"I had just read Dr. Laura’s blog about staying calm and acknowledging his desires. When the screaming and stomping began, I stopped what I was doing and sat down next to my three year old. I made eye contact, listened to his complaint and did not let the screaming anger me; I then calmly explained that I hear him. I know cheesy poofs are so tasty and I love them too but he will have to wait half an hour until dinnertime. He blubbered briefly, collapsed into my arms for a minute and then went to play with his toys. My husband congratulated me on keeping my cool. The best part? He was perfectly pleasant the rest of the evening. Wow!" – Aimee READ POST
"Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment based on what you are feeling and thinking. That is what’s real. We can let go of the unconscious belief that being anxious about the past or the future will somehow protect us and instead reprogram our cells with new ways of responding.” -- Doc Childre
Do you worry about your child? Join the club. It's part of the job description. But when we say "Be careful!" to our child, we're not giving the message that we care, even though that's what we feel. We're giving the message that the world is an unsafe place and we don't have confidence in our child to navigate it. READ POST
"When your son and daughter are fighting with
each other, you want them to learn to resolve their differences
successfully, but you may have never learned to successfully work
through conflicts yourself. Before you can teach your kids to listen,
identify the problem, express their feelings, generate solutions, and
find common ground, you have to learn those problem-solving skills
yourself"- Laura Davis & Janis Keyser
Should you intervene in a sibling fight? If they're working it out well themselves, No. And often, children do. They're endlessly creative. Conflict is actually good for them, because it teaches them how to work things out with other people. As Pamela Dugdale says, “Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.”
So remind yourself that a certain amount sibling squabbling is not only normal, but necessary. If "peace" depends on kids being forced to swallow their needs to accommodate siblings on a regular basis, it isn't good for either of them. Your children need to develop their voices, learn how to express their needs, try out strategies to meet their goals.
But they also need to learn to listen to each other, empathize, and regulate their anger rather than dumping on others. While our modeling helps with these skills, most kids need some targeted coaching to use them, at least when emotions are running hot. READ POST
"Dr. Laura....In your last post, you warned
parents against fighting in front of our kids. But as you always say,
we're not perfect, we're human! What are we supposed to do when we
disagree? And isn't it good for kids to see parents work out
disagreements, and make up? And isn't okay if spouses don't always agree
-- we can still love each other."
Yes, Yes, Yes! The nature of human relationships is that we will disagree. It's wonderful for children to see their parents model how to work out disagreements. It's important for them to know that we don't always agree, but we always love each other. And it's critical for kids to see us make up.
That doesn't mean it's okay to yell at each other in front of our kids. The research shows that a disagreement followed by working things through and making up can teach kids valuable lessons about working through conflicts constructively. But the research also shows that yelling always affects kids badly, even if you make up eventually. Yelling is not constructive conflict resolution, ever. It's a tantrum. (And no, it's not "authentic." What's authentic is the tears and fears under the yelling.)
So given that conflicts are inevitable, how can you best handle them when you live with kids?
1. When you or your partner start to get irritated, start by doing exactly what you would do (or hope to do!) if you were irritated with your child – Breathe! Notice your upset. Remind yourself that you love your partner and you can work this out.
2. If you can keep your equilibrium to discuss the issue, do so. Your kids will benefit from watching you: READ POST
"Yesterday my husband and I had an argument at dinner time in front of the kids. My four year old daughter yelled at us to ‘Be quiet!’ … My two year old had a tough time going to bed, which is unusual for him. Could that have had to do with mommy and daddy arguing?” READ POST
"I love your posts, but my husband is
afraid that if we allow our kids to get upset as you suggest, they'll
never learn to control their emotions. Don't we need to just say No
sometimes?" - Rachel
All of us worry about our kids learning to control their emotions. After all, it's emotions that so often get us off track and into trouble. And of course we need to just say No sometimes. Kids can't run into the street, throw their food at each other, or pee on their baby brother. But setting limits on children's behavior doesn't mean we need to set limits on what they feel. READ POST
“I was born perfect. The rest is just
beliefs that I picked up…I don’t believe them anymore. I choose to
believe that I am perfect and whole.” – Caron Goode
Ever wondered why some parents can keep a sense of humor in the face of their child's challenging behavior while another parent starts yelling? Why some parents plague themselves with criticism, worry and doubt while others seem more able to just relax and enjoy their children?
Yes, some children are more challenging than others. But whatever our child's behavior, we always have the choice of how to respond. And yes, it's our emotional response that determines our actions. But what creates that emotional response? READ POST