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

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.


Confidence and Self Esteem – How Does Your Child See Herself?

Auntie Artichoke supports parents, grandparents, teachers, day care providers and all those who love children. Thank you for your important work.

Auntie Artichoke supports parents, grandparents, teachers, day care providers and all those who love children. Thank you for your important work.

Hello From Montana:

When you speak to your child, can you count more negative or positive words coming out of your mouth?   Formal studies with learned psychologists have shown that it takes at least seven positive comments to undo a negative remark.   My own informal studies working with parents and families tell me that many of the hurtful things said to children by parents and teachers never go away.

Plant Positive Thoughts in Garden of the Mind

Our subconscious brains are like gardens and what is planted there will multiply and grow in our thoughts and actions. Children internalize the words and actions of adults that they trust and love.  If the messages you send through verbal and non verbal (body language) communication are negative or demeaning, the child will lose confidence in herself and her ability to affect her life for the better.

How does the child see herself when she looks through your eyes?  If you are giving out labels of incompetence, lazy or stupid, you can count on your child believing your assessment of her as a person.  If the message you send through your words, actions and attitudes is mistrust, disappointment, fear, worry or lack of confidence— those negative attitudes will slowly, but surely erode away the self esteem.

Example of Mother and Daughter

In my parenting workshops, I sometimes use the example of a mother and daughter with the daughter holding a piece of paper in her hand. Every time the mother makes a negative remark, demeaning comment or judgment about worth, the daughter tears a piece of the paper off and allows it to fall on the floor. When the mom makes a positive comment, we try to stick a little piece back on, but it frequently doesn’t stick.

It is a powerful visual reminder to parents to correct the behavior but not break the spirit of the child.

What Do You Like About Your Child?

How often do you compliment your child’s character strengths?  I challenge you to frequently ask your child “Do you know what I like about you?”

These are the qualities of the heart. The important parts of what makes a good person. These are the values to be celebrated;

  • generous attitude
  • helpful to others
  • kind to animals
  • dependable
  • fair
  • friendly
  • grateful
  • honest
  • loving
  • sincere
  • trustworthy
  • loyal
  • truthful

Whatever character traits you recognize, encourage your child to look at herself with an optimistic attitude. Help her to affirm all the qualities she has that will help her in her life. Assist the self confidence and self esteem in children and help them to see themselves as empowered to not let outside influences determine their worth.  Hopefully, when your child holds up a mirror on her life she will see a strong, vital and worthy woman who is confident in life.

You are invited to

for even more information to empower your child to be self confident.

Your friend,

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

Self Confidence is a Learned Skill

Hello from beautiful Montana:

You want to be self-confident and you want to build that inner core of strength in your children and grandchildren or you wouldn’t have been drawn here. Something in those words resonated with your heart.

You have taken the first step on a wonderful journey that will help you to recognize and teach that you and yours are good human beings and worthy of respect and love.

Here is a small video you will enjoy;

Even if you tend to see the negative or look at life with pessimistic eyes, it is possible to change your viewpoint. Becoming an encouraging person with an attitude of gratitude is a skill. It is not an overnight acquisition nor is it something that can be purchased. Skills take work and practice. They take a dogged determination to overcome obstacles in order to gain a reward.

It takes a process similar to improving any other skill you have conquered in your life. Think back on when you learned to ride a bike, play an instrument, or speak a foreign language. Who was it that taught you the basics and encouraged your efforts as you kept trying, even after falling off again and again?

Most of us want to play the piano, but not learn the scales and practice each day. Many wish they spoke a foreign language, but don’t want to take the time, money and effort to study.

It takes becoming and practice before it becomes a part of our being. Confidence in self and a positive attitude cannot be wished into being. It is a lifelong skill that requires commitment, time and consistent practice.

In order to learn any skill you must have a deep desire to:

  1. Be aware and clear in your mind of the advantages in learning something new and incorporating it in your life.
  2. Ask to be mentored or taught by someone you trust.
  3. Learn the basics of the task or skill but don’t expect perfection right away.
  4. Expect some setbacks and don’t become discouraged.
  5. Set up a plan of action with measurable steps in order to reach an ultimate goal.
  6. Focus on effort and use self-encouragement.
  7. Move forward and do something every day to take advantage of momentum.
  8. Enjoy the skill as it becomes automatic action and enhances your life.

Changing your outlook to one of encouragement and positive outcome will be a life skill that will not only affect you but everyone around you.

You are invited to to read more about this process of building your self confidence and self-esteem.  You will be so glad that you took the steps to overcome anxiety and fear and step into the light.

Your Friend and Supporter,

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

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