Music Instruction DVD Lessons For Kids

I have a great tip for parents today that might save some money and time.

If your kids express an interest in music lessons, but you’re not sure if you want to invest the time, money, and research necessary to get them set up at a local music school and find musical equipment because you’re not sure if they are genuinely interested or if it’s just a passing fad, wouldn’t it be great to give them a chance to see what real lessons are like?

You can easily do that in one of two ways. The first is online. Websites devoted to selling musical teaching materials have free video previews available so you can see what you will be getting on their DVD or CD sets.

The second method is through the On Demand menu if you have access to Comcast Digital Cable. Among the rotating materials are music lessons. Having the kids watch them and see what it is like to learn the basics of an instrument will give them a better idea of what the are getting into and what steps they will have to take to actually master to be able to play a song on the instrument.

Tips for Improving ADHD Behavior

I was just reading an article called ADHD and Young Children: Unlocking the Secrets to Good Behavior.

It made some noteworthy points. Here are a couple with my commentary.

The first point was about adapting behavioral control techniques for kids with ADHD. The example used (reducing time-out time periods) was a slight modification of the technique which wasn’t materially different from how it would be used with non-ADHD children. I can see both sides of the argument here though.

I have agreed in theory in other entries to the idea that every kid is different and parents should take that into account when setting rules (such as different curfews for siblings if one is more responsible than another). When creating or modifying rules for ADHD kids, I think you run the risk of not holding them to the same standard. That isn’t what the author of the article is advocating, but I can see how easily that could happen. It can be a slippery slope from modifying techniques to modifying standards.

Another point in the article was about focusing attention on positive behaviors in order to reinforce them and ignoring negative behaviors so the child gets no attention for them. I think that is also good advice – in general. The article goes on to say that “Inappropriate or irritating behavior should be ignored 100% of the time while appropriate behavior should be praised 70% to 80% of the time at first, and then to less than half the time as things improve.”

That was stated too strongly. The example used in the article about ignoring a kids making silly noises while finishing homework may fit in with the statement perfectly well, but to say that negative behaviors should be ignored 100% of the time is not realistic for any number of reasons.

The article actually has many more points than I covered here. Even if I don’t agree with everything in it, I think it’s worthwhile reading for parents and worth thinking about.

Teens At Home

I was originally going to call this entry Dealing with Older Kids at Home, but I realized that the problem with that tile is defining “older kids.” In fact, “teens” may have an exact definition – those between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, but that still is too wide of a range for these purposes.

This entry is really about teens living at home who are on the edge of adulthood (at least according to them about the time they start reaching 15 or 16 and perhaps according to you, if they are reaching age 18 or so) and how dealing with and controlling their behavior gets increasingly difficult for parents at this stage.

One overriding philosophy (covered in the article referenced at the end of this entry) to dealing living with older teens and young adults is the concept of treating these adult children as guests in the parent’s home rather than the relying on the established parent-child relationship.

I thought that was a very interesting concept and not one that I remember hearing before. To clarify, the author is not talking bout waiting on them hand and foot as you might a guest, but rather having certain limitations to and expectations of how a guest would behave in your house. Another benefit to this psychological guest mentality is that it erases the sense of entitlement. Guests are grateful for your hospitality; they don’t demand more and more or feel tat you owe them something whereas adult children see the housing and amenities of what you are providing as a inalienable and continuing right – the same as they’ve had for years growing up.

Interestingly, though adult children see their responsibilities towards their parents as diminishing. They no longer feel accountable for to the parents for their whereabouts or actions.

For a more in-depth discussion of this topic, see Rules, Boundaries and Older Children.

How To Manipulate Parents

I thought I would take a different tactic than usual in this blog entry. Since many articles aimed at parents are “how to” in nature, I thought I would do a parody for kids called How To Manipulate Your Parents In Three Easy Steps.

1) Play one parent against the other. Choose the weaker one and get him or her to agree with you and argue your case with the other parent.

2) Threaten to throw a fit if you don’t get your own way. Extra points if you can throw the fit in public on order to add embarrassment to the list of your parents’ reactions. To show them you’re really serious, breaking something will always make an impression.

3) Butter them up when you want something. Suddenly do everything right for a day or two before asking for an expensive toy or trip. Of course, return to normal, inappropriate behavior right after getting what you want!

The interesting thing about all this is that kids don’t need “how to” articles to figure out ways to be manipulative when they don’t get what they want. It just comes naturally to them. Unfortunately, the opposite is not true for parents. They need to take a step back and analyze the situation and plan ways to deal with manipulation tactics when their kids try them.

Parents, if you recognize your kid’s behavior in any of this, it’s time to take action!

For a more conventional look at the topic, check out this article: Masters of Manipulation: How Kids Control You With Behavior

– – –

This blog entry continues to be very popular. Since the title is How To Manipulate Parents rather than How Kids Attempt To Manipulate Their Parents, there are probably a lot of kids and teens who come across the article looking for ideas on creative manipulation of their parents when they want something or want to avoid punishment for something. As I said originally, it was really a parody of how to parenting information articles. If you’re a parent legitimately looking for help dealing with manipulative behavior in children, this article will give you insight into how they are thiknking. If you’re a teenager looking for advice on how to manipulate your own parents, you might want to stop and think about how these behaviors will affect your relationship with them.