Parents! Don’t you wish you had a box of tricks you could “reach into” to resolve the kids fighting, the refusal to pick up their rooms, their use of bad language, complaining, ignoring you and so forth? It’s Dr. Riley, licensed clinical psychologist, who comes to the rescue with his fast and fun solutions for the most persistent and annoying parenting problems in his latest book – Dr. Riley’s Box of Tricks – 80 Uncommon Solutions for Everyday Parenting Problems.
Dr. Riley’s tricks are pretty clever. They are a little bit of reverse psychology, a taste of your own medicine and the use of repetition to solve those everyday parenting issues that come up with children in the age group of 6 to 14.
Before pulling out the tricks, Dr. Riley begins with the rules of “Parent Reprograming” because using his box of tricks will be a whole new strategy. He recommends the following: 1. Stay calm. (In my case stop yelling at the kids because they seem to be tuning me out more!) 2. Stop arguing. Aruging with kids deludes them into believing they are your equal. 3. Don’t continue to reason with a child who is not listening. 3.Make it fun. 4. Keep it light!
Some of the Tricks
These are just my brief examples of the tricks you can expect to find in the book. The Dr. provides much more detail and examples of how these tricks will work.
The problem – Your kids are not picking up after themselves after repeated requests.
The Trick – Two times pay! Tell the children that you are only going to ask twice for them to pick up (for example) their toys. After two times you will start charging them $.25 for additional requests. A variation would be to start charging $.25 chores (like cleaning the toilets or vacuuming) for each additional time that you have to request that they pick up their things.
This trick was helpful to me, because I typically start to yell after having to request two or three times for their help picking up!
The Problem – Kids ages 10 to 14 who are cursing.
The Trick – Drain it out of their system. Require that your “potty mouthed” child repeat the word for two minutes straight. One kid was using the work frickin around the house. So for two minutes he was required to repeat – “frickin, frickin, frickin,frickin’, frickin’.” If two minutes isn’t enough, try five, then fifteen. According to Dr. Riley, kids usually don’t require a full fifteen minute draining session to get the swearing out of their system.
I haven’t had to use this one yet, but will try it if I have to!
The Problem – Not putting dishes in the dishwasher.
The Trick - Repeat the process. Tell your child the next time that she fails to put her dishes in the dishwasher, you will apologize for not teaching her the process. Next, have her come to the kitchen for practice. Have her put the dish in and take it out again. Ater 10 minutes of this, she should be a master at it and never want to go through that practice again. If she still doesn’t get it, she can be in charge of all the family’s dishes, until she gets the knack.
My kids are pretty good about this one. As of right now, I don’t need to use this trick.
The book contains other tricks for solving these problems -
- fight with each other
- spend too much time texting
- conveniently forget homework
- complain it’s not fair
- ignore you
- gross stuff
I appreciate Dr. Riley’s three step guide to using any of his tricks.
1. Make your child aware of the possible consequences that can happen unless a particular behavior is changed.
2. Make sure your child knows you are not bluffing.
3. Always offer a soft landing! Your child should ALWAYS have the option of changing his/her behavior in order to completely avoid the consequences that you are warning about.
According to Dr. Riley – The techniques in this book are meant to be used on healthy, normal, happy kids, age six to fourteen, who have a sense of humor and the ability to be enjoyable, but who have hit a hardheaded stage and are driving you nuts.
If you fall into the above category and want to stop yelling and start getting results, then Dr. Riley’s book is for you!
About Dr. Riley’s Book of Tricks
Every parent sends their child to his or her room as a punishment at one time or another. But, have you ever considered grounding your children from their rooms? Dr. Douglas Riley has. In fact, if your daughter isn’t allowed to use her own room after you have declared it “unfit for human habitation” until she straightens it, you’ll be amazed how clean she will keep her space next time.Dr. Riley has prescriptions for every situation, from messy rooms to homework procrastination, from sibling combat to cell-phone abuse. Ideal for any exasperated parent, this must-have guide offers dozens of creative solutions for the most persistent parenting problems. These gentle yet proven techniques turn the tables to put you back in charge–and get your kids to laugh in the process. Published by Da Capo Press – 2011. ISBN- 978-0-7382-1428-3.
About Dr. Douglas A. Riley, EdD
Douglas Riley, EdD, is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than thirty years of experience working with children, adolescents, and parents. He lives in Virginia.
Dr. Riley’s Book of Tricks is available in paperback on Amazon.com for $10.20.
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Many thanks to Lindsey for the Dr. Riley’s Box of Trick books .