Bonding Activities With Your Teens

When our kids get older, it becomes harder and harder to connect with them.  But as parents, it’s especially important for us to continue to put in the extra effort it takes to cultivate relationships with our tweens and teens.  Check out my top ten ideas for engaging your teen in activities you’ll both enjoy:

Learn a new skill as a team.  Decide together what you’d like to learn and go for it.  Cooking, photography, music, and art classes are regular offerings in most communities.  Or learn how to kayak, play golf, or tennis.  Really feeling adventurous?  Learn a foreign language together!   

Play a game.  Sure traditional board games are great, but teens are hooked on their electronics and there are lots of fun games that you can enjoy with them.  For instance, play a game of ‘Words With Friends’ on your smart phones.  Start a two player game on a tablet.  Even see what those video games of theirs are all about.  I promise, it will be fun!   

Complete a project.  If you’re like me, then you probably have a lot of projects around your house that need completing!  Whether you wash the cars, paint a room, or work in the yard together, there’s a lot of satisfaction (and bonding) that comes from finishing a project together.  Or pick a DIY Pinterest inspired activity or craft and work with your teen to get it completed.

Share your hobbies.  Think about the things you like to do.  Now share those interests with your kids.  It could be taking them to your painting class, letting them make a scrapbook with you, or bringing them along to set up your fantasy football team. 

Learn about their hobbies too.  Have them play some of their favorite music for you and tell you about why they like it.  Watch a movie they love together.  Then let them tell you about their other interests and see where you can find common ground. 

Have them teach you.  Are you lost when it comes to social media?  When someone asks you to upload or download something do you even know what they are talking about?  Well, guess what?  You teen knows all these things.  Have them give you some tutorials.  You’ll know more and be impressed with how technologically savvy they are! [Read more...]


Supporting Our Friends With Autism

I have a close friend whose child was diagnosed with Autism when he was in preschool.  Over the years I’ve learned a lot from this family, but one thing has made the biggest impression on me both as a mom and a child psychologist.  It’s simply this: There is no way for any of us to truly understand what it is like to have a child with Autism unless you actually have one.

With the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) recently changing from 1 in 88 to 1 in 50 children, it’s likely that all of us know someone impacted by this disorder.  Given that likelihood, what can we do to support children with Autism and their families? I guarantee that if you walk in their shoes for just a little while you’ll have a much greater understanding and appreciation of both the joys and the struggles of Autism.  Here’s how:

First, educate yourself about Autism.  According to the Autism Speaks website, Autism is “characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”  Boys are four to five times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls.  Despite difficulties with social interactions and communication, many individuals with Autism “excel in visual skills, music, math and art.”  Websites like and both offer reliable and up to date information about Autism.  Also, NBC’s hit show, Parenthood, features a boy named Max who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder.  This show offers a realistic portrayal of Autism Spectrum Disorders and their day to day impact on families. [Read more...]


5 Unconditional Love Tips 4 Kids

Do your children ever misbehave? Bring home a bad grade?  Forget to clean their room?

If your kids are anything like mine, I’m sure your answer is yes, yes, and yes!  All children behave poorly at one time or another and most do things their parents wish they wouldn’t, mine included.

But despite their misbehavior, it’s critical that as parents we show our children that we love them no matter what.  That ‘no matter what’ kind of love is commonly referred to as ‘unconditional love.’ According to the dictionary, unconditional love is affection that is unlimited and without conditions.  That means no matter how poorly they behave, we still love them!

Why is it important to provide our kids with unconditional love?  For starters, it instills in them confidence and self-worth that will remain with them throughout their lives.  And the security that they get from knowing that their parents love them no matter what they do is priceless.  There are even recent studies that show that love is related to increased brain development in children.

It’s easy enough to agree that showing our children unconditional love is important.  But putting that concept into practice every day can sometimes be hard to do.  Try these five easy tips to show your children that your love for them is without limits: [Read more...]

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