Discipline? Absolutely, as long as it’s positive
Relationship of balance and discipline
What does the word discipline conjure up for you? Takes you right back to childhood, right? Did you like being disciplined? I bet not.

When I talk about the benefits of shared power, connection, and problem solving, parents inevitably ask, “Are you saying that we shouldn’t discipline our children?” or “Isn’t that undermining my authority?” Great questions.

The dictionary defines discipline as “using punishment to correct disobedience”. However self-discipline is defined as “train[ing] oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way”. When you discipline yourself, do you inflict punishment on yourself? A sacrifice may be necessary but only if you want a new habit more than you want the old one.

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Gaming: Hobby or Addiction?
Gaming: Hobby or Addiction?

Do you worry that your child who loves gaming more than anything else has an addiction?

If so, chances are you panic and fear a future for your child that is not pretty. In that emotional state you react in anger and wield threatening consequences when your child resists and get into ugly power struggles that create a wider and wider gulf between you. You feel hopeless and your child grabs for every screen second he can. “Consequences” do nothing.

There is a big difference between a hobby gamer and an addicted gamer — and you need to know the difference.

Gaming is a thrill for many kids. It’s an arena where success and feeling in charge are more easily achieved for children who don’t find it in school or social relationships. It’s easy to connect with others through a game, and mastery is euphoric. It’s the mastery part that can be addictive, especially for the child who finds it nowhere else.

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How to Get to Calm: Lessons from the Oregon Trail
Getting to Calm

What would it take for you to stay calm when it comes to managing your kids’ behavior? Sometimes it feels like a herculean task.

Remember the Oregon trail? One wagon after another followed the tracks made by earlier wagons. The ruts got deeper and deeper as more wagons rode west. In places, a person could stand in ruts up to their waist. It would have been impossible for a wagoneer to veer off in another direction.

When we react to our children the same way over and over, we dig ourselves into emotional and behavioral ruts. Ruts run especially deep when they stem from beliefs we hold about ourselves learned in childhood. If you believe you’re never good enough, a disappointment, or unlovable, etc. from remarks made by parents or teachers, those beliefs stick and can drive your behavior.

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Helping Teens Cope with Stress
stressed teenager

So many parents are concerned about how stressed out their teens are. Helping them cope with stress can be tricky when it seems like they don’t want our help or interference. I asked Jennifer Salerno to write a blog for you based on her book, Teen Speak, an essential guide in communicating with your teen. Teenagers seem like they don’t want us around, but when we connect in ways they can hear, we provide the support they both need and want.

Dr. Jennifer Salerno, founder and CEO of Possibilities for Change and author of Teen Speak writes:

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When Your Child Feels Worry or Despair
Worry, Despair

Don’t go underground when you see worry or despair in your child.

What do I say to my kids when they seem consumed with worry or despair for their futures and when tragedy cuts down innocent lives? When leaders demonstrate behaviors that I work hard to steer my children away from and demonstrate intolerance where I want to teach them tolerance? And in their day-to-day lives when they complain of teachers and kids treating them unfairly or feeling pressured to do what doesn’t interest them? I feel helpless when I can’t answer their questions.

More and more I hear parents describe their children as anxious and angry, who see no reason to strive in school, who seem engulfed in worry and despair. The worry may not be voiced but shows up when they drop out of activities, lose friends and spend more time alone in their rooms gaming and on social media. Is this what’s happening to kids now because we are not tough enough on them or is this a reflection of the world we live in?

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New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Exhausting Things to Give Up
Fun parenting

If you’re making New Year’s resolutions this year, remember less is more. The key to becoming a better and happier parent in the new year is NOT to add on any expectations of yourself that you can’t be successful meeting. You’ll just feel worse. That does no one any good.

Some parents need to spend more time with their kids and actually do more at home so their kids can have a childhood instead of being expected to run the household. My guess is that most parents reading this blog would do better to subtract from what they are presently doing, let go of some of their assumed obligations, know what they are responsible for and drop the rest, and let their children fight or play more on their own with less parental supervision.

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Childhood Beliefs: The Keepers of the Secrets
Children's beliefs

When long-held childhood beliefs are dashed, parents need to pick up the pieces and initiate children into the keepers of the secrets.

“Mom, you’re the tooth fairy, aren’t you?” accused my nine year old daughter out of the blue one morning holding the evidence in her fingers. Molly had conducted a private test after finding an old tooth (who knows where). She put her tooth in the appointed spot. But this time the tooth fairy had not taken it, nor left money in it’s place.

Busted. “Yeah, it’s true,” I said smiling to myself. This was not hard. She was clearly old enough to know that there was no fairy who flew in her window to leave her money for a tooth. She was disappointed but her disappointment was tempered by her pride in her detective skills.

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Mindful Parenting: Accept Not Knowing

Why are we obsessed with having the answers?

What am I supposed to do? How much should I push? When do I pull back? What is the right answer? When is this child ever going to learn….? What am I to do?

We seem to be constantly questioning ourselves and our competency. We’re never good enough. Perfectionism seems to be on the rise. Is it human nature or is it the chaotic world we presently inhabit that seems to foster addictions to performance and outcome — the “shoulds” of life? Most of us worry about what has been and what will come. It’s amazing how much one simple “should” can create anxiety in an otherwise perfectly fine moment.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Power Struggles

When my daughter Molly was five, I was exhausted and drained everyday. I couldn’t see a way out of our daily power struggles. She was pushing all my buttons, and I was reacting with hostility. But it was the mental notes playing in my head that got me the most. I was worried we would fight always. Fortunately I was wrong.

One morning, the same whiny, grumpy face approached with that ever-present protruding lower lip—but something was different. Every other morning when I saw this face, I thought to myself, “She’s out to get me. She’s doing this on purpose to make me mad.”

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The Bossy Child

Do you have a bossy child? One who tells others what to do, how to play the game, what to say? A child who throws a fit if things don’t go her way?

“Bossy” is a word that gets our dander up. “Bossy” typically translates for a frustrated parent as mean, rude, know-it-all, bully, show-off, controller—basically a child who will wind up with no friends. With labels and images like this swirling inside, the parent of a “bossy” child typically becomes controlling in reaction in order to stop the bossy behavior and turn it into socially acceptable behavior.

The problem with that: You are reacting to assumed ideas and predictions. Whether it’s from past experience or from witnessing other children not wanting to play with your child, you react to those fears—what you think is the truth. And fears interfere with the connection your child desperately needs from you.

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