Throughout the summer of 2016, I heard a lot of different rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail that I found troubling; from Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment to Donald Trump’s derogatory slurs on Mexicans, Muslims, women, the differently abled, and communities of color. It was disturbing, to say the least. But what struck me the most was my massive realization of how little compassion and empathy live in today’s America.... Continue reading
Coping with stress is difficult! Most of us did not learn appropriate strategies in childhood and still struggle with what to do when stressed and overwhelmed. Some of us relieve stress by biting our fingernails, chewing our lip, making a fist, exhaling or sighing heavily, curling our toes, eating something sweet, touching our hair, closing our eyes, humming, or talking a lot. Sometimes regulation strategies are a bit more extre... Continue reading
Listening Without Listening - Preventing Disconnection
When a parent feels overwhelmed with strong feelings (anger, sadness, fear, frustration) the amygdala may signal the alarm and send the brain into the fight/flight/freeze/faint response. The brain floods with neural-chemicals, like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, causing limited access to thinking and empathy. The brain becomes disregulated.
Homework is an interloper in modern family life. Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun, coined the phrase, ‘Homework is the new family dinner’. As the education system moves towards valuing critical thinking and problem solving more than memorization and skill attainment, the nature of homework has shifted from practice drills to completing complex projects. These projects usually require adult supervision and support. Homework today requires more time and energy from parents than ever before. In addition to the afternoon jobs of... Continue reading
The topic of consequences can be very confusing for parents. There are conflicting parenting philosophies, ranging from consequence-free paradigms to advocates of spanking and isolation as forms of punishment. Here are my thoughts on consequences and how they work in the Parenting The Whole Child philosophy.
The purpose of a consequence is to teach, not to cause pain. When any of us makes a mistake, we have the choice to look at it in one of two ways; either I made a mistake or I am a mistake... Continue reading
I read this hilarious article about why September is the Worst and how all the demands of the new school year are a giant interruption to all of the things we dreamed were going to happen when the kids got back to school. It made me think about the concept of 'flow' and how hard it is to find.
The backpack. Where is it? What’s in it? What’s that smell? How long has that been in there? Is that yesterday’s homework? I really hope this is mud. You left it at…baseball…dance…grandma’s…the park…?
Have you heard yourself asking these questions? A backpack is almost like your child’s pet. It has to be fed everyday (with a fresh snack and lunch), it has to be cleaned up after (lunch box and returned papers) and it has to go on 2 walks a day (to school and ho... Continue reading
As the school year kicks off for my boys, I'm again reminded how important it is for me to find a rhythm for my family that allows space for the things that are important to me. Things like family dinners, stretches of downtime without screens, walks with the dogs, exercise, enriching activities (both structured and unstructured), time to be in nature, meaningful moments with grandparents and getting house and school work done without stress. Between work schedules, housework, packing lunches, school expectations, homework, & after... Continue reading
This seemingly innocuous question drives me a bit crazy.
What exactly does it mean to have a good summer? How is a good summer defined?
And who should it be good for – my kids or me?
The pressure to curate a good summer weighs heavily on moms.
We work hard to strike a balance between a lot of adventure, a little boredom
and not too much screen time. We try to ch... Continue reading
Parenting is hard...especially in those intense moments when emotions seem to be on a runaway train. Sometimes it's our big feelings that are creating added tension and chaos and sometimes it's our child's big feelings that seem out of control. And sometimes it's everyone's! These big feelings can make an already difficult moment become even more challenging. In the Parenting Cycle, I teach parents to first regulate your own emotion before emotionally coaching your child's. (You can learn more about the Parenting Cycle in the post called 'Continue reading
Sibling conflicts are
opportunities for our children to learn how to be in relationships with other
human beings. The more we intervene in
the sibling relationships, the less opportunity the children have to practice
solving problems. When we intervene, it
is not for the purpose of settling their argument or making a judgment, but to
help the children learn how to talk about the feelings beneath the conflict.
Also good to remember: Just
like adults, children find comfo... Continue reading
I have had many bad parenting moments in my 11 years as a mama. Times when I yelled with such fervor that spittle shot from my mouth. Moments when I grabbed a scrawny shoulder too hard and saw pain and confusion cloud my little one's face. Quiet afternoons replaced with anger-filled threats. Boys sent to their rooms with an edge in my voice that pierced their hearts with fear. Icy stares. Cold shoulders. No goodnight kisses. These are hard moments to write about. But they are true and real and normal. And as hard as it is to admit to them, I... Continue reading
Since most of you live in the LA area, I thought I'd help you out by giving you an AMAZING list of all the cool things there are to do in the LA area with school-agers & tweens (with quick links!). I have this crazy-awesome homemaking friend, Kristin Gurien, who has compiled the ultimate day-trip list for LA.
I cannot wait to check off a few of these with my boys this summer!
Think about the
last time you were really angry with your child. What did your child do
that made you so mad? How did you react? Reflecting on that moment now, did
your reaction match the ‘crime’ or did you overreact to your child's behavior?
The sad truth about parenting is this; you cannot control your child’s behavior. As much as you would like to be able to stop your child from doing the wrong thing, you can't. This lack of power can sometimes make you feel out of control. When the brain fee... Continue reading
a dinner party recently, one of my friends told a story about her teenage
daughter texting her boyfriend around midnight one evening. Over
text, the boyfriend told my friend’s daughter he was sneaking out of his house
and coming over. He said he planned to knock on her window so they could
talk. Our friend’s daughter told him, via text, that she did not want him
to come over. He was insistent that he needed her because we was sad and
needed to talk to someone.&... Continue reading
I recently had the opportunity to attend an event titled Down & Dirty – The answers to YOUR questions about drugs in OUR community. Over 350 people attended to hear Officer Peter Tulagan’s presentation on the current state of drug use in America and listen to a panel of recovering addicts, parents of addicts, counselors and an ER doctor share... Continue reading
Do you know you are the best thing ever to your child, especially if he or she is under 6? It’s true. Being with you is your young child’s favorite thing in the whole world. You are better than ice cream. You are better than a new toy. You are better than a trip to the park. Your preschooler’s favorite activity is ALWAYS more rewarding... Continue reading
Isn’t it funny how some parenting moments go so smoothly? When your kids are getting along, being helpful and following your directions, you feel triumphant! Smiles abound and joy can almost be felt strumming through the space. And then there are other moments when your kids are wild and fighting and not listening and despite it all, you are completely calm.... Continue reading
Minecraft. Have you heard of it? Well, it’s a video game that millions of children play, both in America and abroad. My son personally knows 68 boys who play it. He has kept a running tally for several months now. It started with 12 boys in his class who played Minecraft and he adds to it whenever he meets new kids…kids of my friends, kids on... Continue reading
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