"Raising intelligent, independent and empowered kids."

smart parenting for smart child development

What is Tot Thoughts?

This site is designed to provide you with insightful thoughts and practical ideas on how to raise kids who are intelligent, independent and empowered.

I also explore ways to develop children’s multiple intelligences and strategies for teaching children to be effective negotiators (both invaluable skills for the development of any intelligent, independent and empowered child).


Why it matters?

Raising intelligent, independent and empowered children is important.


– because throughout your child’s life, people will try to tell them what to do, how to behave, or what they should think. You want your child to make those decisions on their own.

– because your child will have friends who will make poor decisions. You want your child to know better.

– because your child will be faced with difficult choices. You want them to have the courage to do the right thing.

– because intelligent, independent and empowered kids have the ability to achieve extraordinary things. And you know your child can be extraordinary.



Raising intelligent, independent and empowered kids is not small task. But you already know that.

You also know that it’s immensely important. And maybe that’s where I can help.

Sign-up below:

You’ll get:

– posts with effective parenting strategies and ideas.
– no spam. Ever. I promise (and you can always and easily unsubscribe).

Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you (totthoughts [at] gmail [dot] com).

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The Three Words That Destroy Your Child’s Confidence

Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear – Seth Godin Obviously. But take a moment to think about it because this is a really important distinction for anyone trying to raise a brave, confident, empowered child. Why? If you are like every other parent on the planet, at one point or another you have uttered these three words to your child: “don’t be afraid.” (And for the record, I am as guilty as anyone). You (we) did it with the best of intentions, of course. And...

Why Do Children Cyberbully (and what to do about it)

Kids share lots of information – photos, texts, emails, videos, links, gossip, lies, rumors… you get the idea. They do it constantly, copiously, and quiet often, thoughtlessly. Rarely, however, are children actually trying to be mean. So then, why do children cyberbully? In this day and age, it doesn’t take much to become a cyberbully. One share can have an almost immediate and powerful effect. And so often it leaves someone else under a deluge of sorrow. The solution, however, isn’t to get kids to stop sharing information. The...

Reject the tyranny of being popular: pick yourself

The cool kids are the ones that have all the fun, the ones that everyone likes. Everybody else is insignificant and irrelevant. At least that’s how it feels to your child when they’re not one of the cool kids. It’s a social instinct to want to be liked by others, to want to be popular. So, your child seeks out those who are already popular hoping to get their seal of approval – their “I pick you.” Your child makes a few tweaks here and there, changing who they...

The 10 Things All Parents-to-Be Must Know

You’re going to be a parent and that’s great. And it’ll be full of wonder and joy, and you’ll have lots of moments where you’ll stare at your little bundle in disbelief at what you’ve created. But you know all that already. What you may not know about is the dark side of parenting. Because we don’t often talk about it. Because we don’t like it. And it’s an ugly beast to live with. But, you should be aware of it, sooner rather than later, because it will rear its...

Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

What do you do when you take a long look at yourself and you decide that a huge parenting mistake has been made? Well, I can’t help but think that I’ve made a huge mistake… Here’s the thing, despite all my efforts to the contrary (and believe me, they are mighty), despite all my thinking and strategizing (which you know is extensive), despite all my attempts at raising children who are thoughtful, kind and respectful towards others… despite this all, I can’t help but feel that I have utterly...

A Year in Review (2012)

I want to start by thanking you again for your continued support and encouragement on this blog. It is not always easy to know what to say or how to say it, but you’ve stuck with me and given me much to think about (not only refining my existing strategies and tweaking them as need be, but coming up with many new and effective ones). I am truly looking forward to another year with you! To wrap up the year, I wanted to share some of our top Tot...

Happy Holidays

Today we are taking it slow here at Tot Thoughts so we’ll keep it nice and simple: Thank you for your incredible support this year. I wish you all the best in...

Brothers and Sisters

I give you the “Awesome Brothers” and the “Sensational Sisters.” Gotta love...

This Morning

This is what I saw when I walked into the Negotiator’s room this morning:...

10 Questions – Failed Ideas

I recently gave an interview for Idea Mensch, a global “community of people with ideas.” One of the questions was: how do you cope with an idea that has failed? This question seemed very intriguing to me and I think it serves as a good base for today’s 10 Questions. So, here are 10 questions you should always ask yourself when faced with an idea that has failed. As an example, I’ll use my own original “failed” idea that eventually got me to Rock Thoughts, which I consider to be...

The “Feelings Toolkit”

Today’s post is from a guest blogger who writes for Last Mom, a blog about the daily rewards and challenges of older-child adoption. I thought this post was particularly relevant to the discussion on multiple intelligences as it offers a brilliant wonderful example of how we can help empower our children by teaching them to develop their interpersonal intelligence.  Our daughter came to us at nine-years old. She was abused and neglected in her first four years. She lived in extreme poverty (including homelessness) and witnessed drug, alcohol and...

Develop your Child’s Naturalist Intelligence

Today’s post was written by Brenna Holzhauer to whom I am most grateful for sharing her knowledge and expertise as we continue to explore multiple intelligence. Please see her bio and additional information at the end of the post.   When Howard Gardner first outlined his theory of Multiple Intelligences (Frames of Mind, 1983) – a model of thought that differentiates “intelligence” into various sensory modalities, rather than seeing it as a single general ability – it did not include the Naturalist Intelligence. It wasn’t introduced to his list of intelligences until the late...

Helping Children Cope with Loss and Heartbreak

Today’s post is the continuation of a series of essays focused on coping with heartbreak. The first part dealt with understanding heartbreak, the second provided some thoughts on how we can cope with our own heartbreak. Today’s piece is a guest post on helping our children cope with heartbreak. I am most grateful to Amy Hillis for sharing her own tale of loss and heartbreak in bringing us this piece. Almost four months ago, my youngest son passed away. He was eight and a half months old. He and...

Thank you

In honor of Mother’s Day, I would just like to take a few moments to say thank you: thank you to the mothers who have walked this path before, for with their knowledge and experience they have made it easier for me to join them. thank you to the mothers who share my journey, for they make good counsel when I am at a loss and welcome company when I need a friend. thank you to the mothers who are not afraid to be vulnerable, for their courage inspires...

The Power of Storytelling

Today marks my 100th post on Tot Thoughts. Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement! To celebrate this momentous event, today’s post is on the power of storytelling. Our life is the ultimate storytelling experience. Everything we do and say, our thoughts and feelings, the way we react to the world around us and interact with others, it all becomes a part of our unique human narrative, building the story of who we are. As with any story, what makes our story meaningful is the degree to...