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The Response-Able Parenting Newsletter 18
July 16, 2003


Welcome! This is a free newsletter on becoming a Response-Able parent, raising Response-Able children.



My mission is to strengthen families and improve parent communication skills (including my own), by helping parents learn practical, useable verbal strategies for raising responsible, caring, confident children.





1. Quote [back to top]


"What is wrong with spanking is the lesson it demonstrates. It teaches children undesirable methods of dealing with frustration. It dramatically tells them: 'When you are angry, hit!' Instead of displaying our ingenuity by finding civilized outlets for savage feelings, we give our children a taste of the jungle."

----Haim Ginott


2. Advice from a Child [back to top]


"When your dad is mad and asks you, 'Do I look stupid?' it's best not to answer him."

----Megan, age 13


3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


What if your main job as a parent is to make yourself dispensable? What are you doing today to help your children get along without you?


Subscriber comments, ideas, and concerns are valued. Email your

comment to


4. Facelift [back to top]


Increased traffic and demand for services has encouraged us to remodel our main Web page. The new look enables surfers to gain information quickly, sign up for both our newsletters, and access the new pressroom designed for media contacts.

Check out our new look at


5. Definition [back to top]


FAMILY PLANNING: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.


6. Statistic [back to top]


If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand 7 feet, two inches tall.


Privacy Statement: Under no circumstances do we sell, trade, or exchange your email address, ever. It is safe with us. Always!


6. Article: Guilt Tripping [back to top]


Guilt Tripping

by Chick Moorman

Larry and Corrina Johnson took their children on a trip this summer. No, they didn't visit Mt. Rushmore or the Grand Canyon. Fenway Park, the Field Museum, and the Mackinaw Bridge weren't part of the itinerary either. In fact, the Johnson family never left home. The trip their children experienced was delivered at the kitchen table. They received a full blown, all expenses paid, guilt trip delivered by Larry Johnson and lovingly supported by his wife, Corinna.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourselves," Larry said to his nine-year old twins to begin their summer excursion down guilt trip lane. "You haven't done anything of value all summer. All you do is lay around watching television, eating junk food, and leaving messes in the family room. Your poor mother works her fingers to the bone cleaning up after you. Don't you have any respect or level of feeling for your mother? If you do, you don't show it. She's a good woman and doesn't deserve to be treated the way you treat her. Do you see her gray hairs? Where do you suppose those come from? You're going to be the death or your mother the way you ignore her efforts. She loves you so much and you treat her like she's invisible. If anything ever happened to her, you'd be sorry. She's not going to be around forever you know. Sometimes she can't sleep at night from worrying about you two. I hope you're proud of yourselves because I'm not. Now, I expect to see a radical change in your behavior starting right now. Go over and give your mother a hug and show her how much you love her. Go on, do it now."

Larry Johnson did what a lot of parents do to manipulate their children into behaving in a desired fashion. He dispensed a huge dose of guilt.

Parents who use shame and guilt as a motivator do so because they believe that the technique is needed to encourage children to change. The idea is that if children can be shamed into feeling guilty, they will change their behavior and do what their parents desire.

There are times when shaming works and produces the behavior we want from out children. But at what price? Children who are shamed regularly come to believe that the shame is justified, that they must have earned it, and that they deserve it. They develop such core beliefs as "I'm no good," "I'm not enough," "I'm wrong," and "I'm not worthwhile." Children who have these core beliefs see themselves as shameful and act in accordance with their beliefs.

This negative belief system tends to attract increased shaming from the significant adults in their lives, which reinforces their negative core beliefs. These children often get caught up in a self-depreciating cycle of behaviors and parental responses that is difficult to exit.

Shame and guilt often backfire. Their use produces resistance and resentment. Children realize on some level they are being manipulated, pushed, and controlled by parent talk that shames. Manipulation breeds resentment. Pushing calls forth pushing back. Control is resented.

Parents who use shame in an effort to dispense guilt don't always do it as blatantly as Larry Johnson did with his twins. Parents often do guilt tripping so subtly that they are unaware that their parent talk is shame based. If you are using any of the following parent talk with your children, you are inserting shame into your language patterns.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
"That will make me feel bad."
"What will the neighbors think?"
"I'm glad your dead grandfather isn't here to see this."
"I can't sleep at night worrying about you."
"Someone who loves their mother (father) would never do that."
"Jesus wouldn't like that."
"You should know better."
"And you call yourself a Christian (Mormon, Jew, Muslim, Methodist, Baptist, etc.)."
"Your behavior gives me headaches."
"God sees everything you do."
"You've really disappointed your grandmother."
"How would you feel if no one sent you a birthday card?"

If you hear yourself using any of the sentences above, there is an alternative.
Instead of dispensing a shame-based communication, use a style of parent talk that is open, honest, and direct. Present choices to your children. Explain what happens if they choose a certain behavior and what happens if they don't. Allow them to choose and then experience the legitimate consequences of their behavior. Children learn more from a caring adult who helps them to evaluate their choices and the results that follow than they do from one who shames and continually lays guilt.

If you have strong feelings about a behavior or desired response, tell the child directly. Explain the reasons for your feelings. Step out of the resistance-resentment cycle by telling children exactly what you expect and why.

"I'm angry about the broken window, and you will need to find a way to pay for it" is more effective than "You should have known better." "Looks like you have chosen to work with a tutor this marking period. The two D's demonstrate that you can use some extra time and help in those subjects" is healthier than the guilt-laying "You really disappointed us with this report card."

Refuse to be one of those parents who cause children to feel shame and guilt for their actions. Communicate honestly without sneaking shame into the equation. Stay centered in your efforts to create respectful, responsible children by modeling those attributes in your behavior and in your parent talk.


8. Bumper Sticker [back to top]


Spotted on a minivan in Cancun, Mexico:

Be Their Hero From Age Zero


9. Announcing: COUPLE TALK: How to Talk Your Way to a Great Relationship, by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller [back to top]


This new book is a treasury of practical ideas for building a caring and respectful intimate relationship. It is filled with language skills that create honest and open communication patterns between you and your partner.

Learn powerful skills to help you:
* Resolve conflict.
* Increase trust and caring.
* Demonstrate listening and understanding.
* Communicate feelings without wounding the spirit.
* Encourage both autonomy and connectedness.
* Rekindle warmth and passion.
* Revitalize your relationship.


This 280-page hardback book will sell for $24.95 beginning on its publication date of August 15th.

Today we offer it for only $20 postpaid. Your copy will be shipped out the day COUPLE TALK arrives at our warehouse.

To take advantage of this special prepublication offer, call (toll-free) 877-360-1477, email, or send your check for $20 to Personal Power Press, P.O. Box 547, Merrill, MI 48637.

This special offer extends only until August 1st, so order your copy immediately!

If you liked PARENT TALK or TEACHER TALK, you won't want to miss COUPLE TALK!

10. Become a Parent Talk System Trainer [back to top]


Please join us for one of the following facilitator trainings in the Parent Talk System:

1. Dearborn, MI, July 31 - August 2, 2003

2. Wausau, WI, August 4-6, 2003

Facilitator trainings are designed to prepare local trainers to present the Parent Talk System to parents in their communities. This 3-day skill-based training will help facilitators learn strategies that teach parents how to raise responsible, caring, confident children.

Join a select group of people throughout the world who are already using Parent Talk skills to improve family life in their communities.

Request a detailed brochure today at (Please include your mailing address.)


11. Managing Your subscription [back to top]


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To find out more about workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses presented by Chick Moorman contact him at toll free, 877/360-1477 or email


Copyright 2003 Chick Moorman Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.


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