You’re a Good Parent…

You wouldn't be here otherwise! Ready to kick it up a notch?

We're a community of smart, dedicated parents who believe Great Parents are Made, Not Born. We're passionate about becoming better people, and better parents. We're committed to raising happy, well-adjusted kids. And we're doing it the slow and steady way.

Would you like to join us?
Click here to find out more

Teenage Alcohol Abuse: One Mom’s Dreaded Reality And How to Protect Our Families

teenage_alcohol_abuse_the_dreaded_callYou know how every single one of us parents dreads the phone call that tells us something is wrong with our kids?

Mine came one evening in May. As I picked up the receiver I noted the caller I.D. revealed it was the eldest of my five children, Nick.

“Hi Nick!”

“Mom, I’m in trouble and I need help.”

That phone call launched a series of events in our lives which could have gone one of two ways; it could have catapulted me (as his mom) into denial and despair, or it could (and, by the grace of God, did) allow me to pull my head out of the sand and work with my son toward a positive resolution.

But it wasn’t quick, and it sure as hell wasn’t easy… in fact, it is probably one of the hardest things our family has ever gone through. Upon reflection, Nick’s problem with teenage alcohol abuse had slowly developed over a five-year period of time.

The “trouble” my son referred to during that May evening ended up being his admission of a day long fight through the physical and emotional repercussions of binge drinking to a point of a three-day blackout. Nick shared with me this wasn’t the first time it had happened to him. In fact, the cycle was becoming a regular occurrence in his life, and he really wanted help to turn things around.

After my initial shock and disbelief, I realized I had only one choice: set aside my own anxiety and shame as a mother for having missed all of the signs put directly in front of my face over the past several years and, instead to invest my energy into learning how to help my twenty-year-old son (at the time, living 1,200 miles from our home) develop a plan to turn his life around.  [Read More...]

Why You Really NEED to Start Exercising (It’s Not What You Think)

Emotional Benefits of Exercise Are As Important as The Physical BenefitsDo you think you should exercise more?

After all, you’re a parent now. Taking care of yourself is so much more important…

You want to be able to toss your toddler over your head without worrying about injuring your back.

You want to live a long, active life so you can play pickup games when your kids are in high school and go on long walks someday with your grandkids.

You want to model healthy living for your kids.

And — let’s be honest — you could probably stand to lose a few pounds too, right?

Feeling motivated to hop on a treadmill yet? I didn’t think so. 

Here’s the thing– when we talk about living healthy, we usually focus on the “big-picture” benefits. And sure, eventually regular exercise might mean a better overall quality of life or a more sculpted body.

But the choice to exercise isn’t made in the long term. It’s made now, in the short term. And usually, making time for exercise means skimping on something else — like sleep or work or cooking dinner. Which means if you want to make exercise a priority, you need a short-term benefit.

You don’t need a reason to do it someday — you need a reason to do it now

For most of my life, I’ve avoided exercising.

I enjoy walking to the park with my kids or hiking up a mountain with friends, but running for its own sake (not because I’m in a hurry to get somewhere)? Biking just for the fun of it? Forget about it.

I simply never had time for that kind of thing — and that was before I had kids.

After I had kids, of course, exercising was pretty much the last item on my to-do list, somewhere below playing trains with my toddler, eating and sleeping.

But recently, all that changed — and I’ve discovered a value in exercise that I never expected.
[Read More...]

The Healthy Family Meals Cheat Sheet (Because Cooking DAILY Can Make Anyone Want to Weep!)

Cooking Daily Makes You Want to Weep?Have you ever spent a little extra time at work just so you can justify a fast food takeout instead of having to go home and cook dinner?

It’s not like you don’t appreciate a healthy, home-cooked meal with your family. But, having to cook that meal every single day can feel like such drudgery, doesn’t it?

I’m actually quite fortunate — I’m blessed with a husband who’s passionate about cooking, and very good at it too. Even now that we’re both full-time work-outside-the-home parents, he gets a comforting, nourishing dinner on the table every night he’s home.

The nights he’s not at home, though, I tend to panic a bit! I’m an adequate cook. I enjoy baking. I can even savor the process of creating a meal, if I’m in the right mood.

But that’s not how Getting Dinner works, is it?

Night after night after night, whether I’m in the mood or not, someone’s got to feed the little hungry mouths. Even when I lived alone in graduate school, this was a prospect which sometimes drove me to tears. And now the pressure to feed our growing family right just kicks it up to a whole new level.

And, I’m sure it’s not just me.

There’s a lot of wider cultural stress about getting a home-cooked dinner on the table. For a lot of us, it’s hard; for all of us, it’s time-consuming; and is it actually worth it?

On the one hand, I’m elbow-deep in lovely Pinterest photos of green vegetables and lyrical blog entries about family bonding. On the other hand, figuring out how NOT to have to cook at home is a pastime almost as old as humanity.

Ancient Rome had carry-out restaurants. Social reformers from Thomas More to the Amana colonies to Amanda Marcotte have suggested that we’d be better off having a few devoted cooks and letting the rest of us use our cooking hours for something more interesting or productive.

But no matter what your ideal solution looks like, in today’s reality, you’re likely to find that cooking at home is the best way to get a cheap, healthy family dinner.

And the research is clear: shared meals are one of the best things you can do for your kids.

So how can we get it done without breaking down and weeping?

Here’s our family’s little cheat sheet –

[Read More...]

7 Habits of Families Who Consistently Eat Healthy (Without Nagging or Drama)

7 Habits of Families Who Consistently Eat HealthyHave you ever gotten totally excited about eating healthy meals with your family, got started with unparalleled enthusiasm, unrelenting energy, and then… everything seemed to evaporate into thin air?

Long hours, a commute, the 2-year-old’s tantrums, a finicky 8-year old, and your healthy optimism slowly gave place to frozen TV-dinners, skipped breakfasts, and take-out four times a week.

You’re not alone!

Eating healthy on a consistent basis takes time and dedication; and most working parents are already struggling to keep the balance between “being available” to their kids and “getting things done”.

So, how can you manage to consistently have a healthy diet and enjoy delicious food, while avoiding both nagging and drama at the dinner table?

Here are 7 powerful habits of families who consistently eat healthy. By following some of these (start by picking two or three that work best for you), you will slowly create the healthy and joyful family of your dreams.

[Read More...]

1st Anniversary Giveaway

AFineParent.Com First AnniversaryWhoa, guess what? This blog celebrates it’s first anniversary next week!!!

Time sure flies when you’re having a good time, doesn’t it?

To celebrate the milestone, I’m giving away 4 books that have transformed my life and cover pretty much everything we need to know to raise happy, well-adjusted kids while staying sane, content and fulfilled! I’ll even ship it to you for FREE. 

Click here to see the list of the books and enter the giveaway –

AFineParent.Com “The Only 4 Books You Need to Become A Great Parent” Giveaway