ATTENTION : Kids – Students – Parents and Listeners of All Ages

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s hard to believe that summer is heading towards its usual finish line and some of the hottest times of the year are about to hit Southern California. Nonetheless school is starting all over the country and between now and the end of September for preschoolers, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college or graduate students, school Is about to burst onto the scene. From 4 year olds to 44, there is some anxiety as you start down a new learning path.

For me the start of a new school year at SDSU has the same excitement as the opening scene of a wonderful play and watching the curtains open, or walking across the campus early morning and hearing the chatter of young people dance across the campus, seeing them with their textbooks in hand looking for the clock tower and trying to find Hepner Hall or the BAM building. I always felt a rush of adrenaline as I realized I would soon be meeting new faces with stories that could fill 100’s of libraries.

Going to treatment is also like starting school… full of new ideas, new schedules and new people. For this newsletter I thought I might take a step back in time and share what some of the experts have to say about Parenting and going off to school.



What type of Parent Are You? 
What Type of parent did you have? 
What type of parent we are may well depend on what type of parent we had and what type of parent we want to be. 

Joanne Carlson in THE Parent Effect, takes a contemporary look and has identified 5 different types of parenting styles

1.  Controlling – My House, MY Rules Parents – The curfew is 10:00; you will clean up your room. There is no negotiation

2.  Cool Parents – Permissive, Johnnies parents let him watch TV till 10, drink beer, go to x, y, z, etc.

3.  Enmeshed – Your life is My Life- those are our soccer trophies not yours, my child is going to x, she did this. I have a hard time knowing where I start and my child ends

4.  Neglectful – Not now, I am busy. We can go play right after… What did you say, I didn’t catch that

5.  Balanced – Easy going- getting a B- or a C is not the end of the world, having a science experiment explode all over the house or a baseball come thru the window is not life shattering.

Being completely transparent, I am sure at one time or another I have exhibited all 5 of these parenting styles, and sometimes all of them in one day! It is good to think about what type of parent you are and what type you want to be. Like the caterpillar, you are always emerging. When I became a parent there were no parenting schools for me to enroll in. I wish there was, I would have loved the support of others and lesson plans might have been a great help.

That being stated, all families at one time or another have challenges they must face, which at times leave parents “unintentionally emotionally unavailable” to their children. Some parents experience economic upswings and down turns, others may experience mental health, substance abuse or physical illnesses that change the scope of family life. Moving, deployments over sea, the birth of a new child, divorce; remarriage, death, etc. are all things that affect the dynamics of family life. No matter who you are or where you are being able to breathe and take care of yourself will give you the space to be the parent you want to be. Children, bless them, are resilient and given opportunities to grow will thrive will. It is with the knowledge and compassion that all of us are only human with strengths, foibles and challenges that I present these tips to you. As always take what you like, laugh and leave the rest!



No matter what age your student is sleep and good nutrition are paramount to school success. If you and your child have fallen out of a bedtime routine get back into a solid routine a week before school.boys
If you and your child have fallen out of a bedtime routine get back into a solid routine a week before school. Plan and shop for healthy breakfasts and lunches a week in advance. This will save you precious time and prevent much stress in the long run. Also preparing lunches ahead of time will ease the working mom’s stress-o-meter as that is one less thing she will have to do when she comes home.


Parent involvement is always a plus. Did you know that the heaviest involvement is in preschool and kinder garden and by the time a student gets to high school the number of parents involved often matches the growing autonomy of their adolescence. College often brings a resurgence albeit difference in parent involvement. The bottom line is, Involvement is good, as long as it is respectful, honors yourself, your child and his/her school and does not wear you out.



1.  Visit the school ahead of time so that your child has seen the lay of the land (This tip is for students of all ages) finding the bathroom is always a top priority so check them out.

2.   Leave a change of clothes in the classroom with the teacher or in the cubby. Little ones can have accidents so being prepared is a great idea.

3.  Play dates- arrange if possible a few play dates with other parents. It’s a great way for you and your child to meet others and feel part of the new community

4.   Be prepared for Tears (Yours and maybe even your child’s.) Smile; stay positive this is a great transition. If you start to panic your child will pick up

5.   Support early literacy by reading to your little one

6.   Keep books everywhere, in the car, in the kitchen and anywhere you spend time. Make the library your friend

7.   Talk to your preschool teacher; attend parent family activities as much as you are able



1.  School Supplies-go shopping for them together and see what the school gives.

2.  If you are a busy parent save time on those hurried mornings by picking out the weeks clothes ahead of time (I would flunk this one). Place a pair of socks, underwear, shirt and bottoms together in a drawer so your child can easily grab and go.

3.  Support study habits and Create a study center with school supplies that is relatively quiet or if you have a child that loves multi tasking and noise make sure that is available.
4.  Limit digital time – TV, and Games – Playing outside or with cardboard boxes never hurt anyone.
5.  Pack light- a backpack should never weigh more then10-20 percent of a students body weight.
6.  Teach your child to say hello, Hi my name is…What’s yours –helps reduce anxiety.
7.  Read frequently with your child
8.   Bus Safety- talk to your child about the dos and don’ts of riding the bus.
9.   After school activities-Encourage trying out new and different things. Many schools have great after school programs, which are a boon to new kinds of learning, and a great help to the working parent.
10.  Physical Activity – try out different sports. Let your child explore.
11.  Music –music heals the soul. Have song in your home.



This is the time when your child may be entering a brand new school. While they were King or Queen of the heap in elementary school now once again they are the youngest. Going to visit the new school, checking out LOCKERS, which can be a brand new way of keeping belongings. Gone are the cubbies and now they have their own locker and combination. Getting to class on time and treating the teacher and your classmates the way you want to be treated is the best idea.read
1.  Fashion – Fashion at this point if it has not already becomes important to kids. Make sure you know School policies regarding clothing and appearance. Now is a great time to create a clothing allowance.

2.  More Responsibilities – Your child may need to set up a daily assignment checklist and review daily

3.  Kids at this age may start to pull away and not talk to you as much. Peers become important. Stay engaged and ask questions.

4.   Sports – The truth is I was a Soccer Mom. I loved cheering on the sidelines, the orange slices for snacks, the other parents. I think at times I liked all the
social benefits more then my daughters. The wise athletic director I am married to, believes that children should play lots of different sports, they do not have to be wed to one sport at the ripe old age of 11 and be devastated if they do not end up on the best traveling sport. Let your child experiment with sports. Remember its their activity not yours!

5.   Strong Emotions – Kids experience strong emotions at this time. They are black and white in their thinking. They Hate and Love at a moments notice. If they hate school Help them identify enjoyable parts of school no matter what part it is. (i.e. recess, etc.)
6.   Homework – Most kids think there is too much homework at this point in time. Help if you can with homework (I myself never could do math) so I loved afterschool programs that could.



1.  Stay Organized
Have a separate binder for each class. Set personal goals for yourself.
2.  Absent– if you are absent for a few days, make sure to check in with your teacher because he or she is the expert in the class-not your friends.

3.  Stay away from drama-
As the TV show Glee teaches us a challenging thing about high school is so many people get sucked into it and ends up making people feel awful. Drama can take you away from your work.

4.  COUNSELORS – Academic and Personal- They are here to help, so knock on their door.

5.  Dating – Dating can be a full time job its neither bad nor good, thou it can take you away from lots of activities. If you spend 24/7 with that person you may be bored.


6.  Be Selective with your Friends and always be yourself.

7.  Create joy-and Believe in Yourself.

8.  Be friends with the library – great place to study for the ACT, SAT, etc.

9.  Join a club, after school activity, volunteer-incite your Passion

10.  Be Honest



Having been a college professor for over 30 years all I can say is I love young adults and adult learners. Where else can you go if you are a full time student to explore the world and ruminate about the world?girl
The hardest thing a traditional college student has to do is show up for class, read the text (you can even rent books these days) and take exams. A great deal of college life is learning how to live away from home, testing your self in new and different social situations and finding what brings you joy. Freshman girls speak to their moms up to 7 times per day in the beginning while boys may be somewhat distant. Check in with cards or fun care packages. It’s a time of letting go and allowing others to spread their wings. Relax, kick back and enjoy the respite.

Many students have jobs on and off campus, some have returned from serving in the military; others are first generation college students and/or have families of their own.

On a campus you can find a group for just about everyone and about anything. SEEK THEM OUT

Your teachers exist because of you so never be afraid to visit with them. You are what enrich their soul; it’s not their research, their grants, publications, or the endless committees they serve on. Without students they would not exist so realize you are a valuable commodity and take advantaage of all the services offered.

If you want more parenting tips: here are
44 Tips For Parents from Dr. Making Time Count
Dr. John H. Wherry. 
Source: The Parent Institute



Perhaps the most important behavior we can practice when it comes to our loved ones is to Listen. I know I am often guilty of listening without intent. That means I can repeat unequivocally what you have to say though I was not listening with my heart, head or body. What was missing was my focus and attending skills. Recently, I read a wonderful article by Sarah McLean who is a teacher of mindfulness and meditation and the author of, Love and The Power of Attention.LISTEN
Sarah reminded me that when people seem like they’re listening they often are doing something else when you are talking. They could be

1. Mindreading – projecting what they think you will say and finish your sentence for you

2. Acting – rehearsing what they will say to you

3. Filtering out what they do not want to hear – had a bad day at school etc.

4. Looking for a way to be right or to give advice – not connecting


5. Competing – coming up with a brilliant idea of what to say next

6. Daydreaming – drifting into the past or future because of something said

7. Distracted – thinking of something totally different

8. Attention grabbing – asking never ending questions to get the focus off what they are saying and onto yourself.

M. Peck reminds us, you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.

Bryon Katie,

the founder of The Work writes about “literally listening” and teaches to trust that what folks say is exactly what they mean, not more… not less. So if your child’s teacher says he is creative take that at face value and do not interpret.

Purchase this book on Amazon


Here are 6 tips to hone your Literal Listening Skills (and be gentle with yourself, Rome was not built in a day).

1. Think about someone you care about and how he or she understands you. Have them listen to you.

2. Find someone you care about give them your complete attention as they speak.

3. Keep your attention in the present moment. Try not to wander and if you do, come back to the present.

4. Observe yourself as you listen to others.

5. Watch how you might interrupt or jump in when they talk, take a breath, or get their next thought together.

6. Relax and notice your body language and sensations in your body. Practice  receiving the conversation. Do not turn away.

A wonderful resource for parents.
They have experts from A- Z. I recently had the privilege of being interviewed about Parents, Kids, and Drugs.


Speaking Engagements


August 22-23:  Alta Mira Treatment Center, How’s it Going especially designed for Alumni

August 28-Sept. 1, 2014: Pittsburgh, Penna Allderdice Reunion

Sept 26-27, 2014: New Found Life Family Program Speaker, Long Beach, CA

Sept. 28-Oct. 2: Moment of Change, West Palm Beach, Florida


Always Remember You are
Valuable, Loved and Blessed! You have the Courage to be Honest, Vulnerable and speak your truth

In Gratitude,


Dr.Louise Stanger Ed.D, LCSW, BRI II, CIP
Director All About Interventions
Faculty SDSU Interwork Institute
Membership Chair NII Network of Independent Interventionists
Member AIS Association of Independent Interventionists
MINT Trainer of Trainers
1-619-507-1699 – mobile