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The teenage years require a delicate balance between the young person's need to gain independence, and the parent's need to retain authority.

"Rules without relationship leads to rebellion" (Josh McDowell)

Children mimic well. They catch what they see better than they follow what they hear.

Hurt people hurt people.

Wouldn't it be nice if children would simply listen and learn.

"Parents aren't the cause of ADHD, but they are part of the solution." (Kenny Handleman, M.D.)

The more 2 parents differ in their approaches to discipline, the more likely it leads to trouble for the child.

A tantruming toddler is a little ball of writhing muscle and incredible strength. It's like trying to carry a greased pig past a slop bucket.

The challenge of adolescence is to balance the right of the parents to feel they are in charge with the need of the adolescent to gain independence.

If you (parents) tend to overreact to your child's misbehaviour - your child learns that he can't trust you. Mom, Dad, stay regulated!

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Moisture Alarms

Getting To Dry – Moisture Alarms
Moisture alarms is a treatment alternative that is based on the theory that bedwetting is caused by “deep sleep”. The problem with this hypothesis is that it has not been demonstrated that bedwetters are any deeper sleepers than non bedwetters.
There are 2 types of alarm systems:
– wearable
– night stand
Both systems work on the principle that moisture will complete an electrical circuit and an alarm will sound that is suppose to wake the child at the first sign of wetness. The intent is to condition a response to awaken the child when the bladder is distended. If the child is awakened, he can finish voiding in the bathroom. If it doesn’t wake him, the parents should ensure that the child is awakened, turns off the alarm and goes to the bathroom to finish voiding in the toilet.
The alarm was first developed by a German physician who was in charge of a paediatric hospital. The original intent was to alert the nursing staff when a child was wet and needed changing. The doctor discovered that many of the children began staying dry.
The procedure is relatively straight forward but it does require the complete cooperation of the child, support and encouragement of the parents and the understanding of the siblings because the alarm will probably disturb everyone in the family and can take several months to achieve success.
Moisture alarms are readily available at most drug stores and start at about $70. It is a good idea to get an extra electrical cord and sensor as they are prone to breaking and as I will soon explain, it makes the night time routine easier.
The wire of the wearable sensor is fed down through the pyjama top and into the bottoms. The sensor clips onto a thin pantyliner which is then stuck inside the crotch of underwear. A wide style of pantyliner is best for boys because the penis moves around as he moves.You want the sensor below the penis or vagina so it catches the urine easily and as soon as possible. The underwear should be relatively snug fitting to keep all the parts in proper alignment (not an easy task for boys).
Before you actually use the device during the night, you should have the child practise the routine of what will happen when it goes off. Set the unit up as described in the manufacturer’s instructions, have the child lie down in his bed as if sleeping and imagine that the alarm sounds. The child is to unplug the alarm, go into the bathroom and pretend to finish voiding in the toilet. Practice whatever bed making may need to be done, reset the alarm and pretend to go back to sleep. This is where the extra cord comes in handy because instead of having to delicately handle a wet pad and sensor, you simply put on dry underwear and pyjamas that have been previously prepared. This extra equipment will minimize much of the unpleasantness of the procedure.
Hopefully the child will wake up to the sound of the alarm. The goal is for the child to “beat the buzzer”. It may take some time with some children but you must persevere and you may find everyone else in the family awake except the bed wetter. If you find he does not awaken for the alarm, you MUST wake him but he MUST be the one who silences the alarm by unplugging it, goes to the toilet, change to dry bed clothes, fix his bed and resets the alarm. If you do any of these jobs for him, you are probably prolonging the problem. Expect the treatment to take 3-4 months to condition the child and consider it a bonus if it turns out to be less.
The advantages of this treatment option:
– safe
– can be effective
– seldom a problem with relapse
The disadvantages:
– cost
– occasional false alarm (sweat)
– can trigger a significant uprising from family members
– requires time and patience
The key is rapid waking of the child. We want the discomfort of a filling bladder to condition the child to wake up and go to the bathroom before he has an “accident”. It cannot be stressed too strongly the importance of the child taking full responsibility for the routine.
Behavioural Management Systems - Rick Harper's photo.
Behavioural Management Systems - Rick Harper's photo.

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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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See more of our workshops


2720 Rath Street, Putnam, Ontario

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

Email: info@rickharper.ca


Parents' Comments

“Rick’s approach is so logical. He helped us clearly define the problem, analyze what has happened and select the best strategy. We now feel empowered to do something positive for our kid”

(A.N. – Tillsonburg)