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The Response-Able Parenting Newsletter 26
Mar 18, 2004


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]


"We do not learn from our experience. We learn from processing our experience."

----John Dewey


2. Application [back to top]


Dewey's belief that we learn from processing our experience was clearly demonstrated during the recent Shultz family vacation. Rondell and Cindy Schultz and their two children rented a small three-room apartment that served as their headquarters for four days over the winter break. They used this mini-condo as a meeting place, kitchen, bedroom, and recreation area when they weren't on the slopes skiing.

Since the Schultz family had never before attempted a winter vacation of this nature, the trip became an exciting adventure for them. The experience of living together in such close quarters for four days presented them with new data about themselves, their family, and one another.

As Rondell reported, "Since we had never done anything like this before as a family, it was interesting to see how we handled it. We had some positive surprises, and there were some things I wish we had done differently. The trip was definitely a learning experience for all of us."

While the four-day experience in the snow did help the Schultzes increase their knowledge of themselves as a family, the real learning took place in the car on the way home. That's when they did the processing. During the five-hour trip from the condo to their home, they put away their walk man, earphones, and game boy, focusing instead on one another. Everyone took a turn and shared what they liked best about the vacation. Then they told what they didn't like and what they would like to have happen differently next time. They also discussed how to improve family outings in the future, recording their ideas on paper and listing things they wanted to remember to bring next time as well as things they could do without. They set goals for their next family vacation. In other words, they analyzed, generalized, compared, and contrasted. They evaluated, predicted, and rank ordered their experiences.

Did they learn a lot from having their four-day experience? Yes. Did they learn even more as they processed the experience? Definitely.


3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


Is there something that feels or appears frantic to you today? What if you responded to it by not responding? What if you replaced action with quiet noticing?


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

comment to


4. Bumper Sticker [back to top]


Noticed on a white Hyundai in Chelsea, MI: I am too blessed to be stressed.


5. Subliminal Correspondence [back to top]


Submitted by Tony Summers

Dear Dad,

$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can't think of anything I need. $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.

Love, Your $on

Dear Son,

I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task and you can never study eNOugh.

Love, Dad


6. Fact [back to top]


One out of every two children in America will live in a single-parent family at some point in their childhood.


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


7. Summer Training of Trainers [back to top]


Take a giant step toward helping the parents in your community. Become a skilled facilitator of the Parent Talk System by attending our summer facilitator training. Join the growing number of people from around the world (USA, Mexico, Spain) who have learned how to help parents raise responsible, caring, confident children. We will help you learn to put the highly effective PARENT TALK skills into the hands of parents in your church, school, or organization. You will leave this three-day training with the skills and confidence to touch the hearts and minds of parents in your community!

Parent Talk System Training Details:
July 29, 30, 31 (Note corrected dates!)
Dearborn, MI
Spring Arbor University Campus

Facilitated by Chick Moorman and Judith Minton. Limited to 25 participants. Graduate credit available. To request a detailed brochure, email (Be sure to include your mailing address.)


8. Article: "Dealing with Lying: The Do's and Don'ts" [back to top]


by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

Jason Roberts listened to his son's explanation of the missing cookies and then called him a liar. Brenda Taylor thought her three-year-old's lies were cute, so she ignored them. Yee Chen told her daughter that if she told the truth this time, she would let it go.

While all of these parents love their children and want them to develop truth telling as a virtue, each violated one of the eighteen do's and don'ts of dealing with lying. Read on to find out how.

1. Do understand that all children lie. Dogs bark. Cats meow. And children lie. Your neighbors' children lie. Your sister's children lie. And yes, your own children lie.

2. Don't confuse exaggeration with lying. Young children often exaggerate. Embellished stories are more a sign of a creative imagination than of a person who does not tell the truth. Pre-schoolers are spontaneous and impulsive with their explanations and stories. Don't confuse this with lying.

3. Don't label your child verbally or mentally brand your child as a liar. A liar is something one is - a part of one's being. Telling a lie is a behavior one does once in awhile. An occasional lie does not make your child a liar. It is a behavior your child chose, not a permanent part of his or her essence.

4. Don't ask questions that set your child up to lie. If the last piece of cake is gone and your daughter has cake crumbs on her face, don't ask if she ate the cake. That's laying a trap, expecting her to lie. Say instead, "I'm disappointed that you ate the cake. There will be no more snacks today."

5. Do be honest. If you're unsure whether or not your child broke the dish, say, "That doesn't sound like the truth to me," or, "I can't think of another way it could have happened." In this way you refrain from accusing your child and simply share your thoughts about the situation from your perspective.

6. Don't jump immediately to the conclusion that your child is lying as he or she relates a story. Your child's perspective on a situation may be different from yours. Your child may be seeing an event from one narrow point of view. Although your child's viewpoint may be markedly different from yours, that doesn't mean that he or he is lying.

7. Do recognize that a child who lies frequently is often struggling with a low self-esteem. This child has problems with identity and self-worth. In such a case, lying is a strategy to protect the self from feelings of not being good enough. Lying is the symptom, not the problem.

8. Do help your child be successful. Even the child who seems to lie frequently is looking for a chance and a way to be successful. If the child is feeling successful, he or she will feel less need to lie.

9. Don't ignore lying. The lies as well as the problems that underlie them will get bigger if lying is left unattended. Since lying is often about needing attention, a child who tells lies always has something to say, whether his or her comments are accurate or not. If little lies do not get your attention, do not be surprised if the lies increase in size and intensity.

10. Do recognize a lie as a call for help. Your child is attempting to communicate. He or she is saying, "Help me be successful, feel good about myself, gain a sense of belonging, and/or receive attention." Hear the words that lie beneath the lie.

11. Do reduce the power struggle over lying by saying, "I don't believe you" rather than "You're lying." When you accuse children of lying by saying, "You're a liar" or "You're lying," it's easy for them to argue that they were telling the truth. They can't argue, however, with your beliefs. "I don't believe you" is about you and what you believe.

12. Don't try to rationalize with your child as a way to deal with the lies. Lies aren't always rational, and the child who engages in lying is not in a rational frame of mind. You might understand rational, logical thinking at this point. Your child will not.

13. Do implement consequences that connect responsibilities to opportunities. "If you choose to lie about what you were doing on the Internet, you choose to lose that responsibility for a week." "When you choose not to tell the truth about what you prepared for dinner, you lose my trust and the opportunity to prepare your own dinner."

14. Do follow through on the consequences of lying. If your child has lost his or her bicycle opportunities for two days, make sure the two days is two days.

15. Don't make rules that will punish future lying or use threats to try to stop a child from lying. When you threaten a child with, "If you lie one more time . . ," the child hears, "I expect you to do that one more time."

16. Don't promise your child that if he or she tells the truth, the consequence will be lighter. This is a form of plea bargaining that confuses children. Hold your child accountable for his or her behavior (for example, breaking a window) as well as for the lie that attempted to cover it up. Refuse to be distracted from the original behavior.

17. Don't assume that everything your child says is a lie. If you always treat your child's words as lies, why should your child ever want to tell the truth? What incentive exists for truth telling if you're going to think what your child says is a lie anyway?

18. Do realize that transforming lying behavior takes time. Look for improvement in the behavior rather than for a complete elimination of it. As the child gains self-confidence, the reasons for lying diminish. As your child recognizes that he or she is telling fewer lies, your child will feel better about himself or herself, and the lying will decrease even more.

Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of "Couple Talk: How to Talk Your Way to a Great Relationship" (available from Personal Power Press at (toll-free) 877-360-1477). They also publish a FREE email newsletter for couples. Subscribe to it at Visit


9. We Get Email [back to top]


Hello Mr. Moorman,

I teach with your son Matt. I heard you speak a couple of years ago when you keynoted our back-to-school days in August. I enjoyed your presentation and your book, "Spirit Whisperers." You helped me give myself permission to talk with students about important issues in addition to math, which I teach.

I was also pleasantly surprised that your message contained some simple ideas on how to improve parenting skills as well. Naturally, I bought "Parent Talk" too. My husband knew I was loving your book and heard some of the new ways I was using to speak to our older son, age 5. Just the fact that I was reading the book made us BOTH more conscious of how we were parenting.

I did not pester my husband about reading "Parent Talk" because I believe each person has to be ready to buy into new ways of doing things. It cannot be forced. However, I do admit to slipping it into the bathroom reading material, cleverly nestling it between "This Old House" magazines.

Recently our family of four had congregated in the bedroom. My husband was on the bed with our baby, and the 5-year-old was bouncing all over the place, annoying my dear hubby. After a couple of failed attempts to communicate his expectations, my husband looked up at me and said, "Can you help me with this one?" So I said, "Ethan, I wonder if you can find a way to help Daddy with his problem. He is trying to settle your brother down for bed. When you bounce around and make noise, Daddy can't do this. What could you do to help Daddy solve his problem?" Immediately our five-year-old said, "How about I go get a book, and we can read it together before the baby falls asleep?" My husband looked up at me with an appreciative look and said, "OK, I'll read the book."

Empowered Mother

Hello, Empowered Mother,

Thank you for sending this story. It warms my heart to hear how people are using the Parent Talk skills to communicate more effectively with their children. Have you and/or your husband ever thought of becoming Parent Talk trainers? We have a summer training scheduled for July. (See details in this newsletter, item #7 above.)




10. Recognition [back to top]


Chick Moorman is featured in the Winter 2004 issue of "Children of the New Earth." His column, entitled "Parent Talk: Helping Children Express Their Feelings," offers several Parent Talk strategies for helping children recognize, name, and talk about their feelings. Also included are the seven things you can say to help your child feel heard.

To subscribe or obtain further information, visit their Web site:


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 2004 Chick Moorman Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.


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