Raising Girls: Happy familyIn the beginning, girls are usually the ones that talk early, become involved socially, and do well in school. However, as they grow older, sometimes parenting a girl becomes a bit more challenging. Many parents feel that early on girls are easier to raise, but there are challenges coming as they hit those preteen and teen years. With many expectations on them, various signals from society, and a lot of social pressure, things often become more difficult for girls as they get a bit older. It's important that you raise your daughter to be confident and successful in a world that still often makes it more difficult for women to achieve success. To effectively parent your daughter, here are some excellent parenting tips that can help you along the way.

Parenting Tip #1 – Encourage Your Daughter to Have a Healthy Body Image

Probably one of the most important parenting tips for raising girls to keep in mind is to encourage your daughter to have a healthy body image. As girls grow older, often body image becomes a problem, especially with the way that models are altered to look almost perfect today. This can cause a lot of pressure on girls as they grow up, leading to problems like bulimia and even anorexia. Teaching them to have a good body image while they are young and reinforcing it as they grow older can help. Compliment your daughter, praising her appearance. If she asks if she is beautiful, enthusiastically tell her, "Yes!" It's also a good idea to let your teenage daughter realize that the models in magazines are digitally altered and that no woman can really reach this perfection without an airbrush. Let your daughter know that perfection is not a real definition of beautiful.

Parenting Tip #2 – Provide Your Daughter with a Good Example and Good Role Models

Another great tip is to provide your daughter with a good example yourself, as well as other good role models. Moms, daughters are going to look to you and they will learn from your attitudes and actions. Embrace your body and show pride in being a woman. Don't criticize yourself or you will pass that attitude to your daughter. Dads need to show respect to women as well as equality. Of course, while being a good example as a parent is important, girls also need other women role models in their lives. Help them find great role models in strong women that are successful, whether friends, family members, or even famous women well known for being strong women.

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by Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC

Yelling at Your Kids? Why It Doesn’t Work

You know the drill: Your child is screaming at you, ignoring you, being irresponsible or hurtful. Suddenly, you’re yelling at the top of your lungs, matching him decibel for decibel. Later, you think, “Why did I fly off the handle again? I’m so tired of letting him push my buttons so easily.”

Yelling is a natural response when your kids are rude, not listening, engaging in irresponsible behavior or treating you poorly—or in any other situation that triggers your emotions. Even though you know it would be better if you could stay calm, it’s hard to always do that emotionally. Or you may even argue that yelling and making our kids afraid of us worked when we were growing up, so why shouldn’t we do that today?

Related: How to parent calmly, even when your kids are pushing your buttons.

Yelling or “losing it” transmits the message, “I need you to behave so that I can feel calmer; I don’t know how to be calm and in control of myself unless you are behaving the way I need you to.”

It was good enough for me…

When our parents were raising us, adults used threats, intimidation and fear to scare us into better behavior. The value prized was obedience. Some parents hit and others withdrew love to get their children to submit to authority. And kids were much more obedient than today’s kids—but it came at a price. Although today’s parents value obedience, we also put a high value on long-term connections, fostering independence and self-reliance, building trust and on our kids’ emotional wellbeing. The old way of parenting might help kids fall into line, but it works against some of today’s parents’ values.

So the question becomes, “How do we get our kids to behave without yelling and screaming, while also building a good relationship with them?” It’s important to remember that losing our temper may make us feel better in the moment—it’s a way of managing our distress—but it doesn’t feel better later. It does not enhance the relationship with our kids that we hope to achieve over time or help them to develop successfully into responsible adults.

The message you send when you “lose it.”

There are many ways to influence your child’s behavior, but yelling is not effective. The message that it transmits to our kids is often, “I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do to get you to act the way I want you to act. I feel out of control.” Of course, the message we want our children to pick up is, “I’m in control of myself; I know what to do and you do not control me.” Yelling or “losing it” also transmits the message, “I need you to behave so that I can feel calmer—I don’t know how to be calm and in control of myself unless you are behaving the way I need you to.” What happens is that your child feels that he is in charge of your emotional wellbeing—and that’s not a good position to put him in.

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Eight Sleeping Solutions to Help Tired Tots and Their Parents Get Some Rest

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT


Toddler Sleeping SolutionsIf you have a young child at home, chances are good that you aren’t getting quite as much sleep as you used to. But what if your little one is missing out on much needed Z’s? Lack of sleep can lead to bad behavior and what you can do to help create better nights for the both of you!

As most parents of small children know, it’s the Holy Grail. Having a child who sleep well means having a child who is more likely to be even-tempered, easier to please, and more compliant. And a mom and dad who are rested, refreshed, and ready to face the day with their energetic bundle of joy. But let her skip naptime one time and your typically happy-go-lucky toddler can quickly turn into a tantrum-throwing, argumentative, meltdown prone monster. There’s a good reason and there are solutions out there to help lull your little one into better naps and nighttimes.

In my new book, The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children I discuss how we can better equip ourselves for the most challenging parenting moments; i.e. getting a child to sleep! Children who nap and sleep well at night have fewer behavior problems. Overly tired children can’t appropriately balance their physical and emotional world, causing them to act out and behave badly.

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Granddaughter and Grandfather at a WWII Memorial

For many kids today, the real meaning behind Memorial Day is lost. They know that they get a three day weekend, they may know about all the huge sales going on during this time, and they also know that school is about over when this holiday rolls around. However, Memorial Day is a lot more than just a day off from school and kids need to be taught about this day and the meaning behind it. Finding ways to teach kids about the significant of Memorial Day and how important it is to honor those who have protected the freedom of this country is important. Here is a look at some great suggestions that will help you teach your kids about this important holiday.

Teach Your Child the History of Memorial Day

The first thing you should do is teach your child about the history of Memorial Day. Many kids do not know the history behind the day, and you may even be rusty on the history that led to this day becoming a national holiday.

The history of Memorial Day goes all the way back to 1866, right after the nation was recovering from the Civil war. Both the North and the South saw soldiers coming home with serious injuries and many towns had lost friends and loved ones to this store. In Waterloo, New York, a drugstore owner named Henry Welles came up with the idea that on one day all the shops would close down to honor those who had been killed during the war. It was May 5th that everyone in the town went to the graves of those in the local cemetery and put out flowers and crosses on their graves. A similar ceremony was planned by Retired Major General Jonathan A. Logan, which was for soldiers that had survived the Civil War. He took veterans through town to decorate the graves of comrades with flags. It was a memorial, not a celebration, and it was called Decoration Day.

Decoration Day was proclaimed by Logan to be a day for decorating the graves of those who had died defending the country. These two ceremonies were joined together to be one in 1868. ON these days songs were sung, veterans would wear their uniforms and medals, veterans would go to cemeteries to remember the fallen, and town people would decorate graves with flags, flowers, and photos.

It was not until 1882 that the name Memorial Day was actually used and the day was made to be a remembrance to all soldiers who had died fighting for this country. President Nixon would then declare it a federal holiday in 1971, to be on the very last Monday in the month of May. Still today though, Waterloo, New York is considered to be the birthplace of this holiday.READ More on Teaching Children About Memorial Day

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Many Veterans will be away from their Families this Memorial Day. Lets not forget any of them, past or present.

Many Veterans will be away from their Families this Memorial Day. Lets not forget any of them, past or present.

For many of use, Memorial Day comes and goes, we have a barbecue, shop a few sales, and enjoy the beginning of summer, while forgetting the importance of this holiday. Memorial Day was created as a day to remember fallen troops and to honor troops serving today. The last thing we want to teach our children is to take freedom and the death of American patriots for granted. This year why not take this day and spend it with your family, honoring our troops. If you are not sure what you can do with your kids to honor our troops, here are some excellent suggestions.

As a Family Observe the National Moment of Remembrance

On Memorial Day each year, there is a National Moment of Remembrance. This occurs at 3pm your local time and lasts for one minute. Observe this as a family by saying a prayer or simply having a moment of silence.

Teach Children to Display a Flag Properly

Fly the flag at your home on Memorial Day to honor the troops. This is a great time to teach your child how to display a flag properly. Teach them how they should handle a flag when raising it and lowering it.

Make Thank You Cards for Veterans

Another great idea is to make thank you cards for veterans. Check with the Veteran's Administration for some information on finding local veterans. Make up these cards to say thank you, and then send them to veterans in your area.READ More on Memorial Day: Ways To Help Kids Honor Our Troops

by Dr. Sue Cornbluth

Another unexpected tragedy.  Another devastating Loss. Yesterday, Oklahoma City suffered one of the worst tornado's the country has seen. CNN reported that The vicious tornado that ripped across central Oklahoma on Monday killed at least 51 people — with about 40 more bodies expected to arrive at the Oklahoma state medical examiner's office, Amy Elliott of the coroner's office said Tuesday. Roughly half of the expected bodies are children. The official death toll will gradually rise from 51 as each of the bodies is processed, Elliott said.

Despite the woeful news, rescue workers clung to the hope of finding more survivors and scoured mountains of rubble where houses and schools once stood.

Tornado survivor: I just want to cry

At least 20 of those killed were children, including seven from Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore — the site of a frantic search Tuesday morning.  CNN Reference

At one point, an estimated 24 children were missing from the school, but some later turned up at nearby churches. It's unclear how many may still be trapped in the wreckage, and how many are dead or alive.

A father of a third-grader still missing sat quietly on a stool outside. Tears cascaded from his face as he waited for any news.

Even parents of survivors couldn't wrap their minds around the tragedy.
"I'm speechless. How did this happen? Why did this happen?" Norma Bautista asked. "How do we explain this to the kids? … In an instant, everything's gone." from CNN Article

Parents whose children are still missing, are most likely feeling emense anxiety and fear. There are no words that can comfort a parent in this time of shear disbelief. Numbness and hope take over.  As one parent asked, "How do we explain this to our kids?" The answer can be defined in terms of being honest and open with your children. When a tragedy such as this strikes, a parent cannot be expected to have all the answers. This is when parents need to turn to professionals for help. A natural disaster is as much a tragedy for a parent as a child.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers tips for parents and caregivers to help kids cope with the emotional toll of hurricanes and other natural disasters:

1) Try to remain calm and monitor adult conversations to minimize children's distress.

2) Shield children from viewing serious injuries and damage as much as possible, including media coverage.

3) Tell children about what adults are doing to help the community recover from the storm.

4) Be sympathetic to children's sense of loss over pets and special toys.

5) Let children help in the response, in age-appropriate ways, to boost their sense of control.

6) Repeatedly reassure children that they are safe.

7 ) Maintain daily routines and expectations for children as much as possible.

8 ) Spend more time with children at bedtime, when they may be more anxious about separation and the unknown.

9) Finally.  Be patient with children when they return to school. They may be distracted and have difficulty concentrating.

Dr. Sue is a clinical psychologist , professor of psychology at Temple University and a National expert in foster care and child abuse. She began her career in the field of foster care. It was there that  Dr. Sue learned how to connect with abused children through building a safe, trusting relationship with each child she counseled. Visit her website http://drsuesparentingblog.weebly.com/ or find her on Twitter –> https://twitter.com/SCornbluth

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parenting styleWhat kind of parent are you – an encourager or an intimidator? The encourager stresses working towards a certain goal. The intimidator stresses winning. For this kind of parent, “It’s the results that count… not the effort, not the intentions.”  What type of parenting style do you lean towards? Or are you a bit of both?

Naturally, the one encouraged first is happy about the praises heaped on him or her. But when you give him or her the opposite, the reactions would be: disbelief, anger…and later, self-doubt. Somehow, all those discouraging comments get to you.

That exercise made us step back and examine the atmosphere you create at home. Is it encouraging or downgrading? Are you an encourager or an intimidator? Note that your targets are parent-volunteers, so they were aware that this was some sort of exercise, yet it affected their self-esteem. Imagine how a string of negative messages or put-downs can affect an insecure child?

Encouragement is not the same as pampering though. Pampering means regularly doing something the teenagers can do for themselves such as fixing their room, preparing lunch, or even waking up. Overindulgence makes a child irresponsible. Overprotection makes kids dependent on others.

Praising is not encouragement. Praise is a reward given for an achievement. It fosters competition and fear of failure. Encouragement is given for effort and improvement. It fosters cooperation and self-esteem. It inspires confidence and acceptance.

Of course, you should give praise when it is due. But encouragement does not thrive on praises alone. A child can tell empty praises from real ones. Besides, there is danger that a child hungry for praise will merely conform to please and won’t feel okay unless praised. Encouragement means emphasis on strengths and assets, other than faults. It is non-judgmental – accepting the level of accomplishment of each child.

Unrealistic expectations could be stressful to a child. If circumstances or physical inability prevents him or her from fulfilling certain expectations, then you can’t say, “You can do it.” The kid would be bound for certain disappointment. It’s just like saying “It won’t hurt” when an injection really hurts. You can’t fool children.

Sometimes, you have to help your children set realistic goals. When one of the kids wants to enter a contest, you’re all out rooting for him or her – whether it’s an art contest, a science contest, or whatever. Some kids start counting their prizes even before they submit their entries. In those cases, you explain the odds and make the project so much fun that it is the effort that counts.

Other discouraging family practices you learned at seminars are: permissiveness (which makes a child unconcerned about others’ rights), inconsistent discipline (results in feeling that life is unfair) and denial of feelings. A person who is not in touch with his or her own feelings can never relate to others.

“Poor you,” mothers often say to a child after bumping his or her head. Sometimes, parents even go to such lengths as spanking the object that caused pain to appease the crying child. It’s not funny. It’s stupid. Pity breeds a discouraging family atmosphere. It does not help build confidence in the child.

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