Proactive Parenting’s Blog

Kids beach surf

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 roared back in. This happened about 15 times, truly 15 times. 

Problem: Mom took no action. 
I could see the kids roll their eyes and shut their ears. They knew mom was all talk and no action. 

If a parent is all talk and no action, then a reaction isn't far behind.

What if mom had said this instead, "I see that no one is listening to me, so it's time to go." 
Yes, mom would have to ignore all pleas for one more chance, and ignore all the "Mom is mean" comments. 

When you respond you're more able to ignore the plea for one more chance and the snarky comments because you know that those things are a child's way of saying, "I don't like this, but I'm learning what you want me to learn." 

If Mom addresses the plea for one more chance, or focuses on the "she's mean" the kids don't get to learn that Mom means business when she makes a request because the focus has shifted from the primary lesson to the rude behavior, which as I pointed out is child speak for "I don't like it, but I'm learning from it." 
If Mom is really bothered by hearing, "Mom is mean" then she can address it another time. 

This 2nd scenario is responding, not reacting. 
Mom is quickly responding to the behavior that occurred before she made the statment "It's time to leave." and is ignoring everything that comes after she annouces "It's time to leave." There is no need for anger, no need for consquences, in fact Mom is wise enough to add empathy to her statement to further underscore that the kids made the choice not to listen, and it's her job as a Mom to do something about that. If they want to be mad, they need to look at who caused this, not who corrected it. 

Mom may have said, " I know you don't want to leave the beach, neither do I. But I need you to listen to me, and you didn't, so we have to leave. I'm as sad as you are!"

A statement tied to a behavior that isn't working, followed by calm action, is responding. 


Would that work for you? Let me know in comments. 


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 our head. 

Tip #4This happens to your children as well. Children define themselves by the words that are said to them. It's a huge responsibility being a parent and having that much influence over another human being. 

But you have a choice.
We all have choices about the words we say to one another. You don't have to react, you can respond and teach instead. 

Who ever said you have to speak when you're feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed, short on time or energy—because you don't.

In fact saying, "I'm not ready to speak to you right now." is one of the most powerful things a parent can say to a child. It sends the silent message that you mean business. It allows you to take a moment to collect yourself so you can decide how you want to handle things. It also allows you to shift from reacting … to responding. 

Today is the last post in the Listening Tips Series. I hope you've found them helpful. 


Tip #3: Body Placement and Listening

by Sharon Silver on February 28, 2014

Tip #3


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. 


Tip #2: Listen Differences

by Sharon Silver on February 27, 2014

Listen #2

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 these and other things I only share with  my list in the newsletter. 

See you tomorrow with Tips #3.



The Listening Series: 5 Days of Tips

by on February 26, 2014

#1 Listening Series
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 the book page, click the button under the box marked testimonials.


Words Linger

by on February 22, 2014

Your houseThis 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 children are snarky, rude, mean, or disrespectful, then you have to take a hard look at the environment where they're picking that behavior up.

It could school, the park, the kids in the neighborhood, a family member, who knows? 

Kids are naturally sweet, kind, helpful and willing to be respectful, unless an shown otherwise. 


Unconditional Love Through Your Behavior

by Sharon Silver on February 14, 2014

Hearts • 300






Having tech problems. Sorry about the look of this. 

How do children learn to correct mistakes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By watching how you correct yours.

How do children learn to overcome their failures?                                                                                                                                                                                By watching how you overcome yours.

How do children learn to treat themselves with forgiveness?                
By watching how you forgive yourself. 

Therefore your mistakes, and your failures are blessings,
opportunities for the best in parenting.

The Parent's Tao Te Ching, by William Martin

Have unconditional love for yourself on Valentine's Day and evey day and you'll be showing your child how to accept him or her self, their sucesses and their failures. 

I received an email this morning from a parent who has been reading the Unconditional Love series. She had a sweet experience with her son that I thought you'd enjoy reading about. It's how to use some of the things I've talked about over the last couple days. Enjoy.

"It’s because of you that last night while my son was brushing his teeth – well procrastinating obnoxiously in the bathroom to get his teeth brushed – I was so frustrated that I could have thrown something, but instead I leaned down and kissed his head and rubbed his shoulders and said, “you are being a rascal but I sure love you”. He stopped and smiled and then got his teeth brushed. My struggle has been knowing when to set boundaries and absolutely not let a behavior continue – versus – knowing when it’s only a reaction he’s after and if I act unaffected he’ll often stop that behavior anyway. It’s a very fine line though and it’s hard to look at the whole picture in the moment. You’re newsletters have helped."

Happy Valtentine's Day! 
Oh. btw, I just created a Google+ "page" for Proactive Parenting. Come on over and join me there so you can be invited to the Google Hangouts that are coming soon! 



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Unconditional Love and Honesty

by Sharon Silver on February 13, 2014

Dad Kisses boy 350Unconditional 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 be said in a loving firm way. 

Uncondtional love fuels you so you can express empathy and support as a child learns to do something for himself, instead of doing it for him because it's easier. 

Uncondtional love means being the strength that you child can't be right now. 

Unconditional love inspires silence instead of reactions. 

Loving silence expresses respect while reminding your child of all the rules and values in your home. 

Leave us a comment and let us know how you're using unconditional love in your life. 

Well chat again tomorrow! 
Sharon ~ Proactive Parenting 


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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Tip #11 of 12 Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 27, 2013
Today's reminder Tip #11 is pure magic. This research-based concept is what I call "Parent Pie™."                       "Parent-Pie™" is the unconscious attention a child gets, positive or negative, that comes as a result of where a parent focuses their words, time and attention.  Switching where […]
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Tip #7, #8, #9, & #10 in The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 22, 2013
  Day #7 in the 12 Days of #Parenting #Tips for #Christmas. The day I wrote this tip was a rushing day for me. I'm glad I wasn't dragging any little people with me. If you have no choice but to take children with you when you have a lot to do, then this tip may help. […]
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Tip #6: The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 18, 2013
Yesterday was a crazy day. Everywhere I went, and I was all over the place, kids were tempted to touch, had "I-want-it-itis" were hungry, and tired. The parents were in the same boat as I was, we had to get done what we had to get done, it's that time of year!  I watched many […]
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Tip #5: The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 17, 2013
Day #5 in "The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas" is an empowering tip for all families.   We all do it. We fill in the blanks for our kids. We take that uncomfortable moment when no one is talking and speak on behalf of our child.    It automatic, instinctual, or as Martha says, […]
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Day #4 The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 16, 2013
They say parents are a child's first teacher. In fact, modeling behavior is the best way to teach! Tip #4 sheds some light on what your children may be learning from you as you rush about.  Tip #4 in The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas may help you teach them something new. Please pass […]
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Tip #3: 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 15, 2013
We all know that reducing stress is healthy. We also know that taking a breath releases stress. Well…Play is taking a breath for children. Play is how they learn, how they release stress, and how they connect with those they're playing with. Children learn the social rules when they play. They learn how to manage their impules not […]
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Day #2: The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 14, 2013
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The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas

December 14, 2013
It's been a while since I have written, sorry about that. To begin again I am doing The 12 Days of Parenting Tips for Christmas. Check back each day to read them, or subscribe to the feed. NEWS: Our book Stop Reacting and Start Responding has been revised! AND the first 100 copies of this […]
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