Summer Plans that can Fill all Family Needs

June 14th, 2022

Families aren't supposed to be win/lose propositions. We need to build them to be win/win for all members. Making family plans for the summer can be taxing and stressful, where one or more family members feel left out. Enter the family planning meeting. This process gives everybody voice. The first letter addresses this. In the second letter, mom fears not getting her own needs met. I encourage her to switch her mindset from either/or to both/and. As long as kids have supervision and accountability, mommies can get their needs met too.

Being There in Tough Times

May 28th, 2022

This pandemic has taken its toll on all of us. While things are much better, we're not there yet. How can you be there for your kids and for others in these tough times? The first letter is from grandparents who want to be active again. I counsel, go, but go slowly and with safeguards in place. A mom writes me about her son's best friend who is very ill from this pandemic. While encouraging her son to talk our his feelings, in his time frame, I also encourage creative ideas for the boy to be there for his best friend in these tough times.

Planning Summer Fun in Critical Times

May 15th, 2022

Summer is almost here. Kids almost out of school. What to do? What to do? A mom shares her frustrations and worries about planning amidst pandemic and world crises. Active listening is the tool to use to help calm your kids down. After you have their attention, use brainstorming techniques to open up a family planning meeting. Any and all options are on the table, within family time and money constraints. As an extra, I've included my own family meeting activities list to activate the brain cells. Blessings, Jon

Tending to kid health issues

May 8th, 2022

Tragedy can befall any family at any time. In the first letter, mom wants help not with her elder son who is quadriplegic, but rather with her younger son, whom she fears will be left out. There's a place for all in the family, no matter what the trauma. In the second letter, how could a sweet, adorable, little 5-yr old girl suffer from migraine headaches. Mom is fraught with worry and concern. I helped her come up with options to help ease her daughter's pain.

Pandemic Parental Fatigue

April 21st, 2022

Parenting a special needs child is challenging under any circumstances. Add COVID-19 and the situation compounds. This podcast is not letters, my usual format, but rather an article sent to me that I'm passing on to you. Take heart. You can both self-care and tend to your special needs child.

Holiday Challenges

December 21st, 2021

What to do when one of your kids embraces the awe of Santa Claus, and her older brother intends to burst her bubble by saying that Santa is "not real?" As parents, we are to respect our children's developmental stages and convictions, while guiding them away from power plays. Also, how do we keep the family and spiritual side of Christmas alive in our family? In the second letter, mom is frustrated with the disruption to kid bedtime with the change of routine around the holidays. Ideas?

Kid Health Issues

December 9th, 2021

Stuff happens. As parents, we are charged with helping our kids when stuff happens. In our first letter, mom asks about psychosomatic tummy aches her 6 year old daughter is having. Yes, psychosomatic illness is real, not "all in your head." I give her some hints for easing her daughter's pain. In our second letter, mom wants help with her middle schooler having to wear an eye patch the rest of the school year. Cognitive reframing is at tool mom can help her son use to adapt to his awkward, difficult circumstances.

Stress & Wellness Checks

December 1st, 2021

My letters this week are preventive in nature. One mom wonders if her son's behavior is symptomatic or normal. I talk about distress and eustress, and how stress is normal. The six-week rule is good to go by. If your concerns last longer than six weeks, what you are noticing may be symptoms. My second parent wonders if it is a good idea to have yearly mental health wellness checks, just like our kids have annual physicals. What a great idea!

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.

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