Discussion Questions: Chapter Eight

“Parenting for a Positive Present…and Future”

This chapter focuses on the most powerful antidote to bullying–and the best approach to preventing it. Simply stated, positive parents do not neglect or abuse their children. Instead, they fill their basic needs with kindness and compassion.

Q: This chapter makes many statements about what Positive Parenting is. Can you find them all? How do these statements resonate with you?

“Positive parenting has nothing to do with being ‘perfect.'” (p. 137)

Q: Were your parents perfectionists? If so, how did it affect you, and how you relate to your own kids?

“Building a family is like building a house. You start with a vision and plans…. An optimistic vision can give meaning and purpose to the ongoing and often draining tasks of parenting. How you envision your life is extremely important because it plays into everything else.” (p. 137)

Q: What is your optimistic vision for your children and your family? Does it include feeling happy and having good relationships?

“If you had a difficult childhood but have come to make sense of those experiences, you are not bound to re-create the same negative interactions with your own children.” (p. 146)

Q: In what ways are you a better parent than your folks? What experiences, insights, and/or skills have helped you loosen the grip of old negative attitudes, behaviors, or habits?

“When you have a parenting challenge, remember: ‘Misbehavior’ is not a challenge to your authority, but an unmet need, a reaction to unrealistic expectations, or an expression of pain. Do not take uncooperative behavior personally!” (p. 141)

Q: Have you ever noticed “red flag” phrases like the ones listed, coming out of your mouth? Give an example.

“Remind yourself that your child’s brain will not be fully developed until his or her mid-twenties.” (p. 141)

Q: How did you/could you/would you reframe those “red flag” thoughts into “green flag” thoughts?


And remember, this question is always a good one:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?


Homework: Is there one thing you would like to do differently, as a parent? Share with a friend in the group, and report back to them.

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

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Discussion Questions: Chapter Seven

A New Psychology

This chapter is the turning point into a whole new world of positive thought and interaction with your kids.

“Here’s the good news: we know people are not “born” optimists or pessimists. We know that explanatory styles are learned, and that they can be unlearned. We know that we can discipline and train our thoughts, just as we can train our bodies to get in shape.” (p. 129)

Q: Over the next few days or weeks, start to notice how you explain things. Using the information on page 129, are you able to see when you are holding an optimistic or pessimistic mindset? Are you seeing your troubles as temporary, coincidental, and general? Or are you taking them personally, seeing them as permanent and pervasive?

Q: If you find that you have a pessimistic mindset, give some thought to where you got it. Did your primary caregivers model negativity, as described on page 130? Did the crises in your life resolve or persist endlessly? Keep in mind these are circumstances that shaped your mindset, not “truths” about who you are.

Q: Over the next few days or weeks, watch the “ABCs” of how your mindset operates. In ADVERSITY,  what BELIEFS are you acting on, and what are the CONSEQUENCES of those actions? Are the actions you take constructive or destructive?

Remember: You can now give yourself permission to DISTRACT yourself or DISPUTE your negative thoughts.

This question is always a good one:

Q: What sentence, paragraph, or idea popped out at you, or stuck with you after reading?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 6 Chapter 8 >>

It’s All About Consent

If bullying is all about climbing on top of someone else’s power, then the antidote to bullying is consent. Consensual interaction feels good to everyone involved. “May I climb on top of your power?” “Sure, and then I’ll take a turn being in in charge!” Sounds funny, but isn’t it much more fun?

At the Oscars last week, Joe Biden introduced a song by Lady Gaga that grapples with sexual abuse (a particularly form of bullying), and got a standing ovation for his speech about ending this social vice. Watch his speech here.

If you haven’t seen the “Tea” video about consensual sex yet, you must. Watch it before showing to your (older) kids. Without talking heavily about drinking, having sex, passing out, it very playfully—and very clearly—spells out right and wrong!