"Whenever I held my newborn baby in my
arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an
influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a
month or a year, but for all eternity - a very challenging and exciting
thought for a mother." -- Rose Kennedy
Most parents take their job as teachers very seriously. We teach our kids colors. ABCs. Sharing. Right from wrong.
But sometimes we don't even notice a much more important lesson we're imparting to our children: how to manage their feelings, and therefore their behavior. This is the basis of emotional intelligence (EQ), which will determine their quality of life much more fundamentally than their IQ. READ POST
"The only way to help your child is to do the
work yourself. Your child needs a guide through the tsunami." – Leslie
Potter, Purejoy Parenting
Life has a way of doling out lessons that we didn't ask for, but that help us develop more wholeness. When we resist those lessons, they land in our lap over and over, until we finally tackle them. READ POST
"What I start to feel is not just anger
appropriate to the situation, but old feelings I carry from the past.
And those feelings have nothing to do with my child or the situation.
They have come up for me to take a look at them. They are part of me.
But they don't belong in my relationship with my child. They have to do
with me and the person who raised me." -- Laura Davis & Janis
Life is full of emotions that we don't have time to process in the moment. And if we have kids, we probably have more emotions and less time. Parenting is the hardest job there is. It gives us constant reminders of the places in us that need healing. So it's not surprising that sometimes we just need a good cry. READ POST
“I know one thing for sure. It is
impossible to find one’s own balance from the outside in. I now know
beyond a doubt that finding—and maintaining—our balance is an inside
job.” – Lu Hanessian
As you go through your day, you have a running list. Change the baby, feed the toddler, teach the preschooler to pick up her toys, help the elementary schooler with homework, help the tween braid her hair, negotiate with the teen, make dinner, fold laundry, pay the bills, email your boss, connect with your spouse... the list never stops. But have you fallen off your own list? READ POST
"Dr. Laura...I think we as parents need to be honest about our own anger, disappointment, sadness about our child's choices..."
I agree completely. We need to be honest about our own feelings -- with ourselves! We need to notice our emotions as they come up, take responsibility for them, and work through them. Because the truth is that every parent sometimes feels rage toward his or her child. Stuffing those feelings doesn't help anyone.
But that does NOT mean we need to "dump" our upsets on our child in the name of being honest. That's not acting like a grown-up, and it's not coaching our child to be his or her best self, either. In fact, when kids follow that modeling, it looks like tantrums. So unless there's immediate danger -- in which case you need to remove a child from harm's way -- I recommend that parents try to avoid relating to their children when they're angry.
Does that mean we aren't being honest, truthful and authentic? I don't think so. Let's take this a step at a time. READ POST
"Dr. Laura -- Could you write about transitioning
to positive discipline for parents of older kids? If I start Empathic
Parenting now with my kids 12 and 9, will it still help? How do I all of
a sudden "remove" punishment? My 9 year old always says 'Oh now I guess
I am grounded.' How do I change his thinking?"
Yes, empathic parenting always helps. Empathy creates a connection with your child. Children of any age, including teenagers, respond to that connection by being more open to your guidance.
Grounding your child, removing privileges, punishing with extra chores -- all of these approaches are meant to "teach a lesson." But research shows that kids get preoccupied with the unfairness of the punishment, instead of feeling remorse for what they did wrong. The lesson you want to teach, I assume, is that your child can make a better choice next time. You also want to teach that everyone makes mistakes, and your child has the power and courage to make amends. You want him to practice that. Right? Here's how. READ POST
"Dr. Laura.....I know I need to do a better job
with preventive maintenance like spending with my son, but I still don't know what to
say to teach him a lesson when he misbehaves. You can't prevent all
misbehavior, can you? So you still need to teach them a lesson somehow,
Yes, kids do need our guidance. They come into the world ready to learn, and they look to us to teach them. Red and blue, up and down, what to do when they get angry, how to express their needs and feelings.
We teach so many lessons, and often without even noticing that we're teaching! Because those verbal "lessons" will never teach our children as much as what we actually do. Do we yell (i.e., have tantrums) when we get angry? So will they. Or do we notice when we're getting irritated and say "I'm feeling grumpy....I'm going to take a minute to chill out and get calm...I will be right back..."? They'll learn to do that, too. READ POST