Does your child’s behavior frustrate you to the point where you lose your temper and start yelling? Do you repeat yourself time and again without getting results?

Most children resort to familiar, time-honored tactics when they don’t like what you, the parent, are saying.

Maybe they just don’t want to obey right now. Maybe they don’t like doing what you want them to. Sometimes they just want to enjoy a feeling of power over you. When you lose your temper, they may enjoy a sense of triumph!

Kids who don’t obey their parents aren’t necessarily mentally ill. This sounds obvious, but many parents rush their offspring in to see a therapist at the first sign of rebellion. Before you do, ask yourself a few questions.

Do you remember childhood? You had no money, you had no clout. You had no guarantee that anyone was listening to you.

On any subject, what your parents said was generally the last word. If you didn’t toe the line, you might get punished. Or your parents would yell at you. Or both.

But just consider. Everybody, old or young, needs to have at least some power. From a child’s point of view, grownups have too much of it. What can kids do about this situation? They can go on strike. They can

  • Refuse to talk
  • Refuse to perform
  • Break rules
  • Destroy things

Refusing to talk and refusing to perform are the first line of defense and some of the first signs of trouble between parent and child.

Kids who shut down may be testing their parents. They may be making a statement about one narrowly defined situation.

Children who break rules and destroy things, on the other hand, are likely to be angrier. They may have felt ignored and disregarded for some time. They are probably making a broader statement about life.

If you can communicate with your child when he or she has just shut down, before anger takes root, you can fix the problems and keep your child from engaging in outright defiance and destruction. You need to do two things.

The Magic of Listening

First, any parent wanting to improve communication must start by listening. Many parents, eager to tell their kids how to live right, don’t know how to really listen.

Ask yourself when and where your child talks to you. Are there specific times of day and week when you give your child your full attention? Answer this short checklist:

  • When you listen to your child, do you multitask?
  • Do you interrupt when your child is speaking?
  • When your child is talking, do you ask questions only when you need more information?
  • Do you say “Really? Wow!” or “I see” (or similar things) from time to time to show that you are listening?

If you aren’t doing these things, you may well be telling your child that you aren’t really paying attention.

Oh, no, you may object. “I tell my child all the time what she needs to do and what I expect.” Maybe so, but paradoxically, your child won’t truly listen to you until she thinks you hear her. And if she doesn’t think you are listening now, you may be in for trouble. If not right away, then later.

This listening thing can be hard on parents.

The biggest challenge when parents are listening to their offspring is likely to be the urge to solve perceived problems before the child has asked for help.

When your child has a problem, you may have the nagging sense that you are at fault. If you were a better parent, you may think, this wouldn’t be happening. As the parent, you naturally want your child’s life to be trouble free.

What’s more, depending on the amount of distress the problem may be causing your child, you are feeling distress too. You may feel an overpowering impulse to jump in and fix matters.

Restrain yourself. Unless your child’s health or safety is in jeopardy, you need to wait until you are asked for your advice.

You want your child to learn to handle his or her age-appropriate challenges in order to develop the skills and confidence in himself.

If you solve a problem that your child could have handled without your help, you are sending the covert message that he or she is not capable of taking care of business. You do not want to send this message!

Instead, learn to listen silently and to notice your own level of anxiety so that you can calm yourself as necessary and continue offering appropriate support.

It may help to take a deep breath. You might also remind yourself that as long as the two of you are simply talking, no action is being taken.

Set yourself the task of gathering information about the problem and the child’s view of it. Next, find out how your child plans to solve the problem. Communicate your faith in your child’s judgment by the way you frame questions: “Gosh, that sounds like a difficult situation! How are you planning to handle it?”

Then explore the answer with your child. For example, “I see. You think fighting him will get him to back off? But if you start a fight, what will happen next, do you think?” And so forth.

Your ability to wait before telling your child how to solve his or her problems is the key to keeping the communication channels between the two of you open long term. If your young child trusts you to listen nonjudgmentally, down the road your teenager confronting terrible risks and temptations will do the same.

You can learn how to listen and how to manage your own anxiety in a few simple steps. You will find all the answers to becoming a world-class listener in my ebook Dr. Marbles’ Everyday Marvels.

Once you have mastered these easy skills, every time you praise your child for a situation well handled, you can pat yourself on the back!

But there’s a second tool you need to keep your child behaviorally on track every day.

The Secret Formula for Stopping Behavior Problems Before They Start

If your child refuses to fold the laundry for the umpty-umpth time or won’t start homework promptly on schedule, clearly listening by itself is not the answer.

What then?

Traditional methods of managing this situation produce a battle of wits or worse. You say, “You can’t play video games until you clean your room!” Your child shrugs: “I don’t care.” Or perhaps she responds angrily, “That’s not fair!” Resentment builds.

There may be an argument: “You never ask my sister to do that!” Or delaying tactics: “I’ll do it when my program is over.” The battle is on. Now you have a power struggle on your hands.

But there is a better way. A much better way.

When children fight adults, the contest is not between intellectual equals. Grownups know more than kids! As the hostilities rage, the child will often wind up boxed into a corner, unable to get out without losing face. When this happens, the child’s defeat becomes a painful reminder of inferior status in the household and a lack of power.

What if you could head off this situation at the pass? Suppose you could avoid the power struggle and get—promptly!—the results you need?

Even better, suppose you had a way of doing this that would bring you and your child closer together while setting a precedent that would help your child become a better parent in adulthood?

It’s all possible. The magic trick you want is available to you at no cost. All you need is the ability to detach and a willingness to be playful.

The magic ingredient is your sense of humor.

That’s right. You can use humor to defuse a difficult situation with your child, to enforce behavioral expectations, and to maintain your dignity while you assert your authority.

And yet few parents really take advantage of this possibility. For more than fifteen years, I have seen in my office countless parents whose peace of mind is constantly being shattered by their children’s annoying behavior.

There are siblings who tease each other mercilessly, to the parents’ despair. Many children refuse to do homework and lie about class assignments. I hear about cat boxes that don’t get cleaned, overflowing trash cans, dirty laundry on the floor, tantrums, and a host of other household sins. Some children even say abusive, insulting things to their parents.

With a little ingenuity, you can solve these and other problems, no sweat. To help you do so, I put together a handbook on managing children with tricks and situations culled from more than 15 years of family therapy.

All the tips and tricks you need are contained in Dr. Marbles’ Everyday Marvels: Behavior Magic for Parents. If you put these simple suggestions to work, you will be able to pilot the canoe of childhood downstream while successfully dodging the shoals.

Here are a few samples of Dr. Marbles’ marvels:

  • how pieces of cardboard can stop name-calling at home and at school
  • how a deputy’s badge can put the kibosh on bad table manners
  • how to make children (and adults) quit using bad language
  • how a “doghouse” can help family members work out their differences
  • how rolls of masking tape can remind people to consider others’ feelings
  • how to make a sullen child laugh instantly

And there is much, much more in these pages. This stuff is a breeze to do. Best of all, the ideas offered here will tickle your brain, inviting you to dream up even more ways of improving family relations while also strengthening family bonds.

In fact, this wise little encyclopedia could be described as a family-building kit. Taken as a whole, it will show you

  • How humor and outright silliness can teach your child to follow behavioral rules, give and get respect, and meet your expectations
  • How to build your child’s social skills in the key areas that assure a lifetime of successful relationships with peers, partners, and authority figures
  • How to use your child’s strengths to overcome weaknesses
  • How to futureproof your child so that he or she is ready to take on challenges
  • How to multiply the positive memories of your family that you and your child will always cherish
  • How play can become more fun for your family while also improving your child’s social skills and respect for authority

You will rejoice at the relaxed, playful atmosphere in your home as you try out my time-tested strategies. And you will think of more. If you let me know of your discoveries, I will include them in future editions!

How to start adding humor and other magic to your parenting toolkit . . .

To order Dr. Marbles’ Everyday Marvels, simply click on the button below. Dr. Marbles’ Everyday Marvels is available for immediate download at a price of $40. And it’s guaranteed to give satisfaction.



Our 30 Day 100% Risk Free Guarantee

You can examine Dr. Marbles’ Everyday Marvels for 30 days free of charge. If for any reason you aren’t pleased, simply contact me by email, and I will cheerfully refund every penny you paid. In other words, you have nothing to lose. Don’t miss this chance to improve your relationship with your children not just immediately but for the rest of your life and theirs.

Best regards,




P.S. Still not sure? Forget the behavioral change for the moment. Suppose I just offered your family a chance to laugh more together and have more fun together? You’d go for it, right? Well, you get this chance here, too. You will be delighted with the interventions proposed and with the changes they bring about in your child’s behavior. As a fringe benefit you will have found a way to substitute humor for conflict in your home. Click the button, order Dr. Marbles’ Everyday Marvels, and you’ll be on your way to a happier family.