Employment in high school: Should you encourage your teen to work?

By | April 2nd, 2016|Teens|

The research on adolescent employment is mixed, with almost all experts agreeing that the question "Is it good for teens to work?" is oversimplified. Having a job as a teenager can have both positive and negative effects and depends on many factors (e.g. level of investment in employment, specific experiences teens have while working, and motivation to work). Teens who do benefit from high school jobs are more likely to be highly intrinsically motivated to succeed in school. That is, they value earning good grades and self-select to work fewer hours in order to keep up with schoolwork, participate in [...]

Kids and allowances: To give or not to give?

By | February 27th, 2016|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens, Tweens (ages 10-12)|

Many parents struggle with decisions about how, when, and if to give their children allowances. While there is really no one correct answer to each of these questions, there are some great opinions and research on this topic. As a child psychologist, I support giving children an allowance; it can be a valuable parenting tool if done effectively. Below I explain my reasoning for allowance giving and provide answers to some of the common questions parents often ask me: What's the purpose of giving an allowance? Allowances provide children with valuable educational tools. If your children have access to their "own" [...]

I’m sorry for my ADHD, Mom; Let’s have a better life

By | January 24th, 2016|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens, Tweens (ages 10-12)|

I think we sometimes forget that kids who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) don't chose the problems they have. Whether it's talking too much, bouncing off the walls, or having the attention span of a gnat, kids with ADHD often truly cannot control their behavior. They are many times labeled as annoying, socially immature, self-centered, out-of-control, and rude. While these labels certainly do describe typical ADHD behaviors, they certainly don't help us to understand and intervene with kids who struggle with ADHD. In my work as a child psychologist, I help several kids and families with ADHD. The ways in which [...]

Win the holidays with cheer: 5 simple tips for a stress-free holiday season

By | November 22nd, 2015|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens, Tweens (ages 10-12)|

The holiday season is here. Wahoo! Or is bah-humbug? Although the holiday season brings excitement and cheer for many parents, the added stress of prepping for the holidays can be extremely overwhelming. It's easy to lose your holiday spirit, but with a little planning and focus, you can be jumping up and down with excitement alongside your kiddos. Here are 5 simple tips to minimize your stress this holiday season: 1. Start early and plan. Squeezing in an extra errand a few days a week is less stressful and more realistic than completing all holiday prep a day or two before the [...]

Toying with guns: Is play with toy guns okay?

By | October 18th, 2015|Adults, Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9)|

Back in the day, no one batted an eye at children running around playing cops and robbers with toy pistols. But in today's day and age, toy gunplay isn't viewed so innocently; now we’re busy searching for answers to the multitude of recent school shootings and other tragedies involving gun violence in our nation. Today parents are more cautious than ever when it comes to allowing children to play with toy guns. A study published in Pediatrics found that of 830 parents surveyed, 67% believed it was never "ok for a child to play with toy guns" and 66% reported never allowing their [...]

Say the right thing when your child is upset

By | September 21st, 2015|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens, Tweens (ages 10-12)|

When you're upset, has anyone ever told you to "just stop crying" or "don't be sad"? Is it helpful? Is it that easy just to automatically stop crying or to feel differently (aka better) at a moment when you are really down? Unless you have super powers, it's near impossible to change how you feel at the drop of a hat. Usually comments that instruct you how to feel make you feel worse because they dismiss your emotional experience. And yet, even though these types of comments make us feel terrible, we continue to say these things to kids. Why? Because we're human and [...]

Get your worry in check with this one simple trick

By | August 30th, 2015|Adults|

I’m a worrier and I always have been. I’m not sure if it’s my genetics, being the oldest child in my family, or the way I was raised, but in any case, I’ve had worry lines on my forehead since I was ten years old. I remember my parents always saying to me “Luisa, just relax!” But as anyone who worries knows, this is easier said than done. In fact, when people told me to relax, I felt even more anxious and angry… because I believed my worry was invalid and that the way I was feeling was somehow incorrect. [...]

3 tips for guaranteed back-to-school success

By | July 31st, 2015|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens|

As adults, we've had years of practice transitioning through change. Yet we still often handle it poorly, procrastinate, and don’t prepare adequately for successful life transitons. Unlike adults, children haven’t had years to practice successful change. A child’s developing brain prefers and responds best to routines- as much as your kiddo may try to fight it by begging for late bedtimes and ice cream for dinner. Routines help children to feel safe and grounded and can aid tremendously in taking the ambiguity and stress out of new situations. What’s more is that children tend to have less anxiety when they [...]

5 reasons marijuana is detrimental to the teen brain

By | June 12th, 2015|Teens|

Marijuana has been known as the gateway drug of teen substance use for decades. It's often thought of as less harmful and consequential than other drugs because it's "natural" and now legal in many parts of our country. In the U.S. and other first world nations, marijuana is the second most commonly used substance among teens after  alcohol. Why? Because it's easy to obtain and attitudes about the risk of regular use are becoming more lackadaisical by the year. Teenagers are increasingly associating regular marijuana use as "no big deal". Marijuana's increasing popularity has sparked the attention of researchers- which has led to [...]

How to make the perfect excuse with these 3 simple tips

By | May 9th, 2015|Adults|

Making excuses: we all do it. Why? Because it makes us feel better, right? If you can justify why you forgot to pick up dinner... why you didn't meet that deadline at work... or why you made that nasty comment to your spouse in front of the kids, the crime seems a little less deadly. Excuses get us off the hook, deflect responsibility, and make us feel less guilty about our wrongdoings. But the problem is, excuses can also make us appear careless, self-centered, and unreliable. Excuses can work in everyone's favor... if delivered effectively. Here are 3 tips to keep [...]