Meaningful vs. Manic Bedtime Routines

I’m a loose cannon at bedtime. I can be running through our upstairs hallway playing chase like Mary Poppins at 7:07pm, but as that clock creeps closer to 7:30 my screws begin to tighten and my inner Ms. Hannigan comes out. I might as well have a whistle and a megaphone because I start pacing through the halls like the short-shorts high school coach who you can tell enjoys the authority a little too much.

Read More

How To Avoid Raising Entitled Children

Last week, we celebrated my son’s 11th birthday.When my children were toddlers and preschoolers, I discovered the very real truth that it’s easier to celebrate one child’s birthday when all the children have something to do. And that was the catalyst for the Birthday Brother Tradition, whereupon the one with the unbirthday gets to open a present. (Or four.)
As my younger son opened a gift from my mom, he tore away the paper at the corner of the package to reveal a Lego project. And to my great horror, he said, “Yes! That’s what I was expecting!” Expecting? Hold up, cowboy. We’ve got some training to do.

Read More

5 Ways to Help Teens Deal with Life When They Feel Stuck

We’ve all been there. We all have encountered struggles that felt bigger than us. And we all develop our own ways of managing emotional pain, shame, and regret. When faced with difficult circumstances, it is very normal to look for ways to cope.
Over the years, parents have verbalized their uncertainty with how best to assist their teen with effectively managing the ups and downs of life. There’s no simple response. Quite frankly, as a therapist who frequently works with adolescents, I get it. Being a teen today is tough. Teens face increasing expectations: managing multiple schedules, demanding academic loads, and competitive extracurricular activities. And above all, discovering who they are and how they fit in with their peer group and the larger world. All of which can and do cause internal pressure.

Read More

Connecting When You Have Nothing in Common

I can still picture my daughter Brittainy as a bright, talented sixth grader. She could figure out technology with lightening speed, dribble a ball like it was attached to her hand with a string, and never so much as flinch when a soccer ball came straight at her head. With her dark hair, she took after her dad. They spent hours watching the Women’s USA Soccer team and figuring out a way to build a guitar pedal instead of handing over hard-earned cash for it. I would try to chime in, but their conversation sometimes left me in the dark. Staying up with the newest point guard for the Houston Rockets just wasn’t in my wheelhouse.

Read More

The Truth About Trust

A few weeks ago, I told my 10-year-old daughter that I would write her a story. I write for a living and I’m constantly reading about other authors who do that. On a whim, they write their kids a story and then voila, Harry Potter! I wasn’t going to write her the story because I thought it would turn into a book. I was going to write her a story because it’s fun. As soon as I told her that though, she said, “Sure you will. You’ll write two pages and then quit.” Body blow! No one hits as hard as your kids can hit.

Read More