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Happy Friday! Don't miss  this week's Toddler Ages and Stages Tip in the Aha! Newsletter: Discipline for Defiant, Spirited Toddler 

Imagine being 26 months old and happily experimenting with sitting on the dog, or seeing whether you can get equal velocity in hurling the sippy cup versus the dump truck.  Suddenly a giant -- reminiscent of your loving mother, but somehow transformed into someone rough and scary, grabs you and drops you onto the couch.  Would you hear anything she said, or might you go a bit floppy?.....(read more in the Aha! Weekly)  READ POST

Friday, January 16, 2015 | Permalink

Happy Wednesday! Don't miss  this week's Parenting Question in the Aha! Newsletter: What's Best for Baby Brain Development? 

Dr. Laura....Now that my daughter is seven months old, I'd like to know how to best spend each day with her: how much alone play, interactive play, what activities, are there any essential toys, and so on. I pretty much follow her lead throughout the day, but I want to make sure I'm including beneficial activities for her. She is bright, and I'd like to help cultivate that without being overly structured. I'd like to ensure that every moment spent with her is a quality one......(read the answer in the Aha! Weekly)  READ POST

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | Permalink

"Dr Laura....I'm trying stop yelling, but I can't. And I can't imagine getting my kids to listen if I don't yell at them. ...Can you move in with me for a week?!” - Cheralynn

Like Cheralynn, most parents think they "should" stop yelling, but they don't believe there's another way to get their child's attention. After all, it's our job to teach them, and how else can we get them to listen? It’s not like yelling hurts them; they barely listen, they roll their eyes. Of course they know we love them, even if we yell. Right?

Wrong. The truth is that yelling scares kids. It makes them harden their hearts to us. And when we yell, kids go into fight, flight or freeze, so they stop learning whatever we're trying to teach. What's more, when we yell, it trains kids not to listen to us until we raise our voice. And it trains them to yell at us.  READ POST

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 | Permalink

Happy Monday! Don't miss today's Parenting Secret from the Aha! Weekly Newsletter.

One of the most common questions I hear from parents is:   How can I get my kid to LISTEN to me?

Of course, the parents who ask me how to get their child to listen aren't really talking about listening. They're talking about how to get their child to take in what they say--and take action! Here's how.....(read more in the Aha! Weekly)  READ POST

Monday, January 12, 2015 | Permalink

"Dr.  Laura....I've already given up on my New Year's Resolution to be a more peaceful mother because I've blown it over and over...and it's only the first week of the year! -- Sylvia

How are you doing at keeping your New Year's resolution? 

(a) Great!
(b) Not so great.
(c) I've given up on keeping my resolution.
(d) I gave up making resolutions a long time ago because they always fail.

If you answered anything other than (a), join the club.  Change is hard.  If it were easy, we wouldn't have invented the idea of using the new year to give us some momentum.

But that doesn't mean it isn't worth aiming for change. It's only the second week of the year. We have a whole year ahead of us to practice. To practice being more patient, practice pausing before we rush in, practice empathizing when our child expresses inconvenient feelings.  READ POST

Friday, January 09, 2015 | Permalink

"The moment one commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred...Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." - Goethe

Did you make a New Years Resolution to be more patient, or to stop yelling? Surveys show those are the #1 resolutions for parents.

If you're like most of us, you've had the experience of making resolutions only to give up in frustration and self-disgust within a few weeks. You may even feel like giving up already, and it's only January 7!

The truth is, most new year's resolutions fail. Not because we're not good enough, or we don't try hard enough. But because what we're trying to do is HARD.  If it were easy, it wouldn't take a New Years Resolution!

The second reason we don't make progress on our resolutions is that most resolutions are a wish, not a plan. To accomplish anything hard, we need to break it into small chunks--a step-by-step plan--and support ourselves to accomplish each step. Then, we need to revise our plan to accommodate reality when we hit a wall.   READ POST

Wednesday, January 07, 2015 | Permalink

"Dr. Laura....My new year's resolution is to be more patient. But when I told my family, they reminded me that I made the same resolution last year. I feel like a failure, even though I know I've become a better mother over the past year." -- Christina

If you make the same resolution every year, join the club. That doesn't mean you're a failure. It means you're headed in the right direction, and you aren't perfect yet. (Shocking, I know!)

The bad news is, you won't be perfect this year either. The good news is, you don't have to be! Kids don't need perfection from parents. What they need is a parent who accepts them with all their imperfections, models compassion and respect, and apologizes and reconnects when things go wrong -- as they inevitably do.

This is tough work, because it's about regulating our own emotions. That's why resolving to be more patient rarely works.  By the time we're gritting our teeth to stay "patient" we're already sliding into the stress response of fight, flight or freeze.

But if you want to become a more patient parent – and a happier person – it’s completely possible.  Here are 5 Resolutions to support you in that goal. Practicing these is the work of a lifetime, so you still won't be perfect in a year -- in fact, you might make these same resolutions next year! But I guarantee you'll be a more peaceful parent, with a happier, more cooperative child.  READ POST

Sunday, January 04, 2015 | Permalink