parent – child relationship

Beyond “Do your best”: Three Ways to Lessen Your Child’s Anxiety about School

schoolanxiety_FacebookWhen I first started working with 12 year-old Sarah*, she was the picture of anxiety. Sticking close to her mom, her hair covering her face, she sat in the waiting room as I came out to say hello. She muttered a “hi”, and we walked back to my office. We talked for a few minutes about movies, then–knowing her parents had brought her to my office because of her anxiety about grades–I asked her about school. Sarah burst into tears as she described just how anxious she felt.

“I feel like I have to be perfect; I have to make straight A’s”, she told me. “I don’t know when to stop, I study all the time. It takes me so much longer to finish my homework than my friends. And if I get a B or worse, I freak out.” Read More


This week we welcome a guest post from author Susan Orlins who is also giving away a copy of her book, Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others. See details at the end of the post on how to win!

reversalsDays drag but years fly by, as the saying goes. 

Between tantrums, tattling, and tummy aches; being a sleep-deprived mom to little ones requires effort and patience.

I remember those days well. Although my three daughters—now in their twenties and thirties—are old enough to be moms themselves, that has not yet happened. Instead, more and more, my daughters have been taking care of me, the way I took care of my mom.

My first blatant reversal took place more than a decade ago, when I was 53 and newly divorced. That year my 16-year-old daughter, Eliza, and I trained together for the Marine Corps Marathon. Well, not exactly together: her pace group ran near the front of the pack, while I in my neon CoolMax costume jogged among the less hurried. Read More

Learning to be Present with Our Families

3D_webnurturing_the_soulThis week we welcome Renee Trudeau to the blog. If you ‘d like to win a free copy of Renee’s newest life balance book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life? See the bottom of the post for details on how to enter and we’ll choose a winner at the end of the week!

It’s 7 a.m. I’m sitting at my computer replying to some timely emails before I help my son find his shoes and water bottle and get out the door for school. Jonah walks into my upstairs office and sits down in the office chair opposite mine and begins to twirl in circles like a madman while telling me about a really cool skateboard trick he saw Connor, his twelve-year-old idol, perform. When interruptions like this happen – which is often – I try to stop and explain that I can’t give him my full attention until I finish the task I’m doing, but I’d love to meet him downstairs shortly. Or I ask if he can save the story for dinnertime. Sometimes I do this in gentle tones. Sometimes there’s a sharpness to my voice I wish wasn’t there. Read More

Playing to Prevent Power Struggles

Kids playing independently!  Parents celebrate when kids will finally play on their own or with a sibling.  Finally – a few minutes of breathing room for mom and dad to get some things done around the house! Independent play is important for your child’s development and should be encouraged, however, playing WITH your kids on a daily basis will do you and your kids a world of good.  It will even fend off some of the most frustrating power struggles.

Playing WITH your kids doesn’t have to be elaborate or take a lot of time. It can be as simple as throwing a ball or role-playing with dolls or action figures.  “Playing” with a teenager can be a game of backgammon, UNO, or a round of Wii Golf.  “Playing” is what ever your CHILD likes to do for fun. Read More

Kids Clamming Up? Try These 3 Strategies

Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get my kids to share ANYTHING! I’ll ask a question and get one word answers or their body language will tell me they’re not at all interested in discussing whatever I’m asking. Sometimes they’re tired or hungry or cranky and just don’t feel like talking. But there are other times when I recognize that my communication style is actually causing them to clam up.

I’ve found that I’m more successful in getting my kids to open up and have a real conversation if I use the following 3 strategies: 

 Read More

Simple Words to Avoid Power Struggles

avoid power strugglesDid you know the average child hears 432 negative comments or words per day versus 32 positive ones? (Source: K. Kvols, Redirecting Children’s Behavior)

If there were a hidden camera in your house, how many times per day would you catch yourself saying “No” or “Don’t” to your kids?

NO or DON’T commands create several problems, especially for young kids… Read More

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