Category Archives: Mental Health

What Are the Secrets that Make Children Successful?
Confident Kid

As far as I can tell, most parents want to raise successful children to reach launch-age fully capable of conducting their lives with responsibility and respect. When they leave the safety of their nests feeling self-confident, competent, resilient, and have the drive to contribute positively to the world, they are ready to greet whatever comes at them. We want our children to go out into the world capable of finding success yet able to weather the bumps and storms with a strong sense of self. But, what are the secrets that make children successful?

We do not want our kids to launch with the attitude that the world owes them, they are separate from the rules others must follow, and they shouldn’t have to work hard for what they want. We want them to create interdependent relationships with others and not use their individual power to push others out of their way.

Most of all we want our children to feel inspired and fulfilled in their lives, doing what they love, satisfied with most of their choices and in mutually

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5 Step Guide to Setting Successful Family Values
Family Values

Your goal for your children is to raise strong, self-confident, resilient, independent humans who contribute to society, right? This doesn’t just happen somewhere in the teen years. It starts from setting family values that begin with love, acceptance, support, and security from which they launch into their adult lives. This is their foundation. 

Your family values may need some intentional focus and repair to find the peace and cooperation you are looking for. Things don’t change by simply hoping they will. Raising a happy family takes intentional planning and work.

Look at the following elements of parenting to see where your focus needs to be now. Family values can change. Don’t take the whole job on at once. 

A. The Foundation: You, the parent. 

  1. Your modeling is the most important teacher for your child. It’s not what you say but what you do, who you are that teaches children how to be. You must behave in the way you hope your children to behave.
  2. Your self-control ultimately determines your child’s self-control. If you are a yeller, take your child’s behavior
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Gratitude from Your Child’s Perspective
mom and infant

“My child is so ungrateful.” 

“Why can’t he ever appreciate anything?”

“She has no consideration for anyone but herself.”

Gratitude isn’t something to be taught but to be experienced. I’m coming to understand that gratitude is hard to come by without love. It’s hard to feel gratitude or consideration for others when one feels unloved or unlovable. As Mr. Rogers said, “All anyone wants is to feel loved and know they are capable of loving.”

Love must involve feeling unconditionally accepted for who you are. That is the work for all parents. Once you can accept your child for who he is—that means not sending the message you wish he were different, she was more like her sister, he can’t meet up to your expectations, there’s something wrong with her—you never need worry about whether this child will be grateful or considerate of others. It doesn’t mean accepting behavior. It does mean accepting that this child at this moment in time is behaving this way because she can’t help it—because she is having a problem. 

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Addressing Heightened Aggression in Children: Understanding the Triggers and Implementing Effective Strategies
angry child

Heightened aggression in children, characterized by intense anger outbursts, defiance, and physical attacks, impacts children’s social interactions, academic progress, and emotional growth. Crucially addressed in early childhood, this issue, if unchecked, can result in lifelong anti-social or mental health issues.

Understanding the triggers and implementing effective strategies for such aggression is vital, requiring the collaboration of parents, teachers, and mental health professionals. This blog explores these triggers and offers strategies for mitigating such behaviors, thus improving children’s quality of life and contributing to healthier communities.

Unpacking the Triggers of Aggression

Unraveling the triggers of aggression in children is a complex task that requires a nuanced understanding of individual behaviors and broader environmental factors. By unpacking these triggers, we can move beyond simplistic views of aggression as purely “bad behavior” and start to understand the underlying causes, paving the way for more effective and compassionate interventions.

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8 Steps of a True Apology
Sorry

It’s really easy to get down on yourself for behaving regretfully toward your child. What’s hard is forgiving yourself because you’re human and making amends. 

Repairing mistakes is one of the best skills you can teach your child. Isn’t this what we want them to be able to do? Repairing, apologizing, owning up and being accountable for your behavior is the sign of a strong, responsible person—exactly what you want your child to become.

But it’s hard for many parents to own mistakes and make repairs. When you have learned through your childhood that apologizing, showing vulnerability by admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness, it is hard to do it with your child. It can feel like admitting defeat, losing authority, giving in. But the opposite is true.

Coming down off a righteous pedestal to apologize, to say I see it differently now and wish I hadn’t said what I did, to admit wrong-doing, is not backing down or being inconsistent and wishy-washy. On the contrary, it is the powerful thing to do.

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How to Stop Reacting in the Heat of the Moment
Mom's On The Phone!

We all know what it’s like to get our buttons pushed. It feels like an attack and a flooding of emotion. We tend to retaliate automatically—it’s that fight, flight or freeze reaction. Typically, we lay blame on our children for doing the pushing or ourselves for being inadequate. But seldom do we do anything to change this often damaging dynamic because it feels beyond control.

You’ve tried everything, right? Everything to get your children to change. But those buttons are our responsibility, not our children’s. They wouldn’t be pushing them if there were no button to push. Some parents, for instance, have an immediate reaction to being called “stupid”. Others do not. Why? Because it has to do with your individual past. Yes, your child needs to be accountable for her behavior, but if your button is pushed, you will react, teaching her the power of what did the pushing—calling you “stupid”, talking back, resisting, not listening, whatever triggers you. And so it continues.

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What do you do when your child “talks back”?
Kid Feeling Misunderstood

Q. My 8 year old son is constantly talking back to me and using vulgar language. I tell him that is not acceptable, and he keeps doing it. He argues and doesn’t listen to authority—my authority anyway. He’s fine at school. Teachers love him. When I was young, I would have been smacked if I said half of what he does. I’m at a loss. What do I do to stop this constant talking back and throwing crude words at me?

A. I, like you, was brought up to respect my elders—at any cost. I wasn’t allowed to say what I wanted, what I thought about anything, or express my opinion. Only adults had opinions. Having an opinion was never encouraged, never asked for, never listened to. If one came out, it was ignored or highly criticized as talking back. Life was about doing what grown-ups told you to do. Children were second-class citizens. Fortunately (I guess) my temperament kept me from ever expressing anger at my parents for keeping me quiet. I just simply stayed quiet. But my brother

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Helping Children Confront A Bully
Bullied Child

Q. Ines, 8, is a very sweet playing, sporty, capable but gentle friend. On the playground one of her better friends at school is starting to bully her. Tonight she was crying as the girl was telling her to go into a dark shed in the playground. Ines said she didn’t want to as she was afraid of the dark. The friend teased her for being a cry baby and insisted etc. My question is what do I do? I encouraged her to say STOP! and that you don’t like the way she is treating you, but she says that is not kind and she doesn’t want to be like her friend. I said to her that she needs to say stop for her friend’s sake too. She ‘practiced’ saying it but sounded like a mouse… that’s not going to transmit a message of strength. She’s going to a party tomorrow and this friend will be there. Ines is afraid that this girl will insist that the room be dark. I know the parents well and could talk to them

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Self-confident Kids are Best Prepared for Success
Teen With Father

 

Q. I have enjoyed reading many things on your website. My husband and I are the owners of 1 integrity child and 1 harmony child. The first makes me nearly lose my mind as I am an integrity person as well. My question is how do you help them understand that the world doesn’t revolve around their perceived needs? My own experiences were tough, and it took counseling to finally work through my own self esteem challenges. It is and has always been exhausting. He is 18 and a good boy. He is polite, smart, well-adjusted, and has tremendous integrity BUT argues with us over nearly anything not being done his way. We try to get in his head and help him, but life will not always accommodate that, and he fears failure. I would love any insight you could provide.

A. The fact that your son is polite, well-adjusted with tremendous integrity says that you have raised him respectfully. But your fears of the outside world not accommodating his temperament are misplaced. He will learn from experience what tracks

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When (and when not) to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

Q. While listening to one of your insightful podcasts, “Mom, When Can I Start Watching Porn?”, I heard you say “that the best time to start introducing your children to the mechanics of sex and how babies are made and born is between 4 and 6, before it becomes embarrassing, shocking and awkward. If you are saving “the talk” until kids ask, you may wait forever.” I have two daughters, ages 5 and 1. I always answer their questions as honestly as possible except when she was three and I was pregnant. She asked: “Mom, how did my baby sister get in there?” Not prepared, I froze. What, when and how do I share the answers to her future sex ed questions before she is too embarrassed to ask me? 

A. Don’t wait for the questions. They may never come. Sometime, ask her, “Do you remember when I was pregnant with your sister, and you asked me how she got inside me? I didn’t think you were old enough to understand then but now I think you are. Would you

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