Katie Spillar, LMFT Associate

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Contact me for: Katie Spillar, LMFT Associate offers individual and family therapy. She works mostly with children, teenagers and families. Her areas of focus include: adoption, attachment trauma, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems.

Katie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and her M.A. in Behavioral Science from The University of Houston-Clear Lake. She has experience working with children and teenagers in a residential treatment center, facilitating individual and group therapy sessions for the residents there. She worked in an advocacy center working with sexual abuse survivors and their families. She also worked with a foster care and adoption agency working with the children and families and training prospective foster/adoptive parents to become certified to foster and adopt through Child Protective Services. She has spoken at adoption conferences and adoption meetings in Houston and Austin, Texas.

Katie is trained in Theraplay, a method of play therapy that enhances attachment, engagement, self-esteem, and trust in others. Theraplay is based on the natural patterns of healthy interactions between parent and child. She is trained in Trust-Based Relational Intervention, a program designed by Dr. Karyn Purvis at Texas Christian University to help heal attachment trauma. She is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR helps trauma survivors process through their trauma to minimize the negative affects the trauma has on their daily lives.

Katie is an affiliate with Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center, where she and a team of therapists offer a variety of services to support families affected by attachment trauma.

Expert Articles by Katie Spillar, LMFT Associate

Adoption and Foster Care

Strengthen your adoptive family by building trust and connections
Being an adoptive parent is a tremendously rewarding job, but it is also very challenging. Try to stay centered and calm by practicing mindfulness. Understand that your adopted child endured grief, lo...

Expert Articles Sponsored by Katie Spillar, LMFT Associate

Raising Healthy and Happy Kids

Helping kids feel comfortable and safe in the water is key
Time spent at the pool can be some of the happiest experiences in a person’s life. Enjoy these moments, always stay positive, and laugh and play with your children. Pick out fun bathing suits, caps,...
Optimizing brain enrichment through positive digital screen time
MRI studies show that the use of imagination and multisensory experiences increase blood flow to the brain. This is connected to neuronal activity, where new synapses can be created and dormant ones a...
De-stressing doctor visits fosters a lifetime of health for kids
By following this advice, regular doctor visits will be a piece of cake. Remember, it is possible to turn potentially dreadful experiences into fun events for your children. And making a visit to the ...
Being proactive can help emotionally traumatized kids to heal
Children can be traumatized as a result of bullying, violence or threats. However, by being prepared and knowledgeable, parents can help minimize the effects and begin the healing process....
Proper nutrition can improve kids' learning and behavior problems
Providing and encouraging a healthy diet can be a big challenge for busy parents. And in some homes, a child’s diet is non-negotiable because it is so important for health. However, the bottom line ...
Help guide your child’s path to effectively coping with anxiety
Anxiety is a normal emotion that all humans--including children--experience on a routine basis. However, children can experience anxiety to such a degree that it negatively impacts life or causes subs...
Establishing safe, fun and productive bath time for children
Safely bathing oneself is an extremely important skill for children to learn as they develop and become independent. However, bath time tends to be a stressful experience for many parents and children...
Jumpstart your family’s day with a positive morning routine
The morning routine contributes to children’s overall health and happiness. Following a good morning routine can squash speed bumps and get the day started in a positive way for the entire family....
Parents should influence their children to eat healthy and exercise
Don’t let your child be a statistic in the obesity epidemic. Start putting these tips into practice, creating healthy habits for you and your children, who will then be more likely to do the same fo...
Finding a happy medium when enrolling kids in afterschool activities
Before you commit your child to an activity, make sure you examine your needs, your child’s needs and what is best for the entire family. Remember to focus on the big picture when making these decis...
Advice for raising emotionally happy and healthy twins and triplets
Raising multiple-birth children is a challenge. It is important to avoid or diffuse competition and fighting. Additionally, respecting your children’s need for individuality, while respecting the tw...
Creating healthy and happy mealtimes for children and parents
Family mealtime is a crucial time to connect with your children and family--and to truly embrace each other. This is the time to create rituals and togetherness, as well as to serve healthy, nutritiou...
Helping the entire family achieve a stress-free holiday season
The holidays are a wonderful time of year because they encourage families to spend time together. The season also presents the perfect opportunity for parents to reinforce the importance of giving, sh...
How you can boost your children’s self-worth and self-esteem
Via positive reinforcement, strength based therapy and promoting socialization along with several group activities, children can become the most productive, capable citizens they can be as opposed to ...
How can parents raise happy children with balanced priorities?
There is no magic bullet that will guarantee your child’s long-term happiness. But the good news is that parents are in the best possible position to help their children develop a skill set that wil...
Family meals foster healthy eating habits and close connections
While many parents understand that family meals are important, they are not making the effort, due to conflicting schedules and the need to multitask. But separate meals result in a lack of cohesivene...
Advice for motivating your kids and supporting their successes
Every child wants to achieve success. No child wants to fail. So it is important to protect your child's motivation. If you see your children becoming discouraged in their school work or in a new acti...
Parents can help kids make a difference in the lives of others
The benefits that kids get from volunteering are quite amazing and life changing. It is important to show children early on that they can have a positive impact on the lives of others. While Alex woul...
Help your children develop confidence and a healthy body image
The Girl and Boy World will inevitably attempt to convince your children that they must conform to a specific way of looking and acting. While it is extremely difficult to completely protect your chil...
Teach your anxious child better ways to cope and manage behaviors
Remember that anxiety is a normal part of life, but some children struggle with it more than others. Collaborate with your children to find effective strategies to decrease their anxiety, such as an a...
Helping girls love their bodies and cultivate healthy self-esteem
Girls must stop viewing themselves as imperfect pieces, but rather as unique and a one-of-a-kind creations. They must be taught to practice self-acceptance in each moment, and to stop hating themselve...
How can parents help their children minimize unnecessary stress?
You cannot escape all stress. While it is important to recognize that some stress is good, when your child becomes anxious, weepy and unable to focus, it is time to make changes in your family’s lif...
Parents can teach children to recognize and label their emotions
Young children deal with many of the same emotions that adults do. They feel happy, angry, embarrassed, sad, frustrated and nervous. However, they often do not have the words to talk about how they ar...
Expert advice for parents trying to raise emotionally-healthy twins
Whether it is relationship problems, career concerns or existential dilemmas, if you have a close connection to each of your twins, they will likely come to you for your guidance and input. Understand...
How can you raise body-confident kids in an image-obsessed society?
While body image issues are on the rise in children, parents are not powerless when it comes to helping their kids grow up with the confidence they deserve. By being vigilant of the messages they are ...
Expert advice on raising honest children
Being honest is a lifelong process that begins early. Use every opportunity to nurture and grow your child's honesty....
Broaden your child's diet and establish healthy eating behaviors
Every parent wishes to raise a good eater who is excited to experiment with new foods. But kids are notoriously picky. Instead of giving up and making the same three dishes over and over again, try to...

Kids with Special Needs

Sustain a happy marriage while raising a child with special needs
Successful marriages lead to successful families. Parents are capable of stronger parenting only when their marital relationship is healthy and solid. As a result, it is important to recognize the imp...
Build a positive sibling relationship within a special needs family
Because a great deal of complexity and individuality exists within families, the effects of having a sibling with disabilities can vary greatly depending on the child. Typical siblings are at risk for...
Giving much-needed support to parents of children with special needs
Parents raising a child with special needs must work to rebuild their dreams to accommodate the reality of their child’s disability and limitations. They must re-imagine the life their child will le...
Educate and communicate with special needs children to prevent abuse
When parents think of abuse prevention for typical children and for children with special needs, they may assume that information should be completely different. In truth, the same information needs t...
Special needs children's skills improve with Applied Behavior Analysis
Starting an ABA program for a child with special needs can be overwhelming for any family. Your ABA providers should help you navigate through the process and create a plan that will help you and your...
Helping your child overcome anxiety is not an impossible task
Helping children overcome anxiety can be quite overwhelming for a parent, caregiver or teacher. However, it is not impossible. Focusing more on “being” with the child, instead of “doing” for t...
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
Managing a child’s mental illness begins with an informed parent
Parents raising a child with mental illness have a choice: View your child’s illness as a huge life setback -- or consider this an opportunity to grow in a way you never dreamed possible. The tips i...
Successfully tackling learning challenges at school begins at home
Life is one, big learning experience. As parents of students with learning difficulties begin to apply the advice described above, they may witness a renewed sense of academic self-esteem in their stu...
Music therapy can help improve learning, growth and development
Music is an extremely useful motivator for children with special needs. Because they are constantly exploring their environment, music therapy is an excellent modality to achieve learning, growth and ...
What is music therapy?
Successfully manage disagreements and conflict in the IEP process
Parents play an active role in their child’s IEP process, but this experience often feels extremely daunting and overwhelming. Successfully managing disagreements and conflict within the process is ...
Inclusive education for students with disabilities benefits everyone
Inclusion brings about many wonderful benefits for ALL students. With a few simple tools and a strong belief that it can work, teachers will be successful at welcoming students of all abilities into t...
A successful IEP meeting requires effective parent participation
The IEP is the most important tool parents have when their child is receiving special education services. However, in order for the tool to be effective, parents must learn how to navigate the process...
Preparation is critical when relocating a family with disabilities
Relocating a family to a new state or city can be very stressful and overwhelming--and this stress tends to increase when a child has disabilities. Because it is critical for families to be prepared b...
Focus on basic human needs to help kids with difficult behaviors
Children with disabilities have basic needs just like everyone else. If you don't have the time or energy to follow all of these do’s and don’ts, be sure to remember these two critical ideas: Taki...
Animal-assisted interventions are beneficial for kids with needs
AAI can be very helpful for kids with special needs. If you are interested in trying this therapy modality, research local therapy dog groups in your area. Another option is training your own dog -- i...
Ensure a smooth new school year for your child with special needs
It is very important to get the school year off to a great start and keep the momentum going throughout the entire year. Develop positive relationships with your child’s entire educational team, as ...
Well-planned vacations are critical for kids with special needs
Most importantly, never forget that your family vacation is supposed to be FUN. A little extra planning may take time, but could make your adventure more enjoyable....
Planning transportation services for students with disabilities
The best educational program for a child will not be effective if the child can’t get to and from school. Thus, special education law requires that students with disabilities, who need transportatio...
Addressing the issue of sexuality with kids with special needs
As parents and supporters, we need to be ready for puberty. Unfortunately, there are no manuals that tell us how to talk to our children with disabilities about sexuality. This advice provides parents...
Choose a safe therapeutic barn for kids involved in equine therapy
There is a growing trend in the use of horses as a fun, therapeutic tool. This trend ultimately leads to more and more barns and riding centers providing EAAT. Choosing a safe barn with qualified inst...
Dads must be present when helping raise a child with special needs
Raising a child with special needs is a moment-by-moment experience. Average men show their love and support through action. However, sometimes pausing, taking a step back and being calm and present i...
Develop open communication with the teacher of your special needs child
It is very important to create consistent and open communication with your child’s teacher. Keeping a daily communication log is the key to this communication. Be sure to develop two-way communicati...
Emergency preparedness is critical for individuals with disabilities
Emergency preparedness is the personal responsibility of every individual and every family. Individuals have the duty to think about--and plan--for their own safety and the safety of their family. Whi...
Encouraging independence is critical for kids with special needs
Families need to decide how much their child with special needs is able to make educational, vocational and medical decisions. From an early age, children should be encouraged to be as independent as ...
Make airline travel easy for families with physical disabilities
Flying is the most convenient and safest way to travel. Once you master the details, traveling with your disabled child will be no more difficult than getting out of bed every day. The travel experien...
Encouraging friendships between kids with disabilities and peers
The grade school years should be filled with friendships and learning for all students, including those with special needs. Teaching typically-developing students how to be friends with those who are ...
Helping sibs of kids with disabilities manage embarrassment
Growing up is not always easy. Standing out in a crowd and managing extreme feelings of embarrassment can make life even more difficult. While you may just want to belong to a typical family at times,...
Helping sibs advocate for people with intellectual disabilities
Don’t be afraid to use your creative skills in advocating for individuals with disabilities. The ideas are endless. Just remember that even though you are just one person, you can make a difference....
Helping children with special needs improve health and fitness
To become ambassadors for our own health, we have to start somewhere. Using this advice will help your family make the right choices for a healthy lifestyle, so that they, too, can become ambassadors ...
Help your child with sensory processing disorder to succeed
Children with sensory processing disorder may have difficulty completing everyday activities, leading to frustration and behavioral difficulties. Consistency of approach, predictable routines and plan...
Navigating swim lessons for kids with and without disabilities
Swimming is a great physical and social activity that promotes health and wellness for all individuals. The key to having successful swim lessons is preparing your child for expectations and the envir...
Support groups help mothers raising kids with disabilities
Being a member of a support group can provide moms with strength and help them feel less alone in the world. A support group gives them a much-needed outlet when they have difficulty communicating wit...
Easing the stress of airline travel for children with special needs
Parents must be thoughtful and strategic when traveling with a child with special needs. While the advice in this article will make travel less daunting, it is important to have an open, frank discuss...
Meltdowns: help for kids with special needs and their parents
It can be extremely stressful to experience a meltdown. But with a little planning and organization, you can stay calm to provide support, structure and reassurance....
Help to prepare your kid with disabilities for employment success
Young adults with developmental disabilities are capable of incredible things, including careers that allow them to live happily and independently. But finding this career involves a great deal of pla...
Providing access to dance classes for kids with special needs
Every individual who enjoys dance should have the opportunity to participate. The experience of enjoying the movement, costumes, music and social interaction of dance is quite fulfilling. Giving child...
Providing lifetime care for your child with special needs
Handling all aspects of special needs planning creates the greatest piece of mind that a caregiver can have. If one aspect is missed, it can disrupt all of the other planning, creating disastrous resu...
Expert advice on helping your child with dyslexia learn to read
Understanding dyslexia and how it works is the first step in helping your child. While dyslexia can make it quite challenging for kids to learn to read, it is not an impossible feat. There are numerou...
Planning for the future care of your child with special needs
These financial conversations are not fun. They are uncomfortable, scary and overwhelming. The key is to surround yourself with the appropriate supports and commit to take action to reduce the stress....
Using music to bring together kids with and without special needs
Having typically-developing siblings and peers join in musical experiences with children with special needs can be wonderful if done correctly. The key is to create a positive, fulfilling experience f...
Obtaining a school evaluation for kids with possible special needs
It is difficult for parents to watch their children struggle in school. However, parents should not feel alone. It is the job of the school to help your child. As a result, it is very important for pa...
Managing embarrassment of a brother or sister with special needs
During embarrassing situations, all siblings and parents must remember that this is their family and the best support they can receive is from each other. Talk to each other and, most importantly, lis...
Teach home and community safety skills to kids with special needs
It is important to teach safety skills to children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Having a good safety plan, teaching safety skills across a variety of settings and situations, and ens...
Donating your child's blood and tissue samples for research
One of the main barriers to finding treatments or cures for rare, genetic diseases is the lack of available human cell and tissue resources for scientists to use to test potential drug compounds or ge...
Art therapy helps cultivate development in children with special needs
Children living with special needs, like all children, want to be able to express themselves and be successful. Art therapy is a beneficial and enjoyable way to help support your child’s development...
Self-care is critical for parents raising kids with disabilities
The greatest gift that parents can give their children is to be a healthy mom and dad. While we often start the New Year with promises of changing our lifestyle--and improving our lives and the lives ...
Find the best adaptive dance class for your child with special needs
There are many benefits to enrolling your child in a dance or movement class. As advances are made in adaptive dance education, more options are becoming available. With just a few extra steps, you ca...
What is sensory processing disorder and how parents manage it
Children with sensory processing issues live in a world that is confusing, disruptive and often scary to their nervous system. Tackling these issues therapeutically can be a lot of work for children a...
Your special needs child can feel free and bloom at summer camp
Going to camp is an exciting experience for any child--and it is an opportunity worth pursuing for your child with special needs. Take time to review each and every camp opportunity. Don’t limit you...
Families with disabilities must help maintain balance for siblings
Siblings of kids with disabilities are in a unique position and require extra caution and sensitivity from parents. Helping your typical kids to have a balanced life without overwhelming expectations ...
Understanding how to achieve inclusion for kids with disabilities
Any question of school inclusion can be answered with an enthusiastic YES! With intentionality and care, inclusion can be planned and carried out joyfully and creatively in direct consultation with th...
Parents must effectively communicate with their child's IEP team
As a parent, communicating effectively with the IEP team is a skill you must master to assure your child is receiving an appropriate education. You are your child’s IEP team leader. Documenting conc...
Stress-free IEP meetings can lead to better outcomes for students
It is possible to have less stress at IEP meetings, which will lead to better outcomes for students. Meetings are more successful when parents come prepared to give their valuable input, are committed...
Planning for the future needs of your child with a disability
When you are gone, nobody can replace the love and understanding you have for your son or daughter. However, with proper planning, you can leave family members and professionals with the tools they ne...
Advice for choosing care providers for kids with special needs
Caring for your child is a lifelong obligation. By assembling a team of care providers whom you trust and can rely on when things are tough, your family will be able to navigate the challenges with co...

Raising Teens

Help your teenager cope with their anger management problem
When a person expresses their anger, that is a normal human emotion. To expect people not to get angry is not realistic (unless you have a lobotomy). It is how we present our anger that is important. ...
Viewing your teen as a developing adult can improve your relationship
Your teenager needs your love and support to succeed. Work to see your teen as a developing adult, who can be frustrating, and whose actions can be alarming. Try to treasure the child you have and to ...
Raising preteens and laying a positive foundation for the future
The preteen years can be incredibly fun and enriching for parents and children. However, you must rethink your parenting style from when your children were younger. Be sure to enjoy their energy and e...
Support your teen's academic success and healthy development
Support your teens in their academic pursuits in practical ways, such as leaving time for homework, as well as in emotional ways, such as empathizing with challenges and talking through possible appro...
Helping your teen navigate the college admissions process
The college search and admissions process is a complicated one, and it is natural for parents to want to help their children through it. By following these tips, you can make the process less stressfu...
Independent college consultants can help teens apply to college
Given the lack of college counseling in many of our nation’s high schools, it is completely understandable why families are relying more on independent college consultants. By following the advice i...
Teach your teenager how to avoid substance abuse
Hopefully this article has made it a little easier for you as a parent to understand how to better prevent your child from developing a substance addiction as they grow older. Raising a child can be o...
Keep your teenage driver safe behind the wheel and on the road
When it comes to driving, teens are young and inexperienced. As a result, we expect them to have a few bumps in the road when learning such an important skill. Because this is the first legal responsi...
Learn the facts on teen driving safety
Raise a respectful, polite teen by setting appropriate boundaries
Parenting tweens and teens is tough. They are emotional, dramatic, egocentric and strong in their beliefs. But they are also watching, listening and wanting a parent to parent them. Always keep in min...
Supporting your teenage daughter through the dating experience
The dating experience is full of joy and heartbreak. It is vital to be supportive and encouraging, while also setting boundaries and limits. Remember to help educate your daughter about her body and h...
Improve your teen parenting by understanding the teenage years
When raising teens, remember that children of all ages, including teenagers—replete with raging hormones and drama—make us smile, energize us, frustrate us, annoy us, anger us, pull for others to ...
How do I relate to and communicate with my teenager?
Raising teens in today’s complex world can be quite challenging. The key to success is understanding your teenagers and their behavior, as well as learning to effectively communicate and connect....
Help and protect your teen who practices self-injury and cutting
If you have discovered that your child is self-harming, this is an extremely difficult time for the both of you. Please find professional help for them and for yourself. Cutting, burning, and otherwis...
Are there any signs of abuse in your teenager's relationship?
Teens must understand that healthy relationships are about feeling good and feeling safe. And they should never settle for less. Deciding whom to have a relationship with is one of the most precious g...
Effectively communicate with your teenager about substance abuse
Preventing drug use is an important part of parenting, which can be made easier through awareness, education and understanding. Active involvement in communication and teaching by example are effectiv...
What's the best way for parents to discuss sexuality with boys?
Sexuality is a complex topic that deserves lots of conversation and parental input. For the vast majority of teens and adults, dating, romance, and sexuality form a central part of their identity and ...
Teen sexting: What all parents need to know
With the advent of many new picture/video sharing apps, it’s easier than ever to share with friends, family - and even strangers - across the globe. While picture/video sharing can be a wonderful wa...
Managing the difficult issue of drug and alcohol use in teenagers
This advice is based on an approach, which is supported by strong, scientific research. It has been proven to work for parents of adolescent around the country, and even around the world. Although the...
Help teens build resiliency, improve coping skills and ease stress
Although parents can feel helpless when they see teens suffering from stress, we have the power to greatly reduce their pressures and promote their resiliency. Knowing how chronic stress undermines su...
Managing the difficult issue of drug and alcohol use in your teen
This advice is based on an approach, which is supported by strong, scientific research. It has been proven to work for parents of adolescent around the country, and even around the world. Although the...
Parenting your rebellious teen and encouraging healthy independence
It is a challenging time for the both of you. Your teen is trying to be an individual and may be struggling with low self-esteem, peer pressure, anxiety and depression and you are struggling with thei...
Get a plan and the tools to communicate with your college freshman
Undoubtedly, freshman year is extremely challenging for most families. However, if you keep the communication channels open, the process can be a little less painful and far less stressful—for the e...
Teach your teens to recognize the dangers of distracted driving
There are only two types of distracted drivers: Those who already have caused harm and those who will. Safe drivers are different from lucky drivers. The good news is that distracted driving is preven...
How can you help your child sustain long-term addiction recovery?
Addiction is a disease, and recovery is a process that can be navigated successfully. Like all teenagers, youth with a substance use disorder, who are in recovery, still need structure, reinforcers, c...
How should you talk to your teenage daughter about dating violence?
Make the conscientious decision to discuss dating violence with your daughter as early as possible. By having these conversations with your daughter, she will become educated about what dating violenc...
Parents must create an addiction prevention family plan for teens
Addiction and substance use/abuse is a complex problem. There are no definite rules on how to deal with it in the home. It intersects both biology and behavior, and is one of the most debilitating and...
How should parents talk with their teenagers about substance use?
It is a fact that adolescence is the primary period of risk and onset for substance use. Parents must keep in mind that smart parenting is essential during this time. When talking with teens about use...
Support teens in making good choices regarding drugs and alcohol
Parents must be aware of how to help teens manage the use of alcohol and drugs. Remember that teens will be more influenced by the example you set than what you say. Teens want your attention, whether...

Being a Better Parent

Mom-trepreneupship: how to be successful as a mother and a mogul
Small things like taking deep breaths to center yourself, and pacing yourself by doing one thing at a time can help you maintain your professional career while not making your children suffer. Finding...
Empowered mothers can help raise happy and healthy children
Mothers need to focus on the important business of raising happy and healthy kids with confidence, inner strength and support. If you’re a member of the motherhood club, give yourself a pat on the b...
Empowering mothers: The National Motherhood Decisions Survey
Striving to be a better parent means being a better human
What does it mean to be a good parent? What does it mean to be human? If you look into another person’s eyes, you will find a human who is tender and vulnerable, one who pursues security, happiness ...
Helping families manage stress throughout the holiday season
While some holiday stress is negative, some aspects are positive. This is an exciting time of year, ripe with new possibilities. But when it comes all at once with no reprieve, holiday stress can plac...
Being playful and bonding with kids through inventive games
There are many potential moments throughout the day for play. When you want to get things done quickly, have your kids act like Lightning McQueen. And when you want things to be slow, channel Eeyore. ...
Parental behavior can stimulate brain and body chemistry in kids
Today’s parents and children experience a great deal of stress. Being in a constant state of stress upsets the body and brain chemistry, and can cause ill health. This high level of stress requires ...
Creating enjoyable indoor movement games for your entire family
Parenting strategies to discipline kids and help them thrive
Remember that by understanding your child’s threshold for stress and connecting with them in meaningful ways will have a positive effect on their development. Don’t shy away from being vulnerable ...
Expert advice for being the father you always dreamed of being
Raising children has been described by many as the most difficult and rewarding challenge that life has thrown their way. It is vital to remember that in all the chaos and joy, you need to take care o...
Prepare for and manage the challenges of parenting a preemie
Most parents expect to have a healthy, full-term birth, so having a premature baby sets off a rollercoaster of emotions. Having a premature baby is a challenging experience that will expose you to a u...
Achieving successful work-life balance is possible for parents
Work-life balance for working parents will look different for every parent and every family. To make it work, be sure to define it for you and your family, take stock of your current situation and wha...
Making the journey of fatherhood rewarding for dads and kids
Whether by looking inward or expressing outward, the sometimes choppy waters of dadhood can always be sailed with confidence, courage and calm when love provides the unwavering underpinning of every d...
Run your family like a business to improve parental effectiveness
Running your family like a business can help improve parental effectiveness. And creating a family mission statement is the first step in parenting effectively. When parents are intentional in designi...
Teaching girls the importance of learning to accept compliments
If we are attempting to raise a generation of strong boys and girls, parents must be able to teach them that compliments are a good thing. A genuine compliment tells us that someone appreciates a look...
Educate your kids about the value of saving money and budgeting
Keep in mind that your kids do not need the “stuff” money can buy half as much as they need the time you give teaching them how long it takes to save for that “stuff.” It is vital for parents ...
Enhance your family connections by adding the joy of laughter
Laughter is extremely important to our overall health and well-being. Not only is it beneficial for our individual well-being, but also for our relationships as well. Laughter facilitates creativity a...
Fathers have the power to influence the lives of their daughters
The important thing to remember is that you are her daddy. Moms are wonderful and they can be many things, but they cannot be dads. A divorce is never a reason to stop being a dad, nor is moving far a...
Teaching responsibility to children means holding them accountable
Many parents search for answers on how to help their kids get their lives on track. The answer is that parents must actually change the way they raise their kids. This involves actions, not words. Mak...
Teaching dads how to build emotional safety within their families
Dads have a very special gift they can give to their families. They can build trust when they choose to consistently shower their family with approval, acceptance and unconditional love. A dad can bui...
Nurturing yourself leads to nurturing the development of your kids
Mindful awareness is the practice of stillness, the awareness of the present moment with acceptance. When we practice observing our FITS, we may uncover underlying beliefs and attitudes that are limit...
Getting organized can improve family order, calm and relationships
Your home is your sanctuary. By following these simple do’s and don’ts, you can restore order and peace to your home and family. Remember, the steps are simple, but not always easy. Make a commitm...
Mindful parenting: cultivate greater awareness, presence and joy
The goal of parenting is to raise a secure, confident, well-adjusted adult. A happy childhood is a bonus. Mindful parenting allows you to become the best parent you can be by providing the skills to c...
How can parents help their children enhance motivation and focus?
Parents must help undo what culture has done to today’s kids by creating a counter-culture within our environment. To be successful, we must get kids used to only one choice, slow down our pace, set...
Teach gratitude to your children through everyday interactions
Teaching children gratitude is extremely important. Children who display high levels of gratitude are less materialistic, have more self-discipline and are likely to engage in less dangerous behaviors...
Moms must let go of the supermom mentality and embrace each day
Letting go of the supermom mentality might not be easy, but it will be liberating and fulfilling. And it will allow you to embrace at least some of the moments in the day, rather than rushing through ...
Help your kids make a positive difference through volunteering
If none of these ideas appeal to you, get together with your kids to put on your creative hats and come up with your own ideas. Better yet, get your kids and their friends together to brainstorm as a ...
Prepare daughters to live happy, fulfilled lives through empowerment
Empowerment breeds confidence--and confidence is a key component to successful living. Girls often face unique challenges as they grow up that can prevent them from learning how to successfully naviga...
Advice for parents striving to raise strong, confident daughters
Your daughter is a one-of-a-kind superstar. Parents can ensure their daughter achieves her potential by creating an environment where she grows up believing in herself and her abilities.Providing a go...
Everyone can play a parenting role to help teens stay connected
Apathy is a common problem in young people today. It is more than a lack of motivation. Apathy is lacking a reasonable goal or worse, being focused on the wrong goal. Parenting our young people (and t...

Adoption and Foster Care

Providing optimal integration for a newly adopted older child
With more families choosing to adopt older children, it is critical that parents receive pre- and post-adoption training and form a team of support personnel. Using medical, neuropsychological, occupa...
Preparation and communication are vital for a successful adoption
Adoption can be a very rewarding experience and a great way to build a family. It is vital to consider a variety of sources for adoption. Additionally, preparing yourself for raising a child by learni...
Navigating the wonderful and overwhelming journey of adoption
Adoption makes your family exceptional. It is a wonderfully complicated and overwhelming journey that comes with an incredible chance to truly change all lives involved. As an adoptive parent, you hav...
Ease the transition to adoption and minimize the stressful journey
These suggestions are not meant to be an exhaustive list of tips for navigating the adoption process. However, following them will ease your transition to adoptive parenthood and will likely decrease ...
Supporting your adopted children as they try to fit in at school
Attending school is tough when you feel different or misunderstood. Consequently, educating your school and helping your child share his or her story helps normalize school experiences. Remember that ...
Help your adopted kids by understanding the challenges they face
As adoptive parents, you have likely heard that adoption adds an extra layer of complexity as a child grows. Even if your family talks about adoption openly, your child will have questions that come u...
Embrace discussion about birth parents with your adopted kids
Talking about adoption and birth parents can feel complicated and scary for adoptive parents and their children who have questions about their identity, and an ever-evolving understanding of the joys ...
Adoptees can utilize the Internet to safely connect with family
Adoptees are able to connect with genetic family members via the Internet; however, caution must be used during the search process to avoid fraud. Use regularly updated and accurate websites and reuni...
Build resilience strategies with your adoptive or foster family
Raising children is rewarding but stressful. Even when exposed to high levels of stress, individuals can prevent crisis through effective coping strategies. Foster and adoptive parents have committed ...
Parents can create long-term connections within blended families
Blended families built by adoption can result in a strong connection between siblings because their relationships are built on intentionality, rather than an accident of birth. Give yourself and your ...
Expert advice for making the adoption process smooth and enjoyable
The adoption process is complex, but it does not need to be scary. Trust your gut instincts, educate yourself and rely on support--even if you think you don’t need it. Relax and enjoy the process. T...
Adoptive parents must recognize and manage post-adoption depression
Although it is not currently included as a specific onset of depression in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, post-adoption depression syndrome is gaining ground in the growing...
Advice on socialization for internationally adopted children
Social difficulties with peer interactions are quite common among children adopted internationally. There are numerous factors responsible for this situation, including complex childhood trauma, resul...
White parents raising adopted children of color must grasp racism
No one can know the perfect way to respond to insensitive remarks all the time. In fact, people commonly respond to racial insensitivity with shocked disbelief and stunned silence. It is only later th...
Preparation is key when welcoming a foster child into your home
Each time a foster child comes to live with you and your family, it will be a unique and a special experience. Every placement will be different. You are sure to have surprises from time to time, and ...
What every adoptive parent should know about search and reunion
One of the most common questions asked of search and reunion specialists is, "How many reunions are successful?" The answer is all of them. They are all successful because the initial effort was to fi...
How can foster/adoptive parents meet the needs of traumatized kids?
Becoming a mature adult is no easy task--even for people who don’t come from harsh beginnings. Understanding the sequential advancement of stages in a child’s social-emotional development can serv...
The sequential path from childhood to mature adulthood
Bringing home your newly adopted child: Managing the transition
A warm, patient and open attitude can help adoptive parents deal effectively during the early weeks after bringing home their adopted child. Bonding cannot be forced, but can be facilitated through en...
Adoptive parenting: Building bonds of strong, healthy attachment
Adoptive parenting is a complex and beautiful journey. Being present to your individual child and building the bonds of healthy attachment as you fall in love with each other is the cornerstone of eve...
What you need to know about adoption searches and social networking
The prospect of adopted teenagers making contact with long-lost birth relatives online, in an unplanned way without support, is something that is very concerning for many adoptive parents. There are s...
What adoptive parents need to know about financing your adoption
Adoption can be a difficult experience for families. So many things are out of your control. It is tricky to know what to focus on and what is important. Create a detailed plan and like any plan, be f...
Helping adopted and foster children navigate their early trauma
If your children have been exposed to early childhood trauma, it is crucial to recognize that their behaviors may be communicating their distress. When parents understand the impact that trauma can ha...
Building healthy attachment with adopted children is crucial
Healthy attachment sets the stage for healthy emotional development in all of the relationships in a child’s life. Children from adoption can be at risk for attachment challenges. Remember that buil...
Help adopted kids understand their birth heritage via open dialogue
Always maintain ongoing openness and honesty with your adopted children concerning their biological roots, and in the story of why and how they came to be placed with you. Do not postpone talking abou...
Expert advice for making first contact with birth family members
Searching for birth family can be exciting. However, first contact can be overwhelming to think about. Be certain you are in direct contact with the person you are seeking and begin with a personal ph...
Strengthen your adoptive family by building trust and connections
Being an adoptive parent is a tremendously rewarding job, but it is also very challenging. Try to stay centered and calm by practicing mindfulness. Understand that your adopted child endured grief, lo...
Keep foster children safe from the dangers of sexting
Sexting, which poses a real threat to today’s youth, has become almost common among children across the globe. Children in foster care are especially at risk from the many dangers associated with se...
Seek advice and professional help when adopting a child
For anyone considering adoption the challenges are many, but most can be overcome. As you prepare for one of the most important decisions you will make in your life, it’s critical to do your homewor...
Hire an attorney when adopting to protect you and the child
Adopting a child is a complicated process. Having competent legal counsel to assist you along the way is essential to ensure that at the end of the day your rights, and the rights of the child you are...
Expert advice on breastfeeding your baby by adoption or surrogacy
Congratulations on considering breastfeeding. You are in for an incredible journey--and so is your baby. Every mother and baby--no matter how a baby arrives in a mother’s arms--should have the oppor...
Strengthen the health and behavior of adopted children via feeding
Food is the most basic way we nurture. Adoptive parents must get back to basics to help children attach well. Concerns of malnutrition, eating too much or eating too little can distract parents from t...

Anxiety and Stress

Reduce and manage stress at work and at home to enjoy life more
Work stress is part of work, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Learning how to manage stress is a challenge and sometimes may feel like too much work, but if you are able to take small steps t...
Reduce stress and anxiety by unleashing your happy hormones
If you find yourself exhausted, overwhelmed, up and down and about to meltdown, its time to stop being stressed and depressed and learn how to unleash your happy hormones.You could be one of the 40 mi...
Manage and reduce stress by turning negative thoughts into positives
With a world filled with stress and us exposed to it at almost every turn, it can seem overwhelming. But these techniques can allow you to decrease your response to that stress and put yourself back i...
Energy EFT Tapping Points
Practicing meditation can help you greatly reduce and manage stress
Above all, enjoy your meditation.Meditation is about you experiencing peace, joy, love, relaxation and more. So relax and have fun. Allow yourself the freedom to discovery your way of meditating. Who ...
Energy EFT and Emotrance can help your body heal from trauma
Energy EFT and Emo-Trance finally help solve problems in life that until now have been confusing and frustrating. With a little bit of help and dedication, you can help your body’s energy heal from ...
Manage your emotions to help you with stress, anxiety, and depression
Taking control of your mental health begins with recognizing what comprises a healthy emotional state and how to maintain it. During any transition, it is vital for students to obtain a healthy mental...
Expert advice for holistically reducing anxiety and learning to cope
Life is a skill that must constantly be developed and adapted with mindful and dedicated attention. To that end, individuals can certainly learn to employ a number of strategies and cultivate certain ...
Hidden stressors to be aware of to help you reduce anxiety and stress
Stress is one of the leading killers in the United States and given our fast paced lifestyle this is not likely to ever change. One area where stress impacts us is its affect on our blood sugar, which...
Holistically uplift your mental state, reduce stress, and enjoy life
Let’s begin to minimize our stress and achieve a clear mind. Try the above tips and remember, a stable mind is the key to total wellness....
Manage and control stress by learning coping techniques
Stress is an intrinsic part of our busy and overscheduled lives. It’s something unavoidable and we all face a certain amount on a daily basis. The amount of stress and how it manifests both physical...
Expert advice for understanding and treating your anxiety disorder
A very important do and don’t for anyone diagnosed with an anxiety disorder is reading all the information available online. There is a lot of great information about anxiety disorders on the intern...
Confront and overcome your fears and phobias with this expert advice
Fear is something that we all live with in some form or fashion. And, despite how real and scary it can feel, it is actually just an illusion we create in our own minds. The good news is we can work o...
Holistically reduce anxiety by instilling a healthy lifestyle
Anxiety affects an overwhelming amount of Americans. While some anxiety and stress can help to optimize your potential, unrelenting anxiety and stress can be detrimental to your health and well-being....
Hypnosis is a great way to help you overcome your fears
Like every kind of treatment, hypnosis doesn’t have a perfect success rate, and it’s not for absolutely everyone. But it can be highly effective for treating fears and phobias. Just make sure you ...
Stress relief advice to help you chill out and enjoy life
Life is not a race, so why rush? Slow down and your stress levels will drop significantly.Many people get so caught up in the stresses of everyday life that they accept that there is nothing they can ...
What you need to know about understanding and overcoming anxiety
Anxiety can easily make us feel trapped and disempowered. However, it is really not the emotion that keeps us stuck, but the ways we approach it. We either start frantically looking for potential dang...
Defeat anxiety by healing past memories and empowering yourself
There are many ways that you can change your thinking when you feel anxious. Apply the techniques and you not only can eliminate anxiety, but you will feel empowered that you can control your thinking...
Overcome your fear of flying when nothing else seems to help
Fear of flying can be overcome. But if the things you have tried have not worked for you, that doesn’t mean you are hopeless. It only means the things you tried were inadequate. ...
Naturally manage stress and anxiety during the holiday season
Adding even just a few of these tips will help you manage stress, reduce anxiety, and enjoy the holiday season more fully! Be sure to breathe, exercise, and not overcommit yourself to too many things....
Talk to a therapist to help manage and overcome your anxiety
Anxiety can be at its worst, debilitating, and at its best, annoying. It is also very common among people for a variety of reasons. If you feel anxious, do not be embarrassed or too stubborn to get he...
Reduce your holiday stress and enjoy the season
By following these steps during Christmas and New Year’s, this time of year can really be an opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. Make the decision that this year you’re going t...
Take charge and reduce stress on a daily basis with this advice
Simple, yet powerful, reminders of the heavy loads of life that we carry around with us each day, and that all too often we simply accept rather than address, is helpful in learning how to manage your...
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) helps treat PTSD
EMDR is a comprehensive treatment approach that incorporates components of a number of different psychotherapies. It proposes that a traumatic event can be so overwhelming that it freezes the informat...
Simple tips to help manage anxiety and stay in control
Be encouraged and enthusiastic! You are not alone and many understand and empathize with your plight and the very real ramifications it can have in one’s life, including damaging relationships in so...
Meditative techniques throughout your workday can reduce stress
Calming the nervous system by engaging the parasympathetic response, lowers stress hormones, signals to the brain that it is ok to relax, and allows the body and mind to start functioning at a more op...
Control your emotions and reduce anxiety without therapy
This article teaches you basic ways to stop feeling the way you do not want to feel. It also helps you to accept your thoughts as they are, so that you are able to move past them, control your emotion...

Raising Gifted Kids

Understanding the unique characteristics of gifted children
Raising gifted kids is a challenge, which requires informed parents who can recognize their children’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the unique characteristics of gifted children is the fi...
Parenting gifted children and helping to develop their potential
As parents, you play a critical role in the development of your children’s gifted potential. You should value education and work collaboratively with educators to ensure your children have access to...
Navigating the challenges of raising and schooling a gifted child
Raising a gifted child is a work in progress. Parents need to pay attention to their child’s needs and interests--both inside and outside of the classroom. There will be bumps along the way, but the...
Supporting the academic success of twice-exceptional learners
Twice-exceptional students can pose numerous challenges to teachers. As a result, parents must monitor their child’s education carefully, so that teachers value student strengths. Over time, these s...
Parents can help their gifted students develop executive functions
Regardless of how much you may want gifted children to become more organized and develop their executive functions, it is vital to remember that kids have their own agenda. Your influence may be more ...
Expert advice on finding the best school for your gifted child
Raising a gifted child is a very challenging experience. While most parents anxiously attempt to find the perfect educational setting for their gifted child, this is not a simple endeavor. Not only is...
Guiding gifted children to lead productive and fulfilling lives
Gifted kids are often complex, as is the task of parenting them. Gifted kids have high potential, but also are at risk for underachievement, social isolation and emotional challenges. Our job is to pa...
Effective strategies for developing self-esteem in your gifted child
Although many gifted kids struggle with low self-concept, simple strategies exist that parents can use to increase self-esteem and improve the likelihood the child will have the confidence he/she need...
Help gifted kids cope with and conquer their fear and anxiety
It takes courage to fight worry, fear, anxiety and perfectionism. It often takes a team, which includes you. In the process, you may have to fight your own worry monsters as well.Like with most proble...
Teaching gifted students stress management skills to combat stress
Stress, in some form or another, will always be present in our lives. And it is not all negative. We need to model for our children and actively teach them positive ways to think about and live with s...
Empower gifted kids to maximize the benefits of their sensitivities
These precious children who we love will eventually grow up to be adults and will not have parents around to protect them from themselves. We must not only help them experience their sensitivities in ...
Expert advice on seeking school support for your gifted child
Parents advocating for improving educational opportunities for their gifted children find success when sensitive in their approach. Educators face numerous obstacles in their efforts to provide an app...
Recognize gifted characteristics to help you raise your gifted child
Giftedness is not just about achievement and academic success. There are many traits that gifted children possess that parents and others don’t realize are part of the profile. These children are hi...
Parents can encourage and shape their gifted, compassionate children
Essentially, compassionate children are less fearful of their feelings. In fact, they have a closer relationship with feelings than most individuals. Fear is first and foremost the most important emot...
How to understand the socioemotional needs of your gifted teenager
There are many resources available to parents looking to help their gifted teenager deal with negative socioemotional issues. Mostly, it takes a little education on behalf of the parent to understand ...
Help gifted kids navigate their complex social and emotional world
There is no step-by-step recipe for parenting gifted children. What’s important is common sense and thoughtful adult behavior. Helping gifted children navigate their social and emotional world at ho...
Expert advice for parenting culturally diverse gifted learners
This article demonstrates the challenges and exciting experiences that culturally diverse parents may have while raising and nurturing gifted learners. Much of the advice shared is the same--regardles...

Improving Family Communication

Strong parent-child relationships start with boundaries
As parents, you are the role models for your children. To create healthy relationships, you must be present and attentive to their needs, take interest in their hobbies and activities, and carve out t...
Teach polite communication to kids and put an end to backtalk
Backtalk is a rite of passage. Almost all children try it on for size, so it is actually “normal” childhood behavior and communication. However, how parents respond to backtalk will determine whet...
Nurturing your family relations by encouraging strong communication
Due to our fast-paced lives, effective communication is essential to maintaining strong family connections. By encouraging each other to communicate freely with love and respect, family members will f...
Accepting differences to create effective family communication
The key to strong family communication is understanding each other’s beliefs on what it means to communicate and by regularly and openly discussing opinions, feelings and ideas with one another.Tony...
Teaching kids about money will help them avoid debt issues as an adult
Teaching kids about money and debt will have a profound effect on their futures in virtually every area of life. Taking the time to model responsible choices, discuss the realities of debt and focus o...
Accept differences to create effective family communication
The key to strong family communication is understanding each other’s beliefs on what it means to communicate and by regularly and openly discussing opinions, feelings and ideas with one another.Tony...
Your child's challenging behavior is their way of communicating
All behaviors carry a message. Quite often the message is about a basic human need going unmet. It is necessary to take the time to form a relationship with the person and discover what message is bei...
Strengthening communication brings family members closer together
As with most parenting techniques, love, understanding and patience prevail over aggression and frustration. Always take a moment to cool down and approach the situation in a calm and concise manner. ...
Recognize the best ways to discuss serious family issues with kids
After slowing yourself down, getting clear on how you are feeling and connecting with your children, communicate. Let them know what’s going on and keep them posted as things unfold. Reach out for s...
Support your child athlete to create great experiences and memories
In every athletic competition there are only four roles: players, coaches, spectators and officials. Before you get to the game, it is better for the athlete if everyone just chooses one of those role...
Fostering a positive communicative environment for all children
Declarative language encourages experience sharing. This is the essence of what communication and language use is all about....
Talking to your children about coping with the loss of friendships
Friends are friends because they support our decisions and stand behind us when we feel weak. A friendship is about sharing these times and being there for each other’s support. When this ends, it c...

Tackling Family Problems and Conflict

Cooking as a family fosters fun and creativity in the kitchen
Getting kids cooking in the kitchen is beneficial in so many ways. The no-pressure environment fostered by cooking as a family creates fun and creativity in the kitchen.Here’s a great recipe to try ...
Recipe: Black-eyed pea salsa
Embracing and accepting autism can help kids build friendships
Our world is made up of many different kinds of people. Embracing and accepting difference, and being open to friendships with individuals who are unique creates strength and compassion. Remember: nev...
Good parenting can help prevent teens from using drugs and alcohol
Remember that you can influence your teen, even though you may feel powerless at times. Do your best to be supportive, interested and knowledgeable about your child’s life. Talk to your teen about d...
Supporting kids through the healing process after a disaster
As a parent, remember that you know your child better than anyone else. Therefore, if a disaster occurs, you will already have a good sense of how to speak to your child and how to help him or her und...
Manage difficult child behaviors with collaborative problem solving
Parenting kids with challenging behaviors can be exhausting and frustrating when the behaviors result in explosions, meltdowns or behaviors, such as shutting down or withdrawing. Rewards and punishmen...
How can families successfully manage their stress together at home?
Stress can be quite difficult to manage, but is easier when approached as a family. Using easy techniques, such as affirmations, visualizing and mindfulness, you will find success in your stress manag...
How can parents support children when a marriage turns rocky?
Life can be challenging and marriage is difficult. Marriage with children is even harder. It is impossible to agree with your spouse about everything. There are days when agreeing with your spouse abo...
Put an end to clutter and arguments by organizing your playroom
In today’s fast-paced world, getting organized is not a luxury--it is a necessity. By implementing some simple organizing systems and regular routines, you and your child can create a functional pla...
Positive prevention strategies can decrease a child's behaviors
Teaching positive behaviors and decreasing challenging behaviors can seem daunting. But with a few changes to your approach, you can achieve real change. Don’t get bogged down in negative behaviors,...
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