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email: garyunruh at gunruh dot com
Gary M. Unruh
7680 Goddard Street Suite 215
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Reinforcing the Good
After counseling thousands of children and their families over a period of nearly forty years, psychotherapist Gary M. Unruh arrived at certain definite conclusions about human nature and how to encourage the healthy development of young people. His new book, Unleashing the Power of Parental Love, shares the fruit of his extensive clinical experience with parents and with other practitioners so that they can help youngsters achieve their full potential.
His book’s central premise is that children are born fundamentally good (no bad behavior-yet) and have an intense need to maintain that goodness by receiving parental approval. Unruh discovered through his counseling work that a child’s principal motivation, beyond meeting bodily needs, is to experience that feeling of “I’m good” and “I’m lovable.”
The key thing for parents is to express their love in a way that reinforces these feelings of goodness and self-worth. As Unruh writes: “Parental love involves actions and words that consistently transfer the message—through devotion, tenderness, and affectionate attachment—that your child is lovable or good.” The bulk of Unleashing the Power of Parental Love presents specific strategies and steps that allow parents to connect directly to the center of their child’s world and convey reinforcing love in the healthiest, most productive manner. Engaging case studies bring the main points home and show how they actually work in real-life situations.
One thing that’s crucial, Unruh argues, is to understand that emotions rather than behaviors constitute the center of a child’s world. So a major parental-love requirement—and one often not grasped by parents, teachers, and advisers—is that emotions must be addressed first and then behaviors second. Proceeding the other way, by addressing behaviors first, fails to resolve problems, sends the message to the child that “I’m bad,” and creates frustration.
Parents and others working with children should also become familiar with the core human emotions of anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and joy. The first four are all difficult to manage, but the fifth, when activated by love and understanding, is the most powerful of all and can trump the others. “Joy,” Unruh notes, “is the direct expression of a child’s flourishing self-esteem, the result of fully-developed parental love.” It’s also the key to leading a fulfilling life.
Unleashing the Power of Parental Love outlines key requirements necessary for maintaining a focus on developing your child’s sense of inner well-being. It will teach you to set aside your own feelings and to validate those of your child even while you modify unacceptable behaviors. By doing that, you’ll help ensure your child feels lovable and experiences life in a joyful manner. Unleashing the Power of Parental Love provides essential information that will help you do the most crucial and most rewarding job in the world—raising a child—in a more informed, effective, and truly loving manner.
Unleashing the Power of Parental Love: 4 Steps to Raising Joyful and Self-Confident Kids by Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW. $17.95 original trade paperback, ISBN 978-0-9824204-4-7, published by Lighthouse Love Productions, LLC, 1277 Kelly Johnson Blvd., Suite 220, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. 719-660-0253 Cover art available – www.unleashingparentallove.com
All or part of this review may be used without further permission.
- Set aside your thoughts and feelings when engaging with your child, especially during a conflict.
- Fit your personality and beliefs as much as possible to your child’s personality.
- Focus first on your child’s emotions and second on your child’s behavior, especially during conflict.
- Validate your child’s emotions. Emotions represent the core, the center of your child. By validating emotions, the good at the center of your child is continually supported.
- Set expectations at the beginning of problem-solving for 98 percent success.
- Understand how behavior gets changed and how to make change happen in the best way possible.
- Develop “healthy guilt” and mirror your child’s passion.
- Teach your child how to manage anger and fear and how to solve problems in a way that maintains “I’m good” for both parent and child.
- Unmanaged anger and fear degrades the emotional and physical health of both the parent and the child.
- Advocate to family members and teachers the importance of supporting the good within your child.
His book, Unleashing the Power of Parental Love: 4 Steps to Raising Joyful and Self-Confident Kids, is based on the following steps:
- Set your thoughts and feelings aside temporarily, at the beginning of a problem-solving situation.
- Start with your child’s feelings first and the behavior second. Be at the center of your child, where thoughts and feelings reside. Start where your child is, not where you are.
- Establish behavioral expectations that will enable your child to be successful 98 percent of the time.
- Learn “active” dialogue techniques.
- Tell us a little about how you developed your four-step process.
- How is child-rearing today more challenging than it was when you were a kid? Or is it?
- Why do your techniques work?
- How long does it take to make a noticeable change in the interaction between child and parents?
At the Heart of the Matter
- You say, “Children just want to feel loved.” What does that mean?
- How do you teach families your four steps?
- How do you get parents to set aside their own feelings to meet the child where he is?
- Setting expectations for 98 percent successful behavior seems like giving in to the kids. How does this work?
- Can you give us some examples of “active” dialogue techniques?
- How do you know when you’ve been successful with a family?
- Tell us one of your favorite examples of this process at work.
- Where can parents learn more about these techniques?
- Where can people find your book?
- A child’s response to being corrected is either “I’m good” or “I’m bad”; there is no in-between.
- Parental love involves actions and words that consistently transfer the message—through devotion, tenderness, and affectionate attachment—that your child is lovable or good.
- The parental-love approach meets an inborn need we all have—validation that we are good but that our behavior at times needs improvement.
- Feeling lovable means your child has acquired qualities from your parenting that result in the following firm belief: “I am a good, joyful, worthy person, able to attract caring, love, and acknowledgment of who I am from others.“
- Success means you consistently hear, see, and feel your child feeling “I’m good” in response to your parenting. Parental love = your child feeling “I’m good.”
- Deal first with your emotions, then with your child’s. You will not be able to handle your child’s emotions if you aren’t in control of your own.
- Being understood when a difference occurs is one of the deepest needs of your child.
- Your child’s emotions are the most basic representation of who your child is. For this reason, parental love must first focus in the best way possible on the child’s emotions.
- The most critical time for your child to feel understood, good, acceptable, and valuable is when differences occur. That is when self-confidence grows.
- The key is to find the level of assistance that establishes your child’s success 98 percent of the time initially and then gradually helps him or her to be more independent and responsible.
- Parental beliefs are a set of logically based, passionate, emotional convictions—specific morals, principles of good behavior, and values—that are essential for a child to be a “good” person. Parents want their children to share and practice these beliefs.
- If a child experiences too much failure, life starts to feel like a toxic waste dumpsite.
- When we are aware of our deeper emotions, we can make sense of them, understand them, and most of the negative energy is reduced.
- You will know your unconscious belief is playing a part in the problem when the following is occurring: Your emotions are excessive, your response is rigid and repetitive, and what you’re doing continually doesn’t work.
- Why you get so stuck: Your repeated behavior is actually reinforcing your child’s repeated negative behavior.
- If you stop doing what isn’t working and start a better behavior, you can expect your child to stop the negative behavior and start better behavior—usually within days and sometimes right away.
- The higher the intensity of emotion, the lower the thinking ability available to solve the problem. Reasoning simply doesn’t work when emotions are elevated.
- When we express unhealthy frustration, our children feel disrespected, de-valued, and humiliated.
- Guilt helps us do two very important things. It helps us know what is right and wrong, and it helps us to handle being wrong.
- You actually can choose which type of guilt your child ends up with: healthy guilt that helps us deal with mistakes in a caring way or shameful guilt that plagues us when we make a mistake and fail to meet others’ expectations.
- The healthy-guilt system requires the parent to be firm about expected behaviors and at the same time continually to convey respect through validation of emotions first and then setting firm limits.
- Joy is the emotion, the fuel, and the energy source of passion. Enthusiasm and excitement are the visible, emotional, and physical evidence of joy, the emotional energy source of passion.
- Love’s unleashed power always generates joy in abundance.
Are you seeking parenting advice from a professional with years of both counseling and personal experience? And is it important that this professional present advice in a step-by-step, easy-to-use-right-away fashion with useful childhood development information that explains your child’s behavior?
You’ve just described Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW. He has been a child and family mental health counselor for nearly forty years. During that time he and his wife, Betty, have been blessed to raise four beautiful children, and he is a very proud “papa” of nine terrific grand-children. For two years he learned a lot about what kind of care clients respond to best when he was the CEO of a mental-health managed-care company for Colorado Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Out of these experiences he developed “results-oriented therapy”—therapy that identifies exactly what behaviors the parents want changed by the end of treatment. This therapy provides practical, successful, step-by-step instructions that really work and explains why children and parents behave the way they do.
In his new book, Unleashing the Power of Parental Love, you will have the opportunity to benefit from Gary’s expertise and experience.
Gary’s unique contribution to parenting literature is his identification and application of easy-to-apply parental-love behaviors. From his years of clinical experience Gary has concluded: “The behaviors of parental love are the essential ingredients needed to fully develop your child’s unique potential.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Does Your Child Feel Deeply Loved? Are You Sure?
You know your child has eaten enough when he or she pushes away from the table.
How do you know when your child feels loved enough?
Surprisingly, many parents and educators don’t realize that children need to feel loved as much as they feel the need for food. We all love our children and want the very best for them. But do they really feel deep down that they are loved? Is the “acting out” that is stressing your family caused by this basic insecurity in their lives?
In his new book, Unleashing the Power of Parental Love, author Gary Unruh, MSW LCSW, expands on this paradigm, based on his nearly forty years in clinical practice working with families. “For a child, truly believing ‘I’m lovable’ is an essential life-sustaining need—equal to feeling satisfied from physical nourishment,” Unruh states. According to Unruh’s clinical experience this “lovable” belief is acquired through the child feeling fundamentally good throughout his or her development, particularly when differences occur between parent and child.
“The real power of parental love is to consistently focus on your child’s fundamental good—the good within your child that is so abundantly apparent at birth,” says Unruh. Even though it is not always easy when you are upset with your child, Unruh has found that interactions with children need to focus first on emotions and then on behavior. He further acknowledges that parents play the most central role by keeping their emotions in check, learning why a specific parenting behavior is needed, and then internalizing the steps for being successful with their kids.
Unruh identifies four steps to help your child become self-confident:
- Set your thoughts and feelings aside temporarily.
- Start with your child’s feelings first and the behavior second.
- Establish behavioral expectations that will enable your child to be successful.
- Talk to your child, not at your child; avoid judging and negative comments; be calm; talk less and listen more; be brief; and acknowledge your mistakes.
Unruh concludes by stating that feeling lovable means your child has acquired qualities from your parenting that result in the following firm belief: “I am a good, joyful, worthy person, able to attract caring, love, and acknowledgment of who I am from others.”
To learn more about this groundbreaking, action-oriented book, to receive a review copy, or to book the author for an interview, go to the website www.UnleashingParentalLove.com.
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