What is a teachable moment? It's learning through family. That's what Boys Town provides to tens of thousands of children and parents everyday. And that's what we'll focus on here. Stories of those who we've seen succeed, and ideas on how to help bring Teachable Moments to your home and family, too.

Tag Archives: Family

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Weathering Hurricanes with Kids

Hurricane Harvey has barely left the scene, carving a swath of devastation across the Gulf Coast, and now Hurricane Irma — the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded — is headed right for Florida’s east coast. These massive storms can be difficult enough for adults to comprehend; for children, they can cause extreme levels of anxiety. Most of the time, parents are the only adults kids can turn to during times of emergency. That means you need to be a figure of ...

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Daniel Daly, Boys Town Psychologist

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Teens are more stressed and anxious, but they don’t know why. Here’s how parents can help.

Article courtesy of The Washington Post.  The teenage years can be tough, marked with physical and emotional changes, new choices and responsibilities, and evolving relationships with the people who surround us. But a recent report shows that hormones aren’t the only thing troubling the teen years; young people are increasingly showing a general inability to identify the source of their angst and pain. These results have serious implications for those who care for kids. A review of more than 830,000 calls, text messages, ...

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By Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

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Acceptance and Equality Must Be Part of Every Child’s Life Lessons

Father Edward J. Flanagan was far ahead of his time, sometimes dangerously so. When he founded his home for boys (later to become known as Boys Town) 100 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska, he welcomed youngsters of all races, religions and cultural backgrounds, and he provided care for all of them under one roof. This approach was unheard of in the early 1900s, and even though many local citizens supported Father Flanagan’s work, there were those who disapproved and even made threats ...

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Maggie McGill, Boys Town In Home Family Consultant

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3 Tips for Creating a Parenting Plan with your Co-Parent

This article was originally published on momaha.com. Co-parenting can be difficult because you need to remain consistent with addressing behavior, and you might have different expectations than your child’s other parent. Creating a parenting plan can help parents work together to appropriately and consistently address children’s behaviors. Use the following steps to create a parenting plan of your own. Find a time to sit down and discuss what rules you have for your children. Make a list if needed to help you remember. ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Six Discussions to Start the School Year Right

Every school year is your child’s opportunity for new success. If your child was less than successful the previous year, the school year ahead offers a clean slate. If they’ve been doing well throughout the years, then the new school year means a path to continued success, building on the positive skills and habits they’ve acquired. To help start things off on the right foot, it’s a good idea to sit down with your child and discuss the upcoming school year. ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Keep Your Kids Healthy this Summer

It used to be that summertime was when kids became healthy almost by default. Spending the days bicycling with friends or swimming at the pool helped shed winter pounds and helped kids stay lean. Unfortunately, these days, the lure of video games, social media and endless streaming options for binge-watching threatens to keep children indoors and inactive over the summer months. Here are some tips for keeping kids healthy and active this summer. Encourage Healthy Eating One thing you can do to ...

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Boys Town Contributor, Mother or 11-year-old son and 9-and 4-year-old daughters

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10 Milestones You Might Not Find in the Child Development Books

Sure, learning to read and tie their shoes are great accomplishments for kids, but there are others that every parent truly appreciates once their children have mastered them. Like when they learn to feed themselves or when they discover how to play by themselves. Certain crucial achievements are often overlooked, and you might not find them in the traditional lists of developmental milestones. As every parent knows, we should celebrate these milestones for the amazing accomplishments they are. Milestone No. 1 Can ...

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Laura Buddenberg, Manager Training and Community Outreach, Mother of two

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4 Tips To Help Your Teens Make Good Clothing Choices This Summer

This article was originally published on momaha.com. Hot weather is here! It’s time to dress for informal events like camp, ballgames and visits to the pool, as well as more formal occasions like weddings. Parents often cringe at what their kids choose to wear — and in the summer, there’s no outerwear to cover up a fashion faux pas. Here are some tips for helping your kids dress so they’re happy and you aren’t scandalized every time they walk out the door. 1. ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Why You Should Take a Back Seat on Your Next Family Outing

Raising confident, independent children who can make decisions on their own is one of the most important tasks you have as a parent. Even if your children are still young enough to play dress-up, they need opportunities to begin exploring and exercising independence. And family outings are a great way to get started. Supervised Independence  When children are allowed to explore outside of their normal environments, they learn how to interact with others and experience the consequences of making decisions. They ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Here’s to the Difference-Makers

Boys Town has always been and will always be a nonprofit organization, which means our existence depends on the generosity and assistance of others. Our supporters include individual donors and corporations around the country who not only help further Boys Town’s mission financially but also donate goods or services to at-risk children and families. One company making a real difference is Fat Brain Toys. Founded in 2000 in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Fat Brain manufactures and sells educational games and toys that help ...

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Pam Farmer | Boys Town Foster Parent

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A Mother’s Love, a Lifetime of Inspiration

As Mother's Day approaches, greeting card stores are stocking up for shoppers looking for the perfect card to express their feelings about their mothers. My mother is considered the "Hallmark Queen," a title she earned among our family members for remembering everyone's special events by sending a card. It seems old fashioned now, with texts, emails and Twitter accounts that allow people to keep in touch, but a handwritten note in a beautiful card sends the message that someone went ...

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Jennifer Lawrence | Boys Town Alumna

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Boys Town Alumna Returns to Make a Difference

Jennifer Lawrence, a 2006 Boys Town graduate, recently reflected on why she considers Boys Town her home. After serving 10 years in the Navy, Jennifer returned to Boys Town to become a staff member and currently works at our high school. When I first came to Boys Town from California, I felt abandoned and unloved. After my father remarried and he and his new wife had a baby, I felt like an outcast in my own family. I really hated ...

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Father Steven Boes | President and National Executive Director | Boys Town

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Knowing Where They Came From Can Help Prepare Youth for Where They’re Going

Genealogy – the study of ancestry and family history – can be a fun and interesting pastime for parents and children. Some families may have a tradition of looking through old photo albums or having an older relative share stories of days past during family gatherings. Others may go even deeper in their search for family history, enlisting the assistance of a professional genealogist or using Internet websites to do their own detective work about their family origins. But exploring one’s heritage ...

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Kristen Hallstrom, Manager of Boys Town National Hotline

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You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Each year, the Boys Town National Hotline receives hundreds of thousands of calls and online inquiries regarding a host of issues affecting children, teenagers and parents. We recently talked to Kristen Hallstrom, manager of the Boys Town National Hotline, and she provided some insight about common calls, preventive measures parents can take right now and more. We hope this information will help answer some of your questions and assure you that the hotline is here any time of day for ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Three Children, Two Families, One Bond

When two couples — Candida Tavarez and Carlos Aquino, and Chelsea Guevremont and Mario Rosario Jr. — decided to become Boys Town New England foster parents several years ago, they had no way of knowing that three siblings would one day bring them together as families and friends. The story of how the siblings — twins Bryan and Aryanne, and their younger sister Shayna —began when both couples were contacted by Boys Town New England's Foster Family Services® program about accepting ...

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Bridget Barnes | Director of Common Sense Parenting at Boys Town

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5 Tips to Help Parents Clear Up Instructions

This blog was originally featured on momaha.com. Most parents know they should give children clear instructions, but sometimes this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Below are some helpful hints on how to give kids instructions that will make both you and your child more successful – no matter the circumstances. 1. Get their attention. Go to your child or call them to you. Get down on their level and talk in a normal or calm voice while making eye contact. You ...

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Dr. Reznicek | Superintendent, Boys Town High School

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What Teachers Wish Parents Would Do at Home

When parents and teachers work together to achieve the same goal — the education of the student — success is much easier to achieve. It wasn’t always this way, of course. Not too long ago, parents would send their kids off to school, assuming their job was done. They thought that once their children were in class, it was the teacher’s job — and his/her job alone — to provide their education. Today, we know better. We understand that while teachers ...

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Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town

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Today’s Boys Town Care Is a Family Affair

Father Edward Flanagan was a true visionary. When he founded Boys Town nearly a century ago in December 1917 as a humble home for wayward boys, Father Flanagan’s bigger dream was to someday reach out to help children all across America. Through sound leadership and groundbreaking innovations, that vision has been realized as Boys Town has grown into a national leader in child care. Over the last three decades, Boys Town has evolved and expanded its programs to meet the growing ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Making the Holidays Memorable When You Can Only Afford to Give Them Love

It can be tough during the holidays when you have young children who want a toy or game they see on television or in the hands of friends and schoolmates, and you can’t afford to give it to them. In situations such as these, it’s crucial to teach your children that there are more important things in life than just “things.” Putting ‘Things’ in Perspective To help your children understand this concept, show them that certain activities can make them just as happy ...

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Bridget Barnes, Director of Common Sense Parenting at Boys Town

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Dealing with Loss During the Holidays

This article was originally featured on Momaha on November 24, 2016.  There is no denying that the loss of a love one has a significant impact on a family whether it’s the holidays or not. However, when there is a loss in a family it is normal that a once cherished time of the year can become extremely tough for children and adults to fully enjoy. All around you society is saying you should have a joyful holiday spirit, but you feel ...

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Your Friends at Boys Town

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Calling All Boys Town Supporters

This is it. The start of something big. REALLY BIG! After all, how many organizations get to celebrate 100 years of service? First Things First Throughout our history, Boys Town employees have been the key to successfully carrying out our mission of saving children, healing families and strengthening communities. So it was fitting that we launched the beginning of our 100th year with a special employee appreciation event for all our sites around the country. Josh Temple, star of various HGTV and DIY ...

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Bridget Barnes, Director of Common Sense Parenting at Boys Town

 

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At the Table, Thanksgiving and Beyond

Studies show what parents probably already suspect: When families sit down and eat together at the table, everyone benefits, especially children. Higher self-esteem and better communication are just the beginning. When parents sit down and eat with their children regularly, they get to know them better, which is invaluable when it comes to heading off potential behavioral issues as they enter their teen years. Thanksgiving is a perfect time of year to start a family tradition of breaking bread together because ...

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Your Friends at Boys Town

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Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year when we reflect and give thanks for the good things we have. We’re thankful for family. For friends. For a job that pays the bills and maybe provides some benefits. Whoever we are and whatever our situation, there is always something for which we can give thanks. At Boys Town, thankfulness runs deep. For a resident youth, it may be a Family-Teacher making a hot breakfast. It may be for a shoulder to lean on for ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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Let the Games (and Valuable Life Lessons) Begin!

The Summer Olympics are one of the greatest spectacles in sports. For two weeks, some of the best athletes in the world – men and women who have trained, practiced and sacrificed for years – come together to compete against each other and push themselves to the limit. There are unforgettable moments of endurance, triumph and failure, and high drama can unfold in even the most obscure events. This is what makes the Olympics such a great teaching tool for parents. ...

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By Terry Hyland,  Boys Town Writing Team Director, Marketing & Communications

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It’s Summertime, and Here Come the Grandkids!

I have a photo of me and my three grandkids – ages 6, 5, and 16 months – on my office desk. There’s a caption, and it reads: “Grandpa & Me, You are a friend I will never outgrow.” I love my grandkids with all my heart. But as much as I want to be a friend who sometimes spoils them with one too many cookies or a giggle-inducing piggyback ride right before bedtime, I also have to be one of ...

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Christina Kreikemeier, Boys Town Alum and Mentoring Instructional Facilitator

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I Found a Home at Boys Town

My life has always been a little tumultuous. When I was just a few days old, my father tried to sell me on the black market for money. Sometimes my grandmother would say it would’ve been better if she had let him because I would’ve had a better life. I always disagreed with her. You see, if my grandmother hadn’t intervened, I never would have had the opportunity to come to Boys Town, Nebraska. Yes, I came to Boys Town because of ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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School’s Out, Rules Out? Not with Our Summer Contract!

It’s that time of year again that kids dream of and parents sometimes dread —summer break. And that means that houses all across America will be filled with kids who think that just because they’re no longer in school, they’re able to act however they want, free from any rules and constraints. Sleep ‘till noon? Sure! Play video games for 12 hours straight? Sounds good! Stay out until 2:00 a.m. with your friends? Awesome! Ignore your chores? Of course! So how does ...

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Scott Butler, Director of the Boys Town Day School

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6 Summer Activities to Promote Learning

This article was previously featured on Momaha.  One of my fondest childhood memories is the incredible feeling of freedom I experienced each May on the last day of school. I walked out of the school building carrying the remains of my school year, a back pack full of half-used pencils, broken crayons and used up notebooks. The entire summer was in front of me. My child eyes refused to focus far enough ahead to see the next grade looming in August. In ...

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Boys Town Contributor 

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Getting Your Parenting Skills on Track

Ever have one of those days? You know, when it seems as if you’ve failed as a parent. You’re not alone. Raising kids is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet, and whether you’re dealing with a tantrum-throwing toddler or an “I know everything” teen, you are occasionally going to need support. Everyone does. Luckily, the child behavior experts at Boys Town have seen some of the most difficult parenting situations imaginable. They’ve worked with virtually every issue in ...

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 Boys Town Contributor 

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The S.A.N.E. Approach to Disciplining Your Child

For decades, the parenting experts at Boys Town have become uniquely experienced in allocating discipline for an infinite variety of misbehaviors in adolescents. It is through experience that teaches a certain way to approach discipline that is more effective than simply reacting in the moment out of anger or emotion. We call it the S.A.N.E. approach: Small consequences are better. Avoid punishing yourself (e.g. taking away your teen’s car privileges only to have to drive him or her everywhere for two weeks). Never abuse ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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At The Table: A Time for Talking, Not Technology

There was a recent cartoon in The Spectator that really hit home. A couple is out to dinner at a restaurant. The wife says to her husband, sadly, “What’s wrong? You’ve hardly touched your phone.” Though you may chuckle at the cynical observation, most of you will also recognize the sentiment all too well. That’s because it seems to perfectly sum up the sad state of dinnertime in the 21st century. But it doesn’t have to. Families both large and small have been ...

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Marie Ruhter, Boys Town Family-Teacher

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Creating Meal Time Memories

We try to have dinner together as a family every night in our Boys Town Family Home. Even on days when everyone “fends” for themselves or we do leftovers, we still sit down to pray and eat together. It’s a must for our household because eating together is so much more than pushing potatoes or vegetables around on a plate. This is where we learn about our boys, see their personalities and get to know them better.  We use conversation starters to find ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Are You Seeing Someone Inclusively? You Should Be!

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  I have three kids, so getting time alone with each one of them is really tough. That’s why this Valentine’s Day, my husband and I not only spent time with each other, but also had much-needed one-on-one time with each of our children. What I’ve realized ...

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Boys Town Contributor, Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Surviving The First Holiday Without Santa

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. The majority of parents dread the year that their kids finally outgrow Santa. Well, in our home, that year is this year. Our oldest is nearly 10, and the 2015 Holiday Season comes with a slightly different feel. The excitement of ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Raising a Child With Integrity

You have many jobs as a parent. You must keep your children safe from harm. You must clothe, feed and shelter them. You must see to their education and their health. You must nurture and support them as they grow, both physically and mentally. And you must teach them – both by example and by instruction – the many virtues that make up the notion of integrity. So what is integrity? It’s a combination of many things: honesty, empathy, compassion, fairness… ...

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Mara Paradis, M.D., Boys Town Pediatrician

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Catch Them Being Good: Elf on the Shelf Edition

This article was authored by Mara Paradis, M.D. and originally posted by Boys Town Pediatrics. During the holiday season, growing excitement and exhausting festivities can take a toll on a child’s behavior and a parent’s state-of-mind, but it is important to be consistent in regards to what is expected from both parents and children. Praising children at appropriate times is one of the most important things a parent can do. It will nourish your child's mind and self-esteem. It will also reward ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Holiday Hints for Families

Regardless of whether you observe Christmas or Hanukkah or any other winter celebration, there’s no denying that the Holidays are all about family. But what constitutes a family? After all, these days there are all kinds of families beyond the traditional Mom, Dad, two kids and a dog. There are single-parent families. There are co-parent families. There are families in which kids are being raised by grandparents. There are blended families with kids from two separate marriages. No matter the situation, ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town National Executive Director

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Giving Your Children the Gift of the Holidays

The last six weeks of the year are a magical time, here at Boys Town and across our great nation, as families prepare to celebrate that final stretch of holidays, from Thanksgiving, to Hanukkah, to Christmas, to New Year’s Day. Holidays are special, not only because they commemorate important events or times of the year, but also because they are a way for us to mark time, both chronologically and spiritually, and observe traditions and rituals that give flavor and meaning ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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The Importance of Talking to Your Kids About Addiction

Starting the conversation early is very important when it comes to drugs and alcohol. These days, kids are exposed to these vices at an ever-younger age, which means that it’s crucial to educate them now on how to handle situations that may come up. Try to find “teachable moments” during your interactions with your kids. If your child is a little younger, consider these two examples: • If your child sees someone who is acting drunk, you can explain to him or ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Instead of Black Friday, Make it Fun Friday!

Let’s face it; Black Friday is getting old. So let everyone else get up at the crack of dawn and fight each other for those "door-buster" deals. After all, if you’re like most moms and dads, you spent much of the days before cleaning the house and preparing a huge meal for your extended family. Wouldn't you rather sleep in and enjoy a late breakfast or brunch with your kids? Besides, there are plenty of fun family activities that you can ...

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Lisa Hukill, Development Associate Vice President

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Giving Tuesday Is Your Chance to Make a Difference

When Black Friday comes around, people come out in hoards to purchase gifts for the holidays. Others wait until CyberMonday to snag that deal. But what about Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday, also known as December 1st this year, is a day dedicated to giving ‐‐ when charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers and more will all come together. Boys Town encourages you to make your donation in celebration of this day! When you choose Boys Town on Giving Tuesday, you are ...

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Father Boes, President & National Executive Director of Boys Town

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When Kids Can’t Make Sense of the World, Sensitive Parenting Is a Must

Recently in the news, we saw the heart-breaking photos of a little boy whose body had washed up on a beach after he drowned during his family’s attempt to flee their war-torn homeland of Syria. The family was part of a group of refugees who were desperately trying to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece in an inflatable boat. The boat capsized and the little boy, his brother and mother were among the 12 people who did not survive. Parents often ...

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Terry Hyland,
Boys Town Press Book Co-Author,
Father and Grandfather

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Finding Positive Behaviors to Praise – Even When They’re Hard to See

It’s easy to criticize your kids when they’re being bad. After all, when they’re bad, you notice (which may be why they’re doing it in the first place). But research shows that they’ll improve their behavior quicker – and will be less likely to tune you out – if you “catch them being good” and praise them four times for every one time you criticize. The trick is, of course, how to catch them being good, because unlike obvious bad behavior, ...

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Terry Hyland,
Boys Town Press Book Co-Author,
Father and Grandfather

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The Power of Praise: All ‘4-to-1’ and One for All

In the restaurant business, there’s something called the “3:11 rule.” It means that if diners have a good meal and a positive dining experience, they are likely to tell three people about it. However, if their dining experience is sub-par or unpleasant (bad food, bad service), they’ll share their complaints with 11 people. It’s just human nature for us to focus more on the negatives than the positives and to look for things to criticize rather than things to praise. For parents, ...

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Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

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Can I Ever Get out of the House on Time?

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Is it even possible to get out of the house on time with kids? It is certainly a frequent discussion between my fellow mom friends and myself. My mornings have changed drastically over the last year. I used to find ...

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Cicely Faulkner Truitt, Boys Town Training Consultant

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Road Trip like a Rock Star!

This article was originally published on Momaha.com on June 29th, 2015 It is summertime and fun in the sun awaits! If you are anything like me, you have been planning a trip for months. If the dread of having your children travel with you is putting a damper on your summertime shine; perhaps, it’s time that you attempt to travel like a rock star! Get your entourage: Rock stars rarely travel alone and if you are a single mom to an only child ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Why Cell Phones are Ruining Our Families

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Ok, the title of this may be a little over-dramatized, but there is a lot of truth to the harm that they are doing. For Christmas my husband and I were due for upgrades on our phones, so we packaged up ...

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Bryan Smith,

Father, Coach, School Counselor

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Teaching a Balance Between Good Sportsmanship and Winning Is a Win-Win for Kids and Parents

This summer, my family enjoyed watching the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. As the games went on, my son asked more and more questions. One stood out: “Dad, what’s a yellow card?” I was able to explain to him that a player is given a yellow card when she does something that is not allowed, like pushing or tripping a player from the other team. I told him that breaking those kinds of rules it’s like cheating to help your ...

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Julia Cook, Children’s Book Author

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Sib Wars: Tips for Keeping the Peace in Your Home

“Give it back!” “Stop that!” “He won’t share!” “I had it first!” “She kicked me!” “That’s not fair!” Sound familiar? Oh, when your kids just can’t seem to get along… GRRRRRR! I vividly remember fighting with my older sister over who got to sit in the front seat of the car, who got the last pudding cup and what show we were going to watch on TV. She always felt it was her job to tell me what to do, what to say and, especially, how to ...

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Boys Town Contributor,
Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Stranger Danger – Keep Them Safe and Kind

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.   The other day I was in an elevator and a nice little boy looked up to me and said, “Hi.” He was about five years old and with his father. I said, “Hello, how is your day going?” He then ...

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Pat Thomas, Boys Town’s Nebraska Family Helpline

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4 Packing Tips For Kids To Make Vacation Less Stressful For Parents

This article was first published on Momaha on May 28, 2015. http://www.omaha.com/momaha/packing-tips-for-kids-to-make-vacation-less-stressful-for/article_90393e8a-00ae-11e5-af0f-2fc059762855.html Nothing screams “summer” like taking a family vacation that is sure to leave lasting memories and plenty of photos to laugh at for years to come. When the kids are out of school, families take advantage of the warm weather to hit national parks, the beach or a new city to explore. While family vacations teach us fanny packs should never come back in style and that TVs in cars and ...

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Boys Town Contributor, mother of 7-Year-Old Daughter and 5-Year-Old Son

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Summer Movie Review: Inside Out

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.    I couldn’t wait for the release of the new Pixar movie Inside Out, I love a good kid movie. In fact, most of my family finds joy in the simple pleasure of most cartoon flicks. So, last weekend my husband, myself, ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Father of two teenage daughters and two tweens: one girl and one boy

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The Father’s Day Gift

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Ties. Socks. Electric razors. Grill tools. T-shirts with funny sayings. Ball caps with funny sayings. ‘Day Off’ coupons. Cologne. All are good Father’s Day gifts. But, in the long run, the items above have come and gone. The Father’s Day gifts ...

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Julie Mooney, Boys Town High School Teacher

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Summer Reading Part One

Reading is a lifelong skill that benefits students of all ages. As a teacher, I have seen that a student who is a good reader will be more successful in almost every subject in school. This is one learning area that children can continue to work on all summer. And it can be fun! The goal is to encourage your children to read and improve their comprehension as well. You can help with this easily. Here are some tips on how ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of nine-year-old son and seven and two-year-old daughters

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Calming A Worrisome Child

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. To say that I have a worrisome child would be an understatement. After the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, he refused to flush the toilet for six months for fear it would flood our house. Now, at age nine, we ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Let Them Know What’s Expected of Them This Summer (They’ll Thank You for It Later)

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Summer is here. And while your kids are likely looking forward to sleeping in and lounging around, you’re probably greeting the thought with some trepidation. After all, unless you’re a teacher, summer doesn’t really change your daily life. You don’t get ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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At the Picnic Table This Memorial Day

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. At the Picnic Table This Memorial Day Summer gets busy for families with barbecues, pool parties and sporting events. Especially over Memorial Day weekend. This Memorial Day, carve out some time with just your immediate family for a nice meal at ...

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Boys Town Contributor, father of twins

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Newly Independent College Kids Returning Home for Summer Break

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. College is where kids explore their new-found freedom. But when they come back home, the old house rules still apply… This past year, we packed up both our kids for college. It was a major undertaking of both timing and logistics ...

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Chris Miller, Boys Town National Admissions

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Boys Town Admissions: Finding the Kids Who Need Our Help

Boys Town is a place where kids get second chances and learn how to make good choices. At Boys Town Admissions, we work every day to find boys and girls who are ready to turn their lives around and experience success in school, at home and in their community. Our residential program at Boys Town is made up a diverse population of youngsters who come here from all over the country. Some have gotten into trouble with the law and have ...

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Laura Kelley, Crisis Counselor for the Boys Town National Hotline and the Nebraska Family Helpline,

Mother of three boys

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Toddlers and Spring Cleaning

This post was first published on Momaha.com. On your mark, get set, go! That’s right, you are at the starting line for the “Annual Spring Cleaning Race” project. Whether you have a two-page or a 10-page “to do” list, some deep cleaning is in order, and that usually takes longer than your regular weekly chores. It’s that time of year when you get down on your knees and wipe the floor boards that have been splashed with Nebraska’s snowy, salty grime from your ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Father of four teenagers: ages 13,15,17 and 18

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My View from the Passenger Seat – Teaching My Teen to Drive

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. Ask any adult about their most vivid memories of being fifteen years old, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear about their first day of high school; their first love (and inevitable first heartbreak)… and the first time they sat in ...

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Boys Town Contributor

Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

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#AtTheTable Tonight

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  Tonight — and every other night — I am committed to having dinner together with my family. Because my kids are still young, I am lucky that their extracurricular activities are minimal and I can schedule them around family dinners; but, I know ...

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Boys Town Contributor

Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

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Making Memories at Mealtime

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  Family dinners have always been important to me. I grew up in a home where family mealtime was a priority. My parents always encouraged me to invite my friends to family dinners when I entered high school and extended family gatherings included a ...

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Boys Town Contributor

Mother of two-year-old daughter, seven-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son

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Why Turning off the TV at Dinner Is a Must

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.   “How was your day?” “Fine.” “What did you do at school?” “Huh?” “What did you do at school?” “I don’t know.” “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “What?” “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “Huh?” “Who did you sit with at lunch!!!!????!!” “I don’t know? Same people.”   Sound familiar? My kids LOVE to ...

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Marie Ruhter, Boys Town Family-Teacher

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Building a Stronger Family at the Dinner Table

We try to have dinner together as a family every night in our Boys Town Family Home. Even on days when everyone “fends” for themselves or we do leftovers, we still sit down to pray and eat together. It’s a must for our household because eating together is so much more than pushing potatoes or vegetables around on a plate. This is where we learn about our boys, see their personalities and get to know them better.  We use conversation starters to ...

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Bridget Barnes, Director
Common Sense Parenting, Mother of two

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4 Easy Ways to Make ‘Family Dinner Time’ a Reality

This post first appeared on Momaha.com. Photo courtesy of Momaha.com. Families aren’t having family dinner as much as they were maybe 20 years ago. It was an automatic in my house that you were going to sit down to a family meal almost every night — definitely on the weekend, and probably at your grandmother’s house. But today, life is faster and parents need some innovative ways to bring everyone to the dining room table. Step 1: Plan ahead. Get the kids involved in choosing the ...

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Karen, Guest Blogger

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Nick and Karen’s Story: An Update

This post is an update to the story we first brought to you about Karen and her son Nick.  Something to Brighten Your Day Today, as I sit here writing, we are celebrating Nick's 20th birthday. It's hard for me to believe that he's turned 20 years old. I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. I've learned a lot over these 20 years thanks to the boy that I call my "Sonshine." Nothing could have prepared me for ...

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Bridget Barnes, Director
Common Sense Parenting, Mother of two

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Cinderella Movie Can Inspire Real-Life Happy Moments for Your Children

Younger children love fairy tales about beautiful princesses and handsome princes. Through storybooks and movies, they can imagine themselves as the hero or heroine who overcomes adversity, shows kindness toward others and acts with independence and courage. Kids also enjoy playing dress-up and acting out their favorite scenes, or using their imagination to make up their own stories. With the recent release of a new, live-action Cinderella movie, you have a wonderful opportunity to encourage these behaviors in your child and create ...

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Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

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Praising Teenagers

I’m very much an advocate of praising kids, including teenagers, in a positive-negative ratio of at least four positives to every one negative. For some, this may sound a bit lofty but it is very realistic if adults truly pay attention to behavior and learn to praise specifically and genuinely. Praise is a sincere, positive evaluation of a person or an act. A lot of praise is “global” and terms are used such as “great job,” “you are smart,” or “pretty,” ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Are You Seeing Someone Inclusively? You Should Be!

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  I have three kids, so getting time alone with each one of them is really tough. That’s why this Valentine’s Day, my husband and I not only spent time with each other, but also had much-needed one-on-one time with each of our children. What I’ve realized ...

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Mariana Santa-Maria of Boys Town’s Common Sense Parenting

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Managing Toddlers at the Table

This post first appeared on Momaha.com. Photo courtesy of Momaha.com. Many parents struggle with getting their little ones to sit at the table and eat the nutritious food on their plate. The situation can become frustrating for all involved. Little Megan is pouting because she doesn’t want to eat vegetables and you are tired of making a second meal multiple times a day. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it’s a great time to work on healthy eating habits and table ...

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Father Boes

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The Pressure to Be ‘Parent Perfect’

A woman stopped by my office earlier this week. She had just come from another meeting with the school principal about her child and her shoulders sagged under the burden of responsibility. She needed help. As we talked, her worries and fears rushed out. She was convinced that she was to blame for her child’s troubles. I told her, “It’s not your fault.” She looked up at me, startled. Again, I said, “It’s not your fault. You are a wonderful mother.” As those words started ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Father of two teenage daughters and two tweens: one girl and one boy

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What Is a “Date” Anyway?

When Your Teen Goes Out, Demand a Plan I grew up before the time of cell phones, email and instant communication. So if I wanted to ask a girl out, I would have to call her house on a regular phone. And if she said “Yes,” a date went something like this... Pick her up at home and probably meet her parents. Go to dinner and a movie. If you hit it off, call her again... and maybe go out with another couple on ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Confessions of an ‘Activity Addict’ Parent

I will admit I was one of those parents who overloaded my children with activities. And with three kids… we were very busy. Yet, about a year ago, I had an epiphany! My son plays select basketball, which accounts for three nights a week during basketball season. He was approached to play select soccer, and I said, “Sure, let’s try it.” I didn’t want him to miss out on anything. To which my son replied, “Mom, don’t you think that ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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What If There Were No Boys Town?

We wanted to know… what if there were no Boys Town? We asked some of the children and families that we heal each day. Here are a few of their responses: There is not a doubt in my mind. I would have gone back to gangs, gone back to drugs. I would not have graduated high school. Mariah They are the reason that I’m here today; I actually graduated college, I actually did something with my life. Boys Town gave me opportunity, ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Helicopter Parenting: How Not to Hover while Letting Your Kids Soar!

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  I will admit I’ve been called a helicopter parent before. It was in a joking manner, so I’ll assume it was unfounded. But I have read quite a bit on the subject matter and I think there are a few guidelines we can ...

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Boys Town Contributor

Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

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Kids & Technology

This holiday season our family took their first big vacation! With a four- and six-year-old I was incredibly nervous about, not one, but two fairly lengthy plane rides, so I stocked up on the technology. I downloaded several movies and lots of new games on two iPads in hopes that my kids would be happily entertained during the flights. It worked! They were glued to the screen and content the entire time. It worked like a gem, until we got ...

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Cicely Faulkner-Truitt
Mother of 9-year-old son

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What Are Your Parenting Resolutions? One Omaha Mom Shares Hers

This post first appeared on Momaha.com. Many people have started their list of resolutions for the new year. This year I challenge you to decide on a parenting resolution for 2015. Whether you want to bring back the “joy of being a parent”, (minus the sarcasm) or you want to cut down on your list of ‘activities’ to find more family time, listing your goals is the first step. As with any challenge offered, I will go first. 1. Listen more By 6 a.m. I ...

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Cicely Faulkner-Truitt, Training Consultant
Mother of 9-year-old son

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3 Crafty Ways to Entertain Your Kids to Avoid the Winter Blues

This post first appeared on Momaha.com. Photo courtesy of Momaha.com. With winters cold arrival and daylights quick retreat, our children are starting to shift the focus of their fun from playgrounds, fields and basketball hoops, to basements, hallways and family rooms. Our children have endless stockpiles of energy, both mental and physical, that we cannot pause simply because it’s cold outside. What is a parent to do to maintain sanity? Join in the fun! It is during play that our children learn. Here are ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Do We Get Too Much Pleasure out of Terrifying Our Children? Probably.

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  Social media sites are filled with photos of children hysterically crying on Santa’s lap. That’s what Christmas is all about, right? That awkward wait in line where you over exaggerate the excitement of what’s going to happen. You talk in such a high ...

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Bob Pick, Vice President of Boys Town Nebraska/Iowa

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Why Teenagers May Be Smarter Than You Think

Between the ages of 16 and 19, adolescents have achieved full physical maturity. In sharp contrast to early adolescence, when many teenagers are socially awkward and embarrassed by their bodies, late adolescence is the time when teens are more comfortable with their physical appearance. They’re more confident. And they dress accordingly (sometimes to the point of inappropriateness). From a psychosocial standpoint, they exhibit better adjustment, a developing self-concept and a growing development of emotional intimacy. From a cognitive standpoint, teenagers are ...

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Laura Buddenberg, Manager
Training and Community Outreach, Mother of two

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Teaching Your Kids to Be Thankful for What They Have

This post first appeared on Momaha.com. Photo from Momaha.com.  It can be a challenge to get your kids to appreciate the things they have when they are eager for Christmas to arrive with all of the shiny new things. Parents can help their kids learn and practice gratitude in two main ways:  1. Spend uninterrupted time together; and 2. Focus on serving others. The method you use for teaching children gratitude depends on the child’s age.   Parents of Tykes Reward Your Child with Time ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Top 10 Things I Never Thought I Would Say Until I Was A Mother

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.  As a parent, I’ve been amazed over the years of some of the things that have come out of my mouth. Sometimes I’m shocked by what I will say in a moment of pure frustration or moments where I have just totally given ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Family Activities – Holiday Friendly and FREE

Last year Boys Town put out some tips for Holiday fun that are cheap and easy and help kids keep their focus away from the presents and commercialization of Christmas and focus more on the family. I did these with my kids and they loved them! We started after thanksgiving and picked out our favorites then made it our Sunday night activity each week leading up to Christmas. Their favorite, of course was the kids cuisine. Lets just say it ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son and six and one-year-old daughters

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Building a ‘Non-Bully’ with Young Children

Last Monday, I dropped off my almost 2-year-old at the child care center of my gym for the first time. I was afraid she would cry, throw a fit, or show some kind of emotion that said I was still her everything and that she couldn’t bear to be apart from me. She smiled and walked right in. If that wasn’t enough to take the wind out of my sails, I found out when I picked her up that she got into ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of eight-year-old son, and six and one-year-old daughters

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Josh Temple Talks Parenting

As the host of several popular home improvement reality shows, Josh Temple is a familiar face on television these days. But did you know that in addition to his day job, Josh also is a parent. When he needs help and advice with his kids on anything from discipline to household chores, he trusts the parenting experts at Boys Town. Here are a few of his favorite Boys Town parenting articles. 2-Year-Old Getting Kids to Sleep Using a Bedtime Routine Eight Ways to End ...

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Terry Hyland, Boys Town

Father and Grandfather

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Why Spanking Is a Swat at Positive Parenting

Spanking as a form of discipline continues to be a hot topic of debate, both among parents and in the public forum. Is it right? Is it wrong? Does it have lasting effects? Is it considered okay in certain situations? Is it an effective form of discipline? From a parenting standpoint, we believe spanking is not, under any circumstances, an effective form of discipline. Here’s why: First, when physical punishment occurs, both the child and the parent are typically in a heated ...

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Father Boes

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Does Your Family “Tebow”?

As fans prepare for Super Bowl XLVI, I’m sure there are more than a few who are sad that Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos didn’t make it to the big game. There are a variety of opinions on Tebow’s primetime praying and the reasons behind it. Regardless of what people think, his public expressions of faith have brought prayer back into the mainstream conversation, and that is great news for families. Growing up in a small town, my family prayed before ...