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Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!: Saving Your Child from a Troubled World
     

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!: Saving Your Child from a Troubled World

by Glenda Hatchett, Daniel Paisner
 

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Parents have it tough. Kids have it tough, too. And few people are in a better position to guide readers through these tough times than Judge Glenda Hatchett. As chief presiding judge of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country, she gained a front-row perspective on the hot-button social issues of our time — including drug and alcohol abuse,

Overview

Parents have it tough. Kids have it tough, too. And few people are in a better position to guide readers through these tough times than Judge Glenda Hatchett. As chief presiding judge of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country, she gained a front-row perspective on the hot-button social issues of our time — including drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, date rape, and school violence. As presiding judge on the hit television series Judge Hatchett, she continues to build bridges between parents and their lost, angry, and alienated teens. And, as a parent, she's turned her professional experiences to personal advantage, helping her own children navigate through some of the more difficult dilemmas facing young people today.

Using her experiences as a judge and a parent, Judge Hatchett shares with readers seven simple strategies to becoming more involved in a child's life and maintaining a strong relationship. Including concrete examples and illuminating anecdotes, Judge Hatchett says what she means and means what she says in this essential guide to raising safe, smart, and successful children ... even in the tough times.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060563097
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/05/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
1,065,072
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)

Read an Excerpt

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!
Saving Your Child from a Troubled World

Simple Strategy #1

Expect Greatness

Allow me to repeat myself: expect greatness. Set the bar high. Encourage your children to reach beyond their wildest dreams.

There, that gets us past the easy heading, but I can't move on without overstating what may or may not be so obvious: it's not the greatness that matters, but the expectation of it, the reaching for it, the setting it out as a goal or ideal. Let's be honest, even the greats stumble from time to time, but greatness is not the point. It's the prospect of greatness, the preparation for it, the willingness to let it into our lives. Expect it and it will come; reach for it and it will instill hope and dedication and purpose and all kinds of great things; take it for granted and it will always slip away. It has to do with destiny, don't you think? If we teach our kids to move about as if greatness is within reach, then it will be so. If we teach them to hang their heads and despair about ever reaching their objectives, then they won't.

We parents must demand the utmost of our children, whether we're teaching them to tie their shoes, or read, or drive a car, or develop good study habits and a responsible moral code. And why stop at parents? Teachers, mentors, bosses, aunts and uncles ... judges. We should always expect the very best from our charges if we hope to see the very best in return. It's basic. And just to flip it around, we must also expect the very best from ourselves -- because after all, we set examples by our actions. You can't lead where you aren't willing to go.

No mother is certain about what she's doing when she first has children. In a world of uncertainty, this is one absolute. Me, I wasn't clear on a whole bunch of things, but I had some ideas, and one of the big ones was that I should give my kids something to shoot for, help them walk a path that might allow them to discover their dreams and realize them as well. In so doing, naturally, I set the bar high for myself, but I figured my children had a right to expect a kind of greatness from me if I was expecting it of them. It's only fair, don't you think?

I got this notion from my own parents, who nurtured and inspired my brothers and me to reach beyond our circumstances, but as hard as my mother and father worked to instill in me a sense of boundless opportunity and wonder, there were others working just as hard to tell me what I couldn't do, where I didn't belong, and when I shouldn't even bother trying. For every piece of positive reinforcement I took in at home, there were a dozen negatives out there in the rest of the world, and I came away thinking I'd have to level the playing field a bit when it came my turn to raise children. I didn't want them to have to deal with all these disapproving messages if they didn't have to, at least not at home, at least not on my watch.

It's funny the ay a lot of my well-meaning friends and relations lined up to tell me how much trouble my boys would give me when they reached adolescence, based on how much trouble their own children had been giving them, especially boys. It's as if they needed to drag us down into whatever it was they were struggling through, either because misery loves company or because they couldn't bear the thought that they might have missed an opportunity to set things along a more positive path with their own children. "Enjoy them now," I'd keep hearing when my children were young, "because there's gonna be war in your house when they get older."

Each warning was more ominous than the last:

"Just wait till they become teenagers."

"There won't be peace in your house till they're both off to college."

"I don't envy you. Two boys. You're in for some real trouble."

I refused to claim this mind-set as my own. I flat out didn't want to hear it. Why? Well, if you go in anticipating a negative outcome, the positives won't know here to find you, so from the very beginning I turned a deaf ear when someone tried to counsel me on what almost everyone assumed would be problems in my relationships with my sons. I wouldn't listen. When there was no avoiding it, when someone needed to download her troubles and let out a little steam, I nodded politely until she was through. I'd half hear these terrible things and promptly set them aside, never once believing that any of these worst-case scenarios would have anything to do with the positive relationships I'd carve with my own adolescent and teenage sons when the time came. Those negatives weren't mine,I told myself; they have nothing to do with me or my children.

There's an old adage in the world of sports that suggests that great teams sometimes play down to the level of their lesser opponents. Conversely, there are lesser teams -- less talented, less physically gifted, less dedicated -- that play up against tougher competition. I've always believed that in cliché there is truth (sometimes, at least), and at this point I've seen enough high school football and basketball games to know that the adage applies, but I could never accept allowing my children the wiggle room to play down to expectations. What I mean by this is that I wouldn't give my kids an out, or an easy excuse ...

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say!
Saving Your Child from a Troubled World
. Copyright © by Glenda Hatchett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Judge Glenda Hatchett served eight years as judge of Fulton County Georgia Juvenile Court. She is Georgia's first African American chief presiding judge of a state court and was the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She developed partnerships with community organizations and businesses, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, The Urban League, and others, and helped found the Truancy Intervention Project.

After her first year on the bench, Judge Hatchett was selected as "Outstanding Jurist of the Year" for her pioneering leadership by the National Bar Association's local affiliate. She was also honored with the Roscoe Pound Award, the highest award for "Outstanding Work in Criminal Justice" from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. The Spelman College Board of Trustees selected Judge Hatchett to receive the Outstanding Community Service Award, and she was honored with the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award. Nationally recognized as an authority on juvenile and social issues, Judge Hatchett frequently delivers speeches and lectures throughout the country.

Daniel Paisner is a New York Times best-selling author who has written numerous books.

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