All For Your Family

new book

All For Your Family

The fol­low­ing arti­cle in Huffington Post high­lights 26 things good par­ents should not do to avoid screw­ing up their kids. Today’s par­ents tend to dote, con­trol and live through their chil­dren. I just hap­pen to have a new book, hot off the press, which explains how par­ents can make these changes and why it is so impor­tant. It makes a per­fect present for new and not so new par­ents. I think you will all love the cover 🙂 

All For Your Family, by Sharon Youngman

Available on Amazon


Learning from Mistakes



Learning from Mistakes

There is a fine line between pro­tec­tion and con­trol. As a new mom, I had this over­whelm­ing desire to shield my baby from pain, sad­ness and any­thing else that was less than won­der­ful. Babies require 100% pro­tec­tion, how­ever babies grow and our expec­ta­tions need to grow accord­ingly. As new par­ents, my hus­band and I catered to our child’s whims and wishes a lit­tle too much because we didn’t like to see him sad. Before we knew it, we were entrenched in bad habits that led to giv­ing in to their demands, help­ing too much and mak­ing excuses for bad behav­ior. We par­ented too much from our hearts.

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold

I can’t imag­ine a par­ent not show­er­ing their child with love and praise. There are many times that par­ents will con­sciously choose to pro­tect their child the con­se­quences of their mis­takes. When you are faced with a choice between pro­tect­ing your child and let­ting them expe­ri­ence the nat­ural con­se­quence, it is help­ful to think about what is in your child’s best inter­est in the long run. What would be gained from step­ping back as com­pared to shield­ing them? You want your child to feel loved uncon­di­tion­ally, but you have to be care­ful to clearly com­mu­ni­cate your expec­ta­tions for respon­si­ble behav­ior. A child that feels they are free to make mis­takes and get away with­out con­se­quence may not work hard for good grades, may not learn to be finan­cial respon­si­ble, and may also engage in activ­i­ties that are dan­ger­ous.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life can be far from auto­matic. It may actu­ally be more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. It is my phi­los­o­phy that there are many times par­ents should allow mis­takes in life to teach impor­tant lessons.  As a par­ent, you get to make those deci­sions as the sit­u­a­tions arise. While eval­u­at­ing your options, I encour­age you to con­sider long term rather than short term goals.


If Only I Knew: Parents and Children Benefit From Parent Education

Reach your full parenting potential so your children can reach theirs.


If Only I Knew:Parents and Children Benefit From Parent Education


No one is per­fect but oh………… I wish I had known about the array of tools that could have helped me be a bet­ter par­ent. I didn’t know. I was con­fi­dent. I was edu­cated. Parenting would be nat­ural for me.

I don’t take on all the blame. Family sup­port, par­ent edu­ca­tion, par­ent­ing are all almost taboo in the United States and per­haps around the world. Looking back all I can say is, if only I knew that I did not know. If only.


But I did not know that there were sim­ple solu­tions and I strug­gled, like so many of us. Parents who strug­gle; it’s a big club with par­tic­i­pants that cross all bound­aries. We are young and old, edu­cated and high school drop outs, rich and poor, opti­mists and pes­simists, all reli­gions are included and gen­der is not a fac­tor.


Here is a list of the strug­gles my fam­ily endured. Struggles could have been avoided. If only I knew that I did not know. 

1–      Emotional chal­lenges on mar­riage due to hav­ing and rais­ing a child

2–      Insecurity was fos­tered from lack of parental unity

3–      Confidence was decreased from start­ing kinder­garten before five years old.

4–      Excessive wor­ry­ing due to lack of sep­a­ra­tion from my child and myself

5–      Reckless behav­ior as a result of enabling

6-      Nagging rather than com­mu­ni­cat­ing effec­tively

These strug­gles caused harm to our entire fam­ily and most impor­tantly, to the chil­dren. Thank good­ness there was enough good stuff that allowed my chil­dren to grow up rel­a­tively happy and healthy. They are not per­fect. Neither am I. But what if? If I only knew. 


Parenting A Child With An Eye Towards Adulthood



My dar­ling daugh­ter sent me an arti­cle about par­ent­ing. She encour­aged me to write a sim­i­lar one. I read it and loved it. The author is a writer by pro­fes­sion and clearly has a gift. I wish I could write so well. The author admits that she is not a par­ent­ing expert but I was struck with how she zeroed in on some gems of wis­dom, most impor­tantly, the idea of par­ent­ing now for the adult you want in the future. She hinted at some strate­gies to accom­plish that goal. For instance, lov­ing our chil­dren but not to the point that you make excuses for bad behav­ior elud­ing to the ben­e­fit of let­ting chil­dren fail so they become more respon­si­ble. Another vari­able in par­ent­ing is the nat­ural instinct to see our chil­dren as exten­sions of our­selves. This is a deep, deep issue and rec­og­niz­ing that ten­dency in our­selves is huge.

In my book, “Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle,” I go into much more detail and pro­vide many strate­gies to sup­port fam­i­lies. It is avail­able on Amazon and is both worth­while as well as a quick read.


Beware of Antibacterial Soaps and Gels



The use of antibac­te­r­ial soaps and gels have long been an issue. They have per­me­ated our soci­ety as the fear of Bird Flu, West Nile and all the other scary threats in the last decade.  As a teacher I see stu­dents opt­ing for the antibac­te­r­ial gels instead of wash­ing their hands. People use the free gels mounted on the walls of gyms and pub­lic places the way we used to stop for a drink of water from the water foun­tain. We stopped using water foun­tains for fear of germs. .Ironically, the thing that was meant to kill germs may be more harm­ful in the end.

Chemicals are not nat­ural. When we look towards chem­i­cals to cure one issue we risk the chance of caus­ing another prob­lem. I urge par­ents to stay as holis­tic and nat­ural as pos­si­ble for the health of their fam­ily. 


Parenting Styles



Parenting styles are as diverse as peo­ple. Our atti­tudes about par­ent­ing are often affected by our par­ents in that we either repli­cate or go the other way. New par­ents may eval­u­ate par­ent­ing styles in a more aca­d­e­mic fash­ion and choose a phi­los­o­phy based on research and per­sonal deci­sions.

As a par­ent edu­ca­tor I respect all par­ent­ing styles and only help par­ents learn strate­gies to help with goals they desire to reach. If some­one were to ask me my opin­ion I would rec­om­mend par­ent­ing less from the heart and more from the head.

I was struck today by the con­trast of par­ent styles I wit­nessed. One dad told me that his pol­icy is Get Over It.  When his chil­dren whine about their feel­ings being hurt or a dis­ap­point­ment he says: “get over it!” This is not a com­fort­able way for me per­son­ally and I am not sure he responds in that fash­ion as often as he states, but the effect of not rein­forc­ing a child’s sad­ness may indeed be that the child learns to be strong and less sen­si­tive. It could also result in neg­a­tive per­son­al­ity traits. On the same day a fam­ily came to see me for tutor­ing. The child was famil­iar with me and our activ­i­ties but decided not to coop­er­ate and would not even resign to come into my home. Trying to be a sen­si­tive and under­stand­ably alert to some warn­ing signs, the mom stayed with her son as he tantrumed for a pro­longed period of time. I sug­gested that the mom cease pay­ing atten­tion to her son and that she and I engage in con­ver­sa­tion. Five min­utes later the lit­tle boy stopped cry­ing, engaged with me and was able to sep­a­rate from mom and par­tic­i­pate in our tutor­ing ses­sion.

Paying close atten­tion to a child’s feel­ings is an approach I per­son­ally feel com­fort­able with. In this sit­u­a­tion, how­ever, it was clear that the child was seemed scared but was really act­ing the part. Reinforcing this behav­ior would even­tu­ally lead to more of the same. Trusting that he was in no dan­ger and that he was in capa­ble and car­ing hands dimin­ished the power of his manip­u­la­tion. If the mom had not respected my opin­ion she would have ended the ses­sion and never come back. The child’s behav­ior would become more pow­er­ful and destruc­tive.

As par­ents learn to address their child’s needs it is help­ful to get in touch with their own moti­va­tions and the ulti­mate effect on their child. Perhaps send­ing a mes­sage to a child that their feel­ings don’t mat­ter, in the case of the get over it dad, is a bit heart­less but allow­ing a child to con­trol the entire fam­ily because their feel­ings are of pri­mary impor­tance can be just as dam­ag­ing.

The answer; par­ent con­sciously and notice what you pay atten­tion to. Your child looks to you as they learn to nav­i­gate their world. 


And Then He Turned His Phone To OFF



I have been try­ing to use my phone less, be in the present and take in my world more. I am not a par­ent of young chil­dren and my dis­trac­tion is only harm­ful to myself…except when I take care of my six month old grand­son. That darn phone, the lap top and even the tele­vi­sion.  They all call to me and my sweet lit­tle grand­son doesn’t mind at all. In fact, he loves screens. All of them. He can sit and watch the T.V. whether it’s child’s pro­gram­ming or not. Take out a phone to cap­ture a pic­ture and he stops what he is doing to stare at the beau­ti­ful glow.

I remem­ber a busi­ness din­ner with a female col­league of my husband’s. It was a couple’s thing and her hus­band was a big deal edi­tor of a big time mag­a­zine. At the begin­ning of the meal he took out his phone and I fig­ured he would be on it all through din­ner. Instead I watched as he turned it off. Not to vibrate, but OFF. It was remark­able and it gave us the mes­sage that we were the most impor­tant thing to him at that moment. It was pow­er­ful.

Just think what turn­ing your devices could accom­plish. It’s clearly not a prac­ti­cal thing to do for most of your day. Just try it for a half hour and see what changes. Your time with your chil­dren is too impor­tant to share with an elec­tronic device. 


Please Stop Whining!


Whining (verb)

To give or make a long, high-pitched com­plain­ing cry or sound.

Complain in a fee­ble or petu­lant way.

Please Stop Whining!

If you are a par­ent there is no need to read the def­i­n­i­tion of whin­ing. It is some­thing chil­dren do nat­u­rally and par­ents seem to just get used to…. and yes, we often get annoyed or VERY annoyed. Some par­ents learn to deal with this and almost tune out the sound. Others find that it intol­er­a­ble and can lose their tem­per and see things spi­ral down­ward.  

Learning to con­trol our reac­tion is not the only way to go. If your chil­dren learn to wine it can become an issue for them as teach­ers and friends may also find it an irri­tant. Whining becomes an impor­tant issue if it causes us, as par­ents, to behave in a less than accept­able way.


Recognizing the need to decrease whin­ing is the first step and it is a giant step. This arti­cle will help you to under­stand how whin­ing orig­i­nates and will pro­vide spe­cific steps to dimin­ish it. It will make a huge dif­fer­ence in your lives.


1.       Evaluate.  Is there any­thing spe­cific that brings out the whiner in your child? Take notes about the time of the day, their phys­i­cal and emo­tional state and the kinds of things they whine about. Don’t just take men­tal notes, write it down. You may gain a great deal of insight.

2.       Understand.  What does whin­ing accom­plish?  It is usu­ally a learned behav­ior from a child that is used to hav­ing to beg r make repeated requests for what they want. They are feel­ing pow­er­less and defeated and there­fore resort to whin­ing. Pretty soon it can become their main way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing or request­ing.

3.       Model and prac­tice.  Your child is prob­a­bly unaware of their whin­ing and will require time to replace this behav­ior. Ask your child to prac­tice ask­ing for things in a reg­u­lar voice and then when whin­ing does occur, ask them to use that reg­u­lar voice.

4.       Praise. Catch them speak­ing in a non-whin­ing voice and praise them by say­ing how nice and sweet their voice sounds. Be care­ful not to give a “back handed com­pli­ment,” by com­par­ing it to the neg­a­tive.

5.       Awareness of YOUR behav­ior. Are you part of the prob­lem or solu­tion?

Child: They get frus­trated and then they start to whine.

 Adult: Be respon­sive to their frus­tra­tion level and inter­vene before they start to whine. If they are ask­ing you for some­thing be aware of a ten­dency to ignore and only respond when they whine. Respond ear­lier, even if it is to say I heard you and you need to wait.

Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: You ignore the whin­ing and respond to them. If they whine ask them to please repeat their mes­sage in their reg­u­lar voice.


Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: Gets angry.  A child that can make a grown up lose con­trol has learned a pow­er­ful tool. React calmly and your child will respond in kind.


Congratulations for read­ing this. It shows that you want to ele­vate your par­ent­ing skills. Stick with it and you will see the results you want. Remember, revers­ing bad habits may be a lot of work in the begin­ning but care­ful atten­tion to these areas has big pay­offs in the end. Teachers and other adults will have a more pos­i­tive view of your child if they com­mu­ni­cate well. Confidence is boosted and so is per­for­mance. It’s HUGE and there­fore well worth your time.






Addicted To My Phone


I admit it. I am addicted to my phone, Facebook, emails, and my guilty plea­sure: Bejeweled.


There are many rea­sons why my addic­tion con­cerns me but what if I were a par­ent? There are so many more issues at stake.

Modeling obses­sive screen time use, lack of atten­tive lis­ten­ing and prob­a­bly the most dis­con­cert­ing, poten­tial dan­ger from cell phone radi­a­tion to our most pre­cious babies.

Modeling Obsessive Screen Time or “I Need to Respond to This Text.”

If you are con­cerned with the amount of time your child spends on a a screen, look first at what behav­ior you are mod­el­ing. If your child is old enough, and you are brave enough, ask them what they think about your screen time. We all get impor­tant mes­sages but how often do we check our phone because of our com­pul­sive nature rather than true need? Is every thirty min­utes too infre­quent?


Looking At Our Phone During A Conversation or “I Heard Every Word You Said.”

What mes­sage do we give our chil­dren when we engage in phone use while inter­act­ing with them? Are we say­ing they are not impor­tant enough to get our com­plete atten­tion? If you think look­ing at your phone while con­vers­ing has no impact then try a lit­tle role play­ing exper­i­ment. Evaluate how you feel when some­one looks you in the eye when you talk as opposed to down at their phone. We have all grown accus­tomed to being par­tially ignored. Is that a good thing?


Are There Effects of Cell Phone Radiation? or We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

What are the effects of cell phone radi­a­tion on our chil­dren? Parents carry their babies and talk on the phone. Where is that phone in rela­tion to the baby’s head? We know that an infant’s skull is not even fully sealed. Should we place any poten­tial dan­ger in close prox­im­ity? Why would we take that chance?


Cell phones are a part of our lives and most of us love them.  They also often allow us to be rude, unsafe, unpro­duc­tive and dis­tracted. I hope you take a moment to exam­ine your cell phone use and make informed choices for how they can best fit in your life.

Related links within links:

Cell Phone Radiation: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure

Quality Time With Your Children VS Your Phone


Am I Hurting My Child By Doing Too Much


Am I Hurting My Child By Doing Too Much

My son used to leave his juice glass in his bed­room each night so that by the end of the week there was lit­er­ally at least seven glasses or mugs in his bed­room. I would ask and ask and ask……………. but even­tu­ally I gave up and just brought them down­stairs.

There were so many times I helped him when I should have let him han­dle the sit­u­a­tion or accept the con­se­quences.

When I look back and ask myself why, I find that, besides want­ing to avoid con­fronta­tion, I also had a strong desire to pro­tect him and see him suc­ceed, even when the suc­cess was par­tially unearned. I was look­ing at the sit­u­a­tion self­ishly as well as short term.

A con­trol­ling par­ent can inter­fere with the goal of rais­ing a respon­si­ble child.  Our chil­dren will be more respon­si­ble if we, as par­ents, choose to some­times take a more pas­sive role. Of course we need to be pro­tec­tive but often we take the idea of pro­tec­tion too far and then com­plain when our chil­dren are irre­spon­si­ble.

Our chil­dren begin life help­less and par­ents must do every­thing for their tiny infant, baby and then tod­dler. But we often grow accus­tomed to this role and fail to see when we can do less. The real­iza­tion that we are doing too much may go unde­tected for a period of time. That may be long enough for your child to get the mes­sage that they can do less and mom and dad will take care of it.  In my opin­ion, it is best to keep the con­cept of teach­ing respon­si­bil­ity as a pri­or­i­tized goal. Test the water often and see just how much your child can do for him­self. Think about how we teach a child to walk or ride a bike or swim. We give sup­port in grad­u­ated stages until voila. They do it them­selves.

The same is true for other activ­i­ties that have mul­ti­ple steps such as get­ting ready for school, clean­ing the room and prepar­ing for bed­time.

We all learn through prac­tice as well as from mis­takes. When my son attempted to pour milk in his cereal bowl and spilled all over him­self, the floor as well as under the fridge, I did not stop him from try­ing again. I less­ened the poten­tial mess by giv­ing him a small amount to pour. I guided his tiny hand so his aim was bet­ter. I assisted him while encour­ag­ing more and more inde­pen­dence. That was easy to do. Many par­ents have dif­fi­culty allow­ing their chil­dren to make mis­takes and would rather do more for them until they can do it well them­selves. I work with many par­ents who still wipe their child’s bot­tom and pick up their toys even though they are clearly old enough to do it them­selves. When I ask why, the answer is always, because I like it to be done right.  These par­ents are deliv­er­ing a mes­sage that is destruc­tive. Give your child the gift of inde­pen­dence, con­fi­dence and respon­si­bil­ity by allow­ing them to be as inde­pen­dent as pos­si­ble.

Natural Consequences

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life is far from auto­matic. It is actu­ally more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. There are many times we should allow life to teach our child impor­tant lessons.

For more infor­ma­tion about nat­ural con­se­quences please read my book:
Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle avail­able on Amazon and Kindle

Danger Signs

How do you know when you are doing too much for your child?

  1. You become anx­ious when your child has a dead­line or becomes frus­trated.
  2. Your first response to your child’s prob­lem or com­plaint is to give advice or take over.
  3. You find it unbear­able to see your child strug­gle.
  4. You fre­quently do some­thing your­self instead of wait­ing for your child to do it.
  5. You feel the need to micro­man­age their eat­ing, appear­ance, or social life.
  6. You tend to over­step your bound­aries as a par­ent and dis­re­spect their pri­vacy.

Pulling Back

If enabling your child has become a pat­tern it will be more dif­fi­cult to make a change but it is well worth the effort.

Begin with a dis­cus­sion about what you have learned and why it is impor­tant to change how you engage in your child’s life. Adding points such as respect for their abil­ity and con­fi­dence that they can han­dle any sit­u­a­tions with­out your help will be appre­ci­ated and help to focus on what is gained rather than what they might inter­pret as a loss of assis­tance. Reassure them that you are not desert­ing them but teach­ing them to be more self reliant so that as they grow up they will be able to be more inde­pen­dent. There are many oppor­tu­ni­ties and priv­i­leges that respon­si­ble and inde­pen­dent chil­dren have that their coun­ter­parts do not.

When they come to you for help, lis­ten rather than advise and ask them what THEY think they could do. Give them time to prob­lem solve and don’t expect an answer in five sec­onds or even five min­utes. They are used to you fix­ing things and there will be an adjust­ment time. Bite your tongue and do less. Tell them: “I know you can do this. I have faith that you’ll fig­ure it out.”

Sharon Youngman is a par­ent edu­ca­tor liv­ing and work­ing in Manhattan. She is the author of Strengthen Your Parenting Muscle and the founder of Good Parents, GREAT Kids.

Contact Sharon for a free con­sul­ta­tion: