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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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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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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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This article is based on Episode 2 of the 99 Parent Podcast.

Self-Reliance is the greatest gift any parent can give a child, for it is a habit of mind that follows him all his life and levels the mountains as he goes.

-Willard and Margeurite Beecher, Beyond Success and Failure

Children face a lot of struggles in today’s world. From keeping up with mountains of schoolwork, to dealing with the stress of internet-fueled peer pressure, to being hovered over by helicopter parents.

Ironically, even though kids are growing up in a time of information abundance, one of the most important things kids should learn about while they’re growing up is one that is seldom taught: self-reliance.

What exactly is self-reliance? In short, it’s the ability of an individual to handle the problems required of them in life. But it’s even more than that. What comes with self-reliance is deep confidence in one’s own abilities, the knowledge that one can rely on an unchanging part of him or herself, and that one’s success or emotional stability isn’t reliant on the whims of others.

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Teens playing Pokemon Go

We live in an age where we’re more connected than ever before. This comes with a lot of obvious benefits but it also comes with some rather large negatives.

One of the major negatives is the absence of solitude. We’re rarely, if ever, alone with our thoughts. We never have to experience the “boring” times because there are always more than enough digital distractions to keep our minds constantly occupied.

This problem seems to impact children and teens the most. In his latest book Digital Minimalism, Professor Cal Newport claims rates of anxiety are skyrocketing in children in large part because this generation is even more connected than adults. In fact, many in the youngest generation have never experienced solitude for any length of time and have had electronic distractions nearly every day of their lives.

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