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Parenting Issue

Nine Greater Boston notables share their child-rearing wisdom

DEBBIE LEEKEENAN

Director, Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts University; one son, one daughter; lives in Cambridge

“Allow your children the space to ‘fall’ so they can learn to get up. Teaching your child resiliency is one way to cope with life’s challenges. It is better to experience small setbacks when you are young and learn how to deal with them.”

JEFF KINNEY

Author ofDiary of a Wimpy Kid series; two sons; lives in Plainville

“Use the phrase ‘I understand’ with your kids, especially when they’re angry or upset. I’ve found that by telling your kids that you’ve felt what they’re feeling — even if what they’re feeling is irrational — it lets them know you’re on their side. It seems to defuse the situation much more quickly than if you challenge them to change their behavior.” 

JASON TERRY

Celtics guard; four daughters; lives west of Boston

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“Listen to your kids. Sometimes you get so caught up with everything going on that you forget to listen to your kids and what they are trying to tell you.”

CAROLE CHARNOW

President and CEO, Boston Children’s Museum; two sons; lives west of Boston

“No matter how hard things are for you as a parent, they are always harder for your teen. So stock up on the compassion — and a few good bottles of red wine!”

CHRISTINE KOH

Founder and editor, BostonMamas.com; coauthor, Minimalist Parenting; two daughters; lives in Medford

“Present good, healthy options, but do not force-feed them. That translates to everything, including extracurriculars and other activities. It’s about giving your kids options and encouraging them to figure out what works for them.”  

SCOTT CONNOLLY

2012 Boston Father of the Year (named by American Diabetes Association); Salem High athletic director and football coach; three sons; lives in Salem

“Be flexible. It’s amazing how different our three kids all are. So we try to expose them to everything; we let them choose what they really want to do. You don’t want to push them.”

BOB MONAHAN

Founder and owner, UPPAbaby, stroller company in Hingham; two sons, one daughter; lives in Norwell

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“Get on the floor with your kids. They’ll come over and climb on top of you and relax. The more you can get on their level, the less problems you’ll have.”

SHERRI KILLINS

Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care; three daughters

“Listen carefully, especially when they’re teenagers. Not just listen to them in regards to the activity of daily living, but really listening about what they see and what they hear.”

ALMA WAHLBERG

Works at son Paul’s Hingham restaurant, Alma Nove; six sons (including Mark and Donnie), three daughters; lives in Braintree

“Pay attention to what your kids are doing. Be interested in everything they’re doing and be involved. Don’t just send them off to the game. Somebody’s got to go and watch.” 

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