Parenting Blog

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"Dr. Laura...How do I explain this kind of parenting to other parents who think I’m spoiling my child? They all use timeouts and other punishments.” -- Rebecca

The stakes are high in parenting.  When we're choosing to do things differently, it's easy to feel defensive -- especially when other people question our parenting practices. After all, if you explain that your way raises emotionally healthy kids, and the other parent is raising their child differently, what does that say about them?  Conflict is inevitable.  READ POST

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | Permalink

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." - William Shakespeare

The problem with parenting is that we don't get any prep time. We're always on stage, performing for an audience that responds to our every thoughtless word or action. We learn our lines as we go, improvising.  As soon as we master a cue, it's replaced by a new one.  We spend the entire play just trying to get ahead of the action enough to think about what to do next.   READ POST

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | Permalink

"Dr. Laura...How should I respond when he yells  'You're not the boss of me!'?"  -- Ariel

Defiance.  It's guaranteed to push a parent's buttons.  After all, we're supposed to be in charge, right?  Defiance rubs our nose in the fact that we can't really control another person, unless we use force.  And since force creates push-back, resistance, and escalation, it's ultimately a losing strategy.  (You might win the battle, but you'll lose the war.)

So what can a parent do about defiance?  READ POST

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 | Permalink

"We need 4 hugs a day for survival.  We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." -- Virginia Satir

We all crave those close moments with our children that make our hearts melt. That's what makes parenting worth it. Connection is as essential to us as parents as it is to our children. When our relationship is strong, it's also sweet -- so we receive as much as we give.

That connection is also the only reason children willingly follow our rules. Kids who feel strongly connected to their parents WANT to cooperate. They trust us to know what's best for them, to be on their side. I hear regularly from parents that everything changes once they focus on connecting, not just correcting.  READ POST

Thursday, June 07, 2012 | Permalink
I'll be live on the Great Parenting Show answering parents' questions  READ POST
Wednesday, June 06, 2012 | Permalink

"Dr. Laura....I just want to give my kids a better start in life than I had.  How can I make sure they're self-disciplined but happy?" - Katie

All of us want to raise children who become self-disciplined -- and happy -- adults.  The only question is how best to do that.  Luckily, we know the answer.  Research studies have been following children from babyhood to adulthood for decades, so we actually know what works to raise great kids. Here are the five most important things we know.

1. Children need a secure attachment with at least one parent.  Parents facilitate this secure attachment in the first year by listening to their unique baby and responding to her needs. They continue to nurture secure attachment by accepting the full range of who their child is -- including all that messy neediness and anger -- into the toddler years and beyond. Parents who are controlling, intrusive, unable to tolerate the child's neediness, or otherwise responding out of their own needs rather than responding to their child's are less likely to raise a securely attached child.  READ POST

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 | Permalink

"Dr. Laura...I don't want to punish, but I can't just leave my kids without guidance. I want them to learn." -- Elizabeth

We all want our kids to learn to do the right thing, especially when we aren't there and choices get tough. But guidance and punishment are not equivalent. In fact, when kids are punished, they move into fear, which means fight, flight, or freeze. The learning part of the brain shuts down (as do the digestive and immune systems.) So they may stand meekly while you lecture, but they aren't actually learning anything about how to do the right thing in the future.  READ POST

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 | Permalink