Category Archives: Teens

How to Raise a Child with Self-Confidence, Not Entitlement

Confident KidAs far as I can tell, most parents want their children to reach launch-age fully capable of conducting their lives with responsibility and respect. When they leave the safety of their nests with self-confidence, feeling competent and resilient, with 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.

Most of all we want our children to feel inspired and fulfilled in their lives, doing what they love, able to reach their potential, and in mutually respectful relationships with others. 

Does this sound fairy-tale-ish?

Especially when right now you struggle with demanding kids who seem oblivious to your requests and inconsiderate of other’s needs? 

Even though your struggles today are very real and very exhausting, this is the time, no matter how young your child is, to focus on the journey of reaching the goal of 100% authority over themselves instead of being the entitled Read more…

Healthy Boundaries are Necessary to Set Good Limits

Healthy SnackBoundaries refer to the separation of responsibilities between me and my child. Limits refer to what behaviors I am ok with and what I am not. To have appropriate limits, it is essential to establish healthy boundaries.

Your child’s thoughts, emotions and behavior are NOT your responsibility. 

Your thoughts, emotions and behavior are your responsibility, never your child’s.

You are not responsible for your child’s happiness. You are 100% responsible for everything you say and do.

This principle of responsibility underlies the effective and successful application of any and all of your parenting. This is a strong boundary.

But do you look at your children’s behavior as a reflection of your parenting? Do you see acting out behavior as a sign of your inadequacy? Do you feel resentful when you do so much and get so little appreciation? If yes, your boundaries need some shoring up.

Healthy Boundaries 

A boundary is the dividing line between me and my child (or anyone). On my side of the boundary, I know what my problems, emotions, behavior, and responsibilities are. And I do Read more…

Empathy in Action: Nurturing Growth in Your Child

Cuddles

When parents direct their kids and tell them what they should do to improve themselves, it lands on the child as I’m not okay the way I am, instead of empathy in action.  

Q. “How can I help my 8 year old son understand that I love him just the way he is AND I want him to grow, learn and improve? He says he feels humiliated and ashamed every time I ask him to learn something new because he feels like I’m saying he needs to be better than he already is.”

A. How wonderful that your son can tell you how your requests feel to him. So many kids just cram their feelings inside, and so many parents dismiss and deny their remarks with comments like, “That’s not true. I love you just the way you are. I just want you to learn to do new things.”

That sounds logical—to the mind of an adult. But an eight year old doesn’t read it that way. 

The hard part for the parent is to listen and learn from the Read more…

Why Kids Lie and How To Handle It to Motivate Honesty and Trust
Why DO kids lie? It’s pretty straightforward but anything but obvious. Here’s the break down on why kids lie and what you can do about it.

Kids playing legosQ. My eight-year-old daughter has taken to lying and I don’t know what to do. The other day I was driving her home from a friend’s house. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw her playing with legos that were not hers. Her friend has quite a collection. I asked her where she got them, and she told me that a friend at school had given them to her. I said that we had not brought them to her friend’s. She said she had put them in the car earlier to play with on the way home. Her brother told me later that she had taken them from her friend’s house. What is my next step?

A. Let’s start with understanding how badly she wanted the legos. To influence her with the right way of handling the situation, you will make better progress by connecting with her first. Try:

“I see you have Read more…

What Are the Secrets that Make Children Successful?

Confident KidAs 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 Read more…

5 Step Guide to Setting Successful Family Values

Family ValuesYour 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. 

model familyA. 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
Read more…
How to Resist the “Toughen Up Trap”

Naughty KidThe family is a nurturing ground, not a training ground. When I hear parents say, “My job is to prepare him to deal with the real world. People out there aren’t going to care how he feels about what he has to do,” I hear a justification for traditional, authoritarian parenting, and I want to counter it to expose the moving parts.

This all-too-common argument about the responsibility of parents offers license to the threats, punishments, and blame that get dished out, and has forever been dished out, to ensure children’s compliance to what the parents want. When the adults in that family have been brought up under similar punitive tactics, those adults must justify the reasoning behind those tactics. To carry on with the same methods hated and dreaded by those adults as children, they must create a belief in their ultimate worth. “It’s for your own good.”

Mom Yelling

What good comes of authoritarian coercion? Answer: The continuation of this way of raising children. This is called generational trauma as patterns of parenting pass on through the generations and allow Read more…

8 Steps of a True Apology

SorryIt’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.

Mom apologizingVulnerability does not equal weakness. Vulnerability Read more…

How To Get Your Kids to Listen-The First Time

How to get your kids to listen (the first time you ask!), without the frustration of yelling, nagging, or asking the same question again and again and again, takes connecting with them-before you start asking.

Kid Not Listening

Q. My kids don’t listen to me—ever. I end up shouting till I’m hoarse, even when I’m in the same room. I didn’t bargain for having to go through this every time I need them to come to a meal, get ready for school or even go for a playdate or something else they love. I would have been grounded and spanked if I didn’t become a yes-man to my parents with everything they said. I don’t do that, but I do expect at least some respect and cooperation. They seem to think they can be anyway they want with me.

A. Next time you have that mental reaction of “They never listen”, intentionally switch your focus and think about what they’re doing. Are they engaged in something (whether or not you approve) that is holding their attention?

When children are focused on something the Read more…

Unlock Positive Change in Your Child When You Adjust Your Expectations

Grumpy SonQ. My son is 11 and an only child. His first reaction to everything is negative, a sigh, makes a face and moans. This is the reaction to every meal (even stuff he likes), an outing he likes or even just being asked to watch tv with us. When we try to do fun family stuff he moans. Nearly every time he enjoys the activity and tells us afterwards, when we ask, that he loved it. He just wants to be playing on his iPad or watching TV on his own in his room. He says these activities take time from his gaming. I get frustrated because I plan these family activities around what he likes to do and yet he moans about going. Then it causes a row because no matter what we do he never gets excited or happy.

A. Constant negativity is very wearing. Especially if you take it personally. What I mean by that is: Does your frustration stem from thinking you have failed to raise a happy kid? Do you think his negativity is your Read more…