The Best of 2014

CPCK Best of 2014 by Jennifer Miller2014 was a big year for Confident Parents, Confident Kids. This community moved from 275 followers to 23,000+ strong! Thank you for being an essential part of this important dialogue. Together our collective wisdom can strengthen our individual lives.

What are your hopes and dreams for your family this year?

Please write in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you!

Here are the top five most popular posts from this past year. Please check out any you may have missed.

1. Smart Home Media Use: Limiting Screen Time

Smart Home Media Use, Limiting Screen Time illustr by Jennifer MillerThe second day of school my son brought home a short booklet that was to be signed by all family members. It was the technology policy for his school. Covering every facet of screen interaction, each statement began with “No….” It is indeed critical for each school to have a policy on how technology is used. But in family life, the policy, or “rules” around screen time are just not enough. I began asking, what do kids know about screens, their effects and why they should be limited? How are children taught to interact with screens – what to do in addition to what not to do? As I was asking these questions, two friends, also readers, got in touch and asked whether I had any written media agreement for a family. I promised that I would research and work on one so that all could benefit including my own family… Full article.

2. The Mask of Anger

Anger is just anger. It isn’t good. It isn’t bad. It just is. What you do with it is what matters. It’s like anything else. You can use it to build or to destroy. You just have to make the choice.   – Jim Butcher, White Night

the mask of anger illust 001Yesterday, the teachers at E’s school decided to have a brief recess on the small slice of driveway in front of school in order to get out some of the cabin fever energy rampant among us all but particularly strong in kids. I was serving as lunch-recess parent volunteer. At a roaring pitch and in the faces of other children, I heard “I don’t wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.” I saw a tall, red-faced child stomp away from the group of boys he had just assaulted. And a small sobbing boy I’ve never met leaned back against me for comfort and protection as I leaned in to figure out what was going on. “Why is he crying?” said one boy incredulous and embarrassed that an associate of his might cry. “It’s okay,” said a kind friend. “He didn’t mean you.” said yet another. I pointed out what good friends he had to check in on him and provide words of comfort. Then the bell rang and we were back inside… Full article.

3. A Rush of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving illus by Jennifer MillerI came into the bathroom this morning a little foggy-eyed to put on my makeup and get ready for the day as my son was putting on his school uniform. He bounced to the bathroom door and said, “Did you notice?” as he pointed to the condensation on the window. There was a clearly traced “I love Mom” carefully written by his index finger. A rush of gratitude filled me and as I was thinking about how I could begin my article on gratitude today, it was easy. He was feeling it. He shared it. And then so was I. Simple as that…Full article.

4. A Storied Childhood; The Impact of Stories on Children’s Social and Emotional Development 

Mom and Son Reading Together illust by Jennifer Miller“What are you guys up to?” I say to the three six year old friends in my living room. “We’re sharing our books!” one says with an “Isn’t it obvious?” tone. Reading is a top priority in the early elementary school years with some states enforcing a reading guarantee (“All kids will read with proficiency by the third grade.”). And so at times it feels, the pressure is on. “Mama, I feel with my whole body that I won’t learn to read,” E said to me at age five. Yet, we have read together since the days when he was swimming in amniotic fluid. “Oh, the Places You Will Go!” was our favorite. We have books in every room of the house. We’ve read several books together every day of his life. But he has a mounting anxiety around learning to read. Perhaps because it is so much a part of our lives, he feels the importance of reading. But also, I suspect that school is pushing hard to make sure he hurries his learning pace. He’s not alone. A worried mother recently confided in me, “I’ve had my son going to a tutor all summer because I’m told he has to read by the time he starts first grade!”… Full article.

5. Conquering Fears

Purple wolf, pumpkin and boy illustration by Jennifer MillerIn 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… Full article.

There are exciting plans and opportunities for learning, conversation and community this coming year on Confident Parents, Confident Kids and you play a critical role! I hope you’ll keep in touch, tell us what your challenges and triumphs are and we will all benefit. Happy new year!

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