What teachers know but can't say ...

A touching perspective from a teacher about THAT kid -- the one your child talks about every day after school who smells bad or pushes other kids or is disruptive in class:
 I want to talk about THAT child, too, but there are so many things I can’t tell you.
I can’t tell you that she was adopted from an orphanage at 18 months.

I can’t tell you that he is on an elimination diet for possible food allergies, and that he is therefore hungry ALL. THE. TIME.

I can’t tell you that her parents are in the middle of a horrendous divorce, and she has been staying with her grandma.

I can’t tell you that I’m starting to worry that grandma drinks…

She really hits the mark, and I promise that after reading this you will never see THOSE kids in quite the same way again. You will also feel renewed appreciation and respect for all the juggling that teachers do behind the scenes ... Thank a teacher today!


For more information about Karen's parenting or interpersonal communication consultations by phone, visit www.karenalonge.com

The Trouble with Time Out

Before I begin, please understand that I believe time out is a major improvement over spanking and physical punishment. There's much to celebrate when a culture stops intentionally inflicting pain upon its children. And I while I am incredibly grateful for that shift, I think we can do even better.

I realize I might take some heat for writing this, because I'm critiquing a technique that many parents have been taught to use as their primary disciplinary intervention. I'm okay with heat. In my own life and work, I strive to periodically re-evaluate my strategies and take stock of their effectiveness. My parenting advice has evolved over the years since I started doing this work, and I hope it continues to do so for many years to come. My intention here is to inspire you to take a closer look at whether this technique is truly working for you and your child.

If you have already done your own evaluation and feel confident that it is, that's great! No need to keep reading.

Nothing we do makes a dent in these troubling behaviors of our three year old

Q: Here are some of the troubling behaviors of our three year old son: 

- head butts walls and anything hard
- eats weird things like fluff and string
- steals lighters and sets fires in his room
- turns on all the stove burners and burns food to make thick black smoke
- sneaks and hides scissors to cut his clothes

- always speaks about himself in third person, never says I or Me

We have tried time outs. We don't believe in smacking or spanking. We have taken away toys he likes and he doesn't care. 

We are young parents and people we talk to think we cannot cope but this is wrong! He can be a loving and caring child but when he has "that look in his eyes" we feel like we are talking to a brick wall.

We have done a lot of research but nothing helps. Any ideas are welcome!

Assume that helping your child with his homework improves his grades? Think again!

I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times about parental involvement. You might think it's a no-brainer that the more involved the parent, the better the kid's school performance. But that turns out to not always be the case:

My theory on this? If parents can be engaged and interested in their child's schooling AND not increase the stress load on their child, then their involvement may be beneficial.

what kids really need from their parents after a divorce

spoiler alert:  It's NOT an exact 50/50 split of overnights

I witness many parents fighting tooth and nail for 50/50 parenting time; investing tremendous amounts of time, energy and money into ensuring a perfectly equal distribution of their children's time and location.

And as a divorced parent myself, I am intimately familiar with the fear and anxiety that drives the fierce determination to be an "equal" parent.

But here's the good news and the bad news:  We are using the wrong variables in this calculation.

tip for divorce/joint custody mediation

During high conflict mediations, it can be tempting
to point out how unreasonable, wrong, misguided
or irrational the other party is being.

The risk of doing so is two-fold:

the lastest science about the teenage brain

Dan Siegel, author of the excellent parenting book Parenting from the Inside Out, has recently published a new book about the teenage brain: Brainstorm.

I just listened to him being interviewed by Dr. Laura Markham of ahaparenting.com and I think you'll really enjoy what he has to share. He explodes a lot of the unfortunately persistent cultural myths that stimulate parental fear and dread in our society. Teens really can be fun and energizing to parent when you understand what's happening in their brains and bodies.

You can hear the interview here:  http://www.ahaparenting.com/_blog/Parenting_Blog/post/listen-to-dr-dan-siegel-talk-about-the-brain-teens/

For more information about Karen's parenting or interpersonal communication consultations by phone, visit www.karenalonge.com