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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.

Lonely Children

My grandson, age seven, plays the videogame Minecraft every night at 6:30 with a friend. They play online, each at home in front of their respective screens. There are occasional in-person play dates, but those are rare. When I first heard about the Minecraft routine, I considered it a wonderful way of engaging with a pal, especially during the pandemic. Lately, I’m not so sure how wonderful it is. 

Terror Through Texting

The story has been circulating through the Chicago grapevine: a 15-year-old student at one of the city’s high schools hung himself in January. The family claims that relentless bullying, much of it through text messages, pushed their son to this horrifying outcome. They have filed suit against the school and a host of parents of the classmates who participated in the bullying.

Too Much Control

It’s what we do: we correct, advise, remind, coax, solve, teach, warn, scold and lecture.  These are all forms of parental influence —or parental control, depending on the lens you’re looking through.  “Controlling my children is part of being a good parent,” many of us believe.  

What Builds Resilience

"Is it true what Nietzsche said: "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger?" Research says it's true — to a degree. Psychologists have found that people who encountered a moderate amount of early life adversity showed lower overall distress and higher life satisfaction than people who experienced lots of adversity or no adversity at all.

Too Negative?

The effects of evolution don’t always leave us in the best stead.

Hurtful Words

Parents often forget about the power of emotional honesty when dealing with their children’s unkind words.  Consider 10-year-old Jason at the dinner table, fussing and complaining about what's being served. "I hate your dinners," he blurts out to his father, who prepared tonight's meal. "You're a terrible cook!" His feelings hurt, Dad sends Jason to his room — the consequence Dad hopes will teach Jason a lesson. 

Rethinking Yelling

It’s hard to find a parent who has never yelled. Yelling seems a kind of natural impulse, perhaps originally an evolutionary survival instinct when we’re faced with a serious threat or danger. Consider the moment when a loud shout is necessary to stop a toddler racing toward a busy street or about to overturn a pot of hot soup simmering on the stovetop. Moments like these tend to be rare. It’s when yelling becomes a regular feature of our parenting style that it carries more…

Pandemic Burnout

Has being a parent of school-age children ever been tougher than during this Covid-19 pandemic? It’s no surprise that a February 2021 survey found that nearly half of parents (48%) reported an increase in their level of stress compared with before the pandemic.i Substantial numbers of mothers and fathers say that their mental health has suffered during this period, with symptoms of unwanted changes in weight, sleep d