Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Teaching & Modeling Empowerment (EXPERT)

How does a parent, grandparent, mentor or teacher model empowerment and confidence to the kids in their circle of influence?

The primary way anything is taught to children is through modeling. We show them the behavior we desire.  From the time they are infants, children are constantly watching and mimicking what we do and say.

They May Not Do What You Say, But What You Do

If there is a discrepancy between what we do and what we say, they learn a whole different lesson than what we set out to teach.  If you are giving your child a lecture on lying, then the phone rings and you tell him to say you aren’t home if it is your crazy Aunt Mabel, which behavior do you think he will adapt in his life?

The most important way to convey the lessons of encouragement, empowerment and confidence is to show them how to behave, or model the behavior.  The most effective way to teach your child he or she has the power to take positive action and make changes in behavior is to allow them to see you work through challenges.  We need to walk the walk, and guide them to persist in the process of a lifelong learning experience.

Teach Problem Solving

Teach and mentor others something that will improve their lives.  Sometimes just a word or gesture that shows you have confidence in their ability to problem solve gives them courage to move forward. Help them to achieve goals they can’t reach by themselves.  Empower them to succeed.

Every situation has at least five solutions.  Help them to help themselves in all areas of life. Encourage them to look at a problem from different angles and perspectives.

Acknowledge & Appreciate Success

Many of the people in your life who are top performers may be limiting their effectiveness because they don’t realize just how good they are. The greatest gift we can do for others is not to share our riches but to reveal theirs.

confidence, empowerment, problem solving, Judy Helm Wright, Auntie Artichoke, EXPERT,

Children will not always do what you say, but usually will do what you do. Model confidence

At a recent parenting class I was talking about discovering the accomplishments of their children. The goal was to have them recognize their own strengths, skills and talents. I started with a ball thrown to a participant with the instruction to yell out something they were good at and then throw the ball to another person.

Surprisingly, many of the participants had great difficulty recognizing and acknowledging their own special talents.  It took some gentle prodding and suggestions from others for them to see themselves in a new and powerful light.

Once we got going it was much easier to recognize that not everyone can make delicious chocolate chip cookies.  It is a skill to be able to be able to return an item to a store that not everyone has.  It takes someone special to be able to bring peace to a conflict at work.

Part of empowering others is to make sure we recognize and applaud our own accomplishments.  Many have been taught to not get “a big head” or that “that’s not so special.”  We need to help them reveal to themselves and others what great gifts they have been given.


Third Party Credibility


I remember hearing the phrase “Criticize in private, Praise in public” and it really seemed like a good idea to incorporate in my business and personal life.  Since the word criticize has some bad connotations for me, I prefer to use the word feedback or mentor.

You will find more about that philosophy in my parenting book How to Discipline Without Damage.

Whenever you get a chance to brag about someone do it.  That is called third party credibility and carries a lot of weight.  How do I know?  Because I leave reviews on YELP, recommendations on Angie’s list and write testimonials for people I do business with.

Don’t allow your children, friends and associates to dismiss or ignore a success.  Reveal their victories to them by documenting success on performance reviews or testimonials on Linked In or YELP. Send them a note of congratulations. Post a Hurrah on Facebook. Let them know that you noticed and were impressed with their success.

It takes so little time to empower and encourage others and yet many would prefer to be part of the destruction crew rather than the builders and enhancers of others.  I have never quite got why so many people will cheer for their team to win a football game but won’t give their own kid a high-five and an atta-boy.

Self-Awareness Quiz

  1. Do you acknowledge your own successes out loud and in your mind?  Practice saying “Yay Me.”
  2. Do you share the success of others in public by compliments, reviews and testimonials?
  3. Do you model confidence in finding solutions and assuming your own power?

Would You Benefit From A Private Coaching Session?

If so, then contact me at and let’s find a time to discover if we resonate and can travel the empowerment journey together.

You will be glad you did.  It costs nothing to ask and the benefits are priceless. See  today.



Invisible Wounds…Coping With the Issue of Crash Anxiety

misty driver

When you think about car accidents in general, you think of physical injuries and physical damage to your car. In most cases, you do not think about the emotional trauma that an accident can cause, or the lasting anxiety that can occur. In fact, most people do not realize how often this occurs, especially in women.

Women often become afraid of their cars if the injuries they sustained were very serious. While this does happen in men, women react this way to an accident more often because they feel that their driving skills have become diminished.When a car accident occurs, it can really impact your self-confidence about getting behind the wheel again. Anxiety and fear can also become an issue, and many people experience a complete fear of even getting into a car again. Thankfully, this can be addressed and corrected.

Overcoming Post Accident Anxiety

• Drivers Refresher Course. Sometimes this fear and anxiety can be overcome by taking a drivers refresher course. The person who is experiencing the anxiety “learns” first-hand that they are still a skilled driver and able to operate the vehicle.

• Passenger Skills. Sometimes this fear is able to be conquered by remaining a passenger for a while and feeling comfortable in the front seat of the car once more. In bad anxiety cases, the person who is affected does not even want to get into a car at all. Sometimes starting slowly as a passenger will help overcome the fear.

• Small Trips. It may take some time, but the fearful driver can begin making small errands in the car, preferably with another adult passenger. Quick trips to the grocery store will eventually become long trips.

• Therapy. Some people are so fearful of their car after an accident that they must seek professional therapy to help them overcome their problems. Once therapy has begun to show progress, they will be able to complete the steps listed above and return to driving.

Post-accident anxiety is something that is very real and must be taken seriously. If you or a loved on have been involved in a car accident and are experiencing this type of fear, it is important to seek help. It is also very important for you to discuss this fact with your car accident attorney. On this video from Long Island car accident lawyer, Gacovino Lake, you can find some insight in to the type of assistance a car accident attorney can provide to make the situation less stressful.

Of particular interest is the fact that insurance companies will show up as quickly as possible to settle your claim. You may not be aware of your anxiety about driving at that time and would not receive the appropriate compensation to pay for therapy for your anxiety.

Your attorney can make sure that prior to the settlement for your accident , the insurance company pay for any and all treatments you need to overcome this issue. Any lasting impacts that this anxiety may cause you must also be considered when a settlement is offered. If continued treatment is necessary, you need to have the financial capabilities to cover these expenses.

The worst thing that you can do is ignore these feelings. You want to make sure that you take the proper steps or receive the right therapy to address this issue. Failing to take care of the problem could result in a lifetime of not being able to drive or panicking behind the wheel. Sadly, panicking behind the wheel could lead to another accident, making matters even worse.

Georgina Clatworthy is a former legal editor and still writes on many legal topics. She has always tried to provide advice and insight on the many issues often overlooked in legal matters especially in terms of the effects caused by injuries and accidents.

Photo credit:

Thank you for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all.  Be sure to claim your  free download and find out how to have Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” speak at your next convention or in-service.  You can contact her at   You will be glad you did.


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.

Phrases to Build Confidence

When you build confidence, both in yourself and others, use strong words that evoke a sense of movement.

For instance; “I can do it” is certainly stronger than “I can’t do it.” Contrast that to “I choose to do it” which sounds more powerful and sure. The strongest is “I am going to do it! I will start right now and practice it every day until it becomes automatic action.”

Commit to Confidence

Making a decision that you can do something is great but making a commitment and an action plan is even better.  The Universe rewards action.  When you move forward, you will find assistance, guidance and doors opening for you.  Life actually becomes easier once you move in a forward direction.

In my many books and articles available at  you will find the words to say to bring about positive change.  I do this because sadly, many people have told me that they need the specific words and phrases because they have never heard them.

Phrases To Increase Self-Esteem and Confidence

Here is a list of 15 encouraging words and phrases that will assist you or your child to keep trying and increase self-esteem and confidence.

  1. “I like the way you handled that.”
  2. “Wow, you really thought out the solution to that problem.”
  3. “I have faith in your ability.”
  4. “I appreciate what you did.”
  5. “You are really showing improvement.”
  6. “I know you will figure out a good way to do it next time.”
  7. “You don’t have to be perfect. Effort and improvement are important.”
  8. “I trust you to be responsible.”
  9. “It must make you proud of yourself when you accomplish something like that.”
  10. “You are a valuable part of the team.”
  11. “It is okay to make a mistake, we all do. What do you think you learned from it?”
  12. “How can we turn this into a positive?”
  13. “I’m proud of you for trying.”
  14. “I’ll bet by next year you will be able to handle it, you just need to grow a little.”
  15. “I know you are disappointed that you didn’t win, but you’ll do better next time.”

Say Your Encouraging Words With Emotion

The stronger the positive statements spoken with emotion and deep meaning, the more the sub-conscious mind believes you and works to make it come true. That is why affirmations work. You are repeating positive statements with feeling and emotion.

Claim a copy of the audio book Affirmations For Abundance  at and listen to it daily for 21 days as you commute to work or walk around the park.  You will see a big difference in your belief system and inner confidence.

You deserve the best and I am confident in your ability to impact the world by influencing others to make wise choices through the use of encouragement and attracting the positive.


Join our community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all at

4 Ways to Connect & Communicate With Your Toddler(EXPERT)

4 Ways to Connect & Communicate With Your Toddler


Do you talk to your kids or with them?  Do you listen to them and do you actually hear what they are trying to tell you? Does your body language (non-verbal) match what your words (verbal) are communicating?  Connecting and bonding with your children will be one of the most valuable gifts and legacies that you can share with them.

If you are like most parents and caring adults, your main objective is to raise competent, well-adjusted children who become self-reliant and emotionally healthy adults. I would like to invite you to read, ponder and think how you can apply these four parts of communicating with young children today

1.     Connect with them by saying their name

Before giving directions or asking them to do a task, make sure they are even on the same wave-length as you are. Squat down so you are looking at them and can engage their eyes on you instead of their toys.  You may need to announce; “Emmie, I need your ears to hear what I am going to say.”  “Jeffrey, I need your eyes to see what I want you to see.”  As parents we also found it helpful to touch their upper arm when we needed their full attention.  In return, they knew that when they touched our upper arm, they had something important to say.

2.     Say what you want in short sentences, not long lectures

Be very specific in what you want.  The more parents ramble and justify their position the more the kids become overwhelmed, confused and eager to say no. “I want the toys in the box now.” If it seems like they are going to argue, just repeat “Toys-box-now.”  If your child can’t repeat back what you want done, it was too long and confusing.

3.     When-then not If

This is the difference between a reward and a bribe. When is a measurable goal; “when you put your shoes on, then we will leave for the store and the park.”  You both know if the shoes are on or off and that it is his job, there is nothing to debate, argue or throw a tantrum over.  When and then implies that you expect obedience and compliance with the request.

Encouraging words and phrases will help your child to become an independent self-reliant person. This article has tips of building self-confidence and esteem.See for more information.

However, you start a sentence with “If” then there is room for negotiation, whining and begging. Saying “if you put your shoes on we can go to the park after shopping” implies that he has a choice.

It is important that children know that they have some choices in life, but not everything is a choice or worthy of a decision.  Sometimes, they just do what we say because we are the parent and make decisions that are in their best interest and best for the family.

Which leads us to the last and most important part of being a parent, helping the children we love and care for to be independent self-reliant individuals?

4.     Help them to help themselves.

Of course it is easier and faster for us, as adults, to do things ourselves.  We can zip the zipper and be on our way much quicker than we can take the time to show her one more time how to fit the zipper tab over the two sides.  But this is a disservice and a discouragement to the child.

When we encourage them to learn new tasks and celebrate their capabilities that support transfers to every aspect of life.  The accomplishment of a small thing today will lead to more successes every day. As they see us model making mistakes and self-correcting or adjusting our goals in life, they see that it is okay to not be perfect.  The joy of knowing that you are loved unconditionally builds a foundation of confidence and self-esteem.

The more you do for your children the less time you have to do things with them.  Connect and communicate your love, support and joy by building pleasant memories and strong life skills.

Self-Awareness Quiz

  • Have you heard yourself saying to your toddler; “Here, just let me do it. It will be faster?”
  • If your toddler wants to help, will you allow him to assist you?
  • Are you aware of the natural stages of growth in small children?
  • Would you like to learn more about tips and techniques to bond with your child?
  • If so, then claim your free report at


Judy Helm Wright aka “Auntie Artichoke” is an expert parent educator and speaker.  If your organization would be interested in hiring Judy as a keynote speaker, please call 406-549-9813 or see

If you found this article interesting, you will want to check out the new series of Raising Smart & Kind Kids- Babies, Toddlers and Pre-school.   They are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at

Teasing On PlayGround – Words Can Hurt

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Not only in Montana, but all over the world today children and teens are dreading the lunch bell.  Why?  Because they know that they will be teased, tormented and bullied when they are in a common area with other kids. Harsh and ugly words and phrases are hurled at the  child and usually in the presence of classmates, which is embarrassing. There are usually power struggles for “Queen Bees” and the “Wannabees” in girls and the “Alpha Male” in the boys. Teasing and  trading insults may be a way of getting acquainted or finding the group of friends who are friendly to the child.

Friendly and Unfriendly Teasing

If a child’s self esteem in grade school is dependent on relationships with peers, they need to learn to not take every remark as a personal insult.  Hopefully, you and your child can understand that teasing can be friendly or unfriendly.  Even saying a phrase like “Hello” or “Get out of here” can take on many different meaning with a change in tone of voice and body language.

Most communication is non verbal and so the child has to pay attention to not only what the other children say but how they say it.

Verbal Language is Exchange of Information

The words and greetings exchanged on the playground can often depend more on the mood and experiences of the speaker than on the one being addressed.  However, people in general and children in particular, tend to personalize anything that is said.  Helping them to interpret words and gestures to understand what the intent is behind the words.

Non Verbal Language is Communication of Relationships

Most emotional and relationship connecting people is nonverbal. So to understand other people the ability to read body language is huge.  Some children, because of their difficulty in reading other people’s cues (especially in groups) need to practice and role play interacting with others. Children also need to have confidence in their ability to like and be liked by other people.

Teasing on the playground will be easier to  interpret  by children who have gained some understanding that relationships bring pleasure and belonging along with the flip side of disappointment and frustration. Here are some non verbal cue and clues to help them:

Clues for Unfriendly and Friendly Teasing

Hostile facial expression                  Smiling facial expression

Sarcastic tone of voice                     Joking tone of voice

Fists, Arms crossed                           Hands open

“In your face”                                      Standing next to child being teased

Encourage Your Child To Problem Solve

When the child complains that they are being teased with hurtful words, the parents naturally feel the hurt as much or more than the child does. Be careful that you are not setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Teach them the skills they will need to help themselves. If  you would like assistance in encouraging your child, please go to:

In support and joy,

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

PS:  Help your kids to assume personal responsibility for their feelings and emotions.   You will always be grateful and so will they.

PSS:   Be sure to take a look at this

Body Language – Model Confidence

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Body Language is the communication of relationships.  Verbal language is the communication of information and is really only processed and remembered about 20% of the time. Model confidence in your posture, gestures, facial expressions and approachability and you will gain friends and influence people.

Model Confidence of Others

One of the best ways to learn a new skill or behavior is to watch someone else demonstrate that behavior.  This is especially true if the person you are modeling is someone you admire.

So watch how they greet others, do they extend the hand of friendship or stand against the wall?  Do they take a seat near the front of the room and join in the conversation or sit in the back of the room and try not to be noticed?

Confident body language is about being comfortable in your own skin. It is about making others feel comfortable to be around you.

I like to say confidence is walking into a room and saying “Here I am, what can I do to help?”  It is not about ego or pride, but rather about self-esteem and self-efficacy, which is how you use your confidence for the good of others.

Rehearse Confidence

Knowing what to do in difficult situations can make a person feel more competent, comfortable and in control.  You would not learn to ski by jumping off the top of a mountain, and you will not learn the skill of confidence in one lesson.

You will learn more easily if you watch and model your mannerisms, body language and confidence one step at a time.

How does the leader of the group stand? Is he or she standing with feel a little apart, shoulders back and arms either at the side or making small gestures?  Then you can do that. Practice this skill and you will find yourself more and more comfortable.

Smile at Others

Watch how your mentor smiles and follow the example.  Try smiling with your whole face and watch how others will be drawn to you.

Your body language will soon begin to model confidence in yourself and your surroundings.

If you enjoyed this article you will want to go to for a wonderful book filled with methods to increase your confidence, friends and opportunities for a more positive life experience.  You will feel it was written just for you. And it was.

Model the positive body language of others and become more confident

Model the positive body language of others and become more confident

5 Tips for Confidence in Conversations

For many people, the mere idea of social situations and conversations through them into anxiety. Just the thoughts of beginning a conversation with a stranger, or co-worker, can bring out latent inferior feelings and lack of confidence.

I have gathered 5 tips to help you feel more confident when connecting with other people. Try to incorporate them in a situation that feels comfortable for you, and soon you will see yourself having confidence in conversations with more and varied people.

  1. Smile. Did you know that you cannot physically smile and still think negative thoughts?  Try it.  You don’t have to grin like a cat,  or freeze  a smile on your face,but do turn the corners of your lips up and look approachable.
  2. Approach someone standing or setting alone. Instead of focusing on your own feelings of anxiety, you can make a polite comment (May I join you?) introduce yourself (I am Judy H. Wright from Montana)
  3. Ask an open ended question that requires more than just a yes or no answer (tell me about where you grew up or what do you enjoy doing in your spare time) Asking questions is a great way of saying “I am interested in you. I want to get to know you.”
  4. Listen to the answers and talk about what the other person is interested in.  During a conversation, you will get lots of clues about what the other person thinks is important. If it is someone that you don’t know, take a cue from what they are wearing. ask them about a ring or bracelet they are wearing, did they make it, was it a gift or maybe even does the stone has a significant meaning for them?
  5. Make sure your body languages is open and approachable instead of closed, defensive and off putting.  Verbal communication is sharing of information and people only remember or respond to about 20%. Body language, tone of voice and facial expression are much more important and account for 80% of understanding.  Non verbal language is the communication of relationships.

Listening carefully, asking good questions, making eye contact and smiling are all necessary to start and continue conversations.  Don’t worry if occasionally there is a silence, just relax and another subject will come up naturally.

You may not always be at ease in social situations, but the more you practice and try, the more confident you will be in your ability to carry on conversations with anyone.

So smile and ask me some questions.

In friendship and gratitude,

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

PS:  be sure to check out for a more detailed look at building self confidence.