My Favorite One-Two Skill Combo

My Favorite One-Two Skill Combo

While each of the ten high-impact parent-child communication skills described in Connect with Your Kid are amazingly effective, their power magnifies greatly when used in combination. Without question, my favorite one-two combo is listening, followed by open-ended...

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Not Your Typical Parenting Book

Not Your Typical Parenting Book

The last time you visited my website, did you notice the banner at the top of the page? Along with my smiling face, it displays two books: Connect with Your Kid and Parents Coaching Parents. Parents Coaching Parents is a brief, easy read that explains how one parent...

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Your Child Can Learn to Listen, Too

Your Child Can Learn to Listen, Too

The book, Connect with Your Kid, is a how-to manual for improving the 10 most important parent-child communication skills. And listening to understand is at the top of the list, for several reasons: When your child is trying to express something, you need to hear it....

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For Your Own Mental Health, Pick Your Battles

For Your Own Mental Health, Pick Your Battles

Trying to conserve on electricity, you ask the family to turn off lights when leaving a room that they don't plan to return to soon. But most of the time your son/daughter forgets to do this simple thing. You remind them and they agree to try harder. But when you walk...

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Does Your Child Think about the Future?

Does Your Child Think about the Future?

Driving home, I saw a young man walking on the sidewalk. Shirtless in the midday sun, he sported a tanned, muscular body. He seemed oblivious to a future consequence: excessive exposure to solar radiation (sunlight) can cause skin cancer. The sight reminded me of a...

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The Top 5 Fundamentals

The Top 5 Fundamentals

Helping a young human being grow up to be a happy, successful, and independent adult has to be the hardest thing you can do. People are astoundingly complex; even kids are complex, growing more so year by year until they leave home. And yet, few parents have had the...

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7 Big Truths about Empathy

7 Big Truths about Empathy

One of my favorite parenting experts is Deborah Gilboa, MD. also known as Dr. G. In the past I've shared several of her posts. In this video, "The Big Lie about Empathy," she shares some eyes-wide-open truths about EMPATHY. Probably nothing is more important to the...

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The Difference-Maker: Really Connecting with Your Child

The Difference-Maker: Really Connecting with Your Child

What if you had great communication skills? Some parents do! But most don’t. When parents connect in ways that strengthen the bond with their child, kids are more open to parental guidance and wisdom. Most parents struggle with this. Learning powerful communication...

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The Magic of an Apology

The Magic of an Apology

Have you ever been exhausted, under pressure, and upset - all at the same time? If you have, then you know how easy it is to lash out, yell, or say something you later regret. This is a perfectly natural reaction. But consider what your child would feel on the...

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Be a Coach, Not a Critic

Be a Coach, Not a Critic

Fifty years ago, I began my graduate work at Duke University. Although I was an Army captain, a graduate of West Point and the Army Ranger School, and a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, my main interest was literature. I was a published poet, I won First...

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The Encouragement Inoculation

The Encouragement Inoculation

Discouragement is when someone experiences loss, adversity, or failure and as a result they lose confidence in their own strengths and abilities to cope. They lose heart. This happens to kids a lot. Every day, a child struggles with the painful struggles of growing...

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Parents: You Have to Be the One

Parents: You Have to Be the One

Many years ago, my business partners asked me to change my behavior. They claimed that I sometimes lashed out at them. When one referred to my behavior as verbally abusive, I became defensive. I thought they were exaggerating. They gave me an example. Once, in a...

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The Key to Empathy: Imagining the Unimaginable

The Key to Empathy: Imagining the Unimaginable

Have you ever looked up at the night sky on a clear night to see the North Star? If you can spot the Big Dipper, follow the line from the dipper to a very bright star named Polaris. This star helped seafarers navigate for centuries. It's very, very far away - over 300...

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‘Take Off Your Mask,’ He Said

‘Take Off Your Mask,’ He Said

As I write this, the Covid-19 coronavirus in the U.S. has been killing about 3,000 people every day. I know several people who have become infected. A member of my extended family died from the infection. This pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in our...

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How to Talk to Your Kid about Sex

How to Talk to Your Kid about Sex

The human species, like all other species, exists because of its ability to reproduce. During the fertile years, men and women feel the urge to engage in sexual union, which is necessary to produce offspring. When I was much younger, my friends and I would joke about...

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How to Handle a Discouraged Child

How to Handle a Discouraged Child

Even though kids are a work-in-progress, their current knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and motivation can lead to more learning and achievement. They may also bring a unique set of core personal strengths, such as patience, self-confidence, persistence, and many...

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Connect with Your Kid

Connect with Your Kid

Communicating well is a foundation element of effective parenting. How can you be a parent to your child without communicating? Whenever there are problems between parent and child, ineffective communication is almost always a contributing factor. And yet, when you...

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3 Keys to a Harmonious Home

3 Keys to a Harmonious Home

Once again, I'm delighted to feature a guest post from Elisabeth Stitt, author of Parenting as a Second Language and esteemed parent coach. Elisabeth is the founder of Joyful Parenting Coaching, which specializes in helping parents understand and communicate...

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Must-See Documentary: ‘The Social Dilemma’

Must-See Documentary: ‘The Social Dilemma’

Smartphones are flat-out amazing. No, miraculous. A voice gives me turn-by-turn driving instructions to get to a ranch outside a small town 750 miles away. That's incredible. Also, the ability to shoot a video clip and send it to someone in Nepal instantaneously, day...

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Is Your Child Ready for College – Really?

Is Your Child Ready for College – Really?

One parent I know pushed her child hard to punch all his tickets in high school. He was a smart kid, but lazy. She felt she had to manage him to meet his requirements. His real love was playing video games, so he decided he wanted to be a game programmer. At college,...

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Disconnected: How to Deal with Teen Smartphone Issues

Disconnected: How to Deal with Teen Smartphone Issues

As Tom Kersting points out in his new book, Disconnected, kids graduating from college these days are the first generation to experience their entire adolescence while owning a smartphone. As a result, they spend hours a day glued to the small screen while engaged...

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Here’s to the Hard-Working Young Adults out There

Here’s to the Hard-Working Young Adults out There

Maybe you've heard about helicopter parenting until you're sick of it - parents who prepare the road ahead for their kid instead of preparing their kid for the road ahead. Julie Lythcott-Haims wrote a fine book about the phenomenon: How to Raise an Adult: Break Free...

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Would Your Child Send Someone a Nude Selfie?

Would Your Child Send Someone a Nude Selfie?

If your child should receive a request for a nude pic, how do you think they would react? You'd be surprised how many young people would laugh and consider it a harmless, fun thing to do, perhaps a way to be included with the cool crowd, never thinking about the...

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Boys Who Act Like Girls, Girls Who Act Like Boys

Boys Who Act Like Girls, Girls Who Act Like Boys

During the COVID-19 shut-down I heard reports that many LGBTQ college students who have been forced to study at home are experiencing unusual stress levels caused by their parents' failure to accept their gender identity. They believe that their child has chosen a...

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Jane Parent: 4 High School Parenting Mistakes I Made

Jane Parent: 4 High School Parenting Mistakes I Made

For several years now I've promoted Your Teen online magazine on my website. If you're like me, Your Teen has become your trusted resource for parenting teens and tweens. Jane Parent, senior editor, is one of my favorite authors, and she generously agreed to share her...

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A Modest Proposal: Adult Skills for Kids

A Modest Proposal: Adult Skills for Kids

ADULTING: "The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks." I borrowed this excellent definition from an online search; the term is too new to be included in the Merriam-Webster...

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Dad Talks to Daughter…About the Future

Dad Talks to Daughter…About the Future

"There's nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly." - Buckminster Fuller This quote made me think of my West Point class. Before I arrived there, I had made straight A's for 12 straight years, graduating as valedictorian. But during my...

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Teens Need Lots of Talks

Teens Need Lots of Talks

It seems like yesterday when I published Conversations with the Wise Uncle: The Secret to Being Strong as a Teenager and Preparing for Success as an Adult (First Summit, 2012). Eight years ago! It's a series of stories about a young boy named Chris and his uncle Ray,...

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With Your Help, Your Child Can Learn from Experience

With Your Help, Your Child Can Learn from Experience

It’s often said that experience is the best teacher and that the value of mistakes is that you can learn from them. There’s a lot of wisdom in this. It's why we don't want to protect our kids from every mistake and failure while they're growing up. If an activity...

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Planting Empowering Thoughts

Planting Empowering Thoughts

A young father was telling me about his two children, a seven-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy. "My daughter is an angel, but my little boy is a terror. He defies me every chance he gets. At lunch I asked him to come to the dinner table and he refused. That...

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Wisdom, Choices, and the Life Path

Wisdom, Choices, and the Life Path

With every choice, there is a consequence. And the situation of that consequence sets up another choice. One choice after another, we create our life paths and become who we are. It's a process that continues throughout one's life. It's how a child gradually becomes...

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What Path Will Your Child Choose?

What Path Will Your Child Choose?

I've lived long enough to be aware of the sometimes remarkable paths that lives take. When I was a West Point cadet, my activities and achievements were quite a bit different from my high school experience. I know the same was true of my classmates. For example, a...

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The Kid Got Lucky: From Loser to Legend

The Kid Got Lucky: From Loser to Legend

"I was a terrible student," he said, "always staring out windows or looking at the clock, waiting for class to be over." From a very early age, the only thing that interested him was excitement, danger, and risk-taking. He considered schoolwork pointless, and...

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Do Youth Sports Really Benefit Kids?

Do Youth Sports Really Benefit Kids?

I once had a conversation with an intelligent woman about the value of team sports. She said emphatically that the idea that team sports promoted teen development was utter nonsense (not her words) and that team sports promoted aggressiveness and generally callous...

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Phonics – The Gateway to Strong Reading Skills

Phonics – The Gateway to Strong Reading Skills

When I was a little kid, my mother read child's books to me. I loved the stories, and I begged her to read them to me over and over. But on my first day of school, I told my mother I wasn't ready, because I didn't know all my ABC's. As she helped me put on my jacket,...

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Kids Who Love Reading Have a Real Superpower

Kids Who Love Reading Have a Real Superpower

My wife has an amazing mind. She's always my first reader for feedback about my work. She catches nearly all mistakes, points out ways to improve my writing, and makes helpful recommendations. I know why she's so smart. According to her, her mother read to her while...

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Outshine Every Star

Outshine Every Star

On a clear day Rise and look around you, And you'll see who you are. On a clear day How it will astound you That the glow of your being Outshines every star. As I listened to Barbra Streisand sing "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)," written over 50 years ago by...

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Watch Out for the Crazies

Watch Out for the Crazies

For years now, instead of saying "Drive safely!" when people I care about are getting into their cars, I tell them, "Watch out for the crazies!" I know, it sounds a little weird. But not really. What I'm referring to are the "other guys" on the highway who could be...

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The Simple Shift to Love

The Simple Shift to Love

It's hard enough managing everything in a life - home, meals, bills, etc. Add to that being exhausted from a stressful job or raising kids. Or both! And further, add to that the pain of frustration, disappointment, or discouragement when your child doesn't do what's...

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The Good Thing about Regret

The Good Thing about Regret

My wife and I were going to visit a friend. Our route took us to a stop sign at a T-junction at an Interstate access road. We could turn left or right to get to our destination. My wife said, "Turn left." I replied that the shorter and quicker route would be to turn...

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Teens Need to Get Good at Future-Thinking

Teens Need to Get Good at Future-Thinking

As I was coaching a twelve-year-old girl, I concluded with this summary: "In the future, some of your friends will want you to conform, so you'll need to stand up for yourself and be the kind of person you want to be." Her reply: "What do you mean by 'in the future'?"...

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Before You Hand Over Those Keys…

Before You Hand Over Those Keys…

Getting a driver license is a rite of passage. Because of the way a vehicle empowers independence and how the license amounts to a badge of maturity, many teens look forward to this certification. And you want them - maybe you need them - to be able to drive...

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How to Help Your Child Become a Better Thinker

How to Help Your Child Become a Better Thinker

This weekend we're headed to Corpus Christie to celebrate our niece's wedding. Since our go-to cat sitter isn't available, we found a 15-year-old young man who wanted the job. He came to our home to be briefed, and I had a chance to talk with him. Me - "School starts...

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What Our Daughters Need to Know about Beauty

What Our Daughters Need to Know about Beauty

Young girls want to be pretty. They believe it will help make them popular and well-liked, and therefore be included in the fun and excitement with friends. And they're probably right. Because every aspect of popular media promotes a classic form of female beauty. For...

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Reactivity – A Parent’s No. 1 Mistake…and the Cure

Reactivity – A Parent’s No. 1 Mistake…and the Cure

I know several parents whose child is fast approaching adolescence. Even raising a sweet child can be difficult in many ways, but after puberty the challenges change. Middle school-aged children don't want to be treated like sweet little kids anymore. Far from being...

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Growing a Stronger PFC during the Years Before Puberty

Growing a Stronger PFC during the Years Before Puberty

My book, How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain, and most of the hundreds of articles on this blog, address how to encourage, support and coach a young person during the adolescent years to wire their prefrontal cortex (PFC) for the thinking skills that they'll need...

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Why Most Teens Don’t Care about Getting Smarter

Why Most Teens Don’t Care about Getting Smarter

First, here's what I mean by "smart." One long-accepted understanding of "smart" involves acquiring knowledge: learning facts and basic principles. This is the primary business of middle school and high school. Kids understand this aspect. It's the kind of "smart"...

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Sexting – Exciting, Dumb and Dangerous

Sexting – Exciting, Dumb and Dangerous

Imagine this scenario... A well-rounded, accomplished teen boy raised in a wholesome, supportive family is asked by a girl he believes is romantically interested in him, a stranger he met online, to send her erotic photos of himself. The reasoning part of his brain is...

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News Flash – Teens Don’t Have to ‘Sew Wild Oats’

News Flash – Teens Don’t Have to ‘Sew Wild Oats’

A friend once told me a story about his older brother. My friend was a top student and multi-sport athlete in high school, and he eventually got a football scholarship and later had a successful career as an executive. His drive to achieve in class and in sports kept...

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Growing Up Smart – You Can Take Luck out of the Equation

Growing Up Smart – You Can Take Luck out of the Equation

Not long ago, I had a conversation with a local physician. Happily, we didn’t talk about my health. Instead, he spoke enthusiastically about his three children, two boys and a girl, all of whom have left home. He told me something unbelievable about them: all three...

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Who Am I? A Teenager’s Strange Search for Identity

Who Am I? A Teenager’s Strange Search for Identity

I saw something striking while shopping for groceries the other day. A young boy, about 13 years old, was walking just ahead of his parents. No, not walking. Sort of dancing, as if he were a lurching, broken robot. A green bunch of hair shot straight up from the top...

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Nurturing Your Teenager’s Brain Development

Nurturing Your Teenager’s Brain Development

What's happening as an adolescent child matures toward adulthood is complicated, so it's important to know what's going on. But when parents are given insightful information, their first question is: What should I do about it? In this post I share a guest article from...

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The Adolescent Gauntlet

The Adolescent Gauntlet

I recently had breakfast with some friends who have a graduating high school senior. He's a great kid who wants to be a speech therapist and has been accepted into the right university for that training. Also, I pointed out that in addition to this wonderful outcome,...

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Parents: Give Yourself a Break

Parents: Give Yourself a Break

Caring parents who consider the advice of experts are on a journey to "get better" at raising well-adjusted adults who succeed in life and work. But it's not easy. It's not supposed to be easy. The culture is working against you - the teen culture and the larger...

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Teen Brain Development Really Is a Race Against Time

Teen Brain Development Really Is a Race Against Time

As you may have noticed throughout your life, not every child grows up smart. In this brief article, some straight talk about adolescent brain development. Each area of a child's growing brain has a sensitive window for development. For the kind of adult-level...

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Raise Your Son to Have Compassion and Respect for Women

Raise Your Son to Have Compassion and Respect for Women

With a new documentary, the "Lorena Bobbitt story" is in the media again. Do you remember her - the woman who, almost 30 years ago, was raped by her husband; and then while he slept, she cut off his...with a kitchen knife and tossed it into a grassy field? For a while...

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Don’t Handicap Your Children By Making Their Lives Easy

Don’t Handicap Your Children By Making Their Lives Easy

In my book, How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain, I explain that adolescence is a sensitive time window for developing foundation thinking skills in the prefrontal cortex and how to maximize that development. Important insights, I assure you. But establishing the...

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Smartphones for Teens – Eyes Wide Open

Smartphones for Teens – Eyes Wide Open

Recently I stood gazing out a street-facing window of a restaurant. A couple sat at an outdoor table on the sidewalk. Both were busy interacting with their smartphones. Across the street, a man stood next to his car, doing something with his smartphone. A young woman...

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Good Outcomes for a Teen Come from Using Good Judgment

Good Outcomes for a Teen Come from Using Good Judgment

Every parent I’ve ever met hopes their teen will grow up to be a capable, successful adult, even though we all have seen instances of the opposite. Realistically, wonderful things can happen during the second dozen years of growing up. For example, a teen can: Become...

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New Skill for Parents – Encourage Your Child to Think

New Skill for Parents – Encourage Your Child to Think

It happens on a regular basis. Someone you know - a friend, a spouse, a child, a co-worker - will come to you frustrated because he's having problems. If you're in a hurry and if you have superior experience and wisdom, maybe you can make the problem go away. And...

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3 More Gems from Dr. G

3 More Gems from Dr. G

People sometimes ask me, "What's your favorite book about parenting?" It's a good question, because there are hundreds of parenting books to choose from. But for me, it's not a hard question. At the top of my list of favorites is Get the Behavior You Want...Without...

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Encourage Teens to Think for Themselves

Encourage Teens to Think for Themselves

Should you give advice? The answer is the same whether you're relating to another adult or to a teenager. One of my friends has an interesting idiosyncrasy. Whenever we talk, his way of interacting with me is to give me advice. I think he does this because he's...

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Why ‘Grow a Smarter Brain’ Is Not a Metaphor

Why ‘Grow a Smarter Brain’ Is Not a Metaphor

As you may have heard, my new book, How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain, is now available on Amazon. Several people have commented on the title, that "growing a smarter brain" is a clever metaphor for the process of building vital thinking skills. I continue this...

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Parents: Beware of High-Speed Changes in Gaming Culture

Parents: Beware of High-Speed Changes in Gaming Culture

First, a new word: "esports." Makes you think that playing video games is a legitimate sport, something like poker, which is featured on ESPN and in the sports sections of most newspapers. So, mom and dad, maybe it's ok, right? Dozens of small universities now promote...

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A Most Revealing Story about a Modern-Day Feral Child

A Most Revealing Story about a Modern-Day Feral Child

A "feral child" is one who spent a significant part of early childhood isolated from civilization, often raised by wild animals. A consistent theme of these stories is that the foundlings had no language or social skills, which are normally learned early in life, and...

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A Strategy for Managing Your Child’s Screen Time

A Strategy for Managing Your Child’s Screen Time

In my posts, "Video Game Addiction and Brain Damage" and "Teen Smartphones and Social Networking - Buyer Beware" I described potential threats to normal teen brain development. If you read these articles, you know there are serious downsides to potentially beneficial...

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Video Game Addiction and Brain Damage

Video Game Addiction and Brain Damage

My doctor asked me if I drink alcohol. I told her I usually have a glass of red wine with dinner and another glass later. She said, "That's probably OK. The research says red wine has a number of health benefits. Men can drink up to two glasses of red wine each day,...

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Parents: Your Kids Are Forming Habits – Constantly

Parents: Your Kids Are Forming Habits – Constantly

My wife and I share a lot in common, but in one interesting way, we are quite different. She drinks a lot of water every day. Wherever she goes, she carries a bottle of filtered water. She's always hydrated. I, on the other hand, rarely drink water. I've been this way...

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Teen Nutrition – Healthy Choices Start at Home

Teen Nutrition – Healthy Choices Start at Home

This guest post comes from Paige Johnson, who advises on weightlifting and strength training. . . . . . . . The nutrition habits your teens develop now will impact their future health. Here are a few quick tips for instilling the values of a healthy body and mind. Let...

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A Fun Game that Develops Kids’ Minds

A Fun Game that Develops Kids’ Minds

In my first draft of the above title, the word "Underprivileged" appeared before "Kids." But the game I'm talking about is chess, which can help make any kid smarter, not just at-risk kids or kids from low-income families. That's right. While a lot of people think...

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How Parents Can Penetrate the Separateness

How Parents Can Penetrate the Separateness

Billions of human beings follow their separate paths, steps followed by steps largely unknown to the people around them - even friends and acquaintances. This limited ability to know for sure what's happening in the lives of others in any given day — actions,...

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Perspectives on Teen Sex – a YouTube Video Playlist

Perspectives on Teen Sex – a YouTube Video Playlist

After puberty, every normal child will develop the ability to procreate, which includes this necessary element: sexual desire. This is a good thing for the young person and the human species; but the physical changes and new feelings aren’t easy for an adolescent to...

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Building a Loving Bridge of Communication with Your Teen

Building a Loving Bridge of Communication with Your Teen

During the first 12 years, you may have enjoyed a close, affectionate relationship with your child. But after puberty, things change. Your child wants to put early childhood in the past, and the push for self-definition and independence begins. The older teens get,...

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Sexual Harassment/Assault/Misconduct/Abuse – The Cure

Sexual Harassment/Assault/Misconduct/Abuse – The Cure

As I write this, it seems as if the news reports a new story of high-profile sexual misconduct every day. A few days ago, a story of over 180 sexual assaults by therapists employed by the spa chain, Massage Envy. Yesterday, Matt Lauer is fired by NBC. Today, Garrison...

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Your Teen Is Fighting a Hard Battle

Your Teen Is Fighting a Hard Battle

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I love this quote. For me, this plea for compassion hits home more than any other quote on the subject. It's often attributed to Plato, but it comes from Ian Maclaren, 19th-century Scottish author and...

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A Must-Hear Message for Teens: You’re in Charge

A Must-Hear Message for Teens: You’re in Charge

It’s true that when you came into this world, most of your situation was beyond your control. You didn’t get to choose the time in history you would appear or the place where you would grow up. You didn’t get to choose your parents or other members of your family. You...

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The Teen Brain – 3 Big Mistakes Adults Make

The Teen Brain – 3 Big Mistakes Adults Make

About the teen brain, I have some good news and some bad news. First, the good news. Nearly every adult I talk to these days has heard about the teen brain. Fifteen years ago, this was not the case. At the turn of the century, the fact that the prefrontal cortex (PFC)...

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Be with Your Child – Right Here, Right Now

Be with Your Child – Right Here, Right Now

The past, the present, and the future. Here are some things to keep in mind. The past doesn't exist. Once you've experienced something, that moment is lost forever, except as a stored memory. Also, the images you've stored in memory are likely to be modified each time...

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Why Teens Are Vulnerable to Peer Pressure

Why Teens Are Vulnerable to Peer Pressure

What is self-esteem, anyway? Why is it important to a growing child? Why does it turn out to be a tough issue? What can parents do to nurture stronger self-esteem? Physically, I was a late-bloomer. When I was a freshman in high school, I was the shortest boy in my...

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Radical Naivete – Where the Teen Journey Begins

Radical Naivete – Where the Teen Journey Begins

How much wisdom did you have when you were 13? What did you know? More to the point, what insights about life - which could have helped you a lot back then - wouldn't come until much later? I was always considered the smartest kid in my class. I took learning...

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How to Monitor Your Child’s Smartphone Use

How to Monitor Your Child’s Smartphone Use

Smartphones are an amazing window into a world of countless marvels and dangers. Since kids have a lot to learn, giving a child a smartphone needs to be done with exquisite care. In this guest post, Scott Reddler (father of three and author of an infographic about...

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How to Buy a Basic Cell Phone for Your Young Teen

How to Buy a Basic Cell Phone for Your Young Teen

If you read my post about the mixed bag of wonders/dangers of smartphones and social networking, your eyes are wide open about pornography, cyberbullying, stranger danger, sexual predators, identity theft, and sex trafficking. And yes, social networking - an addictive...

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Teen Smartphones and Social Networking – Buyer Beware

Teen Smartphones and Social Networking – Buyer Beware

Today, most phone calls are made using wireless smartphones, relayed by Wi-Fi devices in your home or distant radio towers. What we used to call telephones are now called landlines, and these are steadily disappearing. The smartphone technology that people carry in...

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How Our Teen Daughter Learned to Manage Money

How Our Teen Daughter Learned to Manage Money

Money matters can get complicated. Buying what you need and want while living within your means. Purchasing the right amount of insurance. Investing wisely and saving for your child's college education. Minimizing debt and maintaining a strong credit rating....

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Sexualization in Children’s TV Shows

Sexualization in Children’s TV Shows

When it comes to sex education, parents need to learn more about how our culture sexualizes their kids. This guest post, which addresses this "blind spot," comes from Elizabeth McDade-Montez, Ph.D. a Senior Research Associate at etr.org (Education, Training, and...

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It’s a Jungle Out There – Raising Strong Kids

It’s a Jungle Out There – Raising Strong Kids

We were excited. Bewick's wrens had been building a nest in the little house we had put up to attract them. We watched for days as the male and female flew back and forth with nest material. It was a great location, and this would be our first nest here in the Texas...

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The Top 10 Fundamentals of Parenting

The Top 10 Fundamentals of Parenting

When I was a kid there were no parenting books, unless you want to count Dr. Benjamin Spock's classic on baby and child care. Parents were guided by their instincts, sense of responsibility, judgment, and family traditions. Today, parents still rely on these, but they...

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The Top 10 Fundamentals of Parenting (Part Two)

The Top 10 Fundamentals of Parenting (Part Two)

Parenting Fundamentals 1-5 were presented in Part One. Here are 6-10: 6. Help your child build a strong work ethic. When I was 15 I mowed my aunt's lawn with a borrowed motorless reel push mower in the middle of a Kansas summer. Whew! She was so impressed with my...

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Adulting – A Sad Consequence of Over-Parenting

Adulting – A Sad Consequence of Over-Parenting

I’ve been researching, studying, and writing about parenting for several years now, and the other day I was taken by surprise by something new. Adulting I had never heard the term before. I discovered that it’s used by young adults to mean learning to do things adults...

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Growing Kids Need to Believe in Their Future

Growing Kids Need to Believe in Their Future

A few years ago I wrote a book for middle school boys, called Conversations with the Wise Uncle. I then wrote a similar book for young girls. My purpose was to model some of the key conversations young people need to guide them along their journey to being adults....

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‘Dating Smarts,’ by Amy Lang

‘Dating Smarts,’ by Amy Lang

In the adult world, dating is like an audition. An acquaintance asks you out to dinner or an event, which will give you time together to learn more about each other. Will you enjoy each other's company? Will you have shared values and common ground? Will you want to...

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Get Stronger for the Challenges in Your Life – Every Day

Get Stronger for the Challenges in Your Life – Every Day

I know that not everyone wants to "be all you can be." Not everyone is serious enough about personal growth to do something about it. A whole lot of people are happy with who they are, thank you very much, and wake up to each new day content to consume whatever the...

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Strong Self-Esteem – The Antidote to Peer Pressure

Strong Self-Esteem – The Antidote to Peer Pressure

Why would a teenager do something as stupid as engaging in one of the teen challenges, such as binge-drinking, or swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon, or snorting a condom. Quite a few kids have ended up in the hospital and a few have died. Part of the answer is they...

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Talking about Sex with Your Teen

One evening when I was 14, I was sitting on my bed reading a novel when my mom walked past my door. Then she came back, stood in the door, and asked me, "You know about sex, don't you?" Her question took me by surprise. I answered, "Uh, yeah." Her question made me...

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Father to Son – What It Means to Be a Man

Father to Son – What It Means to Be a Man

Once upon a time, when my youngest boy was about 18 years old, we were walking together and he asked me, "Dad, what does masculinity mean to you?" A loaded question. I sensed that he was aware that he was growing into manhood but was unsure what it meant to be a man -...

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Video Game Addiction & Child Development

Video Game Addiction & Child Development

How could viewing over 25 paintings by early San Antonio artist Julian Onderdonk make me think of video game addiction? It happened. The San Antonio Museum of Art recently featured the collection of Onderdonk, an American impressionist painter who died in 1922 at the...

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Warning Signs – Teen Drug/Alcohol Use

Warning Signs – Teen Drug/Alcohol Use

The surveys and statistics bear it out: teens are misusing drugs and alcohol at younger and younger ages. Parents are often unaware that it’s begun, since the warning signs can take time to appear. The physical, emotional and behavioral changes come on gradually. Now...

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Simon Sinek’s Insights for Parents

Simon Sinek’s Insights for Parents

Simon Sinek is an author and brilliant speaker who has important messages for corporate America. So why am I recommending that parents listen in? The answer: Millennials - a new, really different generation of entry-level workers that employers aren't sure how to...

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To Kill or Not to Kill – That Is the Question

To Kill or Not to Kill – That Is the Question

If you read news articles, you know that it's not uncommon to read about murder. I learn about such incidents all too often; I reflect on the loss of life, how the killer's life will be horribly changed forever, and whether the tragic event could have been prevented....

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The Girl in the Rain & the Value of Hard Work

The Girl in the Rain & the Value of Hard Work

I stood under the front entrance canopy of the H.E.B. grocery store as I watched cold rain pouring onto the parking lot. Slowly moving toward me was a young woman pushing a train of about fifteen shopping carts. Her head was down as she leaned into the carts,...

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Get Real about Video Games and Excessive Screen Exposure

Get Real about Video Games and Excessive Screen Exposure

I recently spoke with a mother of three boys, ages 11, 13 and 15. She told me she and her husband plan to give all three sons video game consoles for Christmas. Of course, they'll win a lot of “best mom and dad” points with these gifts. She and the father believe that...

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Dialogue – The Effective Alternative to Arguing

Dialogue – The Effective Alternative to Arguing

I learned to never disagree with my dad. For reasons I’ve never fully understood, the few times that I expressed a contrary point of view — when I was old enough to feel confident that I had something to say — he physically attacked me. He never hurt me, because I was...

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Grandpa Opened My Eyes to the World of Achievement

Grandpa Opened My Eyes to the World of Achievement

It was the summer of 1960, and I was 15. Elvis’ active duty service in the Army was behind him, and John Kennedy was running for President. My father, a chief warrant officer in the Army, had been reassigned to Germany and our family would follow six months later when...

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5 Ways to Prevent Teen OTC Medicine Abuse

5 Ways to Prevent Teen OTC Medicine Abuse

When teens abuse any kind of drug - legal or illegal, prescription or OTC - it can disrupt ongoing brain development in the prefrontal cortex, with lifelong consequences. This guest post comes from Blaise Brooks, a mother of one, caregiver of two and a contributor to...

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Why and How Children Communicate

Why and How Children Communicate

Abraham J. Weiss, MA. is a marriage and family therapist on the staff of Family Enhancement LLC, in New York City. In this brief article, he shares a vastly important insight about the true nature of children. There is a profound difference between the way children...

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A Story of Family Love

A Story of Family Love

My wife and I often go to Corpus Christi to visit her sister and husband. Since their son now has a young daughter and their oldest daughter has two daughters and a son, they've been thrilled to be grandparents. There's a lot of love going on there. Love is what it's...

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Conscious, In-Control Parents

Conscious, In-Control Parents

As a parent, you have four ways of taking action... You do what other people tell you to do. Husband. Friend. Relative. Your TV. You react instinctively, emotionally. You unconsciously act out of habit. Your brain is wired for a particular behavior pattern. You...

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How Your Child Learns Skills

How Your Child Learns Skills

When your child gets involved in an activity, it will probably involve learning certain skills. Home/life skills? Relationship skills? Athletic? Musical? Artistic? Mechanical? Construction? Academic? Thinking? Managing? If some of the skills your child has to learn...

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Wisdom for an Adolescent Child

Wisdom for an Adolescent Child

Epictetus (c. 55 – 135) was born a slave in Turkey nearly 2,000 years ago and then lived in Rome until he was banished to Greece. He was one of the Stoic philosophers. Epictetus taught that philosophy had to be more than theoretical; it had to be the way you lived...

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How Swimming Makes Kids Smarter

How Swimming Makes Kids Smarter

Kids learn better when movement and exercise are a part of their day. This guest post comes to us from Lizzy Bullock, writer and swim instructor for AquaGear. Children in a school setting are often told to "stop fidgeting," to "sit still," and to "stay seated." But...

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How Parents Become Confident

How Parents Become Confident

This guest post comes from parent coach Fern Weis. After teaching middle school for 13 years, she trained as a life coach and founded her business, Your Family Matters, in 2008. Since then she’s been teaching and supporting parents on the parent-teen relationship....

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So You Want Your Child to Be Resilient…

So You Want Your Child to Be Resilient…

Is your child resilient? Do you want your child to be more resilient? A non-scientific definition: Resilience is the ability to recover or “bounce back” from loss, stress, or disappointment – setbacks that can cause someone to doubt his or her self-confidence and...

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Mindfulness – the Doorway to Empathy

Mindfulness – the Doorway to Empathy

Mindful - an often-used word. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means "aware of something that may be important." Aware - feel or experience something Something that may be important. One of the most important things you can be mindful of: your child....

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3 Realities Over-Protective Parents Haven’t Grasped

3 Realities Over-Protective Parents Haven’t Grasped

Out of love, many parents hover over their kids to protect them from distress or harm, to make sure they feel good about themselves and to assure they are launched on a path to success when they leave home. The all-too-frequent result: young adults who lack...

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How to Identify & Prevent OTC Cough Medicine Abuse

How to Identify & Prevent OTC Cough Medicine Abuse

The idea that your child could be abusing alcohol or illegal drugs is scary enough. In fact, you also need to be aware that he or she could be abusing the over-the-counter medications in your home - a very real concern for parents of adolescents. This guest post by...

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How to Raise an Adult

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Holt, 2015), by Julie Lythcott-Haims, is the best book ever written about the kind of overparenting that has produced the struggling young adults of the Millennial...

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Instinctive Reactions – Consequences and Alternatives

Instinctive Reactions – Consequences and Alternatives

When you were in high school, did you take that Parent-Child Relationship Skills course? I'm sorry - trick question. No such course has ever been included in a high school curriculum. Well, how about college? No? Any other course in your church or community or even...

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For Teens – 10 Success Tips That Will Never Fail You

For Teens – 10 Success Tips That Will Never Fail You

Do you have a teenager who sometimes looks to the future and wonders how he or she is going to make it in the world? If you do, count your blessings. Most kids don't start thinking about this until after they leave home. When I was teaching at the College of William...

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Dr. G Says: Chores Help Kids Learn Life Skills

A friend of mine grew up in a family of 12 children. Her mom spent most of her day managing the office of her father, a successful lawyer, and politician. To manage both the office and her large family, her mother assigned tasks to each of the kids, according to their...

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What’s the Ultimate Purpose of Your Parenting?

What’s the Ultimate Purpose of Your Parenting?

I was fortunate to have two parents while growing up: a father and a mother who loved me. They were good people. They did everything they knew how to take care of a household of eight kids. But to be honest, they didn’t raise me with a clearly envisioned outcome in...

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Get Real and Get on the Same Page with Your Teen

Get Real and Get on the Same Page with Your Teen

Dad lets his son borrow the car. "Be sure to have it back by six. I've got an important place to be tonight." "No problem, Dad." Six o'clock comes and goes. With no sign of his son, he makes the call. "Where are you? I said I needed the car by six." "Oh yeah. Sorry,...

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Get Back That Loving Feeling – 3 Simple Steps to Empathy

Get Back That Loving Feeling – 3 Simple Steps to Empathy

What every parent knows: unconditional love is the foundation. But child misbehavior can temporarily make it hard to access this love, much less express it. In its place, your instinctive negative reaction: frustration, fatigue, disappointment, discouragement, hurt,...

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Book by Elisabeth Stitt – Parenting As a Second Language

Book by Elisabeth Stitt – Parenting As a Second Language

Reading Parenting...As a Second Language is like chatting with a wise, compassionate woman who's experienced every aspect of being a parent. It's more like a conversation than listening to simple advice. The author, Elisabeth Stitt, happens to be one of the most...

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Strong for Acceptance – Straight Talk for Parents

Strong for Acceptance – Straight Talk for Parents

Being an effective parent, guiding your child toward becoming a capable, happy, independent adult...this is now a part of your life. And life isn't easy, not for anyone. For all of us - the challenges, disappointments, pain, and loss are inevitable. We need to work...

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Powerful Insight for Adults Who Mentor Teens

Powerful Insight for Adults Who Mentor Teens

Adults care a great deal about the youth in their communities. They want fewer kids to be at risk. They want more kids growing up to be strong, happy, successful adults. They're willing to be mentors to young people. And it’s important that they do because it takes a...

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A Source of Wisdom is Gone – But Not Forgotten…

A Source of Wisdom is Gone – But Not Forgotten…

Wayne Dyer, a prolific personal development author, died from a heart attack last year at the age of 75. I'd been a huge fan for over 20 years, beginning with his classic best-seller, Your Erroneous Zones (1993) and including many other books. I always had the sense...

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Chores – A Powerful Way to Build a Teen’s Self-Esteem

Chores – A Powerful Way to Build a Teen’s Self-Esteem

This guest post comes from parent coach Fern Weis. After teaching middle school for 13 years, she trained as a life coach and founded her business, Your Family Matters, in 2008.  Since then she's been teaching and supporting parents on the parent-teen relationship. I...

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Here Comes “The Crunch Point”!

Here Comes “The Crunch Point”!

Conscious, caring parents often realize they can get better results by trying more effective approaches. But it's not that simple. Inevitably, most people get discouraged when they try to improve a skill or change a behavior pattern. Once they find out that what...

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From Dr. G – 63 Strategies for Raising Great Kids

Deborah Gilboa, MD, is a family physician practicing in Pittsburgh, PA, author of four parenting books, featured parenting expert on television and Huffington Post, speaker, and mother of four boys. She advises parents on every conceivable issue, and her...

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Love Is Essential, But It’s Not Enough

Love Is Essential, But It’s Not Enough

I recently streamed the movie, About Sunny, starring Lauren Ambrose, an accomplished but relatively unknown young actress. Whenever a movie is excellent in every way and I want Netflix to give me more suggestions like it, I always rate it 5 stars. Released in 2013,...

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The Secret to Resolving a Conflict with Your Teen

The Secret to Resolving a Conflict with Your Teen

When was the last time you were at odds with your teen? Your child wanted to do something that you considered unacceptable. You both felt justified, producing an argument or struggle that had the potential to damage your relationship. Most conflicts can be resolved in...

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3 Ways to Stop Nagging

3 Ways to Stop Nagging

This guest post comes from Deborah Gilboa, MD (popularly known as Dr. G), an internationally renowned parenting and youth development expert. She is also a family physician and mom of four boys. Dr G., founder of AskDoctorG.com, is the go-to expert on raising and...

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Teen Brain 2.0 – 5 Realities for Parents

Teen Brain 2.0 – 5 Realities for Parents

Most of the 50 million parents of school-aged children in the U.S. are all too aware of the gauntlet of dangers that threaten when a child becomes an adolescent: under-age smoking and drinking; drug abuse and addiction; low self-esteem and peer pressure; self-harm and...

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Rebellious Teens – Do You React or Communicate?

Rebellious Teens – Do You React or Communicate?

When they're little you read to them, hoping they'll learn to love books and reading and learning. Before you know it they're in school, beginning a learning journey that will teach them about the world. And in half a dozen years, puberty begins the physical and...

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The Game-Changer – How You Talk to Your Teen

The Game-Changer – How You Talk to Your Teen

Teenagers know they're growing up, and they don't like being treated like little kids. They need the wisdom and guidance of parents and other adults. But they hate lectures, sarcasm, put-downs, screaming, commands, threats, ultimatums, shaming, judging, and blaming....

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Beyond High School – Preparing for the Launch

Beyond High School – Preparing for the Launch

What will the next step be? College? A job? Technical training? A gap year? Missionary work? Military service? Marriage and a family? Every parent who has raised a teenager to this threshold is concerned that the child will be able to handle the challenges and...

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We All Need a Little Luck

We All Need a Little Luck

I was thinking about my mother recently. A few months before she died, Mom and I were talking on the phone about my seven brothers and sisters. I joked that she had so many kids because she loved taking care of babies. After one child left the infant stage, she would...

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3 Metaphors: Advice for Parenting Teens

3 Metaphors: Advice for Parenting Teens

This guest post comes from Elisabeth Stitt of Joyful Parenting Coaching. A veteran teacher turned parenting coach and blogger, she knows that kids and families come in all different shapes and sizes and that there is a long and varied list of parenting practices that...

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Young People Need Wisdom

Young People Need Wisdom

Forty years ago, I was in graduate school at Duke University, in over my head, studying hard and learning as much as I could to catch up with my better-prepared classmates. It paid off - I earned my Ph.D. four years later. It was the most intense period of learning in...

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Empathy – A Personal Story

Empathy – A Personal Story

To be the best listener you can be, I believe you need two, closely related skills: active listening and empathy. I learned active listening in 1976, and I've been practicing it and writing about it ever since. The core skill in active listening is to check what you...

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A Huge Tip – Forgive the Small Things

A Huge Tip – Forgive the Small Things

As we prepared to go the gym for our morning workout, my wife discovered that she had misplaced her car keys. We searched for ten minutes and finally found them in the car, still in the ignition. Unfortunately, the battery was dead because she was listening to the...

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Pound the Rock – Hope for Parents

Pound the Rock – Hope for Parents

It's been said many, many times that parenting a teenager may be the hardest thing you ever do. It can sometimes seem like a thankless, hopeless endeavor. You have your dream - to help your child grow up to be a strong, independent, happy, successful adult. But most...

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Help Your Teen Become a Critical Thinker

Help Your Teen Become a Critical Thinker

These days, parents hear a lot about the "teen brain" in the popular media. The message is that the "prefrontal cortex" (PFC), the area of the brain in charge of controlling impulses, is still under construction - that this a big reason why the behavior of teens is...

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Movies, Popcorn, and Wisdom

Movies, Popcorn, and Wisdom

In another article, I made the point that to prepare for the significant challenges of adult life, a child has to learn a lot more than what is taught in school. Among other things, wisdom. When I grew up, I was fairly smart in school, making straight A's every...

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Forget Halloween – Here’s Something REALLY Scary

Forget Halloween – Here’s Something REALLY Scary

In this piece, I reference an interesting video. Even though you may find it shocking, watch it all the way through. Don't click off just because you think it's disgusting. The clips were recorded by the teens themselves. There are thousands of videos like this posted...

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For Your Child – The Best Feedback in the World

For Your Child – The Best Feedback in the World

Compliments. Praise. Recognition. Affirmation. Gratitude. Appreciation. Positive feedback. Positive strokes. Pats on the back. Constructive feedback. Good stuff! Unfortunately, most of the feedback we give our kids is negative. You know - CRITICISM. When we're...

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Are Young People Preparing for the Realities of Adult Life?

Are Young People Preparing for the Realities of Adult Life?

Studying well in school is important. Those 12 years - and university - are important. But along the way, a young person needs to learn many non-academic skills and strengths that are vital for relationships and a career. While some of this can be acquired from school...

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Screen Time, by Lisa Guernsey

Screen Time, by Lisa Guernsey

Did you read my review of Reset Your Child's Brain (2015), by Victoria Dunckley? Dunckley is a psychiatrist who has treated hundreds of young people who suffered from behavior disorders caused by excessive screen time (video games, cell phones, tablets, TV, etc.). Her...

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Creative Mom Takes ‘Village’ Concept Seriously

Creative Mom Takes ‘Village’ Concept Seriously

If you've never gone to war or if you've never had to stay behind when your spouse is deployed, you can never fully appreciate the worry, loneliness and hardship of trying to raise a family not knowing if or when the family will be together again. Or how the returning...

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7 Ways to Promote the Parent-Child Bond

7 Ways to Promote the Parent-Child Bond

Thanks to Maureen Denard at FindaNanny.net for this guest post. The adolescent years can stress a parent-child relationship. This article has several practical ideas for helping the bond to grow stronger. In a world where there never seems to be enough time to get...

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What’s the True Purpose of the Prefrontal Cortex?

What’s the True Purpose of the Prefrontal Cortex?

One of the most important aspects of adolescent development is what experts refer to as the "teen brain." And the big issue with the teen brain is the development of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The question is, how exactly does this much-talked-about PFC contribute...

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Making the Future Real for Teenagers

Making the Future Real for Teenagers

It's a "race against time" because your child has only one chance to exercise critical thinking repeatedly or the basic foundation wiring for intellect won't happen. Time will run out at the end of adolescence and your child will have to live with a minimal intellect,...

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Mark Cuban – Model Parent?

Mark Cuban – Model Parent?

During the past 30 years, I've had the chance to meet and talk with quite a few sons and daughters of wealthy people. It isn't easy to start a business and make it profitable. The parents of these kids worked hard to earn what they have. In my experience, wealthy...

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3 Tips for Giving Your Kids the Right Amount of Independence

3 Tips for Giving Your Kids the Right Amount of Independence

Special guest post by Winter Amity, freelance writer on technology and parenting topics. These days, children are exposed to a huge variety of media, and parents can get understandably upset about the kind of information they’re taking in. With mobile phones, tablets,...

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The Right Way to Praise a Child

The Right Way to Praise a Child

Self-esteem is how people see themselves - their perception of self-worth, who they believe they are. Low self-esteem can build from making mistakes, from not forgiving oneself, and from too much criticism from authority figures such as parents, elders, teachers, or...

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Top 10 Must-Read Books for Parents of Adolescents

Top 10 Must-Read Books for Parents of Adolescents

IF (1) you have an adolescent child or one who is soon to reach puberty, and (2) you're a conscious parent who is looking for wisdom and guidance to avoid the potential crises of adolescence while preparing your child to be a happy, successful adult, then you'll want...

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Is Your Child Preparing for Adult Life?

Is Your Child Preparing for Adult Life?

I'm recalling a moderately adverse experience that started with a phone call. My wife was about to return home from a shopping excursion at a mall about 30 miles away when her car wouldn't start. She asked me to drive to the mall to give her a jump-start because it...

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10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make

10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make

Guest post by Kari Kampakis, author of 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know. When I became a mom, I got lots of advice on how to love my child. But not until a few years ago did someone actually point out that loving a child means wanting what’s best for them...

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In the U.S., 14 Teens Die from Suicide Every Day

In the U.S., 14 Teens Die from Suicide Every Day

In 2014 a huge tornado devastated a small town in Oklahoma, killing 24 people. Stories and images of the destruction were all over the Internet, the newspapers and television news. The coverage reminded me of when in early June, 1966, I walked among the ruins in...

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The Listening Moment & The Listening Mindset

The Listening Moment & The Listening Mindset

Listening is the most powerful skill a parent can have. It has the potential to "change the game" with regard to your relationship with your child. In my writing about this skill, I refer to it as "listening to understand," a phrase I borrowed from Stephen Covey's...

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Michael Gurian – The Wonder of Boys

The thing I appreciate most about Michael Gurian’s parenting books is their focus on brain science. I’ve studied the human brain for 25 years, and I can tell you that no parenting author writes with more clarity, authority, and accessibility than Michael Gurian. His...

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Michael Gurian – The Wonder of Girls

Two decades ago, Michael Gurian's best-selling book, The Wonder of Boys, created a stir. The push for women's rights assumed the developmental needs of both genders were the same. Going against this assumption, he made a convincing case that while boys and girls...

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The Best Christmas Gift Ever

The Best Christmas Gift Ever

I accidentally help wire my boys' teen brains for critical thinking. It was Christmas 1982, and like all parents at the time, I knew nothing about the teen brain. But I didn't think twice about what to give them for Christmas. It just seemed like a great idea at the...

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Why Helicopter Parenting? Some Answers…

Why Helicopter Parenting? Some Answers…

Helicopter parenting has been the focus of quite a few articles in the media. Parents over-praising their kids because they feel it promotes self-esteem, even though in the long run it creates adults who are afraid to fail and so play it safe. Parents intervening to...

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A Tragic True Story about Low Self-Esteem

A Tragic True Story about Low Self-Esteem

Whenever I think about positive self-esteem and its importance to the achievement, mental health, and happiness of young people, I think of how perilous a life journey can be. And I always think of Jason. Jason was the second child in a large Catholic family. His...

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How to Help Your Teen Grow a Smarter Brain

Every time a teenager tries to figure out why something happened, tries to understand the relationship between thing A and thing B, tries to see the connection between cause and effect, foresees possible consequences, evaluates options, solves problems and consciously...

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Conscious Parents – The Focus of My Work

Conscious Parents – The Focus of My Work

  Have you seen the movie, "Lonesome Jim" (2005)? Starring Casey Affleck and Liv Tyler, it's the story of a man in his late twenties who, after failing to create a life for himself in New York City, returns home to live with his parents while he considers his options....

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How a Young Person Gets a Strong Work Ethic

How a Young Person Gets a Strong Work Ethic

I once coached a 43-year-old man who lived at home and had never worked a day in his life. At the time, interest rates had fallen to all-time lows, so the annual interest on his trust fund principal had diminished considerably. To continue living in the style to which...

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Your Teen Needs Lots of “Talks”

Your Teen Needs Lots of “Talks”

I've written two books, Conversations with the Wise Uncle (for boys) and Conversations with the Wise Aunt (for girls) that are fictional accounts about an older relative mentoring a young person during the teen years to give the child a "heads up" about important...

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Joanie B. Connell – Flying without a Helicopter

Joanie B. Connell – Flying without a Helicopter

Recently I had an interesting conversation with an IT executive about his technical staff, and we ended up talking about "millennials," the generation of adults currently in their twenties and early thirties. He said their narcissism, lack of resilience, an attitude...

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Should You Protect Your Child from Adversity?

Should You Protect Your Child from Adversity?

When Leo was growing up, his father rented a farm and worked it to raise crops. His dad needed his son’s help, so he taught the boy how to use tools and farm equipment. When he was fifteen his father died, and to care for his mother Leo had to take over working the...

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Adolescent Binge-Drinking – 10 Actions a Parent Can Take

Adolescent Binge-Drinking – 10 Actions a Parent Can Take

Drinking alcohol with the expressed purpose of getting "messed up"? Believe it or not, this is an activity practiced mostly by kids. Watch this brief video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbJhMumorNY What can a parent do? 1. Get the book, How Your Teen Can Grow a...

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Composure: How to Keep Your Cool

Composure: How to Keep Your Cool

My dad was a really nice guy. But I remember that when I was a teenager, he lost his temper with me three times. Yes, exactly three times. And the sad thing is that half a century later I still remember each incident in detail. In my mind, his reactions were overblown...

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Susan Stiffelman – Parenting with Presence

My preference is to think of spirituality as being grounded in this world and this life, not in a concept of a world and life beyond the here and now. And it has three dimensions: the spirituality of self, the spirituality of relationships, and the spirituality of my...

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Parents: You Can Change Your Teen’s Behavior

Parents: You Can Change Your Teen’s Behavior

Father: “Hey, son. I thought I asked you to clean and put away the tools after you use them.” Son: “Oh. Right.” Father: “Well, the tools you used last night are still on the bench. Why didn’t you put them away?” Son: “I don’t know. I guess I forgot.” Father: “I told...

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Adolescence Defined

Adolescence Defined

Most parents think of their child as "officially" an adolescent when they technically become a teenager on their 13th birthday. And they think their project of raising the child to adulthood is pretty much over after high school, when most of these young adults leave...

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West Point Ingrained My Critical Thinking Skills

West Point Ingrained My Critical Thinking Skills

When I was in high school, I got an A in every subject I ever took. I didn’t find out until later that I hadn’t learned as much as I thought. But man, I knew how to make A’s! My dad was in the military, so I knew all about West Point. For years I wanted to go to...

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Teen Sex – A Crisis with Solutions

Teen Sex – A Crisis with Solutions

For the past few years, I've been interviewing adults about their adolescent experiences. I always ask, "What did your parents tell you about sex?" Ninety-five percent of the time the answer is, "Nothing." I remember the one and only time the topic of sex came up in...

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Chess – A Game-Changer for Adolescent Kids

Chess – A Game-Changer for Adolescent Kids

If you've followed my blog, you know I often write about adolescence as the sensitive time of life during which a child's prefrontal cortex can be wired for basic critical thinking skills. The window of opportunity opens at puberty and closes sometime in the early...

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Jar of Marbles – The “Life Perspective” Talk

Jar of Marbles – The “Life Perspective” Talk

The sound of the front door shutting announced that Ricardo was home from practice. His dad met him in the hallway. "How was it today?" "It was okay. We did a lot of conditioning drills and I'm beat." "Good stuff. I'll bet you're thirsty. Come on into the kitchen and...

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Low Self-Esteem – One of the Perils of Adolescence

Low Self-Esteem – One of the Perils of Adolescence

For many young people, low self-esteem comes with the territory. They don't want to be thought of as children anymore, but they know they're not adults. They lack the knowledge, skills, judgment, experience, resources, authority, confidence and maturity that may come...

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Larry Winget – Your Kids Are Your Own Fault

Over the decades, a lot of bad advice for parents has been published. Strategies such as false praise, helicopter parenting and permissiveness may have played to parents' fears of losing the love of their child, but the consequences have been horrendous. After...

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Top 3 Ways to Give a Kid an Edge in Life

Top 3 Ways to Give a Kid an Edge in Life

It's amazing what you see when you step outside the box. I've been focusing on the special challenge of raising teenagers for several years now, and I've been outside the box the whole time. Inside the box, you understand that you need to sacrifice and save money for...

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Teen Decisions – Habit, Emotion or Reason?

Teen Decisions – Habit, Emotion or Reason?

I consider myself a serious thinker. But to be honest, I'm not an intellectual. I'm biased towards action. I have a Ph.D., but 95% of what I know today I learned on my own after earning that degree. So seemingly my head is full of knowledge. Some people have used the...

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Teen Suicide – Parents Can Help to Prevent It

Teen Suicide – Parents Can Help to Prevent It

Not long ago I was sitting at a table drinking coffee and talking with Johann Eyfells, the world-famous Icelandic sculptor. At some point, I used the word "luck." He quickly seized on the word. "Luck. What is luck?" From a man who has been on the planet 20 years...

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Rich Kids Disabled by Wealth

Rich Kids Disabled by Wealth

Jennifer was a clerk at an auto parts store in Vista Hills. She got the job because Jackson, her husband, was a mechanic at the Chevrolet dealership and was friends with the owner. But she, like her husband, was a hard worker and added a lot more value than was...

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Who I Write For – Parents Who Are Willing to Do the Work

Who I Write For – Parents Who Are Willing to Do the Work

Most mornings it's still dark when I leave my driveway to head to the gym. Often during the school year as I pass a certain intersection, I see a car with its headlights on parked by the side of the road. It's a parent - a caring, protective parent who waits with his...

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Young People Who Read Develop Superior Minds

Young People Who Read Develop Superior Minds

I have a friend whose dad had a personal library of several thousand books. When my friend was about ten years old, his dad enrolled him in a speed-reading course. Soon afterward, he began reading the classics of world literature. One great book at a time, he became a...

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Why You Need to Forgive Your Child – And Yourself

Why You Need to Forgive Your Child – And Yourself

Many parents think that when you forgive a young person, you're doing something for the child. Yes, your child may regret doing something that hurt your feelings and may have asked for forgiveness. And indeed, telling the child that you forgive may give some...

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Helping Young People Grow Strong for Life and Success

Helping Young People Grow Strong for Life and Success

A successful, happy life. I guess everybody knows it takes more than than money and beauty. Just ask Bernie Madoff. And guess what...It also takes a lot more than a good education and business know-how. I try to stress this point with parents. Yes, kids need a good...

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Teen Sex – A Nice Way to Say No

Teen Sex – A Nice Way to Say No

The book Conversations with the Wise Aunt has a chapter entitled "A Nice Way to Say No," in which Aunt Maria explains to her niece, Trisha, how boys are different from girls when it comes to attitudes about sex. This brief excerpt is about how a teenage girl can set...

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I Recall My Early Teen Years – Some Surprises

I Recall My Early Teen Years – Some Surprises

A few years ago, I had a reunion with some old high school buddies that I hadn't seen in nearly 50 years. It was an amazing experience and a lot of fun. But I remember one comment my old friend Brian made about me: “Coates, you were always up to something. I never...

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Teenagers, Alcohol and Brain Damage

Teenagers, Alcohol and Brain Damage

Adolescence is a perilous time. This is the period from about age 10 until the early 20s when the prefrontal cortex is going through the critical "use it or lose it" blossoming and pruning process on the way to establishing an individual's foundation for critical...

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Why Do They Act That Way, by David Walsh, Ph.D.

Do you have a teenager in your life? I ask this question a lot these days, because a young person's developmental experience during the dozen or so years called adolescence has become my passionate interest. I feel fortunate that my life has brought me to my current...

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Patience – You’ll Need It to Do the Hard Things

Patience – You’ll Need It to Do the Hard Things

Raising a child is hard. We'd like to believe that all you need to do is appreciate the miracle of the child and reach out with love at every moment. But of course, there's so much more to it than that. Parenting skills. Being strong when things go south. In the...

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The Developing Adolescent Brain – What’s at Stake

The Developing Adolescent Brain – What’s at Stake

The human brain has a unique way of developing itself. A child's brain develops in phases. During each phase, the basic foundation for a particular brain function - such as visual perception, walking, or talking - is "wired." The human brain's way of wiring itself is...

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