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teenage girl acting out

The “Why” Behind Your Child’s Behaviors

When you see or experience a child or teen acting out, what is often your first thought? For most, that first reactionary thought is not one of empathy nor is it thinking about the deeper meaning behind the behavior. If you take a step back and search to understand why a child may be having a certain “undesirable” attitude or outburst, it can solve the problem in a faster, friendlier, and less stressful way.
Two people sitting together with coffee.

A Defense of Winter and the Custom of "Hygge"

A year ago, I came across the Danish custom of “hygge” (pronounced “hoo-gah”). “Hygge” doesn’t have an exact translation in English. According to the New York Times article where I first came across the term, a close translation is “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” The feelings I experience in winter of safety, comfort, and community are in line with hygge.
A child with an anxious mind.

How To Help My Child’s Anxiety

It feels like the last three years have seen an uptick in anxiety, especially for children. This time has been scary for adults, let alone developing children who are just beginning to learn and explore the world outside of their home. With all these recent stressors, how can we help keep kids feeling safe and secure in today’s world?  
sitting by the lake and reflecting

Ending Summer With Gratitude

Labor Day has come and gone, and while for many this means the end of summer – we still have a few weeks left of sunshine and warm temperatures before fall truly sets in. If you are struggling with the idea of transitioning seasons like I am, maybe these practices will help you find your own gratitude and move into fall and winter more peacefully.
holding hands

A Responder's Perspective on Suicide Prevention

As a family responder, working with youth who struggle with suicidality (deliberately hurting oneself with an intent to die) is a routine part of my job. Parents are often not provided with the same skill set as mental health professionals, yet they are the “first responders” when it comes to their child’s mental health. In my years working with suicidal youth and their families, I’ve noticed trends in the information I share with parents.
Foster parent giving support to the child.

When the Only Solution Is to Just Be There

Some days feel full of doom and gloom, others are full of light and humor. As soon as we get used to what we think will become the “norm,” he reminds us that there is still a lot that he is silently dealing with. I have yet to find “normal” as a foster parent.  
A child arriving at school.

Back to School: Bubbling Excitement or Anxiety Provoking?

As parents, caregivers, or guardians, the aspect of going back to school is often exciting. While this can be exciting for students, too, anxiety often rears its ugly head. There are simple things parents, caregivers, and/or guardians can do to minimize the anxiety students feel about going back to school.
Picture of oxygen masks

Keeping Your Oxygen Mask On

One of the most important things I’ve learned as a mom to three sons is the oxygen mask metaphor. It’s second nature to put our children’s needs before our own. But that is a surefire path to burnout. Taking care of yourself so you have the resources (the oxygen) to be a healthy and effective parent is so important. 
Picture of a parent and two kids playing with toys.

Making Time for Family Fun

Often the fun activities in life get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. When this happens, I encourage caregivers to take a few minutes to complete the following activity adapted from the “Together Facing the Challenge” curriculum.
Teen and Parent

How to Have Genuine Conversations With Your Teen

Getting your teen to open up and participate in a genuine conversation can be difficult. So, how do you foster a genuine conversation based on truth, mutual respect, and understanding?