Articles Posted in Parenting Resources

deer in a cage

deer in a cage courtesy of

This morning I got a call from a potential new client who had made an appointment but called to cancel because he wanted to “wait and see how it goes” with the social worker. This is the stuff that my nightmares are made of. A perfectly unsuspecting fawn is about to walk into the lion’s den and he doesn’t even know he is dinner.

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white vinyl fencewhite vinyl fence by digidreamgrafix at

I love boundaries. I love how they keep us safe, emotionally and physically. I love how we get to determine what our limits are as humans (and parents) and how our relationships become stronger and healthier once we get used to establishing and maintaining our personal boundaries.

The problem is that, for many of us who first start thinking about and setting our own boundaries, we can get a lot of push back from other people in our lives. If you were raised in a home with poor boundaries, you are likely to have a harder time recognizing your own boundaries and those of others. Children who grow up in a home with childhood emotional neglect or whose parent has a personality disorder struggle even more in this area. Boundaries are taught to children through modeling our own healthy boundaries and by helping children establish their own boundaries. Finally, the critical piece is allowing our child to assert their own boundaries and in our honoring them, even when we have other interests.


hurdle courtesy of

When I represent parents in CPS cases, the first thing I do is look at the family’s strengths and vulnerabilities. With my client as my partner, I strive to understand what has led the family into the dependency system. Together, we come up with a course of action to get the family and the child reunified and out of the system as soon as possible.

Over the past 10 years handling these cases, I have seen some patterns where parents struggle. These parents may be different but they run into the same road blocks. These cases are emotional and ripe with interpersonal conflicts. Here are some of the issues I see that can be barriers to reunification but can also be overcome:

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frustrated woman

Frustrated woman courtesy of

I just finished watching the video about the diner owner in Maine who responded to a two-year old’s cries in her restaurant by pounding her fists on the counter and screaming at the toddler. The parents were upset and the diner owner insists she was righteous in screaming at a child because the parents should have taken the baby outside. What?

No, it is not okay to scream at babies– your own baby or other people’s babies. In fact, its actually not okay to scream at anyone. But especially not babies who are much tinier than adults, who are incredibly easy to frighten, who cannot regulate their emotions, who have no ability developmentally to understand that their crying is upsetting to another person, who are expressing their needs in the only way they can and in the way nature intended, and who are completely defenseless. No, it is never okay.

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rage photo

“Cartoon woman rage” from

Sometimes judges lose it. But did you hear about the family court judge who seems to have totally lost it in Michigan a couple weeks ago and sent three kids to jail who committed no crime?

When three kids under the age of 15 refused to see their father or, as the judge ordered “have a healthy relationship with” him, she sent the kids to juvenile hall. The judge also compared the kids to Charles Mansion cult followers and told the 15 year old she did not believe he was intelligent. She told him he would be incarcerated until he was an adult.

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I wish you and your families a safe and happy 4th of July. I hope you get to spend it eating delicious food with family and friends while reflecting upon all you are grateful for. I know we will be doing the same.

The 4th of July is also a hugely important seasonal time for the fireworks industry. Many people have fond memories of playing with fireworks as kids. The risk of fireworkds may have been part of their allure and, while most people survived, it seems like everyone knows someone who had some mishap.

I am a lawyer so I am in the risk assessment and advice business. So I am sorry to break it to you but FIREWORKS AND KIDS DON’T MIX! This year, I urge you not to let your kids play with fireworks.

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the best mom mug

(image by stuart miles/

I love my kids like a crazy person. I also try my hardest to be the best mother I can be. I worry about them all the time. I try to meet their every physical and emotional need. I relish the time I get to spend with them when I am not at work counseling adults. I love to watch them play and create. I literally think about everything they are engaging with and how it is to their benefit. Everywhere I go I buy them something to the detriment of our house’s order. And I never refuse to pick them up when they want to be carried. It is fair to say that my feelings for them are extreme and I take being their mother as seriously as I have ever taken anything in my life.

But the other night I failed. How I failed is best summed up by my daughter’s pronouncement: “Oh no! Mommy sat in the #$%&*@! juice!”

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father playing with children

(“father playing with children” courtesy of

Every 107 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted in the United States. Almost half of victims are children and the overwhelming majority under 30 years old. Astonishing, 4/5 assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, according to the Rape Abuse And Incest National Network.

Teaching consent is one antidote to sexual violence. Empathy and respect for others and their boundaries go hand in hand with consent. As parents, it is our job to teach children what consent is, what consent is not, and how to recognize what it looks like when someone does something without the other’s consent.

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bully kid

“two children” by marin courtesy of

“Bullies.” We all know them and remember them with a kind of discomfort that brings up old feelings associated with school yard taunts and even physical attacks. I remember the days that a class mate would consistently knock my books out of my hands in the halls at school. I remember hearing other kids laugh and make fun of a new kid in the class. We all have either experienced bullying behavior or been a witness to it at one time or another. Bullies exist in the adult world too.

So when I found out that my 2 year old was getting pushed and her pigtails pulled at preschool, my first feelings were the feelings from the school yard days, but this time for my child and with a fierce protectiveness. But is it fair to think about the pushing and shoving of 2 year olds as bullying? Has bullying gotten so bad that even 2 year olds are doing it now? Or in the alternative, are toddlers and young preschoolers really just still working out their impulse control and in the throws of emotional development?

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SB 277 will take away a parent’s right to decide which vaccines to give their child and when to give them. It will force all children to be vaccinated according to the Senate Bill’s schedule if they are to receive a public OR private education or childcare in this state and takes away the right to informed consent that we all enjoy as a human freedom.

According to the Sacramento Bee article, Drug Companies Donated Millions To California Law Makers Before Vaccine Debate, the bill’s author, Pan, took the largest amount of pharmaceutical campaign donations of any state senator last campaign. Pan thinks that near complete herd immunity is not enough and has offered this bill that has flown through the state senate.

All parents should be alarmed. While I fully support vaccination, parents must be the individuals who decide these issues. The side effects of vaccinations are documented and real and there is absolutely no legal remedy for injuries from vaccinations, meaning parents do not have the right to sue the manufacturers for serious injuries or death.

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