Enhancing children's lives through parent and teacher education.

Blogs and Articles

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...

Parents who have more than one child swing on a pendulum of feelings. Seeing siblings relate well to one another, spontaneously help each other, or share in a loving fashion brings exceptional joy to any parents' heart. On the other hand, when chaos erupts, and one sibling shouts "Mom, he's breathing my air!" followed by a screaming match, even the most warm hearted parent may pause to wonder why they thought having even one child would be a good idea in the first place.

Yet conflict between siblings can be reduced fairly easily, as long as parents...

From marbles to baseball cards, from Beanie Babies to Pokemon cards, children have historically found collecting and trading objects appealing. If your child's interests lie in collecting leaves in the fall, or rocks in Central Park, you probably haven't given much thought to their collections, other than that they may be dirty and clutter up their rooms. On the other hand, if your child's obsession leans toward the $150 "rare" Beanie Baby or Pokemon card, collecting and trading takes on a whole different meaning, and parents need to be informed about the benefits...

During the summer months it's likely that our children will spend at least slightly more time in front of the television. In recent years, the debate about television has raged - how much television is too much? How does the violence effect our children? Is television educational or the ultimate evil? Parents have responded to the debate about television in a variety of ways, from banning television in their homes completely to only allowing videos, to giving their children complete freedom to watch whenever and whatever they choose. But what way is the right way...

Children of all ages regress -- act like a younger child than they really are -- from time to time. From the toddler who picks up the baby bottle that she gave up a year ago to the sixteen year old who suddenly has to have a hug and kiss from Mom before leaving for school in the morning, regression to an earlier stage of life is a normal part of childhood. Yet parents often panic when their child exhibits behaviors that they thought were extinct. The worry that accompanies even a mildly panicked state may lead parents to demand that the child "grow up" and "act...

Not all children are the same. This should come as no news to anyone, of course, but at the same time most parents hope that their child is exactly that -- the same as other children his or her age. From infancy, when we listen to where our children fall on the "growth chart" at the pediatrician's office, or compare the age at which our child crawls with the normal "developmental milestones", we all hope that our child will be "normal." Likewise, most parents worry if the characteristics they see in their child deviate slightly from what the experts proclaim to be...

Three year old Jason just took a toy from his younger brother, rudely grabbing it from him and making him cry. Dad, in a firm voice, says, "Jason, go to time out right now." "Ok," says Jason nonchalantly and saunters into his bedroom to wait for the requisite 10 minutes to pass until he can come back out into the living room. In another house, not too far away, a mother is also trying time out. But her daughter, Laurie, reacts differently from Jason. She bursts into angry tears and says, "I hate you. You can't make me go to time out, I am NOT going." And Mom feels...

My fifteen-year-old daughter had some friends over not too long ago, one of whom she'd known since Kindergarten. They, and we, were sitting in our living room, talking. The long-time friend of my daughter interrupted the chat suddenly, squealing, "Ooooo, I forgot to show you my belly-button pierce!" She proceeded to lift her shirt, and sure enough, a small turtle dangled over her navel. The other girls oohed and aahed: "Wow, how cool." "Awesome." Then wistful sighs all around, and in unison: "I want a belly button pierce." My daughter turned to me, "Isn't it cool...

A discussion on how to handle dishonesty would not be complete without looking at a type of dishonesty which is usually not differentiated from the others we've discussed thus far, but should be. We call the final type of lie-telling "breaking an agreement." I believe that the way in which we handle it when a child breaks an agreement should differ from the way in which we handle other types of dishonesty so that we can be more effective.

Children break agreements for a couple of reasons -- either the child has honestly forgotten part or all of the...

If the title of this article speaks to you, then you're in good company. No matter what their child's age, one of the biggest complaints I hear from parents is that their children talk back. Why is it that even young children have "an attitude" with their parents? What is causing this phenomenon to occur at younger and younger ages? And no matter what your child's age is, what can you do about it?

We all know the part of the Constitution of the United States that states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." More...

"My daughter is driving me crazy!" Elizabeth complained. "I feel as though I'm constantly disciplining her. She's rude, sneaky and really unpleasant to be around. The other day I found her hiding in the closet using my nail polish, which she knows she's not allowed to do without my permission. I gave her a consequence - I made her take off all the nail polish and told her she couldn't use it for a week, but she didn't even seem to care. It's almost as if when I discipline her about something, she shrugs her shoulders and is off to the next thing."

...

Children of today struggle for power in their families in ways that no one would have thought of even ten years ago. For this reason, parents can find themselves exasperated, exhausted, and overwhelmed when trying to stick with decisions that they've made which are based on their values. Yet children's tactics fall into some fairly predicable patterns. Knowing how to handle your child's struggle for power by recognizing what tactic your child is using can be helpful when trying to uphold your values. One common way that some children get their parents to "give in...

In Part II we explored the concept of teaching our children to be good losers when involved with individual or team sports. But what about being a good winner? Good sportsmanship is, after all, not just about what you do when you lose, but how you handle yourself when you win. In truth, this can be as big a challenge as teaching our children to be good losers.

Let's begin with what winning means. What makes a person a winner? I recently had the opportunity to participate with my daughter in the 5K Race for the Rainforest, sponsored by the Road Runner's...

So you're expecting again. Congratulations! Having another child is exciting. Yet many parents who are anticipating another child often find that their excitement is tinged with other feelings as well. Anxiety about how your older child or children will react, doubt about whether you've done the right thing in introducing a new, unsettling element into what might have been a perfectly stable house, and grief that your older child will no longer have exactly the same relationship with you are all common feelings for people who are going to be parents for the second...

Self-esteem is the first and perhaps most important component in empowering children to handle the bullies and cliques in their lives (see part one of this article for more information about raising your child's self-esteem.) However, children must also have a way to communicate - to stand up for your and their values and to assert themselves in difficult situations. These skills are learned by children through role modeling and by having an open line of communication with your child so that you can teach them how to handle tough situations.

An open...

Helping children feel challenged in their school environment is all about balancing expectations with a child’s individual learning style. When the expectations are too low, and children are under-challenged, they feel bored. When expectations are too high, and children are over-challenged, they feel overwhelmed. Both scenarios can result in a cycle of negative behavior that hinders learning.

Appropriately challenging a child requires a partnership between parent and school and is a...