Tag Archives: child

Review: Motivate Your Child

What’s In It For Me?

Check out this review of Scott Turansky’s Motivate Your Child.

Parenting effectively is often a challenge. While it may be difficult to imagine, children are capable of displaying initiative and being internally motivated. Imagine a world where our children complete their chores and get ready for school without us having to hover over their every move.

By motivating with bribes, we are making the reward greater than the desire to achieve something. When we appeal to selfishness in a child, we merely compensate the child for doing something he’d rather not be doing. That’s when we begin to hear the question: “What’s in it for me?”

If this is a question you’re tired of hearing, then let’s work to improve internal motivation and your child’s ability to choose to do what’s right. Think of the time you’ll gain not having to nag and plead with your children.

And so it came to me, by mail, the book you may not have known about but secretly had hoped held some answers. Motivate Your Child left a few impressions on me I’d like to share. Consider this, what drives you? And why do you do what you do? It’s an issue of heart. We are driven by the passions and stirrings within our hearts. That’s where we find our desires and values. Our motivation to get things done needs to come from inside of us not from Mom or Dad telling us what to do.

These skills will take your child from relying on your every instruction to complete each task to listening more to their own internal voice, from your nagging of “Did you eat breakfast? Did you brush your teeth? Get your backpack,” into simply “Watch the clock.” Can you see the difference in saying “be careful” and “I like that you’re trying new things”? Listen to what you are repeating and notice if this phrase is uplifting and driven to help the child find his own solutions or if the phrases are demanding and diminishing a child’s ability to use his or her own conscious.

Responsibility will begin to develop as children rely on their own internal promptings to do what’s right. Using the methods and training laid out in the book means a parent successfully transfers responsibility to the child to complete the task well and to remember to get it done. This will include giving your child a cue to help them remember if the task is done. As you build a sense of obligation for a task, you will be asking “What should you be doing instead?”

Finally, here’s a skill challenge. It’s called “the blessing task”. This task helps build internal motivation by adding something to the to-do list for each family member to complete daily. Each morning allow your child to think of one thing that would add to family life. It might be helping a younger sibling, setting the table for dinner, or making someone a card. Regardless of the specific task, the intention should focus on finding a need that isn’t being met around the house and doing it without being asked.

Your parenting potential is limitless when you focus your energies in the right direction. Give it a go and see what works with your family. Try presenting it to the family in a positive way such as “Let’s get together as a family and try out some new ideas”. Please don’t be shy; after you purchase your copy, let us know what you think of the numerous ideas contained in the book Motivate Your Child.  Share your stories about how you have been developing strong moral and spiritual development in your children.


This article was contributed by Holly Mitchell, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor in affiliation with ChangePoint Counseling in Forney, TX. This book was provided to me free of charge from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.



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Review: The Mindful Child

I am Stressed About Being Stressed

Is stress causing your child to feel overwhelmed? Check out this review of Susan Kaiser Greenland’s The Mindful Child.


Available on Amazon


What is Mindfulness: Mindfulness can be described as paying attention to the moment. When I stop to take a break and become aware of my self, my thoughts, my feelings, and my surroundings, I am being mindful. Wikipedia describes mindfulness as a meditative practice that has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. It is when we purposely bring awareness to our experience.

Mindfulness can help your family to not get too caught up in the past or future. It switches our attention to what’s happening in the present helping to reduce emotional reactions such as tantrums or panic. Learning mindfulness can help you or your child gain peacefulness and control as opposed to feeling stressed out.


Review of The Mindful Child: This book offers practical and applicable skills for parents to teach mindfulness to their children. It begins with learning breathing techniques that can be taught to your child through activities and scripts you read aloud. After mastering breathing techniques, Greenland’s book helps you practice direct, focused attention which is especially useful for an overactive mind.

Further, the book is a tool to gain compassion and control over our emotions. For example, in learning to choose our emotions, it includes a quick story about a farmer whose events are not predictable so overreacting would not help his situation at all. Lots of times we are causing our own distress due to our reaction of an event and it doesn’t always fit what happened. The Mindful Child can help your family learn to let go, use your imagination, and practice as you teach!


Practice Breathing: Ask your child to get comfortable in a sitting position and to close their eyes. To draw their attention to their breathing by putting their hand on their stomach as they feel it gently rise and fall with every breath. After completing several cycles, guide their attention to any thoughts or feelings that come up. Ask your child to visualize letting their thoughts or feelings go and retain focus back to breathing. Continue and repeat as many times as feels appropriate.

For another way to practice deep breathing this summer, have your child be aware of their breathing rhythm while blowing a pinwheel.


The Best Part: My favorite application of The Mindful Child includes “A Radical Act of Kindness” script that allows children to take a moment to be compassionate and kind towards themselves and let go of worries or struggles. Instead, allow room to embrace and be conscious of your inner beauty. Our acceptance of our passions and abilities allow us to better contribute and find purpose.


Put It Into Action: Check out these resources to practice your new skills! This link will take you to a Friendly Wishes visualization useful for children ages 6-10. Then, try Stargazing!


More About The Author: Susan Kaiser Greenland began learning and using mindfulness practices after her husband was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. She developed the Inner Kids Mindful Awareness Program for children and families as a result of her passion about using breathing and mindfulness techniques.


Visit Greenland’s Upcoming Event In Dallas: May 29th- May 30th 2014 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Crow Collection of Asian Art $25 for the public



Picture Source: danipupani.tumblr.com


This article was contributed by Holly Mitchell, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor in affiliation with ChangePoint Counseling in Forney, Tx.


Holly Mitchell, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor




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Review: The Tiger’s Child

The Tiger’s Child by Torey Hayden

Non-Fiction. Published 1995.

Read: February 2013, 264 pages


Book Blurb:

When Hayden first met Sheila, she refused to speak, her only communication coming through bursts of destructive, violent behavior.  After five intense months, Hayden successfully broke through to Sheila, and successfully fought to have her placed in a regular classroom.

Hayden did not see Sheila again until she was 13. Much to Hayden’s astonishment, Sheila remembered little about their extraordinary time together. As Hayden continues to renew her relationship with the teenage Sheila, the memories slowly come back, bringing with them feelings of abandonment and hostility.


The Tiger’s Child is the squeal to One Child where it catches up to Sheila and Torey’s life years later. I adored One Child- you can check out my review of it hereAlthough it fills in the rest of the story for the reader, it neglects to be pleasantly delivered. This book is “more honest” as Sheila puts it.


It is far too often that children are mistreated and abandoned. Sheila is no exception. You learn of further abuse she suffered and the difficulties that remain ahead of her as a teenager. Sheila begins working with Torey as an aide for a summer program with children. Torey sees Sheila more as a client than as her caretaker, which is what Sheila is longing fore. I was appalled that Torey got a letter from Sheila reaching out about suicide and did not respond. It takes a whole year more and more letters from Sheila until she visits her a children’s residential treatment facility.

It breaks your heart to see the pain Sheila endures and her strained relationship with Torey. One thing to take from this book is that Sheila felt ‘Torey/social services/the system’ should and could have done more for her. She was continually forced to remain within an unstable, abusive, and dangerous environment.


What I remember are the colors…as if my whole world had been in black and white. -p61


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Review: One Child

One Child by Torey Hayden

Non-Fiction. Published 1980.

Read: September 2012, 318 pages


Book Blurb:

The time had finally come. The time I had been waiting for through all these long months that I knew sooner or later had to occur. Now it was here.

She had surprised me so much by actually crying that for a moment I did nothing but look at her. Then I gathered her into my arms, hugging her tightly. She clutched onto my shirt so that I could feel the dull pain of her fingers digging into my skin. She cried and cried and cried. I held her and rocked the chair back and on its rear legs, feeling my arms and chest get damp from the tears and her hot breath and the smallness of the room.

Sheila, a 6-year-old girl living in grinding poverty and raised by her single father faced some daunting odds when she entered Torey Hayden’s special needs class. Abandoned by her mother, beaten by her father and facing a court ordered sentence to a hospital after a particularly violent episode, Sheila was extremely aggressive and wary.


I could not put the book down. Torey tells such a fluent and engaging story about Sheila. It certainly spotlights the tragedies of this world. Neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse of children are something to be taken seriously. You will see a glimpse of the resiliency of a child in the extraordinary read One Child.


I adored how Torey read Sheila The Little Prince and Sheila knew she was tamed and special to Torey. Sheila desperately needed someone to care for her and care about her. Torey gave Sheila a piece of all the good in the world. It is horrifying what Sheila faces. especially the sexual abuse at the hands of her Uncle. Sheila flourished in Torey’s classroom and the reader becomes attached to the story.

It’s heartbreaking and happy, moving and monumental. I appreciate the compassion and determination of individuals who positively impact the lives of hurting youth.


I think you do be  crazy person too. -p75

Why you care? I can’t figure that out. Why you want to tame me? -p144

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Review: Sickened

Sickened by Julie Gregory

Non-Fiction. Published 2003.

Read: May 2012, 244 pages


Book Blurb:

A young girl is perched on the cold chrome of yet another doctor’s examining table, missing yet another day of school. Just twelve, she’s tall, skinny, and weak. It’s four o’clock, and she hasn’t been allowed to eat anything all day. Her mother, on the other hand, seems curiously excited. She’s about to suggest open-heart surgery on her child to “get to the bottom of this.” She checks her teeth for lipstick and, as the doctor enters, shoots the girl a warning glance. This child will not ruin her plans.

From early childhood, Julie Gregory was continually X-rayed, medicated, and operated on—in the vain pursuit of an illness that was created in her mother’s mind. Munchausen by proxy (MBP) is the world’s most hidden and dangerous form of child abuse, in which the caretaker—almost always the mother—invents or induces symptoms in her child because she craves the attention of medical professionals. Many MBP children die, but Julie Gregory not only survived, she escaped the powerful orbit of her mother’s madness and rebuilt her identity as a vibrant, healthy young woman.


Julie’s book is helpful in describing and letting other understand MBP from within. Her writing style is flowing and interesting. It details her childhood very well, but the years as she ages are much less detailed and explained. I would like to have seen a resolution or growth explained on her part, as it feels we are left hanging in her life of uncertainty. Sickened is both educational and personal.


Julie captures the awful details of her childhood and young adulthood plagued by the disease of her mother. Sandy made up symptoms for her daughter and ordered her under pain of punishment to act sick for the doctor.  For years she fed her drugs  and kept Julie malnourished.  Sandy also beats and emotionally abuses Julie and her other children, including foster children entrusted to her care because she’s so good at acting the part of the perfect mother in front of authorities. Julie’s father, a mentally ill Vietnam veteran, is hardly any better and allows himself to be manipulated by Sandy into performing equally horrific acts on his daughter.

When Julie is old enough to escape, she has been so brainwashed by her mother that she truly believes she is sickly, stupid, and unable to properly feed or take care of herself because no one ever showed her how.

The book indicates that both parents were severely abused themselves as children, shedding light on why they would then abuse their own children, yet hide it and pretend to the public that they were a normal, happy family. It also shows how much people on the outside, including doctors, social workers, and even Julie’s own school friends, were in denial that such abuse could occur, to the point where they didn’t believe Julie when she tried to tell.


I cannot cry. I am going to die. There is no reason to cry when there is no hope you’ll live. -p156

I know what it feels like to be trapped in the person they made you into and to break free to be the person you truly are. -p243

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Review: Stolen Innocence

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall

Non-Fiction. Published 2009.

Read: April 2012, 464 pages


Book Blurb:

In September 2007, a packed courtroom in St. George, Utah, sat hushed as Elissa Wall, the star witness against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, gave captivating testimony of how Jeffs forced her to marry her first cousin at age fourteen. This harrowing and vivid account proved to be the most compelling evidence against Jeffs, showing the harsh realities of this closed community and the lengths that Jeffs went to in order to control the women in it. Now, in this courageous memoir, Elissa Wall tells her incredible and inspirational story of her time in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), detailing how she emerged from its confines to help bring one of America’s most notorious criminals to justice.


This is an excellent, timely, eye opening book and a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in issues involving women in our country during this century. It describes the upbringing of Elissa Wall and FLDS teachings. Her story is heroic and strong. She becomes empowered and fights against the monsters that created her hell to help save others in her situation. Elissa is continually forced to “stay sweet”, a common phrase used when you are shattering inside, but can’t let it show. It’s remarkable and repulsive to learn that practices such as this continue to happen in our country.. Elissa just escaped in 2005!


Elissa grew up in the FLDS as a strong believer with a large family and three ‘mothers’. Her youth was chaotic enough, but then the unimaginable came to life as she was forced to marry her first cousin at the age of fourteen. Elissa endured severe abuse at the hands of her husband as well as a still birth and three miscarriages before her eighteenth birthday. Elissa bravely details her family life, tragedies, and triumphs as she comes to know the outside world and fatefully meets her now husband Lamont. Her life was indoctrinated with false testimonies by a false prophet and her bewildered upbringings are deeply expressed and clearly detailed in her inspiring memoir.

The most fascinating bit I found was how someone can become so indoctrinated with blind faith even in a world of internet and vast knowledge. Elissa had exposure to the outside world at times but was too afraid to forever lose her mother and too confused if she would be damned to hell for leaving. When she meets Lamont in a truly fateful turn of events, she finds true love and I believe it is her love for Lamont that helps un-tint her indoctrinations and breathe. Elissa has gone to extraordinary lengths to help FLDS women and children since her escape. She is a beautiful person and a true servant.


It turned out that the envelopes were tithing letters from the FLDS people. They had been opened just enough to extract the money inside but not enough to have read the letters. We’d heard one from a five year old boy, telling Warren that he prayed it would be enough to send back his father, who had apparently lost the priesthood and had his family taken away. -p362

I looked at that picture and saw what I was fighting for. People, girls, were still being put in my position, and I needed to stand up and make it right. To fight for those who still hadn’t found their voice. -p367

When I was young, my mother taught me that evil flourishes when good men do nothing. This has not been easy. The easy thing would have been to do nothing. But I have followed my heart and spoken the truth. -p427

I hope this book reaches the many young girls and women around the world whose faces I’ll never see and whose names I’ll never know, and perhaps in some way my words will help them to use their strength to reclaim what is rightfully theirs– the power of choice. -p436

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