Hero Dragon

My friend and colleague Sue Kranzdorf was recently interviewed on the radio about her Hero Dragon workshops and book.

Sue embodies a deep understanding of human nature, and her model is a very powerful one that helps parents more effectively guide and support their children. I cannot recommend Hero Dragon highly enough.

From her site, http://herodragon.com/:

A Brief Introduction to Hero Dragon

Hero Dragon helps parents point out and improve unwanted behavior patterns in a game-like way that’s both fun and effective. When tempers flare or fussiness abounds, Hero Dragon invites family members to collaborate to awaken heroes and subdue dragons instead of escalating anger or frustration. There’s less pleading, bargaining, judgment and blame, and no distraction or avoidance is necessary. Families discuss the real issues involved, allowing for continuing improvements instead of short-term fixes. With understanding of the general principles, Hero Dragon can be molded and personalized to meet the specific needs of any family.

Please listen to the radio interview here:

At what age do children understand and show remorse?

Q: My 3 1/2 year old has had issues in preschool, and his teachers say that he shows "no remorse" for his actions. Is he capable of true remorse at this age, and if so, at what level?

A: I love this question! The fact that you are exploring this tells me that you will be an excellent advocate for your son.

I don't believe that children can feel true remorse for their actions until they are able to distinguish their own experience from that of others. According to Piaget, the ability to take the perspective of another, as well as to understand the relationship between cause and effect, is not fully supported cognitively until at least age 6 or 7.

Dealing with Constipation While Potty Training

We finally got our constipated two and a half year old daughter in to see the pediatric GI specialist, and received a prescription for a laxative. Now the poop is soft and no longer painful for her, but she still tries to hold it in for days at a time. I suspect it has become a mental issue, not physical one. She's under no pressure at home or at school to use the potty, and for now I just praise her when she doesn't hold it in and goes in her diaper. I would like to start potty training her soon. Can you please give me advice about how I can help her understand that it hurt before, but it won't now, and to help her get over her mental block to pooping?

Sounds like you have been very conscientious about making sure your daughter's needs get taken care of. She's lucky to have you as her mama.

I love that you are thinking about the issue from more than just a physical perspective. I think you are right that she may be scared that it will hurt. It's easy to comprehend why she might decide that she'd rather be on the safe side and hold it in.

My teenage daughter rarely talks to me about anything ...

Q: I have a 15 year old daughter, and have been somewhat strict with her over the last few years. Could you give me any advice on how to get her to talk to us and get her to open up more? She rarely talks to me about anything ...
[There was much more to this email, so I whittled it down for brevity's sake.]

A: First I would like to refer you to a few earlier posts that may be helpful.

26 Ways to Get Teenagers To Stop Talking to You


Correct them.

Raise your voice.


Question their intelligence and judgment.

Criticize them.

Don't take them seriously.

Use sarcasm.

Lecture them.

Speak condescendingly.

Tell them they are wrong, misinformed, or immature.

Talk more than you listen.

Compare them to other kids: Why can't you be like ...

Tell them how worried you are about them.

Bring up something they told you out of context later.

Offer solutions that they did not ask for.

Punish them based on what they disclose to you.

Try to manipulate them using guilt or shame.

Remind them that you are in charge.

Be a hypocrite: tell them to do as you say not as you do.

Lie to them.

Demand respect, but don't give it.

Betray their trust or confidence.

Refuse to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes at times.

Bring up a list of transgressions from the past to help you prove your point.

Predict a negative outcome for their future.

7 ways to deal with all that Halloween candy

For parents who are not big fans of sugar, chocolate, or artificial colors and flavors, Halloween presents a real dilemma. You don't want to be the heavy and spoil the fun, but on the other hand, you also may not be eager to deal with a kid who is hyped up on sugar for weeks or even months after the big day. Here are some ways to handle that gargantuan pile of candy:

My daughter is scared to be alone.

Q: Our 4 year old daughter has recently become scared about going to the bathroom alone, and also doesn't want to go to sleep alone. Sometimes when she hears a loud noise, she hits whoever is next to her. We don't know how to handle this situation.

A: You mentioned that this started recently. I'm not a therapist, but it sounds like perhaps she experienced some kind of traumatic event, and her nervous system has decided it needs to stay 'on alert' all the time.

That 'on alert' response isn't only triggered by something big, like a death or an injury. It can happen any time a child feels powerless to control something that is hurting her -- like being bullied, visiting the doctor or dentist, hearing a scary story or seeing something on television, or even witnessing something painful happening to somebody else. Some kids are more sensitive to this sort of thing than others. At age four, kids step out into the world in a bigger way, and they hear lots of things that might be scary. It could be as simple as that.