Boundaries | Tantrum-Toddlers to Tantrum-Teens

First let me say “welcome” to all of our new subscribers. It has been overwhelming to see how many new people joined us in the last month. Welcome, welcome welcome and thank you! Those of you that are the vets of the list, thank you as well for sticking with me! Now, down to business.New Website
I have completely redesigned the Mental Wellness Counseling website, so that we can have not just counseling things, but items that are of interest to anyone seeking happiness, better parenting skills, or to improve their relationships. We have had some debates within my family about the front page design, I want to know what you think, please go and let me know. Do you love it? Hate it? Think it is cheeeezzzzy?Have a question for Joe? 
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Ask Joe
Think “Dear Abby” for a new generation. Each newsletter I will select one or more questions to answer. So if you have a parenting or mental wellness question, please send it my way.

Dear Joe,
I was out with my six-year-old and he wanted a soda pop before we left the mall, we were on our way home and I knew he’d be headed for bed. How can i reduce his tantrums over these little things?

Dear Soda-Pop-Mom,
First, I would get down to his level. I would then say, “We are about to head home and it is going to be bedtime when we get there. A pop (or soda or “Coke” if you’re from Texas) is not going to help you sleep, so right now you can’t have a pop.” Then stand up and let him throw his tantrum.

After about 30 seconds, get down on his level again and say, “That’s not going to work, we need to head home.”

Most kids will eventually get it together within 3 minutes or so. If they seem to go longer, ask yourself if you have been giving in to this behavior. If so, are you teaching them to tantrum to get their way?  More times than not, when this approach is applied, the problem behavior disappears within a few times of consistently following this approach. The book Common Sense Parenting has a number of resources that can help, check out my website for some other ones that I think are great:


By Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

I just spoke at this group in Traverse City called Single MOMM. We talked about boundaries, kids, and friends. We discussed three things: 1. Make the boundary clear 2. Give feedback on the boundary 3. Make following the boundary easier.

For kids, being specific and clear about the boundary is the most important part. They will find a way around it or genuinely not understand. You then may mistake ignorance for defiance. So make it really clear.

Second, consequences are a great way to teach kids. Giving positive consequences to encourage positive behavior is the most effective way to change a behavior because you are teaching a new skill to replace the old skill. Thus, when you stop reinforcing and old way of getting something and encouraging the new, the child starts moving (sometimes very slowly) in the correct direction. Shoot for a 5:1 ratio of positive:negative.

Lastly, all this should lead into making the right path the easiest. Tear down barriers, if there have been problems with homework, design it so they can make the right choice easiest. The old way should be the hardest way to get what they want.

If that doesn’t work, send me an email, I’d love to help you out.Contact me now 

Do you agree?

That’s it for now!



Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a counselor, therapist, psychologist, and overall helper of people in Traverse City, MI. He has professional experience working with Community Mental Health, residential facilities, foster care, and private practice. As well, he is the author of the book “Practice of the Practice: Basics for Launching Your Private Practice” due to be released in June 2012. He is a frequent speaker and writer locally in Traverse City, Michigan, and nationally.

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