Understanding & Solutions To Sassy, Bossy, Back Talk

By Melissa Benaroya


moodygirl2

The smile that lights up your day; that laugh that warms you up with joy and optimism; the ability to show you the world through innocent eyes: kids can be such amazing parts of our lives with their constant ability to learn and grow, teaching us how to see the big picture and to love someone so much it hurts.

And then they learn the word “No.”
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Embracing “Good Enough” Parenting

By Erin Bernau

GoodEnoughParenting2

I can think of no better time of year to revisit the concept of “good enough” parenting! With summer upon us, I am struck again by the disconnect between the kind of parent I wish I were and the kind that I actually am.
My mythical ideal parent has her kids with her all day the whole summer enjoying inventive and educational opportunities as we bask in each other’s company without the distractions of technology or sweet treats (in this version, my kids don’t even ask for these things because they are outside playing in the woods and reading fortifying literature). In reality, I am the kind of mom who adores her children and needs a break from them. I love having summer time adventures together and I love for them to have their own independent adventures and for me to have mine as well. Read More...
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3 Must Have Routines For Summer Sanity

By Sarina Behar Natkin

dadwall


School’s Out For Summer

During the hectic pace of the school year, many of us parents long for summer. We work hard to keep life on track, and daydream of the long summer days where we can ease up on the structure the school year brings.

We imagine days at the beach with happy kids entertaining themselves for hours, so exhausted from the fun of the day that they practically put themselves to bed. Not a sound until 9:00 AM the next morning. Sounds dreamy, right?

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The Power of the Dad-Daughter Dynamic

By Melissa Benaroya

dad-daughter

As Father’s Day approaches, we encourage you to embrace every opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the father figures in your life. Fathers are significant influencers in the lives of their children; they are no longer valued just for bringing home the figurative bacon. The days of detached fathering are becoming a thing of the past. Dads are more involved than ever in all aspects of childrearing. Research has found that men who are fathers are actually happier than their childless peers. Not only do dads benefit from getting involved, but there are huge benefits for children, too! The latest research points to several areas where dads have an especially profound effect on their daughters’ health and wellbeing.
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You, Me, and Them: Parenting as a Couple

By Erin Bernau

ParentingAsACouple

Back in 2005, author Ayelet Waldman proclaimed boldly that she loved her husband more than she loved her children in a New York Times article. This announcement seemed to strike a nerve, with quick reactions in the media that she must be an unfit mother and shouldn’t have had children to begin with. Waldman remained undeterred, however, and stated that the best foundation she could give her children was a strong partnership with their father. Whether you share Ms. Waldman’s feelings or not, she can be applauded for beginning a conversation and for shaking up our expectations of what kind of partnerships best serve both parents and children.
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Family Meetings: Your Most Powerful Parenting Tool

By Sarina Behar Natkin

FamilyMeetings4

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 with their children?

Imagine for a moment the most effective workgroup you have been a part of. All members of the team knew what they were responsible for and completed their tasks without micromanagement.
It wasn’t always easy, but your commitment to each other and your shared goals allowed you to work through challenges in calm respectful ways.
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The Pleasure & Pain of Traveling with Kids

By Erin Bernau


Erin Travel2

We approached the edge of the Grand Canyon slowly, eyes looking down at our feet and the ground immediately in front of us. When we got to the solid metal fence, we looked up and at once the grandeur and immensity of the canyon affected us. “Oh, my,” my six-year-old daughter called out. I glanced over at my nine-year-old son to see his mouth opened wide in wonder. My eyes filled with tears, not only at the beauty I was witnessing but at the real gift of sharing this moment with my children. This, I thought, is the reason we travel as a family. We are taken out of our everyday routine and get to have new experiences with those we love most in the world.
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Compass Positive Discipline Magazine
Spring 2016

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Check out the Spring Edition of Compass Positive Discipline Magazine. It's packed with 40 pages of tips from the top Positive Discipline writers and bloggers!

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Three Strategies To Ensure A Successful Spring Break

By Melissa Benaroya


springbreak


Whether you are sticking around the house, traveling abroad or playing tourist in your own town, there are bound to be parenting challenges or tough moments that arise over the break. All the “together time” can be fun and create wonderful memories, but because dynamics tend to change when kids are out of their normal school routine, it also has the potential to create stress. Here are a few reminders to help you avoid and manage common challenges so you can enjoy the time together while contributing to your teen’s social and emotional development. It is important to first recognize these challenges as opportunities for connection and teaching, because without that mindset it is difficult to use discipline effectively.
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Moms Who Inspire: Myla Rugge,
The Seattle Mom Prom Founder

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Mom Prom Seattle 2015

Dust off those strappy sandals and pink taffeta gown, because prom isn’t just for kids anymore. One Seattle mom is giving all moms a chance to redo prom without all the drama of our teen years. Seattle Mom Prom is the prom you always wanted; great tunes, good friends, and no waiting around for someone to ask you. Read More...
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Parenting on Stage: Life as a Role Model

By Sarina Behar Natkin

theater Kids


“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
- William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Wondering how to be a role model for your child? Surprise! You already are. All parents are the most significant role models our children will have in life. The choice is up to us as to what kind of role model we would like to be. They are always watching us, whether we are aware of it our not. They are storing away our responses as clues to how they should respond when in a similar situation.

Our children are always learning.
The real secret to parenting is, understanding that our actions have a much greater influence on our children than our words. We can tell them until we are blue in the face, but if we are not modeling the behavior we would like to see, we will not see it in return.

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10 Parenting Tips, 10 Words or Less

By Sarina Behar Natkin


10-tips3

For those of you who are regular readers of GROW Parenting's blog, I'm sure you are aware brevity is not my forte. In fact, some of my posts are so long I’ve been asked if they are actually novels in disguise.

When it comes to communicating with children though, grownups often make the mistake of doing too much talking. In trying to get our point across, and be understood, we tend to go on in our rationalizing, lecturing, and explaining, hoping they will finally see our point and agree we are right.

In my experience, this is rarely effective and often serves to escalate their anger and frustration. When we communicate more succinctly, it is not only more efficient, but more effective as well.

I love a challenge and wanted to see if those of us who support parents could take our own advice. I asked nine other
Positive Discipline Trainers & Educators to join me in the challenge of sharing one of their top parenting tips in ten words or less. I have to say, they knocked this challenge out of the park. So, I will take my own advice, be brief, and let the tips speak for themselves!
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Homework Havoc:
Advocating For Your Child When Needed

By Melissa Benaroya

homework-help-small

My 11-year-old daughter recently came home in tears because she now has on average 1-2 hours of homework a night. She has other interests and activities beyond school, so piling on a few hours of“ class work” at night feels daunting to her. And I get it!  Kids need a break from academics. I understand that schools want to reinforce concepts that are being taught in the classroom. But I feel like I need to take a stance when the amount of homework threatens my child’s love and thirst for learning. 
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Moving Past Guilt:
A Normal, But Unnecessary, Part Of Parenting

By Erin Bernau

Dad-child-small


Guilt may very well be a universal part of the human experience, and is often compounded and heightened after becoming a parent. Suddenly, you are entrusted with the absolute care of another human being, while continuing to balance all the other aspects of your life from before becoming a parent. It can feel impossible at times to succeed at all the varied roles you must take on during a given day—as a parent, a spouse or partner, child, sibling, friend, and co-worker.

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The Power Of Not Right Now

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Panic-small

I recently came home from teaching the final class of a four-week Positive Discipline series, and fell on the couch in a heap of tears. I blew it. I screwed up. I started to tear into myself about how I could mess up something I do so often; and until that moment thought I did pretty well.

My brain immediately went to analyzing what went wrong.
Reflection is helpful, reflection brings growth, but rarely in the heat of the moment do our brains stop there. Nope, mine went right to judgment. How could you get in to a power struggle with participants when you have just taught them how to unplug power struggles with their children? How could you let yourself get emotionally engaged in a way that caused you to step out of facilitator and in to debate mode? It was pretty much a “how could you” festival in there!

Somewhere deep inside, the voice of reason kicked in and said, “go to bed and take a fresh look in the morning.” The other voice fired back, “No, you must deal with this right now! If you don’t, you will never learn!”

Do you ever have that feeling around parenting? “If I don't teach my child a lesson right now, they will never learn.” “If I let them get away with _____ , they are going to be doing _____ their whole lives!” Sound familiar?
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Audio: Joyful Courage Interview

By Sarina Behar Natkin


What's your parenting style? Listen in as Sarina Natkin chats with
Casey O'Roarty of Joyful Courage about the way we parent and how to shift your style. Click the image or link below to listen.

Eps 26- Exploring Parenting Styles with Sarina Behar Natkin2
Joyful Courage Podcast #26: Exploring Parenting Styles With Sarina Behar Natkin

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Talking To Kids About Love:
An Interview With Amy Lang

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Talk-About-Love

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, love is in the air! Like many little words with big meanings, love is one of those concepts we rarely take the time to discuss with our children. With all the "I love you's" children hear, they may wonder what makes someone love someone else, and if they love you have for them is the same as they love you have for a partner or friend. Considering the mixed messages many of us receive about the connection between love and sex, Sexual Health Educator Amy Lang, MA, seemed like just the person to talk to.

Amy is the founder of
Birds + Bees + Kids, and if you haven't visited her site, it should be your next stop. She has a wealth of resources for parents on how to talk to your kids about everything from periods to pornography. With over 20 years as an expert in the field as a speaker and author, she is your go to gal for those challenging topics that leave parents blushing like a teen.

So lets dig in to this concept of love and find out just what we might share with our children on the topic.
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3 Crucial Parenting Moments & How to Get Them Right

By Melissa Benaroya

I was recently interviewed by
Mazlo writer, Suzanne Schlosberg, about how to use empathy in response to some common parenting challenges. Suzanne is a talented and witty writer who draws from her own day-to-day challenges of raising 8-year-old two boys. I love her authenticity and how she writes about raising her boys. Enjoy! –Melissa

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Quick Tip: Routines & Rituals

By Sarina Behar Natkin


Routines-RitualsSmall1
For more on this topic, check out: Building Cultural Identity In Children

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Taking Care of Yourself First:
Physical and Emotional Self-Care

By Erin Bernau

lonely-mom

An Ideal Parent?

A model of an ideal parent has developed in many of our minds that is based on extreme self-sacrifice and self-denial. This mother or father consistently buries his or her own needs in order to satisfy those of his or her children. This parent smiles cheerfully while anticipating every need her child expresses, while letting her own joy and pleasure in life go unexplored. I’m not sure where this model came from, but I think it’s time for each of us to ensure that we are not buying into it! Read More...
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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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Quick Tip: Our Role As Parents

By Sarina Behar Natkin



QT Teach Guide Small


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

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How To Talk To Kids About Violence & Terror

By Sarina Behar Natkin

BadNews2

As parents, we are rarely at a loss for words. We delight in sharing the knowledge we have gathered over a lifetime, and find joy in teaching our children to navigate their world. Yes, there are topics we may feel uncomfortable talking about, like sex and drugs; but we find a way, and with time, can talk about them with greater ease. As the news of school shootings, terror attacks and random violence occur with greater frequency, we find ourselves in the position of having to explain the unfathomable.
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Four Tips To "Happy" Holidays!

By Melissa Benaroya


HappyHolidays


It’s that time of year! Everyone is hustling and bustling about getting ready for family gatherings, gift giving, and traveling to visit friends and family. Even though some may refer to the holidays as “the most wonderful time of the year,” it does not mean it is always the happiest time for all. With all of the people and things that demand our time energy, money and attention in the month of December it is easy to lose sight of what makes the ones we love and ourselves truly happy. So maybe in addition to focusing all of your time and energy on what you are buying and where you are going, you can also adopt one simple happiness habit to ensure a happy holiday season. Who better to help up identify what happiness practices to adopt than our own US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy? Mr. Murthy recently prescribed four practices to cultivate a healthy and happy mindset: physical activity, relationships, gratitude practices, and meditation.

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Kids and Media:
Formulating a Family Game Plan

By Erin Bernau

screenkid

Like many of you, I find myself in almost daily negotiations with my kids about screen time. How much is allowed? Of what quality? What are exceptions to our general rules? Oh, and, can we get an Xbox?

Positive Discipline has a lovely saying that I often refer back to during my conversations with my own children about media: We often allow our kids too much freedom until we can’t stand our kids and then we rebound by imposing too many limits until we can’t stand ourselves as parents. I like to imagine love and limits as two guideposts and our job as parents is to try and walk down the middle of the two, because this is when both parents and children are being respected. But, of course, this is hard to do! My hope in this article is to give some information about how families can approach media usage with clear values and fair expectations.
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How To Get Out The Door With Kids!

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 wrangle the kids out the door in the morning.


Dear GROW Parenting,

Morning Antics
Help! Our four year old is turning mornings into a three-ring circus. She thinks getting ready is a game and as soon as we start, she runs away. It’s one thing when she does it with me, but now she is starting to turn on the antics with our nanny. Our family has put many of your bedtime tips in to practice and I would like to figure out how the nanny and I can use them in the morning as well. Can you help us stop the circus?

Sincerely,
Exasperated Mom


Dear Reader,

I feel your pain. I really do. The herding of kids out the door in the morning has exasperated every parent at least a few times. The good news is, we can step out of the game and let them herd themselves.
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Quick Tip: Values In Action

By Sarina Behar Natkin



QT Values In Action

For more on this topic, check out: What Does Your Family Value?

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Positive Discipline in The Classroom:
Bringing The Skills Home

By Sarina Behar Natkin

PD Classroom Intro2


Like most schools, my children’s school recently had its curriculum night. This is our 8th year at
Giddens School, and each year I am delighted to learn what new skills my children are learning. Of course, I like to know what academic skills they are developing. However, as a parent educator, it’s the social emotional skills that really matter to me.

Giddens School delights me to no end, as they have such a skilled group of teachers who truly understand the foundation of learning comes from developing trusting relationships with students built on mutual respect; and a culture where students embrace challenges without fear of mistakes. The evidence of this is literally written on the walls in my daughters’ classrooms.

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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Calm Down Strategies

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Small Calm Down

What Children Learn:
In both schools and parenting classes, one of the earliest tools we teach is how to calm down when emotions are high. Regulating emotions is one of the most important skills we can develop, as without it, we would rarely be able to solve the problem that upset us in the first place. Read More...
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Exploring Emotions

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

madgladsad small

What Children Learn:
A key part of expressing feelings is being able to name them. In this picture, we can see the feeling words children brainstormed to increase their emotional vocabulary. They started with the four basic feeling categories: Mad, Sad, Glad & Scared. From there, they brainstormed what more specific feelings fit in to each of those boxes. This chart provides a visible tool to help student identify feelings they want to express in the classroom.
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Bugs & Wishes

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

bugs wishes small

What Children Learn:
Bugs and wishes are a tool for children (and adults) to express what is bothering them. It is a simplified form of an “I-Statement.” The format is: "It bugs me when person/people do _________, and I wish you/they would________."
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
I-Messages

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

I Message Small

What Children Learn:
I-Messages are an extension of the
Bugs and Wishes Activity. Instead of saying "It bugs me when _______ and I wish you would ________," we include a specific feeling word to convey our emotions. We then state the problem and what we wish would happen instead.

Format: "I feel_______ when ______ and I wish_______."

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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Effective Listening

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Effective Listening

What Children Learn:
In this activity, children discuss how much easier it can be to speak than to be a respectful, effective listeners. They role-play multiple ways of listening that are ineffective and notice how they feel when they are both the talker & the listener. Next, children role-play effective listening strategies and notice what felt different. The image above shows ideas the children brainstormed about what it means to listen effectively.
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Positive Discipline in The Classroom:
Charlie, The New Student

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Charlie2
What Children Learn:
This is an activity that helps children understand the long-term effects of hurtful words. They are introduced to Charlie, a stick figure drawn on paper. This is Charlie's first day in the class. He has had to change schools a few times, and isn't really liked by his classmates. Students are asked to share statements that might hurt Charlie's feelings. Each time a comment is given, Charlie is crumpled a bit. Pretty soon, Charlie is crumpled into a ball. Students are then asked to share how Charlie is different now. How might Charlie feel at the end of the day? Does Charlie feel like he is a part of the class? Would he want to come back tomorrow? Read More...
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Making Mistakes

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Mistakes Small


What Children Learn:

Teachers often introduce a discussion about mistakes by showing the children an empty glass and a pitcher of water. As the teacher is talking and looking at students, she pours the water but misses the glass. This usually produces a big laugh from kids. She then asks, “Did I make a mistake or am I a mistake?” This can also be done by making a poster with a mistake on it, or any other mistake that will be obvious to others.

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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Encouraging Statements

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.


Encouraging Statements Small


What Children Learn:
Encouraging statements are a way to give positive feedback to others without the use of praise. Children learn that when we give feedback in a non-judgmental way, it allows the receiver to feel an internal sense of pride and motivation. Students practice both giving and receiving encouraging statements.

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Positive Discipline in The Classroom:
Recovery From Mistakes

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.


Recovery2
What Children Learn:
In this activity, students learn the 3 R's of recovering from mistakes. They previously discussed that mistakes are learning opportunity. Now, the focus shifts to understanding that making the mistake is less important than what we choose to do about them. Read More...
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Bedwetting and Accidents: An Interview with Steve Hodges, M.D.

By Melissa Benaroya


BedWetting

As a parenting coach and educator, I often meet parents distressed by their children’s potty accidents or bedwetting. They ask: Why is it happening? Will my child outgrow it? What can I do? I recently discovered a terrific resource for answering these questions: Steve Hodges, M.D., a pediatric urologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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5 Switch Witch Alternatives For Halloween

By Sarina Behar Natkin


Pasted Graphic

In case parenting during Halloween is new to you and your family, let me fill you in on the latest trend in candy management. Gone are the days when kids roam free, feeling safe in their neighborhoods and enjoying the pure bliss of securing a mountain of candy. If you thought your kid’s friends would be over for an hour of post trick or treating candy trading, you might be in for a surprise. Instead, a “nice” witch sneaks in, steals your child’s candy, and replaces it with a toy or game.

Why, you ask, in the name of Willy Wonka, would anyone allow this travesty to occur? Well, there’s a junk food epidemic in this country; diabetes and obesity are rampant, and sugar consumption has reached an all-time high. And, the perfect day of the year to say no to sugar, well, that would be Halloween. Read More...
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When a Family Pet Dies:
How You Can Help Your Kids Deal with Grief & Loss

By Erin Bernau

PetChild


When my family’s thirteen-year-old retriever mix Sadie died this September, I was struck by the dual nature of my own grief. On the one hand, I mourned my loving, neurotic girl who had been with my husband and me since before we had children. On the other hand, I was also quite worried about my children’s reactions to her death. Sadie had simply always been around. As we looked back at family pictures, there was Sadie snuggled up next to my newborns, trotted out alongside the kids on their first day of school photos and dressed up as a Halloween pumpkin along with the kids in their costumes. My children had never known a life without our family dog.

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Quick Tip: Raising Healthy Eaters

By Sarina Behar Natkin

QT Raising Healthy Eaters Small
For more on this topic, check out:
A Parenting Recipe For Raising Healthy Eaters

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Quick Tip: The Purpose Of Chores

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Purpose of Chores Small

For more on this topic, check out
Quit Whining & Do Your Chores!



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A Way Out Of Whining

By Sarina Behar Natkin

WhiningBoy small
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 deal with constant whining.

Help! My 3 year old is constantly whining, and it’s driving me crazy. How can I help him learn to use a better tone when he’s asking for help, a snack, to play with a friend, etc.

Is there any sound more annoying than endless hours of whining? Apparently not! A 2011 study published in the
Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology found that whining distracts people more than listening to a high pitched chain saw. Performance on tasks and attention decreased more with whining than any other noise they played. Across the board, men, women, parents, and non-parents were equally irritated by the noise, even when the words were in a foreign language. It is a good thing our kiddos are cute!

Kids whine for many reasons. They may whine because they are tired, because they are hungry, or because they are not yet skilled at regulating their emotions. But there’s one big reason why they do it over and over: because it works!
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Video: Postpartum Support For Moms

Watch GROW Parenting Coach Erin Bernau on Q13 Fox News as she discusses postpartum support for new moms.

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Apps Are Not Acceptable Substitutes for Parents!

Boy not eating

There are way too many gimmicks and gadgets these days when it comes to parenting. I’m afraid that even though there may be good intentions, makers of these “solutions” don’t see the unintended consequences of what they are trying to promote through their product or service. Parents who are struggling with the day-to-day challenges of raising young children can easily fall prey to those offering products that promise to solve their parenting challenges.

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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 notice many parents struggling with how to handle morning drop offs. Children are often in tears; and parents, unsure of what to do, shift rapidly between both frustration 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 often feeling guilty about leaving their children when they are upset. Add in an audience of seemingly stoic kids and anxiety free parents and we can add shame to the list of emotions running wild. Not exactly a stress free start to the day for anyone involved!

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Quick Tip: The Way You Come Home

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Change the way you come home

For more on this topic, check out:
Afternoon Delight: How Changing The Way You Come Home Can Change Your Family



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Money & Kids: What’s A Parent To Do?

By Erin Bernau


KidsMoney


“Mommy, I want that one!” “I have to have the new Ninjago set!” “You’re mean for not getting me those Pokemon cards.” “Every kid at school has an American Girl doll except for me!” A simple trip to the store can become a minefield when you cross into the toy section with a young child. We may vacillate between giving in to the request or denying it, but often without any deep thought or introspection about how and what we want to teach our children about money. Many of us well-meaning parents can get a bit flummoxed when it comes to dealing with money and kids.

Fortunately,
Ron Lieber recently wrote a fantastic book called The Opposite of Spoiled which offers a common-sense, moderate approach to this often overwhelming topic. In this article, I will use both Mr. Lieber’s concepts and those taken from Positive Discipline to help parents find a way to pass on a healthy, less complicated relationship with money to their kids.

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Quick Tip: Managing Emotions

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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For more on this topic, check out:
A Parenting Recipe For Raising Healthy Eaters




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Get Into The Groove:
Top Tips For Back To School Bliss

By Sarina Behar Natkin


back to school roundup
Is the end of summer really here? It seems like we were just in June looking out at a few months of sunny days and a break from the school year routine. Whether you can’t wait to get your kids back in to the routine of school or you are wishing for an endless summer, it’s time to dust off the backpacks and lunch boxes and gear up for the rapidly approaching start of school. Read More...
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One Parenting Habit, Two Weeks = Significant Change

By Melissa Benaroya

2WeekCoaching



At Grow Parenting, we are always looking for new ways to support parents on their parenting journey of raising healthy happy children. Over the last few months I have and the privilege of working with The Committee For Children, a non-profit well know for their Second Step Program, and Mazlo, a local technology company with very successful and seasoned leaders, to develop and pilot a virtual parent coaching program. The first program to pilot was called Calm and Connected Parenting.

By participating in this two-week program, what we saw was that participants gained greater confidence in their ability to stay calm and tended to be less over reactive and verbose. I thought I would share with you one participant’s first hand experience through this process to demonstrate that small things often when practiced consistently can really make a difference in your parenting and your relationship with your child.

Here is a first hand account from a participant named Suzanne as she shares her two week experience working with me as her coach on being more calm and connected.
Warning: Suzanne has a fantastic sense of humor and you might just start to identify with her!  

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Quick Tip: Long Term Parenting

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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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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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: Celebrating Families

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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Quick Tip: The Kids Are All Right

By Sarina Behar Natkin


QT Kids Alright
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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: New Parent Day

By Sarina Behar Natkin



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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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Quick Tip: 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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Quick Tip: 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


baby cry

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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Quick Tip: 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

ztf-cover-resized

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

discipline-child-using-spanking-method-800X800 (1)

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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