Fifth Grader Suspended from School for Pretending to Shoot with his Finger

boysplayingThis article in The Boston Globe caught my attention last Thursday. Evidently this boy was waiting in line for lunch and having a pretend “shoot ‘em up” game. He jumped ahead of two girls in line who told him not to cut. He returned to his place, but they report that he pointed his finger at them and made shooting noises and then pretended to blow off “the gun barrel.” The girls felt threatened and told an authority. The school officials took this behavior as a “threat” and followed their procedure for threats: a two-day suspension. Read more

How is Your Garden/Family Growing: Time for New Ideas?

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I like to garden. I would say that I am “middling” good at it. This year I have had a little more time to put into it, so I worked hard to weed and water one perennial bed. I divided plants that had gotten too big, and I moved some poor performers to places where I thought they would do better. Yet many plants look crummy, and there are still places where only weeds will grow. Read more

When Life Throws You Curveballs

5394666705_c1bf3d64c5_mI don’t know about you but I have had quite the Monday: problems with television, phone and email service. At least the television doesn’t affect my work, but the other two definitely do. At this point it appears that all problems are solved, but a fair amount of my workday has been unexpectedly devoted to getting these services fixed. Fortunately, I was not dealing with a young child as well, only my husband, who is quite challenged when it comes to electronic technology. Read more

Why Won’t She Stop?

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Lately parents have asked me why their children won’t stop arguing. It’s a difficult problem, and you have my sympathy.

You say, “It’s time to go upstairs to take your bath.” Perhaps you even had a talk about this earlier in an attempt to avoid an argument. But now your child has been watching television, and since you have a child who has difficulty with transitions, she tries to bargain for more time. Read more

Why Do I Feel So Defeated? 6 Steps to Stop Trying to Win and Teach Your Child to Solve Problems

hockeyplayersDo you feel like you’re in a never ending battle for control with your child? I run into parents who complain that their children won’t do as they are asked.  This leads to battles that can escalate and be hurtful on both sides.  I find this situation with parents of preschoolers right up through high school. After the battle, parents feel bad about the things their child said and about what they (the parent) said.  They wonder why kids are so disrespectful these days.  They feel defeated. Read more

Thinking Outside the Box to Build Self-Esteem

selfesteemIt is important to help all children to find their strengths.  For some children it is much easier than for others.  Children with ADHD or who are on the autism spectrum have more discouraging feedback in their daily lives than other children.  Some academic subjects are hard for them.  And for some the standard team sports that many children play in grade school are not a good match. Read more

Being Curious

catreflectionSome of us like surprises.  Others like to know what’s coming.  Parents learn quickly is that life is full of surprises, some delightful, and some not so much.  Today I’m thinking about those “not so much” surprises. 
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Tag Team Parenting

(TONGUE IN CHEEK!)

(TONGUE IN CHEEK!)

To my great dismay when my now young adult son was in middle school, he became a fervent fan of professional wrestling.  I don’t mean to sound elitist, but I objected to the violence (yes, I know it is all scripted) and the objectification of women.  However, I was powerless against my son’s testosterone and his father’s tacit approval (he hadn’t out grown professional wrestling).  In time I just let it go.  Fortunately, our son learned his values from us and not from WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Read more

Surviving and Thriving in the Land of Special Needs

thriveBeing the parent of child with special needs is a stressful job. I am not telling you anything new.  Today I am thinking about the supports that you need in order to stay on the job being the loving parent and advocate that your child needs.

Many parents have been hurt and angered by things that (well-meaning) educators, neighbors and family have said.  Parents feel guilty that they have envy parents of neighbor children who seem to get their homework done and have time for ballet and sports.  Meanwhile you, the special needs parent, take your child to psychotherapy, occupational therapy, and a tutoring. No time for ballet or sports, even if you child enjoyed them.  Life is not fair.  Two major ways to fortify yourself are to find people with similar struggles and to take care of yourself. Read more

What if She Grows up Like Auntie Agnes?

costumeMany of us have a “black sheep” in the family. Sometimes that person has a mental illness and sometimes not.  It might be someone who caused you or your parents great unhappiness in your childhood.  At any rate, you know someone fairly close to you who caused havoc in your life.  That relative provides a model of what you do not want in your child and a model of what you fear. Read more