"Whale Done Parenting"

November 23, 2009 10:05:00 AM PST
Whenever your child throws a temper tantrum, just think of Shamu. That's the idea behind a new book written by a veteran killer-whale trainer from SeaWorld. "Through our work with Shamu over the years, we've discovered that many of the simple methods used to teach positive behaviors to Shamu, will also work well for kids," says Chuck Thompkins, the author of an innovative new parenting book, "Whale Done Parenting." Thompkins joined the world's bestselling business author, Ken Blanchard in writing "Whale Done Parenting" which is based on the positive relationship philosophy of animal training that SeaWorld pioneered. The book translates those principles into fun tips for parents to help set their children up for success. While the book is particularly useful to parents of toddlers, Tompkins says the tips can also help parents of teens. A skilled trainer and loving father, Thompkins raised two boys with the philosophies he learned training marine mammals.

"Whale Done Parenting" is a follow up to the successful "Whale Done" business book released in 2002; that book made the New York Times bestseller list.

There are certain negative behaviors that Thompkins calls "emotional Super Bowls." The marquee example is the temper tantrum, he says, and dealing with that involves three basic training principals: set children for success, redirect or ignore their bad behavior and reward the positive.

1) Set children up for success. For example, if you expect your child might throw a temper tantrum over getting candy at the grocery store, follow this plan. Before going to the store, tell your child there might be a reward for being really good at the store today. Or avoid the candy aisle altogether so the child doesn't the chance to get upset.

2) Ignore or redirect the situation. Take the child out of the environment. Calm the child down, wait until the tantrum is over and then talk to the child. The child won't listen or understand while extremely upset. Yelling only makes a child more mad and possibly sad; nothing has been learned.

We're a bunch of problem solvers. Thompkins says. "We stick the pacifier or give them candy. But that's not good because you're rewarding them for bad behavior and only solving the immediate problem not the long-term problem. What we should do, on the other hand, is try to fix the problem."

3) Reward when good behavior happens. Bring attention to things when they go right. Reinforce the positive. This way there's a better chance that they'll remember that feeling of being rewarded and do it again next time.

To learn more about "Whale Done Parenting" visit learnwithshamu.com

CHUCK TOMPKINS

CORPORATE CURATOR OF ZOOLOGICAL OPERATIONS FOR BUSCH ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION

Chuck Tompkins is the Corporate Curator of Zoological Operations for Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), the parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. He has worked for the SeaWorld parks for more than three decades, much of that time as the Vice President of Animal Training for SeaWorld Orlando.

Chuck has experience with more than 100 different animal species including killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, primates, raptors, hoof stock and canines. He is responsible for the physical and behavioral health of all animals under SeaWorld and Busch Gardens' care and helps to oversee animal acquisitions and transports.

Chuck is a Florida state-certified and federally-permitted Master Falconer, and has won numerous training awards from the International Marine Animal Association. He has written and co-authored many scientific papers on training and behavior.

In 2002, Chuck co-authored a New York Times best-selling book, "Whale Done," with Ken Blanchard. In 2009, Chuck and Ken Blanchard, the world's best-selling business author, again teamed up to produce "Whale Done Parenting." As a result of these books, Chuck frequently presents keynote speeches promoting the power of positive relationships.

Chuck holds professional memberships in the International Marine Animal Trainers Association, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. Chuck has served as the training advisor for Canine Companions for Independence (Florida Region) and was a board member for the Central Florida Blood Bank, the Boys and Girls Club and the American Cancer Society.

Chuck lives in Windermere, Florida with his wife, Cathy, and two sons, Cody and Jared.


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