The Story of a Family

Family of two

This is a story about a tiny family of two. The mother is devoted to her little boy, considers his care her number one priority. The child, too, adores his mum. And yet the mother presents at parenting courses tearing her hair out at her son’s ‘defiant’, ‘uncooperative’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘destructive’ behaviour. She is bewildered that her son, as she sees it, deliberately breaks the rules in order to make her angry – and he does it so well. She feels that both her own anger and her child’s behaviour are both out of control.

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Real Parenting for Real Kids

Real Parents for Real Kids

How many of you began the journey of parenthood even before pregnancy either assuming all will be fine and you will have that sweet, cuddly Gerber baby and be a great parent or going at it with fervor and determination that you will never do to your kids what was done to you—so therefore your children will be happy and loving? And you certainly won’t have kids like the ones you see acting out in the supermarket.

Most moms fit somewhere in this picture of hopes and expectations and end up finding themselves in very foreign territory. I certainly did. My first child allowed me to hold up the banner of “best mother in the world”. He was a peace of cake. It was my second child, my daughter who pulled me up short and turned, no snapped, my head around, but only after many years of power struggles and feeling like a terrible mother.
For Melissa Hood, my friend and colleague, it was the same. She too was lulled by an easy first and then… I’ll let her speak for herself. And then we’re going to give away one of her new books, Real Parenting, for Real Kids, hot off the British press.

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Roosters Need Understanding Too

Roosters need understanding

No matter whether the child is hitting, not doing homework, or is out of control due to high energy, ADHD, or learning problems, to help the child, we must go to them, find out how they see things, trust them and give them our understanding. The more we criticize, blame and threaten, the more they turn away and find others who will understand them. Whether we agree or disagree, true empathy means seeing the world from another’s point of view. We don’t have to take our clothes off and join them, but we do need to understand them in a way that they feel understood and accepted. Then and only then, will they join us at the table.

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To Give In or Let Go: That is the Question

Power Struggles

I was stuck in power struggles with my daughter because I didn’t want to “give in”. If I did, I feared she would have all the power. She would learn that anytime she wanted her way, she could just dig in until she outlasted me. I couldn’t have that. So I dug in too. Until I understood how “letting go” could change our relationship. Contrary to my initial opinion, letting go was not the same as giving in. Letting go was actually in my control. It was my choice to engage or disengage from a power struggle, to make her wrong or understand where she was coming from.

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Distracted Driving Lessons

Distracted Driver

A concerned mom of a teenager and a guest blogger wrote to me with her desire to spread the word about a video game about with distracted driving. She found it to be very helpful for her teen driver. She wrote me the following story. Please check out the video game she found so helpful.

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Prevention of Drug Use: Are we looking deep enough?

Drug paraphenalia

When I see the word prevention connected to any program dealing with children’s well-being, I am no longer surprised by the blatant neglect of addressing the root of prevention—the family. Whether we are talking about bullying, resilience, school success, drugs and alcohol, high risk behaviors, you name it—the preventative factors begin at home in the parent-child relationship.

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A Connected Relationship with Your Kids

Connected relationship

If you’re thinking about making changes in your relationships with your children, here is an inspirational story from a client in Australia to get you jump-started. As you can see, it often takes time and effort. The work you put into your relationships is an investment: in your children's futures, in your long term relationships, and in your own personal growth—nothing is more worth it.

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In Times of Tragedy…

time of tragedy

The nature of tragedy is that it is out of our control. Ultimately so is just about everything. The nature of parenting is the desire to maintain control. The irony is that in order to best handle times of tragedy and to best maintain influence over our children, we first need to let go of that desire to control.

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The Skinny on “Consequences”

Whenever I talk to parents about ending the use of rewards and punishments, I hear, “But doesn’t my child have to experience a consequence for her behavior?” Sounds logical; sounds appropriate. The problem is most parents don’t allow the kinds of consequences that actually teach lessons—natural ones. Natural consequences of behavior often bring with them sadness, anger, disappointment, even failure for our children, which sometimes reflects negatively on us. We will do anything to avoid that—even by punishing. Taking away a privilege often shuts down a child’s unpleasant feelings or coerces corrected behavior—so we get what we want and think it’s working. Leaving our children to the natural consequences of their behavior may feel like abandoning them to the wolves.

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How Kids Learn to be Bad

Then the day came when he looked at me and said, “I do that because I’m a bad kid, that’s what bad kids do.” He bought into it, he heard and felt it enough that at 5 years old he labeled himself as “bad”. NOPE not happening.

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