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Executive Function

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

Pile of cloth masks worn for COVID pandemic on a yellow background

How to Prevent Small Conflicts From Turning Into Battle Patterns

Last week I heard myself say in an over-tired and annoyed retort to my kids, “I have asked you every morning this week where your masks are!” What followed was a well rehearsed morning scramble punctuated by exasperated exchanges on all sides. This was far from the morning ritual we aspire to as we all…  Read More

camera pointed up towards hands put together in a family team cheer

Power Struggle Patterns – Ways to See Them and How to Change Them

“You would think that after a year of this we would have figured out how to live together without fighting. But right now everyone is just prickly and exhausted,” a parent recently confided. She isn’t alone in her fatigue. Adam Grant recently wrote a piece in the New York Times giving us a word to…  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

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

Parent and child enjoying reducing screen time

Why Reducing Screen Time Isn’t Your Best Resolution

But Changing Digital Habits Might Be

The other day I found myself thinking, “What a time to be alive!” as I watched my oldest child make a series of online slideshows for some of his teachers. He couldn’t have been happier to be writing, creating hilarious art, and even adding poetry to his creations. Outside of school time! Just for fun!…  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

Young child scrolling through cell phone app that uses persuasive design to shape the user's behavior

Persuasive Design and Growing Brains: Why It Can Be So Hard to Unplug

“I am going to be screen free tonight!” I say to myself with conviction. I am already looking forward to a calm and focused evening. “Anything I need to see on my phone can wait until tomorrow,” I think with confidence. I place my phone on the counter and open the back door to greet…  Read More

Elementary age child crossing his arms and looking angry

Anger Management is a Big Part of Parenting, So How Do We Do It?

From Calm to Chaos The sun rises, your alarm rings, you roll out of bed and find your way to your first mug of coffee (Not a coffee person? Imagine tea instead). The birds are singing. The world feels full of possibility. You take a deep breath, committed to starting your parenting day with smooth…  Read More