Free Emotion Cards

Free Emotion Cards

Help your child have a label for their emotions!

As a child psychologist, I created these cards for use with my child and teens clients in my private practice. I found that it was hard for a lot of kids to label how they feel.


The feel “yucky”, but other than that, they don’t know the specific emotion that they’re feeling.


And if you don’t know what emotion you’re feeling, then how can you deal with with??

Enter your email address in the box below and I’ll email you my cards ASAP. 


Download them, print them, and then allow your child or teen to scroll through them when you prompt them to say:

“I fell ________

When __________.

I need _________.”




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How To Plan For Your Next Parenting Chapter

How To Plan For Your Next Parenting Chapter

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Modern Parenting is all about transitioning from one chapter to the next. As much as you might want to, you just can’t stop change.

There are some common chapters that all parents experience at one point or another:

  • The transition of going from parenting babies to toddlers, then toddlers to big kids, then big kids to teenagers, etc.
  • The kids are now dating chapter
  • The kids are now driving chapter
  • The empty nest chapter.

Then there are some transitions or chapters that not all families experience, but can be disruptive to the family:

  • Divorce and or re-marriage
  • Employment changes (i.e. new jobs, loss of job, going from part time to full time)
  • Moving from one home to another (maybe even to a whole new state or country!)
  • Illness or death of a loved one.

Family transitions happen whether we like them or not, and the more we can plan for these transitions to happen before they get here, the better off we will be.

I recently had a huge family transition occur – my youngest child went off to college and I became an empty nester. You can read all about that event HERE. I started planning for this new chapter of my life three years before my daughter, Belle, actually went away for college – and I’m so happy that I did.

Because of this planning, I’m feeling like this chapter of my life is just as meaningful as the previous chapter that was spent raising wonderful humans. 

I did not go through a period of re-discovering who I was (as is common for new empty nester parents). I put effort into this during my planning stage, so I was all ready to dive head-first into the friendships, interests, and career that I spent time envisioning during my planning stage.

YOU can have better family transitions too with a little planning. This post today is all about how to plan for the next big stage in your life – whether it’s a common transition such as the empty nest stage or the new driver stage; however, planning for the disruptive life transitions is just as important.

Read on to find out how to feel confident in your next stage of parenting.


Identify Where You Are Now and Where You Might Go Next

It’s super important to know exactly where you are now, and where you might go next. For example, if your oldest child is in middle school now, then you know that high school is next. That is your next big transition. 

It’s best to always have in mind one to three possible transitions coming up.

Now that you know your next possible transition, what do you want that transition to look like? How do you want to feel during that parenting chapter?


Once during a training I attended, the instructor reminded us that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

Be intentional about where you want to lead your family – and how you want to grow as a parent and as an individual  in the next stage; otherwise, might end up on a whole other path.

Let me use my recent transition into empty nesthood as an example. I have two kids who are three years apart in age. My son’s transition into college was the trigger that got me to thinking about my next stage. When I dropped him off at college, it made me think that in three years when my daughter was scheduled to go off to college, I would have a lot of time on my hands. 

Here are some of the questions I asked myself:

  • What did I need to be happy when I wasn’t consumed with parenting 24/7?
  • How did I need to bring meaning into my life?
  • Who did I want to be a part of my life, and why?
  • What interests did I want to make time for in my next chapter?


These questions allowed me to start having a vision of my next chapter.


Keep In Mind Your Passions, Values, and Beliefs

I’m a broken record about knowing your personal passions, values, and beliefs and aligning all of your parenting and personal decisions with these important guidelines.

Don’t know your personal passions, values, and beliefs? Download the workbook that I created that will help you uncover them now.

Using your passions, values, and beliefs as a guide in making your parenting and personal decisions gives you the confidence you’ll need to tackle that next stage of life.

For example, one of my passions is Modern Parenting. By asking myself the questions mentioned in the previous section and using my passions, values, and beliefs as a guide, I determined that I needed to have a career that I not only enjoyed, but allowed me to work on my Modern Parenting projects. 

Another example is that one of my values is connecting with good people. I also knew that I wanted to feel connected to family and peers that made a positive impact in my life. Unfortunately, by working on this exercise, I came to the realization that I had let many of my friendships go over the years because I simply didn’t have the time or energy left over after parenting my kids to maintain good relationships with many of my family and friends. 

Over the three years that I planned my empty nest next chapter, this is exactly how I used my passions, values, and beliefs as a guide in determining how I should prioritize my planning.


Design the Big Picture

Research tells us that the hardest part of any project is starting it!

Before you get overwhelmed and give up on your project of planning your next transition or chapter, simply give yourself permission to just design a rough outline of the important things that will need to be accomplished before the next stage gets here.

Don’t get tempted to look at the details yet. Just design the big picture.

So, using my empty nest example, I knew that career, family/friends, and Modern Parenting needed to be prioritized in the planning of my next chapter. 

As I considered my empty nest life, I roughly envisioned myself going to a job that paid me enough where I didn’t have to worry about my bills and would also allow me to financially help with my kids’ educations. This job made me feel good about myself because I was helping people as a child psychologist and making a difference in people’s lives. Most importantly, this job would either allow me to work on Modern Parenting full time, or leave me enough time to work on it outside of work. Finally, I also saw myself spending time with family and friends.

Once the overall picture felt right, I moved on to planning the details.


Now Plan The Details

Once you have the big picture nailed down, begin planning the details.

What steps do you need to take to accomplish the goals included in the big picture?

What tasks need to be completed before the start of the next chapter?

Who is involved in your next chapter? How do you need to prepare them? What conversations need to be completed?

Take as much time as you need to plan the details. However, once planning is done, then execute on your plan.

Again, let me give you a glimpse into my planning process for my empty nest stage. As stated above, I wanted to have close connections with positive family and friends in my empty nest chapter. Because I had not kept up with a lot of my family and friends over the past several years, I knew I had some work to do to get this area where I wanted it to be by the time my daughter moved to college.

Slowly and intentionally, I began to make it a priority to re-establish relationships with certain family and friends. Instead of waiting for people to ask me to lunch, I asked them. I texted people encouraging words when I knew they were feeling down or when I knew they had an important event happen. And I gave myself permission (and this was a hard one for me) to balance having a social life with also being a mom.


I can report that by making that effort to reestablish old relationships and encourage new ones over the last year or so, I now have the social life that I envisioned three years ago. I’m so happy that I put in this effort!


When To Start Planning?

You know the old saying about the oak tree, right?

When is the best time to plant an oak tree?

The best time to plant an oak tree is 20 years ago – the second best time to plant an oak tree is TODAY!

The best thing you can do for yourself is to start planning your next transition or stage today. 

Thinking of transitioning from a parent who works part time to one that works full time? Start planning now in order to ensure a smooth transition on your kids and to feel confident in yourself.

Will your oldest child begin high school in 2 years? Start thinking about which high school is best for your child. Do they need to be taking certain classes in middle school to apply for a certain track in high school? What extracurriculars will they need?

You can never begin planning too early – but if you fail to plan then you plan to fail (I know! Cliched, right? But still true!!).

You can do this – I believe in you! 🙂



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Family Transitions and Taking Breaks

Family Transitions and Taking Breaks

Recently, my Modern Family went through a major transition.

My youngest child moved away to college!

Wow! I can’t believe that I’m an empty nester now.


It’s just me, the chihuahua, and the cat roaming around the house all by ourselves now. While the quiet feels strange, I’m also excited – excited to watch my kids pursue their adult dreams and excited to begin my next chapter in life, too.


I had heard horror stories about how the empty nest transition can be a hard one on Modern Parents (especially single parents), so about three years ago,I began planning to make my empty nest chapter a positive and exciting one. I’m glad I did, too, because I definitely feel ready for this next chapter in my life. 


There’s a lot I have to share about my experience with planning for the empty nest stage, so I’m going to share all those thoughts in next week’s blog post


However, in today’s post, I want to share how my Modern Family came together to make my daughter’s college move a special one, and why it was important that I took a break from blogging over the summer in order to be fully present for this important time in my daughter’s life.

I hope that by sharing my experiences, you will 1) feel more confident in developing creative ways to make your family events special no matter what your family looks like, or what unique challenges your family might face, and 2) to give yourself guilt-free permission to take breaks from some responsibilities to focus on your family.


How My Modern Family Handled This Transition

As many of my readers know, I co-parent my son and daughter with my ex-husband and his new husband. We are a mixed orientation family – one parent is straight while the other parent is gay. You can read more about my family here. We’ve been parenting pretty successfully this way (admittedly, with several ups and downs) for the past 11 years.


Jeff (my ex-husband), Keith (Jeff’s husband), and I are not only co-parents, but friends, so this makes co-parenting fun and easy. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get together because we live about 90 miles away from each other and as the kids got older, they had their own busy lives that didn’t always include wanting to hang out with parents. But overall, we try to make sure that we are planning get togethers semi-regularly.


We also make an effort to ensure that our kids feel special and loved during important life events such as graduations, birthdays, holidays, etc. so coming together to move our daughter to college was pretty natural for us.


As is typical for most Modern Families, sometimes special occasions conflict with work responsibilities and social events, so we had to be creative with fitting in everyone’s goals during this trip. Belle was scheduled to move into her dorm at the University of California Santa Cruz on Friday, September 13th. Unfortunately, I had already committed to speaking at the Diversity in Parenting Conference that same Friday and Jeff and Keith usually attend “Out at The Mountain” at Magic Mountain each year and it fell on the 13th as well this year.


The way we chose to solve this problem was to ask Belle to contact her school to get permission to move in on Saturday the 14th (gotta learn these life skills at some point, right?) and, thankfully, they allowed her to move in a day late. On Friday, I stayed overnight at the conference in Anaheim and Belle attended the event at Magic Mountain with her Dads where they stayed the night at a hotel close to the park. Early Saturday morning, I drove to their hotel, and then we all loaded into the Dads’ SUV and we drove the 5 hours to Santa Cruz together.


We had a fun, but emotional weekend together experiencing moving our last kid into college. Experiencing special moments with each individual kid is always uniquely different. Although I had experience moving my son to college three year earlier, he only moved to Los Angeles which is only an hour away from me. I didn’t expect that I would feel so emotional leaving my daughter in Santa Cruz – she feels so much farther away from me than my son! 



Keith, Me, Belle, Jeff                                              Belle & I Saying Goodbye


Even though driving away from Santa Cruz was hard, my heart feels so happy and proud when I speak to my daughter on the phone each day and she is loving her on-campus job, meeting lots of new friends, and enjoying her classes. This is a great new chapter for her!


All in all, this Modern Family event was a success for us, but it was also VERY exhausting.


Which is why I chose to take a break over the summer from everything except for seeing patients in my private practice  – and this allowed me to soak in all of those last moments of being a full time mom.



Why I Decided To Take a Break From Blogging This Summer


I’ve talked about the benefit of taking a break from optional commitments in order to focus on family before. Sometimes we need to “circle the wagons” around our families in order to provide the support our family needs to overcome a certain event. 


The origin of the expression “circling the wagons” came about in the 1800’s and refers to settlers arranging their wagons in a large circle, protecting women, children, farm animals, and valuables on the inside of the circle from an enemy. 


Modern families, at times, need to “circle the wagons” against the modern enemy of overcommitment, unhealthy relationships, and/or ineffective bad habits in order to provide the support that families require to remain loving, warm, and close. 


This summer definitely called for circling the wagons around my family.


What was my purpose for doing this, and how did I make it happen?


My purpose for “circling the wagons” this summer – or taking a break from unnecessary activities or commitments – was to:


  • Provide emotional support for my daughter when she got nervous about moving to college. 
  • Communicate to my daughter that she was loved and that she mattered to me
  • Soak in all of the “little things” like laughing over the antics of our cat, hearing her complain about having nothing to wear, or even making dinner together – these things won’t happen on a daily basis for me anymore.

I knew I could have dinner or lunch with friends anytime. I could write blog posts and post on social media another day. I could turn down speaking engagements over the summer because there would be many more in the fall and winter. 


This was a unique time in my daughter’s life and I wanted to be there all I could.



In order to make this happen, I relied upon my assistant to ensure that I only scheduled patients in the afternoons and early evenings (it’s hard for me to say no to my patients!). This allowed me to have slow mornings to hang out with Belle. We also cooked together each night and watched a show or two together.



When friends would suggest lunch or dinner dates, I let them know that I was going to be out of the loop of a while to focus on family. All of my friends understood and supported my decision. 


Even after the move to Santa Cruz, I still needed a few weeks to recover from all the emotions and busyness of the past month. Taking this time to myself was great for my own mental health, and now I feel fully recharged.



Great Things To Come


So now my “next chapter” is here – and I’ve got some really BIG plans for Modern Parents. 

You’ll see some new ways to learn about Modern Parenting and I’m working on providing new opportunities to engage more voices in conversations about current Modern Parenting topics.


I can’t wait to introduce these new projects to you, so keep an eye out for announcements over the next few months. The best way to keep up on all of the changes is to sign up for my mailing list and to like me on Facebook. I would love to keep in contact with you!



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Encouraging Your Child’s Sense of Self, Even When You Don’t Share The Same Beliefs

Encouraging Your Child’s Sense of Self, Even When You Don’t Share The Same Beliefs

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This weekend, many passionate individuals marched in one of many Women’s Marches around the country. Their common values and beliefs brought them together to become one loud voice in support for woman around the world.

And one of those passionate individuals was a teenager who joined one of the marches in Southern California. If you know this young woman, you wouldn’t be shocked to find her marching in the sunny, 70 degree weather that is Southern California on a January day.

It makes perfect sense that, at 17 years of age, this young woman’s current identity includes labeling herself a feminist. She comes from a family who values independent thinking and respect for others. She attends a pretty liberal high school where teachers support democratic thinking. In addition, during her Junior year, she co-created a Feminist Club on her high school campus for students – both boys and girls – to learn about women’s history and support causes that align with feminism.

So co-leading the members of “Fem Club” (the simple and accurately descriptive name for her high school club) during this weekend’s Women’s March strongly aligned with this teenager’s passions, values, and beliefs.

And this beautiful, passionate, strong, and wonderful teenager that I’m writing about is, of course, my daughter, Belle.

Do Belle and I share the same passions, values, and beliefs? Well…yes and no.

Generally, we’re pretty similar with our core beliefs. For example, like I stated earlier, we both believe in women’s rights, being respectful to our fellow man, and independent thinking. But I do realize that Belle’s views are still developing, and they don’t always mirror mine.

Should I worry that I haven’t taught my daughter by the age of 17 to believe in everything that I do? Have I failed as a parent if I haven’t?

I believe that Modern Parenting is less about turning our kids into mirror images of ourselves, and more about encouraging them to be better people than us – which could mean that they see the world very differently from us. And this takes a hefty amount of trust – both in our parenting and in our child – that our kids are developing along a path that will make them better people.

I’ve written before that confident Modern Parents have a firm grasp of their own passions, values, and beliefs, and they use these beliefs as a guide in making all of their parenting decisions. Modern Parents who raise their kids with intention like this can trust that they’ve laid the right foundation for their child to explore their own identity (which includes their own passions, values, and beliefs).

So it’s par for the course that you’ll will experience a situation where you and your child share a different (or even directly opposite) set of views.

You might want to “lecture” your child until they agree with your views.

You might feel offended.

You might not want to talk about it, and ignore the whole situation.

But if your goal is to help your child progress down the path of developing a strong set of passions, values, and beliefs that will guide their future selves in a successful and positive way, then I’ve got some great advice for you (if you want your child to think exactly like you, then this is definitely NOT the article for you).

Understand That Your Child Is DEVELOPING

According to, the definition of development is, “an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation.” Kids change. All the time. One day they love One Direction, and the next they think that Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis, and Zayn are for babies (I know – this happened with my daughter!).

It’s ok to let your child experiment with different ideas. Sometimes the only way for kids to fully understand a certain point of view is to let them try it out.

As a child psychologist, I’ve helped many parents tolerate their child experimenting with an unpopular (to the family at least) point of view (and in my experience, the more understanding a parent is with allowing the child to “try on” a point of view, the faster the child moves on to a more acceptable point of view).

If the point of view that your child wants to try out is safe and non-offensive, then allowing them to  progress with this line of thinking allows them to mature into a more fully-developed viewpoint.

Trust Yourself and Your Child

There’s nothing better to show that you have faith in your child than allowing them to discover what really matters to them in the safe environment of the family home. If you have a strong sense of your own passions, values, and beliefs, and have used these as a guide in making parenting decisions, then you’ve modeled to your child how important it is to intentionally put thought into a “life code.”

Good job Mom and Dad!

Now think back to how you developed your own passions, values, and beliefs. Do you remember having to learn some lessons the hard way? Do you see how you progressed from immature ideas regarding what made you passionate to your more solidified view now?

Know that your child is on a path to forming their sense of self, and if you want to influence their development, then be a guide that helps them progress. Don’t expect them to know everything about themselves at this point.

If you raised a good kid, then they’ll get it figured out. Trust your parenting, and trust that your child can figure this out on their own.

Don’t Take Things Personally

This is a hard one for me. It’s hard to resist the temptation to feel a little like my kids are rejecting me when they think differently than me.

I’ll think maybe I didn’t talk enough about the subject we don’t agree on, or that I didn’t say “just the right thing.”

It takes a lot to remind myself that both my son’s and my daughter’s ideas are their own. It’s not a rejection of me, but a reflection that I taught my kids to think for themselves. If I want them to be a better person than me, then some of that means that we’ll think differently at times. And that’s ok.

So be like me and fight that urge of rejection, and, instead, replace that feeling with the feeling of pride that our kids feel confident and comfortable enough to figure these tough life issues out for themselves – and that they’ll allow you to guide them from time to time.

Socratic Thinking

A couple days ago, I asked Belle how her latest Fem Club meeting went. She told me about a girl who regularly attends the meetings, but seems to attend only to point out opposing viewpoints (and usually does this in a confrontational way that disrupts the planned presentation).

During the past meeting when Belle was presenting, this girl caused a scene that was disruptive, and Belle was hurt by this. While Belle was discussing plans for the group to prepare posters for the upcoming women’s march, this girl stood up mid-presentation, and, without warning, loudly announced to the group that there was also a Right to Life March taking place as well. Belle was taken aback by this impromptu announcement, and answered the girl, “We can’t endorse that.”

That’s when I realized that Belle and I don’t share the same definition of feminism. To me, feminism means being free to live the life that you feel is best for you – even if that means supporting right to life, being a gay or lesbian – basically, anything that is not offensive or hurting other people.

So without pushing my views on Belle (but still wanting to push her idea of feminism), I asked her, “So you don’t think that someone can be a feminist AND believe in Right to Life?”.

Socratic questioning is obviously a tool that I use a lot as a child psychologist, but I’ve found that it is also a great tool to use with parenting. It leaves out judgement and challenges the child to develop their thinking further.

This method is a great tool to use when you feel your child’s thinking seems to need some more thought. This puts the onus of thinking further on the child, and further allows the parent to put trust in the child to continue growing and developing.


People Who Disagree Can Still Like Each Other

In Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s excellent book, The Coddling of The American Mind (see my review of this book here), they identify 3 mistakes that seem to contribute to our Modern Kids developing into young adults who are uncomfortable with different ideas. They further paint a picture that today’s young people are so uncomfortable with different ideas that they villainize anyone who does not agree with them.

The book provides supporting evidence of how our kids take it very personally if people don’t agree with them. This goes as far as to threaten their self esteem – and creates a generation of emotionally fragile people in the process.

If we want our kids to grow up into what the authors call “anti-fragile” young adults who are not afraid to conquer life’s challenges, then we need to teach our kids that they can tolerate people who do not agree with them.

In fact, entering into respectful debates with opposing points of view actually serves to help the child progress down their path of self-awareness. Two outcomes typically occur when a child is given the opportunity to speak their point of view: they’ll either believe more deeply in their views or they will identify the holes in their thinking and modify their point of view.

In that sense, respectful debate is a good thing.

But the important thing here is to teach your child that ideas (and the people that have them) are not scary or bad. Teach your child the skills necessary to debate others in a respectful way. Teach them where and when this is appropriate. And model this behavior yourself.


Take Home Message

Your child will not always agree with you – or, maybe it seems like they NEVER agree with you. Whatever the case may be with your child, giving your child the tools and the space necessary to develop a strong sense of self is necessary if you want them to mature into young adults who are confident and wise.

I know from raising my own two kids, that it’s easy to doubt yourself as a parent when your kids seem to adopt a different point of view from you, but by understanding that this is a natural process that everyone goes through helped to put me in the right mindset to guide my own kids through this time of their lives. 

Remember, the ultimate goal is to help your child to develop a strong set of passions, values, and beliefs that they will use to guide their decisions as adults.

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The Top Modern Parenting Trends of 2019

The Top Modern Parenting Trends of 2019

As a child psychologist and a Modern Parenting Expert, I’ve worked with parents a lot over the years, and I’ve noticed a slight shift in the priorities of the Modern Parents that I work with.

And you know what? I absolutely LOVE what I am hearing!!

I always say that this is the best time to be a parent because we have access to so much wisdom from science and parenting experts to really do the best job possible as parents. We can use the conclusions gleaned from scientific studies to inform all aspects of our parenting – from the way we discipline our kids to how we schedule their afternoon and weekend “free time”. Anecdotal stories from real-life parents who are willing to let us view their parenting strategies also allow us to weigh the pros and cons of all sorts of parenting strategies – from Amy Chua (The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom) to Danielle Meitiv (the “free-range” mom) to all of the celebrity moms out there posting their parenting techniques on Twitter or Instagram.

I believe that the shift I’m seeing lately in the priorities of parents is a natural response to some of the information that has come to our attention over the past several years. For example, below are some of the concerns that my clients have wanted to discuss with me over this year that I find exciting:

  • While research has shown that rewarding kids with participation trophies instead of for outstanding effort has helped their self-esteem, it’s also helped to create a generation of selfish monsters too – how can we encourage confidence without turning kids into narcissists?
  • While most parents I talk to aren’t willing to allow their kids to roam around their town unsupervised, they do realize that there is some value to unstructured free-time for their child – how can we encourage independence while still ensuring safety?
  • Even though statistics show that both mothers and fathers spend more time, money, and effort on their kids, the rates of childhood anxiety and depression are rising anyway – how can we create close family bonds without smothering our kids?


Questions such as these have helped me see that there are several trends that Modern Parents want addressed in 2019. I’ve begun considering these trends in my writing projects for 2019, as well as in my therapeutic treatment plans in my private practice.

So let me explain the trends as I see them.


The Trends

Trend #1: Modern Parents want a close relationship with their kids without raising kids who are dependent on them forever.

Generational researcher Jean Twenge knows our kids well. She’s dubbed kids born between the mid 1995  and the mid 2007 as the iGen generation. These kids are notable because they were born and raised in the age of the internet, smart phones, interactive video games, and social media. In order to really get to know this generation of kids, she surveyed the iGen kids and compared their answers to surveys of teens of prior generations.

What she found is that iGen kids are putting off adulthood for as long as possible. For example, iGen kids are putting off what can be considered dangerous adult activities such as smoking, drug use, and sex outside of marriage much later than prior generations of teens.

That’s good, right? But Twenge also found that iGen kids are putting off important benchmarks that help them prepare to be adults when it’s time. The age at which they are performing tasks such as having their first date, getting their first job, and moving out of their parent’s home is becoming later and later.

Statistics also show that iGen kids spend far less face-to-face time with their PEERS and significantly more time at home with their PARENTS. This has served to help Modern Families create a very close bond between family members – but it also comes at a cost.

On the surface, delaying adulthood doesn’t seem like that bad of an issue to Modern Parents. Many parents that I work with get a lot of satisfaction out of having a close relationship with their kids, so delaying adulthood kind of works for them too.

But we can’t let our desire to have a close relationship with our kids interfere with their ability to participate in important milestones that are meant to prepare them for a successful adulthood. I’ve found that many kids who were allowed to put off these important preparatory activities either 1) never developed the confidence to perform them in early adulthood and remained powerless at home with their parents, or 2) became comfortable with never becoming adults and continued to allow their parents to parent them well into late adulthood.

We have to find a balance between developing a close relationship with our kids, but also be prepared to help them out of our (very comfortable!) nest at the right time. I’ll be focusing on helping Modern Parents find this balance in both my writing and my private practice in 2019.


For a previous article with tips on how to encourage your child’s independence, click here to read this earlier blog post.


Trend #2: Modern Parents want to find the right balance between coddling their kids and neglecting them

In Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book entitled The Coddling of The American Mind, the concept of creating kids who crave safety (from both physical and emotional threats) is explored. These authors postulate that the reason the iGeners prefer to ignore ideas opposite from what they believe (rather than listen to these ideas and then form their own argument as to why they are not correct) is because well-meaning parents inadvertently taught their kids 3 powerful untruths: 1) the Untruth of Fragility (that kids are fragile and need to be protected at all costs), 2) the Untruth of Emotional Reasoning (that a child’s feelings can always be trusted to be a truthful reflection of a situation), and 3) the Untruth of Us Versus Them (life is a battle between good people and bad people).

By trying to help our kids avoid unnecessary harm, they’re are not learning to be resilient; instead they’re internalizing the message that they should fear things that are hard or different and that someone other than them should solve their problems for them. Even though we had good intentions, many Modern Parents taught their kids that they are easily harmed (both physically and emotionally), they should always trust their feelings over their intellect and hard facts, and that people who have different ideas are “bad”.

Many parents that I’ve worked with lately want to find that balance between caring too much and too little. They now understand that allowing their kids to take some risks and experience setbacks, mistakes, or heartache is actually developmentally appropriate and good for them in the long-run.

The issue becomes this: how do parents know when to let go and when to step in and help their child? Remember, Modern Parents want to have close relationships with their kids (which is a good thing), so learning to let go at appropriate times is a learned skill for many of us.

To learn more about how to help your child learn to take smart risks, check out this previous blog post and this one too.


Trend #3: Modern Parents want their kids to be internally motivated for tasks that will contribute to making them interesting and worthwhile adults

Almost all of my young clients in my private practice struggle with motivation.

It seems that one of my treatment goals for my tween and teen clients always includes increasing their motivation for worthwhile activities. Parents are telling me that they are tired of their kids spending all their free time on video games, social media, and Youtube.

I’ve found that kids are attracted to these activities because they lack a sense of purpose, and part of how I work with parents is to teach them how to identify their child’s natural talents and abilities and use these natural interests to build a sense of purpose 

For example, a previous client of mine had a natural interest in cooking. This child (who was 14 at the time) was obsessed with playing video games all afternoon and evening. Once this client’s parents identified that the client had a history of asking his parents to cook (and constantly getting turned down!), they realized that this was a natural interest of his. This client’s mother was a working mom and she had always resisted allowing her son to help her cook because she thought it made dinner prep time more of a hassle and more of a mess than if she just cooked by herself.

However, mom now saw the value in letting her son help with the cooking and we created a plan together on how to begin including part of the client’s afternoon time with cooking responsibilities. Of course, this meant that mom and dad needed to spend a lot of time with the client up front on teaching his things like how to prep food, cook safely, and clean up appropriately, but eventually the child took on more of the cooking responsibilities and his parents less.

Over time, this client really blossomed! Pretty soon he willingly spent only a small fraction of his free time on video games. As his competence with cooking grew, he naturally gravitated to spending much of his free time on researching recipes, creating his own recipes, and experimenting with cooking.

By the time the client had his last session with me, his parents reported that the client was preparing most of the family meals which allowed his parents to relax and spend quality time with their kids at night. In addition, the client’s self-confidence grew tremendously and much of his anxiety decreased dramatically.

If kids don’t begin to explore a sense of purpose based upon their natural talents and interests, they tend to gravitate to activities that simply take up their time without actually being helping them grow as human beings.

Modern parents are beginning to understand that motivation for worthwhile activities doesn’t just happen overnight – this is a life skill that needs to be cultivated during childhood 

To find out how to begin identifying your child’s natural talents and interests, check out this previous blog post and this one too.


Trend #4: Parents more than ever find enjoyment and satisfaction in raising their kids within a family environment that is unique to their individual passions, values, and beliefs.

I’m finding that today’s Modern Parents are seeking to create family environments that align with their unique passions, values, and beliefs – even if this means doing things differently from the way their parents did things or even the way their friends are parenting.

This is definitely parenting with intention. Instead of REACTING to parenting situations, these parents have a clear sense of how to parent that is based upon preconceived guidelines based upon values that are important to the parents. This makes sense, right? Parents feel more in control and happier with their parenting decisions when they take they time to think through how they will react to a parenting situation before the situation actually takes place.

Here’s another example from one of my old clients. I helped this particular mom and dad identify their personal passions, values, and beliefs. Once they were clear on the priorities of their family, they created family rules and guidelines that were based on this plan.

Every family will identify different priorities – and that’s ok – but this family very much valued participating in local plays and musicals ad spending time with friends. This meant that decisions regarding family time took into account rehearsals, practices, and social gatherings. Family rules included guidelines for certain grades in school that had to be met in order to participate in upcoming performances.

These guidelines worked for this family because they were based upon their unique passions, values, and beliefs. When these parents were confronted with a difficult parenting situation, instead of reacting mindlessly to the situation, they based their decision on their preconceived passions, values, and beliefs that they had identified.

They reported that they felt happier and more confident after going through this exercise.

To find out how to identify your family’s passions, values, and beliefs, check out this article with a free PDF downloadable worksheet. 

Or click here to download the worksheet now.


Take Home Message

The message here is that Modern Parents are great at using information to inform their parenting, but they want to use this information to help them build a strong relationship with their kids and to raise kids who are internally motivated and moral.

Modern Parents are also experiencing more satisfaction from being a parent – especially when their parenting decisions align with their personal passions, values, and beliefs. Being a parent doesn’t mean that you need to give up your personal identity, and many Modern Parents are figuring out how to create families that are an accurate reflection of their uniqueness.

2019 is going to be a great year or learning and improvement for Modern Parents. Keep coming back to Parenting The Modern Family for more blog posts, videos, and parenting resources that will reflect these, and other, Modern Parenting trends so that you have the best information possible to create the family of your dreams!



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