‘There have been times when I’ve been frustrated and, I’ll admit it, a bit hurt over my inability to connect with my teens. I’m guessing my frustrations are shared by other parents who are trying so hard but going about this relationship in all the wrong ways. I’ve worked hard to figure out when and where I was getting off-track in relating to my teens. Along the way, I confronted several pitfalls worth passing along.
Do you speak to your teens as if they are still little kids? Parenting must change if you wish to keep your relationships strong. This includes not only the content but also the tone of conversation. “You need to treat them more like adults than children. Truly listen and heed their point of view, even if you disagree vehemently,” says John Duffy, clinical psychologist and author of the “The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens.” “We all want our point of view respected, and your teen is no different.”’
Read in full on The Washington Post.
“FaceTime rang and up popped my daughter’s face, bringing her all the way from college into the living room. Her voice filled our home and, as we’ve come to expect, Ezzy started whining, desperately trying to connect with her old buddy. That we miss our daughter acutely around our home is no surprise, but it’s painful to watch our beloved family pet cry for her.
“How’s she been lately?” our daughter asked, alluding to Ezzy’s health.
In answer, our 16-year-old son picked Ezzy up and put her sheltie nose—such a cute one—into the camera. Ezzy is confused. She hears the familiar voice, but can’t find the person behind it and continues whimpering.”
Read in full on Purple Clover.
“I’ll only pay attention to your argument and how effectively you state your case. I don’t care about spelling, grammar or punctuation,” I said. My son’s shoulders relaxed. I could sense him exhaling the tension. Friction between us over writing assignments abruptly came to a halt and I could breathe more easily, too.
My son’s weekly assignment quickly became a hit because it released him to write freely without fear of messing up. Spelling in particular had paralyzed him but now he wrote, unrestrained. I also let my son choose the topics that interested him, so long as he defended his position on the subject.
Since I gave him control over the topic, he owned his work in a new way. He felt energized and motivated. It was still an assignment, but it felt less like ‘school’ for him. In fact, it went so well that I gradually nudged him towards two, sometimes three, posts per week.
Read in full, Review, Texas Home School Coalition, pg 19.
Because sometimes, parents are too close to the situation and lack perspective.
“Schools have a lot on their hands, and surely, one of the greatest challenges for teachers and principals is dealing with stressed, over-reaching parents who, like me, can’t see the bigger picture. What ostensibly counts as supportive parenting can sometimes inadvertently disadvantage a child. That mother who volunteers in their daughter’s classroom every single day for years will smart when a teacher finally says: no more. That father of a kindergartner who arrives unfailingly at lunchtime to cut food into bite-sized pieces would do well to listen when a wise official suggests they let their son figure it out like his classmates. Those parents who fight to have their gifted child skip a grade may find themselves being told something similar to what I heard: ‘Bad idea. She is where she needs to be.'”
Read in full on The Week.
“He’s 16 now, but he still remembers that day. When my kid hurts, I hurt myself, too. My absence at the end of the school day didn’t match my words at the beginning when I said I’d be waiting for him when school let out and summer began. This experience crystalized for me that punctuality is essentially making good on a promise. I was accountable to my 7-year-old, and it crushed him when another mom instead of his own showed up. My actions had inadvertently communicated that he was less important than my work, when in fact, my noblest work is wrapped up in being his mother.”
Read in full on The Week.
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.
I’m on pg 33 in the print version of Seattle-based ParentMap this month. The editors included a shortened version of my online essay (published last December).
I love how this turned out! My essay is newly released in Dallas Parent (and other editions of Suburban Parent), Feb 2017, pg 16. What an honor to work with Mary Ellen Caldwell and Suburban Parent Magazines.
“I’m a safety mom. A safety person, in fact. During a past ski trip, I consistently arrived back at the chairlift last, underscoring my obvious preoccupation with not hurting myself. I checked my speed the entire descent down the mountain. Speed is not my middle name.
My teens were ahead of me. And though cautionary words were on the tip of my tongue, I made no effort to prohibit them from their rapid downhill flight. I didn’t want to harden their resolve.
People who thrive are people who are being who they believe they were meant to be. That is exactly what I want for my kids, and probably pretty close to what you want, too. We want our kids to mature into independent young adults who can make wise choices on their own.”
Implicit in this desired end result is that along the way, parents must let go. Helicopter parenting will only hold children back.
Today I added my voice to TODAY Parents feature challenge on helping your kids follow their dreams! Read in full here.
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).