Imagine

by Marion Forgatch, PhD, Gerald Patterson, PhD and Tim Friend

As parents, we shape our children’s behavior from the day they are born. Their behaviors—desirable and undesirable alike— become established as we reinforce them through our own actions, reactions, and inactions. In this chapter, we’ll discuss how you can encourage cooperation in your children and help you to become aware of behaviors that may innocently send the wrong messages. As Jerry studied families in their homes, he developed what has become known as “coercion theory.” Coercion starts out as a vital, natural survival instinct that can be found in infants as well as baby birds. Before children develop language, they communicate their needs to be fed, held, or have their diapers changed by crying. Unattended infants can fly into little fits of apparent rage. It’s their only way of telling you that they need something, and they need it now. As they begin to develop language, we have to teach children to ask for what they need. If we don’t, that coercive behavior can allow toddlers to control their parents. To see unadulterated coercion in action, watch a three-year-old throw a temper tantrum in a grocery store. See how the parent and child react to each other. Observe the escalation in the intensity of emotions during the exchange. This is a battle of wills between a little kid and a grown-up. Watch how it ends, who wins, and why.

Coercion lies at the root of most of the battles we see between siblings and between parents and children. You can think of coercion as a dark side of human nature inside all of us. Understanding what coercion is and how it interferes with loving relationships can enable you to recognize it when it arises and do something about it. Because coercion is the cause of so much of the trouble between parents and young children, reducing it is a core component of our parenting techniques. When parents learn to reduce coercive actions in their children—and in themselves—cooperative behaviors have a better chance to grow and thrive. When we first become parents, many of us start out with vague dreams for ourselves, our individual children, and our families as a whole. You have probably had some kind of vision of the family you wanted ever since you were a child—though it is rare for anyone to sit down with us when we are young (and most receptive) and explain how to raise a happy family, let alone model how it is done. Your vision, however amorphous it may be, was likely influenced by the strengths and values that determined how you were raised—for better or worse.

Sit back and imagine the family you want. What you imagine is probably different from your partner’s ideal family. If one of you had a great childhood, you will surely follow in the footsteps of those amazing parents. If your childhood was rocky, you may be thinking of different ways to raise your children. Unfortunately, many of us are so busy that we don’t spend much time planning our parenting strategies. We live in a different world from the one in which we grew up. Raising children is more expensive than ever, employers demand more work, our relationships become loaded with stress, and we sacrifice our dreams to focus on the problems at hand. Now is the time to rekindle your dreams and get ready to create the changes you want for your family. Changing bad habits and teaching new skills require that you think carefully about your goals. We urge you to think big and reach high to create the family you have always wanted.

Dreams can lie dormant and may even die unless you awaken them and imagine ways to make them come true. Once you conceive your dreams, how do you give birth to them? It’s easy to say: “I want my children to get along with others or do well in school.” It is quite another thing to say: “Here’s how I will make it happen.” You start by setting goals. Begin with something feasible, and then break down the goal into steps using the Goldilocks rule—not too big, not too small, but just right. When you accomplish one goal, set a new one.

For instance, imagine teaching your children to get ready for bed on their own. Our approach is to first show them each tiny step; then we patiently teach them to put the steps together—take a bath, dress for bed, and brush their teeth. Gradually, your children learn to do it all themselves, and you can move on to another set of skills. Setting goals and planning the steps required to reach them is a kind of telescoping process—you look ahead to the future, you zoom back to the present, and you figure out how to get from here to that distant place. With practice, your skill at making long- and short-term goal statements will grow, and you will become a master of making dreams come true.

Excerpted from Raising Cooperative Kids by Marion Forgatch, PhD, Gerald Patterson, PhD, and Tim Friend


Marion S. Forgatch, PhD, is the senior scientist emerita at the Oregon Social Learning Center and a frequent lecturer at professional conferences. She is the coauthor with Dr. Patterson of Parents and AdolescentsGerald R. Patterson, PhD, was the founder of the Oregon Social Learning Center and was well known for his pioneering work in child psychology. His awards included the Distinguished Scientific Award from the American Psychological Association. Tim Friend has two decades of experience as a national reporter covering science and medicine.

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Last Things

Marissa Moss

“Loving, moving, and articulate, Last Things is packed with emotional truth. It’s a clear-eyed testimony to the way death arrives, sometimes inch by inch, inspiring the courage and strength and generosity that are the best things we bring to this life.”—Jennifer Hayden, Eisner-nominated author of Underwire and The Story of My Tits

“A gripping portrayal of how devastating ALS can be, but also a powerful example of resilience and hope.” —Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, neurologist, ALS clinic, UCSF

“If anyone still thinks the graphic format can’t be used to tell deep, grown-up, powerful stories, Last Things ought to change their mind. It’s about all the big questions: How we live, how we raise our children, how we survive seemingly unbearable loss. Moss’s authenticity, raw honesty and vulnerability will help anyone who’s struggling with loss and ‘lasts’ – ultimately, that’s all of us.” —Marjorie Ingall, author of Mamaleh Knows Best

“Before reading Marissa Moss’ Last Things I was unaware of how profoundly moved I could be by a graphic novel. With her gentle touch and brave honest voice we experience how completely one’s life and expectations be changed with a single devastating diagnosis. I absolutely loved Last Things!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

“An important book that needs to be in the world. It’s a hard read, but sometimes surviving and resilience is what makes people stronger. Ultimately that’s what Last Things celebrates, not dying, but strength, the strength our families give us.” —Kathleen Caldwell, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland CA

“Powerful and beautiful – this book would be a great addition to the graphic novel canon.” —Ian Lendler, author of The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents MacBeth

“I was swept into the story, swept along.” —Joan Lester, author of Mama’s Child

“This is a very brave and beautifully drawn account. Anyone coping with the loss of a spouse is going to benefit – and any reader can relate to the family dynamics, the stress of caregiving, and the crisis of a terminal disease.” —Eleanor Vincent, author of Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story

“In this deeply affecting graphic memoir, Moss lays out the struggles of trying to live as her husband is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her simple drawings reveal the pain and anguish her characters don’t know how to express in words, making the format a perfect choice for the story. Those facing similar situations will feel relief at finding their struggles and confusion laid clearly on a page. Meanwhile, the moral complexities of caring for a husband who is no longer emotionally engaged while parenting three confused children invites readers to examine their own choices. A sad, haunting memoir of struggle and confusion that will have readers in tears.” —Marika McCoola, author of Baba Yaga’s Assistant (Candlewick Press); Indie Bookseller, Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)

Using words and pictures together to sharp effect Last Things is the true story of how one family copes with the devastating effects of ALS.  After returning home from a year abroad, Moss’s husband, Harvey, was diagnosed with ALS. The disease progressed quickly and Moss was soon consumed with caring for Harvey, while trying to keep life as normal as possible for her young children. This is not a story about the redemptive power of terminal illness, it is a story of resilience. It’s a story of how a family managed to survive a terrible loss and grow strong despite it.

(Conari Press)


Raising Cooperative Kids

Marion Forgatch, PhD, Gerald Patterson, PhD, and Tim Friend

Raising Cooperative Kids provides clear, commonsense strategies for accomplishing exactly what the title calls for. The behaviors that parents want to see in their children are, for the most part, universal. Although the practices in the book can be started at a very young age, the tools included are useful for parenting toddlers through teens. There is also advice on topics such as approaching social media with your child, linking home and school, working together while divorced, and so forth. Raising Cooperative Kids would make a useful addition to any public library parenting collection.” — Joyce McIntosh, Booklist

“Having observed thousands of parents and their children over the course of almost 50 years, the authors conclude that successful families share a spirit of cooperation that generates harmonious teamwork In sum, the authors tell parents how to identify their strengths and weaknesses and effectively teach and lead their kids. With lively family stories, useful dialogue, and checklists, this book is also indicative of the trend toward rediscovering generations-old, traditional parenting techniques.” – Publishers Weekly

“An excellent book which brings the best of longstanding, proven, and highly effective parenting practices to the modern age. This book is a must for every parent and every professional that works with children.” —Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D, author of 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child

“This is a wonderful book with clear, easy-to-apply, and workable techniques based on both clinical experience and research. From defining and setting goals to the critical importance of family play, Raising Cooperative Kids provides a concise and practical blueprint for parents who want to enjoy their kids.” —Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D., author 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

“This book is a special gift to accomplish one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs we will face in our lifetime: raising children. Marion and Jerry share their years of experience studying human behavior and give simple, yet powerful, tools to help parents. You will see yourself in some of the chapters, sometimes doing the right thing, sometimes doing the wrong thing. Enjoy the gift, have fun practicing and take comfort that you’re doing the best you can.”— Jim Wotring, Senior Deputy Director, Department of Behavioral Health, Washington, DC

“If you are going to rely on one book to secure a better future for your children, this is the book to use.” —Thomas J. Dishion, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University

“An excellent guide for parents who want to raise happy, well-adjusted children! Based on years of clinical and research experience, this user-friendly book emphasizes the importance of practicing skills and is filled with strategies and examples. I highly recommend Raising Cooperative Kids to parents, students-in-training, and therapists.”—Rex Forehand, PhD, author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child

“A practical, common sense book that includes all the ingredients for a cooperative and happy family.” —Carolyn Webster Stratton, PhD,Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, and Founder of “The Incredible Years®”

Not since Dr. Spock has there been such a comprehensive book on parenting. Developed over forty years of practice and tested in clinical studies, Patterson and Forgatch’s parenting techniques tap deep-rooted human instincts, making them universal and easy to use no matter where you live or how a family is structured—these techniques enable parents to teach their children new behaviors and reduce family conflicts. The authors also remind us of the importance of play—enjoying time and activities together is the cornerstone of a happy family.

(Conari Press)


Rewrite Your Life

Jessica Lourey

“My favorite kind of self-help book: irreverent, personal, and superbly useful.” —Jen Mann, New York Times bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat

“A lively exploration of writing’s therapeutic value and an encouraging invitation to apply it to your life.” —Kendra Levin, author of The Hero is You

“On occasion a gem of a book comes along. One that sticks with us and helps us to remember, we can rewrite our life. That our journey is filled with plot twists we never expected and that we can gain insights and perspective by exploring those unexpected events, or ‘story food’ through writing. Rewrite Your Life is just such a book. You will walk away with an understanding of how to heal through writing fiction and have the tools you need to make a difference in your own life, and everyone your life touches.” —Lyssa Danehy deHart, MSW, LICSW, PCC and author of StoryJacking: Change Your Inner Dialogue, Transform Your Life

According to common wisdom, we all have a book inside of us. Every author calls on, crystallizes and shades their life experiences to craft fiction. The most conflict-ridden moments of our lives – the tragedies, humiliations, and terrors – shape the best stories. But how do we select and then write our most significant story? Creative writing professor, sociologist, and popular fiction author Jessica Lourey guides us through the redemptive process of writing a healing novel which recycles and transforms our most precious resource—our own emotions and experiences.

(Conari Press)


Instant Tarot

Monte Farber and Amy Zerner

“Each card is interpreted according to the position in which it appears . . .no other book we know of offers this degree of specificity.” —Publishers Weekly

“We found the information unnervingly on target.” —US Magazine

Bestselling authors Farber and Zerner unveil the mysteries of the tarot for beginners and experts alike with nothing to memorize.  They provide concise interpretations of every card in every position of the classic Celtic Cross tarot spread.  This book is like getting a reading from an expert advisor in the privacy of one’s home.  This unique method works with virtually any tarot deck; interprets every card, in every position; and provides sample questions you can easily personalize.

(Weiser Books)


I Ching, Plain & Simple

Kim Farnell

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is a mix of Taoist and Confucianist philosophies that has evolved over many centuries and may be the oldest book in existence. It’s main philosophy is that nothing is static and our task is to adjust to the ebb and flow of changing circumstances. It can be an extremely complex system filled with poetry and philosophy, but Farnell has rendered it here as contemporary, straightforward, and as user-friendly as possible.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)


Wicca, Plain & Simple

Leanna Greenway, Foreword by Judika Illes

Greenaway takes a contemporary approach to Wicca and shows how you can use it as a healing and positive force.  She makes Wiccan traditions meaningful and accessible to us today by providing a basic understanding of the key elements of Wiccan practice, including: lunar magic, initiation, herbs and gardens, pendulum power, and animal magic.  Also included are 25 spells for beginning practitioners ranging from love spells to fertility spells and more.

(Hampton Roads Publishing)