Family Matters with Fern Weis

January 15, 2020

Want kids who can solve problems on their own?  Essential questions are the answer. Kids have come to rely heavily on parents and teachers to do their thinking for them.  They have become unwilling, or unable, to go beyond rote learning. In the classroom, lesson plans and curriculum are now ...

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It’s a fact.  As your kids grow up, you must grow up, too! If you are the parent of teens, you can’t treat them the way you did when they were eight. As they grow, you have to grow. What worked with a child won’t be effective anymore. The sooner you accept that, the easier adolescence will be on ...

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You’re trying to get some cooperation, or to make a point with your teen. You have the best intentions and it’s going well, until it’s not. At some point (usually pretty quickly) it turns into a lecture.  How can you tell? Look and listen. You see it on your child’s face, or in the eye-rolling.

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Does your child have a commitment to learning?  Some students are motivated to achieve and some are just naturally curious, while others become apathetic and do just enough to get by. Which one describes your child? Whichever child you have, you can influence a desire to learn. The authors ...

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“That’s what people do.  They leap, and hope to G-d they can fly.” (From the movie, Hitch). Hitch was talking about leaping into love, taking the risk to be vulnerable.  When you think about it, it’s the same any time you’re taking the leap and cannot guarantee the results.  (That is exactly what ...

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What are you (and every other parent) addicted to? Your child, of course, and the dreams you have before you even hold that baby in your arms. Those dreams have the power to derail your natural parenting instincts. But remember... you are always at choice! In any moment, you have the power to ...

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The perfect family vacation. Is there such a thing? You plan and plan, and then you plan some more. All the details are worked out. What could go wrong? Lots, actually, especially when you are tied to an ideal vision of what this vacation will look like. Parents have shared how disappointed ...

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You know what needs to be said and done... but it is neither said nor done.  You are in the 'conflict avoidance' zone. Nobody wants to fight with their kids or spouse.  A little peace and quiet seems like a good thing, a desirable state of affairs.  Who doesn't want a hassle-free morning, an ...

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Most people say, “When I feel more confident, then I’ll…”  But confidence is not the starting point.  Confidence is the result of experience.  When you take action, plowing through the resistance, anxiety and fear of what lies ahead, that is how you build your confidence and your ...

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We adults lie, all the time. Sorry, but it’s true, and it’s one of the reasons why children lie. How often have you told your child everything is fine when you’re upset about something? I have. Have you ever told a telemarketer you can’t talk because (fill in your reason)? I have.    Life can be ...

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Overparenting.  It’s the new buzzword for helicopter parenting, enabling and micromanaging.  I did them all. I’m happy to say that I’ve (mostly) grown out of it.  The truth is that there are still moments when I have the urge to step in and take over.  It’s normal to feel that way; however, I know ...

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“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see ...

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My husband forwarded an article to me, “The thing about raising teenagers that no one wants to say out loud.” (link below)  It hit me… hard… so hard that I felt compelled to share and expand on it.  If your family is struggling, you’ll definitely relate.  It’s all too true, and I experienced it, ...

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Many of you are sending your kids off to college soon, and maybe for the first time. I’ve been there, twice.  And now my daughter lives overseas!  Most of the time I’m okay with it… you get used to it, you know?  But sometimes when she sends me little notes, or we chat on Skype, I miss her again.

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Some folks say that routines and predictability are boring.  That may be true, but boring can be a good thing.  In today’s article,  we’re going to explore the benefits of routines for everyone, from toddlers to adults.  Resource links are included throughout the article. I’ll reveal a few of my ...

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Back in the dark ages of the 1970s, preparing for college was a lot simpler.  I paid attention to which courses I would take, but for a soon-to-be liberal arts major, I didn’t have too much planning to do.  Most of us took our SATs once, perhaps an advanced placement test, and applied to five or ...

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Too many of us go through life measuring ourselves against impossible standards and coming up short.  There's good news, though.  Feeling like a failure doesn’t mean you are one.  Your 'failures' aren't failures at all. Looking at it objectively, what we call failure is simply not reaching a ...

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“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see ...

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Even on a good day, it can be difficult not to take the bait when your teen is pushing your buttons.  How do you disengage to keep it from escalating into a battle?  The last line in the movie "War Games" describes it perfectly -- "The only winning move is not to play." Sometimes, in order to ...

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When was the last time you had a boring day at work? Did you do the boring tasks, or ignore them? Of course you did them, because it’s all part of the job. Even the most exciting job requires mundane and sometimes mind-numbing tasks. This is a message that our kids must hear long before their first ...

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Get a life?  You wish you had a life, and so does your teen!  Most days it feels as if your life is all about your child and getting through the days. Why would your teen want you to have a life of your own?   1)  The obvious reason is that it takes the focus off your child.  "Stop bossing me ...

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“Four As and a B- in math.  That’s a good report card, but… how are we going to get that math grade up?” Has that conversation ever taken place in your home?  Something like it did in mine, way back in middle school.  Looking back I can now say, “Honey, I shrunk our kid.” Not enough.  Never ...

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Who remembers real, live, face-to-face communication? All right, it’s a bit dramatic. But the fact is that we have become used to relating to others without the benefit of our senses – sight, hearing and touch – and our relationships could be richer and more fulfilling with them. Today’s tip is ...

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Every so often I find myself looking back, trying to understand where my beliefs and behavior patterns come from.  After all, I am a product of my past, and the people in my past.  Awareness is a good thing, and  what we do with it is even more important.  This is your wake-up call to use the past ...

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Be Switzerland.  What does that mean?  Switzerland is known as being neutral, the country that doesn't take sides in a war or conflict.  It stays neutral and doesn't get involved. When I say 'neutral' I don't mean that you have no feelings about what's going on.  Of course you do.  The trick is ...

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The puzzle starts out in 1,000 tiny pieces, and all you have is a small picture to help you navigate the confusion.  Take a look at the puzzle I finished, and the new one just started. Having kids is like doing the jigsaw puzzle.  You have a picture in your mind of what their life and yours will ...

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"If I only knew then what I know now."  I can't tell you how many times I've heard that from parents (and how many times I said it myself).  We tend to put up with a lot until we just can't stand it anymore, and find our family in a jam, or worse.  We have the best of intentions, but those ...

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Do you want your kids to be able to make friends, influence people and be seen as a leader?  One of the qualities of a respected friend, influencer and leader is the ability to give others credit when it is due. Is this something you are able to do?  Do you model it in your own family or on the ...

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Last night I slept for seven whole hours — that’s seven hours without waking up. It’s pretty darned close to miraculous.  Can you identify?  If you’re like me, most nights include one or more of the following:  a brain that won’t shut down, waking up for a bathroom run, or the constant chatter of ...

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It’s never too late to establish guidelines around technology, but the earlier you do it, the better. Today’s tip covers multiple aspects about introducing younger kids to technology and social media. If your kids are older, the genie is already out of the bottle; however, you can revisit the rules ...

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