Navigating Cars and Bullies

November 14th, 2021

All of our kids know more than we think they know. When we are faced with adversity, share with them in an age-appropriate way. In my first letter, dad feels bad about not being able to afford a used car for his younger son, after having gotten one for his older son when times were better for the family. Active listening his frustration and jointly problem-solving options will be helpful. In my second letter mom fears her 6th grade son being bullied by eighth graders in middle school. Being a "helicopter parent" never works, and deprives our children of figuring things out for themselves. Instead of "doing for," consider offering wise counsel and brainstorm what to do if bullying occurs.

Too much is Too Much

October 31st, 2021

We all have breaking points. With the pandemic, our buttons are being pushed more frequently. It's all just too much. In my first letter, a mom is franticĀ  about her son's senior year in high school being all topsy-turvy. He's not handling the changes well. I encourage her to go to him and ask permission to talk with him. When he agrees, she will want to active listen without judging, criticizing, or even coming up with great suggestions. Let him take the lead, while she advises and supports. In the second letter, mom and dad are frantic to tend to their 5 yr old and everything else in their lives all at once. I reinforce what they seem to be doing right, and then suggest some behavior management strategies to help their son be successful. Soon, all of this pandemic will be just a memory.

Holiday Gatherings

October 23rd, 2021

The holidays are upon us and all of us want to get back to a normal gathering, putting the pandemic behind us, right? Uh, no! With vaccinations in full swing, gatherings are more do-able, but with good planning. In my first letter, I share with the writer several ways to plan for low risk family gatherings. In my second letter, Debbie Downer laments celebrating the holidays this year for "just the two of us," because of distance and limitations. I encourage creativity in making a special occasion for the two of them. Also, I share two rules for addressing depression that will also give the holidays a boost for DD.

Pandemic Options

October 18th, 2021

In these difficult times, we are all called upon to make the best of it. With both anxiety and depression on the rise during the pandemic, how can we plan get togethers and still be safe? In my first letter, a mom laments that her 5 year old's birthday may not happen as the little boy would like. I give her some options and encourage her active listening her son's frustrations and disappointment. My second letter comes from a teen, at her mom's encouragement. With her 13th birthday party on the rails, she concludes "This pandemic sucks!!" I help her make plans that are both fun and safe. How can we make the best out of a bad situation?

Christmas Questions

October 6th, 2021

The holidays are coming up and listeners have lots of questions on their mind. Here are two holiday favorites. The first listener asks how to address her teen's thoughtful question about how Christmas came to be celebrated in December when that wasn't Jesus' birth month. I encourage the mother/son dialogue and offer some research. In the second letter, mom is frustrated with her tantrum-throwing 5 year old. Remember the rule, children will always test the limits. They test them to be sure they are there. I encourage mom to active listen her son's frustrations, set healthy boundaries, and mutually problem solve with him after his emotional fever has gone down.

Making Birthdays Speical

September 13th, 2021

We all only get physically born once, so it's a big deal. The annual anniversary of our birth is the one day a year that we can claim as our own. As parents, we want our child's birthday to stand out as special. In the first letter, mom is hurt and saddened by her son being left out of another playmate's birthday party. Active listening his feelings and finding alternative ways to help that day be special will help him deal with a tough situation. From the second letter another mom wants suggestions about how to have 2 parties in a single day, with her daughter and her best friend wanting to move away from their joint birthday celebration. I suggest that mom is looking at a problem, when it is really a symptom. Redirecting her will put her more on target.

Personalizing birthdays in your family

September 5th, 2021

Hi. I'm glad to be back after vacation. My first letter to me today comes from a mom who is puzzled over whether orĀ  not to allow a boy/girl birthday party for her 13 year old daughter. I encourage them to talk it through thoroughly and advise her daughter of the Principle of Responsible Freedom in planning for her big day. In the second letter, "Stuck" fears giving her 10 year old son a surprise birthday party that may undo him. Active listening is the tool for this mom, to help her son sort through all of his feelings about the event and to include him in the details. Blessings, Dr. Jon

Starting the New School Year

August 9th, 2021

Every year children and parents go through the ritual of starting the new school year. Got everything you need? Know where you are going? What's for lunch? Where are your classes? These are things all kids and parents need to know to start the new school year. In my first letter today, mom fears letting loose her middle school son to get his own new school year clothes. I caution that the letting go process should have started with his birth and share some thoughts about applying that principle now. In my second letter her 4th grade daughter is telling mom not to treat her like a baby anymore. Sound familiar? Here's how to cross that bridge of "tweenager" with your child and for yourself. Check them out.

Making Birthdays Special

July 29th, 2021

Birthdays can and should be always special. Be creative. Think outside the box. Sometimes, circumstances need to be considered as well. My first reader wrote with questions on how to stop a potential train wreck, with their son's grandparents taking charge. Setting boundaries and being assertive while also being appreciative is the message of the day. My next letter was from a mom whose twin 10 year olds want to do things differently this year. Handling twinship while encouraging individual identity is the message here. Blessings, Jon

Newborn Blues, Getting Ready for Pandemic School Year

July 20th, 2021

A new mom wrote me recently about how overwhelmed she is. Trying to do it all is always exhausting. I encouraged her to share her feelings with hubby and then divide and conquer home chores and newborn bonding time. With the uncertainty of the Delta Variant of the coronavirus and the possibility of a second pandemic lockdown, another mom wrote her many questions that all parents have with the new school year looming. Active listening, honesty, and reliable information will work for her and her family. To be on the safe side, get vaccinated, socially distant, mask, and hand wash.

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