One of the most common requests I get from parents is, “I’ve tried everything and my child still won’t listen. What can I do?” There are several factors involved in a child’s willingness to cooperate. A child not doing what she is told is less about “not listening” and more about how able she feels to do what you want her to. Before getting frustrated, try asking yourself the following?
I remember the first time I got a hurtful comment at the end of one of my articles. MyIs It Ever Okay To Spank A Child? article was published in The Atlantic, and I had no idea how far people would go in their comments. Many called me cruel names, challenged my role as a “parenting expert” and one man even called me a “psychopath.” My heart pounded, stomach flipped and a big whooshing feeling of adrenaline soared through my body.
The results of a recent spanking study circulating through the media state that roughly one-third of parents are spanking their babies. As parents are known to under-report spanking, we can assume that the percentage of parents who spank their little ones is actually even higher than this.
As a parenting educator, I make a point of sitting in sporting venues or playgrounds and watching parents interact with their children. No, I am not judging you—I am watching and learning. In this watching time, I discovered I could pick out the mothers of many children, because they seemed to be more relaxed and less irritated. I tried to distil what it was about them that made them stand out, and realized they had some traits in common.
If you are a follower of my Facebook page, you may remember reading these words: “To all the mothers staring out the window with tears in your eyes, wondering how you are going to make it through the day — yet you do get through to nighttime — please know how capable and brave you are.” That was me. I was staring out the window at 8am with tears in my eyes not sure how I was going to get my two young children to school on time and myself through the day. But I knew I would.
The compounding effects of physical awkwardness, their desire for independence, and the mean behaviour of other students can be overwhelming for a teenager. Although it is really hard to offer relationship-rescue information in a short article, I wanted to share five ideas that might help you stay connected with your teen, and to support him or her better through this wild time.
My phone has been ringing with requests from frustrated parents of four-year-olds—“Help! My child keeps freaking out and nothing I’m doing is working.” To answer this request, I enlisted the help of parenting educator colleagues, Kelly Bartlett and Andy Smithson.
There are many factors which conspire to make parenting children of this age particularly challenging:
Sometimes when I watch my child crumple into a screeching, sobbing mess at my feet, all I hear in my head is, “You have got to be kidding me! I don’t have time for this!” I can’t feel his pain, I can’t understand his mind, and I can’t find empathy for him.
I know it can feel hard to treat our children kindly and put them first when we feel distracted, exhausted or worn down by typical childhood behaviour. However, it is important for parents to understand that the way they treat their children does greatly affect their emotional, intellectual, and even physical development. How parents interact with their children influences who those children are.
I woke up this morning reminding myself of what to do when exhausted: one son woke me up the first time because he had to pee, the second time with scary dreams and then the other son woke me up at 5:45am because, “my eyes feel funny.” The routine is first to say this mantra until I believe it, “I will not start this day angry.” The next step is to think of one thing I am incredibly grateful for.
After reading Rachel Stafford's moving post, "The Bully Too Close To Home," I thought a lot about the choices available moment to moment that make such a difference in our lives and the lives of our children.
Stafford realized she wanted to stop being hard on her children and decided to put that wish into action. Many parents have asked me how to be gentler with kids, which can certainly be hard to do.
I just looked at my husband and said, “I think my Christmas Spirit is back.” Having grown up with beautifully memorable Christmases, this was a happy revelation for me. The Spirit left the year my Mom passed away and has been slowly making its return.
There are so many wonderful parenting writers and researchers out there, I wanted to provide a list of my go-to sources to make finding them easier. All the people here provide information that I trust. This is information based in solid research that made me shout with joy or move me to tears.
I remember Christmas the year my second child was born, and my oldest was two-years-old – it wasn’t pretty. The pressures to continue holiday traditions, bake up a storm, send Christmas cards and create memories to last a lifetime were close to getting the better of me.