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Posted: Oct 23, 2004 18:08


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" Building Character for a Successful Future"
A Five Session DVD Video Course by Bill Seery, M.S., MFT - Newport Beach, CA
Eric Heard, M.DIV., Pastor - Irvine, CA

Reviewed by Larry Stednitz, PhD

As a parent, and in my professional life, I have continually investigated parenting programs so that I could improve my parenting skills. I recently reviewed a DVD about Extreme Parenting. Perhaps the name is misleading in that the ideas put forth in this DVD were not in fact extreme, but rather included many distilled and time proven concepts and suggestions relevant to good parenting. The ideas were succinct and easily digested. The musical sound track was interesting and the visual effects engaging in this 96 minute DVD.

The DVD focused on how to help kids develop character, even if they are way off track. Easily said but difficult to achieve! The DVD reviewed three essential qualities for success; integrity, the attainment of mature love and freedom from addiction, regardless of whether the addictions are substances or behaviors.

The belief is that a lack of impulse control results in a child not having the ability to learn the three basic but essential qualities for success. Children develop impulse control through two types of experiences the authors describe as linked together in the model they refer to as "Brief Dips." The first and most basic of these experiences is love. The authors describe very convincingly, the various ways to let a child know they are loved. With sufficient love, children are better able to respond to consequences meted out by parents.

The second experience is the "dip" which is unpleasant and comes most often through the application of short, timely consequences the child receives if their behavior warrants a consequence. The authors contend that repeated and consistent consequences will ultimately strengthen a child's ability to manage unpleasant feelings. These consequences will also help them to gain the three qualities for success, especially with the expression of a lot of love. By managing these emotions and behaviors, children develop internal boundaries, grow in confidence and develop a long standing appreciation for others. The authors believe that with the "Brief Dips" model, parents will be able to teach a child how to control behavior and ultimately achieve success in life.

Lack of impulse control is at the heart of the issue and a major topic of the DVD is to help parents learn how to help their children learn to control their impulsive behavior. The authors acknowledge that some problems related to impulse control are biologically or chemically driven, supporting the potential need for medical attention. The authors believe the critical component of raising a child with character is to hold the child accountable.

The authors describe four tools to make it easier to apply this model and help a child reach a successful life. These tools are:

  1. Develop a "Magnetic Home", where structure and nurture are equally balanced.

  2. The next tool is to "Save your Voice!" This section describes how parents can avoid inappropriate arguing and fighting with their children.

  3. The third tool is to "Child Proof" your plan. This tool teaches parents how to effectively apply rules, rewards and consequences for kids who are stressed and acting immature.

  4. The final tool is entitled "Don't take the bait!" This section deals with how we as parents let our own unresolved issues get in the way of good parenting.

The authors distilled the principles on this DVD into what I would consider to be some of the most critical and easily understood principles of raising children. Each DVD, VHS or audio CD includes all five sessions and a course syllabus. The course syllabus is also available on the Extreme Parenting website. It is quite easy to follow and to the point. I think it contains highly valuable information for parents trying to make sense out of the myriad of approaches currently available.

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