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: Parenting Skills

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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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Angela Nott, Boys Town Cross Country Coach and Teacher

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2 Easy Tips for Raising an Active Child

This article was originally published on momaha.com. Did you know just one hour a day of activity helps maintain a healthy mind and body? Parents play a key role in their child’s physical fitness. Taking on that role not only has an influence on their childhood, it also influences how children approach physical fitness in the future. The habits we form in our youth make a difference when we get older; kids who are inactive usually remain inactive as adults. Our children look at ...

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Greg Snyder, Ph. D. | Boys Town Staff Psychologist

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Vaping and E-cigarettes – A Healthy Alternative to Smoking?

At first blush, it seems like a positive step: A former cigarette smoker switches to vaping, or using an e-cigarette. It seems good because the person is no longer inhaling the smoke from burning tobacco leaves and the associated additives — something the U.S. Surgeon General (and common sense) tells us is bad. Then consider the fact that cigarette smoking by teens is at an all-time low. So, good news, right? Not necessarily. While teen smoking is indeed at record lows, ...

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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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Boys Town Contributor

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Raising Compassionate Children

Compassion literally means "to suffer together." Emotional researchers describe compassion as the feelings and motivation that arise in us when we are confronted by the suffering of others. Most young children have an innate sense of compassion, but the development of this important feeling must be nurtured if it is to survive into adulthood. This is where parents come in. So, how do you go about raising a compassionate child? The most important way is by allowing your child to routinely experience compassion ...

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

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When Children’s Stormy Behavior Threatens, Having a Plan in Place Is a Must

For people across most of the country, stormy weather is just a fact of life at this time of the year. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, damaging winds, hail, heavy rains and flooding can wreak havoc and dramatically disrupt our daily routines. That’s why we are continually encouraged by the weather experts to be prepared and have a plan for safely riding out the storms that come our way. This might include keeping a flashlight, extra batteries, water, nonperishable food and a portable radio stored ...

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Greg Snyder, Ph. D. | Boys Town Staff Psychologist

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A Toy by Any Other Name Is Still a Toy

Are fidget spinners or other toy-like devices helpful in reducing restlessness, inattention and motor spillover behavior in the classroom setting? My answer is unequivocally, NO. Don’t buy in to the hype. Fidget spinners, fidget cubes and small handheld manipulative devices produced by toy manufacturers and co-opted by advocacy groups and children themselves are not helpful for children — unless they are used solely for enjoyment during free time. Many children with ADHD and other neurodevelopmental delays oftentimes present with excessive motor ...

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Jennifer Simpson | Boys Town Family Teacher

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4 Tips for Supporting a Child with Depression

This article was originally shared on momaha.com. Depression affects kids in a variety of ways and can be situational or a constant in their life. There are a few things parents can do to help keep depression at bay and help their kids through this challenging time. Here are a few tips: 1. Implement routine and schedules for your kids throughout the day. For example, try to eat meals and snacks at similar times during the day. If your kids are school-age, implement a ...

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Boys Town Contributor

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Practice and Preparing Your Kids for the Big Game – of Life

Both of my kids played sports in high school. My daughter loved volleyball; my son was into football. Over the four years they played, my daughter set, dug and hit thousands of volleyballs and ran through countless drills in practice. My son threw thousands of passes, worked on his drop backs and handoffs every day of the season, and studied formations and all the plays that could be run out of them. Both relied on the constant, consistent teaching of their ...

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Boys Town Contributer

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Turn Weather Fear into Fun with a Pirate Treasure Hunt

When severe weather strikes, even the bravest adult can suddenly feel small and vulnerable. Now, imagine being a young child in a similar situation. Fear is caused by the unknown, so putting together an emergency severe-weather kit can help alleviate worry for both children and adults. What happens if we lose power? We have flashlights with fresh batteries and a hand-crank weather radio. What happens if somebody gets hurt? We have a fully stocked first-aid kit. What happens if our house ...

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

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5 Tips for Dealing with an Aggressive Child

This blog was originally featured on momaha.com.   You may have witnessed it out in public or in your own home. Dealing with an aggressive child can be difficult as you try to remain calm, keep others safe and help your child wind down. Whether it is verbal or physical, aggression can be a learned behavior or a symptom of a mental health or substance abuse issue. Here are some tips on how to help teach your child appropriate ways to handle anger. 1. ...

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Pat Thomas, Boys Town

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5 Tips for Easing Anxiety in Kids

This article was originally featured on Momaha on Nov 17, 2016. These days, there are a lot of kids dealing with feelings of worry and anxiety. Often, these feelings are the result of struggling with things they don’t understand, or there is a break in the routine, and they are not sure of what is going to happen and when. Studies show that children feel safe when they are in a consistent and predictable environment. Safety is their main concern and ours. Kids are ...

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Jaime Wyant, Momaha Contributor

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All That Election Anger You’re Spewing on Social Media? Time to Tone It Down

This article was originally featured on Momaha on November 14, 2016. This week was full of election chaos. After one of the most surprising upsets in American political history, Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States of America. Whether you are thrilled or terrified with the results of the election, you cannot avoid all of the social media commentary. What is truly upsetting to me is all of the hate plaguing our lives right now. There are people on both ...

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Kris Hallstrom, Manager Boys Town National Hotline

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8 Tips to Help Your Child Make Friends

This article was originally featured on Momaha on August 25, 2016. Friends are special people; they are there for the good times, bad times and all the times in between. And having a “best friend” is a wonderful thing. As a parent you want your child to have a group of friends with which to have fun and spend their time. Some kids have an easy time making new friends. Some kids have a very large circle of friends, and others are content ...

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Kristin Bieber, Ph.D., Boys Town Child and Adolescent Psychologist

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Make the Most of Parent–Teacher Conferences

Parent–teacher conferences play an important role in the education of your child. First quarter of the school year typically ends with a 15-minute conference. For many parents, these conferences are the first time they hear that their child is struggling in class or with peers, and there just isn’t much time to discuss the details. In general, communication with your child’s school is important. So, attending parent-teacher conferences is one way to send a message to your child and to teachers ...

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Father Steven Boes, Boys Town President and National Executive Director

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Parenting to Pull the Plug on Bullying Behavior

Recently at one of our local high schools in Omaha, a deaf student was targeted by bullies. In this particular incident, two other students took the deaf student’s backpack and dumped it and its contents, including a tablet and a bank card, in a school toilet. The perpetrators were caught and disciplined by the school. Classmates of the deaf student rallied around him, raising money to replace all of his damaged items. Unfortunately, we hear these stories way too often. How do ...

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Julia Cook, Author & Boys Town Expert

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Raising a Nonjudgmental Child

Children are born without bias. As infants, they don’t care about race, gender, religion (or lack thereof), sexual orientation or cultural identity. As they grow, any prejudice they exhibit regarding others is the result of learning via observation. That means if you wish to raise a nonjudgmental child, you must first take a look in the mirror as well as understand that the key to building relationships and raising a nonjudgmental child is through the development of trust and communication. As ...

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Dr. Reznicek, Superintendent, Boys Town High School

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Trauma, Tragedy and Children

An earthquake in China kills thousands. A suicide bomber in Iraq destroys a mosque during Friday prayer. A gunman takes the lives of scores of innocents in a Florida nightclub. On every television, on every device, tragedy is everywhere. Sometimes the tragedy may be closer to home, such as the death of a friend or family member. So, how should you address these situations with children in school? The first thing to understand is that children are exceptionally resilient. They’re often ...

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Laura Buddenberg, Boys Town Expert

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7 Ways to Teach Your Teen How to Disagree Appropriately

This article was originally featured on Momaha.com July 14, 2016. Teens love to argue their viewpoints. In fact, if you’re the parent of a teen, you often may feel like you’re living with a pricey underage attorney or a national debate champ! Meaningless arguments are a bummer for everyone, and there are plenty of issues that shouldn’t be up for negotiation. When our kids were growing up and still at home, my husband and I had the final word on anything physically, morally or ...

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Maggie McGill, Boys Town In Home Family Consultant

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4 Steps to Help Your Kids Avoid Peer Pressure

This article was originally featured on Momaha.com August 4, 2016. Avoiding peer pressure is not easy for kids because they are desperately looking for acceptance and a place to fit in. The best way to help kids avoid peer pressure is to teach them how. Here are four steps to help you teach your child how to avoid peer pressure. 1. Start out by sitting down and talking with your child at a neutral time. Explain to them the difference between positive and negative peer ...

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Kevin Kush, Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher

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A Parent’s Unrealistic Expectation in Youth Sports Can Lead to Disappointment

This article was originally featured on Momaha.com July 28, 2016. One issue that constantly clouds youth sports is the unrealistic expectations many adults have that younger girls and boys will star in high school sports and earn scholarships to play in college. Many parents even believe their child will go on to become a professional athlete. I hate to burst their bubble, but the facts say otherwise. The National Council of Youth Sports has reported that more than 41 million girls and boys currently ...

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Julie Mooney, Boys Town Teacher

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It’s All in the Organization!

Would you like your child to be more successful in school? There is one key skill all students can learn that can contribute to their classroom success: Being organized! This may sound simple to someone who is a “naturally” organized person. But for students whose thoughts can often go off in random directions, being organized can be tough. Here are a few tips I use with my students at Boys Town that you can share with your children to help them stay focused ...

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Jo Ann Flaxbeard, Boys Town National Training Consultant

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New Grades Bring Big Transitions

With the new school year just around the corner, now is a great time to discuss how children can best transition from one school to another. After all, kindergarten, grade school, middle school, high school and college are distinctly different social and academic stages that mark a youth’s progression from childhood to maturity. And the transition between each requires a new and unique set of skills. If your child will be going through a transition year, the following social skills may ...

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Steph Jensen, MS, LPC, Boys Town National Training

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What’s in a Label? – Moving Beyond Behavior Labels

Disrespectful, rude, defiant, lazy, inappropriate, irresponsible and out-of-control are all common labels we may be quick to assign to children exhibiting challenging behaviors. While these labels may be correct in describing our perceptions of their difficult behaviors, they are rarely an accurate assessment of the child who is engaging in them. Childhood, by definition, is a time of change, challenges and growth. Children are experiencing many physical, mental and emotional changes as they progress through their natural growth and development. ...

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Dan Daly, Executive Vice President, Director of Youth Care, Boys Town

 

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Kids and Crisis: Tragedies in Orlando

This has been a truly terrible week for the people of Orlando, Florida, and for the nation as a whole. Our hearts go out to those affected by the recent tragic events. For parents of young children, times like these — when you can’t seem to turn on a TV or open a web browser without seeing scenes of violence and tragedy — can be extremely difficult. It is impossible to shield your kids from all media. As a result, kids ...

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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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Father Steven Boes, President and Executive Director, Boys Town

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Steering Your Teen Toward Safe Driving

Most parents see it as a blessing when their teen can finally start driving. They love the thought of not having to play chauffeur anymore, and welcome the convenience of having someone who can drive to the store for a few groceries or give a younger sibling a ride to school. What parents must realize, however, is that the biggest threat to the safety of a teen with a driver’s license is sitting right in their own driveway. Consider these sobering statistics: In ...

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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

Mother of four-year-old and two-year-old daughters

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Parenting Tools That Work

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs there is, but it’s those ‘ah-ha’ moments that are the currency of the adventure. I am one of those people who will read every article, blog and book out there on parenting, but I find that true learning comes from putting what you read in to practice.  Case in point: I recently discovered an awesome resource to help me put that knowledge in to action with the Parenting Tools provided by Boys ...

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Heather Butler, Boys Town Family-Teacher

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A Positive Approach to Discipline that Can Work for Any Family

As a parent and a Family-Teacher at Boys Town, I have learned that Boys Town’s method of disciplining children can be incredibly effective for all parents. At Boys Town, we focus on attaching a cost response to behaviors. So when a child does something – whether it is good or bad – there is a response in the form of a consequence. For good behavior, the youth at Boys Town earn positive points, which they can use to “purchase” privileges like sweet ...

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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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Lying: How to break the habit in children

This post was first published on Momaha.com. Are you tired of calling your child out for lying? Does he or she lie with ease? Lying usually starts at a very young age. Even a 2-year-old can be guilty of it. A simple question of “Do you need to go potty?” will be answered with a “no” if the last time she was whisked off to the bathroom left her without her toys for a few minutes. Children are constantly testing what they can ...

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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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Dr. Tanya Martin, Director of Special Education and Transition Services at Boys Town High School

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What Did You Just Say?

Have you ever been riding in the car and had your children utter words or phrases that make you think, “What did they just say?” Every generation has its vocabulary of slang; it’s one of those things that sets the youngsters apart from their parents. Tweens and teens enjoy the secrecy of their own “private” slang language, thinking that parents and adults are too “uncool” to understand what the kids are talking about. So if you feel you have been left behind ...

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Boys Town Contributor, Mother of seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son

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What Parent Doesn’t Want Their Child to Be Grateful?

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. What parent doesn’t want their child to be grateful? From a very young age, we have taught our children their please and thank you’s, before they could speak they were signing the words. We wanted our kids to have manners and ...

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

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How to Convey What Bullying Is to Young Kids

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 co-leader of my daughter’s Girl Scout brownie troop I wanted to focus on bullying for our October meeting. As a parent, the idea of my child being bullied terrifies me. I also want to make sure my kids know that ...

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By Father Steven Boes, National Executive Director, Boys Town  

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Protecting Your Child, in Good Faith, from the Media Minefield

It used to be that a parent’s greatest fear was sending his or her child out into the world, where they might face all sorts of potential dangers. Now parents are even more frightened by the prospect of technology bringing the dangers of the world directly into their child’s life. As social media has become increasingly more predatory and more threatening, kids have become more vulnerable to harmful activities like cyberbullying and harassment. Today, it’s easy for teens and even younger children ...

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Kip Jones, Boys Town Press Author

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Teach Kids to be a B.O.S.S & Take a Stand Against Bullying

This article was first published on Boys Town National Training in October, 2015.   Bullying has become an epidemic in communities, homes, online and our schools. For example, bullyingstatistics.org cites the following data: Bullying victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are ...

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Erin Dittman, Supervisor, Boys Town In-Home Family Services

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7 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Follow Your Instructions

This article was originally posted on Momaha on August 27th, 2015. Could the way you give your children instructions be setting them up for failure – and you up for frustration? I once heard that an average 10-year-old follows instructions 63 percent of the time. Maybe you’re thinking that seems really high – or maybe really low. I know we all get frustrated by our kids not following instructions. So even if "average" is about two-thirds of the time, how can we ...

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Alesia Montgomery, Boys Town National Training

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5 Tips for Keeping Your Dating Teen Safe

This article first appeared on Boys Town National Training in February 2015.   We have all seen the giddy teenage girl at the mall with her boyfriend with hearts floating above her head. Unfortunately, this is just as common as seeing a brooding young man who thinks his life is over because things didn’t work out. Dating relationships can be a great experience for teens, allowing them to learn skills to stay healthy in a relationship. As adults it is important that we teach kids how to ...

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

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Is My Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

With the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus coming out this weekend, smartphones will definitely be on the mind of kids and adults alike. So let’s run down the pros and cons of cell phone use for young kids. On the pro side, a phone will allow your child to contact you whenever he or she needs to and vice versa. And if it’s a smartphone, you can even use it to track your child’s whereabouts. As for cons, there are a ...

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Kerry Stewart, Director of Family Home Program

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The 4 to 1 Principle of Praise: Prompting Positive Behavior

As parents, we’re conditioned to notice when something is out of order with our kids – that’s nature working. So when they’re at the kitchen table doing their homework or in the bathroom brushing their teeth before bed, everything is normal and we go about our regular business. Unfortunately this means that many of us have a tendency to interact with our kids more often when they’re being bad than when they’re being good. After all, bad gets noticed, so ...

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Boys Town Contributor
Mother of six-year-old daughter and five-year-old son

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My Youngest Starts School. Wait, am I Supposed to be Sad?

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. My baby started Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. He is my second and last to go off to school. As I was leaving the school after drop off on the first day, I encountered other moms in the hallway fighting ...

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Erin Sorensen, Online Engagement Specialist and Cheerleading Coach at Boys Town

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Over Commitment: How to Know When Too Much Is Too Much

Not long ago, I had to stop one of my cheerleaders and tell her to take a deep breath. She was rushing from volleyball practice to make it to cheer practice on time and she was flustered. She had misplaced her volleyball jersey and now her cheer bow was gone. The stress was visibly noticeable on her face. “Breathe,” I informed her. She nodded, took a breath and grabbed her pom-poms. She’s not the only youth I coach who is involved in ...

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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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Erin Dittman, Supervisor, Boys Town In-Home Family Services

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4 Steps to Help Keep Kids Calm

This post was originally published on Momaha.com on July 23rd, 2015. Everyone gets upset sometimes, kids are no different. Staying calm is an essential skill for success at home, at school and throughout life in general. As parents, we can help our kids learn to stay calm in difficult situations. Follow these four steps to help your child learn to control their outbursts. 1. Keep your own emotions in check. One of the most important things parents can do to help their children ...

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Kevin Kush, Boys Town Football Coach and Teacher

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3 Ways Parents Can Help Their Athlete Handle Disappointment, Adversity

This article was originally posted on Momaha on July 29th, 2015. Life is full of ups and downs. So are youth sports. If your son or daughter participates in athletics, they will, at some point, lose, face adversity and be disappointed. Participating in sports gives young people the opportunity to learn how to overcome disappointment and adversity in a safe and controlled environment. Successfully overcoming obstacles is one of the most important life skills adults can teach youngsters. Coaches and parents must recognize there ...

posted in Parenting Advice
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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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Julia Cook, Children’s Book Author

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Civility Wars: Helping Your Child Battle Rudeness and Learn Positive People Skills

Rudeness damages others by creating stress, eroding self-worth, creating relationship problems and making life difficult. When we are treated rudely by others, we often become vulnerable and self-doubting. Teaching children to be polite is not an all-or-nothing proposition, but instead is a continuum that starts at birth and continues throughout life. Teaching a child just one single strategy toward politeness will better that child! The most important skill we can teach our children to help them succeed in life is the ...

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

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4 Tips to Help You – and Your Senior – Survive Graduation

This article was first published on Momaha on May 21, 2015. http://www.omaha.com/momaha/tips-to-help-you-and-your-senior-survive-graduation/article_81501410-fd99-11e4-8059-0b9233b66128.html It’s graduation time! Everywhere, parents of high school seniors are in high preparation mode, getting ready for ceremonies, parties and visits from family members. High school graduation is a big accomplishment and rite of passage (for kids and parents alike!) – and well worth celebrating. Here are some tips for maintaining your sanity (and your graduating senior’s safety) during this season. Communicate! 1. Get in touch with your child’s school and do one ...

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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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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’s Fr. Boes

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Guest Blog: The Pressure to Be a Perfect Parent

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 ...