been shown to both battle obesity and help better control blood glucose levels in the body.

“Those two things alone would probably solve the problem of childhood obesity, were society to pursue them vigorously,” Colberg-Ochs said.

(SOURCES: John E. Anderson, M.D., vice president, medicine and science, American Diabetes Association; Sheri Colberg-Ochs, Ph.D., professor, exercise science, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., and adjunct professor, internal medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Va.)



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