Moody TeenagerKids of any age can be moody, and often when kids have not learned ways to express appropriately frustration, sulking, pouting, and whining can occur. Sometimes it can be frustrating to deal with a child that is moody and you may be asking yourself what you can do to deal with this problem. The solution to the problem is going to have a lot to do with you as a parent. In fact, if you are responding to this behavior, you may be encouraging it to go on, although that is not your intent. To help you deal with a child that is moody, here are some important principles that you can use to make a difference in your child's attitude.

Make Sure You're Nurturing Your Child

The first thing you need to do when parenting moody kids is to make sure that you are nurturing your child. Sometimes it is easy to forget to take quality time with your child. Parental attention provides stabilization for your child. Make sure that you and your spouse are both giving your child enough one on one time to avoid this problem.

Ensure Your Home is a Place Where Your Child Can Safely Express Themselves

Another important principle to remember is to ensure your home is a place where your child can safely express themselves. Even if your child has different views, they should feel like they are able to express themselves freely to you. Sometimes kids that are moody and pouty often choose this behavior because they feel that they can't say the things that they want to, so they use a passive method to show their displeasure. Making your child feel that communication, even when opinions differ, is safe within your home can make a huge difference.

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Goal in Sight - Young Girl ClimbingGoal Setting for Kids

More than likely you remember back when you were a child. You were probably asked over and over again, "What will you be when you grow up?" We've all gone through that at some point, and more than likely you wanted to be just like your parents at that age. It may be time you start asking your kids this same question. Why? Well, it's important that they begin thinking about the future, what they want to be, and how to accomplish the goals that they may have. Here is a look at why it's important to start teaching your kids to set goals now and a few tips that you can use as you work to teach them to set and reach those goals.

Benefits of Teaching Kids to Set Goals

You may be wondering why it's so important to start teaching goal setting to your kids right now. There are actually many benefits of teaching kids to set goals while they are young. One of the main benefits of teaching your children to set goals is to help them secure a great future. As a parent, you have the job to help children prepare for being adults. This means we need to teach them fundamental skills for success – one of which is goal setting.

Goal setting is going to benefit your child in the short term. As you teach them how to set and reach their own goals, they'll be able to implement those lessons into their life right now. They can use goal setting to do well in school, to accomplish things in sports, or even to learn to play an instrument. Of course, there are benefits in the long term as well. Children that learn to set goals while they are young will grow up knowing how to set and reach their goals, leading them to success.

Kids that learn about goal setting will be better able to manage their personal finances, which will help them eliminate a lot of stress and unhappiness from their life. They'll learn how to set excellent health goals as well so they are fit and healthy. Goal setting will help them learn about motivation, achievement, and organization. All of these critical life skills are rooted in learning how to set goals, which is why this is such an important thing to teach our kids.

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"I'm So Exhausted": 4 Tips to Combat Parental Burnout

Parental FatigueAre you often exhausted as a parent? Do you regularly feel drained, overwhelmed and off-balance when it comes to raising your kids? It’s hard for every parent, but when your children have tough behavioral problems, like ADHD, frequent defiance or other chronic acting-out behaviors, the task of raising them to adulthood can sometimes feel like you’re climbing a mountain without adequate supplies or the right equipment. This week, Erin Schlicher, a mom and parental support line advisor for the Total Transformation Program, gives you some concrete advice on how to juice up your parental batteries and get back on firmer ground.

Whether the calls come in late in the evening, first thing in the morning, or somewhere in between, a common element I hear from parents—and particularly mothers—who are calling the Parental Support Line is that they are feeling utterly worn out. Given that parenting even an average or “easy” child is hard work, parenting a more challenging or acting-out child is enough to run anyone ragged.

The fatigue that can come with mother or fatherhood (or for whom ever is doing the primary amount of parenting) is certainly not glamorous or boast-worthy, but it is a legitimate daily struggle for many of us. It should be said that there is a range of different types of exhaustion. The spectrum includes—but is not limited to—physical exhaustion, feeling burnt out, bored, frustrated, and a feeling of being defeated or fed-up. Of course, it is highly likely that a parent will have some blend of a few or even all of these. Understanding what type of tiredness is plaguing you can in turn lead to picking the approach most likely to help you reconnect with the energy necessary to face the challenges of parenthood. Remember, you must secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others!

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Parenting is a tough job, but it gets enough tougher if you are parenting twins or multiples. It is becoming more common for women to deliver twins these days, with one out of every 60 births being twins. Raising twins or other multiples bring with it special challenges and special joys. Twins have a unique place in birth order, and the often display various characteristics, depending on their place in the family. To help you with this challenge, here is a look at some of the common characteristics of twins and some great parenting tips to help you along the way.

Characteristics of Twins

Sometimes it is a bit difficult to label the characteristics that twins will show. Since there is only a few minutes between the birth of twins or other multiples, often the twin that is born first does not portray traits of a first born child. After all, birth can vary depending on the delivery and babies switch positions throughout pregnancy. Usually the personalities of twins tend to develop based upon their place within a family. For example, if twins are the oldest in the family, usually the will have a few firstborn traits. If they are the youngest, they can show youngest born traits, and if they are in the middle, they often exhibit traits of the middle child. There are some cases where one twin may take on the role of the dominant older child while the other twin is a follower. However, studies show that throughout the lives of twins, traits can switch and dominance may be exchanged. Since the characteristics of twins can change and they are so hard to define, this can make it even more difficult for parents to know how to properly raise their twins to adulthood.

Effective Twins Parenting Tips

There are many differences between raising single children and raising twins. While raising twins and multiples poses a huge challenge, you can raise successful children. Here are a few effective twins parenting tips that can help you through the unique situations that face the parents of twins.

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Traveling with KidsBy Kate Hayes

Whether you are taking your kids across the country for a summer vacation, or simply planning a trip to the museum across town, learning to make the most of each adventure can make a big difference in what your preschoolers remember about the experience. And I know that you want them to remember the experience, or you wouldn’t be doing it! In my family’s travels through 15 states with a five year old and a two year old (including a long-distance move from St. Louis to Boston), I have gathered a few travel tips that I’d love to share:

1)      Build connections (and excitement) before you go. Don’t you always look forward to visiting a place more when you have some kind of” connection” to it? Perhaps you know someone who lives there. Or maybe you have seen it in history books or in a movie. Being a child of the eighties, I was most excited about my visit to Astoria, Oregon because it was the town from the movie, “The Goonies”…and I got to see the actual house where Chunk did the “Truffle Shuffle!”

Well, put yourself in your preschooler’s size 8 Crocs. They are freshly hatched. They don’t have connections to most of the places that we take them to, unless we provide some for them. A great way to do this is to read a book about the place that you are going to visit several times before you go. For instance, I read the classic, “Make Way for Ducklings” to my kids before we visited the Boston Public Garden and rode the Swan Boats. When we went, my five-year-old daughter was thrilled to see live duck families along with the statues of the ducks from the book. She felt like she already knew them. More recently, we just read “Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl,” as part of our preparation to visit Plimouth Plantation.

If there are no books about the place that you are going to visit, let your child look through the brochure or travel guide. Another fun trick that I have tried is letting my daughter cut out pictures of things that she would like to do in the area we are visiting and paste them on a collage. Then, when we actually get to see and so some of those things, she is super excited about them.

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Kids Fighting: Why Can't Kids just get along?by Dr. Michele Borba

Arguing. Quarreling. Yelling. Door slamming. Crying. Hurt feelings. Arguments are a big part of why kids can’t get along and how their friendships break up. Of course, conflict is also a part of life. In fact, a national survey found that 43 percent of middle school students said they have conflicts with other kids at least one or more times a day.

As parents, one of the most essential friendship quotient builder skills you need to teach your child is how to handle conflicts so he can survive the social jungle. Learning how to deal with all those problems that crop up is a big part of growing up and an essential life skill. The key point is that not only must your child learn how to solve problems, but do so in a peaceful, calm way so that all the kids involved feel like they’ve won. That’s called a win-win scenario and it’s the best way to reduce arguments and restore friendships. Doing so will not only dramatically boost your child’s friendship quotient, but also improve harmony on the home front. And wouldn’t that be ever be a plus?

  • Be sympathetic. Arguments amongst friends are tough for everyone – but especially so for kids. Chances are that either your child, the friend, or both are hurting. Keep in mind, your goal isn’t to solve the problem – that’s up to them–but you can acknowledge the hurt. “I can see why you’re upset.” “Arguments are never fun. They get everybody hurting.”
  • Teach kids to call for time outs. Even a few seconds can be enough to stop a big quarrel so help your child come up with a few things to back off from an argument ready to blow. “When you feel like you and your friend are starting to argue, try to cool things off. You could say: ‘You know I’m too mad to talk right now.’ ‘Give me a minute to cool off.’ ‘I need to take a walk.’ ‘Let’s go shoot some hoops.’”

  • Stress compromising. The best way for kids to learn how to get along is by watching others. So be the model! Anytime there is a conflict (which game to play, hich TV show to watch, whose house to go visit) between kids, the skill of compromising can be a goldmine. “You choose this time. I choose next time.” “Let’s find a TV show we can both agree on.” “Let’s play Monopoly for 30 minutes then Clue for 30 minutes.” Model it until your kids can pick up on it.

  • Help them work it out themselves. Ask the kid involved what they plan to do to solve “their” problem. After all, real life practice is the best way for kids to learn skills. “I know you two can solve this. If you need me, I’m in the other room, but don’t leave the table until you can work this out fairly.” “Let’s see if you two can work this through calmly for three minutes. You’ve been friends far too long not to solve this.”

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Parents and Child enjoy time togetherThere are unique benefits and challenges to parenting an only child. While you have the ability to be more involved in your child's life if you only have one child, finding the right balance with your child can be tough. An only child has a personality all their own, and as a parent, you need to learn to work with your child's unique characteristics in a way that will help them develop into a successful and responsible adult. To help you better parent your only child, here is a look at some of the characteristics often found in the only child, as well as some effective parenting tips that you may find helpful.

Characteristics of an Only Child

An only child can have an interesting variety of characteristics. In many cases, an only child will display characteristics of an oldest child mixed with some youngest child characteristics as well. Often they are perfectionists; they have great organizational skills, and lofty goals for achievement. On the other hand, they may be carefree, funny, creative, and a bit self centered, much like a youngest child. It is this mixture of characteristics that can make raising your only child such a challenge.

Effective "Only" Child Parenting Tips

Now that you know a bit more about the characteristics that an only child often displays, you have information that can make you an even better parent. The more you understand your child, the better you can work with them to help them develop into a wonderful adult. The following are a few effective parenting tips that will help you as you deal with your only child.

Tip #1 – Help Them Build Friendships with Others

One of the most important tips for raising an only child is to help them build friendships with others. Your child doesn't have siblings to interact with, so you especially need to draw them out socially. There are many great ways that you can help socialize your child. Consider preschool for your child. Schedule some play dates. If they are older, get them involved in after-school activities. Focus on social skills with your child as well. Teach them to compromise, be considerate of others, and to share. These are important life lessons that you'll need to focus on, since they won't be learning them with siblings.

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