Parents Don't Matter? Baloney. 1

In the last couple of years, I’ve heard a particularly disturbing, ignorant phase more than a few times. That phrase is something to the effect of “Parents don’t affect how a kid turns out.”

This usually comes up in a nature vs. nurture discussion on a podcast or radio program.

And it seems many of experts served up by popular culture have come down pretty firmly on the side of nature.

There’s usually some back and forth clarifying the statement – indicating that the evidence shows that parenting style and doesn’t matter much with the exception of an abusive parent.

That kids grow up how they’re going to grow up and that we should all just relax because we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves.

I agree with some of that relax part – There’s way too much helicoptering going on and it does neither the parent nor the child any good to helicopter since it not only stresses the parent but creates fragility and excessive dependence on the parent.

But I disagree with the part about regular, non-abusive parents having little to no effect on how a kid turns out.

It just makes zero sense when talking the bigger picture of how individuals are shaped by the groups they’re in.

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Followup: My Son's Phobia Diminished After Exposure Therapy 2

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.

How to Help Kids Who Have Problems Deciding 3

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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Lots of Toys Means More Clutter and Less Appreciation 4

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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Strengthen Family Bonds by Playing Board Games 5

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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Why I Don't like the Word "Shy" 6

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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Why Tattling Is Worse Than You Think 7

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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How to Help a Child Overcome a Phobia 8

Yesterday, after telling my boys for the 10,000th time to finish their piano lessons, I sent both of them to timeout. Outside. Apart. When it was in the 90s. (Chill out, they weren’t in the sun and it was only for 10 min)

Now for many parents, this may sound like it’s not much of a punishment at all, but my boys tend to like staying inside more than outside, and they definitely like playing with each other more than being alone. In fact, they really don’t seem to know what to do with themselves when they’re outside alone (that’s a story for another day though).

Anyway, after I had sent my first boy outside for a period, I heard him crying a bit so opened the front door.  He was pretty freaked out and rambling on about bugs, and insects with wings, and all sorts of stuff related to creepy crawly things.  After talking with him a bit, it appeared he has at least a partial phobia to insects (My wife confirmed this to me later).

I decided to try an interesting approach with him based on exposure therapy, I’m hoping will help him get over his phobia.

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An Easy Way to Get Kids to Clean 9

If your kids are like mine, they have a nasty habit of not cleaning up after themselves. And when they’re told they need to clean something up (their room, the play area) they drag their feet or do a crummy job that requires more “discussions”.

I’ve stumbled on a technique that is a nice alternative to the parental nag approach.

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