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Tips of the Month for Families are regular tips for building strong relationships and healthy families.  If you would like to sign up to receive these tips, scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up.  

Don't React -- Respond | January 2018

"Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?" Lao Tzu How many times a day do your children say or do something that bothers you — words or actions you know are wrong or simply irritating? And how often do you quickly correct or scold? If you’re like most parents, you intervene fast. Are you reacting or responding?   Our best parenting rarely happens when we react. Reacting comes from the emotional brain, shaped by evolution to move…

Hijacking Their Minds – November/December 2017

In a world with few easy solutions, here’s one that might make your children’s homework time instantly more productive: Create a No Smartphone Zone.

Spanking Revisited – September 2017

To spank or not to spank? People line up on both sides of this debate, but studies across decades have made it clear: don't do it.

Let's Talk Facebook – July 2017

For most of our sons and daughters, especially the tweens and teens, Facebook has become almost as essential as food, air and water. With adolescent identity development oriented so much around the peer group, Facebook and other social media are powerful vehicles mediating how our kids experience themselves within their social universe. Is the impact largely positive, negative, or neutral?

Make Them Wait | May/June 2017

We increasingly hate to wait. If waiting is a kind of muscle, it's fair to say we're exercising it less now that packages arrive the same or next day, Visa and Mastercard let us bring stuff home right now, and our devices cushion the waiting-in-line distress while we surf the Internet or read and send texts. Waiting is unlikely to go extinct any time soon, despite its evolution through the decades.

Invite Boredom | April 2017

Do our kids' ever-present devices prevent them from experiencing in-between moments when they aren't engaged in something -- bored moments when there's "nothing to do"? The idea of "nothing to do" seems quaintly old-fashioned in a world where kids busy themselves texting or online, filling every micro-moment. Once upon a time, they might instead have done a bit of daydreaming or reflecting on the past, musing about the future, observing the people and space around them, or…

When Kids Cry | Feb/March 2017

Perhaps the toughest thing when our children cry are the emotions their tears trigger in us: empathic upset and sadness, plus a sense of helplessness that comes from thinking we need to do something while unsure what that would be. If we ourselves feel uncomfortable with those emotions -- upset, sad, helpless -- our kids' tears will be that much harder for us to be around.

Naming Emotions | October/November 2016

Your daughter comes home in tears. She can barely choke out words to describe the mean things some girls said to her on the school bus. You listen to her story and try to comfort her. If you’re really skilled, you’ll offer her attunement.