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The Response-Able Parenting Newsletter 28
May 28, 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]


"Never place a period in your life, where God only meant to place a comma."

— Gracie Allen


2. Health Report [back to top]


Many of you have written to inquire about my health.

I am happy to report I am back in the saddle again. After several weeks of radiation and chemo and three months of recovery, my latest CAT scan was clear. You can only imagine the celebration that occurred in my family. Having made it over this hurdle, my focus is now on staying cancer-free forever.

My deepest thanks go to those of you who prayed in my behalf, sent words of
encouragement, and helped to keep my spirits up. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Now it is time to concentrate again on helping parents and teachers raise responsible, caring, confident young people. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts, ideas, and strategies with you through this newsletter. Please pass it on.


3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


Observe how your children approach you today. What is their approach saying about the ways they perceive you? What is it saying about the ways you perceive them?


4. Facts [back to top]


About 10.4 million Americans between ages twelve and twenty had at least one alcoholic drink last month. Nearly 7 million of these underage kids could be considered binge drinkers, consuming five or more drinks in a row on a single occasion.

Go to for parenting resources and suggestions.


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

comment to


5. Article: "10 Tips for Making Your Family Vacation the Best Ever" [back to top]


by Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

Summer is fast approaching and school is coming to an end. Soon it will be time to load the family in the car and head down the road on a vacation you hope will be more than fun for all.

Perhaps you're thinking of vacationing somewhere new this year and taking in the sights of our beautiful country. Or maybe you're planning on spending some much needed R & R around a campfire at your favorite campground. Whether you plan to vacation for a full week or a few long weekends, how you prepare the family can make or break this year's vacation. The ten tips below can help you make this year's family vacation the best ever.

#1 ESTABLISH A MUTUAL PLAN: Allow every member of the family to have input on the type of vacation and/or activities they would like to experience. Pick a destination together. Reach consensus on what type of vacation you want to create. Then brainstorm all the possible sites to visit and potential activities. Build a list of things you want to do, making sure that each family member has a top priority on the list. When everyone has a say, you build commitment and lower resistance.

If your children are younger, establish the destination with your spouse, and then discuss with your children various options about what to do when you get there. As your children get older, increase their input on decisions.

By allowing every family member to have input, ownership is established. Each family member can now look forward to the specific part he or she desires while allowing other family members to enjoy their special preferences.

#2 VACATION WITHIN YOUR FINANCIAL MEANS: Plan a vacation that you know you can afford. Stress builds as the money dwindles. Do only what you can afford to do. If you can't afford to take a vacation the way you'd like, plan to take that vacation at a later date and get everyone involved in building the funds to do so. Agree that for now you will vacation within the limits of what the family can afford. This models fiscal responsibility for your children and teaches them to work and save for something desirable.

#3 STICK TO THE CHILDREN'S REGULAR DAILY SCHEDULE/ROUTINE: The younger the child, the more important it is to stick to your regular schedule. While on vacation, children under the age of ten need to go to bed, get up, and eat at the same times they normally do. Young children's bodies are not able to adjust quickly to time changes and schedule adjustments. The more adjustments in their traditional schedules your children are called upon to make, the more mood swings and irritability you're likely to encounter. For a less stressful, more relaxed vacation, keep the changes in schedule to a minimum.

#4 BE FLEXIBLE: No matter what the plan, be willing and able to adjust it. No matter how well you planned beforehand, surprises and unexpected events will occur. Flexibility allows you to bring variability and energy to your vacation plan. When roadblocks occur, stubbornly insisting that the plan be precisely followed can create unwelcome tension. Relax and roll with the punches.

#5 DON'T ATTEMPT TO DO IT ALL: Slow down. The more you and your family members attempt to "fit it all in," the greater the chance that irritability and frustration will occur. Set a steady pace that attempts to accomplish a little bit of the plan at a time. Don't push to accomplish everything on your list. Remember, a vacation is about enjoying and savoring time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

#6 REMEMBER THAT BOREDOM IS A CHOICE: When traveling (especially by car), take a variety of games, toys, books, and videos to occupy time. Be creative. The words "I'm bored" or "This is boring" are cues that it's time to make a different choice and change to another activity. Perhaps it's time to get out of the car and run around. It could be time to stop at a new restaurant. A travel center could provide treasures of trinkets, books, and brochures to rekindle interest.

#7 DON'T ATTEMPT TO DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER AS A FAMILY: You don't have to do everything together as a family all the time. It's okay to split up. Different people have different interests. Allow for opportunities to explore these different interests without feeling the need to stick with those who will find them boring and be inclined to "grumble and moan" about it. Seek opportunities to have one-on-one time with each of your children. The experiences of the individual will add life and energy to the family as they are shared and talked about later.

#8 FOLLOW A HIGH-VOLUME DAY WITH A LOW-VOLUME DAY: Give yourself and your children the opportunity to recuperate and reenergize. Mix a day of rest and low activity in with the fast-paced, high-energy days. The entire family will be able to enjoy the high-volume day when everyone's energy is strong. Your family will only be as energetic as the least energetic person.

#9 EAT HEALTHY WHENEVER POSSIBLE: So many vacations are riddled with fast food and high-sugar drinks. As the vacation progresses, the body's need to manage stress challenges the immune system. Eating healthy and drinking water instead of soft drinks increases the body's ability to adjust and cope with change. No one wants to be sick while on vacation. Eating healthy increases your chances of staying healthy and full of energy.

#10 MAKE A "BE" CHOICE: Discuss and choose how you are going to "BE" during various parts of the vacation. Decide to "BE" playful at times, serious at other times. Talk about the various choices in mood and temperament that are available to everyone during a specific activity. If a trip is planned in which waiting in line is likely, some choices are to "BE" observant, friendly, patient, frustrated, curious, or talkative. Help one another make choices that enable the vacation to be enjoyable for the entire family. Support one another in making a helpful "BE" choice and in
BEING that choice.

Once your vacation is over, come together as a family and discuss how it went. View pictures together and reflect on what each person remembers about that moment. Debrief and evaluate what worked and what didn't. Consider adjustments that would make the next family vacation smoother and more enjoyable. Begin to plan the next trip, keeping in mind the highs and lows of the trip that just passed. Doing so will put you on your way to making your next family vacation the best one ever.

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 "Couple Talk," a FREE email newsletter for couples. Subscribe to it at Visit and


6. Article Reprints [back to top]


Chick Moorman's articles are available for reprinting and distribution. All I ask is that you keep my name at the top of the article and attach the following tagline at the bottom:

Chick Moorman is the author of "Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Child in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility" and "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit." (Available from Personal Power Press at (toll-free) 877-360-1477.) He publishes FREE e-newsletters for parents and educators.

Contact him at to get your free subscription to one or both newsletters.

Thank you for your compliance with this request.


7. Parent Talk Tip [back to top]


When your child comes to you with a concern, most likely you can solve the problem. As an experienced adult, you have the answers. You know what to do. Do that often and your child begins to see you as the problem solver, the fixer, the rescuer. Your child loses confidence in his or her own ability to handle problems and fails to build skills to use when you are not around.

Instead of giving answers, consider asking questions.

Questions can help your child consider options: "What have you thought of so far?" "What other possibilities do you see?"

Questions can help your child focus and clarify goals: "What are you attempting to accomplish here?" "How would you like it to turn out?"

You communicate trust when you ask your child questions: "What can you do to create it the way you want it?" "How would you handle this if no one were around to ask?"

Questions allow you to become the facilitator. They help you step out of the rescuing role: "What do you think would happen if you did that?" "How would that feel if it were happening to you?" "So what do you think you will do?"

If your goal is raising a confident, skill-oriented solution-seeker, ask questions instead offering solutions.


Multiple copies of "Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Child in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility" can be obtained at discount prices by calling (toll-free) 877-360-1477 or emailing


8. Humor [back to top]


We childproofed our home three years ago, but they're still getting in.


9. Book Report [back to top]


Rights to print, publish, and sell a paperback edition of "Parent Talk" in the Thai language has been granted to The Master Group Management Company in Bangkok, Thailand. We're pleased that parents and children in Thailand will soon be benefiting from the helpful concepts the book contains.


10. We Get Emails [back to top]


Dear Chick,

Contemplating your last issue on youth sports, I recalled a discussion that occurred a few weeks ago during Bible study. We were discussing how in our minds, a busy life equals a successful life. We ended up taking about our children's extracurricular lives, including sports schedules.

I was shocked by the realization that we are teaching our kids to feel successful not by what they want to accomplish, but by what we want them to accomplish. Don't get me wrong. Of course every parent wants the best possible future for their little treasures. But the cost is tremendous.

We enroll them in so many activities that there is little time left for them to be kids. We focus so much on goals that we overlook the joy of living through the process, participating, learning a new skill, sharing, winning, losing, making choices, making mistakes, learning manners, sportsmanship, etc. It seems like we are trying to turn our children into degrees and titles rather than people.

My thoughts on this began the day my 6-year-old, Maria, told me she was bored. "Bored?" I asked. "Yes," she replied. "Entertain me." I was overwhelmed by her statement. Have I become my child's entertainer? Drive me here. Take me there. Enroll me in this and that. What about taking a bike ride, playing dolls, or reading a book? I was shocked that my 6-year-old would rather be scheduled to exhaustion than use her imagination or play "make believe." I wasn't teaching her how to live. I was teaching her to live fast enough so that nothing mattered.

I made the decision to teach my kids to become persons before ballet dancers or swimmers. I asked my daughter to choose her one favorite activity. We do that now, once a week. During the rest of the week we play together or she plays alone. The TV and computer are not options except on rare occasions.

At my Bible study, the mothers confessed to not ever having family dinners because of their kids' schedules. They complained how they and their husbands raced around after work taking their children to activities. Imagine what this is like when there are 2 or 3 kids. There were many opinions expressed, with some mothers saying that they want their kids to get a headstart for college!!!!! These are just kids!!!

Chick, I think our mission as parents is to leave healthy, loving, functioning adults on this earth, but our focus on how to achieve that has to change. For me, this has been a great lesson. Allowing Maria to think about what she wants to do, choose it, and then enjoy it in a relaxed manner is now my goal. In the end, it will be her accomplishment, and if I am lucky, she will invite me along for the ride.

Your friend,
Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned Mom,

Thanks for sharing. We do live in harried times. Thank you for the reminder to slow down, be selective, and enjoy the process.




11. Facilitator Training in the Parent Talk System [back to top]


WANTED: Training facilitators to learn the Parent Talk System's Language of Response-Able Parenting model.

GOAL: To help parents learn effective verbal skills to use with their children.

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 Schedule:
July 29, 30, 31
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.)


12. Managing Your Subscription [back to top]


A.) If you are receiving the newsletter as a forward and would like to insure that you get your personal free subscription, e-mail and request to be added to the parent newsletter.

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E.) Please recommend this free e-newsletter to any parent who is interested in adding tools to their parenting tool box.

F.) Please notify us if your e-mail address is about to change. Send your name and new e-mail address to Be sure to let us know your old e-mail address so we can unsubscribe it.


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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