Parenting With Dignity Website


Monthly Newsletter

August 2004

Effective Parenting Skills - SPECIAL EDITION



Dear Parents and Supporters:

Hello again and welcome to our August, 2004 newsletter.  Before we get to Mac's article and his popular "Ask Mac" advice column, be sure to read the snippets below - some interesting things are in the works.  To read this issue online, click here

As you know, it has been a while since we sent out our last newsletter.  There are two very important reasons for our hiatus.  First, Mac was immersed in the writing and editing of his second book, "Parenting with Dignity for the Early Years", which is due out in November.  Secondly, research shows that more than 60% of subscribers don't open such emails (newsletters, etc.) during the summer months.  So, now that most of us have taken our vacation and school is back in session in many parts of the country; Mac has completed his manuscript, and we're back with another issue of the PWD Newsletter. We hope you enjoy.

Regarding Mac's new book... we're really excited to see this become a reality.  Since his first book was published (Parenting With Dignity), Mac's had numerous requests to write another one.  In addition, many people wanted to know how to begin teaching toddlers these concepts.  Parenting with Dignity for the Early Years will address many of those issues and reinforce most of the ideas Mac wrote about in his first bestseller.  If you know of someone who would benefit from Mac's teaching, be sure to sign them up for this newsletter, or forward this to them now. 

NFL Buffalo Bills Sponsor Parenting With Dignity Day at Training Camp

For the second year in a row, the NFL's Buffalo Bills will sponsor a Parenting With Dignity day at their Training Camp.  If you are located in the Buffalo area, you won't want to miss a chance to meet and hear Mac speak after practice on Monday, August 23rd.  This event begins as soon as practice ends - about 5:30 PM.  Don't miss it!

Bring Home A Hero

Did you know that you can donate your unused frequent flyer miles to a brand-new program called Hero Miles.  You can help bring a soldier home from Iraq or Afghanistan for a life event (such as birth, death, R & R) they couldn't otherwise afford by donating your unused frequent flyer miles. 

Earlier this year the Pentagon started giving soldiers two weeks' leave to come stateside. The soldiers are flown by the military from Iraq and Afghanistan to three U.S. airports (Washington, Dallas, and Atlanta).  But the buck stops there:  the military doesn't pay for a soldier's domestic travel once he or she lands on American soil.  You can help them travel that last leg home -- by donating your frequent flyer miles.

More than 540 million miles have been donated, enough for 22,600 round trips!  Most major U.S. carriers participate in the program, including American, United, Continental, Delta, US Airways, Alaska, America West, Southwest and AirTran. To learn more about the Hero Miles program, click here.

Thank you and stay safe,

The Editor

PS:  Do you know a Spanish speaking family, community or school?  Please refer them to our new website,







PWD on DVD - learn more!Remember... Parenting With Dignity now available on DVD
All 10 Parenting With Dignity® segments on 3 DVDs.  They have a Spanish language track too - and come packaged in a sturdy plastic box!  We have created a page that answers your questions about our new DVDs, including cost, FAQs, and more.  To learn about PWD on DVD, follow this link

As far as the content of the lessons, there is no difference between VHS and DVD. The DVDs and the VHS videos are the same.  Nevertheless, there are many reasons for choosing DVD over VHS. The DVDs offer:

- the ability to jump to any chapter or menu topic
- the Spanish translation track
- superior picture and sound quality
- are smaller to store and transport
- don't wear out (or break down) as tape will do
- the price is the same (no DVD pricing premium)



In This


Ask Mac

Ask Mac is a new feature of our newsletter. Send your questions to: Ask Mac



Ask Mac?

Dear Mac:

I read your book, loved it and passed it on. I think I got it a tad too late, we got custody of my stepson 1.5 years ago at the age of 16. It has been one metamorphosis or another that we have endured. However, his last transformation has been to drugs. My husband and I just recently discovered that he has been using drugs for almost a year, which of course explains his change in behavior, decline in grades and his inability to graduate with his class.

We made a decision a few nights ago that he must leave the home. Originally, he was to move out in September, however we are afraid of the impact that his usage will have on our other children, who are 6 & 4 and have asked him to leave this week. We are struggling with our decision because, like any parent you do not want to see your child suffer. However, after countless hours of talking over the last 1.5 years about his future, our expectations and himself, we are exhausted, frustrated and highly disappointed. I guess we are looking for confirmation that we are doing the right thing by taking a hard stand against his behavior. Any advice that you can provide is greatly appreciated.


A worried mom


Dear Mom,

If you do not raise this child and teach him to be a functional person, WHO do you expect to do it?

If you are coming to me for confirmation of taking a strong stand against drugging and inappropriate behavior you have come to the right person; but if you are seeking my support of throwing a sixteen-year-old out on the streets I am sorry but I cannot support that!

It is never too late for a child! Let me say that again, IT IS NEVER TO LATE FOR A CHILD!

You and your husband obviously believe in second chances. Since this boy is your stepson, that says that, at least, your husband has been previously married and he has had children by two different marriages it seems. Why would you hold a sixteen-year-old boy to a higher standard that you hold for yourselves. Your husband is being given a second chance at marriage and
forming a functional family. I do not wish to say this to incriminate either of you. Rather I say it to put into perspective the problem that the boy is experiencing. If he cannot depend on his family for support and guidance who can he turn to?

Your concern for your other children is justified. Think about what your actions of throwing the older son out of the family is going to have on them! "Wow, if I don't measure up to mom and dad's standards, I'm outta' here!" Do you intend to teach that to your younger children?

It is my belief that home is where you take problems. I have told my kids from the day that they were born, "It is Bledsoe's against the world! I'm on your side do or die! You take your successes to the outside world. But you bring your problems home to me, because I am going to love you in spite of success or failure! You are of me and I am of you and together we will take on the world! I am here for you more in times of difficulty than times of success. When you succeed, you probably do not need me much, but if you are having difficulty, you can count on me!"

I think that you need to consider this manner of thinking with regard to your stepson. At your wedding you probably repeated a vow that included something like, "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live." Well, your stepson was not afforded the same choice. He did not choose to be in your family, but I believe that when you bring a child into the world you are uttering a similar but more binding vow to be there for the child no matter what!

Do NOT misinterpret what I am saying! I am NOT in any way suggesting for a minute one bit of PERMISSIVENESS. I am not saying that you should in any way condone his dysfunctional behavior. You must take the strong stand against his self-destructive behavior. Departing his life is not taking a stand. That, to me, is the ultimate in permissiveness! "Leave here and go do whatever you wish. We are washing our hands of you and your problems."

Go back and get your copy of my book back and read it again! Where in it do you find anything remotely resembling throwing a child out of the house as an effective technique for teaching anything? I even devote an entire chapter explaining why I think that punishment does not work to teach much of anything positive.

Now, let me discuss your Stepson's drug use. You give me almost nothing to go on. You do not say which drug he is using. Is it an illegal drug? Or is it one of the legal ones; alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, over the counter drug, etc? How much is he using? Is he addicted? Has he been through a drug and alcohol assessment to establish the extent and nature of his use and/or addiction? Has he ever been into drug treatment of detoxification. Have you had an intervention with him? Has he ever been arrested for his drug use. Does he bring the drugs into the home? What techniques have you used to teach him how to live effectively and happily without drugs?

Whew, there are so many details you do not include.

Let me put it to you this way; I was sent to my room 5,000 times for teasing my sisters. I was told to go in there and think about it! 

I did! I thought about how my parents were not fair. I thought about how much I hated my parents. I thought about how I was going to run away from home. I thought about how I was going to take my sisters out behind the barn as soon as I got out of my room and hold their heads under water in ht horse trough for tattling on me. I thought about how I was going to throw their collection of toy horses in the creek. But... I never thought one positive thought about anything that would bring a positive outcome for me or my sisters. I thought about what I knew to think about. I didn't know how to treat them any differently.

It sure would have helped me if, just one of those 5,000 times, my parents would have taught me how to treat my sisters. Taught me how to compromise. Thought me how to compliment. Taught me how to express love to my sisters.

Your stepson does not know how to kick drugs. No addict ever does it alone. If you depart his life I guarantee you that he will go and live with others who are doing what he is doing. Every drug addict will justify and rationalize their habit. He will now be in the constant company of those who will support and justify his abuse! Can you explain to me how you have arrived at this as a rational approach to helping the young man?

Punishment and abandonment teach kids how to punish and abandon others. They do not teach productive behavior! That is your job.

It is your job to teach this young man how to live effectively. It is your job to teach him how to live straight and sober. It is your job to teach him how to give and accept love.

Most likely this boy is self-medicating to accommodate for his grief and feelings of abandonment already. If you desert him I guarantee you that he will do more of the same in an ever increasing spiral that will end in one of only two possible outcomes; 1.Death or 2.Prison!

If you want help in teaching the boy positive life skills, I am here to help. If you want support for deserting him then you must go to someone else. In my travels I already see way too many deserted, and drug addicted kids in the prisons I visit. 


Mac Bledsoe
Mac and Barbara Bledsoe




Mac & Barbara Bledsoe

The Ideas in Your Head Will Rule Your World

By Mac and Barbara Bledsoe


It does not matter where the ideas come from, and it doesn't matter whether they are right or wrong, once an idea is in your head, it will rule your world.

Only a few months ago I gave a keynote address to 3,000 people at a regional parenting conference. In the talk I had mentioned the difficulties parents face with Drug abuse by their children. During the question and answer period following my talk a clergyman stood up in front of and offered, "I think we need to decriminalize drugs because drug use is a victimless crime." He was offering this as a counter point to my comments in my address about how damaging drugs are to American youth.

My first reaction to this man's comment was sheer astonishment. I could not believe that Clergyman was willing to stand in front of all of these people and say that. Then I realized that he had an idea that was ruling his world. Not only did I disagree with him, but I also have a very different idea that rules my world.

I replied, "I disagree! I do not believe that drug use is a victimless crime! In my 29 years of teaching 46 kids who sat in my classroom are now dead."

And then continuing to address the fellow, I said, "Now, sir, please listen carefully to how those 46 young people died. Three of them died of causes that might not have been preventable. One boy died of a disease; one girl died when an airbag in a car exploded unexpectedly in her face during a slow moving accident in a shopping mall parking lot; and the third died in a private airplane crash while flying with his father.

But, sir, hold onto your seat and ask yourself if you still can consider drug use as a victimless crime when I tell you that the other 43 kids were either stoned, high, or drunk at the time that they died! Those kids were all victims of drug use! And that figure is just the tip of the iceberg. Every member of those kids' families, their friends, their teachers, their coaches, their pastors, and the other people who loved them were hurt by their drug use and were all victims, too!"

That clergyman had an idea that was ruling his world: He was willing to stake his personal reputation in front of 3,000 people on the idea that illicit drug use is victimless!

That idea was ruling his world! It did not matter to him what I had just said. The idea in his head was so powerful that he did not even listen to what I had said, rather, choosing to form a smart retort. I don't know where his idea came from and I am pretty sure his idea is wrong, but nonetheless it is ruling his world.

Ideas are powerful. Even wrong ideas are powerful. In the hands of an overzealous person a wrong idea can overpower a right idea.

As parents it is our job to help children to load their heads with strong ideas to use in making all of those decisions they are going to make. We must find ways to communicate those ideas in a manner that our children can use them.

One of the keys in communicating ideas to children lies in listening carefully to them. Lectures seldom pass on ideas to others. Two way communication is the best way to share ideas with kids. Allow children to challenge your ideas without becoming argumentative.

Good ideas are the vaccination against bad decisions. Vaccinate your children with your values and ethical thoughts.





Time out . . .


Oil shortage?

There are a lot of folks who can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in America.  Well, there's a very simple answer. Nobody bothered to check the oil.  We just didn't know we were getting low.

The reason for that is purely geographical.  All our oil is in Alaska, Texas, California, and Oklahoma.  All our dipsticks are in Washington DC.


Dog detergent...

An eight-year-old boy went into a grocery store and picked out a large box of laundry detergent. The grocer walked over and asked the boy if he had a lot of laundry to do. "Oh, no laundry," the boy said, "I'm going to wash my dog."

"But you shouldn't use this to wash your dog," said the grocer. "It's very powerful and if you wash your dog in this, he'll get sick. In fact, it might even kill him."

But the boy was not to be stopped and carried the detergent to the counter and paid for it. A week later, the boy was back in the store to buy some candy. The grocer asked the boy how his dog was doing. 

"Oh, he died," the boy said.

The grocer said he was sorry, but added, "I tried to tell you not to use that detergent on your dog."

"Well, the boy replied, "I don't think it was the detergent that killed him."

"Oh? What was it then?"

"I think it was the spin cycle!"



- I live in my own little world, but it's ok... they know me here.

- Regular naps prevent old age...especially if you take them while driving.

- I don't approve of political jokes...I've seen too many of them get elected.




Make a

Invest in YOUR Family

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Friends, the meaning in the quote above is something to which we have always subscribed; that people like you and I can change the world - one family at a time. That is why we created this Foundation, to help make the world a better place for our children, and it all begins with you - parents.

We would like to make a suggestion that could have huge implications to you, your family and our foundation.  We are asking you to invest in your family and purchase a set of our DVDs. . . . and just possibly change the world.

Invest in your family, and our Foundation. If you already have our VHS videos, get the new DVDs and donate your VHS tapes to a local school, church or a family who would benefit from watching them.  Together. . .

We can change the world by making sure that our children know how to make good decisions. To do this, we must teach parents effective parenting skills that work. This takes your commitment.

Will you please help us help more 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:

The Drew Bledsoe Foundation
730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901




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God bless America and her kids!


With Dignity



Drew Bledsoe

730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 752-8035