HelpMeSara Sara Dimerman - Psychologist, Author & Parenting/Relationship Expert to the Media Mon, 05 Feb 2018 00:44:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The difference between safe strangers and danger strangers Mon, 05 Feb 2018 00:44:27 +0000 How to help your children know the difference between safe strangers and danger strangers: Sara on Sirius XM Canada Talks with host Jeff Sammut.

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Teens and Drinking Mon, 05 Feb 2018 00:40:47 +0000 Sara discusses latest research on parental influence out of Australia.

Segment begins at 3:07.

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3 Questions To Ask Your Child If You Think They’re Lonely Mon, 29 Jan 2018 03:27:43 +0000 Think your child is lonely? Here are three key questions to ask

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Best friends forever Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:00:59 +0000 I was recently invited to be a guest on a radio show to chat about an article that focussed on the idea of schools banning “best friends.”

After reading it, I recognized two parts to this story.

One is regarding whether or not schools have the right to ban students from having a best friend. The second is whether or not there is any merit in children being educated about the risks and rewards of having a BFF (best friend forever) or not, or maybe more importantly, not defining one as such.

In regards to banning, not only do I believe that no one has the right to exert that much control over anyone else (school teachers or administrators included), I also feel that trying to do so anyway would be virtually impossible – to implement and monitor. Can you imagine the outcry from people who felt that this choice had been taken away from them?

In regards to helping children recognize the pros and cons of having a best friend, – or rather, let’s say announcing that one has a special and exclusive relationship with only one person – I believe that there may be some merit to exploring and discussing this amongst students at school and with your children at home.

If you too believe that this is worthy of consideration and discussion, here are my thoughts regarding risks and rewards of children not so much having a best friend, but more to the point, defining or labelling their relationship as such or flaunting it in front of their peers (in person or via social media).


  • When two people define each other as best friends, there is a pact created between them that increases their sense of responsibility towards one another and may further cement the bond between them
  • There may be a sense of comfort in knowing that one has a special go to person that has their back and that they can always count on
  • Earning the title of best friend may feel like an award and may create a heightened sense of belonging between people who share the same interests or beliefs and who want to define their relationship as being something special or exclusive


  • There may be pressure and high expectations placed on this friendship. For example, a BFF, one might say, would never exclude her BFF when she’s going out with other friends to a movie. Therefore, defining each other as best friends increases one’s expectations of one another and may lead to disappointment.
  • If one has labelled only one other person as his BFF, he may not want or feel the need to cultivate close peer relationships with others
  • So, having only one BFF may create an over reliance or too much dependence on that person rather than knowing that there are several close friends that one can talk to or hang out with
  • When a child makes a declaration about someone being his or her best friend, others may feel that theirs is an exclusive relationship, and may be less inclined to get to know or support either person for fear that he or she may be seen as trying to get in the middle of them. As a result, both or one of these people may lose out on the opportunity to gain more friendships and to expand their social circle
  • One runs the risk when defining someone as his or her BFF that the other person may not feel exactly the same way and this may lead to more disappointment

Aside from agreeing or disagreeing with my take on this, you may come up with more points, both for and against giving only one person the title of BFF.

From where I sit, it appears that the risks for not just having only one best friend, but also for defining your relationship as such, is more heavily weighted.

With my points and yours in mind, I’m thinking that both parents and teachers can help children understand the benefit of widening their social circle and not expecting all of one’s needs to be met by one other person only – putting all their eggs in one basket so to speak.

Teachers may encourage discussion in the classroom by asking students to come up with the pros and cons for having a BFF, for example, and opening their student’s eyes to the rewards and risks.

Parents can invite discussion too and model by talking about their own friendships with language such as “she’s one of my closest friends” or “I consider him to be one of my best friends.”

Parents and teachers may consider that while there may not be great risk associated with showing acceptance towards a child or student’s relationship with a best friend, that discretion should be encouraged when exposing this relationship so that the BFFs don’t miss out on forming close relationships with others and so that those others might not be turned off by thinking that there is no space for them or that they might not be worthy enough to be included.

And while helping our children think about all this, a bonus is that we will likely stop to think about our own relationships with friends too.

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Raising a gender fluid child: a moms story Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:00:37 +0000 Download Raising a gender fluid child: a moms story

Sara Dimerman in conversation with Heidi Barrett. Over the course of this episode you will learn more about:

  • What gender fluidity/gender non conforming means
  • Whether a child should be a certain age or reached a certain level of maturity before listening to their beliefs about how they want to express themselves (regarding their gender)
  • Whether gender non conforming children are born “who they are” or become non conforming as a result of being raised by non conforming parents (gender or otherwise)
  • How we can model acceptance, sensitivity and increased tolerance towards people who are gender non conforming
  • What happens if a parent imposes certain gender stereotypes when raising girls and boys
  • What happens at school/in other environments where children are not encouraged to be “who they want to be”
  • Whether being gender fluid/non conforming is just trendy or whether it has been suppressed over the years and in certain cultures until now
  • How to advocate and educate on behalf of your gender non conforming child (and how to help your children advocate for themselves too)
  • How to manage environments that are more gender specific, e.g. gender specific washrooms, boys vs. girls clothing sections at a store or when teachers separate boys and girls and a boy in a skirt goes to sit with the boys
  • Supports and resources including:
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Sparents Thu, 18 Jan 2018 16:24:14 +0000 Sparents? What this means and how they can play a valuable role in childrens lives. Sara comments on Global TV News.

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Meaningful and Mindful New Year Sun, 24 Dec 2017 10:00:40 +0000 The end of a year and beginning of the next is often a time for reflection. Time to consider both good and bad from the year that’s been and to plan for changes and good intentions for the year to come.

Along with reflecting back and planning for the future, the new year is also a time for resolutions. This year I have decided to forgo the traditional ones such as losing weight and exercising more. Instead, I have decided to live each day and to cherish each moment as if it were the last. I don’t mean for this to sound morbid. What I mean is that I will take on even the simplest and tedious tasks with more appreciation. I will feel more gratitude that I have the ability to do what I am doing – both mentally and physically – and will treasure the moment and not take it for granted.

I have my youngest sister, Alison, to thank for bringing this realization to the forefront of my conscious mind recently. She was telling me about an interaction between herself and her then 15 year old daughter: tired after a long day at school, my niece approached my sister with a request to wash her hair. My sister jumped at the opportunity. As she lathered her hair with shampoo, massaged her head and washed out the soapy suds, she spent extra time at something she had previously rushed through and taken for granted. So much so, that her daughter asked her to hurry it up. After she wrapped the towel around her daughter’s head and offered to comb out her hair (my niece declined this), my sister felt a lump in her throat and a tear in her eye as she remembered a time when washing her daughter’s hair was considered a laborious chore rather than the labour of love she felt that day.

Little did she know that this opportunity to connect with her daughter in such a nurturing way would be considered rare years ago when she longed for her youngest child to hurry up and be more independent.

This led my sister and me into a discussion about whether we might have treasured or experienced the last time we engaged in an activity differently if we knew it was the last.

What If I had known that the scrambled egg I made my dad and fed to him during his last conscious hours just before he passed would have been the last thing he ate? Would I have made the egg with even more tender loving care? What if I had known that the last time I snuggled in bed with my daughter as she fell asleep would be the last time she allowed me to do so? Would I have lingered a little bit longer, as opposed to counting down the minutes before I could go back to my own bed? What if I had known that the last time I fed my beloved pet would have been the final dish of food I put on his mat before he refused to eat and declined rapidly?

The bottom line is to try not to take things for granted or to rush through life. As the new year begins, savour each moment, appreciate every task – profound or menial – and linger just a little bit longer before moving on.

Wishing you and yours a meaningful, mindful new year!

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What to say when your Jewish child wants a Christmas tree Thu, 07 Dec 2017 04:10:51 +0000 Presentation: What to say when your Jewish child wants a Christmas tree

Sunday December 17th
Har Zion synagogue

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Parenting your anxious child Thu, 07 Dec 2017 04:09:31 +0000 Presentation: Parenting your anxious child

Saturday December 9th
Chabad Lubavitch of Markham
Thornhill, Ontario

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How Gran and Gramps can be bad for your kid’s health Thu, 07 Dec 2017 04:07:15 +0000 Sara joins CBC Radio’s Jason Osler to chat about what happens when grandparents act like the good guys, leaving parents feeling mad.

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