Dear 'GMA' Advice Guru Top 20 Finalists: Cooper Boone

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Cooper Boone from New York, NY, is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read his application below!

Essay

My name is Cooper Boone and I am the Advice Guru you are looking for! Helping people through their struggles, both big and small, is my professional and personal mission. I have two masters and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and slew of street life experience. For 15 years, I've worked with vastly diverse American cultures, from small children to centenarians; in the inner city of the South Bronx, to the farmers of America's heartland. Addictions, relationships, career changes, bed wetting, poverty, death -- I have helped people through every possible journey. My core philosophy is to know that where you are now is not the only option. Listen to your instincts and passions and let them guide you and the rest will come with hard work and support. Bring into your life what will bring you happiness -- no matter how big that accomplishment may seem. I walk that talk too. What I do outside of my psychology practice brings me that kind of balance and joy. ... It's my hope that your Advice Guru will have a broad life experience, a solid foundation in understanding human dynamics AND will offer a certain element of entertainment to their segments. Thank you for considering "Dr. Coop" for that job.

What's the best advice you have ever given? What was the result?

My best advice was to a parent who was struggling with her 5-year-old son. He was self-entitled, violent, followed no rules and had taken over the home. This single mom had given up and just allowed him to do whatever he wanted. Mom was depressed and felt helpless. She needed strong advice on how to take back control of her home and her child. The process was tough and I warned her that it would get worse before it got it better (which it did with colossal tantrums). Eventually, he relinquished control, her depression lifted and both are thriving. Consistency was the hardest part. She often wanted to buckle to make the tantrums stop but I GUARANTEED HER that it would get better if she didn't waver. Set rules early in your child's life with a structured, disciplined environment and you can avoid this struggle altogether.

Cooper Boone is a Finalist in GMA Advice Guru Contest

What would you tell this person: "Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?

SWEETHEART! The person who should be standing up for you is YOU. First things first! Ensnaring your husband is triangulating him and this kind of communication is ALWAYS a sure fail outcome. Stand up to her on your own. Be clear about what she does (be specific and give examples) and how it affects you. THEN, tell her what you expect from her in the future when this same situation arises and attempt to gain agreement from her. This is called assertive communication and can ONLY be done by you! Now remember these simple steps: 1. What was the behavior? 2. How did it affect you? 3. What do you want them to do in the future? 4. Get agreement!

What would you tell this person: "While cleaning my son's room, I accidentally saw on his Facebook page threatening remarks from his friends. I fear he's being bullied. What should I do?"

We know from recent headlines that bullying can kill so INTERVENE! Report the bully to Facebook. Block the bully on your kid's Facebook page. ALWAYS encourage your kids to talk about what's going on in their daily lives. If home is safe they will talk, if it's not, they will walk. Speak to school officials about the bully. This creates a RECORD that you, and possibly others bullied by this kid, have made attempts to address this issue. Not saying or doing anything could be deadly. I was viciously bullied as a child. At times, I thought I would never make it but I was too ashamed to ask for help. I vowed that one day I would help children AND adults that were bullied and here I am. Remember, bullies raise bullies, so be a good role model for your kid and teach them compassion and tolerance.

What would you tell this person: "My boss keeps taking credit for my ideas. What should I do?"

You boss is a jerk BUT she is still your boss and I assume you still need a job. She is the leader of your team and you, as a team player, are there to support the leadership of the company even if it's not the best leadership in the world. This happens every day so please know that you're not alone. What can you do? Be strategic! When you have valuable ideas, share them with other team members first so there is an office "knowing" what you contribute to the team. Toot your own horn a little without being too cocky. Infuse into your interactions with your boss things like "Please remember this at review time" or "Thanks for making some of my ideas come to life. I really appreciate it." This shows that you're not threatened while becoming invaluable to your boss. Go Get 'Em!

Submissions have been edited for length, style and clarity.

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