Enhancing children's lives through parent and teacher education.

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The intellectual child gains power by thinking through issues prior to presentation and having firm arguments ready ahead of time. These children are resourceful, intelligent, logical and, more often than not, outwardly respectful towards their parents as they proceed to find chinks in the armor of their parents' values. Let's look at an example to clarify.

At fourteen, Sue wanted to start dating. Her parents had already told her, however, that she had to be sixteen, so she began gathering information with which she could plead her case. She...

In other articles I have often discussed how important it is for parents to examine their values and to transmit those values to their children by setting limits for them. Many parents begin with good intentions in this regard, only to find that children of today are very clever at negotiating, manipulating and wheedling their way out of those very limits. In the end, the children wind up behaving in the way they'd like, and the parents wind up bewildered and helpless, at a loss to explain how they ended up "giving in" once again.

One of the most...

Some of the common responses that I hear when a child, tween, or teen identifies as transgender are: “It’s probably just a phase” or “They’re probably just making a political statement” or “They’re just experimenting.”

First of all, the use of the word “just” as in “they’re just experimenting” is patronizing.  It implies that you have all the facts and know better than the other person what their identity is.  So let’s take that word out and look at each response separately to unravel why these are not only inaccurate, but also...

ACCEPTING YOUR CHILD AS THEY JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE

Many years ago, a friend came to me after her son had been “flagged” at school for behaviors that seemed atypical.  Following a neuropsychological exam, she was told that her son was on the autistic spectrum.  She was devastated when she revealed this to me. We talked for quite a long time and then I asked her this question: “Did you love Simon* yesterday?” She looked startled and stammered, “Yes, of course.” I responded by saying, “He is exactly the same today as he was yesterday.  Absolutely nothing has changed. ...

The first in a series of blogs about the importance of accepting our children for who they are.

When my daughter was born, she shattered the myths that I had held dear prior to pregnancy.  I dreamed of perfect breast feeding, idyllic middle of the night feedings, cuddling and gazing into each other’s eyes with a love born of her mere existence.

I was in for a rude awakening.  She was fussy.  She was hungry all the time.  When my breasts were wrung out like wet dishrags and limp from use, she still wanted more.  I could swear that she never slept. An idea...

Nothing is clearer to me than the importance of raising children to become independent adults. And, as a parent, there is nothing more bittersweet. My daughter just graduated from college, and will turn 22 years old next week. For her graduation, we put together a DVD of photos beginning with her birth and ending with those we had taken right before she graduated. I'll be honest: I wept a lot during the process. It was just yesterday that she was born. At least that's how it feels. And today, she's an independent young woman living in a different State from us, doing research for "Autism...

All across the country, parents are still feeling the intense emotional effects of the Colorado incident in April. This massacre, the shooting in Oregon last year, and other similar tragedies have raised the questions: "Why? Will this happen to us? How can we prevent this?" The President proposed one solution: that we must teach children to talk about their feelings of anger rather than act upon them. Authorities have likewise suggested a cause for this type of incident: that when children don't feel accepted by their peers they're more likely to form cliques or gangs, and to behave...

Jenna's mom paid a significant amount of money for Jenna to attend day camp. Jenna was enthusiastic, but also anxious. The night before camp began, she started complaining of a stomach ache. She is so nervous each morning that she begins hysterically crying and throws up.

Max's dad thought a sports camp would be just the thing. He often said that Max was born with a baseball bat in his hand. Yet now that camp has begun, Max becomes hysterical about a half hour before the bus comes. So far, Dad has been able to coerce him on to the bus, but wonders if he's doing the right...

On Monday, March 2, I was awakened at 6:15 a.m. by the exuberant shout of my 15 year old son. “They closed school! It’s a snow day! Woo hoo!” Now the fact that New York City closed Public Schools is nothing short of a minor miracle so it’s no wonder that my son was ecstatic: he’d only had one other snow day since he began school at age 4!

This particular snow day got me thinking. What, exactly, is it that’s so exciting about a snow day? There’s no question that it’s better than the movies, more exciting than a planned vacation. But why? I think that it’s precisely because it is...

"Don't talk to strangers."

"Speak when someone asks you a question."

"Don't take anything from strangers."

"Be polite."

Do these seem to be contradictory statements? They are. Yet as parents, we admonish our children with words similar to these on a regular basis. With the number of child abduction cases growing it is time to stop and rethink some of the things we say to our children that may make them easy prey to kidnapping.

Obviously, we've got to talk to our children about the potential danger from...

The Internet has been described as an information superhighway which will create one global village, drawing people closer and providing them with a wealth of information. This seductive reasoning sounds good at first hearing: for example, we no longer have to step out of our homes to look up information at the library, it's at our fingertips in our very own homes. We can converse with people all over the globe, learning more about other cultures. Because they are virtually faceless and nameless, our differences have less of a chance of getting in the way of our...

Almost every child has had fears that relate to scary creatures -- monsters under the bed, "things" lurking in the dark, imagined goblins or ghouls or things that go bump in the night. And almost every child has had fears that could be true, but aren't -- like what happens if mommy leaves but doesn't come back?

The "prescription" in such cases pretty much boils down to the same thing -- patting them, reassuring them and making them go to bed anyway, or leaving the house in spite of the howling, knowing that they're safe and that you will, indeed, be...

The New Year is here. It's the final year of the decade and the doorway to the new millennium. It's a wonderful time to make resolutions, especially resolutions that have to do with your most valuable gift -- your family. Here are some suggestions that will infuse your family with health and send it into the millennium with joy:

* Spend time together. We live in a very busy world. Sometimes it's easy to bypass the things that are important to us and that we should be spending the most time on - like our family. After all, when we're done getting...

"Family Values" seems to be a catch-all term used haphazardly by the media to imply that values in families are lacking in our society today. A "return to family values" further implies that we've gone astray from some old-fashioned yet fundamental truth. Perhaps, it hints, if we "simplify" our lives, reject the complexities of our current society, perhaps even find a log cabin in the woods somewhere and live as a family of hermits, we will recapture - for ourselves and our children - something that is lost yet essential to family life.

I would argue...

I recently asked a group of mothers what each of their days was like: when the day began, what it was filled with, and when it ended. Almost to a person, each woman gets up between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m. and her day ends between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. The women are responsible for fixing meals (one Mom fixed 5 meals every morning!), rousing the children from their beds, and getting them off to school. Their days center on kids and spouses. I inquired as to whether any of them took time for themselves. Most had carved out time to go to the gym or meditate, one woman...

“My 5 year old told me he went on a field trip today and he didn’t. Why would he lie?”

"My 8 year old said she’d done her homework, but I found it under the bed unfinished.

"My 10 year old broke the lamp in the living...

When teachers and parents work together towards the well being of their children in the school environment, the benefit to the children is enormous. Children experience faster adjustment to school, establish a more trusting relationship with the teacher, and derive a sense of safety and security which allows them to be more open as learners among other things.



Sometimes, though, it seems as though parents work directly AGAINST teachers rather than with them. This creates, at best, a frustrating situation and at worst a power struggle that...

Recently a mother told me that her eight year old daughter asked if they were “in danger” because of the economic crisis.  “In danger” is an interesting expression, isn’t it?  For me, it brings up 9/11 all over again, because (at least for those of us here in New York City) we felt as though we were in real and present danger for quite a while after those planes crashed into our beloved Towers. 

So when a child asks if we’re “in danger” because of the economy, my first reaction is a fairly strong: “No!” 

Now please don’t misunderstand.  The crisis is, of course,...

Historically, parents have relied upon the teachings of their elders to know how to raise their children. From breast-feeding to disciplining, the extended members of the family provided advice and support about child rearing. With the advent of the modern, industrialized society, people moved long distances away from their relatives, and thus, long distances away from the "advice" of fellow family members. Suddenly, parents were fending for themselves in the realm of child-rearing. A sense of isolation and sometimes even helplessness at how best to raise our...

Creating a blueprint for your family to follow means engaging in a series of family discussions where your values, morals and beliefs are put into words. These words become the substance of the blueprint, which then serves as a guideline for each family member's behavior, choices, and treatment of one another. Because each member of the family subscribes to the plan, they stop operating as individuals with a "me first" mentality and instead operate as a whole. In addition, they internalize a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. Stephen R. Covey...