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"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

"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?”

In honor of Valentines Day last week, my posts this week are about the intersection between being a parent and being a couple -- specifically, how to work through conflicts when you're in front of the kids. Next week, we'll get back to our Beyond Discipline series, with 10 Alternatives to Consequences and When Kids Just Won't Cooperate.

Conflict is part of every human relationship. If we live with children, those conflicts will sometimes come up in front of the kids. In the past, most experts reassured parents that there’s no harm in children seeing them fight, as long as the kids also see the parents make up afterwards. However, recent developments in neurological research challenge this view. Not surprisingly, it turns out that when children hear yelling, their stress hormones shoot up. In fact, even a sleeping infant registers loud, angry voices and experiences a rush of stress chemicals that takes some time to diminish.  READ POST

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 | 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 14, 2014 | 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 stop yelling?  Surveys show that's the #1 Resolution for parents everywhere.

Or maybe your resolution was to transform your relationship with your son or daughter because you know that's the first step toward your child changing. Or maybe you're working to shift the tone in your house from sniping and snotty to laughing and loving.

While we have the ability to create change at any time, there's something about the symbolic fresh start of the new year that gives us a little extra momentum. But 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 8!

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. And often we don't know how to support ourselves with a step-by-step plan, or we don’t revise our plan to accommodate reality when we hit a wall. Or maybe we never really commit ourselves aloud and in public, so our resolution never gets the chance to grow roots, much less flower.

So resolutions are not enough. Habits are hard to break, and resolutions by themselves are a wish without a plan.  Intention by itself is a great beginning, but it's only the first step of the journey.

But there are a few lucky folks who actually make their New Year's resolutions come true.  What can we learn from them?  READ POST

Wednesday, January 08, 2014 | Permalink

"You may become flooded by feelings such as fear, sadness or rage. These intense emotions can lead you to have a knee-jerk reaction instead of thoughtful responses.  When emotional reactions replace mindfulness, you're on the low road and it is very unlikely that you will be able to maintain nurturing communication and connection with your child." -- Dan Siegel

You know what the high road is. When you’re feeling really good, nothing fazes you. You respond to your child’s foibles with patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.

You know what the low road is, too. It’s when you’re stressed, exhausted, resentful.  When you insist on being right or wringing an apology out of your child.  When your fuse is so short that you feel justified in having your own little tantrum. When you're in the grip of fight or flight emotions and your child looks like the enemy.   READ POST

Thursday, December 05, 2013 | Permalink

"Love is not a feeling, love is an action...Love is as love does." -- M. Scott Peck

Last week,  Step 1 of Ten Steps to Unconditional Love (It's Better for Your Child If You're Not Perfect) encouraged you to renounce perfection and shoot higher -- for love!  If you change nothing else, that will change your life. But why stop there? Why not really give your love muscle a workout?

It's simple, but not easy. Commit to treating yourself and everyone around you with compassion. Every time you notice harshness creeping in, toward yourself, your child, or anyone else, stop and find something to appreciate about that person. No exceptions.  If you could choose compassion in every interaction with everyone, including yourself, you'd be enlightened by the end of the month.  READ POST

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | Permalink

“Before the plane takes off, the pilots have a flight plan…but during the course of the flight, wind, rain, turbulence, air traffic, human error, and other factors act on the plane…90% of the time the plane is not even on the prescribed flight path...During the flight, the pilots make constant adjustments to get back on track. The flight of that airplane is the perfect metaphor for family life…it doesn’t make any difference if we are off target or even if our family is a mess. The hope lies in the vision and in the plan and in the courage to keep coming back time and time again.” – Stephen Covey

You may have noticed that you aren’t perfect. That sometimes you aren’t the parent or the person you want to be. Sometimes you blow it.  We all do. Welcome to humanity. 

The bad news is that even if we’re committed to showing up with love for ourselves and others, life happens. We get disconnected -- from our child, our partner, our own deepest guidance. There’s no magic that keeps us on the right path. In fact, all relationships are a constant series of connections and disconnections, missteps and course corrections.  READ POST

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 | Permalink