How To Avoid A Power Struggle

Power struggles.  We’ve all been there – the dreaded no.  Toddlers are famous for it.  Preschoolers like to try out the “I Hate You!”  Middle Schoolers might threaten to run away, or tell you that Suzie’s mom is way better than you are.  And teenagers will just walk out the door.  But how do we avoid a power struggle?

They all do it.

Kids at every age will continuously question your authority and test their independence.

It is absolutely normal and something that we want our kids to be doing.  It is how they grow and develop in to an adult.

But as the child tries to pull away and the parents try to maintain control, the process can be anything but smooth.  The screaming, fighting and tantrums that may follow can be exhausting and hurtful for all parties involved.

How can you avoid a power struggle and still help your child develop his or her independence?

Continue reading

How to Tell if Your Child is Being Bullied

It’s that time of year again! 

Back to School!  I don’t know about you all, but three of my boys headed out the door this morning!  The long summer days of family togetherness are over.  Most kids, mine included, are excited to get out of the house, back to the school, and away from their siblings.

But that might not be the case for everyone.

Back to School may mean Back to Bullies for some kids.

How to tell if your child is being bullied?

Bullying does not look like it did when we grew up.  When we were young, someone maybe took your lunch money, pushed you around a bit, or teased and harassed you in front of all of your friends.  Maybe they’d tape “kick me” to your back, lock you in a locker, or throw your textbooks in the garbage.

While these forms of bullying may still go on, they aren’t as common anymore. 

Continue reading

Listening To Your Child

Technology, particularly computers, cell phones and social media, has taken the “personal” out of inter-personal relationships.

It makes listening, particularly listening to your child, hard.

It’s hardly arguable that folks are more comfortable posting their thoughts on FaceBook or Twitter than they are in holding an actual conversation with another person, face to face. It is far easier to quick send a text, tweet or message than it is to carve out time for coffee and a personal visit. It can be argued that in today’s culture, people are losing the ability to be social.

As parents, we may have seen evidence of this in today’s teens. How many times do we hear “Teenagers today! They have no respect!”

In fact, you can take the phrase ‘teenagers today’ and end it with almost anything –
‘they have no boundaries!’ ‘
they don’t know what hard work is!’
‘they have no idea!’

Continue reading

Get to Know Your Teenager in a Deeply Personal Way

Remember when you could openly and freely smother your son with hugs and kisses?  Tickle his belly?  Roll around on the floor with him?  Throw him on your hip and dance around the living room together?

You used to read stories, hang out in forts together, snuggle on the couch and spend hours in the back yard together.  You could tell when he was tired, before he even knew it himself.  You knew that when he seemed crabby for no apparent reason what-so-ever, it was snack time.  You could sense when he needed alone time and when he wanted to spend time with mom.

You were virtually inseparable.  And you knew him better than anyone else knew him.  Remember?

Continue reading

Coming to Terms With Graduation….


A time to celebrate. A job well done. A bright future full of possibilities. A right of passage. The ending of one era and beginning of a grand era. The smell of the spring air, the bright sunshine. Birds tweeting in the background. The jibber jabber of all the happy family and friends, the quiet talk of the unsure graduates.

I hate it already.

What am I going to do?

This sweet baby, this totally bouncing little bundle of joy that took my world and shook it upside down, some 17 years ago, suddenly no longer needs me?!? He’s suddenly all grown up? Look at him! Have you seen my baby lately? He’s a man. When did that happen?!?

What right do they have, leaving us, after all these years? We’ve invested our hearts and souls, blood, sweat, and sleep (or lack of!) in to them and their lives for the past 18 years. And now, all of a sudden, we are no longer needed? Not fair!

“Ah”, my 17-year-old would tell me, “I’ll still need you, mom. I’ll need some money for gas, someone to cook me a meal every now and then. Car insurance, cell phone. You’re still needed.” He’d just grin at me.

But the daily hugs, the good-byes at the door, the “drive safe” every time he leaves the house (even his three-year-old brother tells him that now!), the “when are you going to be home” – all that, is going to end. I can’t see texting back and forth or calling from college to report every time he is leaving the dorm room and returning again.

His quirky sense of humor, his quick reflexes that take a cheap shot at his brother when antagonized, his general overall grumpiness when he’s hungry….these things will be missed on a daily basis. The way he drops everything to drive trains with his three-year-old brother. The way the one-year-old twins run to him for hugs when he gets home and good-bye hugs when he leaves again. The way his dad curses him out for dragging snow in to the garage again.

He’s hardly home anymore. He has been preparing us for the day he leaves for college for a good year or two now. And yet, it’s still going to suck.

Some moms will miss that little bit of control, I think, that they have over their kids when they still live at home. They’ll miss knowing what he’s up to, where he’s been, does he have his biology lab done, that kind of stuff.

I gave most of that up a long time ago. He’s a good kid. He doesn’t get in to trouble. He follows the rules. Generally. He does his homework, goes to work, shows up where he needs to be, when. He meets his curfew (sometimes) and always shows his mom and dad respect. I know he is going to be okay in college. I don’t worry about him.

But I already miss him. I already miss those hugs I won’t get. The laughs I won’t hear. The growls of hunger I won’t see. I miss the train tracks he won’t build, the balls he won’t throw, the tackles he won’t make. I already miss the dishes he won’t do. The laundry that won’t be washed. The football games that won’t be watched. The stories he won’t tell. The picking on his brothers that he won’t do. The little sound of “mmm!” when he’s surprised that something tastes good, or his exclamation of “Ohhh cookies!” when he comes home after a tough practice. He won’t be here every day to share all of those little bits of him that I love so dearly.

Sure, if we are lucky, he will come home often on the weekends. Probably to see his girlfriend. He’ll come home for holidays. I’m sure he’ll buzz over to his girlfriend’s. Maybe he’ll text me; even call me? (When he’s not talking to his girlfriend.) Maybe an email once in a while? He’ll be home for summer break, right? Hanging around the house, when he’s not working…or visiting his girlfriend.


I’m starting to think the girlfriend has to go…..




You know who you are…..And I know you read this…..






(Just kidding! I love her dearly!)


(Photo from