Jackson Hole News & Guide:
Consider this: If your child starts a fight with her sibling and you as the parent continuously run over and get into the mix, your child may be learning to connect with you by fighting with her sibling. One of the most important things to our children is their connection with us. Could our response of always trying to break up the fight, actually be part of the problem?
Helping our kids learn how to live with someone who moves through the world differently from them is part of what helps them live well with their siblings. Once we have taught them some skills in managing conflict, sometimes the best solution is to let them work their disputes out themselves.
Read this week's column in Jackson Hole News&Guide titled "Sibling rivalry teaches life long lessons" to dive into thoughts about sibling rivalry.
In a recent interview, Meghan Markle bravely admitted that she was having a hard time as a new mother. This can be true for many new mothers, and it's hard to admit. As I write about in my recent article, women's self-esteem often declines after the birth of a baby. While this may not be the reason for Markle's challenges, as women we can struggle for a host of reasons when our lives are turned upside down with the birth of a child. Read this week's article in the "Jackson Hole Woman" section of the Jackson Hole News & Guide to explore mothers and self-esteem. Then I ask you to think about two things. Consider where your sense of worth comes from and how you can foster that in all areas of your life -- and accept yourself for who you are no matter what. Then also consider asking others, as Markle so appreciated being asked, "are you OK?"
Do your interactions with your kids open them up to conversation or shut them down? Read this week's article in Jackson Hole News & Guide to explore how we validate or dismiss our children's experiences.
Believing in our kids for who they are allows us to more easily feel confident that they will thrive no matter what comes their way.
This has been the hardest article for me to write by far. It's about themes that stem from Felicity Huffman's letter to the judge hearing her case for paying to have her daughter's SAT scores altered -- the college admissions scandal revisited. It would be easy for me to write about how bad Huffman is, how egregious her crime was, and about her abuse of and inability to see her wealth and privilege. Those are all true -- and they have all been written about. Here I dive deeper into the larger social context because I want to examine the underlying social and cultural forces at play and how they might invoke deeper thoughts about our own personal lives in raising children.
What drives one to commit such a crime? This is what I investigate in this week's Jackson Hole News & Guide article. I barely scratch the surface in this short column, and many of my thoughts had to be cut due to space. I wonder what thoughts these ideas invoke in you?
How do you feel about your kids going back to school? Happy to get your kids back into some structure? Sad to see the carefree days end? Transitioning back to school can bring some challenges. Read my latest article in Jackson Hole News&Guide to consider some proactive ways your family can make this transition go more smoothly.
We all want what's best for our children, yet wanting what's best can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to provide the "best" and on our kids to live up to it.
Read this week's column in Jackson Hole News & Guide to consider creating a vision for your family rather than wanting what's "best".
This week's column in Jackson Hole News&Guide is about maintaining clear boundaries with our children and teens. How do you feel when you've set a boundary and then let it slip away? Perhaps your kids' arguments and emotions are too strong; you feel bad for your kids or feel you are being too "harsh"; or you don't have the confidence that your boundaries are well placed.
When we let our boundaries slide, often we feel depleted and resentful; deep down we know we aren't upholding our values and standards and we aren't teaching our kids skills they need to learn.
Maintaining clear boundaries in a firm and kind way is respectful to ourselves as parents and to our kids. As parents we don't feel taken advantage of when we hold to our boundaries. For the kids, if we say what we mean and mean what we say they know, as Brené Brown says "what is OK and what is not OK." They know the "rules", what is expected of them, and how to move forward in the world.
If we have boundaries that are often co-created, or steeped in our values, and hold to them, the arguments, nagging, and complaining will begin to decline. What a gift to the relationship we have with our kids! Of course our boundaries need to be reasonable - we want to give our kids the freedom to grow. They also need to be maintained with respect so that our kids want to adhere to them.
If you start creating boundaries where none have previously existed, expect some push back from your kids at first. This push back will diminish over time if the boundaries are upheld with respect and understanding. Read more in my recent column in Jackson Hole News & Guide about how to create boundaries and the benefits of doing so. "Say it straight, say it simple, say it with a smile." 🙂
I’ve written a lot about the idea that hovering over or paving the way for our children does more harm than good for their long term development. This week's column in Jackson Hole News and Guide looks at this idea more specifically. We know what’s not good for our kids, but what does that look like in real life, and what can we do instead?
Studies show that people in their early 20s now often act more like teens, and young teens often act more like children. Why is this?
This week's column considers how we can let our children and teens become masters of their own destinies, so to speak, in developmentally appropriate ways that teach them skills without us having to nag, remind, or do things for them.
I will admit - I like to be in control. As a parent, this means I have to hold myself back on a daily basis from doing something for or saying something to my kids that undermines not only their ability to do things for themselves but also how they feel about themselves. It is a regular battle. Author and parent educator Vicki Hoefle suggests duct tape - for the parents’ mouth! Beyond ripping all the hairs off my upper lip, holding my tongue has become a daily practice that I am constantly working to master. Holding my tongue allows me to step back and think about what is really important as the end result of any given interaction I have with my kids. Again, in no way am I proficient with this -- it is a daily practice.
What is really important? That I teach my kids skills, that I have faith in their abilities, that I encourage them, and that I strengthen rather than fracture our relationship. How I react to and interact with my kids can build character strengths in my kids or tear them down.
Read this week's column in Jackson Hole News and Guide to consider the idea that while we are living with toddlers through teens, we are actually raising an adult. This is the last in my four-part series on ideas that stem from the college admissions scandal. See below to find past articles in the series exploring our deep love for our kids, anxieties we may have about their future and how we can help our kids to grow into thriving adults.
In thinking about this week's column in Jackson Hole News and Guide, I've found that it's really hard for me to not help my kids. In our house, we have expectations that our kids' morning routines are their own. This includes making their own breakfast and lunch. But sometimes they wake up tired; they don't given themselves enough time; they end up late for school. So what do I do? I help. I have no problem with this on the surface. I enjoy helping others. Yet my help with lunch making or putting dishes in the dishwasher is not allowing them to fully be in charge of their lives or learn what it takes to get somewhere on time. And honestly, since this pattern has become somewhat frequent in our house, I can become resentful. Resentful that I become the maid, resentful that I allow boundaries to slip.
This morning I said to my kids, "It's no skin off my back if you are late to school". I said this with kindness. Whatever consequences they receive from the school for being late is on them. I also said, "the problem is that it's really hard for me to not help, especially when we're all running around and stressed about being late". I told them I'm going to try really hard to stop helping in the mornings. This will be hard for me, and in reading this it may sound unkind. But because this problem keeps coming back in our house, my helping is not teaching them responsibility for their own lives.
My family's morning routine is just a small example of the things we do for our kids that they are capable of doing for themselves. Where do you find the balance between helping your kids and holding them responsible for doing things for themselves, even if it means there might be consequences if they don't get it "right"? Read this week's column in the Jackson Hole News and Guide to consider the balance between helping our kids navigate life experiences and sheltering them from what life throws their way; and the fear and love that motivates us to do things for our kids.
The recent college admission scandal brings up many thoughts on today’s parenting challenges. My newest column in Jackson Hole News & Guide is the third in a biweekly four-part series that explores our deep love for our kids, anxieties we may have about their future and how we can help our kids to grow into thriving adults.
Rachel Wigglesworth has an M.Ed. in Parent and Family Education and is excited to explore the world of raising children with you!