Establishing Routine & Structure

Why routine and structure are vital to your child's life. Parenting strategies that help you implement family structure.

Homework and Bedtime Arguments: 8 Tips for Calmer Nights with Kids

“Why can’t I get my kids to get their homework done and off to bed without the constant screaming, bickering, and crying?” If you’ve asked yourself this question regularly, you’re not alone.  Parents tell me that homework and bedtime battles are some of the most nerve-wracking, exhausting moments of parenthood. No wonder. When everyone is coming home tired and cranky, homework and getting ready for bed are prime fodder for arguments. But with some simple, thoughtful changes, you can develop a Calm Evening Plan that will make things a lot less stressful for you and your kids. Read More

“Our Morning Routine Isn’t Working”— 6 Ways to Fix It Now 

Maybe you started out the school year on the right foot. All those late summer discussions about your kids getting organized, laying their clothes out the night before, getting out of bed on time, fixing their own breakfast, getting through the morning without arguments—you really thought you got through to them. Read More

6 Brain Training Exercises for Children and Teens

When you look at kids and people in general, it’s easy to see that we all have differences in our “wiring,” in how our brains work.  As a parent, you see these differences between your children every day.  Your son is great at figuring out how long it will take him to write that English paper while your daughter always seems to think she’ll get it done in an hour, even though she never does. Or one child remembers everything she’s told, while the other can’t remember a log-in and password a minute after you just said it. Read More

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer? Read More

6 Ways to Manage Tantrums, Misbehavior and Meltdowns During the Holidays

If you have a child or teen who misbehaves, the holidays can be a source of infinite stress and anxiety. Your individual expectations of the holidays can be seriously at odds: you expect to have a nice, shared time with your whole family and maybe attend some larger family gatherings; they expect to get every gift they demand, and they intend to spend their school break staying up late, sleeping in, and playing video games. The resulting holiday season can be filled with tantrums, obnoxious behavior, and lots of yelling and screaming. Read More

Poor Hygiene in Children: "My Kid Stinks-Help!"

“My kid is such a pig! I can’t take it anymore!”
Every day we talk to parents on the Parental Support Line whose kids won’t shower or brush their teeth for days—or weeks—on end. Maybe your child refuses to put on deodorant or wash his face. Perhaps your daughter wears the same lived-in clothes every day and rarely brushes (or shampoos) her hair. If this sounds like your child or teen, you are not alone. It’s incredibly frustrating to deal with a kid who is refusing to take care of him or herself. And many parents feel very strongly that their child’s hygiene is a reflection on their parenting. They say, “I just can’t let her leave the house like that!” This is a natural response. It’s also normal for kids to go through phases during which keeping up with hygiene can be really challenging, particularly during the beginning of puberty. So what’s a parent to do? Read on for more information and ideas that will help. Read More

Teenage Boot Camps, Wilderness Programs and Military Schools: Are They Effective?

When you have a defiant, out-of-control teen, the idea of sending him to a boot camp or wilderness experience program can sound attractive—and also scary. Perhaps you’ve heard some amazing stories, with claims of wildly successful, life-saving results. On the other hand, you’ve probably also heard the horror stories: allegations of abuse and mistreatment that have, in some tragic cases, resulted in injury and death. This, coupled with the fact that sending your child away is heartbreaking and difficult, makes it the hardest decision a parent ever has to make. Read More

9 Back to School Behavior Tips:
How to Set Up a Structure That Works

It’s that time again—all around us, TV ads and store posters depict happy children and teens in back–to–school mode. But if the thought of your child starting school fills you with dread, you’re not alone. Right now, thousands of parents across the country are asking themselves, “How am I going to get my child up on time, get him to do his homework and make sure he stays out of trouble this year?” Janet Lehman, MSW tells you how to establish structure in your house before the school year starts—and what to do if you haven’t. Read More

Restless and Bored: How to Use Structure to Keep Your Child from Getting into Trouble This Summer

Summer vacation has arrived, and so have calls to the support line from parents who are pulling their hair out about their kids now that school is out. Why is the end of school an invitation for kids to cause trouble—with siblings, friends and parents? Read More

Consistent Parenting: How to Unlock the Secret

"Being consistent is the hardest thing of all," many parents tell us. And it’s so true—it’s easy to lay down a rule and then let it slide when you’re tired or in a hurry. In this article, James Lehman explains why consistency is the key to your child’s behavior—and tells you ways to keep on track when you feel like giving up. Read More

Do You Dread Coming Home To Your Kids?

“On the way home from work every day, I start getting stressed out because I know that my 15-year-old son will be there waiting, ready to start a fight with me. There are times when I just want to turn the car around and not deal with him anymore, but I know that’s wrong. I’m so tired of the screaming matches and power struggles. What can I do?” Read More

Stop the Show: Putting a Lid on Your Child’s Attention-seeking Behavior

Some children think they’re the center of the universe, and behave as if everyone should revolve around them like the planets orbit the sun. From the 10-year-old “diva” who demands center stage at all times to the 17-year-old who takes out his frustrations on his family when his girlfriend breaks up with him, this attention-seeking behavior can be exhausting for everyone. Read More