Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy marriage - happy home

Family First VoiceAmerica™

Just click on the above link and listen in to my conversation with my husband! We will be talking about how to create a long-lasting, happy marriage through all the stages of life. With no signs of slowing in the divorce rate, it’s no wonder young people are jaded in their expectations about marriage. With TV reality shows focusing on trouble even before the wedding, it’s hard to be optimistic about the challenges couples will face, with careers, children, layoffs, vacations, where to live, what to eat, what to buy, or what bills to pay first. My guest this week on Family First is my husband John Rolfe. We have been sharing our lives for several decades and have found great riches in our relationship, no matter what stage we are in. Some years ago we wrote a book together called The Affirmations Book for Sharing to help couples to discuss any issue that can arise in a marriage. John is an outspoken advocate for the effort it takes for a couple to really build a life together which they truly enjoy, year after year, and day after day. John is a lawyer, artist, speaker, and writer and will share his insights about the keys to a happy, successful, lasting marriage.

The show airs live on the Voice America Net Talk Radio Network, Health and Wellness Channel, at the link above. Tune in Friday at 4 PM ET, and 1 PM PT, or any time on archive.

John Rolfe is a retired lawyer who is now pursuing his speaking, writing, and artistic careers. As an attorney he helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and hundreds of families to plan their estates. A graduate of the Wharton School and University of Pennsylvania Law School, he married his college sweetheart and together they have a son and a daughter, now grown. They experienced two extremes of lifestyle – as a young suburban couple, both Philadelphia lawyers, and as homesteaders, rebuilding an old farmhouse and living off the land. He has always held his marriage commitment a high priority. John is author of the new book America’s First Entrepreneur, about his ancestor John Rolfe, who historians agree single-handedly saved the first successful English colony in America. He is also author with his wife of a book by their cat, Princess Buttercup The Cat’s Cross-Country Road Trip #3. John will share his keys to creating a happy, successful, long-lasting marriage.

Simply go to: at 4 PM ET and 1 PM PT Friday, or listen any time on archive on your PC, or download, MP3, RSS, or apps.

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: Deciding to spend your life together is one of the biggest decisions of your life, second only to your relationship with your Maker. Give it the time and attention it deserves. Learn about it, explore it, talk about it with your partner, work issues through as soon as they come up before you hit crisis-style emotions. Spend time weekly, several hours, walking, sitting, conversing together. Share at least one meal a day. Share eye contact, and skin contact. Have fun together and let nothing take precedence over your love!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Family First VoiceAmerica

We are bombarded every day with this or that study showing how lifestyle factors affect our chances of getting life-threatening diseases, or of gaining weight, or of feeling down, fatigued, or depressed day in and day
out. It can be confusing and overwhelming trying to change your diet, choose an exercise program, bolster your attitude, and still keep up with all your activities at work and home. Is there a way to make it all work together? My guest this week on Family First is Mark Goodwin, a visionary wellness coach whose varied background makes him uniquely qualified to develop programs that address all the stressors in an individual’s life so they can achieve physical and emotional fitness. He will talk about how you can make better food choices, cook cool tasty food that just happens to be good for your, understand and manage your stress, strengthen your body, and improve your emotional outlook as well, all within the parameters of your daily life. Do listen in to this valuable interview.

Family First broadcasts live on the Voice America Net Talk Radio Network, the leading net talk network, on their Health and Wellness Channel. Find this week's show by clicking on:

Listeners can call in at 866-472-5792. The show is broadcast live at 4 PM ET, 3 PM CT, 2 PM MT, and 1 PM PT, and is then archived for listening any time, or for download, podcast, RSS, MP3, apps, and embedding in any website or social network. We have lots of great information and lots of fun.

Family First has over 28,000 listeners each month, after only starting in May 2011. I am so grateful that my audience continues to grow at quite a pace. I have just one guest each show so I have a chance to really explore my guests' particular expertise as it relates to creating happy healthy families.

My guest this week, Mark Goodwin, is a certified wellness coach, certified personal trainer, and executive chef, as well as a certified posture alignment specialist in the “Egoscue Method.” His success with clients of all ages and lifestyles comes from his multi-disciplinary approach, which he customizes for the unique needs of each individual. Mark served for 15 years as Executive Chef and Wellness Coordinator for QVC. He is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Wellness Coach, and is certified by American Fitness Professionals & Associates as a Personal Trainer. He has over 30 years experience as an Executive Chef and has worked as Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach with Integrated Health Chiropractic, in West Chester PA with Drs. Brian and Kristina Shuffler, DC. He has been a featured speaker at West Chester University, the Chester County Health Department, and the Chester County Hospital. Main Line Today Magazine named him one of “33 Men to Watch” in 2004.

Listen in live Friday or on archive afterwards at:

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: We are meant to be and stay healthy. But we must treat our bodies and minds right. Learn all you can about how to do that and you and your children will never regret it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Might your child be a right-brain learner?

Teachers and schools are more and more frustrated with children who are falling behind expectations and may eventually become discipline problems. What can a parent do when their child takes a long time todo homework and is way too stressed out by it, or struggles with reading comprehension even though he or she is smart, or doesn’t perform well on standardized tests, which are becoming ever more important in academicadvancement?
Parents are often hit with negative labels like Dyslexia, Learning Disability, ADHD, or just “lazy.”
My guest this week is Mark Halpert, a parent and educator who together with his wife Mira decided to do something about this issue when two of their four children were identified as having learning challenges. They founded and now run the 3D Learner Center in Boca Raton, FL and have helped over 2000 students to go from Stress to Success. Listen in to learn about how children can be significantly helped by simply adapting learning to their learning style.
Just click on this link and listen live Friday at 4 PM ET or 1 PM PT, or any time after the show on archive for PC or download, MP3 or RSS, etc.:
Mark Halpert is an educator, a parent advocate, and a parent himself. When two of their children were identified as gifted and two were struggling even though they were clearly smart, he and his wife investigated and discovered research that showed that up to 62% of the students today are right-brained learners, that is, they need to see and experience information.
Having helped thousands of students since then to overcome learning challenges which might have led to failed academics, medications, or worse, Mark will discuss why right-brained learners can struggle for years even when parents invest time, money and effort to help them, how right-brained learners can make dramatic progress with programs that play to their strengths and actually address their issues; and how parents can use the 5 Steps from Stress to Outrageous Success to reduce homework stress, improve reading, improve test scores, boost self-esteem and self-advocacy skills, and work collaboratively with the schools.
Go to Tune in at 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT Friday, or hear the recording anytime, in any format you prefer. You can also share the interview with others through social network links.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip. One of the most important things parents can do is to play with their child. We seem so stuck on "learning" that we forget that the best lessons are learned through doing, and play is the process of exploring some activity in a safe environment where the consequences are minimal and the activity is enjoyable and fun. Kids learn games quickly for instance. If you get involved with their experience of math and history and writing, they will take to it much more quickly. Also, interpersonal interaction is a powerful way to encourage right-brain and left-brain coordination. Interaction with the parent is the strongest learning process. So take the time and enjoy play with your child from the earliest age!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Help your child become naturally thin!

The national epidemic of obesity is in the news daily. Even the once slender Europeans and Asians are putting on the fat. It’s not just about suffering from lower energy, weakened self-image, and possible ridicule. Studies link obesity to early development of the life-threatening degenerative conditions of modern living including diabetes, cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, and cancer. Because of obese children, it is said this coming generation will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Yet polls indicate that as many as half the population is on diets. How can this be? My guest this week is Jean Antonello, a Registered Nurse, who has found the key to achieving and maintaining your natural healthy weight without dieting. In fact she will explain how dieting can be the cause of obesity rather than the solution. She is author of How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More and two other notable books on this subject. This show could truly save someone’s life.

To hear Jean's great approach listen in Friday at 1 PM PT or 4 PM ET to:

Jean Antonello has a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and is a Registered Nurse. She struggled with her own weight for 17 years, going on multiple popular diets, watching her weight come back with a vengeance once it was lost, and leading a dieting lifestyle which left her feeling out of control. After finding that numerous experts and publications could not explain the problem she and millions of others were facing with the yo-yo diet effect, Jean began her own studies. She discovered that the problem was not a psychological one or even the effect of eating too much and not moving enough. Instead it was a natural physiological effect which she could work with, instead of fighting against her body. Jean has helped families around the world and her groundbreaking books include How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More, Naturally Thin Kids, inspired by working with her daughter, and Breaking Our of Food Jail, for those with eating disorders.. Find out how to never diet again!

Listen in Friday at 4 PM ET, or 1 PM PT, or any time after to:

Randy's Take Home Tip: Children choose a good mix of foods when the quality of the food available is high - that means whole, fresh, lots of color, lots of fiber, moisture, and varied. Let kids eat when they are hungry but make meals a social event so that they stay long enough that they will form good habits of chewing and enjoying their food so that snacking will be based on hunger, not cravings.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to bully-proof your child

This month has been designated Anti-Bully Month and in recent years there have been some horrendous incidents of bullying in the news which have destroyed lives. Why has it become
such a problem? Is it getting worse? And if so why? What is happening in the mind of the bully? And how can we protect the potential victim? Does the old idea of just hitting back work? Or can our child talk a bully out of attack?

What should our children watch out for to avoid being a target? My guest Rich Kohler has answers which have been tested in the field. Rich is a dynamic presenter who has created and presented award-winning child safety programsnworld-wide since 1997. Rich Kohler is considered one of the leading experts on child abduction safety and bully avoidance in the State of Connecticut. His unique teaching style is popular among the many public and private organizations to whom he has presented.. He receives glowing reports from parents, teachers, police officers, and child psychologists.

To listen in to Family First on Friday 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT, 2 PM MT, or any time after Friday, go to:

At 16, a determined but shy Richard Kohler entered his first karate school searching for some strength, inner strength. For the next seven years he sacrificed much to achieve the coveted black belt rank and then began teaching others. At 27, he became a father to his son. After a near-tragic experience, Rich discovered his passion for keeping children safe. He combined fantasy adventure with the most effective teaching methods and his own 12 years of teaching experience to develop the award-winning child safety movie: The Journey of the Steal-Proof Master. Rich also teaches personal security to women and high risk professionals. He teamed up with a local radio celebrity to create an annual self-defense charity event, http.//, to benefit domestic violence and women’s shelters in Connecticut. Rich has expertise in various self-defense systems, including Kray Maga (Israeli Military Self-Defense), Wing Chun Kung Fu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and American Kempo.

To hear Rich Kohler's insights on Family First on how to protect your child from bullies, listen in on Friday 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT, 2 PM MT, or any time after Friday, go to:

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: Interact with your child as much as you can so that she or he learns nonverbal communication as well as verbal. That way they will get to know you, themselves, and others better so that they can respond better in any situation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What’s With Today’s Weddings?

After all the flowers, caterers, favors, videographers,
expensive gowns and decorations, what does today’s wedding really mean to the
bride and groom or to the guests? Are weddings just a big party? Many young
couples want their weddings outside of conventional settings or just outside.
Can there still be mystery, a spiritual bonding, a sense of the miraculous? My
guest Paul Mayer has officiated at hundreds of weddings and has found a way to bring
back the transformational meaning traditional cultures saw in weddings.

To hear Paul's brilliant approach to today's weddings, tune in this Friday at 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT, to:

Mayer’s wedding ministry came to him after over half a century of leadership in the
cause of peace and justice, from civil rights work with Reverend Martin Luther
King, Jr. to efforts regarding Central America, the Vietnam War, the Soviet
Union, Israeli-Palestinian relations, Japanese Atomic Bomb Survivors, Cuba,
and the Climate Crisis. Father Mayer will share his powerful insights about how
weddings and family can help to create a better world.

Paul Mayer is a non-canonical, formerly married priest. His
experience as a young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany inspired him to cofound
Children of War to help young survivors of wars. Becoming Catholic and then a
Benedictine monk, his work with Dr. King in the 1965 voting rights campaign set
him on a lifelong path of organizing for global peace, social justice, ecology,
and non-violent social change.

His efforts have included pioneering liberation
theology in Central America, working with Jesse Jackson in the Rainbow Coalition, addressing the 1984 Democratic Convention on nuclear disarmament, coordinating the Catonsville Nine Defense Committee in support of religious non-violent action, and working with other world luminaries of the last 50 years. Most recently he cofounded the Climate Crisis Coalition and has received honors for his non-fiction writing. His new book, Wrestling With Angels: A Spiritual Memoir of A Political Life, is due for publication soon.

To hear Paul's brilliant approach to today's weddings, tune in this Friday at 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT, to:

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: The tone of the parents' relationship sets the tone for the relationships with the children. Take time to reenforce your primary relationship as parents. When we show love and respect and patience with our spouse, our children learn by example how to treat each other and others outside the familly. Celebrate your relationship regularly and let your kids know how important it is to you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Want your child to get the job she or he wants?

Listen in to Family First this Friday! Make Your Child’s Job Interview a Success. Go to this link to hear the show live or to hear or download the recording any time later:

How can young people better prepare themselves for interviewing for jobs in this challenging market? As a society we urge our children to stay in school and get their degree so they can land a good job and become productive citizens. But in this market, finishing school is no guarantee of a job. Can your child prepare for job interviews in a way that will help him or her to really communicate his or her most valuable talents? What do employers look for in new hirees and how can our young applicants show in their interview that they are ready to do the job? My guest Joel Quass is a nationally recognized expert on this topic with years of experience interviewing applicants and now years helping others to get hired. Joel has interviewed over 1,000 people and uses that knowledge to teach people the keys to getting hired. Joel Quass will share on Family First how young people can discover their own personal assets and make them shine on their resumes and in interviews.

Simply go to:

Joel Quass is the author of Good Management Is Not Firefighting, How to manage using what you already know. He speaks on management topics including customer service, stress in the workplace and hiring practices. Joel provides (gratis) Workshops for unemployed workers through the NJ Department of Labor One Stop-Career Center in Toms River, NJ. Joel's career in management began over 35 years ago. He has owned five businesses, including Quassword Cards, "The Crossword Puzzle Greeting Card" that he managed with his brother Brian, and Strawcastle Snax, a vending company in Williamsburg, Virginia, which he developed from $90,000 to $1/4 million in gross sales in two years. Joel is an active member of Toastmaster International and the Toms River, NJ Chamber of Commerce. Joel received a BA in Political Science from Christopher Newport University, VA, where he was the President of the Student Government, Commodore of the Sailing Club and an Adjunct Professor teaching sailing.

Author Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: Make sure your child has had a good night sleep before an interview. The mind works much quicker and more clearly after a few good nights of sleep. And make sure they have had a meal with some protein and that they are well hydrated. Both of these too help brain function and keep the body relaxed. Say nice things about your child as they go out the door, not last minute reminders or words you think will protect them from disappointment. Help them to feel good about themselves by complimenting their outfit, hair, or energy.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lifestyle Changes That Are Worth It

A a recent international conference, world experts concluded that the increasing burden of modern non-communicable diseases on the national economies of rich and poor nations threatened the world’s economic system. And yet we hear that over 70% of these diseases, which strike people at ever younger ages, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and mental illness, could be avoided or postponed by lifestyle factors individuals can control. Is it so difficult, expensive, or complicated to make the changes? What path should we follow to assure a long healthy life for our loved ones? My guest this week is Roger Drummer, a world renowned expert in nutrition and oriental herbal medicine. Roger has studied numerous different healing modalities, including Jin Shin Do, Shiatsu, and Pranic Healing and has been helping thousands for three decades. Roger will share his powerful insights on how families can eliminate the major causes of these debilitating diseases and live healthy.

To hear the interview live go to .
It is also archived for later listening and can be downloaded as MP3, app, etc.

Roger Drummer is Diplomate of Chinese Herbology with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He travels throughout North America lecturing on the benefits of Chinese Tonic Herbalism and nutrition. Roger has formulated personalized tonic herb and nutritional programs for tens of thousands of clients, including many notable celebrities. He has created nutritional supplement product lines, taught courses to the public on health and nutrition, and trained apprentices in the art of Chinese Herbalism, He is also spokesperson for Functional Fungi, a grower and distributor of medicinal mushrooms, for whom he lectures on mushrooms’ powerful immune properties. He holds a U.S. patent for his growing process for biologically active, anthocyanin-rich medicinal mushrooms. He has given hundreds of lectures and seminars in the past 10 years and is a published writer, former tri-athlete, avid runner, cycling enthusiast, husband, and father of three girls.

Don't miss Roger's great advice about how to attain and maintain optimal health.

Go to to hear Roger live or listen later on your PC or MAC, or download the show as podcast, MP3, or app.

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: A few quick tips about the healthy home. It is like a greenhouse for people. you want clean air, clean water, a healthy sleep environment, good nutrition, and good light. That's what Nature gave us, as Aristotle said over two thousand years ago: air, water, earth and fire. Now we have to reproduce it for ourselves in our modern homes. Our food gives us the nourishment and energy of the earth, if it is high quality real food, as Roger will explain. I have discovered a fantastic source for the other vital natural supports - air-water-light-healthy sleep -from the only company in the world wholly dedicated to giving us back the vital natural supports we have moved away from in our modern lifestyles. That company is Nikken, Inc. I have chosen to partner with them to offer solutions to families around the world. Go to or contact me at

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Importance of Fathers

Tune in to Voice America Family First for a great interview with Greg Bishop, a leader in the movement of fathers to become more involved in their chidlren's lives. Go to: Voice America Health this Friday 9-30-11 at 1 PM PT (4 PM ET) or anytime after that for the archived recording for download or MP3.

How important are fathers? We hear so much about single moms and deadbeat dads, what’s going on? Are dads not interested in their children? Are they too busy working? Is it un-macho to change a diaper? Are new dads immature and running from their responsibilities? Are the mothers of their children chasing them away by being too protective? My guest this week, Greg Bishop, is a leader in working with dads who want to be a bigger part of their children’s lives. Greg noticed that many new fathers lacked confidence in caring for their infants, so on Fathers Day in 1990, he recruited some friends with new babies and launched Boot Camp for New Dads, with a full class of “rookie” dads-to-be joining them. Today Greg serves as their Head Coach, and Boot Camp has grown to over 260 programs, offered in community centers, hospitals, churches, and the US military. He will burst a number of popular myths about dads and show how our culture can do a better job supporting fatherhood.

Randy Rolfe's net talk radio show Family First on Voice America, the leading net radio network, is growing fast, with 40% per month, now at 17,000 listeners. Spread the word about this uplifting show to help parents exercise their true power to help their kids build great lives!

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: Keep discussions about differenign parenting styles between parents, after the kids are out of earshot. And let kids develop their own direct relationships with their fathers and fathers develop their own relationships with their kids. Their contributions are invaluable! The quality of family life depends on the mutual respect and love among all family members.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home Safety Expert to share on Family First Show

Former Chair of Product Commission Nancy Steorts on Family First

Great interview coming up Friday 23rd of September, 1 PM Pacific Time! Listen in to hear how to make your home and kids safe!

Simply click here at 1 PM PT or any time after that! you can download as MP3 or app, podcast too!

With all the news about car recalls, toy recalls, drug recalls, and more, it’s easy to either panic or become complacent about how to protect your family from unseen risks in our everyday lives. Many of us are doing home renovations or buying a new home with materials we don’t know much about. And what about our children, at daycare, school, playground, or college? My guest this week is the Honorable Nancy Steorts, former Chairman of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. She served also as the first Consumer Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Ms. Steorts is the nation's foremost authority on safety, especially in the home, and is author of three highly acclaimed books: Your Home Safe Home, Safe Living in a Dangerous World, and Safety and You. Ms. Steorts will share with us her best advice on how to be a safety-aware consumer of products for your home and family. She also has some fascinating stories to share about the products that fill our modern lives.

Simply click here at 1 PM PT or any time after that! you can download as MP3 or app, podcast too!

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: Use Hydrogen Peroxide solution to clean pesticides from surface of veggies. Use viengar and water to clean dusty or grimey areas. Use Bon Ami for tought grease. You really don't need much more and think of all the chemicals you avoid. If you think you need an air preshener, don't poison your air. Instead get ann air purifier - onen that doens' add to the ozone pollution!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning Disorders Can Often Be Corrected Without Drugs

One of the most distressing developments in recent years is the amazing increase in the incidence of learning and behavior disorders, rangingfrom mild to severe, including ADHD, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, and more. Discussion continues whether to blame educators, parents, TV, video games, environmental toxins, or the family genes. But meanwhile, my guest this week on my net radio show has found solutions. Dr. Albert Forwood has been helping children with learning and behavior rpoblems for many years. Dr Forwood has his board certification in the revered functional neurology program, an elite certification that less than 5% of doctors in his profession achieve. In 2009 he opened the Brain Balance Center in Wayne PA, one of many opening around the country. These Centers have a program which is helping kids in extraordinary ways, often with major progress in a surprisingly short time, because of the customized treatment and the focus on the actual cause of the disorders. Instead of covering symptoms with drug treatment, the Brain Balance Centers get to the real brain imbalance which is causing the problems. The program is described in a book called Disconnected Kidsm written by Dr. Forwood's colleague Dr. Robert Melillo. Do listen in to my show 1 PM PT, or 4 PM ET, llive, or any time after on your PC, MP3 player or as a podcast or download. Just go to:
Tell any friends who have who are concerned about their child's developmental rates or school performance and have them listen in. They will thank you.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can You Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Your Home?

Can You Clean Your Home Without Using Dangerous Chemicals?

The news today is filled with stories of the increasing incidence of allergies, asthma, attention problems in kids, and other conditions which have been found to be related to the increasing load of toxic chemicals in our environment. And the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that many of these chemicals are inside our homes rather than outside. For example, indoor air can be up to 17 times as polluted as outdoor air. Many of these toxic chemicals are in the cleaning products we bring into our homes thinking we are making our homes healthier. Can we clean without using toxic chemicals? My guest today is Vince Elliott, a longtime leader, teacher, and innovator in the science of cleaning. His passion is to understand the real concerns of actual consumers of cleaning services and to help them create a toxic-free, chemical free environment in the home, school and workplace, both for health and for our eco-system. A few simple changes can make a big difference.

To listen in live at 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT, or 2 PM MT, go to: or listen afterward anytime on your PC or download the show to your handheld.

Vince Elliott is Founder and CEO of The Chemical Free Cleaning Network, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Vince has worked as a consultant and advisor to the cleaning industry since 1973. He is one of the first to apply the concept of “performance based contracting” and to use the cleaning measurement sciences in the real estate industry. Vince has helped negotiate over 530 building service contracts, for cleaning services worth nearly half a billion dollars. A graduate in Economics from Towson University, Vince has a Master of Health Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. He has been a university professor teaching service management strategies and has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Apgar Award for Excellence by the National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives (NACORE), and Cleaning Management Magazine’s “Outstanding Service Award." He is
author of the book EXTREME GREEN CLEANING, with its second edition appearing soon.

To listen in live at 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT, or 2 PM MT, go to: or listen later anytime on your PC or download to your MP3 player or handheld.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mothers stressed for time and finances?

Family First VoiceAmerica™

Click on this link and you can learn about how millions of mothers are starting their own home-based businesses to solve many of the problems of modern family life. I, Randy Rolfe will be interviewing Julie Tara, a professional ballet dancer and energy medicine educator who has build a very successful business all form her home. If you go to this link you can listen live this Friday at 1 PM PT or 4 PM ET or 2 PM MT, or any time after on your PC or downloadable as MP3 for your handheld. More mothers are successful in their new businesses than the average new business because of the smaller start-up and on-going expenses and also the convenience where they can blend their home and business life the best way for their famiy. Do listen in - you will hear great insights!

Take Home Tips from Randy Rolfe: As a mother you have the right to be able to balance your work and home life. If you are frazzled and losing sleep, do start investigating the opportunities for home-based business ownership. Don't quit your day job right away, but investigate opportunities and fit it in with your family's cooperation until your income is where you want it to be from your home business. I have worked from home most of my parenting years and am so glad I did!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Family Stress - Can Meditation Help?

We hear every day about kids overwhelmed by school and sports schedules, by stress from cliques and bullies in school, by fears of failure or violence, by melodrama online, by pressures from family and friends, by self-image problems, by emotional eating, by poor sleep habits, and even by worry over the economy and the environment. Can something as simple as meditation practice make a difference? Is it something you can teach to kids? And will they take to it? My guest today, Dina Colada, is not only an accomplished teacher of meditation and a master in a number of other modalities for building a more amazing life, but she is also a mother who has found meditation very useful in her family. She will not only share with us how to introduce the practice and ways it can be beneficial and any cautionary tips, but she will also lead some short meditations for us during the show so that you can try them yourself right away. So do listen in!

Go to at 1 PM PT or 4 PM ET, or any time to listen on your PC or download the MP3 to your handheld.

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: Take a minute or two every hour or two to center and relax. It's good for the moods, for the eyes, for the attention span, and for your sanity! Meditation is a more deliberate and highly developed version of this natural means of styaing in touch with your true self. Your listening skills improve, your responses are calm, and you will fee more in control of any situation in the home.
Check out the helpful scenarios described in the new edition of Randy Rolfe's book, The Seven Secrets of Successful Panrets. Go to www.sevensecretsofsuccessfulparents to find out more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Emotional intelligence can be taught!

Many of us parents leave it to the schools to teach our children the academic smarts which will help get them into good schools or land them a good job. And we assume that their IQ, or intellectual smarts, is mostly genetic. But what about emotional smarts? Can it be measured? Can it be taught? Might it be a better predictor of future success than IQ or academic standing? What is its impact on the relationships at work and at home which can have the greatest impact on our happiness and success? Is this a kind of smarts we parents can and should foster in our children? My guest today is Harvey Deutschendorf, a trained expert in evaluating and teaching emotional intelligence. He coaches people in both their personal and business life to improve their recognition and management of their emotions in ways that can dramatically improve their lives, and in a surprisingly short time. Tune in to find out how a few simple changes can make a big difference in your work and family life. If you can't llisten live, be sure and listen to the archived show - anytime or your PC or downloadable as an MP3. Let's help our children have the saavy they need to succeed!

Go to

Harvey Deutschendorf is passionate about Emotional Intelligence and its impact on our lives and is author of the book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success. Harvey shares his passion in numerous presentations and to international audiences. He is certified to administer the Bar-On EQI, the first scientifically validated test for emotional intelligence approved by the American Psychological Association. Harvey comes from an extensive background in Career Development and Social Work, and he is a member of the Human Capital Institute, The Writer’s Guild of Alberta, and Toastmasters. Harvey is also a member of the Mankind Project, a men’s organization dedicated to personal improvement and community service. His mission is to help people bring more power and joy into their lives. He enjoys music, mountain hiking, travel, movies, red wine, and sharing with friends. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta CANADA.

Click on this address:

Take Home Tip from author and speaker Randy Rolfe: Emotional intelligence is mostly learned from parents. So take the time to process your own reactions as a parent and try to respond constructively and authentically to each situation with your child. Modeling emotional intelligence is the best way to help kids develop it themselves. Imitation is the greatest teacher - especially between parent and child. Pick up a copy of the new edition of my book THE SEVEN SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL PARENTS and you will find oodles of examples of situations where emotional intelligence comes into play. And get a copy of Harvey's book while you are at it: THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Help your child see a positive future!

Be sure to listen in to Randy Rolfe's, that's me, inteview with Dawn Mazzone, for an amazing array of resources your chilc can use to educate himself or herself about current activities to create sustainable futures. These resources would be fabulous for school science or policy papers! Your child can't think of a fun project? Have her or him listen to this show and they will get excited! A mall modeled on a termite mound design? Wow!

Here are the details. (the show aired live August 5, 1 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel). Log on to Listen:

Family First

Environmental Awareness for Kids - Without Scaring Them Too Much!

Almost every day we hear of another manmade environmental problem and our children are at risk for thinking it’s hopeless to try to reverse some of the destructive trends or develop sustainable communities for the future. Yet we want our children to grow up with a sense of responsibility to the environment on which we depend for life. How do we do this without scaring them to death? And what do they think of us, the adults, who have let our economic system proceed with so little “green” consciousness? Today we will be speaking with Dawn Mazzone, sustainability advocate and expert, about this idea of living together sustainably and about the practices and thinking needed in our homes and within our families for bringing forth a more sustainable - living greater - community. Dawn is one of the growing number of thought leaders building the momentum of social change in which business performance is responsible environmentally and socially and our children are the future of business. Learn More »

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Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: To nurture your child's sense of responsibility towards our environment, avoid sharing every bit of bad news, but rather share the good news of how companies and groups are leading the way in changing the way we do things. help them search on the web for zero waste manufacturing, low carbon footprint buildings, where the local recycling center is, how to reduce packaging, and so on. Help them reflect on the issues they are most interested in and support them in finding ways to move forward in that field.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

5 Make back to school a smooth transition!

Family First VoiceAmerica™ Summer is half over and families are thinking about back to school! Tune in to Family First on Voice to hear our dynamic guest Brenda Mott of Smart Mom sharing The 5 Key Activities for Preparing Kids for Back-to-School. Just click on the link above to get more detail. The show is live at 4 PM Eastern, ! PM Pacific, and then available any time for listening or podcast. And check out all the great previously archived shows!

I've been attending a fantastic three day conference with Steve Harrison in Philadelphia on how to reach a Million people with your book or your message. Most of the best sellers you have heard of have worked closely with Steve. I have attended his NPS, the only event of its kind, and will do so soon again. Consider, do you want to be interviewed on top TV shows like CNN, 48 Hours, ABC's The View, Fox News and the Today Show? Would you like to get written up in major national publications like Newsweek, Health, Redbook, Time, Family Circle, O the Oprah Magazine, Entrepreneur, People, INC., Parents or the New York Times? This is a unique chance to get publicity for your special expertise in America's biggest media outlets by attending Steve Harrison's National Publicity Summit, October 12-15 in New York City, a one-of-a-kind conference where you'll get to personally meet more than 100 top journalists and producers and pitch your story to them, one-on-one and face-to-face. To ensure everyone gets enough one-on-one time with the media, Steve is only admitting 100 attendees, so go here now for the details or risk missing out: I highly recommend it! If you have a book or are thinking of a book or important message, this is the place to be.

Meanwhile, tune in to to find our how to make a smooth transition from summer family routines to school!

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: Include your children in lots of your own activities, like measuring ingredients for a meal or clearing the yard, or making out a shopping list. It will keep their math, reading and writing fresh as well as give them outdoor time and also show them that what they are learning in school is what they will use as adults. Keep learning and practice relevant and fun!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Fou Nutrition Secrets That Could Help Save your or Your Child's Life

This week Randy Rolfe - that's me - will be hosting on the net radio program "Family First" Susan Silberstein, Founder and Director of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education. Her work is highly acclaimed by patients and doctors allike.

Go to to listen in!

Every day we hear about one more fad diet, a celebrity getting fat or thin or sick, and diseases which are affecting more and more adults, like cancer, diabetes, obesity, immunity problems, and heart disease, affecting younger and younger Americans too. The US Department of Agriculture has just put out a new diagram of a Food Plate to try to educate our population better than the Food Pyramid has done. But will this really do the trick? How do parents know how to best feed themselves, let alone their children? My guest today is one of the most dedicated and experienced experts in the world today on how to get and stay healthy through wise food choices. Over several decades, Susan Silberstein, founder of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education, has been educating cancer patients about food choices in recovery as well as thousands more on preventing these diseases of our modern lifestyle. Hearing her four secrets could actually save the life of someone you love.

Please join us at

Susan Silberstein is Executive Director of the Center for Advancement in Cancer Education, which she founded in 1977 after the death of her young husband to cancer. An international speaker on nutrition, cancer prevention, and complementary and alternative medicine, she lectures frequently for corporate, nursing, medical, educational, and other organizations. Silberstein is the author of the recipe books Hungry for Health and Hungrier for Health, creator of the video Breast Cancer: The Diet Connection, editor of Immune Perspectives magazine, and designer of the Beat Cancer Kit Series. Since 1977, she has coordinated scores of health conferences, has appeared on hundreds of radio and television talk shows, and has coached thousands of patients. A Phi Beta Kappa and Fulbright Scholar, she has won numerous awards for her continuing work in cancer education.

Go to to learn about Susan's expertise.

To listen in live Friday at 4 PM Eastern or 1 PM Pacific, go to . Or come back anytime to listen on your PC or download the show as a podcast or MP3.

Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tip: Avoid arguments about nutrition at meal time! Do your nutrition education when the children are not eating and not hungry. Then the pressure is less on both of you and their minds are more open. They will also remember more when meal time comes again. They may even ask a question about how what you said earlier applies to the meal at hand. And of course, try to be consistent with your food principles, especially in the home. And model good eating choices yourself. Avoid putting a sugary or salty snack out of wrapper or box when you have been telling them about the virtues of home made snacks. And help them read labels! They will be fascinated by the unpronouncible "food-like substances," the FLSs, in packaged foods.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Help for Special Needs Kids

Please join me, Randy Rolfe, for Family First on Voice America, tomorrow, 1 PM PT, 4 PM ET, or later in archive or download, for a great discussion of how to get the educational assistance a child with special needs deserves. Many parents today find that there children need special attention because of various disabilities which make it harder for them to benefit from conventional school programs. With all the cuts in school budgets today and classroom size increasing, special education seems even harder to arrange. Yet autism and related disorders is on the increase, and we have children with hearing and visual impairment, as well as slowed development in various areas, and other health and learning impairments. There are federal and state laws that require special education programs for these children, but obtaining appropriate help can seem overwhelming. Today I am pleased to welcome a true expert in this field, Attorney Tanya Alvarado, who will help us understand what resources are available under the law, what the process looks like, and when to seek an experienced attorney to help with the process. Just about everyone knows someone who has a child who needs extra help, so do listen in. Here's the link:

Great news! I just got the first copy of the new edition of my book - The seven Secrets of Successful Parents. I have had so many parents tell me it was one of the best books they ever read on how to really tap into their own wisdom and give the best of themselves to their children. Please share this book with all the parents you know! more to come.

Take Home Tip from Randy Rolfe: The home environment is as important if not more so for kids who are finding schooling challenging. Let your child see you reading, doing figures, interacting with others. speak in normal tones and sentences, so they can pick up easily the sounds and structures of our language. Kids learn best by imitation and example by people they can trust.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dark literature for Teens

As a parenting counselor, Randy Rolfe, that's me, has taken a great deal of interest in the lively discussion prompted by the Wall Street Journal article about the trend towards dark and graphic literature for teens. Authors of these novels say that they are helping teens deal with the dark side of life they encounter around them and make wiser choices. Authors run too from the idea of censoring these books, reminding us that we live in a society of free expression. Parents take different positions, some saying they trust their children to choose books wisely, others saying they vet or read their children's literature and sometimes discuss it, while others maintain that the stories are unnecessarily dark and give children the wrong impression of life.

Children as far back as we know have always been fascinated by the macabre, since adults seldom talk about such things with their children, unless they are trying to scare them, so there is mystery and fascination. Grimm's fairytales are pretty grim, for example. But as the author of the WSJ article pointed out, there is a definite trend towards more graphic descriptions of the ugly side of abuse and violence of all kinds. Do any of us really need to have such images in our minds, much less our kids?

One factor rarely included in these discussions is the fact that today's children have less supervision than any previous generation. With a single working parent, or two parents working sometimes three of four jobs, kids are largely unsupervised. We hear about helicopter parents, but these are not the opposite of these parents who don't supervise, they are just the ones more attached to getting the results they want to see in their children's lives. They are a result of this same trend in our society towards putting a great deal of responsibility on children to raise themselves. Helicopter parents just check up on them more. It is completely unrealistic to expect a child who gets seduced by the graphic depictions of the underside of life to realize that there are happier healthier alternatives to the startle factor in a book recommended by an admired friend at school. Instead, parents do need to stay in charge of what their teens are exposed to. That's why they are still under our roof. They still need guidance from the adult best placed to give it to them.

What comes into our house and into our children's hands is OUR responsibility. Whatever your child is reading, whatever movie they want to see, whatever friend they want to hang out with, it's our job to exert guidance, to advise, discuss, listen, and set perameters. The frequency of exposure is just as important as the substance of the material. This discussion is much like the one about violent video games. Sure we want our children to love to read, but it is our job to see that ALL their literature isn't dark, because they WILL get a skewed view of life. Sure we allow our children to play a violent video game once in a while with friends, but it is our job to see that it is not so often that they become jumpy, fearful, and inattentive, as videogame addicts do.

As a lawyer, I am sensitive to the argument that these dark books are a matter of free speech. Of course we should not prohibit them. This is not a matter for the government or the law. It is a matter for the parents. And the discussion is a critical one to have, because parents need to know what is out there, what the trends are, and what they want to do to help their children mature in a healthy way.

Take Home Tip from Randy Rolfe: Tell your children what you are reading and why and what you are getting out of it, whether fun, adventure, learning, or whatever, and then ask them about their reading. Avoid being judgmental but keep the conversation going. If their tastes are becoming too one-sided, suggest that together you explore some of your old favorites. Or take time on your own to discover contemporary books that are more in the direction you would like them to go and ask them to do you the favor of trying them out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The impact of pets and the arts for our kids

Randy Rolfe, that's me, is pleased to address two very important elements in our homes which can have surprisingly profound effects on our children. The first is the pets we invite into our home and the second is the artistic endeavors we encourage our children to explore.

These are the topics of two great shows, the one on pets was live last week July 1, and the show on the arts is coming up tomorrow July 8! Be sure to catch them on archive or podcast if you miss the live presentation.

My guests are always highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their topics so don't miss these shows. They are also fun and insightful. I guarantee you will get at least one valuable little nugget from any episode of Family First on Voice America!

Here are the links to the shows.


Kids and the Arts:

Tell your friends about these helpful shows! We had 6000 listeners to our first month of shows! Thanks so much and let's get some more!

Take-Home Tips from Randy Rolfe: Don't introduce kids too early to pets and don't expect them to take care of them until they are really ready. Of course kids want a kitten or puppy but unless they are old enough to understand that they are not toys, put it off. If the parent wants a pet, then it is the parent's responsibility to care for it until the child wants to help. Remember, they are wonderful creatures and demand the same care and attention that we all need!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Your Home Spaces Can Improve Family Mood!

This Friday July 24, 2011 I, please listen in as I Randy Rolfe, have the pleasure of interviewing Denny Daileler, international expert on creating environments which foster comfort, respect, productivity, peace, chesiveness and great family relationships! Here's the link:

The show is also archived and downloadable at your convenience.

Small changes can make a big difference in how your familoy members interact. Ask your children how they would like to rearrange the familoy room for example. This gets them to invest in the arrangement and to feel they have some say. Also, let them arrange their bedrooms, within your comfortable limits.

Take Home Tips from World Ambassador for Family Randy Rolfe: Keep fresh air in each room and comfortable chairs for each member of the famiy. Use bright and light relaxing colors so that indoors the family is surrounded with as much full spectrum light as possible.
To learn more about taking care of children's basic needs by tending to their physical environment, see Randy's book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents. For more information, go to

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Family First VoiceAmerica™

When and how can children benefit from a tutor?

On my net radio show this Friday,Family First, with host Randy Rolfe, listen in to my dynamic guest who is a top expert on tutoring. His company is Total Tutor and he has a daily radio show about education. Find out mor by following this link and listen in Friday or anytime to the podcast. To get more information and find out how to listen in at your convenience,

Go to

It's only in the last hundred years we have structured education for everyone the same - in a classroom with one adult presiding and all the kids the same age. Throughout history, kids have learned one on one, at a parent's or mentor's elbow, or by exploration adn experimentation. Many kids thrive with a tutor and gain the confidence and understanding they need to learn more easily and effectively than they can in the classroom. Listen in to hear the insights of Neil Haley, the Total Tutor. For details,

Go to

Take Home Tip From Randy Rolfe: Give your child encouragement whenever he or she is trying to figure something out, read something, or use numbers. Correct him or her when they ask your help but have patience and ask if they want help before making corections or before giving advice. Meanwhile, enjoy their natural desire to learn!

Find out other ways to inspire your child's natural inspinct to learn adn explore in Randy Rolfe's books:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do our kids have nature deficit disorder?

Listen in this Friday 1 PM Pacific, 4 PM Eastern, to hear World Ambassador for Family Randy Rolfe interviewing a leading nature education expert and author, Ellen Haas. Ellen will show you how important it is for our children's overall well-being, physical health, and mental development to get out in Nature! If you miss the show you can listen to the recording anytime or download it later to your portable device. Simply connecting with Nature has been shown to help with obesity, sleep, depression, anxiety, attention and focus problems, learning challenges, and more. Any parent can enlist the help of Nature!

Simply go to this link to get the details!

Take Home Tip from five time author, family therapist, and longevity trainer Randy Rolfe: Send your children outside, even if they want to finish their video game or do some more texting or grab another snack. Send them outside without earphones so they can get not only the visual but also the the audio portion of Nature and let them tell you about any odors of Nature they detected. Let them play in sand, mud, or meadows. You will have a more cooperative child!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Family First VoiceAmerica™

How do we get our children to read books in this fast paced, digital world? Will they only know texting abbreviations or will they know the joy of reading stories which call on their imagination and engage them in deeper thoughts? Please check out my radio interview, on Family First with Host Randy Rolfe, this Friday with children's book author connie Baranzano, who has worked with hundreds of kids to help them discover the value and fun of reading and in the process build their sense of self-esteem and empowerment.

Simply go to at 1 PM Pacific or 4 PM Eastern and listen to our interview live or come back later and hear or download the show as a podcast.

Take Home Tip from Randy Rolfe: Read aloud not just to your child but with your child. Called choral reading, it is fun and easy and puts no pressure on the child, but instead engages them directly with your great modeling of the joy of reading.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Family First | VoiceAmerica™

Family First VoiceAmerica™

I'm so excited about my new net radio show on Voice America, "Family First!" My guests have such wonderful insights and after over 25 years as World Ambassador for Family, I know so many experts who can really enrich your life with their wisdom and experience. Do tune in at your desk or on the go, on your PC or your handheld, and enjoy a great interview. It's live at 4 PM ET and 1 PM PT, or go to the archives. This week I have the honor of speaking with Sharon Weinstein, RN, and international nurse educator, who has still managed to keep family first. Here's the link:

Friday at 1 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness Channel

Family First, with host Randy Rolfe

Creative Tips for Finding Life Balance!
May 27, 2011
How often do we hear about the challenges modern families face with both parents working outside the home and still trying to maintain a close-knit and happy family life? Finding a balance between your roles as parent and active participant in the workplace is one of the greatest sources of everyday stress for families today. My guest this week is not only an expert on the subject but is a personal example of how to manage this balancing act. A health educator for over 30 years, Sharon Weinstein is an energetic, motivating and highly skilled nurse, nurse educator and consultant specializing in workplace wellness, corporate training programs and motivational speaking presentations. Among many other roles, she also was advisor to Central Clinical Hospital, Moscow, Russia for twelve years while raising her family and oversaw the building of a western-style International Patient Department. Among her many writings, Sharon’s book B Is for Balance is all about this issue. Listen in! Learn More »

Missed the Live Shows? Past Episodes are available On Demand and Podcast Ready.

Thanks for getting the word out about how to create happier healthier families!

Listen Live to VoiceAmerica Health & Wellness

Be sure to tune into
Family First

Log on to Listen:

Questions? Comments? Call: 1-866-472-5792

Take Home Tip from Randy Rolfe: It is never too late to let your children and spouse know that they are top priority in your life! Say it out loud and be sure to give extra hugs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eating disorders?

Do you know someone affected by an eating disorder, or disturbed by being overweight? Listen to Randy Rolfe’s show Family First on Voice America Net Talk Radio this week! Someone you know has a family member who is affected, because there is so much confusion and misinformation in popular culture today about body image, food choices, and everyday stresses of school, work, social interaction, and overwhelming multitasking. Do listen in to a wonderful interview this Friday at 1 PM Pacific, 4 PM Eastern as Randy Rolfe interviews one of the nation’s foremost experts on this topic, Alice Balance, psychotherapist and dietician and author of the new book Eat Up the Good Life. The show is live Friday May 20 at 1 PM Pacific, 4 PM Eastern, but it is also archived and downloadable to portable listening devices. So tell any friends who are interested in this topic. They will thank you!

Here is the website to go to to hear or download or forward the show:

Tell your friends!

Take Home Tip of the Day from Randy Rolfe: Eating disorders can be overcome! Whether it is weight problems, anorexia, bulimia, snack attacks, or simply a bad relationship to your food, there are good answers and doable solutions! Get a hold of Alice Baland’s book Eating Up the Good Life! You can access it at

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hi – This is Randy Rolfe wishing you a happy Mother’s Day! We all have or had mothers and they gave us life. That is something to be truly grateful for. And then for most of us there has been so much more! I am finishing a book for Mothers who have lost their Mothers, called Moms Losing Moms – The Empty Castle Blues. So I am thinking even more than usual about my Mother and all she meant to me. This day gives us a chance to dwell in that place of appreciation. If your Mother is still here, let hre know how much you appreciate her. If she is gone, take time to remember all the little things and the big ones that endeared her to you. I am so glad I got in touch with my Mother on each Mother’s Day, sent her a mushy card, and let he know I was glad she was my Mother. If your children call or send cards or give you an extra hug, embrace the moment and feel good about yourself. There is no more important role in the world than Mother. I just launched my first show as host, called Family First, now archived at My Mother would have been so tickled. She loved seeing me on TV espousing healthy family relationships, since she was a sociologist herself and taught me from an early age that healthy families were the key to a healthy society and a healthy world. I am so happy too that she got to know her grandchildren and her first great grandchild. So whatever you do to celebrate this Sunday, enjoy giving and receiving love.

Randy Rolfe’s Take Home Tip: Extra hugs all around for Mothers! Have fun and enjoy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sugar - The Bitter Truth - a video must see!

As the country starts it's Easter binge on sugar, I recommend you go to this youtube video and watch this 90 minute presentation by Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatrician and endocrinologist at the University of California at San francisco: I Randy Rolfe have been teaching for over 30 years that refined sugar, whether from cane, beet, or corn, is the main cause of modern degenerative conditions like diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, joint problems, dehydration, and cancer. I first learned about it from nutrition texts from the 1920s, but the most convincing was the work of British Surgeon T.L. Cleave in the 1950s, supplemented by studies throughout the 1970s. Somehow after that our nation got on a kick to blame fat for getting fat and for the increase in heart disease in the twentieth century. Sounds obvious but it's wrong. All that just hid the real cause - the mounting amount of sugar added to our foods and beverages. If you want to protect your children's health and longevity, watch this film.

Take home tip for the day. No more sodas. Drink natural fruit juices, diluted with purified water (not distilled - it robs your body of minerals). Limit all sweet baked goods to one per day or none. Avoid candy - except on an occasional holiday. (I do live in the real world.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Get in touch with your child's social media habits now!

Social media is one of those areas where your child is unlikely to appreciate the risks until they already are deep into the habit of devoting a great deal of time to it. It is new area parents must be vigilant about. Not only should a parent know how much their child is using Facebook, for instance, but they should also have a regular dialogue about what is going on and how the child is reacting.

Furthermore, use should be restricted so that non-cyber activities predominate. And for younger children, the use of social media needs to be prevented, since the child needs to have a grounding in reality before he or she begins to participate in the what some are now calling the "Fakebook" scene. One 16-year-old in a newspaper interview said it was like a giant popluarity contest. It can exaggerate the already stressful effects of artificial competition for popularity in the school or neighborhood environment.

Here is the latest news.

CHICAGO (AP) — Add “Facebook depression” to potential harms linked with social media, an influential doctors’ group warns, referring to a condition it says may affect troubled teens who obsess over the online site. A NEW CONDITION?

Researchers disagree on whether it’s simply an extension of depression some kids feel in other circumstances, or a distinct condition linked with using the online site. But there are unique aspects of Facebook that can make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate for kids already dealing with poor self-esteem, said Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, a Boston-area pediatrician and lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines.

Parenting Tip for Today: Randy Rolfe, author of The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, recommends that parents be in touch with their children about their use of Facebook. For kids under 18 living at home they need to limit the child's time spent on social media or any type of cyber screen. And they should get their child to agree to let them have access to their Facebook and other pages. Things that go on on these pages are in fact public and a parent has the right and duty to guide their child's public activities for the sake of their child's reputation and future.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easy way to remove toxic BPA from your family

For over thirty years my family and I have avoided plastic packaging whenever possible because I knew the plastic leached into our foods and I knew that couldn't be good. How did I know it leached? I could smell the plastic. If the plastic molecules could reach my nose, then they were getting into our food. So we stored food in glass and ceramic containers in the fridge.

Now, finally, with attention on the dangers of BPA in so many of the water bottles sold, a new study shows how prevalent the BPA is and also how changing to non-plastic containers can directly and immediately reduce your family's BPA load.

Here is the story from the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Forgoing packaged foods such as canned soups and vegetables could dramatically lower levels of a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to myriad health problems, including birth defects, autism and reproductive issues, according to a study released today.

"In the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, five Bay Area families were asked to eliminate packaged foods from their diets and store food only in glass or stainless steel containers. After only three days, levels of the chemical bisphenol A in the subjects' urine dropped by more than 60 percent, researchers found.

"Researchers were surprised by the dramatic drop in levels of the chemical after such a short change in diet, even though it was known that bisphenol A, also known as BPA, does not stay in the body for long.

""We're hoping these very remarkable results will help us in our outreach and education to people to show them how easily changes can be made in their personal habits that may diminish significant exposure to BPA," said Janet Gray, an author of the report and science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund, a San Francisco advocacy group and partner in the study."

Read more at:

Tip for the day: Buy glass containers and avoid products that come in cans and plastics. Go to Randy Rolfe's book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents to learn more about how to take care of the basic needs of your kids and family!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little Pharma: The Medication of U.S. Children

Little Pharma: The Medication of U.S. Children

This is a wake up call for anyone tending to children. Nutrition, sleep, time with nature, hugs, clean water, and clean air will do much to avoid the need for medications. Let's start there, by educating families. I will soon have a radio show addressing family issues. I believe parents do the right thing when they have accurate information and children respond gladly when their parents are confident about solving problems around health and family life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

More sleep helps prevent child obesity

Here is yet another study showing that getting your child to bed can have long term benefits, including reducing the likehood of overeating and dealing with the health problems that come with obesity. As a child advocate, Randy Rolfe, that's me, wants to have every parent appreciate the simple need of every child for regular adequate sleep. My children regularly slept 10 hours growing up. It's not only good for appetite control but also for better moods and attention!

More Sleep Reduces Child Obesity

19 February 2011, Source: Prensa Latina

Guantanamo (Solvision).- About 10 hours of sleep a day is beneficial to prevent child obesity, concluded scientists in a recent study on food habits in this stage of their lives.
Inadequate rest causes alterations of appetite hormones that leads to overweight, informed the authors of a study of the Biomedic Research Center in Red-Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition in Spain.

Children who sleep well have a lower incidence of obesity and eight hours are not enough in infancy, they explained.

For a good therapy of sleep the specialists recommend an additional hour daily. It is also important, they explained, to avoid televisions in the rooms and viewing of films or programs that stimulate brain activity.

Lack of rest has an influence on several appetite regulating hormones. By increasing greline production, a stimulant of eating, reducing leptine in charge of limiting hunger, the scientists explained.

In this way persons who sleep poorly, eat more, they pointed out.

Previous studies in adults link sleep problems with an excess of weight. About 10 percent of the world population suffers snoring and apnea associated with obesity.

Sleep is listed as a basic need in Randy Rolfe's acclaimed book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, which is in the process of being published in a new edition. Staay tuned!,

Friday, February 11, 2011

When Grandma Is Gone

Parenting author and family expert Randy Rolfe, that's me, is working on a new book about what happens when a mother loses her mother. Having lost my mother a year or so ago, I discovered that many women around me were going through the same time of life and I wanted to honor our mothers and ourselves by writing about it. Could anything be more profound that the creative force of motherhood passed on from one generation to the next? I am having a wonderful time, though deeply moving and sometimes too emotionally heavy to bear – have to take some time out - talking to these wonderful women. One thing which stands out is the deep love and respect which permeates their stories, along with all the mixed feelings and impressions one might imagine when you have shared half a life-time with a beloved parent. For me, it was my sociologist mother who got me interested in observing and teaching about family in the first place, when she invited me to do a fifth grade project for my American history class not on some battle or some heroine but on the history of the American family! What a project for a ten year old! My life’s goal has always been to facilitate world peace, having grown up during the Cold War, but I soon discovered that world peace begins in the home. Anyhow, here is just one tidbit from the book right now – spend as much time as you can comfortably spend with your parents and your children together. The memories made now will last and last.

Check out Randy’s other books at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't underestimate the power of sleep!

Randy Rolfe, parenting expert, recommends attending to your children's basic needs first. It's the Second Secret in her book The Seven Secrets of successful Parents.

Although we assume that in modern America the basic needs of children are more than met except among the very poor, basic needs like nutrition, quiet, and sleep are often lacking. Here is a very instructive report about new studies linking sleep and many of the most prevalent metabolic issues facing our children today, including emotional issues like irritability and attention problems. But first a story.

When I was a child, my preschool teacher asked my mother why I seemed so content. Her answer was that I got 10 hours of sleep a night and played outside in nature most of the afternoon. To this day I have treasured my sleep as a time of renewal and never short-changed myself. My heart goes out to those who don't sleep. The day is just that much harder. And there is lots you can do without resorting to drugs!

But back to our kids. I made sure my children had good sleep habits and they too were contented, easy to raise children. So start with good sleep habits and your parenting will be easier for sure!

Here is the article:

Children Need More Sleep to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes
Submitted by Deborah Mitchell on 2011-01-24

Children who get more sleep are more likely to weigh less and avoid metabolic factors that predispose them to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study. If your children are getting less than 9 hours of sleep per night, they need more.
Catch-up sleep on weekends lowers obesity risk.
Parents can recognize when their children do not get enough sleep, because they may be cranky and less alert. Research shows that insufficient sleep among children can result in behavior problems, poorer performance on cognitive tests, and more injuries.
An earlier study from the University of California reported that a lack of adequate nighttime sleep among infants and preschool children was a significant risk factor for obesity later in childhood. Inadequate sleep is also known to weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to infections.
A new study by investigators at the University of Chicago and published in Pediatrics shows an association between insufficient sleep and obesity and other metabolic problems. One major finding was that children ages 4 to 10 who got the least amount of sleep and who had the most irregular sleep schedules were greater than 4.4-fold more likely to be obese.
David Gozal, MD, of the University of Chicago, and his research team evaluated 308 healthy children over a one-week period. The children wore wrist actigraphs to record their sleep duration and patterns.
Researchers found that the children averaged about eight hours of sleep per night, regardless of day of the week or the child’s weight. The recommended amount is 9 to 10 hours.
Among other findings was that less sleep (about 6.5 hours) and irregular sleep patterns were associated with altered levels of insulin, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (an indication of inflammation and cardiovascular risk). The authors concluded that “the longer and more-stable sleep duration is, the less likely a child is to manifest metabolic dysfunction.”
On the upside, children who got extra sleep on the weekends lowered their risk of obesity to less than 2.2-fold. Overall, the study results indicated that children who consistently get 9 to 10 hours of sleep on both weekdays and weekends have the healthiest metabolic profile.
If you are a parent who would like to help your children get more sleep to ward off obesity, diabetes, and other health problems, you can find some help online. The National Sleep Foundation offers tips for kids, as does WebMD with Sleep Tips for Kids.
Spruyt K et al. Pediatrics 2011; 127:e345-52

So get your children to leave the smart phones downstairs, keep TVs and PCs out of the bedroom, and send them to bed in time to get 10 hours sleep before they must prepare for school. Also, keep digital clocks away from the child's head - the vibes are disturbing - and be patient as you work through resistance the first couple of nights. Improved mood - and better health - will be a welcome payoff for both of you!

Check out more about Basic Needs in Randy Rolfe's book the Seven Secrets of Successful Parents. Find her other books on her website at Wellness products for improved sleep can be found at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An End to Fear-Based Parenting – The Middle Way

An End to Fear-Based Parenting – The Middle Way

By Randy Colton Rolfe

(This is a long entry but please read and pass it on!)

Amy Chua’s article in the Wall Street Journal last week has caused quite a commotion. Titled, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," (Chua has since said she was not responsible for the article's title and doesn't agree), the article was excerpted from her new book, a memoire of her parenting experience so far.

There is no question that American parenting in general has become way too lax in the last 15 years. But the Draconian approach which is described in the article - and from which Chua herself acknowledges in her book she eventually moved away - is no better. There is a third way, which I have advocated for over 30 years, based on my personal experience, decades counseling thousands of families, and much study and research.

Since Chua and I are both attorneys and have both taught law school, it is interesting that we chose such different approaches to parenting. Following the path of what she believed to be her Chinese heritage, Chua chose to lay down the law for her children and to enforce it, as would police, judge, jury, and sheriff. She asserted her control by deciding for her daughters what they should be learning and how they should perform and not concerning herself with what their interests might be.

In contrast, I chose to treat the law as a last resort, just as it is in the larger society. Basically, people go to lawyers and court battles only as a last resort, to avoid for the good of society resorting to fisticuffs or despair. My approach was to do all the things that should be done in the larger society to prevent reaching that point of open conflict and desperation which requires judges and judgment, instead cultivating behaviors like listening carefully, expressing my own thoughts clearly, giving as much freedom as possible so long as no harm would occur, being firm and persuasive when limits were necessary, allowing time to find common ground when there’s resistance, and having faith that things will eventually work out.

This approach may sound a lot more complicated than just laying down the law and insisting on obedience, but in practice, this way is actually easier and makes for much less stress and pain on both sides, while nothing is lost. When children, like other people, do things for their own reasons, they do a lot better job. Even if they will finally get parental praise at the end, that praise does not create the same kind of internal motivation which comes from doing something well because you want to do it. In the latter case, you don’t even care much about praise.

The term tough love is applied incorrectly to the kind of parenting Chua’s article describes. Withholding respect and love by making it conditional on performance is the opposite of the meaning of tough love as originally developed in the handling of difficult – namely, addicted - people. Tough love refers to the drawing of boundaries and limits in relationships while still showing respect, patience, love, and faith in the person. There is no place for verbal or emotional abuse in the concept of tough love. Even if Chua claims that Chinese parents regularly use shaming in their parenting, it seems a shame to me, since it is entirely unnecessary and is likely to leave wounds which must be healed later.

It is my firm belief, and my experience in counseling thousands of parents, that being concerned about being in control is one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make. If you think your authority is threatened by a child, you have already lost it. If you behave as if they can actually defy you, then they certainly will try, and if you act as if they are defying you, you have already lost your authority and they will inevitably feel insecure and test you further, until you get it that you are in control by definition, by virtue of your position as parent.

Kids want a parent to be in control, to guide, protect, and direct them, while respecting their evolving personhood. It’s their job as developing humans to push the envelope, but they absolutely count on there being an envelope! That’s where so many modern American families have gone wrong. They forget that they are the envelope. They must set the limits on TV, computer, smart phone, video games, dirty talk, disrespect, and inappropriate behavior. But, you may ask, how do the children learn to stay within all these limits without their crying and without your yelling and shaming?

Easy. By parental example. Kids learn by imitation. They learn language, reading, calculations, respectful relationships, love, play, intellectual curiosity, social participation, as well as how to pick out their clothes in the morning, from seeing the example of the people around them. And nature set it up so that those people would usually be parents and close relatives.

Two problems have contributed inexorably to the apparent loss of authority by America’s parents today: Working parents and overworked schools.

The first problem is families with both parents employed outside the home or single parent families whose parent must work. In many cases, two parents are holding down not just two but three or four jobs! To put it simply, there just isn’t enough time for parents to be with their children long enough to set the example the children need to show them how one should spend one’s day.

For example, how many parents chat with their children daily about how to interpret new information, whether from the news, the violent video game, the hot new music album, or a careless comment from a friend? How many parents even know their child has been exposed to any of these or how very many of these there are in a day?

The shameful neglect of the importance of parenting in American society is responsible for this sad situation: Either parents believe that having a career is more important than staying home for a few years with their children or they feel they must have a job in order to provide for their family’s basic needs, or in some cases not so basic needs. The idea that a woman will go crazy spending day after day with a young child is a myth perpetrated on society in order to justify getting more cheap labor – that is, women - into the labor force. And the fact that we don’t give more economic support for child-rearing – including more paid time off, as does every other advanced economy in the world - is a disgrace. Poor performance in school is to be expected when children do not have enough time with their parents to feel like their existence and contributions matter.

It’s hard to make up for that deficiency by using emotional force and manipulation, but unfortunately many parents try. Others simply give up. The missing ingredient is the beneficent example of how to live demonstrated daily by the parents.

A few years ago a busy professional client complained that her children never ate a balanced meal and were always snacking on candy and demanding pizza for dinner. After reviewing what she tried to put in front of them and their constant resistance, I asked her if they ever saw her eating a balanced meal. She thought for a moment and answered, “No.” She ate quickly after they left for school and before she left for work and didn’t bother eating in the evening until after they were in bed because it was all such a rush with homework and sports practice and bedtime battles. After a careful review of the week, we found two meals where the family could sit down and eat together. Things began to change when the kids had a parental demonstration of appropriate eating and also relaxed attentiveness at the meal.

It may be that families in Asia can get away with more harsh pressure for academic success in the later years because they put so much emphasis on the loving, supportive, extended family in the very early years, which attitude is much less prevalent in America. This is when the child absorbs the most important lessons about love and self-worth. As Chua has said, she treated her toddlers much like any American mom who takes the time – lots of cuddling, reading to, hugging. And in China, with the restrictions on the number of children, it may be that the child of the family feels infinitely important from the start.

American children don’t have that kind of attention early on. American women have been trained to believe they must get back to work. It is a hardship on parents today who arrange their lives so that at least one parent can be home in the first few years, and even then, American parents are warned not to shower attention because it may “spoil” the child. True spoiling of course is about giving bribes. That is, rewarding natural cooperative behavior which should be expected with excessive gifts and privileges. In fact, you can never show too much affection to a baby or toddler, as long as they are welcoming the particular mode of showing it.

The second problem which has diminished the American family’s chances of raising children who have a strong work ethic, believe in their own abilities, and can learn what they need to know to excel in the marketplace is reliance on an overworked school system.

Many studies have shown that straight A students are not the ones who excel in the end. They are too busy pleasing teachers to learn all the other things one needs to know out in the world. They may even burn out before they get to college, or soon thereafter. Meanwhile, the school teachers are overworked, underappreciated, given too many students to handle, limited in what they can teach, and wholly inadequate to substitute for parental example and guidance.

That said, many former students credit one teacher in particular who stepped into a mentor/parental role and made all the difference in their lives. I believe that all it takes to keep a child on a good path is one adult who gives them unconditional love while exercising tough love when needed. Innumerable movies have portrayed this scenario. For example, consider all the “Karate Kid” movies.

But that role is meant to be played by the child’s parents. No teacher can be that person for 30 or 40 kids or even more kids, who may be within her responsibility.

The most successful schooling in this country comes from parents and schools being aware of their separate roles. Once a child is in school, let her learn to deal with the pressures there and keep those pressures out of the home. If the child asks for help with her studies or withh her relationships with teachers or fellow students, then offer your help. But don’t do her work for her or assume responsibility for her grades or relationships. If she cannot handle situations at school when you are not there, then she is actually not ready to be sent to school. School is her business, not yours.

More and more parents in America today view the pressures of school unfair and unnecessary for proper development of children and they opt for homeschooling. In that case, achieving As is irrelevant and learning is the only goal. You might ask yourself, why do parents accept the grading standards of an outside institution over which they have no control to define and categorize their kids?

Early schooling can’t substitute for parents and caring relatives. Again, American society has discounted the importance of parents and has led people to believe early schooling is good. In some situations, of course, intervention by early institutional caretaking is better than the alternative. But it certainly is not the ideal. Rather we would do better, as a society, to give greater support and encouragement to parents in the home.

I wrote my first book because as a parent I became passionate about the idea that a job, a career, a scolding, a lecture, a meal, bedtime, a phone call, and just about anything else can be postponed, except for love. Love happens only in the present moment. A child feels lack of love immediately. If you bring a child to tears because she didn’t perform well, love has been postponed and there will be a cost.

Punishment and shaming have the same effect. I have seldom seen a child who did not know, when they did something wrong, that it was wrong. Punishment is a foolish way to deal with that situation. All you are doing is demonstrating your own frustration. Avoidance of pain or embarrassment is a poor motivation for behaving well. It’s much better to behave because it makes you feel good about yourself. And that comes naturally, not from over-indulgent parents applauding you every time you behave or from over-controlling parents punishing you every time you misbehave!

If you believe your child wants to please you and wants to be all she can be, which I believe is the very nature of a human child, then the intelligent thing to do when a child chooses to do something wrong is to find out why she chose to do it in the first place or why she was acting so reckless as to let it happen. That requires patience, thoughtfulness, listening, and guiding – and, by the way, not lecturing about stuff you know she already knows.

If they didn’t know it was wrong, then you can’t punish them because it’s your fault for not letting them know before they were capable of doing the act. So punishment makes no sense then either.

Once when I was a guest expert on a TV talk show, a father in the audience explained that he figured he didn't have to teach his child not to touch the hot stove because eventually the child would touch it and get burnt and then the child would know. Meanwhile most parents try to insist the child not go anywhere near the stove and then yell if the child reaches out to try to test their rule. I simply told each child that the stove was hot and gently took his or her hand towards the stove until they could feel the warmth increasing. Neither child ever got burnt. And there was no testing or yelling. The most successful as well as the easiest parenting is by example and gentle guidance.

If you know your child has a gift and she wants to pursue it, she may well not appreciate the time and effort it takes to develop her gift. But again, patience and guidance, rather than force, work better in the end - and certainly more pleasantly.

I know many an adult who gave up a skill like piano or violin because they had so many bad memories of being forced to practice when they could have been developing relationships on the playing field or with overnights or play-dates. I also know and have counseled many adults who wanted to play guitar, sing, dance, draw, or play tennis, whose parents forbade it as a waste of time. How many of them are now working in unsatisfying jobs when they might have been much happier making other people happy with their artistic inclinations?

I was able to guide some of these adults to increase their enjoyment by taking up hobbies along the lines of those early inclinations, but it’s a poor substitute for the chance the parents missed to teach the child to trust her own instincts and believe she could achieve her heart’s desire.

So instead of indulgent parents who will do anything to be friends with their children or strict parents who will do anything to feel in control of their children’s lives, there is a third way, which for lack of a sexier term I would call the way of the "responsible" parents.

This is not to say that the strict or permissive parents are automatically irresponsible. Rather, it is to point out that the responsible parent focuses on her responsibility, rather than on control or being a friend.

These responsible parents take their natural responsibility as parents seriously. Their children were born because of their choices and now the children are their responsibility. As far as who owes whom, all societies are clear that children should honor their parents, but shoulds never get us very far. Children are programmed from birth to honor their parents, since in evolutionary terms, if they didn’t, parental abandonment meant death. But children in fact generally continue to honor their parents because they are also programmed to expect their parents to care for, protect, respect, and love them. They can still conform if this doesn’t take place, but the chances for the parents being honored once the children are adults are inevitably diminished. The true payback in honor to the parent comes much later, when the child becomes adult and still enjoys your company, or even better, wants to imitate your parenting. It’s not a true payback when the child performs merely to keep you from using verbal abuse. How does the saying go? Love is when you let them go and they come back.

The responsible parent is also focused on appropriate responses - not their child's but their own. It is parental responses that children watch intently. Next to initiatives parents take in their own lives, like providing for their family, eating well, getting enough sleep, and watching out for their kids, it is their responses to the initiatives of their children that provide the most direct evidence to the child of how one is to behave.

So, the responsible parent doesn't wait for a child to act and then blurt out a reaction based on her first emotion, nor based on her most desired long-term outcome. Instead, she sets an example for the child of a thoughtful response appropriate to the moment and proportionate to the weight of the current situation. She neither minimizes nor exaggerates the significance of the child's action or her own.

Sometimes this means the parent must do a lot of homework, working through her own fears and projections a good bit before she interacts with her child, whether in the morning, after school, or after any incident. Responsibility and appropriate responses guide and educate the child like neither indulgence nor control approaches can.

There is lots of evidence that first generation immigrants to America are more adamant than ever that their children achieve at school and make a way for themselves, and the parents are willing to endure hardships, ugly jobs, and close quarters, to avail their children of opportunities to succeed. This has been true not just in Asian families but in virtually all immigrant groups. The apparently cushier lifestyle of Americans then becomes a temptation to the younger generation, to the great consternation of their parents, who sacrificed for them and their future. It is good to see that Chua has come to realize that some of the Draconian measures of her early parenting were perhaps unnecessary. Even the Premier of China is reported to have recommended in 2010 that Chinese children need more than knowledge – they need to learn to think and to believe in themselves.

I believe that much of this kind of controlling parenting comes from a place of fear – fear that the children might have to struggle as hard as their parents did if they don’t excel, fear that they have a handicap in the aggressive competitive marketplace of America because of their ethnicity and must therefore work harder than others, and fear that their own choices will turn out to have been wrong in coming here if their children don’t prosper.

American parents have been subject to their own set of fears as well, especially in these economically troubled times. Education seems more critical than ever. The thought goes something like this: “If you don’t succeed in kindergarten, elementary school will be harder and then you’ll fall behind in high school and get into trouble and won’t get into a good college and you won’t be able to pay for it either and you’ll never find a good job, and in the end I’ll feel like a failure and maybe you’ll blame me for not pushing you harder.”

So, on the one hand, we have this desire to stay in control of the child’s progress, based on parental fears. American parents who have adopted this fear-based mind-set will be wondering how they can adopt Chua’s allegedly traditional Chinese approach.

On the other hand, we have the friendship approach of so many American parents today, which I propose is also still fear-based. The thought of these parents goes something like this: “If I push you to do better and spend what little time we have together trying to set limits for you and trying to direct your choices while denying you things you want when you see others with all these toys and privileges, then I’m afraid you will end up resenting me and my work and my life choices and wishing that I had been easier on you or at least that I had given you the things you wanted to keep you amused or had not made you feel bad about your level of achievement in school. Besides, I’m so tired, I’m afraid I’d wear out if I tried to exert more control."

These parents feel successful when their child confides in them and treats them like a trusted friend. Often, unfortunately, they are surprised as well as chagrined when their child underachieves or gets in trouble and they frequently feel completely helpless.

Some experts have identified this desire to be friends with your child as resulting from misplaced guilt or parental uneasiness about not being at home enough, while others consider it the result of over-emphasis on the need to foster self-esteem in children.

Concerning parental guilt, I personally regret that American society has so misled parents that most of them don’t believe that once they have children, they are programmed to want to be with their children just as deeply as their children are programmed to want to be with them. They don’t even realize what they are missing. So in fact the guilt is natural, not misplaced. But because they don’t know where it comes from or believe that there is something wrong with them that they feel it, they often express it by overcompensating, with parental over-indulgence and permissiveness, which only increases the problem by creating children who are ever more demanding and less cooperative and seem to require ever more time and attention, which leads to more guilt.

Concerning self-esteem, I agree with Chua that self-esteem does not come from undeserved praise, but neither can it come, as she implies, from accomplishment forced upon you.

True self-esteem - which indeed helps to protect a person from the slings and arrows of adult life - comes from a deep sense of self-worth, which derives from feeling valuable and valued by the people among whom the child lives. It comes neither from personal accomplishment or excellence, nor from cascades of warmth and expressions of love, but rather from active participation in the meaningful activities of the family and being respected enough to be allowed to make any decisions for yourself which you are developmentally capable of making.

Perfection is not an option. Children know this when you yell at them. What’s perfect about a parent yelling? Yes, a concert pianist will hopefully play the piece perfectly, but that is a finite action. Being a parent, being a child, and being a happy person are never perfected but always interesting and productive. Parenting is not as hard as people make it appear and it certainly does not have to be as painful as some would lead you to believe. But you need to start in the right place, with assumptions based on love, not fear.

Instead of these two fear-based options, which manifest at the classic extremes of parenting, the strict, controlling parent and the permissive, friendly parent, there is a middle ground, the responsible parent, whose behavior is love-based, not fear- based.

Of course both kinds of parents love their children, but they aren’t really showing it in a way that will bring out the best in the child and in the parent and in their relationship – a relationship designed by nature to nurture the child and meanwhile mature the parent so that the human race and culture will perpetuate successfully. Both styles of parenting view love as background rather than foreground, a given rather than a daily responsibility.

I believe love can be defined this way: It is the process of looking for the good in others, finding it, and celebrating it. It is not about forcing good onto the children or out of them or into some activity, nor is it about praising good when it is not showing. Instead it is about looking for it, and finding it, and then celebrating it simply by showing your own delight in it. The happiest and most successful adults I know remember the fun they had with their parents and how their parents delighted in simply being with them.

Love-based parenting holds no fear. There is no fear because the parent has a deep-seated confidence, call it faith, that the human model of parents raising children is meant to work, has worked for millions of years, and will work for them. Even though modern culture is perhaps more complex than ever before in history, we now take 21 years rather than the traditional 12 or 14 to acculturate our children, so it is still a model that works, if you work it.

Parenting is a huge responsibility to the child, but it is not a responsibility for determining the child's life. The child will lead her own development, just as she determined when she was willing to nurse as an infant. Parental responses to the child's growth initiatives are as important as any parental instructions. Keeping a safe, stimulating, loving environment is all you need to do to inspire the human child to seek success and accomplishment on her own.

So I propose that the only task of the modern parent is to look deep inside and be guided by her best instincts, much like a mother tiger in the wild. If you watch film clips or read up on that feline mother’s behavior, you will see that there is lots of nurturing and cuddling and play, lots of demonstrations of necessary life skills, and judicious setting of limits when the environment or particular actions threaten permanent harm. The rest is up to the cub.

One could almost say that parents should been more seen than heard.

Randy Colton Rolfe, JD, MA, is mother of two grown children and a lawyer, theologian, longevity trainer, parenting counselor, and author of five books, including three on parenting: You Can Postpone Anything But Love; Adult Children Raising Children; and The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents.