Wednesday Links


Sleep Deprivation and Teenagers by Dr. Frances Jensen.   Okay, now I finally understand why my teenager hangs around in the family room when he’s supposed to be going to bed but acts like he has a hangover in the morning. “One reason is that melatonin, a hormone critical to inducing sleep, is released two hours later at night in a teenager’s brain than it is in an adult’s. It also stays in the teenager’s system longer, which is why it’s so hard to wake your high schooler up in the morning. Adults, on the other hand, have almost no melatonin in their system when they wake up and therefore don’t have the same groggy feeling.”

Babies Learn Best Right Before Sleep by Gwen Dewar, PhD.  Just like grown-ups, a new study suggests that babies learn and recall things better when they sleep right afterward.  Just think of all the good we are doing with bedtime stories!

Catholics and Family Size:  Dr. Greg wrote this thoughtful response to reports that Pope Francis said Catholics are not required to breed like rabbits.  Dr. Greg offers advice for discerning family size.


Downsides of Early Day Care by Matthew Fallon and Darcia Narvaez.  Distinguishes between “alloparents” and day care workers.  Alloparents are trusted adults in the mother’s circle who help out with the baby, but the mother remains nearby in case the baby is distressed  “This sort of environment allows an infant to become more comfortable away from mom while also developing a secure attachment because mom is always there when she is needed to calm the infant.”  The modern day care setting is far different from allocaring, because the mother is not accessible, the number of infants outnumbers adults, there is far less physical contact, and the children are not attached to the daycare workers.


Curiosity Questions:  Jane Nelsen over at Positive Discipline suggests exploring the consequences of a child’s behavior with her instead of immediately imposing consequences.  Nelsen believes this approach may lead to better problem solving skills in kids.

Limited Choices:  Another good tip from Jane Nelsen at Positive Discipline.  Instead of ordering your child around, offer her limited choices.

Tender Tidings Winter 2014 AVAILABLE

Tender Tidings Magazine, our FREE parenting publication, is now available for your enjoyment! Just click on the flipbook to explore.

PDF is also available from flipbook.

  • THE SLEEP ISSUE:  tips for getting more sleep, the science of safe co-sleeping, sleep stories from intentional, Catholic parents
  • Dr. Greg answers tough questions from real parents, including one about preschool tantrums
  • What can the Holy Family teach us about parenting?
  • Make a king cake for Epiphany

Wednesday Links

A few links to articles that can help us love more intentionally with our children!


10 Signs of Love by Darcia Narvaez.  An exquisite but brief exploration into the nature of real love.  “Love is … not a choice, or a dream, or a romantic novel. It’s a fact: an empirical fact about our biological existence. We are born into relationships with people and with places. We are born with the ability to create new relationships and tend to them. And we are born with a powerful longing for these relations. That complex connectedness nourishes and shapes us and gives us joy and purpose.”


Does Pregnancy Make You More Stupider?  Yup, it seems we lose some cognitive ability when pregnant and that our brains might actually . . . shrink!  Aaagh!  In this article, Gwen Dewar tries to explain why that may be the case and she offers some suggestions for boosting brain power during pregnancy.  Take care of yourselves, mommies!

Radiant Faith

Should Catholics Celebrate Halloween?  Here’s a great, balanced article on Halloween. “Every year, a debate rages among Catholics and other Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Catholic children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? Lost in the debate is the history of Halloween, which, far from being a pagan religious event, is actually a Christian celebration that’s almost 1,300 years old.”

All Hallows Eve by Mary Reed Newland.  This is an excerpt from Newland’s classic family faith book The Year and Our Children.  “One of the nicest surprises of living around the year with the Church is to find that Halloween is part of it.  Not that the Mass of the day has mention of black cats, or the Divine Office of witches, but for so long Halloween meant nothing but parties and vandalism that when someone first proposed that it came out of the liturgy, I asked: ‘Are you sure?'”

All Saints Day Scavenger Hunt:  Jessica over at Shower of Roses has a fun All Saints scavenger hunt!

Wednesday Links

Intentional Basics

6 Things the Happiest Families Have in Common:  Well, we could squabble about this list, but I found it interesting and a great reminder about the importance of respectful communication, and playing and eating together!  Most interesting:  passing on a family history children.


Tweens:  How Their Passions Change:  A great article from Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder explaining how a tween’s (ages 10-12) passions begin to narrow as she matures.

Teens:  Signs of Healthy Independence:  By yours truly, this piece explains the signs of healthy independence in teens, unhealthy dependence, and how to spot the difference.

Gentle Discipline

Silent Signals:  Jane Nelsen explains the concept of “silent signals” — a positive, gentle way to deal with a child who interrupts you.  I do this in my own home but didn’t know it had an official name!

Kind but Firm:  Another great post from Jane Nelsen about the importance of being both kind AND firm and the potential harm that results when possess only one of those qualities in our parenting.  I appreciated her insights about parents who are opposites — when one is kind but not firm, and the other is firm but not kind enough.

Tender Tidings Fall 2014: NOW AVAILABLE

The FALL 2014 issue of ICP’s FREE parenting magazine, Tender Tidings, is ready!

In this issue:

  • Hospitality: Making a House a Home
  • A prayer plan for real families
  • Simplify your home and your calendar
  • Does your spouse feel like a priority in your life?
  • Dr. Greg tackles some tough parenting questions

Available HERE or click on flipbook below. (Prefer a PDF?  You can download it from either the link or the flipbook.)  Enjoy!  Share it with your friends!

Wednesday Links

It’s been too long since I offered Wednesday Links!  Here are some great links for encouraging us to live with generous love in our families:


Raising a Baby Well Is Like Climbing Mount Everest:  Just like mountain climbing, wise parenting takes preparation, focus, and practice.

Tiger Moms and Her Critics Are Both Right:  Fascinating.  This article looks at research which suggests that whether or not “tiger mothering” (pushing, pressuring, even nagging a child in order to get her to succeed) is beneficial is dependent upon the child’s culture.  Children raised in an Asian culture where community-identity is valued do okay while Western kids where individuality is valued do poorly.  Note:  in neither Asian nor Western cultures did children do well in critical, authoritarian households.


Play Ball:  A young mother questions her own inclination to sign up her son for sports.  “While most of us engage in activities with an end goal in mind (a competition, a recital, a game), my son and my niece wanted to engage in something for the sheer love of doing it.  After that realization, I began to look at this rush to put our kids in organized activities in a whole new light. I wondered if, perhaps, we as parents might do our children a disservice by taking them out of the yard and putting them on the field too soon. Or by placing them in organized activities where they interact with peers and other adults instead of nurturing their love for an activity with us, their parents, the people they really want to share their love with the most.”

Gentle Discipline:

Raising a Moral Child:  If you want to raise a kind, helpful, compassionate child, this NY Times article argues that a parent should 1) avoid making the child feel like a bad person through shaming and 2) focus on the child’s good character rather than her actions.

Kids with Strong Bond to Parents Make Better Friends:  When kids enjoy a warm, loving relationship with their parents, they are more responsive and caring in their childhood friendships.


Outdoor Play More Important than Indoor Play for a Child’s Development:  In this article, Darcia Narvaez looks at research which suggests that outdoor play is imperative to a child’s mental and physical well-being — even more critical than indoor play.  I would be cautious about the suggestion that indoor play is “detrimental” for children.  Indoor play is very different from outdoor play.  The article cites the dangers of video games on a child’s development, but there are so many more ways our kids play inside.  Indoors a child can build wooden block castles, make forts with his siblings, and play board games with his parents.  This are wonderful play experiences. It’s the balance of these experiences that matter:  kids need both outdoor play and indoor play; they need both self-directed free play, and family play which might be more organized.

Why Play with Your Child?:  A superb overview of the benefits of parent-child shared play.

Radiant Faith

How to Be a Prayer Warrior While Fighting the Battle of Parenthood:  Great practical tips from Charisse Tierney for getting into a habit of daily prayer no  matter how busy you are with parenting little ones.

A Strong Marriage

The Spirituality of Sex:  A great article from Dr. Greg Popcak about the true Catholic view of sexuality.

Tender Tidings Summer 2014 NOW AVAILABLE!!

Here it is: your free issue of Tender Tidings.  Don’t miss it and please pass it on to your friends!

In this issue:

  • FAMILY GAMES (playing our favorite childhood games with our kids, how real parents play games with their kids, and why play is so important for children)
  • A new Q & A column from Dr. Greg tackling some tough parenting questions
  • Marcia shares a stunning, unique idea for creating a prayer path outside for your family
  • What’s a strong marriage?  Do you have one?
  • Letting go of control in our parenting
  • Hydrating summer drinks

Here’s the flipbook.  For full view click on 4 arrows bottom left corner.  If you would prefer the PDF, you can download one from the flipbook.

Parents, Be Merciful to Your Children

“Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord.”  Pope Francis

Wednesday Links

Links to resources and articles for living out the 7 Building Blocks to a Joyful Catholic Home.  Here are some links for this week:


The Importance of Friendship for School-Age Children:  How our love and affection can shape our child’s ability to form close friendships which is important for social thriving.  “Parents play a crucial role in their child’s social development. A child is not born with social skills. He needs parents who take an active role in preparing him to interact successfully with his peers. The most important thing parents can do for their child is to develop a loving, accepting, and respectful relationship with him.”


The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten:   “One of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis more apparent, and more damaging, than in kindergarten.”

Gentle Discipline

2 great links about teens!

Jobs:  Why Teenagers Don’t Do Chores and How to Use Follow-Through:  4 steps to effective follow-through with teenagers!

Teens Don’t Need to Rebel:  A great commentary from Dr. Greg Popcak on why it’s actually a recent cultural phenomenon for teenagers to rebel and 5 tips for preventing teen rebellion.

Radiant Faith

St. Joseph Altar:  I had never heard of this tradition which started in Sicily.  This article gives a great background and simple ways to make your own St. Joseph altar.

Tender Tidings Spring 2014 Now Available!

ICP’s FREE parenting magazine, Tender Tidings, is now available for viewing!

Our special topic is Education Options. This is honestly our best issue yet.  You’ll find tons of ideas for living a joyful, radiant life with your family.  Definitely check out Marcia’s article on doing the Stations of the Cross with kids!

A few changes in this issue:

*The special topic is limited to just one section.

*New columns:  Kim will write a regular column on one of the Building Blocks; Marcia has a new column on ways to bring the faith to our children in fun, hands-on ways.

Click on the Flipbook below to open it up.  You can view it in Flipbook form (super fun!) or download a PDF from the Flipbook.