• August 2021

    Preparing for the New School Year

    Preparing for the New School Year By Nicole M. Young, MSW The back-to-school routine is going to be bittersweet for me this year. I’m excited for my kids, who will experience their senior years in high school and college with in-person classes and activities. They’re excited about returning to a more “normal” routine, but there’s also some hesitation about returning to a regular (i.e., earlier, non-pajamas) school day and busier, crowded environments. As for me, I won’t miss the extra dirty dishes and unstable internet during Zoom meetings, but I will miss their presence during the day and will treasure the extra time we had together. This monthly column provides…

  • July 2021

    Home Alone

    Tips for Leaving Kids Home Alone By Nicole M. Young, MSW As a working parent, summer vacation was always a mixed blessing when my kids were younger. It was a relief to have a break from the daily school routine, but figuring out a patchwork quilt of childcare and supervised activities was stressful (and expensive). The older they got, the harder it became to find affordable options that would work for both of them – and not require me to spend half of my working day getting them to and from their different activities. So it was a relief when they were old enough to be left alone, unsupervised –…

  • June 2021

    Celebrate Dads and Father-figures

    Celebrate Dads and Father-figures By Nicole M. Young, MSW This Mother’s Day, my kids gave me the best gift ever: their time and attention. Yes, I love the beautiful ceramic pitcher from my daughter and the cheese basket from my son (he knows me well). I thoroughly enjoyed the bagel breakfast and going out to dinner. But what filled my heart the most was sitting, eating, talking, laughing, gardening, making travel plans together – not just being next to each other, but really being with each other. The older they (and I) get, the more I appreciate the gift of time with them and the ways we love each other,…

  • May 2021

    Self-care is Essential

    Self-care is Essential By Nicole M. Young, MSW You’re not alone! Parenting is hard when you’re tired and stressed. That’s why taking care of yourself is one of the five principles of positive parenting in Triple P. I’ve been a mother for 21 years, which is hard to believe. Although my kids are still at the center of my heart and mind, my daily routine no longer revolves around them. They don’t need help with eating, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or going to bed. I don’t check their homework or drive them places anymore. It’s both sad and liberating. And it makes me realize that for many years, taking…

  • April 2021

    Creating Positive Childhood Experiences

    Creating Positive Childhood Experiences By Nicole M. Young, MSW April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, which makes me pause to think about all the hardships and trauma children and families have experienced this past year. COVID-19. Displacement due to wildfires. Racism. Social isolation. Hunger. Lost jobs. Financial instability. Struggles with remote learning. Hate crimes. These multiple “storms” have left their mark. Communities across the nation have reported increased calls to domestic violence and mental health hotlines. Recent results from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Household Pulse Survey, suggest “the proportion of U.S. adults with symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depressive disorder have quadrupled since before the pandemic,” especially…

  • February 2021

    Love Language

    Showing Love in Many Languages By Nicole M. Young, MSW The primary love language of children and teens may change as they grow, so it helps to learn how to “speak” each language and be ready to show your love in multiple ways. “Back in the day” (before COVID-19, when I had to drive places), I used to see an older couple taking morning walks as I drove to meetings or dropped my kids off at school. It always warmed my heart to see them walking the same route, holding hands, swinging their arms in unison, and smiling as they walked and talked. Even from a distance, I could tell…

  • December 2020,  Uncategorized

    Bright Spots

    Finding Bright Spots in the Midst of Uncertainty By Nicole M. Young, MSW 2020 started off promising. The California legislature passed the first-ever statewide resolution declaring January as Positive Parenting Awareness Month. Go parents! I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia in February to present at an international conference for Triple P providers and researchers. My kids had enjoyed a long break from their rigorous high school and college classes and were gearing up for their spring semesters. Life was busy but good. And then came COVID-19…and racial unrest…and the wildfires…and repeated disruptions to our daily lives. This year has been filled with one challenge after another, and at times…

  • November 2020

    Connected Holidays

    Physically Distanced but Socially Connected Holidays By Nicole M. Young, MSW I love fall and winter holidays. I look forward to celebrating with lots of food, decorations, gatherings with friends and family, and other traditions. But holiday celebrations in any given year can be hard. It’s a challenging and overwhelming time for many families, especially if money is tight or stress and family conflict overshadow the spirit of joy and giving. In 2020, the holiday season will certainly be different because of COVID-19, but we can still find ways to be physically distanced while staying socially connected with friends and family. This monthly column provides tips for raising children, based…

  • October 2020

    Tips for Supporting Distance Learning

    Tips for Supporting Distance Learning By Nicole M. Young, MSW When I was in college, I would not have enjoyed living and learning at my parents’ house. Even when I was in high school, I would’ve been miserable if all my classes were online since school was my social lifeline. Now, my house is a home/office/high school/college campus for two working parents, two students, two cats, and a never-ending pile of dirty dishes and laundry. I’m fortunate that my kids don’t need constant supervision, and they’ve learned to manage their own schedules and schoolwork. If you read my articles from several years ago, you’d know this was not always the…