Should I Let My Child Have Social Media?

Here’s my answer. Growing up in the digital age is something most parents today know nothing about.  We have no direct experience of what going through middle school in the era of social media is really like.  We can, however, observe the impact of social media on our children.   I want to emphasize that we must not underestimate its impact on our children.  I believe that our middle schoolers are the most vulnerable to social media’s influence.   The reason I say this is based on child development theory.  Erik Erickson developed the “Psychosocial” stages of development.  He believed
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, School, and Transitions / Change.

What is More Important Than a Red Balloon?

I just watched the movie “Christopher Robin” in which we see Winnie the Pooh and friends rescue an older Christopher Robin from himself.  As a child, Christopher Robin played and spent long hours exploring the Hundred Acre Wood with his stuffed animal friends.  He used his imagination to create stories that most of us heard about as children in the Pooh books by A.A. Milne.   Some wise sayings from Pooh are heard again in the movie.  Specifically, there are a couple of observations Pooh has about doing nothing.  The first is “Doing nothing often leads to the very best
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Marriage, Parenting, Personal Growth, and Stress.

Why is bullying such a problem these days?

Given the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the importance of addressing bullying is at its peak.  Bullying is an issue that is related to several problems in our schools, from mild anxiety problems to truancy to incidents of deadly violence.  Did you know that social rejection and bullying are common factors among students who become school shooters?  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics victims of bullying are twice as likely to bring weapons to school.  Statistics reported by ABC News state that nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids (nationwide)
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, Personal Growth, School, and Stress.

Traits of Healthy Families Cont’d

This is the final part of the series I have written about traits of healthy families.  As identified by Dolores Curran in her book, Traits of a Healthy Family, the 15 traits that healthy families show are listed below.  Based on her research, a healthy family is one that: Communicates and listens. Values table time and conversation. Affirms and supports one another. Teaches respect for others. Develops a sense of trust. Has a sense of play and humor. Has a balance of interaction among members. Shares leisure time. Strong sense of family in which rituals and traditions abound. Exhibits a
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, and Personal Growth.

Help your Middle Schooler Thrive Socially

So many books and movies illustrate the struggle that adolescents go through in social relationships. The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Harry Potter illustrate the social dynamics at work in the middle-school aged social life: Belonging, power, status, identity, leadership, conformity, and intergroup conflict.  I really think that stories like The Hunger Games are wildly popular among “tweens” because they can relate to the struggle those adolescent characters are going through.  And, don’t you think the writers of those stories chose to make their characters adolescents for just this reason?  In The Hunger Games story, Katniss and Peeta are fighting
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Categories: Children, Personal Growth, Relationships, and School.

The Challenge of Difficult Emotions

Fear.  Shame.  Anger.  Boredom.  Sadness.  Disgust.  These are feelings we don’t enjoy, and we can often go to great lengths to avoid them.  This was documented centuries ago by Blaise Pascal, who is quoted to say “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”   We try to suppress these emotions, especially fear and shame.  However, as Brené Brown has noted, emotions are like the old string of Christmas lights: when we deny or turn off one light bulb (such as anger) the whole string goes out.  Essentially, we become emotionally disabled in
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Can you become a “Kid Whisperer”?

I was in Walmart the other day and this kid, probably about 12, was making farting noises by putting the palm of his hand up to his mouth.  He was happily making these sounds as he followed his mother up and down the aisles.   She told him to stop it several times.  Suddenly she turned around and yelled “I said stop!  Why do you keep making those noises!?”  He gave the classic “I don’t know” answer and about 5 minutes later, he started it again.  The mother never did understand what made her son want to make annoying noises
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Categories: Children, Family, and Parenting.

“Remember Who You Are”

Who our children become is important to parents, and the level of this importance is seen in how much time, money and effort parents devote to their kids.   I put “who” instead of “what” because “what” our kids become is limited to doing – what they do for a career, for a hobby, etc.  Who our children become is much broader than this, and includes how they think, act, and what they stand for in their lives.   Parents have a huge impact on this.  Thinking about your own child(ren), aren’t you more concerned with “who” they become than
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Get a New Strategy

I don’t know about you but summer whizzed by like a bottle rocket for our family, leaving us a little startled by the abrupt beginning to another school year.  The end of summer can catch us a little off guard.  That being the case, its still possible to get a grip and find a successful strategy to stay whole, balanced and healthy as a family.   This takes planning and preparation.  Here’s a few quotes that drive this message home: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin “You hit what you aim at, and if
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Categories: Children, Couples, Family, Marriage, Parenting, School, and Stress.

Empowering the Bored Child

“I’m bored.”  It doesn’t take too long before this statement is heard in the summer.  Its a monotone, depressing complaint.  It can trigger anger in parents to hear this, or at least mild irritation.  Boredom by definition is a feeling of weariness with one’s present task or lack of interesting pursuits.  Its something everyone has experienced.  Its a feeling we have to live with sometimes as its part of normal human existence.  Unfortunately, with Netflix and video games this generation of children can pacify their boredom without truly overcoming it successfully.  The result is a low-grade boredom, like a lingering
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.