• Reducing Anxiety

    Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Every human experiences anxiety. It is 100% normal, natural, and essential to life. Anxiety is a natural force that protects human life. We are hard-wired to sense threats to our wellbeing and to protect ourselves when threatened. Anxiety rises highest…

  • Raising Countercultural Kids in the United States of Addiction (Part 3 of 3)

    The trends are not looking good for the mental and emotional health of young people, across all demographics. For instance, most people think of college as one of the happier times in a person’s whole life. However, according to a recent survey by the American College Health Association, 52 percent of college students reported feeling…

  • Raising Countercultural Kids in the United States of Addiction (Part 2)

    Raising Countercultural Kids in the United States of Addiction (Part 2) In the previous post, we looked at how young people today are growing up in a culture which encourages extreme individuality. This individualistic lifestyle discourages healthy family life and social life, and it ultimately generates deep-down detachment and loneliness. This eventually creates chronic anxiety…

  • Raising Countercultural Kids in the United States of Addiction (Part 1)

    In the late 1990s, author J.K. Rowling invented the term “muggle” as a derogative term for the normal people of modern Britain. Muggles are all the ordinary human beings in Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter book series. Muggles do not have any magical powers or awareness of anything magical. They live for comfort, they conform…

  • Taking Control of Your Digital Life

    Part 3 in the series on becoming “tech-wise” The first two posts in this series laid down a philosophical framework for why we need to take control of our digital devices. Now, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty details. The following is a list of strategies, tools, and thoughts to consider as you use your electronic…

  • The Social Combat of Being 13

    A New World Order for Young Teens 7th and 8th grade is when the social life of a child amps up in three ways: importance, intensity, and consequences. At 13, a child’s social standing becomes extremely important to them, as it has become more important to all the other 13 year olds. For some, it…

  • Parenting is Regulating

    Every parent should regulate their children’s behavior until they are ready to regulate their own. It will likely be a 20-year process, which starts with full regulatory control of the infant and ends with total release of all control at adulthood. What does it mean “to regulate?” In grammatical terms, it is a transitive verb,…

  • The Power of Kindness

    Josh was a normal teenager whose father died. His mother moved them from their home in the country to the city, with the hope that a fresh start would improve their lives. But Josh was ridiculed in his new school for no good reason. In fact, he was ridiculed for a horrible reason. Instead of…

  • Teach Your Kids Sportsmanship

    If more parents focused on character over performance, then we would not need signs like this.

  • The Distance Run

    I coach middle school cross country, which is not a glamorous job, but it is uniquely rewarding. For young distance runners, the hardest part is embracing the pain that creates stronger legs and faster times. I try to make practices and meets fun, but there is no way of getting around the fact that running…

  • Tips for Motivating Young Teens

    It takes more than a poster to motivate kids. Ask any schoolteacher. Early in their careers, young teachers will spend their own hard-earned cash on motivational posters for their classrooms, and soon thereafter they realize that those stylish platitudes are only good for the companies that sell motivational posters. Motivating kids, especially teenagers, is a…

  • Motivate. Don’t Manipulate Your Kids.

    Once again, his room isn’t clean, not by any standard. Her backpack, jacket, and shoes are scattered about the floor of the hall, again. His grades are sub-par in math, again. She is making the family late to school, again. He seems to be nonchalant about his music audition this weekend. She isn’t running enough…

  • Perpetual Parenting

    It’s likely that you are being a great parent even when you aren’t thinking about it. You may be doing a heck of a job of training your children without even trying to do so. Unaware, you can parent well. Unfortunately, that door swings both ways. You can be a terrible parent without thinking about…

  • Kids in Cars Talking Life

    The car is where the best stories have a chance to run and really stretch out their legs freely. It’s where sarcasm bursts up out of nowhere and cracks everyone up. It’s where kids break into tears after a horrible day at school. It’s where questions are posed, debates develop, and problems get solved. The…

  • Why Young Kids Should Learn to Use Dangerous Things

    A friend recently posted on Facebook a picture of her three young children helping their dad build a deck. The seven year-old boy was using a power drill to sink a deck screw. Another woman posts a picture of her two kids 6 feet high up in the branches of an old oak tree. One…

  • Connect + Guide + Enjoy = Good Parenting

    You are never done parenting. There is never enough time, energy, money, or wisdom to do it all right. Parenting is incessant, and perfection is impossible. No professor will give you an A for all that you did for your children this semester. No counselor will tell you that you can now celebrate because you…

  • Take Your Kids Outdoors

    Kids spend well over 40 HOURS per week in front of electronic screens, but less than 40 MINUTES per week in nature. Screens are ruling teens. Delayed Gratification A major component of growing up is learning to deal with long waits and unexpected delays, yet nearly everything is now available in an instant. If we are going…

  • Play Well This Summer!

    Summer School. Summer Job. Summer Reading. Yes, parents need to keep kids mentally active and productive in the summer. Growing up well requires hard work and intellectual development year round. However, parents also need to help kids enjoy life fully, and that absolutely requires fun — the sort of fun that is a little dangerous…

  • Raising Resilient Children

    Resilience is the capacity to recover from adversity and return to well-being. Paul Tough, in his book How Children Succeed, explains that even kids who grow up in the most difficult situations of poverty, abuse, neglect, and stress can rise up from the ashes. It may not be the norm for kids of adversity, but…

  • Fun = Connection

    Have Fun with Your Child ASAP Good parenting has an order of operations. Insides come first. A child should feel connected to his or her mom or dad in a profound way, first and foremost. Then, and only then, the child will think about what the parent is communicating. A strong emotional bond between parent…

  • The Connected Family

    2014 is the first year in American history in which everybody has a mobile device. We are at the saturation point with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs. They are in our pockets, purses, cars, backpacks, and bedrooms. We all have screens with us throughout our days, and some of us are never without a screen.…

  • Connect With Your Young Teen

    First Connect, Then Guide The best parents are the ones who are deeply connected with their children and offer support and guidance all along the path of life. They’re the ones who care enough to say, “No, you can’t do that, because I love you too much to let you settle for that.” And their…

  • Middle School Sports – The Good Stuff

  • Helping Your Teen Deal with a Sports Injury

    So, your teenager is injured and is out for the rest of the season. Of course, his or her initial reaction will be anger, sadness, self-pity, confusion. That is normal, since this is a form of grief – the loss of something beloved. But after a few days of sulking and trying to come to…

  • Embracing Parenting

    Here is a sample from my latest project. It’s a chapter from my not-even-close-to-being-finished book. Feel free to give me some feedback. Be the Parent I believe that there is neither “The Way” nor “God’s Way” to raise children. There is no formula for success. But that does not mean that there are not good…

  • From the Mouths of Babes

    This from a 6th grade teacher who I respect a great deal: I teach a class titled Emerging Leaders, and we talk about “self awareness” to start the quarter. For the lesson I was doing, I decided that asking these 2 questions would be interesting. 1. Name one or two things that your parents to…

  • Weak Language

      We often chastise young people for using “strong language,” but there is an equal or greater problem with kids, especially girls, who use weak language. Consider the use of the following “words” among kids, and consider how you can guide them to use stronger language: like just kinda sorta maybe y’know know-what-I-mean know-what-I’m-sayin’ well…

  • High-Tech Tools in Schools

    Too Much Tech at School? Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a popular trend sweeping schools this year. Schools with BYOD policies will be asking students to bring an Internet-Connected Mobile Device (smartphones, tablets, laptops) to school each day. Many educators believe that in the very-near future most books for school (textbooks, novels, workbooks) will…

  • Parenting Digital Kids

    Life Beyond the Screens If you ask most teens what item is their most prized, important possession, they will say it’s their smartphone. In fact, I’ve heard teens say that if they could only take one thing on a deserted island it would be their smartphone, in spite of the fact that it would be…

  • Introducing Kids to Nature

    How to Turn Kids On To Nature I can’t tell you how many times one of my middle school students has melted down because he or she could not find his or her cell phone. They just come unglued. Most kids are hooked on their screens. In fact, many of them are better named “screenagers,”…

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