Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Stress Triggers for Kids-How To Help Them Cope (EXPERT)

How do you know what is stress and what is a temper tantrum? How do caring adults help them to cope with school, friends and disappointments?

How do you know when your child is too stressed? Gain tips to help them deal with healthy stress.

How do you know when your child is too stressed? Gain tips to help them deal with healthy stress.

How do you figure out if the stomachache is from too many tacos last night or the math test scheduled today?  Why would your six year old be stressed when you are the one who lost the job?  Why would your eight year old suddenly hate Little League and begin wheezing as it nears time to go?


At times all parents are confused by what are normal growing pains and what is a genuine fear or stress in their child’s life.  The three standards to judge the situation are:


  1. Duration.  If the child just started complaining about being sick before the bus comes, it may be something happening that can be easily explained.  If it is not a bad day, but an on going behavior some calm conversation and reassurance is in order.
  2. Is it age and developmentally appropriate?  Transitions are hard for anyone, but a two year old who clings is different than a nine year old who refuses to get out of the car.
  3. Degree of intensity. If the behavior is disrupting family life or is becoming a major stumbling block to growth or happiness, intervention may be indicated.


Typical stressors


Babies: Over stimulation, too many care givers, any major change.  They pick up on your stress.

Toddlers: Separation anxiety, transitions, being abandoned, Television shows and videos

Kindergarten/First Grade: Not being picked up after school, wetting their pants, not being chosen for games, being teased by bullies or not understanding what a teacher wants them to do.

Second/Third Grade: Report cards teased or called names by older students, not being invited to parties and sleepovers, not fitting in, teacher’s discipline and parent’s disapproval.

Fourth Grade: Being thought of as “dumb”, losing a best friend, being chosen last, not getting school work done and any major change in family structure.

Fifth/Sixth Grade: Body changes, afraid they are abnormal, strange, and unlovable. Bad grades.

Jr. High School: Identity, peer pressure, standing out from the crowd, having others see their body.

High School: Popularity, appearance, lack of money or clothes, SAT tests, what to do with life.



Children and adolescents handle stress better when they are attached to at least one adult who will make them feel safe, secure and loved.  Being able to trust an adult to look out for their best interests pulls them through stressful times and helps build a resiliency for all areas of life.


Let your child know you are always there for him to talk, console and support.  While you won’t solve the problems, the two of you can brainstorm solutions without judgment or criticism. The best antidote for solving stress related problems is to have fun!  Go play at the park. Take a hike in the mountains.  Laugh, giggle, wiggle, dance, sing and just remember that this too shall pass.


Judy H. Wright is a parent educator and author of over 20 books on family relations, wellness, and abundance. Free articles and a newsletter are available at   You will also find afull listing of books, podcasts , eBooks and teleclasses.

To schedule Judy for a workshop, please go to

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.

Indigo Children – Born To Lead Hard To Manage

As I travel the country teaching workshops for parents, teachers and day care providers I often ask them if they recognize

Auntie Artichoke enjoys working with the parents of Indigo Children

Auntie Artichoke enjoys working with the parents of Indigo Children

the Indigo Children. These children are not content to color in the lines or glue macaroni on paper. They are very bright but also very active and curious.

Born To Be Leaders

Some of the children who are being born now are just arriving knowing who and what they are. They really just need parents to guide them a little and keep them safe till they are grown up enough to accomplish what they have been sent to do. Many parents and teachers are scared of such independent spirits and want to medicate them because they are easier to handle. They are usually intuitive and sensitive to the environment. These beautiful kind spirits are very hard to keep in the old rules of schools and families. They are self directed and don’t always get the “why” adults want them to do things.

A Few Characteristics Noted By Jan Tober and Lee Carol, Authors of What Is an Indigo Child

  • They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).
  • They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.
  • They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.
  • They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).
  • They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward; feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

Trust Your Intuition

There are many other books out there that will give you insight into the personality of an Indigo Child. Your most important source of inspiration on dealing with your child is your heart and intuition. No one knows and loves your child as you do. Discuss and plan with the child systems to make life easier for both of you. I can usually tell because their eyes will look at you as if they can see into your soul. They are the ones who will help all of humanity to move in a direction. A leader who will lead in their own way. Our job is to keep these Indigo Children safe and recognize what they have to teach us. They are born to lead, so let’s guide and accompany them on their journey, but let them lead the way. I am sure you probably have a child or two who come to mind when I talk about an Indigo Child.

If your child has lost self esteem by trying to fit into a “regular world” please go to for a free ebook which will help them recognize their inner strength. You will be so glad you did.

Thanks for joining our community of caring parents, family members, coaches, teachers and mentors who want to help raise a generation of responsible adults who respect others.

Judy H. Wright You have permission to reprint this article in your blog, ezine or offline magazine as long as you keep the content and contact information intact. Thank You.

How To Deal With A Difficult Child – Rude, Defiant and Lazy

Why won’t my kid behave? What makes him so angry? How can I control his angry behavior? Why is his behavior rude and obnoxious? How can we teach respect and responsibility? Are all kids his age lazy?  What am I doing wrong?

Difficult Child or Child Having Difficult Day?

Difficult Child or Child Having Difficult Day?

These are common questions that come up in parenting classes I teach and attend.    One of the biggest concerns of parents, teachers and care givers is how to get their kids to behave.  I know this for a fact, because my husband and I have six adult children, foster children and now grandchildren.  We see them with eyes of love and tolerance but are also aware that some children are more “high maintenance”  than others.

Labels Become Self Fulfilling Prophecies

There are many labels that adults put on children who do not immediately obey instructions. some are called ADD, ADDHD, Extreme kids, Indigo Child, Star Children and I have even heard them revered to as spoiled brats.  The problem with labels, titles and roles is that children soon begin to be that which they are called.  If they are seen as difficult, they will continue to be difficult.

Encouragement Toward Positive Goals

Although we may want and desire our children to automatically know what to do and say that will please us and society, life doesn’t work that way.  We must believe in our children if they are to believe in themselves.  In order to feel adequate and accepted, children need frequent encouragement.  A cooperative relationship depends on how children feel about themselves and their place in the world.

Although adults and other important people  do not cause children to misbehave, we can reinforce and encourage their misbehavior without being aware of what our expectations are for the child.  The child may be unaware that his action is seeking one of the four goals of misbehavior;

  • Attention
  • Power
  • Revenge
  • Display of inadequacy

No effective parenting will work long term unless the whole family works together to build a respectful and positive relationship.  Most families with a difficult child who appears rude, defiant and lazy have tried everything before recognizing that it is a family concern and can only be resolved by working together.

Be Kind But Firm

Have a family council and decide what kind of a family you want to be and how to achieve those goals.  Set reasonable consequences and make sure the whole family understands what the rules and guidelines are going to be.  Don’t worry about every little infraction, but instead concentrate on a few behavior issues that are disrupting the quality of family life.  Ask the children to draw the chore calender or behavior chart.  Help them to become empowered with their own place in the family.

Consistent Consequences and Expectations

In my experience, it is not that parents don’t love their children, rather it is the opposite.  They want the best for the whole family but often discourage positive behavior by focusing on the negative.  Follow through and be consistent and you will be rewarded by not living with a difficult child, but rather a good kid having an occasional bad day.

I have confidence in you.

Your friend,

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

PS: Another great resource is which will help the whole family work together so there will be more free time for fun activities.