Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Help Your Child Make Friends (expert)

The Left Out Child: The Importance of Friendship answers these and other questions:
What can parents do to guide the social development of their young children?
Why is it important to be included?
Is it harder to make friends now than it used to be?
How important is it to help your child be more likeable?
What do I do if the teacher or coach doesn’t like my child?
How do I comfort my child when they are picked last or not at all?
How do I help my child overcome shyness and build confidence?
Is there a gender difference in friendships?
What about bullies, should parents intervene?
Ages and stages of friendship
Social skills are simple, but not easy
Ten ways to help your child make friends
15 ways to help kids like themselves

Quality Time or Quantity Time

The truth is quality time just needs
to be time spent. Going to zoos, movies or museums
can be wonderful time spent together. But if you
are merely cramming the activities into your life
in a frenzied rush, you and your children won’t
experience a real sense of relaxed camaraderie.
In all actuality, they may prefer some time working
side by side with you on a family project or task.


What should you do when your kids fight and argue? Should you step in or allow them to work it out? The definition of sibling rivalry isCompetition between siblings especially for the attention, affection, and approval of their parents. This article is filled with good ideas that can assist your family to stop arguing and gain more cooperation.

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

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