Discipline

3 Must Have Routines For Summer Sanity

By Sarina Behar Natkin

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School’s Out For Summer

During the hectic pace of the school year, many of us parents long for summer. We work hard to keep life on track, and daydream of the long summer days where we can ease up on the structure the school year brings.

We imagine days at the beach with happy kids entertaining themselves for hours, so exhausted from the fun of the day that they practically put themselves to bed. Not a sound until 9:00 AM the next morning. Sounds dreamy, right?

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Family Meetings: Your Most Powerful Parenting Tool

By Sarina Behar Natkin

FamilyMeetings4

How many of you feel confident in the workplace only to melt in to a pile of frustration and fear when in comes to parenting? Why do high functioning managers who lead successful teams come home and turn into autocrats or doormats with their children?

Imagine for a moment the most effective workgroup you have been a part of. All members of the team knew what they were responsible for and completed their tasks without micromanagement.
It wasn’t always easy, but your commitment to each other and your shared goals allowed you to work through challenges in calm respectful ways.
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Compass Positive Discipline Magazine
Spring 2016

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Check out the Spring Edition of Compass Positive Discipline Magazine. It's packed with 40 pages of tips from the top Positive Discipline writers and bloggers!

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Three Strategies To Ensure A Successful Spring Break

By Melissa Benaroya


springbreak


Whether you are sticking around the house, traveling abroad or playing tourist in your own town, there are bound to be parenting challenges or tough moments that arise over the break. All the “together time” can be fun and create wonderful memories, but because dynamics tend to change when kids are out of their normal school routine, it also has the potential to create stress. Here are a few reminders to help you avoid and manage common challenges so you can enjoy the time together while contributing to your teen’s social and emotional development. It is important to first recognize these challenges as opportunities for connection and teaching, because without that mindset it is difficult to use discipline effectively.
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Parenting on Stage: Life as a Role Model

By Sarina Behar Natkin

theater Kids


“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
- William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Wondering how to be a role model for your child? Surprise! You already are. All parents are the most significant role models our children will have in life. The choice is up to us as to what kind of role model we would like to be. They are always watching us, whether we are aware of it our not. They are storing away our responses as clues to how they should respond when in a similar situation.

Our children are always learning.
The real secret to parenting is, understanding that our actions have a much greater influence on our children than our words. We can tell them until we are blue in the face, but if we are not modeling the behavior we would like to see, we will not see it in return.

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10 Parenting Tips, 10 Words or Less

By Sarina Behar Natkin


10-tips3

For those of you who are regular readers of GROW Parenting's blog, I'm sure you are aware brevity is not my forte. In fact, some of my posts are so long I’ve been asked if they are actually novels in disguise.

When it comes to communicating with children though, grownups often make the mistake of doing too much talking. In trying to get our point across, and be understood, we tend to go on in our rationalizing, lecturing, and explaining, hoping they will finally see our point and agree we are right.

In my experience, this is rarely effective and often serves to escalate their anger and frustration. When we communicate more succinctly, it is not only more efficient, but more effective as well.

I love a challenge and wanted to see if those of us who support parents could take our own advice. I asked nine other
Positive Discipline Trainers & Educators to join me in the challenge of sharing one of their top parenting tips in ten words or less. I have to say, they knocked this challenge out of the park. So, I will take my own advice, be brief, and let the tips speak for themselves!
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The Power Of Not Right Now

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Panic-small

I recently came home from teaching the final class of a four-week Positive Discipline series, and fell on the couch in a heap of tears. I blew it. I screwed up. I started to tear into myself about how I could mess up something I do so often; and until that moment thought I did pretty well.

My brain immediately went to analyzing what went wrong.
Reflection is helpful, reflection brings growth, but rarely in the heat of the moment do our brains stop there. Nope, mine went right to judgment. How could you get in to a power struggle with participants when you have just taught them how to unplug power struggles with their children? How could you let yourself get emotionally engaged in a way that caused you to step out of facilitator and in to debate mode? It was pretty much a “how could you” festival in there!

Somewhere deep inside, the voice of reason kicked in and said, “go to bed and take a fresh look in the morning.” The other voice fired back, “No, you must deal with this right now! If you don’t, you will never learn!”

Do you ever have that feeling around parenting? “If I don't teach my child a lesson right now, they will never learn.” “If I let them get away with _____ , they are going to be doing _____ their whole lives!” Sound familiar?
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Audio: Joyful Courage Interview

By Sarina Behar Natkin


What's your parenting style? Listen in as Sarina Natkin chats with
Casey O'Roarty of Joyful Courage about the way we parent and how to shift your style. Click the image or link below to listen.

Eps 26- Exploring Parenting Styles with Sarina Behar Natkin2
Joyful Courage Podcast #26: Exploring Parenting Styles With Sarina Behar Natkin

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3 Crucial Parenting Moments & How to Get Them Right

By Melissa Benaroya

I was recently interviewed by
Mazlo writer, Suzanne Schlosberg, about how to use empathy in response to some common parenting challenges. Suzanne is a talented and witty writer who draws from her own day-to-day challenges of raising 8-year-old two boys. I love her authenticity and how she writes about raising her boys. Enjoy! –Melissa

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Kids and Media:
Formulating a Family Game Plan

By Erin Bernau

screenkid

Like many of you, I find myself in almost daily negotiations with my kids about screen time. How much is allowed? Of what quality? What are exceptions to our general rules? Oh, and, can we get an Xbox?

Positive Discipline has a lovely saying that I often refer back to during my conversations with my own children about media: We often allow our kids too much freedom until we can’t stand our kids and then we rebound by imposing too many limits until we can’t stand ourselves as parents. I like to imagine love and limits as two guideposts and our job as parents is to try and walk down the middle of the two, because this is when both parents and children are being respected. But, of course, this is hard to do! My hope in this article is to give some information about how families can approach media usage with clear values and fair expectations.
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How To Get Out The Door With Kids!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a reader’s question about how to wrangle the kids out the door in the morning.


Dear GROW Parenting,

Morning Antics
Help! Our four year old is turning mornings into a three-ring circus. She thinks getting ready is a game and as soon as we start, she runs away. It’s one thing when she does it with me, but now she is starting to turn on the antics with our nanny. Our family has put many of your bedtime tips in to practice and I would like to figure out how the nanny and I can use them in the morning as well. Can you help us stop the circus?

Sincerely,
Exasperated Mom


Dear Reader,

I feel your pain. I really do. The herding of kids out the door in the morning has exasperated every parent at least a few times. The good news is, we can step out of the game and let them herd themselves.
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Positive Discipline in The Classroom:
Bringing The Skills Home

By Sarina Behar Natkin

PD Classroom Intro2


Like most schools, my children’s school recently had its curriculum night. This is our 8th year at
Giddens School, and each year I am delighted to learn what new skills my children are learning. Of course, I like to know what academic skills they are developing. However, as a parent educator, it’s the social emotional skills that really matter to me.

Giddens School delights me to no end, as they have such a skilled group of teachers who truly understand the foundation of learning comes from developing trusting relationships with students built on mutual respect; and a culture where students embrace challenges without fear of mistakes. The evidence of this is literally written on the walls in my daughters’ classrooms.

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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Calm Down Strategies

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Small Calm Down

What Children Learn:
In both schools and parenting classes, one of the earliest tools we teach is how to calm down when emotions are high. Regulating emotions is one of the most important skills we can develop, as without it, we would rarely be able to solve the problem that upset us in the first place. Read More...
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Exploring Emotions

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

madgladsad small

What Children Learn:
A key part of expressing feelings is being able to name them. In this picture, we can see the feeling words children brainstormed to increase their emotional vocabulary. They started with the four basic feeling categories: Mad, Sad, Glad & Scared. From there, they brainstormed what more specific feelings fit in to each of those boxes. This chart provides a visible tool to help student identify feelings they want to express in the classroom.
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Bugs & Wishes

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

bugs wishes small

What Children Learn:
Bugs and wishes are a tool for children (and adults) to express what is bothering them. It is a simplified form of an “I-Statement.” The format is: "It bugs me when person/people do _________, and I wish you/they would________."
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
I-Messages

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

I Message Small

What Children Learn:
I-Messages are an extension of the
Bugs and Wishes Activity. Instead of saying "It bugs me when _______ and I wish you would ________," we include a specific feeling word to convey our emotions. We then state the problem and what we wish would happen instead.

Format: "I feel_______ when ______ and I wish_______."

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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Effective Listening

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Effective Listening

What Children Learn:
In this activity, children discuss how much easier it can be to speak than to be a respectful, effective listeners. They role-play multiple ways of listening that are ineffective and notice how they feel when they are both the talker & the listener. Next, children role-play effective listening strategies and notice what felt different. The image above shows ideas the children brainstormed about what it means to listen effectively.
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Positive Discipline in The Classroom:
Charlie, The New Student

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Charlie2
What Children Learn:
This is an activity that helps children understand the long-term effects of hurtful words. They are introduced to Charlie, a stick figure drawn on paper. This is Charlie's first day in the class. He has had to change schools a few times, and isn't really liked by his classmates. Students are asked to share statements that might hurt Charlie's feelings. Each time a comment is given, Charlie is crumpled a bit. Pretty soon, Charlie is crumpled into a ball. Students are then asked to share how Charlie is different now. How might Charlie feel at the end of the day? Does Charlie feel like he is a part of the class? Would he want to come back tomorrow? Read More...
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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Making Mistakes

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.

Mistakes Small


What Children Learn:

Teachers often introduce a discussion about mistakes by showing the children an empty glass and a pitcher of water. As the teacher is talking and looking at students, she pours the water but misses the glass. This usually produces a big laugh from kids. She then asks, “Did I make a mistake or am I a mistake?” This can also be done by making a poster with a mistake on it, or any other mistake that will be obvious to others.

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Positive Discipline in the Classroom:
Encouraging Statements

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.


Encouraging Statements Small


What Children Learn:
Encouraging statements are a way to give positive feedback to others without the use of praise. Children learn that when we give feedback in a non-judgmental way, it allows the receiver to feel an internal sense of pride and motivation. Students practice both giving and receiving encouraging statements.

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Positive Discipline in The Classroom:
Recovery From Mistakes

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This post is part of a series on the skills children learn in a Positive Discipline classroom, and how parents can support their children in using these skills outside of school. For more background on this series, read Positive Discipline in The Classroom: Bringing The Skills Home.

If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out
Sound Discipline to learn more about bringing Positive Discipline to your school or community.


Recovery2
What Children Learn:
In this activity, students learn the 3 R's of recovering from mistakes. They previously discussed that mistakes are learning opportunity. Now, the focus shifts to understanding that making the mistake is less important than what we choose to do about them. Read More...
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5 Switch Witch Alternatives For Halloween

By Sarina Behar Natkin


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In case parenting during Halloween is new to you and your family, let me fill you in on the latest trend in candy management. Gone are the days when kids roam free, feeling safe in their neighborhoods and enjoying the pure bliss of securing a mountain of candy. If you thought your kid’s friends would be over for an hour of post trick or treating candy trading, you might be in for a surprise. Instead, a “nice” witch sneaks in, steals your child’s candy, and replaces it with a toy or game.

Why, you ask, in the name of Willy Wonka, would anyone allow this travesty to occur? Well, there’s a junk food epidemic in this country; diabetes and obesity are rampant, and sugar consumption has reached an all-time high. And, the perfect day of the year to say no to sugar, well, that would be Halloween. Read More...
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A Way Out Of Whining

By Sarina Behar Natkin

WhiningBoy small
On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a reader’s question about how to deal with constant whining.

Help! My 3 year old is constantly whining, and it’s driving me crazy. How can I help him learn to use a better tone when he’s asking for help, a snack, to play with a friend, etc.

Is there any sound more annoying than endless hours of whining? Apparently not! A 2011 study published in the
Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology found that whining distracts people more than listening to a high pitched chain saw. Performance on tasks and attention decreased more with whining than any other noise they played. Across the board, men, women, parents, and non-parents were equally irritated by the noise, even when the words were in a foreign language. It is a good thing our kiddos are cute!

Kids whine for many reasons. They may whine because they are tired, because they are hungry, or because they are not yet skilled at regulating their emotions. But there’s one big reason why they do it over and over: because it works!
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Apps Are Not Acceptable Substitutes for Parents!

Boy not eating

There are way too many gimmicks and gadgets these days when it comes to parenting. I’m afraid that even though there may be good intentions, makers of these “solutions” don’t see the unintended consequences of what they are trying to promote through their product or service. Parents who are struggling with the day-to-day challenges of raising young children can easily fall prey to those offering products that promise to solve their parenting challenges.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go:
Ending Drop off Drama

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Drop Off

As each school year starts, I notice many parents struggling with how to handle morning drop offs. Children are often in tears; and parents, unsure of what to do, shift rapidly between both frustration and guilt.

Parents are ready to start their own day and after the first few days of challenging drop offs, are beginning to lose patience. At the same time, they often feeling guilty about leaving their children when they are upset. Add in an audience of seemingly stoic kids and anxiety free parents and we can add shame to the list of emotions running wild. Not exactly a stress free start to the day for anyone involved!

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Money & Kids: What’s A Parent To Do?

By Erin Bernau


KidsMoney


“Mommy, I want that one!” “I have to have the new Ninjago set!” “You’re mean for not getting me those Pokemon cards.” “Every kid at school has an American Girl doll except for me!” A simple trip to the store can become a minefield when you cross into the toy section with a young child. We may vacillate between giving in to the request or denying it, but often without any deep thought or introspection about how and what we want to teach our children about money. Many of us well-meaning parents can get a bit flummoxed when it comes to dealing with money and kids.

Fortunately,
Ron Lieber recently wrote a fantastic book called The Opposite of Spoiled which offers a common-sense, moderate approach to this often overwhelming topic. In this article, I will use both Mr. Lieber’s concepts and those taken from Positive Discipline to help parents find a way to pass on a healthy, less complicated relationship with money to their kids.

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Get Into The Groove:
Top Tips For Back To School Bliss

By Sarina Behar Natkin


back to school roundup
Is the end of summer really here? It seems like we were just in June looking out at a few months of sunny days and a break from the school year routine. Whether you can’t wait to get your kids back in to the routine of school or you are wishing for an endless summer, it’s time to dust off the backpacks and lunch boxes and gear up for the rapidly approaching start of school. Read More...
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One Parenting Habit, Two Weeks = Significant Change

By Melissa Benaroya

2WeekCoaching



At Grow Parenting, we are always looking for new ways to support parents on their parenting journey of raising healthy happy children. Over the last few months I have and the privilege of working with The Committee For Children, a non-profit well know for their Second Step Program, and Mazlo, a local technology company with very successful and seasoned leaders, to develop and pilot a virtual parent coaching program. The first program to pilot was called Calm and Connected Parenting.

By participating in this two-week program, what we saw was that participants gained greater confidence in their ability to stay calm and tended to be less over reactive and verbose. I thought I would share with you one participant’s first hand experience through this process to demonstrate that small things often when practiced consistently can really make a difference in your parenting and your relationship with your child.

Here is a first hand account from a participant named Suzanne as she shares her two week experience working with me as her coach on being more calm and connected.
Warning: Suzanne has a fantastic sense of humor and you might just start to identify with her!  

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Audio: Kids & Restaurants

By Sarina Behar Natkin


KOMO

If you tuned in to the news this week, you likely heard about the cry heard around the world. In case you missed it, I am referring to the little one at a restaurant in Maine who cried for forty minutes. I think we can agree crying, is a pretty normal behavior for children. Unfortunately, the restaurant owner had a meltdown of her own and yelled at the baby, causing an international uproar from parents and a rally cry for every person who has ever been annoyed by a crying child disrupting their fun.

I had the opportunity to speak with
KOMO News Radio Mid-day Anchor Herb Weisbaum about the mealtime mayhem and how the situation could have been avoided. Here’s the audio clip for your listening enjoyment.

Sarina Natkin on KOMO July 2015



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Reining In A Runaway Preschooler

By Sarina Behar Natkin


On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a reader’s question about how to keep their runaway kiddo safe.

Running Small

Dear GROW Parenting,

Help! Every time we walk to the park, my adventurous three-year-old bolts away from me. When I ask her to come back, she just ignores me. When I yell, she laughs in my face. The other day I totally lost it and screamed that we are never going to the park again. It’s been a week and we are both going stir crazy, but I am terrified to try again. How do I help her understand how dangerous this is and get her to stay with me? Read More...
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Grin & Ignore It:
Why Letting Go Can Help Your Child Do The Same

By Sarina Behar Natkin

ignore

Think for a moment about how many times a day do you notice what your child is doing “right”? Now think about how many times a day you notice what they are doing “wrong”? If you are like many parents, the negatives we notice far outweigh the positives. Why do we do this? Because we love our children. We know it is our job to teach them the skills they need to succeed in life, and we feel intense pressure not to miss a teaching moment. So, we remind and coax, we correct them and bribe them, we do whatever we can to make sure the lesson gets through. While this seems like the right thing to do, we need to be careful where we direct our attention.

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Video: Getting Out The Door With Kids

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she shares tips for working together as a family to get out the door in the morning.

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Quit Whining & Do Your Chores!

By Sarina Behar Natkin



Chores Crop

Can you believe the kids today? Whining and complaining about chores, I just don’t get it. When we were kids, we did all our chores to perfection with a smile on our face and begged our parents to nag just a little bit more, right? I think not. Why then do we expect our kids to be so different from us?

Warning, this next sentence may hurt. You actually have no control over how your child feels. I know we love to see our kids happy, but we can’t make our kids love chores any more than we love coming home from a long day at work to three loads of laundry and a sink full of dishes. What we can do is set the stage for chores to be a regular part of family life, free from nagging, and full of teaching and learning valuable life skills. Here's some tips to show you how:
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Nurturing Your Child’s Success With A Growth Mindset

By Melissa Benaroya

Mindset

The road to success is not paved just by what you do, but more importantly paved by how you think…

So you thought it best to focus on what your child does well and help them develop those skills.  That can be helpful, but if you want your child to be truly successful in anything it requires having the right “Mindset". Carol Dweck’s work over the last 10 years has shed light on the importance of Mindset.  And there are only two, so it makes the choice simple:  A Growth Mindset or a Fixed Mindset.   Her research continues to demonstrate that our greatest potential can only be fully developed by possessing a Growth mindset. 
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Cry Baby:
Why It's Ok To Let The Tears Flow

By Sarina Behar Natkin


baby cry

Imagine you have just received really bad news. Maybe it’s a job loss, a best friend moving away, or a tragic news story from across the world. Now imagine your boss, your friend, or your partner saying, “Don’t cry.” If you are like most people, you now add on to your feelings about the bad news with more negative emotions, such as shame, anger, and self-doubt.

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Your Child Is Out of Control!

By Melissa Benaroya

out of control small

Are you concerned that your child is “out of control” when they are: acting aggressively, talking over others, grabbing, have difficulty taking turns or simply doing things you have asked them not to? Many parents get frustrated by their child’s lack of self or impulse control, especially when their child knows the rules or the consequences of breaking them. Often times it is just that children just don’t have the skills to manage strong impulses. Children begin to develop these skills between ages 2 and 5, but their impulses are not well managed because their “rational brain" that allows for planning, foresight and considering others is not fully developed. For most young children this age self-control is nonexistent, limited at best, and is a skill that will take years to master. Children’s ability to regulate for themselves will not become evident until they begin to approach the ripe old age of seven.
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Afternoon Delight:
How Changing The Way You Come Home Can Change Your Family

By Sarina Behar Natkin

overwhelmed mom

We’ve all been there. It starts with the blissful moment of reuniting at school after being apart for the day. Hugs, smiles, news to share; and yet, the minute you get home it all seems to fall apart. No matter how much I psyched myself up for the afternoons, many days I wondered if we had some sort of toxin in the house that infused my kids with crankiness upon arrival home. Over the years working with families, I heard this same story over and over. Well, at least I wasn’t the only one. Read More...
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Masters of Manipulation

By Melissa Benaroya

Master Manipulator



So, your child is a master of manipulation? Isn’t it crazy that a three year old (or 13 year old) can be so skilled at this form of communication and getting what they want? Actually, it’s not so crazy. Because when you think about it, many children have adults in their lives that are modeling manipulation tactics all day long. Your three year old was not born with this skill. He or she learned it from the adults in their life.

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Video: Avoiding Homework Hassles

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she shares tips on avoiding homework hassles.

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Video: Why Kids Lie

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she shares the honest truth about why kids lie.
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The Honest Truth:
Why Kids Lie & What You Can Do About it!

By Melissa Benaroya

child lying

On a pretty regular basis, we receive worrisome calls from parents who are mortified because their child is telling lies. The reason this is such a common occurrence is because ALL kids do it! But, all lying is not the same and all “lies” are not even lies. The most helpful things you can do when you have a little one who is not always being honest is 1) understand why they are doing it and 2) have some strategies to respond that encourage honesty without putting your child on the defensive.
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From Eating to Excreting:
Three Tips to Avoid Power Struggles

By Melissa Benaroya

eating

All humans struggle for power and control over their own lives and young children are no different!  Ideally we want our kids to do what we need them to without us having to do anything more than merely ask. Lets not kid ourselves; that is just not going to happen most of the time. "I said so" or "you have to" is about us asserting our power over them and can feel disrespectful to the child.  Our children have little to no control over much of their daily lives.  That is why most power struggles revolve around their physical self or body.  Power struggles often are associated with:  what goes in their body, what goes out of their body, what goes on their body, and where they put their body!  We cannot force feed our children by shoving food down their throats or Toilet Train them by forcing them to urinate or defecate.   Those are things that are completely within their control.  Our kids are pretty good about regulating their bodies' needs. They are going to do what they need to based on their bodies’ cues, so the more we get involved the more they tend to resist and push back. So what is a parent to do?  
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CONSEQUENCES: Punishment or Discipline?

By Melissa Benaroya

discipline-child-using-spanking-method-800X800 (1)

The Role Of Consequences Is Simple: To Teach.


Consequences give children the chance to learn real-world skills from their mistakes and to solve problems. In fact, you want your kids to make as many mistakes as they can while they are young, so that they get good at solving problems and facing challenges. That is all a consequence is—an opportunity to learn from a mistake. M
any parents get caught up in trying to find the RIGHT consequence that will MAKE their child learn the lesson and never do this horrible act again. It is important to remember that learning takes time. Consequences do teach, but only when they work to solve the problem that the child caused and are delivered respectfully.
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Whose Homework Is It?

By Sarina Behar Natkin



Homework

What's the definition of homework? An eight letter word that can make almost everyone cringe, adults and kids alike. One of the most common complaints I hear from parents of school age children is that frequent homework battles are driving them nuts!

We just don't get why it's such a problem. Is it that big of a deal?
We lived through our own school days, we understood the value of homework, we did it with no complaints to the best of our abilities, and we did it all with a smile. Of course, we walked three miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways too, right? NOT.
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Bedtime Whack-A-Mole

By Sarina Behar Natkin

PJ Boy2

Every parent dreads the nights where bedtime seems to last forever. We go through our bedtime routine, read books, snuggle, and say goodnight and within minutes they are back up. The list of bedtime requests can be seemingly endless, from a drink of water to a missing snuggle to a suddenly discovered splinter. I believe one time our daughter asked if we could make the birds stop chirping. Sometimes, you can even watch them ponder what they should ask for next. Read More...
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It's Not Fair!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Angry Girls

It’s Not Fair! Ever heard those words from your child? Remember saying them yourself? With two children in the home, I have the opportunity to hear that whiny jingle quite frequently. If you have missed this opportunity, park yourself outside an ice cream shop and count how many times you hear that phrase as children pass by.

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Video: How To Help Your Child Pick
An Appropriate Halloween Costume

By Sarina Behar Natkin


Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.17.03 AM
Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Sarina Behar Natkin on King 5 Morning News as she talks about Cultural Quotient and how to raise culturally aware children. Read More...
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Sticker Shock:
The Dangers of Sticker Charts For Kids!

By Melissa Benaroya

sticker chart samuel jackson


The most dangerous stickers out there are the ones you see on sticker charts. Yep, you heard that right. Sticker charts can actually do more harm than good if you can believe it. Why you might ask? Well, if you read Beyond Praise a few weeks back about the negative effects of praise you might have some insight as to why stickers might be the reason your kids aren’t doing what you want them to.

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Beyond Praise: Building Self Esteem Through Encouragement

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Have you ever noticed how quick we are to say, “good job” or “you are so smart” to our children? For most parents, it has almost become a tic to heap praise on every thing our children do. Our natural instinct is to let our children know how much we love them and how proud we are of their growth and accomplishments. How we express these feelings makes a huge difference in how our children feel about themselves now and as adults. Read More...
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Three Keys To Summer Sanity:
Sleep, Structure and Regulating Sugar Intake!

By Melissa Benaroya



iStock_000015180242XSmall
Summer is in full swing and everyone is embracing the sunshine and the warm weather. With all the fun summer activities, parents tend to get a little more relaxed in their parenting. Being a bit more flexible and go with the flow can be wonderful and liberating, unless you are undoing everything you worked so hard to maintain in your parenting the rest of the year. Keeping your parenting consistent with your values during the summer months can definitely be more challenging when everyone is focused on having a fun time. Below are three things to be mindful of this summer to keep your parenting on track and ensure everyone is staying healthy and enjoying themselves.
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Preschool Potty Problems

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, 
GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding potty training their three year old.


Toilet paper girl

Dear GROW Parenting,

We are really struggling with potty training our three-year-old daughter. After using the potty for a while, she has now pretty much decided not to use the toilet. She will have an accident and then say next time she will use the potty, but then does not.

I have tried some different angles to convince her using the potty is a good idea since unfortunately, she is not too concerned with poopy underwear or wet pants. When she has accidents, I let her know I am disappointed, ask why she didn't use the potty when she was on just minutes before her accident, or remind her that her friends all use the potty.

Is there something I am missing? Should we go back to diapers for now? She does still wear a diaper to bed. Any words of wisdom greatly appreciated!
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You’re Not The Boss of Me!

By Melissa Benaroya


madboy

I was recently reading a piece that a business management expert wrote about being a good leader and boss. As I read this short bite in insight, I realized that all of the principals and ideas that he presented apply to success in parenting.

In working with clients over the years on navigating challenges at home with their children I cannot count the number of times a mom or dad has said to me, “I do all of these things in the work place and am very successful at it. But for some reason I did not connect the way I communicate with my employees/boss as the same way I might speak to my children.” This blog post is a twist on what Lex Sisney wrote about on
“How to Give an Order” on his website Organizational Physics.
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Clowning Around:
Helping Our Kids Manage Behavior

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding a child who loves to entertain and needs some guidance around when he can do that.

Class Clown

Dear GROW Parenting,

Well, it turns out I've raised a Class Clown! My 2nd grader is more interested in entertaining his friends than paying attention in class, in gymnastics, and in after-school activities.

There are worse problems to have of course, but it's becoming an issue more and more often. It's not so much what he's doing, but the fact that he doesn't know when to quit.
Any good exercises for self-control or paying attention to what's going on around you?
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Liar, Liar Pants On Fire: Making Kids Say Sorry When They Don't Actually Mean It

By Melissa Benaroya

dad say sorry

Yes, we all do it. We make them say, “I am sorry” even when they are not.  Or maybe they just don’t understand what there is to be sorry for. Regardless, over and over I hear parents tell their kids to say, “I’m Sorry”. And when kids just parrot “I'm Sorry” like they are told many times, the next request is to “say it like you mean it”.  Are we just asking them to be better liars?  Why do we do it?  Read More...
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Video: Avoiding Threats and Bribes

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about avoiding threats and bribes!
AvoidingThreats&Bribes

For a full article on the topic, check out our
blog post. Read More...
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Routine Charts Part Deux: Banishing Breakfast Battles

By Sarina Behar Natkin

In our last post, Melissa shared the amazing power of routine charts and the secret to making them work. This week, we kick it up a notch by sharing how this tool can be used in new ways to solve recurring challenges in the home.

Breakfast Chart

Once upon a time, we were a well functioning team each morning. It was surprising, given that I was not and am still not a morning person. We had one child, and daddy delighted in helping our toddler kick off the day. We had a lovely routine chart that helped us move through getting dressed and brushing teeth. My part was to press snooze, imagining that somehow that extra seven minutes of sleep was going to make a difference. I was eternally grateful for my husband's willingness to take the lead in the morning so I could grumpily move from sleep to wakefulness and put on my happy face before joining them 15 minutes later. Our little one was free to choose what she wanted for breakfast when they arrived downstairs. Read More...
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Is It Time For Your Family To Hit The Charts?
(And we are not talkin’ Top 40)

By Melissa Benaroya


Routine Chart
Incorporating more routine and consistency can help decrease power struggles and increase cooperation and fun in your home!

Every parent at one time or another has either thought about or made a chart for their child. It seems like there is never enough time to get out the door in the morning or get kids to bed without power struggles, no matter how much time you have. The type of charts that we suggest using are not reward charts, because there are no stickers or prizes that your child identifies or earns. Yet, there are valuable gifts that are received such as valuable life skills and responsibility! Now who doesn’t feel great about helping their child develop confidence, independence, and responsibility?
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Rebel Without A Raincoat
& Other Clothing Conflicts

By Sarina Behar Natkin

iStock_000010661967XSmall

With some families, fashion frustration starts quite young. I know many parents who at one time during infancy were shocked with what their partner dressed their baby in. I think my own husband delighted in dressing our first child in the craziest outfits possible just to watch my blood pressure rise. Alas, the days of my control over my daughter’s clothing choices were short lived. Somewhere around age two, my daughter was ready to debut her own sense of style and who was I to stand in the way?
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Threats & Bribes: Two Sides Of The Same Coin!

By Melissa Benaroya

Bribery

At
GROW Parenting we work with many parents of school age children. We frequently hear from parents that they feel like their children are trying to “manipulate” them. Parents are reporting this behavior as early as the ripe old age of two! And yes, these children can and do become very skilled manipulators or negotiators. However, this only happens when someone has been modeling and teaching these skills. Read More...
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Technology Time: Setting Limits That Work

By Melissa Benaroya

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding setting limits on technology use.

Tech Post2

Dear GROW Parenting,

We have a 5-year old boy who has been exposed to iPhone and iPad games and stories, some educational and some not so educational (ahem, angry birds). On a daily basis, he asks if he can have our iPhone or iPad to play a game. Often it seems like my exhaustion level is what dictates whether or not he gets to have it. Yes, we have a time frame of no more than 1 hour total between pre-recorded TV shows and games. Some days are just full of play and friends so no games. Even when I set a timer so he knows when it is time to stop, it still ends in a battle or tears. I'm just so struck by how insistent he can get in arguing with me about getting a chance to play the games. What do you suggest to achieve a good balance while maintaining a good relationship with your child, especially boys?
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The Business of Parenting:
Great Leaders in the Home

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Dad Baby Bjorn2
How many of you feel confident in the workplace only to melt in to a pile of frustration and fear when in comes to parenting? Why do high functioning managers who lead successful teams come home and turn into autocrats or doormats to their children? Read More...
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Talking Time Outs:
What GROW Parenting had to say on the local news!

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about time outs!
Click here to watch video.
For a full article on Time Outs, check out our
blog post. Read More...
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Time Out: Friend or Foe?

By Melissa Benaroya, LICSW & Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW

discipline-child-using-spanking-method-800X800 (1)

The use of time outs is a hot and touchy topic! We at GROW Parenting are not afraid to talk about it AND we are committed to helping parents find new and better ways to use time outs in their parenting. Read More...
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Technology & Kids: GROW Parenting on Local News

Watch GROW Parenting Co-founder Melissa Benaroya on Q13 Fox News as she talks about children and technology use!
Click here to watch video. Read More...
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Saying Sorry

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question about how to get her child to apologize.
Angry girl


Dear GROW Parenting,
My 6 year old threw a fit at camp last week for a variety of reasons. We have figured it out what caused it. However, during the fit she was VERY rude to her counselor. She refuses to say sorry or write a note or even draw a picture. She is embarrassed. I'm embarrassed. Any thoughts?
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Help! My Preschooler is Hitting!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a parent’s question regarding preschoolers and hitting.
mad girl

Reader Question
We have been struggling for some time with our three year old hitting and kicking others. It is happening both and school and at home. He has an older brother who is six, and is generally a happy, easygoing child. He is very articulate and can express himself quite well, so this behavior is surprising to us.

It's particularly upsetting for us because he acts so happy and smiles when he hits, so it seems kind of deviant; yet my head tells me he's just looking for attention or testing for safety. We know it’s not going to help the situation to think of him as hitter. Instead, we want to understand the need, from his perspective, to hit, push, or kick others. We would love some ideas for how to deal with this issue.
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A Parenting Recipe For
Raising Healthy Eaters

By Sarina Behar Natkin

This article originally appeared as a guest post on
Herbivoracious.

Girl Eating

“What’s for dinner?” “Ugh, I hate green beans!” “Can I have dessert yet?” “I’m not hungry (but I will be as soon as you clear the table)”…the list of mealtime complaints can go on and on. Not to mention the mayhem that may ensue before your little one can even talk. Not many parents can forget the frustration of thrown food, the mess of the yogurt in the hair, or the game of “watch mommy pick up my bagel over and over again.”

Food is a huge part of human life and most parents I meet cannot wait to dive in to the world of food with their babies. As the wife of a
food blogger and chef, we must have spent weeks talking about what our first food would be! Little did we know we were in store for a whole lot more than the idyllic family meals of The Cosby Show.
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Daddy Do It! What To Do When Our Kids Play Favorites

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Pointing Girl Crop
On occasion, GROW Parenting will answer reader questions on our blog. We choose questions based on the issues we frequently hear about from families we work with. In today’s post, I answer a reader’s question about their little one preferring one parent over the other.

Reader Question
My daughter tends to gravitate toward me (Papa), who is home with her more frequently. If I am home, she refuses to let her Dad help her with anything, give her a bath, or give her affection. Last night it came to a head when after when she didn’t want him to hug and kiss her goodnight. It was understandably quite upsetting to him. In the back of my mind I'm certain this is normal, but I also feel as though I need to do something.
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Are You An "Emotion Coaching" Parent?

By Melissa Benaroya

emotion coaching
Emotion Coaching is not just a parenting style. It is also a tool developed by John Gottman to not only help and teach our children to handle challenges, but also as a means of developing a relationship with our children based on trust and mutual respect. Read More...
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Long-term Parenting: Destination Ahead

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Go For It2
Today’s post is the third in a three part series on long-term parenting. The first post explored the idea of long-term parenting and the second post offered tools for widening your parenting lens. Today’s post offers specific tools to help move your family toward your goals.

Changing our habits can be challenging but here’s a great way to get started. Look at your list of characteristics and life skills that you want your children to have. Select the three values that matter most to your and your family and make those your focus for 2012. This is a great activity to do with your partner! Doing this together will get you on the same page as you work toward making positive changes in your family. Read More...
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Long-term Parenting: Discover Your Road Map

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Last week, I began a three part series on long-term parenting. The previous post explored the idea of long-term parenting. This post offers some tools to help you widen your parenting lens.

Here’s a great activity from
Positive Discipline for helping you get clear on what your own bigger picture looks like. Sit down by yourself or with your co-parent and make a list of the current challenges you have with our kids. The day-to-day stuff that makes you want to scream. The idea behind this list is not to label these problems/behaviors we need to get rid of in our kids. The goal is just to get them out there. Read More...
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Long-Term Parenting: Broaden Your Horizon

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Opportunity Ahead
Facing the challenges of daily life, we often get stuck in whatever our current parenting struggle is. It can be quite overwhelming to face some of the wacky behaviors our little cuties present us with. We think to ourselves that if we don't handle this issue perfectly and right away, we are going to screw our kids up, we are failures as parents, their behavior is our fault, they are going to have a meltdown, and so am I!

When we adopt a wider lens, it gets us out of the immediate power struggle, frees us up not to be "perfect" parents, and allows us more time to slow down and really think before acting. When we slow down, we can usually find more options for how to deal with the current stressor. We also gain the ability to respond with greater empathy, which usually leads to quicker changes in behavior than when we respond from a place of fear and frustration.
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Three Parenting Tips to Childproof Parenting

By Melissa Benaroya



Parenting is a tough job and requires lots of on the job training. We only become better parents when we take care our ourselves, stay open to learning, and practice parenting tools that are in alignment with our values. There are lots of things we can do to be the parents that we want to be. But it is usually best to only focus on two or three areas of improvement at a time. Here are a few reminders that will not only help make parenting feel less stressful, but also make parenting your kiddos more enjoyable. Read More...
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Toy Troubles: My Toddler Won’t Help Clean Up!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Girl Playing-resized

You and your child have had a blast building a tower of blocks. Clean up time comes and you ask for some help putting the blocks away. Next thing you know, your calm cutie is gearing up for a major melt down. Sound familiar?

Encouraging clean up is a common struggle in many families. Whose job is it? If you clean them up are you letting them get away with something? Is it worth the struggle to make them do it? Lets take a look at these common questions.
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Crazy Time:
A Solution For Bedtimes Gone Wild!

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Its bedtime, you have followed your routine; your little one is settled in bed and its time to snuggle. Snuggling turns in to tickling, followed by laughter and before you know it your little one is very wound up instead of winding down for sleep.

This happens to many of us. I wrote about the mismatch of needs at bedtime in a previous post entitled,
The Bed Time Dance. The particular mismatch we were having in our house was that the parent working out of the house didn’t have much time to get silly with our then two year old during the work week. We would get all settled in bed and next thing you know, dad and tot would be roaring with laughter and bouncing off the walls. Read More...
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The Bedtime Dance

By Sarina Behar Natkin

Girl jumping on bed-resized

We all know the drill. It’s been a long day, everyone is tired and it’s time for the kids to go to bed. Every step of the process feels like herding cats. Once there is more than one child in the home, the steps to this dance become even more complex. It makes tired parents want to hop up on a horse and lasso those kiddos right in to bed!
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Why I love Positive Discipline

By Sarina Behar Natkin

For those who have read my previous posts, you know I am a huge fan of Positive Discipline. I had heard of the model before having children, but didn't really dive in to deeper learning until I became a parent.

As new parenting challenges cropped up I wanted to learn how to deal with power struggles and behavior challenges in a way that aligned with my core values. Time outs and consequences seemed to be popular methods, but they didn't feel good to me and I didn't believe they worked in the long run. (Stay tuned for a post on why time outs don't work in the near future.) On the other hand, if I didn't deal with discipline the "right" way, would I raise a child without respect for others?
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