A few weeks ago I wrote about one of my sons having a slight phobia to insects. At that time I wrote about a simple exposure technique I was using to help him get over it.

Well, I’m happy to report that his fear of insects seems to have gone to near zero.  Ever since I went to the back yard with him and later demonstrated the fact that ants can crawl on you and not hurt you, he’s been doing great.

Aside from this, my wife has been pointing out anthills when we’ve been out on walks and encouraging him to get close and observe how they work, which he finds really interesting.

We’ll be doing more of this type of thing going forward – inviting him to not only look at insects but touch them.

So, it’s been a successful experiment and he’s feeling really good about things now.

If you have a kid who’s really scared of something (more than you think they should be), I invite you to read my initial article and give gradual exposure a try. Just remember to be very gentle and let the child set the pace for exposure and never force things.

One of my sons has problems dealing with situations involving uncertainty.

Or tasks where he just thinks isn’t sure he has the right answer.

He can sit for many minutes when deciding among many imperfect choices or when he’s in a situation where there’s no specific right or wrong answer.

Like he’s frozen.

This behavior has puzzled me for several years now. No amount of coaxing, threatening or pleading seems to help.

Yesterday, I think we had a bit of a breakthrough though.

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I have come to dread Christmas and my boys’ Birthday.

Well, maybe dread is too harsh a word. I find both times of year mixed bags.

What should be positive experiences have real negative sides in recent years.

Because of all the presents.

And presents mean toys.

And they already have too many toys. Way too many.

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Mobile devices are everywhere.

They’re just soooo entertaining and addicting.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are many things in our society that end up paying the price for this, but perhaps the biggest issue is that mobile devices steal quality family time.

And as we all know there is only a finite amount of family time – or even the opportunity for family time.

Many families wait to have family time primarily on vacation.

But these are too far and few between – it kind of sends a hidden message that there is our regular life where we don’t really have time for one another, and then there are these special times that pop up every several months or even every year where that’s where we’re a real family.

This is strange.

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Most of the time I feel as if we live in this giant, artificial bubble.

The bubble surrounds us and everyone we know.

Society created the bubble but news and entertainment keep it filled with air.

Within the bubble, there always appears to be a way forward. Or at least there’s always a person or group that says they know the way.

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Every once in a while one of my boys will say something to the effect of “I don’t want to do that. I’m shy.”

This really rubs me the wrong way.

I’ve heard the term shy since I was a small kid.  Sometimes used to describe me, many times to describe others.

I really don’t like that word.

Why?

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My boys love to tattle. They tattle over small stuff. They tattle over big stuff. They tattle to one-up their brother. They tattle to get back at their brother. They tattle to show their parents how much better they are than their brother.

Tattling may seem annoying to us as parents, but I think it’s much worse than that. It can lead to much larger life problems down the line.

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The Waltons family

Raising kids in today’s fast-paced, modern-world can be incredibly challenging, tiring, and frustrating. However, one need not look to far into the past to find something that can be an big help: living near the extended family.

Having the larger family around not only lightens parents’ load, but also helps kids feel part of a larger social unit, exposes them to those who have accumulated lifelong wisdom, and can help reinforce a good value system.

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