I know how vexing and charged the topic of getting your teen to talk and open up is because I have a teen and tween of my own. Staying close to your child and tuned into their world is a much more delicate balance than it once was. When once your child would get in the car and tell you all about their friends, what they have for homework that night and anything random that might have popped into their head, they now tell you they need their privacy and don’t really want to share with you. It can feel both hurtful and disappointing. I love the analogy Dr. Lisa Demour, author of the book Untangled uses to describe the change in the relationship, she says, “In your child’s teen years you are now a brussel sprout, when once you were a jellybean.” I don’t know about you, but I really miss the jellybean days!
I ask parents, who do you want your child to be? How do you want them to show up in the world? There are three main character traits that I hear consistently across all families: fair, caring, and self-disciplined. Even though character traits can be somewhat innate, they can also be cultivated through social-emotional learning (SEL). Here are some specific SEL tools that can help you nurture the character traits you may want to see in your children.
What would happen if your family committed to just one week of going screen-free? Would you or your child experience panic, anxiety, unease, resentment? Most parents and teens spend about nine hours a day in front of screens and agree that limiting their screen time to just school or work would be a major challenge. Eighty-three percent of the nine hours in front of screens typically has nothing to do with work or school and is spent texting, listening to music, watching shows and movies, playing video games, browsing websites, and using social media.
It happens to us all. You cannot escape it. The pit in your stomach, the breaking of your heart when you have to step back and let go. It keeps happening- over and over. Letting go of the infant who is now off to preschool, the toddler who clings to you on the first day of kindergarten, your sweet little child who is a tween going into middle school worried about what everyone else thinks, your young adult starting high school with influences around you hope you prepared them to manage and of course the ultimate letting go when your child is leaving the nest altogether...they move out!
Transitioning to the teen years can be confusing and exasperating, as well as exciting and enjoyable for both parents and children. There are so many changes taking place in your teen’s life that it can be difficult to keep up with the growth they are experiencing physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. And with these changes come new challenges, such as the way you communicate with your teen, how much screen time they are allotted, how much independence you are willing to grant them, as well as increased responsibilities.
Since the moment your child was born, your no. 1 job was to simple: Keep this little person alive. As you begin navigating the maze of parenting, grasping the complexities of feeding and nutrition likely felt overwhelming. It turns out ho you nourish your child is a journey that doesn't end until, well.... ever. Your influence may wane, but your desire to ensure your child makes smart, healthy choices won't.
We all have a vision for how we would like our families to be, look and feel. Instead of solely focusing on specific goals or the outcomes you hope to produce for your family or your parenting this year, maybe look at the year as part of a longer journey. The journey of becoming the parent you want to be for the child(ren) you are raising. The journey is not about being a perfect parent or mastering your challenges in parenting in just one calendar year. Rather, the journey is a period of time when you get to learn, mess up, and try again. This journey is an opportunity to change in ways you had no idea were possible.
The role of consequences is simple: To teach.
Consequences give children the chance to learn real-world skills from their mistakes and to solve problems. In fact, you want your kids to make as many mistakes as they can while they are young so that they get good at solving problems and facing challenges. That is all a consequence is — an opportunity to learn from a mistake.
As parents, it is our responsibility to set limits. And every family’s values and structure is different. It is important to have a conversation with your child about limits look like in your family long before the technology comes out so that he/she is clear on what the expectations and limits are. Being clear about the limits and actually following through are the keys to avoiding power struggles. If we bend and make exceptions here and there we are literally encouraging them to test the limits.
Do you want your little one to be happy and find success throughout their life? Do you feel the need to tour and enroll your child in the top schools in your city in order to get them into a good university one day? Do you think your child will be at a disadvantage if they are not involved in an assortment of activities and sports? If you answered yes to most or even some of these questions, then you may have already fallen prey to one of the sad untruths in raising children today:
Academics = Success. It’s just not that simple!
At the beginning of a new year, we are motivated to set goals related to what we are going to do more or less of to make ourselves a better or happier person. We often neglect to set clear intentions for our families during this time (or anytime for that matter).
The problem is that setting a goal can lead you down the path towards judgment of how things "should be," and with judgment comes stress, anxiety and even depression.
Are you concerned that your child is “out of control” when they are: acting aggressively, talking over others, grabbing, have difficulty taking turns or simply doing things you have asked them not to? Many parents get frustrated by their child’s lack of self or impulse control, especially when their child knows the rules or the consequences of breaking them.
Using Timeouts is a hot and touchy topic! Most parents tell me it is not effective and is used in a heated moment when they don't know what else to do. That is why I want to share with you new and better ways to use timeouts in your parenting. I was interviewed a while back for a piece in ParentMap Magazine on this topic and also appeared on Fox News in Seattle to answer questions about when, why and how we use timeouts in our parenting. I wanted to make sure I got all of your questions answered about timeouts so that you too can use this intervention more effectively and respectfully.
Emotion Coaching is not just a parenting style. It is also a tool developed by John Gottman to help and teach our children to handle challenges and also a means of developing a relationship with our children based on trust and mutual respect. Emotion coaching helps parents guide their children through life’s ups and downs in a way that builds confidence, resilience and strong relationships. Developed by Dr. John Gottman, author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, this process helps children learn how emotions work and how to behave in healthy ways when their feelings are strong. It also teaches the skills that help children to thrive both socially and academically.
What Is An Emotion Coaching Parent?
When we think about raising our children we only want the best for them, whether it is doing well in school, having a large group of friends, or excelling in a sport or area of interest. Most parents will do whatever it takes to support their child in being successful in all three arenas no matter the sacrifice. Parents will step in and advocate, buy the latest gadgets for kids so they fit in, "help" with difficult projects and papers and protect and guide kids every step of the way. As parents, we feel proud and accomplished when our kids are successful. These types of behaviors can often be identified as overprotective or "over-parenting" and have the potential to squelch a child's confidence, undermine a child's opportunity to learn, take responsibility and gain independence.
Incorporating more routine and consistency can help decrease power struggles and increase cooperation and fun in your home!
Every parent at one time or another has either thought about or made a chart for their child. It almost never seems like there is enough time to get out the door in the morning or get kids to bed without power struggles no matter how much time you have. The type of charts that I suggest using are not reward charts, because there are no stickers or prizes that your child identifies or earns. Yet, there are valuable gifts that are received... the gift of life skills and responsibility! Now, who doesn’t feel great about helping their child develop confidence, independence, and responsibility?!
It’s that time again. The summer is quickly coming to an end, and back-to-school is approaching. Just thinking about the transition back to school can induce anxiety not only in kids, but also in parents and teachers. I personally had a mental breakdown last week just trying to figure out how I’m going to get my kids to and from two different schools, schedule and drive to a handful of extracurricular activities, and make dinner each night, all while managing my own work schedule. I spent two hours on calendaring and still haven’t figured out how to make it all happen.