Dove with Branch
January 8, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I am contemplating marriage to a man who will bring two children, ages 11 and 15, to the home. His children accept me and I like them but his concept of discipline is very different than mine. He lets them do things that I would never allow and doesn’t punish them when they violate the rules. What’s more he will not let me discipline them when they refuse to obey, even when he is not present. Should we hold off marriage until this issue is resolved and how do we go about resolving it? – Almost Happy

Dear Almost Happy, Of course you shouldn’t get married until this issue is resolved. The two of you need to have a discussion so that each of you will understand the other’s views on parenting. You then need to devise a plan that will work for both of you. And you both need to agree to support the plan and to fully support the other parent’s efforts to carry it out. Any discussion or disagreement must not show to the children. You might start with the question of whether you are going to teach the children responsibility, or just to obey authority. – the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a problem. My husband’s children are unruly and are always picking arguments with me and my children. My husband supports his children and thinks mine are snobs. How can we solve this problem? – Barbara in San Antonio

Dear Barbara, You don’t have a family. You have two families living together under the same roof. I suggest you solve this problem now or find an additional roof. Your solution is very similar to Almost Happy above. The two of you need to get together and decide how you are going to parent, and then do it in a way that is supported by both. When we adopt children we accept them as our own. It is important that we think of our step-children in the same way. Family is the issue, not blood. Who you live with is your family. It is up to you to have the kind of family you want to have. Happy families require love and respect from each to all. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

Contrary to all of the strife we have in the world, I get the feeling that peace is breaking out all over. I feel this way because of all the e-mail I am receiving from people telling me about their own personal peace projects and what other groups are doing; stories about churches and universities that are establishing peace centers. The common thread that runs through all of these is that they are positive centers for peace and are not established as resistance movements.

It looks as if we are really beginning to learn the lesson that we do not establish peace by fighting wars. Fighting against war is not peace. It is just another kind of war. We think that to fight for peace is justified because of the purpose, but it is still war! It is impossible to be peaceful when we are fighting for anything. If we are going to have peace the first thing we must learn is to stop fighting, even for good stuff like peace. The very fight itself produces a lack of peace.

When we have learned to be at peace with ourselves and those around us then it will be able to create peace in the world. As long as there is power in the belief we can impose our way on others or solve our differences through force we cannot be peaceful. The more of us who achieved this, the more peace we will have. Learn peace – teach peace – and we will have peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We use anger in disciplining our children because we become upset at what they do, and we then become angry. We then tend to mix our anger in with the lessons we are trying to teach the child. But when we mix the “lesson” with the anger, we end up teaching the child its okay to respond with anger. As parents we often don’t even realize that we are using anger. So the first step in dealing with your anger as a parent is to become aware of how you feel when you relate to your children.

When we respond out of love, the child learns love. If we are free of anger, we teach children love, not anger. We give them a life of positive feelings. Just knowing that we can raise our child without anger should be reason enough for us to put forth the effort to get rid of our own anger.

Learn to talk about feelings with your children. Find out what upsets them and why. Find out why they feel the way they do. Work with them to solve the problems and to release their anger. Even though their friends display anger, they can learn from you that they don’t need to use it themselves. Teach them that they can be far more effective, and accomplish more as a person, if they are not controlled by anger.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I will pay attention to when I experience anger in relating to my children.

Tuesday: I understand that I am my children’s teacher.

Wednesday: I understand that my children have learned their lesson’s in life from me.

Thursday: If my children make a mistake it is because they have not yet learned how to deal with a particular issue.

Friday: When my children make a poor choice I lovingly teach them how to make a better one.

Saturday: I accept my children’s failures and appreciate their successes.

Sunday: The life my children experience will reflect my success as a teacher and a parent.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

My Phone Seminar for this week is: Learning how to Evaluate your Beliefs

Our beliefs systems are self- validating. We always believe our own truths. Learn how to recognize when your truths are not right for you. Learn how to create a new truth to take its place.

You can schedule a phone seminar for the days offered. You can schedule them at your convenience for any day Monday through Thursday between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM Pacific Time by calling 800-359-6015 or e-mailing at least 24 hours in advance to arrange a scheduled time.

The price is $15.00 for a one hour seminar. If you subscribe to my free newsletter “Insights from the Dean of Peace” you are entitled to two free phone seminars to use at your convenience.

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Past issues of this newsletter for the year 2006 are archived on my website.

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I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to


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Dean Of Peace | P.O. Box 535 | Elmira | OR | 97437