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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

"Sending children away to get control of their anger perpetuates the feeling of 'badness" inside them...Chances are they were already feeling not very good about themselves before the outburst and the isolation just serves to confirm in their own minds that they were right." -- Otto Weininger,Ph.D. Time-In Parenting

When our kids get angry, it pushes buttons for most of us.  We want to be loving parents.  Why is our child lashing out like this?  READ POST

Thursday, September 12, 2013 | Permalink

"This summer a teen in my community died in a car accident after a drinking party. Can you give tips on how to talk to my kids about alcohol? They're 7 and 11." – Dan

Smart dad! Parents are the most important influence on whether kids drink alcohol, and the earlier you start these conversations, the better. Kids whose parents teach them the risks of using drugs and alcohol are half as likely to use them. Don't wait until your kids are teens before you have these conversations. This is a topic you'll want to revisit over the years as your child reaches new levels of understanding -- and temptation.  READ POST

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 | 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

BlogHer and LG (one of the largest cell phone manufacturers in the world) asked me to post about Mobile Meanness on BlogHer.com.  Their “LG TextEd Ambassador” program hopes to arm parents with the info they need to help kids use their cell phones responsibly. My post, which includes Rules to Help Your Child Handle a Cell Phone Responsibly, is here on BlogHer.
  READ POST

Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Permalink