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parenting

The Escape Room: A Message for Couples and Families

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Blog on 8th October, 2018 By Raffi Bilek

Recently I had the great pleasure of going to an escape room for a bit of family fun. If you’re not familiar,

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Good Job is Not Enough

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Blog on 9th August, 2018 By Raffi Bilek

It is generally accepted in today’s generation of parents that praise and encouragement are the tools of choice in childrearing rather than some past methods such as yelling, shaming, and, of course, whupping. Praise and encouragement have taken the place of criticism and disparagement.  The catchphrase of the new mentality might be pithily captured in […]

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Making Your Marriage a Priority

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Blog on 8th May, 2018 By Raffi Bilek

Recently I was interviewed on the radio to discuss the question of how to prioritize your relationship with your spouse vs. your kids. You can listen to the 20-minute segment here. Here’s the spoiler: I come down firmly on the side of keeping your spouse #1 on your list. This of course doesn’t mean that […]

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Parenting Tools: Noticing

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Blog on 14th June, 2017 By Raffi Bilek

Young children are constantly running to their parents to show them what they’re doing or playing with – “Mommy look! I put a hat on the baby doll!” “Daddy, see the picture I drew?”  Often our instinctive response is to gush how wonderful it is or how talented they are.  It’s not a terrible response […]

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A Simple Parenting Tool – Stories

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Blog on 5th June, 2017 By Raffi Bilek

I’d like to share with you a handy parenting tool that is easier to use than it might sound.  It’s nothing brilliant or novel – just one of those things sitting under your nose all this time.  It’s called “stories.”  Yup, that’s it. Nothing new, right?  Well, let’s talk about how you can use them. […]

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How Do I Get My Kids to Eat Their Vegetables?

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Blog on 25th May, 2017 By Raffi Bilek

Another common battleground for parents with young children is mealtime.  Getting kids to eat their proverbial veggies has been a vexing problem since time immemorial.  Just as we noted with bedtime, it’s unlikely you will ever have children who are 100% compliant with your wishes 100% of the time.  Nevertheless, there are certain steps you […]

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How to I Get My Kids to Go to Bed?

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Blog on 16th May, 2017 By Raffi Bilek

If you have young children, you don’t need me to tell you what it’s like getting through bedtime.  The hassle, the arguments, the frustrations – it happens to all of us.  Don’t worry – it’s not just you!  Bedtime is often one of the most challenging times of day. And the truth is, no matter […]

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The Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

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Blog on 24th January, 2017 By Raffi Bilek

Words of Affirmation is the first of the love languages described in Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages system. For people whose primary love language is Words of Affirmation, it’s what you say that counts.  This of course does not mean that you can act like a slob, forget your wife’s birthday gift or cheat on […]

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Family Therapy: Parental Transitions

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Blog on 26th September, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

In the previous post we cited a number of examples of role changes that can lead to conflict in the home and the importance of family therapy for managing these transitions.  There we focused primarily on the changes experienced by the daughter in a relationship (see here for why I am using female protagonists in […]

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Mothers & Daughters: Changing Roles

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Blog on 8th September, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

Why do relationships between mothers and daughters that are warm, loving, and peaceable turn into battlegrounds of conflict and frustration?  What happens that causes such a drastic change, often in so short a time? The usual culprit is transition.  Life transitions are generally a period of personal instability and therefore instability in relationships. This can […]

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Family Therapy: Parents & Children

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Blog on 24th August, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

We frequently get calls for family therapy, specifically regarding troubled mother/daughter relationships.  These include young parents with school- or preschool-aged children, middle-aged women with their teenage/young adult daughters, and even up to elderly women who still struggle with having a proper relationship with their adult daughters. Why does this particular relationship so often run into […]

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The Kids Were Difficult Tonight

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Blog on 6th July, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

An amazing thing happened in my house last night. I was out for the evening, and I came home to find a tired but relatively cheerful wife and three sleeping children. This is what I would call an excellent outcome for a nighttime routine executed with only one parent. But that wasn’t the amazing part. […]

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A Letter to Mom

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Blog on 2nd June, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

Yes, this is an actual picture of me at something like 15 and my real-life mom. I believe we’re on a biking trip in one of the Carolinas.  The exceptionally poor quality is due to this having been taken at twilight with one of those yellow plastic disposable cameras.  (Remember those?) So this post is […]

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Time Management for Busy Moms and Others

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Blog on 2nd May, 2016 By Caitlin Chana Hill

Life in the modern era has become more and more of a sophisticated juggling act. Time management skills have become increasingly important: work, family, leisure, health – managing all our responsibilities is no easy feat. And if you have kids, well, it’s like having more balls to juggle and fewer hands! How do we learn […]

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4 Things to Do to Make Child Rearing Easier

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Blog on 29th February, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

Here’s another article I wrote for Marriage.com, offering a few simple tips for making life as a parent a little bit easier: http://www.marriage.com/advice/parenting/4-things-to-do-to-make-child-rearing-easy/ Learn more about our parenting support services here.

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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children – Part 4

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Blog on 27th January, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

The last piece I’m going to post on the topic of why a good marriage is the best gift we can give to ours kids is probably the simplest: 4. It’s just nicer to live in a happy household than an unhappy one. Can anyone disagree with that? Who wants to live in a home […]

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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children – Part 3

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Blog on 11th January, 2016 By Raffi Bilek

Continuing on in our exploration of why a good marriage is so vital to your childrearing endeavors, here is reason #3: 3. They’ll do as you do. Jimmy’s parents were called into school, where Jimmy was waiting apprehensively in the principal’s office. The principal sat down with the three of them, looking very sternly at […]

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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children – Part 2

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Blog on 28th December, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

In the last post, I opened up the topic of why a good marriage is good parenting and discussed the issue of household stability. Here is reason #2 that the best gift you can give your children is a good marriage. 2. Kids run on emotion. As noted in the previous post, kids are consumed […]

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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children

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Blog on 20th December, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

When I get a call from parents seeking help with problems with their children, it is not uncommon that a large portion of the work actually needs to happen with the parents themselves. Unrealistic expectations, misguided parenting approaches, personal problems, and other factors play into this a lot. One important element that needs to be […]

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Boundaries: Inside and Out

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Blog on 6th August, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

Check out our latest article on the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center‘s guest blog! http://www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com/boundaries-inside-and-out

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The Only Thing I Can Give to My Daughter That Matters

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Blog on 14th July, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

I recently posted an article on Kveller.com, a site I enjoy sharing my personal experiences on. Check out my fun and educational story of the day I spent one-on-one with my four year old! http://www.kveller.com/the-only-thing-i-can-give-to-my-daughter-that-matters/ Learn more about our parenting counseling services here.

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Sexual Abuse Prevention: Words for Private Parts

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Blog on 8th June, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

There is a difference of opinions out there as to whether it is important to use the proper names for private parts when teaching children about their bodies and discussing sexual abuse issues (i.e., not the latest news story but what they need to know to prevent it).  I stand heavily on the side of […]

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My New Favorite Parenting Expert!

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Blog on 1st June, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

I recently chanced across an article by Andrea Nair and was so appreciative of it that I looked her up and ended up finding dozens more really helpful articles.  I agree with almost everything she says. I think her perspectives are spot-on and her techniques very solid.  Here is a super article entitled “Stop Tantrums: […]

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Modern Communication Tools for Parents

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Blog on 28th May, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

This morning while dropping my kids off at school I spotted a mom driving her minivan into the carpool line while talking on a handheld cellphone.  I don’t know what the laws are in other states, and I’m not really going to go googling right now, but in Maryland, this is illegal.  And I am […]

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Parenting Issue: Children & iPads

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Blog on 6th May, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

I’m on TV! WBAL-TV interviewed me for my take on toddlers using iPads (See the accompanying article at http://www.wbaltv.com/news/limiting-childs-screentime-difficult-battle-for-parents/32819168).  Unfortunately, I think they did a so-so job representing my opinions, so let me clarify a little bit my position on toddlers using iPads: I did say that I don’t think it’s necessary for toddlers to […]

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Free-Range Parenting

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Blog on 4th May, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

A local Maryland couple in the news has once again raised discussion and debate about the free-range parenting movement.  Read more about it, including my opinions as quoted therein, at http://jewishtimes.com/36553/free-range. Learn more about our parenting support services here.

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The Mama Bear Effect – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coloring Pages

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Blog on 24th March, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

A friend of mine passed these along to me – coloring pages to be used in discussing sexual abuse with your children.  Check them out at http://themamabeareffect.org/coloring-pages.html. I think they are fantastic!  This can really help children become active in their learning important principles about staying safe from abuse.  Remember that this topic is not […]

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Why Moms Get Nothing Done

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Blog on 24th February, 2015 By Caitlin Chana Hill

Have you seen this video yet? This entertaining video gone viral by Story of This Life is generating a lot of conversation – over 3 million views on YouTube as of this writing! Many Moms out there LOL when they watch this video, recognizing the can’t-get-anything-done scenario and laughing at their own frustration. There’s no […]

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The Importance of Listening

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Blog on 8th February, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

Another guest post I wrote on a friend’s blog has generated some interesting conversation.  See the article and subsequent comments at https://incensefromthealtar.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/the-importance-of-listening. Learn more about our couples counseling services here.

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How to Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth (and Other Stories)

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Blog on 4th January, 2015 By Raffi Bilek

My latest parenting article in the Where What When: Let me start with this question: How do you get your kids to brush their teeth every night? http://www.wherewhatwhen.com/article/how-to-get-your-kids-to-brush-their-teeth-and-other-stories Learn more about our parenting support services here.

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Parenting in the iPhone Age

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Blog on 10th December, 2014 By Raffi Bilek

An article I wrote in a local paper on a modern-day topic: http://jewishtimes.com/31779/parenting-in-the-iphone-age/   Learn more about our parenting workshops here.

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Does My Mommy Have Two Mommies?

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Blog on 23rd November, 2014 By Caitlin Chana Hill

Adoption is not just an event in the life of a person; it is on ongoing reality in the life of a whole family. The adoption experience does not begin or end with the adopted child, rather, it is an experience that touches many people, some for a moment, some for a lifetime. A friend […]

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Playdates Made Easy

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Blog on 14th November, 2014 By Caitlin Chana Hill

This article made me both laugh and cry out loud! Becoming a mother brings children, mess, a larger wardrobe, and fewer friends.  For people (like me) who thrive on social interaction and friendship, making time for social interaction is vital for our sanity.  And it can be done – once you recognize that it is […]

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Positive parenting won’t make up for yelling, insulting

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Blog on 8th October, 2014 By Caitlin Chana Hill

I thought this was a powerful article on positive parenting about the effect we as parents have on our children. Check it out: Young adults who had been criticized, insulted or threatened by a parent growing up were more likely to be anxious or depressed, in a new study. Even when the same or another […]

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Kids Hear EVERYTHING

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Blog on 28th August, 2014 By Raffi Bilek

Recently, I was sitting at dinner with my wife and kids and discussing the mundane issues of daily life.  At one point my wife mentioned to me something about putting the kids in camp for an extra few days. My six-year-old daughter piped up and cheerfully asked, “Because you don’t want to deal with the kids, […]

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