Hilltown Families


Dear Readers,

I get so many questions and concerns from parents about their teenagers’ use of cellphones that I decided, for my column this month, to share the contract that my co-parent and I use for our 15 year old daughter.  We still have our challenges, and it is a work in progress, but it helps to avoid many of the problems that I hear about in my practice. Feel free to use, change or ignore any parts of it.




Sarah Getoff has over 20 years of experience as a parenting consultant/psychotherapist and has a private practice in Northampton, MA.  She offers parenting consultations, couples counseling and individual therapy. Sarah also offers a Parenting Support Group and a Get Unstuck with EFT Tapping Group.

Ask questions for the column or sample parenting workshops at sarahgetoff.com

Dear Sara, I am so tired of reminding my daughter to bring her homework to school and her violin to lessons.  She is 15! Why doesn’t she do it herself? Signed, Fed Up in Florence

  Dear Sarah, What do you think is a good age at which to start giving children chores? Should chores be a requirement for getting an allowance? Signed, Uncertain in Belchertown Dear Uncertain, Ah, chores! This is a hot topic among many of the parents in my practice and one that I have struggled with myself, over the years. I am a big fan of chores for several reasons: Chores teach children… Read More

“Three years ago I wrote a post about (daycare / preschool drop-off) separation and how to make it an adventure. This year, I am the mom, not the not the teacher, and it is far from an adventure; closer to a nightmare.”

Hilltown Families’ contributing writer, mom, and day care owner and operator, Candice Chouinard, shares her wisdom and a few pieces of tangible advice for parents dealing with the first day blues!

Pain specialist & yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton is committed to answering her young son’s questions honestly. Even about sex. Even in public. Deep breaths and pregnant pauses, in this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting.”

Parents, especially expectant and new ones, are inundated with free advice. What’s a friend to do when ASKED for ideas about parenting in our crazy world? In this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” pain specialist and yoga instructor Ginny Hamilton shares the memorable advice from her early days as a mom.

Packing your first born off to college can be heart breaking. Your heart bursts with pride but then comes the emotional hangover, and the “tear triggers.” They are EVERYWHERE! Logan gives some insightful tips to help avoid those situations where memories flood in and melancholy takes over. Read on…

Logan shares her poignant observations of her daughter finding her feet and developing her own independence. It’s an arresting experience because it may seem that the biggest threat to parenting is a child’s developing self-sufficiency. The mind can’t help but race to a future where your child learns to swim un-aided to your child growing up and going to college. Read on for some touching insights into something all parents must feel…

As parents, we all know the drama of sacrifice we make for the well being and entertainment of our children. In this edition of “Hindsight Parenting,” Logan shines the spotlight on resentment lurking inside that stems from giving up her creativity and self-care as a part of parenting.

Do you have you a childhood friend – someone you’ve known since you were in diapers? Impressive isn’t it…a friendship that’s endured so many changes, and the fact that it started at such a young age is remarkable. The sincerely lovely thing about young friendships is its organic and authentic nature (take that Instagram!).

In “Let Them Grow: Fresh Ways to Engage Toddlers in Creative Free Play,” Candice shares excellent tips on how to create an environment for your toddler to foster a friendships. (Once there was an article on how Cary Grant worked a room. This is not a million miles away from that!) Modeling how our actions in front of our children can bring out the ability to form meaningful friendships in our toddlers, thus nurturing them to grow as empathetic, sharing, fun and caring individuals.

As a parent, what’s the best advice you ever received? See what our readers had to offer, and share your own too…

Set and discuss limitations on having friends over, TV and computer time, kitchen and cooking, and the safety information mentioned above. Discuss what your child might do while you are gone. You can ask that she does her homework, read for a certain length of time, or finish some chores. Having a schedule to follow while you are gone will occupy time safely. When you return home, discuss with your child what she did during your absence.

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