Welcome to PEPTalk! This blog is all about parenting – including tips, great articles and updates on our class offerings. The conversation is for parents and others who want to raise healthy, cooperative, thriving children. Raising children to thrive isn’t easy, especially when those children regularly mess up our plans for their success. We learn the art of parenting from each other, and our PEPTalk blog is here to help—with tips, tools, talk and encouragement—as well as updates about PEP’s many educational programs.
Our bloggers are like our class leaders (many of them are class leaders)—parents who have found at PEP support, inspiration and a sensible road map for the journey. They’ll share their unique perspectives and experiences, connected by their deep commitment to helping you be the parent you want to be. We invite you to join the conversation.
Our children take their cues from us. How we react to situations, what we say, down to body posture and even our voice inflections when we speak — they are taking it all in. Kids are, indeed, “little sponges”, absorbing the good, bad and the not-so-good about the way we handle our everyday lives. As our children’s first teachers, there are methods we can use and steps we can take to ensure that,... read more>>
When we parents think of “Me Time,” we often feel selfish. That’s probably because of the ambiguities of parenting itself. Is it a job? Or is it a relationship? When can I take time off? Wait – can I take time off?” To get clarity, ideas and inspiration on this confusing question, I did a little research by consulting parenting experts. What I heard is that “Me Time” is not a luxury; it’s really a necessity,... read more>>
A 5-year-old boy, Felix, is playing with blocks near the kitchen while his dad is busy cooking dinner. Felix starts singing loudly, but his dad doesn’t respond. Felix then suddenly throws his blocks across the room and yells as they crash against the wall. His dad reprimands him in a stern voice for throwing the blocks and demands that he pick them up. Felix then turns to his dad and yells, “Stupid, Daddy!” An 11-year-old girl,... read more>>
To a young child, everything is BIG. Thoughts, feelings and ideas often become so BIG that they overwhelm the child. As adults, we need to take seriously what is BIG to children and not slough it off as “no big deal.” Additionally, it is vital that we hone our listening and understanding skills so that we can get to the root of a child’s distress. Whether as parent, caregiver or teacher, it is our job to become a detective and identify the source of children’s worries and concerns so that we can help them learn to manage big emotions.... read more>>
If you are planning a vacation this spring or summer, a family road trip is likely in the car(d)s. Aside from providing a much-needed break, did you know that a car ride, whether across the country or just across town, can provide the backdrop for your child getting his greatest psychological needs met? Here’s how you can help ensure that your next road trip provides what therapists and authors Dr. Betty Lou Bettner and Dr.... read more>>
There are two big problems with punishing children. First, it is a bad model for how to solve problems. It doesn’t actually teach a person anything, and most likely will instill fear and resentment. Second, the purpose of punishment is to control someone’s behavior. When we use our superior status to control a child, it builds feelings of resentment, anger and other negative feelings, which potentially lead to worse problems like lying and revenge.... read more>>
Experience is the best teacher. But during a pandemic, watching and discussing movies with our kids can also provide powerful, teachable moments. Escaping into the screen, we meet people like ourselves, struggling and learning through experience. Watching the 1984 classic “The Karate Kid” as a parent opened my eyes to new insights. Mr. Miyagi, the ancient, childless, widowed master of martial arts is mentor to Daniel, an 18-year-old student who has a loving mom,... read more>>
A teacher has discovered at least some in his class have worked collaboratively on an exam; in this scenario, group work on a test is considered academic cheating. The instructor emails the class letting the students know he is aware of the dishonesty. He offers a choice: a student may admit to cheating and take a 0 on the test with no further consequences or the student may take his or her chances,... read more>>
Distance learning has created many situations we could scarcely imagine in a time before the pandemic. These problems range from uneven access to technology and the internet, to kids missing friends, routines and mile marker events. Parents are left struggling to balance work and family without relief. One thing parents didn’t necessarily expect from distance learning is the surge in peer normalization of academic dishonesty and the temptation of teens to participate.... read more>>
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn) When our parents told us to “take a deep breath and count to 10” before responding in the heat of the moment, they may have been onto something. Research shows that deep breathing and other “mindful” strategies can diffuse anger, frustration and stress and help calm our minds – and our kids’ minds! Being more mindful of our feelings before taking action is an approach based on the philosophy of Buddhism (although mindfulness does not necessarily have to be religious or have spiritual overtones).... read more>>
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