Archive for Happiness

Get Started NowPreface:

Greetings. I want to welcome you to a new series of articles, focused first on explaining the fundamentals of  Terrific Parenting.  These are the principles that allow you to build responsibility, nurture optimism and teach your children to enjoy the self-fulfilling rewards of right effort.

After laying out these principles over the weeks ahead, I will then dig into making those principles practical:  In other words, how do we apply these in daily life so that you can build the healthy habits of success in your home.

For those of you who have followed Terrific Parenting, you may have noticed a pause in my writing.  This was due primarily to health related challenges.  I have been humbled , and have a much greater daily appreciation for the gift of vitality, energy and just simply … feeling good!  I aspire to add more  tools for building appreciation, happiness and optimism into my writings, and will create a separate series later this spring on these topics.

As my health is now back on track, I begin this series by outlining the first of 12 principles to be revealed in the weeks ahead.  These posts will expand upon the content I am creating for The Saratogian.

Terrific Parenting:  New Beginnings

 I am pleased to be writing again.  In honor of this somewhat new beginning, I will start with a series of articles that cover the fundamental principles that build optimism, responsibility and success in your home.  These principles stand at the core of how we have influence and build healthy habits in our home.  Let’s begin:

Principle 1:  Parenting Clarity Is Parenting Power.

This principle is about the importance of having a clear, undiluted focus for your family and for your parenting approach.  Too often in today’s world, we can become bombarded with different messages of how to parent, what to think about and what to focus on.  Included in these various messages are often the opinions of those with relatively little exposure outside their own home or family.  With the world of blogging and Facebook, everyone has a voice.  Individual expression and creativity are allowed to prosper in this model, and the future is exciting.

However, not every voice that offers guidance should be valued equally.  Too many voices causes confusion.  Too many ideas means that you keep changing direction, and trying new things…before the more proven, data-based approaches have been exhausted.

As I begin this series, I will encourage what we might call a “consolidation” of parenting ideas and strategies.  By this I simply mean, that the wide majority of the behavioral research on parenting, as well as most parenting books can be boiled down to about twelve basic ideas that you need to know.

Of these basic ideas, many are made more complex than they need be.  My goal here is to keep it simple, and to keep it real.

So, what do I suggest you do with all those books?  Those Parenting magazines?  The good advice others, like me, promote on the Internet.

I suggest something profoundly simple:  TEST.

TEST IT.  Be willing to honestly put the idea or strategy to the test.  If it works, great.  If not, discard it.

How long do you test?  Weeks, not months…if the strategy is built on proven principles.

If you are reading or practicing a set of proven parenting principles, you shouldn’t have to keep fighting or struggling over and over with your kids.  You shouldn’t have to make things more and more complex, feeling like you are constantly adjusting to a new a set of conditions.  This is a sign that you are off track.  If you are using the tools that make parenting work more easily, then three major things should happen quickly:

1.  You should feel relief, NOT confusion. 

If you have confusion, you have too many ideas floating around in your head 🙂  Okay, honestly…that’s true for most of us.  But when it comes to parenting…too many ideas will result in a failure to take action… RIGHT when you need to take action.

You get overwhelmed, and then hesitate.  When you hesitate, your children see this.  They see your uncertainty…your not knowing what to do next.    This means…

2.  You should know how to respond to your kids, immediately….regardless of what they throw at you.

Okay, not 100% of the time… but 98% of the time… a good game plan should eliminate your confusion.  You know what to do, and you do it without pause.  This then lets you see…

3.  Changes should happened quickly, when you have the right parenting tools.

Rather than months or years, change should happen in days or weeks (for most parenting struggles).  Contrary to much of what you read, children are remarkably resilient and they respond with remarkable adaptability to a clear and consistent game plan.  They will learn to drop bad habits quickly, and adopt healthy habits rapidly…once you have clarity.

In a few days, I will cover principle two.  Can you guess what single factor most quickly destroys the best parenting practice, and actually lays the seed for bigger failure.  Perhaps you already guessed it.  If not, I will cover this Wednesday.

For now, consider making life simpler.  Put most of those books in the closet for now.  Take a break.

And turn to those principles that actually have proven that they work.  BY proven, I mean that there is a noticeable movement toward positive, productive and responsible behavior.  Your child has learned to handle their emotions better.  You are working less…and they are working more… at their happiness.  These would all be pointers to successful strategies worth keeping.

If you want more immediate guidance, I always encourage you to check out more information on

For now, take care…

and Be Well…
Randy Cale, PhD


Okay, I want to begin with a warning.  This is the second in a series of articles on optimism and happiness, and how we can achieve our goals and really live our dreams

However, this article will not appear to be about optimism initially.  Keep reading please, as it is critical to get that this concept of false hope destroys dreams, and undermines any chance of real happiness.  Read More→


Finding balance in family life

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In a recent email to subcribers, I began a new series of articles with the metaphor that follows.  Because so many people asked questions, I will ask that you first read the story below.  Questions, and my thoughts will follow… Read More→

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Power of Positive Emotion

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I receive quite a few questions from worried parents asking how to best help their children to be happy.  It is clear that they want what we all want for our children…happiness.

Unfortunately, happiness isn’t something we can give our children, Read More→

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I often get questions similar to this one by Janet, single mom of two children.

Dear Dr Cale, my daughter tends to get very upset… very easily. As she is getting older (now 8), it seems like everything is a big drama for her. Is this really a problem, and will she grow out of it? What should I do? Here is my response… Read More→

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About Dr Cale

During the past 23 years, in working with hundreds of families, I began to realize that many parents, just like you, were showing up in my office well-educated—but getting poor results. They had been to therapy, they had read the books and even attended other training programs—yet their children were still not listening, not doing homework and not cooperating.

I discovered that many of these parents were parenting with false ideas about how to predictable and reliably shape and change their children’s behavior. As a result, I began to develop ideas about the core behavior change principles…and how to turn each of these into specific parenting solutions. As long as I was able to stay true to these principles, the most challenging problems quickly faded away.

My purpose with this program is to give you access to the strategies that come from these core principles. By practicing and following through with the techniques in this program, you will be able to transform any set of negative behavior patterns in your home. Your kids will be happier and more responsible. They will quickly learn to be respectful, cooperative and helpful around the house. Tantrums, whining, complaining and negativity will be a thing of the past.