"The only way to help your child is to do the
work yourself. Your child needs a guide through the tsunami." – Leslie
Potter, Purejoy Parenting
Life has a way of doling out lessons that we didn't ask for, but that help us develop more wholeness. When we resist those lessons, they land in our lap over and over, until we finally tackle them. READ POST
"What I start to feel is not just anger
appropriate to the situation, but old feelings I carry from the past.
And those feelings have nothing to do with my child or the situation.
They have come up for me to take a look at them. They are part of me.
But they don't belong in my relationship with my child. They have to do
with me and the person who raised me." -- Laura Davis & Janis
Life is full of emotions that we don't have time to process in the moment. And if we have kids, we probably have more emotions and less time. Parenting is the hardest job there is. It gives us constant reminders of the places in us that need healing. So it's not surprising that sometimes we just need a good cry. READ POST
“I know one thing for sure. It is
impossible to find one’s own balance from the outside in. I now know
beyond a doubt that finding—and maintaining—our balance is an inside
job.” – Lu Hanessian
As you go through your day, you have a running list. Change the baby, feed the toddler, teach the preschooler to pick up her toys, help the elementary schooler with homework, help the tween braid her hair, negotiate with the teen, make dinner, fold laundry, pay the bills, email your boss, connect with your spouse... the list never stops. But have you fallen off your own list? READ POST
"Dr. Laura...I think we as parents need to be honest about our own anger, disappointment, sadness about our child's choices..."
I agree completely. We need to be honest about our own feelings -- with ourselves! We need to notice our emotions as they come up, take responsibility for them, and work through them. Because the truth is that every parent sometimes feels rage toward his or her child. Stuffing those feelings doesn't help anyone.
But that does NOT mean we need to "dump" our upsets on our child in the name of being honest. That's not acting like a grown-up, and it's not coaching our child to be his or her best self, either. In fact, when kids follow that modeling, it looks like tantrums. So unless there's immediate danger -- in which case you need to remove a child from harm's way -- I recommend that parents try to avoid relating to their children when they're angry.
Does that mean we aren't being honest, truthful and authentic? I don't think so. Let's take this a step at a time. READ POST
"Dr. Laura -- Could you write about transitioning
to positive discipline for parents of older kids? If I start Empathic
Parenting now with my kids 12 and 9, will it still help? How do I all of
a sudden "remove" punishment? My 9 year old always says 'Oh now I guess
I am grounded.' How do I change his thinking?"
Yes, empathic parenting always helps. Empathy creates a connection with your child. Children of any age, including teenagers, respond to that connection by being more open to your guidance.
Grounding your child, removing privileges, punishing with extra chores -- all of these approaches are meant to "teach a lesson." But research shows that kids get preoccupied with the unfairness of the punishment, instead of feeling remorse for what they did wrong. The lesson you want to teach, I assume, is that your child can make a better choice next time. You also want to teach that everyone makes mistakes, and your child has the power and courage to make amends. You want him to practice that. Right? Here's how. READ POST
"Dr. Laura.....I know I need to do a better job
with preventive maintenance like spending with my son, but I still don't know what to
say to teach him a lesson when he misbehaves. You can't prevent all
misbehavior, can you? So you still need to teach them a lesson somehow,
Yes, kids do need our guidance. They come into the world ready to learn, and they look to us to teach them. Red and blue, up and down, what to do when they get angry, how to express their needs and feelings.
We teach so many lessons, and often without even noticing that we're teaching! Because those verbal "lessons" will never teach our children as much as what we actually do. Do we yell (i.e., have tantrums) when we get angry? So will they. Or do we notice when we're getting irritated and say "I'm feeling grumpy....I'm going to take a minute to chill out and get calm...I will be right back..."? They'll learn to do that, too. READ POST
"Parents who are serious about raising children
to be decent people spend an awful lot of time guiding them. It's not
enough for us to have good values; these values must be communicated
directly... For instance, to say nothing when a child acts selfishly is
to send a clear message, and that message has more to do with the
acceptability of selfishness than it does with the virtues of
non-intrusive parenting. We need to establish clear moral guidelines, to
be explicit about what we expect, but in a way that minimizes
coercion."- Alfie Kohn
How do you raise a child who assumes responsibility for her actions, including making amends and avoiding a repeat, whether the authority figure is present or not?
You raise the kind of person who WANTS to do the "right" thing, give her the tools to manage her behavior, and empower her to see the results of her actions, so she can choose whether to repeat them.
Yesterday, we reviewed why Why Punishment Doesn't Teach Your Child Accountability. Essentially, force always produces push-back, and eventually destroys your influence with your child
As Thomas Gordon says,"The inevitable result of consistently employing power to control your kids when they're young is that you never learn how to influence."
But I can understand if you’re feeling a bit nervous right about now. We all want to raise responsible, considerate, cooperative kids. Won't they just run wild without punishment? READ POST