Family Matters with Fern Weis

May 27, 2020

I didn't realize how much of my life I had to share, (and how messy it was) until we were in the parent program at Hyde School.  I didn't understand the amazingly positive impact it could have on my children until then.  The key, though, is telling it with humility and without ...

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No, it's not a typo. It's the truth. Kids don't listen because we've trained them not to. Keep reading and you'll see that we parents have created the monster (and there's still time to tame it). See if any of the following examples sound familiar. I remember when my kids were little and we did ...

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It’s a true story.  Eighteen-year old high school senior, Jen, wants her own car because: a) mom’s car isn’t often available to her. b) taking the bus is not cool and takes longer. c) she and her boyfriend broke up, so there goes that ride, too. We talked about Jen’s needs versus her wants, ...

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What were your labels growing up? Were you the good one, the fat one, the skinny one, the smart one, the athlete? The one with ADD, the outspoken one, the shy one, the messy one, the risk-taker? When asked to describe yourself, many of you will use a childhood label. Maybe you feel like you've been ...

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Reader Question: I have been raising three kids on my own.  Some days it’s like talking to the wall.  Early mornings and evenings you can find me vacuuming and cleaning. When I find their stuff lying around, I put it on the stairs and ask them to put it where it belongs. When I ask if they ...

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It’s a thought pattern that used to make me nuts (and I haven’t completely conquered it yet):  'Zero to disaster in 60 seconds!’ Here's how it goes.... My 16-year old son has missed two history assignments this week... He'll start falling behind and fail a test. Then he'll stop working in ...

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There are no secrets to being a ‘good’ parent. There are no truly “new” ideas out there. It’s all about a few basic principles: respect, responsibility, truth, flexibility, resilience, courage. Show it in words and actions so your kids know exactly how it looks and sounds. Those are the building ...

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You’d think the F-bomb would erode a relationship, wouldn’t you? I learned that it has the potential (after the initial reaction) to help build your relationship with your teen. The expression “F-Bomb” is an official word in the dictionary now. In my generation, growing up in the 60s and 70s, ...

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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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