‘Be kind to one another’: The importance of sibling relationships

Published by The Washington Post, On Parenting. If you want your children to have good relationships with each other, make sure you’re modeling the same with your own siblings. Kids are learning from our actions!

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‘My teenage son and I left the house to walk the dog just as my phone started buzzing. “It’s Aunt Bren — I’ll call her back later,” I said, letting it go to voicemail. My son wondered how long it had been since I last spoke with my younger sister, and encouraged me to return her call that afternoon.

“Have you always been close?” he asked. I opened up and told him about our stormy relationship as kids. His fun-loving, attractive aunt was the one who got blamed for everything that went wrong. Guilty or not, she bore the brunt, and was probably punished numerous times for things I’d slyly pinned on her.’

Read in full here.

 

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THE MYSTERIOUS WONDERFUL SPRING BREAK TRIP THAT NEVER HAPPENED

Sometimes when great plans fall apart, something just as beautiful emerges.

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It’s an honor to publish again with Grown & Flown on the topic of teens and spring break~

Our senior daughter asked to fly out-of-state for a spring break trip to visit her best friend in Indianapolis where we used to live. “With college coming, I need to say my good-byes,” she said. She planned on attending college overseas and the significance of leaving friendships behind was real. We appreciated her intentional care for the good people in her life and this particular friendship was rare. After giving it some thought, we gave our permission for her to take this trip.

Yet, I smarted with this abrupt departure from family tradition. As a tight-knit family, we’d never vacationed separately and I tingled with a bittersweet mixture of emotions. It was her last spring break before college and she wanted to do something without us. Much as I understood her desire to see her dear friend, it was enlightening that she was willing to forego a family vacation and the host of memories and inside-jokes that would invariably be added to family lore. This was a signal among others that she was readying herself to leave. At her age, I knew her desire was a healthy one, this eagerness to chart her own course.”

Read in full here. Thank you for your comments!

My Daughter-Who-Doesn’t-Like-To-Read

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It’s #ReadAcrossAmericaDay and appropriately, my essay “My Daughter-Who-Doesn’t-LIke-To-Read” is up on Red Tricycle today. #books #reading #relationships #writing #motherhood #daughter 

“Thumbing through an old journal, my eyes landed on a paragraph written after my daughter, then 13, emphatically announced that she did not like to read.

I felt the same raw emotion as when I first wrote the entry, though years had passed. From my earliest moments as a new mother, I’d longed for my daughter to experience the same enjoyment from reading and falling into a good book that I’d felt in my youth. I pictured us walking in tandem in our mutual appreciation for stories, unpacking plots and characters for each other as we bonded in conversation. Like opening up a secret tunnel, reading would be my path into her life just as it would be her path to healthy adulthood.

But somehow, for all my best efforts, I apparently wasn’t raising a daughter who loved to read. Yet what she had said on that day long ago in fact didn’t match her actions. Perhaps, in her floundering place somewhere between child and young adult, she had issued that statement as a challenge.

Wanna fight, mom? 

Whatever the case, I was deeply grateful she felt safe enough to speak her mind.”

Read in full herehttp://redtri.com/my-daughter-who-doesn-t-like-to-read/

Our Kids Wanted To Make Memories Of Their Own, Not Step Into Ours

It’s really fun to remember this trip, taken so many years ago during the early days of family adventure. Germany will always have a special place in my heart. Glad to join Today Parenting Team’s discussion on travel & kids.

“We lived in Germany as a young expat couple and gave birth to our first child a mere ten days before returning to the US. Ten years passed before we could travel back to introduce our daughter to her birthplace, and show her and her seven-year-old brother our favorite haunts. I thought it promised to be a sweet walk down memory-lane.

I hoped our kids would enjoy stepping squarely into the footprints my husband and I had left years ago. Instead, they insisted on pulling us in new directions, almost as if they, first-timers in Germany, were the tour-guides. A huge dancing mess of little prints resulted, sprinkled wildly around our larger ones. I should have known the kids would insist on making their own footprints, creating original memories driven by them.”

Read in full here.

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My Daughter’s Messy Room Drove Me Crazy, Now I Miss It

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So very honored to be published on Grown & Flown today, a top-tier magazine focused on parenting kids in the 15-25-year-old range.

She was as messy as she was amazing and this combination challenged my categories. It was hard for me to see past the messes to what mattered most: my daughter…

Read my essay in full here.

 

Use Your Words! Encouraging Expressiveness in Children

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Honored to publish Use Your Words! Encouraging Expressiveness In Children with ParentMap.

“A scuffle erupted in the adjoining room between the two cousins. The din was unmistakable and the next moment, the sweaty girls bedecked in matching pink and purple Disney princess nightgowns burst into the room to tell the adults what was happening. 

My toddler wanted to be the explainer: “Maddy was pulling my hair. I was pulling Maddy’s dress. I was so frustrated!” Chuckles erupted that this disheveled Cinderella had enunciated a word so much bigger than herself and with such conviction. Though her tantrum didn’t make me happy, her ability to choose her words did.

I found her word choice reassuring because as a 30-something mom, I was concerned about how to nudge my verbal firstborn toward accurate, expressive language. She was quick, parroting every word dropped around her, enabling her tendency to sass back.”

Read in full here.

 

My Friendship With Older Moms Helped Me More Than My Peers Ever Could

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In the beginning, it was lucky chance I ran into you, Older Mom. I didn’t pick you on purpose, I’m embarrassed to admit. I was expecting our first baby less than a year into expat life in Germany. You were the only friend I could find, an older Irish woman with two preschool-aged sons. Pregnant and in a foreign land, I obviously needed a mom-friend and you were it. Hand on ballooning belly, I complained I wasn’t ready.

“No one is throwing me baby showers!”

“What’s that?” You listened incredulously and then wagged your finger at the local drugstore a few doors down from where we were having ice-cream with your kids. “Everything you need is a quick stop. It’s not complicated.” By everything you meant diapers, what else was there to need? End of discussion.

I sucked in my breath and had a private palm-to-forehead moment.

Even taking into account different cultural practices, your reaction coming from one a few clicks ahead of me resonated deeply. I trusted you because you had already done this new mom thing plus one. I’m glad I stumbled across you Older Mom because since then, I’ve intentionally sought you out. As a younger mom, I felt you had my back.

Read in full:  Houston Family Magazine (pages 26-27).

My Son Listened To A Book, Not Me. And That’s OK.

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“I know I can’t take any credit for this victory and honestly, it doesn’t matter. I long ago accepted that it takes a village to raise a child. Today, I recognize that books are influential members of this community as well.”

Parents, sometimes the best thing to do is to step back and shut-up. Intervention can happen for your tween/teen, too…and often from places you didn’t expect. Parenting is not a solo job–it’s welcoming the ‘village’ around you! Thank you for reading  my essay on Today Parenting Team and sharing with others.

Read in full: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/my-son-listened-to-a-book-not-me-and-thats-ok_1475022188