This weekend, while on call for our behavioral health department, I received a call from a distressed mom of a teenage girl. While this careful mom was reviewing the contents of her daughter’s cell phone (not a bad idea!), she found “selfies” that had been sexted to her boyfriend. The pictures were pretty graphic! Her mom just couldn’t understand why her daughter would do such a dumb thing. “Doesn’t she realize that these photographs could be posted all over the Internet?!” The fact is that teenagers don’t think much before they act. Their brains are still developing, and their pre-frontal... Read More
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This spring, I had the pleasure of having a bird’s eye view of nesting crows. Out of the 2nd story window of my neighborhood gym, I watched 4 crow chicks mature. The window was only about 2 feet from their amazingly constructed nest of branches. I watched the crows fly back and forth feeding those four hungry mouths. They grew so quickly! However, I knew the day would come when mom and dad would “encourage” them to fly. I am sure these chicks had no idea what was to come!
Sure enough, I came back one day and they were all gone. I imagined that Mom or Dad “nudged” (aka pushed)... Read More
In early June, kids and adults are counting the days to summer vacation. School is so demanding! Not just for kids, but for their parents too. In my day, parents had very little to do with their children’s homework. But today, educators expect parents to be involved and engaged in both coaching children when it comes to homework and making sure that they do it! This can require significant time and effort for Moms and Dads, particularly for the parent that is the designated homework helper. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
So both parents and their children are looking... Read More
Last week, we read about another tragedy involving a young adult. A 22 year old in Santa Barbara killed his roommates and then three young women outside of a sorority before killing himself. A month earlier, a teenage boy in Connecticut stabbed and killed a teenage girl in his school.
I know. It’s very upsetting when we hear about these gruesome stories. All parents imagine their child as the victim. It’s terrifying and our hearts go out to the families of the victims. All of us wonder, what can be done to protect our children?
What makes it all very confusing is the... Read More
When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, education was entirely focused on learning basic academic skills. As a card-carrying member of the Sputnik generation, school was very competitive. The space race with the Soviet Union resulted in teachers trying to cram students with facts, like stuffing a turkey on thanksgiving.
But in the last decade, educators realized that academic knowledge alone does not predict success in life or result in high performance at work.
In today’s world, most work is performed in “teams” where social and emotional intelligence are an integral... Read More
There is no doubt that women struggle the most with work/life balance issues. But this is becoming a growing issue for men too. The Pew Research Center found that since 1965, men have tripled the time they spend with children. In the last decade, the number of stay at home dads has doubled. With the recent economic downturn, more middle-aged men have lost their jobs than ever before. The net result—many of these men are at home while their wives work. It’s a changing world.
Don’t get me wrong. In my opinion, working women have the lion’s share of this challenge. According to a... Read More
I’m always amazed how many parents drag their teens in to see me in May and early June. Their concerns are always the same—“Joey is getting D’s and F’s. What should we do?” I see a ton of 9th graders. They had a bad first term and an even worse second term. Their parents decide to bring them over in May. I have to give them bad news—it’s too late to salvage the semester.
I think that there are many factors that contribute to this problem. Children are the original optimists. After a spotty first semester, they promise to work harder next
semester! They are sure that they... Read More
While most parents are naturally concerned about their children becoming successful adults, we are more concerned about our kids becoming kind, compassionate and helpful. Indeed, most social surveys across the world show that parents want their kids to be caring and kind over material achievement.
Apparently, like most parents, I was very concerned with my children’s moral development. I wanted them to be compassionate towards others, caring and kind. But how do we accomplish this “hard to measure” goal?
When my youngest daughter was in middle school, both my wife and I... Read More
During our tenure in the parenting business (believe it not, while you never stop from being your kids parent, you do, hopefully, let go of the parenting role), we are always coaching our children. “Remember to brush your teeth, make your bed, say please, thank you, your welcome, wipe your feet, wash you hands, comb your hair, make your bed, clean up after yourself”—the list is endless. A large part of parenting involves socializing your children into our culture, teaching them the basics, and helping them develop good habits. When they are little, it’s amazing how frequently we have to... Read More