Communication

A Suddenly “Shy” Child

I get invited into some of the best discussions with parents! Recently I had a wonderful on-line discussion about shyness and social anxiety in young children. Because adults often learn in the context of other’s questions I’m going to share with you what you would have overheard had you been sharing my chat with this mom. Of course, I’ll change the identity cues because every parent deserves to be in charge of what information they share with the world. Dear Dr. Y, I'm hoping you [...]

Bite My Tongue or Speak Up? When adults disagree over parenting

Parenting encompasses so much more than just an adult to child relationship. In fact, new parents are often taken by surprise by just how much this new relationship with their child impacts their other close relationships. Of course, this is most obvious in the co-parent relationship, but also (and this is what I want to focus on here) in all the relationships within what I’ll call your tribe—could be family, could be loved ones, but, essentially, think of it as all the people who are [...]

“Smart” is this label trapping your child?

If you encountered a magic fairy who promised wonderful things if you would only put your child in a box, would you put your child in a box? Before you shout “Of course, not!,” what if she told you, “It’s a beautiful box and others will envy you and your child in that wonderful box?” What if she told you that being in that box will actually be good for your child? This particular box has within it the promise that your child will have [...]

Saying “No” with Love

A recent feature in the New York Times about spas that cater to children made me sad. But not exactly for the reasons you’d expect. It was because of this quote, from a mom of one of the pint-sized spa-goers: “I don’t want them to feel that my saying ‘No’ means that I don’t love them.”  —New York Times, January 3, 2015 It’s sad that parental love has been hijacked by an underlying belief that our children cannot be disappointed or inconvenienced in order to feel loved. Sad that parents [...]

I want, I want…gimme…gimme!

It can be hard to live with a chorus of "I want...gimme, gimme." Whether expectations are based on advertising images of children with floor-to-ceiling wish lists or simply enjoying a friend's toy or game, every parent at some time will face the expectations that children bring to the Christmas season. For those who celebrate the holiday with a gift-giving tradition there are some basic strategies that may be helpful. Keep in mind that parents are always the spin doctors for their families and have great power to shape [...]

Do your children have parents or competitors?

Shiny, Happier People To describe the vast and varied role of the parent we turn to a whole list of occupations—doctor, police officer, counselor, game designer, bus driver and more—like jeweler. Yes, jeweler. Each child is a gem with multiple facets that reflect light. When Dad shines his light, it brings out a shine that is different than the light coming from Mom, who’s light brings out something different than grandpa’s or the teacher’s. We very likely see this in ourselves. Different friends bring out [...]

Resilience: A parenting buzzword gone bad

The Burden of "Resilience" I recently read another feel-good post about letting go of grievances and how important this skill is for children. Certainly, carrying an unresolved grievance—even those that are morally understandable—is a burden. But, asserting the importance of “letting go” without a hint of “how to” is just as much of a burden.And, it’s a disservice. Because to equate a child’s psychological well-being with an ability to “roll with the punches” may end up teaching martyrdom more than resilience, opening up the door [...]