Parenting Articles about Routine & Structure

Why routine and structure are vital to your child's life. Parenting strategies that help you implement family structure.
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Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

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?

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

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.

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Poor Hygiene in Children: My Kid Stinks-Help!

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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Consistent Parenting: How to Unlock the Secret

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.

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Do You Dread Coming Home To Your Kids?

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?”

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

Stop the Show: Putting a Lid on Your Childs 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.

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Who Wears the Watch in Your Family? Why Clear, Direct Statements Are Important

Blogger When my son Mason was four he would ask me to do things. “Can I watch a movie? Can we go to the park? Can I ride my bike?” After his inquiries, I typically would consult my watch, the keeper of all activity. He has a couple of watches that he likes to wear. They might as well be in Egyptian, though, because he of course can’t tell time. Anyway, today he asked me if he could do something, I consulted my timepiece as usual and gave him my answer of “no” which he didn’t like. He then said, “Daddy, can you put on my watch?” I said, “sure.” He enjoys wearing a watch from time to time. As I was strapping on his Thomas the Train watch, he said, “Daddy, when you ask me something, I’ll look at my watch and tell you what to do.” Oh really? I’m sure one day he’ll also tell me that I look at my watch too much. He’ll be right.
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Is Your Family Watching Too Much TV? (You're Not Alone!)

Parent Blogger A Nielsen Co. reports kids are watching more television than ever and television viewing for children ages 2-11 is the highest since 1995.? Kids ages 6-11 watch 28 hours a week with about 4.5 hours on DVD.? And worse, kids age 2-5 are watching 32 hours?yes, that's even more than the 6-11 year-olds, presumably because they're not in school. I'm not surprised about the Nielsen numbers.
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How to Get Your Sleepyhead out of Bed Part II: The Curse of the Howler Monkey Alarm Clock

Blogger Our family comes from a long line of big sleepers. When our son was smaller, other parents would enviously ask, Wow, how do you get him to sleep until 10 a.m.? We'd just shrug and say, It's in the genes. But when Alex started school last year, those genes became a real problem. You see, waking our son is a bit more challenging than raising a zombie from the dead.? In my desperation, I rather short-sightedly purchased a howler monkey alarm clock for his bedroom. (You can read about that episode here.) The clock disappeared suddenly last fall. No one is fessing up, but I believe my husband might have been the culprit. (And I have to say, I understand. The howler monkey scream was making him twitchy in the mornings.) Still, it wasn't a big issue because Alex attended afternoon kindergarten; sleeping in was a perk.
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A Back-to-School Checklist for the Single Parent

Parent Blogger Yes, it is time to get our kids back on a school schedule. My blog post might just be a reminder for some, but it could be a very important checklist for the new single parent. With that in mind, I've gathered a lot of great suggestions from other single parents who have been there before, and know what works.
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3 Kids, 5 Schedules and One Frazzled Mom: How I Lost -- Then Regained -- My Sanity This Summer!

Parent Blogger Despite my best intentions to simplify the summer calendar, my daughter asks me, When are we going to get to sleep in late? My parent blog for EP at the end of the school year proclaimed that I was going to do things differently this year and let my kids run and be kids and have fun this summer. I promised to have a relaxing summer, a calm time free from schedules and full of green grass and outdoor time. I have some confessions...er, I mean comments, on how it is really going. Let me set the scene for you:
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