Parenting Blog

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"I try to use positive parenting, but there always comes a point where I'm stuck and threaten a timeout. Without punishment, how do I enforce my limits?  I can remind him until I'm blue in the face about the things he's supposed to do, but I can't actually MAKE him. What do I do to make my child behave, if I can't use force?" – Lisabet  READ POST

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | Permalink

"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

When parents begin using gentle guidance,  they're often amazed by how well empathy "works" to calm their child.  For most people, just having our views and feelings acknowledged makes us feel better, so we're more cooperative.  So once parents get past their fear of "agreeing" with their child's "negative emotions" they quickly learn to empathize when their child is having a hard time:   READ POST

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Permalink

"Isn't there a time and a place for a parent to just plain 'be in charge'?  So often, and especially now, with this new approach, she pretty much does whatever she wants...I don't want my child to be an uncontrollable brat." - Amber

Often, parents get confused about peaceful parenting. They think that if they stop punishing, their child will do whatever she wants. But that assumes there are only two choices -- being permissive or punitive. What about holding to your expectations while at the same time offering your child support and understanding?

Let's say you tell your child that it's time for bed, and she ignores you or says NO! What are your choices?  READ POST

Friday, April 04, 2014 | Permalink

"I can hear those readers unfamiliar with positive discipline saying: “How can you reward bad behavior? You’ve got to be kidding!” I understand your reaction because I had the same one. I changed my mind when I tried it and saw that it consistently decreases unacceptable behavior and helps prevent the child from repeating the same problems. My experience is that kids learn more about self-control using the Comfort Corner than they would after 100 Time Outs." - Peter Haiman, Ph.D.

Do you use Time-Outs? They’re certainly better than spanking to show your child you’re serious about whatever limit you’re setting. But time-outs aren’t the best way to help kids want to cooperate, or even to help them calm down. Why?  READ POST

Friday, March 28, 2014 | Permalink

"I recently discovered Aha! Parenting and am trying hard to change things at our house, but my kids seem to be acting out more.  So I still lose it. And I feel so guilty about the past. What am I doing wrong?" - Kate

"For me, this type of parenting is a daily choice. Every morning I have to make the commitment not to yell, to stay calm, to chose love. And there is something very empowering about that.  I apologize to my kids when I make mistakes and slip - I see that when they accept my apology, they feel empowerment and generosity of spirit. This influences their behavior with each other - there are more kind words and gestures, more "I'm sorry" and more "Don't worry, I know it wasn't your fault" that they extend to each other, than before. There are days when things are a big struggle, but I really feel that something is changing deep within our hearts AND I feel us grow closer together when we chose love, and when in the middle of a tantrum I hug my child and genuinely tell him that I hear his pain and that I'll help him work through it."

Shifting your parenting approach is a big transition, and you can expect some bumps as you and your children learn new patterns of relating. It doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong. In fact, what's happening is that you're healing old hurt feelings so they stop driving new bad behavior. When your child acts out, he's showing you feelings from the past when you punished or yelled. It takes extra compassion from you, but your empathic response will heal those hurts so you can all move on.

So ditch that guilt -- you're paying the price, after all, and making amends now, by helping your child through all those old hurt feelings. Besides, feeling bad doesn't help you act "good," any more than it helps your child. Here's your plan.  READ POST

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Permalink

"I just don't believe that kids learn to do what's right by us giving them hugs. The only reason I ever did my homework was the strap waiting if I brought home a bad report card." -- Jack

It's true. Kids need our hugs, but that's not what teaches them to do right. How do kids learn?

Our modeling. When we take responsibility, when we apologize, when we regulate our own emotions so we aren't yelling at them, children learn to take responsibility, to apologize, to regulate their own emotions and treat others with respect.

Our guidance. When we talk with them about the choices in their lives, kids learn. Should he lie about his age to get a cheaper admission price at the amusement park?  Can she break a date with a friend when she gets a more exciting offer? Should he help pay to replace his sister's toy that he broke?  Talk about the fact that ethical choices are worth making, even when it costs you...And what ethical choice doesn't cost you?

Our family habits.  When kids get used to "repair" rather than punishment, they automatically look to make things better after a fight with their sibling. When they learn that everyone has big feelings, but emotions aren't an emergency, they learn to take responsibility for their emotions and their behavior.

Kids really do learn what they live. We teach them what's right every day, by the example we set and the family culture we create.   READ POST

Thursday, March 13, 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