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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.

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

Positive Endings

Next time you and your spouse get into an argument, call the kids over to watch and listen. (You’re thinking: What? That's crazy!) Our children learn to handle conflict by watching how others do it, particularly their parents. (You’re thinking: I don't want them to imitate us!)

Dehumanizing Language

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” — Friedrich Nietzsche This well-known quotation has been invoked countless times over the past hundred years. Upon hearing it, people tend to nod in agreement, recognizing the essential truth in Nietzsche’s words. What goes unrecognized is the problematic word choice: monster. Consider this:

Show Your Children they are Loved

Do your children feel loved? Do they move through their days with a deep and abiding sense that they are truly loved and cherished? Studies have found that feeling loved confers important benefits: physical and mental health benefits,i protection against anxiety and depression, reduced risk of substance abuse, a sense of security, and more successful relationships.

Non-judgmental Empathic Listening

Is there a secret to raising kids with high self-esteem? Arguably there is. It’s a rarely known approach any parent can master: non-judgmental empathic listening coupled with normalization. Through this special blend, our children learn to trust their emotions. “Knowing that my feelings are okay allows me to know that I’m okay.”

Sibling Conflict

During this pandemic, many siblings are bickering more than ever. Being home together so much of the time, opportunities to get on each other’s nerves are endless. Some studies suggest that young sibling conflict occurs an average of eight times per hour.1 It can drive a parent crazy! But their fighting has an upside: it’s how they learn the consequences of playing unfairly (your playmate might up and leave), or the consequences of provoking someone bigger and stronger (you…