“If I have to ask you one more time to put on your shoes I’m going to scream!”
“Why is it so hard for you to listen!?”
“Brush your teeth, NOW!”
“Go to your room!”
Does any of this sound familiar? Do you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING is working? You don’t want to be “that” parent who is barking at their kids every day, yet here you are. You are exhausted, impatient, and don’t know what to do. Did you ever think parenting was going to be this freaking hard!?
I have two girls, ages four & seven. My first child is sweet, kind and sensitive. She’s also very anxious. When she was a toddler I had no idea what so many other parents were talking about. My daughter never had tantrums, never put herself in danger and usually listened when I asked her to do something. She was what I would consider a pretty easy kid and I thought I was kicking butt at this whole parenting thing.
Then came my second child…
My first kid did not prepare me for my second! My youngest daughter is extremely strong-willed and doesn’t take no for an answer. She can throw a pretty incredible tantrum and knows how to raise my blood pressure in about five seconds. She’s also my little snuggle bug and the most expressive and excited kid I know!
Don’t get me wrong, my first child has definitely given me my share of sleepless nights. When she turned four we realized that her anxiety and sensitivities would be extremely challenging for her as she approached school and activities. But, with some help, we have worked on her challenges as a highly sensitive child and are proud of how far she’s come.
In all reality, I know that life is actually going to be a lot harder for my first child than my second. My strong-willed child is going to be ready to rule the world. When she’s an adult she’s going to be fierce and unstoppable while her sister will likely approach life with more caution and fear. And that’s okay!
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My Postive Parenting Style
Parenting two completely different personalities can be challenging, and we all get overwhelmed trying to be the best parent we can be. And we can’t do it alone. It really does take a village to help raise a child! Part of my village are a few authors who have nailed this parenting thing and completely changed the way I see children and parenting!
There are a lot of great parenting books out there (as well as some not so great parenting books). It’s easy to get lost in information overload with so many resources, so I find it’s best to pick a few authors that align with your parenting style and study those books. I try to read (or listen) to the same books several times as we only retain a small portion of what we read. I also find that if I’m regularly reading these books it is a constant and necessary reminder of how I want to respond as a parent.
I choose to take a positive approach to parenting. I don’t want to be a parent who is constantly yelling at her kids, sending them to their rooms and shaming them for acting like kids (and yes – I’m human and have done all of those things). The first step to parenting is understanding why they are behaving the way they are and remembering that kids are kids. They don’t have a tantrum because they want to cause a scene or drive you to drink – they are having a tantrum because their brains aren’t yet developed enough for them to understand how to handle their big overwhelming feelings. When your child refuses to use the pink cup because she can only drink from a purple cup it may seem absolutely ridiculous to you as an adult. But to a three-year-old, the color of her cup is as important to her as the foods you eat and telling her she’s being ridiculous is only going to make things worse.
6 of the Best Parenting Books:
These are the parenting books that have helped me change my mindset in how I view children and the best ways to respond to them. If you have trouble finding time to read I highly recommend using Audible and listening while you’re in the car, folding laundry, or going for a walk.
If you use these books to better understand and control your reactions to your children, over time you will see the results, but it’s not easy. Give yourself grace and remember it takes time to adapt to new strategies. We all slip-up and those mistakes give us the opportunity to teach our children how to admit that we handled this wrong and ask for forgiveness.
No Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm The Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel
No Drama Discipline provides a roadmap for helping you deal with tantrums and tears without using the “old school” forms of discipline. The book explains that the true meaning of the word discipline is to instruct, not shout or reprimand. The authors teach you how to connect with your child, redirect, and acknowledge their big feelings turning meltdowns and tantrums into an opportunity for connection and growth.
There is also a workbook available called No Drama Discipline Workbook: Exercises, Activities, and Practical Strategies to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Developing Minds. I just ordered the workbook and will update you once I’m finished.
The Whole Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Bryson
This is an important read for all parents because it helps explain how the brain works and gives you strategies to help you foster positive brain development leading to calmer, happier children. This book helped me understand so much more about parenting from the standpoint of understanding the upstairs and downstairs brain and how to make them talk to each other. When you understand the reason behind your children’s behavior it can make it easier to react positively and patiently.
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This book has been around for 35 years and is an amazing parenting bible to help you learn how to cope with your children’s negative feelings, engage cooperation, use alternatives to punishment, and understand how to use appropriate phrases and responses. It is geared towards older children ages 8+. After I read this How to Talk So LIttle Kids Will Listen came out and I have focused on that book due to the age of my kids. They both have the same premise and use strategies based on the age and understanding of your child.
How to Talk So LIttle Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King
This is a follow up to How to Talk to Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk and one of the writers is the daughter of the original book author. Like the first book, the authors provide tools to help you have a positive and nurturing relationship with your kids by using positive communication strategies. It also includes a section for those with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders.
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline without Shame by Janet Lansbury
Janet Lansbury is well known for her respectful parenting techniques. No Bad Kids is specifically to help you learn to respond to your toddler with patience and love during the critical years when toddlers test our limits. Her book is based on over twenty years of hands-on experience working with parents and their toddlers.
If you have more than one child this is a must read written by the same authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen. I haven’t read this book in over a year and it’s next on my list to revisit as I’ve noticed the older my children get the stronger the sibling rivalry becomes. This book gives parents practical tools to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of their special sibling relationship.
Will these books help solve all your parenting problems? Heck no! Haha! But, I do believe having a firm parenting strategy will help make life a little easier and give you more confidence as a parent. These strategies certainly don’t work for me every time, but I know that following consistent positive strategies will help me raise children who are kind, patient, understanding, and strong.