Monday, September 8, 2008

Overindulgence and Hyper-Parenting - how it's affecting our kids


I've had the opportunity to meet two authors who both recently wrote books on overindulgence and hyper-parenting, and was fortunate enough to speak with four others. Their research and work is impressive. And their messages are very similar:

- The problems are more prevalant now than ever

- Parents who do it love their kids and want what's best for them
- They have good intentions
- They don't know they're doing it
- It's hurting our kids
- And, it could be sabotaging your parenting efforts!

I don't believe in talking about a problem without offering some solutions. The great news is there's help - there are simple ways to make changes in parenting your kids that will have huge payoffs in the end.

First, I would like to share several books on this topic.

Second, I offer two free downloads for parents: (1) My most recent article: Overindulging and Hyper-Parenting: How we may unintentionally be hurting our kids; and (2) A checklist for parents to help determine if this could be a problem for you.

And third, I am offering two teleclasses in October where I will share a more in-depth look at why the problem exists, how to avoid the trap, or stop it if it's already a problem, and how to move forward in raising happy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient kids.

Today's kids are in trouble - we can help

Experts are saying our kids and teens are in trouble, I believe it's time we listen. I read it over and over: there are more unhappy kids and teens today than at any other time in history! Could the way we are parenting them be contributing to their unhappiness? None of us want to believe we could be hurting our kids, but as I said before, I think we owe it to them, to our families, and to ourselves to take a look.

We live in a very fast-paced world where single and blended families are the norm. Most of us are working and don't have the luxury of having one parent home with the kids.

Often parents overcompensate in ways that aren't healthy for their kids. Experts see a rise in parents who overindulge and hyper-parent their kids without ever knowing they're doing it, and that it's sabotaging their parenting efforts.

Simply defined, overindulgence is giving a child too much of anything - time, money, freedom, choices, things. Hyper-parenting is doing things for a child he can do for himself, or also known as the "helicopter parent".

The good news is if it's happening in your family there are ways to stop it. And even better news! Any damage done can be reversed! By learning a new parenting approach and arming ourselves with new tools for parenting kids in today's complex world, we can raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted, self-sufficient kids.

So again, take a look at the checklist to help you determine if this could be affecting your relationship with your child. I am offering the two teleclasses in October, and am also available for one-on-one coaching. Groups or organizations who are interested in a workshop or teleclass for their members are encouraged to call me at 1-877-835-7589 .

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Isabelle Zehnder - Coach - Mentor - Advocate

Isabelle Zehnder is a Certified Family Coach offering coaching to parents and to teens. She offers convenient telephone coaching as well as in-person coaching and workshops. Call her at 360-723-5253 or e-mail

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

COACHING FOR PARENTS & TEENS: Convenient telephone coaching for parents and teens

Isabelle Zehnder is a Professional Family and Life coach and is the Founder of Positive Family Solutions™, and Parents and Teens, Unite!™. Her niche is coaching parents and teens. She offers programs for parents and families who are struggling with teen issues, divorce, blended family issues, and empty nest.

And it's convenient!

We understand parents don't have a lot of time and that the cost of gasoline has gone through the roof, so we offer convenient telephone coaching, eliminating the need for transportation to and from sessions. We have found parents are more relaxed in their own environments and less stressed because it is so convenient.

Imagine this ...

Just imagine what life would be like at home if you had the skills to coach your pre-teen or teen through one of the most complex times in his or her life. By learning to become your teen’s coach you will not only discover how to guide your teen through this most difficult time, you will also build a strong and lasting relationship.

We can train you to be your TEEN’S coach!

As children move into adolescence parents must relinquish their role as managers so that teens can learn to manage their own lives. Having a powerful coach – and who better than their own parent – can help guide teens through this process and can be empowering for both parent and teen.

Why coaching?

Coaching is becoming increasingly popular and for very good reason. In the past sports came to mind when we heard the word "coach". But today coaching can be found in just about every arena.

So we decided, "Why not bring coaching to families?" After all, for most people family comes first. Parents often struggle with pre-teens and teens. We offer a program to help parents become their teen's personal coach. Not only have teens benefited from the experience, but parents too have greatly benefited.

Three Layers of Learning™

Positive Family Solutions™ has found a winning combination for parents ready to delve into becoming their teens’ coach, the Three Layers of learning™.

First, an interactive experience-based coaching relationship is developed between parent and coach. The coach asks the parent for his or her desired outcomes.

Next, throughout the coaching relationship your coach will provide you with learning and developmental tools, including Parent as Coach, written by Diana Sterling. You will then have the opportunity to read, reflect, and observe what you have learned.

And finally, through coaching, weekly reading, and practical homework assignments, you will have the opportunity to immediately put the skills into practice. These skills can then be applied to everyday life.

The benefits of coaching are ever-reaching. While working to become your teen's coach you will find that you too will benefit from the experience. One client recently said, “I’ve seen a positive change not only in my kids but in myself as well.”

We've heard many parents say:

"My daughter feels like a complete stranger" ... "It feels like my son is in control of our household" ... "I am tired of the constant conflict" ... "My family is stuck in a rut and I'm worried there's no way out."

Parents are tired of living under stress, fear, and constant worry about the people they love most - their kids. The good news is families can now get the help they so desperately need through coaching. Coaching helps parents tap into their own intuition to find the answers they need to create the loving home environments they long for and deserve.

Don't wait until it's too late. Many families believed things would get better, and when they didn't, they sent their kids to long-term residential programs. Many families have indicated if they knew then what they know now they would never have resorted to sending their children and teens away.

So why not be pro-active before things get out of hand. If the questions below sound all too familiar call and find out if coaching is for you.

Has your pre-teen or teen become:

- A complete stranger?
- Defiant or disrespectful to you or others?
- Withdrawn or depressed? Does he or she suffer from low self-esteem?
- Unsociable, spending too much time on the computer?

Is your child:

- A good kid making bad choices? Choosing undesirable peers?
- Not working to his or her academic potential? Has he or she become an underachiever?
- Skipping school? Is truancy an issue?
- Failing school? Has he or she been suspended or expelled?
- Sexually active?

Are you:

- Frustrated with your child's negative behavior?
- Concerned about substance abuse or gang activity?
- Tired of the conflict, disruption, and despair?
- Exhausted in your attempts to create a more fulfilling relationship with your kids or grown child?
- Worried your teen or young adult lacks direction for his or her future?
- Stuck in a rut?

Are you ready to finally get the peace you deserve?

Positive Family Solutions is dedicated to bringing HOPE to families! We provide convenient one-on-one telephone coaching, in-person coaching, and workshops for parents, guardians, teens, and pre-teens.

So, what are you waiting for?

Isabelle understands the challenges of today's fast-paced world and is dedicated to bringing HOPE to families - one family at a time!

Call (360) 723-5253 today and learn how you can become your teen’s coach or e-mail us at

For more information please visit our website at

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Positive results

Parents and teens are seeing the results of parent / teen coaching. Where there was once a disconnect parents and teens are finding more effective ways to communicate and to create an environment they can both enjoy. The relationship they build today will go with them forever. Explore coaching, it truly can change your life!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Isabelle Zehnder, Founder and CEO of Positive Family Solutions, LLC, provides Family and Life Coaching. She is a Professional Coach and is a member of the International Coaching Federation and their Local Chapter, Northwest Coaching Association. She is an Expert Ezine author and has written many articles regarding the welfare of children and the importance of the family unit.

She has introduced "Parents and Teens, Unite!"

Visit her website at She offers free 30-minute consultations, so if you are a parent who is distraught and at your wits end, give her a call at (360) 369-6547.

Isabelle's Philosophy on Coaching is:

Coaching is anchored on the belief that people are Creative, Resourceful, and Whole, and that within each of us lies the Power to reach our full potential. Once we are able to unleash that power we can achieve our own personal, self-defined outcomes.

Positive Family Solutions, LLC, and Parents and Teens, Unite! are built on the belief that within each parent lies the power to effectively and lovingly parent their teens and pre-teens. And within each teen lies the power to be a productive, caring, and loving family member.

Coaching is an ongoing partnership. It is a journey to discover who you are and who you truly want to be. It is a process that produces profound, measurable results. Clients come to coaching because they are looking for change or have important goals they hope to attain.

Coaching can create harmony when once there was discord - joy where once there was despair - peace of mind where once there was confusion – happiness where once there was sadness.

Most people strive for a better quality of life. They want more joy and more quality time with their children. Coaching can help them unleash the power within so they attain their goals and dreams!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Isabelle Zehnder: Announcement

Isabelle Zehnder, Founder and President of the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA) is announcing she is expanding. She has recently founded Positive Family Solutions, LLC to provide Professional Child, Teen, and Parent Coaching services. Isabelle will continue to serve families and the public through her advocacy work with CAICA.

Most recently, Isabelle coached a distraught mother and her daughter. The mother called Isabelle after finding her website, She felt she was being pressured into making a hasty decision and appreciated Isabelle's advice to "take a breath" and be sure she had fully researched the industry to determine whether or not her daughter truly needed to be placed into residential treatment. After some discussions and research she realized the issues were not insurmountable and that she could most likely work this out at home with the help of coaching and local group therapy for ther daughter. After coaching her and her daughter, Isabelle received the following e-mails:

"Your insight is empowering. I had no idea this industry (behavioral boarding schools ect.) even existed until I recently started looking for help for my daughter. It's unbelievable how many programs are out there & how many kids are in them. The thought of it not being regulated is very scary. I have decided at this point to seek as much help as possible for my daughter while she remains at home. I have also come to realize that the constant conflict between us isn't getting us any where so I am trying to let go & let her learn some life lessons on her own ... I would be "very" interested in your service to help us to communicate better. I do feel as though most of our problems are based on lack of communication. I also know that my daughter has serious issues with abandonment since her father moved 3,000 miles away."

She most recently received this e-mail:
"It was really great talking to you! You have helped put things into perspective for me. It is a very difficult decision but knowing that there are people like you out there who only have the kids best interest at heart takes away the fear of the unknown about programs & the process. And reminding me to take a deep breath & not make rash decisions was just what I needed to hear & I am following your advise. You were very instrumental in getting me thru probably the most difficult time I have had as a parent & I will always be grateful that our paths crossed. It would have been so sad if I sent her to a boarding school & lost this time with her all because of an abusive boyfriend."

Isabelle has spent the past three years researching and reporting child abuse, neglect, and deaths in residential treatment facilities and other residential programs for children and teens. She put together the most comprehensive website on the topic, She was awarded the TASH Award in Excellence for Public Service in 2006 and was recently asked to serve on the TASH Public Policy Committee. She has also been asked to speak at their 2007 conference.

Isabelle has spent the past three years finding out what is wrong - she believes it is time to see what she can do to make it right!

Isabelle knows she cannot possibly do this alone. She is a team player who believes it will take a group of dedicated individuals to effect change. She has collaborated with a team of professionals who are putting together a comprehensive program to serve children with disabilities and/or behavioral issues and their families.

Isabelle recently met with Rose Moore of ADHD Child Advocate Services who will work together and with other professionals to provide quality services for these children and their families. Each of these professionals are currently working to assist families - they will now join together to provide a complete wrap-around program that will see children with disabilities and/or behavioral issues through the entire process from evaluation to reintegration.

It is their goal to provide a complete wrap-around program that will see chidlren with disabilities and/or behavioral issues through the entire process. They will then provide their professional services to evaluate the child and to work with the families, the school districts, and the judicial system to ensure each child is provided the best possible services he or she needs and deserves. If issues arise where a child is not receiving the services necessary the professional team will work together to advocate for the child in the school and court systems.

It is our goal to avoid unecessary placement into residential treatment settings whenever possible. Because school districts, therapists, and the court system are quick to refer children to residential treatment, and because parents are finding themselves at their wits' end and unable to cope, our team of professionals will work to provide viable options to work with the child within the school system and their home environment whenever possible. We believe placement into residential treatment settings should be the last option after exhausting all other rememdies.

Our team provides a wide array of services for the child and his or her family. We advocate for children with disabilities, weaving our way through the school and legal systems to be sure the child receives the services he or she needs, while Isabelle provides Parent, Child, and Teen Coaching to help families through the process.

We understand there are times when a child will need to be placed into a residential treatment setting. In that event, we will work with the families, the school disctricts, and the court system to ensure the child is placed into a safe, therapeutic environment, and our team of professionals will monitor the child during his or her stay in the facility.

We will not stop there. In order for this to be a complete wrap-around service, we will provide our services to children, teens, and parents when the child returns home to help the family reunite and to help the child or teen integrate back into the school system and into society.

About Isabelle:

25 years of research in child behavior and child development;

Attended and participated in series of seminars on child abuse & prevention;

Founder and Manager of Positive Family Solutions, LLC, dba Parents and Teens Unite, where I will provide coaching to parents, teens, and pre-teens who can benefit from the tools and resources I can provide. I plan to not only offer coaching and mentoring, but I will also offer workshops, seminars, parent/child, and parent/teen retreats;

Founder and President of the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse "CAICA", an organization working to bring awareness and change in the for-profit youth industry that, for the most part, is unregulated. I learned of the injustices that occur in these facilities October 2004 and have felt compelled to make a difference for the children who have been harmed and their parents who have been defrauded;

Expanded my efforts as the Founder and President of CAICA to bring about awareness and change regarding the injustices that occur to children in mental health facilities, juvenile justices systems, and other state-funded facilities;

Working with parents, former students, lawyers, government officials, Child Protective Services, and the press to promote regulation and monitoring of the so-called “teen-help” industry;

Member of Board of Advisors, volunteer investigator, and researcher for Tom Coleman at the Emancipation Project, working to promote regulation and monitoring of the “teen-help” industry;

Founder and President of Positive Solutions (1995 to 1998) providing community workshops for parents, children, and teens, including Mommy and Me, Terrific Twos, Cooking for Kids, Parents and Teens Unite (a program designed to bring parents and teens together and to help them learn new ways to effectively communicate and understand one another); Babysitting Tips for Teens;

Volunteered for bi-annual Summit Meeting for Teens, a program designed to teach teens effective ways to communicate with their parents and to better understand their needs as well as the needs of their parents;

Worked as a legal Secretary/Paralegal for 7 1/2 years;

After-school tutor, tutoring children with learning disabilities and those who needed assistance to meet their potential;

Operated a licensed in-home child care providing a safe, loving, and educational environment for young children;

What a few people who know her have to say:

I would like to take a moment to recognize the most dedicated child's advocate I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I have known Isabelle for the past 8 years when my young daughter was having difficulty reading. Isabelle was her private tutor and with the most tender approach helped my struggling 2nd grader achieve miraculous advancement in her reading ability. My daughters self esteem in reading was built in whole by the patience and understanding Isabelle used in her technique. In short a wonderful relationship has been built between her and my entire family.

In terms of the teen incarceration efforts that she has displayed as an advocate for freeing both known friends and perfect strangers I have never seen such a gallant effort on any single person’s part. This woman has opened her home and heart working literally thousands of hours of her own time including evenings, weekends, and holidays even when I knew she was completely exhausted. I must also say that she has done this without a single penny of reimbursement to herself. In fact I know she has spent thousands of dollars of her own hard earned money towards this cause. I could never in this short amount of space convey to any person how deeply committed to children and their rights she truly is. What's going on in these facilities is simply horrifying! She has taken each and every child into her heart and has helped numerous families by taking the time to both explain conditions and opening their eyes to the true disgusting conditions these children are being put into.

I am so very proud to know such a dedicated human being. What she has accomplished in a very short amount of time I am sure will help thousands of children and their families. She has touched all of us with her kind actions.

Yours Truly,

Donna Rutherford


Having worked closely with Isabelle Zehnder for some time, I can attest to her deeply held convictions about the rights and well-being of children. She possesses a true zeal for this work that brings her seemingly endless energy, compassion, and empathy.

I cannot think that there are many better advocates for the countless voiceless children and teenagers that have been thrown away into behavior modification camps. She has my trust and respect, and believe that she has the fortitude to continue to work to educate parents, children, and communities about the danger and moral repugnance of these behavior modification programs.

Anthony Suter
Performance Librarian
University of Texas at Austin


In the ten years I have known Isabelle I have never known her to lie and she is always a champion of what is right, especially when it comes to the welfare of children.

I have seen her go to extraordinary lengths in this regard. When she says this needs doing, I believe her.

Judy Hill


Isabelle and I have been neighbors for almost three years. Soon after moving into the neighborhood I was in a serious car accident. She called and came over often to see if I needed anything. I knew I could count on her and from there our friendship flourished.

As a mother, grandmother, and educator of young children I recognize and understand Isabelle’s passion to protect children and their rights. As a society we tend to forget that children have inalienable rights before they turn 18.

Isabelle is trying to make a difference for children in such situations and to educate the public as to these injustices. She is a sincere, caring, trustworthy, and dependable person trying to make a difference in our society.

Friend and neighbor,
Sally Shooter

Isabelle Zehnder, Founder and President of CAICA

The Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse (CAICA) was founded in 2004 by Isabelle Zehnder.

Isabelle has recently prepared a letter to staff who have worked in abusive facilities asking that they come forward and report what they witnessed. Last summer she helped locate a law firm that would assist families that have been harmed. What started as a 3-plaintiff lawsuit has grown to 82 plaintiffs, and more are expected to join.

She has spent the past three years researching this industry, helping families, mentoring children who have been abused, providing the public with what has been called the most comprehensive website on this topic, working with lawyers and legislators. She has listened to hundreds of stories from children who have been abused and neglected in these programs. She has researched and reported on deaths in programs, something that has been extremely difficult to do. She consults with families in crisis who do not want to make the same mistakes so many others have made.

What she has uncovered has been chilling. It has been the consistency of the children's stories that has convinced her this is a huge, silent, national problem that desperately needs attention. The child/teen help industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar per year industry, and there is no sign of it slowing down any time soon.

Advocacy for this cause has been difficult at best. There are radical groups that want all programs shut down. Isabelle realizes this is not the answer. She has worked to find other organizations and advocacy groups that can assist in her efforts to regulate this industry. After spending the past three years researching deaths in these facilities she has concluded that dangerous face-down prone restraints have been the cause of most restraint deaths. Therefore, Isabelle has recently spearheaded a campaign to ban the use of these deadly restraints.

Isabelle hopes that more people will come forward to be a voice for children who do not have a voice. Time and time again it has been reported that once children and teens are locked behind closed doors of some facilities they have no access to the outside world. Some have gone as long as 18 months or more without speaking with their parents, some have gone as long as 2 years or more without seeing their parents. They are cut off from all contact with other family members and friends. They are allowed to write letters to their parents and parents are allowed to write letters to their children. However, it has been reported that all mail is censored and that often parts of these letters have been blacked out. All at the urging of the program. No clinical studies have proven these methods are effective. There is plenty of proof that it is not beneficial either to the parents or the child. It is not effective in bringing the family unit together.

The bottom line is that children are being abused, neglected, and are dying in some residential programs. This needs to stop. Families do need help at times and they should not have to fear for their child's safety when seeking that help.

Isabelle encourages parents who are considering placing their child or teen in a program or facility away from home to contact her at She provides a free, one-hour consultation to help parents make an informed decision for their child. As mentioned above, this industry is not regulated. There is no Federal oversight and there is no governing body monitoring what goes on behind closed doors. This leaves the door wide open for abuse and neglect to occur. Isabelle believes it is vital that parents seeking residential placement for the child or teen be well informed. This is one of the biggest decisions parents will make, so making it in haste, out of fear, and without doing research can be disasterous, as we have too often seen.