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Q&A Tuesday (It’s finally here!)

business man shrugHey Julie, what does my kid really need?”


Oh my goodness, I get asked this question so often. Yes, there are many things your tween-to-teen really needs – love, boundaries, friends, empathy, and more. However, this one thing (besides you and your amazing ability to love them like crazy) is what tween-to-teens need more than anything. Check out in today’s very first Q&A Tuesday video! (And, yes, it’s a little rough around the edges but I’m so excited to start this!)

If you have a parenting Q about your tween-to-teen, please be sure to send it over to hello [@] juliesmith [dot] com.




Day in the Life … 13YO Brianna

dayinthelifeIt’s 2015! Woohoo!

Grandma got me this journal for Christmas, and I’ve been super excited to start writing in it.  Now I don’t know what to say.

Let’s see. I’m 13. In 7th grade. I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. I live mostly at my moms and sometimes at my dads. My favorite things are YouTube, music, anime, and Dr. Who. I have a few good friends but I don’t do much with them. Not sure what else.

Everyone keeps talking about resolutions so here’s what I want to do this year.

Get all A’s in school. I did pretty well last semester but I ended up with 2 Bs instead of all As.

Teach myself to play ukulele.

Visit another country (or at least another state!)

Write in my journal everyday.

Stop fighting with my brothers.

Help my mom more around the house.

Volunteer to help the homeless.

Babysit more!

Earn $500

Do something I’ve never done before. (I don’t know what that is yet.)

Holy crap. That’s a lot. I hope I can do it. But, right now, I’m going to go watch Dr. Who and Supernatural. Bye!


A Day in the Life

dayinthelifeA Day in the Life of Tween-to-Teen, Frank, age 12.

I just want to write what I think parents should know about us and some don’ts and do’s.

  • We are more mature than most parents think.
  • Just because we are going to a friends’ house doesn’t mean we’re getting into trouble.
  • We want our distance, but still love you.
  • We don’t do drugs or alcohol.
  • We want you to trust us.
  • Try to mix up ordinary questions to make a day exciting.
  • We are going to hang out with friends more because we do want to be popular.
  • We play video games to put aside real problems and just relax.

Here’s some ideas on what not to do with us.

  • Don’t ask “how was your day today?”
  • Don’t embarrass us.
  • Don’t try to be “cool.”
  • Don’t force us to do things.
  • Don’t not let us go to friends’ houses.
  • Don’t give favor to younger siblings.
  • Don’t make us hang out with your friends. We have no idea what the heck you are talking about.
  • Don’t push us too hard.
  • Don’t make us watch your TV shows.
  • Don’t limit video games to a small level.

Do’s for you.

  • Be you.
  • Make the day a little wacky.
  • trust us with friends.
  • Let us stay home by ourselves.
  • give us a break every once in a while.
  • Let us play video games we want and not limit them.
  • Let us and our siblings be equal.
  • Give us our distance.
  • Don’t embarrass us.
  • Trust us to be more mature with some subjects.

Let’s Give the Children This…

Found this piece in a pile of papers. Whether you have toddlers or teens, this is relevant.


pg-healthy-living-holiday-gifts-01-fullWhat Shall We Give the Children?

What shall we give the children?
Christmas is almost here.
Toys, games and playthings,
As we do every year?

Yes, for the magic of toyland
Is part of the Yuletide lore
To gladden the heart of childhood
But I shall give something more.

I shall give more patience,
A more sympathetic ear,
A little more time for laughter,
Or tenderly dry a tear.
I shall take time to teach them
The joy of doing some task.
I’ll try to find time to answer
More of the questions they ask.

Time to read book together
And take long walks in the sun
Time for a bedtime story
After the day is done.

I shall give these to my children
Weaving a closer tie,
Knitting our lives together
With gifts that money can’t buy
~Author Unknown


Giving Thanks

Somewhere between Halloween, Hanukah and Christmas is that special indulgent Thursday that marks Thanksgiving. (And, oh my goodness, that Thursday is just two days away!)

For many, Thanksgiving is eagerly anticipated for the succulent turkey and stuffing, non-stop football games and, let us not forget, the mile-high stack of sale ads and preparation for marathon holiday shopping. With all this hubbub, though, the true meaning of Thanksgiving tends lost. Somewhere in the transition of October festivities to December celebrations, we have forgotten why this wonderful day was created in the first place – for giving thanks – thanks for our fore fathers (and fore mothers, too), thanks for our family, thanks for our friends, thanks for microwave popcorn and TIVO… Okay, you get the picture; it’s time to be thankful. Easy said, but some families are stumped when trying to find ways to express our gratitude. The tips below are great ways to help get your family get in the spirit of counting and appreciating its blessings not only on Thanksgiving, but everyday.

Let your cup – err, cornucopia, runneth over: Create a cornucopia of blessings with your children. Have your children cut out leaves and pumpkins from construction paper. Ask each family member to write down what they are thankful for this year. (My children have been thankful for My Littlest Pet Shop, Harry Potter, God and mini M&M’s all together, while I am always grateful for butterfly kisses, bear hugs and early bedtimes!) This is a great activity to spark dinner conversation the entire month!
Quit your complaining and pay up: Overall, we are all incredibly blessed. However, it is easy to forget our blessings and focus on our complaints. For one week, any time a family member complains about something; have them pay the money jar. At the end of the week, tally your funds and donate it to a local charity.
Double up and give back: When shopping for your holiday feast, double up on non-perishable canned and boxed goods to donate to local soup kitchens and shelters. Take it a step further, and ask your guests to bring a can of food to dinner as well.
Reach out and touch someone: We all have a friend or family member that we love and appreciate, but see infrequently. Call or visit that special someone to reconnect. If there was a rift in the relationship, make amends. If someone is ill or facing challenges, offer to help them out. Let them know how grateful you are that they are part of your life.
Count your blessings: Before heading over to Grandmas’ (or Aunt Sally’s or Cousin Bob’s or Neighbor Joe’s) house for your fill of turkey and stuffing, take a few moments to walk around your house and appreciate your blessings.
Share it: This last one is an oldie but a goodie… Before or after dinner, ask your relatives to name one thing they’re thankful for this week, month and year and share it with the others at the table. This is also a great way to learn new things about those you care about.
Say Thank You. Each day. Every day. Say thank you for the chaos, the creativity, the inspiration and more.


And with that, thank you. I’m so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to connect with you. To show my gratitude, I wish you all a memorable Thanksgiving filled with warmth, creativity and gratitude.

Best wishes to you all for a happy, blessed, and of course, a chaotic Thanksgiving!