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Joyful Musings--a weekly blog

Joyful Parenting Coaching is focused on clarity, consistency, connection, being an effective parent, finding balance as a parent, and above all being a confident and joyous parent. Topics include communication, having difficult conversations, having constructive conversations, chores, routines, family meetings,  I teach parent education and parenting classes because parenting is a skill—not something we are born knowing. Get the parenting skills you need today!

Addressing Children’s Fears and Anxieties Without Shrugging Them Off

Elisabeth Stitt

Slow and Steady Wins the Race when it comes to overcoming anxieties and phobias. Too often it is hard for us to slow down and be empathetic with our children and their fears. And sometimes we are so afraid of upsetting them that we do everything we can to avoid the situation that triggers the fear. As with so many things, that answer lies in the middle. Help your child take baby steps towards mastering his fears. That way he will feel supported and seen and heard ; and at the same time you help him develop the skills and persistence he will need so much in life.

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Whether Two or Twelve, Tantrums Are No Fun

Elisabeth Stitt

Whether your child is 2 or 12, tantrums are just no fun, right?   Most of us are not super comfortable with big, out-of-control displays of feelings, so our children’s tantrums set off a negative reaction in us. But tantrums are just a sign that your child is overwhelmed and doesn’t have sufficient skills to manage her feelings in a more constructive way. As parents we can help with skill building, but it still takes time.

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Giving Up the Role of Being The Primary Parent

Elisabeth Stitt

Feeling that you are the primary parent is a significant challenge that seems to fall mostly to moms— even today.    Part of that is still a vestige of time when women being in the workforce was the exception not the rule. And part of it is that the role of perfect mother has so been put on a pedestal that women feel enormous pressure to be responsible for everything in their family—even when they have full responsibilities at work.

Feeling like or being the primary parent adds tremendous stress to already stressed families, and it is worth it to find more balance in taking responsibility for the running of the family and household. Read on to find out ow I support parents with that.

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How One Dad Rebuilt Trust with His Daughter Even After She Broke the Rules

Elisabeth Stitt

Every once in a while I publish a guest post—either because the person’s expertise in a given area is much more sophisticated than mine or because they offer a perspective I cannot. In this blog, dad Tyler Jacobson shares how he handled it when his 13 year old daughter broke some big family rules. I especially love the understanding he shows his daughter as well as the problem solving, all while keeping her accountable for her poor choices.

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Tips for Managing Parent Anger

Elisabeth Stitt

We all know the reasons our tempers are short—we’re tired, stressed out and too often pushed to the wall. And then our kids—who should know better—argue, talk back, give us black looks or just ignore us altogether. No wonder we want to shake them silly.

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Should You Make Your Kid Apologize? (Part II)

Elisabeth Stitt

In Part I of Should You Make Your Kid Apologize, I looked at what it means as adults when we apologize. I took the time for that discussion to help parents realize the implications of when and why we apologize. Yes, I do think it is important that we teach children to apologize, but we have to go beyond a hollow apology by supporting our kids’ emotional growth.

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Should You Make Your Kid Apologize? (Part I)

Elisabeth Stitt

Should You Make Your Kid Apologize?

That’s a tricky question! There is no doubt that our children need to understand the idea of an apology but given that there are different kinds of apologies for different situations, teaching our children to offer an apology is not a straight forward task. It certainly won’t be taught with a simple rule. Or with a single iteration. Let’s consider the nature of apologies and where our own practice lines up with our expectations of our children.

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What's Your Plan for That?

Elisabeth Stitt

Are you concerned that you are a helicopter or lawn mower parent? Do you know that you are one but don’t know what to do differently? One of my favorite techniques for giving our kids some space and encouraging some independent thinking is What’s your plan for that? Instead of mapping out how our child should tackle a homework assignment or chore or even a conflict with a friend, we give the problem to them for consideration. Of course, if they are floundering too much, we step in and help with some course correction (but resist the urge to take over!)

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Keeping Parental Anxiety at Bay

Elisabeth Stitt

Last week I wrote about how anxiety is affecting parenting by sharing the shift that I have seen in my 30 years of working with families.  This week I want to outline what I think are some key buffers against parental and (by extension) kid anxiety.  In light of the shootings this past week, it feels like I should be addressing the topic of how do you reassure children they are safe, but I still go back to my observation that the younger the child, the more the fears are the old ones that have always been there—being separated from one’s parent, fear of the dark and later fear of being made fun of.  Addressing children’s fears is an important topic, but today I am going to stay focused on keeping your own parental anxieties at bay. 

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A is for Anxiety

Elisabeth Stitt

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, anxiety among children 6-17 is steadily on the rise.  Data from 2011-2012 found that 1 in 20 US children has an anxiety diagnosis.  That represents a statistically significant increase since the 2003 data; and one can only imagine that were the same data taken in 2018 that there would be a further increase.   The numbers only go up with adulthood:  18.1% of the over 18 population every year is found to have an anxiety disorder (This includes anxiety diagnoses like OCD and social anxiety in addition to General Anxiety Disorders, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S.).  Data on whether or not rates of anxiety have increased in general in the United States are inconclusive.  But from my own experience, that was one of the main reasons I made a shift from teaching kids to supporting parents, and I think my experience sheds light on what is typical.

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SETTING YOUR KIDS UP FOR SUCCESS WITH HOMEWORK

Elisabeth Stitt

Once the shine of the new school year wears off, it is time to settle into the routine of school. Here are steps for helping your child figure out how to handle the homework the teacher’s give her. Aid her in problem solving but recognize that if you tell your child how and when to do her homework, chances are it won’t work. At this stage, it is more important to help her develop her own tools for managing her work.

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That Child Is a Bully!

Elisabeth Stitt

THAT CHILD IS A BULLY!

Have you ever written off a child in your neighborhood or at your child's school as a bully?  It is easy as parents for us to get defensive and judgmental.   Bullying sets parents off and strikes a very sensitive chord, but lots of what we fear is bullying is normal interactions among kids—they just need the skills and the example to use it.

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Get Your Kids Eating Healthy with These Simple Steps

Elisabeth Stitt

Happy to be included among the experts sharing their tips in this article on healthy eating.  One other tip, not shared here, that a nutritionist gave me was Only feed your kids at the table.  That's one I wish I had learned when my daughter was a toddler.  That means no mindless snacking while in the car or on the couch.  I know my own health would be better if I followed that rule (and I would probably add to that, no mindless eating while scrolling through Facebook or checking your email).  Read HERE for some more great tips on getting your kids in the habit of healthy eating. 

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How to Keep Your Kids Active and Healthy in Today's Digital Era

Elisabeth Stitt

Among the reasons that electronics and screen time is problematic is that kids are on their devices when they would otherwise be doing something physical.  Fortunately, parents can use fun physical activities as a draw to get kids away from too much screen time.  Check out some of these ideas from some other experts and me on how to do that in this blog by Hania Syed of mydeal.com.au.  Personally, I find it easier to provide attractive alternatives than to have a lot of rules about when and how long their kids can be on their cell phones or iPads.  Of course you may still need to have firm limits, but it is much easier to get kids excited about some kind of project--especially when you are right there doing it with them--than arguing whether they can play just one more game or write one more post.  Click HERE to read on.  

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Reigning the Crazy by Limiting Your Kids' Activities

Elisabeth Stitt

In talking to parents this summer, one of the comments I have heard a lot is some theme or variation on how much better the children’s behavior is during the summer compared to the school year.  In other words, children who have enough downtime and sleep and fewer demands put on them, are more likely to cheerfully and cooperatively engage in family life.  

Children will be happier, healthier and more ready to learn with less hectic schedules and fewer demands put upon them.  READ ON for some ways to create that for your kids.

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How to Leave the Park Easily and With No Tears in 3 Easy Steps

Elisabeth Stitt

One of the great things about summer and school being out is being able to take your kids on more outings.  Some parents, however, find getting their kids to leave the beach, the zoo, the park—or wherever you have decided to go—without tears and tantrums so challenging, that they would rather stay home.  

Here are some ways to assure that you come home as happy as when you left.  


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6 Bad Habits All Parents Should Drop

Elisabeth Stitt

I was happy to contribute to this article on bad habits parents should drop.  I had cell phones on my mind--and getting them under control is absolutely important--but I love the points the other 5 contributors make, as well.  Probably one will resonate more than the others as being especially hard for you.  Focus on that one and consider what kind of plan you can come up for yourself. 

Click HERE to see which of the 6 Bad Habits Parents Should Drop you fall prey to.

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