Archives for Parenting


Mother Shaming

I think every mother has experienced this at some point: Your young child is acting out in some way, you're trying to handle it, and you can feel other people's overt, undisguised disapproval of both you and your child. (And I call it "mother shaming" rather than "parent shaming" because typically, men don't tend to receive the same treatment--or maybe they just aren't as sensitive when they do.)

I recently experienced this where I least expected it. It was from a staff member at my daughter's preschool. Instead of saying, " Your child had a hard time today," she flagged me down at pick-up, leveled me with an extremely unpleasant look, and proceeded to tell me, in detail, about my daughter's transgressions. I felt what I was supposed to: ashamed of my child, chastened, stammering how both my daughter (and I) would do better. No dessert for her! I hustled her to the car, not even wanting to speak to her. I felt like a terrible mother. I felt like she'd made me LOOK like a terrible mother.

My poor daughter. She didn't deserve that. She was just a tiny human having a hard time. Her preschool should have been thinking about why she'd been struggling, and what they could do to support her. Instead, I got mother-shamed, and she bore the brunt.

What's a mom to do?
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Talking to a Difficult Teen

You might feel like you're tried everything to reach your teen. Or maybe you've gotten so frustrated you've given up, figured you'd wait until the hormones settle.

These are key years, and you want to do what you can to influence their course. I say "influence" because the truth is, you can't control. But you can help.

Here are some ideas of where to start.
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How to Stop Spoiling Your Kids

You love your kids; you mean to do the best for them. But you find yourself indulging them far too often. It's a terrible term--the idea that you'll "spoil" this cherished little human of yours--but the reality is, overindulged children aren't well-prepared for life.

So if you want to produce a kid who's hard-working, grateful, and gracious, where do you start (and what do you stop)?

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Fat-Shaming, Skinny-Shaming: What Every Mother Should Know

And it's not bad for dads to read this, either! But Moms, I'm going to be talking to you specifically.

The reason is: In most cases, body shame begins at home. While our culture undoubtedly plays a role in how our children see themselves and their bodies, the first culture any of us experience is our family's.

And when I talk to teen girls in my therapy office who have body, eating, and/or self-esteem issues, what I often hear is that the first role model they ever had--their moms--had some of those issues themselves (though those mothers often believe they've kept them hidden, they tend to eke out in small ways that I'll describe below.) Or those mothers weren't aware of the way judgmental comments they make about others impact their own children.

(Interestingly, I've actually never heard this from a young girl: "My father was always saying he was too fat." There's something cultural in that as well.  But that's for another blog.)

Here are some thoughts on how you can make your family culture a healthy one. It's never too early (or too late) to start.
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