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4 Tips For Giving Kids an Allowance 

Don’t pay your kid for scoring goals in a game.

Don’t pay them for achieving A’s on their report card or for eating their vegetables.

Don’t pay your child for doing the dishes, sweeping the floor or scrubbing their toilet.

Instead pay your child a consistent allowance because he is a contributing, valued member of your family and you want to raise a financially responsible person.

The pay-for-performance debate has been a subject of discussion for families for generations. If we don’t tie the money we pay our kids to chores, grades or other accomplishments, then why give them an allowance at all? 

One way we can teach children financial responsibility is through giving them a consistent allowance and then helping our son or daughter learn how to save, spend and give their money away.

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The Promposal: Is it Modern-Day Chivalry or Nonsense?

It’s that time of year when teenage boys around America are expected to put on a production to ask a girl to the traditional high school dance.

Is the Promposal modern-day chivalry or plain nonsense?

After a long day of school and varsity baseball practice, my son and his friend trudged through our house carrying an armload of art supplies and poster boards.

When my son should be spending time on his physics homework or hanging out with his grandparents who are visiting from out of town, he has to design a sloganed poster to invite his girlfriend to the upcoming junior prom.

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My parents, who attended high school prom together, can’t believe this is what’s going on today. Knowing teenage boys don’t naturally do this sort of thing, my Dad asked his grandson and his friend if they feel like decorating posters? 

“Not really. But, the girls want us to do it.”

Sure they like the girl. Sure they want to take her to the dance. It’s been a high school rite of passage through the generations. Neither my Grandpa, my Dad nor my husband ever had to invite their date to prom with anything other than their words, so why are our sons now expected to conjure up a themed presentation to ask a girl to the dance?

As if teenage guys don’t have enough on their plate today, they must now come up with a cheesy proposal production as is the societal norm. He’d better not think of asking a girl to the dance without at least a decorated poster board in hand or he would be considered unthoughtful, uncaring or rude.

Why are our sons expected to put on a proposal production to ask a date to prom?

What happened to just a good guy asking a sweet girl to the high school dance?

How come that’s no longer acceptable?

Why do we insist on turning what should be a simple invitation into a production today?

Because there wouldn’t be anything post-worthy for social media if there weren’t a production, and we all know how much everyone loves a good curated photo for the feed.

And forget the decorated poster board. Some take it to another level buying oversized teddy bears, shoes, jewelry, and the list goes on. I’m sure the bigger, the better. Check out this post or your kids’ social media feeds if you don’t believe me.

The promposal production seems like another great way to try and one-up each other too. Oh, your guy only decorated a poster for you? Well, check out what my man (or his Mom) did for me…. and the comparison game is on. Just what our youth need.

I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around the concept and why we’re accepting this nonsense to be commonplace now.

What type of marriage proposal are girls going to expect one day if they need a song and dance to accept an invitation to a high school dance?

Our daughter said she thinks the promposal idea is “cute.” I explained to her that it’s adorable when she and her girlfriends make posters for one another’s birthdays and bring them to middle school to celebrate. There is nothing cute about expecting a young man to design a presentation to ask you to prom.

Let’s stop putting pressure on kids to have to put on a post-worthy show for what should be a simple invitation to a timeless high school event.

Let’s put our efforts into raising confident and kind young men and women who don’t need a showy production to feel good about themselves or to enjoy their lives.

Let’s begin to tell our kids that a post-worthy promposal production is not necessary.

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9 Ways to Deliberately Design Your Summer

Childhood is short.
Summer is even shorter.
Eighteen summers is all we get.

How will your family spend this precious summer season?

I wish our summer was made up of fireflies rather than Fortnite.
I wish that we could go off on big family adventures instead of being stuck in 107-degree Arizona heat for baseball. It does help to have air conditioning though! Thank goodness ours has not broken down yet. We would need to find an air conditioning repairs service asap! Our friends keep telling us that just replacing the filter is often enough to stop a potential break down, so we’ve ordered a MERV 8 20x20x1 Filter online, and fingers crossed we won’t have any issues!
I wish my kids still found me as exciting as they do strangers on SnapChat, Instagram, and YouTube.

I know this 16th summer of ours matters yet how do we make the most of it despite our realities and circumstances?

We must decide to deliberately design our summers.

While June, July, and August may be perfect for lazy days and relaxation, we mustn’t make the mistake of aimlessly drifting through the summer months without purposely making a proactive plan for our family.

What exactly is it that you want and need?

I love that summer provides my teenagers mornings to sleep in and time to rest and recover from their normally stressful high school scheduled programming. Yet, more downtime equates to more screen time if we’re not mindful.

How can we get our kids off screens and make this summer count?

9 Ways to Strengthen Your Family this Summer

1. Teach Life Skills
With more free time, we can take the opportunity to teach our children how to do their own laundry, cook, clean or change a tire. Perhaps you finally open that bank account or help your child start a little business. Or simply teach them to tie their shoes or handwrite, address and mail a thank you note.

What life skill will you purposely teach your child this summer?

2. Prioritize Play
Summer is the time to strengthen family relationships and sibling bonds. Deliberately purchase new indoor and outdoor games that give your family members a reason to play together. Check out my Parent on Purpose Amazon store for our family favorites.

Where are your family playgrounds?

Fun can be found at your dining table for card games or going to the pool. Perhaps it’s fishing at the pond or hiking in the mountains. Maybe it’s bike riding to seek out geocaches together in your hometown. One of our favorite family playgrounds is the beach in California.

Where does your family enjoy playing together? Go there.

3. Strengthen family values and purpose
Summer is a great time to strengthen family values and purpose which may have gotten buried under the reality of a busy school year.

We send our kids to sleep away summer camp for a couple of weeks to strengthen every aspect of their lives as well as for my husband and me to begin to successfully separate from our children.

Our family also goes on a medical mission trip to the Yucatan to serve the beautiful, yet impoverished, community together. We also seek out ways to help locally when we can as well.

What is it that you do that says this is who we are as a family. This is what WE do.

What have you purposely planned this summer to strengthen your family purpose?

4. Cultivate an atmosphere of growth
Summer can be a time for family members to learn new skills as well as strengthen existing ones. Take advantage of camps, classes, clinics or unique opportunities that can help grow passions and personal interests.

What is something new each family member can learn this summer?
What passion will each person continue to pursue and grow?

5. Sacrifice personal pursuits
Make sure you are also willing to sacrifice personal pursuits once in awhile to carve out family time together. Don’t be afraid to have your child miss some training, classes, practices or opportunities so that your family can enjoy quality time to bond together.

What are you willing to sacrifice this summer so your family can spend quality time together?

6. Make mindful entertainment choices
Binge watching television shows or non-stop video game play isn’t a good use of our child’s time. Sure, there may be space for mindless entertainment choices this summer, but we must purposely set boundaries on them, so they don’t consume our days.

Make reading a priority in your home this summer. If your kids have required reading for school, help them make a plan to proactively get those books finished. Be sure that your kids also see you taking the time to read as well.

What healthy entertainment choices will you choose for your family this summer?

7. Go on adventures
You don’t have to venture further than your hometown for family fun. Most of us take for granted the exciting places that surround us locally that we’ve never taken the time to visit… yet.

You don’t even have to leave the comforts of your own home to create meaningful memories either. Or maybe you’re at a stage where your family would thrive on an epic vacation.

What adventures will you create this summer that will add to your family narrative and strengthen your relationships?

8. Clean, organize and get rid of it
The summer months might be a perfect time to clean out bedrooms, closets, and garages with your kid’s help. Purposely decide where to donate your treasures. Maybe have a family garage sale to support a cause or just to have fun together earning some extra summer spending money.

Where can you purposely take your donated treasures to benefit an organization you believe in and want to support?

9. Save space for spontaneity
We don’t want to be so scheduled and entertained that we have no space for spontaneous fun this summer. Purposely leave open spots on the calendar for boredom and time to decide on a whim to take a day trip or to go try a new ice cream or donut shop.

Don’t get to the end of summer and realize that you didn’t take the time or make an effort to differentiate this special season at all.

How will you deliberately spend this summer?

Questions to Ask Yourself-

  • What does each family member need this summer to strengthen them physically, mentally, emotionally and relationally?
  • What frustrated you the most this school year? Work on improving that area this summer so when school rolls around again you may have established better habits.
  • What summer family tradition will you repeat again this year? Summer wouldn’t be summer without this…. bike rides to the bagel shop or boating on the lake. What are the simple things your family does each summer together?
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The Matheny Manifesto Book Review and Giveaway!

“You have to read this book,” said the parent sitting next to us on the sidelines of our daughters’ soccer game.“THIS is what we need more of in youth sports today.” He handed me this book and it quickly became one of my favorites.

Want to make a bigger impact on the children you are parenting, teaching or coaching?

Read The Matheny Manifesto and then act on the principles inside.

The Matheny Manifesto is a call to action for those of us leading children today.

The book is based on St. Louis Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny’s expectations, standards and beliefs that he wrote for the parents of a little league team he had signed on to coach. If he was going to lead this group of kids, he wanted the parents to know the value system and moral code that he would be coaching from.

What if we all took the time to think through what we believe and the intentions we have to lead the children in our care and then wrote out our own manifesto?

A manifesto is a statement where you can share your…

– Intentions (what you intend to do)
– Opinions (what you believe, your stance on a particular topic)
– Vision (the type of world that you dream about and wish to create)

What is The Matheny Manifesto?

Want to write your own manifesto?

“Let’s not sell ourselves short with regard to the impact we can have on the people who look up to us every day- our own kids and the kids we teach and coach,” says Matheny.  “They’re looking for someone to stand up for what is right and to make a difference in their lives. That’s what heroes can do, and it starts with having the courage to do things differently.”

Mike Matheny doesn’t believe sport is more important than family.

He doesn’t believe that every child deserves a trophy.

He believes in teaching kids reality. He believes children need to fail. He believes young athletes should be playing more than just one sport. He believes parents should be a silent source of encouragement and let the coach do his job.

How do I know this? Because Matheny took the time to write, share and live out his manifesto.

Matheny’s old school advice is a powerful reminder of what sports can teach us about winning on the field and life. This book is full of wisdom of how we can better lead our youth today to more than just personal success.

I received an email from the book’s author, Jerry Jenkins after he read one of my blog posts. He encouraged me by telling me that he had raised his three sons the same way and that I may enjoy one of the books he’s written- The Matheny Manifesto. Little did he know that his book sits on my shelf as one of my favorites!

Jenkins so graciously sent me a signed copy of The Matheny Manifesto to give away to one of you lucky readers! Since baseball season is underway and Father’s Day is just around the corner, June seemed the perfect month to give away one of my favorites.

Comment below on why you need The Matheny Manifesto for your chance to win! One lucky winner will be chosen at random on June 11. Must be a US resident.

Order a copy of The Matheny Manifesto from my Parent on Purpose Amazon store today!

www.MikeMatheny.com

www.JerryJenkins.com

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Why You Need to Go Ahead and Buy that School Yearbook

Sure it may seem like a waste of money.

Maybe our kids don’t seem to care if we purchase one or not.

It might appear as a material item that will just sit around and collect dust.

Does our child really need another school yearbook?

School yearbook sales are in significant decline today. Students seem disinterested in the costly product. Mom and Dad don’t want more stuff hanging around the house either, so they are choosing not to buy.

Is the yearbook a dying American tradition or does it still have value?

I relish this time of year when my kids bring home their yearbooks. Perhaps I have an affinity for the product because I was Editor in Chief of mine as a high school senior, but more so, it provides me parental value today. 

Those of us still buying yearbooks know we are investing in a keepsake that our child will hopefully treasure in the future. We understand that social media posts will eventually be lost yet an analog book of memories is forever. We’re also supporting and funding a group of students’ creative, hard work throughout the school year. 

What if you buy the school yearbook simply as a way to get your family members connecting today?

The hardcover Class of 2018 edition of my children’s high school yearbook sits on our coffee table surrounded by our comfy sectional couch. The book sits right where family members slowly gather around the television throughout each evening.

At this time of year, I strategically seek out an open area on the couch and begin to flip through the pages of the yearbook.

“Oh, he looks cute,” is usually all I have to say to get my freshman daughter to bound across the room to squeeze up next to me to see who in the world I could be talking about. 

“Uh, Mom. No. He is so weird. He’s in my biology class.”

Oh ok. Well, what about him? I say while pointing to a different picture. And our bonding begins….

There’s something magical about a school yearbook that allows normally off-limits conversation between my guarded daughter and myself. I can’t ask her about a friend’s Snapchat or Instagram post without coming across as intrusive or annoying. Somehow the compiled photos and stories wrapped up in this yearbook are fair game.

“Do you know her? She looks nice.”

“That doesn’t look like Michael. He has changed so much since elementary school.”

Organically the brothers can’t help but get in on the action too. They squeeze in wanting to add their personal two cents to the conversation. And the dialogue opens up between sister and brother, who typically pass in the high school hallways without even saying a word to one another.

I learn who’s funny in my child’s eyes. Who’s smart. Who’s mean. Who cheats. Who Juuls. Who kisses in the hallways. Which teachers they want for next year and which ones they hope to never see again.

The school yearbook allows us a window into our kids’ world that we may never gain access to otherwise. It is a private space somehow made public in the beauty of this hardbound memory book.

The purchase of the school yearbook may seem like a waste of money unless we understand it’s potential in the present. The compilation of photos, stories and memories inside can be a key to unlock your child’s world if you are willing to sit down with it and begin the conversation.

“He looks cute…”

Let the school yearbook be a simple and effective tool for strengthening relationships and communication in your home. We parents must purposely seek out ways to get our children off screens and into real conversation and the school yearbook is a perfect way to achieve that this time of year.

I hope that my children will value their books in the years to come, but I know I will always treasure the moments we spent laughing and talking our way through the pages year after year.

The annual school yearbook is one investment I will continue to make during this precious season called childhood and my hope is that you will too.

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3 Things to Do if your Son is Obsessed with Fortnite

My son was never a gamer. He played sports, hung out with friends and did typical dirty boy stuff.

Enter Fortnite: Battle Royale.

The popular video game is now my son’s competition of choice and playing Fortnite is his way of hanging out with friends. Even though it makes me out of my ever loving parental mind watching my offspring sit there with headphones on shooting at animated characters on a screen, I’m allowing it in our home, but not without limitation.

Playing video games should be an earned privilege, according to Dr. Lisa Strohman, Founder of Technology Wellness Center in Scottsdale.

Is playing Fortnite an earned privilege in your home?

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As summer approaches and more downtime is on the horizon, I urge my fellow parents of Fortniters to begin to set family guidelines around gaming now.

FIRST UNDERSTAND WHY YOUR SON PLAYS FORTNITE

Belonging

Kids naturally have a need to belong and be part of the group. Playing Fortnite fulfills the human need for attachment to other people. The team approach of the popular video game is like being on a playground with friends.

It’s Addictive

There is the ability to have rankings and feel accomplishment and status, so it’s exciting…. and addicting. We must be careful that video games are not medicating our children, just as we adults might turn to alcohol, shopping or other deterrents to mask our reality. Some kids are dedicating almost all of their free time to getting better and better at Fortnite, with many players even using things like Aiming.Pro aim trainer to get better at shooting other players.

It is ‘Free’

Battle Royale is a free game yet comes at a cost. “There is always a trade-off for the free video game, says Dr. Strohman. “It costs our child no money to begin playing, yet Epic Games collects all of our kids’ data.” Fortnite generated $223 million in March alone. What appears to be free at the onset, is costing our kids along the way, especially if they are after all the Rare fortnite Skins!

All the Cool Kids are Playing

It doesn’t help that our sons are watching their heroes play Fortnite in their downtime. “The game industry is very savvy bringing in the celebrity aspect to further entice our kids and create even more frenzy around it,” says Dr. Strohman. “They want to see who they can rub elbows with. Of course, our teenager would love the opportunity to take Rapper Drake down.”

Parenting the Fortnite Addict in the New York Times

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3 THINGS PARENTS SHOULD DO FOR THEIR FAVORITE FORTNITER

1. Communicate about healthy consumption

According to Dr. Strohman, parents must treat technology the same as they do food. “We would never allow a steady diet full of sugar, so why would we allow a steady diet of video games and technology? she says. “If you saw your children eating gummy bears for breakfast, you would sit them down and talk about how it is unhealthy.”

Parents must do the same thing when it comes to video game consumption. We must talk to our child about why a diet full of screens isn’t healthy and then we must be willing to set firm boundaries around gaming in our homes.

2. Create opportunities to build empathy

How are these first-person shooter games affecting our kids?

There is no research to show that first-person shooter games, such as Fortnite, creates actual violence. “But, what it has shown is escalated aggression,” said Dr. Strohman. A heightened alert system increases aggressive tendencies which reduce empathy in our kids. The concern is that this is becoming habitual.”

The world needs us to raise empathetic humans. Parents must mindfully create plenty of opportunities for our children to learn empathy through real-world experiences in our families and communities. Especially if we know that video games are numbing our children to this critical value.

4 Technology Battles Parents Must Fight

3. Write out your parental expectations for earning the privilege of gaming

How does your child currently earn the privilege to play video games in your home?

I asked Dr. Strohman if the list I gave my 16-year-old Fortnite playing son was perhaps over the top? Was I crossing the line from a firm and loving authoritative parent to a demanding authoritarian parent with my expectations?

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“Your list is absolutely awesome,” said Dr. Strohman. “If your son isn’t responsible enough to wear his retainers then how can he earn the privilege of playing video games?”

Nothing like an expert to tell you that your parenting tactics are spot on. Sorry son….

Before summer comes, decide what boundaries you need to place on video game play and overall technology use in your home.

It’s okay if our kids think we’re crazy, mean or super annoying. It’s fine if our expectations make our child temporarily unhappy. It is our job to teach and lead our children to a life of significance and meaning and I can guarantee you too much time on an addictive video game is not achieving that goal.

Have you set boundaries on your son’s Fortnite play? What’s working for your family?

Want more wisdom from Dr. Lisa Strohman? Check out her website here!

To learn about Dr. Strohman’s book Unplug and other books on parenting our kids on screens check out my Parent On Purpose Amazon store!

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Parenting for the Launch Book Review and Giveaway

It’s that time of year when high school and college graduation announcements arrive in our mailboxes and social media feeds. What an exciting time as we get to honor and celebrate friends and family who are about to launch their precious child into the real world.

Few transitions bring as much joy, tears and anxiety to parents as when their children graduate from high school and head off into the “real world.” It’s a strange concoction of emotions that is one part reflection (the memories), one part conviction (did we do everything we could?) and one part wonder (how will they do?).

This is exactly what compelled authors Dennis Trittin and Arlyn Lawrence to write their book Parenting for the Launch-Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. Their book is a roadmap to help bring clarity to your parenting goals and offer direction and strategies to achieve them.

Are you preparing today for the upcoming launch of your child?

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Parenting for the Launch is directed toward the parent and gives a global framework for how to approach and execute the launch. What I Wish I Knew at 18, on the other hand, is messaged directly to the teen. It has the nuts and bolts of the successful principles you’ll want to communicate before your son or daughter leaves home.

In these books, you’ll learn to prepare your child for key life decisions, build an enduring relationship and move confidently as a parent from the driver to the passenger seat.

Dennis-Trittin-Amy-Carney-Parenting-Author

A friend introduced me to Dennis’ first book What I wish I Knew at 18, as they knew I was writing my book on a similar message of parenting from the end. Dennis and I connected on Twitter and were able to get together recently in Arizona to chat about his books and how parents can begin to prepare for the launch of their child now. (See there are some positives of social media!)

In Parenting for the Launch, you will find strategies that will help you prepare your teen to soar into adulthood- to parent with purpose and to let go with confidence.

Want to win your own Parenting for the Launch/What I Wish I Knew at 18 combo? Leave a comment below on why you need these books NOW and be entered to win. TWO lucky readers will be drawn at random on May 18 to win their very own copies of Dennis Trittin‘s books. Entrants must be a US resident to win.

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One Way to Curb Entitlement in Your Child Today

Looking at my kids, you wouldn’t know their name brand shirt and shorts were purchased second hand.

You wouldn’t know that the expensive shoes on their feet were actually bought for a fraction of the retail price.

The book they’re reading and the backpack they are carrying were most likely purchased at a discount too.

I take my kids to shop at Goodwill and second-hand stores on purpose.

A friend sent me this viral Facebook post asking my take on it.

To me, this is just a typical scenario that happens to all of us parents, at one time or another. We react to our child’s bad behavior or disappointing character because we’ve never proactively made a plan to do otherwise.

We get so fed up with our kid’s lack of gratitude and reactively make desperate decisions to counteract what we have created. I’ve most certainly been there.

If we don’t want to raise entitled children, then what can we do today to ensure that we instead raise humble, grateful sons and daughters?

Shop at Goodwill now.

We don’t want to wait until the negative attribute arises and then scramble to figure out how to squelch it. I highly doubt that making her son pick out and pay for his weekly wardrobe at Goodwill was a planned consequence of entitlement. It was simply a reaction to it.

What if we parent proactively today so that the entitlement we don’t want to see in our children, doesn’t come to fruition tomorrow?

What if we look at the values and traits that we don’t want our kids to embody as an adult and begin to purposefully parent toward heading those off now?

Shopping at second-hand stores has always been a proactive part of my parenting plan.

I want my children to become adults who don’t place a high value on material items so I, in turn, must devalue materialism in our home now. I also want to raise people who understand that reusing and recycling are not just good for our wallets, but for our planet overall.

Don’t use shopping at Goodwill as a punishment for your entitled child, but instead as a purposeful way to build positive values that may just last them a lifetime.

Do you shop at thrift, second hand and bargain shops on purpose?

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Parents We Must Rise! Book Review and Giveaway

We are the parents. We love you. We are in charge.

How come we sometimes forget this one simple line?

I’m grateful for the parenting reminders throughout Arlene Pellicane’s new book, Parents Rising. Since my book is still in process, I’m thrilled Arlene has just released a very similar message to mine encouraging parents to take back leadership of their children, families, and homes. The world needs us to rise, Moms and Dads!

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Every time she writes, Parents We Must Rise throughout the book, I feel empowered and want to link arms with all of you working hard to parent against popular culture. We can. We should and we must!

Whether Arlene says Parents We must Rise, or I say Parent on Purpose, both are meant to encourage parents to reject passive parenting and instead intentionally raise our children into strong adults.

I love the simple format and size of Parents Rising- 8 strategies for Raising Kids who Love God, Respect Authority and Value What’s Right. Can I get an amen for the title alone?

Parents Rising is an easy read, which I’m thankful for. Raising five kids and writing my own book, does not allow me much extra time for reading right now. Arlene’s practical tips and personal stories of raising her three children keep the reader entertained and inspired. I also love how she encourages us with scripture and little Bible tales, reminding us that God must be at the helm of our families if we truly want to rise.

This is the perfect book to throw in your car to read when you’re waiting to pick up your child from another school pick up or soccer practice. The book is broken down into 8 separate strategies with my favorite ones being.. Amusement is not the Highest Priority and Routine and Boundaries Provide Security. It was also fun to see she included the powerful 936 pennies message as well!

I can certainly fall into the trap of wanting to keep my kids busy, entertained and happy. And I most definitely believe that our kids need stable routine and boundaries in our homes.

My son wrote Be like a normal parent at the bottom of our family expectations before being allowed to play video games. I translate that to mean Mom, you are a parent rising! My son thinks he wants me to be a passive parent who doesn’t have boundaries. Good thing my husband and I are the ones in charge around here and that I know being my son’s friend is not what he needs right now.

Want to win your very own copy of Parents Rising? Leave a comment below on why you could use some parenting inspiration right now and be entered to win. One lucky reader will be drawn at random on April 21 to win their very own copy of Parents Rising courtesy of Moody Publishers. Entrants must be a US resident to win.

Parents let’s rise together!

Learn more about Arlene on her blog.

And check out my Parent on Purpose Amazon store for more of my reading recommendations!

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8 Ways Parents Can Combat the Stress of Growing Up in Today’s Competitive Culture

What do you mean you have a B?

What do you mean you got third place?

What do you mean you’re not taking that honors class or that SAT prep course?

What do you mean you don’t know where you want to go to college or what you want to study yet?

And our parental anxiety heightens as we question if our child is falling behind in this race toward college called childhood.

It’s no wonder youth suicide rates, depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. The pressure to keep up is intense as our children are constantly evaluated and expected to compete at a high level in every aspect of their life.

Teenagers are taking their own lives because they feel they can no longer keep up with the competitive culture they are living in. When are we going to wake up to the fact that just maybe the expectations we are putting on this generation of kids are too much?

What can we parents do to combat the crazed competitive culture that our children are growing up in?

1. Make your Home a Haven

Let your home be a place where your child can relax, restore and be rejuvenated. We need to purposely provide a calm away from our kid’s daily storm by providing them a peaceful home away from the craze of the outside world.

This doesn’t mean that we never raise our voice (a.k.a. yell) and let our child continuously veg out on the sofa, scrolling a device, while we run around and serve them. It means that we, as a leader in our home, purposely create a low-stress environment, as often as we can. Gather around the family dinner table regularly so that authentic conversation and relationships may be strengthened.

2. Refrain from Promoting Parental Pride

It’s only natural to be proud of our son’s big win or our daughter’s accomplishment but it doesn’t mean we need to constantly post about their successes online. Our children are always watching us. When winning the games and earning the awards become what we regularly promote on our social media feeds, we subconsciously send the message to our children, and our friends, that this is what we deem most important.

If you don’t own the school or team you are promoting with the sticker on the back of your vehicle, maybe you should remove it. Because even if you don’t voice it, that logo slapped on your window or bumper tells your kids, and all of us trailing behind you, what you prioritize.

3. Say No to the Parent Portal

The parent portal apps where we can monitor our kids’ academic activity only add to the pressure and stress for all involved. How can our child own their own learning if we are constantly getting on them about missed assignments or low test scores?

If we are regularly checking the portal to see where our child is falling short than our son or daughter will never learn to feel the consequences of their mistakes or successes themselves. They will naturally come to rely on Mom or Dad to tell them what move to make next.

Set yourself up for success in this area by removing the portal off of your devices. Every now and then ask your child to pull it up on their device and show you how things are going.

4. Prioritize Play

What happened to the fun? We mustn’t take life so serious all of the time when raising kids today. Our families and homes need more laughter, play, and silliness. Don’t mistake sitting on the sidelines of your child’s life watching them perform and compete as playtime. Figure out where your family playgrounds are and head there more often. How Playful is Your Family?

5. Normalize Failure

Our children must feel the pain and discomfort of failure. They must face the consequences of not studying or forgetting to do their homework. Kids must gain experience failing and learn to recover from their mistakes in order to build resilience.

Talk regularly in your home about times when you mess up as an adult. Let them see you embrace failure. When we as parents expect straight A’s and winning sports seasons, we wrongly teach our kids that perfection is the goal.

6. Set Limits on Technology

Our children come home from school, fall on the coach and begin mindlessly scrolling and gaming in their downtime. As the parent, we must allow them the space to unwind while setting limits for technology use in our home. Kids need a break from the pressuring world around them, but always seeking reprieve in a screen is not healthy.

Children of all ages need space without digital devices to experience boredom and opportunity to build relationships with friends and family face-to-face.

7. Allow them to take a Mental Health Day

This is a recent shift in thinking for me. It wasn’t until I witnessed the negative effects of my high schoolers’ juggle of honors class homework, club sports, academic clubs and working a part-time job, that I began to allow my teens to turn off their alarms and take a day or morning off to regroup once in a great while. I realized that there were different ways nowadays that kids can become overstressed and overworked and this could lead to them having anxiety which can make feelings of failure worse for them. This stress could also lead to lack of sleep and poor mental health. However, there are ways to combat this, for example getting them a new mattress from somewhere like Leesa that could help to promote sleep and reduce their stress, you can also give them time to relax, unwind, regroup and manage their stress.

How to Know If Your Child Needs a Mental Health Day

Managing normal stress is a healthy part of life, so know your child well enough to know when he or she is overstressed. If you see your son or daughter has time for playing video games, scrolling social media or watching television than they probably don’t need a mental health day off from school. They may need to learn to manage their time better. Know the difference between when your child actually needs a break and simply wants one.

8. Drop the College Conversations

There is so much pressure on kids, in middle school even, to begin thinking about where they will go to college and what they will major in. Friends and family discuss GPA’s, class schedules, scholarships and college essays on a regular basis.

Parents have their children join clubs and organizations hoping it will help their child appear well rounded and heighten their chances of getting into college. We as a society have begun to worry so much about building up our child on paper that we are forgetting to build up the real person.

Even if we parents aren’t pressuring, our child is still growing up today surrounded by stress and expectations. How are you purposely combatting the competitive culture that your child is growing up in?