parenting, Support


While spring is an exciting time of year for our kiddos in and out of school, it is essential to know it also creates increased stress for many. We often think of stress as resulting from challenging things like struggling in a class or relationship troubles; however, even fun things happening in our lives like traveling or reaching a milestone, such as graduation creates stress as it takes us out of our comfort zone and routines.  When under stress, we often return to old coping strategies such as avoidance or burying feelings. So, keep an eye out for natural opportunities to build your kiddos skills.

When we listen to our kiddos often, we kick into problem-solving mode. Remind yourself to slow down and take notice of your own emotions that may drive your response. Actively listen to your child and remember it is frequently not about the content on the surface (“she was mean” or “that was unfair”). It is more helpful to respond to the emotions underneath the surface so we can help the kiddo identify their feelings, learn to sit with them and use some strategies to manage.

Some potential discussion starters could be the following:

It sounds like that was upsetting.

I’m sorry that was frustrating. What did you do or what could you do?

That sounds rough. I know you can handle it.

It will also be important to practice new ways of thinking about things such as learning to expect change and know it will take you out of your comfort zone. Talking about what to expect, including discomfort, and normalizing it will be key to building more successful coping.

Some potential discussion starters could be the following:

What felt hard today?

Did you expect that to be so easy or hard?

I never like it when that happens to me. What did you try to do?

Happy Spring! Embrace change and time for new growth. 🙂


Parents need to change before children can

Talk openly with parents, and they will share things they often worry about and maybe even would like to change about their child. A parent recently shared with me her concerns about her child’s significant moments of inflexibility, which creates considerable challenges for the whole family. I am aware these concerns have been troubling this mother for some time now; however, she seems to be in the same place. By that I mean, she continues to worry about it regularly and has not expressed any new ways of thinking about the behaviors or the family’s response to the situation.

This is a common phenomenon which led me to wonder how to help parents mobilize their strengths and abilities. Many of the parents I know are bright, decisive people in other areas of their lives, so why is it so challenging to be more action-oriented when it comes to parenting? Often times, parents have the benefit of a partner to discuss concerns, which one might think would help create a move toward action, yet this does not seem to be the case. After thinking about this from several angles, I realized it keeps coming back to our abilities to be self-aware. Luckily this is an area we all can improve upon.

Parents can develop the ability to catch moments of concern and become more proactive by simply acknowledging something is happening and choosing action over inaction. Steps can be small such as gathering more information, talking with a teacher or doctor, etc. These are small movements that begin a more extensive process and lead to growth, as well as change. Ruminating and being passive should not be options. We teach children and teens to be proactive and speak up for themselves so as adults this too should be our focus.

It is heartening to know, we can always learn more and seek more support to improve our perspective even if a situation itself is not able to shift. So, if you are unsure if you should do something about a concern, ask yourself if the thought/worry has been popping into your head often. If so, it is time for movement. If you are still unsure, ask a trusted friend or family member whom you know will be honest. Lastly, be honest with yourself and boldly step toward something. The following are some steps to think about if you are stuck and you choose to do something:

Write or talk about it
Seek support from trusted people
Gather more information and learn about it
Choose to do something and set a simple plan
Try something