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Peaceful Parent, HAPPY KIDS - How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
by Dr. Laura Markham
I LOVED this book! It's a wonderful resource for all parents, regardless if you yell or not sometimes. This author is so knowledgable and experienced. I love reading anything she writes. This is one of those books that I borrowed from the library but feel like I need to purchase to keep on the shelf and read more than once.
A few points I just loved in this book:
"Most parents think that if our child would just 'behave,' we could maintain our composure as parents. The truth is that managing our own emotions and actions is what allows us to feel peaceful as parents. Ultimately, we cannot control our children or the hand life deals them - but we can always control our own actions. Parenting isn't about what our child does, but about how we respond." (page xx)
- Markham encourages parents to be "emotion coaches" to their children, teaching them about feelings and how normal they are.
- Markham suggests when we feel angry or anxious with parenting situations or when we yell at our kids, a lot of times it's due to some childhood issues we had or some experiences we've gone through, that the child's behavior is triggering those angry feelings in us. She said to be the peaceful parent we want to be and to have children who mind us, we need to work on ourselves first. (page 4)
"Your child is fairly certain to act like a child, which means someone who is still learning, has different priorities than you do, and can't always manage her feelings or actions. Her childish behavior is guaranteed to, at times, push your buttons." (page 5)
- Markham mentions an emotional relationship bank account we have with our kids. Every positive interaction we have puts into the bank account... every negative interaction takes something away and separates us from our kids. She gave the example that perhaps your child leaving a jacket on the floor drives you nuts... but in the bigger scheme of things that's not a big deal and letting it go puts more into the positive bank account. (page 17)
- When we remain calm instead of yelling, we teach our kids to regulate their own emotions. We are more able to problem solve and figure things out. (page 18)
- When kids act out, misbehave, it's an "SOS that he needs your help. He's acting out because he has big feelings he can't yet understand and articulate verbally." (page 21)
- Stay with your children during difficult emotions. Help them realize they are OK, you aren't going anywhere, emotions aren't scary. (page 27)
"The most important parenting commitment: Be your child's advocate and don't give up on him. You don't yell at a flower that isn't thriving, you water it. Appreciate who your child is and what she needs, not what you think she should need. Every child deserves at least one person who is 110 percent on their side." (page 33)
- All misbehavior comes from needs the child has that are not being met. Check in about food, sleep, alone time, rest, cuddling, fun, safety, etc. (page 35)
- "The most obvious sign that your relationship with your child needs some repair is defiance. Children will always have priorities that differ from ours, but they want to feel good about their relationship with us, so they actually want to cooperate. When they don't, it's usually a signal of disconnection. So defiance isn't a discipline problem, it's a relationship problem." (page 60)
- Special one-on-one time is really important for kids, particularly those who are misbehaving the most. 15 minutes is all it takes! Alternate doing what your child wants and what you want. Daily! Longer on weekends if you can. (page 71)
Working through difficult situations:
- Your child needs hep moving through routines. They are still young, even if they know how to get dressed, they still need your help sometimes in giving directions and supporting.
- Offer choices.
- Play it out- role play how it would go.
- Don't send an angry or upset child away to calm down. Stay with them. (page 132)
When a child is whining... fascinating ideas on what this means!
- Whining is an expression of powerlessness (page 143).
- When you won't listen to them until they talk like a "big kid," it makes them feel even less validated.
- Express to them that you know they can talk in a strong voice, then praise them when they use the strong voice. I LOVE THIS IDEA! (page 143)
- Let your child figure it out and solve the issue. "You haven't brushed your teeth yet and we need to get to bed. What could we do?" (page 187)
"Imagine your husband or wife losing their temper and screaming at you. Now imagine them three times as big as you, towering over you. Imagine that you depend on that person completely for your food, shelter, safety, protection. Imagine they are your primary source of love and self confidence and information about the world, that you have no where else to turn. Now take those feelings and magnify them by a factor of a thousand. That's something like what happens inside your child when you lose your temper at her." (page 173)
- If your child does not seem afraid of your anger, that's a sign she's seen you yelling too much and has built up defenses against it. (page 173)
- Your child cannot hear you when you discipline the behaviors if your relationship and connection is not there first.
"90 percent of your interactions with your child should be about connecting, so he can accept the 10 percent that are about correcting." (page 195)
- "Your responsibility as a parent is to work yourself out of a job." (page 203)
- We need to teach our children the skills they need to be successful adults.
- Help your child, but guide them gently, don't do it all for them. Jean Piaget said, "Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself." (page 211)
This was a phenomenal book - and I've only scratched the surface with this review. You MUST read this!