All posts tagged duct tape parenting

Problems with Potty Training? Give up


Your attempt to have all the power.

When parents ask me,

How do I GET my kids to use the toilet?
How do I GET my kids to eat dinner?
How do I GET my kids to go to sleep at night?

My first thought is “how the heck should I know?” I’m not in the business of teaching parents more ways to control their kids.

Never in my 25 years of motherhood have I ever been able to GET my kids to do something they didn’t want to do. More specifically when it comes to potty training, eating and sleeping challenges, there is typically a deeper issue at hand.

Think about this for a minute. How do you make a child go the bathroom? How do you make a child eat something he refuses to eat? How do you make a child fall asleep? When it comes to these three areas,  the child is clearly in control.

Now don’t get me wrong, bribing, coaxing, and rewarding may provide the desired result in the short-term, but the downside is that you can find yourself right back at it only moments later. With these problems the quick fix method does nothing to facilitate independence in your children over the long term or solve the problem in the short term.

Any attempt to try and “get the kids” to do what you want only reinforces for the child that, “you can’t make him” and here he asserts his own personal power. So if you are experiencing trouble in any of these areas, take a moment and think about your relationship with your child.

Are there areas of his life where you could offer him more control? Is he picking out his clothes? Is he able to decide on certain foods he will eat? Have you incorporated some of his ideas into the bedtime routine? Does he have free time to do what he thinks is fun? Are you inviting him to help out with the real jobs around the house or are you sending him to play with his toys?

Most of the behaviors we experience with our kids are symptoms of an underlying problem. As parents we tend to hone in on changing the symptom and miss the real problem all together. The next time you are tempted to ask, “How do I get…” think about a different question, “What will it take for my child to…” This will help you look at situation(s) from a different perspective, identify what might be missing for your child and what you can do to help him move forward.

Remember, you are the best parent for your children. It’s not an easy road, but it’s a road worth traveling.


3 Secrets…

pediatricianYour pediatrician NEVER told you.

There’s no instruction manual so take these to mind when you’re navigating life with little ones:

  1. Children are done baking at 5.
  2. Children don’t grow out of, they grow into.
  3. Children always do what works, parents consistently do what doesn’t.

The Takeaways:

1. Start as early as you can! Kids will be far more cooperative if they get a jump start in the art of cooperation, feeling empowered through contributions, and supported by parents who know that the journey is for the kids – not mom and dad.

2. Don’t feed those weeds. I know, it’s hard but they won’t wake up one day NOT being the “whiner” or the “noodler” they’ve been labeled and catered to! Help them grow INTO confident, competent young adults with TRUST, FAITH and DUCT TAPE to stay out.

3. Remember, children are simply brilliant at doing whatever it takes to make it work for them- even if we don’t like it! If all those bandaids over bullet wounds worked, we’d be out of business. See the cleverness in the chaos and encourage change- but don’t slap quick fixes on temporary issues. Take time for training and stay focused on the relationship- then the kids will choose what works for the entire family.

Watch This or View MORE Parenting On Track Sample Chapters

Kid Quotables via @Flockmother


Last week, we shared an inspiring post by @flockmother that showcased how great it is when we invest in the relationship with our children.

This week, we’d like to share another wonderful post from her blog that showcases how our children do benefit and they do appreciate it when we, as parents, aren’t all “up in their business.”

If you’d like to read more from @flockmother, you can read her journey here: 12 1/2 Weeks: Parenting On Track- One Family’s Story.  If you’d like to learn more about the Parenting On Track Home Program, click here. (PS We only have a limited number left so look while you can! Now, on to the GOOD STUFF.  Shared with Permission From the Post, Quotables

You know you’re a Parenting-On-Track family when you hear:

  • “Mom, come on! Let’s go! I don’t want to be late for school!”
  • “She’s not willing to clean the sink, so I’m going to do it for her. Can I use the yellow sponge?”
  • “I found out that when I’m left alone, I like to clean. We cleaned the kitchen, now we’re going to clean the house.”
  • “Ok, if you’re willing to play Frisbee later, then I’ll get my work done now.”
  • (As I started to give advice): “Mom, please don’t. I’m so tired of people telling me how to do stuff all day at school.”
  • “I have a problem. I haven’t been getting to bed on time lately. I think if I go to bed too late there should be a consequence.”
  • “Mom, stop staring at me like you know I’m about to figure this out.”
  • “I take pride in having a mom who doesn’t tell me what to do.”
  • “My family is awesome.”

Read ALL the  inspiring quotables and other true stories, HERE.

Vicki Hoefle: Book Club!

vicki2When we heard that several of YOU were planning on reading Duct Tape Parenting in your local book groups, we thought, gee, that is awesome. Then we thought, gee, let’s connect with YOU folks.

Today, we are happy to announce that if you are reading Duct Tape Parenting with your book group, Vicki Hoefle would love to join you! She will personally participate in a scheduled call to connect, answer questions and be part of your conversation!

How This Works

Basically, you decide to read and discuss Duct Tape Parenting with your friends or in a book group. Then,  you contact to schedule your call with Vicki! She can do skype, video chat via skype or call-in conference call.

What You and Your Book Group Will Get From This

  • A real conversation with Vicki, to answer your group’s Q&As
  • Insight to key concepts your group is focusing on
  • A personal connection to Vicki and her philosophy
  • MAGNETS for the entire group (we’ll send up to 10 magnets to one group leader)

What We’d Appreciate from Your Group…Would You Be Willing To?

  • Give us feedback on your overall reading experience
  • Write a written review of the book on (one review per group member)
  • Send a list of areas you’d like more info (family meetings, training, etc).
  • Answer a general survey (so we can create a study guide based on REAL reader experience)

We promise it won’t be anything heavy (no 5 paragraph essays, we promise!) and we won’t sell or abuse your book group’s contact information. Our goal is to dive into your conversations and hear how real parents are connecting with the book, its strategies, thoughts and ideas. We are going to use this information to craft a great study guide for future book clubs like yours!

We’d love to have you, the first round of Duct Tape Parenting readers, help us map out what is next.

If you’re interested, please email jennifer Note: offer good until end of 2012, because we’ll be working on that study guide early 2013 :).

Articles: Spoiling Children

Take time for training.  – Vicki Hoefle

The topics of spoiled children, hovering moms, and excessive micromanagement were popular in this summer’s headlines. Duct Tape Parenting‘s timing couldn’t have been better!  Now that many of you have had some time to read, process and begin to implement strategies and thinking from the book, we thought we’d share articles and books by OTHER experts who make a case for training kids or who offer valuable thoughts, stats and info on success, spoiling, hovering and so forth.

While each author has individual opinions that may or may not be exactly in line with Duct Tape Parenting, there is one thread that ties them together: it’s not healthy for our children’s independence, resiliency, decision-making and so forth when mom and dad  DO EVERYTHING for the kids. [hr]

How Spoiled Are Our Children? No Simple Answer By Perri Klass, M.D.

“We’re clearly having another of those moments — and they do recur, across the generations — when parents worry that they’re not doing their job and that the next generation is consequently in grave danger. In cultural convulsions about how spoiled the children are, disapproving adults look back fondly on the rigors of their own childhoods.” Read the NYT post, here.

Raising Successful Children By Madeline Levine

“The happiest, most successful children have parents who do not do for them what they are capable of doing, or almost capable of doing; and their parents do not do things for them that satisfy their own needs rather than the needs of the child.” Read the NYT post, here.

Father’s Day Advice From Billionaires: How To Not Raise Spoiled Kids

Read the Forbes post, here

Stop Spoiling Your Kids By Dr Phil

“Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don’t always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as an adult if you’ve experienced it as a child.” – Dr Phil

Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost? By Elizabeth Kolbert

“With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world.” Read the New Yorker article, here.

Podcast Interview with Elizabeth Kolbert

Kolbert joins Michael Agger in a conversation about helicopter parents, getting your kids to clean their rooms, and the importance of ignoring your child.  Listen to the podcast, here.

Raising Unspoiled Kids By Michele Borba

 Let Them Stumble, and Learn to Get Back Up

“Part of our job as parents is to allow our children to experience life’s basic difficulties while they’re young. They practice sorting stuff out for themselves under our roof, while we can still comfort them, so that when the world spanks them, they’ve developed the internal stamina and resources to deal with it.”  Read the post, here.

We’re Teaching Our Kids to Be Dependent By Denise Schipani

“More kids may be learning Mandarin, but fewer know how to look an adult in the eye, write a thank-you note, empty the dishwasher, handle a snow shovel – or cope with disappointment and grow stronger after failure.” Read the post, here.

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb (2011)

“The good news, at least according to Donald Winnicott, the influential English pediatrician and child psychiatrist, was that you didn’t have to be a perfect mother to raise a well-adjusted kid. You just had to be, to use the term Winnicott coined, a “good-enough mother.” – Read the post, here.

Guilty Parents, Ungrateful Kids, Easy Solution By Ann Hulbert

“The hypocrisy of hyperparenting isn’t great for anyone’s development. It turns mothers and fathers into anxious taskmasters. Eager to push their kids but panicked about too much pressure, they heap on the praise and fend off discomfort.” Read the article, here.

(Book) Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later by Denise Schipani

“And mean moms prepare their kids for the world, not the world for their kids, raising children into adults who know how to make themselves happy.” – See the book, here.

 (Book) Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest By Sally Koslow

“Millions of American parents have sent their kids to college only to have them ricochet home with diplomas in one hand and DVR remotes in the other. Mom and Dad now sit down to dinner every night, wondering why their fully grown kids are joining them or, more likely, grunting good-bye as they head out for another night of who knows what.” Visit her site, here.

(Book) Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success By Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

“Teach Your Children Well acknowledges that every parent wants successful children. However, until we are clearer about our core values and the parenting choices that are most likely to lead to authentic, and not superficial, success, we will continue to raise exhausted, externally driven, impaired children who believe they are only as good as their last performance. Real success is always an inside job, argues Levine, and is measured not by today’s report card but by the people our children become fifteen or twenty years down the line.” Buy the book, here.

(Book) A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting By Hara Estroff Marano

…”Kids would play in the street until their mothers hailed them for supper, and unless a child was called into the principal’s office, parents and teachers met only at organized conferences. Nowadays, parents are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives—even going so far as using technology to monitor what their kids eat for lunch at school and accompanying their grown children on job interviews. What is going on?” Find  the book, here.

Podcast with Madeline Levine on how to ‘Teach Your Children Well’

Levine points out ways parents can nurture their children with other skills – a sense of self, being empathic and remembering to play – in addition to the intense grooming so valued for success in today’s cut-throat academic environment. Listen, here.

Opinion: Parents need to give kids space to grow By Madeline Levine

“We want to make certain that in uncertain times, our kids have a leg up. But here’s the irony: Our constant oversight, our over-parenting isn’t doing what we think it’s doing. Rather than giving our kids a leg up, it’s making them less resilient, less resourceful and less engaged with learning. In other words, over-parenting makes our kids less, not more, likely to succeed.” Read the article, here.

Founder Says Most Millennials Have No Idea What To Do Unless They’re Micromanaged

“Stepfan Jefferies, co-founder of uHAPS Media, says that Gen Y workers are “by far the hardest generation to manage” and calls it “Zombieland” when his workers aren’t “handed an exact list of to-dos and goals.” Read the article, here.


News: Vicki Hoefle

vicki-headshotWhat Has Vicki Hoefle Been Up To? (Hint: A Lot!)

The past few  months have been busy! Duct Tape Parenting launched, reviews began steadily coming in, our cool-as-beans fans showed up online to share our links, sites and images. Vicki’s family visited Vermont, the team traveled to Utah and California and in between all the energy-filled adventures, Vicki made appearances, conducted interviews, submitted guest posts an gave solid advice around the web. So, for your weekend delight, we’ve compiled all the recent press and news into ONE post.

Sit back, put your feet up (pour a big glass of wine if you’d like- afterall, it’s Friday- right?) and browse! Oh, and feel free to share, like, comment and tweet to your heart’s content. (BTW, all the links can be found on our handy dandy Vicki Press Pinterest Page)

Free Range Kids

5 Simple Ways to Let Go and Raise a Resilient Child, by Vicki Hoefle

Hey there Free-Rangers! I want to give a quick kudos to you for encouraging your children to take reasonable risks. It takes courage to foster independence in a world that prefers to hover and hyper-protect. By stepping out of the way and trusting them, you are enabling resiliency, confidence, courage and independence in your kids. Thank you and keep up the radical faith, folks! Read the Entire Guest Post Here (Notice all the comments- sweet! Feel free to chime in).

ScoutMob (San Francisco)

How to Have Kids and Continue to Be Awesome in SF

It’s not easy having kids, especially in a city as youthful as SF (that’s a nice way of mentioning Peter Pan syndrome). But just because you’ve got little ones in tow doesn’t mean your favorite city spots are off limits to you. It’s just a matter of taking a little Urban Parenting 101. Read the Entire Article Here

Chicago Tribune

Scaling back, gaining more. A parent’s thrifty ways can produce a bounty of benefits for the kids. by By Heidi Stevens, Tribune Newspapers

For those of you keeping score at home, here’s what parents are spending less on these days:

Back-to-school stuff: About 65 percent planned to spend the same or less than last year on supplies, etc., according to America’s Research Group, a retail industry analyst.

Baby gear: The “play and discover” market — toys and goods for children younger than 1 has dropped by a third since the recession hit in 2008, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research firm.

Read the Entire Article Here

Radical Parenting

Happy Parenting doesn’t happen by magic. It takes practice. by Vanessa Van Petten 

Taking a less is more approach to raising five kids helped us all enjoy the transition from childhood to tweenhood to young adulthood (ages 18 – 23 living on their own or at college).

I came up with some simple rules that guided us on our journey and supported each of them as unique individuals discovering their place in the world.  These rules also translated well to the tens of thousands of parents who I have worked with over the past twenty years as a parent expert and coach. Read the Entire Guest Post Here


Christian Science Monitor

Parenting advice: Author Vicki Hoefle says to stop micromanaging By Stephanie Hanes

Whether it’s Tiger Mom, Bringing up Bebe, or Dr. Sears (not to mention the slippery slope of mommy/daddy web forums), American parents are awash in advice, criticisms, and suggestions for how to raise their kids.

But given the conflicting messages that these parenting theories entail, we wouldn’t blame you for throwing up your hands, chucking the self-help books out the window, and burying your head under the pillow while the toddler runs wild.

Still, we’ve found that, a lot of times, the experts have some really good ideas. And seriously, who doesn’t need a little bit of parenting help now and then. In the spirit of public service, then, we at Modern Parenthood thought we’d start a new, semi-regular feature on parenting books and theories, with tips and ideas straight from the parenting gurus.  Read the Entire Article Here



Michelle in the Middle

In this conversation with Vicki Hoefle, founder of Parenting On Track™, we talk with Michelle Icard creator of middle school programs that support kids as they navigate the ever changing social landscape of middle school. In 2004, Michelle Icard launched Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene. Listen to the Podcast Here


 WCAX News

Raising kids can be one of the best, most challenging, most fun things to do.  There are new developments everyday as your child changes.  But one parenting expert says what should not change is your parenting style.


Vicki Hoefle is a mother of five.  She just wrote a book called “Duct Tape Parenting: A less is more approach to raising respectful, responsible and resilient kids.”  She spoke with Kristin Carlson.

Watch the Interview Here



Rutland Herald

Duct tape parenting? Vt. author offers family fix for sticky situations

Author: By Kevin O’Connor

Can’t tame your wild child with stares, scolding or strict discipline? East Middlebury educator Vicki Hoefle has written a new parenting book with a more bracing suggestion: Duct tape. Yes, you read right. A sticky strap across the mouth, hands, arms, feet – whatever the problem area. “What you need to know is that the duct tape will be for you, mom and dad,” Hoefle’s book clarifies. “You can actually tape yourself, but… Read / Purchase the Article Here



Take the Duct Tape Parent Pledge

Duct Tape Parenting PledgeToday, we’ve decided to do something FUN.

We’ve been so focused on launching the book and rallying reviews that we figured it was time to let loose and say a little thanks to our fans. SO, here’s the deal.

The Deal

We posted THIS pledge on Facebook. We’re giving away MAGNETS to the people who click “like” to take the pledge.


Simply go to the image and click “like” – this means you’re on board with the pledge (and no, you don’t have to be a perfect Duct Tape Parent because a perfect parent of any kind doesn’t exist!).

Then, we’ll put all the likers’ name into the hat (we’ll literally use a hat) and ask a kid from one of our collective families to pull names at random. The more LIKES we get the more hip, inspirational magnets we’ll give away!

If you’re really ready to see some cool stuff happen in your family (or you’re already seeing it!), then take the pledge– print it off- and don’t worry, if you fall off the wagon – just use this list as a boost to get back on.

This is for real parents making small changes. It’s about Duct Tape Moments – the small gestures we make (or don’t make for that matter) are the ones that move us into a more balanced lifestyle full of happiness and confidence for mom, dad and the kids.

So go for it. Click HERE. Take the pledge.

Zip it. For the Kids’ Sake

mom-and-dad2Ahoy parents! The tides are changing. Parents, educators, experts and obviously, the kids, have finally come to accept that the entire “over-parenting” approach to raising kids, just isn’t working out. All that structured time? All those heroic homework rescues? All that frenzied energy spent mapping the perfect childhood? Well, it’s all a waste of valuable time and energy. As a mom of five, who didn’t have the luxury to waste time or energy, I was committed to finding an approach to parenting that made more sense for myself and for the kids I was responsible for raising.

Madeline Levine and Faulty Logic

Among experts who are beginning to challenge the over-parenting, over involved approach is expert, Madeline Levine. Levine uses the term faulty logic and states, over-parenting isnt doing what we think it’s doing” and I couldn’t agree more. The question then becomes, so why the heck are so many parents STILL hovering, over protecting, micro-managing, controlling and over stepping their boundaries as parents? And even more curious and relevant than that question is, What the heck can a parent do instead?

Lenore Skenazy on WHY Are Parents Still Hovering

As Lenore Skenazy shares with her readers week after week, fear is being pushed at parents from all sides.

  • Let them play outside? Social services.
  • Let them draw with chalk? Fined.
  • Let them ride their bikes? Jail.

This fear-based thinking which leads to over-protection and micro-managing is easy to adopt (often unintentionally), when parents find they are floating in a current that sweeps them into a sea of worst case scenarios.

The other fear that plays into this hovering approach weighs on parents who are afraid that if they let go, just a little, the family and their kids will fall apart. These parents worry that they’ll look like “bad parents” or they’ll get the hairy eyeball from strangers for the decision to step back a bit and give the kids some breathing room.

In spite of these fears, and many others, parents are re-thinking their approach to parenting and finding ways to show more trust in their kids’ abilities to navigate their lives and rebound from disappointments, frustrations and failures completing a very valuable learning process. For helicopter types though, admitting and working through their own fears takes courage. Those ”what-ifs” and worst cases can pile high and push even the most committed parent back to safer ground.

Like any change, stepping back and taking a less is more approach to parenting takes time, patience and support, so offer a hand and a bit of encouragement when you see someone ready to abandon the hyper-parenting ship for a more satisfying approach to raising great kids!

What Can Mom and Dad Do Instead of Hovering?

If you’re still tempted to hover and you’re looking for a replacement response, you can, for your kids’ sake do one thing: train yourself to refrain. 

Literally, do less. Say less. Interfere less. Thats it!

Stepping back and giving your kids some breathing room isn’t the same as not caring about their safety.  It is a matter of balancing your concern with the reality that in most cases, your kids will be fine.  Instead of worrying about the worst case outcomes, take some time , and give your children the chance to show up and practice (and fail) at their own lives. I used Duct Tape (hence the name of my book!) to keep my mouth shut and my bossy, dictating ways at bay.

  • You may be a saver, so next time, sit.
  • You may be a comforter, so next time, stay.
  • You might be a nagger, so next time, zip it.

It’s not always a valiant course toward independence, but kids learn their own lessons every time we allow natural consequences to do the teaching for us and we refrain from saying “I told you so”.

Remember, our kids don’t need us nearly as much as we think they do (or want them to) and we don’t need to teach every lesson. Our job is to guide without control and to respond to them as the world would. Remember, bribing, begging and giving-in won’t train kids to become resilient adults. Keep this in mind and your decision to sit, stay & zip it will be much easier (even if it comes with the occasional hairy eyeball!)

Think, Look, Plan- Then DO

A parent wrote in the following scenario:

Vicki HoefleDuring a casual dinner, a neighbor’s daughter got up from the table and my friend said, “sit down we are not finished yet.” The little girl proceeded to walk away and come back with a yogurt smoothie and my girl friend said, “Do not drink that or you will be in trouble.” The little girl proceeded to turn the smoothie over and dump it on the floor. (She is almost 4.) My friend then grabbed her and put her in a time out. I thought, HMMM…I know that didn’t seem to go well –what would YOU DO?

-Perplexed Spectator Parent

Vicki Hoefle: Hi, Great question! As a Duct Tape Parent, I follow a LOGICAL, SOLVE-ALL PROCESS (one you can too!) that leads me to this answer:

I always: think, look, plan- then DO.


It’s important to stop and think: parenting problems are not really problems, they are SYMPTOMS of either a fractured relationship or a lack of training or both.


So, in this case these are the symptoms: girl shows complete disregard for mom by walking away, dumps yogurt, doesn’t listen to mom, won’t stay in her seat and shows a lack of respect for both herself and her mom.

Then, I’d walk through a couple questions- what is my reaction? What is the goal of the behavior?

In this case, mom gets pissed, and asserts her power by saying NO. She tries to win. Her clever and powerful daughter pushes back and eventually mom takes the child to time out. She may have quick fixed it with a “bandaid” but it sure didn’t heal the underlying “bulletwound” – which is a combination of relationship and training problems.

Hint: because mom is emotionally charged and angry, there is evidence of relationship stress and because the child carelessly makes a mess and is physically moving around, there is evidence of a training problem.


Look at the relationship. How close am I to my 4 year old right now? I’ve been annoyed at her lately and  a little checked out.
Look at the training. She didn’t understand the proper way to stay seated or clean up a mess.
Look at the behavior. Ok, she’s engaging me in a power struggle so the goal of her behavior is power – not to take mine- but have her own. For more on identifying the Mistaken Goals of Behavior, click here.


Once the entire situation has been put into perspective, I’d plan to work on the relationship and training the child.

Relationship Plan– (Mom and daughter are definitely in a classic power struggle so here are my recommendations)

  • Invite the child to participate vs. shutting her down and making more conflict.
  • Invite her to make decisions with me- which drinks do you think are ok to have at dinner? Peach smoothie or milk?
  •  I’d also increase the respect I show toward her preferences, since her pure disrespect is reflecting something important: the mutual respect is running low- on both ends.

Training Plan: (Obviously, if the child knew what a pain it is to clean the smoothie, she wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea to chuck it on the ground.)

  • Before showing her how to CLEAN the mess up, show her how to master some simple kitchen tasks. The more included she feels and the more confidence she will have around cooking and cleaning.
  • Begin to train her in self skills, picking out her own clothes, getting dressed, setting the table, etc. When children feel competent, they work WITH their parents, not against them.
  • Plan to do the training when you and your child are both relaxed and in a cooperative mood.


After I’ve thought about the relationship / training problem, looked at the realities, and made a plan, I’d DO THIS:

  • Refrain from quick-fix responses to her behavior. (No bandaids on bulletwounds)
  • Take time to implement the relationship plan. (Invest in the relationship)
  • Practice dinner routines, but NOT during dinner. (Take time for training)
  • Be patient and celebrate success. (Focus on what I want more of)
  • Train to clean up her own spills. (Quit being the maid)
  • Encourage her to participate authentically in family dinner. (Prepare her for departure)

So, there you have it folks- as you can see, this process can work with any behavior challenge you face! Duct Tape Parents refrain- they think, look, plan and then DO. They have learned to stop before slapping a bandaid on a bulletwound or disciplining a kid who hasn’t been trained properly. Duct Tape Parents put the relationship first (fix that, worry about spilled smoothie second). YOU have this in your mind so have courage to think this way when it starts to slide into the rabbit hole. 🙂


5 Tips: STOP Feeding Weeds

water-what-you-want-to-flourish (640x495)Refresher: What are Weeds?

Weeds are all the pesky behaviors that tend to drive mom and dad crazy, annoy others or are generally considered “bad,” obnoxious, rude, and otherwise. Hyper focus on these behaviors does not nip them in the bud- in fact, it’s the opposite. The more focus parents put into making them “go away” the more light, love and tender care these weeds receive.

1. Sit. Stay. Be Quiet. (Use Duct Tape on Yourself)

If your focus and attention = fertilizer, the first thing to do is just SIT. STAY. BE QUIET. There is no need to get up and correct, remind, nag the pesky behavior. It sounds easy, right? Try it. It’s not so easy! It takes training and self discipline. If you need a cheat, use DUCT TAPE to get your mouth, mind and micromanaging in check. Nothing says grow, weed grow like, “I won’t talk to you while you’re whining” except talking to a child while she’s whining. It’s fully worth a commitment to STAYING OUT.

2. Check Emotions at the Door (Turn Off all Buttons)

Sure, ignoring certain behaviors can be easy. But many find it’s not so easy to ignore the behaviors that “push our buttons.” You probably know a few of these- the ones that get us from chill to boiling – the behaviors that send our patience into orbit. It could be as simple as one high pitched complaint or a spat between siblings- no matter what, every parent has a few behaviors they wish they’d NEVER see (or hear) again. THESE are the ones you must consciously prepare to shut off your circuit breaker. You must pretend your child is not going there even when she is. Ignoring is an art…and a science. You can’t be flushed in the face, scowling while looking the other direction. Your buttons have to be off- emotions, checked at the door. It’s hard at first, but it feels great when the behaviors stop knocking at your sanity.

3. No CHEAP Drama

Whenever mom and dad buy front row tickets to the afternoon fussing and fighting show, the performance gets a standing ovation. Don’t. See tip number one. Yes, it’s annoying when kids fight. It’s also dramatic. Cheap, but still, it’s drama. Don’t applaud the performance.

4. Focus on the Good Stuff

Basically, water the GOOD behaviors!

5. Focus Anywhere BUT the Behavior

This one is fun!  There are many OTHER options and responses when a child misbehaves. Many of them involve theatrics. You COULD walk over there and tell them to KNOCK IT OFF (for the 1,000th time) OR You could run into the back field and say, “Did you see that?! I think it was a deer!” Guess which one will have them forgetting what they were doing faster. Remember, two can play at the drama game. Just keep that poker face solid and your “feigned” interest anywhere BUT the behaviors!