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Blogs and Articles

Parenting During COVID-19

 

The moment that the news of Covid-19 broke, I knew that I would need to create some best practices for parents struggling with having their children, tweens and teens underfoot 24/7, supporting them in their schoolwork and also trying to manage...

Taming the Greedy Gimmees

 

With the holiday season upon us, parents all over the country watch with dismay as their loving, appreciative children are slowly transformed into greedy, insatiable monsters.

Every year at around this time, I’m besieged with questions from parents about how to steer their children to show appreciation instead of greed.  How do...

Summer Camp Blues

 

Handling reluctance, nervousness and homesickness

Each year parents in New York pay thousands of dollars to send their children to day or sleep -away camp. Most children go willingly and happily. For others, however, the scenario is different.  The day camp child begins to exhibit anxiety and distress. They may refuse to go, some may exhibit physical...

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 discovered...

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...

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...

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...

Sarah's three year old son, Jason, had suddenly become aggressive. She could understand that sometimes he was frustrated and would strike out in anger, for example when another child took his toy. What she was bewildered and angry about, however, was why, in the middle of a playgroup, he would sometimes dash across the room and violently squeeze or push another child with a look of glee on his face, even though the other child had done nothing to provoke him.

In order to help young children overcome their impulsive and aggressive misbehaviors, it's...

In talking with the men who attend my parenting groups the theme of disciplining children arises again and again. Interestingly, many of the men I speak with are reluctant to discipline. I just don't get to see her very much because of my work hours, one dad explained, when I do see her, I want it to be fun. Another dad commented, I don't want to be the bad guy. I had a bad relationship with my dad, and I want my son to like me.

It's true that many fathers see less of their children than mothers do. In fact, Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of...

Although many coaches emphasize "good sportsmanship" sometimes the competitive nature of sports overcomes what could be a valuable lesson for children about how to lose as well as how to win. One mother said to me "My son is such a sore loser when his team doesn't win. I understand that it's partially developmental, but I'm tired of it. It takes all the fun out of playing for him, and all the fun out of watching for me." Competitiveness -- the desire to win or be the "best" -- is indeed developmental, and most parents begin to notice it in their children by three...

In the decade and a half that I’ve been teaching, I’ve had an opportunity to think deeply about the tools and techniques that parents need to raise happy, healthy children. Some of the tools are instinctive, and need no teaching: humor, play, hugs. Others are less intuitive and must be sought out: how to discipline, be a good listener, teach values consistently. Generally speaking, all of the tools are important, and parents must learn to balance instinct with learned skills. But if I were pressed...

When four year olds begin finding "bathroom talk" funny, parents usually dismiss the "you're a poo poo head" with a shrug of the shoulders. "It's just a phase," parents will say. And indeed, this type of "humor" does seem to pass by the time a child is around five or six years of age. Yet when those same children begin experimenting with four letter words, very few parents will dismiss it with "it's just a phase." Indeed, children's initial experimentation with four letter words often shocks and inflames parents. Some parents respond with moral imperatives: "We do...

In the past two articles we've been talking about promoting honesty. We've discussed setting yourself and your child up for success and we've discussed what most parents consider the most ingenuous of lie-telling: fanciful storytelling. In this issue, we'll discuss lies of a more serious nature.

When a child tells her parents an "untruth" -- that is she says something that's untrue when she knows it's untrue, it is the parents' job to determine why the child is lying. Is the child afraid of punishment because she's been punished severely before? Or is...