"I read Dr. Laura every day and I can actually feel my brain being rewired. I sense myself making continual progress towards the mother I want to be. I'm learning to love myself unconditionally along the way, too." – MaMammalia
"The main difference between a master and a beginner is that the master practices more." -- Yasha Heifetz, Master Violinist
You've probably noticed that things work better with your child when you're in a good mood. At least half of the time when we get irritated, impatient, or frustrated with our kids, it's because we're already feeling unhappy. Then there's a spark, our bad mood flares, and before we know it we're in the middle of a firestorm. That's why noticing your own mood as you go through your day, and re-centering yourself when you're out of sorts, transforms your parenting. READ POST
"Dr. Laura...You wrote: 'Sometimes
kids just need to cry...Set a reasonable limit and welcome his meltdown.'
Are you saying that I should just say No and let my son cry, and things
will get better? That's what my parents did, and I spent hours in my
room crying. It wasn't good for me, and it made me so angry at them." -
Shelly makes a good point. Kids do need to cry, to heal all those feelings that are making them act out. But that's only healing if they have a compassionate witness -- the safe haven of a parent. Leaving your child to cry alone just traumatizes her, and gives her the message that she's all alone with those scary feelings, just when she needs us most. READ POST
“Dr. Laura....I just don't get it. How can kids learn to behave if they're never punished? I would never hit them, but what about timeouts and consequences? Everyone knows that children need discipline."
"Do you even have children?!!! Obviously not, or you would know this kind of parenting is impossible, and would raise criminals!"
I rarely mention my own children in my posts, but I'm often asked about them because naturally parents want to know if this kind of parenting works. So to answer this question, I went to the best source I know: My children. They were never punished, including with timeouts or parent-contrived consequences. And yet they're now considerate, responsible, happy young people. How do they explain it? READ POST
"Children equate being loved with the reality of when we are there for them – when we really show up. And traditional methods have us showing up so much more when there are problems...Conventional wisdom tells parents that the time to emit more energy – that is, more emotion, more facial expression, more volume, and more intense relationship – is when things are going wrong. That’s a mistake, and a big one, because it puts our powerful parental energy to work growing more of the behaviors we actually want to see less of or not at all. Why water weeds?" -- Howard Glasser
Kids are a bit like little geiger counters. They live for our emotional energy -- positive or negative. So why, as parents, do we give most of our energy to what's going wrong? Even when we do catch our child doing something right, look at the amount of energy that's behind our responses to bad behavior ("How many times do I have to tell you?!") versus our positive acknowledgments ("Nice job, dear.")
And we rarely give ourselves strokes for the hundreds of things we do right as parents. Instead, we berate ourselves for those times when we lose patience. But feeling bad inside doesn't help us feel emotionally generous toward our children; it just makes us more likely to come unglued next time.
I know, it's hard not to react when you're upset. But if you can stop watering weeds, and start watering flowers, you can transform your home into a garden. After all, what we focus on grows. How? READ POST
you're upset, it is the wrong thing to say or do and will only
aggravate the situation. It is not what you want to say. It does not
represent your true intention and is therefore inauthentic. The proof
to this inauthenticity is that later you regret your words and actions
and they build walls between you and your child." -- Naomi Aldort
When we're angry at our children, most of us burst out with comments we would never say if we were calm. Later, we're remorseful. We apologize. But kids react to our yelling by putting another brick in the wall between us, and dismantling that wall isn't easy.
Or, we justify having yelled: "There's just no other way to get through to that kid." (That reinforces the wall.) READ POST
"An angry child is one who is quite frightened and sad underneath her tough stance. However small the issue, she feels that something absolutely vital to her is being threatened, and she has no choice but to fight. She also feels alone. As far as she can tell, no one understands her, no one will come to her rescue, and everyone is out to hurt her. Children naturally lean toward affection and companionship. When you see a child fiercely attacking her loved ones, you can assume that she is sitting on extremely painful feelings. She puts up her guard, daring us to care that she is hurt and needs help." - Patty Wipfler READ POST
"Dr. Laura -- Could you write about transitioning
to positive discipline for parents of older kids? If I start Empathic
Parenting now with my kids 12 and 9, will it still help? How do I all of
a sudden "remove" punishment? My 9 year old always says 'Oh now I guess
I am grounded.' How do I change his thinking?"
Yes, empathic parenting always helps. Empathy creates a connection with your child. Children of any age, including teenagers, respond to that connection by being more open to your guidance.
Grounding your child, removing privileges, punishing with extra chores -- all of these approaches are meant to "teach a lesson." But research shows that kids get preoccupied with the unfairness of the punishment, instead of feeling remorse for what they did wrong. The lesson you want to teach, I assume, is that your child can make a better choice next time. You also want to teach that everyone makes mistakes, and your child has the power and courage to make amends. You want him to practice that. Right? Here's how. READ POST