The stories are disturbing; teens addicted to and dying from heroin. It’s happening right under our nose, in our own backyard, rich and poor communities. It is pervasive, from schools to homes to the streets and parks.
The numbers are staggering. But they don’t show the complete picture.
“My Son Wouldn’t Do Drugs”
That’s the most common response I hear! Parents assume their teenager is or could be experimenting with alcohol or pot. They never imagine, in fact, it’s HEROIN or now the latest killer FENTANYL which is even stronger. Just like them I never imagined the time would come when we would say at least it’s “only alcohol or pot.”
I am an advocate for children so this message is straightforward. (more…)
The Journey of a Thousand Miles
Please allow me to share my excitement and experience. I just walked for my PhD! An accomplishment that I’ve been working toward my entire life. Obstacles were abundant, but when you set a goal you just keep going until you achieve it. I did it and it feels amazing! I am officially a doctor; more specifically a Doctor of Philosophy in Education!
What I mean by “the journey of a thousand miles;” it’s researching, gathering data and writing a dissertation. My dissertation is titled “The Difference of a Ten Week Counselor Facilitated Adolescent Boys Group on Behavior.” Its theory comes from the work I do with boys in The Quest Project®, a mission I’ve devoted my life to.
This advanced research will be presented to the academic world with the reasons boys are struggling during adolescence and support what boys need.
I’ll be honest, there were moments when I wished a University had awarded me an “honorary doctorate” because I could have added years to my life! But that’s not who I am. (more…)
I admit I like to share a good story! This is one that warmed my heart.
For most of us going to the grocery store is a necessity We’re out of milk or need something for dinner! In other words, we don’t do it for fun! This week I witnessed something truly awesome while standing in line to check out.
A Blessing Right Before My Eyes
The “bagger,” I’ll call him “Joe,” is a middle aged man and Joe was bagging groceries for the customer in front of me. It was a Mom and son and I’m guessing the boy was 11 or 12 years old. I listened in as Joe began making conversation with the boy.
Joe asked him if he’d started school yet. The boy replied, “no but his first day is tomorrow.” Joe said, “I bet you’re excited to get back to school, and I bet you’re good in school!” The boy nodded yes with a smile. Joe kept it going and asked, “Do you play sports, you look like a sports guy.” Again with a smile, the boy said yes that he liked lots of sports. Joe responds “I bet you’re great at sports, you stay with it maybe you’ll get a scholarship someday!” Imagine the big smile this boy had!
As they walked away Joe said this “you do good, my man, you’re a fine young man!” (more…)
Discipline or Punishment?
What’s the difference you ask! There’s a big difference between discipline and punishment.
So your son has broken the rules; he’s been caught drinking or smoking, maybe a bad report card? You have to do “something,” he’ll have to be punished. The way to stop a child from misbehaving is to cause some kind of pain right? This usually means “grounding” a boy or taking away privileges like cell phones, video games, and other toys.
And guess what? That doesn’t work!
Punishment doesn’t work because it isn’t about your boy. It’s about instant gratification for you. You feel bad and want to convey your disappointment. You make him feel bad; you feel your job is done. He doesn’t learn anything from this experience. What he learns is fear he can get caught, and that’s not a lesson. It can actually make the behavior worse, pushing it underground and teaching him to become a better liar, sneaker, or just better at finding ways to not get caught.
So, if punishment doesn’t work and you’re not supposed to ignore bad behavior, what option is left? (more…)
Dad, Welcome to The Quest Project®
My recent inspiration for writing book #2 came from a very welcome change I am seeing in my practice, let me share more.
Change Is Very Good
Over the last 20 years, I have seen over 2000 boys go through The Quest Project®. What’s changed? In the past, the majority of the young men that came in were accompanied by mom. Mom would attend the parent sessions, mom would make sure her son got to group on time and made sure he was picked up on time! I’m pleased to see a shift recently, more often Dad is participating! Dad is bringing his son in and participating in the work.
Fathers are beginning to understand how important they are to their sons. They are realizing how important they are in their son’s development. They want to make changes and be better fathers. They are looking for what’s missing and eager to be a healthy role model for their son. It has not only inspired my second book, it has inspired another very exciting path for The Quest Project®. (more…)
Bullied: Online & Offline
Today we not only deal with the “bully on the playground,” we must watch out for the ones that lurk on social media! Bullies can have a devastating effect on your child.
What Parent’s Can Do
As a parent, the best way to make sure your child doesn’t become a victim of bullying is to build self-confidence with positive reinforcement. That’s not always an easy task and it requires your diligence in using positive messages. Bullies have a way of quickly honing in on a “weaker person.”
If your child is sensitive or is dealing with some difficult issues in their life; bullies seek out this type of victim. Sadly I see far too many boys in my practice who are dealing with a bully. (more…)
During an interview recently I made a comment that I’ve replayed in my head! “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a recipe to follow for every situation you’ll face with your adolescent son?”
Just Add Water
When I was in my twenties my mom gave me a cookbook “The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking.” I have referred to that book a million times. When I needed to know what to do with beef, pork, fish or chicken all I had to do was look up the ingredients for a great meal! It had recipes for the beginner and for the advanced cook. Where am I going with this? Let’s think about it in terms of raising your son.
For most recipes you need to have the basics on hand; there are no substitutes or replacements for these. The basic ingredients that you need to have on hand from birth to 11 years of age are these:
Using these basic ingredients (in every recipe) is easy enough. The measurements are exact each time, and as long as you stay consistent your end product will be good! (more…)
Kids feelings: Mad, sad, glad, and afraid-I often refer to these as The Big Four! Processing feelings is healthy, I recommend it highly. Here’s why:
Kids Feelings: Mad Happens
Let’s start here, this is the feeling that scares everyone. I’m always amazed at the number of people that think being mad and/or angry is always negative. Did you know that if you don’t allow yourself or your child to feel this feeling it can lead to depression? It’s how you handle or behave while being angry that is important. (more…)
I was honored when Aisha Sultan, home and family editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently wrote an article about my journey, and how it led to my life’s work.
Raising Sons: In Case You Missed It
The article is titled “Giving boys what they need when fathers are absent” and appropriately published on Fathers Day. I heard from many fathers, young and old telling me how the article touched them. Some are raising sons today. Some are hoping to heal the wounds of their past relationship with their father.
I’ve shared my story many times; however, I don’t think it could have been “summed up” any better than Aisha did in her article. (more…)
I have shared much about The Quest Project®; how it works and the processes it covers with adolescent boys. I’d like to show you the results my program has on specific behaviors. I’ll also share comments at the end from participants!
The Behavioral Evaluation Scale (BES)
What is this and why do you care? If you or someone you know is interested in The Quest Project® this data is proof of the program’s success.
I have parents complete a “Behavioral Evaluation Scale” (BES-3) on their son before the program begins, and again after completion of the program. I do this in order to measure the young man’s progress in the following.
- Learning Problems
- Interpersonal Difficulties
- Inappropriate Behavior
- Physical Symptoms/Fears
Both the participant and parent are surveyed to gather feedback on the program itself. (more…)