Parenting Blog

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"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

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | 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

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

"If you entertain thoughts that... your child is manipulating you, taking advantage of you, ignoring you, or disrespecting you -- you will often feel annoyed, irritated, and angry.  However, when instead you think in terms of the needs that you and your child are trying to meet, then you are more likely to feel compassion and connection.  And you are much more likely to take action that contributes to your child's well-being as well as your own."  -- Sura Hart & Victoria Kindle-Hodson

Is your child's behavior irritating you? Whether he's whining, bossy, or defiant, here's why -- what you can do about it.  READ POST

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Permalink

"Just how much more love and attention can I give him?"

If all your love and attention aren't changing his behavior, it's because they aren't addressing the feelings driving the behavior.

Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Permalink

“Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible will make violent revolutions inevitable”  -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

July 4th marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the formal beginning of the revolution that established the United States of America.  Fireworks displays across the country will symbolize our citizens' willingness to fight and die so that we could run our own country.

It's a great opportunity to think about the process of children becoming independent.  How, exactly, does that happen?

Children become independent in a natural process of growth.  When we meet their biological need for a secure base when they're little, they can gradually explore further and further away from us, returning regularly for refueling.  Eventually, they can manage without us emotionally.  Being there when our kids need us keeps them from "looking for love in all the wrong places" such as their peer group, which some kids use as a substitute "secure base."

Of course, there's that tricky balance, which allows us to step back when our kids don't need us.  Kids need a step-by-step loosening of parental restrictions as they grow.  Beginning when they're about a year old, they usually begin rebelling if they don't get the right to make some decisions, even if only about the red cup versus the blue cup.  By the time they're two, parents need to be saying things like "You're in charge of your own body,"  by the time they're three, "You're in charge of picking your own clothes from this drawer" and by the time they're five, "You're in charge of your own playtime, so you decide whether you want to go to that party."

Our job as parents is to provide our kids with the lifeline of a strong relationship with us while giving them steadily increasing control over their own lives.  Kids who are given gradual, appropriate autonomy learn how to use it responsibly.  They grow into unique individuals who feel confident in their own skin.  They aren't as prone to peer pressure. 

Maybe most important, the peaceful evolution of independence protects our kids from the violent revolution that otherwise characterizes the teen years. It's a myth that teens have an inherent need to rebel.  What they need is to become themselves, with our blessing. 

Friday, July 02, 2010 | Permalink