Replacing “entitlement” in praise and creating self-respect

Replacing “entitlement” in praise and creating self-respect

by Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

No matter where you are, if little ones are around, it won’t take long before you’ll hear “You’re so smart,” “You’re so pretty,” as well as, “You’re the best on the team.”

It’s normal to think your child is  brilliant, better looking and more capable than anyone’s child you know; however, that attitude taken to extreme might be moving us toward creating a society of kids who feel entitled.
Surveys from freshman classes show that kids work less in college than they did 10 years ago, and they think more highly of themselves. The majority of freshman college students score high on narcissism. What did we expect? These kids have been raised by parents who praised their every move. With that praise, they have instilled an attitude of entitlement. Kids actually believe they deserve a high paying job, a beautiful home and exotic trips. When you talk to them in depth, and ask them how they plan to acquire these privileges, they have no plan other than knowing their parents had it, so they will too.
The sad part is, they won’t. In fact, they cannot because they have not suffered consequences of not being good at something. Their weaknesses have been overlooked or brushed aside in an attempt to build their confidence with praise.
Praise doesn’t build confidence; in fact, too much praise makes a

child less motivated to take risks and try new things. If you continually tell a child how well they spell, they expect and are motivated to get more praise for spelling. Forget the other subjects, or sports, because they get praised for spelling well. This narrows the child’s world and they don’t branch out or build confidence by trying new things and failing at some.

A much wiser approach is something we call “process praise.”Process praise means you begin to notice and comment on the strategy the child used to figure something out. You focus less on natural talents and more on effort. You teach them that the brain, just like their other muscles, can grow, which helps the child understand that the more effort they make, the more success they will likely see. This helps children understand that challenges are good, and the brain can learn new ways of doing things.
Here are three suggestions for starting a plan of process praise.

  1. Don’t praise as much as you may have in the past. When you do praise, begin with praising effort or attempts at trying new things. Telling a child you like the way they tried something new is going to be more helpful to them than praising them for something at which they are already good.
  2. Praise their strategy, or thinking. “Wow, you really had to use your out-of-the box thinking to come up with that plan.”
  3. Never lie to them or tell them they are good at something they are not. Kids know the truth. If you say it’s a good job and it isn’t, they will stop trusting you or believing you.
Kids get discouraged and when parents give blanket praise such as “You’re so smart” or “You’re such a good pitcher,” kids begin to think this is what they are, or do. A child can be compassionate, smart, musical, and so much more. When parents teach kids to accept challenges, try new things and risk not being the best, they challenge them to grow and exercise their brain. In a world of entitlement and everyone being a winner, we’ve gone too far. Everyone has natural talents and weaknesses. The key is to help a child feel confident enough in their strengths to risk appearing weak in areas that need more strengthening.
Let’s bring back good old-fashioned effort and teach our kids the value of working toward their dreams.
Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at and more about Rapini at

Kinsights ( @kinsights ) : A Unique Parenting Online Community! #Giveaway

kinsights photo disclaimer_zpsaa1cb05b.jpg

Kinsights is a site you want to know about! It offers a unique online community for parents that makes getting great parenting advice easier and smarter. Parents often get the most useful advice from each other, and Kinsights makes direct connections to nurture this communication.  Also, Kinsightsworks in a way that answers are voted on by community, so the best, most helpful content rises to the top.


Kinsights’ Parent Community also offers a Personal Health Record Keeper for children. No more keeping track of slips of paper containing your children’s important health information.  And in the event of an emergency, you can have the health records sent to the ER or out-of-town doctor in a snap. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more.  This tool is amazing and a godsend to parents.


Kinsights’ Personal Health Record Keeper
We all need a solution now and then to those tough parenting issues and Kinsights has the answers.



How would you like to win this for yourself or for your family? All you need to do is fill out the below form to be entered.  The contest will run for one week and will end on March 14, 2015.

Winner must be a resident of the U.S or Canada.

Kinsights Online Community Amazon GC Giveaway

Winners are chosen at random, if you want all your chances counted, make sure you leave individual comments, not all of them in one!

Winner has 48 hours to contact me or another name will be chosen.



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9-11 – Honoring the past. Where were you 13 years ago? #dadchat



9-11 – Honoring the past. Where were you 13 years ago?

I think that for most of us we can all remember the moments that surrounded the 9/11 tragedy that struck our nation 13 years ago.


I remember where I was… I was in the my office at the university that I was working at as a Student Affairs Professional. I believe it was J-Mom who called me and told me to turn on the radio because it looked like a plane had collided with one of the twin towers. Unbeknownst to us was all the malice that was behind the first attack, let alone the subsequent attacks within New York City as well as the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.


I remember hearing this and calling my colleagues to fins a television that we could turn on and we watched in our main office as the tragedy revealed itself. I was numb, dumbstruck. Only once before had I felt this way, and that was when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. I simply had never witnessed such hatred, such a loss of life and later that week we found out how close to home this hit our family.


The Saturday before 9/11  J-Mom and I celebrated the wedding of a high school friend of J-Mom. The wedding was a wonderful event full of love and laughter. At that event I was able to meet a friend of the bride named Kelly Ann Booms who sat in front of us during the wedding. She made a comment that she had to get back to Boston on Sunday because she had a business trip that she had to fly out for (to Los Angeles) early on Tuesday morning (9/11). Later that week we found out that Kelly was a passenger on the first plane that hit Tower 1 (Flight 11). We were shocked that someone we just spoke with could be gone in an instant and it brought the national tragedy to a whole new level of meaning. We now felt a part of this tragedy and not as far removed.


The images of the first few hours of 9-11, the first few days afterward still are burned into my memory and I think they will never leave. For my generation, I think that this even will be the event that truly defines our generation as it may have been Pearl Harbor for my grandparents of the JFK assassination of JFK for my own parents.


So today, 12 years later I take a moment to remember Kelly and the other victims of the 9/11 attacks. May we never again live through such an event.

When my daughters get old enough to understand the significance of this day I will help them understand, but it will not be easy for the to grasp the severity of the events and what it did to the American Spirit that followed. I can only hope that I will be ready for this discussion when the time comes.

So my question for the day?


    • What are your memories of this event in our collective history?


    • How will you tell your children about this event in the future?


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Love between & bday girl #imagelogger #nx300


Ideas for Making #Summer 2014 the Best One Yet

Summer toes

Summer is the best time of the year (IMHO). It’s the time when you and your kids can get outside, enjoy the weather, and do some fun activities (unlike during the winter when you’re pretty much snowed in). It’s also a time when you can start in on new home and yard projects to make some improvements and have some good family fun.

Not sure where to start? Well, here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

18th Engineers Build Deck

Illuminated & Comfortable

The back yard deck will probably become the focal point for your summer nights. It gives you the ideal location to lounge and spend time with family and friends.

There are many guides to building a deck that are easy to follow and won’t cost an arm and a leg. They are well worth their investment since it’ll increase your property value and give you this focal point of activity as mentioned.

But let’s jump forward and list some ways to add some special touches to this area:

  • Consider going out of the ordinary and painting the deck with colors. There are many brands of paint that can handle the weather conditions. This splash of color (even if it’s just the railing) can be a nice addition and even more so if you use glow in the dark paint to give it a neat illuminated look after a bright, sunny day.
  • Consider the lighting and ambiance of your deck and try adding a little flair to it by picking out patio lights online with your family. Have a vote on which ones would go perfectly with the deck. There is a lot to choose from. You could even theme the deck to have a Tiki feel or give it a bit of a mystical look with flameless candles and such.
  • Consider doing a few DIY projects for the deck to add to its fun. You could install small compartments on the side to house yard games. Add a dart board on one end. Build a picnic table for a corner. Make your own hammock. All these projects would be great for spending time with your kids, teaching them a few skills, and having something neat to show at the end of the day.

These little additions can make for a truly enjoyable night. You all had fun setting things up during the day and can now relax. Not a bad idea for the summer (and spending time with the kids), eh?

My First Tree Fort

Forts, Fires, and Smores

I think it’s safe to assume that each one of us wanted a tree fort when we were younger. Building a tree fort isn’t all too difficult actually, as long as you can follow some plans, stay patient during the process, and remember to measure twice, cut once.

This also makes for a great activity to work on a big project with your children. You can do the heavy lifting and the dangerous stuff but then hand it over to them when it comes to decorating the fort, painting, and adding onto the fun.

Once that’s been built you can have nights where you’re all up there telling ghost stories or down in the yard cooking smores over a small fire. It’s really fun!

Fish Fries & BBQ’s

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Food brings the family and friends together but it can also be a great opportunity to spend time with your children. Make a day out of gathering up the supplies for the fish fry or BBQ.

You could:

  • Go to the beach or lake and spend the day fishing, then bring it back to cook
  • Go to ethnic or farmer’s markets to find new ingredients and take a vote
  • Go as far as raising your own animals (if you have the property) for food
  • Invest in a nice grill or deep fryer and your next food party will create quite a buzz.
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Great Video W/ Dad Blogger Dan Anderson @dananderson #dadchat

This was a touching commercial that Dell put together with fellow dad and blogger Dad Anderson – watch and let me know your thoughts!

Get ready for cold weather with Kidde Fire Safety (@KiddeSafety)

Kidde  photo disclaimer_zpsaa1cb05b.jpg The National Fire Protection Association reports most home fires and CO poisonings occur in winter. Besides heating appliances, seasonal activities such as increased cooking, using candles and decorating Christmas trees all add to the risk.


With that in mind I took the below quiz to see how my family held up. Unfortunately or fortunately I learned that I have a long way to go in regards to getting my home ready for the future.


Right from the beginning I see that I need to replace my smoke alarms as my home was set up in 1999… so I am actually beyond the date where they needed to be replaced. I also need some more fire extinguishers for my home and monoxide detectors too. We have an escape plan in place but I know that we need to practice this more often.


This was a great test to see where we are in our home safety. I encourage all of you to test it out yourself and share where your family is in the comments below. Fire alarm notification appliance


One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?

  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace CO alarms every five to 10 years, based on the model.
  • Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery, such as Kidde Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, to receive hassle-free protection for a decade –no need to change a battery or hear a low battery chirp. Available nationwide at retailers like The Home Depot and Walmart, each alarm installed will save you $40 over its life in battery costs.

Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?

  • Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.
  • Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?

  • A sealed-in 10-year lithium battery continuously powers the alarm for 10 years.  It’s tamper-proof and can’t be removed.
  • A digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds.
  • An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, plus it reduces nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking.
  • An end-of-life warning lets you know when to replace your alarms.

Do you need other safety products?

  • Fire extinguisher – place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area
  • Escape ladder – place in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route

Have you developed a family escape plan?

  • Practice it regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.

Fire in Dumpster Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?

  • Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?

  • Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.
  • Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can make nests and leaves can build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.
  • Have you created a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves?

For a downloadable winter home project checklist and other information, visit     ——————————————————————————————- New to the Divadom or to Dad of Divas Reviews? Please Subscribe to my RSS Feed! Subscribe in a reader Questions?Drop me a line at

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Living with kids and cats – tips by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, better known as Dr. V, is a proud and accomplished veterinarian, working parent and author of PawCurious ( One of her leading passions is pets and their place in the family, especially pets and parents battling litter box issues – the leading reason people give up their cats. And now, Dr. V is partnering with Swheat Scoop® to give my readers tips on how to better live in harmony with your cat.

Dr. V’s Litter Box Tips for Families:

  • Keep your cat happy and properly using the box by keeping it nice and tidy. Think of the box as your cat’s outhouse experience: No one likes a gross, stinky outhouse! Scoop once a day and clean the box entirely once a week.
  • If you have multiple cats, use the N +1 rule to determine the ideal number of boxes in your house. A two cat household should have three boxes. This reduces competition and inappropriate elimination (going outside the box, in your shoe, etc.).
  • Stick to unscented or lightly scented litters such as Swheat Scoop. This litter does not use harsh chemicals, and since it’s made from wheat, it’s all-natural.
  • Cats are very individual and each cat has different preferences for litter box types. Some like covered, others like uncovered. Setting two up side-by-side can help you determine your cat’s preference.
  • Involve the kids! As soon as your toddler is old enough to show interest in the cat, teach him or her how to interact – like with gentle pets on the chest. Teach them from the get-go to avoid pulling tails and that “when kitty walks away, that means he needs a break,” will help ensure a lifelong positive relationship. As the kids get older, you can involve them in daily feeding, grooming and litter box scooping. All of these activities should be monitored, especially in the beginning.
  • If you are expecting, there’s no need to get rid of your cat! Talk to your veterinarian and your OB/GYN about what you can do to stay healthy and consider investing in an automatic litter box.

For more tips or details on Swheat Scoop’s family of natural, eco-friendly cat litter, visit


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What Can You Do With a Criminal Justice Degree

Many students may wonder what can you do with a criminal justice degree. This often comes from the different career trajectories that are considered criminal justice careers. For example, many schools may state that professions ranging from a district attorney to a Homeland Security officer to a state police officer are criminal justice professions. In addition, the academic study of criminal justice is an interdisciplinary field that may include methodologies from sociology, legal studies, political science, and history. Because of this, many students may feel hesitant choosing from such an amorphous form of study. However, understanding how the major interconnects ideas, concepts, and methodologies for the purposes of law enforcement will help any student realize the potential career prospects of a criminal justice degree.

Criminal justice is ultimately the study of criminal behavior and how to prevent it in society. Professions that enforce law, like police officers, work with those who prosecute law, attorneys and judges, while researchers and academics study trends in crime that help aid the work of law enforcers. These careers in criminal justice are usually dependent on different degrees in criminal justice. For example, when a student enrolls at a community college for an associate’s degree in criminal justice, potential career choices may include paralegal work or law enforcement officer positions. In contrast, a doctorate in criminal justice can help the student become an academic or researcher in the field of criminology. One of the more common degrees come from a four-year college where students will attain a baccalaureate degree in criminal justice. With this degree, security and defense-associated jobs may be open to graduates. The Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) post job openings that usually require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Students who wish to prosecute criminals or defend suspects must attain a Juris Doctor (JD). Law schools offer JD programs and applicants will need to hold a bachelor’s degree and pass an entrance examination known as a LSAT. Once a law school graduate pass the bar examination for a state, they are able to practice law in that state. Defense attorneys will help defend those suspected of crimes, while district attorneys, who are politically appointed or hired, will prosecute criminals in the name of the state. Several years of law experience is usually needed before being considered for such district attorney jobs. Judge positions are also available for JD holders, but these positions will require years of legal work and the notice of executive officers, like governors, to appoint a person to a judge position.

The field of criminal justice and criminology is an expanding field. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, legal work, homeland security, or forensics can find what they are looking for in a criminal justice degree program


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Talk to Your Teen about Winter Driving #dadchat

teen driving

Here is a very cool Teen Driving PSA that a friend of mine made a while back. As we start getting ready for winter weather this is so important to share with our kids:


How do you talk to your own kids about this topic?


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