Friday, September 27, 2013


When we had our babies we lived in what we termed "Diaper Valley!"  The subdivisions were filled with young parents around the same age.  Many of us only had one family car which our husbands took to work.  If we wanted to go anywhere we put the kids in strollers and walked.  We were always over at our neighbor's homes and if we had any issues with kids or sleepless nights, we talked about it over tea, coffee and large slices of cake.  There was comfort in knowing that we were all experiencing the same fatigue, worry, childhood illnesses etc.  None of our worries got out of hand because we nipped them in the bud while they were happening.  We didn't feel helpless because we had our own neighborhood social network.  We cared for one another and for each others kids.

For all sorts of reasons these days new parents can feel isolated.
  • Couples are more inclined to work longer.  Women are often 35+ before starting their families.
  • Their income allows them to buy homes that are not necessarily in subdivisions.  
  • Many new mothers are going back to work 6 weeks after their child is born so comradeship is not the same. 
  • The population is more mobile.  Many move because of job opportunities.  They don't know anyone.
  • Their families are scattered around the USA or in our case, overseas.  Their support systems are missing.
  • There is a lot less 'Mayberry'-type neighborliness now. TV tends to keep people inside and phones and texting stops the face to face communication we once had.  We are not interacting with our neighbors.
When parents don't get the opportunity to discuss behavioral issues, they often think they are the only ones who are struggling.  They become so busy they haven't time actively to look for parenting help e.g. go to seminars.  They blame themselves because they can't work out why their child has changed from compliant  to disrespectful in no time flat!  They look at other families with envy while their own kids are screaming up and down the aisles of Walmart.  How much can they take?  When will it end?

Aside from wanting to personally escape to the Bahamas, here are some suggestions for getting help:
a) Try and get together with other young parents at a mall for coffee or some other central place where you can get moral support from each other.
b) Join a young mothers' group so your kids can play-date together.
c) Look up parenting sites to get specific answers. 
d) Buy or borrow books on particular parent issues e.g. Asbergers, autism, asthma, Downs Syndrome. ADD.
e) Join special needs groups for support and help, as per d) above.
f) Ask your church or other organization to run parenting seminars at their location.  Encourage your friends to go, also. You will get help with creating strong family values, discipline that works, getting the greatest potential from your kids, managing strong-willed children.

You need never feel alone. Individuals and organizations are there to help you. 

Please feel free to check out the many resources on our blog and website -

Written by Sally Burgess

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


A school in New York decided to replace the rusty old boundary fences around its playground.  The students had always played right out to those fences.  They would even hang onto the link fencing to watch traffic and pedestrians go by.  When the old fencing was pulled down an interesting thing happened.  All the kids grouped together in the center of the playing area and would not venture near the boundary because they were afraid.

My father had an 11 p.m. curfew on my going out as a teen.  Although I grumbled about it sometimes I knew that if I wasn't home by 11 p.m. he would start to worry and if necessary, come and find me.  He loved me enough to care that I was safe.

Boundaries are set to help kids feel secure and to help them know exactly what is expected of them.
  • They need to know the point of unacceptable behavior (the boundary) 
  • You need to draw the line where you want it according to your values and beliefs.
  • Parents need to set consequences for breaching boundaries.
  • Kids need to know precisely what those consequences will be beforehand.
  • Parents need to apply those consequences consistently.
  • If the consequences do not work, then more stringent consequences should be set.
The process of boundary-setting creates an opportunity for kids to learn to make wise choices.
The parent is no longer the big ogre.  The child is the one making the decision.  The parent acts upon that choice.

When parents set clear boundaries, there is MUCH less likelihood of a subjective or inconsistent response e.g. grounding a child for a week for a minor infringement or ignoring the infringement altogether.

When kids make the wrong choice the consequence should be applied, followed by a discussion with the child about how to make the right choice next time.

When kids make the right choice they should be acknowledged for doing so.  They really do want to please you.

Written by Sally Burgess

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Everyone makes mistakes.  It is an imperfect world.
Here are some pointers to make the best of a situation.

  • Have you told your child the right way?
  • Have you modeled how to do it, or how to make the right decision?
  • Have you given him/her opportunity to practice?
  • Have you given them a ‘safe place to land’ if they mess up?
  • Have you encouraged them to talk about their hesitation or fear of making a mistake?
  • Have you made the expectations so high that they just can't live up to them? = auto fail
  • Do you tend to condemn them for stupidity rather than hold your temper? = fear to confess.
  • Create a 'salvage plan' for when mistakes occur and follow it objectively.
After the fact:
  • Get all the facts right - allow them to explain in their own way and time. 
  • What actually happened? Piece the story together.
  • Allow them to explain their reasoning for their actions at the time.
  • Talk about their actions and why the situation turned out wrong.
  • Refer to your ‘salvage plan’ and follow it e.g.
           a. Summarize the facts.
           b. Get the child to apologize to the appropriate person for their mistake.
           c. Have them make amends if something got broken, money was wasted or whatever.
           d. Ensure they know what to do next time.
           e. Praise them for getting it right.
           f. Give them responsibility in that area in the future.

Remember that these are children on a huge learning curve, just like you were.
Go easy on them. A mistake is unintentional and different from defiance.

Written by Sally Burgess

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Do you find yourself nagging on a daily basis and you're sick of it? Well, you're not alone!

Research has shown that up to 70% of communications daily in the average home, whether verbal or through gesture, are regarded as negative. It's just so easy to say, "Don't do this, don't do that!" We criticize each other, allow negative talk and aggression, and get over-concerned with things that, in terms of what's really important, don't really matter. There's a danger of making mountains out of mole hills.


1. Decide what you want your family to look like - e.g. honest, committed, obedient, respectful,
    responsible, forgiving and kind.
2. Describe what these behaviors should look like - e.g. being honest means we don't tell lies, we own
    up when we make mistakes, we don't steal others' stuff.
3. This list becomes your own family values.
    Draw up 4 columns and head them up like this and fill them in:
    a) Our core values b) What they will look like around our home c) Positive consequences
    d) Negative consequences      
4. Teach these expected behaviors (values) to your children - one at a time, perhaps in priority order.
5. Explain that there will be positive rewards for following the desired values.
6. Create a set of negative consequences to be applied if these values are breached.
    (Your strongest penalty should be reserved for breaching the value you see as a top priority and
    so on down the list. Every family will differ on the values chosen and consequences awarded.
  • Kids will almost always respond positively when they know they will be praised or encouraged.
  • They want to see you role modeling the way you expect them to behave.
  • Kids will not respect you if you do not carry out the consequences you have taught them.
  • If they mess up, they should be given a chance to change.  If not, then the agreed consequence 
           must be applied. 

NOTE: When a child has to be served a consequence simply go to your chart, see what was agreed upon, then all you have to do is say, "Which of these values have you not kept?" "OK, so what was the consequence we agreed on?" Now, apply it. This method prevents you making a consequence in the heat of the moment and issuing one that does not match the 'crime'. Saying, "You're grounded until you're 35," is not likely to work!

Don't let the small stuff based on your quirks get in the way of far more important things. Sometimes we need to ignore the lesser things if we find ourselves nagging. Length of hair, color of clothing, whether clothes are laid out the night before etc. are quirks. These are personal taste issues or the small stuff and not worth working up a sweat about.

Have a family meeting over pizza or before a family movie to outline these matters to your children. If they are school-aged children they can help you create the lists. Often they will be harsher than you and it also helps them invest in the whole procedure.

  1. Look for ways to praise and affirm your kids.
  2. Agree to use inside voices (restaurant style). No shouting, screaming or squealing. (That's parents, too!)
  3. Use plenty of affection with your children and let them see you being affectionate.
  4. Parents need to be consistent in applying both positive and negative consequences.
  5. Create an orderly home.
Why not try this method of parenting. It really works and makes a great model for other families. They'll want to know your secret for raising such great kids.

Written by Brian Burgess

Saturday, September 14, 2013


 1.  People who know you well and have seen your kids in different circumstances tell you, "You
       have great kids.  They are a credit to you."

  2.  People you have never seen before come up to you and say, "You have great kids,  They are
       a credit to you."

  3.  Your kids do the right thing even when they know you are not looking.

  4.  Your kids own up to their mistakes without blaming anyone else.

  5.  Your kids willingly take responsibility in helping with family stuff.

  6.  Your kids walk along the street with you instead of hiding in doorways or walking 20ft ahead
       or behind you!

  7.  Your kids are not afraid to be affectionate towards you in front of their friends.

  8.  Your kids' friends want to hang out at your place because they think you are 'cool' parents.

  9.  Your kids reach your expectations as well as their own .

10.  Your kids do not try to bolt to some university on the other side of the planet, just to get
       away from you for 4 years while partying and spending your money.

11.  Your kids still want to go on vacation with you when they are 16.

12.  Your kids don't have to be told 15 times to do chores.  In fact, they don't have to be told at all.

13.  Your kids willingly tell you their problems because they value your advice - and take it.

14.  There is much more laughter in your home than frustration and tension.

15.  Your kids know how to settle their differences without causing bodily injury!

16.  Other parents ask you your secret on successful parenting.

17.  Your kids become your best friends after they leave home.

      We believe successful families are:
  • God-centered (a strong core belief system)
  • Parent-directed (great role models with strong family values)
  • Family-oriented (NOT child-centered)
  • Outwardly-focused (caring for the needs of others)
Go ahead. Take a bow.  You deserve to be appreciated for all the wonderful things you do for your families.

Written by: Brian and Sally Burgess

Monday, September 9, 2013


It is incredibly difficult to be a consistent parent.  The dictionary meaning of consistent means ‘holding together and retaining form’. That hardly describes my early memories of child rearing.  I suspect I am not the only one.

What are we aiming for?

a) To make objective responses with our discipline where both parents agree.
b) To be fair and firm.
c) To equally love and discipline our kids without any favoritism.
c) To stand together as parents when kids try to play one off against the other.
d) To be balanced, loving, and encouraging, but at the same time issue corrective measures and
     consequences where necessary.

How do we get there?
  • As parents, discuss what your disciplinary ideals and responses will be.  
  • Don't become the 'weakest link' or the 'tyrant' to compensate for parental imbalance.
  • Tell your kids what your expectations are in given circumstances.
  • Allow your kids to make a few initial mistakes until they get it right.  
  • Give them a safe place to land.
  • Give your kids time and attention.  
  • Let them talk about their aspirations and worries.
In the event:
  • Recognize your own emotional state before you respond.  If necessary, count to 20 to calm down.
  • Get the facts before making judgements.
  • Remember the agreed responses.  
  • Don't respond one time and ignore it the next.  If you do, kids never know where they are or how to act.
Many times we allow ourselves to act in a subjective manner.  When we are tired, we can’t deal with it so we overlook the negative behavior.   When we are stressed, anything can happen.  We may issue discipline that is far too severe for the infringement, or say things that we later regret.   We may excuse negative behavior because of a child’s disability, illness or age.  This is not appropriate.  All kids need to learn to live within boundaries.

Subjective disciplinary action is negated when the consequences are already laid down.  Parents will not be choosing discipline measures on the fly.  Kids will be making the choice to be obedient or to be disciplined.

Objective parenting provides a solid foundation for harmony in the home.

Written by Sally Burgess

Friday, September 6, 2013


We are all very concerned about safety so I am passing on some advice and tips that might help protect your kids...

  1. Children under 14 years old should always walk or run with a trusted adult.
  2. Never (adults or children) run or walk alone, especially in unpopulated areas.  People have been
      killed because they are easily overcome by stronger attackers.    
  3. Always carry a cell phone, a whistle and, if possible, mace.
  4. If someone appears to be following you, run up the driveway of the nearest house - like you live
      there.  Call for help. 
  5. Do not run with ear-buds in your ears.  I saw a terrible true story on TV recently about a girl who
      never heard the perpetrator running up behind her and she was murdered.
  6. Always tell someone else where you are running or walking and for how long.
  7. Never go running or walking in the dark.
  8. Always keep to the side of the road facing traffic.
  9. Wear bright or reflective clothing at all times.
10. If someone grabs you, scream your head off, kick them in the groin, head-butt, scratch, stomp,
      poke them in their eyes, yell at them, twist, squirm or engage any other action that can hurt them.
      Avoid being a nice guy.  Do everything possible to avoid being put in a car.  Your chance
      of coming out alive is minimal.
11. You are much less likely to be injured or killed if you are in a public, populated place.
12. When hiking, only go with an adult and always take a phone. Make periodic check-ins.  Carry
      appropriate snacks/food/drink.  Tell others where you are hiking and when you will be back.
      Stick to known hiking paths.

1. Never allow your kids to ride in the back of pickups.  Riders are totally unprotected, cannot get
    the driver's attention if something is wrong and they have no restraints.  This goes for 4 wheelers
    also.  Ensure they wear a helmet on bikes or 4 wheelers.
2. Talk to your kids about driving drunk or with someone else who is.  Even if you think your child
    would never be negatively influenced by others, you just never know.  Research shows that even
    young people   you have carefully instructed often yield to peer pressure.
3. Insist on knowing where your kids are at all times.
4. Make sure they have a cell phone.
5. Ensure your kids go through a self defense course.

1. Sit down while the bus is moving and follow all other bus rules. 
2. Follow all instructions the driver gives without question unless your personal safety is at risk.
3. When you get off the bus, LOOK both ways before you start crossing the road.  Even though traffic
    is supposed to stop when the bus does, it doesn't always happen and kids should always look
    before they step out.

Monday, September 2, 2013


An excellent blog has been drawn to my attention.  It is written by Naomi on her "Sevencherubs" blogsite and contains excellent tips on how to help parents educate and protect their kids against sexual abuse.

I urge you to read it and apply its principles in your family.

Here is the link: