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According to the U.S. Census, approximately 5% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 have a disability. The nature and severity of the disability varies, but for many parents, caring for a “special” child can consume considerably more time than caring for a “typical” child.

I asked several parents of teens what might be a helpful topic for me to address and the overwhelming response was, how to handle disrespectful behavior. Teenagers can have sharp tongues and many parents are at a loss for how to stop the unkindness.

If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know what to do if oxygen levels drop. The little yellow masks will drop down, and you will be directed to put yours on before helping your children with theirs. Why?

If you open your child’s toolbox of life skills, will you find self-discipline? Raise your hand if you can even define that word. Don’t feel bad if you can’t.

Okay, parents of teens! Picture yourself having one of those “tough discussions” with your child. (Okay, it’s really an argument.) You’re sternly insisting, “It needs to be THIS way!” Your teen is emphatically arguing, “No, it has to be THAT way!”

I’ve been binge-watching “Downton Abbey.” I’ve almost finished Season 5 and will then have to be patient until the final season is available on Netflix. “Really,” I tell my husband, “it’s not an addiction. I can stop any time!” (Just one more episode!)

Are you a helicopter parent? If you’re not sure, here’s a quick test:

  1. Do you check your child’s grade portal more than once a day?
  2. Do you lie awake nights worrying that if your child fails a class, his chances for success in life are over?
  3. Do you find that more than 50% of the conversations you have with your child involve her school performance?

A good friend of mine is moving back to her hometown after spending 20 years in the Phoenix area. She and her husband have lived the good life—a large home, upscale neighborhood, country club membership, nice cars. As they prepare to move, however, she has realized the sheer extent of their belongings…and how many of them they truly don’t need.

I was pregnant with my first child, teaching full-time and working on my master’s degree, which left me an exhausted, emotional wreck, and I remember waking up every morning for weeks thinking that getting through the day was just an impossible task. “I wonder if this is what it feels like to be depressed,” I would think. And then I’d say out loud, “Good thing you’re not depressed. Now get up!” So I did.

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