Saturday, March 29, 2014

Feelings - Validating Them

Emotions and Feelings are a HUGE part of misbehaviour.  Whenever I facilitate a multi-week course, I start with validating feelings and children’s emotions.   If a parent doesn't understand how a child feels, they cannot discipline in a positive way.

Understanding their emotions is easy to do.   A simple statement will bring the feeling out.  “I see you are angry”, or “I understand you are sad”.    You can use these with all age children.

Toddlers:  “I know you are sad that she took your toy…”
Young children:  “I see that must be frustrating for you…”
School age:  “That sounds embarrassing…”
Teenagers:  “You seem mad…”

These simple statements open the door to communication.   What if you say the wrong emotion? Children will automatically tell you how they are feeling… “I'm not sad, I'm mad!”   Great!  You have just taught them how to acknowledge their own feelings!   A great life skill to have.  One piece to the puzzle solved!  

I had a young dad come up to me one time and say  “I don’t have any feelings or emotions, so this is not going to work!”   First off, I don’t believe anyone is free of emotions, he just may not know how to express them properly.  Secondly, this isn't about his emotions, it is about the child's!   We are not trying to get them to be out of control emotionally as they grow.  We are just telling them we understand that they feel that way.  We let them know that it is okay to feel that way.   It’s also an open door to more conversation about what is happening to them at the time.

So, now you have validated their feeling , what do you do next?   Let’s  take a look at the above examples again…

Toddlers:  “I know you are sad that she took your toy…but we don’t hit our sister!”
Young children:  “I see that must be frustrating for you…but we don’t whine, we use our words.
School age:  “That sounds embarrassing…do you want to talk more about it?
Teenagers:  “You seem mad…want to cool off a bit and then chat some more?

Do you see how these words can open the door to conversation so that you can teach or discipline in a respectful manner? 

What if you were to take the above examples and respond like this..

“Don’t hit your sister!  I don’t care if you are mad!”
“Quit whining…I'm not going to help you if you are whining!”
“Stop sulking!  Tell me what is wrong!”
“Change that attitude.   Getting angry doesn't solve your problem!

Now with these responses, where does the child go?  To a state of rebellion, resentment, and discouragement.  They will not be willing to talk to you about what happened and things just get worse.  
Validating feelings is one piece to the positive discipline technique!

So… before discipline, teaching or helping a child, validate that you understand their emotion.  Then see what happens next!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Discipline - What it Really Means.

Positive discipline… do you hear those words all the time now? GOOD! Disciplining in a POSITIVE way will teach your children what is expected and leave both your children and yourself with self-esteem!

When we punish a child with extreme techniques (spanking, yelling, belittling, sarcasm, ignoring, etc.) we teach our children fear, resentment, and rebellion. Only the needs of the adult are met when punishment is used.

Discipline on the other hand, teaches the child what he should have done instead. It teaches life skills (yes, even at a toddler age) that he/she will use for life. It focuses on the solutions to problems, not the problem itself.

Does this mean we are letting them get away with the misbehaviour? Absolutely not, there are consequences to actions. It takes courage and hard work to parent with positive discipline techniques. Let’s talk about a few of those techniques in the coming posts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I love the lessons little children teach us.   For example:

A.J.:  *Age 3, on sofa, hands behind head, legs crossed*
Nana:  “A.J., what are you doing?”
A.J.:  “Nana, I just want to wewax!” (translation:  I just want to relax!)

There is a lesson for all of us in that story…sometimes relaxing is the best tool for parenting.  When things get uptight, overwhelming and you feel you can’t go on (or hear one more whine, cry or MOM!), just relax!  This will calm your soul, calm your mind and calm your spirit. 

Being a parent is hard!!  No argument there.  I believe we sometimes need to relax about events in our homes.   Misbehaviour is often a result of parents over reacting.  Children put up a defence and take to arguing, name calling and sometimes violence.   

Do you escalate when something goes wrong?   Do you react too quickly and then are upset when you punish too harsh? 

Take time before you react.  Relax your body and mind.  I often say “go to your happy place”.  (My happy place is pictured below… this is where my mind goes when frustrated!) Then deal with the situation appropriately.  For young toddlers, this breath of calm shouldn't be too long or they will forget what they have done.  With older children and teenagers, you can say “I need a few minutes”, then return when you are calmer.

I also think you should relax more when things are going well.  You know why they tell you on an airplane to put the oxygen mask on you first before you put it on your child?  Ya, you can’t help your child if you are passed out.  Same with parenting.

So… one thing to remember in this parenting puzzle…  “Just WEWAX!”

Thank you A.J. for reminding me of this!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Where To Begin?

Where to many pieces to add to our parenting puzzle!

In the next while, let’s deal with validating feelings, your reactions as parents, parenting styles, positive discipline (which will include MANY topics), fighting, aggression, resiliency, respect, chores and responsibilities, backtalk, defiance, encouragement and cooperation.  (Just to name a few!)  And if that isn't enough to get you going, email us with your suggestions!

I know that if parents make a change in the way they react to their children, change will happen in the home.  I have seen it happen over and over again.   Testimonials (some included in this blog) confirm this to me.   We cannot change anyone else, we can only change ourselves.  When we learn new techniques and are willing to shape ourselves into proactive parents, we experience children who are more respectful of your role as a parent. 

I also know that parents want the best for their children and are searching for better answers.   I realize that most parents are doing the best they know how.   Sometimes, just a reminder of how to do it in a different way is exactly what they need to calm the home.

So, let’s start the blog with adding the puzzle piece “CHANGE”… Change for the better.  We can start by learning new techniques to help change the atmosphere in the home.  Learning new ideas to help bring that respect to the home that both parent and children deserve.

Remember:   “We are responsible for our own change… we can make it one thing or another”

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