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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

September 3, 2015
We Are A Nation of Workers


Positive Discipline: Family Meetings

Brainfuse - Homework Help
Positive Discipline: Family Meetings continued
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  We Are A Nation of Workers

(AAA Aug 2015) Labor-Day-Photos-1.jpgWorkers have come a long way from 12-hour days and seven-day weeks, including children as young as 5 or 6 toiling in mills.  Monday, Labor Day, we honor American workers.  In 2015 our workers are part of the middle class, children are not allowed to work in factories and we ask, "Will there be enough jobs?" and "How will robots change our work culture?"

We are nation that values work!  We deserve and welcome this special  three day weekend. Monday we enjoy parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and time with families. For many of us Labor Day signals the transition from summer to school and a regular work routine.  Check out the fun activities for The Weekend.  Highlights are the Watsonville Fly-in and the Capitola Begonia Festival and a free community swim at Simpkins!

The Santa Cruz County Fair is getting ready for you!  Discount tickets are available online NOW

(AAA Aug 2015) ArtFactory_Coco.jpgMost of us can barely imagine the pain of those who lose a child to tragedy.  I found the thoughtful narrative of how one of our local teachers found a way to honor a departed child  to be inspiring. 

Thank you for sending many new families our way. Please, drop us a line anytime and recommend us to a friend

Have a great three day weekend with your family, Parmalee


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(AAA Aug 2015) YvetteContois2.jpgSince the passing of my dear former student, Coco, I have been trying to think of a way we could memorialize her at The Art Factory. Nothing quite came to mind. I was at a loss as the days were passing. Meanwhile, over the course of the last week, a friend asked me if I would like a canary for the studio. Of course I said yes, because a songbird could only make The Art Factory even sweeter. I was looking forward to the bird's arrival.

Meanwhile, no ideas were coming, but Coco and her family were on my mind, everyday. Then yesterday many friends gathered to place beautiful yellow and white flowers on the fence of her home, to remind her parents of the non-stop outpouring of love and support that are surrounding them. It was a bittersweet, beautiful morning. I was hoping to realize the perfect, inspired idea from that event. But nothing...

(AAA Aug 2015) ArtFactory_Coco.jpgToday I woke, feeling a bit disappointed that the idea had not yet come to honor her memory at the studio, but I went on with the day. Then at lunchtime, Monica brought our new friend, the canary... A beautiful, delicate bird made up of many shades of yellow and white, a bird with an enchanting song. I couldn't thank her enough for bringing us this special gift. As she was leaving, I asked "Wait... What is the bird's name?" Monica, not being familiar with our loss, sweetly smiled and said "Coco".

There are no words for the magical presence I felt in that moment.

Yvette Contois is a local mom who owns and teaches art at The Art Factory in Aptos.  Yvette's guiding passion is bringing art into the lives of her students.


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  Positive Discipline: Family Meetings

(AAA Aug 2015) PDRC_FamilyMeeting2.jpgImagine trying to run a business where there are no lines of communication between management and staff or among staff themselves; management is burdened with solving all problems, and staffing conflicts are left to fester. In the business world, this is a recipe for failure. Now apply this same business sense to a family and the running of a household. It remains true that the success of a family also depends upon establishing lines of communication.

Importance of Family Meetings

Family Meetings (FMs) are one of the core aspects of the Positive Discipline Approach. Although parents provide the leadership in the family, holding FMs allow children a significant and meaningful way to contribute. FMs provide >>>>>


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  Brainfuse - Homework Help

Brainfuse - Homework Help

Free online homework help for students of all ages.
Every day
(AAA July 2015) Brainfuse_HomeworkHelpNow180.jpgFree Academic Help at All Levels.

Brainfuse offers live online tutoring in elementary, middle school, high school, college, and adult education.

Live Tutoring: Students draw or type their question in our online classroom and receive live homework assistance from a Brainfuse-certified tutor. Our tutors don't simply give answers but help students master underlying academic concepts.

SkillSurfer: SkillSurfer includes an extensive library of Brainfuse-created lessons, video tutorials, and practice tests in a wide range of academic subjects, and further integrates them with live tutoring.


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A-Z Classes

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Tell A Friend about our newsletter!

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If you can't have fun with physics ...
... you aren't a very fun person!

Saturday, Sept 12
10am / 1pm
Sunday, Sept 13
10am, 1pm, 3:30pm

Camp Out

in the Parks

Labor Day Weekend

It's not too late to make reservations for camping to celebrate Labor Day!  Get out there and have your own adventure at one of our 279 State Parks.

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Big Blue Live

PBS and the BBC are teaming up for a groundbreaking multimedia event showcasing marine life along California's coast, delivering real-time images of whales, dolphins, great white sharks, elephant seals and other sea creatures to millions of viewers across the nation.

Watch it on PBS at 8 p.m. Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. Footage will also be streamed online at


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Honoring Loved Ones
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  Honoring Loved Ones
view all details >>
Shake the Square: Merengue
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  Shake the Square: Merengue
Date: 08/09/2018 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Ages: All
Details: Get moving in a series of free movement classes in Abbott Square.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Honoring Loved Ones
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  Honoring Loved Ones
view all details >>
Great Train Robberies
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  Great Train Robberies
Roaring Camp Railroads
Date: Every day (Sep 1-Sep 3)
Details: Shootouts, duels and other blazing re-enactments
City: Felton Phone: 831.335.4484 view all details >>
Geology Walk
click to view website
  Geology Walk
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: 06/09/2018 at 1:00pm
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: 60 minute exploration of the parks coastal geology
City: Pescadero Phone: (650) 879-2025 view all details >>
Foster Parent and Adoption Orientation
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  Foster Parent and Adoption Orientation
County of Santa Cruz
Date: The 1st Wed of every month from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Ages: Adult
Details: Foster Parent and Adoption Orientation
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 345-2700 view all details >>
Honoring Loved Ones
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  Honoring Loved Ones
view all details >>
Honoring Loved Ones
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  Honoring Loved Ones
view all details >>
LitWits hands-on experiences of children's literature
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  LitWits hands-on experiences of children's literature
LitWits Workshops, LLC
Date: Every 2 weeks on Th and Fri (Aug 13-Aug 5) from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Ages: 7-12
Details: We bring great books to life!
Special Instructions: Upstairs (no elevator access)
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 247-0593 view all details >>
Honoring Loved Ones
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  Honoring Loved Ones
view all details >>
First Saturdays Open House
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  First Saturdays Open House
Tannery Arts Center
Date: The 1st Sa of every month from 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Ages: All ages
Details: Join us in art activities for all ages
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 621-6226 view all details >>
Wings over Watsonville
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  Wings over Watsonville
Wings over Watsonville
Date: 09/02/2017 from 9:00am to 4:00pm
Details: Watch aerial acrobatics, stunts, military demonstrations
City: Watsonville view all details >>
Honoring Loved Ones
click to view website
  Honoring Loved Ones
view all details >>
  Positive Discipline: Family Meetings continued

• A means of communication (to appreciate, compliment, vent concerns and feelings).
• The opportunity for children to be appropriately and actively involved in the household.
• Life skills (problem solving skills, how to work as a team)
• A sense of significance because everyone at the table has an important voice worthy of being heard.
• A time to cooperatively establish routines, develop schedules, share tasks.
• Opportunities to model and teach core life values: Cooperation, Contribution, Caring, Connection, Commitment, and Capability.

Continued participation in FMs creates strong connections to our families; people feel heard, solutions are found, things get done. In the process, children can learn tools that will carry on into their future relationships and careers. This sense of empowerment and social interest will last a lifetime.

Getting It Started and What’s Involved

Keep it simple to start. Just do compliments and appreciations at first.

Lay the groundwork. Before respectful problem solving can occur, do some skill building with family members to: learn how to listen without interrupting, look for helpfulsolutions instead of revenge, express feelings appropriately, no name calling, try new ways of doing things knowing things can be changed or modified.

Gain buy-in by addressing one or two child-focused items on the agenda for the first few meetings. Build from there.

Encourage children to add their issues to the agenda when things come up during the week. When you hear, “She’s taking my toys again!” respond with, “Why don’t you put that on the agenda.”

Rotate FM jobs
as children show interest and capability (Chair, time-keeper, note taker, other?)

Have FMs regularly, same day and time.

Keep an FM journal. Record decisions made. Revisit the list of other options if an issue remains a problem. Your journal will become a family treasure of meaningful times together.

Adjust your expectations for attentiveness for two and three year olds. Compliments and Appreciations or planning Family Fun time are for all ages. Then younger ones could stay, but play nearby.

Family Meeting Format

1. Compliments & Appreciations

2. Agenda Items:

• Decide on a time frame

• Use consensus, table an item if no decision can be found

• Review past decisions if needed

3. Future Plans (family activities, trips, birthdays, projects)

4. Fun Time (dessert, board game, sharing stories, quotes, jokes)

How to Make Family Meetings Successful

Children may think FMs are a way for parents to manipulate them. It is more important for children to learn that this is a safe place to address problems or concerns that any family member might have. First, it is important to get “buy in” from the children. This is done by parents following these guidelines.

• Remember the long-range purpose: to develop the feelings of belonging, significance, and capability, and to teach valuable life skills. Don’t use FMs as a platform for lectures and parental control.

• Post an agenda in a visible place; encourage family members to write down on-going family issues. Only post items that are appropriate for children to help decide.

• Start with compliments so family members learn to look for and verbalize positive things about each other.

• Use consensus to decide solutions, not majority. rainstorm solutions to problems. Start with wild and crazy ideas (for fun) and end with practical ideas that are useful and respectful to all concerned. Then choose one suggestion and try it for a week.

• Calendar a family fun activity for later in the week, as well as all sports and other activities (including a chauffeur schedule).

• Keep FMs short (10 to 20 minutes) depending on the ages of your children. End with a family fun activity, game, or dessert.

• Create a win-win environment that values mutual respect and each person’s point of view so that neither children nor adults dominate. Model how to listen; be attentive and quiet as others speak; ask questions instead of telling. Work to make meetings fun and productive.

• Remember learning these skills takes time. Even solutions that don’t work provide an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and try again. Always focus on respect and solutions.

Going Deeper

Family Meetings can become one of the most effective and useful parenting tools when done well and consistently. Once FMs have been established, it can help solve a number of challenges, such as:

Sibling conflicts. Siblings’ now have a place to respectfully flesh out problems, share frustrations and take responsibility for coming up with their own agreeable solutions. Loud, domineering children learn to listen, reserved children are given room to speak.

Time Outs. In the Positive Discipline Approach, Time Outs are used to calm the brain down in moments of heated tantrums or arguments. FMs provide a structure for conflicts to be addressed later when calmer and rational heads prevail.

Follow-Through. This tool keeps parents from letting issues slide. FMs provide a consistent structure for past agreements to be assessed. Children will experience accountability for agreements. They also will experience their concerns being addressed and not forgotten.

Addressing irritations. “Bugs n’ Wishes:” Parents and kids are invited to express their irritations this way: “It bugs me when you leave your mitt in the drive way, I wish that you would put it on the shelf in the garage.”

Key Steps

• Establish a day and time to meet as a family.

• Together establish ground rules and practice these skills (no interruptions, respectful language, rotate leadership role, everyone gets an equal vote, all electronics off, etc.)

• Establish buy-in from children: keep it short, give them room to talk, end with dessert or fun activity.

• Post an agenda board accessible to everyone; record items as they arise during the week.

• Follow the FM format:

*Compliments and Appreciations

*Agenda items

*Future Plans

*Family Fun time

• Keep the meeting mutually respectful (no parental lecturing, no controlling children).

• Focus on solutions, not blame. Table items that remain unresolved for the next meeting.

• Record solutions in a family journal for later references.

• Work to make meetings fun and productive.

Positive Discipline Community Resources, Phone: 831.464.3877,,


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