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"In one fairly typical encounter, a father asked his eight-year-old son five times to please go take a bath or a shower. After the fifth plea went unheeded, the father picked the boy up and carried him into the bathroom. A few minutes later, the kid, still unwashed, wandered into another room to play a video game." - Elizabeth Kolbert, in Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost? in the New Yorker.

This situation may be extreme, but most parents I know have some version of this complaint. It's a good question: Why don't kids just do what we say the first time we say it?!  And there's a good answer.  Several, in fact.  READ POST

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 | Permalink

"So little is expected of kids that ...Their incompetence begets exasperation, which results in still less being asked of them." - Elizabeth Kolbert, in Spoiled Rotten: Why Do Kids Rule the Roost?” in the New Yorker.

"My little guy does not like it when I cook or do laundry or do the dishes. Why am I not paying attention to him? But I soon realized that he loves to help. He puts clothes in the washing machine, gathers potatoes to bring to the kitchen, brings me clothes hangers. And yes, it takes much longer than if I had done it all myself. But he actually squeals with delight at being given his next task. And I end up being much less frustrated."—Wendy  READ POST

Thursday, June 19, 2014 | Permalink

“Our offspring have simply leveraged our good intentions and over-investment...They inhabit a broad savannah of entitlement that we’ve watered, landscaped, and hired gardeners to maintain.”- Sally Koslow

"I think I want my daughter to have some sense of entitlement... We were raised that we don't deserve anything, including respect.... This happens every generation, the same spoiled children story....I'm sure the first generation of kids to wear shoes or go to school were also considered spoiled and entitled. I say we break the cycle of calling the younger generation names." - Kara

We all want to raise kids who know how to work hard to create what they want in the world. Nobody wants to raise a child who thinks the world owes him, who feels like he’s entitled to take whatever he wants. But Kara is right. We also DO want to raise a child who feels deserving of the blessings of abundance—spiritual, emotional, and yes, physical—the rich life that should be the birthright of every child. How do we raise a child who feels deserving – but not “entitled”?  READ POST

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | Permalink

"Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad." -- Anne Geddes

Today is Father's Day.  The perfect time to honor every Dad who shows up for his children. It's not an easy thing, being the best father you can be. But you're making a huge difference in your child's life -- now, and every day of your child's future.

Every hug you give, every joke you share, every moment that you listen patiently, every time you take a deep breath and see things from your child's perspective, every time you role model for your child how to show up with integrity, you're shaping your child into a person who will make you proud. We celebrate you!

So if you're a Dad, please accept my deepest gratitude.  Whatever else you may accomplish in your life, in my opinion it pales compared to your role as a father.

If you're a mother, raising her child without a father by fate or by choice, please just skip this post. Instead, I urge you to read this one, which is specifically for moms raising kids without fathers. 

Now, to honor the contribution of Fathers, let's consider some recent research findings that may surprise you. Did you know that:  READ POST

Sunday, June 15, 2014 | Permalink

"Dr. Laura...I hate Father's Day.  My children's father left us and takes no interest in them.  And then I get your email about how important fathers are.  Are my children scarred for life?"

"Dr. Laura....My partner and I (both women) chose to have two children using a sperm donor.  We work hard to be excellent parents."

"Dr. Laura...I am a single mother by choice.  I resent the implication that I am damaging my child."

Every year when I post in honor of Father's Day, I hear from mothers who are raising children without fathers.  Whether by choice or by fate, these moms are working hard to give their children everything they need, but there is one thing they aren't giving them: a father.  Understandably, they bristle when I say that fathers are important.

So if my Father's Day post touched a nerve with you, this post is for you.   READ POST

Sunday, June 15, 2014 | Permalink

"Contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world. It’s not just that they’ve been given unprecedented amounts of stuff...They’ve also been granted unprecedented authority....This is a social experiment on a grand scale, and a growing number of adults fear that it isn’t working out so well: according to one poll, commissioned by Time and CNN, two-thirds of American parents think that their children are spoiled."- The New Yorker

Are kids today indulged & undisciplined? In the United States, the media thinks the answer is yes. There's a constant assumption in articles and books (not to mention talk shows and the comments section of any online discussion about children) that we parents give kids too much stuff, too much praise, too much attention, too few expectations, too little discipline.  As a result, we're told, kids today are spoiled, undisciplined, self-centered, rude, irresponsible, and entitled. What's more, all this attention makes them anxious and all this coddling leaves them ill-equipped for the hard knocks that are inevitable in life. And it's all the parents' fault!

But is this true? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a major report on the state of Americans' health as of last year, that included these findings on teens:  READ POST

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 | Permalink

'Now when my daughter starts whining, I hold her. Sometimes it takes ten minutes, but then she tells me when she's done, and goes off. It seems to ground her. It grounds me, too." -- Kelly

Whining can drive any parent crazy. It's tempting to tell them we can't listen until they use a more grown-up voice. But kids aren't grown-ups, and their whining is a plea for help. Quite simply, children whine when they're overwhelmed. They need to borrow our calm love so they can self-regulate.

Kelly put it beautifully -- when we reach out to hold a whining child, we really are like a lightning rod, helping our child to ground herself. Once she's restored to a state of balance and well-being, she no longer needs to whine.  READ POST

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 | Permalink