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News: Vicki Hoefle

It’s the weekend! Let’s celebrate with a little showcase of great news and reviews we’re seeing in response to Duct Tape Parenting and Vicki Hoefle.


First up is a book review by Simply Stacie. She’s doing a giveaway of the book – so go ahead, enter to win if you’d like! She says,

“I have three children ages 4, 5 and 7 and I have read a lot of parenting books over the years. Duct Tape Parenting is a refreshing change from many of the parenting advice books that I have read because it offers a “less is more approach to raising respectful, responsible & resilient kids”. Written by Vicki Hoefle who is the creator of the Parenting On Track™ Program, this parenting guide for children of all ages offers a wonderful alternative to “helicopter” parenting…” Read the review post, here.


Next in the lineup is a review by the hilarious and tell it like it is, Cindy Pierce.

She says,  “Vicki Hoefle’s book is out! I am thrilled to have her message in book form that fits in my purse. I can take it anywhere and soak up her parenting wisdom bombs. The anecdotes and solutions are a reminder of the triggers in our family that cause us to derail with regularity. Having the book is helping us get back on track more easily.l….Read the review, here. Oh, and check out her book Finding the Doorbell, here.

Featured Review (Amazon)

This review is by a very well respected author, expert and father. Gavin de Becker, Author of Protecting the Gift and The Gift of Fear had this to say (and we are very appreciative of his words!).

Gavin de Becker wrote: “Vicki Hoefle is an important teacher in my life. As a father of ten, my only complaint is that I didn’t have the book years ago. DUCT TAPE PARENTING teaches us to focus on building the best relationship with our children. Though that could seem obvious – it isn’t, as demonstrated by the fact that most parents focus on stopping or compelling specific behaviors. We would never approach any adult relationship (read: respectful relationship) that way, focusing on changing specific behaviors…” – Click here to read the review by Gavin de Becker.

Click here to read the other 80 + Amazon Reviews!


Ask Vicki on VT Mommies

Vicki has a Vermont parenting column! She’s answering YOUR questions at VTMommies. Please, swing by, check out the column, submit a question and “like” VTMommies on Facebook to stay up on the Vicki Hoefle Q & A.

WCAX – News bit about getting out the door in the morning.


Click HERE to watch!



Vicki Hoefle: Book Club!

vicki2When we heard that several of YOU were planning on reading Duct Tape Parenting in your local book groups, we thought, gee, that is awesome. Then we thought, gee, let’s connect with YOU folks.

Today, we are happy to announce that if you are reading Duct Tape Parenting with your book group, Vicki Hoefle would love to join you! She will personally participate in a scheduled call to connect, answer questions and be part of your conversation!

How This Works

Basically, you decide to read and discuss Duct Tape Parenting with your friends or in a book group. Then,  you contact to schedule your call with Vicki! She can do skype, video chat via skype or call-in conference call.

What You and Your Book Group Will Get From This

  • A real conversation with Vicki, to answer your group’s Q&As
  • Insight to key concepts your group is focusing on
  • A personal connection to Vicki and her philosophy
  • MAGNETS for the entire group (we’ll send up to 10 magnets to one group leader)

What We’d Appreciate from Your Group…Would You Be Willing To?

  • Give us feedback on your overall reading experience
  • Write a written review of the book on (one review per group member)
  • Send a list of areas you’d like more info (family meetings, training, etc).
  • Answer a general survey (so we can create a study guide based on REAL reader experience)

We promise it won’t be anything heavy (no 5 paragraph essays, we promise!) and we won’t sell or abuse your book group’s contact information. Our goal is to dive into your conversations and hear how real parents are connecting with the book, its strategies, thoughts and ideas. We are going to use this information to craft a great study guide for future book clubs like yours!

We’d love to have you, the first round of Duct Tape Parenting readers, help us map out what is next.

If you’re interested, please email jennifer Note: offer good until end of 2012, because we’ll be working on that study guide early 2013 :).

Articles: Spoiling Children

Take time for training.  – Vicki Hoefle

The topics of spoiled children, hovering moms, and excessive micromanagement were popular in this summer’s headlines. Duct Tape Parenting‘s timing couldn’t have been better!  Now that many of you have had some time to read, process and begin to implement strategies and thinking from the book, we thought we’d share articles and books by OTHER experts who make a case for training kids or who offer valuable thoughts, stats and info on success, spoiling, hovering and so forth.

While each author has individual opinions that may or may not be exactly in line with Duct Tape Parenting, there is one thread that ties them together: it’s not healthy for our children’s independence, resiliency, decision-making and so forth when mom and dad  DO EVERYTHING for the kids. [hr]

How Spoiled Are Our Children? No Simple Answer By Perri Klass, M.D.

“We’re clearly having another of those moments — and they do recur, across the generations — when parents worry that they’re not doing their job and that the next generation is consequently in grave danger. In cultural convulsions about how spoiled the children are, disapproving adults look back fondly on the rigors of their own childhoods.” Read the NYT post, here.

Raising Successful Children By Madeline Levine

“The happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing, or almost capable of doing; and their parents do not do things for them that satisfy their own needs rather than the needs of the child.” Read the NYT post, here.

Father’s Day Advice From Billionaires: How To Not Raise Spoiled Kids

Read the Forbes post, here

Stop Spoiling Your Kids By Dr Phil

“Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don’t always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as an adult if you’ve experienced it as a child.” – Dr Phil

Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost? By Elizabeth Kolbert

“With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world.” Read the New Yorker article, here.

Podcast Interview with Elizabeth Kolbert

Kolbert joins Michael Agger in a conversation about helicopter parents, getting your kids to clean their rooms, and the importance of ignoring your child.  Listen to the podcast, here.

Raising Unspoiled Kids By Michele Borba

 Let Them Stumble, and Learn to Get Back Up

“Part of our job as parents is to allow our children to experience life’s basic difficulties while they’re young. They practice sorting stuff out for themselves under our roof, while we can still comfort them, so that when the world spanks them, they’ve developed the internal stamina and resources to deal with it.”  Read the post, here.

We’re Teaching Our Kids to Be Dependent By Denise Schipani

“More kids may be learning Mandarin, but fewer know how to look an adult in the eye, write a thank-you note, empty the dishwasher, handle a snow shovel – or cope with disappointment and grow stronger after failure.” Read the post, here.

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb (2011)

“The good news, at least according to Donald Winnicott, the influential English pediatrician and child psychiatrist, was that you didn’t have to be a perfect mother to raise a well-adjusted kid. You just had to be, to use the term Winnicott coined, a “good-enough mother.” – Read the post, here.

Guilty Parents, Ungrateful Kids, Easy Solution By Ann Hulbert

“The hypocrisy of hyperparenting isn’t great for anyone’s development. It turns mothers and fathers into anxious taskmasters. Eager to push their kids but panicked about too much pressure, they heap on the praise and fend off discomfort.” Read the article, here.

(Book) Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later by Denise Schipani

“And mean moms prepare their kids for the world, not the world for their kids, raising children into adults who know how to make themselves happy.” – See the book, here.

 (Book) Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest By Sally Koslow

“Millions of American parents have sent their kids to college only to have them ricochet home with diplomas in one hand and DVR remotes in the other. Mom and Dad now sit down to dinner every night, wondering why their fully grown kids are joining them or, more likely, grunting good-bye as they head out for another night of who knows what.” Visit her site, here.

(Book) Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success By Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

“Teach Your Children Well acknowledges that every parent wants successful children. However, until we are clearer about our core values and the parenting choices that are most likely to lead to authentic, and not superficial, success, we will continue to raise exhausted, externally driven, impaired children who believe they are only as good as their last performance. Real success is always an inside job, argues Levine, and is measured not by today’s report card but by the people our children become fifteen or twenty years down the line.” Buy the book, here.

(Book) A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting By Hara Estroff Marano

…”Kids would play in the street until their mothers hailed them for supper, and unless a child was called into the principal’s office, parents and teachers met only at organized conferences. Nowadays, parents are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives—even going so far as using technology to monitor what their kids eat for lunch at school and accompanying their grown children on job interviews. What is going on?” Find  the book, here.

Podcast with Madeline Levine on how to ‘Teach Your Children Well’

Levine points out ways parents can nurture their children with other skills – a sense of self, being empathic and remembering to play – in addition to the intense grooming so valued for success in today’s cut-throat academic environment. Listen, here.

Opinion: Parents need to give kids space to grow By Madeline Levine

“We want to make certain that in uncertain times, our kids have a leg up. But here’s the irony: Our constant oversight, our over-parenting isn’t doing what we think it’s doing. Rather than giving our kids a leg up, it’s making them less resilient, less resourceful and less engaged with learning. In other words, over-parenting makes our kids less, not more, likely to succeed.” Read the article, here.

Founder Says Most Millennials Have No Idea What To Do Unless They’re Micromanaged

“Stepfan Jefferies, co-founder of uHAPS Media, says that Gen Y workers are “by far the hardest generation to manage” and calls it “Zombieland” when his workers aren’t “handed an exact list of to-dos and goals.” Read the article, here.


Podcast: Dawn Lyons

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dawn Lyons recently from Lines By Lyons. Among other things we talked about her program for teens called “Write Steps 4 Teens”.

Dawn shared her “aha” moment which came while she was presenting to a group of adults about teens and their often times “anguished” filled experience. A man in the audience stood up and asked her if she worked with teens – and of course her answer was “well, I do now”. Thus began her journey into create a unique program with teens that integrates her deep compassion for them, her own experience as a teen and her love of writing which she uses in her work.

This is a remarkable woman whose deep respect for teenagers is apparent in the way she talks about them and her work with them.

Enjoy this touching and honest conversation.

Listen to Podcast here.

Articles: Back to School


It’s been a few weeks for some, a mere days for others– either way, we’ve all hit “back to school” in full steam fashion. Some of you are veterans, others are rookie parents but together, we’re all just getting familiar with this year’s shuffling, packing,  locating, and out the door scurrying.

Some of us love it, some of us loathe it and for many of us, some days it’s a bit of both! (Especially when Monday mornings roll around). No matter where you are on the back-to-school spectrum, a little thinking, planning and practicing can go a long way in making the mornings smoother, the days happier, and the transitions simpler.

Here’s a dragnet of Parenting On Track (#PonT) posts that will keep your back to school mojo in motion!

Packing Lunches

I know what you guys do at home and the independence that you foster there shows up here in the classroom. The things you guys have them do in the mornings like making their own lunch gives them such self confidence. I’m not sure what you see at home but it’s so strong here. I can clearly see the connection between the independence you give them and the confidence here at school.

-Note from a Real Teacher

Why She Can Pack Her own Darn Lunch

There’s something more delicious than a PBJ or bagel with cream cheese in your child’s lunch—something sweeter than a fresh baked cookie or chocolate milk. It’s CONFIDENCE.Read the post here.

Five Tips to Make Lunch Packing Easier for Your Kiddo

As we said before, packing a lunch is a very useful and “real life” habit that will help your child develop responsibility, time management and confidence. It’s also a nice way to send the message that you trust your child with decisions that affect her life. Here are 5 ways to help you make this process smooth and simple so that you can walk out of the kitchen and trust they can handle it.Read the post, here. [hr]

Schedules, Routines and Staying Happy

Finding the Balance

This list was compiled by my friend, and fellow Parenting On Track parent S.G. in response to a parent who was struggling with how to make the morning and evenings run smoother with her young kids since having recently returned to the workforce. After I read it, I realized that this list will work for ANY parent or EVERY parent who has 1 child or 5 children and is trying to juggle family, work, & life. Of course I HAD to add my own 2 cent worth in red. Enjoy.Read it here.

Routines Happen By Design

Revamping your family’s routines can be a strategic challenge – a chess game of cause and effect. Ultimately, you must observe your kids and then “design” a household environment that will lead to effortless routines. You’re probably thinking, please, that’s gonna be hard. But actually, it’s kind of fun because once you’ve figured it out, it’s almost as if by magic, your kid begins to sail through the day. Read the post here.

Happier Parenting

10 Tips for Happier Parenting can be foundHERE.

Thinking Kids

When my child was in the 2nd grade, and her teacher asked me why I didn’t sign her “homework” notebook, I told her it was because I was raising a “thinking” child. It’s the same reason I didn’t…. READ THE REST HERE.

I Believe in You

Let me tell you something about YOU.

YOU can do anything you want. YOU are in control.

YOU can achieve as much success as you want to.

YOU can and will pick yourself up when life knocks you down.

I BELIEVE IN YOU. Read the post here

Praise vs. Encouragement

Training without a Sticker Chart

As school starts, so do the charts and goodies! “The illusive, yet necessary training of young children remains a lively and interesting conversation by parents everywhere. Certainly, those of us familiar with the Vicki’s Tools for Success program, and the idea that self-esteem is developed by contributing in meaningful ways to the family (and by extension the communities we are a part of) are ahead of the game.”Read the post on Training here.

Watch Out for “Good Job” Overload

Real Families

You Can Make Them Go But…

“Flockmother purchased my home program in April of 2009 and decided to chronicle her journey, for the benefit of others. If you read her first blog post the first day of her DNSN week, you will see that the girls in fact did not go to school. That, my friends, is just where this journey begins. Once again, Flockmother inspires us.” Read the PonT post here or go DIRECTLY to the post.


News: Vicki Hoefle

vicki-headshotWhat Has Vicki Hoefle Been Up To? (Hint: A Lot!)

The past few  months have been busy! Duct Tape Parenting launched, reviews began steadily coming in, our cool-as-beans fans showed up online to share our links, sites and images. Vicki’s family visited Vermont, the team traveled to Utah and California and in between all the energy-filled adventures, Vicki made appearances, conducted interviews, submitted guest posts an gave solid advice around the web. So, for your weekend delight, we’ve compiled all the recent press and news into ONE post.

Sit back, put your feet up (pour a big glass of wine if you’d like- afterall, it’s Friday- right?) and browse! Oh, and feel free to share, like, comment and tweet to your heart’s content. (BTW, all the links can be found on our handy dandy Vicki Press Pinterest Page)

Free Range Kids

5 Simple Ways to Let Go and Raise a Resilient Child, by Vicki Hoefle

Hey there Free-Rangers! I want to give a quick kudos to you for encouraging your children to take reasonable risks. It takes courage to foster independence in a world that prefers to hover and hyper-protect. By stepping out of the way and trusting them, you are enabling resiliency, confidence, courage and independence in your kids. Thank you and keep up the radical faith, folks! Read the Entire Guest Post Here (Notice all the comments- sweet! Feel free to chime in).

ScoutMob (San Francisco)

How to Have Kids and Continue to Be Awesome in SF

It’s not easy having kids, especially in a city as youthful as SF (that’s a nice way of mentioning Peter Pan syndrome). But just because you’ve got little ones in tow doesn’t mean your favorite city spots are off limits to you. It’s just a matter of taking a little Urban Parenting 101. Read the Entire Article Here

Chicago Tribune

Scaling back, gaining more. A parent’s thrifty ways can produce a bounty of benefits for the kids. by By Heidi Stevens, Tribune Newspapers

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s what parents are spending less on these days:

Back-to-school stuff: About 65 percent planned to spend the same or less than last year on supplies, etc., according to America’s Research Group, a retail industry analyst.

Baby gear: The “play and discover” market — toys and goods for children younger than 1 has dropped by a third since the recession hit in 2008, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research firm.

Read the Entire Article Here

Radical Parenting

Happy Parenting doesn’t happen by magic. It takes practice. by Vanessa Van Petten 

Taking a less is more approach to raising five kids helped us all enjoy the transition from childhood to tweenhood to young adulthood (ages 18 – 23 living on their own or at college).

I came up with some simple rules that guided us on our journey and supported each of them as unique individuals discovering their place in the world.  These rules also translated well to the tens of thousands of parents who I have worked with over the past twenty years as a parent expert and coach. Read the Entire Guest Post Here


Christian Science Monitor

Parenting advice: Author Vicki Hoefle says to stop micromanaging By Stephanie Hanes

Whether it’s Tiger Mom, Bringing up Bebe, or Dr. Sears (not to mention the slippery slope of mommy/daddy web forums), American parents are awash in advice, criticisms, and suggestions for how to raise their kids.

But given the conflicting messages that these parenting theories entail, we wouldn’t blame you for throwing up your hands, chucking the self-help books out the window, and burying your head under the pillow while the toddler runs wild.

Still, we’ve found that, a lot of times, the experts have some really good ideas. And seriously, who doesn’t need a little bit of parenting help now and then. In the spirit of public service, then, we at Modern Parenthood thought we’d start a new, semi-regular feature on parenting books and theories, with tips and ideas straight from the parenting gurus.  Read the Entire Article Here



Michelle in the Middle

In this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, founder of Parenting On Track™, we talk with Michelle Icard creator of middle school programs that support kids as they navigate the ever changing social landscape of middle school. In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Listen to the Podcast Here


 WCAX News

Raising kids can be one of the best, most challenging, most fun things to do.  There are new developments everyday as your child changes.  But one parenting expert says what should not change is your parenting style.


Vicki Hoefle is a mother of five.  She just wrote a book called “Duct Tape Parenting: A less is more approach to raising respectful, responsible and resilient kids.”  She spoke with Kristin Carlson.

Watch the Interview Here



Rutland Herald

Duct tape parenting? Vt. author offers family fix for sticky situations

Author: By Kevin O’Connor

Can’t tame your wild child with stares, scolding or strict discipline? East Middlebury educator Vicki Hoefle has written a new parenting book with a more bracing suggestion: Duct tape. Yes, you read right. A sticky strap across the mouth, hands, arms, feet – whatever the problem area. “What you need to know is that the duct tape will be for you, mom and dad,” Hoefle’s book clarifies. “You can actually tape yourself, but… Read / Purchase the Article Here



Podcast: Fresh Thinking on Tweens

The following is a guest post by Michelle Icard, founder of Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene and similarly, a Hero’s Pursuit for boys.

embarrassed.teenThere are a lot reasons we, as parents, have to fret about the scary, obnoxious, or heart-breaking qualities of middle schoolers these days. Kids often DO become increasingly defiant, attracted to risk, and hyper-emotional through the middle school years.  But there’s good reason for that behavior and if you can see past the rebellion to the reason why, a lot of good will shine through in the middle school years.  There’s gold in them there hills! Let me show you where to look.

Says who? I’m Michelle Icard, founder of the social leadership curriculum Athena’s Path & Hero’s Pursuit.

My programs have been taught in 30 schools across the country to teach tweens how to navigate the tricky new social world of middle school. My website, is a resource for parents during this time of transition.  In my 9 years working with middle schoolers I have been humbled, inspired, and awed by the social and emotional capabilities of kids this age.  As the parent of a middle schooler myself, I know first-hand how important it is to reset our perceptions about middle school to help our kids reach their potential as independent thinkers, creative problem solvers, and empathetic friends.Are you telling me it’s good for my child to rebel in middle school? Yes.

Quick poll: How many of you would like your child to live in their own house someday? Everyone? Perfect. That’s the idea, isn’t it?  The fact is that you have built a cozy beginning for your child, but you are not your child’s future. Their future will be made in a world run by their peers. Figuring out how that social world will work and where they will fit in it is the key to their success.  It will be hard for your child to learn where they fit outside of your world. It will take some trial and  error, many mistakes, and a dash of rebellion to figure it all out.

I’m not suggesting you applaud when you catch your kid smoking behind the middle school! However, how you react to your child’s missteps will set them up for more success or more failure.

OK, how should I respond?

Here are some things you can do to help your child make the most of their middle school years:

  1. When your child makes a mistake – whether a bold act of rebellion or an awkward stumble onto the wrong path – express empathy first. “That must have been hard or painful or embarrassing” always comes before “You screwed up now how are you going to fix it?”
  2.  Be unemotional in your discipline.  You may cry into your own pillow at night but if you cloud your discipline with tears, anger, or despair, your child will likely misinterpret you. It’s a good idea to be firm, direct, and without emotion when talking about consequences. If you need to buy some time to achieve this say something like, “I need some time to figure out how to respond. I’ll talk to you about this tonight after dinner.”
  3. Help your child take risks. Create an atmosphere where your child is allowed to do things that feel thrilling, daring, scary, and unknown. Take them to an audition, help them start a business, go bungee jumping.  When you fill that need for risk with a positive source there is less chance your child will try to fill it through unhealthy activities.

Want to learn more? Visit me at Also, I love Facebook (too much).  You can hang out with me there at

To hear a live conversation with Michelle, please click to listen to the Podcast, below:

Podcast: Interview with Michelle Icard

More About Michelle

In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Shortly after, she added Hero’s Pursuit for boys, and in 2011 launched her website for parents of middle schoolers:

Athena’s Path & Hero’s Pursuit have been implemented in 30 schools, in five states, and have impacted over 7,000 students. Over 250 teachers have been trained to implement the programs in schools. Michelle regularly speaks at schools and parenting events around the country.  She has also written curriculum for other national programs for adolescents, including Girlology and Girls Rock the House. Michelle lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, 12 year-old daughter, and 10 year-old son.

Family Case Studies

If you’ve ever wanted to listen in as families share their personal stories on what it was like to shift their parenting from one style to my less is more approach to parenting, now you can.

As part of the new site, we’ve included a section called “Case Studies” showcasing stories from Parenting On Track families highlighting the ups and down, trials and tribulations, successes and changes they experienced.

Enjoy these stories and consider sharing yours with me. Those unfamiliar with the power of this approach to parenting will find it easier to make the shift and join our family.

Visit today! Check back, there will be a few more to come!

Articles: Letting Go, Saying Yes

Quick Fixes

Quick Fixes, no matter how big (shaming on a street corner) or small (bribing kids to behave with tic tacs in the car) are not sustainable strategies that teach any child the intended lesson. They may get you through a momentary inconvenience, silence the child, or prove that you are in control at the moment, but it delays solving the real issue which will keep popping up again and again.

Training a child systematically and then allowing for plenty of practice is the only way to teach a child a new skill or habit. That’s why Vicki Hoefle commented on the NYT Post Motherlode Article Parenting Quandary: Siblings, Squabbling in the Car

After commenting, Vicki then got a mention IN the followup New York Times Article, Should You Bribe Children to Behave in the Car? Vicki’s advice was simple. No. It’s a quick fix. Read her quote below:

The parenting coach Vicki Hoefle posted that the trouble with offering a reward is that the demands will escalate: “Tic Tacs are a quick fix –  they’ll eventually try to upgrade to slurpees and icees etc.” Her suggestion, and many, many of you agreed, was simple and candy-free: pull the car over when the squabbling begins.

Many parents might stop there and say, I don’t have time to train them. It’s too much. However, if parents practice letting go of the things that don’t matter, time opens up to train them in areas that have the biggest impact in maintaining family harmony (and respect)!

Letting Go, Saying YES

Once we start to consciously let go of what doesn’t matter, say yes more often and learn to trust that our children have what it takes to learn from and handle what life throws their way, a parent can expect a very pleasant and rewarding experience.

Say Yes

Read this bit from on the Power of Moms: Say Yes / @powerofmoms

Light LOL Note: She’s NOT a Helicopter Parent

Ali Wentworth, host of the Daily Shot lightens up about how she in NOT a helicopter parent. Best line – something about a box of lighters – it’s funny! Watch the clip here. /  @AliEWentworth

Seeking an Overparenting Intervention?

Check out Dr. Wendy Mogel’s OVERPARENTING ANONYMOUS: A 13-step program for those who feel powerless over overindulgence, overprotection, overscheduling and expectations of perfection. /@wendymogel

Tips on Cooperation: Yes as Soon As…

Read Vicki Hoefle’s post: End Temper Tantrums, In 4 Words or Less!

Remember This?

It’s a flashback but it’s a good one, featuring Lenore Skenazy, you know “America’s Worst Mom” (and endorser of Duct Tape Parenting!) who let her son ride a subway. Her Blog, Free Range Kids and her Book Free-Range Kids, Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry bring some much welcomed perspective to the clamp down culture of over parenting. / @FreeRangeKids

Read the flashback to 2009 article, HERE. Quote from the article, below:

Less is more; hovering is dangerous; failure is fruitful. You really want your children to succeed? Learn when to leave them alone. When you lighten up, they’ll fly higher. We’re often the ones who hold them down. –  (TIME Article by Nancy Gibbs)

Feel Like Sitting Back and Listening?

Have a listen to Ben Boychuk and Lenore Skenazy chat letting go, taking kids to the park (and leaving them there) and “Alcatraz Parenting”– the unnecessary BIG BROTHER trend of parents monitoring every move with technology (eek!).


Looking for a one-liner to keep your mouth zipped or your brain focused on letting go for the good of the relationship? Swing by our handy dandy shop.



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Leave us a note or tell us how you’re letting go in the reply below!

[Post by Jamaica Jenkins, aka JJ.]

News: Welcome JJ

Today, we are shifting gears- in a good way! Parenting On Track™ is growing. We have been attending conferences, giving workshops, traveling to cities, sharing material with NEW audiences – it couldn’t be moving along better.  Jennifer Nault is still rock steady behind the scenes, scheduling, planning and coordinating interviews and podcasts, events and appearances. She’s got all the #PonT ducks in a row as we’re getting ready to launch Duct Tape Parenting: A Less is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible and Resilient Kids (August 21st).

The point? We are BUSY! And, because we have so much to do and so many bases to cover, we’ve happily added another mom to the mix to keep the content, blogging and media up to speed: Jamaica Jenkins. Jamaica has written for Parenting On Track™ off and on for about 3 years now (as a freelance copywriter) and she’s in the thick of it- she has three boys, she lives in the burbs and she’s making progress (and of course, falling back and moving forward and trying again with her own 3 boys). Bottom line: she gets it and she’s a “go to” person in the social world for Parenting On Track™.

Jamaica has already taken over much of the social media –> you can follow us on twitter and be sure to like us on facebook. We’ve added the Pinterest board (she makes the pins and curates good ideas via other people’s pins). She’ll be a regular writer for the  blog, contributing “from the trenches” and with the big picture in mind. Again, she’s in the thick of it and she’ll bring practical ideas, humor and fresh perspective on the material I’ve been teaching for 20 years now.

If you have any Parenting On Track™ moments or images to share, please, email her at: She will make a post, a pin and/or an image to share with the world. If you want to be anonymous, she can just publish quotes, anecdotes and stories without giving away the kiddo. We invite you to share your stories- good, bad and ugly, because in the end, we’re all in this together, raising the next generation of leaders, thinkers and doers.


About Jamaica Jenkins

Jamaica recently moved from Vermont (where she originally attended one of Vicki’s workshops at Orchard Elementary) to the sunny suburban neighborhood of Littleton, CO with her husband and three rowdy, jump launching boys. She has an English degree from the University of Denver, 7-12 Language Arts Certification, a MA in Education (Ed Psych) and some training in toddler Montessori. She has recently become more familiar with Adlerian Psychology and enjoys writing and sharing  “real life” parenting tips, entertainment bits and smart, do-able ideas. She was once known as “Dustbunny” on a now retired site, and you may have seen her Butthead to Well-Behaved Blog a few years back!

  • Follow her random tweets on twitter @jamaicaj
  • Follow her on Pinterest!
  • Connect with Jamaica and let her know what you’re thinking, if you have a funny quote from your kid or if you have a Parenting on Track™ memory to share. jamaica@parentingontrack


Say Hello to Jamaica – Leave a Note in the Comments Below!

Articles: Teens, Trust and Respect

parenting styleThis week we have a few great links to share about shifting your thinking and setting yourself free from limiting beliefs. Here they are…

Think teens won’t talk? Think they shouldn’t be trusted?

Check out this clip by Katie Couric on  Katie’s Take. She shares a conversation with teens that shows us what teens want to hear from their parents, what parents don’t need to worry about and one thing they really want: TRUST.

Expert and psychologist, Wendy Mogel, mentions they also benefit from plenty of space to make mistakes. She says:

“The snapshot of your teenager at any given moment is not the epic movie of his or her life.”

For more on raising teens check out – a website created by teens for their parents.

Question: Do You want to Raise an Obedient Child?

(Hint: No!) This post by @DrLauraMarkham will make you think about what you believe about kids who…lie, defy, talk back, and so on. Obedience for obedience sake isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In a society where bullying is such a big issue, kids who can stand up for their vision of who they are on the planet is a welcomed and well-timed skill. Let’s all think before we demand compliance over the big picture.

“Children who have been responded to, led to believe – in a healthy way – that their voice is valued, that all they have to do is object and action will be taken – they will push boundaries. And this is really healthy behaviour. Compliance? They’ve learned there’s no point arguing because their voice isn’t valued.”– Alison Roy

Talking Back: Why A Teen Who Talks Back May Have A Bright Future

Talking back = bad kid? Not at all. NPR’s take, HERE.

Takeaway: Effective arguing acted as something of an inoculation against negative peer pressure. Kids who felt confident to express themselves to their parents also felt confident being honest with their friends.

Again. This is training for saying no in the real world! [hr]

Bullying: Governor Shumlin weighs in. The message? “We have a role at home to make changes”

…and we agree! WE ALL HAVE TO STEP UP.

For the vast majority of those experiencing bullying, it will get better — but we all have a role to play in ensuring that they never go through this experience in the first place. – Read on Huffpost!

Follow Gov. Peter Shumlin on Twitter: [hr]

Humiliation Parenting– Wrapping it Up

We know bullying is a big buzz issue and we just want to mention that we are not going through this for hot topics’ sake. There are so many connections to the choices we make at home and what we’re seeing all around us. Just keep going- empowering your children to make decisions, encouraging them to screw up and try again and guiding them to discover who they are– not what the world wants. Also, don’t forget that these pressures to “be like this” or “act like that” don’t stop as we move through our parenting journey! Remember you’re parenting the best you can for your child and nobody else should sway your thinking. We’re here to give you good information so you can continue to grow, learn and do your job!

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Watch Vicki on WCAX wrapping up some thoughts on Humiliation Parenting!



Articles: End Humiliation Parenting


Duct Tape Parenting Dragnet to End the Shaming of Children as Punishment

Here’s a handful of resources / sites / blogs etc. that will get us all thinking about the big picture when it comes to “Humiliation Parenting.”While the trend is as old as time (think the stocks, dunce cap, etc), we’ve seen a recurrence of this old fashioned, out-dated form of psychological oppression.Let’s just take a few minutes to stop thinking about the child’s temporary“misbehavior” and focus on the child’s long term “experience” via shaming in front of peers and loved ones as well as the relationship between parent and child. 

GOOD SITES for Enlightened Thinking 
Greater Good
Tiny Buddha
Echo Parenting / Education Center

Blog Posts / Sites Looking at the Relationship Thought provoking post about the parent-child relationship by Parent Coach, Susan Stiffelman, is a licensed marriage and family therapist and credentialed teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in developmental psychology and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Her book, Parenting Without Power Struggles, via Huffpost: Getting Your Kid to Say OKAlfred Adler Influenced Information

VIA AlfredAdler.Org:

The Impact of Family Atmospheres on Children

Adlerian Child Guidance Principles

Adlerian Theory Offers Help for Parents on Teen Discipline

Research / Info to END THE TREND

Here’s a good link via cyberbullying research center:

Eight Destructive Discipline Techniques

Public Shaming as Emotional Abuse


“The quality of relations between generations, particularly towards the young, shows where a society stands. How we treat our children decides in which world we will live tomorrow. Preventing children’s humiliation is paramount for a decent society (Avishai Margalit, 1996, The Decent Society, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).”

PBS-Is your child resilient?

“As a child’s wise partner and guide, you have the incredibly important role to give them a “big picture” perspective, support them in ways that work for them in particular and realize that resilience, like confidence and inner strength, is merely a skill they need to learn to master.”

“Physical and humiliating punishment is a form of violence against children and a violation of their right to physical integrity and dignity.” “Overall, physical and humiliating punishment increases the use of violence in society and legitimizes it in the eyes of succeeding generations. It promotes a double standard: there are two categories of citizens – children and adults. It is viewed as acceptable to hit children, the smallest and most vulnerable members of society, but not adults.”Download the Save the Children Educational Manual.


Shaming Children? Shame on Us!


Without even getting into the effects (that’s for the NEXT post) and issues about the popularity of public shaming, I’m writing this post as an overview FYI for you, the Parenting On Track parents who are probably looking around, looking at each other, scratching your heads and wondering, WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON??

Is public humiliation of children happening as much as I think it is? The answer is YES.

What is public shaming?

According to Wiki, “Public humiliation was often used by local communities to punish minor and petty criminals before the age of large, modern prisons” … and “involved a variety of methods, most often placing a criminal in the center of town and having the local populace enact a form of “mob justice” on the individual.

Popular (antiquated) methods included: tarring and feathering, stocks, “chair of shame”, dunce cap, hazing, donkey ears, and so forth. (The Scarlett Letter ring a bell?). I noticed it’s lumped up with torture in some examples as the “flute of shame is on display at the torture museum…enough said). So, bottom line via the wiki page: ”humiliation can (still) be a psychologically “painful” aspect of punishment because of the presence of witnessing peers (such as fellow prisoners), relatives, staff or other onlookers, or simply because the tormentor witnesses how self-control is broken down. This is also true for punishments in class.”

What does it look like in US today?

Well, it’s on the rise folks- you probably heard of the dad who shot the laptop or the “Ohio Mom” who posted an X on her daughter’s face and shamed her on facebook. You may have heard several incidents where a mom or dad forced their children to wear a sign stating their “crimes” or more shockingly about the couple arrested for making their teen daughter wear a diaper as punishment. Even more tragic, you probably heard that a child recently died after being punished and forced to run outside for three hours – all over petty, child or teen incidents.

If this is news to you (or perhaps this was overshadowed by recent arguments of which mother is the best mother (yes, commentary on that subject en queue) here are some links ripped straight from the headlines:

You GET the Point!

Who thinks it’s a good idea?

Here’s where it seems shocking based on the trend and then we see numbers like this supporting public humiliation by parents as a punishment or discipline tactic. When the Today Show posted the “Ohio Mother” story link on their wall, the responses were overwhelmingly in support of the mother (and freakishly felt in favor of bullying and showing who’s boss- not questioning the situation, the context anything circumstantial- not that that’s even necessary). 

After the Ohio Mom’s creative punishment, “more than 7,000 readers responded to poll about the Ohio mom’s method of punishment — and 77 percent of them supported her.” 
Comments came in saying things like,

      “More parents like this one needed now!!!!
      Good job Mom, love the creativity!!!”
      “I am the mother of a twelve-year-old girl, and I think this was PERFECT.
And I don’t see it as “humiliating.”
      “No different than a kid being
called out in class by a teacher for misbehaving.”
      “I love it! My kids are little yet but I’ll tell you it’s now n (sic) my list of
punishments! Lol! The girl will live, if she’s embarrassed too bad”
    (People are really jazzed up about this “creative discipline.” Read the thread and view the overwhelming support for her actions


Why People think it’s OK:

People feel the kids are too out of control and that any way to GET THEM TO behave is acceptable. The praise for this new trend seems to applaud parents for taking back the power– however, very little is being said about the effects and the real reason kids are “misbehaving” (hint: the parents are almost 100% part of the problem to begin with if they’re getting angry at their children for their own lack of training OR for expecting them to NOT make mistakes, challenge authority or make their own decisions). Their response is sending a message, but I’m going to put a stake in the ground and say it’s the WRONG message.

The purpose of this is NOT to focus on the parents who have chosen public humiliation because in their minds, it was reasonable to shock and awe. PLUS honestly, it would only perpetuate the “public shaming” of another person. So, bottom line, the mothers and fathers are not the focus — the children and how we can change this thinking is and will be the focus. I’m not about to scold a parent but I am about to crack open the thinking behind this horrible, disgraceful trend in parenting.


Articles: Simplify for Summer

There’s all kinds of chatter out there as moms and dads get ready for the reality that summer is just around the corner! Going into summer with the right mindset can make all the difference between starting off smoothly or feeling a bit overwhelmed out of the gate. One big idea we think is great: “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Also, we really feel it’s okay to take the pressure off- if you can’t afford a vacation, there are plenty of local and “staycation” ideas out there. Start thinking creatively about how you can use your resources (friends, connections, local hot spots) to make it a memorable, affordable and manageable summer.

Here’s a few ideas to get you thinking:

    Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
    This is a very important place to start your thinking, especially as summer vacation arrives. You can give yourself permission RIGHT now to let go of all the power struggles that don’t benefit you or your children. Begin to let go of the habits like feeling bad if the kids miss a camp or an activity. You can get excited to just relax a little and enjoy the family! Find out more via @todaymoms @KristineCarlson @DontSweatMoms or visit these links below.

    These Moms Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

    Author Kristine Carlson talks about the latest book in her “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” franchise, which is all about mom. Or watch this video trailer.

    Staycation / Nearcation
    There’s a lot to do right in your own backyard! These links will get you thinking about what you can do nearby and keep it simple but fun.

    Ideas for Camping


    Budget a Stay At Home Vacation

    Packing Light for Any Getaway (A Week or weekend away with kids = STUFF!)

    Get out and GO!
    Leave your child at the park day! Go Freerange kids, thanks for the link. I encourage you to try to promote independence and practice making a safe plan, giving your children ample opportunity to prove they can do this and then, once they can, let the kids play! Check it out. @brochman

    The National Gardening Association says that the act of gardening benefits kids’ health, well-being, and attitude towards learning. This stress reducing activity also builds self-esteem and creativity while fostering bonds with nature and family. Good blog post via Stress Free Kids (Cool factoids in there as well!) @StressFreeKids

    Nature Deficite Disorder – “clever” but makes you think!

    Parenting / BIG Buzz
    Shameful “Creative Parenting” Trend = Public Shaming and Cyber Humiliation
    Parents are turning to public shaming and humiliation and “cyberdiscipline” as a form of punishment and “creative discipline” for their children. Although parents may feel they are at a loss of options, it is NOT a healthy form of parenting because it degrades the child’s integrity, dignity and self worth. It jeopardizes the relationship. It makes the child’s mistake the definition of her identity (vs. just something she did) and it influences a child’s confidence to take risks in the future. There is no natural consequence (it’s fabricated by the parent) and most importantly, it feeds the beast that we call bullying. The biggest issue is not that these parents don’t love their children- the issue is that we, as a society accept it as a reasonable trend–and see very little connection to the bigger issues we’re tackling together (ie bullying, cyber bullying, victim submission, etc). The evidence is in the comments — there is overwhelming support for parental “creativity” in their SHAMING tactics. It’s essentially the scarlet letter or the public stocks and I URGE you to rally a stance against this trend! More on this topic VERY SOON and actionable steps on how we can help change the public’s thinking behind this degrading trend.


      Madeline Kunin, Vermont’s first female Governor has a NEW book out, THE NEW FEMINIST AGENDA Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family By Madeleine M. Kunin, 288 pp. Chelsea Green Publishing. $26.95.
      From the NYT OPED: “Kunin, a former Clinton administration ambassador to Switzerland who served as the first woman governor of Vermont, exhaustively catalogs where we are in terms of work-family balance (deeply out of whack) and where we need to go if we want to make the idea of merging motherhood with all the other necessary aspects of a woman’s life a reality.” Read the full New York Times review here Or pick up a copy here.

    Just for Fun!
    Don’t take all this parenting so seriously! Here’s a few article to make you smile!

    Quotes to Inspire

      FANTASTIC quote by @KathieLGifford’s dad- “I love you too much to deny you the privilege of making mistakes.

      Pins for your HAPPY PARENTING PLACE

Articles: Good Parenting Posts

Kids and Money:

Okay, I love, love, love this story. 14 Year old Girl, Saves Money and Buys a House. Anyone who knows me, knows that I believe in giving kids money as soon as they are old enough to keep it out of their mouths and that in doing so, we help this next generation of adults develop a healthier relationship with money. If you have any doubts as to the industrious nature of children or their ability to think ahead, to save, and to plan, enjoy this article and rethink your own beliefs around finances and your kids.

And here is another, The Best Think I have Done for My Son, which explains, in no uncertain terms, why it’s a good thing to give your kids money, in this case, a debit card, and then turn them lose and see what they can do.

Kids and Freedom:
I liked this article, Child’s Play Isn’t Really for it’s timeliness (summer is upon us) and for the point of view shared by an older, wiser individuals who can draw on their own experience as a point of reference. Written by a retired psychologist and with the wisdom of having been raised with a more hands off approach (hmmmm) I think the writer asks a powerful question at the end of this post that encourages the reader to think about the issue and it’s many ramifications.

    “ Let’s imagine — I don’t think it’s a wild notion — that child’s play is an apprenticeship for what adulthood will require. My generation, for good or ill, is now pretty much on the far side of that process. How will today’s kids fare … and with what rough beast of a future now slouching to be born?” David E. Faris ( of Aurora is a retired psychologist.

Work Is Worth!

Lenore from Free Range Kids has a great little post highlighting the recently released book ”Mean moms Rule – Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later.”

Not much we don’t already know about the value of work, but for those parents who still struggle to accept that inviting our kids to participate more fully in the daily activities that keep families, communities and the world at large moving, here is a bit more encouragement. I’ll be purchasing this book for my parenting library.

Trending Topics:

Sibling Rivalry – Although this article Parental Quandry: Do Siblings Need to Fight Physically? doesn’t provide any answers to sibling rivalry, it does indicate the concern parents have as they witness their children hitting, slapping and throwing punches at each other. This article serves to remind us all that any parent with more than two kids struggles with this issue. I sometimes think that parents truly believe that there is a family out there with multiple kids who have never resorted to “thwacking” each other when they reach the boiling point with their sibling. The truth is, it happens to almost every family, and although there are many proposed solutions to the sibling rivalry issue, there are a few that go a long way in both eliminating the physical and verbal fighting and repairing and strengthening the relationship between siblings. Among them of course, are regular and sincere appreciations given at both the Family Meeting and through out the day. As I like to say “It’s hard to be mean to people who keep saying nice things about you.”

Book: Dare, Dream, Do

As a woman who followed her dream nearly 25 years ago, I know first-hand that the experience can be both a terrifying and exhilarating process all at the same time. I call it living in the “This AND That” of life.

I loved reading Whitney Johnson’s book Dare, Dream, Do, Remarkable Things Happen when You Dare to Dream, not only because it reminded me of my own journey, but is was also a wake-up call for me to continue dreaming. As a result, I took the first step and named a dream that has been percolating in my head for nearly a year now. I had forgotten the power of dreaming and daring to turn that dream into a reality.

As if that wasn’t reason enough to recommend this book to everyone walking the planet who wants to live an incredible rewarding and enriching life, as a mother, I appreciate Whitney’s book as a resource for my own children that will help them create and live a satisfying, magical and deeply meaningful life. Click here to see the book on Amazon.

Articles: More Great Parenting Posts

Here it is! We’ve compiled some articles that are interesting, opinion-based, science-backed or just plain insightful for your parenting journey. We’re stockpiling a list of good stuff to share, so if you find something, send it our way and maybe we can include it in our weekly roundup.

In the event that you missed these articles, here is a sampling of what’s going around the web: (note, we’re going for quality here, so if we post an older article, it’s because we think the message is good. Also, we just like this stuff, we have no affiliations but we do hope to meet many of these authors and speakers! Thanks.)

Jillian Lauren Why We Don’t Punish Our Son, Ever

    This article, by author Jillian Lauren, went up on the website about a year ago. I just stumbled on it last week- and I’m wondering what her family’s experience has been like. She says her point by not punishing is that she wishes to demonstrate the “kind of values I want to teach him and what kind of person I want him to become. I might be able to sit him in time-out or yell at him or spank him or take away his favorite toy or otherwise coerce him out of this completely annoying habit, but in exchange for his compliance, I’ve lost an opportunity to connect with my child…” This is the perfect example of a parent who has put the relationship strategies before discipline strategies and it’s an interesting read for anyone else making this commitment. May she inspire you to have the courage to put the relationship first!

Babble’s Mindy Berry WalkerHappy Mom’s Confession: I’m not so nice at home

    This article struck me because of its honesty. I read it the same week I hosted a women’s renewal retreat. They couldn’t compliment each other more– the article sends a cry for what mothers everywhere are seeking: contentment, connectedness, guilt-free parenting, acceptance and a healthy emotional balance so we can parent from our best. The Retreat, at the other end of the spectrum, provided just what any woman in her darkest hour deserves: time to heal, reflect, connect and be an authentic person supported by other women in a safe environment free of judgment and criticism. This confession uncovers what’s really going on with so many mothers and it shows us why we must take care of ourselves and look out for those around us. The comments are telling- and it’s a testament to the pressure we put on ourselves, the resentment that can build over time and the human need to get out there and adventure and stay connected.

Jennifer Conlin The Non Joie of Parenting

    This article by Jennifer Conlin covers the reality for US families: we’re too busy to stay connected, unlike the more low key paced communities she experienced in Europe. The take away is yes, kids don’t have to be the center of the universe and parents find it enjoyable to have a life outside the mom’s taxi. The question is, do you think things will change? Read and see what you think.

Sandra Aamodt Welcome to Your Child’s Brain

    This book, while a typical “parenting book” is just what we need to help reduce the panic we feel when we think we’re screwing up our kids. Basically, the book features brain science facts that back the notion that you don’t have to be a super-parent for your child’s intelligence to develop – just a good-enough parent. “The vast majority of children are like dandelions, in that they can thrive in almost any conditions.” In this case, being a weed is a good thing. Follow the author @sandra_aamodt

Christine Carter The Stuck-at-Home Generation

    This article by Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness discusses the trends in children staying closer to home and the declining interest in once definitive adolescent milestones (like getting a driver’s license!). She makes a solid point: proactive parenting decisions /commitments provide essential opportunity for independence and confidence. My husband and I decided to provide these kinds of opportunities to our own five children beginning with an Outward Bound expedition in the summer between their 8th and 9th grade and then a semester abroad during their Junior year of high school. As a result, our kids feel confident leaving their childhood neighborhoods and see themselves as global citizens. I highly recommend exposing your kids to new experiences that broad their view of the world they are growing up in.

Bully: A Provocative and Essential Documentary

    This article by NPR outlines the nature of this season’s much talked about documentary, Bully “a wrenching, intensely moral film” that has been given an R rating, much to the dismay of its audiences. “Bully weaves together five stories from different parts of America’s heartland. Two are about the grieving families of boys who’ve committed suicide — a 17-year-old in Georgia, an 11-year-old in Oklahoma City. The rest are profiles of kids still toughing it out — a Mississippi teenager who has been jailed after pulling a gun on the kids who made her life a living hell, a lesbian Oklahoma high-schooler who is tormented not just by other students but by her teachers as well.” This is a must see.

Lisa Belkin How Parenting Is Like Groundhog Day And Mad Libs

    I personally like this post because it gives some decent evidence on exactly how parenting reinvents itself every few years. Fads are as “fill in the blanks” as madlibs and what you do with the information in between is really up to you. Personally, as I’ve said in my recent Crap, Rant or Fad blog, I find that most everything is just a fire drill or it focuses no where near a solution. Instead, many of these articles stir up concerns and give us something else to worry about- and sure enough, as intensely as it came in, the parenting storm rolls out….that is until another hazy afternoon. Like the author, I’m quite desensitized to the immediate crisis du jour— it’s probably because I’ve also seen the same problems resurface over my 20 years of parent education. But the takeaway for me with this blog is that as parents, it’s way too easy to get worked up and be part of the problem- sharing details and getting in a tizzy over yet another label or category or omitting the part where you look for a solution to the bigger problem. Lisa says keep the wide lens open and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I say keep the wide lens open and focused on where your family wants to be in 20 years and pay no mind to the dings and dents along the way.

Lenore Skenazy Outrage of the Week: No One Under 18 Allowed Outside Unsupervised in Florida Community

    Let’s just start by saying this blog post highlights a societal sentiment that I think is very unhealthy for children, parents and the community– and it’s happening in a real town in Florida! Read it. Comment. Read the comments and get your finger on the pulse of what parents who cherish independence and who trust their children are saying about this type of community ordinance. This community is forbidding ANYONE under 18 to be outside without supervision! “…no bike riding, no walking to the bus stop without an adult. Some parents say their kids are under house arrest” – just read through this blog post. How can these kids be ready for the real world if they can’t even ride their bike in their community?

Book: Hidden Agenda

Have you ever had the experience of listening to a sermon, hearing a song or reading a book and thinking to yourself, I think that guy wrote that book for me, personally? Well, it happened for me this week when I read Kevin Allen’s new book, “The Hidden Agenda.

Kevin is part of the Bibliomotion family, the publisher for our book Duct Tape Parenting, so I was especially excited to get my hands on the book and dive in. Little did I know that I would find myself pulled in and held captive by his story in the first few pages. With unbridled enthusiasm and at the expense of some of my household chores, I plowed my way through the book, marker in hand until I was left feeling like I had just been invited behind the curtain at Oz. I’m not kidding. This book hit home for me on so many levels.

First, as Kevin explains what the hidden agenda is and how it shapes an effective marketing message, I realized it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time in the life of my own business. As we begin to grow our business beyond the borders of Vermont and into a global landscape, it is imperative that we understand our customers hidden agenda and articulate our message in a genuine, sincere and authentic way. For to not do so might result in the collapse of a company I have nurtured for over 20 years.

Second, as a parent, I can see that this book has implications for understanding my own children’s hidden agenda’s and how I might tap into them to build a stronger and more trusting relationship with them. I can even imagine assisting them in identifying and articulating their own hidden agenda and using this information to create a life rich with meaning and possibility.

Third, as I reflect on my own hidden agenda and what drives me forward in my life, I am reminded of Dr. Alfred Adler and what first inspired and interested me in his work. It is this deep understanding of ourselves and those around us that brings fulfillment in my work and in my personal life. Much of what Allen writes about resonates with me and I find Adler’s perspective sprinkled within his work.

Whether you are a business owner looking to connect more genuinely to your customer, or you are responsible for creating a marketing campaign for a company of any size, or a parent looking to connect more deeply with your child, this book offers its readers easy access to one of the most illusive and effective tools in understanding and connecting to those you serve and love.

Parenting Advice: Crap, Rant or Fad?

My job is to travel around from state to state, town to town, and school to school giving advice and helping families make changes in their lives. While I’d like to attribute the Parenting On Track gold to my charismatic charm, humor, wit and deep intelligence, I can’t. I have listed below exactly WHY this stuff works.

1. Philosophy – Dr. Alfred Adler. His work has been around for nearly 100 years. There are thousands of Adlerian Psychologists, therapists and parent educators who work around the world bringing Adler’s work to those looking to develop stronger relationships with spouses, children, co-workers and family members. I’ve spent 20 years studying and adapting his philosophy to meet the needs of the parents I work with. I quote people who are specialists in this field. I don’t make it up! (Yes, okay I admit, I do coin some cool phrases based on this theory).

2. No Play By Play – My approach to helping parents deal with a child’s pesky behavior is to focus on what the parents are doing, not what the kids are doing. Everything I recommend is based on improving the relationship between parent and child, not teaching parents how to dole out discipline or punishment. Everything I teach is relationship focused. Efforts that improve the relationship FIRST, lead to improvement in behavior second. It works all the time.

3. Solutions – I make it a point NOT to go on and on about problems or what a parent should have done in a given situation. I’m in this work to deliver solutions. Solutions grounded in theory that are aimed at improving the relationship. Without a solution, it’s a rant!

4. Real Life Examples – I use real life examples to help parents better understand a situation they are struggling with and believe me, after 20 years in the field, I have lots of examples at my disposal. Examples help parents connect information with action. Without the connection the information can swirl around in a parent’s head leaving them more confused than ever.

Without these to anchor my advice, insight and “wisdom” I’d be pulling tips and tricks out of thin air based on my perception at the moment, and my perception of the situation would lead parents on a wild goose chase, not closer to an understanding of what they could do differently to bring about change.

The reason for this post?

I’ve spent the past few weeks diving into what’s floating around the internet – holy guacamole folks, no wonder parents are confused! I guess this explains why parents arrive at my classes or workshops with some crazy ideas about parenting. I have discovered that advice is mislabeled from one end of the triple W to the other.

Here’s the deal, if you’re looking for “advice” on the web, you can either say forget it altogether OR you can check it against these following five points:

1. Philosophy – Does it have a legitimate, long-standing philosophy? If yes, then check that the advice is grounded in the main pillars of the belief system.

2. Expert – Is the author trained in the philosophy? You wouldn’t take money advice from a landscaper, unless the landscaper was an entrepreneur teaching you how to grow a business via his journey. See the connection? Experts come in various shapes, so this doesn’t mean you can’t seek tips from a non-traditional source. Just be sure that the source knows his/her stuff and can give insight, context and information that is accurate to the experience.

3. Check for “Get your kids” – Does the article or blog have the words “make your child” or “get your child to” do this not that or do that not this to your child? If yes, skip it! It’s about control and discipline, not the relationship. You’ll just end up further in the weeds. It might work for a minute but you’ll be right back where you started.

4. Rant, rant, rant – Just because a mommy blogger has a great story or wants to share her experience via a credible blogging site doesn’t mean it’s advice! Let’s be clear, I’m not dissing mommy bloggers, they make the web go round! They are fun and they are the best people to share ideas and tricks and tips that worked for them. Remember though, the story they are sharing worked for them and it doesn’t mean you have to run out and try their approach. However, if a mommy blogger uses a credible philosophy (see points 1 & 2), then it’s worth looking into!

5. Lovey-dovey-foo-foo-zoom-zoom – If you just read something and your first thought was, no $h^t Sherlock, then it’s just fluff and you already know it so don’t worry about the latest fad method to introduce the same old common sense!

Parents want to feel connected to or to identify with the ups and downs they experience – this is where a mommy blog or a lovey dovey article does have a purpose. It’s not that the article is crap, it just might be crappy ADVICE. See? So, read headlines that attract you but don’t buy in until you know if it’s rant, crap, fluff, or fad or if it’s grounded in a bigger picture.

So What Does a Parent Read?

Having said all that, here is some of the GOOD STUFF TO READ:

1. Opinion – Opinion articles/blogs can be great food for thought. They can be well researched and can contain facts that back a person’s opinion. (No facts or references? It’s likely a RANT).

2. Blogs by Experts/Organizations – They might not be featured on the biggest sites but you can find life changing tips, tricks, wisdom and so on.

3. Fact Articles – Top tens and other informative articles can give you some new info and let you process it – just be sure to check the credibility of source/author.

Can’t you Simplify This?

I know it’s a lot to process. That’s why I’ve decided to introduce a Parenting On Track Series:

Duct Tape Dragnet: Parenting Articles Worth Reading

Now you can have access to quality articles delivered to you and you don’t have to go wading in the mud to find good opinions, ideas, thoughts and lessons in parenting. Heads up for our first in a series of blogs, articles, sites, books we find on the web that are worth reading!

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