About Sharon Silver
I have clear memories of my sister coming home from the hospital. She was an RH baby. Mom was told by the doctor not to touch her because she was too susceptible to germs. That caused my sister to cry and cry, and it broke my 3-yr-old heart. One morning I snuck into the baby’s room and climbed up into the crib. Mom found me holding and soothing her.
Another powerful parenting lesson occurred when my son was 3 1/2.
It had rained all week, and my older son was bored, negotiating, begging, pleading, and crying. His behavior was wearing on my last nerve as I tried to calm my fussy newborn, and then it happened.
After hours of warnings, threats, and timeouts, I decided I had to change the direction the day was going. I reached out to hug him, and he recoiled and backed away from me. He was afraid of me—I was crushed. I had replaced my beautiful child’s trust in me, with fear of me.
How could this have happened? And then it dawned on me. I, too, had memories of what it felt like to be scared of my parents, fearful of their yelling and spanking me. I knew I’d begun repeating the same parenting that my parents had used with me. I knew HAD to change the way I was parenting. I wasn’t going to inflict that kind of pain on my children.
But now I had a problem!
I had no idea how to correct behavior without yelling, punishing, or spanking. I knew there was another way because I had seen other parents parent that way. I just had no idea how to stop my rush to anger or my reliance on punitive corrections. I wanted to be connected, clear, and firm at the same time. I knew kids needed boundaries; I just had no idea how to enforce the rules so my kids would learn while I remained calm.
After college I knew I’d found solutions, methods, words, and phrases that allowed me to respond, not react as I corrected the kids. I knew that all parents were looking for these solutions, and I wondered why it wasn’t readily available, so I made it my career.
Let me be very honest.
I wasn’t perfect, and neither were my kids. However, the everyday behavior that occurred when handled with love, connection, clarity, and firm boundaries allowed us to grow together versus being pulled apart by the wounds that happen when you yell and use punitive parenting.
Founder of Proactive Parenting
My parenting career began with an education in parenting, early childhood development and interpersonal dynamics, resulting in 4 certifications in parent education, training from the Cline/Fay Institute, INCAF, and the Gesell Institute of Child Development.
I was blessed to have a college professor who was a student of Magda Gerber. I learned to observe and support a child’s innate capabilities before interjecting my influence into a situation. INCAF, based on the work of Rudolf Dreikurs, taught me that a child’s behavior is an expression of something (s)he is unable to articulate, and the way a parent feels when their child misbehaves is key to unearthing what’s going on with a child. Studying the work from the Cline/Fay Institute, founders of Love and Logic, taught me the value of guiding and teaching a child about their behavior, as opposed to punishing them for their behavior. The Gesell Institute taught me the little-known attributes of development that parents often mistake as misbehavior.
All of that, plus raising my two amazing sons, and 29 years of working with parents, is what gave birth to my book, Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Transform Behavior into Learning Moments, enjoyed by parents in over 96 countries around the world.
I have been on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where we spoke about the effects of spanking, on Sac & Co, an ABC affiliate, and AM Northwest. I have done numerous local and national radio, newspaper, and online interviews, including Parenting Magazine, Parents Magazine, Yahoo Parenting, Your Teen, CNN, and CNN Health. I have been a writer for PopSugar, AOL’s Patch, Life 360, and a contributor to Ask Moxie.
I’ve been a recurring speaker at Intel, eBay and PayPal, helping parents manage daily life with kids so they are prepared to be fully focused when they walk in the door at work.