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"I watch their softly tousled heads slumbering on their pillows, and sadness wells up in me. Have I drunk in their smiles and laughter and hugged them, or have I just checked things off my to-do list today? They're growing so quickly. One morning I may wake up and one of my girls will be getting married, and I'll worry: Have I played with them enough? Have I enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of their lives?" -- Janet Fackrell

It's part of our job description as parents to guide our kids and keep them moving through the daily routine. All too often, that means setting limits, denying requests, correcting behavior.  Sometimes we're skillful enough that our child doesn't perceive our guidance as "negative."  More often, kids give us the benefit of the doubt because all the other loving, affirming interactions create a positive balance in our relationship account.  That's why creating those positive interactions with your child matters so much.

Research shows we need at least five positive interactions to each negative interaction to maintain a healthy, happy relationship that can weather the normal conflicts and upsets of daily life. So when we're short on positive interactions, our relationship balance dips into the red. As with any bank account, we're overdrawn. That's when kids resist our guidance and develop attitude, whether they're two or twelve.

Life is busy, and you don't need one more thing for your to-do list. Instead, why not create a few daily habits that replenish your relationship account with your child? After thirty days, any action becomes a habit, so you don't have to think about it.  Here are 20 things you can start doing today to build a closer relationship with your child.  READ POST

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | Permalink

"Let there be times when you don't tell someone everything you know about her problem, even if your understanding of it is better than hers." - Guy Finley

"Self Esteem comes from feeling capable in the world, as well as from being loved unconditionally." - Ty and Linda Hatfield

Ever notice how kids don't really want to hear your solutions to their problems?  Teenagers, particularly, often react with downright hostility when we give them our good advice. That's because they need to see themselves as capable. Every time we tell our child how to handle something, we're implying that he isn't competent enough to figure it out for himself.  We're undermining his confidence, which erodes his self-esteem.   READ POST

Thursday, January 31, 2013 | Permalink

"If you entertain thoughts that... your child is manipulating you, taking advantage of you, ignoring you, or disrespecting you -- you will often feel annoyed, irritated, and angry.  However, when instead you think in terms of the needs that you and your child are trying to meet, then you are more likely to feel compassion and connection.  And you are much more likely to take action that contributes to your child's well-being as well as your own."  -- Sura Hart & Victoria Kindle-Hodson

Is your child's behavior irritating you? Whether he's whining, bossy, or defiant, here's why -- what you can do about it.  READ POST

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Permalink

Did you know that one out of every four girls in middle school today will be date-raped by the time she's 22?  That predators try to abduct about 100,000 teenage girls each year, with the risk peaking at age 15?   As I consider my 16 year old and her friends, these statistics are shocking, unbearable.    READ POST

Friday, January 06, 2012 | Permalink

"The road has been long, hard, and pressure-packed. They made their grades throughout high school....went way beyond normal requirements for community service and extra curriculars...were at computers writing essays long past their parents’ bedtime... left home for the first time to live in dorms as first-year college students....Many — perhaps more than half of them — are anxious, depressed, or simply overwhelmed. Separation anxiety accounts for some of it... they’re now flying solo, without a net...Making new connections and friendships and fitting into the fast-paced social and academic life of college can be challenging. Some first-years quickly become marginalized and lonely. Others are burned out on arrival from the journey that brought them here. The thought of continuing to burn the candle at both ends for more grades becomes more than they can bear.  The loneliness, anxiety, and depression call out for self-soothing. Restlessness, dark emotions, and new freedoms, combined with an abundant supply of alcohol and drugs, lead to high levels of binge drinking...Today, too many kids are succeeding academically and failing psychologically and emotionally." -- Stuart S. Light  READ POST

Friday, September 09, 2011 | Permalink

When BlogHer and LG asked me to interview teens I know about sexting, I was game but blasé.  I regard my kids, their friends, and my nieces and nephews as a thoughtful, responsible bunch, and I was pretty sure I knew what they would say.  I was wrong.  READ POST

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Permalink

Last week I posted on BlogHer about helping your child responsibly navigate life with a cell phone.  BlogHer is working with LG to create a blog round-up of moms writing about Mobile Meanness, aiming to arm parents with the info they need to help kids use their cell phones responsibly.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Permalink