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Children's Bad Behavior

Take a moment and read about what parents are saying...

Meet Karen and her girls!
parenting powersKaren worked with Susan for 11 months in one on one parent coaching. In addition Karen participated in 2 group coaching programs; The 7 Secrets to Powerful Parenting (8 week program in 2008 and she is currently a member of the The Powerful Parents Family Leadership Training Program.

"The reason I contacted you was because my life felt so out of control, from the kids to daily chores. I was depressed on top of all of that becasue of the death of my husband. I didn't know where my life was supposed to go after that and how was I suppsed to raise 2 daughters alone! But after talking to you on a weekly basis you helped build my confidence in my parenting skills and gave me lots of new and better ways to parent.

The major problem with Jordin was the back talk and disrespect toward Jenna. After staying calm and being a "robot" it helped so much with her. She still has her moments but they are no where near what they used to be. Jenna's biggest thing was telling me no and throwing temper tantrums. 1-2-3 and time out helped the most with her. Also the cards we made to help her learn how to clean her room was a HUGE skill that you taught me and her. As for me, you gave me the support i needed to go back to school. I now have more confidence in what I can do as a person and a parent. Thank You so much for everything you have done for me and my family!"

- Karen


Meet Nicole & her family!
I started working with Susan when my oldest son was three years old. I now have three children, ages four months, two, and five. I always felt lost and confused when it came to parenting and couldn't understand why my kids wouldn't do what I asked or stop doing what I asked them not to do. Using the system of time outs has really helped my children behave, but I still was not getting the respect I felt I deserve. My biggest challenge was grocery shopping and it was during one trip that I had my breakthrough.

My baby was in the cart in her carseat and my older sons were walking near me. They were pushing the cart around and touching everything. I asked them to stop and they didn't listen. When they started to wrestle on the floor, I had had enough. I told them that if they didn't stop, we were going to leave. They didn't stop. I marched them over to the courtesy counter where I apologized to the woman for having to leave my cart of food, some frozen, and then we left the store. I couldn't believe I had done it!

My children couldn't believe it either! I didn't yell, or scream, plead with them or cry. We simply went home where they had to play quitely. I felt great! I felt powerful and happy that I was in control. Since that trip they behave much better in stores and I can control their behavior easily. I stopped lecturing and now ask them what I want in clear language. If they whine or complain, I ask them to stop. I've even gotten my two-year-old to ask for things politely and not to whine. When my baby gets older I will teach her what I want. I've learned that I can't expect my kids to behave all the time, but if I remind them to act nicely, they will! Thank you, Susan, for helping my become a powerful parent!

- Nicole

Meet Rich - A Single Dad!
I’ve been a single dad since my wife died in 2001 and have raised my two kids alone since then. What a challenge. They are now 16 and 21. During that time, I met with several therapists, sent my kids to therapists, and even sent one of my kids to an alternative school because he would not cooperate at his base school. It was always a battle getting them to go and once we were there my son would either say nothing or cuss at me and the therapist. It was a total waste of time and money.

I didn’t realize how much of a wimp I’d become. My kids were controlling me. I had lost all confidence in my ability to parent them. It was chaotic at my house. My son got into the habit of spending most of his time in the living room watching television and playing video games. Often he would have friends over but would never ask if it was okay with me. They’d be coming and going in and out of the house at all hours of the night. Trash, dishes, clothes etc. were strewn all over the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Helping me out was not part of their agenda. It was a constant battle for me to try and get my house cleaned up. After asking nicely, trying to persuade, trying to negotiate, trying bribes, yelling, screaming, losing my mind, etc., I usually gave in and cleaned the messes up myself.

My kids were also abusive towards me. It was mostly verbal abuse but on a few occasions, my son had either hit me or pushed me. I truly feared him because he is much bigger and stronger than I am. Being oppositional / defiant, I always feared that he would either hurt me, or my daughter, or my property if he didn’t get his way. So, I’d back off trying to discipline him.

About a year ago, I heard that there were alternatives to traditional therapy. I was told that there were life coaches that specialized in family problems. I went to the internet and as fate would have it, I found Susan who I’m forever grateful for her bringing some sanity back in my life. All of my sessions with Susan have been conveniently administered by phone and the best part is that the kids were not required to participate.
Some of the skills that Susan has helped me with include; saying no without feeling guilty, being in control and feeling good about making the right choices even if it angers my kids, being consistent with rules and consequences and making sure they are in writing, and not allowing my kids to be disrespectful to me.

With Susan’s guidance, I have made significant progress in developing a peaceful home life which I yearn for. I have a long way to go but at least my interactions with my children have become civil. I knew that I was making significant progress that day when my son said, “I want my old dad back!” Hopefully the wimp in me is gone.

- Rich


"My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed by her pediatrician with ADHD inattentive type at the
age of 9.

At the time I was completely uneducated about this disorder and agonized over whether or not to medicate my child due to (ignorant) public opinion. Since my daughter's disorder is not as apparent as other children with disabilities I had to go against those that felt the diagnosis is a catch all for children too lazy to fulfill their potential, or that it was merely an excuse for bad parenting. I did a lot of second guessing, shed many tears and spent many nights feeling extreme guilt that the issues my daughter was having were somehow my fault. If only I had done this or that. I felt like such a failure. Yet, deep down I believed something was really wrong with my child, so I did agree for her to try a stimulant medication. We saw a huge improvement that first year. Then she began puberty and it seemed things just slowly went down hill from there.

I felt alone. I felt confused. I felt like a failure. Yet, I KNEW I was a good parent, that my husband and I were doing all we could to help her yet we were not seeing improvement. She was not functioning at the same level as her peers academically or personally. At this point I was on a mission. I would find a way to help her, somehow. Yet where do I start? Mindy and I corresponded via email and had a phone consultation, and I was empowered. She has made such a difference in our lives. By listening, REALLY listening to our story and validating our experience, and giving me concrete steps to take to get the help my child needed and deserved.

Mindy stressed to me how important it was to get an evaluation from a specialist and suggested how to go about this. My daughter has now been evaluated by a pediatric neurologist and the ADHD Inattentive type diagnosis has been confirmed. He requested a psychological/educational evaluation by our local school system to rule out any learning disabilities. This was not an easy task, as the school system was to have done this 2 years ago. We even had to go so far as contact our local board of education, but the testing was completed and we now know how to move forward from here!

Hopeful! Empowered! Educated and armed with all the information I need. I will never go against my intuition again and rely on the "experts" to have my daughter's best interest at heart. I am grateful.

Education was key. Mindy validated my concerns, and gave me the information I needed to be able to be an advocate for my child. Before I was uneducated in this area, therefore it was difficult to be the advocate my daughter deserved. Education equals power, and Mindy equipped me with the power I needed to be the best parent I can be. She really has changed our lives, for the better!"



"Thanks again for your wonderful presentation ("No I Won't and You Can't Make Me." Ending Back Talk For Good).

At the bus stop this morning, one of the attendees said to me, "I found myself screaming at my kids about getting ready and I thought of that timer." And, I, too, started my morning thinking of what you said, "Get the emotion out of the parenting- don't take it personally." So, when I awoke and found Adam already up in his room counting change from his piggy bank, I wished him good morning cheerily and told him I was going to go walk the dog and that I would really appreciate it if he'd be dressed by the time I returned. Then, I asked if he would pick out his clothes or should I? Sure enough, he was dressed when I returned.

Ah.... parenting can go more smoothly with fine tuning. I'm sure everyone left with reminders about how to tweak their verbiage when approaching parenting. I'm so appreciative of your willingness and support! Thank you!"

-- Sharon
Norwich, CT

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"Jesse is my 16 year old son (1 or 4 children) who has been a challenge since he was 2 years old.  He has ADHD and therefore is filled with high energy, can have an explosive and violent temper, takes risks and makes bad decisions that were seriously affecting his education and future.  He skipped class so much he had lost 8 of 16 highschool credits in 2 years and those courses that he passed had very low marks.  

Sadly and not with my support, he moved from the Academic to the Applied Stream in highschool removing his opportunity to go to University.   He does have considerable talent with design and innovation and definite  leadership qualities.  Everyone who meets Jesse (young and old) take to him instantly and remark to me how much potential he has.  He has led several successful teams both technical and project based in elementary school receiving Ontario awards.  

I have been a single Mom of 4 years.  Jesse's father has not helped take control of Jesse over the years when I have called on him.  He just resorted to blaming me for how Jesse is and that I am the problem.   Due to Jesse's violent behaviour affecting his siblings and resulting in continuous damage to property, he had been prescribed 2 different medications for ADHD but neither worked for him.  He was using marijuana regularly and making light of it.  

At the beginning of summer still without a job and having walked out of summer school, I told him that he would have to move out.  I sent Jesse to live with his father for the summer and possibly permanently.  The conditions I had set for him to return home were that he change schools (with zero tolerance for skipping), that he get a job and that he was drug free.  Moving out of town removed him from his friends and from his environment at home.   In mid summer I had arranged another appointment with the Psychiatrist that his father asked me to do, considering he was starting to see the side of Jesse that I had been dealing with fulltime.  When the appointment came up, his father showed up reluctantly and left after 5 minutes for no apparent reason.  After talking with Jesse for a further 15 minutes, the Psychiatrist told me there was nothing he could do because of how rude Jesse was, that his father would not support him and that I had no control while he was living away.  I have a pretty tough veneer and can deal with most anything but at that point I broke down and cried in the office.   It was as if the last door had been closed.

Seeing my desperation, he prescribed something new which Jesse said he would only try if he could move back home.

I contacted Susan at this point, her e-mails and newsletters had caught my interest for some time because they were sound and in line with my philosophy for raising children.  I just wasn't doing a good job at it.  From that point on things began to change positively.  Susan taught me how to command respect from Jesse while talking to him over the phone, to end the arguments and games he played to get his way and to eventually bring him back home with the understanding of his responsibilities.   He began his new medication towards the end of the summer that finally began working for him.  Very reluctantly and not without a whole lot of anxiety he changed schools.  The new Principle was also reluctant to take him on.  Jesse proved us all wrong.  The first month his name was announced over the loudspeaker as Student of the Month for the whole school.

The teachers were so impressed with his work ethic and behaviour (given his history) that 3 of 4 had recommended him for this award.  They met him in the office along with his Guidance Counsellor, Principle and Vice-Principle and had ordered in treats to celebrate and further encourage him.  The school has 1567 students.  Kids came up to him after and said they couldn't believe he had won - even his sister was shocked when she heard his name.  

This was only one of his successes to date but it was huge.

I am most proud of his turn-a-round and the greatest joy I get is seeing him proud of himself and being able to share that with me.  I have long told him that he is smart, but he didn't believe it until now.  His marks have improved vastly to high 70's and 80's and now recently he has decided to move back over to the Academic Stream of his own accord.

In order to make up some of his failed courses, he has taken an in school self study program and managed to complete 2 courses in 1 semester timeslot.  It won't be easy to move to the Academic Stream and he knows it will extend his highschool stay, but he said to me just this morning that he doesn't want to go to college, "that is lame".

Susan helped me in many ways through encouragement, reinforcement of structure, simple remedies to correct unacceptable behaviours, fun assignments and effective disciplinary actions.   She kept me accountable, challenged me and supported me through a range of emotions.

Although I had to deal with Jesse primarily at the time, the whole family needed work in order to help Jesse come back home.  Susan shared new ways to get my kids to take on tasks, understand their responsibilities and know the penalties for poor performance.    

The kids have also seen a change in me and sometimes look at me oddly and question what is wrong with me, but they are also doing what they are supposed to do.  It is magic!

I know that we are not out of the woods yet as I am constantly helping Jesse to stay on the right path, but it has gotten far easier and less stressful.   Recently when he had disappeared without notice, we had a calm discussion the next day about why this is unacceptable and he decided on the penalty if he leaves again without notice of where he is going, a phone # he can be reached at and when he will be back.  Imagine a 16 year old boy deciding to give up all electronics for 1 month as a penalty!   He knows that the penalty will only occur if he doesn't follow his end of the deal and that is easy to do.

I have tried many things over the years to help him, including crisis counsellors who came to the house regularly, but Susan's approach has been the most successful.  For that alone, I hope Jesse will thank her one day."

Toronto, Ont.

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“I couldn’t be happier!

Susan was a huge gift at a very critical time. A coach helps to cut to the chase with out all the emotional attachment. They can quickly see what we don’t (or choose not to). A coach holds you accountable. If you mess up, well big deal- they are your goals anyway… but if someone is there saying- are you sure about that choice? You said you wanted blank, blank, blank… and can say it in a very nonjudgmental way- wow – it can really help you get on track!

I am very thankful for all Susan has taught me!”

-- Debbie Kelly
Rutland, VT


"After 10 sessions with Susan the situation is so much better.

It's been wonderful working with Susan.

The weekday mornings are so much more calm than they were before. The kids are getting themselves out of bed, getting dressed . . .

. . . we are not yelling and screaming."

-- Catherine
Washington, DC


"Define your values and parent accordingly

Susan taught me, "Define your values and parent accordingly." The competition and comparison among mothers can blind the new mother. People are all unique and there is no formula to good parenting. Be true to yourself and your own unique values. Take time to figure out what these are. After coaching I took a spiritual path and found out that the best way to be true to yourself is through quiet contemplative time. Take time each day to observe your feelings, without judgment, and listen to the voice that is deep inside for direction. You'd be surprised to find how much discipline it takes to stick to it -- taking time out each day for quiet contemplation, but it is important in staying well."

-- Dorothy Reiser
Mystic, CT


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Susan Epstein

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