Long Term Parenting

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Longterm Parenting Small
For more on this topic, check out Long-Term Parenting: Broaden Your Horizon



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Meditations For Busy Parents

By Erin Bernau

meditate


Many of us have the intention to parent mindfully, but our lives are busy and we get swept along with the tide of action and doing. Meditation helps remind a parent to slow down, to notice the world around her, as well as to notice what is going on in her own mind, heart, and body. Perhaps meditation’s finest gift though is the ability to learn about yourself—what agitates you, inspires you, soothes you? You can then take these lessons into your daily life, helping to enrich your relationships in the process. My intent with this article is to give parents some simple ways to introduce a meditation practice into their daily lives.

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Audio: Kids & Restaurants

By Sarina Behar Natkin


KOMO

If you tuned in to the news this week, you likely heard about the cry heard around the world. In case you missed it, I am referring to the little one at a restaurant in Maine who cried for forty minutes. I think we can agree crying, is a pretty normal behavior for children. Unfortunately, the restaurant owner had a meltdown of her own and yelled at the baby, causing an international uproar from parents and a rally cry for every person who has ever been annoyed by a crying child disrupting their fun.

I had the opportunity to speak with
KOMO News Radio Mid-day Anchor Herb Weisbaum about the mealtime mayhem and how the situation could have been avoided. Here’s the audio clip for your listening enjoyment.

Sarina Natkin on KOMO July 2015



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Shifting Focus

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Shifting Focus Small
For more on this topic, check out Long-Term Parenting: Destination Ahead



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Reining In A Runaway Preschooler

By Sarina Behar Natkin


On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a reader’s question about how to keep their runaway kiddo safe.

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Dear GROW Parenting,

Help! Every time we walk to the park, my adventurous three-year-old bolts away from me. When I ask her to come back, she just ignores me. When I yell, she laughs in my face. The other day I totally lost it and screamed that we are never going to the park again. It’s been a week and we are both going stir crazy, but I am terrified to try again. How do I help her understand how dangerous this is and get her to stay with me? Read More...
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Parenting Roadmap

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Road Map Small
For more on this topic, check out Long-Term Parenting: Discover Your Roadmap



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Inside Out: A Parent’s Guide to Viewing & Teaching SEL Skills

By Melissa Benaroya

Inside Out copy
The recently released Pixar/Disney film Inside Out is a wonderful opportunity for families not only to enjoy an entertaining movie together, but also to have really valuable conversations about the importance of all emotions, what purpose they serve, and how best to express them. Movies such as Inside Out can serve as a valuable tool to teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) and enhance verbal skills when parents are thoughtful about the conversations they have with their children before, during, and after viewing such a film together.
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Celebrating Families

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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The Kids Are All Right

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Kids Alright
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It's Time To Talk About Race

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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For more on this topic, check out: Raising Culturally Aware Children


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Audio: Chat With Women Radio Interview

By Sarina Behar Natkin


Listen in as Sarina Natkin chats with Monica Cary and Amanda DuBois of
The DuBois Cary Law Group about parenting, marriage, divorce and more.

Chat With Women

Chat With Women Interview June 2015
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Building Your Relationship With Your Child: Attachment & Communication

By Erin Bernau

This is the second half a two-part series on developing relationship with your child.
Last time we looked at temperament, your own past, and being curious about who your child is. This time we will look at two more factors, attachment and communication.

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Attachment

Another factor in a strong, healthy parent-child relationship is attachment.
Attachment is the ability for a parent to help ensure that a child feels safe, secure, and protected. A child is able to use the parent as a secure base from which they are comfortable exploring the larger world, knowing that he can come back to the parent as he needs her. Many factors influence attachment. As an infant, the child feels overwhelmed by emotions and the parent provides containment for these big feelings. The child then learns that the parent is there for her consistently and that difficult feelings do not need to be avoided. They child seeks comfort from her parent and receives it unconditionally. This is called “organized attachment,” wherein the chid has a predictable sense of comfort from her parents.

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Heart Of Parenting

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Heart of Parenting Small
For more on this topic, check out Long-Term Parenting: Broaden Your Horizon



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Framing The Problem

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Framing The Problem Small

For more on this topic, check out:
Crazy Time: A Solution For Bedtimes Gone Wild




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Grin & Ignore It:
Why Letting Go Can Help Your Child Do The Same

By Sarina Behar Natkin

ignore

Think for a moment about how many times a day do you notice what your child is doing “right”? Now think about how many times a day you notice what they are doing “wrong”? If you are like many parents, the negatives we notice far outweigh the positives. Why do we do this? Because we love our children. We know it is our job to teach them the skills they need to succeed in life, and we feel intense pressure not to miss a teaching moment. So, we remind and coax, we correct them and bribe them, we do whatever we can to make sure the lesson gets through. While this seems like the right thing to do, we need to be careful where we direct our attention.

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Encouragement

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Encouragement Small
For more on this topic, check out Long-Term Parenting: Broaden Your Horizon



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Video: Getting Out The Door With Kids

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she shares tips for working together as a family to get out the door in the morning.

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New Parent Day

By Sarina Behar Natkin



QT New Parent Day

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Developing A Strong Relationship
With Your Child

By Erin Bernau



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Parenthood can be an amazing journey! As our babies grow and develop, we see them becoming the people they are meant to be. Our job as parents is to foster that growth and development, giving love and nurturance along with guidance and limits.

As our children’s personalities unfold, it can be a humbling experience for a parent. Sometimes we may watch in awe as they show a particular skill, talent, or personality trait that surprises us pleasantly. Other times, we may see parts of who they are that we want to fix or even suppress.
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Quit Whining & Do Your Chores!

By Sarina Behar Natkin



Chores Crop

Can you believe the kids today? Whining and complaining about chores, I just don’t get it. When we were kids, we did all our chores to perfection with a smile on our face and begged our parents to nag just a little bit more, right? I think not. Why then do we expect our kids to be so different from us?

Warning, this next sentence may hurt. You actually have no control over how your child feels. I know we love to see our kids happy, but we can’t make our kids love chores any more than we love coming home from a long day at work to three loads of laundry and a sink full of dishes. What we can do is set the stage for chores to be a regular part of family life, free from nagging, and full of teaching and learning valuable life skills. Here's some tips to show you how:
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Nurturing Your Child’s Success With A Growth Mindset

By Melissa Benaroya

Mindset

The road to success is not paved just by what you do, but more importantly paved by how you think…

So you thought it best to focus on what your child does well and help them develop those skills.  That can be helpful, but if you want your child to be truly successful in anything it requires having the right “Mindset". Carol Dweck’s work over the last 10 years has shed light on the importance of Mindset.  And there are only two, so it makes the choice simple:  A Growth Mindset or a Fixed Mindset.   Her research continues to demonstrate that our greatest potential can only be fully developed by possessing a Growth mindset. 
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Emotions First, Problem Second

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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Developing Your Parenting Roadmap

By Erin Bernau




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A Tale of Two New Moms

I’ve been thinking recently about two types of moms I encounter in my work as a parent educator and parent coach. The first is well-aware that she has been lucky in life. She has been raised by loving, supportive (though, of course, imperfect) parents who continue to support her as she herself becomes a parent. When she becomes a mom though she is still shocked by how hard it is and how challenging the needs of her newborn can feel.
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Focus On The Positive

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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Cry Baby:
Why It's Ok To Let The Tears Flow

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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Imagine you have just received really bad news. Maybe it’s a job loss, a best friend moving away, or a tragic news story from across the world. Now imagine your boss, your friend, or your partner saying, “Don’t cry.” If you are like most people, you now add on to your feelings about the bad news with more negative emotions, such as shame, anger, and self-doubt.

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Your Child Is Out of Control!

By Melissa Benaroya

out of control small

Are you concerned that your child is “out of control” when they are: acting aggressively, talking over others, grabbing, have difficulty taking turns or simply doing things you have asked them not to? Many parents get frustrated by their child’s lack of self or impulse control, especially when their child knows the rules or the consequences of breaking them. Often times it is just that children just don’t have the skills to manage strong impulses. Children begin to develop these skills between ages 2 and 5, but their impulses are not well managed because their “rational brain" that allows for planning, foresight and considering others is not fully developed. For most young children this age self-control is nonexistent, limited at best, and is a skill that will take years to master. Children’s ability to regulate for themselves will not become evident until they begin to approach the ripe old age of seven.
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Healthy Relationships

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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Parents Have Tantrums, Too!

By Erin Bernau

Yelling Dad

It’s true! Our kids aren’t the only ones who have tantrums. It may sound funny to say so, but of course parents will sometimes lose control and express their anger in ways they regret.
No matter how hard we try and keep it together, staying calm and avoiding anger, we are human and we will make mistakes.

In our own idealized version of parenthood, we would stay consistently kind, loving and calm. Yet, can you think of anyone in your life that you could be with as much as you are with your kids without them sometimes driving you crazy? Plus, as parents we feel responsible for raising good people, which means we cannot give in to our child’s every whim. Every parent needs strategies and tools to help them to deal with the intense and rewarding work of raising children. Here are five tips that I hope you find useful. Read More...
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Game On: 5 Tips For Watching The
Super Bowl With Kids

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Superbowl


Super Bowl weekend is here! In Seattle, it's impossible to step outside your house without catching a little of the 12th man spirit. Looking forward to watching the big game with your kids? Here's some tips to make it more enjoyable for you and them!

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A Mother In Progress

By Melissa Benaroya

family-park

This year instead of solely focusing on specific goals or the outcomes you hope to produce in 2015 maybe look at the year as part of a longer journey. The journey of becoming the parent you want to be for the child(ren) you are raising. The journey is not about being a perfect parent or mastering your challenges in parenting in just one calendar year. Rather, the journey is a period of time when you get to learn, mess up, and try again. This journey is an opportunity to change in ways you had no idea were possible.
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Mindful Parenting

By Erin Bernau

1mindful


Picture this holiday moment: you’re getting in the car to attend a long-awaited holiday event when things quickly go south. One child is writhing in her car seat, refusing to be buckled in. The other child is whining loudly about her itchy dress. Suddenly, the magic and wonder of the season is eclipsed by the very real challenges of parenting young children.

The cool we may struggle to maintain during ordinary days can be more tested during the often chaotic, holiday season. One tool we can use to maintain a calm mind during stressful times is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. That’s all it is! Not, some major commitment to meditation or any time-consuming, complex process.

And, yet… Is this very idea even possible while being a parent?

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Helping Children Navigate Divorce

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Divorce
There are topics we find hard to bring up with our children because they are embarrassing, we don’t know what to say, or we don’t have the answers and think we should. Then there’s talking to kids about divorce. The pain, anguish, and guilt many parents feel around what divorce will mean to their kids can stop them in their tracks. Read More...
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Does Your Child Have An Attitude of Gratitude?

By Melissa Benaroya

girl w flower#2 gratitude-resized


What parent does not want to be acknowledged and appreciated for their hard work, commitment, and sacrifices?
I hear so many parents complain that their kids don’t even appreciate what is done for them or provide to them. Many parents feel that their children are rude and disrespectful because they are not saying thank you. I hear the words like spoiled and bratty used often to describe kids that don’t show gratitude or appreciation. Sound familiar?

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It's The Sexy Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

By Sarina Behar Natkin




Pumpkin Girl





As the leaves fall from the trees and my kids dream of trick or treating, I am once again baffled by the Halloween catalogs that land in our mailbox. My options are vast; sexy doctor, sexy police officer, sexy bunny and the list goes on. It seems that no matter who I choose to be, the really important part is that it’s a sexed-up version of the real thing.
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Preschool Choices: Play Is The Way!

By Melissa Benaroya



Playistheway


Do you want your little one to be happy and find success throughout their life? Do you feel the need to tour and enroll your child in the top schools in your city in order to get them into a good university one day? Do you think your child will be at a disadvantage if they are not involved in an assortment of activities and sports? If you answered yes to most or even some of these questions, then you may have already fallen prey to one of the sad untruths in raising children today:

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Afternoon Delight:
How Changing The Way You Come Home Can Change Your Family

By Sarina Behar Natkin

overwhelmed mom

We’ve all been there. It starts with the blissful moment of reuniting at school after being apart for the day. Hugs, smiles, news to share; and yet, the minute you get home it all seems to fall apart. No matter how much I psyched myself up for the afternoons, many days I wondered if we had some sort of toxin in the house that infused my kids with crankiness upon arrival home. Over the years working with families, I heard this same story over and over. Well, at least I wasn’t the only one. Read More...
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Masters of Manipulation

By Melissa Benaroya

Master Manipulator



So, your child is a master of manipulation? Isn’t it crazy that a three year old (or 13 year old) can be so skilled at this form of communication and getting what they want? Actually, it’s not so crazy. Because when you think about it, many children have adults in their lives that are modeling manipulation tactics all day long. Your three year old was not born with this skill. He or she learned it from the adults in their life.

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Video: Avoiding Homework Hassles

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she shares tips on avoiding homework hassles.

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Video: Why Kids Lie

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she shares the honest truth about why kids lie.


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Zero To Five:
An Interview With Tracy Cutchlow

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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Do you ever wish that all the tidbits of research and parenting tips you are bombarded with each day could show up in one nifty book? Well, you are in luck! Seattle journalist and mom Tracy Cutchlow has crafted the perfect companion for parenting from birth to kindergarten and it’s hot off the press! Read More...
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The Honest Truth:
Why Kids Lie & What You Can Do About it!

By Melissa Benaroya

child lying

On a pretty regular basis, we receive worrisome calls from parents who are mortified because their child is telling lies. The reason this is such a common occurrence is because ALL kids do it! But, all lying is not the same and all “lies” are not even lies. The most helpful things you can do when you have a little one who is not always being honest is 1) understand why they are doing it and 2) have some strategies to respond that encourage honesty without putting your child on the defensive.
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Video: Top Tips For Summer Sanity!

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about helping kids and parents stay sane during summer vacation!

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Rise & Shine:
Helping Your Snoozer Wake Up and Other Sleep Challenges

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Alarm Clock

Is there anything that stresses parents more than sleep problems? As if sleep challenges were not bad enough, now you have an overtired brain that is struggling to come up with solutions! Lucky for you, my own kids are sleeping well at the moment. Here are a few questions I frequently hear from parents, along with some tips to ease your sleeping woes.
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From Eating to Excreting:
Three Tips to Avoid Power Struggles

By Melissa Benaroya

eating

All humans struggle for power and control over their own lives and young children are no different!  Ideally we want our kids to do what we need them to without us having to do anything more than merely ask. Lets not kid ourselves; that is just not going to happen most of the time. "I said so" or "you have to" is about us asserting our power over them and can feel disrespectful to the child.  Our children have little to no control over much of their daily lives.  That is why most power struggles revolve around their physical self or body.  Power struggles often are associated with:  what goes in their body, what goes out of their body, what goes on their body, and where they put their body!  We cannot force feed our children by shoving food down their throats or Toilet Train them by forcing them to urinate or defecate.   Those are things that are completely within their control.  Our kids are pretty good about regulating their bodies' needs. They are going to do what they need to based on their bodies’ cues, so the more we get involved the more they tend to resist and push back. So what is a parent to do?  
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CONSEQUENCES: Punishment or Discipline?

By Melissa Benaroya

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The Role Of Consequences Is Simple: To Teach.


Consequences give children the chance to learn real-world skills from their mistakes and to solve problems. In fact, you want your kids to make as many mistakes as they can while they are young, so that they get good at solving problems and facing challenges. That is all a consequence is—an opportunity to learn from a mistake. M
any parents get caught up in trying to find the RIGHT consequence that will MAKE their child learn the lesson and never do this horrible act again. It is important to remember that learning takes time. Consequences do teach, but only when they work to solve the problem that the child caused and are delivered respectfully.
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Whose Homework Is It?

By Sarina Behar Natkin



Homework

What's the definition of homework? An eight letter word that can make almost everyone cringe, adults and kids alike. One of the most common complaints I hear from parents of school age children is that frequent homework battles are driving them nuts!

We just don't get why it's such a problem. Is it that big of a deal?
We lived through our own school days, we understood the value of homework, we did it with no complaints to the best of our abilities, and we did it all with a smile. Of course, we walked three miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways too, right? NOT.
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The True Power of Parenting

By Melissa Benaroya


mom and son leaf

Many parents feel powerless when it comes to their kids because they cannot get their kids to listen and do the things they want. What they do not realize is that there is so much unspoken power that they hold that they are forgetting to access. It is the power of nurturing a human being, and the kind of relationship we have with them, that will help define who they are and what they do for a lifetime.
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Video: Preschool Choices

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about finding the right preschool for your family! 

Melissa preschool

For more tips on this topic, check out Preschool Shopping 101. Read More...
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Six Tips For Raising Leaders

By Sarina Behar Natkin

FollowLeader

What do a parent educator and a business leader have in common? Both are actively teaching others the skills needed to inspire, motivate and encourage those around them. My father and I discovered years ago that we speak about the exact same things, just to different audiences. These are not just business leadership skills, they are not just parenting skills, but the skills we all need to thrive as human beings
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The Power Of Encouragement

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Girl Flower

One of the biggest gifts we can give to our children, our parents, and all those we lead is encouragement. Life is hard. It's full of challenges, bumps in the road, and painful moments. Most of us think our problems are unique. "No one could ever understand how scared I am." "No one can get how important this is to me." Those are the moments when we are desperate to connect with something bigger than ourselves, someone who gets us. We need to know we are still ok, that someone sees in us what we can't see in ourselves. Praise feels nice for a fleeting moment, but encouragement is what connects us. It's the moment we hear the other person through their eyes, not our own. Read More...
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National Day of Unplugging

By Melissa Benaroya


undologo Unplug 1



Is the issue of screen time a constant in your home? Are you frequently battling with your child to give your phone back or turn off the iPad? Struggling to enforce TV and video game time limits? The good news is you are not alone.

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How 2000 Teens Changed My Life

By Sarina Behar Natkin

IC 2014 - Jason Dixson Photography 1
Photo Courtesy of Jason Dixson Photography

Do you ever have those moments in life when you can feel yourself growing? An experience surprises us, a connection inspires us, and we get the sense that we will never be the same. And it’s a good thing.

I had one of those amazing moments, actually several of them recently, and I bet the place they occurred will surprise you: 4 days with 2000 teens.
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Parent Fail: Why Judging Ourselves & Others Gets In The Way of Raising a Healthy Family

By Melissa Benaroya


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Ever feel like you might be the winner of the biggest loser parent contest? That your words and actions might be totally screwing up your kids for life? Yeah, me too! It is crazy just how much we allow judgment and fear drive to our choices and responses. Notice the word ALLOW. Allowing judgment to drive our actions is a choice. Most of the judgment we fear is in our minds. It is not really the judgment of others as much as it is the judgments of ourselves.
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What Does Your Family Value?

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Values iStock

Ask most parents what values they want their children to have and they can easily rattle off a list of wonderful traits such as empathy, respect, and self-discipline. Ask a child what is important to them, the answers may look more like stuffed animals, iPods and ice cream, but they have a pretty easy time answering as well But what does your family value? Is it the same as your own list? Is it the same as your child’s? Read More...
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From Goals To Intentions:
How Will You GROW In 2014?

By Melissa Benaroya

Intentions

Out with the goals, and in with intentions…. Goals are nice, but having them suggests there is an end and that you will either succeed or fail in meeting them. Goals can create a whole lot of pressure without a lot of room for error or forgiveness. Setting a goal can lead you down the path towards judgment of how things "should be" and can lead to stress, anxiety and even depression. The idea in parenting is not to be perfect, it is to be our best and allow room for failure so that we can learn from it. If we set goals, then failure is unavoidable. We are NOT going to be perfect parents! But if instead we set intentions, we can focus more on the deliberateness of what we hope to achieve and how we want to be. Having intentions simply signifies a course of action that we propose to follow. Read More...
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Bedtime Whack-A-Mole

By Sarina Behar Natkin

PJ Boy2

Every parent dreads the nights where bedtime seems to last forever. We go through our bedtime routine, read books, snuggle, and say goodnight and within minutes they are back up. The list of bedtime requests can be seemingly endless, from a drink of water to a missing snuggle to a suddenly discovered splinter. I believe one time our daughter asked if we could make the birds stop chirping. Sometimes, you can even watch them ponder what they should ask for next. Read More...
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Gonna Make A Change:
I'm Starting With The Mom In The Mirror…

By Melissa Benaroya

Change iStock_000015034449Small
"I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life its gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right…"  - Michael Jackson 

Michael Jackson's concept of making change aptly applies to our approach to parenting; because if we as parents want to make a real change and make things right, we need to first look at the "Mom in The Mirror"  (or dad- but that did not fit as well). Many parents believe that in order to change a child you need to focus on the child. The old parenting approach that many of us grew up with was focused on doing to kids- figuring out ways to make them do more of something, make them stop doing something and using bribing, punishing, negotiating as a means of achieving this.
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It's Not Fair!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Angry Girls

It’s Not Fair! Ever heard those words from your child? Remember saying them yourself? With two children in the home, I have the opportunity to hear that whiny jingle quite frequently. If you have missed this opportunity, park yourself outside an ice cream shop and count how many times you hear that phrase as children pass by.

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Video: How To Help Your Child Pick
An Appropriate Halloween Costume

By Sarina Behar Natkin


Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.17.03 AM
Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Sarina Behar Natkin on King 5 Morning News as she talks about Cultural Quotient and how to raise culturally aware children. Read More...
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Giving the Gift of Failure:
Making the Case For Parenting Less

By Melissa Benaroya
boy fail

When we think about raising our children we only want the best for them, whether it is doing well in school, having a large group of friends, or excelling in a sport or area of interest. Most parents will do whatever it takes to support their child in being successful in all three arenas no matter the sacrifice. Parents will step in and advocate, buy the latest gadgets for kids so they fit in, "help" with difficult projects and papers and protect and guide kids every step of the way. As parents we feel proud and accomplished when our kids are successful. These types of behaviors can often be identified as overprotective or "over-parenting" and have the potential to squelch a child's confidence, undermine a child's opportunity to learn, take responsibility and gain independence. So I ask,
is all the "helping" that parents are offering these days the best means of nurturing successful young adults? The research is showing that "over parenting" has been associated with lower levels of achievement orientation, less self-regulation and reduced social responsibility in children (Baumrind, 1991). In addition, high levels of responsiveness to children and over parenting have been show to increase a child's likelihood for risk of victimization at school  (Georgiou, 2008).
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Should I Stay or Should I Go:
Ending Drop off Drama

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Drop Off

As each school year starts, I watch parents and children struggle with morning drop offs. Children are in tears; parents shift rapidly between both anger and guilt. Parents are ready to start their own day and after the first few days of challenging drop offs, are beginning to lose patience. At the same time, they are often feeling guilty about leaving their children when they are upset.
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Why Smart Kids Worry:
An Interview with Allison Edwards

By Melissa Benaroya

SmartKids-resized

I met Allison Edwards a year ago in Vancouver, BC at a weekend workshop and we instantly connected because we shared a passion for supporting children and families. That same weekend Allison signed a contract to write her book Why Smart Kids Worry, I was thrilled to recently learn that her book was published and available for purchase. I had the pleasure of interviewing Allison about her book and hope to help bring her out to Seattle, WA so that she can share her wisdom with our community of parents.

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Sideline Parenting: Tips for a Fun Fall Season!

By Melissa Benaroya

TEAM2

Fall season sports are in full swing now and kids are ramping back up and focusing on building their skills and learning how to be good teammates. Most parents sign their children up for sports activities to help instill the values they want most for their children: good sportsmanship, being a team member, hard work, athleticism and friendship.

All parents want what’s best for their child out on the field or court and generally believe that their presence and support will help. Unfortunately, the latter part of the statement is not always true. Parents often and easily get caught up in the excitement and intensity of the game and don't always behave in ways that are helpful.
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Easing In:
3 Tips For Smooth Sailing Into The School Year

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Child Lotus Pose

While children in many parts of the country have started school already, Seattle area families kick off the new school year this week. Parents are ready for a change. We have juggled work schedules, camp schedules, and family vacations for over two months and can't imagine another day. Kids are ready, too. They may complain that summer went too fast, but often they are just as ready for the routine and structure of the school as we are. If all of us feel ready, the transition back should be a piece of cake, right? Given the spike in requests for parent support I see each fall, my guess is this transition is often bumpier than expected.

Last year was filled with talk of leaning in, leaning out and shaking it all about. What if it wasn't all or nothing? What if we took a softer approach? Here are three tips for helping your family ease In to the new school year:
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Sticker Shock:
The Dangers of Sticker Charts For Kids!

By Melissa Benaroya

sticker chart samuel jackson


The most dangerous stickers out there are the ones you see on sticker charts. Yep, you heard that right. Sticker charts can actually do more harm than good if you can believe it. Why you might ask? Well, if you read Beyond Praise a few weeks back about the negative effects of praise you might have some insight as to why stickers might be the reason your kids aren’t doing what you want them to.

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Beyond Praise: Building Self Esteem Through Encouragement

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Have you ever noticed how quick we are to say, “good job” or “you are so smart” to our children? For most parents, it has almost become a tic to heap praise on every thing our children do. Our natural instinct is to let our children know how much we love them and how proud we are of their growth and accomplishments. How we express these feelings makes a huge difference in how our children feel about themselves now and as adults. Read More...
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Three Keys To Summer Sanity:
Sleep, Structure and Regulating Sugar Intake!

By Melissa Benaroya



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Summer is in full swing and everyone is embracing the sunshine and the warm weather. With all the fun summer activities, parents tend to get a little more relaxed in their parenting. Being a bit more flexible and go with the flow can be wonderful and liberating, unless you are undoing everything you worked so hard to maintain in your parenting the rest of the year. Keeping your parenting consistent with your values during the summer months can definitely be more challenging when everyone is focused on having a fun time. Below are three things to be mindful of this summer to keep your parenting on track and ensure everyone is staying healthy and enjoying themselves.
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Building Cultural Identity In Children

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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From the moment parents find out a baby is on the way, we make an endless number of decisions about how we will care for them. Hours are spent considering whether to breast-feed or formula feed, use cloth diapers or disposable, or who will care for the child while parents work. The discussion on what it means to raise a Jewish, Black, or Latino child in American culture often does not occur until much later. Whether a family is actively part of one cultural group or religion, an interfaith family or minimally connected to a religious or cultural group, the choices about how we want to include culture in family life should be deliberate and intentional. How do we, as parents, help our children develop cultural identity? Read More...
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Giving Props to the Pops!

By Melissa Benaroya



halloween wheel barrow
It is Father’s Day this weekend and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the father figures in all of our lives. Fathers are significant influencers in the lives of their children; they are no longer just valued for bringing home the figurative bacon. Now more than ever, fathers are caregivers and not because they are“taking up the slack” for working mothers. The research has found that men that are fathers are actually happier than their childless peers. Not only do dads benefit for getting involved, but there are huge benefits for children too!
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Preschool Potty Problems

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, 
GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding potty training their three year old.


Toilet paper girl

Dear GROW Parenting,

We are really struggling with potty training our three-year-old daughter. After using the potty for a while, she has now pretty much decided not to use the toilet. She will have an accident and then say next time she will use the potty, but then does not.

I have tried some different angles to convince her using the potty is a good idea since unfortunately, she is not too concerned with poopy underwear or wet pants. When she has accidents, I let her know I am disappointed, ask why she didn't use the potty when she was on just minutes before her accident, or remind her that her friends all use the potty.

Is there something I am missing? Should we go back to diapers for now? She does still wear a diaper to bed. Any words of wisdom greatly appreciated!
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Raising Culturally Aware Children

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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Giddens School MLK March 2013, Photo By Casey Moot


As a social worker, I thought I was pretty aware of the various “isms” that run deep in our society, from outward acts of discrimination to institutionalized oppression.
As a Jewish woman, I am also part of a minority group, but not one that is visible from the outside. As I moved toward marriage and parenthood, I specifically chose where I lived because I wanted to be part of a diverse community. I thought about how I would teach my children about various cultures and religions. I chose Giddens School for preschool through elementary grades for my children specifically because of their diversity and social justice mission. I thought about how I would pass along my own culture and those of our extended family to my children. I was going to raise children who saw everyone as equal, regardless of race, religion, sex, gender, ability, marital status, family structure, and socio-economic status. I was ready to help the next generation create a new world where everyone was valued for who they were as an individual.

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You’re Not The Boss of Me!

By Melissa Benaroya


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I was recently reading a piece that a business management expert wrote about being a good leader and boss. As I read this short bite in insight, I realized that all of the principals and ideas that he presented apply to success in parenting.

In working with clients over the years on navigating challenges at home with their children I cannot count the number of times a mom or dad has said to me, “I do all of these things in the work place and am very successful at it. But for some reason I did not connect the way I communicate with my employees/boss as the same way I might speak to my children.” This blog post is a twist on what Lex Sisney wrote about on
“How to Give an Order” on his website Organizational Physics.
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Video: Cultural Quotient


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Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder
Sarina Behar Natkin on King 5 Morning News as she talks about Cultural Quotient and how to raise culturally aware children. Read More...
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Clowning Around:
Helping Our Kids Manage Behavior

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding a child who loves to entertain and needs some guidance around when he can do that.

Class Clown

Dear GROW Parenting,

Well, it turns out I've raised a Class Clown! My 2nd grader is more interested in entertaining his friends than paying attention in class, in gymnastics, and in after-school activities.

There are worse problems to have of course, but it's becoming an issue more and more often. It's not so much what he's doing, but the fact that he doesn't know when to quit.
Any good exercises for self-control or paying attention to what's going on around you?
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Liar, Liar Pants On Fire: Making Kids Say Sorry When They Don't Actually Mean It

By Melissa Benaroya

dad say sorry

Yes, we all do it. We make them say, “I am sorry” even when they are not.  Or maybe they just don’t understand what there is to be sorry for. Regardless, over and over I hear parents tell their kids to say, “I’m Sorry”. And when kids just parrot “I'm Sorry” like they are told many times, the next request is to “say it like you mean it”.  Are we just asking them to be better liars?  Why do we do it?  Read More...
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Video: Avoiding Threats and Bribes

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about avoiding threats and bribes!
AvoidingThreats&Bribes

For a full article on the topic, check out our
blog post. Read More...
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Routine Charts Part Deux: Banishing Breakfast Battles

By Sarina Behar Natkin

In our last post, Melissa shared the amazing power of routine charts and the secret to making them work. This week, we kick it up a notch by sharing how this tool can be used in new ways to solve recurring challenges in the home.

Breakfast Chart

Once upon a time, we were a well functioning team each morning. It was surprising, given that I was not and am still not a morning person. We had one child, and daddy delighted in helping our toddler kick off the day. We had a lovely routine chart that helped us move through getting dressed and brushing teeth. My part was to press snooze, imagining that somehow that extra seven minutes of sleep was going to make a difference. I was eternally grateful for my husband's willingness to take the lead in the morning so I could grumpily move from sleep to wakefulness and put on my happy face before joining them 15 minutes later. Our little one was free to choose what she wanted for breakfast when they arrived downstairs. Read More...
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Is It Time For Your Family To Hit The Charts?
(And we are not talkin’ Top 40)

By Melissa Benaroya


Routine Chart
Incorporating more routine and consistency can help decrease power struggles and increase cooperation and fun in your home!

Every parent at one time or another has either thought about or made a chart for their child. It seems like there is never enough time to get out the door in the morning or get kids to bed without power struggles, no matter how much time you have. The type of charts that we suggest using are not reward charts, because there are no stickers or prizes that your child identifies or earns. Yet, there are valuable gifts that are received such as valuable life skills and responsibility! Now who doesn’t feel great about helping their child develop confidence, independence, and responsibility?
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Rebel Without A Raincoat
& Other Clothing Conflicts

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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With some families, fashion frustration starts quite young. I know many parents who at one time during infancy were shocked with what their partner dressed their baby in. I think my own husband delighted in dressing our first child in the craziest outfits possible just to watch my blood pressure rise. Alas, the days of my control over my daughter’s clothing choices were short lived. Somewhere around age two, my daughter was ready to debut her own sense of style and who was I to stand in the way?
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Threats & Bribes: Two Sides Of The Same Coin!

By Melissa Benaroya

Bribery

At
GROW Parenting we work with many parents of school age children. We frequently hear from parents that they feel like their children are trying to “manipulate” them. Parents are reporting this behavior as early as the ripe old age of two! And yes, these children can and do become very skilled manipulators or negotiators. However, this only happens when someone has been modeling and teaching these skills. Read More...
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Getting The Most Out Of Your Health And Wellness In 2013

GROW Parenting is thrilled to have Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach Theresa Destrebecq as our guest blogger today. She shares some great strategies for making our wellness goals a reality!

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I was recently reading in one of my fitness magazines that heading into 2012, 51% of people polled pledged to exercise more in 2012 and that 35% planned to lose weight (Thomson Reuters & NPR, 2011). Unfortunately, another historical study of New Years Resolutions showed that a third of people will break their resolutions by January 7, half by Valentine’s Day, and that by July only 40% of people are still keeping to their original resolutions (Norcross, Ratzin, and Payne, 1989).

So, I am curious,
how many of you made New Year’s resolutions around your diet or exercise? How many of you are still adhering to them three weeks in?
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Preschool Shopping 101:
Finding The Right Fit For Your Child

Girl Shopping


I remember the moment I realized preschool had become a very big deal. My oldest daughter was about three months old and we were at the first session of a parent-infant class. I was desperate to get out of the house and meet other parents of infants. I walked in and sat down on the mat across from two friendly looking moms. I couldn’t wait to connect, until panic set in when I heard their conversation.

They were discussing preschools. Not only were they discussing preschools, they were discussing which ones they had already put their babies on the wait list for. My initial reaction was like any sleep deprived, hormonal new mom, my eyes welled with tears. My baby hadn’t slept more than a two-hour chunk at night, but I should be thinking about preschools already? Wow, I really missed the memo on this one.
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Stress Less:
3 Tips to Finding Zen This Holiday Season!

By Melissa Benaroya
yoga mom


At
Grow Parenting we know how stressful the holidays can be with all the celebrations, shopping, meals, traveling and gift giving that takes place. There is so much to enjoy during the holidays, but if we don’t keep perspective on what really matters, our precious holidays can turn out to be a serious disaster.

We hope that you will be able to use these three tips to get more of what you want from your holidays together.


Remember Routines

Holidays are often filled with vacations, family traditions, special occasions, and lots of fun. While we want to enjoy these special times, set your kiddos up for success by being mindful of their usual routines.
Children thrive in their daily routine. From wake-up until bedtime, the more they can predict about their day, the greater their comfort and ease. Children often feel anxious or stressed when they are out of their usual routine, leading to more meltdowns and misbehaviors. To minimize this, give your child lots of notice about travel, changes in schedule, and new people and places. In addition, try to keep the parts of your child’s routine that you can, particularly nap times and bedtimes. Enjoy the holidays by preparing your child for fun and remembering to be compassionate if their behavior is different than usual.

Maintain Realistic Expectations


Another way to alleviate stress and anxiety while planning the perfect holiday is to plan and accept that something will go wrong. Having very rigid plans and expectations for the holidays can often be a recipe for disappointment and heightened holiday stress. Holiday meals may not come out the way you had planned them, there may be a tantrum or two (or 20), and people may be disappointed by the gifts they received.
Being prepared for the unforeseeable can help reduce holiday stress. Time is also an important factor in maintaining realistic expectations. It can be helpful to overestimate the time needed rather than underestimate your time so that there is room for “something” to happen that was not on the agenda.

Creating a holiday mantra is a great way to keep grounded and focused on what really matters to you and your family during the holiday season.
One example might be “As long as we’re together, that is all that matters!” In addition, know that if you try to do too much, you and your children will probably be too exhausted to enjoy it.

Plan Your Self Care


Who says the holidays are just for kids? The holidays are a special time for everyone, including moms and dads!
Make sure your needs are considered during this holiday season. Most parents do a great job of scheduling activities for the family, but forget to schedule time for themselves. If you want to enjoy this time with the kiddos your physical and emotional tank needs to be filled and maintained. Scheduling a coffee with a friend, a nice warm bath, or just time to read your favorite gossip magazine can make a world of difference.

A
nd, don’t forget your relationship – a date night can help keep you and your partner on the same page and connected when navigating the holiday hustle and bustle. These short periods of self-care will go a long way when trying to maintain the busy pace of the holidays. Because if mom and dad are not happy, nobody is going to be happy this holiday season!
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Video: Talking To Kids About Connecticut Tragedy


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Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Sarina Behar Natkin on King 5 News as she shares tips for talking to children about traumatic events.
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Why You SHOULD Talk To Your Kids
About Death

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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As a parent educator, I rarely use the word should. Matter of fact, I cringe at the idea of giving parents one more SHOULD; almost as much as many parents cringe at the idea of talking to their kids about death. After a spate of violence and random death in Seattle, I realized how few parents discuss the topic of death with their children before they are forced to. This is where the SHOULD comes in. We should because it will help our children and ourselves move through the pain of loss just a little bit easier. For those of us who have lost loved ones, even the tiniest bit easier is worth it.

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Technology Time: Setting Limits That Work

By Melissa Benaroya

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding setting limits on technology use.

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Dear GROW Parenting,

We have a 5-year old boy who has been exposed to iPhone and iPad games and stories, some educational and some not so educational (ahem, angry birds). On a daily basis, he asks if he can have our iPhone or iPad to play a game. Often it seems like my exhaustion level is what dictates whether or not he gets to have it. Yes, we have a time frame of no more than 1 hour total between pre-recorded TV shows and games. Some days are just full of play and friends so no games. Even when I set a timer so he knows when it is time to stop, it still ends in a battle or tears. I'm just so struck by how insistent he can get in arguing with me about getting a chance to play the games. What do you suggest to achieve a good balance while maintaining a good relationship with your child, especially boys?
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The Business of Parenting:
Great Leaders in the Home

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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How many of you feel confident in the workplace only to melt in to a pile of frustration and fear when in comes to parenting? Why do high functioning managers who lead successful teams come home and turn into autocrats or doormats to their children? Read More...
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Keep Halloween Happy by Planning Ahead!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Halloween

We are just two days away from Halloween! Have you made a plan with your children for helping them celebrate without turning in to monsters? Often our best parenting comes when we think ahead and involve our children in the discussion. GROW Parenting has three tips to help your family enjoy the day: Read More...
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Talking Time Outs:
What GROW Parenting had to say on the local news!

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about time outs!
Click here to watch video.
For a full article on Time Outs, check out our
blog post. Read More...
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Time Out: Friend or Foe?

By Melissa Benaroya, LICSW & Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW

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The use of time outs is a hot and touchy topic! We at GROW Parenting are not afraid to talk about it AND we are committed to helping parents find new and better ways to use time outs in their parenting. Read More...
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Why We Love PEPS-
Program for Early Parent Support!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

BabyZ

Seattle area families are fortunate to have an amazing parent support program that starts when your baby arrives! Ask parents in the area what they should do to get ready for baby, and many will immediately say, "Call PEPS!" Read More...
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Technology & Kids: GROW Parenting on Local News

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about children and technology use!
Click here to watch video. Read More...
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Compassion Starts With You:
Five Ways to Model Compassion in Daily Life

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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We just finished our first full week of the school year, and like many families, the transition has not been smooth. No matter how much we stick to routines during the summer, keep early bedtimes, and discuss and plan for the new year, we often find ourselves hanging on for the wild ride that ensues during these early weeks. By Friday night, I felt as if I deserved a medal for just surviving, and flipping my lid just a wee bit less than I might have.
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3 Ways to Conquer Chaos & Ease Your Family Back Into School

By Melissa Benaroya
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Transitions can be stressful, and one of the major transitions families face is in the fall when kids head back to school and schedules change. Although parents might feel like no one's chaos could possibly be more chaotic than their own, in reality families face many of the same difficulties when it comes to keeping a schedule on track. Here are three of them, with some simple tips that will return order and efficiency to your family's life.
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Saying Sorry

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question about how to get her child to apologize.
Angry girl


Dear GROW Parenting,
My 6 year old threw a fit at camp last week for a variety of reasons. We have figured it out what caused it. However, during the fit she was VERY rude to her counselor. She refuses to say sorry or write a note or even draw a picture. She is embarrassed. I'm embarrassed. Any thoughts?
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When A Parent Is Diagnosed With An Illness

By Melissa Benaroya

Teddy Band Aid
Being the parent of a 5- and 7-year-old, I am shocked at the number of families we know that have a parent with a life-threatening illness. When I was growing up, I don’t remember hearing of friends or classmates who had to handle these types of family challenges or stresses.

This year alone, at my children’s school, three mothers in one grade level received breast cancer diagnoses. I know this is not a statistic per se, but the sheer fact that it is now so “common” is harrowing.
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Working Moms and Maternity Leave

Check out GROW Parenting's co-founder, Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Evening News discussing working moms and maternity leave! Read More...
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How Old Do Your Children Have To Be To Stay Home Alone?

GROW Parenting was recently featured on Q13 Evening News. Watch for great tips from Melissa Benaroya on when your children may be ready to stay home alone. Read More...
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Big Sister/Brother Boot Camp:
10 Tips For Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Boy drawing on moms belly

Is baby number two, three or four on the way? While this is exciting news, many parents wonder how their existing child or children will adjust to the changes ahead. With some thought and planning, we can ease this transition for the whole family. Here are ten tips for helping your current kiddos get ready for their starring role as big brother or sister. Read More...
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Maintaining Sleep Schedules in the Summer: More Rest = More Fun!

By Melissa Benaroya
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Even though the sun is out later during the summer months, long past bed times, it is important to maintain your sleep routines and schedules. You will have more fun with your child during the day if evening rituals and bedtimes are kept sacred. Read More...
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