Spark Moments That Matter.

Article January 7, 2019 Want to Nurture Your Children’s Strengths? Start with Your Weaknesses
Opening up about your weaknesses with your kids can be the key to their success and a better relationship with them. by J'Nel Wright If you are looking for directions, don’t ask me. I have a horrible sense of direction. Just recently, my brother finally broke the news to me that my two favorite convenience stores ...
Article January 7, 2019 Mental Illness Diagnosis? It can actually be a chance to grow closer as a family
Our family has learned, by taking time for self-care, offering balanced support, building a support network, considering family therapy, and learning to communicate effectively, the changes that accompany mental illness can bring your family closer together. by Grace Hansen I grew up in a family where half of us experienced major depression, and we all ...
Article January 7, 2019 Peck, Peck, Peck: Managing Fights in Your Household
If a chicken gets a little cut on its leg, the other birds will start pecking at the wound. They’ll peck until the wound gets bigger and bigger. So, what do we do if there's "pecking" going on between our kids? by Jessica Eyre When I was in fourth grade, we got a new student ...
Article January 7, 2019 Apples and Oranges: How to Appreciate and Manage Differences in Your Marriage
By seeking understanding, trying new things together, and learning to recognize solvable issues, you can appreciate the differences you and your spouse have without becoming paralyzed by them. by Isabella Markert When I got the invitation to my recent high school reunion, I hesitated. I texted one of my best friends from high school to ...
Article January 7, 2019 From Mother to Mother-on-Law
How to avoid a tense relationship with your new daughter-in-law.  by Jessica Eyre The mother-in-law in pop culture is a meddling nightmare, someone to be managed or even feared. At best, they’re some nut to be tolerated when you can’t avoid it. “Whenever someone says ‘mother-in-law,’ I don’t know, it just seems mean or something,” ...
Article January 7, 2019 Blending Adults
Tips to help ease tensions when blending two families—even if the kids are grown. by Isabella Markert There were 30 of us staying at that beach house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We spanned four generations, from an 80-year-old great-grandmother to nine children under the age of five. This was the first time my ...
Article January 3, 2019 How to Get Kids to Own their Consequences without Looking Like the Bad Guy
Strategies for creating and enforcing rules with your kids that work.  by Jessica Eyre The beginning of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark is iconic. Harrison Ford spends a good twenty minutes sneaking through a booby-trapped cave, switching a bag of sand for a priceless relic, and high-tailing it out of there ...
Article January 3, 2019 The Best Ways to Multitask as a Parent When You’re Behind the Wheel
Here are some great ways you can use all that car time for getting closer to your kids. I’m not a terrible driver. But I’m not a great driver. I’d call myself something like... a conscientious bad driver. I tend to drive too close and too fast (cruise control is my best friend). I’d rather ...
Article January 3, 2019 It’s not Easy Eating Green: Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies
Five ways to get your children to actually eat something healthy.  Any parent will tell you that getting kids to eat salad and other green veggies—or, if I’m talking about my own kids, anything outside of cheese quesadillas and chicken nuggets—is 75 percent of parenting. The other 25 percent is spent dealing with gross things ...
Article January 3, 2019 Tactics for Catching a Few More Zs in the Morning When you have Kids
Four strategies for getting more sleep because with kids even 30 minutes more can do wonders.  I kicked my daughter in the face. Not on purpose, mind you. Nor for any reason that would require calling child services. So before you let your imagination run wild, here’s the story: My beautiful, wonderful, four-year-old girl, bless ...
Article January 3, 2019 Make Your Next Family Photo Shoot Something to Enjoy, Not Just Survive
If the phrase, "Let's take a photo!" strikes fear into your heart, then here are some methods that just might make family photos actually fun.  Looking through my wedding photos for the first time was thrilling until I made it to the group shots. Maybe a third-party observer wouldn’t notice, but I sure did: my ...
Article December 21, 2018 You’re a Liar, but It’s Probably OK
We talk about Santa like we talk about Mickey Mouse. The difference is only one of those is real. Right, kids? My dad broke the news to me when I was almost eight. We were driving along in the snow, next to a golf course, and out of nowhere he leans over and says:   ...
Article December 15, 2018 I’m Offended that You’re Offended that People Are Offended
Once upon a time, in 1944, a married couple was hosting a party and wanted to perform something to entertain their guests. So they wrote a song, a duet that musically acted out an evening that was regretfully coming to an end. I'm certain they never imagined the controversy the song would cause 70 years ...
Article December 8, 2018 Whose Is Better? How to Blend Family Traditions as a Newlywed Couple
Traditions can be a touchy subject, especially for newlyweds. When I first married my husband, there was an awkward period of figuring out how to celebrate the holidays together. Most of our family traditions didn’t match, making it a game of deciding whose traditions were better. For example, Valentine’s Day for my family meant wearing ...
Article December 7, 2018 Gift Guide to Foster Conversation Between You and Your Teen
Ways you can give your teen the gift of a stronger family this holiday season and throughout the year.  The Christmas wish lists of teenagers through the ages may not be exactly the same. Today’s teens are likely asking for their own smartphone or headphones and other high-end electronics, while teenagers in past decades might ...
Article December 6, 2018 ’Tis the Season to Share: Tips to Make the Most of Shared Parent Time During the Holidays
The holiday season is a time of sharing: We share our time, our talents, joy, and laughter. We share food, treats, and gifts. And as a divorced mother of three, I share my kids with my ex-husband. The first Christmas I was divorced, the thought of going through any of the holidays without my children ...
Article December 5, 2018 Who’s Santa?
Celebrating your culture while respecting another’s Just before Thanksgiving, my 4-year-old son said something to me that stopped me in my tracks. “If I’m naughty, Santa won’t come,” he said matter-of-factly. Now, many reading this are probably thinking, what’s so startling about that? But as a Jewish mother raising a Jewish family, this statement was ...
Article December 4, 2018 Conversations: Family Traditions
Families gather to discuss the things that matter most to them, including holiday traditions. Three generations of a Seattle, Washington-based family recently did just that while making plans for the current holiday season. Family matriarch Mable, her son Todd, daughter-in-law Kate and grandson Nathaniel also served up a few funny memories amidst their sprawling meal. ...
Article December 2, 2018 Holiday Traditions Bridging a Painful Divide
A 3,000-mile separation can’t compete with the family rituals keeping together our ten sons and daughters this Christmas. I always knew that traditions could create bridges between generations, but this year I learned they can also bridge difficulty and distance. My wife Lisa and I have never been apart for more than a week since ...
Article December 2, 2018 The Refuge of Holiday Family Traditions
Within the walls of our homes, we can create a sense of belonging that binds family members through tradition and our inevitable nostalgia for it.  Is anyone surprised that the coziest holidays, the ones centered around the hearth and home (and a dinner table supersized with extension leaves) all take place when the outside world ...
Article December 1, 2018 Turning Pint-Sized Protégés into Mentors
Mastering fearlessness begins by teaching it to someone else. When my two sons, then aged eight and ten, sat down with me for our family movie night they had big hopes we’d be watching a superhero movie. Of course, this genre wasn’t yet entirely on the menu for guys their age—many action films are too ...
Article November 30, 2018 Bullies Among Us
It isn’t just schoolyard thugs threatening our kids’ self-esteem and safety. Learning to recognize triggers that create bullies and their targets can help parents manage both. While there are days we’re tempted to enlist bodyguards to protect our children from the mean kid at school, we can actually do more for our sons and daughters ...
Article November 29, 2018 Conversations: Bullying from the kids’ perspective
Families gather in all kinds of communities to talk about things that matter most to them and recently, the three Cortez sisters spoke candidly about bullying. Growing up in Presidio, Texas and now Nogales, Arizona, the sisters are currently in high school (Maria), middle school (Luisa) and elementary (Frida). Maria, 15: I think bullies would ...
Article November 27, 2018 Making Imposter Syndrome Work For You
Turns out it’s easier to be a good parent than to feel like one. But it appears there are benefits to reasonable self-doubt, and some of the most impressive moms and dads know why. At any given moment we’re all fairly certain we’ll be found out—right? That the parenting police will finally reveal just how ...
Article November 26, 2018 FEARless
How fear can keep us from being happy parents and raising happy children—and the ways we’re managing to reclaim both. Shouldn’t we be happier now that we have kids? According to a growing number of sociological studies, we’re…ummm, we’re not. Wait, what? Don’t we tend to smugly compare ourselves to our childless friends and just ...
Article November 26, 2018 How Perfectly Imperfect People Fit Together in Our Home
If my ex-husband and I can remain close friends, maybe we can teach our boys to do likewise. My sons were in the midst of a typical sibling squabble when I finally voiced my version of every parent’s biggest anxiety. “Treat him better than this! He’ll be around when your dad and I are long gone.” ...
Article November 20, 2018 Inspiring Gratitude
The holidays are a perfect time to teach our kids the power of gratitude and its capacity to make us happier. We’re now in the midst of the gratitude season, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the holidays when so many gifts and kind acts are exchanged. What better time to boost our capacity for gratitude, ...
Article October 30, 2018 Healthy Halloween Hacks
OK, this really is a fun holiday—creative and family-friendly—but it also tests our limits on just how much junk we’re going to let our kids consume in the process. We’ve got your back with a couple of healthy hacks for you and yours. PRE-GAME TACTICS: • Let’s fill up our kids with a big healthy ...
Article October 17, 2018 Conversations: How Do You Handle Parenting Imposter Syndrome?
Parents gather in all kinds of communities to talk about things that matter most to them. Here, three moms discuss the widespread parenting anxiety of feeling like a fraud. Jessica I’ve heard people use the term “Imposter Syndrome” at work but when we use it for parenting, it seems to be more about pride vs ...
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