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Raising Teachable Kids (Part 2 of 2)

Raising Teachable Kids (Part 2 of 2)

Child psychologist and author Dr. Todd Cartmell offers parents practical advice and encouragement in a discussion based on his book 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids. (Part 2 of 2)



Dr. Todd Cartmell: Hey, my job right now is to teach the right lesson the right way.” And when I think like that, it gets me focused on what I’m trying to do and helps me simply to be in more control and more effective.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Insight for your parenting journey from Dr. Todd Cartmell, and he’s our guest again today on “Focus on the Family.” Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Hey John. We have friends in the gallery here, and they are writing notes; people in the sound booth are writing notes from the last time we got together.

John: I’m writing some notes.

Todd: Maybe I’ll write some notes, too.


Jim: You know we are hitting a nerve here when we’re all taking notes on how to do a better job parenting. Dr. Todd Cartmell has written a book, 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids. Let me ask you this, Todd. First of all, welcome back to “Focus.”

Todd: Hey, great to be here. It’s been a long time since last time.

Jim: You know, sometimes I can have a little bit of a critical eye when it comes to the eight simple things of doing whatever—eight simple ways to a great marriage, 10 whatever. The goal isn’t necessarily just to make it simple, but to make it practical and to help parents do a better job. So, I want to give you a little moment here to talk about that. These are just relatively simple ways to address parenting needs, things your children are going to need from you. Like a flower needs nutrient, a child needs certain parenting style to be able to be healthy and to flourish, right?

Todd: Right, right, yeah, totally correct. I mean, if I could even just read the eight simple–we’re gonna talk about them—I mean the tools. And these are tools that every single mom, every single dad, parent, needs to do. In fact, when we do them, I guess it’s just we want to do them well. So the 8 Simple Tools, Jim, are talking, listening, influencing our kids with our words, connecting, which means developing a strong, close relationship, teaching, encouraging, correcting and leading. And, you know, and when I take a look at that list myself, I say, “Well, what’s one tool there that I could do without,” and I can’t think of one. I mean we need all those eight tools.

Jim: Yeah, and that’s really good. You know at Focus on the Family that is what we are trying to do is to help you as a parent, each and every day, do the best job you can do. And I can tell you after meeting with thousands of families, those parents that are intentional about what they’re doing, it shows in the children. It really, really does.

John: But it’s not a formula, and you’re a child psychologist, Todd, so you know there’s no easy A + B = Perfect Child.

Todd: No, that’s for sure.

John: I appreciate your experience. We didn’t mention, Jim, that Todd and his wife, Laura, live in Chicago. He has written a number of books. He’s been a child psychologist for a long time, sees a lot of kids, knows a lot of stuff, but one of the things I appreciate is that he’s been very with these ideas. They’re not so lofty that I can’t put ’em into practice, and that list of eight is really important.

Jim: Well, and if you missed last time, get the CD or the download, because I thought there was really practical advice there. And like I said jokingly, we were all writing notes. But if you’re in that parenting phase of your life, there was some meat that you need to catch, so go back, download it, get it for your Smartphone, whatever you need to do.

Todd, right now what I want to do is turn to something you mentioned, the flexible thoughts in teaching your kids some nimbleness it sounds like, but teaching your children flexible thoughts. What are you driving at?

Todd: Well, this is probably one of the most frequent topics in the office when I see kids, and the idea is very simple. You know, there’s lots of times every day where, you know, something for all of us at any age where something doesn’t go the way you were hoping or expecting. You know, if you’re a kid, you have more homework than you wanted to, your baseball game got rained out, you know, your brother is making annoying noises, I mean whatever it might be. And when that happens—and again, this is daily—when that happens, you know the sequence is what tends to rush into your head is what I simply call “mad thoughts,” just at first.

Jim: What does that sound like, a mad thought?

Todd: There’s lots of them. You’ll probably recognize a few. A mad thought was No. 1 mad thought of all time would be, “It’s not fair.” You know, “My dad’s so mean.” “My mom never lets me do anything fun.” “This is going to take forever.” “How come everyone else has more fun than me?” Et cetera, et cetera. Now if those are easy to think of, the problem with them is that by and large they’re just not true. I mean, you know, just because your mom says, “Hey, you can’t have another bowl of cereal,” doesn’t mean she’s mean and she’s evil. But that’s what the mad thoughts say to you.

So the mad thoughts take over your head real quick. Then in that moment, since the way you’re thinking about something filters and I should say flavors the way you feel about it, I’ll teach kids the kids the mad thoughts now make you have mad feelings. So in two seconds you’ve gone from regular kid to mad head and mad feelings kid, and then in that state it’s really easy then to make a bad choice or a disrespectful choice with your words, with your actions.

And now you’re in all sorts of—all the kids will say—”trouble.” And why? Because you’re acting disrespectfully, but your train went off the tracks up here, not because you had too much homework that day; that was just a situation that happens to tons of kids. It’s the way you were thinking about it that threw everything else off.

Jim: Yeah.

Todd: And of course this is going to happen to us as parents. You can probably, you know, picture that really quick. Now the solution, you know, we don’t want to be thinking those mad thoughts. The alternative is to train our kids to think flexible thoughts, because, you know, in any situation, you know, the kid who has a lot of homework, you know, one kid’s throwing a fit about it while some other kid isn’t. Well, what’s he doing? How come he’s not throwing a fit?

Jim: He’s just getting it done.

Todd: Well, now he’s getting it done because he’s thinking flexibly about it. It’s the same sequence. He’s got a bunch of homework, but in his head he’s thinking something different. He does not have a head full of mad thoughts; he’s thinking, well, I’ll just get it done. It’s no big deal. Everyone has homework; not just me; and the sooner I start, the sooner I’m done. I’ll just do it. When I’m done, I can play.

Now those are flexibles. And when you’re thinking like that, notice the different emotion. You know, you don’t feel all mad and just, ah, it’s so terrible. You feel, well, kids would say, “I feel fine.” And then in that state it’s so much easier to make a good choice, a smart choice, a respectful choice with your words, with your actions. The outcome? Great. How much trouble is the flexible kid in? Zero. Who gets the homework done first? The flexible. Who’s not getting it done? Mad. Who’s in trouble? The mad guy. Who’s outside playing? The flexible kid.

Jim: Let me ask you this, though. When you have a chronic mad kid, where do you start? What is the recipe to get him or her back on track?

Todd: Yeah, well, what you’ve got is you’ve got a kid, you know, just like you have physical habits, you’ve got mental habits. You’ve got a kid who just is in the habit of thinking mad thoughts so quick his head’s spinning. He doesn’t even know he’s doin’ it.

Jim: It’s a pattern.

Todd: It’s a pattern, yeah, just a mental habit. When something happens, “Uh, oh,” and maybe he verbalizes it; maybe he doesn’t; but even if he’s not verbalizing it, he is thinking it, because that’s what controls the rest of it down the track. So the way you intervene is you say, well, I’ve got a kid who’s obviously quite skilled at thinking mad thoughts, but that’s not quite the skill we’re going for. I’d like to help him get more skilled at thinking flexible thoughts.

And so again you’re turning now into a teacher. You say, “Well, my kid’s skill at thinking flexibly isn’t so hot. Or it’s good sometimes, but other times it’s not so great.” So in these certain situations I see what’s happening. The mad thoughts are overtaking him. Well, then what we’ll do is we’ll sit down when we’re not in one of these situations, and we’ll help him. Maybe I’ll kind of introduce the idea of mad and flexible. That’s not too tricky. And then we’ll start coming up with some flexibles, very simple one-sentence thoughts that would really help him make a good choice. And that’s always the phrase, “What flexible thought will help you make a good choice in this situation?” And we’ll maybe we’ll come up with a couple. We’ll write them down. We’ll memorize them.

Jim: What would be an example of that–

Todd: Sure.

Jim: –just to be practical for the parents writing notes.

Todd: Sure. Well, I’ll give you the top five of—I call this my Top 5 List. I teach this to kids all day long, every single day. Here they are, Top 5. And again, this is not what the boy or girl is to say to somebody, though sometimes it’s what–

Jim: It’s what they’re supposed to think.

Todd: –it’s what they’re thinking, right. No. 1, “I should just do it.” When Mom tells you to go brush your teeth, the smartest thing for you to think is, I should just do it. Just get it done. No. 2, my personal favorite, “It’s no big deal.” Can’t have a cookie right now? Eh, no big deal. Have one later. So No. 1, “I should just do it.” No. 2, “No big deal.” No. 3, “Eh, it won’t take that long.” No. 4, “Eh, the sooner I start, the sooner I’m done.” No. 5, “Eh, it’s okay. Can’t go swimming right now. I can do it later.” So, “That’s okay, I can do it later.” Those are five great ones.

With little kids, you know, 5- or 6-years-old and older, you can teach all five, and they just have ’em memorize them.

Jim: I like that.

Todd: With little kids, just start with, “It’s no big deal.” That’s pretty generic and you can use that one a lot.

Jim: Let me ask you this: When should a parent go to someone like you, a child psychologist? And I know this is hard to define because it’s so case by case, but if you have that chronic situation, when should a parent say, “We may need somebody to talk with us about how to do this better because Johnny or Mary just isn’t responding well?”

Todd: Sure, sure. Well, a lot of times a parent really can sit with their boys and girls and talk about some of these ideas, even the idea of flexible, and introduce these skills and practice with them and help them learn ’em. You know, sometimes parents will memorize that list along with their kids and they’ll all kind of learn them and use them, and the parents will verbalize them. “Oh hey, the washing machine just, you know, broke. Hey, it’s no big deal. We can get a guy to come fix it.” You know, just verbalize that so you’re modeling it, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Todd: And that works lots and lots of times. But if you’ve got a boy or girl where, say they’re, well, just say with anger, for instance, or their behavior, if it’s really, really, you know, problematically negative in an extreme way, the fits are getting bigger, you know, getting more hurtful with words or actions or with throwing things, oh, it’s getting more extreme or you just see it’s getting more frequent and it’s just happening a lot, and then, you know, then you’re seeing that it’s not dying down. It’s continuing. That’s when you go, “Okay, maybe it would be wise to talk to somebody.”

John: And if you need to talk to somebody before you talk to somebody that’s at an office, give us a call here at Focus on the Family. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And we’ve got caring Christian counselors that offer an initial consult with you, and we’ve got a referral tool to help find a counselor in your area that you can connect with and have ongoing conversations. You can also find out more about Dr. Cartmell’s book and that referral tool I mentioned at

And Jim, that’s an aspect that I really appreciated about Dr. Cartmell and his book, 8 Simple Tools For Raising Great Kids, this flexible thinking thing applies to me as a parent (Laughter), too. It’s not just for me to teach my kids.

Todd: Oh totally and one of the things that every parent can do is they can memorize some parent flexible thoughts. I mean, boy, this is like monstrously huge for me anyway. Because you know, when your kids are misbehaving and they’re challenging; you’re frustrated, again, what we talked about with parent frustration the other day, that’s when you need to stay in control. Well, how do you stay in control of your emotions? By thinking the right way, by having two or three parent flexible thoughts that just nail you right in the heart, and memorizing, again, as you said, Jim, being intentional about it.

I’ve got a couple that I know that I use—my boys are older, but I’ve used a lot. You know, one is, for example, “Hey, I don’t want to follow his example. I want him to follow mine.” That one gets me right in the gut, so I have that one memorized. Or another one I said earlier,”Hey, my job right now is to teach the right lesson the right way.” And when I think like that, it gets me focused on what I’m trying to do and helps me simply to be in more control and more effective.

Jim: Right. It calms you down, which is the key so often in these skirmishes that you find yourself in.

Todd: Yeah, because otherwise you’re rattling out of control. You know it while you’re doing it. You’re making things worse, you can sense it, and you’re part of the problem, and we don’t want to be part of the problem.

Jim: Let me ask you this. This is probably every parent. I don’t want to be that generalistic, but I think just about every parent has this experience where you’re in the checkout line and, you know, your little one is old enough to know—and I don’t know why stores do this; it must be an anti-parent plot—

Todd: Right.

Jim: –but they put all the goodies right at the check-out line, right? All the snacks and the little colorful things, and your kids always say, “Hey mommy, daddy, I want one of these.” And then you get into a, “No, not right now,” and then they go into a tantrum. How to manage that moment? Either give us your own life, real-life experience or the theoretical thing of what you should do.

Todd: Well, I think there [are] two things. One is you have to manage that exact moment, you know, and sometimes you can get your, you know, you can pull your kids away from it, you can distract them; here, here’s a pretzel, whatever.

Jim: I mean they are in a full-blown cry mode right now. Waa!

Todd: Ah, hey.

Jim: What are you gonna do?

Todd: There’s a few times where we’ve just had to leave the cart and take them home. You don’t solve that situation in the moment. I mean you have to do whatever you can in that second to get through that, but then you go, okay, you know, again you turn into a teacher. You say taking Johnny to the grocery store is not so hot. So either No. 1, he’s not at the age where I’m gonna take him anymore, so you know, we’ll leave him at home and handle that when he’s older. But maybe, hey, maybe I have to take him. Maybe I’m a single mom or something. Okay, well then, you practice doing it right. And I literally mean that’s the way you’re thinking.

It’s funny you say the grocery store. I can think of literally, no joke, when our boys are 4, 5 years old, going to the grocery store not to buy stuff, but to practice how to walk through the grocery store the right way. I’m big into practicing positive behavior. And so, you identify the negative situation and you figure out a couple of things. What do we want our boys or girls to say and do? I mean this gets pretty simple, because they are gonna say something; they’re gonna do something. That’s kind of what we’re working with.

So in this situation, what do I want ’em to say? What do I want ’em to do exactly? We’re walking through the grocery store. Well, where do I want them to walk for safety? I don’t want ’em running around, so how am I going to define that? Nice and simple. For our guys it was, you know, hand on the cart and whatever. And then if we do a good job, we can go see the lobsters at the end of the store, you know. That was a big thing for them.

And we literally go through the store, walk up and down the aisles, and this was just literally for practicing. And then I’d say, “Hey Pal, would you please go get me that cereal box?” And he’d go get it and put it in. We don’t really need it, so let’s put it back. But we’d practice how to go through the store, and you could practice, “Okay, guys, we’re about to go to the checkout line. If we do a good job, you know, listening to mom and dad, we’re not gonna get anything right now, but if we do a good job at the end, then we can go and get some ice cream at the end, whatever, however you want to do it. But you practice doing it right and you literally practice it a few times and you build that skill. That’s how you solve the problem; not on the spot, but before the next time.

Jim: I had never thought about that. Have you ever thought about that, to practice it?

John: I never felt like I had the time to practice. (Laughter)

Jim: Shopping’s a chore just doing it for real, but to go do it to pretend.

Todd: Yeah.

John: Don’t send me grocery shopping and then I don’t come home with anything.

Jim: Did you feel some nails on a chalk board right now?

Todd: Yeah, yeah. It’s a great idea, though.

Jim: But it is a good idea, and it’s a thoughtful thing, because you can leave if there’s an issue. You can take ’em out.

Todd: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jim: You’re not having to leave the basket full of groceries. Yeah, it’s not a high-stakes situation.

Todd: Yeah, and you can apply that idea to any situation. I can remember another one where my guys were younger and we were having a problem sharing, and with you know, whatever, little Hot Wheels cars and things. And so, I just thought, okay, well, since they’re in a sharing situation, you know, one or more boys is having a problem figuring out what to do, okay. What do I want them to say? What do I want them to do? So I start thinking of things, and I thought, oh well, sharing’s a little complicated because it’s not just like one right answer, so I think I came up with three.

What were they? One is, I did it from the perspective of the boy who’s got the toy and then the other boy asks, “Hey, can I use that?” So the boy who’s got the toy, if he’s been using it for a while he can say, “Sure. Here you go. You can use it.” Or, but what if he’s just started using it? What if he’s just still using it? He could say, “Well, I’m using it right now, but you could use it later.” See how I’ve got these memorized. These are exactly the ones we did; they are still in my mind. Or a third one I thought, well, what if it’s some toys, some items you can play together, so maybe he could say, “Well, I’m still using it, but maybe we could play together.” And that was it.

Jim: Three.

Todd: That was enough. I had my guys memorize those and we just went over them. And then we sat down and I would be one, you know, I would role-play like one of the boys, and then Jake would have his car and I’d say, “Hey, can I use that?” And I’d coach him and he’d say, “Well, I’m using it now, but you can use it when I’m done.” “Buddy, that was awesome. Way to go, way to go.” And then we’d practice over and over.

And then, of course, once they got the skill going, then in real life, back to being encouraging and affirming, in real life I’m watching like a hawk for him or even if I could see a situation that’s about to happen, It’s like, well, I’d say, “Buddy, Buddy, I think Luke’s going to ask you if he can [use your toy]. So remember, I’m watching you. Use your skills, Pal.” And then he’d use them. I’d say, “Buddy, that was awesome. You did it.” And we’d make it fun. We’d make it exciting. We’d make them glad they did it, and then they’d want to do it again, and what happens to that kind of arguing? It just goes away.

Jim: That is amazingly simple, but very effective. I think everybody should be writing that one down. Just practice the behavior you want to see with them and let them role play with you. I think that’s brilliant.

Jim: Todd, let me ask you about this. So many of our kids will have a bad day from time to time. They’ll come home from school and, you know, “She said this” or “He said that and hurt my feelings.” How do we create in our kids a resiliency and ability to bounce back when they are knocked down and we’re not around to pick ’em up and be positive with them and say, “Don’t worry about that. He’s just a bully”? And how do we instill in them that ability to rebound from hard hits?

Todd: Well, you know, I think the answer to that is gonna touch on two of the things we’ve already talked about. No. 1, it’s gonna be being a good listener, because if they’re coming with, you know, their trucks are full with something that’s weighty, you know, we want them to unload that truck and to feel valued and heard and listened to and cared about. So, that’s step No. 1. You’re really not going to get to step No. 2 until you do step No. 1 on that one.

But then, what we want them to do, and this is a variation of flexible thinking; it’s kind of one category higher; flexible thoughts are great because they are true. If you notice, every flexible thought I said, the reason it had power was because it’s true. It’s no big deal. Well, that’s true, because a lot of things are not a big deal. That would not be true if something that is a big deal. So flexible thoughts are true; that’s where they get their oomph.

So we want our kids to think things that are true. And if they’ve had a tough situation and if they are discouraged, if they just did poorly on a test, if their, you know, team just lost a championship, I mean whatever [it is], a good friend has just backstabbed them or whatever the situation is, the tendency is for any of us to slip into what I would call a negative thinking trap where we think things that aren’t true about that other person or ourselves or our future.

Now nobody likes them. Now everybody hates me. I’m so stupid. Not true, not true, and not true, but it’s so easy to slip into those. So once we’ve done our listening, then we’re in a good position to very gently help our kids adopt a perspective towards that situation that is one thing: true. And it’s easy to go off the true path, and that’s where they can need some help from mom or Dad, just to look at the situation again in a way that’s accurate.

Jim: Well, and again, when we have such epidemic bouts of depression in children and suicide and the things we talked about a little bit last time, we need to equip our kids to understand who they are, particularly in Christ, and the fact that they’re okay, that they are gonna be okay—

Todd: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: –and take the long view of that. You encourage parents to think through how they are telling their kids “no.” We’ve kind of danced around that, but I think we all have our personal opinion on how we say the word “no” (Laughter)–firm, soft, gentle, what have you.

John: Gentle and consistently.

Jim: Consistently. I mean Jean would criticize me for that. “You’re not all that consistent, Jim.” How do we say “no” in a healthy way?

Todd: Well again, there are so many different situations. Sometimes you can just say, “No, Pal, we can’t do that right now,” and you know, then that would be fine. If you’ve got a boy or girl, though, that you know is, you know, tends to be a little inflexible, so picture us saying “no” as if they’re about to go through a door and you’re about to close that door on them.

Well, some kids are good at bouncing to another door; other kids not so good; they just want to pound on that door and say, “Hey, hey! Open up that door! Why’d you shut it for?” So for those kids, you can say “no” and in your, you know, kind of declining response, you can add some bounce to it so, “Well, Pal, we probably,” and watch, I’m not even going to say the word “no.”

“Hey, mom [or dad], can I play video games right now?” “Probably not time right now, Buddy, but there might be time after school tomorrow.” So notice I didn’t say no, but I said, “No, we’re not gonna be able to play video games now.” But notice what I did. I inserted a flexible thought in there.

Jim: A hope.

Todd: I gave em, yeah, I gave them a free flexible. I said, “Pal, you know, we probably have time, if you get your homework done, you can do it.” Or, “Hey, I’m sure there’ll be some time tomorrow.” So I’m giving them a flexible and helping him bounce.

Jim: And by doing that, you’re monitoring and modulating how much they are going to take in, especially in that area of video games.

John: “Yeah but dad, I just want to play for 10 minutes. Just right now for 10 minutes.” (Laughter) Just right now for 10 minutes.”

Jim: “Did you not hear me say ‘No’?”

Todd: Yeah, yeah, yeah, what did you not hear about “no” the first time?

Jim: Well, we didn’t say the word; that’s the problem.

John: Some kids need a direct “no,” and that’s where I guess I’m going here.

Todd: Oh, oh, sure.

John: How do you handle the–

Jim: The persistent.

John: –the persistent kid who says, “Yeah, but 10 minutes now, dad, come on.”

Todd: I’d say, “Well, Pal.”

Jim: “It’s only 10!”

Todd: I’d say, “Well Pal,” of course it depends on our situation. “Buddy, I’m afraid there’s not time right now, Pal, but I’m sure we can do it next time. I’m sure we can do it after dinner. And if not, I’m sure we’ll get it tomorrow.” Now I’d put my hand on your shoulder, I’d be saying this in a warm style, because there is no problem. All there is we can’t play video games right now. It’s not a big deal, and I’m just trying to help you bounce, and I’ll do it with a warm style and you’ll be much more receptive to my bouncing with the warm style than a non-warm style.

John: Yeah, the style is so important. I mean when you say, “It’s not a big deal” or, “Hey Buddy,” what I hear you saying to the child is, “I’m not gonna be Mr. Authoritative saying, ‘No!’ I’m going to instead come

Todd: Yeah, and notice we’re still not playing video games right now. That’s not gonna change. But I can implement that any way I choose.”

Jim: Well, what makes that challenging, too, is you have different temperaments in your children, so one child is going to respond to that very quickly and very easily; another child’s going to be a little more abrasive with that kind of approach, and you gotta know your child.

Todd: Yeah and that child probably needs the warm style even more.

Jim: Right, and in fact, we tend to go colder with that child that needs more warmth.

Todd: So now we’re part of the problem.

Jim: Interesting. Hey Todd, one of the biggest issues you find among parents is what you call a slow response time. This is a little counter-intuitive, because I would think slow response time as you’ve talked to us is a good thing. You slow yourself down; you think about it. But you’re saying, no, quick response is what you want as a parent.

Todd: Well, we talked about kind of a nice, warm style with a nice pace, but when I say “response time” I mean how much time, in a behavioral sense, literally lapses between the initiation of my child’s non-compliance or their first negative behavior to when I begin to respond. And if I say, “Hey Pal, please turn off the TV,” and he’s sitting there watching the TV and, you know, sometimes I’ll hear this. “I told him to turn the video game off and 15 minutes later I come back and they’re still playing.” I’m thinking, well, what happened 14 minutes and 45 seconds prior? You know, that’s what I mean by slow response time–

Jim: Right.

Todd: –you know, way, way too slow, because what’s happening is, if you look at it from the kid’s point of view, he’s playing a video game, Dad says, “Hey Pal, turn it off.” He goes, “Uh” you know, and keeps on playing. He knows he’s supposed to turn it off; he’s not turning it off. What’s happening, he’s playing the video game; nothing else is happening, so his negative behavior in behavioral terms is being rewarded or reinforced, and he’s learning, “Oh, I guess when Dad tells me to do something, I guess I’ve got some buffer time. Great, I’ll remember that for next time.”

Jim: (Chuckling) Right.

Todd: That’s slow response style, bad move. Now when a parent responds much more quickly, and I mean like quick, not like, you know, we’re a Gestapo quick, but like, you know,10 seconds or so, what is it we want our kid to say or do when we ask them to do something? We want them to respond. If there isn’t a response, then either he didn’t hear me–that’s just an accident, no problem–but if he did hear me, then I want him to respond in a respectful way.

And there [are] lots of appropriate verbal things he could say. That’s what I want. And if we don’t get that, then I’m going to respond quickly, quick response time, but with a warm style, and say, “Hey Pal, did you hear me? Hey Buddy, we’ve got to turn that off.” And I’m not gonna let a lot of time lapse in the middle.

Jim: Todd, these have been two great programs, a lot of practical advice from your book, 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids. Everybody in here has taken notes. I’m hoping you, the listener, you’re also taking those notes. If you’re driving and you haven’t been able to write them down, just get a copy of the CD or you can go to download the PDF or you can download the app for your Smartphone and listen again. These are great ideas and wonderful thoughts, some so simple, Todd. really, it’s amazing the idea of walk

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Home Schooling: Giving Your Child a Strong Foundation

Home schooling is one of the fastest growing forms of education in the United States and a lot of families are interested … but intimidated as well! Monica Swanson describes how she was reluctant at first, but soon reveled in the many benefits of home schooling. Things like prepping them for life in the real world, shaping the character of her sons, and providing them with a solid Christian worldview.

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Practical Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Jay and Laura Laffoon laugh their way through a conversation on practical ways to celebrate your marriage. This couple of over thirty-nine years talks about how to enjoy your spouse by improving your day-to-day habits and attitudes. Work, parenting, and the realities of life can keep couples from taking the time to invest in each other, so Jay and Laura advise couples about how to be intentional and connect more deeply.

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Moms and Anger: Understanding Your Triggers (Part 2 of 2)

Amber Lia and Wendy Speake discuss common external and internal triggers that can make mothers angry. They share their journeys overcoming their own triggers, like when their children disobey and complain, and when they have to deal with exhaustion. Our guests offer encouragement to moms and explain how they can prepare to handle their triggers in a healthier way. (Part 2 of 2)

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Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

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Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.