Monday, July 27, 2015

The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting

I'm giving away 5 PDF copies of my bestselling book, The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting Second Edition!

Connection is the key to joyful parenting and raising emotionally healthy, responsible kids. Make a positive transformation in your home as you let go of fear-based techniques and embrace the philosophy of positive parenting. Filled with practical examples, personal stories, and nuggets of hard-earned wisdom, The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting has everything you need to change your parenting paradigm and enrich your family life. If you are desperately missing the close bond you once had with your child, if your days are filled with tears and frustration, this book is for you. The relationships we build with our children last a lifetime. Ultimately, love is the only leverage we have with our kids. Fear-based parenting only works as long as it can be physically or emotionally enforced, but love is a more effective motivator over time. Through being kind and firm, consistent and empathetic, we allow our children optimal development. When the child-rearing is done, the loving bond you have built is what will make your relationship with your adult child fruitful and enjoyable. Positive parenting keeps that relationship intact while teaching and guiding your child to his or her fullest potential.

Read the first chapter for free.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

3 Steps to Positive Discipline

Several years ago, I became frustrated when conventional discipline strategies not only made my son’s behavior more problematic, but also damaged our relationship. I started seeking alternatives, feeling that neither of us were benefiting from my traditional methods, and that’s when I discovered positive discipline.

Today, I’d like to share with you the 3-step process I have used for nearly 6 years now which I has been effective and truly life-changing for my family.

Step One: Assess the Need

I used to think that every misbehavior was nothing more than defiance – a sign that my child was testing his boundaries. Therefore, I felt the need to punish him for his misbehavior every time. This kept us in a terrible cycle for several months. Once I finally understood that misbehavior wasn’t a push against me but rather a signal of an underlying need, I was able to stop punishing and start listening.

An amazing thing happened. Once he actually felt listened to and understood, and once I started helping him instead of punishing him, his behavior improved dramatically.

It isn’t always obvious what the need behind the behavior is, and with toddlers and preschoolers who can’t verbalize their feelings and intentions well, it can be tricky to figure out what is causing the behavior. Even just understanding that there is a reason for it, that they are not just bent on being defiant, helps us to be compassionate and responsive.

If the need behind the behavior is simply hunger or tiredness, meeting that need resolves the problem. If the need is connection or attention, quality one-on-one time will improve behavior. Sometimes the need is to be taught skills so that they can thrive within the boundaries you’ve set for them. Assessing the need is the first step to resolving any behavior problem.

Step Two: Calm Yourself and Your Child

Undisciplined parents cannot effectively discipline children. Put on your own oxygen mask first. Ensure everyone’s safety, then take a moment to breathe. Move from emotionally reactive to cognitively responsive before you deal with the problem at hand. Once you are calm, help your child become calm. Calm brains take in and process information better than dysregulated brains, so wait until everyone’s rational brains prevail before moving forward to solve the issue.

To calm your child, try utilizing a calm-down area. Don’t worry, this won’t reward her for misbehavior. Instead, it teaches her a valuable and much needed life skill – the same one you just used when you disciplined yourself by calming down first – this teaches her self-discipline.

Step Three: Teach and Problem-Solve

The typical go-to methods, such as time out, spanking, and revocation of privileges, are effective in showing the child what they are not allowed to do, but fall short in teaching the child what they can and should do. That’s really the most important part because without knowing better ways to get their needs met, they will continue to use undesirable methods.

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You Blew It. Now What?

Despite our best efforts to be conscious, positive parents, we humans make mistakes. We’ll never be perfect, and that’s okay for our kids to see, because they’ll never be perfect either. Seeing how you admit mistakes and make amends can be a really great lesson for them.
Mistakes are opportunities to learn and improve, for us and for our children, and maintaining that mindset will prevent us from dwelling with shame. If your parenting performance today was less than stellar, here are 3 steps to repair the relationship with your child.

Admit Your Mistake.
What you can say to your child: “I’m sorry I yelled at you. I lost my cool, and you didn’t deserve that.”

The key here is to not lay blame on the child for your reactions. “I’m sorry I yelled, but you made me so mad” lays the blame on the little one. We are the adults, and our emotional reactions are our responsibility alone.

Some parents don’t want to admit mistakes or apologize for fear of looking weak or like they’re not in authority, but admission and apologizing takes courage. If we want children to own up to their mistakes and make amends for their wrongdoings, we have to set an example of that.

Learn Your Lesson
When we see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and improve, we have to take the learning and improving part seriously! Otherwise, we just excuse ourselves for bad behavior and end up repeating it over and over again. Review the events that led up to your reaction to understand what the trigger was. Once you learn what triggers your negative reactions, you can improve by creating a plan of action for the next time it happens.

Reconnect With Your Child
Rifts in relationships happen. Teaching children how to repair these rifts will help them build meaningful, healthy relationships in the future. Spend some special time with your child laughing and having fun together. Laughter is a connecter. It brings us closer and allows negative feelings to dissipate.

Progress, not perfection, is the goal of a conscious parent. We all fall. It’s what you decide to do once you’re on the ground that defines who you are.

Rise up, make amends, and keep moving.

As seen at Creative Child  

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