Category Archives: Effective Discipline

Positive Parenting and Effective Praise…How to Guide for Parents of Defiant Children!

Tired of nagging your kids all the time?  Do you feel like no matter how many times you tell them to clean their rooms, the rooms are never cleaned and even seem to get messier and messier?  Worn out from refereeing sibling fights?  The answer is easier than you might think—Positive Parenting and using Effective Praise.

Positive ParentingInstead of spending your days disciplining the negative behaviors your children may be doing, create a positive parenting environment where you heavily focus on praising positive behaviors.   For instance, let’s say your child has a messy room.  Don’t nag your child until he cleans it up.  Ignore the mess, and praise your child EVERY TIME you see him put something away.  The theory behind Positive Parenting is simple—children crave their parent’s attention.  To a child, negative attention is better than no attention.  So even if your child is constantly in trouble for having a messy room, your child would much rather that happen than not have any focused attention from you at all.

So how does this work?  Simple.  Ignore the annoying behaviors your child does (e.g. have a messy room) and use effective praise for the positive behaviors.  Every time your child picks up a toy, puts even one piece of clothing in the dirty clothes hamper, praise your child.  This requires you to be more attentive to your child.  You have to catch him being good.  You, as the parent, have to be constantly looking for opportunities to praise your child.  (Yes, this might be hard at first—you’re probably very used to focusing on the negative.  You may even think that your child does very little right.  However, I’m sure there are things your child is doing well.  You just need some time to remember them!)  We’ve put together this free report on exactly how to ‘switch’ your parenting mindset from negative to positive if you want to learn more.

To help speed up the process of creating a positive parenting environment, you will need to be most effective with your praise.  Effective Praise works best if it is specific and immediate.  Saying, “Good job!” to your child is not as clear and definite as it needs to be.  The child may not even know what it is that he was doing well.  More effective positive parenting uses praise such as, “Good job putting your trucks in the toy box.”  This praise lets the child know exactly what he did well and that you believe this behavior is something he should continue to do.  Praise also has to be immediate.  Positive Parenting involves being in the moment with your kids.  The second he puts his trucks in the toy box, you need to give the praise—not hours later when your child doesn’t even remember playing with trucks that afternoon let alone putting them away.

Creating a positive parenting environment with effective praise isn’t done overnight.  Your child has taken many months or even years to develop his bad habits.  Change is slow, but it is certain if you consistently follow these suggestions.  But by developing a positive parenting environment and religiously using effective praise, you can strengthen your bond with your child and create a happier household and life for the whole family.

Positive Parenting and using Effective Praise are possible.  Start YOUR  mindset ‘switch’ today by grabbing our free report now!  

20 Minutes a Day–Just Play!

Just 20 minutes a day of playtime with your child can make a huge impact on your parent-child relationship, in your child’s behaviors, and in your child’s development. While it is important for children to play alone and to play with other children without adult interventions, we can’t overlook the huge benefit of parent-child playtime.

Children crave their parents’ attention. It makes your child feel special and important. Plus, special one-on-one time drastically reduces the likelihood that our child will be argumentative, disrespectful, or frequently get in trouble. Because your child is getting positive attention, he will be less likely to seek out negative attention by doing things to get him in trouble.

Imaginative play is a great way to spend playtime with your child. Let your child develop the story and get into their world. Let them get creative and go with it. If the trash cans are dragons, then attack those trash cans with a vengeance!

If you struggle with getting into your child’s imaginative world, but still want to participate, start by acting out stories. Act out simple children’s stories like the Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As you and your children warm up, these stories just might take on a new direction!

If getting silly just isn’t your thing, then there are tons of other ways to spend special play time with your child.

  • Play outside. Throw balls. Push your kids on swings or play on a playground. Go on a walk around the neighborhood. Take a nature hike.
  • Play games – card games – board games—kids games like “I Spy” or Hide and Seek.
  • Make a craft project together—paint a picture.
  • Cook together—bake cookies.
  • Listen to music together. Sing along. Get out the guitar or keyboard and make music. Have a dance party.
  • Read a book together.
  • Share your hobbies with your child. Take them fishing or bowling with you. My daughter loves to rock out to 90’s Alternative Rock (from my ancient cd’s) with me.

Playing with your children will build a bond that will last forever. While we tell our children that we love them, spending quality play time with your kids shows them that you love them. Remember, just 20 minutes a day of one-on-one play time with your child will make a huge positive impact on your relationship with your child!

How to Eliminate the Separation Anxiety Tantrum

Does your child erupt in an earth shattering tantrum when she is going to be separated from you?

For some parents dealing their child’s tantrums at separation can be so intense that they consider altering family plans and even work arrangements to avoid their child having a fit.

It’s common for younger children to suddenly be fearful of leaving mom or dad. If your child has never been away from you for extended periods of time, then many things can trigger separation anxiety. Family changes such as starting school or even going to a new day care can trigger separation anxiety. Even children who have gone to daycare from the time they were little can experience separation anxiety upon family changes.

Here are a few tips for parents who are dealing with their children having separation anxiety:

  1. Send a picture of the family with your child when they are going to be separated from you. If your child is having separation anxiety at school, ask the teacher if your child can keep the picture at her desk. This way if your child is starting to feel homesick, she can take a quick peek at mom or dad.
  2. Reassure your child that you will see her again soon. When dropping off your child, remind her of the schedule. Let her know who will be picking her up and when she will see you again. For example, “Have a great day at school today. Dad will be at the bus stop to pick you up when school is over. And I will see you at dinner time after I get off work.” Keep your sentences short and simple to understand.
  3. Keep a routine. Children often develop anxiety when there is instability in their schedules. Keeping a routine with a consistent daily and weekly schedule will give your child a feeling of security and thereby reduce her anxiety.
  4. Don’t dwell at drop off. Keep drop offs as brief as possible. Give your child a goodbye hug and kiss. Remind them when you will see her again, and say goodbye. Overly long, drawn out goodbyes when your child is clinging to you and you’re both crying will not help reduce your child’s separation anxiety.

Try out these tips if your child is struggling with separation anxiety and erupts in a tantrum when she’s going to be separated from you.

For more support in handling every type of tantrum, check out our Temper Tantrums Workshop.

Disciplining Children: When and When Not To

Disciplining children is overwhelming. Knowing when to discipline and when to let it go is sometimes impossible. I know from personal experience how difficult it is in the moment to know when to discipline children and when not to. When we’re in the moment with our children, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.

The best key to making the snap decision on whether to discipline your children or not is to assess the level of harm they are doing. Are your children being aggressive? Then you need to discipline children for such behaviors. Hitting, kicking, biting are all aggressive behaviors that warrant disciplining a child. Immediately stop the behavior and give your child a consequence for that behavior.

On the other hand, if your child is simply being annoying (Yes, I said it. At times even the most patient parent can be annoyed by our children!), then the best method for disciplining children is by ignoring the annoying behavior.

If your child is whining, ask him to use his “Big Boy words” and walk away.

If your children are bickering in the other room, ignore it. As long as no one is being aggressive, let them work the problem out for themselves.

There’s no need to discipline children who are bickering amongst themselves as long as no one is being aggressive. Your boss doesn’t get involved in every workplace spat and neither should you with your children.

Of course, there are gray areas when it comes to disciplining children. Let’s take swearing for example. If your child is swearing at another person, then this would be considered being verbally aggressive and you will want to discipline your child for this behavior.

However, if your child is playing alone in the other room and uses a swear word, then this is a situation where you might have a talk with your child about appropriate vs. inappropriate language, but you wouldn’t necessarily need to formally discipline him.

Ignoring is a very effective discipline strategy when it is used appropriately. It can help manage a variety of behaviors and can help kids learn appropriate ways to get attention. When combined with other discipline techniques ignoring can be a great tool.

Ignoring can help kids learn to how deal with their feelings in socially appropriate ways. For example, instead of screaming and stomping his feet when he’s upset, your child can learn other coping skills to deal his feelings of sadness or disappointment.

So what behaviors should you ignore?

  • Whining
  • Repeatedly asking the same question
  • Mildly talking back
  • Temper tantrums

Without the audience, these behaviors usually aren’t much fun and kids will give up (eventually).

How to Actively Ignore:

  1. Ignoring requires that you completely ignore your child’s misbehaviors. This means no eye contact, no conversation, and no physical touch.
  2. You will know that your attempts at ignoring are effective if the behavior gets worse initially. When a child is not getting the response he wants, he may scream louder, try to get in your face, or whine even more.
  3. Don’t give in if the behaviors start to get worse. Otherwise, this will reinforce to your child that these behaviors are effective. Once you start ignoring, make sure you continue to ignore until the behavior ceases.
  4. As soon as the behavior stops, provide your child with attention again in order to reinforce to your child that being calm gains attention and together you can talk about his feelings and find solutions to the problem that upset him.
  5. It can be helpful to sit your child down when he is calm to explain the plan. Tell him when you will ignore him and explain how he can regain your attention. Then, your child will be aware of the direct link between his behaviors and your reaction.

Common Concerns about Ignoring:

  1. Parents may be concerned that ignoring will be emotionally scarring to their child. It’s important to remember that you aren’t ignoring your child; it is the negative behaviors you are ignoring.
  2. Parents may worry that they cannot tolerate ignoring their child’s behaviors. It can be helpful to distract yourself with a book or television to help you ignore. It can also help to keep reminding yourself that although it may be distressing in the short-term it will help your child in the long-term.
  3. It’s important to work with other caregivers on discipline strategies. If you are trying to ignore your child’s tantrum and Grandma steps in to say “What’s wrong honey?” it will reinforce to the child that his behaviors are effective.

Disciplining children is a challenge that all parents face, but if you use this one key principle or ignoring the minor, irritating behaviors of your child as your guide, it will make the challenge much less daunting. Soon you’ll find yourself confident in knowing when to discipline children and when to just let it go.

For more discipline strategies, check out our Parenting Success System.  There you can discover additional discipline strategies and more discussion on when to discipline and when to not discipline your child.

So you’ve heard about Time-outs. What about Time-ins?

Time-in refers to the positive side of parenting. Children often see their parents as people who set limits and punish them for misbehaviors. In order to develop a strong parent-child relationship, you should also be seen as supportive, loving, and a source of positive attention.

It’s important in early childhood for you to develop a strong bond with your children that fosters communication and mutual respect. These elements are critical for parent-child relationships to be strong throughout your child’s teen years.

So what does a Time-in look like?

1. Catch your child doing good. Watch your children’s behaviors. Instead of reacting by punishing when your children are fighting, try praising them when they are getting along. Show them that getting along is something you want them to do by praising them when they do get along.

2. Don’t wait until they do something extraordinary to praise your kids, praise them for the little things along the way. For example, say your child misses 10 shots at his basketball game, but he makes 3 baskets. After the game, praise him for the 3 baskets (even if the team lost the game.) Likewise, don’t wait until report cards come out to praise your child for his grades, praise each test that comes home with a satisfactory score.

3. Be specific when you praise your child. Don’t just say “Good job.” It’s likely that your child will have no idea what they did good. Instead say, “Good job making those 3 baskets in the game today!”

4. Pair your praise with physical touch. Touch is very reinforcing, so when you praise your child, give her a pat on the back or a high-five.

5. Be immediate. The closer you give praise to the behavior being praised, the more likely your child will associate the two. For instance, praise your children while they are playing nicely, not two days later.

6. Avoid backhanded praise. Statements like, “Good job playing nicely together today. Why can’t you act that way every day?” totally undermines the praise.

Pairing these new strategies with ones you are currently using will make dramatic improvements in your parent-child relationship!

For more ways to change your parenting style to a more positive, uplifting parent-child relationship, check out our Defeat Defiance Guide!

Inconsistency May be Causing Your Child’s Behavior Problems

Angry boy screamingChild behavior problems are caused by many different factors.  One reason for child behavior problems is inconsistency in the child’s life.  Children need to feel secure in their environments in order to grow up happy and healthy.  Child behavior problems often occur because the child’s environment makes them feel insecure.  One way to help your child feel secure is to provide structure.  While a child may say they don’t like routines and structure, the reality is that they crave it…and need it!

So in order to begin eliminating the child behavior problems that you may face, start by creating a family routine.  Create a daily schedule for your family.  Start with defining a time that the children need to be out of bed.  List the morning chores that need to be completed and in what order.  Continue listing daily tasks and establish a set time each day for each task.  Then share the schedule with your family.  Make sure your children understand that there may be changes to the schedule due to unexpected events or special occasions, but that on most days your family will follow the set schedule.

To further eliminate the child behavior problems that you may be having, take time to track when your children are having these behavior problems.  More than likely, these will be happening during unstructured times.  A quick fix for these child behavior problems is to create structure during these times.

For example, your children are fighting frequently between 4:00 and 5:00pm.  They’re home from school and you’re busy fixing dinner.  You just want them to play nicely so that you can get dinner on the table, but every day you’re distracted by their fighting.  A simple fix to this child behavior problem is to structure that hour.  Perhaps make this homework time and send each child to his/her room to work on homework.  What if your child doesn’t have any homework on a specific night?  Then the other option would be quiet reading in his/her room.  Anything that lets your child know that from 4:00 to 5:00pm, they need to be working in their rooms.  Creating this structure for your home will eliminate many of the child behavior problems you are facing daily.

Still need help creating your family’s daily schedule?  Check out  If your family has never been on a schedule, here are some tips to get them on board?

1. The most important person to have on board with you is your spouse. If you are both in agreement that a household schedule is needed, and you are both willing to enforce it, you will be able to make your schedule work.
2. When you set up your schedule, get your kids involved. Just like anything else, if they have ownership in it, they will want to participate.
3. Make your family schedules kid-friendly. Use bright colors. Let your kids decorate it with stickers of their favorite characters. Or just let them draw pictures on it with crayons or markers. Hang it low enough for the kids to see it.
4. You’ll probably get a little more resistance from your teenagers-but do it anyway! They will benefit from this too. Again, let them be involved in making the schedule. And make sure to include some time for them to do the things they enjoy.


Things to consider when creating your family schedule:
• Give each family member their own column on your family schedule so that everyone’s unique activities can be accounted for.
• Try color coding items to make it easier to read at a glance.  Give each family member their own color and assign one color for “Family” activities that everyone does together.
• Fill in the things that happen at the same time every day or ever week first.
• Then compare each family member’s schedule.  You may need to fill in items on someone else’s schedule based on another schedule.  For example, Daisy has ballet lessons on Thursday at 4pm.  Someone has to drive her there and pick her up, right?
• Don’t forget the daily “living essentials” such as homework time, chores, housework, meal times and meal preparation, bedtime routines, morning time routines, play time, family time, etc. . .


Tips to Make Your Family Schedules Work
1. Stick to it! Don’t give up.  Rome wasn’t built in a day!
2. The best schedules are flexible ones! Things are going to happen to get you off schedule. That’s just life…don’t let it stress you out!
3. Be willing to change the schedule if it’s not working. If you only have 30 minutes scheduled for the kids to do their homework, and it’s regularly taking them 45 minutes, change the schedule to accommodate it. Don’t rush them to the point that they’re not doing a good job, just so you can stick to the schedule.

When your children know what is expected during the course of each day, the child behavior problems that you were seeing will surely decrease.  Your child will be more confident and less likely to act out when they are feeling secure in their environment, and you’ll be a happier parent too!

If you need help creating structure in your home and don’t know how to effectively deal with your child’s behavior problems, Behavior Management Coaching can help.  We will individualize our coaching to help meet your family’s unique needs.  Talk to us Today!

Positive Parenting Tips for Step-fathers

Positive Parenting with stepchildrenYou’ve married the love of your life.  You’re ready to step into a new role and move into the next phase of your life.  The only problem is your wife has an oppositional defiant child and you’re a new step-father.  You didn’t create the oppositional defiant child.  Your step-child’s behavior up until this point is not your fault, but you still can’t help noticing the stares you get from the people next to you at the grocery store while your oppositional defiant step-child has a tantrum.  So what do you do?  How do you step into the role of being a step-father?

The first step in learning to discipline an oppositional defiant step-child is to NOT discipline the child.  You are not the child’s parent.   You don’t have the natural bond that the child has with his or her biological parents.  Your new wife may be expecting you to suddenly take up the role of disciplinarian, but that is a recipe for disaster.

The first thing you need to do is develop a positive parenting relationship with your new step-child.  Figure out what it is that your step-child likes to do and participate in those activities with the child.  Say your step-son plays baseball.  Even if you don’t like baseball, attend his games.  After the game take him out for ice cream.  Tell him what a good job he did.  Show your new step-child that you’re interested in him.  Play with your new step-child.  If you both love video games, play a video game together.  Let him show you how to beat a game (Even if you’ve already beaten the game yourself 20 times!)

The key to ultimately being able to help manage your oppositional defiant step-child is to build a Positive Parenting relationship from the start.  You need to take the back seat when it comes to disciplining your step-child until you’ve solidified a positive parenting relationship with the child.  A positive parenting relationship with your step-child should start with showing your step-child that you are genuinely interested in him and then move on to a place of mutual respect.

Need more ideas on how to create a positive parenting environment in your new blended family?   Becoming a Great Step-Dad offers some realistic advice for your role as a new step-dad from a new step-dad.

  1. Don’t be Dad. Your step children (in most cases) already have a father. Whatever you do, don’t try to step into his place! And don’t’ ask them to call you “Dad.”  And don’t ever badmouth their dad, no matter how much you don’t like him.
  2. Be a Dad. While insisting on being called “Dad” is a bad idea, that doesn’t excuse you from actually being a father-figure. Act responsibly, be there for the kids when they need you, share their joys and sorrows with them, build them up as much as you can, help them with their homework, offer advice, explain how things work, organize their day, and so on — all the things you’d do if you were their actual father.
  3. Have one-on-one time. It’s easy to avoid getting close to your step-children; take some time alone with your step-children to interact with them as individuals instead of just as a “family”.
  4. Don’t talk down to them. Involve the kids in decisions, let them know what is going on each day, and just generally treat them with respect in conversations.
  5. You’re in this together, you and your step-children — both of you have to work out the whole step-relationship thing, and it’s not easy. Make sure you listen and respond to their concerns.
  6. Take cues from mom. Keep in mind that mom and your step-kids have worked out a living arrangement over years that may not make much sense to you at first but which makes sense to them. Deal with major disagreements out of earshot of the kids.
  7. Can’t Buy Me Love.  Don’t try to win them over with gifts.  Most kids are pretty savvy and will end up using your over-eagerness to manipulate you.  Plus, you’ll rest your relationship on a foundation that you can’t possibly keep up — eventually you’ll run out of gifts to give.
  8. Be open about your life, career, likes and dislikes, and interests — and make an effort to learn about theirs. Take part in their activities and involve them in yours.

Step-fathers have a lot going against them when they first become part of a blended family.  The key to building long-term success in your role as a new step-father is to make the parenting as positive as possible from the start.  As the years go by and your step-child learns to respect you, the discipline will naturally fall in place.

Behavior Management Coaching can help families develop positive parenting plans to help blended families develop stronger relationships.  Talk to us Today to learn more!


Get Off the Couch!

Man relaxing on his couchHey there arm-chair parent!  GET OFF THE COUCH!  Get on the floor and start playing with your kids.  Yes, you’re busy.  Yes, you’ve got bills to pay.  Yes, life is much more stressful than when your parents were raising you.  But none of these are valid excuses for not spending time with your child!  Your children will be grown and out of the house before you know it.  You can watch TV then.  For now, make time to get up and play with your kids.

Child behavior problems most often occur because children are seeking their parent’s attention.  No child wants to be in trouble, but being in trouble is a sure-fire way to get one’s parents to pay attention to them.  To a kid, it’s better to be in trouble than to be ignored.

So you want to reduce your child’s behavior problems?  Start playing with them.  Show your child that you care about him and are interested in him.  Encourage activities that you both enjoy.  This will build a healthy foundation for your relationship and will do remarkable things in a short amount of time toward reducing the child behavior problems you face.

So what if you just don’t know how to play with your children?  Don’t laugh.  Don’t judge.  Just sit with this idea for a minute.  Do you really remember how to play?  Do you really know how to play with your kids and not just give a half-hearted half-hour to them?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.  TODAY had an interesting article about “Making the most of playtime when it doesn’t come naturally

I love this article!  I love that she’s brutally honest that some parents just don’t know how to play with their children.  Why does our society make this a source of shame for parents?  Instead, let’s encourage parents and help them learn to love playing with their kids.

Ideas for playing with your kids:

  1. Unstructured play. Get down on the floor with your kids and play. Get physical. Have a pillow fight. Have a tickle fight. Surprise them by playing on the floor with them!
  2. Structured play. For parents that find it hard to tap into their sillier side or who feel self-conscious having a dance party or pretending to play pirates, structured play is better than no playtime. Play a board game. Or make a craft together. Pintrest is awesome, but can be way too rigid and set up an ideal of perfection for you and your child’s finished product. Craft stores and Amazon have books. Check those out.
  3. Go on an outing. Do something physical. Go fishing. Go bowling. Go skating.   And actually bowl or skate with your child. Play catch at the park. Try exploring a children’s museum together and actually interact with your child in the exhibits. Whatever you do, don’t be the parent at the children’s museum texting on her phone. Can it get more pathetic than that?

Needs some more ideas or inspiration?  Need to feel like you’re not alone?  Check out this blog on 28 Days of Play.  Again, I love this piece.  I felt understood and inspired by lots of these stories.  But don’t get too lost in the blog that you forget to play with your children!

So let’s say you’ve started playing with your kids more.  Their behavior problems have reduced, but you still hear them fighting in the other room while you’re watching a movie.  Hit the pause button.  Get off the couch and go into the room where your kids are fighting.  Yelling from the couch does nothing to stop child behavior problems.  If you don’t care enough to get up, why should your child care enough to stop the behavior?

The message that you want to send your kids is that they are an important part of your life.  This will create a home built upon mutual respect and positive energy, and one that is faced with far fewer child behavior problems and less parent stress in the meantime!  Behavior Management Coaching can help make your home environment a positive one and end the power struggles today!  Talk to us today to see how we can help!

Help! How Do I Parent My Strong Willed Child?

Strong Willed ChildSometimes you notice it as soon as you leave the hospital with your new bundle of joy.  Some children just seem to be born strong willed.  As infants they’re difficult to comfort.  They insist on holding their spoons or refuse to eat when you’re ready to feed them.  As toddlers, you battle frequent tantrums.  Parenting the strong willed child is not easy task.  It takes courage and a lot of strategic planning on your part, as the parent.  Lucky you, eh?

Some great guidance can be found at The University of Alabama’s Parent Assistance Line.  Here is a summary of some practical and simple advice for parents of a strong willed child that is covered in the article.

What should I know to better understand and help my willful child?

  • Children enter into the world with their own unique temperament. It is an inborn trait that cannot be changed. However, parents can learn to understand it, guide it, and mold it in positive directions!
  • Sometimes a parent’s temperament conflicts with that of their child. Naturally this is going to become a battleground if your parenting style is not suited to this particular child.  You may need to modify your parenting style to meet the needs of your child.  Just because a particular style worked on your other children or worked for your parents as they raised you, doesn’t mean that that specific parenting style will be effective for your child.
  • Misbehavior is more about reaction than attention. Children have built in energy detectors. If we consistently give louder and more intense reactions to misbehavior than we do compliance, children will go for the “fireworks” every time.
  • Although sometimes it may seem like it, your child is not out to “get you” or make your life miserable!
  • Children can be taught self-control and parents can learn how to starve misbehavior by not feeding it with our energy.

So what can I do to manage my strong willed child’s behavior?

It doesn’t have to always be a power struggle.  You have the ability to end the power struggle today!

  • A strong willed child loves being in control.  So give your strong willed child something to control.  If getting dressed in the morning is a power struggle, then let your child pick out his own clothes.  Who cares if they don’t match?  The school isn’t going to send your child home for uncoordinated clothing.  If eating vegetables is a constant struggle, let your child pick out the vegetables for dinner.
  • The key to giving your strong willed child choices and therefore ending many power struggles is to limit what your child is choosing from.  Select two things that you would be agreeable to and let your child pick between the two.  For example, “Cory, should the family eat peas or green beans with dinner tonight?”  Chances are if your child has made the choice for himself, he’s more likely to eat the vegetables, and you’ve won because he’s eating vegetables.  Who cares if they are peas or green beans?  The point is your strong willed child is actually eating the VEGETABLES!  He thinks he’s in charge, but you know that secretly you are!
  • Another parenting tip for parents with a strong willed child is to know what battles are worth fighting.  Some things just aren’t worth the fight.  Say you have a strong willed child who refuses to brush her hair.  Every day you have a power struggle over brushing her hair.  (I’ve known of parents who actually held their daughters down while the other parent brushes it out!  Don’t do this!)  End the power struggle today!  Tell your daughter (if she’s old enough) that brushing her hair is now her responsibility.  You can even make this a big deal—take her shopping and let her pick out a new hair brush.  Then drop the power struggle.  Don’t nag your strong willed child to brush her hair.  Don’t remind her.  Don’t even talk about it at all.  She probably won’t brush her hair for a few days.  Remember, a strong willed child wants to feel in control.  But if you stick firm to ignoring the behavior, consistently, all of the time, then chances are eventually she’ll begin brushing her hair on her own.  Again, she may think she’s won the battle, but you know that you have.

The strong willed child doesn’t have to be in charge (in fact they shouldn’t be), but it hurts no one if they think they have won the battle!  Just remember… let your Strong Willed Child win the battle so you can win the war!

Behavior Management Coaching can help parents of strong willed child design effective discipline strategies to manage their child’s defiant behaviors.  We tailor our programs to meet your individual child’s and family’s needs.  Talk to us Today!

Tips on Positive Parenting

I hate you!  You’re so unfair!  Riley’s mom is so much cooler than you are!  Do you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending fight with your child?  Do you feel that each day just goes from bad to worse?  Break the cycle of negative parenting and create a Positive Parenting program in your home.

Positive ParentingYou, alone, have the power to change the environment of your home from negative to positive parenting.  You are the parent and you are in charge.  So make a commitment to yourself and your children to turn around the atmosphere in your home and become what we call a “Positive Parent.”

Before you do this, you’re going to want to spend some time gearing up.  Take a walk, go out for dinner by yourself, get your nails done— whatever you enjoy that allows you quiet time to think.  During your thinking time, list out what it is that you love about your child.  This is the first step toward becoming a positive parent.

Ask yourself:  What does your child do well?  What qualities about your child do you admire?  What hidden talents do you see in your child that makes him a good person?  (Depending how deep you are in the negative cycle, this may seem difficult, but it’s in there!  We love our children, and as parents we see qualities in our kids that no one else can see.  Sometimes we just get so wrapped up in the day to day that we lose sight of these positive things.)

After you’ve developed your starting point, begin being a positive parent!  One great thing to do is keep a small notepad with you during the day and write down every positive thing your child does during the day.  These don’t need to be complete sentences, just ideas (Trust me, your child isn’t going to critique your grammar!).

For example:
*brushed your teeth this morning without being asked
*gave your sister the last cookie
*got a B+ on your spelling test
*didn’t tease your sister when she spilled her milk at dinner
*and so on. . .

Then, at the end of the day, when you tuck your child in for bed, read over the list.  Let your child know that you were watching and caught him doing good things that day.  Your child will love the special time you’re spending together and will relish the positive praise.  Need some tips on what you should be able to realistically expect from your child at his stage of development?  Check out the CDC’s website at
This website allows you to pick your child’s age range and has great suggestions on age-appropriate positive parenting as well as information about developmental milestones and the health and safety of your child.

Tips for Toddlers:
• Play matching games with your toddler, like shape sorting and simple puzzles.
• Encourage your child’s growing independence by letting him help with dressing himself and feeding himself.
• Respond to wanted behaviors more than you punish unwanted behaviors (use only very brief time outs). Always tell or show your child what she should do instead.
• Give your child attention and praise when she follows instructions and shows positive behavior and limit attention for defiant behavior like tantrums.
• Teach your child acceptable ways to show that she’s upset.

Tips for Preschoolers:
• Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect from her. Whenever you tell her no, follow up with what she should be doing instead.
• Help your child through the steps to solve problems when she is upset.
• Give your child a limited number of simple choices (for example, deciding what to wear, when to play, and what to eat for snack).

Tips for Middle Childhood:
• Show affection for your child. Recognize her accomplishments.
• Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—ask him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table.
• Make clear rules and stick to them, such as how long your child can watch TV or when she has to go to bed. Be clear about what behavior is okay and what is not okay.
• Do fun things together as a family, such as playing games, reading, and going to events in your community.
• Use discipline to guide and protect your child, rather than punishment to make him feel bad about himself. Follow up any discussion about what not to do with a discussion of what to do instead.
• Praise your child for good behavior. It’s best to focus praise more on what your child does (“you worked hard to figure this out”) than on traits she can’t change (“you are smart”).
• Support your child in taking on new challenges. Encourage her to solve problems on her own.

Positive Parenting is possible!  It just takes commitment on your part and a starting point.  Behavior Management Coaching helps frustrated parents develop positive parenting strategies to reduce defiance and build stronger family relationships!  Talk to us today!