Parenting With Dignity Website


Monthly Newsletter

August 2003

Effective Parenting Skills




Get the book . . . . Parenting With Dignity - click here.


Dear Parents and Supporters:

Hello again, and welcome to the August edition of the Parenting With Dignity newsletter. (To view this issue on the web, click here.)  It seems hard to believe that the summer is winding down already and our kids will soon be back in school. Knowing that you have much to do, we'll offer a few brief announcements and then on to Mac's great articles.

NFL's Buffalo Bills - "Parenting With Dignity Day"

Buffalo Bills - PWD DayIf you're in the Buffalo area on August 19th., come and join the Bledsoe Family for Parenting with Dignity day at the Buffalo Bills Training Camp. Watch a spirited practice with the team, and then join Drew Bledsoe and his family for a program following practice - and learn about the nationally acclaimed Parenting with Dignity Program he sponsors with his Foundation.

Where: St. John Fisher College (Pittsford, NY) on the fields behind the stadium. Participants can park at the designated parking and ride busses to the site.

When: Tuesday, August 19th. Practice begins at 2:30 and ends at 5:00 with the Parenting with Dignity program to follow immediately in the football stadium.

Why: Parenting with Dignity is a program that relies on grassroots volunteers in order to operate! Come and join Drew and his family in making this great program work in your own neighborhood.

How: Click here to register online for this free event.



Mac Bledsoe Featured on CBN

Christian Broadcasting NetworkLast month Mac Bledsoe was featured on CBN TV's 700 Club. In case you missed the airing, you can read about this exciting interview on the subject of spending time with your kids. (Click here)



A Compassionate Suggestion

A mom in Oklahoma wrote to us last month with the following suggestion:

I don't have the funds for a book right now, so I had my local library order it. Many libraries will be happy to order books that they don't have for you. They say it helps them keep up to date on current demands.

Maybe you could get other people to ask their local libraries to add it to their collections. That way everyone will have access to your great book. I'm in Oklahoma, not necessarily the richest state in the Union, so if our library can get it, surely other libraries can.

What a caring and perceptive suggestion.  Imagine what could happen if all of our newsletter subscribers actually took the time to request Mac's book from their local library?  Countless other parents would have access to Mac's marvelous guidance. Well?  Will you do this for other parents less fortunate than yourself?  Thanks!


Remember . . . RAP is our acronym for "Refer A Parent". We need your help in making PWD available to every parent in America. If you would refer just one parent and introduce them to our program you can help us make our world better for kids. There are a number of ways you can help us do this:

  1. Forward this newsletter to all your friends who are parents

  2. Give the PWD book to a family that needs it, buy it here.

  3. Donate a few tax-deductible dollars to our effort

Thank you, and stay safe,

The Editor




In This


Ask Mac

A regular feature of our newsletter. Mac responds to your concerns. Send questions to: Ask Mac



Ask Mac?

Dear Mac,

I have read your book and monthly e-mail newsletters and have put into practice your tools for being an effective and caring parent. But yesterday something happened that has me questioning my own abilities. First a little background.

Last year my first grader (age 6) was struggling in school and her teacher said she thought she had ADD. After going through the process and meeting with the pediatrician and trying drugs for only one day my husband and I knew that was not the answer. Between Parenting with Dignity and Ritalin is not the answer we made some loving changes in our home. The overall effect has been very good. But I still find myself sending the girls (ages 5,7 and 8) to timeout all the time. I say no all the time and feel that I must be doing something wrong. Please understand that there is also a lot of praise and hugs each day.

I am a stay at home Mom and maybe I just expect too much from them. Our parenting philosophy has been to teach them young . But yesterday was different. My 7 year sold went to a bowling birthday party. When I picked her up the Mom in charge told me she had to put my daughter in timeout because she was running around and bothering the other bowlers and would not keep her shoes on and was even running around when I got there. I trust this Mom such that I am sure she did what was right. My daughter really wanted me to not stay at the party because she wanted to be with her friends without me or her sisters there. She just seems unable to control her behavior and yet always apologizes when she has done wrong. Yes it is summer and yes it was a birthday party but her behavior was unacceptable. There were consequences to the behavior and I told her that next time I might have to stay to insure acceptable behavior.

My husband and I love our children very much and they know that. My husband feels that you can never let up and I agree. But when they cannot mind without constant reminders then I think that I am not doing a good job. I am tired and frustrated and not just because it is summer. I love my girls so much and want to raise them with love, discipline and a caring heart. How do I know what to expect at these ages and when do I let things just roll off?

Concerned Mom


Dear Mom:

You tell me what your daughter did wrong. Now, I want to ask you, “What did you teach her BEFORE she went to the bowling party about exactly what TO DO? Did you outline and practice appropriate behavior with her?” If you did not actually give her specific behavioral instruction before she went to the bowling party, then the problem was you and not your daughter!

Has she ever been to a birthday party? If the answer is yes, were there physical games at any of those parties? Was it ok at those parties to run around, shout, and play randomly and socialize freely with other kids? Then this party changed the rules and nobody told your daughter! All of a sudden she was told there was going to be a birthday party and she had a lot of experience with those. Then she got to the party and it was different but she was using what she had learned from past experience at other parties.

If you are using lots of time-outs it sounds to me like you are waiting to solve problems with your kids AFTER they happen. The time-out MAY stop the behavior for the immediate present, but it teaches nothing about what the desired behavior is the next time… that is your job! The worst time to try to teach something to a child (or any human being for that matter) is during a time when they are doing something wrong or when they have just done something wrong or undesirable. You must ANTICIPATE the times that trigger undesirable behavior and teach her the desired BEFORE she is in the situation. If she catches you off guard with some behavior that you did not anticipate, the time-out might stop the behavior for the immediate present, but as soon as things quiet down, it is your job to go to her and teach her what she should do the next time that situation comes up!

Go back to Rule #1 in Parenting with Dignity… you must teach kids what you want them TO DO! Remember that telling someone what NOT to do is a useful to them as me telling you, “Do not kick elephants!” First of all, your mind erases the not and right now you are picturing kicking an elephant! Much more importantly, it tells you nothing about what I want you to do! You have no idea what I want you to do from that command. Do I want you to kick horses? Do I want you to go to town and buy a burger? Do I want you to join a circus? You have no idea until I tell you! Your kids have no idea of appropriate behavior until you teach them!

Just remember that the worst way to teach something to a child is with words. Role-play, play games, draw, paint, etc. practice appropriate and desired behavior before they go to situations where their behavior will be scrutinized and expectations for certain types of behavior will be asked of them. The best way to teach a kid appropriate etiquette at a bowling alley is to go bowling with them! Take them through the process of entering the alley, renting a ball and shoes, all the way down to where you sit when it is not your turn, how to keep score and how to hold the ball. Then when they go bowling with a bunch of kids they will not have to self-discover like you daughter did by trying a bunch of behavior that got her in trouble!


Mac Bledsoe
Mac and Barbara Bledsoe




Mac & Barbara Bledsoe

Happiness is an Attitude of Choice

By Mac Bledsoe



Many times in the past few years I have been asked, “If you could only teach one idea to every kid you taught in your 29 years as a teacher, what would that idea be?”

My answer has always been the same! If I could only teach one idea to every kid I ever taught it would be that “Happiness is an attitude of choice!”

If I were successful in teaching every kid that I ever taught, that they could always choose to be happy it would matter little if my other lessons were successful because if they learned that one idea; at least they would always be happy! No matter where they went and no matter what happened to them they could always choose to be happy. The concept has been presented many times and in many ways down through time but it still remains as one of the most empowering thoughts that a parents can bestow on their children!

“You cannot change what happens to you but you do get to choose your response!”

“Happiness comes from the inside out!”

“No one can make me feel inferior without my consent!”

“If I can find nothing for which to give thanks, rest assured that the problem lies within myself!”

“In a free society, your entertainment is your responsibility! Being bored is the ultimate insult to self!”

Say it however you wish, but this is the one simple concept will be among the greatest of gifts you can give to your kids. Think about it for a second. If you successfully teach your kids to choose to be happy you will have insured that they will be happy. What more can you want for your kids?

Remember always that your kids learn more from your backside than they do from your frontside! They will learn more from what you do than what you say. To teach your children that happiness is indeed a choice you must model this for them. This does not mean that your kids should never see you crying at the loss of a dear loved one, but in your sorrow they definitely should see you moving forward and using your loss to find some uplifting gift that you have received from your loss. They had better see that as part of your grieving you focus on the happy times with that lost loved one.

The day that my father died he was sitting on the edge of his bed where I had just helped him in the arduous task of rising to that seated position. He was wracked with pain from the cancer that had taken over his body and he could barely muster the strength to speak but he turned to me and said, “Well, kid, that is the last sunrise I will ever see! I’ve ridden this old pony for all she is worth; this will be my last time to look on a sunrise!”

I was so startled by this comment that I could not hold back my tears! Then he changed my outlook on life forever with his next statement. He looked out his window at the sunrise across the bay and in his weakened voice he said, “But, if I have to go isn’t this a good one to go out on?” In his dying moments my father was choosing to see the happiness! We need to be that example for our kids. When life deals you a bad hand play it the best you can and enjoy the game!

When a beloved family pet dies… mourn with your kids; and then get out pictures of “Old Snuffy” and recall happy times and happy memories. Help your kids to value the entire memory of that pet and not just the sad memory of his passing. Help them to recall messages they had learned by knowing that dog. The loyalty of that wagging tail, no matter what happened. In their grief help them to recall the good times. Help them to choose to be happy. Help them to see that being happy does not have to mean that you like what has happened; but that it does mean you get to choose how you will respond to the tragedy.

Happiness is truly an attitude of choice. Teach that to your kids at every stage of their development. Teach kids to laugh by laughing with them! Every day. In the process you get to choose to see the joy in having kids!





Time out . . .


"We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today and the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of us here at US Airways."


After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the Flight Attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt up against the gate. Once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal.


As you exit the plane, please make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."


In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with two small children, decide now which one you love more.




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Support Parenting With Dignity

Like your family, our foundation has had to make do with less because there just isn't enough money to accomplish all that we need to do (or are asked to do). The past couple of years have been exceptionally difficult for non-profits. The events of 9/11 and our lackluster economy, have caused most people to cut back on their everyday expenses.

Together, we can change the world by making sure that our children know how to make good decisions. This takes money and commitment. We are more committed than ever, but we need your help. Won't you please consider making a cash donation to our foundation? Just click on the icon below.

We want to help more people. As important as our goals are, they can only be accomplished if good people like you commit to lend us hand. That is why we ask you to consider donating a few tax-free dollars to our efforts. The ultimate success of our mission is more important than our discomfort in asking you for help. Every dollar gets us closer to realizing our purpose!  If your lend a hand we can and will build a better world for kids!

Will you please help us help kids?

Your tax-exempt donation can be made
securely online via Network For Good.

Do it today while it is fresh in your mind.
Network For Good - Click Here

Or, send your tax-deductible check to:

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