Author Archive

Disrespectful children and authentic self-esteem

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When parents tell us they are unhappy about their children’s disrespectful behavior, we can think of several things that contribute to the problem.

First, disrespect seems to be a feature of the culture we live in. Facebook, movies and TV often show children behaving in snarky, sassy ways that get big laughs – so of course our young children imitate what they see and hear.

When they’re little, we may think that’s cute, but when they’re older it’s not funny at all.

Second, the emphasis on promoting “self-esteem” has ...

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Coaching and Modeling Good Behavior

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Promoting civil behavior in children

“We’d love to have you visit us but whatever you do don’t bring any preschoolers with you,” a grandfather remarked at a dinner party one evening.

It seems he had been visited by his children and grandchildren and was still reeling from the event. “They never listened, didn’t want to do anything, were picky about the food and got into arguments about toys,” he continued. “Kids today are like that.”

How agonizing it must be for loving parents, ...

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Dealing with tantrums

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Tantrums – appearing as early as 1 and as late as 42 – are part of a stage of emotional development the caregiver would like to be able to move the child through as quickly as possible. They most often occur  in public places such as supermarket check-out lines and shopping centers. They are characterized by out-of-control screaming and thrashing, and if the caregiver starts screaming and thrashing herself matters only get worse.

The caregiver would like the child to be able ...

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Preparing your child for kindergarten

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At one time, being ready for kindergarten meant knowing your name, address and phone number, being able to print your name, counting up to a certain number, reciting the alphabet in order and even tying your shoes.

These are helpful accomplishments, but in reality they have little to do with “readiness” for learning in a school setting.

Parents are a child’s first teachers, and they have all the tools needed to have him ready and eager to learn in an environment away ...

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A formula for a perfect kids’ summer

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Warm, sunny days! Aren’t they great after having been cooped up all winter? Everyone is so ready for fresh air and freedom.

And freedom is what we grandmothers wish for your young children during spring and summer.

Yes, we know we must be concerned for their safety and we understand that the work week continues for most parents. But please, we implore you, try to provide some sense of freedom and independence for them this summer.

Take advantage of this time – when ...

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Go play! It’s the key to success in school

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The old days

Finally research has vindicated the mothers of half-a-century ago who routinely opened the screen door in back and told their kids to go play – and not to bother coming back until the street lights came on or they heard the dinner bell (whichever came first).

Turns out these mothers were not being abusive and neglectful. The moms of the previous century didn’t know it, of course, but they were ensuring that their children developed a critical cognitive skill ...

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Young children notice everything – absolutely everything

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He didn’t even notice!

We often dismiss our young children’s observational skills this way. Did our young daughter notice that she was the only white (or black) child on the playground? Of course not! Did our son happen to observe that all the women in the shower room were naked? Didn’t seem to. How about the man without legs in the wheelchair? Well, she started to stare, but we distracted her and she forgot all about it.

Well, he didn’t say anything

Perhaps ...

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The other thing about Easter: Scary church stories

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In a previous Easter season, a worried mother sent this note:

One of the kids at my son’s preschool told him about the crucifixion, and what happened, with all the exact details and he was horrified. Telling him about Easter Sunday did not make him feel better. He has been crying about this at night and is afraid of regular pictures of Jesus in a book. I hope it’s OK to ask this question because it’s about religion and everybody has ...

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Learning to apologize

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Joel and Andrew, 4-year old friends, were playing with Lego when suddenly, Andrew howled, “I was just going to use that—it’s mine!”

Joel had snatched one of the pieces Andrew had in his pile beside him. When Andrew protested, Joel knocked down his building and Andrew began to cry. Joel looked at his mother wide-eyed.

What To Do?

“Oh, no,” thought Joel’s mother. Normally, he was not a selfish boy, but lately he’d done some very unkind things. What should she do this ...

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Standing Up For Myself

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Asserting oneself begins at birth. We parents quickly learn the differences between the loud, insistent screams our babies make. We know when our one month old is saying, “I’m hungry, NOW” or “Something really hurts!”

Asserting oneself becomes all too evident during the toddler years when “Me do” and “No”, provokes nods from adults and we mutter knowingly, “ the terrible twos”. This strong push toward independence, although it tries our patience, is generally understood to be a predictable part of growing ...

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