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The Response-Able Parenting Newsletter 29
July 12, 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 must return optimism to our parenting. To focus on the joys, not the hassles; the love, not the disappointments; the common sense, not the complexities.

----Fred G. Gosman


2. Bumper Sticker [back to top]


Spotted in Madison, WI on a blue Dodge Dakota.

Happiness is having a large loving family ... in another city.

I don't get this one. What is this person trying to communicate? Is he making a statement about a recent divorce? Is he simply trying to be clever?

What concerns me most is what his children must think of this message. Doesn't it communicate, "I like being away from my family?" Doesn't it tell them, "I am happy I don't live with you?"

Someone please explain this to me.


3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


Somewhere today you can create a parenting miracle by shifting your perception, by choosing to see the situation differently. Will you notice it? Will you make that shift?


4. Definition [back to top]


WHODUNIT: None of the kids who live in your house.


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

comment to


5. Article: "Creating A Blended Family" [back to top]


by Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman

Creating A Blended Family: The Do's and Don'ts

By Tom Haller and Chick Moorman

Tyler and Ginny waited until they decided to get married to tell the children. Soon after they were married they informed the children they expected to be called mom and dad.

Since they had different beliefs about discipline, Tyler and Ginny handled their children differently. A few months into their efforts to create a positive blended family experience, they realized it wasn't working. Strained relationships, marriage stress, and conflict abounded.

Sadly, much of the family tension that existed was preventable. Had Tyler and Ginny implemented the strategies detailed in the do's and don'ts of creating a blended family that follow, they could have saved themselves considerable frustration.

Are you contemplating blending two families together? Are you planning on marrying someone with children? If so, check out the ideas below. They just may help you create a more satisfying and nurturing blended family.

Do start talking with your children about the possibility of blending your family, early. LONG before your marriage, begin the dialogue about the future family life. Mix in lots of listening so that all the children feel heard.

Don't push your children into creating relationships. Allow those relationships to evolve slowly and naturally over time. Give your children the time, space and flexibility to adjust to the new situation.

Do establish new traditions. Some current traditions and rituals you will want to maintain. Others you will need to create around the new family setting. Look for uniqueness in your new blended family and build a tradition around that.

Don't expect your stepchildren to call you mom or dad. Let the stepchildren decide what they want to call you. Their comfort level is important here. If they don't naturally settle on a name, meet with them to establish a name that you are mutually comfortable being called.

Do establish a unified parenting approach that is evenly applied to all in the family. Reach agreement with your new partner on how to address the important parenting situations that present themselves. Correct behavior from a position of, "This is how we do it in our family."

Don't focus exclusively on the family and neglect strengthening your marriage. Raising children is a challenge. Raising other people's children is a special challenge. Having a strong marriage will help you manage the challenge of blending your families together.

Do spend some time alone with each child and stepchild. Set aside time each day to connect one-on-one with all the children in your new family. This will help them establish a sense of belonging that enhances their connection to the family. Do hold family meetings. This gives all members of the family a chance to express their opinions and have input into the rules, schedule, and planning of upcoming events. Family meetings provide opportunities for family members to vent as well as express appreciation.

Don't attempt to do it alone. Seek support from a local community organization or family therapist professional. For more information on blended families, contact stepfamily Association of America at (800) 735-0329 or

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 and


6. Web Sites for Step-Families


Check out for a list of links to web sites about step families or blended families.


7. Parent Talk Tip: Sex Talk [back to top]


Dear Chick,

Please help me tell my nine year old about sex. I keep reading that my son is on the verge of puberty and that we should prepare him. One of my parent magazines suggested a book. I went to the library and got it. I CAN NOT tell my son some of those things. My husband and I are open people, but I don't think a nine year old needs to know the mechanics of intercourse. Am I being naive here?

I had my second child last summer and when my son asked how she got in my tummy, I told him, "When a mommy and daddy love each other very much, God makes a whole new person to hold all that love." I realize this was a bit of a cop out, but he was very content with that answer and didn't ask any more questions.

He still thinks cooties come from girls. He still believes in Santa Claus. I don't want him to be uninformed, but I don't feel the need for him to be over informed either. Please help me!!!

Suburban Mother

Dear Suburban Mother,

Talking to children about sex needs to be an ongoing process. The days of having "The Talk" are history. Children need much more than one talk. They need ongoing dialogue about sex with loving parents who answer children's questions honestly and openly, taking into account the age and sophistication of their children.

If you are too embarrassed to talk to your children about sex, be assured that someone else (peers) will not be embarrassed and is currently or soon will be talking to your child. The important questions you prefer his sex knowledge to come from you or his peers? Do you want him to get his ideas about sex from television or from a loving parent? Do you want his answers to sexual questions to be wrapped in your values or the values of whomever he happens to be talking to?

When you discuss sex with your son use the real names for things. Do not tell him the baby is in your tummy. That is not true. Call a penis a penis without using cute or clever names like "your little buddy."

I agree that a nine year old does not need to know all the mechanics of intercourse. But he does need to know the truth. You can tell him how the father's penis enters the mom and lovingly fertilizes the egg. And through that act of love both people, with God's help, create a baby. Emphasize that love and caring start a baby. Continue to support that notion throughout the years.

Don't over tell. Many parents say way more than the child needs or is ready to hear. If your sex conversations are honest and open, he will ask what he wants to know when he wants to know it.

Your attitude is important. If you come across as embarrassed, your son may develop beliefs that sex is something to be embarrassed about. Or he may draw the conclusion that you can not handle sex talk and will go elsewhere for his sexual information.

You can do this. Just "act as if" you can. Pretend like you do it all the time. Fake confidence if necessary.

And by the way, there is no such thing as cooties.

Hope this helps.

Chick Moorman


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. 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.


9. We Get Emails [back to top]



I have been a subscriber to your parent's newsletter for over a year now since hearing you speak at the high school here in town. Since that time I have been deployed outside the United States with the National Guard. When I return home I will have been gone for almost a year with only a couple of short visits home during that time.

With all the troops that have been deployed during the last couple of years, I am sure I am not the first of your subscribers to face this. What advice would you have to help ease the stress of reunion when I return home for good?

Thanks, Chick, for all you do. It is nice to hear that you are doing well and remaining cancer free.


A Returning Father from 1/119th FA

Hello Returning Father,

I have never had that question before. It sure is an important one, though. Here are some ideas.

When you come back to the home front, I believe that it is important that initially you attempt to fit in rather that work to fit the situation to you. By that I mean keep the kid's routine the same. Do not make a lot of changes so that they have to fit to your preferences or schedule.

With regards to discipline, take your lead from the person who has been handling it up to this point. Let you spouse be the main discipline person for awhile and you be her support. Work together whenever you can.

You may be used to giving and taking orders. Your children will not be. As you settle into the new situation, implement changes gradually.

Hope you find these ideas useful.

Welcome home,

Chick Moorman


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


Bring a Facilitator Training in The Parent Talk System to your city.

Can you find 10 or more people who would be interested in becoming trainers of the Parent Talk System? If so, I will come to your town to train them

Send for our Organizer's Packet on how to organize a training in your area. Email me at and tell me you want the Facilitator's Packet. Include your mailing address.

The next public Parent Talk System Training is as follows:

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.)

Yes, there is still room.


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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