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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, 

The Secrets To Dining Out With Kids

Elisabeth Stitt

There is no doubt that kids in restaurants can be a complete nightmare.  You might remember  your pre-child days when you were disturbed by the noise and chaos of a nearby tot in a restaurant, and you vowed to leave your children home with the sitter and not inflict them on unsuspecting patrons.  And quite frankly, if your child is bringing a higher level of noise and chaos than the restaurant currently has, you are asking more of your fellow diners than you should.  After all, some of the people sitting there did hire a sitter so they could dine in peace.  On the other hand, I see no reason in the world why well-behaved children should not be welcome in almost any restaurant.  I am quoted in Julie Hammond's article on The Secrets to Dining Out with Kids HERE.  

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Looking for a variety of great parenting blogs? Check these 10 out!

Elisabeth Stitt

What I love about parenting blogs is that there is something for everyone. No matter what your family situation, no matter what your parenting philosophy, somewhere in this wide world is another parent who is going through something much the same and is happy to write about it.  My own blog is a lot about guiding parents to be as effective as possible.  That's the teacher in me.  I just can't help giving people concrete tools to be successful.  But it is also about finding the joy of parenting along the way.  Julia Hammond writes the parenting blog for mydeal.com.au, and this week she has collected 10 of her favorite parenting blogs.  I am proud to be one of them!  Check out her recommendations HERE

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Don't take your teen so personally!

Elisabeth Stitt

Have you heard the cry of, 
OMG, YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING!

Has your young teen shifted from skipping down the street holding your hand to acting as if you have the plague?  Such behavior is so teen-movie, situational-sitcom cliché we almost don't fully expect it to happen to us.  But if your child is developing normally and as he needs to do, he will have that moment when he acts as if you are an alien creature he has never seen before.  

Your frontal cortex is fully formed:  You have the big picture and long-term perspective.  That makes it your job to keep calm and parent on.  Repeating the mantra, This is a stage, it will pass, and it has nothing to do with me personally, it will help.  

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Teenage Sleep Epidemic: Some Realistic Advice

Elisabeth Stitt

Here is more great advice on making sure your teen gets enough sleep.  Good sleep is linked to so many critical factors--like mood, cognitive function, physical health.  Helping teens make the connection with things like I'm so happy today! and I got a good night's sleep can really help convince teens to improve their habits.  Articles like this one can often serve better than another lecture from Mom or Dad to give kids food for thought on steps they can take to become good sleepers.  In this article, written by Ally Feiam, I particularly like the reminder that exercise helps us sleep well and the idea that studying on your bed can teach your brain to associate your bed (your resting place) with something stressful like your studies.  Get the article HERE

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What To Do About Your Kids Technology Addiction

Elisabeth Stitt

The more I read and hear about the current research on the effects of screen time on our children's eyes, brains and bodies, the more I am convinced of the need for setting up really firm guidelines for daily electronics use.  Gaming companies and social media apps are getting every more sophisticated at hooking our kids in.  As adults with fully formed brains, it is hard for us to appreciate how easily out kids are adversely affected.  Click HERE for an article by Julie Hammond that I contributed with ideas for how to get your kids' attention way from their iPads and gameboys.  

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The Thin Line I Found Between Being A Parent And Smothering The Kids

Elisabeth Stitt

 

Tyler Jacobson, today's guest blogger who writes about the struggle to find the balance between protecting our kids without falling into helicopter parenting, is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on Twitter | Linkedin

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Is Your Child Exhibiting Signs of Stress?

Elisabeth Stitt

There is no doubt that on the whole people today are more stressed than they need to be.  That means anything we can do to learn to handle stress--and to teach our children to handle it--is beneficial.  I don't know about you, but I get bored pretty easily.  I like having meaningful work to do.  I even like having a steep learning curve.  The trick is knowing how to balance that extra stimulation with sleep, exercise, play and time for reflection.  When the challenges are overwhelming or we feel helpless is when it becomes Stress with a capital S.  Julie Hammond has gathered some expert advice (including my own) on how to identify the kind of stress that is not healthy.  Read about it HERE.  

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I Just Want My Husband and Me to Be on the Same Page

Elisabeth Stitt

“I adore my husband, but I hate parenting with him. I feel like I can handle the kids alone, but he comes in and mixes it all up."  Seriously, when parents contact me, conflict with one's spouse about how he or she parents is always some part of what is keeping their household from being as fully calm and harmonious as they want it to be.  That means that one of my biggest roles as a parenting coach is to help parents get on the same page.  Here are the 4 steps I teach to becoming a united parenting team.  

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I find it hard to be consistent when I’m in a hurry, tired or out in public

Elisabeth Stitt

Isn’t that the truth!  Parenting gets so exponentially harder when we are in a hurry or are tired.  That’s why I’m such a big believer in creating systems and routines for as much of the day as we can.  When we have good systems and routines to fall back on, we can let habit lead us.  

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Foolproof Tips for Traveling with Kids

Elisabeth Stitt

Now that it is the end of summer, it is time to reconsider:  How did your summer travel go?  I'd love to hear what worked well for your family and where the challenges were.  In the meantime, to get good deals you are going to have to start making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas/Winter holidays sooner rather than later.  Now is also a good time rethink how to smooth out travel plans with the kids.  This article which quotes me and other parenting bloggers will have you covered with its Foolproof Tips for Traveling with Kids.  

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My Teacher Hates Me! I'm Not Going Back to that Class!

Elisabeth Stitt

Knowing our kids are happy at school allows us to drop them off with confidence and get on with our day.  When our child refuses to go to school, then we are filled with doubt and insecurity and our hands feel tied, knowing it is not as simple as changing schools or teachers. What can you do to help your child feel good about his teacher?  
 

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BUSY, BUSY WORLD: The Jobs People Can Do

Elisabeth Stitt

One of the reasons our children feel the pressure of a narrow path is not just because we pressure them to just going into medicine or engineering.  It is also because they have a too narrow view of the world.  As a mathphobe, for example, it would have never occurred to me to go to work for a tech company, and yet that summer I worked for Sun Microsystems, I learned that I had something to contribute even there.  Knowing about the many many jobs in the world allow kids room to dream and imagine themselves as doing lots of different kind of work.. 

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11 teen suicides in 9 years.  In one community.   In my community.

Elisabeth Stitt

11 teen suicides in 9 years.  In one community.   In my community.
How does that happen?  Your first answer might be to blame the parents.  Where were they?  Didn't they know they were putting too much pressure on their son?  Why didn't they do something?

But it's not that simple.

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Having Friends and Being Popular Through Kindness

Elisabeth Stitt

Having friends is one of the most important themes of childhood.  Adulthood, too, for that matter.  Some people have a strong need to be accepted just for who they are innately, but the fact of the matter is that most people look at what we say and do.  They do not have crystal balls into our souls.  So teaching your kids to be kind always has them putting a good foot forward when it comes to making friends.  

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DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS

Elisabeth Stitt

Even many adults don't learn the skill of having difficult conversations effectively.  Most people just want everyone else to be happy.  Certainly, no one modeled for me how to stay present even when conversations got uncomfortable.  It was so much easier to just give up or give in.  Now, of course, there are times when going with the flow is the name of the game, but if you want your kids to learn the balance between keeping the peace and learning to advocate for themselves in a constructive way, they are going to learn that much sooner if you teach it to them explicitly. 

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Say Yes When You Can, But Don't Be Afraid of Saying No

Elisabeth Stitt

Most parents understand and are comfortable with this when it comes to safety.  Your two year old may want to climb the wobbly ladder by himself but you know that the risk is too great, so you offer a compromise--she may climb it with you hanging on to him tightly or she may climb her toy slide by herself.  He may not use the big knife to cut onions but he may use the plastic knife to cut bananas or to spread butter.  

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Chores for All Ages

Elisabeth Stitt

There are many reasons to give kids chores (To see a comprehensive list, go HEREKids like to feel needed and capable.  Chores help with both.  When parents set up chores as “In our family we help each other,” kids see their work as being an important part of being a member of the family.  Plus, kids like knowing they are able to do things on their own.  They like being able to know that they were the one who made the living room sparkle or who saw to it that every family member had a sandwich ready to take in his lunch.  When all the family members are contributing, it frees up time for family fun, and parents are less stressed.  Parents have to get themselves ready for work.  If the kids are making lunch for everyone while Mom and Dad are getting breakfast on the table, families end up having a few minutes to sit down and start the day together.  

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