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Emotion coaching

Overwhelmed child scrunching up his face and holding his arms out in front of his chest

Big Feelings? Don’t Skip These Three Steps

Whether it is with our toddlers or teens, we all know what it is like to witness big feelings completely overwhelm our kids. This isn’t just because life can be overwhelming and stressful (though it certainly can be). It is also because the cortex, the part of our kids’ brains that helps them manage big…  Read More

Want To Help Your Child or Teen Gain Perspective? Break It Into Parts

“My day was horrible,” my youngest sobbed into his pillow recently at bedtime.  My mind immediately raced to two divergent responses at nearly the same time. My first reaction was, “Oh no! That bad?” I had no trouble coming up with all kinds of things that might have made his day horrible, from trouble with…  Read More

Parent comforting a young girl by putting her arm around her

Why Over-Reassuring Can Backfire (And What to Try Instead)

Pause. Feel. Move.

Earlier this week my son called to me after lights out. I sat beside his bed and asked, “What’s up bud? Do you need something?”  “I’m thinking about all the grandparents dying,” he responded  “I just know I’m not going to be able to sleep.”  I tried to resist the urge to unleash a torrent…  Read More

Child raising her arms in defiance feeling lots of emotions

The Goal of Emotional Regulation is Not Quiet, Compliant Kids

The lessons we learn about feelings are powerful. From a very young age we are taught in both spoken and unspoken ways which feelings (and associated behaviors) are welcome and which aren’t. A parent shared with me after a workshop a couple of years ago, “I was always told in one hundred different ways that…  Read More

Child tantrumming stressed on floor

The Many Faces of Stress in Children and Teens

Last week I walked downstairs to find my two sons playing a game of chess. “How delightful!” I thought to myself. We had been practicing social distancing for a couple of weeks already, and everyone in our family was getting antsy. Seeing my kids getting along like this was like balm for my weary parenting…  Read More

Child doing distance learning on a laptop during COVID-19 pandemic

Distance Learning: Kids Need Parents and Teachers on the Same Team

Five Things to Keep In Mind As You Get Started

Teachers, parents, and families everywhere are scrambling to bring teaching and learning online. Administrators are working hard to find ways to provide food and technology to families who need them. Caregivers are juggling full time work, the strain of job loss, or the stress of working on the front lines at the same time that…  Read More

Three children walking on a little wall symbolizing balanced parenting styles

The Parenting Style That Best Fits Growing Brains

There is a lot of talk these days about finding balance. Work-life balance. A balanced diet. Keeping media in balance. In general, balance is a worthy goal. Parenting, though, often feels like an exercise in grappling with persistent imbalance. Curve balls are constant. Kids are messy, unpredictable, challenging, and delightful. This is in part because…  Read More

Child's behavior means he is collapsing on ground

Understanding your child’s behavior

Four things to remember when your kid falls apart

“But I KNOW he can do this! He just did it all by himself yesterday! My child’s behavior is too much right now.” An exasperated parent exclaimed as she explained to me how difficult it had been to get out the door that morning for school. Another parent recently lamented, “She CAN manage her anger;…  Read More

Children in grief making art after their dog died

Children in Grief: Crying is Brave

And Other Insights From Kids

I had a summer screen time post all written and ready to post on the website. Then our family dog got very sick and eventually passed away earlier this week. In an instant work, emails, newsletters, and to-do lists flew off the priority list and grief took its place. Jasper, our thirteen year old husky…  Read More

Illustrations of emotions emerging from brain

Why Your Child or Teen Needs An Emotion Coach

And Why You Are the Person for the Job

At a recent workshop on emotion coaching I asked parents to share something about their children that they were really proud of – not in terms of accomplishments, but in terms of behaviors they have been working on. This distinction is important. You no doubt feel proud if your child makes the honor roll or…  Read More