Proactive Parenting’s Blog

Video Games: Suck Hole or Valuable?

by Sharon Silver on September 18, 2014

Mom with ??.285*If you’d like to send in a 1-2 sentence parenting question, to be answered anonymously in our newsletter, in this blog, and in a YouTube video, and receive our FREE gift, Why is Yelling My Go-To Tool? go to  All questions will be answered in the order they arrive.

Video Games: Suck hole or Valuable?

Parent Question: “I’m facing a child that has been spending too much time on the computer and is not interested in balancing his time spent with other activities. I have made the mistake of not creating boundaries and am wondering how to back track while respecting his passion for gaming (and his potential lapse in confidence to face the world).”

The first thing you need to do is separate the two issues. There is his “potential lapse in confidence” and there is his gaming. Unless you distignish between the two, for yourself and when you speak to him, he won’t cooperate with you. 

Let’s talk gaming first. I hated video games. Hated them! I had one child who happily played outside each day, and one who only wanted to play video games. One day, when I was at work, (It was a time when I had another job other than just being a parenting educator. Shocking, I know!)  I went in to talk to our IT guy. I asked him how he learned about computers? He said, “video games!” I was relieved and frustrated at the same time. My son was really good at video games. At 8 yrs. old he could beat any adult, and almost every kid he played with. I had hoards of kids in the house competing with him. So I decided to work with that, instead of fight with that. Here are some suggestions. 

Have a family meeting and bring up your concerns. Praise your son for his success with video games. These days life revolves around technology. Who knows what his future profession with turn out to be? Both of my son’s work in the tech industry, and it started with video games! Allow your son to have input into the rules that will regulate his video game time. 

Violence: Look on each game for the ESRB (Electronic Software Rating Board) rating. They use ratings like EC for early childhood etc. Create a rule that says, if there are no ratings, or there’s a very violent rating, then I will not purchase that game. Make time to discuss the violence that is part of video games. These ongoing discussions will allow you and your husband/partner to share how you feel about violence, guns, war, etc. These ongoing talks are a great opportunity to pass on your values in a way that will most likely hold his interest. As he gets older it may seem like he isn’t hearing what you have to say about your values, but trust me, the information is getting in there. If he refuses to participate, use the video game as currency. Tell him the video games are suspended until he’s willing to fully participate in a family discussion violence etc. 

Types of games played: Just because your child’s peer group only talks about the “cool” games doesn’t mean that’s all they’re playing. During your family meeting create a rule that says he must rotate between academic games and fun games. If he won’t, then the game is unplugged and he can try again tomorrow. Challenge him with the academic games. Let him play chess, geography games, advanced math, whatever holds his interest. 

Time spent Playing video games: Video games are solitary and sedentary. To help offset this fact, do an activity trade. This will also help him with his “lapse in self confidence.” For every 30 minutes, or whatever you decide is appropriate, of large muscle activity, i.e. running, bike riding, basketball, he can earn 10-20 minutes of video game time. Another thing you can do is purchase games that promote movement, things like dancing, or exercise games. 

Declare Nonelectronic Days: I’m on the computer every-single-day and I’ve noticed that my body, my brain, my eyes need a break, and so does my soul. I need fresh air, human interaction, and nature to balance me. Kids do too. Create nonelectronic family days. No cell phones, no TV, no computers, nothing. Do something as a family and enjoy!

Aggression: You didn’t mention this in your question, but others may have this issue. Some kids overload on video games and get aggressive as a result. Figure out what your child’s aggression point is. Let him play video games for 5 minutes. Then he has to go outside for 15 minutes. Increase the amount of video game to outdoor activity ratio, until he becomes aggressive. That’s his aggression point. Now you know what his time limit is and you can adjust the rules to fit his personal saturation point. 

For younger kids: When you ask a child to turn off a video game and he screams, “it’s not done!” it’s time to introduce him to the “save game” function. Teach him he can stop the game, without losing anything, and return tomorrow. This will stop a lot of fights. 

Lapse in confidence: This is something both boys and girls go through. Since you’re writing about your son, I will focus there. Not every young boy is confident right out of the gate. We all want our kids to be confident, some just need more time than others. Is his “lapse in confidence” your assessment of his abilities? Or has he stated that he doesn’t feel confident? Once you’ve established who’s perception of this you’re dealing with, try asking him what he’s interested in now, other than video games. Also ask him what he’s always wished he could try. One young boy wanted to join the circus. His mom found acrobat classes at a local kids center. Once he found others who held similar interests he blossomed into a very confident kid. There are the regular activities, and there are activities that are off the beaten path. Things like book binding, drawing, painting, blacksmithing, gardening, cooking, fencing, swiming, boating, rowing, and so much more. I hope this helps.

*If you like what you read here, download two free chapters of Proactive Parenting’s book, Stop Reacting and Start Responding at


A Disrespectful Child: The Pressure of Silence

by Sharon Silver on September 15, 2014

eBook-Cover-285*If you would like to send in a 1-2 sentence parenting question, to be answered anonymously in our newsletter, in this blog, and in a YouTube video, and receive our FREE gift, Why is Yelling My Go-To Tool? go to  All questions will be answered in the order they arrive.

 A Disrespectful Child: The Pressure of Silence

Parent Question: “My 5 yr. old is talking back and has disrespectful behavior. Recently it has escalated to swearing, we don’t know where he is getting it from.”

This is a very common problem at this age. The developmental stage he is in motivates him to find ways to be big and powerful. That’s why superheroes are such a big hit at this age.

He probably heard a friend or a child in school swear or act disrespectfully, and then saw the reaction the child got from the adults. When a parent corrects a child, the parent focuses all of their attention on the child. Since children have immature ways of looking at things, they can easily misinterpret and misunderstand the full focus a parent uses when correcting behavior and decide, “Wow, I have mom’s full attention, so I guess misbehaving is a  great way to get her attention.” The full explanation for this phenomenon will appear again and again in this blog as I answer questions.

After this 5 yr. old saw how the adults reacted, he unconsciously decided to try the same thing to see what your reaction would be.

Why would he do this?

Each time a child completes a new developmental stage, he feels like a brand new person with a fresh new perspective. His unconscious motivates him to do something he knows he’s not supposed to do so he can find out if his parents, and the rules, are the same today as they were yesterday, before he gained his new “older” way of seeing how the world works.

This new perspective, the “older” way of looking at the world, is the result of rapid brain development after the developmental phase is complete. 

Finding out that his parents, and the rules are the same from day-to-day regardless of how much he changes, gives him a sense of safety during a time of tremendous internal growth and change.

This sequence of events, after each developmental stage, teaches him that he can count on his parents to be a stable force in his life, even when he grows and changes. Knowing his parents will always hold the boundary and adhere to the rules becomes invaluable to him as his life experiences become more and more complex.

Does this mean his behavior is bad? Does this mean you should yell and punish him? Does this mean you shouldn’t correct his behavior or show him that swearing is not allowed?          Heavens no!

So what should you do? 

I suggest you remain calm, and simply stand beside him as you firmly say, “Try again!” Then say nothing more. Of course the first few times you say “Try Again” you’ll need to first explain the concept to him. 
You do that by saying, “When I say ‘try again’ I am asking you to stop and think about what you just said, and say it again without using swear words or being disrespectful.” The parent needs to remain silent until the child rephrases what he said. Let the pressure of silence work for you. It shows the child you mean business and stops you from yelling.

After hearing that explanation a few times you’ll be able to simple say, “Try Again” and he’ll understand what you mean. If he is swearing at school, well, that’s another question for another day.

The words “Try again” are like a do over, a reset button showing a child there will be no talking until you realize what you’ve done or said and either rephrase your statement or repair the situation. This method works well with any age group, and is especially valuable with tweens and teens!

*If you like what you read here, download two free chapters of Proactive Parenting’s book, Stop Reacting and Start Responding at


Connecting or the Drain-Train: What will you choose?

by Sharon Silver on August 19, 2014

4 Thngs can't recoverLIFE QUESTION TUESDAY:

How is the pace of daily life affecting your emotional intensity with the kids?

When was the last time you were talking with someone and got lost in the conversation? When was the last time 30 minutes or an hour flew by becasue you were having fun? When was the last time you really felt like yourself? Think about…I’ll wait a moment…it was that long ago, huh? I know, it sucks doesn’t it!

The truth is life is about the connections we make. The connections we make to one another. The connections we make to ourselves. And the connections we make to our kids. The sad thing is our kids are counting on us to connect with them. They need to feel connected in order to floursh and grow. We need that too, only we think because we live in the big bad fast paced world with all our technology that we don’t need true authentic connections, but we do.

Facebook, Twitter and Google + are fine, and they have their place, but social media doesn’t look you in the eye. Social media doesn’t have an energy that radiates back and forth between people. When human beings feel isolated they lash out. They become intense and begin loosing a part of themselves, bit by bit. Don’t let that happen. Don’t let that happen between you and your kids.

Now, let me ask you again, and this time be honest with yourself, “How is the pace of daily life affecting your emotional intensity with the kids?”

I hear people say this all the time, “There’s nothing I can do about my workload? The pace of my life is too intense! I’m only one person, I can’t do it all!” I hear you. And you may or may not be able to make any changes, I don’t know you, so I beleive you. BUT…what about connections. Connections feed the fire, fuel the heart, and energize the body, mind and spirit. You need to feel connected to others in order to live at the pace you’re living at.

So let me challenge you. If you are tired, overworked, rushed, cranky, feeling shortchanged, resentful, not feeling like yourself, what will you do to change it?

You have the power to change! You do.

Begin with small steps. Reach out and connect with a friend or co-worker. Have breakfast for dinner and snuggles for desert, so you and the kids can connect instead of fighting about the veggies. Call a freind instead of texting. Have coffee instead of connecting on social media. Really feel what it feels like to truly connect again. Once you’ve expereinced that invigorating and nourishing feeling, go connect with your kids. As you connect with the kids I think you’ll feel the emotional intensity you’ve been feeling for a while now, you know the drain-train that has been causing you to react and yell, begin to soften.

Let me know what you’re going to do to connect. Yes, I want you to connect by writing a comment. Let me know how this goes. Take your personal power back and connect with friends and loved ones!


Your Family’s Mission Impossible!

by Sharon Silver on August 1, 2014

Home-Page-Photo-Moma-and-BoyTHIS WEEKEND: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to purposefully CONNECT with your child.

Practice unconditional love and watch how connected you and your child become. Tend to feelings before you address behavior. To get you started here are 4 different things you can do.

1. Start and end with love. Ask yourself, "Is this most loving way I can handle this?" Be kind and attentive, and watch what happens.

2. Make your child feel unique. The best way to do this is to use specific, not global praise. Focus on the little details when you send praise your child's way. Things like, "I like the fact that you used every single color in the box to make this drawing!" That tells him/her you're actually paying attention. And that my friends, is what creates high self-esteem. 

3. Give your child some freedom and power. With "Freedom Comes Responsibility." The way to let go, without feeling like you need to be a helicopter parent in order to keep him/her safe, is to surround freedom with clear boundaries, AND the willingness to let him/her learn from the results of his/her actions. When you show your child you trust their decision making skills, they realize they must dig deep and remember all that you have taught them without reminders from you. That immediately gives them a sense of personal responsibiltiy, makes them feel connected to you, and proud of themselves. 

4. Raise the bar a little bit by doing something a little more grownup this weekend. Maybe take in a museum, have dinner at a "real" restaurant. Do something that says, "i believe in your ability to handle yourself well in public. Doing things like that asks your child to self regulate and tells him/her why you constantly say, "There is a reason I ask you not to burp at the dinner table! It's so we can go to a real restaurant one of these days." Well one of these days could be this weekend!

Have a great weekend. Let me know how things work out! 


A Sh#t Detector for Kids?

by Sharon Silver on July 22, 2014

Boy thinking285

Today’s email brought me an announcement from Oprah, Deepak Chopra and Marie Forleo about intuition and meditation.

That got me thinking about a question a parent asked me, “What is the best way for me to introduce intuition to my child?” 

Hmmm. There are many ways to introduce the concept of intuition to a child. How you do it depends on what you believe, and how you access your own intuition?

You want this to be a natural conversation between you and your child. Your child will glean details from your tone of voice and modeling. They’ll learn by watching and listening to how you apply intuition to the decisions you have to make in life.

If you’ve never thought about your intuition, then these ideas will be helpful to you as well.

Step One: What is intuition?

Intuition is most often that feeling you get when something is off. It can, of course, be a feeling that’s telling you to go for it, too.

Francis P Cholle wrote an article for Psychology Today explaining intuition as, “A gut feeling—or a hunch—is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted upon if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence.”

When introducing this concept to your child you could say, “It’s your inner bells, whistles, and alarms telling you something isn’t right or you shouldn’t do something.”

The reason we first teach kids that intuition is about being alerted when you’re headed down the wrong path, is because that warning system is loud and unmistakable, therefore it's a good way to introduce a child to intuition and how it works.

When my kids were 13 and 10 I taught them the term, “Shit Detector.” They of course loved that term because they could say the words shit. Hubby and I made it very clear they could only use the word shit in the context of a conversation about intuition.

You may remember a story I've told about Tall (my older son) when he was backpacking in Europe. His “shit detector” went off while walking in a market in Greece. He instinctively reached around to check his wallet, only to find a woman with her hand in his pocket attempting to lift his wallet! Lesson learned, when traveling put wallet in hidden belt!

Step Two: Finding Your Intuition

It takes time to get familiar with the intuition process. Actually, it takes adults longer to get in touch with their intuition than it does for kids.

Kids have to make decisions everyday knowing, and feeling, like their parents are looking over their shoulder. They know that creepy feeling of, “Uh Oh” that rises up to inform them when they’re about to enter into a situation they shouldn’t be in.

On the other hand, adults tend to resist the concept of checking in with themselves to see if a decision is a good one.

Step Three: How Do I Hear my Intuition?

One of the best ways I know to begin experiencing intuition is to go from a calm and focused state, to asking a question about the situation, so you can see how your body reacts.

Most of the time you won’t hear your mind talking to you, you’ll just get a feeling, aka the shit detector, the bells and whistles go off.

Creating a calm state for kids could mean going outside for some physical activity, or reading a book, or watching a video, so they’re not focused on the situation, then having them asking themselves, “Should I do this?” paying attention to any signals their body sends them as they ask that question.

For an adult it could mean going for a drive, or meditating, or reading a book, then thinking about the issue at hand to see how your body feels.

Step Four: The Signs

The signals you want to make your child aware of when their intuition is trying to tell them something are: a tight tummy, breathing fast, or a sense of uh, oh as they think about the situation. You can even give them a visual to guide them, “When you think about doing (blank) does it feel like you’re dragging a team of horses behind you? Because if does, that’s your intuition saying, this is not a good idea!

On the other hand, if after considering the situation you feel enthused, free, hopeful, light, or calmer, that’s a pretty good sign that your intuition is giving you the thumbs up.

Step Five: Application

Everything in life has a lesson attached to it. Following your intuition does not give you a “get out of jail free” card. Sometimes life guides us down a path specifically to teach us a lesson. It’s the same for kids, too. Teach them not to stop trusting their intuition if the outcome ended up being different than they thought it would be.

Model how to access your intuition in front of your kids. When they ask you if they can do (blank) tell them, “You know I’m not sure about that. So I’m going to take a moment and check in with myself because my intuition is telling me something doesn’t feel right, maybe you should do the same thing.”

Raising kids means teaching them some things now, when they don’t seem to need it, so they can be practiced and ready to rely on those skills when they do need them. 

Also, are you looking for intutive ways to parent? Then Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be is for you!

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The Impossibility of Consistency

by Sharon Silver on June 23, 2014

Rules 285Have you read the HuffPo article, What If Consistency Isn’t the Key to Good Parenting? Author Beth Woolsey challenges the concept of consistency. She states, “I think I’ve read it in every parenting book. Heard it from the lips of all the parenting experts. Consistency is the key to good parenting, they say, and there are few principals more important.”

She goes on to further challenge that theory, it’s a good read, and I agree with her.

I think it's impossible to be consistent 100% of the time. I think adhering to the “traditional” definition of consistency makes parents feel like failures, when getting through the day is hard enough. No one can be consistent 100% of the time. However, there is another way to look at consistency, one that makes being consistent extremely doable.

In order to achieve this new way of being consistent, you have to look at why the “traditional” model of consistency no longer works in our world.

Reason #1: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but life is far different now than it was when your parents where parenting you. Life isn't static; the way it was yesterday isn't the way it is today. Life requires you to keep up with the moment-to-moment changes that are occurring in response to new stimuli. And these days it seems like the pace of life, and the pace of the changes coming at you, has increased ten-fold. 

Reason #2: Your children are growing and maturing each time they experience new situations, people, and aspects about themselves. You too, are growing and changing. You’re not the same person you were when you began parenting. You’ve changed in response to the shifts you’ve experienced out in the world, and from parenting your children.

So, if you use the "traditional" definition of consistency, you know the one your parents used with you, that states, “Once a I make a rule, the rule stands, no matter what,” you’ve just boxed yourself in to a situation that makes no allowances for those moment–to–moment changes that you and your child are experiencing.

Wait. Breathe. Don’t start typing a comment just yet. I do know there are some kids that absolutely need the “traditional” type of consistency. It just works for them. If you’ve been reading me for a while you know I have one rule, “if it works, do-not-change-it!” So if consistency is what allows your child to feel safe, listen and cooperate, then please don’t change it.

However, if being consistent feels like a rule you break more often than you’d like, I have a solution. Reframe it. You heard me. We can reframe the word consistent and redefine how we use consistency in parenting? Let me explain.

Instead of believing that changing a rule can only translate to your child as, “See Mommy and Daddy really can be talked into breaking a rule,” think again. This is where we can reframe and redefine consistency.

Since you and your child are changing each and every moment of the day, why not honor that, and at the same time be firm and consistent in a way that teaches self-regulation.

What if you redefine consistency as, I am, and always will be the authority in this house. I am, and always will be the one who loves you more than anything and will always have your best interest at heart. I am, and always will be the one who knows when you’ve grown past the rules of yesterday and need to have new rules. I am, and always will be the one who understands the silent messages you’re sending by your behavior showing me that it’s time to support your growth by relaxing the rules so we can both see how you do with more responsibility?”  What about using those statements to define consistency?

When you use that definition of consistency you’ll find that you can change the rules without losing your authority. You’ll find that you can help your child stretch and grow. And you’ll find that the new boundary that's created is teachable, firmer, empowering and supportive all at the same time.

Here’s how it would sound. “I know we always had a rule that there were no snacks before dinner. But I see you’ve grown up a bit since the time that rule was made, so I think it might be time to give you a chance to show me that you can have a small, healthy snack, and still eat dinner without reminders from me or Dad. What do you think? However, if Dad and I need to go back to reminding you to eat, which we haven’t had to do since we stopped having snacks, then you’ll be showing me you aren’t ready to have snacks again. Do you agree to all of this?”

Most of us are trying to teach our children to self-regulate and begin thinking for themselves. Most of us want to parent differently than our parents did. Changing the definition of consistency let’s you change your mind, or relax the rules, and let’s be honest, you were doing that anyway. Also this new definition empowers kids to learn about self-regulation within the new boundaries that are now far easier to enforce.

This is just another way to respond, not react, when parenting. Just thought you’d want to know.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and please if you agree, share this with others, especially those who think like you do!  


I Thought I Really Did Some Damage!

by Sharon Silver on June 16, 2014

sm Kids draws family

I thought it might too late. I was afraid I’d really done some damage this time.

I’m not a person who likes the dentist. No, really, I-don’t-like-the-dentist! So when I noticed that it was time to have my teeth cleaned, I began to think, no thanks, I think I’ll wait. And wait I did. And I waited, and waited, and waited. Then I began to fear that it was too late. I feared that maybe I had done so much damage to my teeth that I wouldn’t be able to fix the damage. So I waited some more. Not a good choice.

Yes, the amount of time it took to clean my teeth could have been reduced by half if I had stop focusing on the embarrassment and shame, and simply made the choice to face reality. I just got back from the dentist, and all is well.

Then I saw this article on HuffPo, “It’s Not Too Late to Stop Yelling at Your Kids.” After reading it I began to wonder if parents believed that once you’re a yeller, you’re always a yeller, that some things just can’t be changed.

That’s a lie! And I’m here to tell you—I am a reformed yeller! My story is at                                                         

Yelling was one of things that drove me to find new parenting methods. I was so happy about the new methods I learned that I wanted my career to be about sharing these ideas with others. 25 years later, and I’m still talking about parenting!

Here’s the truth about yelling. It’s insidious; it slowly erodes a relationship bit by bit, just like the plaque I feared was eroding my teeth. However, the damage done by yelling can be repaired. You can change the way you discipline your child and you can repair the gaps in your relationship too.  All you have to do is make the choice to change, it's never too late!

The writer of the HuffPo article adds this quote at the end, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. Carl Brand  What a beautiful way to look at change. And it applies to any relationship in your life. 

My kids were tiny when I stopped yelling. My kids know that the yelling that was done when they were teens was a result of many things. There was a death in the family, two potentially deadly illnesses of loved ones, a cross-country move, their decisions regarding behavior, and my having no more energy left to deal with any of it. 

We’ve repaired the damage done by that time in our lives. Our family needed a lesson to remind us to focus on the connection between us, versus holding on to feelings of anger or resentment. 

No one is immune from learning lessons about feelings and relationships. No one.

Is there someone you need to start over with? 

Can you forgive someone who yelled at you? 

Do you need to stop yelling? 
If you think you don’t need to stop yelling, what do you envision your future relationship with your kids will be like?

Hard words, I know, but the truth nonetheless.  

I learned my lesson today; my relationship with my teeth is an important one. And one I will never ignore them again. 

What changes will you make today?

How do you change?I have something that might help. No parent has time to read a book about theory. But every parent has time to read two pages about a topic and a sample conversation to show you how to change the words so your child listens. All parents can flip to a subject and read a Quick Tip at the bottom of the topic, even in the middle of an argument! 

That's what Stop Reacting and Start Responding, my book, has for you.

My favorite testimonial is: "I keep it beside my bed so I am never without it!" 
Read what others say about it and get your copy TODAY @


I Want Magic, Now!

by Sharon Silver on June 3, 2014

Mouth Open 285I want magic, plain and simple! I want my kids to listen to every word I say, without question. And I want it now!

That’s usually the unexpressed dream most parents have. I know you have it, because I had the same dream! Even with all I know about parenting, I still wanted my kids to listen the first time. I wanted them to self-regulate, be compliant, sweet, respectful, creative, intelligent, be a visionary, a world leader, and save the world, have I gone too far? 

I did want my kids to listen. But more than listen, I wanted my kids to know right from wrong, and to self-regulate so they wouldn’t make so many mistakes. And I wanted them to stop making me yell at them. (I’ll address the yelling at the end.) 

After many years of parenting, teaching, and continued learning, I think it’s best to stick with what’s real about listening and cooperating, instead of asking for magic! 

There is a “tech” term in the psychology called locus of control. defines it as, “A theoretical construct designed to assess a person’s perceived control over his or her own behavior. The classification internal locus of control indicates that the person feels in control of events; external locus of control indicates that others are perceived to have that control.” 

In the parenting world "locus of control means, do my parents control my behavior through punishment, or am I required to be responsible for my actions. 

In order for a child to self-regulate, which is a key component for listening, a parent needs be willing to let a child learn from the experiences of his/her choices. Let me explain.

When a parent uses punishment, a child comes to understand, my parent is in charge of whether or not I behave. The child realizes if my parent doesn’t catch me, then I don’t have to behave. 
However, if a child learns by experiencing the results of his/her actions, she comes to understand, I control whether or not I behave. If I don’t want to have to clean up a mess, or apologize because of something I said, then I better not behave that way. 

I’m not going to lie; this was hard for me to do! In my heart of hearts I wanted to protect my kids from ever-feeling-pain. But the more I learned about life, family, kids and parenting, the more I realized this wasn’t about me and my discomfort, it was about raising responsible, respectful kids. I realized that I had to shift from punishment, external locus of control, to letting them learn from the consequences of their actions, internal locus of control. And it was well worth it. 

How do you make the shift from punishing and/or rescuing your kids from their mistakes to allowing them to learn from the results of their actions? Begin by changing your thinking.

Stop thinking of mistakes as being a “bad” thing, and start thinking about mistakes being a necessary thing, because mistakes help create self-regulation. 

You’ll need to remind yourself that letting your child fail a test, letting her pay for a broken window by doing extra chores, or having him write an apology note to the class for being a class clown, helps create self-regulation and teaches that all people have to live with the consequences of their actions. 

You, the parent, get to be loving, empathetic, supportive, instructive and connected, and isn’t that the kind of parent you want to be? I think it is. 

Here’s an example. Notice the shift in words I suggest—that’s key.  

Your child says, “I hate you” 

Old way: You react and say, “Don’t you ever say that to me, young lady! Go to your room!”

New Way: “Was that nice? Is that allowed in this house? What do you need to do now?” 

Notice, I didn’t suggest telling her to apologize to you. She’s got to think for herself and decide what she’s supposed to do, and then do it. That creates self-regulation. 

Responding versus reacting to an “I hate you” allows you to be calm, to teach and to stay connected. It requires that your child stop, think, and repair the damage she created with her words. If she doesn’t know what she should do, or is too emotional to think, then say, “Let’s talk about it, so you’ll know what to do next time.” 

I think that form of discipline is pretty magical, and it’s plain and simple. What do you think?

BTW, I said I’d address, “Why do You Make Me Yell?” That’s our new free report and my gift to youGo to the home page at click “Free Solutions” on the nav. bar. This report addresses why children repeatedly test the rules, what's behind a disrespectful attitude, and how to be firm without reacting. Get your free report today!

One last thing: Another place magic occurs, is in the comments!  Ask me your questions. Tell what you think about teaching your kids this way. Go ahead, I’m listening and willing to respond!



Great Example of How to Shift From Reacting To Responding

March 28, 2014
Story: A mom with 2 kids is standing on the beach yelling as her kids run in and out of the approaching surf. The kids would run after the retreating surf and Mom would yell, "Move back! Don't get wet, you have your dinner clothes on! Don't make me say it again!" as the surf […]
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Tip #4: The Words You Use Determine Whether or Not They Listen

March 1, 2014
Each and every one of us has been impacted by the words someone said to us at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes the words inspire, applaud or affirm us in some way. Other times the words are hurtful, demeaning or judgmental and play like a broken record over and over again in […]
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Tip #3: Body Placement and Listening

February 28, 2014
  Tip #3 may seem obvious, however, when a parent is in the midst of reacting they often forget the impact their reaction has on their child's ability to listen. 
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Tip #2: Listen Differences

February 27, 2014
Day #2 Listening Differences Today's tip will change your parenting perspective! This tip explains why girls cry and say, "You're yelling at me!" and why boys seem to be ignoring you!  Did you enjoy this tip? If so, please share it friends. Also, consider opting-in to Proactive Parenting (dot) net so you can recieve tips like […]
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The Listening Series: 5 Days of Tips

February 26, 2014
  Have you ever wondered how to *increase* your child's ability to #listen to you?  Each day this week, I'm posting a tip about #listening.    If you're looking for more tips like this: check out my book Stop Reacting and Start Responding: Revised Version @  To download two tips, go to the bottom of […]
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Words Linger

February 22, 2014
This is so true. Parents tell me all the time, our home seems to be a constant battlefield. Always correcting, always yelling and punishing. Consider for a moment that words have power. They provoke feelings that sting. If you want to live in a peaceful envirnoment, think about what the photo says.  And if your […]
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Unconditional Love Through Your Behavior

February 14, 2014
          Having tech problems. Sorry about the look of this.  How do children learn to correct mistakes?                                                                       […]
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Unconditional Love and Honesty

February 13, 2014
Unconditional love is a form of honesty.  Looking through the eyes of uncondtional love allows you to honestly see what your child is experiencing when (s)he is having a hard time.  Seeing through the lens of unconditional love helps you decide if you need to intervene, or stand by, or say something that needs to […]
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Unconditional Love and Correcting Behavior

February 12, 2014
Webster’s says the definition of unconditional love is: "Affection with no limits or conditions." I agree that you need to love your child through everything. But does that mean there should be no boundaries, no corrections, or no consequences. I don’t think so. I believe that love includes boundaries, corrections and consequences. In fact, I’ll […]
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Applying Unconditional Love for Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2014
How Do You Apply Unconditional Love?  Love has a calming effect on children when they're in the midst of releasing their "big" emotions.  When a parent calmly, and wisely, stands silently next to their child, not engaging in the reaction as she releases her feelings, the parent sends a strong message to a child. The […]
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Unconditional Love

February 10, 2014
I'm shocked that it's 4 days before Valentine's Day. Really shocked. I know it's last minute, but I thought I'd send out a post each day for the next four days talking about the reality of love.  So many people think this holiday is a "Hallmark moment" and choose to ignore it. I get it. […]
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Tip #12 of The 12 Parenting Tips of Christmas

December 28, 2013
This is the last tip in the 12 Parenting Tips for Christmas. I hope you've benefited from reading them. I know I've enjoyed sharing them with you! One parent suggested that I compile all of the tips onto one sheet. I will be doing that soon and offering that to those of you on my […]
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