Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Picky Eaters– Common Sense Parenting with “Auntie Artichoke” (EXPERT)

Picky eaters get that way for a variety of reasons. Some are very sensitive to taste, texture and smell. The more your child is involved in planning and preparing the meals, the more he or she will enjoy them. Statistics say families who enjoy regular meals together have better job and school performance, less stress and more happiness. Never make a battle around food. Encourage good conversation and connections at the dinner table.

3 Easy Steps To Really Enjoy Children (EXPERT)

Aunties and Uncles, Teachers and Coaches, Youth Leaders and extended families are so important to raising resilient, confident kids into adults.

Parents spend an average of seventeen hours a week in the company of their kids, but less than two hours a week devoted to interacting with them. Interacting means face to face or shoulder to shoulder time talking, playing or helping with homework. It does not mean texting or phone calls, which is connecting but not building real relationships.

Encouraging Words For Children And Youth

Auntie Artichoke Says: Children need encouragment. They need to have you cheering thier progress anc celebrating their success.

Auntie Artichoke Says: Children need encouragement. They need to have you cheering their progress and celebrating their success.

Greeting to those who love children;

As caring adults who want to find methods of encouraging positive character traits in the children and youth  we love or work with, we want to give messages that reinforce their efforts.  There are really only two kinds of messages that we can give young people–

  • Hurtful ones that diminish or belittle them as individuals and break the spirit. The result is that we dis”couarage’ them from trying again.
  • Love signals in verbal and non verbal ways that give them courage to keep trying, to celebrate talents and possibilities.

Children Prefer Beatings to Being Ignored

When I first heard that statement, I was shocked and saddened. As I have visited with those who suffered childhood trauma and abuse, they have shared the feeling that they were invisible, except for the abuse.  No child should feel that way. Ever.Ever. Ever.

We often read about the commercial messages that our children are bombarded with each day and become  concerned that they will believe erroneous advertising.  The messages they receive from their parents and peer group is much more important and has the power to deeply alter their self esteem and identity.

Body Language is Communication of Relationships

Not all signals and sentences come from what we say, but rather how we act when we are present with our children. The crook of an eyebrow, a gesture of the hand, the pat on the back, the wink the smile, the frown, the crossed arms and impatient look are all gestures that speak volumes to others.

What is the message that a smile and a hug  sends to a worried child on test day?  We are encouraging them to do their best and letting them know that we love the person they are, not the test grade.  When we rub our child’s back before bed, or snuggle close to watch a favorite movie we are sharing non-verbal words and encouragement.

Words to Encourage Positive Behavior

  • You are very special and I have confidence you will find a good solution.
  • I am impressed by how kind you were last week to our neighbor.
  • You are a problem solver. Can you see what has to be done next?
  • That took a lot of courage. I was impressed with your bravery.
  • It looks like you are understanding the math problems. It feels good to finally “get it” doesn’t it?
  • You have a good brain, I am interested to see what you think about this?
  • You have really made some good choices this week. Good job.

A simple message given to our child becomes their truth and that truth then becomes their belief system and ultimately their self confidence and esteem.  Thoughts and belief system govern their actions, their satisfactions and their joy.

If you would like additional assistance on encouraging words please see

You will be glad you did.

Your friend,  Judy H Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

PS:  Would love to have you visit our community

Control Conflict With Confidence

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Conflict is inevitable. As long as we have at least two human beings interacting, we will have at least two opinions on how things should be done. You cannot avoid conflict, but you can control it with confidence and a desire to find peaceful solutions.

Have you ever been drawn into a match of wills at work or home only to find that once you jumped in, you could not find a graceful way out? Maybe you were hoping that the other person would just give up or someone would come along to rescue you.

I have listed some ideas for you to use to rescue yourself. Read and reread and then practice these behaviors and you will see less conflict and more cooperation.

Four Confidence Clues

  1. Speak in short sentences. Say what you need to say, but don’t belittle the situation or the other person with long explanations. For instance, instead of saying; “Look you jerk, I worked my tail off preparing that report and all you could do is find one little error and want me to do it over again and I don’t have the time or energy to rework something that is good enough for most people.”  How about saying; “I see the error you are concerned about.”
  2. Slow down your emotional response. Your first response is usually knee jerk reaction of revealing all the resentment, anger and justification of your actions.  Your rate of speech will be very rapid and fast.  When we speak rapidly, we often make mistakes or say things that are better left unsaid.  Our mind also races ahead of our ability to think and form our answers. You will want to slow down so that you appear to be rational and mature.
  3. Watch your body language. Verbal communication is the language of information. Body or non verbal communication is the language of relationships.  If your arms are crossed and foot is tapping, it sends a defensive signal right away to the other person. If possible, take a few deep breaths, put your shoulders back and put one hand in your pocket and the other hanging loosely at your side.
  4. Deepen your voice. Stress and anger can tighten your vocal cords, making your voice come out high and screech like.  This higher pitch sends a message that you are vulnerable and emotionally overwrought.  When you breathe as listed above, you will naturally relax and you will feel and hear a deeper, more confident voice coming out of your mouth.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Your goal is not to avoid conflict, because that is impossible, but to control it with confidence and courage.

You can do it. I have confidence in you.  If you would like to build more confidence in yourself

You will be glad you made the decision to build your self confidence so you can control conflict in your life.  How have you handled conflict in the past? Has that method worked for you? Leave a comment and let’s start a dialog about controlling conflict with confidence.

Your Friend,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

Low Self Esteem? Build Confidence

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Are you or someone you love overcome with low self esteem? A belief system which implies that you are less than others and not deserving of happiness is not serving you well.  Each one of us is born with a gift or destiny. It is important that you find ways and means to build confidence and raise your self-esteem.

Build Confidence With Positive Affirmations

Our thoughts and belief systems are continually running through our minds.  Are your thoughts mostly positive or negative?  Thoughts are like plants in a garden, when you plant a bean (or positive thought) you get multiples of beans. You will want to plant a series of hope, success, happiness and enthusiasm seeds of positive affirmations.

Affirmations are statements of belief.  Your subconscious does not grade or evaluate them.  It just tries to make the actions of the individual (you) make them come true. The more you repeat a statement, the more the mind will hear the message and  encourage your physical body to follow the encouragement.

Affirmations For High Self-Esteem

  • I am a worthy person who treats others and myself with respect.
  • I am a successful problem solver and find creative solutions.
  • I draw others to me who are kind, thoughtful and helpful.
  • I  take care of my body and mind so I can appreciate all my talents.
  • I am brave, courageous, and unafraid to change ways and thoughts that are not working for my highest good.

Negative Thoughts and Low Self-Esteem Unwelcome

I have confidence in your ability to encourage a positive attitude and high self-esteem. You can do it.  You are worthy of the respect of your peers, family and friends. Just keep planting positive affirmations in your mind and acting in a confident manner.

If you need assistance, please go to:

You will be glad you did.

In gratitude,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and motivational speaker

Shy in Social Situations

Hello from Montana:

Shyness is an adjective or label imposed by others when they observe someone who does not communicate well and is at unease in social situations. We may label ourselves as “quiet, reticent, unassuming or even self-contained.”

People who are shy in social situations usually do not see it as a problem until someone points it out or draws attention to the behavior.  The perspective of how to look at shyness is interesting, because those who are shy, see only a quiet demeanor.  Observers however, tend to judge the shy person as standoffish, rude, snobby, superior attitude and wants to be left alone.

Starting The  Change From Shy to Confident

It is important for those who consider themselves as quiet or not good at communication to realize that it is okay to be quiet occasionally.  Everyone has periods of  being quiet and also of being confident and outgoing.

If you want to learn to be more confident, especially in social situations, be willing to take a few chances.  One never grows in confident by staying in a comfortable place.  It is only when you step out of your old habits and find a new comfort level that you move toward success.

Practice The Steps To Overcome Shyness

Being shy is not a disease, it is a behavior.  Behaviors can be changed.  Belief systems and negative thoughts can be changed.

Communication is a process of sharing in a relationship. Just by forcing yourself to smile, you will find others more receptive to you and your ideas. The next time it will be easier and easier.

Please commit to starting on the journey to no longer by shy in social situations. For additional support and assistance, please go to:

You will be so glad you did.  Start your journey today.
In gratitude,
Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and motivational speaker

Language of Love

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Do you speak the same language as your spouse, children, boss and co-workers?  You may very well be  nodding your head and saying; “Of course, we all speak English or Spanish or French.” You may  understand the words others speak, but do you always get the message they intended? Do others sometimes miss what you are trying to convey in words?

There is a much more universal language and that is the language of love and friendship. Sometimes the words spoken and verbal languages are the least important part of communication.

Body Language

Spoken words are the communication of information and are only integrated and believed about 20% of the time.  Body language is the communication of relationships  and is accepted and believed 80% of the time. If a choice comes between what you say and what you do, people will always believe what you do and how you make them feel.

It is the unspoken facial expression of delight when someone you love comes into view. It is the pat on the back for the teenager to indicate you are on his side. It is warm handshake for a business client. It is smiling at the grocery clerk who is obviously stressed and overwhelmed.

Relationships Need Communication to Grow

For all of us, our communication skills directly relate to how successful we’ll be in the inner personal relationships, both personal and professional.  Learning to respect others unconditionally will help us to connect on a spiritual level.

You don’t need to like what others say and do, but you do need to respect their right to be who they are.  Our souls are all connected, and by communicating with the language of love, we will be able to understand those who are struggling to speak “our language of love.”

Your friend and supporter,

Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote motivational speaker