Blog — Parenting

How to Survive College Admission Stress

It's that time of year, the daffodils are blooming, the lilacs and cherry trees are preparing to bud, and families with high school seniors are trying hard to not lose their minds. Does the college admission process have to be like this? Here are some ideas for keeping your cool (and helping your child do the same) until all decisions are in.

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Surviving College Rejection Letters: It Can Be Done

Following up on my recent blog post on handling college admission stress, in this post, I get right down to the tough, but necessary business of handling rejection. No one likes it, but given the sharp increase in the number of college applications, and the fact that most, especially the elite, highly competitive schools, have not increased their class size, it's a statistical fact of life: rejection letters will happen. But it's what happens after the rejection that matters most. Here are tips for parents and students to stay on track and not get derailed by misinterpreting the meaning when a college says no.

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It's National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

It's National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. Let's all keep an eye out for the good of our children. They are our future.

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A Back to School Twitter Chat with The Mother Company

Please join me this Friday August 24th at 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern to get your back to school questions answered when I chat with The Mother Company on Twitter #MOCOChat

Hope to see you there!

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Managing Tics and Tourette's: Catch What You Can

kids-tics-torretsIn this blogpost we take a closer look at the experiences of kids who have repetitive, involuntary actions otherwise known as "tics." Many of the children who have anxiety or symptoms of OCD also experiences tics. In fact, studies have found that as many as 50-85% of children with Tourette Syndrome (TS) also meet criteria for OCD. Common tics include eye-blinking, facial grimacing, nose scrunching, touching and clapping. Vocal tics include humming, throat clearing and squeaking. Let's take a look at the experience of tics: the causes, red-flags and solutions.

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Being an Effective Parent: Managing Your Own Feelings

being-an-effective-parentTry as we may to be the best parents we can be and not overreact or underreact to our children's behavior and emotions, we are human and sometimes things don't come out exactly (or even nearly) as we'd like. Here are some ideas about how to take care of our own emotions so we can be there for our kids.

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Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Help for the Pint-Sized Pessimist

pint-sized-pessimistI can't do anything right! Everything is wrong! I'm so stupid! What's the point? Such is the inner monologue (and sometimes outer outburst) that children suffering with negative thinking can have on a regular basis. The trigger is often something as small as dropping a pencil, or making a mistake on a test. How do we help kids think less negatively and more accurately (and not get pulled into the downward spiral ourselves?) Here are some answers!

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High Family Stress in Infancy Linked with Development of Anxiety in Teen Girls

stressed-infant-familyA long-term study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that children who grew up in high stress families are more likely to develop anxiety disorders in the teenage years-- this connection was only evident with girls, not with boys. This study highlights the need to support young parents and families.  To read about this on Psych Central, click here.

 

 

 

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Surviving College Rejection Letters: What To Do When A School Says No

Mouse / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Following up on my recent blog post on handling college admission stress, Here is a piece I wrote last year about college rejection letters. So many parents wrote in after I published it telling me how grateful they were to have some guidance on this topic, because they were really struggling too. It's a statistical fact of life: rejection letters will happen. But it's what happens after the rejection that matters most. Here are tips for parents and students to stay on track and not get derailed by misinterpreting the meaning when a college says no.

 


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Happy Birthday to Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Second Edition is Here!

freeing your child from anxiety revised editionHello all! The day has arrived, the Second Edition of Freeing Your Child from Anxiety is on the shelves as of today! You can check out the book on amazon by clicking here. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt to give you a preview of how anxiety disorders, though as many as 1 in 5 children, and 1 in 4 adults suffer from them, can be treated and even prevented. Here's to less worry all around. In your own head, and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freeing Your Child from Anxiety Second Edition is Almost Here!

small coverHappy summer every one! I have been hard at work this past year on a revised edition of my 2004 book, Freeing Your Child from Anxiety. In the mail today, I just received the finished books! They will be availabile in stores and online on July 29th, 2014, but you can pre-order by clicking here. I am really excited about the new edition. It has three new chapters, and... an additional 160 pages of text, and... lots and lots of wonderful new illustrations courtesy of my amazing husband, Phil Stern, and lots of new strategies including a "Do It Today" section at the end of every chapter. Check it out! Here's a sample "Do It Today" to get you started. You can try it on your child, or get a "two-for-one" and try it on yourself. Here's to less worry all around!

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How to Not Pass on Stress to Your Kids

Ojie Paloma / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with my dear friend, Dr. Dan Gottlieb on his NPR radio show, Voices in the Family. His guests, Drs. Sara Waters and Wendy Mendes from University of San Francisco were reporting on their study of the transmission of stress from mother to infant. It was a great conversation, and you can listen to the program here. The take away message was very positive-- that parents can do so much to manage their stress and importantly "repair" their connection with their child if stress gets in the way-- through apologies, loving gestures-- and just spending time together. In otherwords, we don't have to pass on our stress, we can clean it up as we go. Here's a piece I wrote to share these ideas. 

 

 

 

 

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Homework is Stupid and I Hate Everything!

homeworkBack to school means to back to homework, and for many families that means back to homework battles. For the next couple of blog posts I will share ideas about how to get kids and families on track with that necessary evil, I mean, that vehicle for reinforcing learning-- homework!

 

 

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How to Take Charge of Back-to-School Fears

back-to-schoolWhat's a parent's first instinct when a child is afraid? To reassure, to take away the fear, to tell your child that everything is going to be okay. If only that worked! In this post we see how asking your child the right questions about her fears can be even more powerful than giving reassurance, because it shifts kids out of worry mode and into thinking mode-- and that's exactly the mode they need to be in for school, and for life! Here's to a great school year for all!
 

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Preventing Homework Procrastination

Cayusa / Foter / CC BY-NC

Homework? No thanks, I'll do it later... Procrastination, what has been referred to as a human instinct, starts young. Five year olds with a mere five minutes of homework would rather do anything than sit still and be trapped with what will feel to them like hours of torture! In this post I describe many strategies for teaching kids to sneak past the tough beginning of their work session, and get more quickly to the middle-- the part when they are in their groove and heading toward the finish line. Feel free to use these ideas to get your own work flowing, they have been adult-tested too!

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What to Do When Your Child is Afraid to Go to Bed

©Corbis/Veer, by permission

When I was a little girl, I couldn't sleep for weeks after seeing The Wizard of Oz-- how could I when those flying monkeys were stuck in my head? Monsters, zombies, bad dreams, the wind rustling in the trees-- all children go through times when their fears get the better of them-- and one of the best times for fears to sneak in and take over is in the quiet and darkness of bedtime. Here are some fun and effective solutions to help your child take charge of their bedtime fears and get a good night's sleep!

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How to Manage College Admission Stress

©Veer, Used by permission

March madness. If you have a high school senior that expression takes on a whole new meaning as you wait for the college admission results to come in. Is your child's entire future dependent on what comes in the mail (or these days, email)? Is there really life beyond the thin envelope? At the moment of impact, the answer is no. But after the brief flatline, when it feels like the horizon of your child's future has dropped out of sight for both you and your child, there is a resounding -- yes. In this article, parents and teachers can learn how to help kids to put this moment in perspective and see that no matter what happens come April 15th, they have their whole life ahead of them.  

 

 

 

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How to Correct Your Anxious Child

Veer/Corbis used with permission

Should you correct a child who is always worried about making mistakes, being in trouble, and having people mad at them? This is the question that parents of anxious children ask me every day. The answer is yes. In fact, the best place for anxious children to learn that being corrected or having someone mad at them is temporary, survivable, and much more rare than they fear, is at home where they are loved and cared for. Check out this post on how to practice resiliency-promoting discipline in your home, and lower the anxiety level for all.

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When Tragedy Feels Near, But Is Very Far

single tree

Last month a tragedy happened in my hometown of Philadelphia when an Amtrak train derailed killing eight people and seriously injuring many, many more. The day after the crash my husband and I had long ago planned to meet with our lawyer to update our will. The juxtaposition of these events gave me a lot to think about, especially, how hard it is to be resilient, even when you are an anxiety therapist. And how, as parents, we need to be-- for our children, and ourselves.

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School's Out, Structure's In: How to Plan Your Child's Summer "Work Week"

©2015 Corbis/Veer, used by permission

Please tell me I'm not alone, but every year when school lets out for summer, I worry (yes, I do) what are the kids going to do with all of that free time? So practicing what I preach, I know it's better to use my time planning than worrying, here's a plan to introduce a little structure into your child's summer vacation. Not too much, but just enough. It could help end the fights over screen time and make a better summer for everyone in your home. Happy summer all!

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What Parents Can Learn from Disney/Pixar's Inside Out

Inside Out

I don't think I've ever talked about a movie with patients as much as I have about Disney/Pixar's Inside Out. It is truly a one-size-fits-all film which can help any of us-- adults and kids alike-- understand and feel empowered to make choices about what goes on with the emotions in our minds. My new favorite intervention in session to help patients get a new perspective is to say, "Let's 'Inside-Out' this one. Who is in charge of the control panel in your mind? Who do you want to be taking over the wheel?" This strategy is not limited to the therapy room-- you could try it at your dinner table, or even at your next staff meeting and don't be surprised if you see the wheels of flexibility start to turn.

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How to Help Your Child Succeed in School: Don't Do Their Homework for Them

Homework picture

We want our kids to succeed in life, but what's our role? Often the dilemma comes-- do we go ahead and finish that homework assignment for them? Check the homework portal for tests? Neaten up their backpack each week? The most important lesson we can teach our children is how to do their homework for themsleves. Instead of micromanaging or doing for, we can teach them good work habits that will last a lifetime. So take a deep breath and step back; here comes your child!

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Parents Aren't Perfect: What to Do When the Wrong Words Come Out of Your Mouth

ParentShould we hate it when our kids catch us with a double-standard, or should we be proud? Should we be embarrassed, or relieved to know that our kids have been listening to what we've been saying (well enough to know when we're not following our own rules), even if they're not necessarily following the rules themselves? This blog post was inspired by a moment when our older daughter "caught me" name calling when I accused her of being "closed minded." Yes, that's name-calling. That counts. So here is what I've learned since that moment, or at least what I'm trying to learn! Enjoy.

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How to Stay Connected When Valentine's Day is a Family Affair

Kissing coupleHappy Valentine's Day! Yes, we are all a bit weary of the hype, but when it comes down to it, what a great opportunity to pause and appreciate the wonder of love in your life! For parents it can be challenging to stay connected when kids are in the mix, but there is one very important way you can do this. Today and every day. Check it out!

 

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How to (Lovingly) Teach Your Bossy Child Some New Lines

Bossy Child/ShutterstockHave you ever-- like 5 minutes ago when your child seated in front of his hamburger, demanded "Ketchup!" as if no other explanation were required-- felt that there is something wrong with the hierarchy in your family? Aren't parents supposed to be in charge? Don't worry, EVERY parent feels this way sometimes, no matter how well behaved their child is, nor whether their day job is a therapist talking to families about these issues all the time...  In this blog post I take on the challenge of the bossy child. Spoiler alert: It's all good news, and the solution is at least a two-person job. So roll up your sleeves and enjoy.

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