Four Rules for Raising Children

Wrightslaw        Law      Advocacy     Training      Products      Store      Subscribe       Sitemap       Contact Us

January 6, 2009

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 468

In This Issue:

Four Rules for Raising Children

The Child Had to Work

No Telephone or TV in the Child's Room, Ever!

The Child Had to Learn to Touch-Type at Home

Never Ask "WHY?"

Smart Kids with LD
2009 Youth Achievement Award


Wrightslaw Way Blog

Community Helpline

The Wrightslaw Way Blog

rightslaw Advocacy Training

icon Jan. 14: Waterbury, CT
icon Jan. 16-17: Spring Hill, FL
icon Jan.30: Williamsburg, VA
icon Feb.5: Charlotte, NC

Full Schedule

Advocacy Training on CD-ROM

Legal Requirements
of IEPs (1.25 hrs)

Legal Requirements of IEPs
Learn More
Wrightslaw Special : $14.95

Understanding Your Child's Test Scores
(1.5 hrs)

Understanding Your Child's Test ScoresLearn More
Wrightslaw Special: $14.95

Special Education Law & Advocacy Training
(6.5 hrs)

Wrightslaw WebEx Special Education Law & Training Program (6.5 hrs)
Learn More
Wrightslaw Special: $49.95

More Resources

Kids with Behavior Problems: What is the School Obligated to Do?
Attention Deficit Disorder in Children
Learning and Behavior Problems: Whose Fault is it?
Behavior & Discipline

Get Help!

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Yellow Pages for Kids With Disabilities

ATTN! VA Parents
& Advocates

 VA flag

What Happens Next on Special Ed Regs?

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043


Copyright 2009, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your web site without explicit permission.

While recovering from the holidays and getting back on track for the new year, we've been sharing parenting tips and advice from Pete Wright, the father of two boys with ADHD and learning disabilities.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, Pete shares more parenting experience and his Four Rules for Raising Children.

You'll find tips that will help your child become a special person because of his differences, not in spite of them.

Please don't hesitate to forward today's issue to other families, friends, and colleagues.

forward to a friend

Sign up free today!  l Read previous issues

Four Rules for Raising Children

We often allow children with a neurobehavioral disability like ADHD or specific learning disabilities to misbehave and get away with bad behavior because we believe they cannot control their behavior. This is not true!

Because a child has disabilities, we often lower our expectations. If we do not expect them to control their behavior and their impulses, they won't.

Pete said "When I was raising my children, many people said I was too hard on them."

What do you think? Was he? How did they turn out?

At the end of this article, you'll find a progress report on how his boys are doing today. But first, read Pete's Four Rules.

#1. The child had to work

Children need to learn that their work contributes to the welfare of the family.

When a child was young and we went to the store, the child had to carry a bag or two into the house. When they were a little older, they didn't ask - they just picked up bags and helped.

When they grew tall enough to reach the sink, they had to help wash the dishes.

When they were teenagers, they had to earn their spending money. They cut grass, did odd jobs in the neighborhood, delivered pizza, you name it.

#2. No Telephone or Television in the Child's Room, Ever!

In addition to a bed, each child's room had a desk, bookcases, and lots of books.

#3. The Child Had to Learn to Touch-Type at Home

Each child learned to touch-type at home. We used a typing software program like Mavis Beacon for 15-30 minutes a day. It took about three months for the child to learn to type 30 words per minute. This is an excellent activity for the summer.

Use a chart to graph the child's progress in typing. Charts make progress real.

When the child reached intermediate goals, they received small rewards. After they could type 30 wpm consistently, typing lessons ended. Eight years of age is not too young to start. Do not expect that the child will learn to touch type at school. Schools are not consistent. Teach this skill at home.

#4. Never ask"WHY?"

When my children misbehaved or messed up, I never asked them "WHY did you . . . ?" 

Why did you come home an hour late? Why did you come home with alcohol on your breath? Why didn't you clean up your room? Why did you leave a mess in the kitchen? Why didn't you finish your homework? Why did you finger-paint on the walls?

When the parent asks a child WHY?, the child learns to create good excuses, shifts blame onto others, views himself or herself as a "victim of circumstances" -- and not does not learn to take responsibility for his or her behavior.

Talking about WHY the child misbehaved will not teach the child that he has control over himself, his environment and his future. This will not teach him to take responsibility for his actions. When you ask "Why," it's easy to slip in some guilt - "Why did you do this? You upset me so much. You made me feel terrible."

Stay away from guilt.

Before my first child was born, I worked in juvenile training schools. I read a book called Reality Therapy by psychologist William Glasser.

Dr. Glasser wrote:

"Eliminate the word 'why' from your vocabulary in dealing with child behavior. So often, children don't know 'why.' They acted because 'I felt like doing it' and they don't really know why. You should never ask 'Why?'

Ask these four questions instead:

  • What did you do?
  • What are you going to do about it?
  • To ensure that this does not happen again, what should we do to you now?
  • If this does happen again, despite your good intentions now, how much more severe shall the punishment be next time?

Read more about Dr. Glasser and how this book changed the way Pete dealt with the kids he worked with.

You'll also find out how it changed the way Pete viewed his job as a parent and the influence it had on his children.

Read the article Training Lions and Tigers: Discipline and Children with Disabilities. Don't miss the update on Pete's two boys.

back to the top

Smart Kids with LD Youth Achievement Award

smart kids with learning disabilities

Nominate your favorite teen!

Nominations are open for the Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities Youth Achievement Award. This year's $1,000 award will be given to a student with learning disabilities or ADHD who has demonstrated initiative, talent, and determination that resulted in a notable accomplishment in any field. Honorable Mentions will also be awarded.

Winners are age 18 or under and nominated by a parent, teacher, mentor, coach, or self.

The winner of the 2008 Award was Evan Paul. Evan established a videogame-trading site when he was 15 and is the co-founder of Dyslexic Dreams, a nonprofit supporting young people with dyslexia.

Do you have an Evan in your family - or know someone who does?

Learn about this Award and download an application from the Smart Kids with LD website.

Deadline! Applications must be submitted by January 31, 2009.

back to the top

What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

"Thanks for the trustworthy information and support you provide through the Wrightslaw web site and newsletter. You helped our family act when we needed to - we are thriving now."


Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

About the Book
To Order
About Book
To Order
About Book
To Order
About DVD Video
To Order