When Should My Teen Get a Job?

When should your teen get their first job

Some parents put their teens right to work the moment they turn 16. Others wait until senior year to even entertain thoughts about part-time jobs. As you consider your teen's situation, personality and maturity level, keep this in mind when determining if he or she is ready to start working: What is There to Gain? Whether it's working as a student clerk at the mayor's office … [Read more...]

Cures for the Common Conflict: Family Problem-Solving Sessions

how to have an effective family meeting

Conflict between parents and kids is normal, natural, and unavoidable. It’s an inevitable accompaniment to interlocking lives and feelings. But when battle lines get drawn, when “Because I said so” locks horns with “You can’t tell me what to do,” the problem disappears amidst “parental authority” and “children’s rights,” and everyone loses. There’s nothing wrong with a … [Read more...]

Prom Night : Does It Live Up To The Hype?


I am definitely not a person who is into cliques.  As a result, I’ve never been much of a joiner of clubs, groups, or anything that labels.  I even resisted junior proms and senior balls as a teen.  I don’t think at 16 I was thinking that I was being ‘true to my authentic self'; I just knew that something didn’t feel right, and prom wasn’t the place for me to be. As a middle … [Read more...]

I Made the Right Choice. Right?

Letting Another Parent Question Your Choices

“Hon, can you take your brother to the play tonight?” I asked my middle son. I really didn’t want to go. I had work to finish up so it wouldn’t pollute my weekend. “Wait, what? What play is it?” “The elementary school play. They’re doing Treasure Island. Same as the book you’re reading.” “Oh, yeah. Let me see if So-and-so is going.” “Yeah, call him.” “I can’t. He … [Read more...]

The Real Self-Esteem Booster: Competence

boosting your childs self esteem by increasing their competence.

Boosting Your Childs Self-Esteem One perk of aging is that occasionally I can get away with asserting something to be true based on longitudinal history and experience. After 30 years of working with children and teenagers, raising five of them, and observing human behavior, both in and out of the therapeutic and school environments, I am confident that competence, or a … [Read more...]

Vacation Planning in Divorceville: How to Keep Track of Your Kid(s) During the Holidays

divorce is bad enough but wait until you have to start juggling kid's vacation days into the plan

“You’ve been so organized lately!” I complimented my then ten year old. A big, giant question mark hovered over his head. “You remembered whose house you’re staying at this weekend! Remember last year? You never knew where you were supposed to go or what you were supposed to bring with you. Remember?  Even though I kept that calendar up on the fridge?” He finally … [Read more...]

Parenting Athletes: How And Why I Do It

Parents are there through thick and thin when it comes to our youth athletes

     Parenting athletes requires particular obligations-some sport specific, some general to having athletic kids living in the house.  Until they move out, we are responsible for keeping track of practices, purchasing equipment and locating lost parts of uniforms.      We calendar games, attend training clinics and volunteer to work in snack shacks or host end of the season … [Read more...]

Did We Love Too Much or Not Enough?


Exhaustion, deep utter exhaustion, hit me like bricks tumbling off a truck. I am ready for bed. My teeth brushed, my face washed, I ignore the book on the nightstand and click off the light. “Good night, honey.” “Good night, my love.” Within seconds sleep took my body. The dream settled upon me like darkness at the day’s end. Without warning I was transported to a place I … [Read more...]

Educate and Learn Through Free Time

finding life lessons in free time

Turning Free Time into a Chance to Learn I still remember that day before Christmas, when I was a little girl, sitting down and writing my christmas letter, in which all I wished for was the largest lunchbox that Santa could find, filled with little plastic animals, specifically farm animals… horses, cows, pigs, sheep, anything except chickens (I’ve never liked feathered … [Read more...]

Your Teen Driver Won’t Drive Better Until You Do


How Can You Help Your Teen Driver Succeed? Our oldest daughter turned 16 last month and if all goes well, she'll get her license next month. Am I nervous? Sure. Can she do it? Absolutely. I know it's hard to watch your baby get behind the wheel of your car but parents, you have to shake it off and get this right. So, what can you do to help your teen driver? I have a few … [Read more...]

5 Tips For Choosing Battles Well


Choose your battles well.. This would be the single piece of advice I'd give to parents of teens and tweens. As a counselor, teacher, and parent, it's brought sanity to otherwise overwhelming circumstances. I wished I learned it earlier. Instead, I learned it the hard way. I'll be honest - I was over-bearing and reactionary when my older children were young. I was so … [Read more...]

Open-Ended Questions versus Cross Examination Which is the Best Approach?

asking cross examination questions instead of open ended one

Experts recommend asking open-ended questions to stimulate conversation with your kids. The idea is to give your children the space to think, be themselves, and answer of their own accord. Here is a real-life example of a conversation using the open-ended method: How was school today, son? Good. What happened? Nothing. When it comes to recalcitrant teens, experts allow, … [Read more...]

20 Great Tips For Dropping Off Your Child At College (Without Losing Your Mind)

how to drop your kid off at school

Dropping your child off at college is one of the biggest milestones of your child’s life and a parent’s day of reckoning –having to let your child go. It’s a day filled with great anticipation, emotion, mixed feelings, and, of course, stress. And it’s your job to make sure it goes smoothly. The key to making move-in day successful lies in being prepared and remaining … [Read more...]

Hot Tempers: Why You and Your Teen Both Lose When You “Lose It”

what anger does to your teen

Raising teenagers is challenging, and sometimes we may simply "lose it": our temper, our equanimity, our self-control, and even our good sense. However, yelling, crying, and carrying on is bound to make whatever interaction you are having with your teenager even worse. Although our intention may be to get our point, and our anger, across to them, this is not really what … [Read more...]

Menopause & Driver’s Training Don’t Mix!

drivers ed and menopause

I am teaching my 16-year-old daughter how to drive. She’d prefer I don’t speak of our experience with anyone she knows. You’re not acquainted with my daughter, but if she happens to run into you (Don’t worry — I mean like on foot, let’s say in a store or a restaurant!) please immediately state the following, “Hi! I don’t know anything about any smashed-in parking attendant … [Read more...]

Failure: The Upside of Letting Your Kids Fail

failing isn't always failure

Many parents today are putting in overtime hours to make sure their teenager never experiences academic failure, but to what end? Exhausted working parents are running around Staples late at night grabbing poster board and glue stick for a forgotten project, or spending hours trying to squeeze the best possible homework out of their child. Moms and dads are allowing for … [Read more...]

Is Your Credit Karma Good or Evil?

hows your credit karma?

I received my first credit card at age 22 and it's been downhill ever since. Somehow I thought having a credit card meant I got to pay it back whenever I so desired. Thus began my life long battle with finances. I will always curse the day that Macy's employee handed me my first shiny new card as I purchased a waffle iron for a wedding gift. I was no longer a credit virgin. I … [Read more...]

What I Found Under My Teenage Son’s Pillow

I'm convinced nothing really surprises me anymore having three boys, ages 17, 4 1/2 and 4 1/2 - (yep twins!).   I live in a house that reeks of testosterone.  It's like a thick (think Pig Pen from Charlie Brown) cloud surrounding my home.  There is a lot of sweat, dirt, fistfights (just my 4 year olds against each other, and nothing interesting, like in a ring for bets or … [Read more...]

What Happens After You Say “No” to Your Teenager?

what happens when you have to say no to a teenager

So, you just told your child they can't do something. Maybe you said no to a concert, a movie date with a young driver, or a gathering with no adult supervision. What happens next? Does your child storm out of the room fuming under their breath? Sulk for an entire evening? Slam their door on the way into their room? All of these possibilities are disruptive and unsettling to a … [Read more...]

5 Tips for Raising Kids in The Age Of Entitlement

entitled kids

The age of entitlement’s been around for a while. As a former teacher and current counselor in public schools, I’ve observed privileged teens over the last three decades, beginning with kids raised in an American economy of plenty. Not only do modern kids receive excessive material items, they get trophies just for being on a team, and expect A’s for minimal work. Raising … [Read more...]