My Child, My Report Card

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In speaking with parents and more importantly, in being one myself, I think about pits that we all unintentionally fall into. I say, "fall into", because most parents are really, really doing their darndest and still often find themselves stuck, feeling incompetent and incapable. The pit most recently encountered is seeing my child as My Report Card. Kid is happy and thriving I'm getting…

Ghosted

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I was recently supposed to do a podcast interview and the host did not show up at the agreed upon time. Shortly thereafter, I emailed to check in and see what was up and for a few days heard no response. During that time, I had no idea what had happened but my fear driven mind told me some pretty painful things. My darkest thoughts were along the line of: "When did he discover the *truth* that…

Warning: Parental Advice Coming..

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So, we have a son that is just about to turn 18. And I, like many parents I know, will likely NEVER outgrow the urge to give advice. With elder teen and certainly adult children, a helpful approach (which still allows the parent to still give advice when it cannot be contained) is to acknowledge (in good humor) that the receiving party will probably not want to hear any of this. Something like: “Warning…

Droopy Leaves and a Child's Needs

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There is this plant on our back porch whose leaves start to droop when it is in need of water. Whenever I see it start to sag (as in the pic) I am happy that it tells me exactly what it needs with such a clear signal. Even more, I love how I am able to easily fulfill its needs with my watering can. It feels good to see how, in just a few hours, it starts to perk up once again. I feel capable and…

Injury Becomes Identity

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A child is angrily scolded into submission. Out of fear, he complies, he corrects his behavior, the authority figure is satisfied. And there is a cost. "Injury Becomes Identity" The initial cost is the unseen wound of rejection wrought by the trusted elder's anger (children inherently initially trust adults). And that cost festers. It festers into the child's self perception that he…

Anything But Loneliness

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I often have parents come in sharing about how disturbing their child has become: "He constantly teases his sister" "She talks to me like I am a nothing" "He fights me on every decision" "She wears things that make her look like a..." And I remind them what I am constantly reminding myself with our own children: "Strife is better than loneliness" Creating noise in all of its…

Acting Out?

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Focus on a child's BEHAVIOR and soon find yourself in a punish/reward feedback loop that while initially efficient, ultimately leaves the child insecure, emotionally unsafe and disconnected. Focus on the child's NEEDS that give rise to the behavior and find yourself tuned in his emotions and his world, creating a safe haven, fertile ground for healthy sustained growth and development. Ask…

Can My Child Be My Friend?

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Can My Child Be My Friend? There are often 2 schools of thought on this: Authority - No, a child needs a parent, not a friend. Connection - Yes, being friends with your child creates a close relationship which is a good thing! Truth - Your child should NOT be your friend. That is an unhealthy burden placed on his shoulders. Your need for friendship should be met elsewhere. But, YOU…

Still (and always) a Child

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My recent experience of the beautiful picture below brought this home in a real way. Witnessing my parents pre-yom kippur blessing and embrace, the joy was indescribable. Here I am a 45 year old, with a family of my own still deeply impacted by the safety and connection of my parents. More than ever, I am convinced that the greatest gift parents can give their children is the health and security…

Good Morning!

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Walking to synagogue this past Shabbat with my 5 year old daughter Shevy. Me to a man riding a bike:"Good Morning" No response. "Good Morning!" (louder). No response. "GOOD MORNING"! Still nothing. Sensing my frustration, Shevy says: "It's ok tatty, he is probably listening to music and can't hear you". "Yeah, you're right.." (slightly smiling now and feeling a bit better)…