Parenting Blog

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"I watch their softly tousled heads slumbering on their pillows, and sadness wells up in me. Have I drunk in their smiles and laughter and hugged them, or have I just checked things off my to-do list today? They're growing so quickly. One morning I may wake up and one of my girls will be getting married, and I'll worry: Have I played with them enough? Have I enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of their lives?" -- Janet Fackrell

It's part of our job description as parents to guide our kids and keep them moving through the daily routine. All too often, that means setting limits, denying requests, correcting behavior.  Sometimes we're skillful enough that our child doesn't perceive our guidance as "negative."  More often, kids give us the benefit of the doubt because all the other loving, affirming interactions create a positive balance in our relationship account.  That's why creating those positive interactions with your child matters so much.

Research shows we need at least five positive interactions to each negative interaction to maintain a healthy, happy relationship that can weather the normal conflicts and upsets of daily life. So when we're short on positive interactions, our relationship balance dips into the red. As with any bank account, we're overdrawn. That's when kids resist our guidance and develop attitude, whether they're two or twelve.

Life is busy, and you don't need one more thing for your to-do list. Instead, why not create a few daily habits that replenish your relationship account with your child? After thirty days, any action becomes a habit, so you don't have to think about it.  Here are 20 things you can start doing today to build a closer relationship with your child.  READ POST

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | Permalink

"Okay, you've convinced me not to punish. But my two year old still bites, has tantrums, throws his food and scribbles on the furniture...." - Rebecca

Unfortunately, a two year old's frontal cortex is still developing the ability to control his emotions and behavior. That means they throw food, break things, have meltdowns, bite when they're mad, and scribble on the furniture. In other words, they act like two year olds.

But since the brain is still developing through the teen years, kids of all ages sometimes lack the rational control to behave as we'd like. Sometimes even 15 year olds act like 2 year olds!

So what can you do when your child acts out, whether he's a toddler or a teen?  Here are the five best strategies for preventing misbehavior, for all age kids.  READ POST

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 | Permalink

"You will always be your child's favorite toy."  -- Vicki Lansky

“Kids may be screaming for the latest gadget, but what they want more than anything is time with the family. Make that your biggest gift this year.” – MidnightBliss

All of us want to make our children's faces shine by gifting them with something special, especially at the holidays. Isn't that what makes dreams come true?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, those material presents are a bit like drugs -- the lift is temporary, followed by a deeper inner craving, eventually tinged with desperation.   READ POST

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | Permalink

"I give my kids plenty of attention.  What's so special about Special Time?" - Emilee

"Giving your child Special Time is an active form of listening, in which your child’s play becomes her vehicle for telling you about her life and perceptions." - Patty Wipfler

"Special time is priceless because it symbolizes the parent’s unconditional love for the child." - B.J. Howard

Every parent I know who has started doing Special Time with his or her child has told me that they see significant changes in their child's behavior. Parents often say that their child seems to respond to it as if they've been missing an essential nutrient. In a way, they have.

Why?  Because Special Time heals the upsets and disconnections of daily modern life. We live in a stressful culture that disconnects us from each other, from our feelings, and from our own inner wisdom. Special Time is the antidote for parents and children, because it:  READ POST

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 | Permalink

"Where does resilience come from?....It comes from knowing that you never have to be alone….If you feel connected, you will always be able to deal with adversity.  The skills we need to deal with adversity begin with a feeling of I can handle this.  It is a feeling of No matter what happens, I can find a solution; a feeling of I have dealt with hard times and come out fine before; a feeling of Even when I feel lost, I always have somewhere to turn.” – Dr. Edward Hallowell
Life is full of hard knocks.  What makes some people get up the next morning determined to try again, while others give up?  Resilience.  READ POST

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 | Permalink

"My 7 yr old daughter seems to have a difficult time having her 'cup filled.'  Even after 5  minutes of games where I’m doing what she wants whether it’s the tickle monster game or a game of cards with her—something that I consider quality time —she is still needy and can’t turn it off.  Even if I’ve given the 2 minute warning, she will continue to jump all over me and then when I’ve clearly stated it’s time for bath, etc., she stomps off.  Her attitude  negates the fun time we just had.  Even when I try to validate her feelings by saying that I know it’s hard to stop the fun, I can’t get through to her.  I do understand that she is probably trying to tell me that we need to do this more often and I am working harder at making sure we get that quality time together but when I’m just spent at the end of the day, I don’t know how to respond to her need for more more more when I feel I’ve just given."   READ POST

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 | Permalink

Dr.  Laura....I don't understand how to even begin to validate our very strong willed 2.5 son when he is screaming at me from inside the van and won't get in his seat so we can get his big sister from school and the 6 month old is there as well..." - Anita

What happens to your car if you don't fill it with gas, change the oil, and give it a regular tune up?  It ends up in the breakdown lane.  Life with children isn't so different. Unfortunately, parents aren't given a preventive maintenance plan for their children.  But if you don't refill your child's love tank, roughhouse with him daily so he gets some good giggling in, and give him regular one-on-one time, you can count on more breakdown time. Especially if there's a relatively new baby in the family, or if you're transitioning from conventional parenting to gentle parenting and your child has some old emotions to process.  READ POST

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 | Permalink