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"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

"What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens." -- Thaddeus Golas

How do you remember not to sweat the small stuff?  Keep Perspective!
I know, it's easier said than done. It's simply impossible to see the larger landscape when we're down in the swamps. And every parent finds him or herself in the swamp sometimes. 

But if we can just step back, we realize that things are actually hopeful. Start with the fact that you have this child, while there are people all over the world yearning for a child -- or, worse yet, for one they've lost. Notice how you've been transformed into a more loving, patient, responsible, joyful person just by being your child’s parent.  Then consider the sheer joy and aliveness your child brings into your life.  READ POST

Thursday, April 07, 2011 | Permalink

"Parents often fail to realize the importance of playing with children of all ages. Some new research, for example, by Anthony Pellegrini, suggests that boys who engage in playful rough and tumble wrestling with their dads have more positive social skills than boys who don't.  I always recommend what I call PlayTime, which is one-on-one time between a parent and a child where the child is completely in charge of what they do, and the parent gets down on the floor and gives their undivided, enthusiastic attention (no phone calls or dinner preparations or paying the bills)." -- Lawrence Cohen, Playful Parenting*  READ POST

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | Permalink
"When children feel their needs really matter to their parents, they can meet their parents with cooperation."  -- Sura Hart  READ POST
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 | Permalink

"Now when my four year old starts whining, I hold her. Sometimes it takes ten minutes, but then she tells me when she's done, and goes off.  It seems to ground her.  It grounds me, too." -- Kelly  READ POST

Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Permalink

"Imagine that your children's behavior is a coded message. To break the code, translate what they are doing into a sentence that starts with "I need__________" or "I feel _______."  Fill in the blank, and then respond to that need or feeling, not the behavior." -- Dr. Larry Cohen
Sometimes we all make choices that make us feel bad about ourselves. Whether it's more cake, that comment to our spouse, sleeping through the alarm clock, or yelling at our kid, we know better but do it anyway.  Why?  We're driven by some unmet need or unaddressed feeling. If we can fill that need or resolve that feeling, we can change our behavior.

Your child is no different. Punishing him for acting on his unmet needs or turbulent feelings only gets temporary obedience, if that.  Addressing the need or feeling eliminates the source of the misbehavior and allows your child to make choices that make him feel good about himself. How?

To cranky toddler:  "Nothing seems to be going right for you this morning after we stayed up so late last night....I think we need an early nap so you can get rid of your crankiness and enjoy your afternoon."

To angry four year old: "You're yelling and very upset....I can hold this pillow for you to hit....I will stay with you while you let out all your angry and sad's ok....everybody needs to cry sometimes..."

To whining seven year old: "You've been trying to get my attention all day....I'm closing my computer.  You have my undivided attention for twenty minutes. What should we do?"

To moping nine year old: "You seem sad and bored to me. I miss our special times together, since our family has gotten so busy with everyone's schedules. When the little ones nap today, let's have special time for just you and me."

To anxious twelve year old: "You're having a hard time falling asleep at night now, aren't you? That often happens with kids your age.  There's a lot going on --- your body changing, your friendships shifting, school getting harder.  Even I must seem different -- I'm still trying to figure out how to be a good parent for a kid who's growing up so fast but is still my little girl...Can I lie down with you for a bit at bedtime so we can chat for awhile?"

To disrespectful fourteen year old: "I notice you're snapping at me lately.... you know we don't talk to each other that way in this's not like you to be disrespectful....I'm wondering if this is because you've been wanting more independence and I've been saying no to things you want to do....come sit with me on the couch and let me rub your shoulders....Let's talk about how you can have the independence you want and I can still trust that you're safe."

Watch for unmet needs like sleep, connection and autonomy.  Feelings that need to vent include anger, usually with sadness or fear right behind it. You don't have to be a detective or a therapist.  Just give your child the benefit of the doubt when he misbehaves, the chance to express himself, and the miracle of your attention.  I guarantee a happier, more cooperative child.  READ POST

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Permalink

“You can complain because roses have thorns; or you can rejoice because thorns have roses”—Ziggy

"The opposite of complaining is gratitude. We should talk about things we are thankful for rather than things we are unhappy about. Our minds are like steering wheels, they take us in the direction we point them. If we focus on negative things, we will notice and attract more negative things in our life. If we focus on positive things, we will move in the direction of greater happiness and more success." -

Research shows that when we listen to complaints of any kind, we get demoralized.  Whether we're making the complaints or listening to them, our minds start on a cycle of negative thinking.

So why do we complain?

Sometimes to get attention or connect with others by commiserating.  Sometimes to avoid taking responsibility for something: It's not OUR fault!  Sometimes simply because it's the story we tell about our lives.  "You won't believe how awful my day (week, year, life) was."

Parents and kids often complain as a way to lobby each other to behave differently.  With parents, it could be called nagging.  "I can't believe you left your jacket on the floor again!"  With kids, it's an attempt to elicit parental intervention of some sort:  "He's picking on me!" or "All the other kids' parents let them!"

Challenge your family to live this week complaint-free.  Put a jar on your counter.  Every time anyone complains, that person has to put a quarter in the jar, and express gratitude in place of the complaint. 

"Not chicken again!"
might become "I am so grateful we get to have a healthy, hearty dinner and that Mom cooked it for us!" 

"I hate picking up the things you kids leave strewn around the house" might become "Dinner will be ready in ten minutes.  I'm so glad that you kids will have all your things picked up first so I can feel peaceful as I  serve everyone dinner...  I love that everyone in this family is learning to clean up his own messes."

"Can't you ever brush your hair?" might become "I love having such a beautiful daughter!"

"My boss did it again!" might become "I am grateful to have a job and a paycheck to feed my family."

 At the end of the week, donate your quarters to charity.  You'll be amazed how much money you raise for your favorite charity as you re-train yourself.

May your week be filled with the miracle of gratitude.  READ POST

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 | Permalink