sponsors of The Drew Bledsoe Foundation
and Parenting With Dignity™
Dear parents, supporters and facilitators:
Welcome to the April
issue of our newsletter. Before we talk about our new
announcements, we would like to take a moment to offer our most sincere 'thank
you' to all of you who are reading this newsletter. We fully realize
that without you, there is no PWD program. Without you there isn't a
reason to publish this newsletter or expand our Web sites with fresh
Thank you for being a supporter of
Parenting With Dignity™. Thank you for buying our videos, for subscribing
to our newsletter and for recommending us to your friends. We truly
appreciate your support and promise you that we will always strive to
provide you with enlightening and useful information. Please know that we
value our relationship with you.
It has been another very
busy month for the foundation. Mac and Barbara have had speaking
engagements on both coasts and we're working hard to prepare for our 3rd.
Annual Celebrity Golf Shootout in early May. This is a big
fund-raiser for us, and we're hoping for a record breaker this year. To
learn more about this, click
We have been introducing new programs
and features to our Web sites literally every month. As you can imagine,
this requires a huge amount of energy and resources. Like most non-profit
foundations, we are always looking for ways to raise money to help us
expand our curriculum and accomplish our mission. Today, we are announcing
a new service that will benefit both of us. We have launched a new Web
SHOPandDONATE. Here you can make purchases online, and our
foundation receives a commission on every sale. Also, we have added
a resource directory with links to other parenting-related sites. (to
learn more about these developments see 'What's New' below).
Thank you, and enjoy
PS: Would you please do us a
While it is fresh in your mind, will you please send this newsletter to every parent in your address book and encourage
them to subscribe to our free newsletter. Thanks, we really appreciate
The NFL held their draft last weekend and many
deals were made between teams as is the usual activity for this time.
Drew moved from the Patriots to the Buffalo Bills as their #1
quarterback. Please join us in wishing him further success in his
remarkable career. Barbara and I are very proud of him.
Statement From Drew
Bledsoe On Joining The Bills
"I am very excited to join the Buffalo
Bills, a team I have come to deeply respect over the past decade. I
apologize for not being available to media and fans on Sunday but my
little boy was in the hospital and my wife, Maura, and I were attending
“I have spoken with Mr. (Ralph) Wilson, Tom Donahoe, and Coach
(Gregg) Williams and I am thrilled with their energy and with the
direction of the franchise. Although I will certainly miss all of the
Patriots fans who supported me over the years, I know from the other
side of the field how loyal Bills fans are, and it will be wonderful to
receive their support.
“I am eager to get to Buffalo over the next few days to meet my new
teammates and to look for a place to live. And, on the field, I could
not be more enthusiastic about jumping into the next phase of my career
and contributing to the success of the Buffalo Bills.”
is a new feature of our newsletter. Send your questions to:
Dear Mac and Barbara,
I was introduced to you and "Parenting With Dignity" by the 20/20
episode. I was watching it from a hospital room where my 11 week old
infant was being treated for RSV. Actually my husband and I watched it
"together". He at home and me at the hospital. We felt like that was our
life being portrayed on the screen. We have a 3 boys: almost 4 years, 16
months and 2 months. I'm sure you can guess which one we are struggling
with at the present time. The four year old.
I don't think that our son is acting any worse than any
other 4 year old, it's the way we are handling it that has me so
worried. My husband and I tend to yell a lot, like the parents on 20/20.
We try (and succeed sometimes) to reward positive behavior, talk calmly
to him and tell him what is expected of him. However, there are lots of
times where the yelling ends up winning. What would you suggest we do to
keep the yelling at a minimum. Our biggest struggle is our son doesn't
listen very well. He continues to do the same things wrong,
i.e. pushing his brother, getting out of bed at night. What
should we do for discipline?
I'm sure you are very busy,
but if you have a chance to respond we would greatly appreciate it.
(Mom in Texas)
Yours is a question we get
asked quite often, and one that has affected all of us at one time or
I was in your shoes for the first 8
years of my teaching career and then a master teacher by the name of
Lola Whitner taught me something that I have never forgotten. I used to
yell all the time in trying to teach. She on the other hand never raised
her voice and was always polite to kids and she had better order and
attention in her classroom than I did… and she was tiny and 66 years
old. So I asked her one day how she controlled her temper so well and
kept herself so calm. Here is what she taught me. She said, “Mac, can
you ever control your temper when you are stressing with the kids?”
I replied, “Well, yes sometimes!”
Now here is the part that changed me
forever, she then said, “Well, if you can control it sometimes then you
have proven that it is within your ability to control your temper so
when you don’t control it, it is your choice not to! Why don’t you
choose to control your temper all the time?”
Since that day I never lost my temper or
shouted in class again! Believe it. That is what happened. Have a plan
that you will control your temper and your yelling and you will control
it. Sounds simple but that is what worked for Lola and it worked for me.
Remember, your kids learn more from your backside than they do from your
front side. They will learn more from how you act than from what you
Here was a revelation that occurred to me
once I decided to control my anger. Usually when I was yelling at kids
it was for lacking self-control! I was attempting to hold them to a
higher standard than I lived by myself. I was asking my students to
control themselves and their behavior and I was allowing myself to act
out of control to get them to do it! Man, that was embarrassing. It
really helped me to control myself when I set the same standard for
self-control for me that I set for kids.
If you follow sports at all take a look
at our son Drew (who played for the NE
Patriots, and who has just been traded to the
Buffalo Bills). He
has received so many compliments for the way he handled things this year
and people continually ask us, “How does he show such character and
The short answer to how Drew developed is
that he has a very clear sense of what is important in his life and he
has a very clear behaviorally described list of the morals and values he
has chosen to rule his world. He looks at his code of ethics daily and
then makes his decisions based upon those.
Now for the definitive answer; I believe
that the best way to understand the complex mechanism of how Drew has
adopted such a well defined sense of his moral and ethical self, I would
suggest that you get a set of our videotape Parenting with Dignity
curriculum and go through the steps we used in teaching Drew and Adam
how to pick the ideas that would rule their world and then how they
structured those ideas into the ones which they use to make the big
decisions in their lives.
I have included some links to some key
pages on our website to guide you on a tour of our curriculum. I
sincerely believe that our curriculum will help you to understand the
entire teaching method and process of selecting the Ideas that rule the
world of kids! Please pay close attention to the order page and get a
set of the tapes. This is not about increasing sales or making money. We
do not make a cent on our tapes. They are priced at exactly what it
costs us to duplicate, print, wrap and ship them. This is about getting
the word out and you can help us. Once you have watched them, put them
to use in your community.
To see our new main
Go here to see clips of our curriculum and order tapes for
To see how one community acted to change
I think you will agree
that we would be much better off in
this country if more kids were being taught how to make good
Mac and Barbara Bledsoe
Love is not just something you say; it is something
and listening is one of the most loving acts a parent can do for children!
Listening to children is absolute confirmation to children
that they are important to us and important in the world. When a child
wants to talk to us, we must make the time to stop and listen. Think about
it, what message does the following send? "Please don't interrupt me;
can't you see I'm reading the paper (doing the dishes, working at my desk,
etc.)" Stop what you are doing. Put down your pen-broom-mouse-phone, turn
and make eye contact, and listen. It doesn't take long. You can establish
ground rules for certain tasks, which should not be interrupted, but the
list ought to be short and limited to things which absolutely must be
attended to. One of the methods that we found to be of the most help to us
in teaching and then we transferred to home was to ask, "How much time do
you need?" This question usually had little effect upon anything but our
awareness of just how little the child was actually asking for. And, in
fairness, you are then teaching your child that they too can ask, "How
much of my time do you need?"
When listening to kids it is imperative that we, as
parents, let the kids say it for themselves! There is a very real and
constant temptation to say it for them, especially when they are stuck in
a search for the right words and seem stalled. Resist the urge to give
them the word and wait for them to find the one they are looking for. It
is hard at first but it becomes more natural with time. Just listen and
maintain eye contact; this lets them know you are still with them.
If it is not clear what they are trying to express, ask
for explanation or clarification but resist the urge to jump in and say
what you think they are saying for them. Get them to say it again until
you get it. Remember that they are speaking to you because they have
something they want you to know and they know what it is but this is the
first time they have actually tried to say it. Be patient; few people are
good at something on the first try.
Resist the constant parental urge to jump in with your
advice. Particularly at the middle school level and up, if you constantly
add your advice to their sharing the sharing will stop very quickly. Ask,
"Do you want my advice or do you just want me to listen?" You MUST NOT
offer advice if they indicate the latter. Just bite those bloody holes in
your tongue and keep quiet. The spinoff of keeping your advice to yourself
is that, eventually, they will tell you when they want your advice.
Here are six simple comments you can use to indicate that
you are actively listening but are not being judgmental. Simply inject the
following into pauses as your child is speaking: "Oh," "really," "wow,"
ummm," "I didn't know you felt like that," and "tell me more." These will
indicate active listening and will encourage further comment.
One of the byproducts of listening to children is that
they then build a vision of the world that says "My parents are a source
of advice and knowledge and talking to them helps me to make sense of my
world." Then in times of crisis don't be surprised if you are included in
their struggles to make good decisions about the big stuff they encounter.
It is not possible to close the door on kids small concerns and thoughts
and then expect them to come to us with their big problems. We can either
offer an open door or a closed door… not a door that is open at certain
times and closed at others.
There is a great game called "The Ungame" which teaches us
to listen to our kids and to each other. It is a very simple board game
where you roll dice and move pieces around a board, and it gives prompts
and questions to stimulate discussion. However, there is one rule making
it unique; the only person who can speak is the one whose turn it is.
Nobody else can say anything. The only way anyone else can make comment on
another's statement is to wait until their next turn and then forfeit
their turn to make comment or ask for explanation of a previous player's
statement. It often brings about big changes in family dynamics. (To find
click here and
type "Ungame" in the search box of
It bears mentioning that in this bit of advice we are not
saying that your children can interrupt you at any time, regardless of
what you are doing. Establish guidelines for them. Probably the most
important of which is the appropriate way to enter an adult conversation.
It might be worthwhile to establish an emergency signal for your kids to
use if they simply can't wait for an appropriate entry. (Something like a
strong tug on your ring finger, or saying a secret word.)
Parental listening is a gift of love that we can easily
and constantly give to our children. At first it takes some discipline but
soon it becomes a habit and for us there is a simple reward… our kids are
talking to us! Besides that, when you listen, you hear some of the
Remember that, like any other message of love, the time
they most need to be listened to, is also the time when we feel least like
listening. But if we can listen at these times we will confirm their self
Don't buy ANYTHING online...
until you visit
Now you can help
support Parenting With Dignity™ by shopping online via our links.
We are affiliates of the companies listed on these pages and receive a
commission on any sales generated from our links. Whether you need a new
computer or a tennis ball, a good book or to book a trip, click from our
page and donate to our foundation.
With the amount of information on the Net increasing
daily, it is often challenging to find exactly what you are looking for.
Your quest for relevant links to other parenting information, and
resources for raising healthy, well-adjusted, drug-free children just
got easier. Parenting With Dignity and WarningSigns.info have launched a
new online resource directory we call
Over the past months, we have been busy scouring
the Internet, gathering parenting-related information from search
engines. These content-rich sites have been sorted into clearly defined
categories that you can browse from the convenience of the Parenting
With Dignity website. Please take a moment and visit our
resource engine. Hopefully you'll find this information useful,
and, if you know of a site that should be included, please let us know,
or add it from those pages.
Will you help
Asking you to share your hard-earned money is something we’ve just
not been comfortable in doing. But, this foundation and our mission
have grown to be much bigger than our comfort in asking for help. The
opportunity to make a significant difference and help America's kids
has even grown beyond our son Drew and Maura's two-million dollar
The secret to the popularity and success of this program has been
based in grass roots involvement by people like you. We don't
advertise on national TV or buy ads in magazines. We can't afford it,
and we would not advertise that way if we could afford it. We believe
that there is a better way to increase our effectiveness and to build
a solid financial base of support for our mission.
We count on the people we are trying to help to contribute to our
efforts. We have proven that our mission can be fulfilled because
Americans are a people who will help each other in time of need. We
really need your support. Won't you please donate a few tax-free
dollars to our foundation's efforts? Just click
on the icon below. Every little bit helps! With your help we can and
will build a better world for kids!
Help us help America's Kids
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