Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 08-08-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 AT HOME / ENTERTAINMENT AUGUST 8-14, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION What is alpha speech? Q: Some friends of ours who've read a couple of your books and attended one of your talks told us that they solved some major discipline problems with their 4-year- old just by using what they called alpha speech. They tried to explain it to us, but we'd like to get it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Would you please help us better understand what they were talking about, and are there other parenting authors who say the same thing? A: The concept of alpha speech is not original to me. In generations past, it was widely understood to be the essence of proper child dis- cipline. I simply named it. I also refer to it as leadership speech. Regardless, it is the very traditional understand- ing that the successful dis- cipline of a child is more a matter of properly conveying authority than properly using consequences (albeit the lat- ter is also important). As a rule, today's parents believe in behavior modifica- tion. They believe in tech- niques, such as time out and star charts and approaches of that sort, approaches that involve the manipulation of reward and punishment. Somewhat derisively, I refer to them as "consequence delivery systems." The wrong-headed notion that correct consequences, used correctly, would solve just about any behavior prob- lem became popularized in the 1970s. The mental health professional community claimed that rewards and praise – the operative meme was "catch 'em being good" – would strengthen good behavior while punishment and ignoring would weaken bad behavior. It all sounded quite simple, utopian even, but we now know, or should, that what works quite reli- ably with rats and dogs does not work nearly as well with human beings. In fact, researchers have found that reward and pun- ishment, when used with children, can be and often are counterproductive, which goes a long way toward explaining why the behavior and discipline of children has become increasingly prob- lematic since parents began relying on behavior modifi- cation. Alpha speech rests on the simple and historically verified proposition that "a child's natural response to the proper presentation of authority is obedience." Before venturing any further, I need to stress that obedi- ence on the part of a child is definitely in the child's best interest. The more obedient the child, the more relaxed and happier the child, which is precisely the opposite of what mental health folks alleged. Alpha speech in four parts: (1) When giving instruction to a child, speak from a fully upright position, as opposed to the silliness of "getting down to the child's level." (2) Use the fewest words possi- ble. (3) Do not explain your- self, but simply tell the child what you want him to do in a matter-of-fact tone. (4) When a child wants to know "Why?" (which is what chil- dren ask in the absence of an explanation), your answer should be "Because I said so" or a variation thereof. For example, if you want a child to put on his coat and wait by the front door, you say, "I want you to put on your coat and wait for me by the front door." You don't say, "I have to go down the street and give a casserole to Miss Gloria and it would really help Mommy if you'd put on your coat because it's chilly out and wait for me by the front door." That approach is likely to draw resistance of one sort or another. Alpha speech is nothing more than saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It is employed by effec- tive leaders, thus the alter- nate label. It is neither threat- ening nor promising. Oh, and when the child obeys, it is best to say simply "Thank you" without an exclamation point as opposed to "Good boy! Mommy's going to take her little man to the ice cream store later today!" In discipline, as in decorat- ing, less is usually more. Family psychologist John Rosemond: johnrosemond.com, parentguru.com. Traditional Parenting JOHN ROSEMOND Do you like to read The Valley Breeze? Then please shop with our advertisers, and tell them 'I saw it in The Breeze!' Bill Medley is having the time of his life. No pun intended, as that's the title of one of his best-known songs, sung with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of "Dirty Dancing." The '80s were good to Medley, who performed with his partner, Bobby Hatfield, as the Righteous Brothers. "Movies like 'Dirty Dancing,' 'Ghost' and 'Top Gun' made our songs popular again," said Medley recently. Songs like "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" fueled a new interest in the Righteous Brothers, rekindling their career. Medley is appearing at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket this Saturday, Aug. 10, with his new partner, Bucky Heard. Their show sold out at the Stadium last year, so they are back by popular demand. Hatfield died in 2003, and Medley continued a solo career. In 2016, he saw Heard's show, and realized "this was a guy who could do justice" to the Righteous Brothers' sound. "Bucky has the same range as Bobby. He was influenced by Bobby. So, it was easy for him to fill in." There's a bit of an age gap. Heard is 54, and Medley will be 79 in September. "Back in 1965, Righteous Brothers at the Stadium Saturday By FRANK O'DONNELL Breeze Entertainment Writer The Righteous Brothers, BUCKY HEARD, left, and BILL MEDLEY, will perform at the Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 10. See MEDLEY, Page 6

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