We thought that this recent article in Contemporary Pediatrics on cell phone use and its effects on very young children would be of interest to our readers.
We cannot emphasize enough that you need to turn your phones off when you are with your children, even very young children. If they are older, have your children turn their phones off, too, when you are spending time together.
Once your phone is off, engage with your kids. Give them your full attention. Make eye contact. Have meals together—with everyone’s phone turned off. Be fully present; your child’s mental health depends on it.
One explanation of why young children react in this way to distracted parents is here. This subject has also come up in our first few podcast episodes.
In an April 12, 2020, interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Rule, New York Times columnist David Brooks said that the coronavirus was like “an x-ray on our society…we know ourselves better when you are in a valley. So I am hopeful that we’re going to have a great reset.”
COVID Update: I continue to work with individuals and families using the Weekend/Family Intensive program. I will work in-person with families within a reasonable driving distance when COVID protocols can be followed. Also, many families are now coming to me to work in person and stay at a nearby hotel. If in-person is not possible, using Zoom is a bit tougher for new clients, especially Weekend/Family Intensive families, but it’s working just fine for many families who need help now and can’t wait for the pandemic to be over. As always, I am happy to work for as many hours as it takes for your family to make progress, and if we have to use Zoom we can arrange as many Zoom sessions as are needed for me to work with all the people involved.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss your situation with you to see if I am a good fit for your child and family.
We designed the Weekend/Family Intensive program for families who are really struggling and need immediate help.
With the Weekend/Family Intensive, Jeff comes to you (or the family comes to him) or uses Zoom to work with the entire family over the course of a weekend. He gives you an evaluation and a lot of feedback, and then works with all parties involved to develop a plan for moving forward.
The Weekend Intensive also works well for families who are not close enough geographically for weekly sessions. Usually, after an intense weekend of work, everyone is comfortable enough with each other for work to continue via Zoom, phone, text, email, etc.
Below is a video where Jeff explains the Weekend Intensive in more detail. As always, feel free to contact Jeff to discuss whether this program can help your teen or 20-something and your family.
When school started, I heard about several kids who went to college—very good colleges to which the students had happily anticipated going for months—and after only a few days, called their parents to pick them up and take them home.
I see this more and more. Some will go back to school. Others will sit in their parents’ basements playing video games, with their parents wringing their hands because they do not know what to do. This can go on for years, and failure-to-launch young adults make up a large part of my business.
What I find when I talk with these teens and 20-somethings are young people who have never faced adversity, are full of shame and doubt, and lack a sense of themselves or autonomy. When I talk with the parents, I find adults who thought they did everything right and are mystified about where things went wrong.
How did they get there? And, more importantly, how to get them past this? Read more
“Our own life has to be our message.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, terrible tragedy that it was, also ended up bringing to the fore something positive that is sorely lacking in many of today’s young people: a mission. Although I wish it weren’t mass shootings that were the reason, the way students around the world rallied around the cause of “no more school shootings” couldn’t have been a better demonstration of how kids are brought to life around a mission. Read more
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
I talk about making dreams come true a lot. That sounds so…frivolous, so hokey—so why do I keep saying it?
Because it is so important to kids’—and adults’—mental health, that’s why. Read more
One thing I ask parents frequently is how much fun their family has. The reply is often that their child loves their organized athletics, or music, or whatever afterschool activity that their child does, and that is fun for their child.
It is true that some children love those activities. But some children don’t. They do them out of a sense of duty. They do it because their parents make them. Or they do them because it has been impressed on them, either consciously or unconsciously, that they have to do it to get into college—for their résumé, in other words. And many of them never tell their parents that they would rather not do them, or do them quite so much. When you have Outcome Fever, it becomes very hard for your kids to be honest with you.
But even if your child loves their extracurricular activity, that is different from plain fun. Unlike organized activities, fun has no responsibilities, such as practicing, attached. Most importantly, the fun I’m talking about has no outcomes attached. Read more
Please join me for a free program on Raising Kids in the Digital Age!
Sunday, June 11, from 3–5pm at Stone L’Oven Pizza, 1649 Beacon Street, Newton, Massachusetts.
Enjoy some wonderful live music while you gain knowledge, share exasperation and joy, discuss the challenges, and acquire support and understanding for the journey of being a parent today.
Interspersing thought-provoking music, lecture, and group discussion, I explain how to lessen the scrapes and bruises involved in parenting in the “Digital Age.” You will leave with some tips for how to safely prepare your kids for a fulfilling and independent life, as well as some tools for you to shed stress, feel empowered, and connect with yourself and your family. See the full flier below.
Questions? Feel free to contact me or use the form below.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
I spoke to a father of three teenage boys recently, a very reasonable, bright man. He expressed concern about the fact that opiates are out there, and we talked about striking that parenting balance around drugs and alcohol, about finding that sweet spot where you don’t issue blanket prohibitions that are impossible to enforce, nor do you become overly permissive.
This brought up some things I’ve been mulling over:
- Why are so many teenagers sniffing and shooting opiates, boys and girls who, a generation ago, wouldn’t have even entertained a thought of using them?
- What are the more complex dynamics in middle- and upper-class schools and families that are causing kids to use opiates?
Actually, I would argue that “good” kids are taking risks with many aspects of their lives, not just opiates. In fact, many of their choices can be seen through the lens of addictive behavior, whether it’s sex, working out, drinking, video games, even schoolwork. Read more
For some reason I don’t understand, many kids today are not ever asked to do housework. They are never asked to do a dish, vacuum, do laundry, mow the lawn, or any household chores. Perhaps parents think their children are too busy to waste time on mundane tasks? I would argue that these mindless tasks are anything but mundane. Read more