All posts tagged Alfred Adler

Same Drama, Different Day?

dramaThe Solution is…Train the kids or fix the relationship. That’s it.

Raise your hand if you’ve had at least one of these thoughts run through your mind (hand raised): this isn’t working or this is exhausting or why won’t he just listen? If your hand is up, you’ve probably been through the ringer at least once (or perhaps a gentle slide into in a rabbit hole) with some pesky behavior, attitude or habit that left you scratching your head and thinking, what can I do? I’ve tried everything.

Ok, so, maybe you’ve tried “everything”  to “cover up” the problem with yelling, bribing, threatening, etc. or you’ve yielded to to attitudes, demands and “fast getaways” because you felt you didn’t know what to do. Maybe, like many parents, you found yourself disciplining (actually punishing), taking away or growing resentful and angry all while going round and round in a “cul de sac” cycle of behavior-reaction-behavior-reaction-behavior-reaction…and then ultimately, frustration. While it may feel like you’ve tried “everything” you probably haven’t.

The Point?

The point of this post is to deliver a simple message that will help lift ANY fog of parenting “problems”- a solution so clear it will change your brain and support your decision to QUIT Being the Maid (or Feed the Weed- coming next) or any other long term solution that you commit to.

Every pesky behavior– annoying, “bad” or ugly– is a symptom of one of two things:

  •  Lack of Training or
  • a Fractured Relationship

Both are worth fixing.


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.


Just Ask, Your Kids will Appreciate it

A recent post on Alfie Kohn’s website. requires parents and educators alike to stop and consider everything they believed to be true. Kohn shares a perspective that could hit many squarely between the eyes.

Here are some excerpts to convey the point. Read full article here.

…”The point, of course, is to remind us adults how little we really know our kids and what they’re capable of doing”…

…”And why wasn’t she engaged in the classroom [life]? Well, people tend to become more enthusiastic and proficient when they’re in charge of what they’re doing”…

…”It was particularly disconcerting for me to realize that when the priorities of adults and kids diverge, we simply assume that ours ought to displace theirs… We tell more than we ask; we direct more than we listen; we use our power to pressure or even punish students [children] whose interests don’t align with ours. This has any number of unfortunate results, including loss of both self-confidence and interest in learning. But let’s not forget to number among the sad consequences the fact that many students [children] quite understandably choose to keep the important parts of themselves hidden from us. That’s a shame in its own right, and it also prevents us from being the best teachers [and parents] we can be.”

It’s comforting to know that Vicki Hoefle, as a result of Dr. Alfred Adler and Dr. Rudolph Drykurs, shows parents HOW to become more encouraging, engaged, accepting parents to our children.

When you finish reading Kohn’s article, you will be left with a choice – you may choose to say “WOW – that was powerful”, set the article aside and go back to doing exactly what you always do, or you will consider what Kohn is saying and take the first step in changing the relationship you have with your kids.

The choice – as always – is ours to make.

Pay it Forward

    “Every human being strives for significance, but people always make mistakes
    if they do not recognize that their significance lies in their contribution to the lives of others.”

    -Alfred Adler

    “Every good act is charity.
    A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.”


There are so many ways that we can get involved and to “Pay It Forward.” Here are a few ideas:

Donate or volunteer at a food shelf or soup kitchen; volunteer during “Green-Up” days or other local work days; become involved with the outreach programs available through your local church or schools; volunteer with Meals on Wheels; visit the elderly at a local nursing home.

Truthfully, all you have to do is look around to see someone in need. A broken heart, a discouraged spirit, a physical challenge, an emotional injury. Make a connection, reach out, share a smile, touch a shoulder, return a laugh.

Donate or raise money for Mosquito Nets, Pennies for Peace, Cancer Society, March of Dimes – and the list goes on…

The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are staggering.

In celebration of a movie that started a movement in my own family and has translated into over 1000 hours of community service visit:

Who is Alfred Adler?

On the eve of the Parenting On Track™ Weekend Retreat, I wanted to pay homage to Alfred Adler and the impact his work has on my life.

It is because of him, that I enjoy a deep connection with each one of my children, my husband and those who make up my “healthy tribe”. His work has been the catalyst for the majority of insights that have facilitated clarity, healing and comfort for me in my life.

He continues to inspire me to look deeper, to trust, to take risks, to forgive often and quickly, and to love unconditionally. I have spent the last few days preparing for the upcoming weekend, and so I offer this extraordinary interview of Henry Stein, a noted Adlerian Expert, and his thoughts on Adler and his work.

Please, if you are looking to enrich your life in any way, take 10 minutes, just 10 minutes and read this illuminating article, Was ist “das Ich”? An Interview with Henry Stein on Alfred Adler, by Susan Bridle.

I have included an excerpt below, that for me, is the most powerful statement in all of Adler’s work.

    WIE: If you approach it in this way, it can be a lifelong project to straighten all this out.

    Henry Stein: Yes. Adler says, “Wait a minute. If in fact there is a single goal and this single goal is causing the symptoms and problems and is, in a sense, orchestrating everything, you don’t work on the fifty-two different subcategories of symptoms, you work on the goal.” When you change the goal, everything else begins to shift, the symptoms begin to vanish. People get goose bumps when they come to the realization that they can change their life so dramatically and that it isn’t an overwhelming, laborious, lifelong task. That’s the good news. There’s bad news: The bad news is that you now have responsibility. And that’s a trade-off. When people are willing to accept this responsibility, they almost have a sense of being reborn, and the sense of freedom and empowerment is wonderful. And then they accept the responsibility very willingly; it’s not a burden. But other people—who don’t want the responsibility—will back off, and what they’ll do is they will either forget the insight or they will argue with it or sabotage it.

Read the entire article and enjoy!

A Democratic Family

Democratic FamilyAdlerian Parent Education aims to give children the skills to meet life challenges in a constructive, positive way and the courage to circumvent the many pitfalls and dangers that confront children in society. It supports parents by providing them with tools to ease and handle the stress of being a parent, and to raise children with courage and compassion.

This is why I am a parent educator and why I believe that raising children in a democratic family is the solution to not only the bullying crisis we currently face, but of arming the next generation of leaders capable of making the tough decisions, who will fight for what is right, will demand justice for those who can not fight, and will demonstrate the power of treating one’s self and others with dignity and respect.

The bottom line is this — children who feel good about themselves, who know that they belong and are important to their family do not feel threatened and do not need to control. Instead they look to create environments in which everyone feels good about themselves and knows there is a place in the group just for them.

It is my experience, that no child who feels good about themselves enjoys watching their peers struggle or get in trouble. This is a true sign that there is hope. This is a true sign that the cycle of bullying can indeed be broken when the number of children who feel good about themselves outnumber the children who doubt their importance and value.

I believe that if parents commit to better understanding the democratic family  and the power it has to create and sustain respectful, cooperative, relationships, those parents will do whatever is necessary to implement the concepts and strategies available to them today.

I believe that if we are to truly impact the world in positive ways, we must take the cycle of bullying seriously and to do whatever is necessary to take responsibility for the way we raise our children who will either play the role of the bully, bullied, bystander or who will as Barbara Coloroso states in her book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, “understand what to do, how to do it and have the Willingness to do it.”

This very short description of Democratic Parenting comes from Henry Stein’s work


The child is seen as equal, integrated part of the family, cooperative, and doing his share. He is loved and accepted. The child is offered reasonable progressive challenges and permitted to develop at his own pace.

Parent’s Attitude:

Accepts child’s uniqueness. Provides love, respect, and feeling of equality. Encourages child to correct mistakes and develop capacities. Guides child to find significant in contribution.

Child’s Response:

Feels security and love and acceptance. Experiences own strength by conquering difficulties. Finds satisfaction in achievement and contribution. Not afraid to try and fail. Sees world as safe and friendly.

Before we conclude our series and I offer some specific ways you can begin to create a culture of dignity and respect, I invite you — no, I challenge you to take inventory over the next week and to evaluate your parenting style.

I challenge you to listen to yourself when you speak to your children, to watch your attitude and how it affects the relationship you have with your kids, to acknowledge the areas where change is needed and to get ready to commit to parenting in a way that supports the raising of healthy, strong and compassionate children.

Science Supports Alfred Adler

Between 1901 and 1937, Alfred Adler espoused a new way to look at parenting and relationships. Adler understood that everything that happens in life, especially to children, is important. His theories and practice have shown to be productive when applied to the development of children and encouraging their sense of significance, competence and independence. Unfortunately, even though Adler’s theories are even more relevant today in the 21st century, his ideas have yet to become “mainstream.”

Now a new book, “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, gives some scientific evidence for how right Adler was. NurtureShock challenges many popular, mainstream parenting ideas and techniques with scientific studies that will have, for many, very surprising findings. If you think praise is good, good children don’t lie, or that infants learn language by watching baby DVD’s, this book is for you. As the authors of NurtureShock put it, for a long time the parenting books have “mistaken good intentions with good ideas.”

As we see it:

  • Alfred Adler told parents “what”
  • NurtureShock explains “why”
  • and Parenting On Track™ tells parents “how.”

For the past twenty years, Vicki Hoefle and Parenting On Track™ have taken the theories of Adler ( recently studied and proven again by NurtureShock) and transformed them into practical strategies that before long become a way of being with your children, rather than just a way of disciplining or dealing with problems. For example, the first chapter of NurtureShock is about the reverse power of praise – sound familiar? Adler recognized the pitfalls of praise, introduced encouragement as a way to foster healthy self esteem and Parenting On Track™ takes it to the next step by showing parents not only how to replace praise with encouragement, but how create an encouraging home environment. (see Ch. 7 of the Home Program).

We recommend you get your own copy of NurtureShock. Theories and scientific information is important in understanding our children and why they do what they do. And maybe more importantly, why what we are doing doesn’t work. But, when you want more, when you want to find out how to put all of the great studies and statistics to work in the real world, look to Parenting On Track™.

We make the “how” easy – just check out the Home Program at

Read a review of the book by Pamela Paul in The New York Times.