The Importance of Home Life for Teens

Colleagues from a new study that tracked adolescents into adulthood found teenagers who are more secure in their family relationships experience a better chance of developing empathy.

The journal Child Development published these findings on July 15. The findings suggest teens with a more supportive and secure family relationship environment offer more empathetic support to their friends. Empathy, which develops with time, has a great impact on a teen’s:

  • Friendships
  • Social interactions
  • Adult relationships

And, adolescence is a vital development stage for the growth of empathy, according to this research. Empathy provides the ability to stand in another person’s shoes, care about that person’s well-being and resonate with their emotions.

Teens who show more empathy show less prejudice, are less aggressive, and aren’t as likely to bully other people. Empathy begins with the feeling of being connected and safe. Parents can provide their teens with a firsthand experience of empathy by building a secure relationship that’s marked by emotional safety, trust, and responsiveness. This sets the foundation for them to begin sharing this empathy with other people.

The study showed teenagers at the age of 14 who felt more secure with their family relationships displayed more empathetic support in early adolescence to their friends. They also experienced a higher level of empathy over time. Those feeling less secure were less empathetic at first but improved by the time they were 18 years old. This suggests teenagers with a more secure home life gain empathetic skills faster but do eventually gain these skills as they become older.

Ways to Boost Teens’ Empathy, Happiness, and Well-Being

Parents can boost their teen’s happiness, well-being, and ability to show empathy by offering encouragement and praise, setting clear boundaries and rules, and providing a warm, healthy family relationship and home.

Some ways parents can do this are:

  • Providing their teens with praise when they behave in certain ways, such as doing chores, helping out around the house, or getting their homework done.
  • Providing their teens with positive attention, such as watching them play sports, giving them a hug or smile, or sending them a friendly text message.
  • Valuing their teens’ strengths and praising them for who they are. This helps their teens feel good about themselves.
  • Setting boundaries and rules to help their teens feel safe when various things are changing in their lives. Involving their teens in making the rules and negotiating rules with them can also show them respect for their growing maturity.

There is still a lot that’s unknown about teenagers’ empathy. Learning how to effectively nurture empathy in teenagers is important to build a more empathetic society.

The Best Family Glamping Spots Across the U.S.

The natural world is full of wonder, and camping is a great way to introduce your children to the Great Outdoors. Some families are happy roughing it, but many families aren’t ready to tackle such rugged conditions. For them, these top glamping sites from around the country combine outdoor escapism with all the amenities of home.

El Capitan Canyon

Located outside Santa Barbara, California, El Capitan Canyon is one of the West Coast’s premier glamping destinations. Whether it’s relaxing by El Capitan Beach or hiking their miles of trails, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventure to be had. The tiniest campers will even enjoy El Capitan Canyon’s pool and playground area.

Their lodging is also perfectly tailored to families. Cedar cabins, complete with bathrooms and kitchenettes, dot the landscape and are the perfect home-away-from-home. Their nearby market also features a full-service restaurant and a general store so you can stock up on supplies.

Under Canvas

With accommodations begging to be shared on social media, this high-end glamping spot in the Grand Canyon is perfect for millennials and their children. Bike or hike to the Grand Canyon’s breath-taking South Rim to take in one of the wonders of the natural world, then roast marshmallows under the stars before retiring to one of their immaculate tent suites decorated with West Elm Furniture.

The comforts of home are never far away, as Under Canvas features en-suite bathrooms, complimentary campground activities, and high-quality cuisine.

AutoCamp Cape Cod

Nothing says “East Coast summer” like a Cape Cod getaway, and this AutoCamp location features everything a family could ever need. Nestled on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, families have access to beaches, fishing expeditions, and the beautiful Shining Sea bike trail to explore along the coast. There’s also a ferry to historic Martha’s Vineyard.

Glampers have plenty of lodging options, too. Amenity-equipped tents and cabins are on offer, but AutoCamp’s calling card is their Airstream suites. Their suites feature modern decor and plenty of room for parents and children.

Escaping to nature doesn’t mean leaving comfort at home. These campgrounds all offer plush sleeping accommodations, bathrooms with running water, and plenty of activities that make glamping fun for the whole family.

Introducing Your Kids to Sports

Sports can play a huge role in the development of your child. They give them an excuse to be physically active on a regular basis. Sports are also a great way to meet close friends. This is why it is important to expose your kids to sports at an early age. Let them decide if it is something they will become passionate about. These are the four best ways to introduce your kids to sports.

Watch Sports on Television

It is hard for kids to get excited about sports if they do not know anything about them. An easy way to introduce them to sports is by watching television. Seeing the greatest athletes perform at a high level is a great way to hook any child. Expose them to as many sports as possible to help them find their favorites. You may not like hockey, but that may turn out to be your kid’s passion in life.

Play Sports Together

Once you have found a few sports that interest your kid, it is time to start playing. Start out by learning the basics together. Your kid is guaranteed to have a good time if they are playing sports with their parent. Keep things as fun as possible in the early going. You do not want to put too much pressure on them. Once they have shown a sustained interest in the sport, you can start teaching them the proper techniques.

Always Stay Positive

Every sport has a high learning curve. They may be fairly easy to pick up, but they are difficult to master. Your kid is bound to struggle at some point early in their sports life. It is up to you to stay upbeat and encouraging throughout the entire process. This will help keep them engaged. The last thing you want to do is show disappointment in their skills.

Never Force Anything

Sports need to be treated as a fun hobby for kids. You should never force them to play or practice. This will only cause them to hate the sport and resent you in the long run. If their confidence and interest are fading, then you can always try out a different sport. Just make sure your kid is making the final decision the entire way.

End-of-Summer Activities for the Whole Family

As the summer months come to a close and children prepare their backpacks for a new school year, it can be quite the bummer for both parents and kids. However, just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean everyone has to be gloomy. The weather is still warm, so there’s still plenty of time to have some fun. Here are a few end-of-summer activities for the whole family.

Head Over to the Local Park

It may be too late for a long hiking trip, but there’s always time to take a walk at the park. Gather the whole family and head over to your favorite city park to enjoy some quality outdoor time. If you want to take that extra step to make it a lot more fun, you can even prepare a scavenger hunt for the kids.

Throw a Small-Scale Summer Bash

Who needs a ton of people to party? One of the best ways to celebrate the end of the summer months is to throw your very own end-of-the-season bash in your backyard. Set up the pool, play some games, and make some snow cones. This bash will be that cherry on top of the summer for your entire family.

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4 Ways to Bring Your Family Together

Jennifer Powers - New York City - 4 Ways to Bring Your Family Together

Most families spend an average of 37 quality minutes per day together. Getting more time together doesn’t have to be complicated. Even mundane, everyday tasks can become a fun-filled family affair. Here are four simple ways to bring the family together before summer ends!


Invite the Family to Help with Tasks

Chores, cooking, and exercise are things many parents already have on their to-do lists. Why not invite the family to help out? Not only will quality family time increase, but parents can also instill essential values at the same time. Children may not efficiently load the dishwasher or safely use a knife, but side-by-side with a parent, they learn the importance of work and get the attention that nurtures the family relationship.


Listen to Each Other

A little bit of conversation can do a lot to enrich family relationships. Asking the right questions and actively listening to answers communicates interest and love. Come up with a question each day to learn more about loved ones. Find common interests to discuss, and find ways to pursue those interests. Allow children to participate in planning family vacations, deciding family values, and setting up family rules. Letting children participate in family matters helps them see different perspectives and get invested in family goals.


Turn Off Devices

On average, a smartphone is unlocked about 150 times per day, and nearly half of parents think their child has a smartphone addiction. Limiting device usage is a simple way to create more time for family. Bust out a board game, start a family book club, or go on an adventure. These activities don’t have to cost a dime—not even adventures! A walk around town can turn into an expedition. Children and adults alike unleash creativity and forge strong relationships when they put their devices away.


Schedule Family Time

Many families are too busy to get much unstructured time together. Formally scheduling family time helps families keep relationships a top priority. Schedule the same time every week for family time, so everyone gets into the habit. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time to make a difference.


Make these trying times a bit easier with a little more family time!

Five Recipes to Cook and Enjoy with Kids

Cooking with kids can be chaotic and messy. Still, it’s rewarding to pour effort into something the whole family can enjoy. Here are five fun meal ideas that both parents and kids will love to make and eat!


Provided that children are old enough not to poke themselves with the sticks, kabobs of any sort are fun to create and cook as necessary. There is no right or wrong way to assemble them, so kids can use their imaginations, and parents can encourage kids to try new foods by combining them on kabobs with beloved mainstays.

Meat kabobs can include a variety of meat and seafood ingredients or just one protein.

Fruit kabobs dipped in yogurt are a healthy, no-cook alternative.

English Muffin Pizzas

English muffin pizzas are super simple to create and a great way to give children more hands-on experience in the kitchen. Sauces, cheeses, meats, and vegetables are the condiments added to customize them. Pop them in the toaster oven for ten minutes, and enjoy some tasty homemade personal pizzas!



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How To Get The Family Involved In Philanthropy

The word “philanthropy” often brings to mind the establishment of trusts, scholarships, or research institutes worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. It can feel, to many people, like something that is restricted to those with access to vast amounts of wealth. But the truth is that the majority of philanthropic giving is done by middle- and working-class people. So, how do you establish a spirit of philanthropy that endures for generations to come?

Start at home

Teaching your children the value and importance of charitable giving and philanthropic work is essential to creating a legacy of giving. It can begin by teaching children to be charitable to each other, family, and friends, and can extend to the wider community as children mature. Teach children that doing things for others is rewarding and the right thing to do. Involve your children from an early age in community work and set up a family tradition of giving that will last their whole lives.

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Top 5 NYC Day Trips for Families

New York City is packed with parks, playgrounds, and museums, offering plenty of activities for families. In fact, there are so many activities that it can be nerve-wracking to choose just one. However, planning a trip in the Big Apple with kids doesn’t have to be intimidating! Here are five fun places to visit that kids (and parents!) are sure to love.

Governors Island National Monument

Take a 10-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn to this former military base, now operated by the National Park Service. Free ranger-led tours are available to learn about Castle Williams and Fort Jay, the island’s two forts. Rent a bike to explore the island and take in scenic views of the city! Be sure to also check out the many art shows, performances, and concerts that are offered on weekends.

Dylan’s Candy Bar

Imagine Candyland meets Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Dylan’s Candy Bar is a magical candy shop which houses over 7,000 confections and boasts that it is one of the largest collections of candy anywhere in the world. Go home with chocolate, 3D printed gummies, ice cream, fudge, and more!

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How to Encourage Children to Help With Chores

jennifer powers - how to encourage children to help with chores

If all members of your household work or learn full-time, you’ve probably created a chore schedule for everyone. Chores are a great way to teach children responsibility and cleanliness, but they aren’t always as fun as video games or television. If your children aren’t keen on drying dishes or making their beds, here are some tips to get them a bit more invested in housework.

Establish Rewards

This is by far the fastest and easiest way to entice children to help out around the house. Allowances, snacks, and extra computer or TV time are a few rewards that can inspire children to do their part. The right rewards can encourage children to complete their chores in a timely manner. However, you should always double-check and make sure that bigger chores, like cleaning a bedroom, aren’t simplified. The cartoon trope of shoving discarded items into an overstuffed closet had to have come from somewhere.

Set a Deadline

Hard deadlines are another useful trick to encourage the completion of chores. “Fold the laundry” comes off as vague and lackadaisical. To ensure your children understand the importance of chores, make sure assignments are clear, and set proper timelines for completion. For example, “please fold the laundry as soon as the dryer buzzes to avoid anything wrinkling. Then, bring the basket up to the living room so everyone can grab their items.” Notice the explanations given for actions you request, which establish the timeliness of the task. Clear instructions can also help eliminate the chance of chores being left half-finished.

Don’t Turn Chores into Punishments

If you want chores to become ordeals, assign them as punishments. That’s the fast-track to fostering animosity between children and their weekly duties. Chores should be built into schedules and considered part of home life, just like homework and family time. Avoid doling out extra chores when children misbehave. Chances are, this will create a negative opinion about all types of chores, not just the punishment. While children likely won’t grow to love cleaning, they can easily learn to loathe chores.

Make Chores a Team Effort

Convert multi-faceted chores, such as dusting or collecting items for donation, into a family activity. Put on some music, split up in teams, and see who can complete their duties quickly and accurately. Make a whole day of deep-cleaning the house, and enjoy a fun night out on the town as a job well-done. Building chores into family time helps children feel less overwhelmed with their responsibilities and can save you plenty of time on those tricky tasks. Take a look at your chores list and see which ones could translate into games!

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How to Teach Your Kids Self-Care

Any hard-working mom knows the importance of some good, old-fashioned self-care. Whether it’s yoga with your girlfriends or a night in with some wine, looking after yourself is the first step to living a happy, healthy life. But how can moms emphasize the importance of self-care to their children? There are plenty of ways to impart this wisdom on your kids, but here are just a few to get you started.

Encourage Their Hobbies

Your child comes running into the room, clutching a piece of construction paper in their paint-stained hands. You pluck the paper from their hands and see a Pollock-esque mishmash of brick red, robin’s egg blue, and burnt umber. According to your child, it’s a family portrait.


Most moms would immediately hang it on the fridge, and rightfully so! After all, your kid worked so hard on this masterpiece, there’s no reason to let it go to waste.


This scenario is an example of one way you can encourage childhood self-care, even in toddlers. Praising the work your child has done will improve their self-esteem and encourage them to continue their efforts. Your child doesn’t have to be the best singer, artist, writer, or athlete—so long as you support them, and so long as they’re having fun, they’ll find fulfillment in whatever activities strike their fancy.


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