Friday, May 20, 2016

Punishing Children for Being Human




There’s an excerpt from my book, The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting, that has been around the world. It is my most widely seen quote to date, and also happens to be the most controversial because people misunderstand it without its surrounding context.

“So often, children are punished for being human. They are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet, we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.”

Many parents understand the quote’s meaning, which is children aren’t perfect and that we often expect much better behavior and more self-control from our children than what even we, as grown-ups, are able to demonstrate. They have expressed wholehearted agreement and acknowledged that they, too, have been guilty of holding their children to a higher standard than they hold themselves to.

Still, there are many others who have misunderstood it to mean that we shouldn’t hold children accountable for their behavior and that we should disregard all disrespect and bad attitudes, which obviously isn’t what I’m suggesting at all.

To give context to this quote, here is what I say in my book directly afterward: “Of course, I’m not saying to always “let them by with it” just because they’re human. Teach them better! Teach them it’s not okay to project a bad mood on those around you. Teach them how to handle frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and disappointment. Teach them that it’s not acceptable to be rude to people.
Hold them to a high standard! But please, hold yourself to one, too.

Don’t project your bad moods. Learn how to handle your frustration, anger, fear, sadness, or disappointment. Don’t be rude to them. We all need high standards, and do you know what else we all need? A little grace. You know better, but sometimes you have a bad day and say something that isn’t nice, or you slam a door, or you yell at your kids.

We aren’t robots. Sometimes life is just plain hard, and we need a break, not a lecture. We need a hug, not a scornful look. We know we did wrong, but we’re having a hard time. We just need grace. The same goes for our children.”



Here’s a good exercise:

Listen to yourself and the other adults in the home today and notice whether anything you say or do would land you in trouble if you were the child.

Did you ignore your toddler while he was talking to you?

Did you yell at someone?

Have you spoken with a tone of disrespect?

Has your partner?

Did you slam a door, roll your eyes, or huff at another request?

It’s an eye opening exercise because we realize that most of us do at least one thing that we would scold our child for doing.

We have reasons, of course. We are stressed because of work. We’re sleep-deprived because of the baby. We are sick or achy or hormonal. We are good people who are trying hard and who occasionally mess up. We tend to look at the reasons behind our own behavior and give ourselves a little grace for making mistakes.

But when our kids do it, we don’t look at the reasons behind it. We see them as bratty or naughty, and we skip straight to correction. It’s okay for us to be human, but we expect better of our kids, and that’s not fair.

If I can’t keep my temper in check at all times, I don’t expect my children to have perfect emotional control. If I can’t watch my tone and speak with a kind voice always, how can I expect my little ones to manage this?

We expect these little children with their underdeveloped brains and limited life experiences to behave better than grown men and women. And if you don’t believe me, listen to the next presidential debate or spend some time scrolling your social media newsfeeds.

I’m in full support of high standards. I think we ought to expect our children to be kind, thoughtful, and well-mannered. I think we ought to live up to our own expectations, too.

It is, of course, extremely important to teach our children that it is never good to be rude or disrespectful. Children, and all humans, should be held accountable for their actions. Failing to correct our kids when they need correction is permissiveness, and that isn't positive parenting. It isn't parenting at all. They must be taught to do better, and we must do better, collectively, as well. We adults must set the standard high and lead the way. We should also remember, though, that sometimes compassion is the best teacher. Sometimes grace is the solution.

I am a good person, but I also know that I am flawed. I am an imperfect human that messes up despite my best efforts, and I know that my little imperfect humans are going to mess up, too. That doesn’t make their poor choices “okay,” but it makes them understandable and gives us all a chance to grow and improve. Sometimes correction is absolutely necessary to be sure. And sometimes we just need a little grace.


**This post was originally published at Creative Child Magazine. Find more of my Creative Child articles here.

**********************************************************************
COMING JUNE 7, 2016



Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To pre-order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To pre-order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To pre-order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To pre-order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf





SPECIAL OFFER:
When you pre-order, you can gain access to my exclusive online book club experience via Facebook. In this group, you will:

*Get direct feedback from the author
*Find accountability
*Receive the support you need to make positive, lasting change
*Get free PDFs containing discussion questions and journal prompts to do with your partners for each chapter
*Receive free printables.
*Be entered into giveaways for books, parenting courses, free coaching with a top parenting coach, and more!

Just click the link below to join our book club and then send me your pre-order either through direct Facebook messaging or by emailing it to me at admin@positive-parents.org.

*Please note this offer is only available to those who pre-order.*

                YES! I WANT TO JOIN THE BOOK CLUB!





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Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Parenting Stuff We Don't Talk About



Parenting is extremely complex, but we've tried for a long time to simplify it into discipline choices. We're told if we discipline a certain way, our kids will learn good behavior and ultimately turn out just fine.

But parenting is about so much more than just discipline.

At it's core, parenting is about relationships, and in our search for the perfect discipline tricks, we've lost sight of that. We are trained to ask "what do I do when my child...." rather than "how can I help this little person whom I love so much." We are fed study after study and opinion after opinion on the proper and least damaging way to discipline children, so it's no wonder that becomes our main focus.

But when discipline becomes our main focus, we neglect the bigger picture. Many of the other important aspects of parenting fall by the wayside as we mindfully, purposefully, intentionally focus on disciplining correctly.

I think it's time we broaden our lens. Let's back up and look at parenting in a new way - a much bigger way.

Let's Talk About Stories:
Parenting is a mixing of stories. Mom's story, Dad's story, brother's story and sister's story. Grandparents' stories and cultural stories. Media stories and unconscious stories.

And because you are holding the pen that writes the beginning of your little one's life story, it's smart to take a pause and look at your story first - look to see what is influencing the pen in your hand. What are your beliefs and where do they come from? Is your partner's beliefs about parenting in line with yours? What feeds your thoughts? What triggers your reactions? These things matter because they are at the heart of how you see and treat your children.

Let's Talk About Self-Control
What kind of example are we setting? Do we demand our children behave one way while we act in the opposite? Are we regularly losing it? You know that who we are and how we behave teaches so much more than what we say. It's time to talk about self-control.

Let's Talk About Our Marriages and Partnerships
Chances are there is somebody else involved in raising your child. Do you agree on parenting or are you polar opposites? Is this issue cause for contention in your relationship and in your home? Let's address it. Face it head on and get on the same page. It matters.

Let's Talk About Communication
Respectful, positive communication is important in growing strong, connected families. How do you communicate with your partner? Your kids? Positive, effective communication helps us understand one another, avoid conflict, and connect. It keeps us engaged in each other's lives.

Let's Talk About Trust
As I said, parenting is about relationships. A good parent-child relationship is built on a foundation of trust. How do we foster trust? How do we keep it strong as our children grow through various stages?
Building trust with an infant obviously looks much different than building trust with a tween. What if trust has been broken? How do you get it back?

Let's Talk About Family Culture
This is such a big topic. The atmosphere and family experience you provide is the world your child grows up in. It shapes her view of everything, including her self-worth. It influences her heart and mind every day, but many of us just allow our family culture to come together sort of haphazardly, without much intention or forethought, because our focus is elsewhere. Let's talk about your vision, your goals, your routines, and your traditions. This is what childhoods are made of.

Let's Talk About How We See Children
Take a look at cultural ideas and "truths" we've accepted and live by. Take a look at how this influences your parenting decisions. Let's challenge them to see if they're serving us well.

Let's Talk About Positive Discipline
Yes, discipline is an important factor, and it's good to learn positive tools that teach your children good values and skills while keeping hold of their hearts.

You will find all of this and more in my new one-of-a-kind parenting book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide.

                                      CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER

Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To pre-order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...
To pre-order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To pre-order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To pre-order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf



SPECIAL OFFER:
When you pre-order, you can gain access to my exclusive online book club via Facebook. In this group, you'll be able to chat with me and other parents as we read through this book together. You'll be given free PDFs that compliment the book and entered to win some sweet prizes. Just click the link below to join our book club and then send me your pre-order either through direct Facebook messaging or by emailing it to me at admin@positive-parents.org.

                YES! I WANT TO JOIN THE BOOK CLUB!








Here's what people are saying about Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide:
"As I soaked up the wisdom contained in this book, two words kept coming to mind: positive pathways. No matter how challenging your family situation is or how long you’ve been going down a negative road, this book offers pathways to peace, connection, and true happiness. Through practical examples, detailed steps, and soul-stirring questions, Rebecca Eanes shows us how to reach our fullest potential as parents, partners, and human beings. Let Positive Parenting set you on a path to rewriting your story in all aspects of life, in the most positive way possible."
--Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times-bestselling author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life

“Rebecca Eanes has a deep understanding of what can hold mothers and fathers back from being the parents they want to be. Positive Parenting provides concrete tools to grow the self-discipline, connection, empathy, and techniques that will help parents (and their kids!) be their best.”
 --Andrea Nair, M.A., CCC Psychotherapist, parenting educator. Creator of the Taming Tantrums App

“Watch out: Eanes' book will transform your parenting, especially if you pause to do the self-work exercises.”
--Tracy Cutchlow, author of Zero to Five

"In our always connected world of social media and Google searches there is a never-ending flow of “new and better” parenting information. It's easy to get lost in the sea of “best practices.” The focus is often on changing kids’ behavior or all the reasons you are ruining your kids. The problem is that so much of what we read seems to conflict and leaves us feeling powerless rather than truly supporting parents and families. Rebecca's new book Positive Parenting emphasizes that parenting is far more than simply making kids comply. It's about real lives, relationships, and people; It's about real moms', dads' and kids' stories and how to make those stories incredible. This book gives the reader timeless, foundational principles and practices that help to build the parent, the child and the family as a whole from the inside out."
--Andy Smithson, www.truparenting.net


Positive Parenting beautifully illustrates the choices that modern-day parents have to raise healthy and successful children through nurturing, empathetic relationships. Bolstered by research in neuroscience and human development, Eanes shows how parents must grow alongside their children, and how this parallel journey helps young people reach their full potential. This is a must-read book for all who care enough about their children to reflect deeply on themselves as parents.”
--Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, Author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers


“In this one-of-a-kind book, Rebecca Eanes goes beyond just discipline to look at the big picture of parenting. If you're longing for more in your parenting journey -- more joy, more peace, more cooperation -- I recommend Positive Parenting!” 
--Jessica Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting


“In this valuable contribution to parenting, Rebecca Eanes provides insightful, effective and practical solutions to end family conflict and build loving connections. Her masterful approach allows parents to implement powerful strategies with ease and grace, forever transforming their family life. This is a must-read for every family that yearns to create peace and harmony.”
--Dr. Shefali Tsabary, New York Times-bestselling author of The Conscious Parent

"With a belief that each parent knows their own child best and that raising children should be enjoyable, not stressful, Rebecca Eanes helps parents develop their own positive parenting blueprints to create happy, loving families. Positive Parenting helps parents work through the difficult feelings that naturally occur throughout the parenting journey and provides strategies to help raise positive thinkers."
--Katie Hurley, LCSW, author of The Happy Kid Handbook Pin It Now!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Child, Do I Have Your Heart?




He was sitting in time-out again, tears streaming down his face, his eyes cast downward, and his chin quivering. His body was only feet away from me, but his heart was completely out of reach. I had won the battle, but at what cost? I wielded my parental authority and he knew I had power over him. He sat in the chair, defeated. I wasn't celebrating my victory, though. I'd come out on top of another power struggle, but our relationship was suffering, and both of us sat there with broken hearts. To be truthful, victory felt terrible. I longed to have the bond that we once had, my sweet baby boy and I. Oh, how I missed the joy.

And I know he missed it, too.

I had fallen into a trap. Caught in the net of societal expectations, I surrendered my inner voice. Rather than doing what I felt in my heart was right, I did what magazines, family members, and experts told me was right. Yet, it always felt so wrong. After months of daily power struggles and dampening my pillow with tears many nights, I made a decision.

This is not our story.

I looked back on the simple joy I felt when he was first placed in my arms, and I wished it wasn't so hard to reach now. I recalled his eyes, the trust and attachment reflected in them in those early months, and I noticed how his eyes had changed - now dimmed with caution and misunderstanding. My sweet, sensitive boy, have I lost your heart? The answer was yes, to a certain degree I had.

But not forever. There was still hope. There was still time to make things right.

Is this where you are today? Locked in daily power struggles? Missing the bond you once had with your child? Longing to reconnect and find the joy in parenting again?

I began searching. I knew there had to be a better way for us, and the positive parenting philosophy was the spark of hope I needed. I followed it, researching, practicing, and sharing what I was learning along the way.

The change was remarkable.

My hope is for all parents and children to experience heart-to-heart connection. Here are my top 5 tips to end the power struggles and reconnect.

1. Go into their world and stay a while. We are always pushing our rushed adult agendas on our children, so let's be mindful to pause for a beat and enter their worlds. This is where connection takes place. For small children, get down on the floor and play. Build forts or blocks. Put on a (pillowcase) cape and grab a paper towel tube sword. Play video games or watch their favorite show with them. The key is to be undistracted and to let them lead the play. Let them tell you their biggest worries and wildest dreams. Race down the slide and swing side by side. Consider adding "special time" in your nightly routine, where you lie down with each child individually and really listen.

2. Show your unwavering adoration. Kids make mistakes. Yes, even the most connected child will sometimes make a poor choice, but they need to know that nothing changes the positive view we have of them. Of course, for this to be true, they must first believe we have a positive view of them, and this requires us to be mindful of our language and tone. As Dr. Gordon Neufeld says, “Children do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior.”  Even during discipline, we should make it known that our love is steadfast. The message should be "I don't like what you did, but I love you always and I believe in you."

Even though I felt love for my child when we were in a cycle of constant time-outs, even though my love didn't waver, what he experienced was isolation and withdrawal of attention and warmth, and to a child, that doesn't exactly say "I love you." Yes, let them know when they are out of line. Express disappointment in their choice. Teach them how to do better. Just be aware of what they are experiencing when you're disciplining them.

Other ways to show unwavering adoration:

  • Show delight in them when they enter the room with a warm greeting and a smile, rather than giving an immediate demand or asking a question.
  • Notice the positive things they do and point them out.
  • Be the one who always sees their light and reflects it back to them.
  • Praise effort, not outcome. He/she may have struck out on the field, but he/she showed up and played. Acknowledge the showing up.
  • Give them the gift of undivided attention.

3. Look for the reasons behind the behavior. There was a time when I was so focused on my child's behavior, judging whether it was something that needed praised or punished, that I wasn't seeing clearly the little person behind the behavior. I missed his experience, his point of view, his feelings, and his heart. When we focus so intently on behavior modification, we can't see the whole child.  Look beyond behavior to the heart of the child.

4. Offer affirming words often.

  • I believe in you.
  • You can do it.
  • I'm so glad you're mine.
  • I'm proud of you.
  • You really put a lot of effort into that.
  • You're doing so well.
  • I noticed how you ____. I appreciate that.
  • You are my sunshine!
  • You're fun to be around. You always make me laugh.
  • That was so responsible of you!
It isn't just about heaping on praise. It's more about helping children establish a positive attitude and belief in themselves and their goodness and capabilities. Our voices eventually become their inner voices, so do them a favor and make sure it's positive, not critical.

5. Change your aim. The goal of good parenting isn't to change a child's behavior; it's to reach his heart. Children learn best from those they feel connected to, so to have real lasting influence, the connection must be strong. When the focus is on the good you already see and on cultivating the positive characteristics you want to grow rather than on weeding out the negative, your home will naturally be a more positive, peaceful place, and parenting will be much more joyful.

I read several parenting books when making my shift to positive parenting, and I noticed that almost all of the books out there are primarily about discipline strategies and leave out the many other important aspects of raising children well. Many parents on my Facebook page told me they wanted help with getting their partners on board with positive parenting. They wanted to know how to manage their anger triggers and stop yelling. They needed positive communication skills. They longed to end the power struggles and reconnect with their kids. They wanted to change their stories.

They wanted their joy back. 

Over the last 3 years, I've been working on a book that will address all of these issues. Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide is not just another discipline book. It's a book about building connected families from the ground up. It's a big-picture parenting book, because parenting is about so much more than discipline. It's releasing June 7, 2016, and if you pre-order now, you're invited to a book club!  See the special offer below.


     

Positive Parenting is more than a parenting book. It's a guide to human connection. Rebecca provides a roadmap for creating happy, deeply connected families where children and parents alike are able to rise to their fullest potential.”  --Amy McCready, author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic


To pre-order in the USA: http://bit.ly/22ezDFN...

To pre-order in Canada: http://amzn.to/1WBtjrF
To pre-order in the UK: http://bit.ly/positiveparentinguk
To pre-order from any other country: http://bit.ly/positiveparentingf







SPECIAL OFFER:
When you pre-order, you can gain access to my exclusive online book club experience via Facebook. In this group, you will:

*Get direct feedback from the author
*Find accountability
*Receive the support you need to make positive, lasting change
*Get free PDFs containing discussion questions and journal prompts to do with your partners for each chapter
*Receive free printables.
*Be entered into giveaways for books, parenting courses, free coaching with a top parenting coach, and more!

Just click the link below to join our book club and then send me your pre-order either through direct Facebook messaging or by emailing it to me at admin@positive-parents.org.

*Please note this offer is only available to those who pre-order.*

                YES! I WANT TO JOIN THE BOOK CLUB!




Here's what people are saying about Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide:

"As I soaked up the wisdom contained in this book, two words kept coming to mind: positive pathways. No matter how challenging your family situation is or how long you’ve been going down a negative road, this book offers pathways to peace, connection, and true happiness. Through practical examples, detailed steps, and soul-stirring questions, Rebecca Eanes shows us how to reach our fullest potential as parents, partners, and human beings. Let Positive Parenting set you on a path to rewriting your story in all aspects of life, in the most positive way possible."
--Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times-bestselling author of Hands Free Mama and Hands Free Life


“Rebecca Eanes has a deep understanding of what can hold mothers and fathers back from being the parents they want to be. Positive Parenting provides concrete tools to grow the self-discipline, connection, empathy, and techniques that will help parents (and their kids!) be their best.”
 --Andrea Nair, M.A., CCC Psychotherapist, parenting educator. Creator of the Taming Tantrums App

“Watch out: Eanes' book will transform your parenting, especially if you pause to do the self-work exercises.”
--Tracy Cutchlow, author of Zero to Five

"In our always connected world of social media and Google searches there is a never-ending flow of “new and better” parenting information. It's easy to get lost in the sea of “best practices.” The focus is often on changing kids’ behavior or all the reasons you are ruining your kids. The problem is that so much of what we read seems to conflict and leaves us feeling powerless rather than truly supporting parents and families. Rebecca's new book Positive Parenting emphasizes that parenting is far more than simply making kids comply. It's about real lives, relationships, and people; It's about real moms', dads' and kids' stories and how to make those stories incredible. This book gives the reader timeless, foundational principles and practices that help to build the parent, the child and the family as a whole from the inside out."
--Andy Smithson, www.truparenting.net

Positive Parenting beautifully illustrates the choices that modern-day parents have to raise healthy and successful children through nurturing, empathetic relationships. Bolstered by research in neuroscience and human development, Eanes shows how parents must grow alongside their children, and how this parallel journey helps young people reach their full potential. This is a must-read book for all who care enough about their children to reflect deeply on themselves as parents.”
--Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, Author of Tomorrow’s Change Makers

“In this one-of-a-kind book, Rebecca Eanes goes beyond just discipline to look at the big picture of parenting. If you're longing for more in your parenting journey -- more joy, more peace, more cooperation -- I recommend Positive Parenting!” 
--Jessica Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting


“In this valuable contribution to parenting, Rebecca Eanes provides insightful, effective and practical solutions to end family conflict and build loving connections. Her masterful approach allows parents to implement powerful strategies with ease and grace, forever transforming their family life. This is a must-read for every family that yearns to create peace and harmony.”
--Dr. Shefali Tsabary, New York Times-bestselling author of The Conscious Parent

"With a belief that each parent knows their own child best and that raising children should be enjoyable, not stressful, Rebecca Eanes helps parents develop their own positive parenting blueprints to create happy, loving families. Positive Parenting helps parents work through the difficult feelings that naturally occur throughout the parenting journey and provides strategies to help raise positive thinkers."
--Katie Hurley, LCSW, author of The Happy Kid Handbook



Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of positive-parents.org and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the author of 3 books. Her newest book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, will be released on June 7, 2016 and is available for pre-order now. The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parenting and a co-authored book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early Childhood are both best-sellers in their categories on Amazon. She is the grateful mother to 2 boys. 
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