How to Communicate With Angry or Aggressive Kids

How do you know when your child's emotional needs are languishing? 

My daughter can be quick to anger, and her level of reactivity is often my first clue to her current state. Angry kids have unmet needs, and developmentally speaking, they need more from us than just criticism or control. 

Let Your Kids Say No! (Teaching Assertive Language Skills)

Do you let your children say No? 

I don't mean do you let them "get away" with things?  I mean, do you allow them to disagree with you without getting angry, judging, shaming or blaming them?

If you aren't sure, think about how often you...
  • defend your limits by arguing until your child sees it your way, instead of allowing him/her to have a different point of view
  • run interference between family members to avoid conflict
  •  mediate disagreements between your kids or their peers by telling them what to do
"You will not say "No" to me. I made my decision."
"If you cannot play with the toy together, then no one plays with it."
"Now, give your sister a hug and a kiss, and tell her you're sorry."

Can You Stay Calm When Your Child Isn't?

Are you comfortable sitting with discomfort? Are you able to manage your emotions in response to what you see?

Anger was such a common response in my family growing up, that a pattern of reactivity was deeply embedded in my central nervous system.

Transforming Anger Takes Support

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As I continue to unravel my own triggered responses, I've noticed that the more I heal - the more those scarier parts of myself show up looking to be recognized.

Recently, after a particularly upsetting morning with my almost-8-year-old, she told me that I scared her "a lot."

That was enough of a wake-up call for me to admit that I've let my self-care dwindle to almost nil in the 3 years since I moved 3000 miles away from the safe haven of my chosen community - and back to my hometown.

I have struggled with rage and anger - deep, uncontrollable, meltdown overwhelm - since I was young, and while I thought I had conquered this destructive habit, becoming a parent has tested me to GROW MORE or stay stuck in the past.

No Rules for Conscious Parents

Conscious parenting has no tricks to follow - only a path led by your heart and intuition. 

Development takes time. Maturity is achieved a long childhood and after many years of trial and error.

Not after you say, "No."
Not after you give the "limit."
Not after you use a "consequence."


But with time + tools. So give yourself a break.

What's Wrong With Punitive Consequences?

Last week, I wrote about why I thought Supernanny was dead wrong in her advice to a family on Good Morning America.

I have to admit, writing a post like that both terrifies me and thrills me. I don't like pissing people off, but I do love a good a paradigm change.

And that's what I am really all about. Changing perspectives - not telling people how to parent.

How Do I Get My Kids to Listen?

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"I just want my kids to listen!"

Resonate with that? Wanting your kids to listen often comes from the need to feel heard, respected or 

I'm sure you've found (or soon will) that obedience and insisting that kids "just listen" - leads you to focus on getting what you want at the expense of the teachable moment (aka - it stops working)

Why Supernanny is DEAD WRONG!

I've really had it with Supernanny.

That's how *this parent* feels. You know when you've "really had it" with your kids. That's how I feel about this woman who has made a brand out of bad advice that just got disturbingly worse. 

Supernanny was on Good Morning America today in a segment called, "Taming Toddler Tantrums." With the wealth of information and speakers available to speak on child-rearing and current best practices, I expected more from GMA.

Tweet: We're always more receptive others when we feel we have been heard & considered. @TEACHthruLove #TEACHableMomentsClick here to TWEET GMA and tell them we need to TEACH through Love!

Sharing Your Needs With Kids


Sometimes in our fear and frustration - we end up sending unintentional messages to our kids. We tell them what we think of them instead of how we feel about what's happened and what we need or what we would like to happen next.

Demanding or insisting does not make them receptive to learning but only builds walls.  Sharing your needs and preferences increases cooperation.

Today @1pm EDT, I 'm holding a LIVE free webinar dedicated to helping you get to the bottom of behavior by learning to speak without blame, shame, judgment or guilt.

Getting to the Bottom of Behavior

She did it on purpose.
I don't know what she needs.
He's not dysregulated.
He was perfectly calm.

She chose to disobey because she didn't like my limit.
He knows the consequences, and he defied the rules anyway.

She looked at me, said she understood, and then did it anyway.
Why won't this behavior go away? Does this resonate with you? 
If so, you are like many parents who get tripped up with behavior challenges by trying to address... BEHAVIOR.  I know - totally not your fault - blame that BF Skinner guy (and maybe Supernanny) but I'm here to help you change ALL THAT!

Behavior is a Message

When you have a conflict with your child, how do you address behavior? Do you focus on what your child is doing or what he is needing?

Behaviors are messages.

No More Behavior Problems

I often share tips about how to re-frame the way you talk to your kids... but what about how you talk about your kids and about the challenges you are having?

Do you post questions in your favorite forums or conscious parenting pages? How do you describe the conflicts you experience?

He's so needy.
She won't listen.
She's so sensitive.
He's driving me nuts.
She is such a handful.
He'll defy you out of spite.
She is so disrespectful to me.
He tantrums if he doesn't get his way.
These statements lead us down a dead-end road.

Talking to Kids About Divorce

Divorce and separation - even when friendly and without conflict - are some of the most stressful events that a family can experience.

Not every friendly split has a happy ending.

But we can change that!

In today's video, I'm sharing with you my 4C's for talking to kids about divorce and separation (or really, any trauma).

Development Takes Time, Repetition & Relief

Developing maturity is about repetition and relief.

Repetition happens when we practice moving through strong impulses and overwhelming emotions.

happens when we feel that we have the support and/or the tools to move through a situation. 

4 Tips for Helping Your Child Fall Asleep

When I ask my clients to list their top 3 challenges, bedtime usually ranks on the list. We talk about sleep troubles in my classes but I rarely speak about sleep in the general manner.

I think that the expectations and rules around sleep are extremely personal (not to mention hotly debated) choices, and it would be unfair of me to comment on an individual family's challenges without intimately knowing the environment and the child.

One thing is for sure; sleep is necessary. We might hide our dark circles behind sunglasses or make-up but our brains KNOW. We can't function without good sleep.

Reactions vs. Responses

Do you cringe the moment your child starts whining or crying?
Do you turn threatening, scary or react with impatience?
Maybe you take a very left-brained, logical, methodical or practical approach?

You may have noticed that any one of these reactions often leads to a -- communication fail.

It can be frustrating to "think" we are responding, when, in fact, we are in reactive mode - looking to problem solve, advise or fix.
Today's #MindfulMondays post includes some ideas to remind you of what to say - so you can stay in responsive mode.

TEACH through Love 2014 Scholarship Winners

I have people write in almost every week and ask me if there scholarship opportunities for my programs. 

I know it took a ton of courage for everyone who submitted to put themselves out there and share so openly and honestly.

I was honored and humbled (and you made me laugh) by the submissions I received for my FIRST EVER scholarship contest to attend my upcoming parenting series - Conscious Communication - registration opens on Feb 24.

Six Ways to Help Kids Who Worry

I used to worry all the time.

I was a master at generalized anxiety.

Starting when I was eight - until my wedding day - I worried about whether my biological father or my step-father would walk me down the aisle. Everyone had an opinion on the topic which only made me feel worse. 
Despite initial resistance, they both joined me on the aisle when I was 32, but it was a long drawn-out ache that was never really tempered. 
Then... I didn't have skills to deal.


Helping Kids Who "Overreact"

What's wrong with you?
What is your problem?
Calm down!

I heard this often as a kid. Overly sensitive and highly-reactive, outbursts were a knee-jerk reaction with which I was quite familiar.

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