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The Response-Able Parenting Newsletter 1
May 6, 2002


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. Quotes [back to top]


"Once normally developing human beings pass the age of eight, they increasingly become creatures of perception. From that point on, their perception is the key to what they are and what they do."

---------------H. Stephen Glenn-----------------


2. Bumper Sticker [back to top]


"Regardless of Their Grades, My Children Have an "A" in My Book."


3. Parent Talk Tip [back to top]


Just say "Yes"

Children who seem to enjoy power struggles, don't take "No"well. To demonstrate their power to themselves and to others they often activate resistance and resentment.

If you respond to your child's request to spend the night at Becky's with: "No, not until you clean your bedroom and finish your chore in the garage,"she is not likely to hear the words "garage" or "bedroom." As soon as the word "no" registers, she'll likely get her back up, shut down the listening apparatus, and begin stacking up logical arguments in her head. Emotion and power-plays become activated while listening retreats into hibernation.

For better results to the overnight inquiry, add "yes" to your parent talk. The dialogue now sounds like this:


"Can I spend the night at Becky's?"
"Yes! As soon as you clean your room and finish your chore in the garage."

Only one word has been changed in this dialogue. By replacing "no" with "yes," you'll get a more favorable response, less resentment, and less resistance. As soon as your child hears "yes," she'll relax and be more likely to hear the rest of your parent talk. Hearing your whole message, she may conclude that the overnight at Becky's is within her reach.

It is easier to resist and fight "no," than it is to complain and argue about a "yes." Remember when confronted with a child who enjoys power struggles, just say, "yes."



Parent Talk: Words that Empower, Words That Wound by Chick Moorman is available from Personal Power press by calling (toll free) 877-360-1477.


4. Subscription Information [back to top]


Please recommend this E-newsletter to any educator who is interested in improving their professional practice by forwarding it to them.

If you are receiving this E-newsletter as a forward, and would like to insure that you get your personal free subscription, email and type in the words, ”Add me to the Response-Able educator newsletter.”

To remove yourself from the list, email and ask to be deleted form the Response-Able educator newsletter list.


5. Idea Exchange [back to top]


Invest in experiences, not in things.

My neighbor recently purchased a four hundred dollar sand box for his young children. "How can anyone spend $400 dollars on a sand box?" you might wonder. Simple. It's a state of the art sand box with a swing set and slide attached to it. It's high quality through and through.

With all due respect to my neighbor, who I am sure loves his children and has the best of intentions when making major purchases for them, children do not need a $400 sand box. What they need is the experience of going out in the back yard and building a sand box with us. They need to hold boards together while we pound and pound while we hold boards together. They need to get a sliver and have it removed and bandaged. They need to help us sand the boards so slivers are kept to a minimum. The need to rub shoulders with us, sweat with us, smell us, see us, and touch us. They need the experience of building a sand box much more than they need the sand box.

Instead of buying expensive toys and other material objects for your children, give them the experience of going to the zoo. Take them horse back riding. Let them experience a farm, a skyscraper, a fire engine, a camp ground or a foreign country. When investing in your children, invest in experiences, not in things.


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

comment to


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


Coming Attraction: The Language of Response-Able Parenting cassette tape series will be completed soon. It will contain five cassette tapes with Chick Moorman sharing Parent Talk System strategies. Watch this space for further announcements.


6. Humor [back to top]

How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.


7. Parent Talk System Training of Trainers [back to top]

Do something extraordinary for the parents in your community. Become a Parent Talk System trainer.

July 25-27, 2002 are the dates of the next facilitator training in the Parent Talk System. Scheduled for Dearborn, MI, this training will give you the skills necessary to help parents raise responsible children. You will learn training competencies that will allow you to teach the program with expertise and confidence.

Join the growing number of people in seven states and Mexico who are helping parents in their communities learn verbal skills and language patterns that build family togetherness and reduce family conflict. Call toll free 877/369-1477 or email to request a detailed brochure.


8. Article [back to top]


Fighting Mad

By Chick Moorman


"Grandpa, I have a note from school. I’m supposed to give it to you."

That’s how Austin, age ten and in fifth grade, chose to begin the process of explaining his fight at school. I had been alerted to the situation earlier in the day by the building principal who called to give me the details. The letter was not unexpected.

"What does it say?" I queried.

"It says I got in a fight at school."

"You got in a fight? I’m really surprised to hear that. Tell me about it."

"Grandpa, I just get fighting mad. They tease me all the time. They say I talk funny because I’m from Texas."

"So you chose to slug someone."

"Grandpa, it’s not like that. I didn’t choose to slug him. I couldn’t help myself. He kept bugging me. He made me fighting mad."

"And that’s when the fight started?"


"You hit him?"


"I see."

The problem here is not that Austin got in a fight. It is that he is not seeing himself as response-able. He does not realize he has several alternatives from which to choose. He is making an automatic response to this situation without considering alternatives and without thinking through potential consequences.

Children who make automatic responses are at the mercy of their environment. It is the event, the circumstance, the situation that controls their response. They have no sense of personal power. Until they see themselves as response-able they will keep making the same ineffective response.

In this situation the parent/teacher’s job is to help the child see himself as response-able. The adult’s effort should be to increase the child’s response-ability, that is, their ability to see and make responses that work.

"So what else does the letter say?" I asked.

"It tells that I got in a fight and that I can’t go to school for two days."

"Anything else?"

"If I do it again I get kicked out for a week."

"What are the chances of that happening?"

"What do you mean?"

"Do you think you’ll be choosing to fight again any time soon?"

"Grandpa, I told you it wasn’t a choice. They made me fighting mad. That’s just how I get when they call me names and tease me. It makes me fighting mad."

"How about getting spitting mad instead?"


"Why not just get spitting mad?"

"What are you talking about?"

"You know how to spit don’t you?"

"Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?"

"Come on outside. I’ll show you."

Outside on the grass I gave Austin spitting lessons. One of the important roles of grandfathers is to give their grandchildren spitting lessons. Where else are they going to learn important concepts like spitting if not from a grandparent?

"Now that I know you can spit real good, here’s what I’d like you to do. Next time one of those kids starts teasing you, turn immediately and walk five steps away. Count them, two, three, four, I just did. Then turn and face them and say, ‘When you call me names like that it makes me spitting mad.’ Then spit a real big, good one into the grass. Then say, ‘See how spitting mad that makes me.’ Then walk away."

"Grandpa, I can’t do that."

"Sure you can."

"It wouldn’t work, anyway."

"How about trying it once?"

"You don’t understand. They make fun of me because I’m from Texas. They call me names and say I talk funny."

"You can’t control what they do. You can only control what you do. Why not get spitting mad the next time it happens?"

"I can’t do that."

"Sure you can. Come on let’s practice. I’ll call you some names and you get spitting mad and let’s see how it goes."

"Grandpa, this is stupid."

"You’re probably right. It is kind of stupid. In fact it’s so stupid it might just work. Let’s give it a shot."


"I’ll be a kid at school and you see if you can remember to get spitting mad."


"Austin, you talk funny. Can’t you speak English like the rest of us? And you’re bowl legged, too. You walk funny. You get that from riding horses or are your legs just shaped funny? Can’t walk or talk right, can you?"

At his point Austin spun around and walked away. After five steps he turned back and faced me. "When you do that I get spitting mad," He said. Then he deposited a huge ball of saliva on the grass in front of him. "I am spitting mad right now," he said, "because you’re calling me names and I don’t like it." He then turned and walked away.

I congratulated Austin for choosing to be spitting mad instead of fighting mad and we continued to practice. After three repetitions I could see that he understood the concept and had internalized the skill. I challenged him to use it the next time a similar situation happened at school.

"Grandpa, this isn’t going to work."

"Maybe not. We’ll see."

Two weeks later Austin came home from school and shared a related incident.

"Grandpa, I did the spitting mad thing at school today."

"You did?"

"Yeah, and it worked, too!"

"Tell me about it."

"This kid was teasing me on the bus. Bugged me all the way to school about my accent. I didn’t think I should spit on the bus so waited till we both got off. Then I did it. I walked five steps away like you said, then I told him, ‘I get spitting mad that when you call me names and I don’t like it.’ Then I spit and just stared at him."

"Then what happened. Did you walk away?"

"He said, ‘I didn’t know. I’m sorry.’"

"So it turned out pretty well."

"Yeah, I was surprised."

"I’m happy to hear you choose to be spitting mad instead of fighting mad. And I’m happy it worked for you. Congratulations."


This is not the end of the story. It is only the beginning. Austin still needs to learn additional behaviors he can use instead of fighting or spitting. Yet, at this point he is now twice as response-able as he was two weeks ago. He has doubled the available responses at his disposal when peers taunt and tease. Because he no longer makes an automatic response, he now has a greater ability to respond. He is developing response-ability.


(To access similar articles check out


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



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