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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Girls, Boys & Empathy

How can I help my kids learn to be more empathetic?

Girls can be, by nature, very empathetic.  They are highly intuitive and relational creatures.  When we were writing Raising Girls, we heard story after story of girls who were in tune and responsive to the needs of others around them.  You’ve seen it yourself.  Your daughter is running toward the soccer goal kicking the ball.  Her friend falls down behind her.  What does she do?  She forgets the ball and goes back to help her friend.  However, the closer they get toward adolescence, the more these girls also evolve into narcissistic creatures.

What can you do?  How can you help instill empathy now and maintain it through the turbulent teen years...

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How Does Your Child Feel About Shots?

In the past, we’ve talked about anxiety and kids on several different occasions.  Kids can have anxiety around all manner of issues, from going to school to spending the night out to shots.  In fact, shots are one we see many kids (and adults) struggle with consistently.  If your child has trouble with shots and those dreaded vaccinations are looming on the horizon, check out this article...

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Talking to Girls about Puberty

My 9 year-old daughter is already acting like a teenager.  When should I expect things to start to change with her, and when do I need to talk to her about puberty and sex?

The answer to all these questions is “Yes.”  You need to talk to her.  Actually, you need have conversations with her all along the way, just as David mentioned regarding boys...  

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At what age should I begin talking with my son about sex?

My answer is start now.  Whatever the age of your son, jump into that conversation.  If he’s young, begin talking more... about how God designed his body as a boy.  If he’s knocking on the door of adolescence, you’ll need to accelerate the conversation, and explore the possibility that he has been educated (or miseducated) by his peers.   

Here are three rules of engagement as you move into the conversation at any point in your son’s life...

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Girls, Bravery, and Bible Belles

I talk with girls a LOT about bravery behind the doors of my counseling office.  Girls often have a tendency to shrink back.  They doubt their voices.  They don’t believe they’re capable.  They don’t trust their strength.  I believe those doubts are a contributor to the struggles I see—with self-esteem, with anxiety, and with a whole host of issues girls face today in greater amounts than ever before.

For those of us who have girls in our lives that we love, we want something different.  We want them to feel brave, courageous, resilient, strong.  And we want them to learn to pepper those important traits with kindness...

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Raising Healthy Adolescents (sorta)

"We're so busy being the resources for the kids we love that they don't develop resourcefulness."

Sissy was honored to be a part of the Q Commons event this month..., talking about Raising Healthy Adolescents (Sorta).  (The Sorta was Sissy’s addition).  Q Commons is a live learning experience that challenges attendees to stay curious, think well, and advance good in their communities.  Thousands of people gathered in hundreds of cities for this unique evening...  

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Single Parenting Pitfalls

“I never pictured doing this by myself.”

In twenty-four years of counseling, I’ve heard this sentence more times than I can count.  Last week, it was a mother of three teenage girls whose husband died of a brain tumor.  Yesterday, it was a father whose wife had just relapsed again, deciding that life with alcohol was more important than life with her husband and nine year-old son.  Today, it may be you, with another story, both sad and unexpected of how you’ve found yourself in this role of single parent.  You never pictured doing this by yourself...  

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Technology Tuesday: Raising a Balanced Child in a Tech-Savvy World

We live in an era where technology is literally everywhere, and while we all have to use screens in some capacity, it seems that some kids are strongly pulled to them more than others. In spite of us having firm rules on screen usage... (30 minutes of earned time a day, based upon completion of household chores prior to being able to play), our 6-year old talks about video games non stop. He’s involved in soccer and plays outside every day after school - and he’s doing just fine developmentally / academically, but he is totally fixated on the plots and characters of Mario Bros., etc. He asks multiple times a day if he can play...

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Teenage Brain 102

You may remember our question from last week:

What is my teenager thinking?

And the answer:  They’re not.  At least, not in the ways we might be thinking they’re thinking.  See last weeks’ blog for exactly what is happening inside of the brain of your teenager.  In the midst of all of those things, he’s got a lot of strikes against him walking into a new school year.  And so does your teenage daughter.  Here are a few things you can do to help...

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Teenage Brain 101

“You may be wondering what your son is thinking…The answer is, he’s not.”  David says often in our parenting seminar, Raising Boys and Girls.  You probably remember that stage with your son.  He would put marbles up his nose and try to flush a matchbox car down the toilet.  His lack of thinking ended him up in trouble quite often.  If you have a teenager, son or daughter, it can feel much the same.  

What is she thinking that she can text and drive at the same time and not have an accident?

What is he thinking that he doesn’t have to do any of his school work and he’ll be “fine"...

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The Going Back to School Blues...or Worries

How’s your son doing as the school year is beginning? Is your daughter teary during carpool? Just last night I was with a dear friend with five kids, who told me stories of two of hers sobbing on the way to or from school the first week.  It’s completely normal.  And, as a side note, the melt down she had after drop off was normal, too.  These first few weeks of school are a lot…for all of you.

Last year in September, I had five different girls I was counseling between the ages of 8 and 12 who were at Daystar for anxiety.  Some were afraid of throwing up at school, some failing a test, some making new friends...

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