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 [...]

The skinny on autism: The top 7 things you really need to know

By | April 11th, 2015|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Tweens (ages 10-12)|

Autism has been a hot topic for the past several years. Like any other topic in the spotlight of the media, there is a ton of information out there about autism- some of which is great (and when I say great, I mean valid) and some of which is not so great (Ahem... untrue). Because April is autism awareness month, I thought I'd write a brief post highlighting what I consider to be the most important facts about autism. So here goes: 1. ASD: The full name for autism is now Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In 2013 when the new [...]

The punishment pitfall: Why punishing your child is bound to backfire

By | February 8th, 2015|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9)|

Kids do some horrendous stuff. Flushing your wedding ring down the toilet, emptying the ENTIRE surplus size container of baby powder onto the new carpet, sneaking into the pantry and eating the whole, previously unopened bag of Pirate’s Booty…. the list is endless. It’s every parent’s first instinct to lay the punishment on thick when something like this happens. However, contrary to popular belief, punishing your child will not stop the bad behavior. Punishment pitfalls go a little something like this: Your daughter hits her younger brother for taking her crayons. You punish your daughter for hitting by yelling, threatening, [...]

What to say (and what to avoid saying) when a friend is suffering

By | January 11th, 2015|Adults, Teens|

Early last week I received some harrowing news. An old friend of mine lost her husband suddenly and unexpectedly. He was young. He was healthy. And they had a family. I grappled with how to respond. What do I do? What should I say? How should I say it? It took me awhile to wrap my head around the situation and get my own emotions in check. When I did, I wrote a message and later in the week, I sent a card. As I carefully chose my words, I reflected on my training as a psychologist in coping with [...]

6 amazing gift ideas that won’t cost you a cent

By | December 20th, 2014|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens, Tweens (ages 10-12)|

The holiday season can certainly be stressful. Party planning, cookie making, gift giving, traveling, dealing with financial guilt... and the list goes on. It's very easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget what the holidays are truly about- family, friends, gratitude, spreading good cheer, and the celebration of mankind. Teaching your children about the significance of gift giving is important, but sometimes it's hard to remember that it really is the thought that counts. We'd like to share a few gift options below that don't cost a cent because having a handy list of gifts that [...]

4 simple tips for raising grateful kids

By | November 23rd, 2014|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9)|

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's likely us adults are thinking about thankfulness and gratitude a little more than usual. But for kids, Thanksgiving usually means the start of endless Christmas lists to Santa, pleas for new toys at every commercial break, and dreaded shopping trips to the mall with your child begging for all things in sight. Every parent hopes to raise gracious, humble children, yet in today's day and age, this can prove to be a difficult task. For kids, gratitude can be a hard concept to understand beyond "I'm thankful for my new Transformers." Gratitude, like many of life's lessons, must be [...]

The homework battle: Stop fighting and start writing

By | October 12th, 2014|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Tweens (ages 10-12)|

Homework. Just mentioning the word makes me cringe and brings back horrors from my own youth. The fights, the worry, the late nights. The hours spent thinking up excuses to explain why those pesky math problems didn't get finished. Eventually, I learned what was behind my own personal struggle with homework: the perception that my work had to be perfect, which led to me feeling completely overwhelmed, anxious, and aided me in becoming the world's greatest procrastinator. If only my parents and I had figured this out in the third grade, those countless battles of hurtful words, tears, and doors [...]

Nix the nagging with one simple trick

By | July 26th, 2014|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9)|

Tired of asking the kids repeatedly to clean their rooms, empty the dishwasher, or do that summer homework they've been avoiding? I hear ya. But do your kids? Does nagging actually work? Nagging is not the least bit enjoyable for the nagger or the naggee, and in my experience, it usually ends with yelling and tears. Yet we continue to do it… repeating a request over and over again in hopes that by some miracle, our request will be completed. The fact is, nagging is aversive and actually DECREASES the chance that the desired behavior will happen. So every time you [...]

No, I will NOT take a deep breath!

By | April 20th, 2014|Adults, Teens|

Ever have a situation that really makes you fume? I'm talking about the kind of thing that makes you go from irritated to furious in .25 seconds? When you feel as though you could literally start having a 2-year-old tantrum while clenching your fists and screaming at the top of your lungs out of pure frustration? If you've never felt this way, I applaud you, and would really like to know how you pull off that inner calm. I may be a psychologist, but that doesn't mean I've mastered emotional control 100 percent of each and every day. In fact, [...]

A case of the grumpies or childhood depression: How to figure it out in just a few easy steps

By | March 15th, 2014|Children (ages 0-5), Children (ages 6-9), Teens, Tweens (ages 10-12)|

People often think childhood depression is a myth. I mean, what could a kid possibly be depressed about? A lot, as it turns out... school difficulties, problems with friends, family conflict, health concerns; the list is endless. But the majority of kids experience at least some stress at one time or another, and not every child is depressed. So how does it happen? Good question. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 11 percent of kids have a depressive disorder by the age of 18. However, depending on who you talk to, the causes of childhood depression are varied. [...]