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Case Study: Self Harm

Case Study:
Self-Harming 14-Year- Old Girl


The Challenge

“She’s always moody and withdrawn, and now she’s hurting herself.” When mom called, this family was in crisis mode. Her 14-year-old daughter had just admitted she was cutting after being bullied online. Mom was paralyzed watching her daughter suffer, and her daughter just wanted “feel normal again.”


The Solution

Technology overload is a common fear; kids are more connected today than at any other time. The parents requested a house call to see what was going on with their daughter. After a brief meeting with all family members, I began my observation. Technology was definitely begin overused but it was important to find out the reason behind the overuse. It quickly became evident that , I had observed a handful of “hot spots” that were causing tension within the family. This tension was causing, not just the daughter, but the parents to escape into technology. Before we could address the technology issues, we had to begin with identifying what value each person felt they had in the family. We did a relationship evaluation and prioritized key factors and needs. After lengthy discussion, together, we were able to get the family on the same page by identifying a vision through values, a mission and connecting objectives. At this point, we were able to create boundaries and expectations around technology that worked for all.


The Result

At the end of the day, the family had let go of blame and shame to create a family plan and vision that mom, dad and daughter agreed upon. At our follow-up session, mom reported that technology was still a go-to activity but creating a tech-free night allowed them to feel more connected. Three months after our initial meeting, mom and dad both reported that things were running smoothly and they felt like they had both their daughter and their family back.


“My husband and I have always wanted the best for our daughter; I think we got carried away with giving her too much too soon. And, I admit calling Julie to come to our home was scary. From the moment she walked in, though, we were put at ease. (This alone is worth the investment because I no longer felt like the bad mom.) She really seemed to understand all of us. Her insights and questions really got to the core of the matter quickly. In just one day, she was able to pinpoint what was going on underneath our challenges and her wonderfully written
action plan was worth it’s weight in gold!



8 Social Media Networks of Apps Your Tween-to-Teen is Using

2009.02.11onlineStep aside, Facebook. There a whole new crew in town taking the attention of today’s tweens and teens.  Here are nine of the top apps and social media networks your adolescents are on:

Instagram:  Instagram is by far the most used social media outlet for adolescents. Users can post photos and have their followers comment. Getting “likes” is often the goal for kids using the site.

Snapchat: Snapchat is a picture-messaging app that allows users to send photo and videos that the app promises disappear within seconds. It is rapidly becoming one of the most used social media networks with kids. Without the pressure of getting likes or followers , most say that it is a site where they feel they can be themselves.

YouTube: If you have a tween-to-teen, you have a YouTube user.  YouTube is a site that has something for everyone – entertaining, educational and, yes, inappropriate.YouTube personalities are now more popular among teens than the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Johnny Depp.

Vine: Vine is an app that allows you to record and share six-second videos. Vine’s dark side is that tweens and teens are using it record reckless behavior or to publicly humiliate one another.

Twitter: Twitter is a micro-blogging site – just 140 characters a post – where users can follow/be followed by anyone in the world. It isn’t as widely used as other networks, but there is usually a core group at every school that consults tweet and retweet.

Tumblr:  Similar to Twitter, Tumblr is a website that allows kids to post anything and follow anyone.  It’s a streaming scrapbook of text, photos, and/or videos and audio clips. Users create and follow “tumblelogs,” that, if made public,can be seen by anyone online. Many adolescents feel that Tumblr is a judgment-free spot that makes it easier to be who you want to be.

Whisper and Secret:  Intended for teens 17 and older, Whisper is a “confessional” app that allows users to post whatever’s on their mind. Like Whisper, Secret connects people anonymously through their address books. Each of these apps makes it easy to spread rumors, post pictures or text anonymously. and YikYak: is a social network where members interact by inviting others to ask anonymous questions. YikYak is similar to – no profiles, no followers – just posts about whatever users find funny or relevant.

If your tweens and teens are using social media or apps, ask them to show you how they are using it. Set ground rules about social media use. In addition to following your child’s accounts yourself, ask a family friend to follow your child as well Lastly remind your child that once something is on the internet, it is always on the Internet.

If you like this post, join me for a *FREE* webinar the first Wednesday of each month to get A’s to the top parenting Q’s. To register, click here.

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5 Ways to Talk to your Tween-to-Teen about Violence

12 Killed, 50 Wounded at movie theater…    School shooting, several wounded…  An attack on our capitol… What do I tell my 11-year-old about all these tragedies we hear about?”

A hand writes the word "Violence" on a chalkboard.Far too often, these are the headlines that confront you. It makes your heart drop and can fill you with such sorrow about the victims and their families. It often feels that senseless acts of violence are everywhere – in the media, in our communities, in our schools and, yes, in our homes. Over time, too much exposure can desensitize kids. Initially, though, most children feel frightened, unsafe and insecure.


Disturbing events can be difficult for parents to explain; however, avoiding a conversation with your child is a missed opportunity to help your child learn to communicate and cope. Research shows that children, especially tween-to-teens want parents and caring adults to talk about tough issues. Those who have early conversations are more likely to continue turning to their parents as they become older. Here are five tips to begin the courageous conversation about violence (or any tough topic).


Provide a Safe Space: Adolescents need safe spaces to share their feelings, and it’s up to you to provide it.  Talking about his feelings with you can help ease the worry and fear he may feel, especially if he thinks he has to face his feelings – anger, sadness and helplessness –  alone. When your child asks a question, provide straightforward answers. This helps to distinguish between fact and rumors.  If you don’t have an answer or the correct information, admit it. Then, together with your child, find the answer. Hiding information or offering “white lies” causes tween-to-teens to be mistrustful rather than comforted. Also, avoid ignoring, discounting or judging your child’s questions or feelings. Doing so allows her to make up her own explanation which is often more terrifying than any honest response you could offer.


Reduce Exposure to Media: While watching the news with your child can open a discussion about current events, too much exposure can feed your tween-to-teen’s fear of not feeling safe.  For adolescents, limit media exposure to times you can watch and discuss together.  Then, turn off the television and computer to do something else – play a board game, go for a walk, have a picnic – something that doesn’t expose your child to more accounts of the tragedy.


Monitor Your Behavior:  As a parent, these acts of violence leave you with a horrible, sickening feeling in your stomach.  At the same time, your child is watching and listening to your reactions. It is okay to be upset; and it’s okay to show your child that you are upset. Don’t let those feelings consume you because your reaction influences your child’s reaction. Instead, acknowledge how you are feeling and then discuss ways to manage concerns. This opens the lines of communication and helps reestablish a sense of safety for your child.


Get Support: If you or your child are depressed or unable to participate in activities, please seek out support from your clergy or a counselor. 


Hold Your Child Tight: Tragedies – especially senseless acts of violence – are terrifying for parents and child alike. Holding your child provides reassurance that you love him and are doing what you can to make his personal world safe.


If you like this post, join me for a *FREE* webinar the first Wednesday of each month to get A’s to the top parenting Q’s. To register, click here.

Oops! See a typo or an inaccuracy? Please contact us so we can check it out!


3 Simple Questions that Build a Stronger, Happier Relationship with your Child

heartTeens who feel close to their parents are more likely to come to them for advice when faced with tough decisions. They are also more likely to follow their parents’ advice. Teens who feel close to their parents often have higher self-esteem and are better able to stand up to negative peer pressure.  Besides showing love and taking a an interest in your child, you also need to take a closer look at the part you play in your relationship.

No matter what the state of your relationship, their are always little things – clothes on the floor, the school book left in the back of the car, never dishes left on the counter -  that can cause you to feel resentful towards your tween-to-teen and deteriorate the relationship.

Recently, I read about Naikan (pronounced N Y E-kon), a little-known practice of self-reflection rooted in Zen Buddhism and developed in Japan in the 1940s. It is an easy way to take responsibility for our role in the relationship with our children.

Naikan’s power lies in the details – the good, the bad, and the ugly truths that make up the mosaic of any relationship. Your focus is on the role you play, your actions and choices and on what you received from the other person. What you uncover can be surprising because we often deny our ability to hurt others.

You can use this same practice to boost your own relationship with your child. Set aside a few quiet moments at the end of each day and focus on the relationship with your child. Ask your the following questions:

  • What have I received from my child?
  • What have I given to my child?
  • What troubles and difficulties have I cause my child?

Make sure your answers are specific. For example, “He put the dishes away after dinner without being asked rather than “he did chores,” or “I am not present when he asks me asks me to help with his homework” instead of “I don’t listen.” 

Relationships take time; however, the positive results with Naikan can happen quickly because you begin to look at your child and yourself through a different lens.  Yes, you may still be annoyed with the dishes left on the counter but reflecting on these questions can keep those feelings in perspective. It cultivates a deeper sense of gratitude. Those three little questions can be an incredibly powerful, easily accessible tool to help you build a much stronger relationship with your child and with others.


Character Clubs: Are you the One?

This has been a very difficult decision for me. I’ve lamented over it for more than three years. 75050_165741643454936_1464997_n

It’s time for me to say goodbye to Character Clubs. It has been my “baby” since 2007. Recently, though, I realized that it is time for me to step aside and let someone else love and nurture it.

Character Clubs was founded on the idea of building a community that supports young people. In 2007, at the encouragement of  my children, then 3, 5 and 6, I invited several neighborhood children to my house to put character-into-action through fun activities, games and service projects. The impact was immediately visibility. Kids and parents alike saw a boost in confidence and connection.  Many parents commented that this club was filled with “tomorrow’s leaders.” This enthusiasm prompted me to form an official Character Clubs program.

Character_Club_Logo_Reg-1My commitment to children and their families has never wavered. My business, however has evolved from developing habits of character in young children to helping tweens, teens and parents navigate their relationship through my private practice and through Flipside of Parenting.

The other night, I woke at 2AM to a little whisper in my head that said, “Let it go.” Okay, the whisper was probably showing up in my dream because I seen Frozen with a group of preschoolers earlier. However, I realized that it was time, time to let Frozen go.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, I need your help. If you know of anyone who is looking for an amazing business that can be run from home AND with your kids. (Yes, with your young kids!), could you pass along my name

Character Clubs truly is an incredible program and business. I’ve invested my an incredible amount of time, money and love into creating something that would truly impact the lives of children.

Thanks for your help!