Take Me to Your Mother

TMTYM-ThumbI just came across this fantastic new show called “Take Me to Your Mother”, where Comedian Andrea — a new mom to toddler Odin– is chronicling her adventures through Mommyhood by tapping into one of NYC’s greatest resources: The Neighborhood Mothers. In this episode Andrea seeks out the advice of a group of West Indian Boss Moms in The Bronx and learns the real reason why you must learn to say No to your child.

8 Tips from The West Indian Boss Moms

Tip #1: Instill a Healthy Dose of Healthy Fear

Healthy Fear is a good thing. For Andrea that’s a hard thing to wrap her head around because the word fear implies something bad. In parenting, however, healthy fear lets the child know that you are the protector and your job is to make your child feel secure. This new world they’ve entered into is super scary and you are their guide on this journey.

Tip #2: Private Practice Makes Public Performance

If you let your child walk on the dining room table when there’s no one around, don’t be surprised when he does it during a dinner party. That’s what Andrea found out as little Odin screamed until he got to walk on the dinner table, during dinner. The Boss Moms said it best, “private practice makes public performance”. Everything you allow your child to do in private is a practice for how he or she will act when company comes a calling.

Tip #3: A Mommy’s Mantra: I Am The Boss

I AM THE BOSS. Period. What Mommy said is what goes. End of story. The Boss Moms say that you have to believe that mantra internally before your child will believe you. Instilling that confidence within yourself is key to a healthy parent/child relationship.

Tip #4: I have to Follow-Through

Follow-Through is the secret ingredient. Andrea learns that if she gives a warning to Odin and doesn’t follow-through, she’s teaching Odin that her words are just empty threats. But if she follows-through on those warnings, her words mean business.

Tip #5: Fix Your Face

Practice your mommy-said-no-and-she-means-it face in the mirror so you can see what your child sees. If you smile, like Andrea, after you give your demand all is lost and your baby has outsmarted you once again.

Tip #6: Once In Awhile, Just Act Crazy

To keep your kids in line, The Boss Moms suggest just letting your crazy overtake you for a second or two. No one wants to make mom mad. So make your point loud and clear.

Tip #7: Warning 1, Warning 2, Warning 3

Warnings are a good way to let your child have a chance to assess their own behavior and give them a warning to change it. One of The Boss Moms touted the success of this technique even with her teenagers. When she gets to Warning Two, her 16 and 17 year old have barricaded themselves in their rooms and don’t dare come out until she gives the all clear.

Tip #8: Talent Will Take You But Character Will Sustain You

Andrea learns that all these rules, techniques, and mantras are put in place for one reason only: to instill character in your child. The worst thing you can do is have a talented kid out there in the world with no “broughtupsy”, that’s having no upbringing, conduct, character, or manners for those of us like Andrea (and myself) who have never come across that expression. I cannot say enough good stuff about this funny show with real meaning.

Here are a few lasting quotes from The West Indian Boss Moms of The Bronx:

  • When you steward someone it’s not about being their friend, it’s about giving them the tools that they need.
  • If you do not train your child, the world will train your child. So true!

Check Out “Take Me to Your Mother: Andrea Takes Charge”
( http://www.hulu.com/watch/483740 )Andrea has trouble saying “no” to her 1 year old, so it’s off to meet some West Indian mothers who teach her how to take charge.

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Don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area



I’ve been working with one of my Family Coaching students for a few months now and this past week it just all came together for him in the best kind of way.

When I started working with Zack (a cool name but not his real name) he had recently been suspended and before that was constantly in and out of the principal’s office. Like so many naturally bright kids his age, Zack was on and off ADHD meds, labeled a Behavior Problem in the classroom, and assumed the roles of both bully and victim mostly because it took him longer than his peers to decipher the social nuances of middle school friendships. The heavens must have parted because this week Zack initiated a conscious leap forward and it finally just all clicked! Of course there were many pieces of the puzzle that we had to put together to help him get back on track: homework consistency, sensory supports, executive function skills, social learning, collaboration between the school, the home, and support services, private tutoring, instituting structure at home and at school, appropriate classroom behavior and rapport with authority figures, and most importantly accepting the need for change and acting upon it with humility and grace. Now knowing that Zack can confidently continue to move forward though, no matter how big or small the steps, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief, exhaling while a smile effortlessly forms across my face. I know it sounds sappy but I am truly happy for his progress and that’s because I love what I do: helping others experience that “ah ha”, confidence-building moment. Those are the moments where I get a glimpse into the future and know everything is going to be okay for this child who was once lost in the system.

Happiness. I’m finding out that happiness should be the root of every calling, every profession. For a long time I was on the corporate track to success but it never quite fit. I couldn’t pinpoint what was missing and so like many I know I set my sights on that goal but it ended up placing me in an emotional conflict. It was only when I took a different path from my peers that I found the combination of happiness and success.

As you launch into the weekend, take a breath and think about the moments that really make you happy. Is it being on the playroom floor with your five-year-old while she colors outside the lines? Is it reading a good novel or the Sunday paper with your fingers gently wrapped around a fresh cup of coffee while the rest of your family is still sleeping? We need more of these quiet moments to figure out our own happiness. I can honestly tell you that I’m so glad I decided to stray from the pack and carve out my own piece of happiness.

Good Reads: a great book and blog on finding Your Joy and Your Happiness: The Happiness Project  and Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin

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And don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area

Has Your Child Been Unfairly Labeled as a Behavior Problem?

behaviorThere is no doubt that one of the most difficult conversations you may ever encounter as a parent occurs when the Principal calls your home to discuss the behavior of your child in class today. “This is the third time this week that Seth was disruptive. Is he off his ADHD medication, perhaps?”

It’s tough to realize that your child, your baby, has been labeled as a Behavior Problem at school. You may naturally blame yourself or look for others to blame before making the connection that the school your child is attending may not be the best fit for him or her after all.

We must initially acknowledge that our American school system is only equipped to handle the mainstream population, meaning that any student who is an outlier from that average fails to have his or her needs completely met by the system itself.

I see this often in my line of work. Children who have I.E.P.’s (Individualized Educational Programs) and B.I.P.’s (Behavior Intervention Plans) a mile-long may really be suffering from lack of structure and accommodation at the school they are attending. Any teacher will tell you that out of a class of 27 there will be at least five students who come with an IEP. It’s unlikely they can solely cater to this student’s exact needs without a shadow or teacher’s assistant to alleviate the stress and time constraints of getting through the lesson, assigning homework, reviewing for the quiz, and answering 27 different questions in 48 minutes or less. They will also tell you those students with extra needs may slip through the cracks while no one is watching. It’s a slippery slope from being labeled as “disruptive” to being suspended indefinitely. I’ve seen it happen, usually to very bright but non-conformist kids.

So what can you do about this?

My first recommendation is to fight back, nicely of course. If your child is being labeled as a Behavior Problem it is your job as the parent to be your child’s advocate by getting involved, which gets the attention of the school. To do so you can attend PTA meetings, parent/teacher/principal meetings, allow your child to undergo psychological testing to rule out or define true learning or behavioral issues, ask for classroom accommodations such as sensory supports, and hire a shadow or tutor to help your child identify what he or she may be doing that is perceived as disruptive. Lesson of the Day: Be on the side of the school without being on the side of the school.

My second recommendation is to look inward: Are you providing the appropriate structure and accommodations in your home environment? This is always a delicate issue to bring up but a necessary one if you want to get to the bottom of your child’s behavior issues. Chances are if there is little to no structure in place at home and your child doesn’t respect you (the authority figure and his or her model for appropriate behavior) then it is likely your child doesn’t respond well to structure and authority figures at school. This may be the root of the issue. It takes a bigger parent to admit that they are part of the problem, but the good news is that you can also be part of the solution. Start by making structure a priority in your home: open up the family forum to set a weekday schedule in place (see my example here). Then, stick to it! Follow-through teaches your family perseverance and the ability to take action on a plan. If you need help with initially instilling structure in your home call upon a professional Family Coach. Their job is to create, implement, and facilitate positive discipline and structure that naturally gives way to positive changes. (Read more about Family Coaching here) Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit and only three to break it so make it a priority to stick with the plan once it’s in place. If you do, you’ll see noticeable differences in just a few short weeks.

My final recommendation is to research other schools that may appropriately accommodate the behavior challenges that your child exhibits outlined in their IEP or BIP. There are a ton of wonderful private schools out there that may seem unreachable from where you stand but let me assure you that the right school can provide the right education, both mentally and emotionally, for your child. We all know that the right education, only second to the positive foundation provided at home, makes all the difference moving forward in school and, perhaps, in life. I implore you to do your homework and research the best fit for your child; it could make all the difference. If you’re in Los Angeles, contact Stacey at SchoolShopLA.com. As an expert in education Stacey’s mission is to, “Help families choose the perfect school that fits for their child… [and] help lead the way in picking an environment that will make a difference in your child and family’s life”.

These are difficult changes and realizations to make but I ask that you take a hard look at the particular situation you’re in, being as objective as possible. If your child has been unfairly labeled as disruptive then it is your job to get to the root of the issue by openly communicating solutions with your child and your child’s educators. If your child really is struggling with a behavior challenge then acknowledge the need and provide the best care possible by making appropriate accommodations, reaching out for help, and fighting for your child’s ability to learn in a conducive, stimulating environment. Most importantly, whatever you do don’t give in or give up. Education is too important to have your child sitting on the sidelines or in the Principal’s office day in and day out.

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And don’t forget to head on over to TerryTutors.com or give us a call at 310.254.0909 for more info about our Private Tutoring & Family Coaching services in the Greater Los Angeles area