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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!

Filtering by Category: Parenting

7 Steps for Standing Up to Bullies

Elisabeth Stitt

The new school year brings new hopes but also new fears about acceptance and fitting in. This is never more true than for middle school students (though the advice here is good for all grades). Parents can be proactive about talking to their kids about how to handle bullying before it even comes up as a problem.

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3 Tips for Deciding What Extracurricular Activities to Enroll Your Kids In

Elisabeth Stitt

One of the reasons that we are seeing anxiety and depression increase at such alarming rates is because children are so over programmed that they do not get the downtime they need. Additionally, getting kids to their additional activities adds stress to the whole family system. Parents feel a lot of pressure to provide their kids enriching opportunities, but that learning is coming at a very high cost.

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When Do I Direct a Coaching Client to a Therapist?

Elisabeth Stitt

Do I ever recommend to a client that they see a therapist? Yes! As a parenting coach, I am focused on getting parents the skills they need to run their homes more harmoniously and to have closer, more connected relationships with their kids. Sometimes a person’s mental health keeps a parent from fully focusing on their kids, and it can be hard to make the progress they need to transform their families. That’s a great time to see a therapist.

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When is a Demand for a Popsicle Not Really a Demand for a Popsicle?

Elisabeth Stitt

We get thrown as parents when our kids ask (demand!) something that they know we are going to say no to. Have we ever said yes to a popsicle for breakfast? No! So why would they even think to ask? Read to find out .

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3 Metaphors for Parenting Teens

Elisabeth Stitt

Parenting a teen is a new game! The main goal of parenting a teen is to raise an adult. That means your main parenting task between roughly 12 and 18 is to make the shift from being the captain of the ship to being the wise guide. After all, it is simply not possible to drive down the street for you child and to claim that your child is learning to drive. Before he or she can get a license, your child has to get behind the wheel and drive down the street without you in the car. Keep these three metaphors in mind in helping you be the parent of a teen.

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How To Help Your Teen Daughter Boost Her Self Confidence

Elisabeth Stitt

This piece is written by Tyler Jacobson. I like having a dad’s perspective and find his wish for his daughter especially touching because I’m not sure men always articulate in their mind how much they want their daughters to have a voice. Tyler expresses it as, “ I wanted [my daughter] to be confident and comfortable in who she is, in spite of constant outside voices clamoring for her to conform and be someone else.” In this blog Tyler describes his own personal approach with reference to what the experts say about each step.

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How to Bring Out the Best in Your Kids

Elisabeth Stitt

Parents often worry that their kids aren’t motivated to do anything beyond play video games or post on social media. The truth of the matter is is that there is a lot in kids’ daily lives that works to squash personal motivation. Here are some tips parents can use to rekindle their child’s natural eagerness to interact with the world and to take pride in what they do.

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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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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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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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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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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 Play Leads to EQ Which in Turn Leads to Happiness and Success

Elisabeth Stitt

As there is more and more artificial intelligence (AI) in the world, there is more need than ever for little humans to learn Emotional Intelligence. Play is a tremendous vehicle for one’s own and others’ emotions. Being able to relate emotionally allows kids to function in school more effectively and therefore to be more ready for learning.

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Play Makes Kids Smarter (Maybe Even Than Being in Organized Activities)

Elisabeth Stitt

All parents want their kids to be smart. To support their children’s development they have enrolled their kids in more and more extra curricular activities. The irony is that these activities take up kids’ play time, and parents are grossly undervaluing the benefit of play to children’s cognitive development. You might be surprised by some of the ways that play builds both perception and critical thinking skills.

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Are You a Playful Parent? Do You Pull on the Power of Play to Engage Your Kids?

Elisabeth Stitt

Last night in my yoga class, the instructor asked us to dedicate our practice to being more playful.  That got me to thinking about the power of playfulness in parenting.  When I got home, I went to the Joyful Parenting Website and searched “play.” Twenty blogs came up in which I mention the power of play and being a playful parent.  That tells me what an important role I think play plays (ha ha, pun intended) for happy children and a happy home life.  That being said, I realize I’ve never devoted an entire blog to the Importance of Play. 

I do that here AND teach two playful techniques you can put to work in your family today.

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Is Your Child Spoiled?

Elisabeth Stitt

When it comes to “spoiling,” this is when I see problems:

  1. Parents deny their children something only to give in in the face of whiny, petulant, disruptive behavior.
  2. Parents give their children everything always, so children never learn to handle disappointment.
  3. Parents give their children everything always, so children develop a warped sense of entitlement and fail to recognize the difference between needs and wants.

Read on to find out the solutions. 

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