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

Mean Girls & Tough Boys–Bullying At Any Age (EXPERT)

Tough boys and Mean girls have always been around. Bullying is a catch-all phrase for an imbalance of power or strength that is either real or perceived. There is a potential for the greater power to intentionally threaten or harm the weaker one. This power struggles usually takes place over a sustained period of time and has the potential to escalate into violence. Bullying can harm indivduals, families, schools and communties. For more information please see

What To Do If Your Child Has Violent Tendencies


What To Do If Your Child Has Violent Tendencies

Most parents have the highest hopes and anticipation for our children. When your visions of success and happiness are thwarted because of your child’s violent tendencies, parents may be tempted to deny that your child needs help or that your child’s tendencies will resolve themselves over time. However, ignoring or prolonging your offspring’s violent outbursts is the worst course of action you can take if you hope to restore any desires that your child will be happy and successful in the future.

Rather than give into the worry, fear, embarrassment, and stress that come with having a violent child, parents can instead take these prompt and necessary steps to lead your child to a healthy and meaningful future.

What Makes A Kid Violent?

It’s been proven that excessive exposure to violence through popular media like movies, TV shows and video games contribute to a child’s violent behavior. It desensitizes children to the violence and can make them adopt aggressive behavior. By the time a typical American child reaches the age of 18, he has already been exposed to almost 200,000 acts of violence seen on TV. Popular video games like Grand Theft Auto also rewards violent and destructive behavior.

If a child has suffered some trauma to his brain, this injury can also add to his violent behavior. Use of drugs and alcohol, violence or economic strain in the family can be factors too. Children at risk are those who have problems with being impulsive, irritable, and easily frustrated.

Accept The Problem For What It Is

Some parents may be ready to gloss over your child’s emotional and mental outbursts as a normal developmental stage or a bout of immaturity that will surely go away over time. Minimizing your child’s violent tendencies, however, only serves to deflect the responsibility of getting your child much needed help and addressing the issue for what it really is. Many parents avoid recognizing your child’s outbursts because you may feel embarrassed or that you are to blame for your child’s behavior. Instead of focusing on how you feel, however, you should think ahead about what is best for your child and act promptly to get your son or daughter the professional help they need.

As parents, you must also think of the safety of other children, like siblings or schoolmates, who might be at the receiving end of mean acts. Is your violent child being a typical “brat” or is he taking bullying to a dangerous level? Does he need constant monitoring because he is not to be trusted with playing nice or being left alone with other kids?

Seek Help Through The Professional Community

You may try to keep your child out of the medical establishment by taking your offspring to counseling sessions with religious leaders or natural healers. While it may be perfectly acceptable to adhere to religious or lifestyle beliefs during your child’s recovery, parents are still encouraged to seek out qualified medical help for your child’s violent tendencies. A team of doctors, licensed psychiatrists, and mentors are the ideal choices for heading up a child’s emotional and mental treatment.

In the case of a troubled child, the causes might come from social issues which need to be addressed. A specialist in juvenile justice who also happens to work as a life coach in Seattle for at-risk kids, suggests that the child’s failure to thrive could be because of an addiction, and that he could use help with “releasing stress, reframing and keeping boundary maintenance, and improved communication.” A child may have to be hospitalized, put on medications, or go through other intense medical therapies that can help him recover from the emotional or mental distress that causes his violent behavior. The coach also works with the whole family, to help repair the dynamics between the child and his parents and siblings. Each child is different so the course of action for your particular family would be worked out by the coach with your family’s participation.

Commit To Long-Term Monitoring And Care

Once your child has been treated and shows signs of improvement, don’t be quick to dismiss his behavior and believe that the problem is resolved permanently. Few children recover quickly from violent emotional and mental behaviors. Many kids face years of treatment for their behavior, making it necessary for their parents to commit to a long-term care plan that ultimately should lead to the child’s successful recovery. Falsely believing that the treatment will be short-lived and resolved in a few short weeks or months can set you up for disappointment and frustration.

Work As A Parental Team

Parents whose children show signs of violent behavior may be quick to blame each other. It is vital that you realize that blaming your spouse only leads to a breakdown of your relationship with each other and your entire family’s structure. For the sake of your child and his siblings, parents must work together to focus on his recovery. Showing a unified front can give the troubled adolescent the reassurance he needs to commit to his medical treatment.

When children show signs of violent behavior, parents should not hesitate to act quickly and get their child the help he needs. By taking these important and urgent steps, parents can lead their son or daughter to a healthy and happy recovery.

Debbie Nguyen is a writer who likes to blog about children’s difficulties and how parents can best help resolve them. She has first-hand experience with her two teens.

Photo Credit:


No matter what life experiences may happen, kids need to be taught to bounce back from adversity.

No matter what life experiences may happen, kids need to be taught to bounce back from adversity.




You will be glad you did and so will your child.


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.

Touchpoints – Connect With Your Teens

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Today I twittered on the social networks about how important it is to connect with your teen. I advised parents and grandparents to connect at least 5 times a day. Touchpoints are not necessarily actually touching but more of making a point of acknowledging the existence of the other person.

After I had pushed the send button, I remembered how much teens dislike being in the same room as parents. They especially dislike the long eyeball to eyeball conversations that we adults treasure so much.

Touchpoints of Love

Our children need to hear our words. They need the guidance on life lessons we can teach. They need to hear the delight in our voice when we communicate lovingly.  They need to hear the pride and admiration we shower on them when they have overcome an adversity or tackled a hard task.

Yes, they do need to hear the love, tenderness and affection in our voice when we are expressing our joy in their being.  But sometimes, the best expressions of love and acceptance are non verbal.

Body Language is Communication of Relationships

Teens especially, respond better to non verbal communication or body language.  Rather than a long lecture on being a good sport when your team lost, a simple pat on the back is sufficient. A wink, a smile, a back rub, thumbs up, a grin or a clap of applause all signal that we are aware of them and their efforts.

Watch your facial expressions and tone of voice, because saying “I Love You” with a distracted look, gives a much different message.

The opposite of love is not hate, but being ignored. We want to connect with teens to let them know we are aware of their struggles and are on their side. The most powerful message in the world is that you are valued and appreciated.

Look for ways to connect with your teen. It may be the most important work in your life and theirs.

If your teen is having behavior problems, please go to

You will be glad you did.

In support,

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

http://www.ArtichokePress.commoody teen

Word Power – Encourage Communication With Family

Words have power. Power to hurt. Power to heal. And especially the power to build relationships with  family members. If you want  to encourage  communication with the family be careful of the word power you have.

Communication is More Than Just Speaking

Parents and teachers who hope to communicate successfully with children and adolescents need to have a clear understanding that talking is more than just giving orders or criticizing.

True communication is exchanging of thoughts, messages, wishes and ideas.  It is based on mutual respect and listening skills.  When we pay attention to the verbal words as well as the non verbal body language, the chances are much greater that will have a dialog rather than an argument.

Body Language is Communication of Relationships

A verbal exchange of words is the basis for sharing information.  However, it is the body signals, facial expression and tone of voice that will encourage communication with family.

The child or teenager may give you non verbal clues when they are upset or need your full attention.  Watch for the word power as well as the body language to understand the needs of your family.

Listening To Words or Hearing Words

There is a big difference between listening and actually hearing what is being said and understood.  Many family members listen to one another but don’t really listen to the unsaid message.

Successful communication involves the senses, faculties  and attention of both parties.  If you think your child is not hearing you, you may want to double check without criticizing.  Perhaps you can ask the child what he understood you to say.

When using word power make sure you are saying things clearly, directly and firmly so there will be mistakes in what was said and what was heard.  To encourage communication with your family, be sure to listen as much or more than you speak. Watch for subtle clues about what else they want to share.

You can do it. I have confidence in you. I also invite you to go to to claim your free eBook    on           Self Confidence.


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