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CHILDREN

How to make your parenting vision a reality

1.26.14

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here.] “A company without a vision cannot succeed. And a vision without a plan is the recipe for failure.” — Kevin Harrington, ABC’s “Shark Tank” judge Our lives are loaded with plans: business plans, retirement plans, health insurance plans, workout plans and vacation plans. But what about having a parenting plan? Parenting is just like any other undertaking in life. To increase our chances of a successful outcome, we usually need to know where we are going, and how we are going to get there. I would like to suggest a three-part parenting plan that will hopefully provide you with some ideas to implement in your family. For best results, the three parts of

Passionate parenting begins with a vision

1.16.14

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here.] Imagine for a moment that when you were recently taking down your Christmas tree, you found one last present. It was hidden behind the tree. Your children see their names on the present and are excited! The gift is from you to them. You have purposely saved it for last because it is the greatest gift they will ever receive from you. What is it? What could it possibly be? What would be the best present that you could ever give to your children? What gift could you give them that would have the longest-lasting impact on their lives? The answer: Being a good parent. My next few articles will address research-based “best practices” in parenting. Let’s begin by addressing

Mindfulness: Teaching Children to Love Their Bodies Through Yoga

1.6.14

 By Laura Harper, CSW If you have ever watched a four-month old reach for her toes or stretch on her belly, or a three-year old running across the grass and falling in ecstatic giggling, or a seven-year old jumping on the trampoline for an hour trying to land a back flip, you know that it is the natural state of childhood to be in tune with our bodies and to enjoy free and joyful physical expression.  As the years pass and we enter the self-conscious adolescent years, the developing child can become more inhibited, often self-critical, disconnecting from their physical self.  Traumatic experiences as well as social conditioning can also contribute to the experiencing of a separation between mind and body.  We start to live in our heads, ig

How to bring your children joy

12.14.13

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here] Giving — “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” -Mark Twain I have a friend whose parents took this advice to heart. When my friend was a child, his parents began a family tradition of dropping food, special treats, gifts and even money to families they believed needed it. They did it anonymously. Many families enjoy this activity around Christmas time. The peculiarity about his family was that they began this tradition when they were experiencing their own financial hardships. My friend remembers his father telling him: “Someone else will always have less than you; find that person and share.” He said that one year his fam

How to help your anxious child be more assertive

11.30.13

[Published by MomClick Utah and The Daily Herald here] The other day, I heard a grandfather talk about a phone call he received from his daughter. She told him how his elementary school grandson had been teased and bullied at his local church when he wore glasses for the first time. Frequently we hear nationwide news about bullying-related youth suicides. Quite often, many of my clients suffering from anxiety mention that at some time in their middle school or high school years they were bullied. Do kids who get bullied become anxious, or are anxious kids more likely to get bullied? The truth is, it can be both. Children who are bullied will experience trauma and thus will develop anxiety and may need professional help to overcome that neg

Some Quick Parenting Lessons for the Duchess of Cambridge

8.29.13

[View original article published in Psych Central here] I imagine that even Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge in England’s monarchy) will experience her son, Prince George, throwing temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way or is asked to do something he doesn’t want to do. The prince, despite his royal heritage and training in comportment, might even be bossy with other children his age. Do you sometimes feel like you’ve tried everything, and aren’t sure if your child will ever attain self-control? Being a parent is challenging; when you have a strong-willed child it can be a source of serious stress and conflict. Here are some suggestions to help: Awareness. It’s been said that before you can change a behavior, you must first be

7 Ways to Help Your Anxious Child

8.27.13

When children are afraid about the unknown (new school, new grade, new house, etc), how do you handle it?  Do you reassure them and say, “it’ll be okay, don’t worry about it” or do you try to help them process their thoughts and feelings?  Our children need to know we understand how they feel.  Don’t try to fix the worry or dismiss it; instead, validate their feelings and empathize with them.  Here are additional ideas to help you with this process. 1.  Read: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to get your child thinking about caterpillars and butterflies. 2.   Invite your child to draw a caterpillar, a cocoon, and a butterfly. 3.  The other day I was helping one of my young clients with her fears.  I decided to use my caterpillar/butterfly puppe

When you love too much…

2.15.13

The Science Daily recently reported on a study conducted at the University of Mary Washington.  The research showed that children whose parents were overly involved in their lives when they were young were more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and less satisfaction as they got older.  When children are micromanaged, they are unable to handle stressors because they feel less confident in their abilities. Make adjustments The study showed that many parents are unable to adapt their parenting styles.  They continue to hover over their children as if they were still young.  They are overly involved and this inhibits their children’s emotional and social development. College students in the study disclosed that even though their paren

When Once Is Not Enough

8.28.12

[View original article published in Psych Central here] “Say good-night mommy, say good-night,” pleaded Johnny every night. It wasn’t as if he had not already read several books, been tucked in, and kissed good night. Johnny’s pleas continued every night. After the third or fourth nagging requests, she would get irritated and say, “I am done! This is the last one. Good night!” Johnny would cry and ask for more “good nights.” Mom didn’t know it at the time, but she was reinforcing Johnny’s need for reassurance. One “goodnight” was not enough, but neither were ten. Ritualized hand-washing or other grooming compulsions were absent. There didn’t seem to be any checking compulsions. If there had been, Johnny’s parents probably would have sough

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