The Halloween Trading Places Challenge

Trading Places Halloween illustration 2 by Jennifer Miller

I’m frightened already!

- Kimberly Allison, Mom and Challenge Participant

At Halloween, our kids have the opportunity to select the identity they want to inhabit for one special night. Perhaps they choose to face their fears head on by becoming their own worst nightmare. Others will choose to dress as characters they admire and want to emulate. A costume may make a young child feel stronger, bigger and smarter than she ever could imagine being on her own. In this spirit of trying on other identities, taking another’s perspective, I challenged three families including my own to switch roles during a typical dinner leading up to the holiday. We each had a different style of approaching it with our families. But parents and children alike laughed and learned about themselves through the experience.

The Challenge: You and your children will trade places – or more specifically roles – and act as the other for one family activity.

Each of the individuals – children and parents – dressed the part by selecting accessories to identify the role they were playing. My son, E (7 years old), put on a bright red beaded necklace and bracelet and wore my signature black headband while I propped a Darth Vader mask atop my head. Samantha (6 years old) was excited to put on her Mom’s flats, scarf and diamond ring while Mom Kimberly wore colorful plastic jewels and big flower hair clips. Dad Anthony happily went barefoot while son James (8 years old) wore a beret, a collared shirt, tie and a pedometer. Are you formulating a vivid picture?

Next all participants acted and spoke like the person they were portraying. “Oh that was %22Back from the ball%22 Halloween illustration 2 by Jennifer Millersuch a long ball!” said Reese (4) dramatically as he came in the door acting as Mommy Sharon would home from yet another soiree. Of course, Mom Sharon volunteers regularly at school and community events putting in long hours of hard work but the four year old perception is that she is exhausted from extensive partying. “I hate pot roast! I won’t eat it. I want something else!” whined Dad Anthony at the dinner table. E acting as me said, “Oh sweetheart! (in his highest voice) Are you hurt?” rushing to my side. After dinner, “Kid” Sharon and “Kid” Anthony incited a battle over who could play with coveted Lego pieces. Each actor brought their own unique perspectives to the role and played it to the hilt.

So what did we learn from this game that we all squeezed into our already busy schedules? Samantha (6) said, “I liked being able to get up whenever I wanted to and it was fun to tell you what to do.” Mom Kimberly reflected “I could clearly play out the reversal in my mind, and knew that if I were at the receiving end of my comments during dinner, I would feel like I was always being watched for manners and how I was eating.” Daddy Jason said “What was supposed to be a fun game was actually more challenging than I expected.” As for me, I learned how uncomfortable and tough it is to really try and put yourself in another’s place and perspective. It’s hard work. It requires actively thinking about the other person, their beliefs, their daily habits and how they would authentically look and sound. There’s immediate accountability too since the person you are attempting to imitate is watching you. After the game, I noticed I was thinking frequently about what Daddy Jason might say in a particular situation or how E might react. Just this one activity has heightened my own awareness of my family members’ outlooks.

James (8) though summed it up for all of us by saying, “Okay, let’s switch back. I think I’ve learned everything I need to know from this exercise. It’s a lot of fun and also really tiring!” Exactly! Despite the hard work, I did feel stronger, bigger and smarter – emotionally – when I played the role of my son. Greater empathy is a compelling reason for our family to play this game again.

Take the Trading Places Challenge with your family! Try it out in the month of November in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday and enhance your sense of gratefulness for each other and for being you! Send in your experiences along with a family photo by Friday, November 14th and I’ll share them here along with an illustration of your family!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

* I would like to sincerely thank the Allison and Perez families and my own family too for Sharon and Kimberlyparticipating in this social experiment. They are dear friends of ours and have contributed so much to our perspectives and lives. Thank you for playing along, sharing in the dialogue and for all you do as Confident Parents raising Confident Kids! Sharon Perez and Kimberly Allison have their own blog entitled Table 365 and significantly contribute to families’ lives through inspiration and ideas for healthy meals, fast and easy. Check out their blog at

** Children’s names were changed.

For other Confident Parents, Confident Kids’ Halloween and related articles, check out:

Conquering Fears

The Hidden Halloween Treat

Boo! Common Fears and How to Help Children Deal with Them

Helping Children Understand Death


Tonight – Bullying: What Parents Can Do

Problem solving facilitation illustr 001

NBC’s Education Nation Parent Toolkit is hosting a Twitter chat tonight on what parents can do about bullying with Dr. Michele Borba, Today Show Parent Expert and author of multiple parenting books including The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries. I’ll be joining and I hope you will consider joining in the conversation too! At 7:00 p.m. EST tonight, you can log in to your Twitter account and follow the #ToolkitTalk discussion thread.


My 1st Nomination for “One Lovely Blog” …


Thank you for your nomination, Lynnclaire and support!

Originally posted on Awakening Our Inner & Interconnection :

cropped-families-drawing-w-hearts-001Is Jennifer Smith Miller of “Confident parents, Confident kids”. While the reasons are manifold, the first is she has the courage to express self-confidence as a parent and like many others I know that parenting is the last bastion of the amateur! The next reason is that she is placing herself on the front lines in defense of her son and children everywhere, aware that social and emotional intelligence is the key to human survival. And Jennifer, I absolutely love the drawings on your Blog!

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Conquering Fears

Purple wolf, pumpkin and boy illustration by Jennifer Miller

It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena to face a battle to the death with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world.

- From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling 1

In children’s play scripts, picture books and playground games, the theme of conquering fears is played out repeatedly. Each developmental step requires a battle with self-doubt to risk, overcome and triumph. The reward is mastery, the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal and simultaneously controlling emotions. At Halloween time in particular, we delight in scary imagery gaining a feeling of control over the darkness.

Our aim for our children is not fearlessness. Every human being has fears. And they serve the critical purpose of warning us of threatening situations. They provide an extra jolt of energy and heighten our senses. But most situations are not life-threatening. Becoming practiced at dealing with fears means remaining their master, not their servant.

Roger Pittman of Harvard Medical School studies anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder.

One way to help patients diminish the impact of an anxiety-producing memory is to guide them to form a new memory that inhibits, or extinguishes, expression of the fearful memory during any recall attempt. 2

In other words, the old adage “Face your fears.” holds true. Thinking about or experiencing a fear in a safe context can provide new information to the one holding onto the fear to help him realize that it’s not really a matter of life and death. It can become even more powerful if the child imagines himself as the conquering hero and how that fear can be overcome. When I had nightmares as a child, my Dad would guide me to go back to the dream and visualize how I could conquer the evil that was taking me over. Would I need a valiant sword to slay the dragon or my creative mind to outwit the giant of my dreams? Children’s literature can be a constructive way of facing fears in a safe setting with a supportive adult. My son is too young to explore the world of “Harry Potter,” so here are some of our favorite picture books that raise important conversation topics and help him conquer his fears. What are your favorites? Please share!

There’s No Such Thing As Monsters! by Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler
Little Bear is going to sleep in his very own room without his older brother for the first time.There's no such thing as monstersHe hears strange noises and becomes scared of monsters. Little Bear conquers his fear and falls asleep on his own.

Scaredy Cat and Boo by Michael Broad
Scaredy Cat is afraid of spiders, the dark and most especially, the Scaredy Cat and Boobig tree in his yard. He makes a mouse friend named “Boo” who encourages him to face his fears. He realizes that not only are his fears unfounded but that he can actually enjoy encountering them.

Don’t Be Afraid, Little Pip by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Pip is a penguin who is faced with the social obligation of learning to swim for the first time. He decides he’d prefer to fly instead and while attempting to Don't Be Afraid Little Piplearn to fly, ends up learning to swim. He discovers a love for swimming and a realization that it’s what he really wanted after all.

And on YouTube, listen to a reading of

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Illustrated by Jon Klassen

This book is about a boy who wants to face the dark in order to conquer his fears and must go into his basement to the deepest, most shadowy corner in order to do so. Toddlers and preschoolers may be more frightened by this reading than is helpful since there are scary-sounding voices. It’s ideal for early primary school years.


Rowling, J.K. (2006). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. NY: Scholastic Books.

Menting, Ann Marie. The Chill of Fear. Retrieved from Harvard Medicine, The Science of Emotion at on 10-24-14.

Elements of a Confident Kid… Saying “No!”

Elements of a Confident Kids by Jennifer Miller

Elements...Saying %22No!%22 Illustration by Jennifer Miller


- used to give a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer 1

About Children and the Evolution of “No.”

If your child was anything like mine between the ages of two and three, “No! No! No!” was a favorite and often used word. For the most part, while children are in their early school years, we want them to say “Yes!” — Yes to learning challenges, to making new friends and to our requests. And then, when they reach the tween and teen years, our children face high risk challenges such as peer pressure, substance use and sexual identity formation and exploration. In those years, we want them to be clear on when and how to say “No.” But there is no such thing as “Just saying no to drugs.” Children who have the ability to say “No.” when the stakes are high have had plenty of practice throughout their childhood to assert their needs, beliefs and choices in small ways. A confident kid has those opportunities to say no to friends who want her to leave the yard without telling an adult, to a teacher when she has not done her homework (and accepts the consequences) and to a parent offering seconds at dinner when she has a full belly.

Strategies for Promoting Assertiveness and the Ability to Say “No”

Parents can model assertiveness by setting and being consistent with boundaries, a critical part of a parent’s role. Families can be clear about which rules are “untouchable,” in other words, there will be no changes or negotiations. Those rules are often related to a child’s safety. For example, we don’t leave our house on a bike without a helmet.

Parents can also play the role of coach when a child comes to them with a social dilemma. Perhaps a close friend was being mean to another at recess and your son didn’t know what to say or do. Instead of skipping to a solution, play coach. Here are a few easy steps you can take.

  • Deeply listen to what your child is saying. Wait until they have fully finished their story.
  • Ask clarifying questions so that you allow your child to tell as much of the story as possible.
  • Ask him, “What were you feeling when that happened?”
  • If he is unable to articulate what he was feeling, offer a feeling guess in a question format. For example, “It sounds like you were worried about the other child and confused about what to do. Is that right? Was there anything else you were feeling?”

Then, you might ask, “What could you have said to the child who was being mean? What could you have said to the child who was on the receiving end?” Allow your child thinking time. If possible, encourage several ideas versus just one.

This kind of coaching can allow a child to reflect deeply on a situation and help him internalize values and beliefs about what he feels is right and wrong. It also helps him to begin to shape how his actions can be informed by those values and beliefs. This can be a powerful way for a parent to teach responsible decision making and support a child’s moral development.

John Gottman, author of the book Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child; The Heart of Parenting,2 found in his research that children who were coached about their emotions in their early life internalized the ability to pick up on social cues and express emotions appropriately and communicate them effectively later in the tween and teen years.

Create practice opportunities. Look for ways in which your child can assert herself. Encourage conversations with other adults. For instance, when speaking with neighbors include your child in the conversation. Model and then allow your child to order from the menu at a restaurant. Offering chances to speak in simple ways among adults can go a long way toward giving your child the confidence to be assertive in a variety of settings. Practice with your child saying “No” when there are small disagreements between friends. Children benefit by hearing simple language they can use. “I can’t go to the park without an adult.”

Begin to talk with children at every age each time they come to a situation in which they are confused or the path is unclear. And talking about peer pressure can begin as soon as children are in school since they may feel compelled to actions simply because others are making a particular choice. Practice words your child can use. “No, I don’t want to do that.” Teach your child to respect when others tell them “No” the very first time it’s said. “No, I don’t want to be tickled.” No really does mean no. Children need practice respecting others wishes when they say “No.”

Cultivate a responsive environment. When children do assert themselves, take them seriously. You may not agree with what they are saying and you may not allow them to do what they are asserting, however they likely have strong feelings and need to express them. Allowing your child to be heard when they are asserting themselves makes them feel like they have a voice and can use it when they feel strongly about a situation. You can model respectful assertions and encourage them to do the same. A good rule of thumb in any household is “Do no harm through words or actions.”

Saying “No” when something is not right can be a true challenge for adults in social situations more less your child who is still learning to navigate friendships and social groups. Provide a safe space for practice at home and you will prepare your children with this critical life skill.


1. Merriam Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved on 10-21-2014 from

2. Gottman, J. (1997). Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child; The Heart of Parenting. NY: Simon and Schuster.

“Tough Talks: Having the ‘Sex Talk’ With Your Child” on NBC’s Parent Toolkit

me and e pic for hello post 001

NBC’s Parent Toolkit began a new blog series today entitled, “Tough Talks” in which they plan to tackle some of the most challenging conversations parents will have with their children. The first in this series highlights how you can talk about sexuality. CPCK’s Author, Jennifer Miller weighed in on the topic along with other Parent Toolkit experts including Dr. Michelle Borba, a parenting expert and regular TODAY Show Contributor.FB_1200x628_PTAPP-1

“If you look closely, you will find that there will be natural entry points to start these discussions,” says Miller. “It doesn’t have to be a dramatic sit-down conversation, but a drip of information as they encounter different issues and situations.”

For the full article, visit the NBC Education Nation’s “Parent Toolkit” blog.




New Social and Emotional Development Section on NBC’s Parent Toolkit


In support of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, NBC News launched a Social & Emotional section on its award-winning Parent Toolkit website – a one-stop online resource available in English and Spanish – for parents navigating their children’s development in the classroom and beyond. Produced by NBC News’ Education Nation and sponsored by Pearson, the new section contains tips on how to improve emotional competency, relationship-building and social skills. Based on research about emotional intelligence – a concept popularized in 1995 by Daniel Goldman, author and co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) – the new section features guides, broken down by grade level, to help parents with their child’s social and emotional development. Concepts highlighted in the section are based on CASEL’s five interrelated sets of competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. The new section also features insights and advice from teachers, academic and parenting experts including Jennifer Miller of Confident Parents, Confident Kids and renowned research centers, including the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and The Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab. The Social & Emotional section is available for Android devices on the Parent Toolkit App, and will launch on iOs devices later this month.

The Parent Toolkit team has created a new Facebook page in conjunction with the launch of this new section. The hope is to build on the success of the site to further engage parents in a conversation about steps that they can take to best support their children. They would love for you to add your voice to the conversation. In addition to their new Facebook page, they are continuing to host monthly #ToolkitTalks on Twitter. Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, they will spend this month’s talk discussing bullying. Please join us on Tuesday, October 28 at 7 pm EST for another powerful conversation. And watch for the announcement for November’s Twitter Chat for which Jennifer Miller will help lead a discussion on “Raising Thankful Children.”

Using the Toolkit, parents can also access academic benchmarks and tips focused on math, English language arts, and health and wellness for pre-k through high school. Plans to enhance the website and app include original video content, which will be included next year.

Confident Parents, Confident Kids Turns Two!

CPCK Two Year Blog-iversary Illustration by Jennifer Miller


It’s Confident Parents, Confident Kids’ two year blog-iversary! It’s been a big year moving from 275 followers to 19,208 (nearly 20,000 strong!). NBC Universal’s Education Nation’s Parent Toolkit now links to this site as a resource and followers include organizations making a significant contribution to families including the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Harvard School of Education’s Making Caring Common Project, Committee for Children, Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and more.

In recognizing this milestone, I want to thank all of those who have played major roles in its success. I want to particularly thank my editor extraordinaire, Linda Smith (or as I affectionately refer to her, “Mom”) who now edits two articles every week for me on top of articles for other sites that I write. I could not hire someone who is as skilled of an editor as she. Thank you sincerely for sharing your talents. Thank you to my husband, Jason and son, E for acting as regular guinea pigs participating in games and other trial tests for upcoming articles! Particular thank yous go out to those who have read, shared, and commented extensively including David Smith, Roger Weissberg, Shannon Wanless, Sharon Perez, Kimberly Allison, Julie Iven, Susie Fabro and Jeanne Osgood. And thank you, readers for your ongoing dialogue, thoughtful comments and participation. Some of those regular readers, commenters and supporters are depicted in the illustration above.

There are two ways you can help me celebrate this milestone.

1. Share your feedback.

The site is only successful if I keep in touch with what is important to you. Please take a moment and reply in the comment section to any or all of the following questions.

- What keeps you up at night?
– What are your greatest challenges as a parent?
– What are your hopes and dreams for your children – and how do you need support
in preparing them for success?
– Are there any specific topics you would like to see covered or particular social and
emotional skills you want to learn more about?

2. Share the site.

If you’ve enjoyed or benefitted from this site, please consider sharing it with friends, family or colleagues. You can cut and paste the following statement, if helpful, into an email, tweet or post. Help me reach 20,000 followers! And see below to find me on Twitter and Facebook.

I thought you might be interested in the site, Confident Parents, Confident Kids. It offers practical weekly ideas for teaching our kids critical social and emotional skills in busy family life. These skills include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, interpersonal communications and responsible decision-making. Sign up on the right side of the site under “Follow via Email” to receive weekly updates and articles.

Find me on Facebook,
Find me on Twitter:

Here are some of the site statistics:


113 Posts

147 Countries Viewed (out of a total of 196 in the world)

25,312 Total Views

15,821 U.S. Views


And the top ten most popular posts are listed below. If you missed one, check it out!

1. Parent-Teacher Conversations
2. Cultivating a Sense of Competence
3. Expanding the Circle: Teaching Your Children Inclusion
4. Smart Home Media Use: Limiting Screen Time
5. The Power of Self-Control
6. The Fear of Failure
7. Let the Games Begin!
8. The Mask of Anger
9. Weapon Play and Villians
10. Mine, Yours and Ours

Thanks again! And cheers to you, Confident Parents and your Confident Kids!

Persistence through Life’s Adventures

Learning to ride a bike illustr by Jennifer Miller

Our bravest and best lessons are not learned through success, but through misadventure.

- Amos Bronson Alcott

“The driveway is too bumpy.” “I hate wearing bike helmets!” and “I don’t want to ride with training wheels” are all of the “reasons” my son vehemently cites for not learning to ride a bike when his friends take off at top speed on theirs. This concerns me not because riding a bike without training wheels is so crucial but because learning requires practice and persistence. At times, my son wants to demonstrate mastery before he’s really tried. He gives up quickly, frustrated and embarrassed. A not-so-closet perfectionist myself, I worry that I might be modeling competence but leaving out the hard journey I took to get there. This is the same boy, however, who will dig in his heels and search for a single Lego piece until it is found, no matter how long it takes. “Don’t give up, Mom! I will never give up!” he asserts as focused and determined as any predator stalking his prey. His sense of agency, or will power, at times, astounds me. So I must ask, what helps a child persist toward a goal? What promotes, as researchers are now calling it, “grit”? Why are children doggedly determined in some pursuits and not in others? And how can a parent cultivate that force when it comes to the highest learning priorities?

Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset, writes that it’s all about our attitudes toward a challenge, both your thoughts and feelings.1 Some children will approach a difficult puzzle with excitement and as the difficulty increases, so too does their involvement and motivation to figure it out. Dweck refers to this as a “growth mindset.” The learner believes that with time and effort, she can achieve anything. Other children will take one look at a difficult puzzle and make the decision that it’s unconquerable and not worth the effort. Dweck refers to this attitude as a “fixed mindset.” Circumstances outside of my control or just the way I am and will always be determine whether I can meet a challenge or not. Though I suspect interest level in the challenge at hand makes a significant contribution to a child’s motivation to work hard on it, there are attitudes that either support digging in or giving up. The great news is that these thoughts and feelings related to how a child approaches a challenge can be learned, developed and changed over time. So how can parents support a growth mindset? How can they promote perseverance when a challenge only gets tougher?

Promote an “I can.” belief. Negative self-talk such as “There’s no way I can do that.” can prevent a child or an adult from working toward a goal. There may be an internal dialogue that your child is privy to and you are not. So ask. “How are you feeling about this challenge?” Also let them know that you are certain they can master it. Try to break down practice into the smallest steps possible and recognize the accomplishment of each small step. Follow each success with “See — you can.”

Notice effort. Recognize the process over the product. We tend to be product-oriented at school, in our work and in our daily lives. It’s easy to point to an end product and evaluate it. And that’s just what your child is afraid of. So downplay the final product. Focus your comments more on the effort they engage in and the process they are taking to reach their goal. “I notice you returned to your paper each night this week. You are really working hard.”

Model persistence and share others success stories. As adults, we may tend to share our triumphs and the “happy endings” of long-fought stories, but be aware that sharing your set-backs along the way is just as important. Share other success stories too of people who failed or made mistakes and still persevered. Sports offers a vast array of examples in this area. My baseball fan husband reminds E that even professional batters strike out more than they hit.

Talk about the problem as temporary. The “fixed” mindset sees problems as permanent fixtures and out of their control. The “growth” mindset views challenges as passing issues that they can address and change. Focus on logical next steps your child can take.

Find multiple ways to practice – and make it fun. Practice can be difficult when a child feels like he’s being watched. Remove the audience even if its siblings. Give him the time and space to try whatever it is judgement-free. If you can make a game out of practicing and incorporate fun, you will help provide motivation to engage in the activity.

Build on a sense of agency. All children have a desire for autonomy and competence. If your child has ever adamantly opposed your directions, take that as a sign she has a healthy sense of agency. Though not always ready to make particular choices, children – just as adults – have the desire to do things on their own – and on their own terms. Remind your child of the times she dug in and wouldn’t give up. Perhaps she wanted blueberry muffins for a snack and was willing to do the hard work of helping make them, waiting for them to bake and cleaning up afterward. Those stories can be told to reinforce the fact that she has the strength and desire to persist if she makes up her mind that she’s going to do something.

Visualize success. Visualization can be a powerful tool for achieving a goal. In a quiet time, you can facilitate a visualization by closing eyes and asking what life would look like, feel like and be like if she achieved her goal. The more specific she can get, the more details she will uncover that can serve as ingredients for her success.

Cultivate gratefulness. Appreciation of what we have in life – our relationships, our homes, the food we eat, the toys we play with – can help promote optimism in every aspect of life. Find a regular time each day to discuss what you are grateful for and see how it affects your children’s attitudes. E and I share “happy thoughts” each night before bedtime as a way to note all of the events that occurred and people we encountered that we appreciated.

Assemble a temporary goal support group. If a particular learning goal is a sensitive issue, you may have to play “covert ops” on this one. Inform people in your child’s life privately (when your son is not around) about his goal. Ask if there are ways they might positively encourage practice or provide inspiration. Grandparents can be particularly skilled at offering opportunities to practice in the guise of fun.

And what if your child has a frustration tantrum?

Take a break. If your child is highly frustrated or upset about not achieving her goal, take a break. Cool down. Get away from the project. Exercise. Get fresh air. A highly emotional child is not going to bring her full mental abilities to the task if she is upset. Trying to stick with it in a time of high emotion can actually exacerbate the problem and lessen motivation in the future. Find time for a real break so that she can return feeling better and ready to persist.

And what if your child refuses to try when it relates to homework or learning academic content that is required for school?

Accept consequences and allow failure. As harsh as it may seem, we cannot and should not protect our children from every failure. If we learn our greatest lessons from missteps and failures, then, as parents, difficult as it may be, we must know when to step back and allow our child to experience the consequences of a decision like giving up. If it’s work for school that your child refuses to do, you can always communicate through a note or email with the teacher the situation and that you are hoping that the consequences will allow your child to fully experience what happens when they refuse to do their work.

I typically listen to jazz as I write. Today, as I wrote this article, I couldn’t help but notice the background music that was playing and took a moment to read the bio of the musician. At age nineteen, Melody Gardot, a college student studying fashion design, was riding her bike down a Philadelphia street and was blind-sided by a car and left for dead. She was hospitalized for months with head and body injuries. And while on her hospital bed, she wrote and recorded songs that served as a comfort to her. She now lives her life with hypersensitivity to light and noise and needs a cane to walk. Yet she has also released numerous albums and has become a respected vocalist. As I listened, her voice had a depth of soul that I rarely experience. This story of her persistence despite great challenges reminds me what a gift life is and what a gift being a parent is. I know my son will learn to ride a bike. And my confidence in his ability to learn will go a long way toward making it a reality. Meanwhile, I will look for moments to find joy in practicing.



Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset; The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.

NBC Universal’s Education Nation “Parent Toolkit” Features Blog Article by CPCK’s Author, Jennifer Miller


NBC Universal’s Education Nation “Parent Toolkit” published an article today by Jennifer Miller on their blog entitled “A Better Version of Yourself.” It highlights what you can do as a parent to deal with anger and anxiety in the heat of the moment with your children.

From “A Better Version of Yourself“:

As parents, we will all have our share of times when we lose our “cool” and are thoroughly uncertain about what to do next. Handling your most heated emotions can be one of the greatest tests of character. But if we have established a plan in advance to deal with anger or anxiety, we will not only act with emotional intelligence, but also model the ways in which we hope to teach our children to handle their emotions.

Click on this link to view the full article. Also, while you are visiting, check out the rest of the site. There are academic and health and wellness developmental indicators by grade level. You can look up your child’s grade and gain ideas for supporting them in their physical and academic development.

And coming soon — the social and emotional development section should be released sometime in mid-October.