Parenting Guidelines for Social Media

Parents today are truly pioneers in parenting during the internet age.  I imagine that parenting faced a similar challenge when paper and pen became readily available, and again when the telephone became a ubiquitous household item. Now, we face a new challenge with how to wisely use social media.  Why this is a unique challenge is that parents are learning these rules for themselves at the same time they are setting guidelines for their children.   Parents are realizing that rules around social media are needed because even though it’s in “cyberspace,” what is said and done there has real-life
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, and Parenting.

Homework: Setting up for Success

What child out there enjoys continuing school work at home?  What parent enjoys it?  I’m betting that most children and parents would rather not deal with homework. Just thinking about homework is probably not bringing up the most pleasant memories.  How many of us can remember, in a memoir sort of way, sitting at a table with math work to do while looking out the window at all the other kids playing and having fun?  The next day the teacher gets your homework with little smudges where your teardrops fell on the paper. This is usually the point in the
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Categories: Children, Family, Parenting, and School.

Are you a Helicopter Parent?

Parenting has been in the news recently.  New studies indicate that that a growing trend in college, and even graduate school, is parents being involved in managing their child’s (now a young adult) coursework, social life activities, conflicts with professors, and even calling schools to convince them to accept their child as a student!  This shouldn’t come as a surprise, really.  This is the logical outcome of “helicopter moms” and the “hovering” parenting style that has become increasingly common.  Parents didn’t suddenly start micro-managing their child’s life when they left for college, its the way its been all along for
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Categories: Children, Family, Parenting, School, and Transitions / Change.

Is Your Teen an iZombie? Dealing with Smartphone Addiction

        This picture is a testament to the ubiquity of the smart phone. Most of you who are reading this article probably have your smart phone within arm’s reach right now! It’s the reality of our age that smart phones are integrated into our daily life. The question we have to explore about our relationship to our smart phones is this; are we in control? For some the answer is yes, they use their phone within appropriate limits to communicate, to find information, to provide healthy entertainment and so on. For many others the answer is no,
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, and Parenting.

Helping your Kids (and yourself) Cope with Rejection

There’s no question about it; successful people are those who have learned to cope with rejection.  Milton Hershey had three failed businesses before his milk chocolate candy took off.  KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders was rejected over a thousand times before he found financial support for his chicken recipe.  JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers!  Imagine a world in which these three successful people allowed a few rejections to stop them; no Hershey kisses, no KFC, no Harry Potter. We have all experienced rejection in many forms.  It’s a universal dynamic in a relational society.  Since
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Why did the Grinch Steal Christmas? A Psychological Analysis

This holiday season as I watched “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” I began to think about what made the Grinch so “grinchy”?  Several questions came to mind. Why was his heart two sizes too small?  Surely he wasn’t born that way, right? What’s his problem with the Whos down in Whoville?  What is it about the Christmas festivities and the “noise, noise, noise” that sets the Grinch’s teeth on edge?    Further, what allowed his heart to “grow three sizes that day”? Let’s start at the beginning. The basic psychological assumption that we are born “tabula rasa” says that we become
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Holidays, Mental Health, and Personal Growth.

Marriage & Family Conversation Starters

Finding ways to connect in our marriages and with our children can be challenging. There’s no sense bemoaning the “busy lifestyle” of the modern family: it is what it is.  What we have to do is make the most of every opportunity to maintain and build our relationships.  This takes, time, togetherness, and talking.  The talking part seems to be the hardest.  For instance, how much time do you spend together with your family in the car, but nobody is talking to each other?  Instead, everyone is staring at their phones, talking on their phones, or they have earbuds in
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Categories: Children, Family, and Marriage.

Four Tips for School Success

The lyrics from a song by The Hives say it all: They say our summer vacation has come to an end And we simply have no more holidays to spend They say “No more barefoot, no playing around the pool” They say now it’s time for us to “Go back to school.” The inevitable has happened, and it is time to get into school mode again.  There is usually a little excitement with “Back to School” shopping for school supplies but the reality is that school is about more than new pencils and backpacks.  The daily work of learning has
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Categories: Children and School.

What is Self Esteem?

Self-esteem has gotten a bad rap lately. Some people wonder if kids can have too much self-esteem.  I think it depends on what people mean by “self-esteem.”  If people understand self-esteem to mean that we are all winners all the time and therefore are entitled to praise and adoration no matter what, then YES children can have too much self-esteem.  This kind of unrealistic message creates a sense of entitlement in children that they should be given privileges, praise, and awards for just existing.  The end result of this will be children who lack self-respect, self-discipline, and motivation. To me,
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Categories: Children, Mental Health, and Personal Growth.

The Cell Phone Contract for Parents and their Kids

The Cell Phone Parent-Child Contract The majority of the U.S. population has smartphones now, and more kids know how to work smartphones than know how to tie their own shoes according to TheAtlantic.com.   We’ve entered a new era, parents!  It’s an era in which parents must step up and hold their children accountable for the privilege and responsibility of either using your smartphone, or owning their own smartphone.  According to recent surveys, 40% of U.S. teens own their own iPhone! To address the issues brought about by teens with smartphones, a mother recently developed the following “service contract” with her
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, and Parenting.