Why do emotions always run high at the Olympics?

Because feelings rule; whatever we feel comes first & that drives our behavior!
First of all, what a thrill it would to watch your child succeed in an ultimate way, competing as an Olympian. Very few of us parents will ever experience that thrill, but we certainly can watch, listen and learn lessons from these Olympic games with our kids.
I often think of the age old Olympic quote, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” and wonder if we are preparing our kids to gracefully accept their triumphs and graciously swallow their defeats for their social success?
And the answer is that whether or not we have been preparing them for their defeats, we can! If we embrace improving our child’s emotional quotient (EQ) with as much enthusiasm and conviction as we do for their academic success our children will be fully prepared for life’s disappointments.
Teaching social emotional skills are really is as easy as 1-2-3 or the A-B-C’s. We must take the time to not only define & identify a feeling your child might be having, but help them reach that ah-ha moment about what they normally do to cope with that feeling!
One major hopeful to win gold during these 2014 Winter Olympics was Shaun White.  We unfortunately fell shot of the medal podium, but he truly handled his feeling of disappointment with grace.  He not only showed great sportsmanship, but he knew what he needed to get through his disappointment…A HUG! Read more about what a great example Shaun White can be for our kids!
Finally, let PFF teach them 100′s of ways to DEAL with their feelings for academic & social success, Dr. Ann

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 www.kennethbarish.com.

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

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

In Praise of Fathers

Fathers should be appreciated all year… not just on one day! While Father’s Day is a tremendous idea, we all need to affirm Dads for their significance every day of the year.

I come from a long line of fantastic fathering men. My grandfathers were both grand fathering me from birth to their deaths. My Dad, in his 80’s, is still fathering me long distance and with just as much love, sincerity and respect as always. My husband has been an awesome father for 28 years. One of the problems with us mothers is that we sometimes spend too much time trying to get the fathers in our lives to mother, instead of just appreciating what fathering does for our children.

Fathers teach two very crucial concepts to children: how to trust themselves and how to take risks! Since men don’t have the same hormonal response as women when their kids move away from them, a familiar scenario often happens. Mom might go out to the park and ask her husband to watch the kids while she goes to the bathroom. When she returns, the kids are playing on the playground equipment, at the furthest point from where her husband is standing. He is in deep conversation with another Dad. Mom’s first response is usually, “why are you not watching the kids, they are way too far away and you weren’t even looking at them when I came out of the bathroom?”

The truth of the matter is, kids can move six times further away from a Dad, as opposed to a Mom, before he has any physical response like that alarm that goes off in Mom’s head saying, “where are the kids?” That does not mean that men love or protect their children any less than a woman. What it does mean is that fathers teach their kids that it is okay to trust your self and take risks.

So Moms, celebrate Father’s Day by valuing what Dad’s give kids!

In deep appreciation of fathers 365 days per year, Dr. Ann Corwin

You Know I Love You Anyway

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share a special poem with you that was given to me by a mom that I had been working with earlier this year. She was a new mommy having trouble adjusting to being a stay-at-home-mom after the birth of her second child. She came seeking guidelines in managing her impatience with her children… the same impatience that many of us experience in trying to juggle life’s many demands. In the course of working with her, she found this poem and shared it with me, and today I share it with you as a subtle reminder to slow down and enjoy your precious children.

I bumped into a stranger as he passed by.

“Oh, excuse me, please,” was my reply.

He said, “Please excuse me too.

I wasn’t even watching for you.”

Oh, we were polite – this stranger and I.

We went on our way and we said our goodbye.

But at home a different story is told

how we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,

my daughter stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked her down.

“Move out of the way!” I said with a frown.

She walked away, her little heart broken.

I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

Later that night, wide awake in my bed,

a still, small voice came to me and said,

“While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,

but the children you love, you seem to abuse!

Look upon the kitchen floor,

you’ll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers she brought for you,

she picked them herself – pink, yellow and blue.

She stood quietly, not to spoil the surprise,

and you never saw the tears in her eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small,

and now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by her bed,

“Wake up, sweetheart,” I whispered and said.

“Are these the flowers you picked for me?”

She smiled, “I found ‘em, out by the tree.

I picked ‘em because they’re pretty like you.

I knew that you’d like them – especially the blue.”

I said, “Daughter, I’m sorry how I acted to you today,

I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”

She hugged me and said, “Mommy, that’s okay.

You know I love you anyway.”

I said, “Daughter, I love you too!

And I do like the flowers – especially the blue.”

Dr. Ann

Columbine…An Anniversary no one wants to celebrate!

No question 10 years ago and no question now that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were both severely mentally unstable teenagers. New perspectives on this horrifying tragedy are emerging. My only hope with any new information the parenting community does get is that all parents try to remember these three points:
#1 Learn what drives your kids behaviors at this age.
#2 Be ready to help your teenagers understand themselves better.
#3 Don’t be afraid to be involved with your teens on every level even when they object!

Teens and toddlers are so much alike it is scary.
Toddlers are like a bull in a china shop, constantly getting into trouble as they experiment with risky behavior on a daily basis. They do behaviors that are dangerous all the time, like running out into the street just because they think it looks fun, so they do it! Young kids are literally driven by their brains to do behaviors that will stimulate their brains. Their actions help their brains grow and this gets them ready to learn in school. So what whatever they think or feel they do without any regard for consequences, because they need to build the branches of their brain!

Teen’s behaviors are based on their brain development too. Only difference is teen’s brains are actually slowing down instead of going full speed ahead like a toddlers. As the teens brain begins to prune itself in order to keep learning it needs stimulation. For example, one of the best ways to stimulate anyone’s brain, young or old is through music. We encourage parents to have their toddlers listen to music to build brainpower. That is the same reason teens listen to music constantly, whether parents think their choice of music is appropriate or not doesn’t seem to matter, because that is how powerful the drive is to stimulate their brains. The ‘rush’ to stimulate a slowing brain becomes overwhelmingly necessary to teens.

Knowing all this can help us make sense out of seemingly senseless behaviors we see in teens. If a toddler runs out into the street and gets hit by a car, no one is their right mind would say they deserved it because they did a dangerous behavior. Or say, they should of known better! We understand that that their brain driven behavior was responsible. And more importantly after this tragedy happened all parents would understand the necessity of teaching toddlers not to run into the street.
We need to apply the same logic to teens. When tragedy strikes don’t point fingers, just remember the brain biology of teens and the importance of education for prevention of tragedy. With prayers for all the losses Columbine, Colorado endured, Dr. Ann

P.S. Look for Dr. Ann in Oregon at The Dalles Wahtonka High School on April 28th talking about this very subject from 6:30-8:30p.m. Entitled, “What’s This Alien Thing called Adolescence? Contact Debby Jones for more information at (541) 506-2673.

Envy and Sibling Rivalry

Hi Ann,

I have a question for you for Wed. night May 3rd. I thought I’d describe it for you and you can help me narrow down what exactly my question is other than what should we do?? 7 yr old son, Shawn6 yr old daughter, Tess13 yr old Katie who is my husband’s daughter from his previous marriage who spends about 40% of her time here.

Shawn is a great kid, teacher loves him, basically angelic at school and overall pretty easy except in this one area. He’s really not so nice, sometimes downright mean, to Tess. This has been present at some degree or another since she was born but it seems to be escalating in the past few months. He puts her down, hits her as he’s walking by, mimics her after she speaks, tries to make sure she doesn’t get any credit for anything, appears irritated and bothered when she’s around, etc.

He acts as if he’s completely threatened and/or annoyed by herWe think the contributing factors areTess is really outgoing, talkative, affectionate, demanding of my time and in his eyes is probably a barrier between he and I.

Both of them idolize Katie and look forward to any time they can spend with her. Tess and Katie share a room, dress a like do all the girlie hair, play with make-up, etc. and I think he feels left out and sees Tess as a barrier between he and Katie also.<

I’ve tried making weekly “dates” with Shawn to create more alone time. The behavior seems to ebb and flow with Katie’s visits being the main common denominator but even when she’s not here it’s pretty bad. When he’s really acting out he almost seems drunk and unable to stop himself.


Dr. Ann Corwin, The Parenting Doctor Advice

This is a form of sibling rivalry. All kids experience this to some degree, but how they learn to deal with the emotion of “envy” is the key to dealing with this problem.
So emotional education is critical to helping kids build healthy relationships with their siblings. You mentioned you have been trying to spend more time with Shawn alone with you and that shows that your instincts about what needs to be done are good. But, even more importantly, you need to have Shawn spend some ‘alone’ time with Tess.

Help him develop a relationship with her that is unique and therefore not in competition with his sister. That is just one place to start in my opinion. Would be happy to talk about this issue when I come in more detail, if you would like?

See you tomorrow night, Ann

“Mommy you don’t love me”

Hi Dr. Ann

I dont know what to answer Idean, he keeps saying to me “you dont love me ” or “mommy dont love me”. I dont know what to say, its breaking my heart, please help.

Dr. Ann Corwin, The Parenting Doctor Advice

Remember that Idean is experimenting with language, as he is trying to find out ‘what’ he says and what kind of the response he gets from you when he uses certain words and phrases. He absolutely does not believe that you don’t love him! When young children feel like their parent disapproves of something they do, they will say these words because they know that the parent will then talk to them.

So, first of all do not let this break your heart because he doesn’t know what he is saying and he definitely does not believe it! Secondly, when he says those words do not respond to him with words back.
If it is not in a time of conflict just hug him, while not saying anything. If it is in a time of conflict between you two, so the same thing we talked about before…discipline him for what happened and when it is over tell him how much you love him.

Also, just continue to tell him you love him during the day, not necessarily associated with something he does right, just because you feel like it. This should pass quickly as a phase in his language development. Hope this helps? Ann

Not being old enough, fast enough!

First of all, some refreshers- Andrew turned 4 in August, Suzanne is 21 months and I am due in aprox 8 weeks, but just last week put on bed rest for preterm labor.

Andrew is having a very difficult time with “not being big enough, fast enough” He has become very competitive and is very hard on himself. Needless to say, this breaks my heart.
I keep thinking this is a phase or just the age, but I am deeply concerned this is just his personality in general. He is not small by anymeans. He is one of the biggest kids in his preschool class, yet one of the youngest. At soccer he is easily discouraged when he doesn’t score a goal and becomes extremely upset, yet his team has only scored 3 goals in all their games and he scored 2 of the 3.

He is always asking when he will be as big as us and he wants to be 8. I see it effecting relationships with his friends and with his sister. He used to be very outgoing and confident and I no longer see that side to him. I asked his teachers and they say they see a minor difference, but nothing they see as a problem. We have been praising him a lot and try to talk with him, but again not really seeing a difference. Like I said I am very concerned in this change – I want my old Andrew back….any advice?

Thank you for your time,

Dr. Ann Corwin, The Parenting Doctor Advice


Congrats on your upcoming birth! Some of this or maybe all could be related to the new baby. To help himself feel powerful, because having a “new baby” makes older kids feel out of control. So keep that in mind and make sure you give him “ownership” to the new baby by having him be “big enough” to be in charge of buying all the socks for the baby or whatever you can think of! Andrew’s competitive nature that you describe is normal, but in order to help you I need to ask some questions about “when” this “change” started and are you or your husband rather competitive and how does he act when he perceives himself as not winning or “big”, etc.?

One of the ways to help with this is to start focusing your praise of him when he is just being himself, not when he accomplishes something. For example, when he smiles, you say something like “you have a smile that looks just like you and no one else, which makes me want to smile at you”. It seems like he is “stuck” on being big, which I don’t have enough information to know the origin of that, but I do know you could probably help this by talking to him about the advantages of being small. Something like the closer you are to the ground, the safer you are, because falling doesn’t hurt, etc.

“Big” means you cannot always fit where you want to go, like on the playground or mom and dad don’t get to do what you do, because we are “too big”. I would need to know what you say when he says he wants to be big or 8, etc.? I think this may be more complicated than what I can do through e-mail. So if you want or need a phone consultation just give me a call to set something up at (949) 643-9978. Hope this helps a little?