1. I’m asking you, the parent, to humble yourself a bit. This
evening, say to your child something like this:       

“I discovered that I’ve made some mistakes in parenting you.  
And I apologize.  But I have an obligation to you to make
some changes.  I’ll explain each change to you as it comes,
and I will give you time to adjust to the change.”

It does not matter how your child responds to this "humble
statement"....this statement gives your child a “heads-up”
that change is coming, and it models that it’s O.K. to do the

  • admit one’s mistakes
  • make amends
  • take responsibility
  • accept change

2. Ask your child at least one question each day that cannot be
answered with a simple “yes” or a “no” to demonstrate that you
are interested in what is going on in his/her life. For example:

  1. “What did you have for lunch today at school?”   
  2. “What did you do today in art class?”   
  3. “When your class went to the museum, what was the
    most interesting thing?”
  4. "What was your favorite part of the video you watched
    today in History class?

Don’t be surprised if your child simply says, “I don’t know” or
“I don’t remember” or “Who cares?”   It does not matter how
your child responds.  The important thing is that you asked!

Each evening before bedtime, say to your child, “I love
you son" ...or "I love you daughter." Expect nothing in return.
(Men, it is especially important for you to do this one!)

4. Eat dinner together at least one evening
each week (either
at home or out).

Tell your children that you expect them to be around for dinner
at a specific time.  You won’t be surprised if someone decides
not to have any part of
eating dinner together.  Eat at the
dinner table, or go out to eat anyway.  It doesn’t matter who
actually shows up for dinner. The important thing is that you
are developing the habit of weekly “dinner-time.”  

Caution: Don't turn "dinner-time" into a battle zone. We have
enough other battles to deal with. Simply give the dinner
invitation, then allow your child to choose whether or not he
wants to participate. Sooner or later, the "resistant" child will
show up for a meal.

5. Use the "Fair Fighting" strategy as needed.

*Note: Please do all of the above.  Each assignment has a huge
purpose behind it.  NO half measures!  
Half measures will be the
“kiss of failure."
Note: Out-of-control children usually have very low self-esteem. The effects of low self-esteem can create a vicious cycle of poor performance, a distorted view of self and others, an unhappy personal life, and a lack of self-confidence.

POOR PERFORMANCE: Lack of self-confidence may result in making little or no effort toward realizing projects or goals. But failures that result from a lack of effort are not a true reflection of his/her abilities.

DISTORTED VIEW OF SELF AND OTHERS: Teens with low self-esteem will not give themselves credit for their accomplishments. They think their peers look better in comparison. They may also believe that things just happen to them. ...that they do not make them happen.

UNHAPPY PERSONAL LIFE: A grumpy teenager is no fun to be around. He may find it hard to develop close relationships -- and he may often feel unhappy and lonely during his teen years.

LACK OF SELF-CONFIDENCE: Teens with low self-esteem often have little confidence in their abilities. They may think they are doomed to fail again because they failed before.

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Instructional Video #14

Dear Parents,

What is mealtime like around your house? Does
everyone get their plate and head to their own room? Or
does popping a dinner in the old microwave, sitting down
in front of the TV, computer or video game and no one
gets the opportunity to speak to one another sound more
familiar? Given the hectic schedules many families have
today, family dinnertime has become a lost art.

Years ago, it was unheard of for a family to not have
dinner together. Even during biblical times, the fathers
of the household would rule the entire family from the
dinner table.

They understood dinnertime was more than just a time to
eat, but it was a time to influence the family. They realized
this had a profound impact on their family. Many studies
have shown the positive force “eating as a family” can
have on a child.

Recent studies out of the University of Minnesota and
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
at Columbia University indicate that teenagers who
regularly eat dinner with their families have healthier
body images, higher grades and are less likely to use
drugs or alcohol.

The National Center on Addition and Substance Abuse
at Columbia University (CASA) found that teens who have
dinner with their families five or more times per week are
almost twice as likely to receive A's in school. Out of the
classroom, these same teens are nearly fifty percent
more likely to stay away from alcohol and about thirty
percent more likely to refrain from cigarette smoking.

Teens that eat frequent family dinners are less likely than
other teens to have sex, get into fights, as well as have a
lower risk of suicidal thoughts.

There is a whole list of positive things that can happen
when a family carves out time to eat dinner as a family.
This is a great time to be involved in your child’s life.
Eating together encourages communication!

Allow each member of the family to discuss any
problems and/or achievements they may have
encountered during the day. This is also a great time
to plan family trips, church activities and upcoming
events. Engage the children in conversations that lead
them to discuss schoolwork, sports and other things
that get them to open up and share the details of their
life. The most important thing is to keep an open line
of communication for each member to share ideas,
stories, etc.

Sitting down for a family meal can provide real quality
family time and be just plain fun!

Pull up the chairs, serve the casserole and have a laugh
with everyone. Make dinner time fun and everyone will be
looking forward to eating with the family.

Mix it up, have a picnic in the family room on the floor.
When the weather is nice outside, have a family dinner
on the patio. Neither you nor your family will regret the
memories or the positive impact your family will enjoy
around your dinner table wherever it may be.
Can't see the video? CLICK HERE
Simple Ways to Make Family Dinners Fun—

Here are some tested ways to make family dinner a tradition everyone benefits from
and enjoys:

1.        Assistant to the Chef: You'll see more of your child if you enlist his services to
fill the breadbasket, carry dishes to the table, fill the salt and pepper shakers, or
wash the lettuce.

Best and Worst: Go around the table and have each person tell you what was
the best and worst part of his day. Parents respond, too...

Breakfast for Dinner: Unusual enough to be remembered and especially
easy when time is short. Serve a dinner of waffles, pancakes, French toast or
another typical morning meal such as bacon and eggs.

Candlelight Dinner: Once every few weeks, put fresh flowers on the table, light
dinner candles, and take a moment to express gratitude that you are a family.

Double Desserts: Once a month or whenever you happen to have enough,
shock your children by announcing double dessert night.

Family and Friends: Allow your child to invite a friend to dinner occasionally.
This lets you form a better relationship with your children's friends, and your child
might be more comfortable discussing issues that arise outside the home if he has
someone his own age present. This tradition can, and should, be continued
throughout adolescence when children are more likely to turn to friends than family
members for support.

May I Take Your Order? Transform the kitchen into a restaurant and assign
everyone different roles-owner, chef, waiter, customers, cashier-and the kitchen
becomes a learning environment.

Pizza Party: Buy prepared pizza curst from your supermarket or only the dough
from your local pizza parlor. The children punch down the dough and pull it into
shape. Have them spread their favorite toppings.

Tuesday - Ben's Night: Assign each member of the family a night that he is
"responsible" for dinner. Everybody helps with the preparation. Even a four-year-old
can take hot dogs out of the package, tear lettuce leaves for a salad or pour
chocolate sauce on ice cream.

What's Cooking? Cook something with your child at least once a month:
cookies, muffins, cupcakes. Simple recipes and prepared mixes are good choices
for children who usually can't wait to eat whatever they make.
Note: Invest in a
children's cookbook to make cooking more interesting for your young chef.

"Old fashioned" dinners along with "old fashioned" talk go a long way in connecting
with children and bonding the family. Prolong the experience with the promise of a
game of Chutes & Ladders, more work on a puzzle, or turn on the radio and dance in
the kitchen for a few minutes before or after everyone helps with clean up.

Bon appetite!