Tag Archive for: Haley Droste

By Haley Droste, MSW, LCSW

We’ve all heard it at some point: “That child needs to be spanked,” or “My parents did (insert punishment here), and I turned out fine.” Each generation has made significant changes in parenting style for a couple of reasons. One, when you know better, you should do better. Two, the world has changed, not only for adults, but also for children.

We’re navigating a completely different world now than our grandparents or even our parents did. I’ll be the first to say there are some “old school” parenting techniques that should be here to stay. Family dinners are a great example of a tried-and-true way to connect with your loved ones, but even those are drastically different than the ones our parents sat through with their parents. Gone are the days of “children should be seen and not heard,” making way for the dining room table being a place to connect with all family members discussing the highs and lows of the day.

At the core of parenting is a deep desire to raise happy, healthy, well-balanced children. At times, the power struggle between parents and their children can seem overwhelming. There must be a delicate balance between fostering an environment that allows children to feel and express their emotions while also establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.

The most important things parents can do is model healthy boundaries and take care of their own mental health. Teach your children it’s okay to take a deep breath and have a minute to themselves instead of responding while angry.

A good way to model this is handling your child calmly when they throw a fit. Instead of yelling at them and sending them to their room, explain that they need to go to their room until they’re able to communicate their needs without yelling at you. It isn’t a punishment, there isn’t a time limit involved, and they’re able to take time to decide when they’re back in control of their emotions. You’re also teaching them that speaking to someone in a disrespectful manner is unacceptable behavior.

Parenting in a gentle or respectful manner gets a reputation of not providing adequate boundaries and allowing children to run wild with their words and actions. This could not be further from the truth. When done correctly, this style of parenting sets firm boundaries about what is allowed and what is not.

Raising resilient children starts with respecting their feelings and teaching them how to communicate in a healthy way. Respecting our children’s boundaries teaches them how to respect others. In short, setting clear, respectful boundaries with your kids sets them up for success in the future. It allows them the time and the space to explore their emotions and grow in their relationships. There is nothing weak about choosing growth.

Sometimes it feels unnatural to talk about our feelings or discuss our mistakes when handling situations with our children, but in doing this we can confidently send them into the world as more well-rounded, loving individuals.

By Haley Droste, LCSW – September 10, 2021 –

Life is busy. Most parents feel stretched by stressors related to work demands, organizing family schedules, managing household functions like grocery shopping, planning meals, cleaning, and laundry.

When we’re stressed as adults, those feelings have a way of spreading through the home, creating an atmosphere where attitudes and short tempers can seem to come out of nowhere.

Stress is part of life; at times it is even good for us. But how can we manage the stressors of parenthood and be the positive parent we always thought we would be?

Managing and coping with our feelings is so important because our children are looking to us for guidance on how to handle similar situations. Teaching a child to regulate their emotions begins with us.

So how can we model positive self-regulation? Become familiar with using an intentional pause when feeling overwhelmed so that you respond to situations with intention. Often times we are reacting versus responding.

Reactions usually come from a place of frustration and anger. Taking a moment to pause and reflect will foster an intentional response, one rooted in patience and understanding. Once we’ve regulated ourselves, we can then parent in a productive, meaningful, and respectful way.

Below are some tips and ideas for implementing positive parenting strategies into your routine.

  1. Utilize everyday moments to build connection. This can be accomplished in many ways, but one simple way is to own our mistakes when we make them. This illustrates to our children that even adults make mistakes and we all have growing and learning to do. Having these honest conversations with our children builds connection but also helps them learn to problem solve in the future.
  2. Be loving but firm. So much of positive parenting is in our tone and the way in which we speak to our children. We can speak in a loving and respectful way while still being firm in our expectations. A calm, firm “no” is more effective than shouting “NO” in frustration. Set boundaries. Decide what rules are important to you, clearly communicate them to your child, and be consistent with enforcing those rules. Being a positive parent doesn’t mean letting your child walk all over you. It does mean trying to maintain a calm tone when your child needs reminders about the rules.
  3. Change the lens through which you see your child’s behavior. All behavior is communication and under that communication is a need. Often the underlying need is a bid for connection. Take a moment to practice that intentional pause and think about why your child may be exhibiting certain behaviors. If we start seeing behavior problems as stress behavior versus misbehavior, we can help our children communicate their needs and feelings in a more productive way.
  4. Give yourself grace. Step away and take a breath if you need to. Doing this will allow you to come back and respond in the way your child needs you to.

Positive parenting takes practice, awareness, and patience. Don’t expect perfection. It starts with the simple step of making a commitment to show up every day with the intent to parent with understanding, empathy, and respect.

By Haley Droste, LSW – May 26, 2021 –

Today’s youth have never known a time that was not heavily focused on the digital world. Even before a global pandemic shifted work, school, and social events to online spaces, children today have been experiencing a childhood that is very different from that of their parents.

Technology provides amazing opportunities for our young people, but navigating the digital world is also a heavy responsibility that children cannot and should not maneuver on their own. As summer approaches and students will have more time to spend online, here are a few tips to take into account while parenting in a digital world:

1. Embrace the opportunities while minimizing the risk. As a parent, it can be a normal response to feel the need to shield your child from technology. However, withholding technology altogether does not teach children or provide them with the skills necessary to navigate the digital world. A more effective approach is to accept the presence of the digital world and help your child navigate it successfully by traversing it with them. Parents should be the guide.

2. Be a digital role model. Be aware of your own digital presence. Think about how much time you are spending in front of a screen. Are you fully present with your children or are you behind a phone or device? Are you an example of positive digital etiquette? Remember, your children look to you for direction. Create digital rules that work for your family. Create time and opportunities at home that are without the presence of technology, and make sure you fall in line as well. Your children are more likely to comply and respect the house rules if they see the leaders of the household setting the tone.

3. Strive for screen balance. Again, the key is not avoiding technology altogether but rather to find a balance that works for your family. Try one hour of engaged family time for an hour of screen time. Create a checklist of tasks to be completed prior to any screen time, such as homework and chore completion. Create boundaries and clear expectations and be consistent. Children feel safe and secure with parents who are consistent. Be comfortable with the fact that your child will not always be happy with your parenting decisions. Don’t be afraid to set limits.

4. Start the conversation and keep it going. Talk to your child about their digital world and their experiences. Make certain your child knows you want them to come to you with problems or concerns they may be encountering online. And most importantly, when your child comes to you with a concern, be aware of your reaction. Don’t overreact. Thank them for sharing the concern with you and use the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about the issue.

Most importantly, strive to teach your child to be resilient so they are able to bounce back from pitfalls they will likely experience online. Have thoughtful conversations and work with your child on increasing their social and emotional skills so they have the ability to manage and cope with their emotions effectively.

Summer job

By Haley Droste, Courier & Press, May 10, 2016 –

Summer break from school is often anticipated for months before its arrival. The thought of sleeping in, no schoolwork and relaxing the summer away are reason enough to make anyone swoon.

The argument can be made, however, that balancing your teen’s summer freedom with a summer job is one of the best decisions for their present and future.

Teens have the opportunity to learn a great deal about themselves through summer work. A summer job provides the opportunity to build self-confidence and promote and instill independence.

Working may also give teens the opportunity to meet and mix with others they may have never met otherwise. It can also provide an opportunity for teens to learn from others and further develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Bringing home a paycheck provides a sense of accomplishment. It also allows teens to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the value of money. When teens are required to earn and manage income, it provides them with a greater sense that money doesn’t “grow on trees.” Instead, they begin to understand that it requires hard work and responsibility to obtain it.

With gained income comes the responsibility to budget and plan. Deciding what they want to spend money on and what they need to save and plan for is a good exercise. Making their own money allows teens to gain some independence from family, which can help pave a successful pathway to adulthood.

Summer employment for teens provides the opportunity to learn several life skills, such as how to search and inquire about employment, how to complete an application, how to create a resume, how to seek out references for employment and how to successfully tackle an interview.

Seeking employment is a learning experience that can be helpful for teens even if they don’t end up getting a job. Summer employment is an opportunity for teens to have a “step up” on their competition when it comes time to enter the adult workforce.

Not only are teens learning the importance of hard work, reliability and time management through summer work, they are also gaining work experience universities and future employers will deem valuable.

A summer job can also help teens choose a potential career path. Summer work is a great time for teens to try out different things they may have an interest in. For example, if a teen is interested in sales, they may try a retail position. This could provide the opportunity to learn sales from a very basic level and gain experience in customer service.

If a teen is interested in teaching or working with children, they may look for a job working at a summer camp or baby-sitting. A summer job can be a springboard into the right direction for their future.

Summer should be enjoyed, but it should also be valued for the opportunity it provides for teens. As we near summer break, give some thought to what summer work may look like for your teen.