‘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!

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 10.05.41 AM

‘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.

 

THE MYSTERIOUS WONDERFUL SPRING BREAK TRIP THAT NEVER HAPPENED

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

Image 3-4-17 at 3.11 PM

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

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-8-07-04-pm

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.

 

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

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-1-11-48-pm

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).

What Happened When I Quit Helicopter Parenting

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-21-14-pm

“When I coddle my kids, I hurt them. If I keep myself at the center of their universe, helicopter parenting and serving their every need, the goal of independence is undermined. It’s much harder to stay in the shadows and watch them successfully dodge one bad decision only to perform a dramatic faceplant when the next major obstacle reveals itself. But how else will they learn?”

Thank you, San Diego Family Magazine, for publishing my essay on the perils of helicopter parenting.

Read in full: https://www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/parenting/1981-helicopter-parenting

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

shelf-159852_1280

“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

 

6 Pieces Of Unconventional Marriage Advice I Gave My Son

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.03.13 PM.png

“Tying the knot is the easy part; staying together requires some intentional habits.

Dear Teenage Son,

Today your dad and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. It was a remarkable day since increasingly we see marriages that are falling apart. Tying the knot is the easy part; staying together requires some intentional habits and staying in love.

Well, that most certainly doesn’t happen by chance. Here are some things you may be unaware of that your dad has worked hard on to keep us together and in love over the years.”

Read in full: http://www.yourtango.com/2016287952/six-pieces-unconventional-marriage-advice-gave-my-son

How our Friday night pizza night helps us connect with our growing kids

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 10.57.21 AM

Published by The Washington Post, On Parenting:

“Oh, Friday. We’re growing old together, you and I. From each joyful weekly awareness — It’s Friday! — that erupts around our home to the sleepiness that ends the evening, you’ve been there like an old friend. Long ago, you watched as the little kids came along, encouraging us as new parents to establish a family tradition to end the week. We wanted something that invited the kids’ participation, and so it was that you became synonymous with homemade-pizza-and-movie night.”

Read in full on The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/04/29/making-friday-night-pizza-night-as-a-way-to-connect-with-aging-kids/

What We Learned About Parenting At Starbucks

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 9.48.25 PM.png

“When our son was 4, he fell in love. The object of his affection was voluptuous—far too old for him. He saw her constantly. She had long flowing hair and intense eyes. He called her his “little love.” The crown she wore lent an air of power while sleek fins encircling her projected steady but enticing mystery.

The fact that our son was smitten by the Starbucks Mermaid was our fault.

One of our oldest family traditions is spending Saturday mornings at the local coffee shop. Started long before kids came along, this easy-going tradition was a sweet opening to weekends. We didn’t have a lot of money and the coffee shop fit our wallet. Wherever we lived, we targeted the local, indie or chain, just as long as we could reach it by foot. Whether sunny and blistering hot, wintry and blowing icy winds, we’d wake up and sleepily trudge towards the coffee shop hand in hand.

When we started having kids, going out for coffee each Saturday morning was a tradition we were determined to continue. We selfishly coveted this entrée into the weekend as a young couple and didn’t want kids to change this beloved routine.”

Read in full on Brain, Child.

From One Mom To Another: The Gift Of Perspective Is Everything, Huffington Post

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 7.18.22 PM.png

“You lift your eyes and there is a bird across the street perched on the topmost point of the firehouse bell-tower. Why does she just sit there? What does she see? You need to follow the way of this mama bird, to get up high above the trees so that you can know where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Truth is, the longer you’ve been a mom, the clearer are your failures. The blessing of perspective allows painful truths to emerge that often you picked at blades of grass instead of getting up high. You’ve regarded yourself as a good mom, yet as you gain distance from the early days of babies and toddlers, preschool and elementary school, from this place above the trees you can finally see.

Like that mama bird sitting up high in the tree, you stand now as a humble mom of 17 years, better able to discern where you’ve been and where you’re going. ”

Read in full on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathryn-streeter/motherhood_b_9686272.html