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"Moody" and "unpredictable" are adjectives parents will often use when referring to their teenagers.

Early intervention is always better than crisis management - but it is never too late to do the right thing.

It is what we say and do when we're angry that creates the very model our children will follow when dealing with their own frustrations.

The mistake that Sharon and I both made is we never set any boundaries.  (Ozzy Osbourne)

Whining and crying are employed by kids for the purpose of getting something. If it works, then it was worth the effort and will be repeated.

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. (Peggy O'Mara)

Removing a child from a traumatic environment does not remove the trauma from the child's memory.

"The thing that impresses me most about North America is the way parents obey their children"    (King Edward VII , 1841-1910)

Don't wait for him to turn 10 before you reveal that you are not in fact the hired help whose job it is to clean up after him.

Children fare better when expectations on them are clear and firm.

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Angry, Hurting Kids Who Swear



An excerpt from Kirk Martin’s newsletter that is worth passing on:

Angry children, kids who curse: what to say to them

A sweet grandmother approached me after a workshop one day and asked, “What can we do to get my grandson to stop cursing? He’s got a foul mouth and talks disrespectfully.” This is beyond simple eye rolling and normal teenage attitude. Kids don’t usually use foul or aggressive language unless they have been hurt.


Taking the hard line simply will not work. They want you to do that. They are tempting and taunting you to reject them. They want an excuse to justify their continued bad attitude. The following is a short excerpt from the brand new 10 Ways to Motivate Unmotivated Kids” CD.


Here is the language I would use when a child has been hurt through parents’ divorce, abuse, abandonment, being in the foster system, etc.


“Jake, you are completely justified in feeling angry and hurt. In fact, you should be angry. You didn’t ask for life to turn out this way. You didn’t deserve to see your parents go through such an ugly divorce/you didn’t deserve to get bounced around through the foster system/you didn’t deserve to have a parent who’s incapable of being a grown up. That’s not right and that’s not fair. So I get why you’re angry. What amazes me is that you’ve had the courage to stay in this relationship with me and not run or give up. There’s fight in there, Jake, and I like it. You are a fighter and you haven’t given up on yourself even though you’ve had every right to.


“So here’s the thing. I hear the foul language, the cursing. I know you may be trying to get a reaction out of me because we don’t talk like that in our home. But that’s not what I hear. I hear pain. I hear frustration. I hear a hurt kid who doesn’t know how to deal with these emotions and the pain he’s experienced. So that doesn’t throw me off. I think on a deeper level you may be testing me. You want to see if I am going to reject you like others have. But here’s my promise to you, Jake. I may not always do the right thing. I’ll probably get frustrated and lose it sometimes with you, I will. But I promise I am not going to reject you and push you away. I am not going anywhere.


“Because here’s what I see inside. I see a kid who’s been broken, but who has a great future ahead of him.” You have a huge heart and you know what it feels like to be hurt and alone-you’re going to help other people who’ve been hurt. You have gifts and talents I’ve never even dreamed of having-you can draw, create, play music, build things, invent in ways I never imagined.


“So here’s the tough choice you have to make, Jake. You have this chip on your shoulder. You want to punish people and push people away. You’re trying to convince yourself and others to give up on you so you can continue to justify this rage and anger you feel inside. I get that. But here’s the big choice you have to make. You cannot control your past. You cannot change what happened to you yesterday or last year or 5 years ago. But you can change what you do today and tomorrow. DO NOT ALLOW THE PAST TO ROB YOU OF YOUR FUTURE. You can either keep that chip on your shoulder and keep fighting people. Or you can lay it down. You can place it down and grind that into powder. And you can stand back up and say, ‘No matter what happened in my past, I get to choose my future. I am going to stop fighting people and start fighting obstacles that get in the way of achieving my dreams.’ That’s the choice you have to make, Jake.


“I cannot make that choice for you. No one can. Only you. That makes you the most powerful person in the world right now, Jake. No one is holding you back now. Don’t allow what evil people did to you in the past determine your future. You get to choose your future. And I’m excited for you. When you are ready to talk and if you need some help planning your next steps, come to me. I’ll help you and give you some ideas, but it’s ultimately up to you. I love you and believe in you.”


Some people find this easier to write than say. Writing notes can be very powerful because the child can read it over and over again.


No matter what you are dealing with, speak to kids like adults. They respect that. Speak to their hearts. It makes them feel safe when you know what’s going on inside them. It makes them feel understood, not rejected. It’s comforting to them.


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+ Behaviour Management (now available online)

This full day or 2 evening workshop will introduce you […]

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+ Lick Your Kids

  “Lick Your Kids” (figuratively not literally) (2 hours) First […]

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+ A Parent’s Guide to the Teenage Brain

  A teenager’s brain is not just an adult brain […]

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+ Reading Rescue

A program for children with reading problems

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+ Taming a Toddler

Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

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Phone: (519) 485-4678
Fax: (519) 485-0281

Email: info@rickharper.ca


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