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Teens need to feel connected to their parents if they're going to open up to them, but it's harder these days for teens to connect. Social media makes it easier to be isolated and disconnected from parents and peers, as teens can opt to plug in to their technology and stay plugged in, rather than build real-life relationships.
Rough play helps stimulate the brain and enables siblings to develop both cognitive and emotional intelligence. After all, when one pins the other to the ground, they are learning to read facial expressions and interpret body language. They are also learning about fairness and developing fledgling conflict resolution skills.
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About ten days from time of writing, I think my three-year-old daughter is going to be a little annoyed with me. This is because at that time we'll be well into our second day of a 135km walk from our house in Toronto to Niagara Falls. I have no idea how much of this my daughter will remember or what, at this age, she will take away from the experience. But when she's older and looks back at this time, I hope these are four lessons she has learned.
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Allegedly, we are denying our son the right to a mother. Does Milo have a mom? No he doesn't. Does he have two loving parents that will do anything in their power to make sure he is loved, safe, happy, healthy, accepting, tolerant, kind (OK, this list can go on, but I'll stop there)? Will he grow up being less of a person because he doesn't have a mother? No he won't.
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Blended families are everywhere, representing nearly 13 per cent of all Canadian households. In the U.S. approximately 40 per cent of adults have a close step-relationship, such as with stepchild or stepparent. The process of bringing two families together, or adding a stepparent, can be extremely complex.
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You see, our son is adopted and we know that regardless of whether he is biological to us or not, love does not recognize a difference. So, my husband and I knew that regardless of whether our second child was biological or not, we would love them just as a fiercely and intensely.
Let's face it, packing school lunches every day can feel monotonous and uninspired, especially when they keep coming back at the end of the day half-eaten. So what's a parent to do? How can you take school lunches from drab to fab and get your kids to eat, and possibly even enjoy their food?
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Milo was probably one of the easiest babies you would ever meet. He ate, he didn't fuss, he slept through the night, pretty much fell asleep instantly when putting him down. He still sleeps amazingly well but he is getting pickier at eating, and well, he's now a toddler. And parents know what that means.
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We adored every sleeping and waking minute of sharing our bed with our mini miracle until all of a sudden -- somewhere between molar two and three and around the bend from the fine line in the sand be...
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The other day, our Wi-Fi died and we were without Internet or television for 36 hours. Yes, that includes Netflix. The kids did not know quite what to do. What about Minecraft? What about Pokemon Go? To this generation, Wi-Fi is like oxygen and they cannot imagine a world where it isn't available all the time. Internet is, after all, considered a basic human right.
What I have realized time and time again is something so profound, it is actually simple. There is really nothing kids want more than to be liked, to be accepted for who they are. It is the greatest way we can care for children, for youth: we must show them they matter.
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Emile knows that he's Jewish, but it's an esoteric concept at his age. He loves eating gefilte fish and searching for the afikomen, hates how long Passover seders take and boasts to his buddies about getting two holidays instead of one in December. I used to do the same. But because we're an invisible minority, it can easily disappear. Maintaining it requires effort. So my role as a father is to help him see the value in making Jewish history, culture and traditions a part of him -- he can decide on the religious part on his own -- so that he might one day pass it all on to his own child.
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If you remove all of life's unpleasantries, what are you really teaching your child about the world? Doing so will only result in giving your child a false sense of reality. Resilience, being able to get back up after you fall down, is what adults must instill in children. Allow your child to face uncomfortable circumstances even if it makes you uncomfortable. This will teach them about overcoming adversity.
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Parents need to walk that fine line between allowing their teens to fail and make mistakes, so that they can learn from these experiences, and keeping them from being self-destructive or self-defeating. It's important that teens see that their actions have consequences and learn from their own experiences what works for them and what doesn't work. The parents' role is to make sure that the consequences to their teen aren't so severe that there's no coming back.
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Kids can be really expensive.
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Conflict resolution skills work. Managing stress calmly, controlling emotions, dealing with issues in a positive and constructive way, are all healthy approaches to conflict. Communication is a significant piece of this family puzzle. Don't let family conflict own you.
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I'm not sure whether to let my son play or drastically limit his playing time. But one thing is for sure: now that school is back in session, there have to be rules around how long my boys are allowed to play and when. I recently began polling parents about their rules, and my kids have listened intently to these discussions.
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With the official end of summer and start of school, come changes to routines, new schedules, and certain adjustments. This sudden change of pace for families can sometimes leave parents feeling like they are performing a difficult juggling act!
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Our only child, crushed by the death of his grandpa, had transformed from an everyday kid into a faint memory of the boy he was, his every baffling behaviour designed to bring his grandpa back to life. We called this invisible force the "OCD Monster" and we felt powerless to stop it from enslaving our son.
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Reading has been an ingrained part of our family life since even before she was born. My husband read Dr. Seuss to her while she was in utero, and we've continued to incorporate books into her life as she's grown. Reading in the "big bed" is an essential component of my toddler's bedtime routine.
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The thing is, I have always been sad and worried. It's stuck on me like gray toned glitter -- it clouds everything I do and no matter what I do it's never fully gone. When I realized I was different from other kids, I didn't know what to do. I was always sad and worried. Worried that people would notice me for being different and make fun of me. Sad because even when I tried to fit it -- I always felt like I couldn't do it right.
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As children move towards the last few years of elementary school, and especially as they move into high school, many become less and less likely to tell a parent or other adult if they are being bullied or are in over their heads with a peer issue. Often this is because they feel that telling an adult won't help or even that it might make the situation worse.
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Parent attitude toward mental health goes a long way. If your child had a cavity, would you let it go unfilled? Skipping antibiotics for a strep infection would be unacceptable. You wouldn't let your teen learn how to drive without them buckling up first. An open wound wouldn't go untreated.
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The importance of a healthy family meal can't be overstated -- obesity rates are climbing, and so are chronic diseases, many which are tied to poor diet and lifestyle. It's not only affecting adults, but our young children as well, and at an alarming rate. Preventing these illnesses and poor eating habits in our kid's lives starts now.
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Confident, successful and amazing 20- to 40-something women can all that agree when it comes to having babies, we're all wondering the same things. Having babies earlier, or waiting a bit later -- what's best?
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I want so much to stop arguing with my daughter. I want to quiet the constant worry and stop second-guessing her decisions. It is my job as a mother to ensure she is equipped with all of the knowledge I can bestow upon her, to safeguard her from all that can go wrong in this world.
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Guilt and regret are the ugly Hyde to the Jekyll of sobriety, even years in. With new awareness, we relive past experiences---or in many cases bemoan what might have been. Pain and sorrow previously numbed by a drug or drink of choice is glaringly present, and strikes unpredictably---in the midst of a family gathering; alone, late at night; smack in the middle of an important work presentation, or during a particularly deep yoga class.
It's a totally different world after the terrible twos.
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As your daughter heads off to school with her pocket full of your first-day advice, remind her to be her sister's keeper, as well. With today's hyper-media connectivity, it is quite safe to say that if there are problems in a girl's life somebody knows something.
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Have we ourselves ever fallen victim to the allure that devices and screens provide? I lie if I fail to answer in the affirmative. Of course, our family battles the daily urge to reach for our screens, the lifeline connecting the isolated to the seemingly infinite. But every once in a while, there is something greater that entices.
He loves his little baby just as much as he loves his trains. I think people need to stop over reacting with the whole dolls are for girls and trucks are for boys thing. Just let your kid be who they are, play with what they want to play with. In the end, they will grow up to be the person who they were meant to be.