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,
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,
PS: Do you know a Spanish speaking family, community or
school? Please refer them to our new website,
PWD on DVD
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
- 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)
is a new feature of our newsletter. Send your questions to:
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
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
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?
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!"
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
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 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
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
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.
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
Will you please help us help more kids?
donation can be made
securely online via
Network For Good.
Do it today while it is fresh in your mind.
Or, send your tax-deductible check to:
The Drew Bledsoe Foundation
730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901