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?

read more
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.

read more
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.

read more
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.

read more
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.”

read more
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.

read more
10 Ways to Keep Up with Your Teen
Teen

Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep up with life. To keep up with your teen can seem daunting.

Your relationship with your teen can make or break your teen’s experience and relationships with peers, friends, school, and family. Research shows that connection with family is the #1 preventive factor in substance abuse, addiction, pregnancy, and school failure throughout the teen years.

Connection means that when faced with a dilemma or decision, your teen will first think what would my parents say? instead of what would my friends say? Connection does not guarantee smart decision-making—your teen is in the developmental risk taking years—but it puts you first and foremost in your teen’s mind. If your teen fears punishment, thinks you will not understand, knows she can’t talk to you, she will turn to her friends for the support and understanding she needs.

read more
Defiant Child or Full of Integrity?
Defiant child

When your child misbehaves, do you see a defiant child or a child who is trying desperately to get it right? Your perception makes the difference.

Typically we see these children as stubborn, bull-headed, bossy, defiant, rude—a problem.

The parents I hear from most have children like my daughter. These children won’t take no for an answer and will not be told what to do. A defiant child is how I saw my daughter. They will stand their ground for as long as it takes to get someone to understand that they are right—in other words, maddening. These are the children who push our buttons. They lead us into reactive territory saying and doing the things we swore we never would. They cause us to drop exhausted and frustrated into bed every night worrying about the hopelessness of their futures. This is because of the way we perceive them.

read more
The Story of a Family
Family of two

by Julietta Cerin

This is the best complete description of Connective Parenting I know—all the better because it’s written by a mom who has struggled through the ups and downs and learned its immense value in her relationship with her child—in her family of two. I am grateful to Julietta for her hard work and for writing about it in this moving story. ~ Bonnie

This is a story about a tiny family of two. The mother is devoted to her little boy, considers his care her number one priority. The child, too, adores his mum. And yet the mother presents at parenting courses tearing her hair out at her son’s ‘defiant’, ‘uncooperative’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘destructive’ behaviour. She is bewildered that her son, as she sees it, deliberately breaks the rules in order to make her angry – and he does it so well. She feels that both her own anger and her child’s behaviour are out of control.

read more
Real Parenting for Real Kids
Real Parents for Real Kids

How many of you began the journey of parenthood even before pregnancy either assuming all will be fine and you will have that sweet, cuddly Gerber baby and be a great parent or going at it with fervor and determination that you will never do to your kids what was done to you—so therefore your children will be happy and loving? And you certainly won’t have kids like the ones you see acting out in the supermarket.

Most moms fit somewhere in this picture of hopes and expectations and end up finding themselves in very foreign territory. I certainly did. My first child allowed me to hold up the banner of “best mother in the world”. He was a peace of cake. It was my second child, my daughter who pulled me up short and turned, no snapped, my head around, but only after many years of power struggles and feeling like a terrible mother.
For Melissa Hood, my friend and colleague, it was the same. She too was lulled by an easy first and then… I’ll let her speak for herself. And then we’re going to give away one of her new books, Real Parenting, for Real Kids, hot off the British press.

read more