Does your child brag and you want it to stop?

Bragging is one way to deal with feeling Proud, but potentially bragging can get you into trouble.  There is a fine line between bragging and just telling someone how you feel about your accomplishments.  So, how do we teach our children to deal with feeling proud, without being arrogant, bigheaded, conceited or a show off?

My proudest accomplishment in my life is the creation of my family, from marrying a man I not only love, but respect in every way possible.  And to top it all off we have two awesome children together.  Plus, I’ve been blessed with a career that has touched children and families and enriched my life beyond belief.

So, all that being said, how do any of us deal with expressing our pride with humility and grace?

I think the first place to start is to teach our children to be proud of themselves.  As parents we are proud of our kids and therefore tell them how proud we are of them on a regular basis.  But, just as important as affirmation is helping them learn to take ownership of their pride by telling them, “Be proud of yourself!”  This simple statement helps them learn what they can do for themselves when they did a great job, rather than just doing good deeds to be noticed by others.

Then once children understand their own pride, teach them how to express it inside and out.  Standing tall and smiling are great ways to express this feeling.  You can say something like this, “Always start telling someone you’re proud with a whisper and then watch for a smile from the person you told about your pride.  Then you two can celebrate together by laughing, clapping & jumping up & down, especially if you’re outside”!

Parents, try to watch for appropriate ways other children express their pride and point that out for your child.  Tell them you’ll be watching them to see how and when they show their own pride in an appropriate manner!  This way they’ll learn their own special way of feeling proud.

Remember to feel your own sense of pride and pass that along to your kids, Dr. Ann

Do your kids seem to behave better for everyone else?

Most parents believe and say, “My kids know how to push my buttons to manipulate me and that is why they don’t behave for me”!  I also hear well-meaning, grandmothers/fathers, mother-in-laws and neighbors reinforce this notion by saying, “He never does that at my house”!  This implies of course that the parents are responsible for the child’s inappropriate behavior.

Believe it or not this is not why kids behave inappropriately with their parents and not with others.  It’s because their parents unconditionally love them and that makes kids feel safe enough to misbehave.  In other words, they feel comfortable enough and are sure enough in the love of their parents to experiment with different behaviors.  They know that their parents won’t ever leave them, no matter how troubling their behavior might be.

So parents, have faith the next time your kids seem out of control with you, that you are doing something right and that is allowing your kids to try out different ways of communicating to see how you will react.

Remember when your kids behave appropriately be there to let them know that by telling them you like the way they are talking to you, following the family rules and or treating you and others.  And when they pick other, not so appropriate ways to behave, make sure they see you respond to them in a different way.  This will help your kids begin to tell the difference between what they get from their parent when they behave in different ways.

For kids, life is all about learning how healthy relationships work by trying out different ways to behave.  So, instead of looking for ways to get your kids to stop misbehaving look for ways to teach them what they can do to create a healthy relationship with you, their parent, who they love & adore, Dr. Ann

*Check out my newest project Pocket Full of Feelings, a product for family emotional literacy learning.

What’s your biggest concern with your kids in middle school?

A current on-line survey says…”Parents say bullying is a greater concern than alcohol, while children themselves worry most about making the right friends”.

I’d say that both parents and their kids are on the same page with their concerns.  Because, the primary way kids make friends and keep friends is by being accepted by their peer group and that depends entirely upon on how others treat them.

Recently, the Today show posed the question, are ‘mean girls getting meaner’?

The resounding answer was yes, the reason given was that girls say mean things to ‘fit in’.  The advice to parents was to talk to your kids about their feelings and have lots of physical connections with them, like hugging.

While I agree with this advice, I also want to take it one step further by suggesting that kids need to be taught emotional literacy in order to cope with bullying, so they can make the right friends.

Emotional literacy is not just talking about your feelings it is learning how to DEAL with the way you feel in appropriate ways.

The fact is girls are mean because they feel ENVY and don’t know what to do about it. So teach your kids that ENVY is going to come whether they like it or not. It’s about wanting something that somebody else has and if you don’t know how to deal with it, you’ll automatically tear down someone else in order to build yourself up!

Once kids learn this fact, tell them to always compliment that someone who has something they’d like to have and then remember to compliment themselves later in order to improve their own self worth. This conversation you have with your kids is how you teach emotional literacy.

Teaching emotional literacy is a necessary step for your kids to understand themselves better. Once they understand their emotions and how to DEAL with they way they feel, it is easier for them to create positive behavior and find friends in all the right places.

Hope this helps, Dr. Ann

For more information on Emotional Literacy and how to teach your kids how to DEAL with the Way they feel, check out my emotional literacy program Pocket Full of Feelings or email me to set up a private or group consultation @

Could you be spoiling your kids by saying your proud of them?

Do you ever wonder if you are spoiling your kids by saying you are proud of them…if you want the right answer to this question I recommend you read my colleague Kenneth Barish’s article Understanding Children’s Emotions: The Importance of Pride and Shame.

I highly recommend reading this informative article by Kenneth Barish Ph.D., clinical associate professor of psychology, Cornell University. Check out more of his work on his website

I hope you enjoy reading Understanding Children’s Emotions: the Importance of Pride and Shame!

Have a fun and safe Labor day weekend! For more information about teaching your children about their emotions and how to deal with the way then feel visit my Pocket Full of Feelings project.

~Dr. Ann

Back to School…What do kids need in their backpacks?

Traditionally parents spend a lot of time picking out just the right backpack to put their kids essentials in for the first day of school.  It needs to be just the right color, have some identifying graphic or favorite character on the back and be the perfect size for all their child’s needs.

The reason parents put all these school supplies in their backpacks are so their children will have all the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. This year I’d like to give you an idea about what should go in that backpack aside from pens, rulers, glue sticks, Kleenex, spiral notebooks, #2 pencils & colored markers.

The addition to your child’s backpack this year should be the tools they need to DEAL with whatever feelings come their way in the classroom and on the playground. Even as parents we might say to ourselves “I wasn’t expecting that to happen today and it threw my whole day off!” Your children have these same feelings and need help from loving adults to know what to do when they are overwhelmed by unpredictable situations that come up on a daily basis.

So, when you send your kids off to school remember to equip them with the essential tools for DEALING with how they are FEELING during school days. For instance, your child might have a tantrum or pout or whine or hit because they feel frustrated (a very dark purple feeling) about getting ready for school as they’ve been on a totally different schedule all summer.  Sometimes parents first reaction is to say, “Don’t whine, just hurry up, you don’t want to be late on the very first day of school”! Sound familiar? Instead equip your kids with tools to DEAL with this feeling for a successful day.

Here is how to DEAL with the frustration your kids might have on the first days of school. Parents, when you’re filling that backpack take the opportunity for this teachable moment and…

Tell your kids they might feel frustrated because we have to get up early tomorrow. Did you know that frustration has a color just like all your feelings do and it’s dark purple? Everybody has this feeling and no one knows when it’s going to come, but I’m here to teach you how to deal with this feeling in the best way. The best way is to do something with your hands and/or listen to music.

So, if frustration comes tomorrow at home or at school say to yourself, “I’m frustrated because things aren’t going my way, but I know what to do. I can put my hands in my pockets or grab my fingers and hold them tightly behind my back or put on a feel good song at breakfast or on the way to school until frustration goes away”!

These techniques and tons more are what the Pocket Full of Feelings™ project gives you as a parent. Kinds behave because of the way they feel, the only way to equip kids for successful behavior in school is to teach then what to do when feelings arrive.

Look for more tips each week about how you can teach your kids to DEAL with the way they FEEL for success! Remember “Better Moods equal Better Behavior” – Dr. Ann

Pocket Full of Feelings

Here’s the answer to the #1 question parents have asked me over the last 30 years!


The question is “why is my child behaving this way”? Seems like they are pushing my buttons and I’m at my wits end!

The fact is children behave because of the way they FEEL and they don’t know how to DEAL! So, I developed the Pocket Full of Feelings™ (pff™) Package in order for every family to have easy solutions to the toughest parenting problems.

pff™ gives your kids exactly what they need to DEAL with whatever comes their way! Let Poffer, the wise owl, and his 15 owl buddies, the poff’s, show your family how to understand and positively deal with feelings so that children can feel proud of teh way they behave.

The pff™ Package includes:

  • Children’s Storybook
  • Comprehensive Parent Guide
  • 15 Feelings Poff’s
  • Poffer and his wise ways to deal
  • Feel and Deal Pocket Guide
  • Interactive pff™ play pockets

Please take the time to visit our Pocket Full of Feelings™ website to learn more about emotional literacy and the pff™ Package. Bring the gift of emotional literacy home today!

Dr. Ann

Why Girls Are So Mean…and Boys Too, Sometimes!

Everyone reading this who is a girl knows what I am talking about. Girls are mean to each other all the time. Ever ask yourself why?

I think the answer lies in one misunderstood emotion. Girls are mean because they do not understand what ENVY is, much less what to do about it.

ENVY is wanting some thing that some body else has…simple as that!
How girls act toward others when they feel envy has everything to do with the making of mean girls.

A typical scenario goes like this…
A girl walks into a room looking cute and another girl might say, “Your shirt is darling, it looks great on you, is it new”? The ‘cute shirt girl’ will then say, “It’s new and I love the way it looks on me too, thanks”. Meanwhile, the girl observing this exchange might be saying to herself, “Hey, why didn’t she notice my new shirt, this is the first time I’ve worn it and I think I look at least as good as she does”.

Then the girl who has not been noticed finds another girl to begin gossiping with and may say something like the following, “ Can you believe that she is getting all that attention from that shirt, it isn’t really that cute and for sure it does not go with the shoes she is wearing with that outfit”!

In this scenario when one girl gets a lot of attention from others either about how she looks, what she says, what she won or what group she was accepted into, the other girls start to get jealous about all the attention to that particular girl.

This attention toward that one girl or it could be a group of girls, makes other girls feel insecure about their accomplishments or whether they will be recognized for their own assets.

In order to draw attention away from the girl/girls who are getting all the attention, the other girls will tear them down by saying and doing mean things.

So what do we teach our daughters to do so they do not turn into mean girls?
By the time they are ready to start kindergarten sit down with your daughter in a quiet moment and define ENVY/JEALOUSY. Then tell them this simple solution, “If you find yourself wishing you had something that somebody else has remember it is called envy.

Always smile to yourself and remember how good it feels to get attention yourself, then talk silently to yourself about sometime that makes you unique, like you’re the best swimmer you know or you had attention last week for being such a good friend to your neighbor”. This will remind your daughter that the way to build self-confidence is not by tearing others down but by remembering what makes you unique and that builds your confidence.

Only you can teach your daughter how to not turn into a mean girl, so start now, even if your child is past kindergarten age.

Girls, let’s change our reputation, from mean into thoughtful, kind and sensitive.
From one girl to another, Dr. Ann Corwin