EP Contest Winners I: “This Parenting Technique Really Worked for Me!”

Posted August 7, 2009 by

Photo of elisabeth

Congratulations to the winners of our EP Contest, “This Parenting Technique Really Worked for Me!”

We received so many great entries, it was truly hard to choose just ten. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

For the next three weeks, we’ll be featuring the winning entries in our blog, with a response from 1-on-1 Coach Carole Banks. And each of our winners will receive a signed copy of James Lehman’s new book, Transform Your Problem Child.

Thank you all once again for writing in and sharing your transformation into an “Empowered Parent” with us!

— Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor & the Empowering Parents Team

The Importance of Avoiding Power Struggles

by Jessica A. Kaiser

“I am a marriage and family therapist and I purchased the Total Transformation Program. I also really enjoy the Empowering Parents newsletter — and have shared it with many, many parents with whom I work. One of the most important things I have learned and use personally — and pass on professionally — is to walk away: End the power struggle. All too often, parents continue arguing with their child and trying to convince or rationalize with a brain that cannot comprehend everything that’s happening nor has the maturity to rationalize. This technique of stating the expectation to the child and then leaving the situation has proven to be extremely powerful! Thank you!”

Jessica: You’re so right about the importance of ending the power struggle with your child. And the sooner you disengage when your child begins to escalate, the less you will fuel those distorted perceptions he uses to justify his behavior and the sooner the argument will end. This is a great use of an effective parenting tool—thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

For more on this technique, read the article Avoiding Power Struggles with Defiant Children: Declaring Victory is Easier than You Think!

Giving Task-Oriented Consequences Worked for Our ADHD Child!

by Kim Smith

“The best technique that we have implemented with our ADHD child is to ‘make the consequence task- oriented.’  I had been in the habit of sending my son to his room – mostly to give me a break from him – where he would yell, ‘How much longer? Can I come out now?’ He did this even if we set a timer or added minutes for each time he asked the question.  Nothing worked.

But when we made the consequence task-oriented, he was in control of how long it took him to get the task done.  It let him feel a little bit of control when there was a set end.  For example, he got suspended from the bus for 3 days for fighting.  I explained to him that I had to give up my time to prepare dinner and unload the dishwasher to drive him home from school.  As his consequence, he had to help me with my chores.  Whether it took him 10 minutes to unload the dishwasher or an hour, he was in control of how long it took.  He finally learned that he was only taking up his own time and that it didn’t matter to me how long it took him. This technique really really took away a lot of back talk and extra frustration for us both!!!”

Dear Kim: As you’ve learned, punishments do not change a child’s behavior, but a consequence that includes a task that has a learning component will help your child practice the skill you want to improve. We’re glad to see this is working so well for you and your family!

For more on this method, listen to James Lehman’s audio lesson, “Use Task-Oriented Consequences.”

How I Deal with Excuses and Blaming

by Laura Smith

“I love the detailed explanation in Empowering Parents of how kids try to divert the attention from their own behavior when confronted. My most freeing moments come when I see this happening. For example, my daughter will say, “But he did . . .” and I remember to say, “This is not about your brother, this is about your behavior.” My most definite rule is to remember to allow my daughter to feel and think whatever she wants but to let her know that abusive behavior is not acceptable. This is such a clear rule, and hearing it in the parenting coaching really confirmed it for me and gave me the confidence to stand by this respectful boundary during an onslaught of adolescent frustration.”

Dear Laura: Teaching your child that excuses and blaming do not solve the problem is so important. Focusing kids on what the real problem is gets them back on track, and shows them that they can’t blame someone else for their mistakes.  And establishing the rule of “No excuse for abuse” is also one of the best things a parent can do to create a culture of accountability in the home. Great work! These techniques have truly made you an Empowered Parent!

For more ways to talk to your child when they use excuses and blaming, read “Kids, Blaming and Apologies: Everything after ‘But’ is Bull” by James Lehman, MSW.


Here is the list of winners for this year’s EP Contest, in alphabetical order. Congratulations to these Empowered Parents!

EP Contest Winners ’09

  • Alice Birchfield
  • Neta Dawn
  • Chris Italiano
  • Jessica Kaiser
  • Jayne Lee
  • Stephen Limpe
  • Ruth Rubelt
  • Kim Smith
  • Laura Smith
  • John and Christine Zanetti

The remaining winning entries will be featured in the next two weeks in our blog, so please stay tuned for more!


Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Popular on Empowering Parents

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor (Edit) Report

    Stace, It’s great that you are taking time to be a leader in your son’s Cub Scout troop. You didn’t say how old your son was, but it sounds like he’s experiencing some embarrassment about your participation, so I’m guessing he’s in the 9~11 age? I would say, as much as possible, try not to take that personally–it’s probably just the stage he’s in right now. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor (Edit) Report

    Patrice and Annita, thanks for your comments! It’s been so inspiring to read what people are doing to become better parents. It’s got me thinking about my own parenting mistakes (and how I’m going to fix them).

  3. Stace (Edit) Report

    I’m having trouble with my son’s attitude. He’s a good kid, with a heart of gold. However, he and I do not see eye to eye, when it comes to cub scouts. I’ve dedicated myself for the last 4 years to his pack, this year becoming one of the leaders so his den would not be “BORING”. Everyone tells me what a great job I’m doing, and the boys are really starting to become more mature. My child fights about Scouts “I hate scouts. I hate scouts! I hate scouts! etc.” he tells me consistently. Next year, his little brother will be old enough to join the pack and is looking forward to it. I told him I would be moving down with the tigers, so that he might get more information from other experienced adults. “THat’s EVEN WORSE!!!” He yelled.

    He has a hard time tearing himself away from video games and we have implemented a one hour time frame for video games, ONLY after all homework is done. He was also very upset with me last night for making the announcement to turn off all electronics at 8:15 PM, so that everyone could decompress and have some quiet time. Tantrums ensued and it’s making me tired. His father disagreed with me (re: not letting him play video games) “vehemenently” and I felt old. How do I fix this?

    So far, I told my son about my dream (he tried to wear a bra that was 20X too big for him, got embarrassed and took it off). I asked, “You know what I got out of that?” “No” he answered, very annoyed. “I think that you are not big enough to be the parent, and that I do things and make decisions for you in your best interest. You will follow through, and you will like it. Do you understand?!” “yes.” he answered looking at the floor. At least he didn’t fight.



Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help


Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families