Enhancing children's lives through parent and teacher education.

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Interruptions are a part of life. As adults we've come to expect some interruptions and, for the most part, handle them with a certain amount of grace. When we're on the phone, for example, and our call waiting interrupts, we either ignore it or ask the person to whom we're talking to please wait, our other line is ringing and we'll get right back to them.

Why is it, then, that the interruptions children cause are so much more frustrating? Could it be that, unlike call waiting, children interrupt 15 times in a single minute? Could it be they're more...

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, romance is in the air. Or not, as the case may be. For teenagers whose sexuality is just beginning to bud, or for those without a boy or girl friend, this can be a challenging time of year. Deluged with romantic “hype,” teens can feel like losers if they don’t have a significant other or if they’re not ready for a romantic or sexual relationship. And for teens who are discovering a same sex orientation, this time of year can be particularly difficult.

Most teens face the prospect of romance armed with entirely...

July, 2006. It is a summer of transition for me. This week, my daughter turns 18 and in the Fall she will begin an independent life at Northwestern University. I can hardly believe it. When she was born people said, "Cherish this time. It goes so fast." Like most new parents we didn't understand that advice. As a matter of fact, the days seemed endless. At one point I was convinced that she would never be older than 2 months, 6 night feedings, 8 poopy diapers and 24 hours of uncomfortable colic. But she did get older, stopped eating throughout the night, began...

We're moving from the bright greens of summer to the brilliant colors of fall. Our children are making the transition from summer to school, and from flexible schedules to structure. How, during this time of transition and in the school year beyond, can we maintain a sense of the fun that summer brings? Fun that binds our children to us in a way that nothing else can? When children and parents have fun together: playing, laughing and relaxing, the underlying structure of the relationship is strengthened. And it is that underlying strength that sustains both...

"Don't talk to strangers."

"Speak when someone asks you a question."

"Don't take anything from strangers."

"Be polite."

Do these seem to be contradictory statements? They are. Yet as parents, we admonish our children with words similar to these on a regular basis. With the number of child abduction cases growing it is time to stop and rethink some of the things we say to our children that may make them easy prey to kidnapping.

Obviously, we've got to talk to our children about the potential danger from...

The Internet has been described as an information superhighway which will create one global village, drawing people closer and providing them with a wealth of information. This seductive reasoning sounds good at first hearing: for example, we no longer have to step out of our homes to look up information at the library, it's at our fingertips in our very own homes. We can converse with people all over the globe, learning more about other cultures. Because they are virtually faceless and nameless, our differences have less of a chance of getting in the way of our...

Almost every child has had fears that relate to scary creatures -- monsters under the bed, "things" lurking in the dark, imagined goblins or ghouls or things that go bump in the night. And almost every child has had fears that could be true, but aren't -- like what happens if mommy leaves but doesn't come back?

The "prescription" in such cases pretty much boils down to the same thing -- patting them, reassuring them and making them go to bed anyway, or leaving the house in spite of the howling, knowing that they're safe and that you will, indeed, be...

The New Year is here. It's the final year of the decade and the doorway to the new millennium. It's a wonderful time to make resolutions, especially resolutions that have to do with your most valuable gift -- your family. Here are some suggestions that will infuse your family with health and send it into the millennium with joy:

* Spend time together. We live in a very busy world. Sometimes it's easy to bypass the things that are important to us and that we should be spending the most time on - like our family. After all, when we're done getting...

"Family Values" seems to be a catch-all term used haphazardly by the media to imply that values in families are lacking in our society today. A "return to family values" further implies that we've gone astray from some old-fashioned yet fundamental truth. Perhaps, it hints, if we "simplify" our lives, reject the complexities of our current society, perhaps even find a log cabin in the woods somewhere and live as a family of hermits, we will recapture - for ourselves and our children - something that is lost yet essential to family life.

I would argue...

I recently asked a group of mothers what each of their days was like: when the day began, what it was filled with, and when it ended. Almost to a person, each woman gets up between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m. and her day ends between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. The women are responsible for fixing meals (one Mom fixed 5 meals every morning!), rousing the children from their beds, and getting them off to school. Their days center on kids and spouses. I inquired as to whether any of them took time for themselves. Most had carved out time to go to the gym or meditate, one woman...

“My 5 year old told me he went on a field trip today and he didn’t. Why would he lie?”

"My 8 year old said she’d done her homework, but I found it under the bed unfinished.

"My 10 year old broke the lamp in the living...

When teachers and parents work together towards the well being of their children in the school environment, the benefit to the children is enormous. Children experience faster adjustment to school, establish a more trusting relationship with the teacher, and derive a sense of safety and security which allows them to be more open as learners among other things.



Sometimes, though, it seems as though parents work directly AGAINST teachers rather than with them. This creates, at best, a frustrating situation and at worst a power struggle that...

Recently a mother told me that her eight year old daughter asked if they were “in danger” because of the economic crisis.  “In danger” is an interesting expression, isn’t it?  For me, it brings up 9/11 all over again, because (at least for those of us here in New York City) we felt as though we were in real and present danger for quite a while after those planes crashed into our beloved Towers. 

So when a child asks if we’re “in danger” because of the economy, my first reaction is a fairly strong: “No!” 

Now please don’t misunderstand.  The crisis is, of course,...

Historically, parents have relied upon the teachings of their elders to know how to raise their children. From breast-feeding to disciplining, the extended members of the family provided advice and support about child rearing. With the advent of the modern, industrialized society, people moved long distances away from their relatives, and thus, long distances away from the "advice" of fellow family members. Suddenly, parents were fending for themselves in the realm of child-rearing. A sense of isolation and sometimes even helplessness at how best to raise our...

Creating a blueprint for your family to follow means engaging in a series of family discussions where your values, morals and beliefs are put into words. These words become the substance of the blueprint, which then serves as a guideline for each family member's behavior, choices, and treatment of one another. Because each member of the family subscribes to the plan, they stop operating as individuals with a "me first" mentality and instead operate as a whole. In addition, they internalize a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. Stephen R. Covey...

Whether "Grandma and Grandpa" live in the city or in a different state altogether, some people find that visiting them is a relaxing and positive experience. Maybe you get that much needed 1/2 hour of extra sleep while Grandma feeds the kids breakfast. Or Grandpa takes the kids for a walk and you have the opportunity to begin that novel you've been dying to read all winter. On the other hand, many people find that visiting their parents causes an unexplained emotional return to adolescence, wherein they become 12 years old, tongue tied, exasperated and sometimes...

When four year olds begin finding "bathroom talk" funny, parents usually dismiss the "you're a poo poo head" with a shrug of the shoulders. "It's just a phase," parents will say. And indeed, this type of "humor" does seem to pass by the time a child is around five or six years of age. Yet when those same children begin experimenting with four letter words, very few parents will dismiss it with "it's just a phase." Indeed, children's initial experimentation with four letter words often shocks and inflames parents. Some parents respond with moral imperatives: "We do...

Every morning Janice's daughter, Samantha, would fight with her about her clothes. Even if they'd picked the outfit out the night before, the next morning it would be the same old complaint, "I'm not wearing that, I hate it!" One day, however, Samantha simply put the clothes on without complaining. As mother and daughter walked out the door to go to school, Samantha turned to her mom and said with an exclamation of surprise, "Mom! We forgot our fight today!"

Sometimes parents and children get stuck in a negative cycle in which fighting, or misbehavior...

Traditional medicine such as ancient Chinese, Asian, Indian, Greek, Native American, along with more modern therapies, such as homeopathy and naturopathy, consider health to be a condition of wholeness. A condition in which body, mind, and spirit direct our life in equal proportion so that there is balance and harmony among all aspects of our being. In this state, health and healing flourish because our body is capable of healing itself when it is placed in a balanced condition. The healer merely works to re-align that balance.

This kind of health is...

Language learning is a natural process. As active observers of their environment, children constantly take in and process the sounds, sights, smells and other sensations that ultimately help them make sense of their world. But when does language learning begin?

Research strongly suggests that language is linked to a baby's initial exposure to sounds in utero. The fetus is bathed in the sounds of its mother's voice beginning at a gestational age 7 months. Some baby books actually suggest speaking to the fetus and putting headphones that amplify...