Informed Families Catalyst

Open-Ended Questions To Keep Everyone Talking

Posted by Informed Families on September 16, 2015 at 4:43 PM

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Topics: Family Day, communication

10 Tips For Successful Family Car Trips

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on July 1, 2015 at 10:06 AM

If you’re packing up the car and the family and heading off for some holiday fun, you might appreciate a few tried and tested tips to make the journey more pleasant for everyone.

Here are 10 tips to help make your road trip a success:

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Topics: parenting, communication, car trips

5 Ways To Rule The Roost

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on May 19, 2015 at 2:37 PM

“Rules are made to be broken,” the old anti-establishment slogan says. Yet as adults, we know that the modern orderly world in which we live functions because the vast majority of us follow basic social rules and conventions. The freedom to question the appropriateness of such rules and to object to injustice is also fundamental to a democratic society.

It is not surprising then that many parents have mixed feelings about imposing rules. On the one hand they want their children to learn what is expected of them so they can get on with others. At the same time they do not want their children to be blindly obedient to adult authority.

For children to become socially responsible they must learn that reasonable rules and limits are there for their safety and well-being, not because it’s convenient for parents. Rules help children learn exactly what sorts of behaviors are considered appropriate by their parents and what is not acceptable. They also help children learn an understanding of how fair rules are developed.

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Topics: parenting, parent involvement, positive parenting, communication, rules, family rules

Where You Sit Determines What You See

Posted by David Altshuler, M.S. on April 22, 2015 at 8:08 PM

A respected colleague makes the case for allowing kids to play video games. Not only do games enhance hand-eye coordination, but gaming is also the new form of reading, he suggests. Decrying video games because some are a waste of time is equivalent to throwing out all novels because Sweet Valley High is badly written. Good games are interactive and endlessly fascinating. Good games are eating the lunch of novels and other forms of fiction. The alternative to a good graphic game isn't The Scarlett Letter or Moby Dick.

Kids read graphic novels on-line rather than reading books. Hours spent gaming may not be hours spent studying or developing a plan to end homelessness in your community, but time spent on programming is not hours spent taking drugs or mugging old ladies either. Gaming allows hard-working, productive students to relax.
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Topics: David Altshuler, parenting, communication, technology, family bonding, gaming, video games

6 Ways To Raise A "Good Sport"

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on April 17, 2015 at 2:21 PM

News in the past of reported violent incidents at children’s sporting events must leave some parents wondering whether they want their children to be involved in sports at all.

The fact is, playing sports helps children gain regular exercise, make new friends and learn valuable social lessons about teamwork, responsibility and competition. But too much pressure by parents excessively keen on winning can create anxiety and other emotional problems.

Standing at the sidelines yelling about dropped catches, missed tackles, or the suspect familial origins of the referee or opposition players isn’t such a good role model for your children. And for some children the pressure to perform may bring tears and sore tummies on Saturday morning prior to a sporting event.

Of course it is perfectly normal to take pride in your child’s sporting activities and to enjoy watching them participate in sports. What is more important though then your child becoming good at sports is to see them become a ‘good sport.’

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Topics: parenting, parent involvement, positive parenting, communication, sports, sportsmanship, good sport, athletics

Dad, Can I Throw A Party?

Posted by David Williams, Jr. on March 11, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Picture this.

Son asked father if he could have a party.

Father said, “yes.”

Father asked son if he could help with the planning.

Son said friends were taking care of it.

Two DJs came to set up for party in the back yard.

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Topics: parenting, communication, safe parties, teenagers, safe homes smart parties

The City Mouse & The Country Mouse

Posted by David Altshuler, M.S. on March 11, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Running with half a dozen buddies in the early morning on New Year's Day, I asked a friend what she and her teen-aged children had done the night before. "Just stayed home and played Parcheesi," Danielle said. "Then the kids and I started to watch a movie, but I fell asleep on the couch in the living room."

"My kids and I stayed home too," I replied. "We played Dominoes and then they baked something that was almost edible. But I'm leaving out the word 'just.' I'm happy to hang out with my wife and children. The kids will be grown and gone soon enough."

As we trotted over tree roots on our way down toward Matheson Hammock, another running buddy joined the conversation: "You supercilious prig," Lynn began. "Not only are you living in a cave, you are harming your kids by not letting them go out from the damp, dark confines in the side of a cliff."

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Topics: David Altshuler, parenting, marijuana legalization, marijuana, communication, brain development, family bonding

6 Ways To Stop Your Child From Stealing

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on March 10, 2015 at 2:23 PM

Many adults will probably recall a time in their childhood when they were guilty of a little stealing. Perhaps it was just a few dollars you found lying around the house, or a tempting trinket off a shop counter.

The truth is that young children do not always understand exactly what stealing is, and those that do sometimes steal to impress their friends or for a dare. For most children this “experiment” in dishonesty is short-lived, especially when they are caught and appropriately disciplined.

Stealing needs to be considered as a potentially serious problem, especially if it occurs outside the home. Of course if your child has stolen something, it doesn’t make them a delinquent. Rather, you need to discourage stealing, find out the reasons your child has stolen, and take steps to prevent it leading to further problems at school and in the wider community.

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Topics: parenting, parent involvement, positive parenting, discipline, communication, stealing

5 Ways To Encourage Our Children To Be Creative

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on February 19, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Sitting inside a semi-darkened room, eyes fixed on a brightly lit screen, hands clutching a small plastic console while thumbs and fingers move in a blur of complicated movements may be some children’s idea of ultimate fun, but as parents we know that our children need to have a good mix of physical and mental pursuits to fill in their time after school.

The traditional view of children out in the backyard laughing while running around playing games is indeed a good antidote for too much indoors computer time, but we need to also remember that an interest in creative arts such as music, dance, drama, painting, drawing and sculpture are just as important to our child’s development.

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Topics: parenting, parent involvement, positive parenting, communication, creative arts, arts, painting, music

3 Tips To Prevent Your Kids From Lying

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on January 19, 2015 at 4:02 PM

3 Ways To Prevent Your Kids From Lying

Lying — it's something politicians are often accused of doing, something most adults do at sometime or another in the form of a ’little white lie,’ and something we don’t want children to do.

Why? Not because we have double standards — deliberately misleading someone by saying something that is not true is unacceptable both in children and adults — but because lying undermines trust. Children need to learn that no matter what they have done, they must tell the truth — even though the subtleties of society’s attitudes toward lying can sometimes appear to children as contradictory.
Believing our children and trusting them not to tell lies as they grow to adulthood will help them build self- esteem and confidence in their dealings with those around them. But we also need to understand that young preschool children will often tell stories without intending to tell lies. Preschoolers sometimes mix up reality and fantasy. Language is new to them, and a desire to express their thoughts helps them learn the communication skills so vital in our society.
By primary school age however, we expect that children will know the difference between truth and fantasy. If they tell a lie they know it and have a reason for it.

So why would your child lie? The consequences of telling the truth might have something to do with it. If a child tells the truth and believes they will be severely or unfairly punished, they may learn to avoid punishment in the future by lying. It is important to separate the consequences of lying from the consequences of what happened.

Children can also learn how to lie simply by watching other children and adults. If children see others getting away with lying, they may be tempted to try it themselves. In other cases lying serves to gain attention and approval. Your child may tell stories to other children to be seen as ‘cool’ by their friends. Children who tell such boastful lies may also be lonely, bored, or have low self-esteem.

That said, it’s obvious we need to know when children are lying so we can intervene to teach them not to. That’s often the hard part though — when are you sure your child is not telling the truth? Younger children can sometimes give the game away themselves. They may tell a story that just doesn’t sound right, or the child may break into a smile as their hastily concocted plot unravels.

A few simple questions can help reveal a lie, although a rigorous interrogation is likely to be interpreted as a threat of punishment and will not help the situation. For example, querying how your child came to have $10 in their pocket might include some calm, clear questions about when, where, who was with them, or the order of events.

Here are three ways to prevent your kids from lying:

  1. To discourage lying in children parents need to discuss the problem with their children. It is important your child knows that lying is unacceptable, but it is equally important for your child to understand some of the effects of lying. You might like to briefly and calmly tell your child how lying affects you and why you think it is a problem.
    For example:“Tania, I feel angry and disappointed when you lie. It makes it hard to believe anything you say. If you keep telling lies, you will find that nobody will trust you.”
  2. You can also give your child opportunities to be honest and reward and praise them for telling the truth. This gives your child a positive response to their behavior and they are more likely to repeat their honesty in future. Try telling them that you will give them opportunities to be honest and try it out occasionally. For example, if you know that they haven’t yet cleaned their room, ask them. You will know immediately whether they are being honest or not.
  3. If your child is finding it hard to learn not to tell lies, you might need to set up a written contract signed by both yourself and your child. This contract should state what you expect your child to do and the rewards and consequences that will follow. Put the contract up on the refrigerator to help avoid getting into a debate with your child. If they have lied, the consequences for that behavior are clearly listed in the contract for all to see.
As your child learns to not lie, you will no longer need a written contract as you and your child will have established a more permanent contract of trust.


If your child owns up to doing something they know you would not have allowed them to do make sure you praise them for their honesty, before you deal with the misbehavior. No matter what else has happened they should be rewarded for telling the truth.
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Topics: parenting, parent involvement, positive parenting, discipline, communication, honesty, lying

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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