I love stumbling across secret places.

That moment of discovery ignites a spark in me, I realize that once I cross the threshold into the new area, my life will change in some unexpected way.

After spending a day exploring a new, massive city without a map, I discovered that the rows and rows of apartments diminished into a tidy little square. A lush, well cared for park emerged from behind this beautiful wrought iron gate. The stillness of the landscape and fragrances of the flowers drew me closer, but the absence of the proper keys inhibited my entering and enjoying the space.

Standing there, longing to sit on a bench and enjoy what others experience, made me realize that this was not the first time I had felt this way. In life, without the right keys to understand how to change what is happening in our lives, we end up standing on the outside looking in.

Making New Keys

One of the times that parents want to craft new keys of understanding is when they are experiencing a family crisis. Life has not turned out as they had planned. “This is not the life I wanted.” Their jobs are stressful, the kids are struggling, and the parents are not functioning as a cohesive unit.

Each family member hurts as the tension and frustration mounts. When the kid’s behavior escalates, the parents match it with more extreme punishments. Soon, the child is grounded for a month, with no T.V., computer, or phone. Yet, that only backfires because the kids lashes out more. These are not cruel parents, they are loving and concerned, they know what it takes to make it in the real world. They only want to see their children succeed, but they don’t know where to turn next.

Developing new keys for families starts with the parent’s skills. Building a systematic method of approaching children’s behavior allows parents to plan for situations instead of quick-fire reactions.

Children have a basic need to belong. Using four methods to misbehave, they are attempting to find that belonging since they do not believe that they fit in. Their might seek an occupied parent’s attention, attempt to gain control of the home or a given situation, say hurtful things such as “you’re the worst mom ever, I hate you” as a form of revenge, or prove to the parent that they are inadequate at school, chores or other expectations (Dinkmeyer, McKay, & Dinkmeyer, 1997).


Learning how children use these four misbehaviors and the parent’s response is the basis of the STEP (Systematic Training for Parenting) program. STEP for the 6-12 year olds, focuses on seven areas: 1) Understanding Yourself and Your child, 2) Understanding Beliefs and Feelings, 3) Encouraging Your Child and Yourself, 4) Listening and Talking to Your Child, 5) Helping Children Cooperate, 6) Discipline that Makes Sense, 7) Choosing Your Approach.

Family Renewal Center is hosting a STEP class starting Oct 6, 7:00 pm.

There will also be a PRESCHOOL STEP offered starting Oct 5, 7:00 pm.

Join us and learn the proven techniques used by over 4 million people.

Start rekeying your family.

Dinkmeyer, D. D., Sr., McKay, G. D., & Dinkmeyer, D. D., Jr., (1997). The parent’s handbook systematic

                    training for effective parenting. U.S.A.: Step Publishers, L.L.C.