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    August 24, 2015
    Helping Your Kids Get Along

    All siblings fight. It’s just a fact of nature. They’re just not always going to get along, and there will be occasional squabbles. And that’s fine- even healthy. Fighting and arguing at home helps your kids realize that that sort of behavior is unacceptable- it lets you teach them how to better handle their anger. But, if your kids are constantly screaming, yelling, punching, and kicking each other- at least once a day- then you have a problem. Check out this post by Autumn at It’s Always Autumn for tips on stopping the fights:

    -Don’t yell at your kids or your spouse- kids model behavior that they see.

    -Have a no tolerance policy for yelling, hitting, punching, saying mean things, etc. Have a consequence and enforce it every single time.

    -Help kids work out arguments on their own- be physically present and mediate.

    -Praise kids when they are getting along.

    Photo Credit: Sharon Mollerus 

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    August 6, 2015
    “Helpful” Things Parents Say That Actually Damage Self Esteem

    Unless you’re insanely confident and unbothered by comments from others, chances are that your self esteem has taken a few hits over the years. While it’s good to have some humility, sticks and stones aren’t the only things that hurt. It can be a throwaway comment from a parent, teacher, friend, or coworker- but chances are, you still remember it, and it still stings. Often, the perpetrators have no idea how powerful and permanent their words have become to you. Most of the time, they even mean well. Check out this post by Wendy at Kidlutions for common phrases that actually hurt kids’ self esteem:

    -“Life Isn’t Fair”- When she hits bumps in the road, let your ongoing message be, “Let’s figure this out.  What can we do about it?”

    -Don’t constantly praise them- positive feedback is needed every once in a while, but a constant barrage is not good. Praise effort instead of passing judgment.

    -Don’t speak in a self-deprecating manner. Your child is watching and listening. How you speak to yourself becomes how they speak to themselves.

    Photo Credit: Roni Amin 

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    July 23, 2015
    The Positive Side Of Tantrums

    When your kid throws a screaming fit in the middle of the grocery store, or in the car, or in a crowded restaurant, there is no way that you could ever think that a tantrum could be a good thing. Kiddie meltdowns are one of the most challenging parts of being a parent, and it can be difficult knowing how to handle them. The important thing is to remain calm, don’t yell, and stick to your guns. The point is, tantrums are harrowing for all involved- you, your kid, and innocent bystanders. But, they are a normal part of childhood and growing up. It doesn’t mean you have a bad kid, or that you are a bad parent- they are just learning how to experience rage, disappointment, and other negative emotions. For more reasons why tantrums are actually a good thing, read this post by Rachel at A Mother Far From Home:

    -It means you’ve set a boundary- You need to risk making your child angry because you know what is best for them. Three brownies before bed is not a good idea!

    -It may mean that they’re testing you- They want to know if you mean what you say.

    -It gives opportunity to train your kids how to handle their emotions

    -It gives opportunity to show love after conflict.

    Photo Credit: Joel Kramer 

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    July 9, 2015
    Refuse To Have A Short Fuse: Being A Patient Parent

    Let’s face it- kids are the most frustrating creatures on the face of the planet. When they are screeching, getting into things they shouldn’t be into, throwing food, and throwing fits, it can be extremely easy to just blow up at them- especially if you are trying to get stuff done. Being a parent is very demanding, and will always test the limits of your patience, unless you are some kind of yogi pacifist supermom, in which case, this article isn’t for you. For tips on keeping your cool and becoming a more patient parent (and person in general), read this post by Alison at Pint Sized Treasures. She has six kids and is somehow still sane, so take stock in her advice :)

    -Don’t sweat the small stuff.-  Though we may feel frustration and even anger, we need to ask ourselves this question, “Is this REALLY going to impact the rest of my life?” No. No it isn’t. 

    -Take a breather- Take five or ten minutes to regroup, and don’t act out of knee-jerk anger.

    -Play with your kids!  If your little ones tend to make mess, draw on walls or just create havoc, why not make some havoc of your own together? 

    Photo Credit: Take Back Your Health Conference 

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    June 29, 2015
    What To Stop Feeling Guilty About As Parent

    I’m not even a mom, yet I still regularly experience “mom guilt”. I live with my sister and her son, my one-year-old nephew. I’ve been with them since he was born, and since his dad isn’t in the picture, I’ve basically raised him with her. Yesterday, my sister called me “Aunt Dad,” and I think it’s a pretty accurate title, haha. As a parent, your child completely depends on you. They need you for food, shelter, love, education, warmth, and nurturing. And there’s a lot of pressure out there to be perfect. It’s tempting to feel guilty if your child’s day isn’t filled with perfectly nutritious meals, tons of quality time, and a stimulating learning environment. Honestly, it’s fine if all you did was buy them McDonald’s and sit them in front of the TV all day- if they are safe and happy, that’s all that matters. We all have our off days, and we all do it. For more things to stop feeling guilty about, read this post by The Abundant Mama:

    -Yelling- It happens, and it usually comes from a place of love. Unless you are yelling 24/7, you can let this one go.

    -Asking to be alone- taking time alone is absolutely crucial to our mental health as moms.

    -Using TV to get things done- getting your stuff done now will make you less stressed, and give you time to play a game with them later.

    Photo Credit: Maxwell GS 

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    June 11, 2015
    Imma Let You Finish, But…

    If you don’t know the old knock-knock joke, you and your kids are missing out. This was one of my favorites when I was little, and I laughed for what seemed like hours when my dad told it to me for the first time:

    Knock Knock.”

    Who’s there?”

    The interrupting cow.”

    The interrupting cow wh-”


    Pretty funny stuff, especially if you’re a six year old. What isn’t so funny? Actual people who interrupt and talk over others. I understand that if you are really excited about something or trying to make a point, it can be hard to contain yourself. Again, this is especially true if you’re six years old. The key is to teach kids when they’re young that interrupting is rude, and to avoid it unless necessary. Do you have an interrupting cow/kid in your life? Read this tip by Kate at An Every Day Story:

    I was chatting with my friend one day when her (then 3-year-old) son wanted to say something. Instead of interrupting though, he simply placed his hand on her wrist and waited. 

    After she had finished what she was saying, she turned to him. I was in awe! Her son only needed to wait a few seconds for my friend to finish her sentence. Then she gave him her complete attention. Works every time.

    Photo Credit: Davey Nin 

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    June 8, 2015
    Inspiring Positive Body Image In Kids

    I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s so absolutely important that I can’t write enough about it. Kids today, both girls and boys, are surrounded with messages that tell them there is only one way to look and still be accepted, valued, and loved. Of course, this is simply not true. There are seven billion people on this planet, and every single one of them looks different. The tiny fraction of movie stars, models, and celebrities are not representative of the whole population, but advertisers want you to think they are so that you buy their products.

    That’s why the diet industry makes billions of dollars a year peddling snake oil pills to desperate people; they give you a complex about not looking good enough so that you fork over your money to them for an easy “fix”. Yes, eating healthy and exercise is important, but it should be about nurturing your body and making it strong, not hating it and wanting to destroy it. In extreme cases, negative body image can even lead to having eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, steroid abuse, or even suicide.

    I feel really strongly about this because I’ve always been overweight. I spent my teenage years (and preteen years) yo-yo dieting, skipping meals, and generally just hating myself because I wasn’t thin and pretty. It took a lot of years, and a lot of self acceptance (which turned into self love) before I could undo all that damage. Now, I’m working on exercising regularly and making healthier food choices, rather than just not eating. Fortunately, I never developed any serious form of eating disorder, but there are millions of kids who do.

    That’s why it’s so important to teach kids to love their bodies! The way that we do this is by setting an example. If your daughter constantly hears you talking about how fat you are, what diet you’re on, and how much weight you want to lose, it won’t take her long to pick that up. For tips on nurturing positive body image in yourself and your children, read this post by Krissy at B-Inspired Mama. It’s very powerful and comes from someone who did survive an eating disorder:

    -If you can’t say anything nice about yourself or others, don’t say anything at all. Especially when it comes to criticizing appearances.

    -Throw away the scale. There is no need to weigh yourself every day. Only do it every few months at doctor check ups.

    -Ditch the diet talk.

    -Stop watching reality television, and stop bringing home gossip mags from the store. These are the worst perpetrators of unhealthy ideas which feed eating disorders, and encourage you to obsess over physical perfection.

    Photo Credit: Charlotte Astrid

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    May 26, 2015
    Parenting Mistakes You Might Not Know You’re Making

    All good parents try to do what is best for their children. They make sacrifices, work hard to make sure they have everything they need, and always show unconditional love and support. However, even the best parents aren’t perfect. No one is. But, you can always improve. Read this post by Katie M. McLaughlin at Pick Any Two for mistakes you may be making, and how to fix them:

    -Dismissing our children’s emotions: While it’s important that we teach them perspective, it’s also essential that we acknowledge and validate their very real emotions.

    -Being more of a friend than a parent.

    -Never letting them see you fail (and how to handle it like an adult)

    -Failing to prioritize family dinners- The research-backed benefits of sitting down to dinner together—ranging from physical to social and emotional—are nothing short of astounding. 

    Photo Credit: Steven Depolo 

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    May 19, 2015
    Dealing With Spoiled Kids

    No one wants to admit it, but the fact is that some kids are straight up spoiled. It can be even harder to admit it when it’s your own kid! You probably didn’t notice it happening, but one day you realize that your child acts disrespectful to you and other adults, whines, and throws fits over not getting what they want. Well, congratulations. Realizing there is a problem is the first step in fixing it. Don’t despair, your child doesn’t have to be like that forever. There are actually plenty of ways to de-brat-ify your kid. Check out this post by Becky at Your Modern Family for tips on “un-spoiling” a child:

    -Be consistent. Every time that they ___, they get ___.  (ex: every time that they talk back to you, they get put into time out.)

    -Set expectations for your child before starting the day.

    -Don’t buy your child unnecessary things, and cut back on what you have.

    -Use chores and allowance and teach them to buy things for themselves.

    -Teach your child to give to others.

    Photo Credit: Greg Westfall 

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    May 14, 2015
    Helping Your Child Develop Healthy Self Esteem

    When you feel good about yourself, you’re happy. That’s just a simple fact of life. But, if you constantly feel criticized, and are told you aren’t good enough, you aren’t going to be happy. And the number one person who influences your child’s self esteem is you! Having positive self esteem helps you deal better with negative circumstances in life, allows you to be more resilient, and allows you to know yourself better. For tips on raising kids with positive self esteem, read this post by Sue Lively at OneTimeThrough:

    -Respect all feelings, even the sad or angry ones. Your children have a right to feel them.

    -Fulfill needs for attention, love, and connection so they feel valued. Children do not spoil from receiving too much time and attention.

    -Parent in an authoritative, not authoritarian way. Be firm, but still do your best to respect your child’s wishes.

    -Encourage rather than praise. Instead of calling them smart, say, “Wow! You worked so hard on that assignment!”

    Photo Credit: Kiran Foster 

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