Tag Archives: balance

Healthy Boundaries are Necessary to Set Good Limits
Family Discussion

Boundaries 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

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A Fresh Start: Spring Cleaning Your Daily Routine for Family Harmony
Reading at Bedtime
Let’s do a little spring cleaning of your day. Think of these steps as working toward a goal. Constructing your daily routine will have ripple effects on your children’s well-being and create a more peaceful home. Your children thrive on predictability and anticipated expectations they can meet successfully.

Morning Daily Routine:

The goal is to encourage your children to do what is expected without nagging and frustration spiraling into yelling and threatening. Mornings are important connecting times so everyone starts the day off feeling grounded. If your kids are stressed from morning fights, they will be less able to focus and learn at school.

Get up early enough for quiet time to prepare for your day.
If you are waking a child, give it enough snuggle time to wake calmly and gently.
Get older kids using alarm clocks to take responsibility for themselves. If you allow the consequences of sleeping thru an alarm, it will likely not happen again.
Make lists (dry erase boards, etc.) using words or visuals with boxes your kids can check off when done. Include brushing

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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 Get Your Kids to Listen-The First Time
Kid Not Listening

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.

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

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How To Ask A Controlling Grandparent to Back Off
Indulgant Grandmother

Q. I am the mother of two kids, 6 and 8. My mother’s overprotectiveness and interfering nature drives me nuts. She is a fixer for sure and has even called my boss when I shared problems I was having at work. It’s like she is my children’s parent, and I am the nanny. She tells me what to do and what they need. My parents are hugely helpful as my husband and I work from home and the kids are with them 4 days a week. But they give the kids way too much sugar and buy them things without consulting us. I don’t feel like I can tell them not to because they do so much for us. My husband thinks they don’t trust him to look after us. They are always dropping off things they think we will need. I feel angry and guilty and don’t know what to do. 

A. I hope that grandparenting will one day become as popular a topic as parenting has become. Grandparenting is not parenting—unless the grandparent has had to assume that

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Why Building Connection Early Can Save Battles with Teens
Mom and Son

 

I often read Meghan Leahy’s advice in her column On Parenting for The Washington Post. I saw this headline, How do I connect with my teen son while respecting his independence, and had to read what she would say to this mom. After all, this is totally my wheelhouse. She said it so well that I wanted to share it with you. I hope that parents of little children read it as well. Focus on connection shouldn’t wait for the teen years. 

I work with so many parents of teens who were able to get them to do what they were told as younger children. These parents thought they were doing the right thing, but controlling, coercive methods of parenting—like time outs, threats, removing favorite things, grounding—tend to backfire when the child reaches the age of realization that they don’t have to do what they’re told anymore. They can even switch their allegiance from annoying parents to peer groups.

To be the parent your kids still look to for support and guidance, connection and problem solving rather than threats, blame

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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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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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How to Manage a Meltdown
Meltdowns

Tis the season—for stress, impatience and probably some unrealistic expectations and resentment over why your family isn’t like the happy ones you see on Instagram. That means trickle down stress for your children, no matter what age. Your littlest ones may show it in irregular sleep, eating, toileting and generally cranky behavior. Your middle ones may show it in angry outbursts and words that push anyone’s buttons. And your teens may simply disappear to their rooms to get away from it all. 

But all are at risk of some major meltdowns. Mainly because children can’t hold onto as much stress as we can—note: this is a good thing—and are far more likely to let it out at home with the safest people in their lives. More good things. 

Nobody likes dealing with kids’ meltdowns. Especially kids. Please do not be influenced to ignore or threaten your child by those who say, “He’s doing that on purpose. He’s just trying to get your attention.” We’ve all had meltdowns. They’re not fun. Your kids aren’t doing it on purpose. And of course

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June ’19 Q&A – Control vs. Problem Solving and Balance

Q. I have a 16 yr. old daughter home from boarding school after 3 years. Since school started, she has been with “friends” every evening till 8 or 9 PM. On weekends, she has been out at least till 11 PM. She wants me to extend weeknight curfew to 9 PM and to midnight on weekends. I had said no, that she needed to be home by 6-7 PM at night and by 9 PM on weekends. She said that she does not have homework and gets bored at home with nothing to do. She brought home her first grades report — mostly As & Bs, except a D in Biology and an F in Language Arts. What are your thoughts on curfews?

A. My thoughts on curfews is that they stem from a reward and punishment system that depends on the parent holding all the power. Many parents think this is necessary. I don’t. What is necessary is to know when and how to use your parent authority and when not. But authority is not the same as control,

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