-

Blogs and Articles

By Julie A. Ross, MA, with Seth Majnoon

“My daughter just told me that she’s non-binary and wants me to call her ‘they’ instead of “she.”  I asked her if that meant that she’s gay and she said, ‘No.’  I’m completely confused.  And what’s with ‘they?’ I mean, that’s plural, not...

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...

"My 20 month old daughter started to cry and when I went in, there was my 5 year old son standing there. She had a red welt on her forehead and I was convinced he'd hit her, but he denied it. I began interrogating him, and wound up accusing him of hitting her. I found out later that she'd hit her head going under a table. I felt so guilty!"

"I walked into my infant son's room where he was lying in his playpen. My 3 year old son had taken every item of clothing out of the dresser drawers and piled it on top of my four month old. I was horrified!"...

Stephanie thought she was going to lose her mind. She just couldn't seem to keep things under control with her 5 year old twin boys and 8 year old daughter. From the moment they got up on the morning until they went to sleep at night it was one argument after another: who got to choose where to sit at breakfast, which TV show they were going to watch, who would be first in the bathroom, and so on. Just when she'd get one argument sorted out, another would erupt.

This kind of in-fighting is common in households with multiple children. In a bid for mom...

Labeling our children is something we all do.  We may begin by swearing we won't, we may have read infinite numbers of articles and books on the negative effects of putting labels on children, but long and behold, the moment we hold our child in our arms for the first time, up pops a label: "He's an easy baby." As our children grow, it continues: "Sara's the musician in the family." And the labels we apply aren't necessarily positive, either: "My son is so obsessive," "My daughter is such a slob." Positive and negative labels are so prevalent in parenting that they bear closer examination...

Every day we and our children walk by the homeless on the street. When our children are very young we feel especially protective because their instinct is towards empathy: they ask us why that person doesn't have a home, where does that person sleep, and can't we give them some money? And we teach our children from an early age, when these questions first arise, to be careful and make a wide berth in case the person is dangerous. By the time our children reach elementary school, this has probably become an automatic habit, and if the children were asked, they...

Jealousy, that "green eyed monster", has been written about for centuries. It has been called "cruel as the grave" and a "jaundice of the soul." Perhaps, then, it is no wonder that many parents feel so alarmed when their children exhibit this much-despised feeling. Especially when children seem to feel jealous so easily, and over such "trivial" things: a toy belonging to another child; a parent's attention, a high test score earned by a friend. Confronted with a child's jealousy most parents work to eliminate it, to explain why the child shouldn't feel jealous and...

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...