Parenting Articles

Developing Self-Awareness as a Parent

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Developing Self-Awareness as a ParentFor parents, being self-aware is key for connecting to their kids. When parents aren’t self-aware, they might get caught up in their own emotions instead of being present with their children. They also might not recognize that they’re unconsciously repeating the patterns of their own childhoods in their parenting today.

As Carla Naumburg, Ph.D, writes in her book Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters, “The coping skills and autonomic responses we develop over the years are like the air we breathe. More often than not, we don’t notice that air until it’s choking us.”

10 Questions to Avoid Passive-Aggressive Co-Parenting

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Teenage girl in trouble with parents

Your child is hears (and feels) all of those subtle pot-shots you take at your ex.

Everyone knows the basics of co-parenting: stay kid-focused, don’t use your kids as messengers, never use your kids as scapegoats, show up on time, and don’t talk negatively about your ex in front of your kids. It all seems pretty straight-forward and doable — at least it does on the surface.

But real-life isn’t lived on the surface and sometimes, in all of that “trying” to be nice, you’re actually just being passive-aggressive and probably doing more harm than good. Most of the time it’s pretty obvious whether or not you’re taking care of the basics. You know if you’re staying kid-focused, or using your kids as messengers or scapegoats, or showing up on time, but what might not be as obvious is whether you’re putting out more toxic energy and negativity about your ex in front of your children than you realize.

10 Ways Families Can Cultivate Their Connection

Monday, November 10th, 2014

10 Ways Families Can Cultivate their ConnectionPsychotherapist Jenifer Hope, LCPC, has worked with many families whose biggest concern is detachment. They feel as though they’re forgetting who their loved ones really are. They don’t have time to get to know their children. “They feel isolated within their own family because everyone is so busy, that there is no actual family time,” she said.

Jennifer Kogan, LICSW, a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C., also sees a shortage of time as the biggest obstacle for families in connecting.

Early Signs of Love Addiction

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Early Signs of Love AddictionAs I strengthen my relationship with my wounded child, I realize that my childhood showed signs of a developing love addiction. There were aspects of my home life that primed me for neediness and a tendency to define my value in the eyes of others. Deprivation played a key role. Here are some of the things I recall:

My mother was a perfectionist. She was ruthless in her oversight of our household chores. I remember one event from when I was a young adult. My mother had made a big issue about no one helping her. So I stepped in to help.

Can a Better Romantic Relationship Lead to Better Parenting?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Happy Family

Do you believe your partner should come before your kids?

I read this quote recently:

“The best thing a society can do for itself is to promote and support healthy couples, and the best thing partners can do for themselves, for their children, and for society is to have a healthy relationship.”

- Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want

Seriously? The “best” thing we can do for our kids is to have a good relationship with our partners? That’s fine in theory, but what if our relationship is just okay, or good sometimes with long periods of mediocrity, or mostly bad with occasional moments of happiness? What then?

Mindful Self-Compassion and Parenting

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

right-way-feed-babySelf-compassion has three components:

1. The kindness we would show a friend is directed toward ourselves.

2. A recognition that pain and suffering is part of life — it’s something every human being goes through.

3. Mindfulness.

Here are the benefits I have gained from self-compassion:

6 Ways to Survive Your Teen’s Eating Disorder

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

6 Ways to Survive Your Teen's Eating DisorderIf you have a teen who is struggling with an eating disorder, you know it can be overwhelming, frustrating, lonely, scary, and sometimes feel like a full-time job. Your teen may be reacting angrily one day and the next day melt on the floor in tears.

Eating disorders can disrupt family and work life, create stress in relationships and be a financial hardship. Here are some tips to weather the storm:

How a Schedule Can Help You Sleep Better

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

How a Schedule Can Help You Sleep BetterThe fancy digital, pedometer-bracelet thingy around my wrist tells me I slept six hours and 25 minutes with four interruptions. As I struggle to awake, my body can tell you, that isn’t nearly enough.

An estimated 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived, according to the National Sleep Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many nights, I am among them.

Aside from the health risks associated with inadequate sleep, such as depression, memory and attention issues, mood disorders, and the higher risk of physical illness, researchers at the University of Oxford now believe a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality may also contribute to brain shrinkage. That thought alone might keep you up at night.

5 More Ways to Cultivate Your Child’s Creativity

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

5 More Ways to Cultivate Your Child’s CreativityLast month I interviewed Tom Sturges, a music executive and mentor, about his tips for cultivating creativity in kids. This month I wanted to share some great tips from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children.

If you’re unfamiliar with Cameron, she penned a bestselling book on the creative process called The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity. She’s also a novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet.

The Benefits of Being Scared

Monday, October 20th, 2014

The Benefits of Being ScaredBeing scared isn’t always a negative. You can be scared in many different ways.

There is the “scary movie” kind of scared, where you don’t know what’s going to pop out on the screen. There’s the jumping out of a plane kind of scared, where you fear real death and your adrenaline is pumping loudly. Lastly, there is the taking a chance kind of scared, where you have to address someone or something that’s anxiety-producing and you don’t know if the outcome will be favorable.

Radical Self-Care for Moms

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Radical Self-Care for MomsAs a mom, when you hear that it’s important to take care of yourself, your eyes might glaze over and you may be thinking something like: “Another thing I need to add to my to-do list: ‘self-care.’ How am I supposed to do that?”

That’s the reaction Elizabeth Sullivan sometimes gets from her clients.

Blue Collar Roots vs. White Collar Reality

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Blue Collar Roots vs. White Collar RealityMy father was a machinist and my mother a nurse. I still recall the smell of the machine shop on my father’s clothing when he came home from work, the name “Gary” embroidered on his blue shirt. When I was a child, my father chopped wood and sold it by the side of the road to help make ends meet for his family of 5.

Due to my education I am considered “white collar” but still have “blue collar” values. I identify and belong to both groups.

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