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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

"Sending children away to get control of their anger perpetuates the feeling of 'badness" inside them...Chances are they were already feeling not very good about themselves before the outburst and the isolation just serves to confirm in their own minds that they were right." -- Otto Weininger,Ph.D. Time-In Parenting

When our kids get angry, it pushes buttons for most of us.  We want to be loving parents.  Why is our child lashing out like this?  READ POST

Thursday, September 12, 2013 | Permalink

“So just to clarify: 3-year-old girl kicks 1-year-old, there's a blood-curdling scream, and I am to hold my 3-year-old (after making sure the crying 1-year-old is fine, got that) and just sit with her until she feels better? No time-out, just hold her and tell her that I love her and that I know she is hurting too....So, no discipline, just love, i.e. more attention....more attention for kicking the baby?!"

I know exactly what this mom means. Someone kicks my baby? The lion-mama in me roars. The last thing I would feel like doing is lavishing love on the perpetrator.  READ POST

Friday, June 07, 2013 | Permalink

"You always recommend roughhousing, and my kids do love it, but what do I do when they jump all over and get too wild?  Last week they broke the lamp and there was glass all over.  I was yelling like a crazy woman. I don't know which scared them more -- me or the glass." - Camille

Roughhousing is great for kids. Moving helps work out emotion. Laughter is even more important, since it vents anxiety and creates more oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Roughhousing builds self esteem, especially for kids who are less assertive, or smaller than other kids their age. And like other young mammals, when kids "play" fight, they learn to manage aggression, which makes them less likely to lash out when they're angry.

So when kids wrestle, pillow fight, and roughhouse, it's terrific for them. But it isn't always so good for our houses. And parents often worry that sooner or later, someone will get hurt.   READ POST

Thursday, March 28, 2013 | Permalink

"How many times have you felt forced/nudged/shamed/coerced into parenting in a way you don't usually because you were in a public situation? I know I have, and it still happens now that my kids are out of the toddler tantrum stage." - Ask Moxie

"Where I struggle is under the judgmental gaze of grandparents who believe in PUNISHMENT and CONSEQUENCES when the line is crossed. I can almost hear a tsk, tsk as I do my empathic parenting. .. No matter how old I get....I still want parents' approval, you know?" - Ann

Kids don't always behave as we'd like when we're out and about.  And when they're at family gatherings, they're often over-excited and off their schedules, so their behavior can be particularly challenging. 

The hard part is that not only do we have to be extra creative to help our child cope in a way that doesn't infringe on the rights of others...We have to do it in front of an audience! An audience that we just know is judging us as bad parents. It doesn't matter whether it's grandparents judging us as Permissive and Clueless or supermarket cashiers judging us as Yelling and Mean. If we were good parents, our child wouldn't be acting up to begin with.  Right?  READ POST

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 | Permalink

"I don't understand why you say not to punish transgressions. I get the concept of the bigger the transgression, the greater the child's need is, but what if they really cross a line? Yesterday my 3-yr-old threw a book because he got mad. It hit my husband in the eye & cut his skin--yikes! I removed him from the room, told him that was not allowed ever & put him in a thinking spot. Yes? No?"  READ POST

Thursday, October 11, 2012 | Permalink

"Before we're 8 years old, we have almost no capacity to filter out information that comes to us. So if parents or teachers, people we count on to nurture us, say something hurtful to us before the age of eight...it goes in quite deep and we carry those misbeliefs with us. They profoundly affect our relationship to ourselves, to others...our sense of value in the world."  -- Dr. David Simon

What did you learn before you were eight?  That you're a capable person, worthy of adoration and an abundant life, lovable exactly as you are, even with all of your messy imperfections, bodily functions, anger, fear, and neediness?  Or maybe that you somehow aren't lovable enough to have your needs completely met, that some of your feelings and body parts are shameful, that harsh words or even blows might rain down on you at any time?  READ POST

Thursday, May 31, 2012 | Permalink