Articles by Debbie Pincus MS LMHC

Encouragement and Empowerment for Moms (With FREE Parenting Mantras!)

Feeling underappreciated goes with the territory of parenting. As a mom, how many times have you wished for more acknowledgement for all you do—from your children, your mate or society? And how many times have you been disappointed when you didn’t see or feel that acknowledgement and encouragement coming back to you? Read More

Estranged from Your Adult Child? 5 Things You Can Do

If your adult child has cut you out of his or her life—whether for a long or short time—it is a gut-wrenching experience, provoking deep feelings of shame, guilt, bewilderment, and hurt, all of which can easily turn to anger. On top of that, it can also arouse people’s worst suspicions (surely, the Smiths must be terrible parents for their daughter to cut them off like that!) and leave you feeling judged, even by friends and family. Read More

Struggling Child? 3 Things He Needs from You Now

If your child is struggling—socially, academically or behaviorally—he is probably getting a lot of your attention right now. So much attention, in fact, that you may feel like you have nothing left for yourself at the end of the day. Working, taking your child to tutoring or counseling, running back to school to pick up his forgotten homework, and arguing with him daily about responsibilities can leave you depleted—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Read More

6 Ways to Stop Sibling Bickering and Rivalry

“Mom, he just called me a bad name.”  “I did not, you liar!” “He did too, Mom, and he always does; you just never see it!” “Get lost, you brat; you’re such a baby!” “I hate you!” Read More

Anger, Guilt and Spending on Kids: 8 Questions to Ask Before Buying Anything

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I find myself wondering how many parents are saying to themselves things like: “We spent big money just last year on a new PlayStation and now my son says he wants an Xbox! Why can’t he be happy with what he has?” If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Read More

Parental Anxiety? 5 Ways to Relieve the Worry

Sometimes we parents don’t think we are anxious because we are not trembling in our boots.  Often there is no visible sign of how anxious we are.  Yet when we look inside our heads, we notice that we spend a lot of time thinking about our kids—sometimes scary thoughts about things that haven’t even happened. These “awfulizing” thoughts can sound something like this: Read More

Punishments vs. Consequences: Which Are You Using?

Do these situations sound familiar? Your 10-year-old won’t listen to you when you tell her to come inside for dinner. You rack your brain for a way to change this behavior so that in the future she will do as you ask. Your teenager breaks curfew – again. You thought you had addressed this with him the last time he got home late, but here you go again. As parents, we know the importance of parenting from our principles, things like teaching our children to own up to their actions and face the fallout when they make poor choices.  And you’ve tried.  You’ve talked to your child over and over, you’ve explained your reasoning repeatedly. You’ve given them restrictions, taken things away and grounded them for a month. Yet nothing seems to be getting through. It could be time to look at the difference between punishing your child and using consequences. Read More

Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

We all know that kids can act in many disrespectful and rude ways to parents: they can slam doors, roll their eyes, and tell you they hate you, to name a few. It’s natural to get very worried and frustrated and wonder if these types of behaviors constitute out-and-out abuse, or just “rudeness and mild disrespect.” How can a parent know when these rebellious and rude behaviors have crossed over a boundary and gone way too far? Read More

How to Stop Worrying and Avoid Helicopter Parenting: Don't Do These 6 Things

“When I was young, my mom and dad sent us out to play in the morning in our neighborhood, and we didn’t come home until dinner time,” a friend said to me recently. “But times have changed. I feel like I have to keep constant tabs on my kids. I wish they could have the kind of childhood I did, but what can I do? I need to make sure they’re safe.” Read More

Positive Parenting: 5 Rules to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

Do your kids drive you crazy? If you were asked to describe them, after saying, "He's a good kid, but..." would you use words like “defiant,” “whiny,” “unmotivated,” “disrespectful,” “angry,” or “demanding,” with a few positives sprinkled in? If the negatives loom larger in your mind than the positives, the first thing to realize is that this is natural. We parents are human after all, which means we tend to look for what’s wrong with our offspring so that we can focus on what we should “fix” in them. Somehow this calms us down; we believe we are improving their chances of long-term survival in an often difficult world. Read More

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids: Use These 10 Tips

Calm Parenting—most of us aspire to it, desire it, and even promise ourselves we’re going to do it—but it’s so difficult to sustain. We know how important it is to parent from our principles rather than from our fears, but despite our best intentions we lose it and end up yelling at those we love the most — our kids. Read More

How to Keep Calm and Guide Your Child to Better Behavior This Year

Have you been looking back on the last year, reflecting on how things went with your child? If so, perhaps you feel frustrated when you think about his or her behavior—and your reaction to it. Maybe you feel like no matter what you do, nothing changes. But understand that positive change can happen in your family. You’re not stuck in those negative patterns—you really do have the power to improve things, starting today. Read More

Demanding Children and Teens: Is Entitlement Just a Stage?

Your 10-year-old son begs you to buy him the newest video game. He cries, “All my friends have it. Why can’t you be like all the other parents? They buy their kids the stuff they want!” Or, your 16-year-old daughter is annoyed that she has to drive the old beat up Chevy to school. “I don’t want to be seen in this piece of junk! Have you seen what kind of cars the other kids drive!?” Read More

Manipulative Child Behavior? My Kids Are "Too Smart for Their Own Good"

Does this sound familiar? "My middle schooler blackmails me emotionally – he cries that I 'don’t care about him and love his brother more' when I ask him to stop playing his video games. It's true that he's a more difficult kid, and his words make me feel so bad that I often feel guilty and let him continue to play." Or "My teenager negotiates with me relentlessly to get her way. 'If you let me go to the party tonight,' she'll say, 'then I promise I'll get all my work done tomorrow.' I figure, why not? So I let her go. But then, 'Oops!' She conveniently forgets all her promises." Read More

The Single Parent Juggling Act: 5 Tips to Help You Manage

There’s a famous quote about Ginger Rogers that says, “She did everything that Fred Astaire did, only backwards.” In some ways, being a single parent is similar, except you’re doing everything other parents do, only solo. Read More

Ask Debbie: How to Motivate Your Child to do Better in School

There’s almost nothing as frustrating as dealing with a child or teen who’s unmotivated. You reason, plead, threaten and even fight with them, but nothing you say seems to sink in or make a difference. In fact, the more you argue, the less motivated they seem to become! Here's a secret: Even though you can’t make your child care, you can influence them to follow through on their responsibilities. Read More

My Child is Out of Control: How to Teach Kids to Manage Emotions

Most parents would love to see their kids manage their intense emotions without falling apart or taking their frustrations out on others. It's hard to watch your children react to their upset feelings by flying off the handle, holding a grudge, complaining or insulting the people around them when their emotions are running high. As parents, there are times when we simply don’t know what to do. Read More

Adult Children Living at Home Driving You Crazy?

Do you have an adult child living at home who’s driving you crazy in one way or another? Do they seem unable to do chores around the house, contribute financially, or be respectful? In recent years, because of the economy and lack of jobs, the old expectation that kids will move on and out of the house has almost disappeared. With an estimated 25 percent of adult kids of the Boomerang Generation living at home right now, millions of us are dealing with “extended parenting”—which involves a whole new set of concerns and pressures. Read More

Parental Roles: How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Your Child

People talk a lot about the need for “boundaries,” but what does this word really mean? As a parent, you can think of a boundary as the line you draw around yourself to define where you end and where your child begins. This isn’t always easy. The lines can get blurred when we see our kids struggling, when we have a defiant or argumentative child, or when we have adult kids living back at home. And let’s face it, kids push our boundaries every day, all the time. They are wired to test us and see how far they can go; it’s in their nature. But understand that one of our most important jobs as parents is to clearly state our principles—our own individual “bottom lines”—and then stick to them. Read More

Worried Sick About Your Child's Future? How to Stop the Anxiety

We’ve all been there: Your child misbehaves at a family gathering, and you leapfrog ahead to the future, where you see him making exactly the same kinds of mistakes in his adult life—times 10. Or your preteen daughter seems unmotivated at school and fails Algebra, and you start wondering if she’ll be able to graduate high school, or even hold a job some day. Read More