How to be a More Confident Parent
Confident ParentDo you want to feel more confident in your parenting decisions and actions? Do you want a mutually respectful and loving relationship with your kids? Do you want a little more cooperation in your family?

Here is the book you’ll wish your parents had — because then you would have more of that confidence you long for.

When a child believes he is bad, he behaves badly; and parents react badly. This reconfirms for the child that he is bad. The age-old cycle of reward and punishment keeps spinning in order to maintain control. But punishment (consequences) is only an illusion of control. Most parents know it doesn’t work, because they end up feeling more out of control, their children “don’t listen” and resistance grows. But they don’t know what else to do.

If you find yourself in this most unhappy place, you want answers.

I hear parents complain all the time, “I’ve tried everything and nothing works.” The problem is that “everything” does not include what you truly need — a new understanding of your child and what her behavior really means.

“But if I don’t punish (use consequences), what do I do?”

The old reward and punishment system of discipline creates a disconnected relationship in which children feel unaccepted and misunderstood resulting in resistance and anger. Yet even when parents understand this, they are hard pressed to know an alternative. The answer to this question is found in a balanced relationship where blame and punishment are replaced with problem solving and holding clear boundaries — a more compassionate approach that teaches responsibility and accountability and brings parent and child together in life-long connection.

In 8 clear and simple principles of understanding children and how to most effectively confident parents, remarkable kidsrespond, Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids outlines step-by-step the “what else” you can do. Full of real life stories, Confident Parents is a “how-to” of shifting your mindset so you see your child through the eyes of understanding and compassion as opposed to the anger and frustration that usually accompany the daily struggles of life in the trenches with kids.

You can improve your child’s behavior. But not through control and arbitrary coercion. It takes a change in perception — yours. Do you see your child as mean or selfish? Or do you see that he is having a hard time controlling his impulses? Or that he is in an egocentric stage of development and cannot yet be expected to consider others? Your perception makes all the difference in how you respond to even the worst behavior. It’s about switching from judgments and criticism to what is really going on.

When you think your child never listens, you will forcefully control to make sure she does. In this place of frustration, you miss the relationship piece, and do not understand what she may be hearing in your tone or words that she is shutting out. When a parent understands how important the parent/child relationship is — the foundation of your life-long influence — the desire for holding power over your child (He has to listen to me because I’m his parent) switches to a more balanced relationship in which your child feels trusted, accepted, understood, and an important member of the family.

Using these 8 parenting principles designed to help you help your children succeed, you will learn the following truths:
  • my child wants to please me more than anything (even when he says he hates me)
  • behavior is my clue to my child’s emotional state and tells me all I need to know
  • unacceptable behavior means my child is having a problem not being a problem
  • my needs are no more or no less important than my child’s, and many more…
  • Plus you will learn the skills of connective communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution — the most important skills you can learn and teach your children.

In the second half, the book applies all 8 principles in 7 typical daily situations like getting out the door, mealtime, homework, chores, sibling fights, etc. These stories put the 8 principles into action to show you how they work.

If you’d like to read the introduction click here.

  • What do you do that makes connection with your kids? Or what breaks connection?
    Leave your answer in a comment below by midnight on Wednesday July 12 for a chance to win your free copy of Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids. On the 13th, I will use a random number generator to determine the winner and will email you.

 

Congratulations to our winner, Jan Grossman. The random number generator chose #39 out of 39 comments!!

For the rest of you, please consider purchasing the book on amazon. You can also buy the audio version here.

41 thoughts on “How to be a More Confident Parent

  1. I find that the mind change of perception is the hardest part of parenting positively or non reactively. I have a tendency to always jump to the bad or wrong conclusion and believe the worst instead of the best first. Something I am working on minute by minute, hour by hour with my kids.

  2. I am single mom. My 13 yo daughter has gotten out of hand & punishment yelling etc. back n forth over n over. I know i need to change. I desperately need help. My 18 yo son is leaving in 5 days to join the Navy & im very scared for hum but proud too. I want to be proud of my daughter not always be on her case. Please help.
    How much $ is it to order the book if i dont win a copy?

  3. My perfectionist ways have a way of breaking the connection to my kids. Even when they’ve done something pretty awesome, it’s hard for me to hold back what could be better. My expectations are high and they achieve so much, but I think they might not feel that way based on what I say to them. (My focus on this is a perfect example, as I spend time chatting with each before bedtime and have special routines — singing for the son and a secret greeting for the daughter — too, but focus on what could be better in myself as well.

    1. Try saying – “I wonder if you ever feel that I expect too much from you, or if you ever feel you’re not good enough.”

  4. Hi Bonnie,
    Since I met you in Westlock, Alberta, Canada maybe 5 years ago, I was very impress with your new ideas on how to “see” my “difficult” child in a way that helped us to generate a healthier loving relation. It has not been a easy process but very rewarding for sure.

  5. Looking back through the lens of connective parenting I see that my son’s resistance to trying new things was based in his fear. I wish I’d read Bonnie’s book then.

  6. Bonnie,

    Thanks for your continued work in this area! I work with minimally verbal kids with autism, and your principles are just as applicable to them as to move verbal children. Maybe even more so, as establishing nurturing relationships with children with autism is the only way to teach them social communication. You can’t punish a child into behaving socially.

  7. To me, in any relationship that we want to be successful in, it begins with our own images of the other person. When our image/s of our children is that they are life’s gifts to us, then we come from a place of a heartfelt connection. When having power with instead of power over; respect and cooperation reign. Seeing that behind every behavior, there is a met or unmet need. Meeting and acknowledging that everyone’s needs equally matter, creates that safe haven that everyone wants to be included in.

      1. Happy Wednesday Bonnie,
        I am new to your work, but I have already fallen in love with your wisdom that you share and spread. I came across your website through Heartatplay(Dr. Dennison’s web.). I am very curious and fired up about learning from all of your workshops. Would you please send me all the information of your upcoming workshops/ classes?

        With gratitude,
        Jasmine
        “Nothing without joy”
        L. M.

        1. I thought you were another Jasmine! So glad you follow my work. If you don’t get my newsletter, sign up for it on my website, bonnieharris.com. I include whatever I’m doing there. There’s also tons of articles, videos, etc. on the site.

  8. I really think having a new understanding is important. I am a single mom and having the clear confidence to not only understand my son but help him move forward to learn and grow in a respectful and meaningful way seems much more loving than the typical because I said so routine.

  9. Connection is definitely there when I laugh at his humor; my 12-year-old son absolutely loves this. In contrast, I find that connection is broken when I give him constructive criticism. I try to phrase my comments with “I” statements, but it doesn’t help. For example, I recently told him, “I’m concerned about your grades. I know you’re bright and capable of A’s and B’s and would like to help you, but I need you to tell me what you think happens that makes completing your homework difficult.” He typically doesn’t hear beyond the first sentence and immediately starts rolling his eyes and interrupting me, saying “I know.” Once in a blue moon he will pause and tell me something he wants help with when I use this approach, but more often than not he interrupts and doesn’t listen.

  10. Bonnie, your principles really do provide a key to effective parenting, creating the opportunity for cooperation in situations where resistance might otherwise prevail.

  11. First I would like to thank you for this opportunity! I am among the moms out there that love being home with their babies ( I homeschool my 8 yr old and 6 yr old daughters and have a 3 yr old son) but I am also driven crazy by them! I yell to much!! They fight a lot!! Therefore I feel we are unbalanced (negatively) in this wonderful growing experience! I would LOVE to turn this around!!! Thank you again!

  12. I try to find some time everyday were we have a silly moment were we just have fun, i have two boys one is 4 and the other 2, so its quite easy to be a bit silly like singing silly songs, make believe play they really enjoy it when i m not giving orders!

  13. Parenting is a struggle. What works for one child, may or may not work for the other. I’m constantly looking for new ideas and solutions. Ideas that will help me and my children to be less frustrated would be very welcome. I look forward to reading this new book.

  14. Bonnie,

    You are absolutely amazing! I attended one of your speaking engagements several months ago and strive to apply your methods every day! It’s not always easy but when I feel I’m gaining traction, it’s the most rewarding feeling! My wish is that you could reach every parent!

  15. My daughter loves to be cuddled ( she’s 6) and as soon as she runs to me in the school playground after school, she sits on my knee and we connect by touching and her telling me how her day went. The connection between us can be lost when I am busy with work and tired. If I am unable to take her to school or pick her up and spend some quality time with her after school, her behaviour gets more out of control and less calm. This i feel is because the connection has been broken. My daughter is adopted and really thrives on the consistency of regular cuddles and reassurance that she’s loved and important.

  16. Bonnie,

    Most of the time I lower my voice, he’s told me he doesn’t like it when I raise my voice, and I gently ask him what’s going on or what is bothering him. We connect in many levels (reading, cooking, exercising), but we also disconnect when he doesn’t follow instructions and we have to repeat the same thing many times. We all end up frustrated and upset. Most of the time it is because he wants to watch TV more than what we would allow him. Thank you for this post.

  17. Bonnie,
    I love this book and how insightful you are. I always add this book as a gift to every new parent I know. I hope to give out many more! Thanks Bonnie!

  18. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place.
    I will keep following your way and teach the button work to as many people I can.

  19. My two children are now adults (30 and 26), and I know there is so much I could have done better. The hardest part for me was following through on the consequences and holding the boundaries firm.

  20. Hi Bonnie,
    ‘my child is having a problem, not being a problem’ has become my mantra!
    I live in Australia and have gotten a lot out of reading your regular newsletter. Unfortunately Amazon charge excessively to post to Australia so I haven’t ordered your book but I would LOVE a copy!

  21. What do you do that makes connection with your kids – talking to my son helps make us feel closer. us doing things together and me listening to him helps. creating a safe environment for my son to feel comfortable talking to me even if it is the oddest things.
    What breaks connection – Not listening to my son breaks our connection as he gets withdrawn and stops talking. When I get upset and shout it makes things worse. I am constantly reminding myself and now I try to give my self time out when I am cross.

  22. I use your philosophy when working with parents, I know it helped me, now I just go to “what problem are they having?” but it’s so hard to translate this to frustrated parents. Thank you for your teachings.

  23. Just thinking to buy your book.. And received this opportunity to get it free! Being a parent is not easy, our job is to raise a human being but there is no school for that, we are not prepared, while to do other occupation we were spending years at school. So as parent I need to always learn & equip myself as I know my kids deserve it. Glad that I find you, thank you for your support & encouragement..

  24. Respectful communication, listening with an open heart, acknowledging feelings, providing comfort when needed and laughing together (lots) have helped to strengthen the connection I have with my children. I am so grateful for our special bond!

  25. This has come at a perfect time for me. My son is struggling with behaviour at school and I feel they are not doing enough to understand his emotions behind it all. He leaves school saying “I’m a terrible person” and his self esteem has plummeted. You work has really helped me communicate more effectively with my children, and help me understand why I react the way I do. I can’t wait to read this book now too. Wish I could give it to his school as well!!

  26. I greatly enjoyed reading your book a few years ago and still read it today. I am NOT the monster mommy I once was, and I owe that to you! Thanks so very much.

  27. As an early childhood educator I had a lot of practice respecting, soothing, encouraging other people’s children. However, there are those unseen buttons and knower/pushers of said buttons when they are our own flesh and blood!

    My own daughter would tell me to “stop yelling!” even though my voice was not raised. She was responding to my tense energetics. This generally signaled a break in connection. Later we’d wrestle with is this “my stuff”? or “your stuff”? or both of ours. To this day, as a beautiful adult, she will remind me when its mine.

    With my grand twins now, just turning one, I find we connect by my use of intimate whispers directly in their ears. It seems mysterious and intriguing to them.

    Also today I tried speaking directly to one twin’s little toes, toes belonging to feet that like to make their way on to the table. He watched while I reasoned with the toes, directing my comments to his feet, that it was their place to be under the table top. I then encouraged him to tell ‘them’ himself, which he did and they found their place on his foot rest. Did the foot come up again later? Oh, yes, but we established a playful respect, I think that was the connection. He was able to listen with some curiosity verses with the repetitive notion of “how many times do we have to tell you?”.
    Either way, the parents will be receiving your book for the twin’s first birthday!

      1. Thank you so much, I am delighted! I also just ordered the book yesterday from Toadstool Bookstore! I will bestow this one
        as a gift to another expectant mother! Here is to the well being and endurance of all children and their keepers.

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