Now Or Later

Now Or Later Image

Procrastination is a psychological behavior that affects everyone to some degree or another. For some people it can be a minor problem; for others it is a source of considerable stress and anxiety.


One of the reasons children procrastinate is because they do not find the task fun or interesting. In fact, they tend to put off boring tasks until someone calls them out on it. Even then, they usually underestimate the time needed and effort that the task requires. Another reason may be that they do not feel confident that they can do what is asked of them. They may feel overwhelmed or confused on what to do first.


The following tips can help your child stop procrastinating:


  1. Set firm rules at home. Whether it’s completing homework or picking up their room, make sure that your child knows what is expected of him. Set basic rules such as “no TV until homework is done, checked and packed”. The trick here is to be consistent with the rule.
  2. Chunk it down. Some children need a series of baby steps to get them going. Start by organizing what needs to occur. Creating a visual that shows them step-by-step what to do often helps with the feeling of overwhelm. Include how much time each task should take.
  3. Get rid of perfectionism. Let them know that the goal is to get started, not necessarily to do it perfect. They can always tweak it later. If your child is stuck, just help them so they can keep going and not give up. Remember the goal is to get them going.
  4. Celebrate what they accomplish. Don’t wait until the end to say, “good job”, instead inspire them to continue what they are doing. You can say, “ you’re doing good- making progress” or

“almost done- keep going”.


Procrastinating is a habit. Your child needs your help to remind them that they will be able to start and complete the task. So instead of just telling them what to do, offer some support and jump in when needed. After a while, you will see that their confidence rises and they may not need your help anymore.




Shyness in Children

images (5)If your child suffers from shyness, they are not alone. Recent research suggests that over 50% of the general population currently experiences some degree of shyness in their lives. Many children are shy in situations that are new to them. It can be painful if it continues to adolescence and beyond preventing them from participating fully in most social settings. Being shy is not necessarily a problem, unless it causes distress. Luckily, there are many strategies and options to help overcome shyness.

Here are some tips to help your child:

  • Avoid labeling your child as shy. Reframe it as “reserved” or a “deep thinker”. You can say, “ Johnny likes to listen to others before sharing his views” or “ Mary likes to think before rushing in”.
  • Some kids need time to feel comfortable or warm up, so preparing them on what to expect really helps. Do not rush them into participating.
  • If you are going somewhere new, like school, try to have them meet the teacher and get familiar with the school grounds prior to the fist day of school.  You can also use the Internet to show them pictures of where they will be going, which will give them a general idea.
  • Take time to talk to them about what they could expect socially, in different settings, and how to handle sticky situations. Role-play with them or simply offer suggestions and brainstorm about possible solutions to scenarios.
  • For example, if it is lunchtime and your child isn’t certain where he should sit, he can try preplanning it with someone from class before lunch or identify possible lunch buddies and practice conversation starters that he can use.
  • Help them practice on how to approach other kids and speak up in class. Develop topics of conversation that their peers may find interesting. Using open-ended questions usually prompts conversations.
  • Encourage using “I” statements instead of “you” statements that can often cause others to become defensive.
  • Bring to their awareness social interactions such as using humor, standing up for yourself, saying “no”, asking for something and apologizing as they happen in everyday life.
  • Encourage your child to sign up for some sort of sport, club or extracurricular activity. Whether it’s a team sport or theatre, dance, karate, gymnastics, it will give them the opportunity to interact and have something to talk about with their peers.
  • Shyness and anxiety go hand in hand and many times it is actually not a skill deficit but rather a lack of self-confidence.
  • Remind your child of past successes. Give them confidence but don’t push them. They will evolve gradually when they’re ready.

Above all, love and accept you child’s personality and remind them to do the same. They are their own unique, perfect self.

Stinking Thinking can really make you mad

stinkingthinkingAnger triggering thoughts often distort our view of reality.  Here are some of the most common negative thoughts that feed anger and how to get rid of them.

Blaming. The belief that someone else is responsible for a situation and that you cannot do anything about it. By blaming others you discount that you have the power to make choices that impact your situation. You feel powerless, helpless and stuck. You expect someone else to fix it.

  • Instead think– “What can I do to change this situation?” “ I can do something about this”

Magnifying. The tendency to make mountains out of molehills – to make an uncomfortable situation worst. Using words like “awful, terrible, unbearable, horrible, the worst”, provoke an exaggerated angry response.

  • Instead think– “ How horrible is this, really? “  “It’s irritating but I can handle this”

Universal labels. The use of black and white thinking and judgments – seeing a person as “totally evil” or “completely selfish” and ignoring the good bits.

  • Instead think-  “ This is a problem or a bad choice but he/she is not a horrible person.”

 Misattributions. Jumping to conclusions and mind-reading; assigning negative motivations to the actions of others. You don’t ask for clarification or feedback because you think you already know.

  •  Instead think- What else might be going on? Can there be another explanation?

Overgeneralization- The use of “always”, “never”, “always”, “nobody”, “everybody”. Thoughts like “she’s always late” or “he never listens” fuel the angry situation.

  •  Instead think- “ How often does this happen? Are there times when it hasn’t happened?”

Demanding/Commanding- Imposing your own values and needs on others who may have very different values and needs. Feeling that your needs require other’s compliance.

  • Instead think- “ I would rather things were different but I can get through this.” “Not getting what I want is not the end of the world”

By practicing a bit of mindfulness you can turn around your cognitive distortions immediately and hence, get rid of anger.

Learning Styles- “To Each His Own”

img_learning_styleWe all have different learning styles, or ways of perceiving and processing information.

Visual learners enjoy pictures, videos and illustrations. They think in terms of “show me”. They like to have a broad picture before they get down to the details. You can communicate best with visual learners by using pictures, handouts, and graphics. Use phrases such as “do you see how it works?”

Auditory learners respond to sounds. They think in terms of “tell me”. They like participating in discussions, asking questions and prefer facts and details. They take into account the voice, tone and energy in a conversation.

Kinesthetic learners prefer to physically do something to understand and process information. They think in terms of “let me do it”.  They like touching, role-playing and fiddling with stuff.

Noticing how individuals prefer to learn and process information can be advantageous. For students, it can make school and homework much easier if they apply the techniques that resonate best with their learning style. For couples and families, it can facilitate communication and understanding and build overall better relationships.

People differ in the way they think, perceive, feel and behave. There is no right way or wrong way.  We are all unique and special and can communicate and process beautifully when respected and understood for our own special way.

Can food affect your happiness?

f2We can increase or decrease our happiness by what we eat. The magical ingredient? Serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and it affects our mood. It helps protect us against depression and anxiety. About 80% of the body’s total serotonin is in our gut in our enterochromaffin cells- where it regulates intestinal movements. It does not cross the blood brain barrier so serotonin that is used inside the brain must be produced within it.

So how do you get serotonin to increase?

Your body will make it by synthesizing the amino acid tryptophan (think turkey, cheese, beef). Tryptophan converts to 5 HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) which then converts to serotonin.

Serotonin blockers:

• Caffeine
• Alcohol
• Chronic Stress
• Artificial Sweeteners
• Grain based processed carbohydrates

Serotonin enhancers:

• Grass fed beef
• Turkey that grazes
• Organic free range eggs
• Nutritional yeast
• Milk products by grass fed cows
• Nuts and seeds
• Pumpkin
• Bananas
• Flax Seeds

So go ahead and serve some serotonin for dinner tonight and get the proper amino balance for a healthy serving of HAPPY!

Love and Gratitude

LoveHow much conscious care and nurturing do you give your love relationship?

Do you emotionally feed, water, nurture, play with or tune up your relationship?

The high divorce rate and the increasing number of couples living in unhappy or unhealthy marriages may reflect the lack of care, fault- finding, and emotional neglect in many relationships. Sadly, we typically put lots of time, attention and energy into the beginning of a relationship. Once we make a commitment, get married and settle into life together, the amount and quality of attention and energy decreases. Sometimes couples complain that life gets in the way of maintaining a constant flow of healthy energy and attention. Other priorities like work, children and school all take so much of our time and energy leaving very little for the marriage. We operate from the “squeaky wheel” principle – who or whatever squeaks the loudest or puts the greatest demand gets the attention.  Who or what is “squeaking” in your life? To what are you giving attention in your life?

Gratitude is a rich and powerful food for our spirit. The act of acknowledging gratitude and appreciation activates the law of attraction – what you give attention to, multiplies. What you appreciate in your life, you get more of!! Isn’t that a compelling and interesting fact? Focusing on what you appreciate in your relationship will help those things grow and multiply in your relationship.  Research tells us that an attitude of gratitude can have a positive effect on our thinking, mood and biochemistry. There doesn’t seem to be a down side to appreciation and gratitude.

It is important to tell your partner how much they are appreciated on a consistent basis. Everyone likes to hear kind words of gratitude. Take a moment daily to think of 3 things you are grateful for or appreciate about your partner and have your partner do the same. Perhaps, you can try keeping a gratitude journal together where you write down what you each appreciate. This journal will come in handy on days that you are feeling unappreciated, sad, angry or frustrated. It will actually help you get in a better mood and shift your neurochemistry.

The simple act of consciously focusing on gratitude is one of the best ways to nurture and emotionally feed your love relationship.

Parenting young teens

images (3)Kids need guidance and discipline as they grow into responsible, caring adults. Parenting young teens is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. As young teens become more independent your parenting style may change. They need to be given more choices and taught critical thinking skills.

Natural consequences help kids experience the outcome of their actions and learn to be responsible. It helps them discover the benefits of order and rules. As a parent you don’t have to threaten, argue or give in. Instead let them be responsible for what happens.

For example, a natural consequence to not completing their homework or project is having them face their teacher and explain what happened. If, however, you rescue them and help them do it then, they will not learn the lesson and most likely commit the same mistake again.

Logical consequences also work. A logical consequence takes the place of punishment and is practical, enforceable and related to a teen’s behavior. The consequences should be explained ahead of time in a calm, clear and respectful manner. It is important that you inform the child of the reasons for the expected behavior and wanted outcomes.

An example is a teen who arrives home past curfew must have an earlier curfew for a few nights or may lose the use of the car.

Keep in mind that timing is key to the use of natural and logical consequences. Do not try to explain the consequences when you or your teen is angry or upset. It is best to discuss consequences prior to them happening.

As young teens become more independent, they should be given more choices. Keep in mind, kids will make mistakes. It’s ok- that’s how they will learn. The important thing is to make sure they stay safe and to be consistent in your parental guidance and discipline.

Remember the three R’s: related, reasonable, and respectful. The consequence should relate to the behavior, be fair, and show respect for the young teen’s feelings and the right to choose how to behave.

New Year’s Intentions, not Resolutions

new yearsHow about starting 2014 with a new intention instead of a resolution? If we set an intention rather than a resolution, we open ourselves up to a variety of possible outcomes, some of which might be more useful than what we imagined.  An intention is not as goal directed as a resolution, so there is less chance of getting stuck or fixated on a particular outcome.


Things are always changing, so setting intentions allows flexibility while evolving towards the life you desire. Simple intentions often pave the way for rewarding, long lasting changes.


Here are some intentions you may want to consider:


  • Pay Attention – We live in a fast paced world and for the sake of time, we often overlook what’s really happening around us. Take time to notice when you’re zoning out or rushing through things. This will make a huge difference in your relationship with others.


  • Practice generosity– Generosity can come in many forms: offering a compliment, a gift, assistance or emotional support. We all can benefit from a helping hand and unexpected kindness.



  • Mind the voices in your head– Don’t indulge in negative self talk or thoughts that keep you stuck in the past or worried about the future. Notice them and when they arise, redirect them with happy alternative thoughts. For example, if you are worried on what can go wrong in a situation, change your thoughts to what could go right. Develop a strong, detailed mental image of the good thought and use it any time the negative thought pops into your head. Remember, the mind is a creature of habit- careful what you feed it.



Note: Intentions arise from love not fear or scarcity. They make you feel inspired, not stressed. They generate a greater awareness and strengthen the Spirit.



Many blessings and wishing you a fabulous 2014!

How to help your child manage anger

AngerHelping your child manage anger is often one of the hardest—and best—things we can do as parents. The first thing to recognize is that anger is a clear symptom of the presence of deeper emotions such as frustration, disappointment, fear, and pain. If we as parents acknowledge and name these underlying feelings for our children, their anger should start to dissipate.

Say something like, “I can see that you feel sad that your brother broke your toy.” Hearing the root cause of the anger expressed outright is soothing and will help your child be able to identify and name where the emotion is coming from.

Recognize, too, that anger is a natural emotion and isn’t itself a problem. What is a problem, however, is when it’s expressed inappropriately. If your child is throwing a tantrum, it’s your job to stay calm and speak rationally, setting limits and boundaries: “I can see how angry you are and that’s OK, but you can’t hit people or break things when you feel this way.” Don’t forbid the feeling but do reiterate rules.

Along the same lines, don’t yell at a child who is feeling anger. Being yelled at reinforces his feeling of being in danger, makes him feel less safe, and does nothing to restore the calm for either of you. If you yell, you’re essentially telling your child that yelling is acceptable behavior (it’s not), as well as communicating that anger is a feeling that needs to be responded to in a scary manner.

Instead, when you notice cues that your child is getting upset, stay with her and help her work through her feelings: offer a hug, ask if she wants to leave the situation (if possible), suggest taking a few deep breaths, and make sure she doesn’t feel alone. It’s important to consistently model good behavior: if children see adults handling anger in a healthy way, they’ll learn to do the same. Avoid blaming your children for what they’re feeling, and avoid “time outs” during which you send a child away to be by himself. A much better approach is to let her know you’re there with her, grant permission to feel her feelings and to cry, and make her feel safe expressing her uncomfortable feelings by paying attention to and acknowledging them.

You can also teach your child to notice when she’s getting worked up: If a child knows that increased heart rate, breathing, and an adrenaline rush means that anger is on its way, he’ll be more empowered to manage the emotion before it hits full force. Teach him relaxation techniques that he can do when he senses these cues: breathing, drawing, walking away—whatever works best for him.

To prevent future tantrums, show your child that there are positive ways to express anger. This includes teaching her to control angry impulses and helping her find a solution to problems in the moment, whether it’s asking a sibling to apologize, promising to try to fix the toy, or simply communicating calmly what she’s feeling.

When your college graduate moves back home

Moving backIt used to be that after graduating from college, young adults would set out to create a nest of their own. Today, however, some 30% of young adults move back in with their parents—a higher proportion than any time since the 1950s.

The reasons are well-known: Our young people are flooded with student debt. They’re likely to only be able to get low-paying entry-level jobs or internships. And they can’t afford to pay today’s steep rents—much less buy a home—while they get established and build a fund that can support their independence.

When adult offspring move back in, however, the parent-child relationship can become strained, and the household’s general dynamic might become uprooted. If you have a “boomerang kid” returning home, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Most important is to set clear expectations before they move back in.

The first step is to address financial matters: Will you charge your child a nominal rent to cover their food and utilities? Asking for $100 to $200 per month is fair. If you don’t feel comfortable taking money from your child, consider that you can put that money aside and give it back once he or she moves out. This requires your child to devise some way to be earning money while staying with you.

You may also want to consider asking your child to sign a pre-move-in contract (like a lease) that sets boundaries that are agreeable to everyone. Will there be a time limit to the stay? Three months? Six months? A year? Will you require that your child be pursuing career goals? The contract could also require that your “tenant” do chores such as cleaning, cooking, or grocery shopping. In addition to helping around the house, this prevents you from enabling your child to be a “mooch” and maintains their self-respect as a functioning, contributing adult.

Decide on other rules, too: Are you OK if your child has someone of the opposite sex spend the night? Is there a time you want them to be home by (if only so you don’t have to wait up worrying)? Do you and your partner need time alone in your home at least one night a week? Communicate and agree on these things before your child lugs her suitcase back in.

There should be no guilt for either party in this situation: You did your job as a parent to prepare your son or daughter, so don’t feel bad for standing your ground. Your child is an adult now and needs to act more like a roommate than a dependent. By the same token, don’t make your child feel guilty, ashamed, or like a failure for needing to move back home. Recognize that this might be harder on your child than it is on you.

Finally, remember to make the most of this time together. This person you spent so much time and energy raising may eventually end up moving far away, and this might be your last chance to spend so much time together. So make the time as meaningful as possible: Have fun together, be a moral support system, and make yourself available for conversation and quality time. These could be memories that you’ll cherish once your kid has truly flown the coop—for good.