Childhood, much like life, is full of competition. Children compete at how for mom and dad’s attentions, they compete with friends to do something quicker and or better. They compete at school to get good grades. They compete to get picked for the “best team,” in gym class. There is absolutely nothing wrong with healthy competition. Competition is actually good for all of us. It keeps us motivated to continue to improve and get better at whatever it is we want to do.

Healthy competition can teach children how to be their best along with encouraging teamwork and instilling in them a strong work ethic. Competition will also teach children invaluable lessons about sportsmanship, the importance of preparation and discipline. Perhaps the most important lesson it teaches is preparedness for the challenges that life will throw at them.

Keep in mind that I am talking about healthy competition. We have all seen the over involved parent that, in my opinion, is trying to live vicariously through their child that gets up and yells and screams and berates their child during a football or baseball game. We have all seen the parents that show utter disappointment in their child after a competition if their child doesn’t come in first. Completely ignoring the fact that their child did their best.

We all want our kids to be the best, sometimes we have to accept the fact that they are not going to win everything they set out to do… and expecting them to is just unreasonable. Winning and losing both offer very important life lessons.

Here are seven tips to help you encourage healthy competition in your children.

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Dealing with Changing Friends Going in a Different Direction

by Jennifer Shakeel

Being in high school is a whole new world for teens. They are suddenly in a new environment and with bigger teens now. Middle school was fun your child and their friends, and now that they are in high school they will be making new friends on top of friends you already have. Your child and their old friends may be drifting apart, and may be wondering how to still be friends. If you have child who's friend may be changing, the best thing to do is still be friends with them. It is important to teach your child that they should also go out and make new friends.

Right now my oldest daughter is going through this very thing. She and her three best friends have been friends for three years. Due to the fact that we have only lived here for 3 years, but the three girls have been friends since kindergarten. They are all drifting in different directions right now. I think a lot of it has to do with maturity and goals in life. The one friend is very vocal, loud, and to the point. She and my daughter are writing a book together and they tell everyone that they were twins separated at birth. Then one of the other girls, she is just your typical young teenager, I love her to death… but she is into boys and being a silly girl around boys. She and my daughter are close, but don’t hang out much because she is involved in color guard. Then the third girl, I am not sure how to describe her… other then very laid back. It is the first young lady that seems to be pulling away from the group right now, and it upsets my daughter.READ More on Parenting and Your Childs Changing Friends

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Guiding Your Teenager to Independence and Self-Reliance

by Stephanie Partridge

Mom amd son talkingAs your teen grows, he or she will begin to move in a direction that makes them more independent.  They will begin to rely more on themselves and less on you.  For some parents that is difficult and for most teens it is quite tough, but it is a necessary part of becoming an adult.  Growing up means growing apart in many ways.

The question then becomes how can we as parents help our kids?  How can we guide them to becoming self reliant?  I asked three psychologists who work with teenagers and families to weigh in on this issue.  Here is what they had to say.

“Adolescence is where parents reap what they have sown during the earlier years,” says Katie McCorkle, Ph.D., family and child psychologist and founder and CEO of Balanced Heart Healing Center ( “If they have allowed independent thinking and respected the child’s wishes on important matters throughout childhood, the teenage years will be an easier rider for both parent and teen.  If parents have made all the decisions previously (and thus fostered dependence), teens are more likely to assert their independence in ways which don’t please the parents.  It’s all about bi-directional RESPECT in the relationship, and focusing the teen’s attention on who they really want to be, and how in/consistent they are being in expressing that in their daily life.”

McCorkle offers these tips for parents who want to guide their teens to independence.READ More on Parenting and Teen Independence

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White Lily is the symbol of the purity of JesusTo Christians, Easter is much more than Easter bunnies and eggs: it is the most significant day in the year as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. While Jesus should always be the focal point of Easter, many of these more commercial elements of Easter can symbolize parts of the Easter story. While they may have had different meanings at other times in history, now they help us remember our new lives in Christ.
The rabbit was a symbol of fertility in ancient times. Now, rabbits represent the abundant new life available to us through Jesus.

Eggs and chicks
Eggs appear lifeless, but life is inside an egg and can break forth, just as Jesus did in the tomb. The egg itself can also represent the stone that was rolled in front of Jesus’ tomb.
The first Easter eggs were painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring. One legend theories that Simon of Cyrene, who carried Jesus’ cross for him, was an egg merchant. When he retrieved his basket of eggs after carrying the cross, he found that all the eggs were miraculously colored and decorated.
Chicks are also symbols of new life and re-birth.READ More on Symbols of Easter

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by Jeanelle Lanham

Teenage years, the time most parents are unsure about, when it should be one of the best times for parents as well as teens. Its the time when parents can talk to their teens in a manner that’s mature, a time when parents can have a conversation with their teens and know that to some extent what has been said was understood. It’s a time when teens should be able to talk to their parents about any and every thing; they should be able to talk about things that are hard to talk about. I know that can and will be a scary thing to do but you can do and there's an easy way to implement it into you daily lives. There is a method out that allows you to talk with your teenager confidently knowing change will occur for the betterment of both the teen and parent. The P.A.U.S.E. method helps parents by sharing 5 tips on how to show love to their teens in practical ways. Theses 5 tips can be implemented into your day to day life as they were created to add to your life!

Step 1 – P. = Parenting

Parenting can be tricky, every single one of us has been raised differently and we have our own views and beliefs of what is the “proper” way of parenting a teenager. I remember as a teenager when my mother would parent me and I would say “when I am a parent I will not do my kids like this!” I am not sure if any of you felt that way as a teenager but I did and I made a point to stick to that statement. Parenting is remembering when you were their age; its remembering that being a teenager is a difficult time. Being a teenager has changed from when we were teenagers, its gotten worse. The challenges and temptations are everywhere and we as parents must remember that teens are not trying to disrespect us when asking a question. Parenting is teaching them things that will empower them to excel; teach them the things we learned as teenagers. We must parent by passing on our knowledge.READ More on Parenting: P.A.U.S.E – Show Your Teen(s) Love

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Surviving Spring Break with Your Sanity in Tact by Joy Belle

Young Family enjoying Spring Break Together

Young Family enjoying Spring Break Together

Spring break is almost upon us. No doubt your kids are excited about it but as parents, you may not have quite the enthusiasm. Spring is in the air, kids are antsy, and now they are going to be home from school for an entire week. What can you do to survive, with your sanity in tact at that? Here is a look at some great tips, ideas, and activities that you can use and you may just come out alive.

Great Activities for Kids to Enjoy on Spring Break (Keeping Them Busy is Half the Battle)

With some activities on hand, you'll keep kids busy and keep them from getting bored, which is important to your survival. Others you'll be dealing with those yells for "MOM" about every 10 minutes. Plan ahead and get together some fun activities.

One idea is to let kids make some colorful butterfly mobiles, which is great for younger kids and even preteens. Get some colored paper, some markets, some string, and get to it. You can use stencils to draw butterflies or let them get creative and draw their own. Then cut them out, decorate them, and attach them to the string for colorful and spring themed mobiles.READ More on Parenting Tips for Surviving Spring Break with Young Kids!

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by Jennifer Shakeel

Parenting is hard enough, and trying to be a friend to your child at the same time can be like walking a tight rope. However, the two don't have to be mutually exclusive. As long as you are a parent first, it is possible to be friends with your child. As long as your children stay within the boundaries that are set for them, you can learn to be more than parents to your kids. The first step to being your child’s friend is to determine what the phrase “being friends” means. This is the initial key to become friends with your child while maintaining your parental status with them. There must be boundaries set and your child needs to understand them so that your relationship with them can be an enjoyable one for the both of you. You as a parent also need to respect your child in many ways.

Your child is looking for advice and guidance from you and you are, in a way, their role model whether they want to admit it or not. The key to being a parent and a friend is to know that it’s OK to say no. Parents cannot be afraid to say it to their kid. It is important to know where to draw the line and know where to be a parent and not to please them because you do not want them upset or angry at you.READ More on Being a Parent and a Friend to Your Child

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