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Social Tips and Time with Family, for Parents of Teenagers and Tweens

We know spending time with family is important, but parents are busy! These parenting articles help you make the most of travel with teenagers, family time, and more.

Finding Time for Family with Teens

When taking a vacation with kids, so many things can go wrong. Aside from the usual family behavior problems that can arise, vacations with teenagers often ends up costing more than traveling with adults. Get parenting tips from the experts on planning a vacation with kids, having a good time with family, and a host of other family and social issues. Learn how to deal with the dreaded: "teenagers dating", and how to inspire self-esteem and confidence in middle school and high school students. And even: "What are good pets for kids?" Our parenting experts have the answer.

Rabbits make great pets for kids. Kids really enjoy helping take care of rabbits, but before you get a rabbit, explain to your kids that pet care takes time and energy. The rabbit is not a new toy to play with for a few weeks and then forget. It is a long term commitment. Explain the basics of rabbit care and, once you've done so, if your child still wants a bunny, you can make the decision about bringing a new pet home. Before you purchase a new pet rabbit, you may want to set up a pet rabbit care chart to delegate rabbit-care responsibilities. For older kids, you may want to enter into a fun, but serious pet care agreement detailing what they are getting into.

A pet turtle is really neat pet. How many other animals are able to carry their own home on their back and duck into it whenever they feel threatened (or just sleepy)? Well... there's snails and a handful of assorted sea creatures, but as far as animals you'd actually want in your house go, turtles are your best bet. Kids tend to have a natural fondness for turtles, so you may wind up with one in the house sooner than you think.

By: Linda Sorkin, LMFT, Soul Empowered Coaching
We are officially ending the Thanksgiving holiday, and my heart is full with gratitude for all I have in my life. And, although I am grateful for my home, car, laptop, and yoga studio membership, what fills me most is my gratitude for the non-material things in my life: family, my children's laughter, and the times when they are connected playing together, cooking a turkey, having leftovers by candlelight, hugging my mom, laughing with my husband, hiking on a beautiful day...I can go on and on!

Learning to resolve conflict is a skill that can last a lifetime! While it is important that children learn how to resolve conflict, it is not always a goal that is met. Many parents, not knowing how to teach conflict resolution to their child, simply leave the issue alone and hope it all works out in the end. There are even many adults who have not yet learned adequate conflict resolution skills themselves.

Children given independence without responsibility are a lot like milk without refrigeration. They both quickly spoil. The role parents play in their children's transition from dependence to independence is critically important for developing the tools of self-reliance, confidence, and resourcefulness they will need to become happy and successful adults.

By: Linda Sorkin, LMFT, Soul Empowered Coaching
Parenting can be a difficult and exhausting job...well, it usually is (despite the rewarding sides)! Funny enough, our children seem to pick the most inopportune times to act out. Their defiant behavior usually surfaces when we are at our wits end, haven’t slept, are trying to meet a deadline, slaving over a messy house, and picking up after everyone else! Actually there is no ideal time to deal with our little angels! Their disobedience or the obnoxious attitude isn’t happening to us, it just is! Lack of self-care and focus in our own lives makes us less tolerant to handle the chaotic ones with grace. It is in the midst of a challenging behavioral episode when we realize we lack the skills to handle the difficult child because we have nothing left to give. This often occurs when we are frenetic and asleep in our own lives. Creating time for ourselves is an important habit not only for our own sanity but for modeling healthy behavior for our kids. The more we are practice self-care, the more time and preparation we have for the unexpected, the better able we can understand, cope and sanely respond to our kids’ random behavior.

By: Linda Sorkin, LMFT of Soul Empowered Coaching
Having a healthy self esteem is important so that children succeed in the things they try, in school, and in their relationships. If they have a healthy self-esteem, they will feel good about themselves, and that will have a profound impact on just about every area of their life.

Sharing is often a difficult concept for kids of all ages to embrace. But, by the time kids reach the young teen age, it is often even worse. That's usually because young teens are fighting for their independence and sharing is often seen as anything but! However, at this age, parents can still teach teens and tweens the benefits of sharing.

When I brought my daughter home from the hospital, my stepson, who was a year old and had been well prepared for the birth of his baby sister, gave her a nudge with his foot. I'm pretty sure that what he wanted to do was to give her a swift kick. Days later, that same curly-haired angel approached his baby sister bearing a raw potato which he then presented to her as if it were his most important possession. This obvious peace offering, following so closely on the heels of my stepson's poorly-hidden dismay at having his position as only child usurped by a crying, screaming bundle that clearly intended to steal the attention of the adults in his life, came to define their relationship. It still does.

For every Michael Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, and Magic Johnson whose parents pushed them toward success, there are untold numbers of talented kids whose parents' efforts pushed them away. You might create a star by pushing, but chances are you'll scare or stress the star right out of them instead. By the time they're 10 or so, some children have discovered the talents and skills that will help them attain success and happiness. But for most successful people, the interests, personality traits, and maturity needed for success were developed over a long period of time. So be patient with the potential you see.