Articles About Younger Children

Attention-Seeking Behavior in Young Children: Do’s and Don’ts for Parents

Even though she was only three years old, Mallory knew exactly how to get attention from her parents. When she wanted a Popsicle before dinner, she’d whine and hang on to her father’s pant leg as he cooked. She’d continue until her dad caved in; of course, by that point, he was willing to do anything to make her stop. When she didn’t want to go to bed, she’d run around the house as her parents chased her; eventually, they’d give up and let her stay up an hour later. And when Mallory wanted to watch a video, even though she was told no numerous times, she’d scream until she eventually got her way. Why do young children seek attention in ways that can be so annoying? And why do we, as parents, give in? Read More

Negotiating with Kids: When You Should and Shouldn’t

Does it seem like every time you tell your child “No,” it turns into a tug-of-war? One mom shared with us recently, “Absolutely everything’s an argument with my son. Even the simplest request. He just can’t take no for an answer. It’s so frustrating!”  Many parents find themselves in a negotiation with their children when they are met with any kind of resistance. Negotiating is an important life skill. By definition, it means coming to an agreement through discussion. It’s about finding a middle or common ground.  But negotiation can also mean to get over or around something, such as negotiating the vacuum around the furniture. When it comes to children, they often try to negotiate “around” us to get the result they want. 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

Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child?

As parents, many of us do things for our kids that we were able and expected to do for ourselves when we were children. Our parents didn’t often feel the need to negotiate with our sports coach, solve our every problem, or entertain us in our free time. A big difference from today, when all too often we are over-involved in many areas of our children’s lives.  Sounds funny, I know.  How can a parent be too involved or do too much for their child?  Isn’t that just being a good parent?  But when we don’t expect our kids to take responsibility for chores or their behavior, and we attempt to smooth away all the bumps and bruises that are a natural part of childhood, we aren’t doing our kids a favor.  Instead, we’re bringing them up to avoid taking personal responsibility and to expect that others will take care of things for them – even when they are really able to take care of themselves.  We’re teaching our kids that life is full of unmanageable problems, when what we want them to learn are the basic skills to manage those problems.  Stepping back and taking on the role of coach and teacher instead of “do-er” and “fixer” was one of the hardest things I had to do as a parent.  But as my husband James Lehman said, it is also one of the best things you can do to help your child build their social and problem-solving skills and learn responsibility. 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

Is It ADHD or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder? 4 Ways to Help Your Child Focus

Is your child forgetful, irresponsible, moody and prone to daydreaming? Does he seem to lack motivation and become easily bored? This behavior could be related to SCT, or "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder." This new way of looking at certain ADHD-like symptoms in kids has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately in the media and is definitely controversial. 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

Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

When my son received his GED this year, I put together a small scrapbook for him with photos, quotes, and cards from his friends. I also considered the life skills he’s already mastered and thought about the ones he’s still working on. The big "aha moment" for me? Realizing that everything else in life builds upon the ability for kids to be able to do these five things… 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

5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face: How to Handle the Most Challenging Parenting Issues

Watching my child struggle without stepping in to “fix” things for him was one of the hardest things I’ve personally experienced as a mom, even though I knew it was the best thing for him. And the truth is, from the very beginning, being a mother is a balance of taking care of your kids while letting them grow up and learn from their mistakes. Your role of simply loving and protecting your baby from pain and discomfort changes to one of accepting that your child or teen will need to experience natural consequences for his or her actions. The hard part (for them and for us!) is that these consequences almost always include some discomfort, disappointment or pain. Read More

The "Cool Kids": How to Help Your Child or Teen Deal with Peer Pressure, Exclusion and Cliques

When we think of peer pressure, we typically have a picture in our minds of a kid handing another kid a cigarette, a joint, or a beer and saying something like, “Come on, just try it.” But at times peer pressure can be felt without a single word being spoken, like when a clique excludes others or rolls their eyes at the (in their opinion) "uncool" kids who walk by. Read More

Losing Your Temper with Your Child? 8 Steps to Help You Stay in Control

Do you ever struggle with temper tantrums at your house? You know what they involve: yelling, screaming, bad-language, and all-out loss of control until you almost can’t take it anymore and you just want to…put yourself in time out? Yes, I’m talking about our own parental "temper tantrums," which we’ve all been known to experience at one point or another as we raise our kids. Read on for tips on how to stay in control. 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

Defiant Young Children and Toddlers: 5 Things Not to Do

Do you ever find yourself wondering, “When will this child stop defying me and start doing what I ask?” It can be incredibly frustrating, not to mention exhausting, dealing with a young child or toddler who finds it necessary to challenge your every request, act in a defiant manner, lose their temper, and be generally disruptive or annoying. Parents oftentimes find themselves drained as they come up against this behavior, and wind up feeling hopeless about how to handle the situation. They might also start worrying about what the future holds for such a strong-willed child. The good news is there is help in dealing with defiance in young kids—and the solutions are easier than you may think. Read More

Child Losing Steam? How to Keep Kids and Teens Motivated at School

Is your child or teen fighting with you every step of the way lately, from refusing to get up on time in the morning, to complaining about homework at night? For so many families out there, this time of year is really tough. Your kids are tired, their teachers are tired, the winter has dragged on, and the end of the school year seems nowhere in sight. Read More

In Over Your Head? How to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Regain Control as a Parent

Recently, a frustrated mom sat in my office and said, “I just don’t know what to do anymore. We’ve tried everything! There’s no punishment that gets through to our child; there’s nothing we can say that will fix her behavior. There’s so much going on we just don’t know where to start.” Sound familiar? Parents often get by on intuition and advice from others, but let’s face it–that’s not always enough, especially if you have a child who doesn’t respond well to your attempts to manage their behavior. Read More

Disrespectful Child or Teen? 5 Things Not to Do as a Parent

Eye–rolling, curses and insults, backtalk, name calling, ignored requests, snide comments: disrespect from your child or teen comes in many different forms. If you’re struggling with disrespectful behavior from your kids, you’re definitely not alone: this is one of the biggest topics of conversation on Empowering Parents each week. 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

Parent the Child You Have, Not the Child You Wish You Had

As soon as you knew you were having children, you probably began to dream about who they were going to be, how they might be like you, and hoped they would be successful in life. You may have wanted your child to be into football or academics, but then reality set in. You found that your son didn’t really like sports, and your daughter didn’t have much interest in school.The truth is, one day many of us wake up and realize that our children are just different than what we expected. Read More

"I Caught My Child Lying." How to Manage Sneaky Behavior in Kids

Let’s face it; we are probably all guilty of some type of “sneaking around” when we were younger. We may have stolen cigarettes from our parents, or lied about going to a friend’s house, or said we were going to the “library” when we were really going to a dance. We may have even thought we were justified at the time and come up with all kinds of reasons to explain our misbehavior. Read More