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...
Comments

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?

What is amazing it that we can easily turn this around! Gratitude can be developed in both young people and ourselves. We cannot make our kids be grateful, but we can influence them to be more grateful.
Gratitude is a behavior that must be caught, and not taught.

One of the ways that we can influence or nurture gratitude in our children, is by modeling this behavior ourselves. It can be as simple as showing gratitude toward your child for doing the things they are supposed to do (i.e. clean up their messes, get themselves ready in the morning or do chores around the house) A simple, “Thanks so much for getting the dishes done before dinner” can be enough to encourage your child to show appreciation towards you and others.

Another very effective way of nurturing gratitude in our children is modeling it in your own relationships. This can be done with your partners, friends and even with strangers
. If you practice thanking your partner in front of your kids, everyone in your family will develop a greater attitude of gratitude. Our kids are more likely to do what we do versus do what we say. Showing appreciation for the everyday things, the smallest things, will help foster gratitude in your children.

And there are so many benefits! Research from the Journal of Happiness in 2010 confirmed that when people display gratitude they experience less depression, are more pleasant to be around, do better academically (higher GPA) and have a more positive life outlook. And you might not be surprised to learn that research has also confirmed that people are better liked by others when showing appreciation and gratitude.

So what can we do? Practice! Maybe you’re not in the habit of showing gratitude as much as you would like. Here are a few ideas to get you going: 1) Keep a gratitude journal or 2) Sign up for a 21-Day Gratitude Challenge or 3) Create a ritual of sharing appreciations with your children at the dinner table together or at bedtime.

Thank You Color Crop- Resized

When keeping a journal you can either keep a physical journal or use an online tool such as
Thnx4.org. The goal is to write down between three to five things for which you feel grateful. The physical act of writing is important—don’t just do this exercise in your head. Try to spend 10 to 15 minutes each day for at least one week. Studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal one to three times per week might actually have a greater impact on our happiness than journaling every day, so no worries if you miss a day or two.

A Few Pointers When Writing Your Gratitude Journal:

1) Be Specific. Instead of writing “I’m grateful for my friends” maybe expand your gratitude statement to “I’m grateful for having friends in my life who I can count on and help me out with my kids when I have an emergency.”

2) Savor Surprises. Record events that were unexpected or surprising. These occurrences tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude

3) Write Regularly and Stay Consistent. If you are only going to write once a week, pick a day that you will write on and at a time that you know you will have availability to do the journaling.

As our national day of thanks approaches, I encourage you to think about your rituals of giving thanks.
We do not have to wait until the third Thursday of November to give thanks. This should be something we do on a daily basis with and around our children. So, pick a practice that works for you and go for it! I guarantee you will be rewarded for your efforts with much appreciation and kindness.


Want More Great Parenting Info?

COMPASS_1FALL2014F-resized2
GROW Parenting is thrilled to be a part of a NEW digital magazine for parents!

The fall edition of
Compass Positive Discipline Parenting will be available free to all subscribers of our mailing list. It's 40 pages packed with articles on cooperation, siblings, emotional coaching, connection and more!

Sign Up Now For Your FREE COPY!




Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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:

Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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.

Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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.


Comments

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...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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!

Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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?  
Read More...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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
Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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.

Read More...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

Parent Fail: Why Judging Ourselves & Others Gets In The Way of Raising a Healthy Family

By Melissa Benaroya


parentfail-Resized

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.
Read More...
Comments

5 Tips For Watching The Superbowl With Kids

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Superbowl


Superbowl 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!

Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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.

Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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).
Read More...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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.

Read More...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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:
Read More...
Comments

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.

Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

Three Keys To Summer Sanity:
Sleep, Structure and Regulating Sugar Intake!

By Melissa Benaroya



iStock_000015180242XSmall
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.
Read More...
Comments

Building Cultural Identity In Children

By Sarina Behar Natkin

iStock_000008106515XSmall

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...
Comments

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!
Read More...
Comments

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!
Read More...
Comments

Raising Culturally Aware Children

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Giddens Post 1
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.

Read More...
Comments

You’re Not The Boss of Me!

By Melissa Benaroya


madboy

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.
Read More...
Comments

Video: Cultural Quotient


Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 2.08.10 PM

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...
Comments

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?
Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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?
Read More...
Comments

Rebel Without A Raincoat
& Other Clothing Conflicts

By Sarina Behar Natkin

iStock_000010661967XSmall

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?
Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

Stress Less:
Three Tips to Finding Zen This Holiday Season!

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. Read More...
Comments

Video: Talking To Kids About Connecticut Tragedy


Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 9.38.07 AM

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Sarina Behar Natkin on King 5 News as she shares tips for talking to children about traumatic events.
Comments

Why You SHOULD Talk To Your Kids
About Death

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Dad daughter post-resized

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.

Read More...
Comments

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.

Tech Post2

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?
Read More...
Comments

The Business of Parenting:
Great Leaders in the Home

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Dad Baby Bjorn2
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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

Time Out: Friend or Foe?

By Melissa Benaroya, LICSW & Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW

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

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

Compassion Starts With You:
Five Ways to Model Compassion in Daily Life

By Sarina Behar Natkin

iStock_000003809451XSmall


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.
Read More...
Comments

3 Ways to Conquer Chaos & Ease Your Family Back Into School

By Melissa Benaroya
back to school

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.
Read More...
Comments

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?
Read More...
Comments

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.
Read More...
Comments

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...
Comments

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...
Comments

Big Sister/Brother Boot Camp:
Preparing Your Child for a New Baby 10 Tips To Prepare 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...
Comments

Maintaining Sleep Schedules in the Summer: More Rest = More Fun!

By Melissa Benaroya
iStock_000015180242XSmall
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...
Comments

Help! My Preschooler is Hitting!

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 preschoolers and hitting.
mad girl

Reader Question
We have been struggling for some time with our three year old hitting and kicking others. It is happening both and school and at home. He has an older brother who is six, and is generally a happy, easygoing child. He is very articulate and can express himself quite well, so this behavior is surprising to us.

It's particularly upsetting for us because he acts so happy and smiles when he hits, so it seems kind of deviant; yet my head tells me he's just looking for attention or testing for safety. We know it’s not going to help the situation to think of him as hitter. Instead, we want to understand the need, from his perspective, to hit, push, or kick others. We would love some ideas for how to deal with this issue.
Read More...
Comments

Caring for mom FIRST: A Truly Unselfish Act!

By Melissa Benaroya

iStock_000008529930XSmall
On the airplane, we are instructed to put our oxygen mask on before we assist our child with their mask. The same is true in our daily lives. If you are not taken care of, you cannot fully care for the people in your life. Self care is not only a gift to yourself, but more importantly a gift to everyone in your life.  You cannot show up as your best self as a parent, partner, employee, daughter, or sister without being fully fueled and cared for. 
  Read More...
Comments

A Parenting Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This article originally appeared as a guest post on
Herbivoracious.

Girl Eating

“What’s for dinner?” “Ugh, I hate green beans!” “Can I have dessert yet?” “I’m not hungry (but I will be as soon as you clear the table)”…the list of mealtime complaints can go on and on. Not to mention the mayhem that may ensue before your little one can even talk. Not many parents can forget the frustration of thrown food, the mess of the yogurt in the hair, or the game of “watch mommy pick up my bagel over and over again.”

Food is a huge part of human life and most parents I meet cannot wait to dive in to the world of food with their babies. As the wife of a
food blogger and chef, we must have spent weeks talking about what our first food would be! Little did we know we were in store for a whole lot more than the idyllic family meals of The Cosby Show.
Read More...
Comments

Preschool Search Starts Now, With You!

GROW Parenting is thrilled to have education coach Anoo Padte as our guest blogger today. GROW Parenting is a proud co-sponsor of Anoo's upcoming lecture on April 9, 2012, entitled "Choosing the Right Preschool." We hope you will join us!

October through January is the busiest time of year for parents seeking admission at all grade levels from preschool through college at independent and public schools. In those hectic months, parents try to identify schools, visit them, apply and get interviewed. That’s a lot of ground to cover in four months and it misses one crucial beginning step. A good part of choosing the right school relies on knowing what matters to your child and your family.
Read More...
Comments

The Road to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be

By Melissa Benaroya

Road Sign-resized
Why is it so darn hard to feel like you are a great parent and that your responses to your children are not only respectful but also effective? After working with children and their families for nearly fifteen years I had a moment of clarity this week. Becoming the parent you want to be is really a three part process:

1) Greater understanding

2) Learning or honing skills

3) Choosing to practice skills until they become natural
Read More...
Comments

Daddy Do It! What To Do When Our Kids Play Favorites

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Pointing Girl Crop
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 their little one preferring one parent over the other.

Reader Question
My daughter tends to gravitate toward me (Papa), who is home with her more frequently. If I am home, she refuses to let her Dad help her with anything, give her a bath, or give her affection. Last night it came to a head when after when she didn’t want him to hug and kiss her goodnight. It was understandably quite upsetting to him. In the back of my mind I'm certain this is normal, but I also feel as though I need to do something.
Read More...
Comments

Are You An "Emotion Coaching" Parent?

By Melissa Benaroya

emotion coaching
Emotion Coaching is not just a parenting style. It is also a tool developed by John Gottman to not only help and teach our children to handle challenges, but also as a means of developing a relationship with our children based on trust and mutual respect. Read More...
Comments

Long-term Parenting: Destination Ahead

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Go For It2
Today’s post is the third in a three part series on long-term parenting. The first post explored the idea of long-term parenting and the second post offered tools for widening your parenting lens. Today’s post offers specific tools to help move your family toward your goals.

Changing our habits can be challenging but here’s a great way to get started. Look at your list of characteristics and life skills that you want your children to have. Select the three values that matter most to your and your family and make those your focus for 2012. This is a great activity to do with your partner! Doing this together will get you on the same page as you work toward making positive changes in your family. Read More...
Comments

Long-term Parenting: Discover Your Road Map

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Last week, I began a three part series on long-term parenting. The previous post explored the idea of long-term parenting. This post offers some tools to help you widen your parenting lens.

Here’s a great activity from
Positive Discipline for helping you get clear on what your own bigger picture looks like. Sit down by yourself or with your co-parent and make a list of the current challenges you have with our kids. The day-to-day stuff that makes you want to scream. The idea behind this list is not to label these problems/behaviors we need to get rid of in our kids. The goal is just to get them out there. Read More...
Comments

Long-Term Parenting: Broaden Your Horizon

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Opportunity Ahead
Facing the challenges of daily life, we often get stuck in whatever our current parenting struggle is. It can be quite overwhelming to face some of the wacky behaviors our little cuties present us with. We think to ourselves that if we don't handle this issue perfectly and right away, we are going to screw our kids up, we are failures as parents, their behavior is our fault, they are going to have a meltdown, and so am I!

When we adopt a wider lens, it gets us out of the immediate power struggle, frees us up not to be "perfect" parents, and allows us more time to slow down and really think before acting. When we slow down, we can usually find more options for how to deal with the current stressor. We also gain the ability to respond with greater empathy, which usually leads to quicker changes in behavior than when we respond from a place of fear and frustration.
Read More...
Comments

Three Parenting Tips to Childproof Parenting

By Melissa Benaroya



Parenting is a tough job and requires lots of on the job training. We only become better parents when we take care our ourselves, stay open to learning, and practice parenting tools that are in alignment with our values. There are lots of things we can do to be the parents that we want to be. But it is usually best to only focus on two or three areas of improvement at a time. Here are a few reminders that will not only help make parenting feel less stressful, but also make parenting your kiddos more enjoyable. Read More...
Comments

Cabin Fever!

boysincabinet

If you are in the Seattle area, you have most likely been home all week with the kiddos. You may have had a brief break on Tuesday when school started two hours late and ended two hours early, but besides that, most of us have been home since the snow came on Sunday. I have been reflecting lately on how the sheer joy of a snow day as a child can turn us in to grumpy parents, wondering when life can get back to normal. So four days in to our Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon or whatever you want to call it, lets help each other out. Here's 5 indoor activities using things many of us have in the house to help entertain the wee ones. Then it's your turn!
Read More...
Comments

Toy Troubles: My Toddler Won’t Help Clean Up!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Girl Playing-resized

You and your child have had a blast building a tower of blocks. Clean up time comes and you ask for some help putting the blocks away. Next thing you know, your calm cutie is gearing up for a major melt down. Sound familiar?

Encouraging clean up is a common struggle in many families. Whose job is it? If you clean them up are you letting them get away with something? Is it worth the struggle to make them do it? Lets take a look at these common questions.
Read More...
Comments

The Bedtime Dance

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Girl jumping on bed-resized

We all know the drill. It’s been a long day, everyone is tired and it’s time for the kids to go to bed. Every step of the process feels like herding cats. Once there is more than one child in the home, the steps to this dance become even more complex. It makes tired parents want to hop up on a horse and lasso those kiddos right in to bed!
Read More...
Comments

Why I love Positive Discipline

By Sarina Behar Natkin

For those who have read my previous posts, you know I am a huge fan of Positive Discipline. I had heard of the model before having children, but didn't really dive in to deeper learning until I became a parent.

As new parenting challenges cropped up I wanted to learn how to deal with power struggles and behavior challenges in a way that aligned with my core values. Time outs and consequences seemed to be popular methods, but they didn't feel good to me and I didn't believe they worked in the long run. (Stay tuned for a post on why time outs don't work in the near future.) On the other hand, if I didn't deal with discipline the "right" way, would I raise a child without respect for others?
Read More...
Comments