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    5 Tips for Parallel Parenting

    Parallel parenting is a method used by divorced or separated parents who wish to continue to parent their children in parallel, whilst agreeing to limit contact and interaction with each other. This technique is particularly helpful in divorces that involve domestic abuse, high-conflict, or where communication is extremely difficult.
    Luisa Williams from My Family Psychologist explains more.
    5 Tips for Parallel Parenting

    Rebuilding your life when a relationship ends and healing from any emotional trauma you’ve experienced is difficult enough. Even when you’re ex was abusive, sometimes it’s impossible to cut ties for the sake of your child.  
    What is parallel parenting?
    Whilst co-parenting works by cooperation and continued communication, for some it gives your ex-partner the opportunity to continue to mistreat you. Instead, parallel parenting increases safety in challenging relationships by deliberately keeping communication to a bare minimum. 
    While major decisions can be agreed upon together, each parent adapts their parenting method when the child is in their care. It allows you to distance yourself from your ex without depriving your child of a parent and sets clear boundaries that prevent further abuse or conflict.
    The aim is to facilitate emotional healing from the relationship while prioritising your child’s needs and protecting them from conflict.  
    To give you the best start after divorce, here’s 5 tips for parallel parenting. 
    1. Create a parenting plan  
    It’s best to plan ahead to avoid disagreements. The more prepared you are and the more detailed the plan is, the less you’re likely to argue with your ex and the more minimal the contact is. Minimise stress for your child and ensure your safety by agreeing as much as you can in advance, including: 

    Agreeing timing of visits, including dates and start and end times, in writing.
    Establish how to handle cancellations, and when and how they should be communicated.
    Consider how often the child will see each parent?
    Who will attend your child’s functions or doctor visits?
    Agree who will drop them off and pick them up?
    Plan ahead to decide where your child will spend their holidays and birthdays?
    Choose a neutral location or even ask a family member or a trusted friend to pick your child for you.
    Set out financial responsibilities, and dos and don’ts.
    You can figure out logistics using email or another form of communication that doesn’t involve meeting face to face.  

     2. Let yourself heal
    Ideally, after separating from an abusive ex-partner, you’d cut contact and never see them again.  But when there are children involved, this is not always possible to eliminate them from your life completely. When some form of contact must remain, prioritise fulfilling your needs as well as supporting your child. Incorporate self-care into your routine to reduce stress and reconnect with your self. The best way to deal with the situation is by moving forward, so when you’re ready to, concentrate on your long-term goals. Focus on building resilience and reintroducing happiness to your life.  
     3. Accept the current situation
    Parallel parenting, and maintaining some contact with an abusive or difficult ex-partner after you’ve chosen to divorce, can be very challenging. It’s natural to struggle with negative emotions such as guilt, regret, shame and anger, and feeling as though things aren’t fair. You may find it hard to accept that your ex is still a parent to your child. Try to practice acceptance. Things are the way they are and all you can do is make the best out of the situation. Focus your energy on parenting your child and providing them with all the love and support they need. 
    4. Keep communication to the minimum
    Only communicate with your ex when it’s necessary. Agree to contact them via email or use a parenting app, and document every interaction. Keep your communication impersonal and matter of fact, discussing only topics that relate to your child and sharing no personal information or detail. Try not to let your ex provoke you or use your child as a messenger. It can be difficult not to ruminate on the relationship whenever an email pops up or whenever your child is spending time with them. Try to distance yourself and treat interaction with your ex as a business that’s necessary to keep your child happy.  
     5. Appoint a mediator
    If there’s a lot of resentment between you and your ex, or your safety might be compromised, it’s a good idea to appoint a professional mediator. Mediation helps divorced parents to align their intentions and focus on their shared priority, the child. With the help of mediation, divorced parents can make well-informed decisions, reduce conflict, and set out an effective and mutually beneficial plan for all members of the family.
    Parallel parenting can be challenging and confusing, and the details of an arrangement will depend on the individual situation. Consider getting advice from a professional.
    If you need help and support with parallel parenting you can contact My Family Psychologist, who offer specialised counselling services for adults, couples, and children as well as mediation services.
    Family Law Advice
    If you are in an abusive or high-conflict relationship and would like advice on your legal situation, please do contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist lawyers. More

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    Parenting A Strong Willed Child

    A strong willed child is often regarded in either a very positive light or a very negative light, depending on your preconceptions. So is a strong willed bad? I certainly don’t think so. As with most things, there are positives and negatives to being strong willed. A iron-willed child will be resolute and determined. Those are great qualities in the right circumstances. In fact they can make for great leaders! However, a strong-minded child can also be inflexible and mulish. Those qualities generally result in more negative behaviors. If you are parenting a strong willed child, you may be about at the end of your rope. Don’t fear. Take a deep breath, help is here.

    The Strong-Willed Child

    If your spirited child

    Engages in frequent temper tantrums Doesn’t accept instructions at face valueSeems to enjoy arguing with you over everythingLikes to ask “why” on a regular basisAnd tends to be outspoken and disruptive

    Then you’re probably parenting a strong-willed child. Headstrong kids like to learn things for themselves instead of accepting what others tell them. They want to be in charge of themselves so strong willed children usually test the limits you set. They will often desire to do what they think is the right thing above everything else.

    This can certainly create some difficult and challenging days for parents. It’s good to accept your child’s temperament and encourage them to think for themselves. This can help avoid constant power struggles. On the other hand, they also need to learn that there are boundaries and expectations that they will need to comply with.

    How To Parent A Strong Willed Child

    Some people would say, “how to deal with a strong willed child” but I think that sounds a bit negative. Remove your preconceptions that “they need to be dealt with” and replace them with a more positive framing. What you really want to figure out is how to parent a strong willed child. These tips will help you set boundaries with your strong-willed child’s behavior while also giving them the space they need to be themselves. Consistently working in a loving way to strengthen the parent-child relationship and set clear expectations will help reduce behavior problems.

    1. Establish Family Rules

    Gather all of the family members for a family meeting about the rules you want to set. Explain the expectations and what your kids can expect the result to be if they don’t comply. Welcome feedback from your kids about rules they feel are important or why they feel certain rules aren’t important. Explain that the rules are for everyone and ask your child if they understand the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Once you have this buy in from strong willed kids, it is more likely they will make good choices.

    2. Create Predictability

    Strong-willed children don’t do well when their power is taken away from them. Creating structure helps them to know what is expected of them. And if a day is going to be a little off from the norm, talk to your child about it ahead of time. In this way, they know what to expect beforehand instead of expecting them to adjust at a moment’s notice. Taking time to communicate with them about changes will help avoid their frustration and resulting disruptive behavior.

    3. Forget Ultimatums

    A strong-willed child will see an ultimatum as a challenge and they won’t back down. If they misbehave and you give them a time-out until they’re ready to cooperate, they’ll sit in time-out all day long. Instead, encourage cooperation by working with them. Next time, instead of giving them time-out until they’re ready to clean up their toys, work together to clean them up. This will has the added benefit of helping them learn to work together with others.

    4. Be Patient

    Furthermore, delaying gratification can be a better way of encouraging your child to cooperate than time outs. For instance, they can’t go outside to play or ride bikes until the toys are cleaned up. They’ll be more inclined to do the thing they don’t want to do so that they can do the thing they do want to do. Instead of getting involved in a battle of wills, they will mostly like chose the good behavior themselves in order to get what they really want.

    5. Pay Attention

    Your child may not be able to accurately verbalize what they’re feeling, but they’ll show it in their actions. Pay attention to their frustration and anger levels. When do they feel the most frustrated, what is upsetting them, and how do they handle it? These can be clues to help you figure out how to best help them cope. Remember that younger children are still learning to identify their own emotions and understand how to communicate big feelings. A child’s emotions are sometimes confusing to them as well. However their behavior offers a clue. A defiant child displaying aggressive behavior usually feels something is unfair and they feel angry. If you can find a way to help them express themselves with their words, they will often feel better and behave better.

    More Resources For Parenting A Strong Willed Child

    Want more reading on the subject? Try the very well reviewed book, Parenting The Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds. This classic by Rex Forehand, Ph.D. and Nicholas Long Ph.D. has helped hundreds of thousands of parents with disciplining a strong willed child using positive reinforcement. They have lots of great ideas for managing the strong-willed temperament in effective ways.

    A strong-willed child can certainly test your patience, but they’re also free thinkers, go-getters, and independent- all qualities you want to encourage! By helping them find the best ways to express themselves and deal with the times they have to comply with rules, you’ll both find some satisfaction. As you help these experiential learners with problem solving difficult situations, you will see their behavior improve in important ways.

    I hope these tips for parenting a strong willed child help you find an effective style of parenting and reduces behavioral challenges. Being a positive parent with happy kids will suit you all better. Which suggestion did you find the most helpful?

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    What Is Helicopter Parenting?

    You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter parenting,” but what is it? And is it okay or is it something you should try to avoid? Today’s blog post will provide a helicopter parenting definition. It will also look at the negative effects of helicopter parents on children’s lives despite the good intentions behind this parenting style.

    What Is A Helicopter Parent?

    The term “helicopter parent” was first introduced by Dr. Haim Ginott in his 1969 book Between Parent & Teenager. In it, teens he interviewed said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter. It become such a popular term that in 2011 it was entered in the dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.”

    It can be hard to find the fine line between being an involved parent and smothering your child with too much attention. We just want to be good parents and protect our children. We want to help them find their path in life while keeping them safe and making them feel loved. But is there a point when parental involvement goes too far, not allowing our kids to learn things through difficult experiences?

    When our kids are young children, they definitely need our help more frequently. It’s our job to keep them safe, protect them from harm, and even do things for them that they’re not yet able to do. But helicopter parenting goes a little further and usually refers to parents of older children; high school or college students. At this age, kids should be able to handle many situations on their own or should be learning how to do so. However, helicopter parents tend to take responsibility instead of allowing young people to make their own decisions.

    Helicopter Parenting Examples

    For instance, a student that gets a poor grade or needs to arrange for a special test schedule. A helicopter parent speaks to the teacher for them. An older student should be able to handle these situations with their teachers or professors on their own and should be encouraged to do so for the life experience. But a helicopter parent might take this opportunity to handle the phone call or email for their child. However, this keeps their child from gaining the experience of dealing with these types of situations.

    Helicopter parents may handle the whole college process for the child. Instead of discussing a plan and guiding the child, helicopter moms might draw up a whole course of action for the child. They will then remain over involved at each step deciding when the child should study what and the extracurricular activities the child should participate in. Intrusive parents may go even further deciding where the child should apply to college and applying for them. While you can see how the impact of helicopter parenting can hinder healthy development of life skills for the child, negative outcomes can be even worse.

    Overprotective parents may play the mama bear card too often “protecting their child” from even the smallest criticism. This can often have the reverse effect making the child even more sensitive to feedback as they are assured it is an attack on them that is unfair and that they need the parent to save them from. When children learn that they should not do things for themselves, they may develop an overwhelming fear of failure and lack of trust in their own ability.

    What Motivates Helicopter Parents?

    Helicopter parents usually have their reasons for this behavior, but they basically boil down to a few:

    Fear – They’re afraid their child won’t handle the situation and it could cause long-term harm. Whether the child is dealing with a classroom situation, a sports team, or a job, parents are afraid if the situation isn’t handled well, it could have a negative impact on their child.

    Anxiety or Worry – Worry in other areas of life can cause parents to overcompensate in other areas. If a parent is worried about a situation in their own life that they can’t control, they look for ways to control other situations. They feel that even if everything is falling apart in their own life, they can at least help their child.

    Overcompensation – Parents who felt unloved as a child want their own child to feel loved. And providing constant attention and support, they think, will make their child feel loved.

    Effects Of Helicopter Parents

    Helicopter parenting often starts out as a parent who is concerned about their child and who pays them close attention. At a young age, this is needed. However, the helicopter parent misses the importance of encouraging independence as the child grows older. They miss the importance of allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes.

    This is when helicopter parenting can backfire. It can leave the child with low self-esteem, underdeveloped coping and social skills, increased anxiety, and a sense of entitlement. These effects of helicopter parenting are ironically all things that parents want to help their child avoid. However, helicopter parents don’t realize they’re causing these emotional problems.

    According to the Child Mind Institute, a new study from the University of Buffalo, “speaks to the issue of whether too much hovering over a child can be bad for her. Researchers looked at people who had been through difficult things, and they found that, on the one hand, going through very traumatic experiences does not bode well for one’s long-term resilience, but, on the other, going through almost no difficult experiences also does not bode well for one’s resilience. Having obstacles to overcome is what helps children to build resilience, to develop coping skills to deal with things that are difficult.”

    Recent research from Florida State University reveals how helicopter parenting leads to lower self-control among young adults. “Self-control allows us to regulate behavior in order to achieve our long-term goals,” said Professor Frank Fincham. When this happens, those students are more likely to experience school burnout. The research also points out that “Dealing with school burnout often spawns more mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression or addiction, and leads to worse academic outcomes”.

    How To Avoid Becoming A Helicopter Parent

    It can be hard to avoid becoming a helicopter parent, especially when you only want the best for your child. However learning to take a step back is necessary to allow your child become independent. It can be difficult to watch your child make mistakes or struggle. However, they will have to face these things sooner or later. The earlier they are allowed to guide themselves through small issues and deal with the consequences of their actions, the more likely that those repercussions will be small. Learning these life lessons younger will help make things easier for them to cope with later on.

    Take time to reflect on how involved you are in steering your child’s life. Try to look at it objectively. If you would be embarrassed to admit the things you are doing for your child or to protect your child, you may be overly involved parents with too much control. Look for opportunities to support and encourage your child’s independence. Yes, they will make mistakes and they will struggle, but then you can be there to help them (not do it for them!) work through the failure and pick themselves back up. Another important life skill they’ll need to learn.

    How To Deal With Helicopter Parents

    As a teacher, my husband deals with helicopter parents fairly often. The common problem is they assume their child is a perfect innocent little angel. They often think that as a good parent the best way to handle a bad grade is to go directly to the teacher and fix things. While it can be uncomfortable to feel attacked by a helicopter parent, the best thing to do is remain calm.

    Remember, these perfectionist parents are just upset and trying to solve things. Try to involve the child in the conversation when appropriate so that the child gets a chance to speak for himself or herself. Use clear communication to establish the situation and what you think is a reasonable resolution. Create boundaries if needed and seek a third party to arbitrate if things start to escalate.


    In recent years, research has confirmed that the children of helicopter parents have a harder time with self-control skills. They tend to experience more fear of disappointing others and suffer from more mental health issues. There is no question that the parent-child relationship is important. However, being overly involved in the lives of young adult children is detrimental even for well intentioned parents. Instead, allow your child be responsible for their own success (or failure). Stand back and offer them support when they ask for it but don’t guide their every move. I hope this helped answer, “What is helicopter parenting?” I also hope it inspires you encourage independence in your child and let them take the lead in their own lives.

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    Inspirational Quotes About Family Strength and Love

    I love reading inspirational quotes about family strength to remind me that we are blessed to have each other in good times and in bad times. Sometimes words just hit you in a way that really connects with you. I have been searching out and saving up inspirational quotes about many topics and saving them to my Impactful Words Pinterest Board for several years. Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite inspirational family quotes with you.

    These family bonding quotes will help you remember and be able to verbalize the importance of family time. Above all, these family quotes will also serve to remind you that family should be your support network, your refuge in the storm, and your source of happiness. I hope they offer you motivation and inspiration to make your family a priority and to devote the time and effort they deserve.

    Below, I have gathered up 7 great inspirational family quotes into one free printable image that you can print or save to Pinterest for safe keeping. I truly believe that nothing is as important as family. Consequently, we need to make sure that we are there for each other, to always be supportive, and lend an ear or advice when needed. These quotes may offer you comfort when you are down. Good, strong families are the compass by which we navigate life. Families are like a super close tribe or clan that provide meaning and hopefully a firm foundation for us to interact with the world. In conclusion, I hope you enjoy these family time quotes as much as I do.

    The Best Family Quotes And Free Printables

    “At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.” -Mark V. Olson

    “The happiest moments of my life have been the few that I have passed at home, in the bosom of my family.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” -Joyce Brothers

    “I think togetherness is very important to family life.” – Barbara Bush

    “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” -Alex Haley

    “Having a place to go is a home. Having someone to love is a family. Having both is a blessing.” -Donna Hedges

    “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” -Richard Bach

    As a parent, I have always known that I want the best for my family and I strive to be the best parent I can be. These seven best inspirational family quotes are on the two images above which you are free to print and post. Subsequently, I hope they serve as a beautiful reminder of how blessed we are to have each other and together we can reach great heights.

    Inspirational Quotes About Family Strength

    I love these inspirational family quotes about strength. Family bonds are some of the strongest bonds there are and this is because we increase their strength as we face challenges together over time and respond with love and forgiveness for each other.

    “Families are like branches branches on a tree. We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.” –Pinterest

    “Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger.” -Unknown

    “When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family. ” -Jim Butcher

    “The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other. ”  -Mario Puzo

    “In the family, there is strength that all the power in the world cannot undo.” -Unknown

    “When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.” -GuyLafleur

    “Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”    -Brad Henry

    ‘There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.” –Winston Churchill

    “The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” -Lee Iacocca

    “My life is proof that no matter what situation you’re in, as long as you have a supportive family, you can achieve anything.” -Michaela DePrince (She was born in war-torn Sierra Leone and became an American ballet dancer.)

    Which of those family strengths quotes did you find most moving?

    Quotes About Family Love

    Here are a few more of my favorite inspirational quotes about family.

    “In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

    “Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.” -Lisa Weed

    “Don’t write your name on sand, waves will wash it away. Don’t write your name in sky, wind may blow it away. Write your name in hearts of people you come in touch with. That’s where it will stay.” –Pinterest

    “Nobody knows you or understands you like family.” -Scarlet Paolicchi

    “I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.” – Maya Angelou

    “Having somewhere to go is home. Having someone to love is family. And having both is a blessing.” -Unknown

    “Family is a lifejacket in the stormy sea of life.” -J.K. Rowling

    “The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.” -Mother Teresa

    “Family is a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured, even when they’re driving you crazy. As much as they make you mad, interrupt you, annoy you, curse at you, try to control you, these are the people who know you the best and who love you.” -Jenna Morasca

    “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” -Frederick Buechner

    “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” -George Bernard Shaw

    “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” -Michael J. Fox

    “The family is the first essential cell of human society.”  -Pope John XXIII

    “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu

    That last quote is so beautiful. For the love of family, may we always aspire to be gifts to each other!

    Thoughts On These Quotes For Families

    These quotes were selected to inspire you even in difficult times. To recenter you around what is truly important. Further, to help you remember that people are what make this life special. Our job is to treasure our family members for who they are and to help them be their best selves. Our reward is our lifelong relationship.

    Serena Williams said, “Family’s first, and that’s what matters most. We realize that our love goes deeper than the tennis game.” That goes to show, she prioritizes her family over her competitive spirit, over her passion for the game. It makes clear how strong family love should be.

    I would remind you that wonderful as they can be, families are not perfect. Do not expect them to be. We are are all human. We all make mistakes. However, with compassion and love, together we can rise above it all, stronger than before. And that, is a beautiful thing! After all, family is forever.

    As Jane Howard said, ““Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” We all need a group of people to count on, to trust, to love, and be loved by.

    Marge Kennedy also said it well, ““In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.”


    Families should support each other. They will suffer hardships and mistakes. However those will be easier to get through when you are there for each other giving love and encouragement. A close knit family takes a lot of work just like anything else. Family also brings so much joy that it is well worth it!

    So which ones of these inspirational quotes about family strength were your favorites? It is pretty hard to pick the best one of these family bonding quotes, isn’t it? Which ones do you think offer comfort to those that are down? Furthermore, which ones remind you that you will never be left behind or forgotten?

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    Quotes On Follow Through And Why It Is So Important

    Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite quotes on follow through. I think that as a general concept everyone knows follow through is important but sometimes it takes too much time, effort, confidence, or desire. However, following through is part of building trust and confidence in ourselves and others. These quotes will help inspire you be the type of person who pursues and completes what they start. I also have some great insight from author Casey Russell on the art of consistently following through on what you say.

    My Favorite Quotes On Following Through

    “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through.” -Eddie Rickenbacker, American fighter ace in World War I, Medal of Honor recipient

    “Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed.” –Brian Tracy, Motivational public speaker and self-development author

    “Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.” also “For me, integrity is the consistency of words and actions.” –Kenneth Chenault, CEO of a Fortune 500 company

    “Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through means never having to say you’re sorry.” -Mark Goulston

    “Good thoughts are no better than good dreams if you don’t follow through.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet

    “Those who only do what they feel like, don’t do much. To be successful at anything you must take action even when you don’t feel like it, knowing it is the action itself that will produce the motivation you need to follow through.” also “When you value your integrity at the highest level, living alignment with your word and following through with your commitments no matter what, there are no limits to what you can create for your life. However, when you make excuses, justify doing what is easiest, and choose the path of least resistance, you will live a life of mediocrity, frustration and regret. Live with integrity as if your life depended on it, because it does.” –Hal Elrod, Author, keynote speaker and success coach

    “When we don’t follow through with what we say to our kids, we are teaching them to ignore our words.” -Casey Russell, author of The Handbook for Life With Little Ones

    “Those who are blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.” -Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

    “People will follow you when you build the character to follow through.” -Orrin Woodward, founder of Life as well as a New York Times bestselling author 

    “All the time and effort put into networking can be all for naught if there is no follow-through. The same goes for sales. And leadership. And … well, everything.” -Beth Ramsay, Founder and CEO of Brilliant Women

    “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” -Zig Ziglar, Author, salesman, and motivational speaker

    “words are meaningless without intent and follow through and intent without good planning and proper action is equally meaningless.” David Amerland, Author of The Sniper Mind

    These quotes on following through really make it clear why it is an essential element to success in life and relationships.

    The Art of Consistently Following Through on What You Say

    I am very happy to share with you some wise words from Casey Russell on why it is important to follow through. She is the author of The Handbook for Life With Little Ones:  Information, Ideas and Tips for Birth to Age Five. For more ideas and tips for early parenting, feel free to check out her book (affiliate link below).

    by Casey Russell

    Being a parent can be hard. It’s a big responsibility to be in charge, not only of another human’s basic needs, but to also need to keep that human safe, teach him morals, respect, discipline, help him grow his self-esteem and make sure he learns all his curious mind needs know in this world. It’s especially hard when our kids seem not to listen to what we say. Why, we wonder, is my child whining for more when I’ve already told him that’s all he can have? Why is he not getting off the swing when I’ve already counted to 10 in my “I’m serious” voice?

    Have I been following through?

    The answer to this often lies in a simple question we need to ask ourselves. “Have I been following through on what I say to my child?” Kids are smart. They are learning all the time by observing us. They notice when we say one thing and do another.

    Picture this: You are running errands with your child. He asks for a toy. You say, “No, we can’t buy a toy today.” He starts to whine. You tell him no again. He continues to whine and keeps asking for the toy while you are attempting to concentrate on getting the things on your list. He gets louder. You grab the toy and say, “Fine, but we’re not doing this every time we come to the store.” If this scenario sounds at all familiar, now is the time to ask the question: “Have I been following through on what I say to my child?” And, the answer will be no.

    When We Don’t Follow Through

    When we don’t follow through with what we say to our kids, we are teaching them to ignore our words and keep asking until we give in. This is not only frustrating, it can also be dangerous. If they learn to ignore our words in situations like these, they will also be less likely to “Stop!” when we need them to for safety reasons. They are learning, too, that they do not need to respect the fact that someone has said, “No.” We do not want our kids to do this to us and we definitely don’t want them to do it as adults.

    It seems so much easier in the moment, to give in. It gets the child to stop whining and you can focus on what you need to do. But, by accepting the temptation of this moment’s peace, you are inviting years of arguments, whining and disrespect.

    Following Through Earns Respect

    Luckily, there is a solution. Starting now, and forevermore, follow through. If you tell your child he can have one more cracker. Give ONE more. Don’t give in when he cries. Teach him, through your actions, that you mean what you say. If he starts to whine, you can gently say, “Oh, you know you don’t get what you want when you whine. Those crackers are really good. But, we’re done with them for now. What should we go play?” None of this needs to be said loudly or meanly. You just need to make a small shift to a more serious tone. Your child will quickly learn there’s no use in arguing because it’s not going to get him what he wants.

    Only Say Things You Will Carry Out

    With that said, make sure to say things you can follow through with. For example, if you are at the airport and your child starts acting up, don’t say, “If you don’t stop screaming, we are going home.” Because, let’s face it, you’re not going to go home. You’re going to get on the plane and your child will have learned you don’t always mean what you say. Or, if your child is running away from you at bedtime instead of letting you brush his teeth, don’t say, “If you don’t come to me right now, you are not going to sleep with your teddy bear.” The truth is, he will need his teddy bear to go to sleep and that punishment is too strong. No one needs to be mean. Pick something else that will matter to him but that won’t emotionally wound him or make him feel unsafe. An alternative would be, “Right now you have 2 books for bedtime. I am giving you one more chance to come to me so I can brush your teeth. If you don’t, we will only be able to do 1 book for bedtime.” This is a consequence that will matter to him, but is not mean spirited.

    I think it’s important to say “yes” to kids often. But, when “no” is said, they need to know, and be able to trust, that we mean it. Talk about things. Consistently follow through. Let your child know the boundaries and let him take control of remembering where they are. When the boundaries are clear, kids will most often cooperate because they don’t have to test the boundaries. When a rule needs to be made, just gently let your child know what it is– and why– and then stick to it. And then, when your child does a great job making a choice you were hoping he’d make, thank him! Positive reinforcement works wonders. Kids like to know they’ve done something good. We all do. We like to know we’re appreciated.

    Following through on what you say means you consistently do this for promises you make your child, too. If you’ve said your little one can help you bake cookies after his nap, don’t poop out and let time get away from you. Bake the freakin’ cookies! If you’ve said you’ll go to the park after you’re done paying bills, but it is raining when you’re done, get on the raincoats and go! If you do this, your child’s trust in you, and his sense of surety in the world, will grow. By doing this one thing, you will most likely find you have a child who doesn’t whine or put up fits. He will know it’s not worth whining because he’ll know that you mean what you say. It will help him feel safe because he can trust you and he will know the boundaries.

    Get yourself in the practice of consistently following through and then stick to it. This same principle of carrying through a process to completion will serve you well in all facets of your life to help you be respected and accomplish more.

    Thanks again to Casey Russell for sharing those inspiring word on staying true to what we say and for great examples of how to follow through with discipline in a firm but gentle way.

    Follow Through Synonyms And Antonyms:

    Perhaps the most convincing argument for why follow through is so important lies the definition of the phrase. If you look for a word that means the same thing as follow through and a word that means the opposite of following through, you will know right away which side you want to fall on! See the below according to Merriam-Webster:

    Synonyms for follow through (with)

    accomplish, achieve, bring off, carry off, carry out, commit, compass, do, execute, fulfill (or fulfil), make, negotiate, perform, perpetrate, prosecute, pull off, put through

    Near Antonyms for follow through (with)

    failskimp, slight, slur

    Always Follow Through On Your Commitments

    When you really think about it, following through is probably one of the characters you admire the most in your role models. This is because this quality makes them trustworthy. It also demonstrates that they are hard workers who execute their plans. They make things happen. Whether it is in business, personal life, or parenting, follow through is essential to being reliable and getting things done well.

    I hope you enjoyed the quotes on follow through. Which ones did you think were the best following through quotes? I’d love to hear and additional quotes on following through or any personal stories that illustrate the importance in the comments or on social media @familyfocusblog!

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    When And How To Buy First Bra For Your Daughter

    As a parent, we learn to deal with all matter of uncomfortable topics but often puberty is one that still makes most of us cringe a bit. After all puberty is a sign that your little one is growing up and those can be hard changes to face. However, such topics are important to face head on as you want your child to know the facts and feel comfortable coming to you with questions. Puberty is happening earlier these days and some parents may be wondering when is the right time to buy a first bra, how to talk to their daughter, and what type of bras to buy. That is why I am happy to have an expert on the subject today, Dr. Cara Natterson, to share some tips on how parents can talk to their child about first bras and puberty.

    When should my daughter start wearing a bra?

    So there it is. The big question that many parents have is, “When should girls start wearing bras?” The answer to this is quite honestly opened ended but most people want a definitive answer. So for those who must have an age, the average age seems to be about 11. However, some children as young as 8 may start be starting puberty.

    I would say that the answer to, “When should girls start wearing a training bra?” is based on one of two reasons. First a training bra may be desired for function. In other words, the bra may be wanted to provide support for growing breasts, to hide nipples from showing through shirts, or to cover sensitive growing breast and decrease sensitivity of shirts rubbing against them. So, girls should start wearing a bra when their functionality is needed.

    Another reason that girls may want to start wearing a bra is for modesty, fashion or to fit in socially. For me, I remember suddenly having to change in a common area for gym class in middle school and you can bet I wanted a bra ASAP. I would say that if your child hasn’t needed one for function before middle school, it is time to get training bras to be ready for middle school.

    If your child wants a bra, there is no reason that she not have this undergarment. If you are concerned she is too young for a bra, that is what training bras are for!

    Featuring OOMBRA, the only pediatrician-designed bra

    What is a training bra?

    So now that we have established that a child typically needs their first bra some time before starting middle school, you may be wondering, “What is a training bra?” Well, it certainly does not train the breast. They don’t really need training. It is more about training the child to get used to an extra undergarment. For this reason, training bras are usually made of a soft, comfortable material in a sports bra style without underwires or cups. They are designed for comfort and support but not to push up breast or sexualize your child.

    How To Have The Conversation With A Child Developing Breasts About When It’s Time To Get A Bra

    Today, I have some excellent tips to share from Dr. Cara Natterson, pediatrician and cofounder of the OOMLA platform which includes the Puberty Portal where tweens and teens can find pediatrician-approved content written by their peers to help navigate this transformative time in their lives. OOMBRA is the only pediatrician-designed bra in the market, specifically created for tweens and teens to make the transformation from child to adult more comfortable on all fronts – physically, emotionally, and socially.

    Dr. Cara Natterson is also a New York Times best-selling author of multiple books regarding puberty, including The Care and the Keeping of You series with more than 6 million copies in print. Affiliate link below.

    Here are her tips on how parents can talk to their child about first bras and puberty.

    Some girls want to wear a bra well before they need one.

    They might be later bloomers, and all of their friends are wearing bras already – for these kids, having a bra helps them feel like they fit in. Others are super young, we’re talking 6 or 7 years old, but they see bras as representing female empowerment and ownership of your body. They might not express it quite this way, but for these young girls, a bra often represents female strength and power. How awesome is that? For girls who don’t really need bras but want them anyhow, parents can – and I think should – ask their girls why. Not in a judgmental way, but in a curious way, to begin to understand how their daughters feel about their bodies. This opens up an important conversational thread that will last for years. We designed OOMBRAs to fit even the smallest, flattest-chested girls who may want to wear these garments for all the right reasons. 

    Some girls need a bra but it’s the very last thing they want to think about.

    Now technically, no one needs a bra. But as bodies grow and develop, breasts have a way of garnering a tremendous amount of attention. Partially that’s due to the appearance of breast buds, the small bumps that look like a stack of dimes has just landed underneath the nipple. These buds are tender and pointy, almost torpedo-shaped. Over the next many months – often it’s years – boobs grow and shape-shift. The tissue can be super sensitive, especially to the accidental thwack by a ball or an errant elbow. Wearing a bra helps on many fronts: bras protect sensitive skin from irritating clothing rubbing against it; they compress the breast tissue, reducing tenderness when something does bang up against it; and they minimize the appearance of new boobs (at least non-padded bars do), calling less attention to the area. Once breasts are big enough, bras also help hold them in place which can make running and jumping and other forms of exercise more comfortable for the big-busted. If you think your daughter needs a bra for one (or all!) of these reasons, find a way to talk openly with her. Share your thoughts or, better yet, ask her if she’s ever had any boob-related tenderness or sensitivity and offer up a solution. 

    Verbal Ways To Broach The Subject Of First Bras

    If you and your daughter are talkers, then a verbal conversation is the way to go. But oftentimes, having a sensitive conversation works best when intense eye contact isn’t involved. So try bringing up the subject when you aren’t staring one another down – perhaps in a car (when you’re both facing forward and not making eye contact) or on a walk (same deal) or at night after the lights have been turned off and she’s getting ready for bed (but don’t try this last technique if you think bringing up the subject will result in a heated argument).

    Non Verbal Ways To Bring Up Training Bras

    If you’re not big talkers, there are many other ways to broach the subject. You can find an article (like this one!) and print it out, leaving it around the house somewhere she will find it. Or try texting her a link with a preamble like: Thought you might find this interesting. I’ve met kids who keep a Q+A journal that they pass back and forth with their parents to ask the awkward questions. I’ve seen parents use a scene in a movie or an ad to get the ball rolling on the subject. There are lots of ways to open up the lines of communication about bras.

    Some “Don’ts”

    Don’t decide to announce she needs a bra in front of her friends. Don’t announce she needs a bra in front of her siblings. Don’t even announce it – this goes far better when it’s a conversation, not a lecture or a pronouncement. Don’t dismiss her if she doesn’t think she needs one. Don’t decide you know what style or color bra she’s going to like. Don’t suggest a bra that’s meant for a specific use – a sports bra, for instance, works well for sports but it’s designed to be tight and made of synthetic materials, so it’s not a great option for all day wear. And finally, don’t confuse wearing a bra with being sexualized – there are lots of options that are comfortable and age appropriate.

    Featuring Crossed Straps OOMBRA

    How To Buy First Bra

    When you go to select a first bra, keep in mind you want something easy to put on, with a giving fit, and that is comfortable. I am partial to a training bra with no clips, clasps, strap adjusters or wires. Not only does this make things easier for your daughter, it also makes them super comfortable.

    How To Measure For First Bra

    Your child can be wearing her shirt when you take the measurement. To find the bra size, use a soft tape measure, wrapping it around the biggest part of her bust. Don’t pull tight! The number of inches around her chest is will help you select the correct size first bra in a brand sizing chart. Or if you are buying an OOMBRA the number of inches around her chest is the only information you need as that will be the size you order.

    Buying My Daughter Her First Bra

    I bought my daughter her first bra as part of back to school shopping. My daughter started middle school in 5th grade and she didn’t really need it for function yet but I wanted her to be comfortable changing in gym class. I told her that I wanted to get her some bras so she would feel comfortable changing and so that she would feel comfortable as she began to hit puberty and her body began to change. She was very receptive to the idea and said she wanted some because her friends were starting to get them too.

    My daughter is 16 now but OOMBRA still makes great bras for her. They are super soft and completely reversible, made from a patented design that hugs without binding. The criss-cross design in the back makes for a perfect balance of snug and relaxed fit that makes her feel confident in her clothing.


    I hope this article answers your questions about when should girls start wearing a training bra. I also hope it helps you tackle the first bra conversation with your daughter. It doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, it is a great time to show your daughter that it is OK to talk about anything with you and that you are there to help her get answers anytime she needs them!

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    A Mom Journal With Fun Prompts To Capture Your Motherhood Journey

    I am excited to announce that my fourth book is now available for pre-sale and with a publication date set for September 7, 2021. My Three-Year Mom Journal helps record special memories and reflections on motherhood. I love it because it isn’t just a new mom journal or a pregnancy journal, it is good for all moms with children of school age. It is not just a place to answer questions about your child, but also to record your experience of motherhood. It makes for a great journaling experience and a treasured keepsake you can pass onto your children when they have kids of their own someday.

    It is the perfect gift for yourself or a mother with young children or even with kids in their teenage years. You can check it out and preorder a copy here on Amazon- > Preorders help with a book’s successful launch so I’d love your support!

    The Perfect Journal For Moms

    It’s always such a surreal experience to hold the first print copy in my hands and I’m so excited to show it to you all! The title is Three-Year Mom Journal: One Question a Day to Prompt Reflection and Record Memories.

    The book provides guided journaling for moms over the course of three years. There is a prompt for each day of the year but you don’t have to fill it out daily. You can take a break when you like and binge journal later! The idea of doing it over the course of three years is because motherhood is such an ever changing journey as our children and grow and change and our circumstances change. The book gives the opportunity to record those changes and see motherhood for the beautiful, life-altering journey that it is. Simple questions that help you record precious moments.

    Mom Journal Prompts

    This is an example of the short answer journal prompts.

    This mom journal is the perfect opportunity to chronicle the many joys and challenges of motherhood. From your child’s funniest quotes to your most sentimental feelings on how becoming a mother has changed you, this guided mom journal helps you record your experiences.

    The journal prompts for moms consist of three types of questions. There are short questions, medium length questions and some prompts that encourage deeper reflection and longer answers. In this way, you get a mix of questions so you don’t have to commit a huge amount of time each day but can leave more detailed answers on occasion.

    The mom journal prompts are divided into 5 topic areas in order to inspire you to explore a variety of subjects. There are prompts that invite you to look back on the past year, share your hopes for the future, and remember life’s silly moments. Categories are:

    This Past YearLooking AheadOn MotherhoodAll About Your Child(ren)Just For Fun

    You will enjoy recording details about your children that will later be significant remembrances of their lives. You’ll get the opportunity to give great attention to everything from mundane things that happen on a daily basis to an important moment that may otherwise get passed by. This prompt journal will help you record a favorite family vacation, new experiences, and even life lessons you want to teach your kids.


    Writing about you own memories as they happen can help you record vivid details in a wonderful way. The journal entries on a variety of topics will help paint a picture of what motherhood is like for you and capture the important relationship you have with your children.

    I can’t think of a more sentimental gift to give to a special mom in your life for Mother’s Day!

    You can get your copy of Three-Year Mom Journal: One Question a Day to Prompt Reflection and Record Memories wherever books are sold. Here is a direct link to the book on amazon.

    This mom journal is a great way to document your thoughts, feelings, and memories about being a parent, and see how your answers change over the years. Preserve both day-to-day events and monumental milestones in this journal for mothers. Do you enjoy journaling? Do you know a mother who would appreciate this as a gift?

    My Other Books:

    Gratitude Journal For Teens

    Welcome To The Family

    Sharing Stories Making Memories More

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    How To Help A Child With Anxiety About School

    Does your child have back-to-school anxiety? If you have a verbal child, they have probably told you how they feel about going back-to-school. However, some kids may not know how to express their anxiety or may be embarrassed to admit that they are nervous about school. Young children often need help identifying their feelings and figuring out the best way to work through them. If you suspect your child is suffering from worry or fear, here are some effective ways to help a child with anxiety.

    7 Ways To Help A Child With Anxiety

    As a first step in addressing anxious feelings, make sure to ask open-ended questions and really listen to the answers as detailed above.

    Don’t take your child’s anxieties personally.

    Some parents may dismiss their child’s anxieties while others may take them as sign of their own failure to do something right.  Neither would be fair to yourself or the child.   You want to approach their anxieties in a calm, confident manner.  Let your child know that it OK and natural to have anxieties but that you are confident that they will make it through this fine. This is one of the most important ways that you can help a child with anxiety.

    Discuss the anxieties when your child is the most relaxed.

    You don’t have to talk about your child’s back to school anxieties the second that they surface.  If your child expresses their concerns right before bed or when you are rushing out for an appointment, it is OK to let them know you want to discuss this important matter with them and a time when you think it is best to do so.  Select a time when your child is rested and full (as well as yourself) for the best chances of a productive conversation with your child.

    Start your discussion by letting them tell you their feelings.

    In order to help a child with anxiety, it is important to give your child a chance to talk and really listen in order to get to the root of the fears and tell you why they are nervous.  It may require some gentle probing questions.  Only when you find out what is really bothering them, can you begin to address it.

    Anxious children may not always show you their signs of anxiety. It may take a little probing to find out what your child’s fears are.

    For example, I asked my son if he was excited for school and he replied, “I don’t know,” in a very unconvinced manner.  I let it go and asked the same question later and got the same response so I knew something was up.  This time I probed deeper, “Why aren’t you excited?” I asked.   I got the same, “I don’t know” response again.  I kept probbing and got this answer, “I don’t know if I will do as well as my sister.”  I immediately assured him he would do as well and that he was smart just like she was.  I reminded him of many things he had done well with in Pre-K and listed his talents.  He was again unconvinced.  So I kept calmly asking questions about why he felt that way in several ways until he unloaded, “But Mommy, I can’t read!”  Then I explained that you don’t have to know how to read when you go to kindergarten, that he would learn the beginnings of that in kindergarten.  “Oh”, he replied with obvious relief and then he started laughing, “Oh!” he said again.  We were both very relieved and he began to get excited after that.

    Be understanding but encouraging.

    You might say something like this to you child, “Even mommy can be nervous about starting something new. When I started my new job, I wondered if I would like it and if I would like the new people. But then I made up my mind to have a positive attitude and I realized I didn’t need to be afraid. It all turned out fine and you’ll get through this fine too.”  In other words, let them know you understand that they are nervous and that concerns are natural but don’t encourage the fears.

    Help your child remember past successes.

    Remind your child of other times they have successfully come through new experiences and challenges. “Remember when ____.  You did just fine with that. I’m sure you will do well with this too.”

    Facilitate your children’s problem-solving.

    Once you pinpoint their anxiety, help them make a plan to address it.  Let them tell you what they think will help and if they can’t think of anything then you might make suggestions.  If they are afraid of riding the bus, for example, ask them what they think would help?  If they need ideas, offer to tell them about how the route will go, maybe to find a neighbor that can be their buddy or tell them about how it works,  call the office for details, etc.

    Get Professional Help If Needed

    Don’t be afraid to seek the professional help of a doctor or psychologist for your child, if you feel they need it. While anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion, anxiety that involves more than temporary worry or fear and that interferes with daily activities may be a sign of various anxiety disorders. Addressing any mental health issues early with professional cognitive behavioral therapy helps to ameliorate them.

    Suggestions For Easing Back-To-School Anxiety

    Plan some play date with classmates. 

    Seeing some familiar faces at school will be a good feeling for them. Try to plan some playdates before school starts. This can help a can help a child with social anxiety prepare for the first time they face a full school day.

    Familiarity decreases anxiety.

    Plan a tour of your school so they can visit school, play on the playground, walk the halls, find out where the cafeteria is and what the release area is.  You will need to talk with the school office to find out how they handle this- each school is different. This familiarization activity will often help reduce your child’s anxiety about the first day of school.

    Get into the school schedule early.

    Get your kids going to bed on time and waking up early for at least a few days before school starts so they know what to expect. Getting enough sleep will help them be rested enough to meet the challenges of the first few days. Establish a before school and after school routine. You may find this after school checklist handy for the first day of school and establishing a routine.

    Make sure your child has a good breakfast and snack.

    You will want your child to be full on their first day and not get crabby because they are hungry. It is a good idea to make sure they have a snack ready for right after school too!

    On a separate note, if you are dealing with a school refusal or school avoidance from older children, be sure to take that seriously and investigate what is causing these feelings. Is it just an anxious brain or is there a more specific cause such as a certain member or the school staff or social situations they are trying to avoid? If they won’t talk to you the school guidance counselor may be an effective way to get the bottom of things.

    Creating Emotional Resilience For Dealing With Anxiety

    Jodi Aman shares some great tips in her video on how to develop emotional resilience for both parents and kids trying to deal with back to school anxiety. She empowers you to become a problem solver so you don’t feel trapped even when faced with tough choices. Enjoy!

    [embedded content]

    Don’t worry! Take a few deep breaths. The good news is that you and your child will make it through Back-To-School anxiety just fine. You can help a child with anxiety by trying these tips and remembering to stay calm and composed. Just talk with your child in a calm way and brainstorm together about solutions and you will be building a positive framework for your relationship and ability to handle things together at the same time!

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