Category Archives for Raising Independent & Responsible Kids

How Doing Less Made Me a Better Parent

After suffering from some random aches and pains (hello middle age!) and working way too hard for too many decades, I finally hit a physical and emotional breaking point a few years ago. I realized that I needed more rest and that I needed to do less of everything. I also realized I needed to…

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Helping Your Fearful Kid Try New Things

“I DID IT!” Many of my favorite moments at camp are when I get to witness a previously fearful and hesitant camper in the moments just after they’ve tried something new. Their confidence and joy are at a high as they tell the story of how scared they were, how they tried anyway, and how…

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5 Must Reads Before You Drop Your Child off at College

Since August is the month when many of us say goodbye to our college-age kids and find our homes more quiet (and our hearts spread far), I thought I’d once again share some of my thoughts about important conversations to have during the college preparation and drop off time. Last year during this exact week…

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5 Steps to Raising a Problem Solver

One of the most important skills our kids need to learn in order to become responsible adults is the ability to solve their own problems. Hovering and overparenting certainly aren’t helpful in this department, but it’s just so darn tempting to step in and solve our kids’ minor problems because we are so good at…

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10 Lessons for Parents Raising Children in a Digital World

Those of you who’ve been hanging around Sunshine Parenting for a while know how much I love to research and talk about the benefits of getting unplugged. Getting off our screens and more focused on face-to-face relationships is a topic I’m passionate about, especially as I’ve focused on how we can coach our kids to…

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Resources for Parents of Introverted or Sensitive Kids

Do you have a shy, introverted, or extremely sensitive kid? While these traits or descriptions often go hand-in-hand, Susan Cain distinguishes between “shy” and “introverted” and Elaine Aron outlines a separate set of traits for what she calls the “highly sensitive” personality. Both researchers have recently shed light on ways parents can better support kids…

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Why Kids Need to Feel Needed

When my husband picked my 13-year-old son up recently from a movie night at a friend’s house, the mom mentioned that he was “great at doing dishes.” To me, this is one of the highest compliments we can get as parents. Over the years, I have repeatedly told my kids that keeping a kitchen clean…

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Ep. 3: Raising Resilient, Independent Kids with Sara Kuljis

In Episode 3 of the Sunshine Parenting Podcast, I interview my good friend Sara Kuljis about raising resilient, independent kids. Sara is a 20-year veteran camp director and parenting trainer who has great insights and ideas about parenting and counseling kids. Sara, with her husband Steve, owns and directs Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp, a Christian adventure…

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Thoughts on “Being 13”

“Most adolescents with access to smart phones are living their social lives online as much as they do face-to-face. Adults worry that teens are hooked on social media, but most have no idea what teens are actually doing online.” -Marion K. Underwood & Robert W. Faris, Being 13: Perils of Lurking on Social Media I…

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What are you going to do?

One thing I taught my kids last year was to ask “What else can I do?” to help them learn the important skill of finishing a job well. They still use it at the end of kitchen clean-up after dinner, and the question is music to my ears. And one of my favorite new questions…

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How Big is My Problem?

This past summer at camp, one of our counselors reported a conflict within his cabin group. A camper had told one of his cabin mates to “stop acting so stupid.” The offended camper immediately reported to his counselor that “everyone hated him.” The counselor helped the camper calm down and then facilitated a sincere apology from the child who made the unkind comment. The problem was…

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More than “I’m Sorry”

Teaching Kids the RIGHT Way to Apologize An important relationship skill is the ability to resolve conflicts. And resolving conflicts often involves an apology. Most kids are bad at apologizing, and that’s because the adults in their lives are mostly bad at apologizing, too. Apologizing well is a skill not many of us have mastered.…

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