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.

Preparing for the New in the Family

July 8th, 2021

Two of the letters I received this week both involve handling the new in family functioning. In the first letter, Adam's parents are aghast by 2 yr old Benjy is dealing with newborn brother Adam. I encourage these folks to look at Benjy's behavior not as problematic, but rather as symptomatic. In the second letter, mom is feeling underappreciated as her brood gripe about getting ready for the new school year at summer's end. Active listening, followed by family problem-solving does the trick.

Getting Your Child’s Birthday “just right.”

June 27th, 2021

Birthdays at any age are about feeling special and doing something fun. Sometimes, however, things come up and we are thrown into a birthday quandry. In the first letter, mom is hurt and confused when her son is not invited to a neighborhood child's birthday party. I help her navigate that social sleight. In the second letter, best friends have the same birth date and have always celebrated their birthday party jointly. This year, however, they want separate parties. Is this about wanting to feel more special, or is it something else. I help mom encourage her daughter to wonder what else is going on and where this request came from.

Above All Else, Show Kindness toYour Kids.

June 20th, 2021

As parents, we have lots of opportunity to discipline, teach, and remind our kids. But do we routinely show them kindness? In Scripture, Proverbs 22:6 states, "Raise your children up in the ways of the Lord so that, when they grow old, they will not depart from Him." That's a tall order, but with life-changing impact. By all means remind, teach, and discipline your kids, but also add moments of positivity, praise, and acts of kindness. That's the legacy worth passing on to them.

Connecting Hubby, Effective Consequences

June 12th, 2021

In this first letter, the writer is having frustration carrying all of the parenting load. I give her steps to help hubby get on board and help out more. In the second letter, mom wonders why her punishment of her child seems to do no good on his behavior. Help your child make good choices, rather than use his power with siblings. Trade in "punishment" for "natural consequences."

Don’t Let Parental Guilt and Job Loss Get in the Way of Having Family Fun

June 5th, 2021

My first mom wrote me about wrenching guilt when she wanted "me-time" away from her kids. All of us need me-time. Your options are not either/or, but rather both/and. Creative problem-solving with the kids helps all of you win. The second letter is from a family whose summer plans have been upended by job loss and limited funds. Take time to put together a family meeting where you can share the load and brainstorm ideas for having summer fun with limited expense. Keeping the lines of communication open with your kids is always the path to emotional intimacy, cooperation, and bonding.

Starting Summer Vacation Off Right

May 29th, 2021

Transitioning from school year to summer schedule can be challenging for some families. In this first letter, mom laments that their vacation planning is "never good enough" for the kids, who complain regardless. Including the kids in the planning process always goes a long way. In the second letter, mom is frantic to corral her brood after school is out for the summer. Taking account of structure, supervision, and accountability makes for smooth sailing through summer activities.

Is your child stressed out? What about mental health wellness checkups?

May 16th, 2021

The first letter is from a parent who is concerned about whether her child's nail-biting behavior is symptomatic of anxiety. What exactly is stress? My second letter is from a parent who asks if there is such a thing as mental health wellness checkups for the family. What great questions. Check out this podcast to see how I answer them. Blessings, Dr. Jon

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