"How would you handle a situation when
you have to leave the park to go get your other two children and
unfortunately can't sit on the bench for thirty minutes while she
cries?" - Sandra
If you've been reading these Aha! parenting emails for awhile, you know that kids have big feelings that drive their behavior. If you want the behavior to change, you have to make it safe for them to show you the tears and fears that are driving it. Otherwise, those hurts stay clenched inside, stored in what we might think of as an emotional backpack. They come bubbling up whenever your child suffers even a small disappointment. To keep those roiling emotions zipped in the backpack, kids get angy and lash out.
So, you sometimes find yourself sitting on a park bench with a sobbing child. Amazingly, after the meltdown, your child is usually cooperative for the rest of the day, or even the week. Sibling squabbles diminish and your child is unusually affectionate. So any parent who can stay calm enough to support their child lovingly through a big cry usually becomes a convert and starts to embrace tears, rather than shutting them down.
BUT what if you don't have time? Sometimes, after all, you have other children to go pick up, or "the baby is crawling away putting leaves in his mouth and my toddler is throwing a tantrum on the swing and my 4-year-old is running to the slides because he doesn't want to leave," as Kristin said on my Facebook page.
The answer is that sometimes you really don't have time for feelings. So you do what you can to avoid the meltdown in the moment. READ POST
"Today I will let myself feel what I am feeling and let my children feel what they are feeling....I'll pay attention to what each of us is feeling and give those feelings some respect and space. There's nothing so bad about them; they are only feelings and need not threaten me." -- Tian Dayton
Are your feelings dangerous? Never. But most of us are afraid of our strong feelings. And we're afraid of our children's emotions. Why? READ POST
“I can't believe you're telling parents
not to discipline! I'm so tired of parents who can't say No to their
child and let them rule the roost. No wonder kids today don't have any
Yesterday, we talked about Daring Not To Discipline. (And yes, I'm using discipline as the dictionary defines it: punishment.)
Like the above commenter, most parents assume that not punishing means permissive parenting. This is a new idea for most people, which is why it's the lengthiest chapter in my new book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting. But resisting the urge to punish doesn't mean we don't set limits! In fact, neither permissive parenting nor authoritarian parenting work to raise self-disciplined kids. The research on this is very clear: the kids who develop self-discipline, resilience, and emotional intelligence are raised with empathic limits.
So yes, LIMITS are an essential part of raising great kids. But not just any limits. EMPATHIC limits. That's because children develop self-discipline more readily when they feel more connected to us. Empathic limits means we: READ POST
Want to join me in a survey? Let's ask 10,000 people whether children need discipline. I'm willing to bet that in any random sample, 9999 of our respondents will say "Yes, of course!" READ POST
“Our 26 month old is overall really
excellent with the three month old. But now the baby is starting to
play with toys, and the toddler always grabs them away from him. The
baby is still too small to care that the toy gets taken...for now. Until
now, we've handled sharing toys as you suggest--we don't force it, we
talk about taking turns, asking the other child if they're done, etc.
I'm a little less sure how to apply this logic when there is an age
discrepancy. We can't ask the baby if he's done. I feel quite certain
that I don't want to force my toddler to share, but sometimes I find
myself saying, "Your brother is using that!" because it seems like he
shouldn't just be able to take every toy the baby plays with.“
There's a reason "taking candy from a baby" has come to symbolize an easy but immoral abuse of power. You're right to feel uncomfortable with your toddler's compulsive grabbing from the baby; it's not good for the baby -- and it's not good for your toddler. READ POST
“How should I tell my 5 year old son to react when his 19 month old brother hits him or acts aggressively towards him? I've read the articles on how to deal with it as a parent and we are working on it, but I'm not in the room with them every time they're playing together. I want to give my 5 year old the proper tools to deal with his little brother, too." READ POST
"I don't understand why you say not to punish transgressions. I get the concept of the bigger the transgression, the greater the child's need is, but what if they really cross a line? Yesterday my 3-yr-old threw a book because he got mad. It hit my husband in the eye & cut his skin--yikes! I removed him from the room, told him that was not allowed ever & put him in a thinking spot. Yes? No?" READ POST