Are My Kids on Track: Kids and Resourcefulness

Over fifty years ago, a developmental psychologist, by the name of Michael Lewis, researched gender differences using one-year olds.  Lewis and his colleagues set up a barrier between a child and mother.   The barrier created physical separation, but the child was able to see the mother.   They then cued the mother to begin showing evidence of distress - crying, sighing, etc.  

Most of the boys attempted to tear down the barrier, whereas most girls stood and wept.  Lewis remarked on how the boys wanted to get back to their mothers, even if...

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Technology Tuesday: An Open Letter (Challenge) To Teenagers with Cell Phones

I was recently meeting with a young woman in high school I respect very much.  I already did respect her when she told me the following story.  Now, I respect her even more.  She’s swimming upstream in this age of technology.  And I wanted her to write a Technology Tuesday because I believe her thoughts…her passion and her commitment can help the teenagers you love.  Actually, they might can help us all learn to be better stewards not only of technology, but relationships.

In our daily lives, we are constantly surrounded by technology. Everywhere we go phones, laptops, and other devices are always in use. Not long ago, phones were used for a means of communication, and that was it. Now phones are more commonly used for social media purposes. Weather it be snapchat, twitter, or Instagram, people close themselves off from the world and instead engage in what’s on their screens...

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What Do We Do With Summer?

What do we do with the summer?  I want my daughter to have an old-fashioned summer, where she’s spending more time outside and in real relationships than on screen and in virtual ones.

“My daughter does better with structure.”  I hear this sentence constantly in my counseling office.  But, I also hear girls who talk about feeling overwhelmed, over-stressed and over-scheduled.  So, what’s the balance?  How do you help your daughter find enough time to play and grow her imagination...

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Technology Tuesday: Snapchat Streaks

 “I only have like 10 streaks going, but a lot of my friends have 30.”

A middle school girl went on to describe a Snapchat “streak” to me in my office this week.  By her definition, a streak is when you snapchat each other every day for a given number of days.

“Some people have streaks with 100 days.  I know a girl who has a streak for 600 days with someone.  Basically, if you don’t have a streak going with someone, it means you don’t like them...”

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A Counselor's Response to 13 Reasons Why

Raising Awareness is a double-edged sword.  In other words, it cuts both ways…which feels particularly poignant in the awareness the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, has raised since its release in March.  

You’ve probably heard of it recently.  Schools are sending out emails about it.  Churches are talking about it.  And teenagers are DEFINITELY talking about it.  In fact, every teenager I’ve asked about it in the last week has used the same words, “Its’ the show everyone is talking about all of the time.”  And I honestly don’t believe that’s teenage hyperbole...

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There are More Than 13 Reasons Why Your Life Matters...and What You Can Do About It

So, here’s the thing.  I know everybody is talking about 13 Reasons Why.  I get it.  It’s compelling.  It feels a lot like your life these days.  You’re glad somebody’s talking about what’s going on at school.  You want the adults in your life to understand how hard it is to be a teenager today.  I really do get it.  It’s so much harder than when we were growing up.  I sit with teenagers every day and hear what’s going on in their lives:  the real-life bullying, depression, self-harm…all of the things this show is trying to bring to light.  I’m a counselor, and have been for 24 years.

Here’s the other thing that I’ll tell you, from a counseling perspective.  It’s not just bringing things to light...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys & Empathy

Responding with empathy is more naturally instinctive for some individuals than others.  Just as one child might be stronger in math and another in spelling, we all bend in certain directions.   Some of us are more extroverted, some of us more introverted.   Some more analytical, some more creative.   We could circle around the nature vs. nurture argument for days, months or years. Bottom line - both are contributing factors.  

Some individuals more naturally think of others, and some more naturally think of themselves.   During adolescence, we all spend more time thinking about ourselves.   Sadly, some adults never move beyond that tendency...

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Technology Tuesday: Going Live!

“I walked out of my bathroom yesterday, wrapped in a towel, only to hear my ten year-old yell, ‘I’m going live!’”.

“Going live” is now evidently the thing.  This ten year-old was “going live” on Musical.ly, only to show her latest “slime” to her five followers, including grandparents and an aunt.  “Going live” basically means live-streaming a video of you—doing whatever you want to do.  People who follow you can click to watch and comment, unless you turn off the commenting feature.  (And slime, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like).  Facebook has a live component, as well as Instagram.  In fact, TeenVogue recently did an article called “6 Tips for Instagram Live.”  The article went on to say...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys and Perspective Part Two

It’s vital for boys to understand males often experience emotions with physicality attached to them.   It’s why boys are prone to screaming, hitting, punching, balling up their fists or gritting their teeth.  I’ve worked with boys who even growl like an animal when the emotion erupts inside of them.   When a boy can channel the physicality of the emotion into something useful, he can offset the possibility of hurting others (or himself).   We will explore more of this in chapter four with the milestone of Resourcefulness.

In a non-problematic time, I have boys make a list of five things they could do outside and inside involving movement of some kind.  It’s not that listening to music, reading or playing on the iPad isn’t useful...

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Happy Countdown to Mother's Day

Happy Countdown to Mother’s Day!  We’re about to start our own Mom’s brand of March Madness at Raising Boys and Girls!  It’s been so fun hearing from those of you who are reading our new book, Are My Kids On Track?!  So, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re about to start 12 weeks of Giveaways featuring YOU!!!  Each week, we’ll highlight a different milestone from the book.  (If you’re late to the Are My Kids on Track party, it includes 12 milestones we believe are crucial for kids to reach and are happening less and less these days.  There are 4 emotional, 4 social, and 4 spiritual).  So, here’s the plan...

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Technology Tuesday: The Story on Finstas

Have you heard your child use the word “Finsta?” (I think regularly, if our grandparents were to sit in on a conversation with teenagers, they would be as confused as if someone were speaking a foreign language.  Finsta…tweets…snaps…what are we talking about, anyway?).

So, here’s the story on finstas.  A finsta is what it sounds like—or what it sounds like if you’re 15 and thinking this way—a fake Instagram account.  (Get it…fake Insta?)  I hear about them weekly now in my counseling office.  Middle school girls tell me they have finstas with their very closest friends.  “You know, there are pictures you only want your best friends to see—like things you think are funny...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys and Perspective Part One

Boys are primarily visual, spatial and experiential learners.   Did you notice auditory is nowhere in that list? Despite knowing this, we fall into the trap of talking at and talking to boys way too much, forgetting they learn best by going through the motions.  Think about the Compassion story I shared.  You’d be correct in assuming though I’d spent a lifetime understanding the concepts of poverty and hunger in third world countries, it didn’t become real to me until I traveled to South America, visited those sites, interacted with children and families, and heard their stories.   The experience expanded and deepened my perspective.   

I challenge parents to avoid lecturing about hungry children across the world, when their own kids don’t clean their plates and waste food.  Rather than lecturing, take them to a local Soup Kitchen and serve as a family.   They will develop perspective differently...

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Social Media Shame

I wrote this last year around vacation time…and, since it’s vacation season again, I thought it bore repeating.  Happy Spring Break, everyone!  And may we continue to be committed to encouraging and extending grace to each other…in real life and on social media. 

If you and I are friends/followers on social media, by the time you read this, you’ll probably hate me...

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Are My Kids on Track: Girls and Perspective Part Two

Building Block #1: A Scale aka Drama-mometer

On my fortieth birthday, I had a kidney stone. Forty was not the new thirty for me. It was miserable . . . blew my “stubbed toe might be the most significant pain” theory right out of the water. Since then, I’ve heard from many women that one teeny kidney stone causes more pain than natural childbirth. I now have a new understanding of those little scales they hang up in the ER. You’ve seen them. They’re numbered 1–10 and have a little happy face on the left side at 1 . . . and a miserable face at 10 on the right. I wish every home had a similar pain assessment tool for girls...

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Are My Kids on Track: Girls and Perspective Part One

We are only 5 days away from the release of "Are My Kids on Track?" Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? We are so excited to share this new parenting resource with each of you! Nashville, we would love to see you, on Tuesday night, February 14, at the book release party! It will be from 6-9pm, at K. McCarthy, in Green Hills.  There will be book signing, festive treats, holiday shopping, and give-aways!

Today, we hear from Sissy, in the book on Girls and Perspective.  This will be a two-part series so tune in next week for the second half...

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Are My Kids on Track: Boys & Emotions

For the next several weeks, we are excited to share some ideas from our upcoming book, Are My Kids on Track?   We'll be looking at some important emotional, social and spiritual milestones we want to help our kids progress toward.  We'll start today with a conversation about boys and emotions.   

It feels important to first dispel a myth about boys and emotions. The myth is girls have more emotions than boys. That couldn’t be farther from the truth... 

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Technology Tuesday: New Year, New Media Plans for Your Family

The New Year has started and we’re gearing up for lots of things at Raising Boys and Girls.  We’ll be continuing our blog, with Technology Tuesdays and parenting tips.  We’re coming out on the road to hopefully get to meet YOU at one of our parenting events! We’re having lots of fun and giveaways on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.  We are most excited about the launch of our new book coming out NEXT WEEK...

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