Navigate / search

Telling Your Friend Her Child Has Problems: Studio 5

What should you do if you suspect a friend’s child has a problem? Here are my tips for when to step in and when to step back. Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1) How close is this friend?

If you notice that a neighbor’s child is overly aggressive and angry (hitting, biting or throwing things) toward others should you say something? It depends on how close you are to your neighbor. “I’ve noticed that your child sometimes feels things intensely and gets a bit rough with other kids.”

TIP: Bring it up in a tentative, emotionally neutral way
2) Has your friend been open to feedback in the past?

If you’ve given your friend honest feedback in the past it’s more likely that she’ll be open to specific feedback about her child. Even moms who are generally open can easily get defensive when the think their child is being criticized. If you suspect your friend’s child has some kind of emotional or mental disorder like ADHD or Autism, it may be hard for your friend to hear.

TIP: Ask first if she is open to feedback about her child
3) What is your intent?

Look honestly at your motives and intentions. Are you bringing up a concern about your friend’s child to make your little darling look better, or to make yourself look like a better mother than she is? If you suspect that your friend’s child is cheating on tests at school to get straight A’s you may want to check yourself and make sure your motive is really trying to help her child.

TIP: Make sure your intent is to help her child
4) Does this directly impact your child?

If your child is directly affected by your friend’s child’s behavior, then bring your concerns up to your friend. You first priority should be protecting your own child, and preserving you friendship comes second. A common issue with preschool and early elementary school is peers asking to show their “private areas”.

TIP: If it impacts your child, bring it up
5) Are you willing to risk your friendship?

There are some concerns that may be worth risking a friendship. For example, if your friend’s teen is drinking and driving or having unprotected sex with multiple partners and your friend has no clue, for public safety and serious health concerns it may be worth taking a risk and bringing it up.

TIP: Safety and health issues should be discussed

Am I Pretty Or Ugly? YouTube Craze Alarm Professionals: KSL TV News


Insecurity about appearance among teens girls is nothing new. In past decades, girls would ask friends and peers, “How do I look?” The internet now allows teens to take that question to the masses asking in YouTube videos “Am I pretty or ugly?” Desperate cries for validation are opening up young women to mean and insensitive comments or sexual innuendos by anonymous commenters.

When I first heard about these videos I felt sick inside. It played to the insecure teen that still lurks in me, and at times. I can quickly connect with those feelings of early adolescence when I was trying to find myself and to be accepted by others.

We are constantly bombarded with messages that women’s primary value is in the attractiveness of her physical appearance, and unfortunately sometimes the parents place excessive emphasis on daughter’s external qualities.

What can parents do?

Value & Model Character

As parents, it is crucial to create an environment at home that combats the cultural overemphasis on appearance by valuing our young girl’s character, intellect, and action. Crucial is modeling a healthy body image and valuing ourselves as multidimensional people.

Monitor All Computer Use

Parents, I can’t stress enough how critical it is to stay up-to-date on technology so you can guide your teen, and monitor online activity. Software like Webwatcher can be installed and track all site visited, chats, email, and more. There is no confidentiality when it comes to online behavior so ask for login and passwords to all of your minor child’s online accounts.

10 Commandments For Kids Online

Discuss with your teen the safety risks of posting information online. The Kim Komando Show published this great contract that you can print out and have your children sign called 10 Commandments for Kids Online.

Join in the discussion on KSL TV’s Facebook page
Why do you think these teens are making these videos?

Incentive For Premarriage Counseling: KSL TV News

A new bill introduced in the UT House during the current legislative session proposes a discounted marriage license rate to couples who’ve gone to 3 hours of premarriage counseling. What do you think about the bill? Listen to my advice to engaged couples…

What Your Mother-In-Law Is Really Trying To Tell You: Studio 5

Mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law don’t always speak the same language. But, there are ways to prevent miscommunication and avoid misunderstandings. Therapist, Julie Hanks, LCSW explains what those mixed messages really mean.

“My kids NEVER did that!”

TRANSLATION: needs acknowledgement that she did a good job as a parent.

MIL TIP: notice and comment on positive parenting moments.

“When are you going to give me a grandchild?”

TRANSLATION: wants you to know that she’s excited to be a grandma.

MIL TIP: Convey trust in Daughter in law & son to make those important decisions.

“I always clean/cook/organize this way.”

TRANSLATION: wants acknowledgement for her homemaking experiences.

MIL TIP: Wait until you’re asked before giving any advice.

“He was mine first.”

TRANSLATION: wants you to know how much she loves her son and she’s scared to lose him.

MIL TIP: Be direct about relationship wishes but not demanding (i.e. I’d love to see you guys more often. Are you free for dinner Sunday?)

“Have you put on weight?”

TRANSLATION: wants you to know that she cares about her appearance.

MIL TIP: Don’t say anything.

How To Handle Your Child’s First Crush: Studio 5

Adults may think crushes are silly, even superficial. But to a child, a first crush is a big deal. Therapist, Julie Hanks, LCSW  has “do’s” and “don’ts” to help you handle your child’s first crush.

Guste & Robertas II

1) Watch for signs

First crushes generally happen in elementary school between 5-10 years old. Even if your child doesn’t tell you directly that they have a crush, you might see the signs: giggling with friends, being mean to or teasing the child they like, or planning a special gift.

2) Get curious

This is a great opportunity to understand more about your child and to begin help them explore their preferences and values. Ask your child open ended questions like: “Tell me more about Kate…” “How does John feel about you?” or “What is it that makes her special to you?”

3) Never tease

Feelings of affection are the beginnings of attraction that will lead to meaningful relationships in the future. Talk about feelings of infatuation in a positive light, as a wonderful thing. Never tease or make fun of your child’s crush.

4) Set boundaries

Your child’s first crush is a great time to start a dialogue about appropriate physical and emotional boundaries, especially if your child is in older elementary school. Discussions on showing physical affection, spending time together, texting are all important things to start talking about.

5) Soothe hurt feelings

When first crushes are not reciprocated, it can be painful, even for children. This is an opportunity for you to teach your child that they are resilient and can move on after being hurt or disappointed.

Creative Commons License

photo credit: Modestas J

5 Signs That You’re TOO Close To Your Child: Studio 5

You may be hurting your child and not even know it. Therapist, Julie Hanks, says parents, especially moms, unintentionally use their kids to meet their emotional needs. We have the warning signs.

  • All of these apply to all ages of children as well as adult children
  • In my practice, this is the most common unintentional way that parents hurt their children.
  • Children generally don’t even realize that this dynamic has contributed to their current distress.
  • In my clinical practice this is more common with mothers & children than fathers, but does happen with fathers.

Read more

Stronger Self-esteem When You Don’t Look Your Best: Studio 5

Self-esteem comes from the inside, but sometimes what’s going happening on the outside can shake your self -confidence. Therapist, Julie Hanks, has tips to survive bad hair days and beyond.

1) Bad Hair Day

Sometimes even small appearance flaws can ruin your day! A big blemish on your face, bad hair day, a skin rash can leave you feeling self-conscious.

Tip: “Unlink” self-esteem and appearance

While appearance often impacts how you feel about yourselves, it doesn’t have to define you.

Tip: Remember that you are not your body

“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” C.S. Lewis quotes

2) After Baby Body

With every good change in life there are also accompanying losses. Body changes are the price you agree to pay for carrying and delivering a baby.

Tip: Give yourself permission to grieve the losses

Your hips may never be the same size again, the stretch marks are here to stay. Feel the sadness about the changes and then move forward.

Tip: Buy clothes that fit at current size

Don’t wait until you get your pre-baby body back to present your best self. Treat your self as you would have before baby. Don’t wait until you hit a magic size or number on the scale.

3) Signs Of Aging

As a society, we tend to value youthfulness, especially in women’s appearance. While aging men are often though of as “distinguished”, aging women are regarded as “less attractive”.

Tip: Reframe aging as evidence of experience and learning

Just as a painting’s looks changes depending on the frame around it, you can put a more positive and beautiful frame around how your see your physical appearance.

I wrote a song about my own reframing of the aging experience called “God’s Signature”. Here are a few lines that help me reframe my wrinkles:

These lines are signs of many lessons learned
Carved out through time
Smiles that warm and tears that burn
And unexpected turns
Time has been my friend it seems
So let him write on me

You can call me flawed
You can call it character
But I choose to call these changes God’s signature

Follow Me on Pinterest

Pin It

Tip: Focus on multidimensional person

You have many aspect that make you…you! Focus on developing and valuing all of them…mental, social, spiritual, emotional, and physical.

4) Overweight

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight and get fit. When you don’t exercise as much as you’d planned or you overeat one day what do you say to yourself? Are you kind and loving, or do you tell yourself things like, “See, another year when you can’t lose weight” and say belittling things to yourself?

Tip: Self-acceptance

Self-acceptance frees us to make changes. Women worry that if they accept where they are they’ll stay the way they are, but the opposite is true.

Tip: Focus on improving health and self-care

No matter what your physical appearance, you can always take small steps to take good care of yourself. I love the phrase “Life rewards action” because it’s true. Even taking one small step to better your health is a good thing.

5) Social mistakes

How we look in the eyes of others in terms of our behavior is another aspect that can impact self-esteem. Saying something dumb, being impatient with your child, or things as simple as realizing you’ve been calling someone by the same name.

Tip: Own it and move on

You’re self-esteem can remain in tact if your mistake, misstep, or error and then quickly moving on instead of worrying about it.
Tip: It’s none of my business what other’s think of me

If you’re worried about what other’s might be thinking about your misstep it’s crucial to remember that it’s not your business what others think about you. You can’t control their thoughts. You’ll never really know what others think about you anyway, unless they are willing to tell you directly.

Texting Doesn’t Replace Comfort Of Mother’s Voice: KSL TV News


A new study published in Evolution of Human Behavior shows their no substitute for hearing your mother’s voice to calm daughters who are stressed. I sat down earlier today with Brooke Walker at KSL TV News to share my thoughts on this news study. Give what I’ve learned about attachment theory, the results of this study aren’t surprising. Nothing can replace the presence and voice of a parent to soothe a stressed child.

Texting is a great for conveying information, but not emotion. It doesn’t replace the comfort of being with someone or hearing their voice –Julie Hanks, LCSW

Read the KSL News article here

Read the study abstract

Creative Commons License

photo credit: Jhaymesiviphotography

Top 10 Posts of 2011 on

It’s always fun to see which posts catch your interest over 12 months. Looking back over 2012 the top posts are a mix of music, personal posts, parenting tips, marriage topics, and mental and emotional health advice…and that list just about sums up my life!

A big surprise is #1 — guess you haven’t forgotten that I’ve been a performing songwriter for, oh, 25 years. But, the biggest surprise on this top 10 list is #2 because I only posted it last week! So, many of you have shared it with friends and family online. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing my articles and posts, for great blog discussions and social media comments, and coming to live events this year. I am grateful to have you as part of my “virtual” family.

OK…so here’s the top 10 posts of 2011…

  1. 3 Generations of Azevedo Performed in Church Today
  2. Letter To Santa That Made Me Cry
  3. How To Stop Overreacting and Keep Your Cool
  4. To Forgive Or Not To Forgive?
  5. National TV Appearance On Nov 3 Secretly Pregnant on Discovery Health
  6. Tuesday Tunes: Window To His Love
  7. Avoiding Parenting Clashes With College-aged Kids
  8. Q&A: Is Date Night Too Much To Ask? & I’m Never In The Mood!
  9. 8 Surefire Ways To Emotionally Mess Up Your Kid
  10. Keep Your Marriage Emotionally HOT

I am a social media lover so I hope you’ll stay connected in 2012.

My 5 Year Old Cut Her Own Hair!: Studio 5

Call it every mom’s nightmare – when their little girl gets a hold of the scissors and chops off their long locks. So how do you deal with that dramatic parenting situation? We asked Studio 5 Contributor Julie Hanks LCSW her reaction when her 5-year-old daughter did this a few days ago, and what tips she has for parents.


The damage…


Here hair used to be this long…


After the repair hair cut–all is well