4 Tips for Helping Toddlers Who Scream

Today's Q&A topic is one that I know most parents of young children will relate to - Toddlers Who Scream.

Toddler conflicts can cause you to experience a pressure-cooker-like environment at times, and believe me, your kids feel it too!

The emotional energy of your home has a tremendous effect on the way your children's brains deal with incoming stimuli.

Check in with your family. 

No More Baby Talk Please

It shouldn't hurt to ask for what we want, but what about when it does?

When kids don't immediately accept limits, it can feel frustrating. However, when we blame our emotional state on our children, they learn that it isn't safe to speak up or express how they feel.

Your frustration is valid. Don't deny it - but don't displace it, either.

Own it.

4 Strategies for Making Your Child's Sensory Sensitivities Less Painful

Do you have a sensory sensitive child? 

I am a highly sensitive person. I experience a range of hyper-reactions to everyday stimuli.

When I was growing up, my parents didn't know about sensory processing challenges, but my mom always talked about how I refused (or complained) about every kind of clothing -- too stiff, bothersome seams, choking collars or suffocating tight fabrics. 

They all "itched." 

4 Easy Ways to Communicate With Kids Without Even Thinking About It

Kids don't always "think" before they "express" because feelings are their first guide. Embracing our emotions to bring us to a new understanding of ourselves is the first step on the path to maturity.

As adults, have we fallen too far to the side of "thinking" and forgotten about our internal guide >> our feelings?

I think so.

5 Proven Ways to Encourage Responsible Behavior in Your Kids

"How can I be sure that I am encouraging responsible behavior in my child and not letting her "get away with things." - Tina, Mom of 3

This is a common and natural fear that most parents have at one time or another.  

As kids grow past the preschool years, we typically expect them to display better behaviors and more responsible actions.

But, what about those kids who don't seem to move past the meltdowns, or can't seem to stop and think before they act?

(Child under 5? Click here for 5 essential rules for communicating with young children)

What's missing?

How is it possible to parent your children the same, and yet, have one who seems emotionally mature and on target, and another who appears to be stuck in juvenile behavior, unable to control her impulses?

5 Essential Rules for Communicating With Young Children

Do you have a hard time not taking your children's behavior personally or getting upset when they refuse, protest or tantrum about the limits you set?

Does your toddler or preschooler become inconsolable when he doesn't get what he wants?

The first five years of life are a remarkable time, and quite challenging as young children grow from being helpless and dependent, to being autonomous with budding independence.

Communicating with young children, who can now control their bodies and choose to say "NO" when it feels right, can be exhausting.

I want to share a little secret with you... 

What To Do When You Get Triggered

Do you have any of these habits...

Getting testy with slow or cranky cashiers?
Complaining or criticizing things or people?
Blaming others for making you feel a certain way?
Giving the finger to the one who cut you off in traffic?

The ability to cope with and respond to our environment with grace and ease is not about "knowing the right answer," or "having better behaved kids," or a "nicer, more understanding partner." 

What Kids Really Need to Thrive

Do you ever feel like you give and give and give?

You may even feel taken advantage of if you are unconsciously giving your kids too much of what you think they need (things + correction + direction) and not enough of what they actually need to thrive. 

The CDC estimates 9.5% of children aged 3-17 have been diagnosed at some point with ADHD.

They say kids can't pay attention.

What to Do When Your Toddler "Won't Take No for an Answer!"

Toddlers Perspectives:

"No" is the best word ever.
I want what I want and I want it now.

Screaming "No" feels good.
You can't tell me.
I'll say "No" as long as I want.

There is a story I wanted to share to remind you that you can compassionately set limits with toddlers.

It's not an easy task.

You're worn out, tired, and have other children to attend to, but you can guide your little ones back to positive behaviors (instead of demanding), if you step outside your agenda just long enough to find the compassion you need to consider their experience.

How to Respond When Your Kids Are Whining

I doooooooon't waaaaaant toooooo.
I waaaant another cookieeeeeee.

Whyyyyyy can't I? Pleeeeeaase?


It is one of those parental triggers that can seem impossibly difficult to deal with because of how quickly it activates our stress response. 

Whining can get your adrenaline pumping and suddenly your innate ability to cope dwindles with every shrieky objection to your limits or attempts to empathize.

Add a bit of logical debate, legitimizing or trying to rationalize away the hysterics, and you'll drive yourself directly to Whine Fest 2014. So what do you do?

Parent According to Your State

Guest Post by Christopher White, MD Founder of Essential Parenting and co-author of Mindful Discipline. 

One common mistake I see parents make — myself included — is to try and discipline/teach their child the same regardless of their level of reactivity. It is more effective to adjust your intervention based on your state of mind in the moment.

Let's take a look at the 3 general states we exist in.

Reactive state 

In a reactive state, you may find yourself tense, frustrated, or angry. This is the state when the fire alarms are going off in your emotional brain. In the reactive state, we lose our cool and act in ways that are hurtful to other people.

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Child With Aspergers

Today's TEACHable Moments topic is one that is close to my heart. If you are new to my work, you may not know that when I was 38, I discovered that my quirks, gifts and more than a few of my struggles were the result of growing up with Asperger's Syndrome.

I know that you want to help your kids make better decisions, as did my parents, but something was missing.

Lost in translation, you could say.

3 Steps to Understanding Your Child's Behavior (Getting Back to Basics - Part III)

If you asked my grandmother how you get kids to listen - she'd probably tell you to follow the "TELL-A-LISTEN" approach...

that is -- "Me-ah tell-ah, you-ah, listen."

Ohh, if it were only that simple, Nonna. Some kids will take that controlling viewpoint and bury you in frustration (Sorry, Mom).

I know you want to help your kids grow out of childish behaviors, and mature into adults who can access their coping skills, display empathy for others and make deeper connections and better decisions.

Breaking Bad Habits (Getting Back to Basics Part II)

I want to talk about habits this week in Part II of our Getting Back to Basics series (see Part I here).

In my Conscious Communication Series which is now OPEN for enrollment, we do a lot of language transformation... shifting what we would normally say into something nonjudgmental, compassionate and proactive.

We start with identifying our habits of reacting. I'm sure you could easily list your child's bad habits, but how about yours?

Are you in the habit of over-explaining your limits? Do you try to rationalize, legitimize or persuade your children into changing their behavior?

These are the very actions that could be causing MORE misbehavior and *missed* communications.

Discipline Burnout (Getting Back to Basics)

Do you ever feel burned out? Is the stress palpable, and you sense that you don't have another ounce of energy to do what needs to be done, so you...



This time of year, everyone is aching for a summer break.

Sibling Rivalry? Strategies for Helping Your Kids Get Along

I remember feeling a lot of rage as a child. Fueled by the injustice I felt at being the "oldest" - sibling fights were an everyday occurrence in my home.

When there were incidents of disagreement among my sisters and me, they were typically handled with swift, punitive actions, and declarations of guilt and innocence were handed down. 

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

Click here to Download Your Copy
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.

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