Are My Kids On Track: Boys & Awareness

All throughout Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, I (David) discuss the boy brain.  When I teach on boy development, I start the conversation highlighting three strikes a boy has against him, in helping parents and educators understand why he is so physical, under-focused, and always moving.   I discuss how he’s hard-wired for acting before thinking, and the different ways this can complicate his academic and relational journey.

If a boy is hard-wired for activity and movement, of course he isn’t naturally slowing down, reflecting, focusing, observing and operating from a place of awareness…

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Mother's Day

I have the honor of knowing a woman who has been battling stage 4 cancer for several years.  She is remarkable.  She fights beautifully…not just fights this stupid cancer, but fights for her children in a culture that too often fights against them.  She fights for her faith in a way that inspires me to do the same.  And, in the midst of tremendous struggle and heartache, she fights to maintain the sort of gritty, buoyant, dogged hope that epitomizes who she is.  I want to be more like her.  And can’t say enough what a privilege it is to…

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Technology Tuesday: 13 Reasons Why All Over Again

Season 2 was just announced.  It will be released on Netflix on May 18.  The preview is every bit as provocative looking as the past season, shrouded in mystery and Polaroid photos.  These folks know how to bring their A game with all of the best teenage-angst/alluring/trendy means possible to build hype for this show that took the teenage world by storm last spring.  

In case you missed it, 13 Reasons Why was the television show we heard more kids talking about in our offices than any other show in 2017…

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys and Boundaries

I (David) worked with a fifteen year old boy who was an Olympic Gold Medalist in Manipulation.  He had a 4.3 GPA, was a gifted golfer, and played guitar on the side.   School wasn’t the only place this talented, bright young man would flex his well-developed cognitive muscle; he accessed his expansive vocabulary by throwing verbal daggers at family members when he didn’t get his way.  As is often the case with teenagers, mothers can become the target of choice.   

I coached his mom on the art of disengagement.  We discussed how staying in the argument would never yield a desirable outcome…

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Technology Tuesday: Our Podcast has Landed!

If you’re following us on social media, you know we’ve been dropping hints (because we couldn’t keep it a secret!) that we’ve been working on a podcast with our friend, Sarah Bragg based on our newest book, Are My Kids on Track:  The 12 Milestones Your Child Need to Reach.  Sarah has been offering encouragement and hope to folks at her podcast, Surviving Sarah, for years now.  It’s a series of thoughtful conversations that make you laugh and think, designed to help you keep your head above water while living with purpose…  

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Are My Kids on Track: Girls and Boundaries Part Two

Building Block #2: A Good Template

“I don’t know how to confront someone.” Girl after girl after girl has said these words to me in my counseling office. Girls of all ages . . . women of all ages, in fact. I honestly don’t know how at times, either. But I have a friend who does. She confronts people who don’t even know they’ve been confronted. I’ve watched her do it over the years with friends, with her husband, and with anyone who crosses over the line of her strong, kind boundaries...

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Are My Kids on Track: Girls and Boundaries Part One

Stumbling Blocks for Girls

Stumbling Block #1: “Not Enough-ness”

I was an only child until I was 16 years-old, when my parents said, “Surprise!” and delightedly rocked my world with a baby sister. Until that time, my parents did a great job of trying to help me learn awareness and reciprocity through friendships. They scheduled lots of playdates and sleepovers, always with my elated approval. My mom still laughs, however, about my pattern whenever someone would...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys & Ownership

In parenting classes, we discuss that in the face of failure or disappointment, girls tend to blame themselves and boys tend to blame other people. I remain fascinated by how instinctive this process is for boys. I laugh to myself when my sons approach my wife with the question, “What did you do with my soccer cleats?”

Do you hear the blame within that question? It never occurred to them to say, “I have no idea where I left my cleats. Have you seen them?” It’s a knee-jerk reaction to assume it was someone else’s fault... 

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Technology Tuesday: Fortnite: Your Son’s Latest Obsession

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear something about Fortnite.  It’s the game the majority of boys (of all ages) seem to be talking about these days.  It was something completely different a year ago, and chances are good it will be something completely different a year from now.  But for today, it’s Fortnite.  Though it’s rated “T” for Teen, many parents of younger boys are allowing boys to explore it.  

Many parents have compromised because of it’s cartoonish nature, or the lack of profanity or blood.   There are sites and commentaries arguing the advantages of strategic thinking, teamwork and creativity.  Equally so, there are sites and commentaries arguing...

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Technology Tuesday: Spring Break Technology Sabbath

Whenever we speak about technology to parents, we stress the importance of taking Technology Sabbaths...  If we’re going to teach the kids we love to unplug, we need to do so, as well.  We have families at Daystar who are taking technology-free spring breaks…or even a day or two technology-free on their spring breaks.  We also have parents who purposely go on trips where WiFi isn’t available or doesn’t work so well…might just be a thought for future family trips!

I was with a group of high school girls this week talking about their spring breaks, and the subject of social media came up.  They quickly started talking about how hard it can be, seeing all the photos of friends in glamorous locations, often together, and looking perfectly...

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Courage and Kids

How do I help my kids be more courageous?

“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”        

                        William Shakespeare

This quote immediately makes me think of Lucy from Narnia.  And, when I (Sissy) think of Lucy, the first picture I have of her in my mind is of her standing on the bridge in the film Prince Caspian, facing an entire army of foes, holding only a simple dagger.  And, of course, Aslan is by her side.

Just previous to this scene, however, there’s a scene that takes place where Lucy and Aslan are talking...  

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Are My Kids on Track: Girls and Reciprocity, Part 2

Building Block #1: Listening

Girls and listening can be a tricky combination . . . at every age. Last summer, I was sitting by a pool when I heard two young girls talking loudly next to me. “I have an idea,” one yelled excitedly. “Let’s pretend like we’re dolphins and swim all of the way across the pool!” The other one quickly shouted back, “I have an idea! Let’s act like we’re fish and swim to the other side!” Both girls basically had the same idea. But bossiness, aka competition, won the day, and neither girl listened to the other. Bossiness makes reciprocity particularly challenging for elementary school aged girls. But they are capable. They are in middle and high school, as well . . .

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Are My Kids on Track: Girls and Reciprocity, Part 1

Let’s talk about tennis. I (Sissy) am not sure if you’ve ever played. I have quite a bit. Not well, but quite a bit. I spent lots of hours and lots of my parents’ well-earned money growing up in tennis lessons. Somehow, my ball always seemed to end up in the next court over rather than my own. But I played enough to learn the basics. And the basics of tennis are the primary analogy I use in my office to teach girls about reciprocity.

If you’ve never played, let me fill you in. I (try to) serve the ball to you. You see my ball and hit it back to me. I see the ball and (hopefully) hit it back to you. And so on and so forth. That’s what tennis lessons will get you. It’s...

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Technology Tuesday: Mommin' Ain't Easy Podcast - Episode #22

Sissy and David had a BLAST recording an episode of the awesome podcast Mommin' Ain't Easy with their new friends, Jennifer and Courtney! On it, we talk about everything from the emotional and social milestones kids need to reach to our numbers on the enneagram and more! Check out their podcast...we know you’ll enjoy them as much as we do! 

You can find them on Instagram or Facebook.  And, if you haven't grabbed a copy of "Are My Kids on Track?" you can get yours here.

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How Can I Help My Kids Stop Lying?

“Honey, why are you sitting under the dining room table eating an entire cake?” a mom told me she had to ask her five year-old daughter in the middle of the night.  “Satan woke me up and told me to come eat it, Mommy!”

All children experiment at some point with lying.  Don’t worry, when yours does. She needs firm, consistent boundaries, no matter how cute she is or entertaining her lies are, like the girl in the previous story.  She needs consequences every time... 

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How to Help Kids in Light of the News Today

A CBS News article today said there have been at least 11 school shootings in the U.S. since January 1.  And the one that happened yesterday was very close to our community here at Daystar, with our camp being an hour or so away, and Melissa having her first youth director job at Calvert City, Kentucky.  With at least 11 this month only, the likelihood is that one has been close to your community, as well.

What do we do?  How do we love and protect the kids we love so dearly?  What do we say, in light of such tragedy, especially tragedy that was perpetrated by someone close to their age...

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Technology Tuesday: #waituntil8th

We get asked at every parenting seminar, in every school and church where we speak.  “When is the right age to give kids a cell phone...?”  

We recently heard about a new trend that is sweeping the country, and will undoubtedly be a part of our answer from here on out.  It’s called #waituntil8th and is for parents who feel concerned about the effects of smartphones on the kids they love.  One such mom in Austin, TX started the movement...

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Tracking Through the Ages

We recently spoke in Mobile, AL, for our third time at the yearly Parent Summit held at Spring Hill Baptist Church.  Over the years, we’ve developed some sweet friendships with the church staff and members.  Our friend, Erica Holloway, the children’s minister, wrote these words to introduce the Are My Kids On Track conference.  They made us laugh and tear up as we thought about all of you.  We wanted to share them with you to remind you that we get it.  There is SO much on a daily basis...  

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Technology Tuesday: To Siri With Love

Last month, we were teaching our class called Taming the Technology Monster.  As always, by the time I finished talking, the parents in the room looked stricken.  It’s probably the most alarming issue for parents of all ages in this technology-saturated world.  One woman raised her hand and said, “I’m a mom of littles and you’ve sufficiently terrified me.  Can you tell me one thing that technology has done for good in the lives of our kids?”

There are a lot of things.  We are big fans of Common Sense Media and the Empathy and Social Skills building apps you can find there for kids... 

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