Patti Skelton-McGougan

Stimulants a growing concern for teens | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

It has been hard to miss all the attention being given to the legalization of marijuana for adults – even in Super Bowl coverage. Many adults are understandably concerned about the increased availability of pot and its effect on our kids. However, less is being said about a very real and alarming youth drug trend: the increased use of amphetamines.


The value in appreciating kids | Patti Skelton McGougah | Parenting Lifeline

Merriam-Webster defines appreciation as, "To understand the worth or importance of something or someone; to admire and value, or be grateful for." So, have you appreciated a child lately?


Advice for parents on teenagers and parties | Patti Skelton-McGougan

Thinking about teenagers and parties is enough to make any parent at least a little nervous. Whether your teen is hosting a party or attending a party, there are steps that you can take to ensure a safe and fun experience for all.


Are you a helicopter parent? Research says it usually backfires | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

We all want our children to succeed, but sometimes as parents we can be overly involved in our children’s’ lives. We don’t want them to get hurt or experience pain so we “overparent,” also known as helicopter parenting.

Adversity can impact children for life | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

All of our kids experience pain and trauma at some point in their life. Sometimes, though, life’s bumps and curves rise to a level that can cause lasting impacts on a child’s health and wellbeing, well into adulthood.

When rivalry becomes abusive | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

Siblings fight, sometimes a lot; there is nothing new about that. But a new study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that being picked on by a brother or sister can be harmful to a child’s mental health, resulting in increased anger, depression and anxiety in the victimized child.

Adversity impacts children in many ways | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

All of our kids experience pain and trauma at some point in their life. Try to name a family that hasn’t gone through a difficult stretch – I can’t. Sometimes, though, life’s bumps and curves rise to a level that can cause lasting impacts on a child’s health and wellbeing, well into adulthood. 
Researchers have looked into serious events that a group of adults reported they had experienced as children; these were named “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs).

Teens need help battling stress, depression | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

Last month I shared with you some of the drug trends in our local neighborhoods. As alarming as drug and alcohol use may be, there are other issues plaguing our kids. Chief among them are stress and depression.

What parents need to know about drugs and kids | Parenting Lifeline | Patti Skelton-McGougan

We all want to know what our kids are being exposed to at school and within the community. And no doubt, there are some things we should be paying attention to, especially when it comes to substance use.

Teach your kids how to grieve | Patti Skelton-McGougan

Earlier this year my column provided ways to help children and teens through the grieving process, in response to several deaths of young people in local schools. Unfortunately, a number of additional deaths in recent weeks makes it important to revisit the topic.

How to help your child deal with a bully | Patti Skelton-McGougan

Most of us have been bullied at some point, whether we endured teasing, name-calling, or even physical aggression. Although the initial sting may go away, the memories of the experience haunt some people for the rest of their lives.

Is anxiety hereditary? |Your child may be at more risk if you are an anxious parent

While the cause of excessive anxiety in kids is uncertain, research suggests there may be a genetic component.

Motivate your kid to be helpful

When garbage day rolls around and you have a million other things on your mind, how do you motivate your child to lend a hand and take out the trash? Your request may be met with arguments, just ignored, or done only part way. You may not realize it, but you are in the middle of a power struggle.

How to help your child with grief | Patti Skelton McGougan |Parenting Lifeline

When death happens to someone close to us, the feelings can be difficult for children of any age to process, especially when violence is involved.

How to keep your teen from an abusive relationship? | Patti Skelton-McGougan

Most parents are surprised when I talk to them about the prevalence of teen dating violence. According to a 2009 survey, one in three teens who have been in a dating relationship has experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of physical harm to a partner or self (Liz Claiborne Inc./Family Violence Prevention Fund Survey, 2009).

Prescription drug abuse in teens on the rise | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

As parents, we know the dangers illegal drugs pose to our kids, but few of us recognize some of the biggest dangers are actually legal substance found in many of our own homes.

Taking responsibility to stop sexual abuse in children | What every parent should know | Patti Skelton-McGoughan | Parenting Lifeline

One theme that has emerged from the Penn State sexual abuse scandal is the importance of adults taking responsibility for reporting suspicions about child abuse to the proper authorities. But many adults are unsure about what they see or where to report it.

Help your child navigate peer pressure | Patti Skelton-McGougan

Peer pressure is a reality of growing up. Though it's out of our control as parents, there are things we can do to support our children and help them successfully navigate the peer-pressure pitfalls.

Teach your kids to transition | Patti Skelton-McGougan | Parenting Lifeline

It’s that time of year again when change is in the air. Whether it’s beginning kindergarten, changing grades, entering middle school, starting high school or going off to college, our kids go through a lot of transitions and change in their lives.

Summer can be fun, but dangerous for kids | Parenting Lifeline

Summer vacation is a time for fun and relaxation, but it can also be a dangerous time for kids and teens. A break from school means more freedom and many homes with little or no supervision. This can create situations ripe for experimentation and risk taking.