What’s in a Name?

Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Whoever came up with that little ditty must not have been called names very often. Anyone who’s ever been called stupid, moron, goody two shoes, dumb, and other childhood names can attest to the fact that those words hurt like an arrow to the heart.

Unfortunately, our children will likely not escape childhood without having someone—a friend, a neighbor, a classmate or a sibling—hurl a hurtful name at them. Sometimes, our kids will be the ones shouting the despicable names at someone else.

Here are some ways to help a child from both sides—the name caller and the name callee.IMG_3035

Calling Names
Chances are, you’ve heard your child call someone a not-so-nice name. This is perfectly natural, given our own selfish hearts! But this is something you want to nip in the bud before it has time to become a nasty habit. So levy consequences for each name-calling incident. Remind the child why name calling is forbidden (it’s hurtful, it’s mean, it’s simply not how we should treat anyone, regardless of how that person treated us). Develop alternative methods to handling frustration or anger, which are two of the key triggers to name calling.

Being Called Names
There’s not a single best way to teach a child to handle name calling for the simple fact that it’s tricky at any age to know what to do when someone says something outrageous or hurtful, but especially for a child.

In the moment, the child can simply walk away. Usually, removing oneself from the situation will defuse it and not allow it to escalate for either child. Ignoring the name calling–while hard–generally shuts down the other child. But it’s not a foolproof method, to which I’m sure many of us can attest.

Practice with your son or daughter on what to say to another child who might call them a name. What should they say? How could they react? This type of role playing is especially helpful because if a child has practiced something, she’s more apt to use it in a real life situation.

You should also talk with your child briefly about the incident. Remind her that while name-calling can hurt, it doesn’t define her as a person (i.e., she’s not stupid). If it’s in response to her not knowing something or being able to accomplish something, then tell her that there’s things you don’t know or can’t do yet. That’s why she’s in school and why you’re continually learning things yourself.

Finally, discuss why the classmate, friend or neighbor might be calling her names. It could be doing so because of her own bad feelings about herself. Maybe her home isn’t as nice as your daughter’s is. Maybe the other kid is struggling in school. Maybe she just had a fight with her best friend. Thinking of the other person and considering the whys behind the words can take the sting out of the words and also help your child develop compassion and empathy towards others. It also helps her not see herself as a victim and the other child as a villain, which is essential to them both putting the situation behind them

Being called a name isn’t the most pleasant experience, but with a little assistance from Mom and Dad, we can help our children move beyond the incident and into a brighter future.

Until next time,

A Child’s Imagination Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, April 2015 Practical Parenting

The pair of them stood there, giggling, eyes wide with excitement. I half-smiled as I asked what they wanted, thinking their request probably had something to do with a sweet snack since I was standing in the kitchen.

“Mommy, we want to play Cinderella,” my oldest daughter announced with all the enthusiasm of a nearly five-year-old.

I should have known they would bring a princess into it, given that Naomi and her younger sister, Leah, loved all things princess-y. “Okay,” I answered cautiously. “What does that mean?”

The two girls exchanged glances, then Naomi said, “We want to wash the kitchen floor.”

Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Yeah,” three-year-old Leah chimed in, nodding her head vigorously, “so we can pretend the evil stepmother made us work hard.”

Smothering a laugh, I reached for a small plastic bowl, filled it with water, added two rags, then let them play Cinderella on their hands and knees on the kitchen floor.

Ah, the power of an active imagination that can turn a “chore” into a fantasy game. Those two washed that kitchen floor more times than I can remember during their      princess phase (which also include roping their younger brothers into being princes). Over the years, their pretend play has morphed into cops and robbers, pirates,  hopping ball Olympics, great escapes, and a host of other creative and silly storylines. Even now, my four kids (ages 6, 8, 10 and 12) engage in elaborate pretenses  involving numerous elements and rules.

While some parents might view such shenanigans as non-productive, recent studies suggest that pretend play benefits a child in more ways than previously thought. For  example, one Psychology Today article said that such play enhances cognitive abilities, such as language usage, and the “theory of mind,” which helps us realize others  have different thoughts and perspectives than we do. Playing dress up and made-up games provides a safe learning environment where kids pick up social and emotional skills, as well as a better thinking ability.

Many of the studies focus on the preschool and early elementary school years as crucial to the development of pretend play, but I think the benefits of encouraging fantasy in our kids goes beyond age 6. For example, my fifth grader has to write a paper on a family event, which she has tackled with ease given her strong storytelling skills honed by her continued pretend play.

Pretending also helps children manage what-if situations, such as if I was captured by pirates, what would I do? Thinking through improbable situations can assist children in handling real world problems with less frustration and anxiety.

The good news is that you can still help your child reach his imagination potential, no matter how old he is. Here are 6 ways you can encourage his imagination development.

  1. Unplug the electronics. No matter how “educational” a program or app is, watching a screen requires very little in the way of brain power for any child. With the screen doing the work for her, she has no reason to fire up her own imagination. Instead of setting strict screen time limits, try having “screen-free” time zones, such as starting at suppertime and extending until bedtime for young children. For teens, perhaps all electronic devices go into the basket at 8 p.m. The less screen time your child has, the more his imagination will have room to soar.
  1. Get outside. With warm weather on the horizon—and the fresh, clean hint of spring in the air—kicking the kids outside more shouldn’t be too difficult. Nature provides a wonderful way for children and teens to find peace and purpose. As Richard Louv puts it in his excellent book, Last Child in the Woods, “nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses.” Fresh air, sunshine, the world waking up with the renewing cycle of spring all conspire to push a child’s inventiveness to fruition.
  1. Read good books. While we often read to our preschoolers, sometimes that drops off as the children age. Even older children and teens enjoy hearing stories, so grab some interesting books and dive in. Pick ones that challenge and invigorate their minds, ones that paint spectacular word pictures and show them a world beyond the four walls of their life. Some suggestions include Little House on the Prairie, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Count of Monte Cristo, Tom Sawyer and Jane Eyre. Ask your local librarian for titles that lend themselves well to reading aloud.
  1. Join in the fun. Sometimes, you have to help your child’s imagination along by playing with him. Jump in and wave your magic “wand” to turn everyone into animals, then plan an escape from the zoo to have a tea party with fairies. Or walk the plank and find a new adventure under the sea. One note of caution: after setting up the initial scene, take your cues from the kids and play along with their storylines. After 10 minutes or so, ease back and quietly exit the stage, leaving the play to the kids.
  1. Provide the proper tools. Empty boxes, building supplies (LEGOs, blocks, magnet tiles, etc.), blank paper and pastel chalk, and other non-electronically powered toys that can double or triple as something else are keys to imaginative play. Kids can use a box to build an airplane or a submarine, a rocket or a space ship. Building materials morph into skyscrapers and prisons, while blank paper can be transformed into crowns or scenery. The possibilities are endless with the right tools and a bit of creativity.
  1. Give them time. Organized sports and other activities are great, but not if a child is so involved with after school things he has no time left to play. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is time of his own. Time that he can spend being a kid, thinking about nothing and everything, playing with friends or by himself. That unstructured time can be a huge blessing—and a surefire way to spur creative thought and play.

Above all, remember that when your children are pretending, they’re not wasting time—they are building strong imagination muscles, solidifying language paths, exploring new territory and forging possible identities. Our role as parents in this exploration is to make sure they have the time and space in which to soar to heights unknown.

Revolving Door at Bedtime

Q: Our nine-year-old won’t stay in his room. He’ll be in and out, to use the bathroom, get a drink, and other excuses. He also has been reading after lights-out, hiding his reading by using a smuggled flashlight or putting a pair of pants across the base of his door to block the light. When we catch him with a book, he becomes a drama king, claiming “It’s very hard to quit” and then promises to not do it again…only to be caught a half hour later.

We’re tired of him coming out of his room a lot and policing his reading. We’re also tired of having him cranky in the mornings because he stays up too late reading. How do we put a stop to this behavior?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A: I think nearly every parent has experienced the jack-in-the-box of bedtime. A child who continually bounces out of the room no matter what you say. When your words have no effect on a child’s behavior, that generally means it’s time to stop talking and take action.

Because you know how much he loves to read, you have the perfect opportunity to motivate him to stay in his room, lights out, when it’s bedtime.

First, while he’s at school or out of the house, remove all books from his room and place them temporarily in another part of the house.

Second, hang a necklace or other object that can loop over the door handle of his room. Put this on the inside door knob.

Third, allow him to take only the current book he’s reading to bed—check his room beforehand to make sure no contraband books have been brought in when you weren’t looking.

Fourth, put him to bed 15 minutes early but allow him to stay up reading for those 15 minutes. He’s allowed out of his room until his normal bedtime.

Fifth, at lights out, remove the book from his room. At this point, tell him that he may come out of his room only once for any reason, but he must bring you the object hanging on the back of his door. No object, no exit.

He will test you by coming out more than once. Simply send him back to bed with a firm, “Stay in your room.”

Put up a chart for 30 days on the fridge (blocks numbered 1 to 30). This is preparation for the consequences the next day.

The next day, when he reaches for a book, say (the more sorrowful the voice the better), “Dear, I’m very sorry but reading is off limits until you can stay in your room after lights out for 30 days. You’ll have one time per evening to come out.”

He will probably throw a fit, but just shake his head. If you find him reading a book, magazine, newspaper, etc., then simply take down the existing chart and put up a brand new one even if he’s on day 29.

Some might label this overkill and worry that it will make your son not like reading. However, when something is as dear to a child’s heart as reading is to your son, then removal of that object/pastime in the short run will make such an impression upon him, that you will likely not have to do such a thing in the future. He will remember this for a long time, and probably choose obedience in other areas as well to avoid a similar action in the future.

A Love of Money

Q: I need some guidance on allowance. My 9-year-old has always been Mr. Money. He loves it and will do anything to get it—and then spends it at the first opportunity. Granted, he is very generous and frequently uses it to buy things for other people, and we always encourage giving to church and charity and savings. While we don’t connect chores to allowance, we sometimes let him earn extra money by doing special jobs. However, what usually happens is as soon as he blows his money, he immediately wants to start doing jobs to earn more.

I doubt this cycle of spend-earn-repeat is teaching him good money management. If I let him do more jobs, then he doesn’t see the need to restrain himself from a spending spree because he thinks he can just go home and earn more. We need to set some boundaries here, but I need help!

A: Guiding kids to a life of good money management is usually a top concern among parents. Kudos to you for not connecting chores to allowance, which is a mistake many parents make. Chores are done because children are part of the family, and shouldn’t be rewarded with money.

However, you’re also right in that he needs to develop some good money management foundations. That foundation should be one that emphasizes living within his means, which translates into your not advancing funds to him for any reason. As I tell my children, I am not an ATM or credit card—allowance is paid each Saturday and not before. Overall, showing him how you and your spouse live within your means is the number one way that he’ll learn that concept.

Also watch how you talk about money. Don’t use words like, “We can’t afford that” when not wanting to spend your money on an item or event. Instead, say, “We are not choosing to spend our money that way.” That makes it more about choice instead of how much money you have. We also talk about budgets with our kids. For instance, when shoe shopping recently, I pointed out the high end price I was willing to pay and then let the children look for themselves within that range.

Image courtesy of junpinzon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of junpinzon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can help your son manage his money better by setting up three jars labeled Spend, Save and Give. He should divide his allowance each week into those three jars. The only stipulation I would make is that the amount must be larger than a nickel (no single pennies!). The Save and Give jars cannot be emptied to buy things for himself. You can let him decide where to donate the Give amount when it reaches $1 unless you wish him to give that every week in the church offering or something similar. For the Save, it’s merely like a visible bank for him to watch money accumulate.

Allow him to spend the rest as he sees fit. Yes, this means he will likely blow through his money quickly, but that’s okay. It is his money, and you can suggest but I wouldn’t stop him (other than saying you’re not making a special trip to the store for him).

I would also stop the special jobs for payment because he’s using those as his personal ATM—and a sort of cushion against totally being broke. Just say that you’ve decided to eliminate that option.

Finally, don’t forget to talk about money with him on a regular basis. For example, take him grocery shopping with him and talk about how to pick the best produce and figure out what you’ll pay for it. Let him add up coupons to see how much you’ll save. Discuss why buying the store brand can help save more money over a name brand—and taste just as good most of the time. Interacting with the real world about money and what things cost is one of the best lessons we can give our children.

When a Boy Likes a Girl

Q: My 14-year-old son, who will be entering high school in the fall, has been talking to girls. It appears that he might even have a girlfriend. My sister said I need to talk with him about the birds and the bees, but as a single mother, I have no idea how to approach this topic. Help! I don’t want to be grandma at 40. I guess I am freaking out. How can my baby boy have a girl friend and what should I do about it?

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A: First of all, this isn’t the end of the world, given that a boy is bound to express interest in a girl sometime during his teen years. And at this age, it’s not at all unusual that his “girl friend” is no more than a girl he likes to text and talk to at school.

If he’s in public school, he’s most likely already had the basic biology of sex. So that leaves talking with him about your values. But this will go better if it’s not one big talk all at once, but a series of little discussions scattered over a period of time. Also, remember that your son will respond more positively if you don’t lecture him but open up a dialogue about girls. You might want to ask a male family friend or relative to have some of these talks, as a young teen might be more comfortable discussing his feelings (and subsequent physical urges) with another male, rather than his mother.

But you can start by asking him about this girl he likes. What is it that attracts him? Ask him how he thinks a girl should be treated, etc.

In addition, having general conversations about respect and “no means no,” and what to do if he finds himself in certain situations, such as if his friends are talking dirty about a girl, or looking at unclad women, etc. Your male friend might be a good source to help your son sort out these sticky questions.

Overall, you want to have an open dialogue with your son about this and other tough topics. The more approachable—and less judgmental or preachy—you are, the more likely he will be to share what’s on his mind or heart.

Remember, that we as parents can only do the right thing—to help guide our children in the way they should go. We have to leave the actual heart changes up to God.


Raising Readers

Parents frequently ask me reading-related questions. Some want to know how to encourage reading in their child, while others are wrestling with what to allow their child to read, especially if that child reads above grade level.

Encouraging Reading
Here are some ways to inspire reading in our kids.

Give them books. One of the best ways to encourage kids to read is to supply them with books—lots and lots of books! Studies have shown that the more books one has in the home, the more kids will be apt to become readers. Building your child’s personal library is a great way to surround him with books. Yard sales, tag sales, thrift stores, library used book sales and websites like PaperBackSwap are inexpensive ways to do this.

Visit the library. Frequent trips to the library can also create a desire for books. Many libraries offer reading programs for children of all ages that can stimulate a love of books.

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Read to them. Reading to your kids—of all ages—has been proven to stimulate reading in them. Read books they suggest and ones you remember from your own childhood.

Read yourself. When kids see parents reading, it sends a strong message that reading is something you do all your life. So put down that smartphone and pick up a book (yes, ebooks count).

Appropriate Reading Selections
My two girls (10 and 12) both read above grade level, so this is a topic that my husband and I have discussed much in our home. The truth of the matter is that all children want to read about kids who are just a little bit older than they are–that’s part of the growing up process. Books can provide a safe environment for kids to experience things that will soon be happening—or could happen—to them. But on the other hand, sometimes, we as parents are so happy to have our children interested in reading, that we neglect to have a care with what they are reading. The content of books is just as important as the reading itself—probably even more so. Many times, we fear that if we restrict access to certain books (for now or forever), our kids will ditch the reading entirely.Here are some suggestions for how to figure out if a book is good for your children.

Seek outside assistance. There are numerous websites that rate children’s and YA (young adult), such as https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews and http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/protecting-your-family/book-reviews-for-parents/book-reviews-for-parents). Talking with other parents who share your values about book titles

Read the book first yourself. Whether it’s the flip-and-pause method or reading the entire book, looking at a book can help you decide whether it’s appropriate material or not.

Ask a librarian. Our local resource librarians are gems in helping us figure out if a book is on the right age level for our kids, as well as pointing out similar books if they like a certain author, etc. School librarians can be helpful as well.

Start a book club with your child. If there’s a book that your child wants to read but you’re unsure about the subject matter, read the book together and talk about it. This might help alleviate your concerns about certain book content and give you a platform to hear what your child thinks about the topics in the book. When I recently answered a question about a 10-year-old girl reading books “too old” for her in an online forum, another reader chimed in with the following response: “This is really a hot topic because my son is such a speedy reader and devours books he brings home from the library. My husband and I have been discussing this for some time now, as our 8-year-old son is reading above grade level and while he is able to read “older” books, I don’t always think the content is appropriate. My son and I both recently read Wonder, which he read it first and told me that I would find some “violence” in there. I didn’t think there was much, but it gave me an opportunity to bring up some points with him and we discussed some of the book (he recognized what the other kids were doing was wrong and so forth).”

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When the Companion’s Invisible

Q: My 4-year-old daughter has an imaginary friend called Buster. She talks to Buster, plays with Buster, insists that Buster sit at the table with her, etc. Sometimes, she expects me to talk to Buster too. I’m not sure having an invisible friend is such a good idea. What should I do about Buster?

A: When my oldest was around 4, she had an imaginary friend who accompanied her everywhere—to the park, outside, the dinner table, etc. She talked about this friend for so long, her younger sister (around 2) started talking to her sister’s imaginary friend too. Those were some interesting times in our household, that’s for sure!

I viewed the imaginary friend as a tangible outcome of a vivid imagination, something that we should treasure in our children. Sure, it’s silly and funny and annoying at times, but imaginary friends serve a couple of important purposes for our kids. First, it gives them an outlet for their creative imaginations. Second, it provides them with a safe place to explore their own feelings. For example, sometimes, my daughter’s imaginary friend would do something bad. She would talk about how that made her imaginary friend feel and work through those feelings in a safe place.

As to how parents should react to such a “friend,” here are some tips.

  • Don’t overreact. Sure, it can be trying to have your child always talking about someone who isn’t real, but it’s also usually only a sign of a child’s active imagination, not something seriously wrong with the child.
  • Give the responsibility to the child. This means if the child wants the imaginary friend to sit at the dinner table, that’s fine. However, the child should be responsible for his “guest’s” behavior. In other words, no spilling milk deliberately and blaming it on the imaginary friend. The child is completely accountable for the actions of the imaginary friend.
  • Don’t overindulge, either. I made it a practice to only say “hello” or “goodbye” to my daughter’s imaginary friend. I would say that it was her friend, not mine, so the bulk of the discussion should be between the child and the imaginary friend, not the parent and the imaginary friend. This keeps the play with the child, where it belongs.

Above all, enjoy the silliness that imaginary friends can be for our children. There’s something rather sweet and innocent about a little kid talking to someone who isn’t there. As adults, we’re sometimes overly grounded in reality that we forget the magic that children see and feel and view all around them. For all too short a time, they can touch and experience the wonder of imaginary friends. Reality will intrude as they grow up, so don’t rush them through the magic of this part of childhood too soon.

Parenting According to Vicki Hoefle, Part Two

I recently spoke with Vicki Hoefle, professional parent educator, author of Duct Tape Parenting, and national speaker, about parenting. Her new book, The Straight Talk on Parenting; A No-Nonsense Approach on How to Grow a Grown-Up is available now. Catch up on the first part of our conversation here.VHoefle-1

What are some of the most common parenting missteps moms and dads make?

Vicki: Doing too much for their kids and removing obstacles from the children’s lives.

Doing too much for our kids sends the message that we don’t believe they are capable of navigating their own lives. A child who doesn’t believe in himself and who does not think he is capable will behave in ways that support this belief. As the child grows and matures, this belief becomes anchored and they see themselves as limited in their capacity to successfully navigate their adult lives. Both children and adults become dependent on others to do for them what they could do for themselves. If you have spent your entire childhood being convinced that you aren’t capable of taking care of yourself or your responsibilities, it is going to influence how you see yourself as an adult.

Removing obstacles from our children’s lives sends the message that we have little faith in their ability to recover from life’s ups and down, including an embarrassing moment, a rejection or a lousy grade on a test. This lack of faith is carried into adulthood and can severely limit the persons desire to try new things, take healthy risks or their ability to rebound after experiencing a disappointment. In the worse-case scenario, the adult experiences isolation, depression, and other emotional and mental challenges.

Why is instilling character so important for a child’s growth?

Vicki: When I consider the character traits that helped me establish a satisfying and fulfilling life as an adult, I can think of several, but self-control or self-regulation is right there at the top. Self-control is a character trait that takes years to develop.

If we helped our kids develop these character traits while they were young, two things would happen. The first is that you would see children begin to demonstrate them on a regular basis. For example, your four-year-old hits his younger brother when he knocks over the fort. Three years later, if the parent is helping the child develop self-discipline (instead of punishing the child for hitting), it is likely that this child will have developed the self-control necessary to walk away or use some other acceptable and effective strategy. It’s a win-win for everyone.

The second thing that would happen is that the character trait that was introduced into the life of the child would grow strong with each year and eventually, you would have an adult who had mastered the art of self-control, self-regulation, and their life would reflect this. If, however, a child is not given the chance to develop these character traits, it is unlikely that he will display them in his adult life.

What do you hope parents take away from The Straight Talk on Parenting?

Vicki: My motto for more than 20 years has been this: I know I have been a success when parents no longer look to me for answers. I truly believe that parents are the true experts in their children’s lives and when introduced to a simple method for uncovering causes of misbehavior with solutions that are designed to bring out lasting change and support emotional health in kids for a lifetime, they can do the job without all the experts piping in with their wisdom. There is no magical mystery to raising children—a few straightforward ideas are enough to raise respectful, responsible, and resilient human beings. I want parents to know that if they practice a simple method for just a few weeks, they can solve any problem that comes up in daily life with their kids. That would be a glorious day indeed. Empower the parents, empower the child.Straight Talk on Parenting FINAL

A Rude Awakening

Q: Our four-year-old son has started to be disrespectful to other adults in front of me. For example, he snatched something from my friend’s hand that he wanted. When I made him apologize, he first snarled, “I’m not sorry.”

I am appalled, but I’m not sure exactly how to handle the discipline—where, when and what should I do?

Image courtesy of ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A: From one parent to another, thanks for noticing your child’s rudeness to other adults. So many times, we as parents offer excuses for our children’s bad behavior toward other grownups (“She didn’t have a nap today,” “He’s mad that he missed soccer practice to come here,” etc.). So it’s great that you not only notice his rudeness but want to correct it.

Now the best way to accomplish that is to make his rudeness his responsibility. In other words, he needs to want to change his behavior more than continue it.

The next time he’s rude to an adult, correct him in a firm yet gentle tone. You don’t have to yell at him to make an impression. Keep it short and sweet, such as: “No snatching items from adults. Tell Mrs. X you’re sorry for grabbing.” Then maintain eye contact until he does so. Prod him once to apologize, but if he still refuses, don’t cajole or wheedle with him to comply. You simply smile at the adult and apologize on his behalf.

Then take him immediately home if possible. Confine him to his room for the rest of the day with all his favorite toys or books or games removed. Move up his bedtime to immediately after an early supper. At this age, curtailing his freedom is a great way to compel him to own his rudeness.

If you can’t leave right away, curtail his movements right then if possible, such as requiring him to stay by your side and not play with the other children. If that isn’t possible because of the situation, then leave as soon as you can and do the confined outlined above when you get home, reminding him of his rudeness (“You were rude to Mrs. X when you snatched the toy from her hand.”).

Above all, avoid the temptation to lecture. Kids this age don’t need to know why it’s rude to snatch things from adults or to interrupt conversations. They just need to know it IS unacceptable behavior. The why won’t make them any more likely to obey, so save your breath.

Also work on role playing with him on how to relate to adults. Work through questions such as

If an adult has something he wants, how does he ask for it?

How should he address an adult who speaks to him?

What should he do if an adult does something he doesn’t like?

Incorporate that practice into your everyday interactions with him. Let him pretend to be the adult and you’re the child. Then reverse roles so he can practice. Reinforcing the proper behavior helps him to visualize how he should react the next time he’s confronted with a similar situation.