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How I Repaired a Broken Relationship with My Teenage Son

Dear Tammy, 

I am sharing my story because I feel that if I was able to repair my difficult relationship with my teenage son, anyone can. He is 15 years old. We suffered a very long and difficult past few years together. We had a lot of differences of opinion and I spent a lot of time worrying about what will become of him. Most of our interactions were hostile, and he outrightly began defying the rules in our home. The younger children began to copy his behaviors, and we all began to experience lots of anxiety to say the least. One night he left the house at 11:00 and told us it’s not our business where he was going. He ignored our texts and we prayed until he returned, which was, thank Gd, only an hour later. 

When he came home I knew that we needed serious help. I was basically a nice mother trying to raise good kids, just like everyone else. A friend of mine suggested that we contact Tammy Sassoon, who trains parents in reconnecting and setting limits with really...

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Setting Boundaries

Children want our boundaries. Contrary to popular belief, they actually want to hear us saying no to them. The reason for this is that it’s human nature for a person to feel safe and secure when there are boundaries in their lives.  

As adults, we experience that as well. We appreciate when authorities enforce laws (though we may not enjoy the temporary consequence), and we feel unsafe when authorities are lax about law enforcement. It’s for good reason, because without it, chaos prevails. Imagine that a kind police officer gives you a ticket and says, “Ma’am, I need to give you this ticket because we are working hard to keep our city safe. I know it’s no fun, but you’ll thank me one day when this reminder saves you from tragedy.” The officer is setting a limit in such a kind way that it’s almost impossible to argue with him. 

Feel Secure in Setting the Limits 

Oftentimes, parents mistakenly cringe and make insecure...

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How to Help a Child Who Is in a Behavioral Rut

When a child is stuck in a negative pattern of behavior for a long time, adults often give up, thinking that this behavior is who the child really is. But that can’t be the case since every child, regardless of personality and biology, is capable of being kind, responsible, and caring. Positive character traits are available to all of humanity. Nobody is excluded from the ability to get there.

If the difficult behavior is one that is not moral, such as being unkind towards others or rejecting healthy loving limits, you can be sure that the child is capable of acting differently. Logically, it doesn’t make sense to believe that being able to follow certain rules or society norms, like having basic respect towards people around you or accepting authority, are only limited to those who haven’t struggled in the past. Since the child wasn’t born thinking that they are incapable of being kind, how do we get the child back to their state of realizing how capable...

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Peacefully Parenting in Unpredictable Times

How can we parent our children optimally when we ourselves feel so unsettled inside about the lack of stability around us? We have no idea what lies ahead of us as far as schooling, food supply, finances, or how the emotional lives of our children will turn out. Is it possible to feel safe and secure when the future is as known to us as much as life on planet Mars is? The answer is yes!

The reason we can feel okay inside amidst all this turmoil is that our security does not come from knowledge of the future. In fact, nobody ever knew what the future would hold, even when life appeared more predictable in pre-Covid times. But we don’t even need to know what the next minute will bring in order to feel settled inside. Certainly, insecure thoughts will arise in our minds, but that’s okay because our thoughts can’t harm us, and we can let go of them one thought at a time. Security comes from the understanding that every single experience that comes our way in life is...

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Let’s Stop “Fixing” Our Children!

So many parents ask, “How can I fix my child? My child is struggling with behavior in school, behavior at home, being kind and cordial to siblings, being basically irresponsible,” etc.

When people ask, “How can I fix my child?” they need to understand that they are actually asking a very wrong and detrimental question. At the core of a child’s misbehavior or lack of success and low self-esteem is the feeling that people around the child are trying to fix them.  A child is not broken, and if you ask anyone who ever had the experience of people trying to fix him or her, you will see that it came with a lot of hurt. Granted that whatever a person experienced was exactly what they needed for their growth, but moving ahead a parent can always choose to do things in a healthy way. No matter what skill a child needs to learn, we must make it a top priority NEVER to give over the feeling that the child needs to be fixed.

Look at the Essence

In order to be...

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“It’s Not Fair! Everyone Has It Except Me!”

If you’ve been parenting your children for more than a few minutes you already know that “Everyone has it” means that someone has it. How do we respond to our children when they try to guilt us about how they are the only ones in their class or camp group that does not have a certain item or who aren’t allowed to do a certain activity?

Clarify Your Values  

First, get clear about the actual lifestyle you want your family to have. Make sure to choose schools and camps that match the lifestyle that you are looking for for your family and your children. All too often parents say that 95 percent of the children in their kids’ classes do or have a certain thing that they as parents are totally against. If that is the case, parents can rethink whether the school is a good fit for their family. If not, although it is not easy, your best bet is to find a different setting that matches the value system of their home. With an open mind, you will see...

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There Are No “Shoulds” in Life

One of the secrets to being happy is to look at what we do have instead of focusing on what we do not. If we all know this truth, why do we sometimes find ourselves so miserable?

Confronting Mistaken Thinking

Whenever someone asks me how to help their child feel happy or satisfied, I offer them strategies based on their child’s mistaken “shoulds” and “should haves.” That means, their child mistakenly believes that they “should have” x item or circumstance in their lives, and if they do not, they will be miserable. 

If a child often complains, “it’s not fair!” perhaps the child believes that he or she “should have” what others have. If, for example, a child is miserable because a certain boy on the bus does not want to sit next to him, perhaps the child believes that everyone “should” want to sit with him, or he  “shouldn’t” ever feel hurt. Of course, these challenges can...

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Why You Should NOT Be a Perfect Parent

Parenting advice is more accessible than ever. Books, podcasts, email blasts, speeches, blogs… if you want a parenting tip, you have hundreds at your fingertips. 

So why does parenting sometimes feel like climbing an insurmountable mountain? 

In reality, the onslaught of advice – whether unsolicited or sought – can be detrimental to your parenting in action. Every moment can be analyzed according to what you’ve learned: Did I give him enough positive feedback before that negative interaction? Am I following the right method while I’m disciplining her? I raised my voice, am I damaging their self-esteem? 

Our brains are constantly firing child-related messages at us, which causes parenting to become hard work, a chore, an obligation, and a source of pressure. 

It doesn’t have to be like that! 

Revolutionize Your Relationships 

Here’s one parenting technique that will override the others and revolutionize...

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Nurturing a Feeling of Self-Worth


All parents want their children to enjoy a healthy feeling of self-worth. The understanding of “I have intrinsic value” is what leads to one being able to accomplish their goals in life.

The great news is that since nobody is born with any opinions about anything, our children are not born with low self-esteem. If a child is experiencing low self-esteem, it’s nothing more than mistaken thinking about their value.

In order to help our children to understand their value, we need to: 

  • Get clear on what we actually want them to think about their value. 
  • Connect with them in ways that let them see their real value. 
  • Have them make use their good qualities to affect the world around them in a meaningful way.

So, what DO we want our children to think about themselves? 

Do we want them to think they are more special than others? Absolutely not! If some people are more special than others, then they will always be mentally fighting with...

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Positive Parenting Tammy Sassoon, M.S. ED


Dear Tammy, 

I have three children – ages six, eight, and nine, and they fight with each other so often that I really wonder how normal this is. Do you have any tips or suggestions to offer me that would help them to be kinder to each other? 


Looking for Peace


Dear Looking for Peace, 

Many parents describe what you are experiencing. I believe that it is human nature to be selfish and competitive. Our job is to motivate our children to rise above that and to become kind and giving people. How that can be achieved?

First, we must understand that changing a culture of a home is very exciting, and requires hard work and consistency! And hard work is something to be enthusiastic about!  

So, you are describing the current culture in your home as being competitive. Children only fight when they want something they don’t have, or they are worried that they will lose something that is rightfully theirs. Your goal is going to...

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