16th Mar 2011 | 04:17 am | Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Social Skills, Techniques

Lately, I have been working with several young men in my Whiz Kid after school program  who are natural born leaders. They have great ideas, they have strong opinions about how things should be done. And unfortunately, they are often in trouble at home and at school for these very same traits. It may be  highly annoying for parents and teachers to have to deal with a child who doesn’t blindly follow the rules, who has their own opinions, and is very willing to blurt out what they truly think at any given moment.

While I can relate to how hard it can be sometimes, these very same traits are what makes a great leader! So the child who tries to take over the classroom, then gets sent to the principal isn’t necessarily learning how to focus that brightness into being a great leader and instead is being constantly invalidated for being a “troublemaker.” Do we really want to squash those leadership qualities out of them and risk more problems down the road like poor self esteem, depression, and anxiety?

Of course not!

So while we as parents cannot always control what goes on at school, we can make some changes at home that will build leadership skills rather than squash them. Here are some ideas and I would love to hear yours.


  1. Give your child opportunities to be in charge of planning an event. Obviously, you are not going to start with Thanksgiving Dinner, but how about planning a family game night? Allow your child to think about what is needed, what would have to be obtained, when it would be held. Let your child create invitations, put together the snacks that the guests will enjoy, and pick out a variety of games that will be fun for those who are invited..
  2. When your child starts to take control of a situation, use your collaborative problem solving skills to put your concerns and your child’s concerns on the table. This teaches problem solving skills.
  3. When your child is in a leadership role, teach him or her perspective taking. Its critically important for leaders to take the opinions and feelings of others into consideration. This includes parents, teachers, peers, etc.
  4. When your child comes up with a “wild idea” rather than dismiss it out of hand, help your child to consider all the ramifications of implementation. Big picture thinkers must be able to see the challenges as well as the rewards of their ideas.


I know that all of this takes more time than just having a child who obeys us without question, but remember that you are building a leader. Who knows, you may have the next CEO of a major corporation on your hands. Give your child the tools to succeed.


Whiz Kid Club – Spring sessions

If your little leader is having a hard time with perspective taking, controlling behaviors, and other sorts of trouble making that keep him or her from being successful at school and at home, you might want to consider enrolling him in Whiz Kid Club. Whiz Kid Club is a social skills training program held after school that teaches children how to make and keep friends, control impulses that get them into trouble the most, and best of all its really fun! Check out the website for all the details then fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get started or feel free to call Karen at 503-459-2073.

Summer Day Camp Dates are Set!

I know it may seem way too early to think about Day Camp, but with our small group sizes, its really important to get on it if this is something you are interested in signing up for this year. We are doing three camps this year. One week for boys August 1st to 5th and one week for girls August 15th to 19th. We are also doing a new program this year which will be a two day a week camp over a five week period from June 21st to July 20th 9 am to noon. We are hoping that this will work for families who want a little more structure to Summer, but still freedom for weekend getaways. Check out all the details on the website and see if one of these programs is right for your child.

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