An Introduction.

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How Well Do You Know Your Child – take the survey!

If you have an email address, you’ve probably received several HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW ____ surveys via a forward in an email. Although I don’t carve out the time to actively participate in these well meaning and often revealing inspections, I do read answers provided by close friends, especially the ones with a loving sense of humor.

Then I found a survey called HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD? in a book called How to Influence Children by Charles Schaefer. It occurred to me that this survey would be a fun way to probe relationships between parents and children. What happens after the survey is up to each individual. However, I’d love to hear back from you. And by the way, you may take this survey with your spouse or significant other – just change the players to suit. Those who post a response worth posting will receive a FREE ebook: 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! The Checklist and Journal for Busy Families.

NOTE: You can click and then download the survey (a PDF file). I would suggest printing out two copies. Record the parent’s (spouse’s) response and the child’s response separately. Then compare side by side.



1.     What is your child’s favorite color?

2.     What is your child most afraid of?

3.     What is your child’s favorite holiday?

4.     Which teacher (past or present) has your child liked the most?

5.     What is your child’s favorite TV show?

6.     Who is your child’s favorite friend?

7.     What is your child’s favorite food?

8.     What does your child want to be when he grows up?

9.  What does your child daydream about the most?

10. What does your child worry about the most?

11. What was the happiest time in your child’s life?

12. With Daddy, what is this child’s favorite activity?

13. With Mommy, what is this child’s fav activity?

14. What movie has your child enjoyed the most?

15. Who is your child’s favorite relative?

16. What book has your child enjoyed the most?

17. What is your child’s fav game or toy?

18. If your child could change one things about himself/herself/ what would it be?

19. What part of your child’s physical features does he like the best about himeself?

20. What is your child’s earliest memory?

21. What one thing does your child hate to do the most?

22. If your child could have one wish, what would he wish for?

23. What is your child’s favorite number 1- 10?

24. If your child could change anything about Daddy, what would it be?

25. If your child could change anything about Mommy, what would it be?

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The Art of Listening To Children Takes At Least Three Ears

“We know that kids with quality early learning opportunities are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to graduate from college, and more likely to earn higher income. And we know for every one dollar we invest in early education, we save seven dollars down the line in welfare, special education, and criminal justice costs. Our children deserve the chance for an early start on success.” – Bill Richardson


A major complaint family members make of one another is “No one really listens to me.” Being listened to and understood is a fundamental human need. At times we all seek someone to use as a sounding board to help us vent and get things off our chests. We need to talk out our problems, which makes the art of listening one of the most important skills a parent can develop.

When a parent is a good listener, they tend to have a closer parent-child relationship, which fosters self-esteem in the child. The result is the child feels important as well as free to release pent up emotions, all of which strengthens the child’s ability to solve his own problems.

While adults readily admit it’s important to listen to children, they also admit it is often difficult. Accustomed to the role of teach and disciplinarian, parents find it hard to keep quiet and just listen. We tend to think we know what the child is going to say and then we take over the conversation by evaluating, judging, lecturing, blaming, scolding, directing, offering solutions and relation personal experience. In short, we end up talking at children and not with them.

I found the following ten Do’s and Don’ts in a book called How to Influence Children by Charles E. Shaefer.

1.     Hold conversations in private.

2.     Encourage your children to talk. Ask open-ended questions that won’t put them on the defensive. Ask “What made you so upset?” instead of “Why are you upset?”

3.     Keep an open mind. Resist the urge to immediately evaluate.

4.     Listen with respect. Don’t interrupt or dominate.

5.     Maintain confidentiality. Demonstrate that you can keep their secrets.

6.     Keep it brief. Watch for signs that indicate it’s time to end the conversation.

7.     Make listening a priority. Set aside time to spend alone with your child when you can give them your undivided attention.

8.     Be available whenever support or comfort is needed. Devise a signal that everyone knows means “I need someone to listen to me now.” (Our family used a homemade royal sceptor.)

9.     Be accepting. No matter what, love your children.

10.  Show genuine interest. (take the How Well Do You Know Your Child? survey, the Child Whisperer’s next post, stay tuned!)

It is possible to listen with a third ear. This means adults should tune into messages the child is expressing non-verbally. What a child does not say is as important as what is said, such as when a child suddenly remains silent during a conversation. Read between the lines and ask yourself what is the child trying to tell me by his silence or body language. Lastly, everything will come together when empathy is applied. Some examples: “No wonder you were frightened.” “That must have come as a real shock.” “If it happened to me I would feel the same way.” “Gee, you must be worried.” “It must have hurt your feelings when _____.”

Parenting and influence children is a demanding occupation. Much of what we learn is by experience but there’s always room for improvement. It’s better to be prepared and proactive than looking back with regrets.

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Why Kids Rebel, and What to do About It

Have you ever thought of children as containers? They tend to give back what we put into them.

TRUE STORY: “That’s not fair,” my five-year-old whined after not getting what she wanted. “Yeah, well, life’s tough and then you die,” I told her. Admittedly, I must have been on my last nerve and exhausted. Nonetheless, two days later, I was shocked when I heard her admonish her three-year-old sister, “Hey, life’s tough and you’re gonna die!” Ut oh.

Child development experts can’t argue against this proven principle, and by that, I mean children ARE containers. Give a child love, and he will love you back. Listen to your child and he will listen to you. Talk to your child and he will talk to you. Do the opposite in any of these areas and that is exactly what you will get in return. It comes down to this…be very aware of what your children hear because children are likely to repeat things even though they might not even comprehend what it is they’re saying.
Here’s another non-negotiable factoid about children:

When children rebel they are trying to tell us something.

I have to tell myself all the time:

Children are most like us in their feelings and least like us in their thoughts.

Aside from their physical needs, children need to feel loved for who they are. They need attention, a sense of privacy and independence, respect, trust, and security. They need to know that their feelings are validated and that your expectations for them are realistic. They need the same things that adults do, but young children are not capable of having a rational discussion about what’s bothering them, no matter how much we’d like that to happen. When any of these needs are not fulfilled then misbehavior or rebellion comes in.

HERE’S THE BOTTOMLINE: I like to be brief and to the point for a reason. Most parents (most people) don’t have time to read all the literature or get an advance degree in child rearing.

First of all, it’s not bad to feel emotions. It’s good to recognize them. Emotions are our inner guidance system. When a child acts out (and we know they will), be proactive. Choose a plan. After recognizing the emotion, you might want to create boundaries. Tell the child, “You have every right to feel the way you do, but we’re on a family happiness plan. You can complain for 2 minutes, but after that we’re moving on.” (I’m skipping the part about why this works.)

Secondly, children between the ages of two and eight are in the process of developing their sense of self-value and belonging. During these formative years, any investment a parent makes with regard to their relationship with their child will pay off, and dividends will be huge. When a child feels connected to his family, if open and respectful lines of communication have been established, then he or she will be less likely to rebel.

With that in mind, read the previous post if you’d like to have a checklist for 25 ways to show children you care.

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25 Ways to Show Kids You Care PLUS…

25 Ways to Show Kids You Care plus…

From the Child Whisperer: Winter Workshops Announced!  Plus, I’d love to read comments about the 25 ways to show kids you care. I’m in the mood to give away a free digital copy of my book 201 Things to Do When Children Say I’M BORED! The Checklist and Journal for Busy Families.

Master Parenting (January)

Family Fun (February)

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Randisi Bluffton Thanksgiving Oyster Roast


Blinking Snoopy Lights - Come ON!

We can’t believe we ate the whole thing…FOUR bushels of yummy Bluffton oysters! I was afraid I ordered too many but that certainly wasn’t the case. Do you mind if I fill you in on what happened without you?

We hired a guy named Shack to cook ‘em up for us and he was a hoot and a half. Try hanging out with a Gullah man who has a slight speech impediment on top of a half dozen Miller Lites – we could barely understand what he was saying, which made for some interesting conversations. Daughter Robin made some cheese puffs that were heavenly and heavily requested. We had to put back a few for us to savor later. Then there was the scrumptious Banana Pudding and Key lime Pie from The Bluffton Oyster House Restaurant – OH MY GOODNESS!!!! Then Carolina made a comeback to beat Clemson. Duh.

But here’s what made my happiness factor go through the roof. I found some blinking Snoopy Christmas lights at the thrift store to hang around the garden pergola that set the tone for the whole event. BUT then my husband and son also fixed the large trickling water fountain and added cool, serpent-like rope lighting to it. The place looked like we had hired a decorator.

Mood Enhancing Addition

Good thing the firepit was in full regalia because the night was chilly but not too cold. The exploding oyster lining was an unexpected scary hazard, but it lasted only until it warmed up to proper firepit temperature. It keep us on high alert. The night was magical to say the least.

THEN — having our three adult kids upstairs giggling hysterically before going to sleep, that was very special also. Robin said to me yesterday she forgot how cool her siblings are. HA ha. We made memories, most of which were wrapped around Ben singing in his little girl voice  “Blueberry pa-ANN-cakes.” It’s one of those “you had to be there” incidents. (If interested, your can check out the Bisquick commercial on YouTube. Listen to the lyrics but put on a diaper first. You might laugh too hard like we did.)

Lastly, I heard the official Thanksgiving proclamation (the words of George Washington) on the radio when I took Daughter Emily to the airport at 6 AM Sunday morning. That was the icing on my holiday cake. There is NO argument. Our country was founded on Christian principles. I hate how history is being rewritten to exclude our founding father’s faith. Ugh. Here’s the prayer:

Call first - I'll order up some oysters!

IBIB y’all  (it’s better in bluffton)

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WHY Do Good Teachers Quit?

I hate the fact that almost half of all new teachers leave the profession within five years. That’s atrocious. However, I understand their frustration all too well. It boils down to student discipline/classroom management. Our classrooms need attention. Let me put it this way, if classroom management isn’t in place, nothing good happens.

The most unchallenged assumption today is that children are coming to school ready and willing to learn. Teachers cannot assume kids know how to behave. Thankfully, there’s hope. I’m a mission to stop teacher attrition. Click on the link below if you want to learn more about a research-based, data driven solution. If you are a business who would like to sponsor a program that improves student behavior, increases student achievement, earns parent support, allows educators to teach with passion and confidence, or if you know of a frustrated teacher or administrator, please click and share the information: It’s IMPORTANT!  time to teach slide show

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