The Importance of Teens + Play this Holiday

Nov 28, 2018

Hey Julie~

Over the holidays, when my kids were little we played pretend all the time. I admit I got a little bored of being a magic horse that could also make chocolate chip cookies, but I knew it was important. Now that my kids are older (tweens and teens) I’m wondering if we’re still supposed to be “playing”, and if so, how do you play with a 12 year old?

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By nature, we are born to play; it’s instinctual. Play is still incredibly important to adolescents. It helps them thrive by connecting their ideas, feelings, and creativity, to what they understand about the world. It helps to further develop their sense of well-being and identity. Play can also help develop a sense of command and resiliency over their responses to tragedies, setbacks, and obstacles. Additionally, if a teen is experiencing anxiety, play can calm and relax him while simultaneously stimulating the brain and body. Truly, play is fundamental to physical, emotional, and social...

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How you and your Teen can Stress Less this Holiday Season

Nov 21, 2018

It feels like just yesterday I was sitting on the bay of the river, toes in sand, watching the fireworks above me. Today, I’m sitting on the living room floor, toes wrapped in wool socks, watching my teens argue over what pie we should have and tossing around ornaments for a tree that won’t up be up for another few weeks.

Yep, the holiday season is upon us. This truly is my favorite time of year where we celebrate family, friends, tradition, and spirit. Yet, all too often, we stumble and trip through the season only to begin the new year overwhelmed and exhausted. And, it’s not just you.

The American Psychological Association conducted a survey that found that adolescents and young adults report the highest level of stress among all ages. When their holiday overwhelm is paired with other seasonal stressors such as fewer hours of daylight, changes in routines, holiday guests, academic workload, finals, college applications and more, they return to the daily grind...

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Three Simple Ways to Show Teens They Matter

Oct 04, 2018

Do you remember when you were younger and thought anything was possible? Perhaps Superman was your hero, and you were convinced that draping a towel over your shoulders and jumping off the sofa made you just like him. Or maybe you loved Dorothy Hamill (yes, I’m dating myself now) and promptly got a cute haircut and skated around your house with your shoebox-inspired carpet skates. Do you remember when the possibilities in life were limitless?

Do you also remember when you convinced yourself that nothing was possible? Perhaps your parents said there was no way you could ever fly (breaking your wrist didn't help the case, did it?), or your best friend laughed at your now-not-so-trendy haircut. Whatever the case, mountains may have seemed too high to scale, and confidence no longer fueled your youthful naïveté. Those feelings impacted your choices, and they are impacting your child's, too.

You see, today's youth have those same feelings of power and powerlessness....

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Parenting Teens Can Feel Hard: Musings on Raising Teens

Aug 31, 2018

Parenting teens and human natureStarting today with a big ol' parenting teens truth bomb.

(this will be a bit rambling but here goes...) 

Parenting teens is hard, and, then it’s easy. Then, it will be hard again. Then, it will be confusing. Really confusing before it becomes scary, exciting, frustrating, funny, weird, and wild. It will be sticky and shiny and dirty and colorful and lonely and social. Parenting teens is life. Your life and your teens.

Stop looking for the “right” way and choose the way that works for you and your family.  Parenting is not about being the best parent or having the best child. It’s about being the best parent for your kids. It’s about being the best you for you. Being what is best for your teen means letting go … of control, of guilt, of excuses, of perfection to parent the teen you have right now - not the perfect one seen on TV or online. You can aim for perfection every time but you will always end up human. Be human.

The...

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Five Things to Do to Understand your New Normal with Tweens

Aug 23, 2018

Help me, Julie! My daughter is getting ready to start 6th grade, and, all of a sudden, she seems like a totally different kid. Overnight she seemed to change from my little girl to full-blown teenager!! It’s making my head spin! Is this normal?

Your new normalPicture this … a 12-year-old girl proudly bats her mascara’ed-lashes at the cute boy in her English class. Hours later, she shrieks that, “Ew! He put a booger on my desk. He’s so gross!.” In the evening, she thinks about the other boy she has been chatting with on her forbidden SnapChat account before falling asleep under her bubblegum pink comforter surrounded by all her stuffed animals. Tweens and early teens often seem dramatic, irrational, and scream-y in one moment and cheerful, giddy, and loving the next.  They have a deep need for independence and for tender care. Many parents shake their heads wondering if their child is crazy or possessed.

Let me assure you, they are neither. Rather, this...

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