Parenting Blog

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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

"You will always be your child's favorite toy."  -- Vicki Lansky

“Kids may be screaming for the latest gadget, but what they want more than anything is time with the family. Make that your biggest gift this year.” – MidnightBliss

All of us want to make our children's faces shine by gifting them with something special, especially at the holidays. Isn't that what makes dreams come true?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, those material presents are a bit like drugs -- the lift is temporary, followed by a deeper inner craving, eventually tinged with desperation.   READ POST

Tuesday, December 17, 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

"When your son and daughter are fighting with each other, you want them to learn to resolve their differences successfully, but you may have never learned to successfully work through conflicts yourself. Before you can teach your kids to listen, identify the problem, express their feelings, generate solutions, and find common ground, you have to learn those problem-solving skills yourself"- Laura Davis & Janis Keyser

Should you intervene in a sibling fight?  If they're working it out well themselves, No. And often, children do. They're endlessly creative. Conflict is actually good for them, because it teaches them how to work things out with other people. As Pamela Dugdale says, “Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.” 

So remind yourself that a certain amount sibling squabbling is not only normal, but necessary.  If "peace" depends on kids being forced to swallow their needs to accommodate siblings on a regular basis, it isn't good for either of them. Your children need to develop their voices, learn how to express their needs, try out strategies to meet their goals.

But they also need to learn to listen to each other, empathize, and regulate their anger rather than dumping on others.  While our modeling helps with these skills, most kids need some targeted coaching to use them, at least when emotions are running hot.  READ POST

Thursday, March 21, 2013 | Permalink

"Let there be times when you don't tell someone everything you know about her problem, even if your understanding of it is better than hers." - Guy Finley

"Self Esteem comes from feeling capable in the world, as well as from being loved unconditionally." - Ty and Linda Hatfield

Ever notice how kids don't really want to hear your solutions to their problems?  Teenagers, particularly, often react with downright hostility when we give them our good advice. That's because they need to see themselves as capable. Every time we tell our child how to handle something, we're implying that he isn't competent enough to figure it out for himself.  We're undermining his confidence, which erodes his self-esteem.   READ POST

Thursday, January 31, 2013 | 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

"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