-

Blogs and Articles

How can I enforce the rules of my house with my son's friends?

Truthfully, enforcing "house rules" should not be so different with your child's friends than enforcing them with your child. The key in both cases is to communicate your expectations respectfully, honestly and clearly, and to set up ahead of time some well-defined consequences for rules that get broken. Let's look at the different components as they might apply to a child who takes out too many toys at a time.

* Respect. Many times parents feel doubtful about enforcing "house...

Many parents feel extremely challenged by their children's disinterest in and / or adamant refusal to do homework. Having been told by their children's teachers how vital a role they play in their children's success in school, they feel responsible for making their child attend to their homework. Using a variety of techniques, which usually include badgering, threatening, nagging, pleading, demanding, and yelling, among others, they succeed only at alienating their child and inadvertently pushing their child further down the road of rebellion. But what's a parent...

At a seminar I gave, I spoke about the necessity of transmitting our values to our children, not only with words, but with actions. I talked about the need for children to have limits and for parents to remain firm in their convictions when they made decisions, especially decisions that are based on values. A woman raised her hand and said "But how do we do that? My nine year old daughter wanted to see "Titanic". I saw it: it had nudity, it was a love story and a tragedy, and I felt strongly that it was inappropriate for her. But all her friends saw it, and she...

Depending upon whether your child is entering preschool, on-going (elementary) school, middle school, high school or even college next year, this is the time of "acceptances" and "rejections." You may have already heard whether your child was accepted into a particular school, or you may still be waiting to hear. It is a time of anxiety and dread, of agony and ecstasy. And your child stands to be caught in the middle of a very adult phenomenon and to be burdened by it and suffer unduly because of it.

There are two times of the year when my office is...

When we gave our son his American Express PASS card, he immediately made a bid for more allowance. My reply: Let's sit down at a family meeting and we'll discuss it. In the meantime, I told him, he should think about what extra financial responsibilities he wants to take on with the additional allowance. Family meetings are a great way to maintain an ongoing discussion within which you can both support and teach your teen about money. I highly recommend that you have a family meeting once a week (at least in the beginning) to check in and see how things are going; to determine whether...
Since many people seem to be posting and re-posting the article by Amy Chua (Wall Street Journal, 1/8/2011) about how Chinese mothers are superior to Western mothers and appear to appreciate her point of view, I decided to share my thoughts on her article. As a well-known parenting expert who has not only raised two successful, happy children of my own, I have also extensively and intensively studied and taught parenting strategies for the past 21 years. With regard to Chua’s article, it was initially difficult for me to get past its decidedly racist slant. I couldn’t help wondering if...
At 18 years of age, I had already owned my first car for two years. Growing up in Texas, most individuals needed a car, and families often bought one for their teens to avoid scheduling snafus. I was in my first year of college and had always been adept at managing my money so as to never find myself in financial difficulty. Yes, I was a bit of a tightwad! But it served me well in terms of having money when I needed it. One morning I went out to start the car, turned the key and … nothing. Not even a click. Oh no, I thought to myself. I’m going to have to get someone to jump start it...
In a recent conversation with an old friend that I haven’t spoken to in years, she alluded to my “recent” blog, “The Empty Nest,” saying “How is it having your son away in college?” It shook me up to realize that a year-and-change has gone by since I wrote that blog and that for people reading it for the first time, it’s as if time stood still. I’m reminded of numerous examples in our lives as parents when we haven’t seen each other’s children for a while and we exclaim, “Oh my God, look at how tall you’ve gotten!” It’s as if we can’t envision time moving forward unless we, ourselves, are...

By Julie A. Ross, MA, with Seth Majnoon

“My daughter just told me that she’s non-binary and wants me to call her ‘they’ instead of “she.”  I asked her if that meant that she’s gay and she said, ‘No.’  I’m completely confused.  And what’s with ‘they?’ I mean, that’s plural, not...

I'm always astonished when I hear a parent proclaim, "I don't believe in giving my child an allowance." Sometimes this is accompanied by, "I'd rather just hand him cash when he asks" and /or "I don't want to spoil him." Either way, I'm puzzled by this attitude. Our job as parents is to raise our children to be functioning adults some day and adults need to know how to handle money. Children of all ages are experiential learners: they don't learn well if they're lectured about something – instead, they need to experience things themselves. This includes making mistakes and learning...
7:30 a.m. this morning: buzz, buzz, buzz. I hit the button on the alarm and it stopped. Well, I thought, I feel pretty good! That extra hour of sleep really makes a difference! Quick back story: my son, Dan, has been sick with the flu for 5 days. Last night he woke us up three times for various reasons, one of which was that he still has a 99.7 fever and couldn’t go to school today. That is when I reset my alarm from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. I swung my feet over the edge of the bed and stretched, looking back at my husband as I did so. Still asleep. My eyes rested momentarily on the alarm...
Last night at around 9:30 p.m. my nineteen year old son, who is a new and enthusiastic runner, decided to go out to Central Park for a run. My fingers knitted together and my brow was close behind. “Running? Now? It’s 9:30.” I said. My son looked at me with a gently benevolent and only slightly patronizing expression, “Mom, I’m six feet tall, it’ll be fine.” So he left. And I got ready for bed. And fell asleep the way mothers do – with one ear open waiting for him to come home. Which he did, of course. But it got me thinking about motherhood and the demon of worry that we seem to...

I received an excellent question to my article “My Child is Non-Binary and I’m Confused.”  Someone wrote in and asked, “I have friends and work colleagues who are transgender. [Sometimes I slip up and misgender them.] Interesting that I am slipping more with my friends. It upsets me when I do it. I immediately apologize and try to validate what I imagine is pain, anger and frustration. I would … like to identify steps I [can] take to not misgender again. I have not asked my friend if he has suggestions as I don’t know if that would be more upsetting.” 

...
While staying with my grown daughter during part of our vacation, I noticed that she seemed to have a clear financial plan with regard to spending money on items that she needs as well as on things that she wants, so I asked her how she creates a balance between the two. Interestingly, while I thought there was a clear differentiation between “needs” vs. “wants,” she asked for clarification. I explained that “needs” are things like toilet paper, food, gas money, etc. “Wants” are things like a new pair of shoes if you already have perfectly serviceable ones. She nodded and replied, “I make...
Ok, in my defense I was asleep. Or at least I had been just moments before when I was awakened by my 17 year old son who said (in a neutral tone of voice), “Hey Mom. I got accepted into the Film department at UT.” To backtrack a bit before confessing my parenting sin, you should know that my son has three top choices on his college list. The order in which he preferred one over the other seemed to be semi-fluid for a while, but University of Texas at Austin had risen to the top with two contingencies: 1) He would be admitted to his major – Film -- and 2) He would get into Plan II which is...

I voted for Hillary.  Please don’t let that make you stop reading if you made a different choice from me.  I’m not writing to tell anyone that their choice was wrong.  I am writing to help parents whose children woke up after the election and were afraid.  I’m writing to help give them the words to calm their children and move forward.

On Election night, as the results became clear, my beautiful 28 year old daughter called me, sobbing.  I cried along with her for a while and then I pulled myself together and became a parent. I told her the following.

Half of this...

“Dan?” I asked my son, “I’m curious about how you budget your money. I mean, how do you save for things you don’t have to buy on a daily basis?” “Budgets just make sense to me,” he said, “they seem intuitive.” An interesting answer because, while budgets also felt intuitive to me growing up, I don’t think that’s the norm. In fact I think for many people the impulse purchase feels more “intuitive.” If you think about it, that’s why product placement in stores is so very important. Most people are more likely to pick up a candy bar at the cash register than to walk up and down the...
Andrea, the mother of three year old Max, was stressed when she called me. “He’s driving me crazy,” she said, “he insists that I drop everything to look something up about the Tigris River and when I tell him that he has to wait he has the most explosive temper tantrum you’ve ever seen. Then, when I put him in a time out, just to calm him down, he writes me a note of apology, so that was sweet, but I just can’t take the irrational behavior!” Another mother, Joan, called to tell me that her daughter, Suzanna, was in danger of being kicked out of preschool for being argumentative. The most...

I recently got an email from someone who wanted a “female voice” to read at an event.  The subject of the email was “Ladies.” I found myself tremendously bothered by the email, but not initially sure why.  After reflecting on it for a day or two, I came to some realizations.

First, it rankles me to be called a lady.  Even though I am a cisgender female, I don’t identify as a “lady.” When someone calls me that I immediately disconnect. It conjures up specific images of parasols, cinched waists and luncheons with others who look like...

If I had to choose just one financial lesson for teens to learn before they head into young adulthood it would be the lesson of how money works in real life. In my last post, I said that I don’t believe you should pay your teen for doing chores or getting good grades. In fact, I don’t believe your teen should have to “earn” his allowance in any way. How, then, do we reconcile that with the fact that in “real life” money is earned, not just handed to you? I believe this question arises from a misconception about the definition of allowance. As I stated last time, I define allowance as...