People Solutions By Dr. Carol Gaffney
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DR. GAFFNEY'S COACHING GUIDE is an insightful, developmental resource comparable in popularity to Dr. Spock. Moms and dads can rely on suggestions, rules and advice for raising children—kids who can transfer the character and example of their parents into a path of strong growth and firm ideals. Not just another book of regurgitated rules and tired psychology, Dr. Gaffney's Coaching Guide offers solutions worked out by hundreds of parents who've shared their triumphs and disappointments.




From Two-Minute Moments, Dr. Gaffney


PARENTS' SUCCESS KIT Assessments, journal, communicate, relax and know what to do ¬ all in one place!
RELAXATION MEDITATION COMPANION A minute a day or twenty minutes a day - relaxation is attainable!
THE NEWSLETTER Release the Leader within.
PARENTING TIPS Simple ideas to help you enjoy your most important relationships.
COACHING TIPS Evaluate yourself and set your course for change!
FAMILY SOLUTIONS If you are concerned about raising a family today, check out the ideas in this section.
TWO-MINUTE MOMENTS Two minutes of relaxation.
DR. GAFFNEY'S PICKS Books on Personal Care & Development as well as Parenting that Dr. Carol Gaffney recommends.


Copyright 1997 Dr. Carol Renaud GaffneyDr.Gaffney’s Coaching Guide for Better Parents and Stronger Kids


With dilemmas like drugs, guns, gangs and teenage pregnancy plaguing today's children in nearly every facet of society, a common cry among parents has become, "I wish there was some sort of manual that taught the basics of being a good parent!"

Dr. Carol Gaffney heard the cry and responded with "Dr.Gaffney’s Coaching Guide for Better Parents and Stronger Kids" which presents step-by-step guidelines for empowering the parent and the child to produce a healthy and productive lifestyle. Dr. Gaffney is a Psychologist/parenting coach whose work centers around creating successes for parents and their children.

"After helping literally thousands of individuals to obtain parental triumphs, I know there are numerous factors that influence behavior. I also believe that parental influence can wield more power than the immediate environment," says Dr. Gaffney. "If parents can understand what input to provide and how to provide it at each age and can come with understanding, realistic expectations and love, the problems during the child’s growth period can be minimized and the odds of having stronger children maximized."

Among the guidelines that Dr. Gaffney offers in her new book:

* You can take your kids only as far as you have been. Your children learn from you, not just from what you tell them, but how you behave, which is a projection of your values and beliefs. According to Dr. Gaffney, knowing yourself is the first step in helping you to assess whether you are the model you want your kids to learn from.

* Kids must be held accountable. Go into the grocery store on any given day and there is bound to be some child acting unruly or ignoring their parent’s wishes. However, as Dr. Gaffney put it, "As kids grow up they must learn that life is not about having other people put up with them and their bad moods or testy, sarcastic comments. If they don't learn this they can become infected with the "center of the universe"

* Pay attention to limit testing. Limit testing, according to Dr. Gaffney, is normal. Most parents acknowledge it only as poor behavior when actually it can provide important information about how the child is developing and what needs are present. Sometimes it is simply a way for children to know that they are safe with the adults in their lives. At other times "What looks like limit testing can also be a cry for help due to unhappiness, depression or discouragement," says Dr. Gaffney.

Table of Contents


  1. You Can Take Your Kids Only As Far As You Have Been
  2. The "Know Yourself" Questions
  3. Self-Care Versus Selfish
  4. All-Or-Nothing Thinking
  5. Physical Illness and Stress
  6. Using The Breath
  7. Hot Buttons
  8. Family of Origin
  9. Life's Purpose
  10. Living Intentionally
  11. Goal Setting


  12. Raising Children To Adulthood Is A Gradual Process Of Their Learning And Our Letting Go
  13. Kids Are People, Too
  14. Accountability
  15. Letting Them Go, Letting Them Grow
  16. The "Know Your Kid" Questions
  17. Reasonable Expectations
  18. Limit Testing
  19. Kids Who Can't And Kids Who Won't


  20. Reminders
  21. The Basic Principles
  22. Skills For Immediate Action
  23. Tools Of The Trade
  24. Planning Ahead - Speaker/Listener Technique
  25. Create A Great Place To Live



Times have changed!! It does not seem so long ago that parents could feel confident that providing structure, discipline and information as sufficient to keep their kids safe as they grew up. In a few short years parents have found they can no longer take for granted that presence and love alone are sufficient to ensure the safety of their children. Parents cannot take for granted that their kids will be attracted to mentors and other important people who will take them under their wing and help them develop safely. Of course, guidance, support and love have always been the parents' responsibility, but there has been a feeling of confidence and trust that "things will eventually turn out okay."

That times have changed and danger lurks in close places was seeping into my consciousness almost six years ago when the reality of our twenty-year old son lying in an emergency room with skull damage, the victim of a vicious attack, made me open my eyes.

We received the Saturday morning call that Chris had been taken to the emergency room after being in a "fight" the night before. It turned out that the "fight" was a one-way affair when two people emerged from the shadows of a building with shovels, ready to attack Chris and his three college buddies, who were on their way back to their apartments. Chris was the easiest target of the thugs and they struck him viciously on the side of his head. It was only good fortune that one of Chris's friends turned, saw Chris fall, and chased his assailant away before the raised shovel could give another blow.

The next several months were difficult as we waited through surgery and recovery, hoping and praying that when the healing was complete, Chris's function would be normal. Again, we were lucky. Chris has had no residual functional problem. But no matter how well his body healed, life and my beliefs about life have never been quite the same. An emotional wound remains. It is a daily reminder that the world I took for granted has somehow changed.

A change occurred deep within me. I can remember how angry I was and how, because there was no legal resolution (the assailants were never found), I had no place to direct my anger. I thought at first that if I could ever get my hands on the guys that did this to my son, I would rip them apart. With the passage of time, I decided that if I were able to confront them, anger and violence would henceforth be part of my being, not just in my life. I chose not to let that happen. I remember consciously making the decision to put whatever energy I had into Chris' healing, not into retribution. I decided to stand for something of value. I wanted this atrocious event to make a positive difference.

In 1990, I had been in the mental health field for several years, providing therapy for children, adults and families. When Chris was assaulted I became more determined to crystallize my thinking and techniques towards developing ways families can protect against violence happening to them. I realized there are two aspects to Chris's story: 1) He had put himself in a vulnerable position through a number of choices he made, and as a result he became a victim. 2) The perpetrators had come to a point in their lives in which their violent behavior, their contempt for human life, was an everyday choice. My goal in the book is to address the problem from both sides; to provide ways for our children to keep out of harm's way and to provide them with values and choices of behavior that will keep them from resorting to violence. The key to both sides is the parents, their awareness, their knowledge, their involvement in their children's lives and how they guide them to becoming healthy adults.

We raised our children in a relatively protected suburban environment. There were no gangs, and if illegal drugs were present, they were not apparent. Crime had not yet invaded our neighborhood; gunshots were not heard. We took a lot for granted. Although our children did not have the available corner lot that I had growing up, I didn't worry about their playing soccer, football and baseball games on the front lawn or going to the neighbor's house. We did not have an alarm system for our house or care and we slept with the windows open on the first floor.

Kids in high school got rowdy, got drunk at times, got into fights, especially on the weekend of the cross-town rivalry. This was not acceptable but no unexpected, as the same things happened when I was in school in the sixties.

We accepted the personal challenge to let the kids go and to let them grow. We let the natural consequences of their actions do the teaching, until the natural consequences got life- threatening. Of course, we were aware of drinking, driving, drugs, but these seemed to be under our kids' control and based on choices they made. We took the opportunity for input when we became aware of the presence of problems. However, except for awareness of injury through driving, which was so often the "other person's fault," our children were not taught to live defensively.

Our eyes were opened that day in 1990 with Chris's injury when random violence came into our lives and our vulnerability became all too apparent. Very quickly we learned that natural consequences now involved real danger and that the "other guy" had gotten out from behind the wheel of the car and was prowling the streets and alleys wielding shovels and, all too often, guns. The stakes had risen enormously. It seemed to happen overnight. As I became more aware of what kids were doing, I also became aware that the "problems" were not limited to "the other side of the tracks." Our neighborhood looks the same as it always has; well-kept homes, tidy yards, the sound of the lawn-mower whining on Saturday morning. Our neighbors are conscientious people who have their recycling bins out twice a week. But today our nice neighborhood has gangs, many of our neighbors have been robbed, junior high and high school kids go through metal detectors entering school, fights have become brawls with victims requiring plastic surgery. The teachers complain about the affluent, arrogant students who think life owes them. Many of the local kids don't "hang out" because there are too many guns. Drug addiction is a pervasive disease. The kids seem to be taking control in their world which is out of control Violence and the effects of violence no longer happen to the other guy.

Parenting in the nineties requires a more proactive approach. Times have changed. It used to be that social institutions provided for life's learning experiences and for teaching lessons. Now, in the absence of the social cohesiveness of the past, parents must take back the responsibility to coordinate their children's experiences. It is their responsibility to help make sense of what happens and to ensure that the experiences their kids are exposed to are the ones the parents want them to have.

I am not so naive as to think that parents have total control over what their children experience. The control diminishes from the day children are born, and the children's perceptions of their experiences are never up to the parent. What I am recommending is that we parents increase the odds that children choose experiences that are good for them. Also, we must become "resource parents" to whom our children can come for love, understanding and wisdom when they have problems that must be solved. When bad things happen our children need us as a perspective that only experience and maturity can bring. This is the responsibility of the parents: to be the mature resource; the ones with experience who can help the child come to an understanding of what has happened.

Parenting in the nineties requires fostering the development of independence and responsibility and balancing that with an appropriate level of guidance and limits. The goal as parents is to produce emotionally strong, healthy, independent adults. This can be done by providing our children with the environment that supports their social, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development. To do this, parents themselves must be emotionally strong, healthy, independent adults. In the recent past years we have relied on others to care for our children; the schools to care for their intellect, the churches to care for their souls, the doctors to care for their bodies, the therapists to care for their emotions, and organized athletics to care for their physical development. It is time - it is imperative - that parents take back the responsibility to be the trainers, the coaches for all of these facets of their children's growth. The time is "now". For stronger kids, we must be better parents. Providing the appropriate environment for your children is your responsibility. To this end, with the understanding that kids learn from our behaviors and our values, there are three basic principles:

1. You can take your kids only as far as you have been. They may progress beyond where you are in life, in learning and in personal standards and values, but if they do, it will be because of what they learn from others.

2. Raising children to adulthood is a gradual process of their learning and our letting go. Your decisions about how and whether you should intercede are based on the age and stage of the child at the time a problem is experienced. And further, once you decide how much of the problem you own as the adult, you solve your part of it then support your child in his or her problem-solving.

3. Behavior, yours and your children's is an expression of biology, psychology, social experience and the yearnings of the soul. The medical and behavioral health fields have been guided by the idea that behavior is a result of the interactions of our biology, psychology and social experiences. The time has come to take the next step and add the concept of the soul to the factors affecting the expression of behavior. The closer your behavior is to the expression of your soul's needs and desires, the more relaxed, confident and healthy you can be as an adult and your children can be during their childhood.

Order Dr. Gaffney's Coaching Guide for Parents


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