Social Media and Kids with Anxiety

Social Media and Kids and The Bogeyman

Some people think that family ties will bind, however your DNA ties and the strategies your parents gave you aren’t strong enough to hold together when the seduction of social media beckons – and the unintended consequences for our children can be very serious. There’s a new Bogeyman in town when it comes to social media and kids.

Highest levels of depression and anxiety in youth today

Dr. Jared Balmer, a contributor to the FamilyIQ clinical advisory board, member of the Joint Commission Youth Advisory Council, and leader in the field of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, delivered some extraordinarily troubling statistics in his July 25, 2012 presentation hosted by Mark Hobbins, FamilyIQ founder [If you are interested in viewing the presentation, please Opt-In on the form below]

Dr. Balmer’s presentation, The Four Headed Monster sites a report in the AMA Journal of September 2008 that states:

“following a steady two decade decline, between 2003 and 2004
we see an 18% increase in suicide rates in youth under 20 years of age”

Balmer goes on to deliver a terrifying projection and the link between social media and kids:

“Today experts who work with youth across the nation believe that anxiety and depression will be the #1 cause of mortality in adolescents in the next 20 years. As professionals race to discover the source of this frightening prognosis, research suggests that social media may be the culprit.”

The #1 cause of teens’ unintentional death in 2007 was motor vehicle accidents (70%) according to Child Health USA 2011. As horrific as this 2007 statistic is, it is even more difficult to fathom that in the year 2030 suicide will become the #1 cause of death in adolescence, giving credence to Balmer’s belief that,“ a cell phone is more damaging than a driver’s license – the boundaries are far more difficult to chart!”

Social Media and Kids in the Digital Playground

This week you received more information on your smartphone than your grandparents received in their lifetime.  In 2012 the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population of almost 7 billion claims, a world leader in Internet networking since 1986.

Clearly social media and kids with mobile communication will become the norm, not the exception, as more than 90% of the US population are already mobile subscribers.  Our kids are growing up on a digital playground that we barely recognize. How do we supervise this new playground without appearing as either luddite or loon?

Check-out our INFOGRAPHIC: Depressed Teens and the Digital Playground

Can we link social media and kids and suicide?

While the social media and kids and suicide connection seems preposterous the research seems to hold water. New studies show that the brain is not fully developed until age 25 when a huge proliferation of cells develop late in the teen years. Until that time, the chemical soup of puberty, hormones, and high drama create a Bonfire of Emotions making teens particularly vulnerable.

Neuroscientists have confirmed that teens do have brains, but they’re wired differently from adults. Dr. Beatriz Luna, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh pioneered neuro-imaging studies focused on the adolescent period because this is the time when individuals show the greatest vulnerability to psychopathology and to mortality due to risk-taking behavior.

“As the chemical soup percolates without the benefit of executive function, teens are in the midst of identity formation and have an inordinate need for acceptance which is hyper-stated with technology­: texting, internet, and the necessity for lots of “LIKES”. This hypersensitivity for acceptance drives the desire for intimacy – but it’s not about intimacy, it’s a desire for acceptance.” explains Mark Hobbins, founder and president of FamilyIQ.

This perfect storm that goes on in a teen’s mind has many possible consequences:

  1. Teens have an inordinate need for acceptance
  2. Teens are hypersensitive to feelings – it becomes a crisis when someone didn’t say hi
  3. Teens desire for intimacy – this is not about intimacy, but rather acceptance
  4. Teens desire for thrills – this is not sexual, but focuses on extreme behaviours like piercing, tattoos—this is all caused by the “blasting, re-wiring and re-modelling” going on inside
  5. Teens desire for getting attention changes their behaviour – in their language and they way they dress
  6. Teens have an inability to cope with stress – and can fall into dangerous behavior. According to Hobbins, 50,000 to 60,000 kids a year fall into the danger zone
  7.  Teens and their “foolish in the moment” can have negative long-term consequences, for example, how long will a “sexting text” remain digitally?

Hobbins has made a 25 year career of helping families and began his career as the co-founder of a treatment and intervention company, during which time he saw a sad dilemma play out in the lives of tens of thousands of families who had to place their children in treatment programs.

The cause and effect of social media and kids

Dr. Balmer explains that to be socially attractive, we must look people in the face and to carry on an effective conversation demands an innate ability to read and interpret non-verbal language. With social media and kids, the opposite is true, teens buried in texting, online games, Facebook and the “LIKE”, become isolated and disembodied because their conversations are not real and their virtual friendships are without real assets. Self-esteem plummets creating historic levels of anxiety and depression in adolescence.

Dr. Balmer warns us not to believe that intelligent kids are immune to these pitfalls.“This is phenomenon is all about a child’s emotional IQ and social age – brilliant kids can be social morons and flock to social media for acceptance, where as many so-called popular kids may use it less having found their peer groups in the real world.”  

Actively involved in the treatment field, FamilyIQ’s Mark Hobbins also added,

“Here we are on July 25, 2012 and all the psychiatric hospitals for troubled adolescents in California are full!”      

Supervising the Digital Playground for social media and kids

Technology and digital communication has become the tsunami that washes over each of our intricate lives. To assume that as a parent we can simply eliminate the risk by forbidding exposure is not realistic; to allow ignorance of the medium to interfere with our parenting values is unacceptable; and to continue to parent they way we were parented limits the impact we can have with our children.

We’re cheating our kids if we don’t educate ourselves about how to set boundaries, develop strong relationships, and instill enduring family values before the teenage alien lands in our household. Parenting today is far more complex than imparting the simple life skills of yesteryear. We’re required to be more imaginative and more creative to get and keep our children’s attention and build a foundation of responsibility. We have such a short time together and time races on.

Consider this: 1 Exabyte = 1 Billion Gigabytes and took 2003 years to evolve

  • So what is a Gigabyte? It is a multiple of the unit “byte” for digital storage and represents a billion bytes. From the start of time to 2003, the world accumulated 5 Exabytes of data.
  • In plain speak, consider those birthday greeting cards that, when opened, play Happy Birthday. The computing power in that card, exceeds the world’s combined computing powering 1953, which would have taken up multiple floors in a high-rise office tower.
  • 1 Exabyte in 2010 and took 2 days to accumulate
  • 1 Exabyte 2013 will take about 10 minutes to accumulate

We can’t hold back the world to protect our children, but we can make sure we learn the parenting skills to appropriately supervise this digital playground. Don’t minimize the power and influence you can have with your kids.

“Make a deep connection with your kids before their teens and don’t be afraid to be different and set clear boundaries. Parents need to be on their A Game, urges Hobbins, “To protect and nurture their children through dignity, style and class and explain this perfect storm before it happens”.

Sadly Kids don’t come with a manual

Raising responsible children and nurturing a great family, the two most important skills in life, are the least taught and trained; however, we fill our lives with classes and courses to better our careers, cooking, capital, castle, character, cheerfulness, charm, charisma, company, and clout. Social media and kids is a relatively new phenomenon, none the less parents can be empowered to face these new challenges with the proper parenting tools.

Kimbal DeLare, another a contributor to the FamilyIQ clinical advisory board who has worked with troubled teens for over 30 years said, “When dealing with families in crisis, 99% believed that this would NOT happen to them and suddenly, things were not as good as they thought they were, and in that moment they realized they didn’t have the skills they needed.”

After all, you don’t know what you don’t know . . . we’d like to share that information with you. Let’s get started. Opt-In (on the form below) to view Dr. Balmer’s WEBINAR PRESENTATION


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How Do Kids Succeed

How do kids succeed?

Kids succeed or fail purely on their academic ability – that has been the notion for many years.

Maclean’s journalist Brian Bethune reveals that for the last 25 years, the American education reform movement has been relentlessly searching for education’s equal opportunity so that kids succeed regardless of their heritage or economic background. Cause after cause has been targeted from standardized testing, to teacher quality, to the number of words a child heard by the time they reached the age of three as the trigger for the disparity in school achievement. Rich or poor, the age-old question has been how do kids succeed?

Bethune’s article in the September 6, 2012 Maclean’s Magazine issue suggests reformers have looked in the wrong place – and hints that kids succeed not just through academics, but points to new insight from the cutting-edge neurological and psychological research that Toronto-born journalist Paul Tough surveys in his book How Children Succeed.

Our children’s inability to deal with disappointment, dissatisfaction and upset have played the biggest role in their ability to succeed. Good old fashion character-building and personality traits like persistence, grit, curiosity, self-control, and conscientiousness—play a crucial role in life’s outcomes asserts Paul Tough.

Tough explains in the The Maclean’s article “I came into this interested in the problems of poor kids,” says Tough, “but whenever I talked about ‘character’ education to people from well-off schools, they’d say, ‘Oh, we’ve had that for decades.’ ” Tough goes on to describe two different types of character: moral (Are you fair? Are you honest?) and performance (Are you tenacious? Are you a hard worker?).

While Tough’s book lists the poorest children’s many crippling obstacles or ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) to educational success ranging from unemployment; disability; depression; substance abuse; household or community violence; the often frequent upheavals; along with the statistically high probability that many children are being raised primarily by an uneducated single mother, but he also points out that ACEs can also cross class lines (family breakup is a significant one).

Studies have shown a child’s reaction to constant stress or accumulating ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), changes their brain chemistry, making them depressed, anxious and, at times, traumatized. While the affluent can be poor parents, the disadvantaged can be great parents, however, parents encumbered with a challenging living environment and limited resources find it more difficult to deliver great parenting skills leaving their ACE-high children to arrive in the classroom marked by an inability to handle stressful situations (aggression or panic attacks being common responses), with poor concentration, disjointed social skills and a simple inability to sit still.

Two great studies on how kids succeed

To illustrate that kids succeed on more that academics, two noteworthy educational initiatives focusing on low-income black and Hispanic kids – the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Academy in the South Bronx in 1999 and the 1960 Perry Preschool Project were cited in the article.

Yale Grad student, David Levin, through a mix of high-intensity teaching and profound behaviour modification ushered 38 Grade Four KIPP Academy students through stellar grade school academic achievement on to hi-school and into college acceptance. The KIPP program’s success grew and today there are now more than 100 schools. However, as the original 38 students transitioned through college, the once academically successful students didn’t fare as well with only 21% of the students graduating from college.

Levin ultimately realized that the minority who persevered through college were not necessarily the most academically gifted. Instead they were the ones with grit and resilience, the ones who could accept a bad grade and resolve to do better, the ones who sought extra help, who did the work to master boring but necessary steps along the road.

Persistence and Grit help Kids Succeed

The 1960 Perry Preschool Project, a high-quality two-year pre-kindergarten program, followed enlisted children of low-income, low-IQ parents in the black neighbourhoods of the industrial town of Ypsilanti, Michigan through adulthood. Initially considered an abysmal failure when the Grade 3 results showed that the Perry Project participants IQ test scores were no better than the control group.

It wasn’t until Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman reviewed the adult data that the success of the Perry Project was revealed.

“IQ may remain stubbornly unmovable after about age 8, but something else, something perhaps even more positive, happened to the treatment group. Their teachers had rated and directed their “personal behaviour” (swearing, lying, cheating, absences) and “social development” (relationships with classmates, levels of curiosity). The adults who’d enrolled in the program as kids were more likely than the control group to finish high school, to be employed at age 27 and to be earning more. And they were less likely to have been arrested and less likely to have been on welfare. The Perry reformers hadn’t increased cognitive skills, but they had ramped up non-cognitive skills to the long-term benefit of their subjects. And for those who look at proposed education interventions with a flinty eye to the cost-benefit ratio, Tough helpfully notes Heckman’s calculation: the Perry project generated $7 to $12 in economic productivity, and it decreased taxpayer costs (health care, police, welfare), for every dollar put into it.”

Who teaches character?

Kids succeed with character, the tenacious kind, but who teaches that? Can we really expect our teachers to take on that responsibility or do we as parents need to re-think how we raise our children? Here’s an excerpt from Are We Raising a Nation of Wimpy Kids?

Apparently, in our efforts to protect our children’s self-esteem and nurture our culture of instant gratification we have unwittingly created a nation of wimps as Dr. Jared Balmer, a contributor to the FamilyIQ’s clinical advisory board; member of the Joint Commission Youth Advisory Council; and leader in the field of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, advocates. Well intentioned as it may appear,” chides Dr. Balmer, “the net effect is making kids more fragile and that may be why adolescents are breaking down in record numbers.”

Tired of Being a Nag Hag?

Nag Hag be Gone

Would you like your Nag Hag to just be gone? Do you wonder how you got here? How did you turn into this Nag Hag? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and question what happened to that fun lovin’ gal who made folks laugh and was the life of the party?

A Nag Hag rant only proves how impotent
you are as a parent

Raising my teenage son has had me question my good manners, my behavior, and frankly my sanity. Everything I believed to be true about my personality has been challenged and hung out to dry. I have been driven to the precipice and dangled dangerously on the edge and come perilously close to taking a long walk off a short pier . . . or forcing my son to! . . . and even then, he still didn’t clean his room!

When my Nag Hag readied to scrimmage, inevitably THE ROOM was the objective

What are your non-negotiables?

Now truthfully, it’s only moms who care about THE ROOM. Husbands are nonplussed at their wife’s sheer rigor for the campaign; and your teen, who hasn’t seen the carpet in THE ROOM since forever, can’t figure out what the big deal is because there’s a path to the bed! All I could think about was a Bermuda triangle: a vortex of sweat, stale farts and toxic socks. After all, what would people think about me?

Fact is, it should never have been about me. We moms have too big an investment in our image. Your teen doesn’t care about your mental health, why should you own their problems with cleanliness, tardiness, and homework?

When your Nag Hag threatens consider this:

“It’s all about a power struggle and control”, explains Dr. James Jones in his Effective Parenting Audio for FamilyIQ entitled, Rescuing and Teenage Retirement. “The universe is not set-up to control others. The world is set-up to have free agency. When the issue becomes control, all is lost. [Your children] have nothing to lose and everything to gain; you on the other hand only prove how impotent you are as a parent.”

Being a Nag Hag is akin to being in battle

In a recent Ted Talk by Scilla Elworthy (see link below) on Fighting Violence with Non-Violence, I was reminded of a quote from Confucius on the parallels between family conflict and world conflict:

To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order;
to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order;
to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life;
and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.

Elworthy explains that for change to take place we must understand and adopt three things: Similarly for our Nag Hag to be gone, we must embrace these same three fundamentals of change.

1. Self Knowledge: What are my formidable strengths and what drives me to collapse? What has to happen within me for change to take place?
2. Our Fear: Elworthy describes the three o’clock in the morning monster of angst that wakes us as “My fear growing fat on the energy I feed it.” She challenges us to rise from our tortured and trouble sleep, have a cup of tea and, “Sit with your fear. You’re the adult, fear is the child. How can you help comfort it and resolve it?”
3. Our Anger:
“Wherever there is injustice there is anger, ” Elworthy declares when describing the world stage. Our home life is the same, whether real or imagined, if our sullen teen believes there has been an injustice delivered by his parents – he’s angry – and so are his parents if they believe he has committed an injustice with respect to their family values.

“Anger is like gasoline – spray it around and it becomes an inferno,” explains Elworthy, “but it is also a powerful engine. Anger can give us the energy to drive us through unjust situations. It is hopeless to be angry with people, they are just doing what they believe to be true. We need to and we must funnel the anger to drive change in the situation.”

If I knew then what I know now . . .

I would have learned how to stop being the message. I would have learned how to extract myself from the situation and employ consequences to teach my son about being a free agent; the responsibility of choice and the privilege of independent decision. “Consequences”, Dr. Jones shares, “that are reasonable, relative and consistent, can actually change behavior and instruct responsibility.” Now that’s a gift!

Older and wiser parents told us when our son was born to cherish those early years, because when he turned 13 we were going to turn stupid and we’d stay that way until he was 21. The early years were a friggin’ honeymoon compared to the painful passage of time with our teenage alien.

Now we’ve come to learn through FamilyIQ’s treasure chest of Effective Parenting information that our teen alien phenomenon was not an isolated incident. If only my Nag Hag had known about the maturing cocktail of raging hormones, identity formation, and immature executive function; if only I’d had information like that provided through articles like, “Teenage Brian: A Work in Progress”, I would have known that an adolescent’s brain doesn’t mature until at least 25 years of age . . . well duh!  When you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s easy to make mistakes.

We’re going to be stuck in stupid for a few more years, so there’s still time for my Nag Hag to be gone and a whole new relationship to begin. There’s a lot of stuff we make a big issue of that’s never as important as the relationship.

Learn how to be an Effective Parent through the amazing parenting skills offered by FamilyIQ through assessments, audios, and self-administered online interactive courses created by industry professionals. If you’d really like your Nag Hag gone, the change begins with you. Put your heart right and learn to be the parent you want to be.  Opt-In on the form below to try a FREE ASSESSMENT

Scilla Elworthy, founded Peace Direct which supports local action against conflict, and Oxford Research Group, a think-tank devoted to developing effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers and their critics. To view her TedTalk on Fighting Violence with Non-Violence . . . and think about your Nag Hag be Gone.


Avoid the Family Vacation from Hell!

Learn to Glean Great things from your Family Vacation

Family Vacation: The family that plays together, stays together

Did you know that a family vacation can actually strengthen relationships, build trust and a have profound physiological connection? But it’s not just any family vacation.

Mark Hobbins, CEO of FamilyIQ, the company that provides state of the art family skill building tools to improve family relationships designates family recreation as one of the nine crucial components that measure a family’s healthy compatibility and helps to define a family’s relationship IQ.

Ever had a Family Vacation from hell?

You know those journeys they cost a wack of dough and the only memorable thing is the never-ending chant of, “are we there yet”; followed closely by “I’m bored”; and right on the on the heels of “I hate you, I just want to be with my friends at the mall”?

Our most memorable trip was a journey to Mexico with our 16-year-old son and his buddy. We parents, well, mostly me, were filled with such great hope and expectations about all the fun we were going to have! We took an off-road journey through the mountains; zipped-lined in the jungle, surfed the waves at a deserted beach, and had some wonderful restaurant meals – but all they wanted to do was sleep in, watch TV; play game boy and the highlight of their trip was a visit to a Mexican Walmart.

And the fun just didn’t end there, on our return home as the Visa bills unfolded, we just delighted in each new payment reminiscing about the wonderful experience we’d had with these two teenage boys. Our only solace was poolside at the resort and eavesdropping on other parent’s exasperated conversations about their kids – ah yes, we were not alone in our family vacation from hell. And to think we actually paid for the torture.

A family vacation that changes the turf dynamic
has a profound but subtle shift on a subconscious level

So while the trips are great – and despite our Mexican sojourn, I’m sure there have been many happy tales of great vacations, but the role of recreation in your family vacation changes the whole dynamic. When a parent participates in recreational activities with a child, the parent shifts the playing field of control and a feeling of closeness can blossom because you’re all on common ground.

The FamilyIQ professionals have witnessed the amazing dynamic:

Physical Activity a great teaching tool and healthier lifestyle

Like adults, kids can experience stress and physiological tension – exercise is a great way to release stress for everyone. Recreational activities not only enhance large motor skills, but children involved in sports also develop emotionally, socially and cognitively at a superior rate to those who are more isolated and less active. Physical activity is also a great teaching tool through recreational activities kids also learn how to wait their turn, to be more emotionally connected and to be more empathetic.

So what is Family Recreation?

Recreation is defined as a pastime, diversion, exercise or other resource that affords relaxation and enjoyment. What are the benefits of making recreation a priority in your family? What value can physical activity, such as biking, hiking or even walking together, impart to your family? Watch your family closeness blossom, as you learn how indeed, the family that plays together does stay together!

A Family Vacation and the Ties that Bind

There are certain types of activities that are more conducive to building stronger relationships than others. For example, activities that involve physical touch may provide a marked improvement in relationships. FamilyIQ can point to studies that have found families who participate in regular recreation tend to be closer to each other.

  • riding a rollercoaster or playing a game of tag where body contact in an atmosphere of fun is inevitable can elicit a stronger sense of closeness and trust
  • choose activities that inspire a connection and appropriate physical touch – it will enhance your family connections
  • for example, while a game of scrabble is great the participation of twister because of the physical touch is more meaningful
  • get involved – this is how you role as a family

 A family that plays together stays together

Trust is not a given, it must be earned. Relational activities, Mark Hobbins recommends, like camping and hiking have the greatest capacity for change in a family.

The trip to Disneyland is great entertainment,says Hobbins, but should not be done at the expense of learning to entertain ourselves.

Activities often provide fertile ground for planting seeds that you as a parent would like to convey to your child in a non-threatening environment. “Create a culture of doing” advises Hobbins, “When combining teaching of a hobby or skill the child may view the parent as a welcomed teacher and the child may be more accepting of instruction in what is relevant to the activity and what may be offered as the parent’s on council of life”.

When families create ties that bind through the enjoyment of recreational time together, they secure the family against negative influence that place an opposite pull on the family unity. Simple and easygoing playtime is not just for kids.

Avoid that Family Vacation from Hell. Learn how to define the role of recreation in your family and understand how your relationship with your kids can be strengthened and discover the physical and emotional benefits of family recreation. We don’t know what we don’t know. The best time to have the map is before we enter the woods. Take the quick and concise course with FamilyIQ and be all that you can be.

Are We Raising A Nation of Wimpy Kids?

Parents Efforts to Build Self-Esteem
are yielding Wimpy Kids

Much of the methodology parents employ to prepare their children for adult life paradoxically leaves them dependent and in need of training wheels well into their 20’s and 30’s.

We’re raising wimpy kids

A child was designed to have a parent, and while it is important to keep your child safe, we cannot take the bumps and bruises out of their life and expect that this will give them good coping skills and self-esteem.

In our efforts to build their self-esteem, we give every child a sports trophy, mark them pass or fail and teach them they can be anything and have everything – we’re raising a nation of wimpy kids.

In a July 25, 2012 presentation hosted by Mark Hobbins, FamilyIQ founder, Dr. Jared Balmer, a contributor to the FamilyIQ’s clinical advisory board; member of the Joint Commission Youth Advisory Council; and leader in the field of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, advises parents in his The Four Headed Monster webinar:

“if we eliminate competition in the hopes of building self-esteem – we have failed because self-esteem cannot be built-in the absence of achievement.”

What sane parent would actually confess to raising wimpy kids?

I do! I’ve been there, done that . . . I confess I did the deed. And all along I thought I was helping. I became a momma bear when our son was diagnosed learning disabled with attention issues despite an off the map IQ. I called it advocating, which is crucial for learning disabled kids, what I didn’t learn was how to set boundaries and teach with consequences. I became a helicopter-mom and nearly blew my Nag Hag gasket routinely exasperated living through the teen years with an irresponsible teen. If I’d only known then what I know now . . . thankfully we’re both coming around and I wasn’t even inclined to sleep on his dorm floor when he headed off to college!

Laser-focused on their child’s success helicopter-parents hover around and swoop in on a moment’s notice whenever their child is frustrated, upset, or even just disappointed. Their heavily scheduled children rarely have free time; and when they do boredom quickly sets-in as they have no ability to entertain themselves having always depended on their parents for amusement. The lengths parents go to in raising wimpy kids is regularly newsworthy: few years back, helicopter-parents made headlines appearing in their kid’s college dorms and now they’re even testing the limits of their adult children’s work place.

And recently a Pennsylvania helicopter-mom was charged with six felonies and could face up to 42 years in prison or a $90,000 fine for hacking into the district’s school computer to change her daughter’s failing grade from an F to an M for “medical” and her son’s 98 to 99. What kind of role modeling is she sharing with her children? And what kind of wimpy kids is she raising?

Well intentioned as it may appear,” chides Dr. Balmer, the net effect is making kids more fragile and that may be why adolescents are breaking down in record numbers.”

Raised never having to fend for themselves, it is no wonder that at the first sign of a struggle, problem or roadblock, these wimpy kids, devoid of life’s developmental tools, just don’t have the resources to find their own solutions. With no experience in crisis resolution, or taking responsibility for their own choices, wimpy kids simply go to what they know – parental rescue for every critical confrontation.

The flip-side of helicopter-parenting is free-range parenting

Free-range parents let their child navigate the world pretty much unsupervised in the belief that boundaries are to be avoided. And yet boundaries are a critical factor in a child’s development. How can a child form their own identity without a reference for, role models, coaching, and guidance?

Boundaries are important to allow children to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that someone is paying attention. Having structure in a child’s life allows them to safely experience some of life’s bumps and struggles, they’re not out of control and have learned what’s appropriate.

The extreme parenting styles of free-range parenting or helicopter-parenting are ultimately provoking extreme levels of anxiety in today’s adolescents with devastating results. In Dr. Balmer’s webinar, “The Four Headed Monster”, he cites a report in the AMA Journal of September 2008 that states, “following a steady decline of the past two decades, we see an 18% increase in suicide rates in youth under 20 years of age between 2003 and 2004.” and goes on to illustrate that the way we parent is having a profound effect on our off-spring. [to view Dr. Balmer’s “The Four Headed Monster” Opt-In on the form below]

Dr. Balmer asks, “Are we raising a nation of wimpy kids?” and goes on to suggest that inappropriate parenting styles and along with the overdependence on social media have potential negative implications for today’s youth:

  • Over inflated ego leads to narcissism
  • Difficulty in coping when under stress
  • Difficulty dealing with rejection and disappointment
  • RESULT: increased mood disorders (dysthmia, depression, anxiety)

Understanding your parenting style to avoid raising wimpy kids

We parents each have a predictable pattern of parenting – do you know your parenting style? Your kids do (wimpy kids or not) and they know how to manipulate it – they can detect when both parents aren’t on the same page. Your parenting style influences the emotional health and social competence of your children. There’s no such thing as perfect parenting, but the parent who ignores the opportunity to learn more perhaps needs to realize that they don’t know what they don’t know and it’s just not fair to your kids.

Unknowingly, when dealing with our children, we as parents walk into many traps. The problem is that we don’t realize that they’re traps, because our interaction with our children works on a moment-to-moment basis. Teaching through consequences  is a very natural way for children to learn; however, children don’t have good impulse control and often have difficulty in predicting the consequences of their actions – that’s why they need parents with reasonable boundaries and great parenting skills.

Parenting today is more challenging than ever before, but there is also more information available to give parents the skills and tools to empower them to make a deep connection, develop a lasting bond and raise responsible kids.

Opt-In (on the form below) to view Dr. Balmer’s WEBINAR PRESENTATION


Opt-In on the Red Form (in the Right Hand Column) and choose a topic of interest for 12 FREE ARTICLES.


Use Consequences to Help Children Learn

Honor A Child’s Ability to Choose – use consequences to help children learn

Use Consequences to help children learn

In order for a child to understand responsibility, they must also have the power to choose. Learning that every choice has a consequence is wisdom’s best teacher. Using consequences to help a child learn teaches them through experience that every decision they make ultimately has a repercussion – some better than others. Each decision made follows a natural and logical sequence of consequences and if the parent steps into that natural order of accountability the learning moment is gone.

When we parents learn to apply the predictability of natural consequences with our children, the predictable outcomes present amazing teaching opportunities. Each consequence then presents a wonderful debriefing moment for creative teaching, for example, you might ask your child, “How could we have helped you more?” Let understanding rule the day.

Punishment is Arbitrary

When we punish our children, the focus is on us, the adult, and we become the erratic authority of suffering. Suffering has a tendency to create deep wounds, and it’s a lousy teacher. However, when we remove ourselves from the equation and teach our children by getting out of the way – the result, effect or outcome is the natural teacher. It’s simple science, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Ground rules are set, expectations are laid-out and then we must honor our child’s ability to choose.

Consequences administered in a helpful way are natural and logical and they can’t be manipulated, by using them as the teacher, we can become the coach and get out of the way for our children to learn, but repercussions delivered in a harsh way are still a punishment – you just put a different label on it.

When we allow the situation to teach the child and as parents use ingenuity and creativity in an environment of safety to create a logical connection to the misbehavior we’re no longer the bad guy and the child must assume responsibility for their own actions.

Here’s a Profound Concept: Don’t be the Message – Use Consequences to help our children learn

When children begin to learn the aftermath of each free-will decision, the lesson is more empowering, and delivers a deeper understanding about taking responsibility for their own actions. “If I act out they’d kill me” to understanding, “If I act out, it would kill them.”   The objective of discipline should be to teach. We want our children to become wiser and better. One of the best ways to teach children about the importance of obedience is to use of consequences help our children learn. Choose your weapon wisely: coach or punisher –  they both have lasting effects on your relationship with your child.

Read more download the FamilyIQ PDFUsing Consequences to Help Children Learn . . .


How do you parent Hardboiled Teens?

Teens Bonfire of Emotions photo by Marcelo Gerpe

Neuroscientists confirmed that teens do have brains, but they’re wired differently from adults. Dr. Beatriz Luna, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh pioneered neuroimaging studies focused on the adolescent period because this is the time when individuals show the greatest vulnerability to psychopathology and to mortality due to risk-taking behavior.

It appears than when parents ponder their teens behavior and wonder, “OMG, what were you thinking?”  . . . seems they weren’t. This so-called perfect storm of hormones, puberty and executive function of the brain’s CEO collide and the crash co-mingles hormonal, biological and physical changes that erupt in a Bonfire of Emotions.

Beware Parents – you’ll all be there

Mark Hobbins, founder and president of FamilyIQ, has made a 25 year career of helping families, that began as the co-founder of a treatment and intervention company during which time he saw a sad dilemma play out in the lives of tens of thousands of families who had to place their child in a treatment program.

Hobbins witnessed first hand their deep agony, remorse and sadness not to mention the huge financial toll often as high as $100,000 when families put their child in treatment. Hobbins came to believe that much of this suffering and emotional distress could have been adverted if the parent was properly armed with a set of effective skills and tools and created FamilyIQ to shift his focus away from treatment to prevention.

“Do not be fearful of your influence.” advises Hobbins, “Make a deep connection with your kids, before their teens and don’t be afraid to be different and set clear boundaries. Parents need to be on their “A Game” to protect and nurture their children through dignity, style and class and explain this perfect storm before it happens”.

There has never been a more challenging time to raise children, but we have more information today with more skills and applications to empower parents. There is no such thing as perfect parenting, and there is no short-cut to parenting, but effective parenting skills can create strong and enduring relationships that lay the foundation for this new and different time.

Why Smart Teens do Dumb Things

National Geogrpahic writer David Dobbs writes in an October 2011 article, Beautiful Brains, about his 17 year old son’s arrest for driving “a little too fast.”

Turns out this product of my genes and loving care, the boy-man I had swaddled, coddled, cooed at, and then pushed and pulled to the brink of manhood, had been flying down the highway at 113 miles an hour.

Dodd’s story goes on to explain how a National Institute of Health (NIH) project that studied over one hundred developing teen’s brains as they grew up during the 1990s through neuroimaging (brain scans)—showed that our brains undergo a massive reorganization between our 12th and 25th years.

While the brain doesn’t physically grow much larger, as it is already 90% of it’s full size by the time we are six, it does however, undergo a massive remodeling, network re-assembly and wiring upgrade during this adolescent period. As in all construction projects, things don’t completely mesh when the foundation is being laid, the system is a bit awkward while the huge proliferation of brain cells take time to fire-up and make all their connections and the brain’s executive function “isn’t firing on all fours” as they say.

Teens Brain’s CEO

The pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s CEO, or executive function is the last to develop. The prefrontal cortex helps us with our reasoning; to think about thinking. This helps to explain with smart teens do dumb things – the CEO is not on the job yet.

Brain development starts at the back of the brain and moves forward. This imaging work done since the 1990′s Dodd’s article explains, “shows that these physical changes move in a slow wave from the brain’s rear to its front, from areas close to the brain stem that look after older and more behavioral basic functions, such as vision, movement, and fundamental processing, to the evolutionarily newer and more complicated thinking areas up front. The corpus callosum, which connects the brain’s left and right hemispheres and carries traffic essential to many advanced brain functions, steadily thickens. Stronger links also develop between the hippocampus, a sort of memory directory, and frontal areas that set goals and weigh different agendas; as a result, we get better at integrating memory and experience into our decisions. At the same time, the frontal areas develop greater speed and richer connections, allowing us to generate and weigh far more variables and agendas than before.”

Executive Function under construction – what are some possible consequences for teens?

Mark Hobbins, cautions that without a deep parental connection and strong influence before your child hits their  teens – here’s some possible consequences that can unfold:

  1. Teens have an inordinate need for acceptance: texting internet; need lots of “likes” feed by a hyperstated need based on technology
  2. Teens are hypersensitive to feelings – it becomes a crisis when someone didn’t say hi
  3. Teens desire for intimacy – this is not about intimacy, but rather acceptance
  4. Teens desire for thrills – this is not sexual, but focuses on extreme behaviours like piercing, tattoos—this is all caused by the “blasting, re-wiring and re-modelling” going on inside
  5. Teens desire for getting attention changes their behaviour – in their language and they way they dress
  6. Teens have an inability to cope with stress – and can fall into dangerous behavior. According to Hobbins, 50,000 to 60,000 kids a year fall into the danger zone
  7.  Teens and their “foolish in the moment” can have negative long-term consequences, for example, how long will a “sexting text” remain digitally?

There’s no parenting manual

We train teachers, secretaries and athletes; we train doctors, lawyers, plumbers but parenting is the only skill not taught. We all have a predictable pattern of behavior – it’s in our DNA, and that’s where our parenting skills have previously resided; today’s kids require more from us.

Here, Google two great FamilyIQ articles:
Teenage Brain, A Work in Progress
Communicating with Teenagers, Teens and Adolescents

When Getting Kids First Car

Boy oh boy does time fly… I remember just like it was yesterday when they were babies. But they sure do grow up fast, don’t they!

I can also remember the day she rode her first bike… well, now…

One of my kids is getting to that age where they are almost old enough to drive, and she is wanted a new (used) car.

I have read that Volvo’s are one of the safest cars out on the road these days… so looking at that for her first car.

but I know Honda’s are good cars, Toyota’s are good cars, Nissan’s are good cars and Ford’s are good cars to have and own.

What kind of car do you get your kids for their first ride?

What about the windows… Tinted or not tinted?

What shade… how light or dark would you get the windows tinted? Do you keep it legal or go darker because that’s with the kids want most of the time.

Do you like the tinted eyebrow visor strip or not?

She says she don’t care what kind of car her first car is as long as it runs great and drives well to get from point A to point B no problem, and looks cool and keeps out heat with tinted windows, plus she wants a system in it for her loud music. She also wants rims and good tires.

I was thinking we would also get an alarm installed too.

What’s your Kids First Car? And did you get it tinted?

I really do hate seeing all that purple faded and bubbling tint out on the roads these days, so my friend that I was talking to about it said just don’t get cheap film on your windows, pay a little extra to get quality with a lifetime warranty and professional install.

It sure can be scary to think, feel and know your kid (baby) is out driving on the roads… are there in danger of all the crazy drivers out there?

Or are all the other drivers out there in danger from a new driver cursing around with her friends wherever they wish to go?

Well hopefully everyone will be safe, all we can do sometimes is pray and hope for the best.

Other times we can take as much percussion as we can… things like safest vehicle to drive… good tires and breaks… Window tinting can also add to the safety of the car, anywhere from cutting out the glare from the headlights of other cars and trucks on the road, but also god forbid there was an accident the window tint would hold together all the broken glass so not to shatter everywhere.

Would you buy a new car or a used car for your kid’s first car?

Do you buy it for them or make them work hard and save up for it?

I remember my first car… I had a job and asked my boss to barrow the money… then I bought a 89 Ford Escort slammed with rims, tinted windows and a system in it that slammed.











(This was not my car but its a image of the same kind of car… image from cargurus. com site)

I had purchased an alarm system and made an appointment for the next day… the alarm system was in the box and the box was in the car locked up and parked right outside my house… I woke up the next day and my car was stolen. I spent the next few years paying off that car loan for a car I could not drive.

So that’s why I believe in a alarm system first thing for any car.

Any ways thanks for reading my blog post about my kids first car and all my thoughts and feelings

Feel free to comment and share this post

Many blessings




Migraines & the Food Elimination Diet

After my hysterectomy last May (2012) my migraines just won’t go away. Cheese and yogurt seem to be triggers but I also believe they are hormone related. I finally went to a hormone dr and she advised me to do a Food Elimination Diet along with blood to check my hormone levels.

I’m eliminating gluten & processed dairy. Raw milk has so many healing properties I will continue to use our raw milk. I will cut back on coffee, I don’t believe that is a trigger for me so I’m not eliminating it. I would go bonkers if I had to.
After reading the Whole Nutrition Cookbook I am excited about the possibilities of finding a cure for this misery!
Also, I’m debating on doing the Elisa food allergy test. The results are not a guarantee so I’m not sure I want to spend the money on the test.
Wish me luck!!!!

My Love For Cooking

It’s game day at our house this morning. Game day calls for something special for breakfast. Something special to me is homemade cinnamon rolls. Every time I make them I remember my mom making them for us when I was a kid.

One of the many things my mom taught me growing up was how to cook. I can remember cooking a casserole at 10 years old and having a sense of accomplishment. Even before that I remember cooking pancakes ( I still have a serious thing for pancakes).
Being a wife and a mother of 5 I can’t imagine not having the ability to provide delicious meals for my family.

I pray that my girls develop the same passion for cooking. I can’t imagine not having the ability to whip up something special for my family.

Thank you Mama for everything you have taught me, especially how to cook!!! I love you more than words.