People-pleasing behavior is fraught with many emotional land mines: resentment, exhaustion, losing touch with our needs, seeking to be liked while giving up our desires and dreams, repressing emotions, and the impossible task of keeping everyone happy (to name just a few). Every parent I’ve worked with who identifies themselves as people-pleasers asks, “what can I do to ensure that my child doesn’t become a people pleaser like me?” I’ve never met any parent who aspires to raise compliant pleasers.
Having taught parenting classes for over 20 years and coached scores of children, parents, and families for just as long, I’ve heard many stories from parents riddled with guilt and worry. Parenting is hard enough without feeling doubt and judging ourselves. The one question that is asked more times than you can imagine is “Am I a bad mom?” or “Am I a bad dad?”
There are many versions of this concern, and it isn’t reserved for any particular developmental stage or parental season. At one time or another, every parent questions whether they are up for the job! And when doubt creeps in, it [...]
Do you know the recipe for keeping your relationship with your preteen and teen strong and healthy? As a parent, are you aware of the critical responses needed to support and ensure vital teen brain development? Simple and crucial parental responses can make the difference.
One of the greatest concerns of every parent is keeping their teen safe when teenage rebellion and risk-taking are prevalent. Science shows that teens rebel more when parents react and are unable to regulate their own emotions. Too often, parents engage in fighting matches and arguments, flinging reprisals and wielding [...]
"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." ~Abraham Lincoln
All parents want to raise responsible, self-reliant children—but getting there doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of nurturing to prepare our kids for a life of independence. Not only do we need to actively teach our children responsibility, but we also need to model the behaviors we want to see. And it's also important to avoid making critical parenting mistakes that could undermine our goal of raising independent kids.
One of the most challenging times in life is when your child hits the teenage years. Parenting teens is as much a rite of passage for you as it is for your teen. It’s when your sweet, agreeable child turns grumpy, rebellious, and pushes you away seemingly overnight. I’ll never forget my own experience as a first-time parent of a teenager. During one incredibly difficult time, my 14-year-old son and I had just had an argument, and he had stormed off abruptly. My daughter, who was five years younger, had witnessed the whole blow-up. As she saw the tears welling in my eyes, she looked up at [...]
Many parents come to me because they’re concerned about their children’s coping skills. It’s clear that a lot of parents are at a loss for how to teach their children resilience. Let’s face it. Raising kids in today’s world is tough. Tech addictions, drugs, anxiety, depression, food disorders, and suicide are prevalent—is it any wonder that parents worry?
As a parent coach, what I repeatedly see are parents who don’t know how to feel, who don’t give themselves or their children permission to feel.
Why is this a problem? Because without emotional literacy, self-awareness, and emotional [...]
Parenting today's teens is challenging. Many parents even dread raising teenagers because they've often heard negative, even scary stories over the years from other parents. As a culture, we think we've got teenagers pegged—uncontrollable, disrespectful, and rebellious. The big question is: "Is adolescent rebellion avoidable?"
If we take a moment to shift a cultural expectation and our perspective as parents, we begin to see adolescence differently. When we approach this season of their life and seek to understand a teen's needs while also meeting their developing brains with nurturing [...]
When I was teaching a parenting class a few years ago, a mother told the story of the time her son came home from kindergarten with green hair. She went ballistic as soon as she saw him. When I asked what triggered her anger, she replied, "All I could see was a teenager standing there with green hair, tattoos, a ring in his nose, and a chain belt hanging from his waist." Her mind had catapulted her into some imaginary future scene, and her fear set off a chain reaction. In fact, the green hair was left over from a Saint Patrick's Day celebration at school. The teachers had dyed the [...]
Posted in Parenting Favorites
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the stress of hectic day-to-day activities with our families and children and fail to do our best parenting. We can all too easily react to our children’s testy (and testing!) behavior without even thinking. Most parents don’t realize that in our knee-jerk reactions, we are giving our children unhelpful messages that do not teach them how to become capable, happy adults.
Posted in Parenting Favorites
We love our kids! And all every parent wants if for their children to be happy and successful. Sometimes we unintentionally do the opposite of what cultivates healthy self-esteem. For example, there’s hardly a parent in the world who hasn’t said something like this to a child in a moment of exasperation: “Look at your brother—he jumps right on his homework after school! Why do I always have to nag you to get yours done?” “Your sister’s a whiz at math, but all you want to do is draw.” Or “Stop giving me attitude! Can’t you just be polite like your brother?”