May 202014

Bounce (Photo credit: JanetR3)


“Mom, LOOK!” shrieks the bouncing fourth-grader, waving a flier under your nose.  “It’s time to sign up for _________.” (circus camp, music lessons, archery)

A parental ‘deer in the deadlights moment,’ for sure.  How do you balance an already over-packed schedule, a child’s enthusiasm and time at home? After all, until we get used to it, any new activity takes up a lot of space.

Children think about new uniforms and teammates. Parents wonder about sign-ups, physicals, practice schedules, transportation, equipment, fund-raising, banquets and whatever else will be asked.  And, while most of us would like our kids to have a wide range of experiences, it’s not always possible to enroll them in everything that appeals to them.

What happens when you do give in to a child’s begging only to discover that he doesn’t like it as much as he thought he would?  Or, that she doesn’t really have a knack for it? And, now that you’ve got the ‘support structure’ in place, they want to quit the team? What’s a parent to do when they find that a child is floundering in a new activity?

It’s can be a tough call.  Before they leave a troublesome or difficult activity behind, is there something that they can learn that will help them to do better the next time?  Is there potential benefit in participating without being a ‘star’?

Sometimes the real trophy is the character-building that comes with warming a bench and leading the cheers.  The opportunity to learn to maintain a positive attitude when they’re rather be doing something else may be well-worth all the carpools, extra laundry and snack schedules combined.



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Mar 262014


James Jasper, motor brakeman, and his family e...

(J. Jasper, motor brakeman, and his family eat dinner in their kitchen in home in company housing project. Koppers. Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Haven’t  you ever wished there was ONE single, simple thing that you could do to help your kids be strong and safe?

Most parents worry about how their children will react to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs…. not to mention stressing about grades, higher education and whether or not there’s involvement in some portion of the bullying triangle.

But if there really was one simple action you could take to help your child in ALL of those areas, you’d do it, right?  Of course you would.

It turns out there is such a thing.  It’s called ‘family dinner.’  It turns out that besides building strong bodies dinner together also builds resilience: the skills that make up our ability to bounce back from tough times.  Kids who have those skills tend to make choices that are in their own best interest.   In other words, building ‘bounce back’ helps increase the odds that our children will stay drug-free and stay in school.

In addition, according to, young people whose parents teach them about  risks related to the use of alcohol and other drugs are up to 50% less likely to use than those who do not!

Ready for more good news?  There are actions parents can take to influence their children’s resilience: one of  them is having dinner together as a family.  When we know what is happening in our kids’ lives parents are better able to provide leadership, support and guidance.  A few minutes of quality communication each day is a good start.


Want more info like this?  Be sure to check out our Resources for Parents page. (And of course, always feel free to suggest the ones you’d like me to add!)




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