This style of discipline, shaming your child on social media, can be damaging.…/parents-posting-child-shaming-video…

The number of parents using social media as a means to curb their child's bad behavior has sparked a heated debate in the parenting community and raised alarm from some child psychologists. Last month, a Facebook Live video posted by Virginia father Bryan Thornhill, 33, of his 10-year-old son runnin...

It’s possible to empathize with your child’s feelings while still not changing your mind on a decision you have made that is non-negotiable.

Comforting a child does NOT reinforce bad behaviour. Comfort is always ok.

Managing Conflict: How Can a Dreamer and a Doer Live in Harmony?

Managing conflict between a dreamer and a doer, two very different personality types is possible. A dreamer is someone who likes to talk about their ideas and bounce those ideas off their partner. The doer is the one in the relationship who actually gets things done. They make phone calls, set a plan and do the follow through. This can be great if you both work well together and make the dreams come to fruition....

The problem can occur when the dreamer starts talking about their dreams, like remodeling the house, starting a small business, or something as simple as a new diet for the two of you. Let’s say the man is the dreamer and he has heard about a raw foods diet. It sounds amazing, so healthy and his friend is feeling so much more energy since being on it. So he starts sharing his ideas with his partner. The woman hears this and she knows that the actual implementation of this diet is going to fall on her shoulders. What she hears is, “I will have to shop differently and learn new recipes”. This is stressing her out.

She thinks about this and she wants to dream with him but she can’t take this on right now because of other things in her life. This is where conflict arises. What she may do is try to shut it down, she becomes the nay sayer. She points out the problems with the diet, that it is not realistic, too hard to really do, can’t eat in their favorite restaurant anymore. This frustrates the dreamer because he doesn’t want to hear that, he likes to dream.

This can also happen with your teenagers, they come to you with big ideas. Mom or Dad hear “unrealistic” and “it sounds like a lot of work”. So if you are the doer how should you handle this without having to squash the dream? There are various options but one of them is to be supportive, honest and put the ball back in the dreamers court. It is not your job to make all their dreams a reality. If you are too busy or just don’t want to put your energy there then say something like, “That’s a great idea, how can you make that happen?” If they put it back on you then you have to be honest and say “I want to support you but right now I don’t have the time or energy to make that happen”.

As a doer you assume it is your job to take care of it, that is your gift, making things happen, but it is not always helpful, especially for a teenager as they need to put the effort in. And the truth is some adult dreamers just like to share their ideas with you, they probably aren’t ready to make it happen either but the dreaming is what they do and it is fun for them.

Recognize that you are different in this, accept this part of who they are and don’t let it stress you out. Recognize that you can say no, you are not responsible for making all the ideas happen, if you just let them talk about it that actually might be all they need.

Written by Lisa Strong

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Smoking pot is part of a larger problem.

Teens live in a confusing world when it comes to marijuana. Pot is more readily available than ever. Many celebrities and athletes, people that your child may look up to, have come to publicly support marijuana use. Plus, medical marijuana has been legalized in many states. No wonder so many teens n...

This is great! How to talk to your kids in a way that challenges them, encourages them and peaks interest.

As a parent, our words become the internal language in the minds of our children.

Has The Teasing Gone To Far In Your Home?

Is teasing in the family something that lightens the mood or is it hurtful to the one receiving the tease? As a parent we need to watch and determine what is truly happening in our home. We need to look at the tone, motivation and response. Is the teasing costing too much?

A family has a special history, we know so much about each other, we have stories that we can share. When we say “ Remember the time when John…” are we going to tel...l a story that has a tone of affection and appreciation or are we throwing John under the bus for a good laugh? Is this story going to make John cringe or laugh? Is the banter a way of cherishing or attacking?

We as parents have to monitor these interactions and teach our children when they have crossed the line. They may not see when they are hurting their sibling or they may not care at the time, what they want is the attention. This is when you step in and put a stop to it. Parents need to teach kids that it is unacceptable to put your own need for attention and a laugh above the need of your family member to be respected. Teach your children to be sensitive to the reaction of the other person.

As parents it is helpful to look at the motivation of the teaser, are they sharing the story in love or are they taking an angry dig to hurt? It is also helpful to look at the reaction of the one being teased. You may have to look beyond the outward response. Some children will appear to go along with the laugh because they don’t want to cause trouble or add to the embarrassment but in reality they may be hurting.

Something else to consider is that we want each member of the family to know that home is a safe place to be. If they feel like they are going to be teased and embarrassed then they may stop sharing. Some family members may use teasing to cover up their anger. Have you heard people say “What’s wrong with you, I was just joking.” When in reality they are using the humor to take a dig at each other. But genuine grievances should be discussed in a more healthy way.

Your role as parent is to establish the tone in your home. You are the gate keeper so don’t allow one member of the family to be the brunt of jokes and certainly don’t join in the joking. Your kids need you to teach them the boundaries and set the tone so your home is a secure and loving place.

Written by Lisa Strong

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The Payoff for Parents

When you are in the middle of a super challenging season in your parenting do you ever wonder what the payoff is? Why do you even bother to keep engaging, to keep trying, especially if your kid isn't receiving any of it? Every good parent has been in that place and asked those questions. This true story will encourage you.

Today, I had the great pleasure of spending time with a dearest friend of almost 25 years. I taught her daughter when she was i...n second grade and she is now in her twenties! I suddenly feel very old. I've watched my friend and her husband parent their three children who are all adults now. I've seen the ups and the downs first hand and my friend has been brave and honest enough to share with me the truth about the trials and challenges she has faced as a mother. But what she shared with me today brought me tears... the most proud and joyful kind.

Her oldest son, 26, came to her yesterday, all on his own, and confided something deep and profound about his feelings that has been weighing on him. It was powerful, amazing and beautiful... not to mention completely authentic and brave of him. I got choked up as she was telling me the story... not because of what he told her but because he felt safe, confident and comfortable enough to have the conversation with her. What I realized is that the only reason this ever happened with her son is because of the relationship she has spent twenty-some years building with him. She has always validated him, affirmed him, guided and directed him, disciplined him and was authentic herself within their relationship. And the payoff for her was this intimate conversation they had... as an adult, he let her in to a deep and intimate place of his heart. Beautiful! Does it get better? I think not.

I am so proud of my friend and share in her joy! But the only reason I can see the true beauty of this is because she has always been extremely real and genuine with me about herself and her family. She didn't cover up, make excuses or protect reputations... she simply shared her beautiful life with me as her very close friend (not with the whole world). And for this reason, I know the real power of what happened in that conversation with her son. She invested, worked at, and built a relationship with him that has proven itself.

So parents, be encouraged! Know that if you truly work at and build a relationship with your kids that isn't about things or providing services... but a real relationship that includes vulnerabilities, failures, time together, joys and even sorrows... it will be worth it! You will profoundly impact them as a human being for the better. What can be a more rewarding payoff for a parent?

Written by Lisa Smith

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This is it, people! Step by step directions on how to have a better conversation. If you follow the steps you will see change in yourself and others.

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How to talk — and listen — to anyone, from Celeste Headlee:

How to Listen When Someone You Love is Hurting

When someone you love is hurting and comes to you with their pain, what can you say? You want to make them feel better but you are uncomfortable, you don't know what to do. Remember these 3 helpful suggestions.

It’s not about you. I am sure that you have heard the analogy that a conversation is like a tennis match. You have to keep the ball going back and forth. This may be true sometimes but I believe that when someone is hurtin...g, they want the ball. What I mean is, it’s not time for you to tell your story. We all do this, we want them to know that we understand what they are going through so we start telling them a story about how we went through something similar. They lost someone, so did you. They have cancer, so did your uncle. They feel depressed, you felt like that when you lost your job. When someone is hurting and opening up to you, let them have the ball.

No judgement. In order for someone to come to you and share their feelings they need to feel like you are a safe place. They don’t want you telling them what they did wrong. If your child comes to you, telling you a story of something that is troubling them don’t lay into them with advice of how they can do better. There will be a time for that but for your advice to be effective they need to feel like you are on their side, have compassion for them, and you understand. When that is established then maybe they will be open to your help.

Keep them talking. It is hard for many people to share their hurts so if they feel like you're not interested then they will stop sharing. You need to show them that you want to hear what they have to say. Give them your full attention. Don’t look at your phone or away from them. Encourage them to keep sharing by saying things like, “how did that make you feel?” or “tell me more about that”. This will prompt them to keep sharing and help them feel supported.

These three things will allow those you care about to know that you are ready to listen. We all need to be heard, especially when we are hurting. If you can put yourself aside, you opinions aside and your time aside to listen then they will know that you really care about them. It is a gift you can give.

Written by Lisa Strong

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How To Not Screw Up Your Kid

Let’s face it, every parent screws up with their kid. But this doesn’t mean your kid will forever be screwed up because of it. Parenting can seem so complicated at times. It’s almost never black and white and you almost always have the chance of stepping on an emotional land mine. But even so, there are some basic rules you can follow that will minimize any damage and keep your relationship with your kid in tact… at least somewhat. Consider t...he following:

1. Never withhold love as a punishment. No matter what your child does, no matter what act of aggression, disrespect, defiance or disappointing behavior they engage in… love them. Disciplining with love is always your best bet.

2. Be willing to change your mind. You know those times when you feel like your kid has just lobbed an emotional grenade at you and in self defense you lob three back at them? It happens to the best of us but it doesn’t always get us the response we want. Be willing to change your mind and reconsider any consequences you lobbed their way in the heat of the moment. Ideally there would be no lobbing at all but this is not practical, I know.

3. Give them age appropriate responsibility. Time flies! One minute you are dealing with a five year old and before you know it they are fifteen. As life flies by at whiplash speed we forget that as they grow up we have to grow with them. What we require at age fifteen must be more than what we required at age five. This means vacating some of your responsibilities so that they can fill them instead. If this doesn’t happen you end up with a young adult who is entitled, rude, ungrateful and miserable. Nobody wants that.

These sound simple but none of the above are easy. After working with thousands of teens and parents I am overwhelmingly aware of that. I do know, however, that these three points work. Give them a try. You will mess up… no offense. But that’s ok. You will more often get it right. And remember that just because you screw up now and then doesn’t mean you permanently screwed up your kid.

Written by Lisa Smith

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How Do You Respond When Your Child says “I Hate You”?

Have you ever had your child yell at you “I hate you”. I know that doesn’t feel good. It feels like a low moment in parenting. Hopefully it wont happen to you but if it does you are required to respond like an adult.

Your child lashes out with the most hurtful thing they can think of to say, “I hate you”. They must be extremely frustrated or hurt and he/she is expressing that feeling with anger. They do not know how to with their feelings in a healthy way. You, as the adult, need to show them a more appropriate response. The first thing to remember when disciplining a child for any unacceptable behavior is never withhold your love, that can not be a punishment. When they yell hurtful words do not stoop to their childish behavior and respond with anger. You need to be the adult and show them how to handle their feelings and that those hurtful words that they yell at you do have consequences.

The idea to withhold love as a consequence for any bad behavior should not be a parenting strategy. There can be no silent treatment, no withholding hugs or bedtime kisses. Your child needs to know that even when they behave badly at school or don’t do their chores or don’t turn in their homework that there will be natural consequences to their choices but they will always be loved. You want your child to feel safe in the relationship, secure in how you will respond.

A child who does not feel this security in the home may respond in many different ways. They may seek that acceptance and security from someone else or a group. They may live with great anxiety and develop physical and emotional responses. They may put great pressure on themselves to be perfect so they will not make you angry and loose your favor. All of these responses are unhealthy behavior choices and will have consequences in their adult relationships.

Your job as the parent is to reassure them of their secure place in your heart and in the home and that you always want what is best for them. You may need to enforce the discipline but teaching them that there are consequences for their behavior does not need to be mean, it can be done with strength and love.

Written by Lisa Strong

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This post is not about guns, it’s about parenting in today’s cultural climate. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Kelly Guthrie Raley, a Teacher of the Year at a Florida middle school, posted a Facebook message that has since gone viral saying parents need to “step up” when it comes to their kids’ behavior.

What is the Goal of Parenting?

What is the outcome we hope to achieve as we raise our children? Some may answer that they want their children “to grow up and live a happy and fulfilling life”. What does that mean exactly and how does that happen? We may say we want them to have a job they enjoy and support themselves and develop relationships with others, maybe get married and have a family. I know that these are not the only goals we have for our children but it is a start, ...let’s break these goals down even more.

The first goal is to have a job that they enjoy. How does this happen? Well they won’t get their dream job from the start, they have to work up to it. In order for our children to be able to do this they have to know how to persevere though some hard challenges, maybe schooling or some less desirable jobs and work up to the dream job.

So as a parent we have to teach them how to work through things that are tough to get to their goal. This means letting them struggle and possibly fail. Allowing them to experience a struggle teaches them coping skills. Don’t do everything for them, don’t make the road too easy and don’t bail them out when hardship comes and or give them everything they need so they are unmotivated to work. As a parent this may be hard, living through their challenges with them and teaching them as they go is one way that they will learn to persevere.

The second goal would be for our children to learn to have healthy relationships. In terms of a job our child needs to learn to take instruction and respect authority. Taking instruction without feeling like a failure or getting defensive can be learned. When we instruct or correct our children it is an opportunity to help them cope with frustration and imperfection. We also need to teach our children to respect authority and listen well. One way to teach this is by requiring them to respect you as the authority and to listen.

Inter-personal relationships are also important. Your son or daughter will not attract healthy friends or a spouse unless they know how to treat others. How to show others respect and care. How to be compassionate and communicate with understanding. One way you can teach this is through role modeling. How do you as a parent treat others? Are you respectful and compassionate? Do you treat your child in that way? Do they know what it feels like to be heard, validated and shown respect? Being a clear, caring communicator is a skill that will help them develop positive relationships.

Parenting is too important of a job to “just wing it”, in order to achieve your goal of raising children “to grow up and live a happy and fulfilling life” it will take thought and effort.

Written by Lisa Strong

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As a parent you can change your child’s future. Let’s give them your best.

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Fascinating and a must read for every parent with a child under 20. For answers and tools to address this issue and others you and your family may be facing, please visit our website at

According to a new analysis, the number of US teens who felt "useless" and "joyless" grew 33 percent between 2010 and 2015, and there was a 23 percent increase in suicide attempts.
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