BY LAURA PFIZENMEYER
Fort Mill — According to his 4-year-old son Erik, Mark Viator is the “Most hated man in America by most kids.” Why? He’s educating parents on how to get the most unruly 4-year-old to stop kicking and screaming.
Viator shared his secrets at a recent seminar at St. Philip Neri Church. During the two-hour seminar, he explained sure-fire ways for parents to help children stop bickering, become self-motivated and to follow the rules at home and at school.
He advocates the “Smart Discipline” approach developed by Larry Koenig. This method employs techniques that encourage children to cooperate while boosting their self-esteem in the process. The first key step toward creating a harmonious home is to establish firm rules that children are expected to follow. It is important that children have input in creating the rules, focusing on issues that are key to the family such as whining, fighting and performing chores. Once the rules are established, the family as a group decides what happens when the rules are broken. It is critical that children help determine what privileges matter most, whether it’s playing video games or having friends over. A chart is used to monitor the children’s behavior. Once the rules and the charting system are established, parental follow-through and consistency are crucial to success.
Viator is the author and creator of the parenting book and seminar series “The Power of the Parent,” which teaches parents how to regain authority over their children. His seminar is based on his experiences in working for more than 15 years with students across the United States on issues including family, discipline, learning problems, and self-esteem development.
Oratorian Father John Guiliani, pastor at St. Philip Neri, said, “Our director of religious education, Mary Hardin, suggested that we bring ‘The Power of the Parent’ to our parish, and I’m so glad she did. Our parents need affirmation of their parenting abilities and Dr. Viator provides that.”
Viator has a doctorate in behavioral science. He is a nationally certified parent trainer and psychologist. He and his wife, Donna, have two children, Jessica, 11, and Erik, 4, and live in Baton Rouge, La.