Friday, December 27, 2013

Gaining Your Kids' Cooperation in Helping with the Chores

Is it time to review your household chores distribution? By the time your kids are 4-years-old, it’s good to include them in helping out with chores.

Since a new year is soon to begin, this may be the perfect time to write down all the chores that need to be done … including paying bills, buying groceries, preparing meals and providing rides. Next circle the ones you as parents will do and then let your kids choose which ones they would like to do.

Post the chore chart somewhere everyone can easily see it. Check in on how it’s going every week or two. Adjust or switch chores as needed so everyone is successfully participating.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Each night a child is born is a holy night

Each Night a Child is Born is a Holy Night  by Sophia Lyon Fahs

For so the children come
And so they have been coming.
Always in the same way they come -
Born of the seed of man and woman.
No angels herald their beginnings.
No prophets predict their future courses.
No wisemen see a star to show where to find the babe that will save humankind.

Yet each night a child is born is a holy night.
Fathers and Mothers sitting beside their children's cribs,
Feel glory in the sight of a new life beginning.

They ask, "Where and how will this new life end?
Or will it ever end?"

Each night a child is born is a holy night,
A time for singing,
A time for wondering,
A time for worshipping.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DANCE Parenting Classes January 12-25, 2014 (from your own home)


Parenting is a dance you do with your kids. If you don't like their moves, take this class and learn how to change your lead!

Discover your children's strengths and increase their competence

Aim for high expectations based on your children's developmental level

Notice misbehavior and respond with reasonable, valuable consequences

Control your reaction to stressful parenting situations

Enjoy your children and take time to renew yourself
parents dancing with little daughter

Priceless Parenting classes are grounded on decades of positive parenting experiences from real life situations and backed by the latest scientific research in child development. The DANCE Parenting Class combines the powerful online parenting classes and written questions/answers with the class author, Kathy Slattengren, M.Ed.

Space is limited. Register today for one of these classes.



Register now for $99!

Yes! I want to join this parenting class. I understand that I will get:
  • 11 audio/video parenting lessons, January 12 - 25, 2014
  • Written interaction with the instructor, Kathy Slattengren, on each lesson
  • Ability to schedule a 20 minute private call with Kathy Slattengren
  • PDF copy of the book How to Parent In Ways That Are Truly Helpful, Not Hurtful
  • Certificate of Completion for 8 hours upon finishing the course and filling out a questionnaire
  • Permission to share this course with my spouse or partner
Learn more and register for one of these classes:





I hope you are able to join me!

     Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed.
     President, Priceless Parenting

P.S. If you know someone who might enjoy taking this class, please do me a favor and share this with them.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Helping Your Toddler Learn to Share

Sharing is a tough thing to do for most toddlers and preschoolers. However, it's also an important skill need for making friends. You can help your toddler develop sharing skills by playing a simple game with them.

Start by picking up a toy that your child likes. Give your toddler the toy saying “Here you go!” and then a few seconds later asks “Can I have a turn?” When your child gives the toy back to you, thank them for sharing it. Then hold the toy for a few seconds before giving it back to your child. It’s a game where the fun is in passing the toy back and forth each time giving your child positive feedback for sharing.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Recovering From a Broken Promise

What do you when you’ve broken a promise to your child and now your child is upset? One mom explained that she had promised her 12-year-old son that she would play a game of cribbage with him that night. However, time slipped by and it was time for bed before they got to play the game.

When her son realized they weren’t going to be able to play the game that night, he was angry. She acknowledged his feelings and apologized, “I can see you are angry that we don’t have time to play cribbage tonight. I’m sorry I didn’t realize how late it was. Let’s set an alarm to go off tomorrow night at 7:00 so that we remember to play the game then.”

Acknowledging his feelings and apologizing calmed her son down. What would have happened had she said “You’re getting upset for nothing! I’ll play cribbage with you tomorrow night.”? He probably would have gotten even more upset because she not only broke her promise but also dismissed his feelings.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Accepting Your Kids For Who They Are

When you were expecting your first child, do you remember what hopes and dreams you had for your child? Did you wonder what type of blessings this child would bring to your family and the world?

Perhaps you thought about how this child might follow in your footsteps and go even further than you did in football, baseball, soccer or gymnastics. Perhaps you dreamt about how this child might just be the one who would find the cure for cancer or become a powerful political leader.

What you probably didn’t imagine is that this child would struggle to learn, not enjoy the activities you really like or reject beliefs you hold dear. You certainly didn’t imagine your unborn child having difficulties making friends or succeeding in school.

Discovering Your Child’s Gifts and Challenges

Once your child was born, you started learning more about him or her. This child was no longer a thing of your dreams but right here crying in your arms!

When did you first discover that your child might not fit all your expectations? That this child has a mind of his or her own which does not necessarily agree with yours?

This realization came to Gillian Lynne’s parents when they learned she was struggling in school. Her teachers suggested that they take her to see a specialist to get evaluated for a learning disorder.

(finish reading the article on Priceless Parenting)

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Power of Acknowledging a Child’s Feelings

A mom explained that her preschooler, Robbie, would often express sadness during the day when his dad was gone to work. When Robbie told her "I miss my daddy", she would reassure him that his dad would be home at dinner time. This reassurance didn’t seem to help Robbie as he would respond even louder "But I really miss him!"

One time instead of trying to reassure Robbie, she acknowledged his feelings saying "You are really sad that Daddy isn’t here right now. You are welcome to miss him as much as you want." Robbie calmed down much more quickly than when she tried to convince him that there was nothing to be sad about since his dad would be home soon.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Other Adults Who Strongly Impact Your Child

Teachers, coaches and other adults who work with your children will have a tremendous impact on them. These adults provide your children with different perspectives then you have. Ideally they will play a positive role in guiding your children to grow into their best selves.

Last night I attended a banquet for my son’s high school cross country team. During the banquet, a number of students spoke passionately about just how much their coaches meant to them. These teens expressed beautifully a deep sense of gratitude for the impact these coaches had on their lives.

Each in their own way conveyed similar key messages they received from their coaches:
  • You noticed me.
  • You cared about me.
  • You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
  • You changed my life.
What a gift these coaches have been to our kids.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Make Your Home Name-Calling Free

Being called names hurts kids. When kids are called names like stupid, lazy, fat, ugly or cry baby, they naturally feel bad about themselves.

While you can’t control what happens at school, you can make your own home a name-calling free place. Your kids should feel safe in their own home. This means that your kids should not be allowed to treat each other cruelly.

Siblings have inside information that they can powerfully use against each other. As a parent it is your job to stop them from using this information in a negative way. Make your home welcoming for everyone – a place where they can be themselves, be vulnerable and not be afraid of being attacked for showing their true selves.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Looking to be a Better Mom

A mom emailed me asking for information about the online parenting classes. She concluded saying "I am the mom of a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old (both boys) and am just looking to be a better mom. Tired of power struggles, whining and feeling like a failure. No court order here - just want to raise happy, healthy, self-reliant children and feel like I'm not accomplishing that now."

Ouch! Her honesty took me back to how I felt when our oldest was 3-years-old and really pushing our buttons. I remember her doing something she knew she should not be doing and looking us straight in the eye as she did it. I was furious! I felt like spanking her but I had promised myself not to hit my kids so I needed some other response to correct her behavior.

My husband and I decided to take parenting classes and that was one of the smartest decisions we've made. It was like gaining access to the "cheat sheet" on what works well in raising kids! I started Priceless Parenting so parents everywhere could learn these ideas that make parenting so much easier.

You can learn these ideas by taking one of the self-paced online parenting classes (ages 5 and under, 6 to 12 or teens). If you want to be able to ask me questions on the lessons and get my responses, then you want to sign up for a DANCE Parenting Class. The DANCE class runs for 2 weeks and the next one is Nov. 9 - 22nd. Both formats allow you to watch the lessons at your own time and place.

You should leave the class feeling much more confident in your parenting approach. You will learn how to calmly set firm limits on your children’s behavior, invite cooperation and have a lot more fun together. I’d love to have you in class!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Responding to Kids with Compassion Instead of Criticism

Critical comments flow easily for most parents. In fact it may be so natural that you don’t even notice yourself making negative comments. In her book, Building Moral Intelligence, Dr. Michele Borba writes "studies reveal that the average parent makes 18 critical comments to his child for every one positive comment." Yikes!

When you criticize your kids, you are usually trying to correct their behavior or help prevent them from making mistakes. While these are worthwhile goals, what if criticism actually does more harm than good?

Criticizing Kids Teaches Them to Be Self-Critical


A big problem with criticism is that kids tend to quickly internalize it and then repeat it back to themselves. When your kids use negative self-talk, they hold themselves back instead of confidently moving forward.

In her book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, Professor Kristin Neff writes “When mothers or fathers use harsh criticism as a means to keep their kids out of trouble (“don’t be so stupid or you’ll get run over by a car”), or to improve their behavior (“you’ll never get into college if you keep getting such pathetic grades”), children assume that criticism is a useful and necessary motivational tool. Unsurprisingly, research shows that individuals who grow up with highly critical parents in childhood are much more likely to be critical toward themselves as adults.

People deeply internalize their parents’ criticisms, meaning that the disparaging running commentary they hear inside their own head is often a reflection of parental voices – sometimes passed down and replicated throughout generations.


Being self-critical isn’t exactly the legacy you want to give your kids!

Criticism Comes Easier Than Forgiveness or Compassion

Being critical of your children’s behavior stems from a belief that criticism is necessary in helping them grow up well. When you criticize your kids, you are attempting to exert control over their behavior in order to improve it. Is there a better way to do this?

(finish reading the article on Priceless Parenting)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Internet Rules for Kids

Access to the internet is integrated into almost every digital device your children may use. While there are various filters and monitoring software you can use to keep their experience healthy and safe, it also helps to have some basic internet rules.

What internet rules do you have for your kids? Some to consider:
  • No drug talk, nudity, drinking pictures, bullying, posting party locations
  • No sharing passwords
  • No participating in sites that allow anonymous posting and comments
  • Turn off location identifier on any pictures that are posted.
  • Use privacy settings. For example, only allow friends to access videos or posts.
  • Ask permission before downloading, installing or buying anything.
  • Add something online only if you are comfortable with parents, teachers and coaches seeing it.
  • All digital devices are turned into parent’s room by ___:___ each night.
  • Limit screen time to ___ hours per day.

Discuss your expectations and the reasons behind the rules. Post the rules in an area where everyone can easily see them.

Plan to have ongoing discussions with your kids about the internet. News stories are a rich source of examples of what can go wrong with kids and technology. Use those stories to discuss important issues with your kids.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Getting Your Kids to Talk to You

Touchy subjects can be difficult to approach with your kids in a way that doesn’t scare them away. One mom wrote “I think my daughter might be bullied at school but I can't get her to talk about it.”

When you are nervous or anxious to talk to your child about a sensitive subject, you are likely start off by saying too much. By the time you pause to let your child respond, your child may already feel attacked which was not your intention.

For example, what if the mom who is concerned her daughter might be being bullied says “Honey, I’ve noticed you’ve been kind of sad lately especially after you come home from school. Are those girls being mean to you again? I know they can be really cruel when they get together and that’s just terrible.”

How would you feel right now if you were in this daughter’s shoes? Does it sound like mom might want to get in there and fix the situation? Are you worried she might talk to the girls or their parents?

If mom stopped after saying “Honey, I’ve noticed you’ve been kind of sad lately especially after you come home from school.”, would you have felt differently? By pausing and giving her daughter a chance to respond, she’s inviting her daughter to share her view.

When you want to encourage your kids to talk, try to limit yourself to one sentence and then wait for their response. Listen carefully before saying anything else and you’ll be surprised that your kids are actually talking to you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Increasing Motivation to do Homework

Do your children get their homework done with little or no input from you? If so, consider yourself fortunate! On the other hand, if your children struggle to get their homework done, you may find yourself more involved.

Your role is to assist your child in establishing a good place to do homework and good conditions for working. For example, you might improve the conditions by giving them something to munch on while they are working like hummus and crackers, carrot sticks or strawberries.

How Involved Should You Be in Homework?

Let your child be in charge of requesting your help if needed. Establish times when you are available to help like from 3:00 – 5:00 and 7:00 – 8:00. If you don’t set boundaries, you may find yourself overwhelmed by things like trying to prepare dinner while also helping with homework.

In their book Smart Parenting for Smart Kids, Kennedy-Moore and Lowenthal write "Parents who are actively involved with their children’s homework every night, or who check over their children’s work before they turn it in, are establishing a dangerous pattern. First, they’re creating confusion about whose responsibility the homework really is. Second, they’re cutting off essential feedback that teachers need about what children do or don’t understand on their own. Third, they’re unwittingly criticizing their children’s abilities, implying that what their kids can do alone isn’t good enough to be seen in public. Parents who correct their children’s homework are trying to be helpful, but they’re unintentionally communicating to their children that mistakes are intolerable and must be hidden. This can be particularly harmful for perfectionistic children."

One mom realized she was establishing a dangerous pattern by checking over her daughter’s math homework every night.

(finish reading the article on Priceless Parenting)





Monday, October 7, 2013

Asking Your Kids Instead of Telling Them What To Do

When you tell your kids what to do you set yourself up for a power struggle. Most people, including kids, do not like being told what to do. An approach that is likely to get a better response is to ask your kids a question.

A dad reported he’s avoiding power struggles with his 13-year-old son by asking him “What’s your plan for …?” instead of telling him what to do. For example he saw that his son had once again left wet towels and other things in the bathroom. Instead of nagging his son, he asked him “What’s your plan for cleaning up the bathroom?”

Asking questions makes your children do some thinking. This wires their brains for thinking through decisions - a wonderful skill to have!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kids Who Understand But Still Disobey Rules

One dad complained that his 5-year-old son just didn’t want to obey some of their family rules. For example, his son was running in the house. The dad stopped his son and explained to him that it was not ok to run in the house. He then asked his son if he understood and he did.

Fast forward 5 minutes … and there his son is running in the house once again! Is he purposely trying to drive his dad crazy by disobeying?

No! His ability to control his impulses, like the impulse to run, is still developing. While he understands the rule, his impulses take over in the moment and he runs.

Experts believe that the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for impulse control, does not fully develop until a person is 25-years-old. That doesn’t mean that there is no impulse control until that age but it is a developing skill (which is why car rental places won’t let someone rent a car until they are 25)!



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DANCE Parenting Class: October 6 - 19, 2013


Parenting is a dance you do with your kids. If you don't like their moves, take this class and learn how to change your lead!

Discover your children's strengths and increase their competence

Aim for high expectations based on your children's developmental level

Notice misbehavior and respond with reasonable, valuable consequences

Control your reaction to stressful parenting situations

Enjoy your children and take time to renew yourself
parents dancing with little daughter

Priceless Parenting classes are grounded on decades of positive parenting experiences from real life situations and backed by the latest scientific research in child development. The DANCE Parenting Class combines the powerful online parenting classes with discussion and questions/answers with the class author, Kathy Slattengren, M.Ed.

Space is limited. Register today for one of these classes.



Register now for $99!

Yes! I want to join this parenting class. I understand that I will get:
  • 11 audio/video parenting lessons, October 6th - 19th, 2013
  • Interaction with the instructor, Kathy Slattengren, on each lesson
  • Ability to schedule a 20 minute private call with Kathy Slattengren
  • Certificate of Completion for 8 hours upon finishing the course and filling out a questionnaire
  • Permission to share this course with my spouse or partner
Learn more and register for one of these classes:





I hope you are able to join me!

     Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed.
     President, Priceless Parenting

P.S. If you know someone who might enjoy taking this class, please do me a favor and share this with them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting Your Family's Schedule Together

A couple parents have recently told me their biggest challenge is not having a schedule and routine. Being a parent really does force you to get organized.

Kids do better when they know what to expect and when. Once you develop your family schedule, you can always modify it but at least you have a place to start.

If you'd like to print out a weekly time schedule that you can fill out, click the picture below.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teaching Kids How to Reduce Their Negative Thinking

Negative thoughts can crop up like unwanted weeds threatening to choke out everything else. The tricky part about these negative thoughts is that they often sneak in quietly. They can start wreaking havoc before they’re detected.

When you notice your children getting frustrated and angry, you can bet there are some negative thoughts behind their behavior. I witnessed this one day when my son was in second grade working on a homework writing assignment. He made a mistake and erased it. He made another mistake and erased that. His anger and frustration grew with each attempt and soon there was a hole in the paper. Finally he scribbled out something to turn in and quit.

person thinking

What I didn’t know then was how to help him out of the downward spiral he was in. Suggesting taking a break just made him even more upset. He ended up turning in his poorly completed assignment and received a poor grade.

Noticing When Negative Thoughts Are Spinning Out of Control

In his book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, Tim Ryan tells a story about a friend's eight-year-old son, Mason. Mason was reading out loud to his Mom and struggling with it. Ryan writes "I happened to be visiting with them, so when he started crying, I decided to ask him what was wrong and he said, with tears streaming down his beet-red face, 'This book is just too hard for me!'"

Ryan realized that Mason's emotions were getting in his way of reading. "Mason was tired, fussy, and upset with himself for not reading well. His pride was hurt, and he felt his inability to read meant that he wasn't smart. As his emotions got more out of control, each time he tried again to read, he quickly gave up."

Wanting to help, Ryan waited until Mason stopped crying and then asked if he wanted help in understanding what just happened. Ryan explained to Mason how the emotional part of his brain was overriding the thinking part of his brain needed for reading.

He described how he demonstrated this: “Then I started clowning a little and using my hands to demonstrate. One hand played the role of the part of the brain that helps in reading, and the other played the role of the brain governing emotions. I explained that when he got all revved up, the emotional part of the brain interfered with the part that helps him read. I made some weird noises and had one hand take over the other hand. Again and again, I made a silly noise and let the ‘emotional’ hand dominate the ‘reading’ hand.”

Ryan then worked with Mason on following his breathing as a way to help calm his mind and body. This simple technique is an easy way for kids to get control of their thoughts. Focusing on slowly breathing in and out is a great tool for returning to the present moment and stopping negative thoughts.

Once kids understand how their brains react under stress, they are in a better position to recognize when it is happening. Dr. Daniel Siegel provides an excellent way to help kids understand how the emotional part and the thinking part of the brain interact. He demonstrates using his hand as a model of the brain in a short video. Teaching your kids this simple model will give them a useful tool for remembering how their brains respond to strong emotions.

Practicing Focusing Your Mind

Being able to control negative thoughts takes practice. To help your children get better at controlling their thoughts, it’s helpful for them to practice focusing on their breathing for five minutes every day.

Teach your children these three steps:
  1. Sit down for a few minutes with the goal of focusing on your breathing
  2. Notice when your mind wanders due to internal thoughts or external stimuli
  3. Remember the goal and go back to focusing on your breathing
Let your kids know that everyone’s minds wander. This is normal and all they need to do is remember the goal of focusing on their breathing and come back to it.

This breathing practice also allows your kids to notice the constant chatter going on in their heads. By focusing on their breathing, they have a tool for intentionally turning off the chatter. Noticing negative thoughts is the first step in purposely changing them.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy

A mom wrote that she is struggling to get her kids to eat healthy. What kids eat can easily turn into a power struggle. Ultimately your children control the food they swallow. However, you control the food that is available to them.

Battling over food takes a toll on relationships plus makes meal time unpleasant. It is your job to provide healthy food and to teach your children why their bodies need healthy food. However, it is your children’s job to decide what to eat and how much to eat. This is an essential skill for all children to develop.

These are some ways we've found helped our kids eat healthier:
  • Let them help prepare food. As preschoolers they helped with things like slicing strawberries and tearing lettuce.  As they got older, they helped make dinners.
  • Make smoothies using fruits and vegetables - delicious and healthy! 
  • Plant a garden.  My fussy eating young son would  gladly eat snap peas that he picked himself from the garden!  All the neighborhood kids love the raspberries and blueberries we grow.
  • Let your children pick out a special fruit they'd like to have at the grocery store. 
  • When your kids are hungry before a meal, put out something like carrots and grapes which they are welcome to snack on before dinner. 
  • Let them do their own age-appropriate cooking. 
What has worked well for you in getting your kids to eat healthier? 



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Help Me Do It By Myself

One parent wrote their biggest parenting challenge is "He's a toddler who wants all his independence but doesn't understand that he still needs help with things and he is very stubborn." Although this demand for independence is a sign of healthy development, it’s also exhausting for parents!

Toddlers and preschoolers are anxious to learn to do things for themselves but often need some guidance. This need for help along with the fact that they haven't mastered emotional regulation yet leads to frustration and meltdowns. Sometimes it's all a parent can do not to have a meltdown right along side them!

Find ways to encourage their budding independence by giving them as many tasks they can successfully handle. This is the perfect age to start letting them help out with simple chores. They love to help and practice new skills ... and soon enough they'll be old enough to handle these chores on their own.

For more ideas on parenting young children, check out the online parenting class for ages 5 and under.




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Controlling Backtalk

One mom responded in a survey that her biggest parenting challenge is controlling backtalk. Backtalk is certainly something you don’t want to hear from your kids. It’s a sure fire way to push most parents’ buttons!

But can you control your children’s backtalk? I don’t think so. They ultimately control what words come out of their mouths. However, you can control your reaction to whatever they say. How you react will increase or decrease the likelihood that they will use backtalk in the future.

For example, when your child uses backtalk, you may say "I’ll be happy to continue this conversation when you are speaking with respect" and then walk away. This gives everyone a chance to cool down. You are also communicating that you won't stick around if they are using backtalk.

What if you’ve asked your child to feed the dog and he responds "Why do I have to do all the work around here?!" You might respond by saying "Thank you for feeding the dog" and walking away. What you want to avoid is taking the bait by answering the backtalk with something like "I do most of the work around here. All I ask you to do is a simple thing like feed the dog and you just complain." If you take the bait, you’re entering an argument and that will only encourage more backtalk in the future.



Monday, August 19, 2013

DANCE Parenting Classes: September 8th - 29th


Parenting is a dance you do with your kids. If you don't like their moves, take this class and learn how to change your lead!

Discover your children's strengths and increase their competence

Aim for high expectations based on your children's developmental level

Notice misbehavior and respond with reasonable, valuable consequences

Control your reaction to stressful parenting situations

Enjoy your children and take time to renew yourself
parents dancing with little daughter

Priceless Parenting classes are grounded on decades of positive parenting experiences from real life situations and backed by the latest scientific research in child development. The DANCE Parenting Class combines the powerful online parenting classes with discussion and questions/answers with the class author, Kathy Slattengren, M.Ed.

Space is limited. Register today for one of these classes.



Register by September 2nd for $199 $149!

Yes! I want to join this parenting class. I understand that I will get:
  • 11 audio/video parenting lessons, September 8th - 29th
  • Interaction with the instructor, Kathy Slattengren, on each lesson
  • Certificate of Completion for 10 hours upon finishing the course and filling out a questionnaire
  • Participation in weekly conference calls
  • I can share this course with my spouse or partner
  • BONUS: a signed copy of the book How to Parent In Ways That Are Truly Helpful, Not Hurtful 
Learn more and register for one of these classes:




I hope you are able to join me!

     Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed.
     President, Priceless Parenting

P.S. If you know someone who might enjoy taking this class, please do me a favor and share this with them.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Seeing Your Child's Behavioral Problems from Their Viewpoint

Why is my child behaving like that? Almost all parents have found themselves asking that question as they watch their child throw a tantrum, hit another child or refuse to cooperate. What is causing my child to misbehave and what can I do to change it?

These are the questions that pediatrician Claudia Gold has been asked many times by parents. Gold has discovered that listening to parents describe their child's behavior in specific situations along with their thoughts and feelings about the behavior provides valuable insight. Once the parents feel understood they are in a far better position to understand their child’s perspective.

Often the child’s behavior is connected to what is happening in the rest of the family. In her book Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums, and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World through Your Child's Eyes, Gold tells numerous stories where she helped parents see those connections and better understand their child’s behavior.

Gold writes "Being understood by someone you love is one of the most powerful feelings, at all ages. For a young child, it is the most important of all experiences because it allows the child’s mind and sense of self to grow."

If you want some ideas about how to see the world from your children’s eyes, this book can help pave the way.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to Build Healthy Relationships with Your Kids’ Teachers

Whether your children are in preschool, high school or somewhere in between, their teachers play a major role in their lives. Building positive relationships with their teachers will help your kids experience more success in school.

Your children need their teachers and those teachers need you. They simply cannot do the best for your kids without your help.

Noticing Problems at School

The advantage your children’s teachers have is that they work with many kids the same age and are good at noticing when a child is falling outside the norms either academically or socially. The advantage you have is that you know your child much better than any teacher. Both you and the teacher each contribute important information in understanding your child.

When a teacher comes to you discuss a problem with your child, it’s often a difficult conversation for both of you. As a parent, you are naturally sensitive to any perceived negative feedback about your child. It’s hard to hear your child is struggling without feeling defensive.

(finish reading the article on Priceless Parenting)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Helping Your Kids Through The Difficulties of Divorce

Going through a divorce is extremely challenging for both you and your kids. Jean Tracy's Character Building: Divorce Stories and Strategies to Help Your Child Heal provides stories and ideas that can help your children through the difficult times.

For example, one story is about a little boy who is waiting for his dad to pick him up but sadly his dad never shows up. You learn about how this boy deals with his disappointment in a way that helps him feel better. There are questions and suggested activities with every story to help your children apply it to themselves.

Reading these short stories together can help you and your children discuss important issues that come up when parents are divorcing. What a wonderful resource to help kids!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Rules for Successful Sleepovers

Most kids love having friends spend the night. Sleepovers often involve lots of fun and very little sleep! As a parent you may dread having sleepy, cranky kids the next day plus a messy house.

What rules can you establish ahead of time to avoid the problems which sometimes accompany sleepovers? Here are some you might want to consider:
  • All digital devices need to be turned in to you upon coming over (phones, iPads, …). You can tell them you’ll keep those things safe and return them when they go home (or they could chose to leave them at home). Groups of kids with internet access is a risky situation.
  • Your child cleans up after the kids leave (ideally this encourages them to have their friends help clean up before they leave so that there isn’t a huge mess).
  • Your child and the friends agree to a reasonable lights-out/quiet time.
If you have other rules you've found helpful, please share them in the comments below.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Warning Signs That a Child Is Drowning

Children who are drowning do not look like they are in distress. They are not going to call out for help or splash their arms. Why? Because they no longer have the air or strength to do those things.

Knowing the signs to look for in a person who is drowning may save a child's life. Below are the characteristics of the Instinctive Drowning Response from the Coast Guard’s On Scene magazine:

1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary, or overlaid, function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.

2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

When you're at the water with kids, make sure at least one adult's attention is totally focused on the kids in the water.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Secret to Your Children's True Happiness

What do you think is the greatest predictor of happiness for your children? Could it be having a stable home, loving parents, enough food to eat, fun activities, experiencing success in school or sports? Certainly these things and many more affect your children's happiness.

But what is the best predictor of happiness? In his book, Brain Rules for Babies, Dr. John Medina reports "The greatest predictor of happiness is having friends."

Friends really are that important. While you can't control how your children and their friends interact, you can help your child develop key friendship skills.

Teaching Your Child Friendship Skills

One of the most heartbreaking things is to see your child struggling to make and keep friends. Your child might be shy and easily ignored by other kids, overly sensitive, intimidating other children, or be the vulnerable child who is continually being picked on. What can you do to help your child develop the skills needed to make good friends?

(continue reading the article on Priceless Parenting)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Providing Teens Freedom Within Limits

When his two teenage sons started making too many risky choices, Dan Post decided to have them work on a presentation together. The goal of this presentation was to help them understand the potential serious consequences of crossing certain boundaries. He also wanted let them know how he intended to help keep them safer with "bungee cord parenting".

If you have teens, his candid description of his fear for his sons' choices and how he discussed it with them is worth watching.



Monday, June 24, 2013

When Your Child Refuses to Participate

A mom explained her exasperation when 7-year-old son, Carter, refused to continue with his swimming lessons. He had taken swimming classes the year before and advanced to the next level. However, after three weeks of lessons, Carter declared he no longer wanted to go to his swimming lessons.

His mom took him to the next lesson anyhow since they had paid for the six lesson series. Carter refused to get in the water. The next week his dad took him to the lesson and he still refused to get in the water.

Finally on the last class another instructor invited Carter to play in the shallow water. He got in the shallow end of the pool and had a lot of fun.

Upon reflecting on this sequence of events, his mom realized that Carter often lashed out in anger or acted obstinate when he was scared. She went back and talked to him about what had happened that third week of swimming class.

She learned that the instructor had the kids swimming and told them not to grab onto the wall. Carter wasn’t sure he could keep swimming but was also scared to take a break by holding onto the wall. He hated feeling terrified and so decided the best way out was to stop participating.

Once she understood why Carter was refusing to join the swimming lesson, she was able to help him come up with a better strategy for handling this type of situation in the future.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Four Ways to Reduce Sibling Name-Calling

A mom wrote how much she would like to stop her two boys from calling each other names.  So far nothing she and her husband have tried has really worked.

Kids calling each other names is definitely a behavior they control.  Although you cannot control the words your kids choose to use, you can set it up so they are encouraged to use self-control.  Here are four possible ways to do that:
  1. During a family meeting, discuss the problem with name calling and brainstorm ideas for solving it.  Write down all the ideas and then circle the ones that meet everyone’s needs.  Let the kids choose which idea to try first.  Revisit how it’s going at next week’s family meeting.
  2. Catch your kids being good.  For example, if they haven’t called each other any names for the past hour, comment “I appreciate how you’ve avoided any name calling for the past hour.”  This will reinforce the behavior you want.
  3. Another possibility is to respond to name calling by having the child go to his room and write about it – what happened, what other options he could have chosen besides name calling, what he will do differently next time and what type of amends he thinks he should make.  When he’s done writing, discuss it. 
  4. Put 20 quarters in a container for each boy and place the container in a central location like the kitchen.  Tell them that you’ll be taking a quarter out of their bucket each time you hear them name calling.  Let them know that at the end of 3 weeks (or whatever time frame you want) that they can keep the remaining quarters.  Alternatively, you could promise them a trip to somewhere like Dairy Queen at the end of three weeks where they can spend their remaining quarters on a treat.
If you have another approach that has worked well, please share it in the comments below.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Helping Young Kids Learn to Intentionally Focus

The type of focus kids need to succeed in school is intentional focus. The type of focus kids have when using a digital device like playing on an iPad is called hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is defined by the UrbanDictionary as “a theoretical state of being or ability in which one is able to concentrate and focus on a particular subject so intensely, ultimately becoming oblivious to everything else around.” Experts recommend limiting preschooler’s screen time to 1-2 hours a day and elementary age kids to 2-3 hours a day.

You can help your children develop intentional focus and follow directions by playing these games with them:

  • Clapping game:
    • I clap out a rhythm and the children repeat it. This is fairly easy for most kids.
    • Now change the rule so that when I clap once, the kids clap twice and when I clap twice, the kids clap once.
    • You can make it as difficult as you want: when I clap once, kids clap twice, when I clap twice, the kids clap three times and when I clap three times the kids clap once.
    • Even when kids can repeat the rule back to you, they typically fall back into clapping like you are clapping after a couple rounds.
  • Red light, Green light. When I say red light the children stop. Green light means the children can walk again. If you walk on a red light, you go back to the starting line.
  • Simon Says – only do behavior if I begin with “Simon says” like “Simon says touch your head.”
  • Follow Me – Hop on one foot, skip, gallop, march, swing your arms in circles …
  • Putting puzzles together. 
  • Playing board games.
 


Friday, June 7, 2013

Improving Communication Through Family Meetings

Do you ever feel like the members of your family are not all on the same page?  Is there family stress around trying to get everything done?  Are you concerned about an ongoing problems with your kids? 

Family meetings are a wonderful tool for improving communication and implementing changes.  These weekly meetings teach your kids skills like how to problem solve and how to present ideas.

This is the basic outline of these meetings: 

1.  Go over the agenda (during the week anyone can add items to the agenda that they would like to discuss).
2.  Each person takes a turn giving everyone else in the group a compliment.  This helps set a positive tone and also focuses attention on what you appreciate about each other.
3.  Review any action items from last week's agenda.  If your family tried a solution to a problem, discuss how that solution worked.  Does the solution need adjusting or changing?   
4.  Go through this week's agenda items.  Brainstorm possible solutions to whatever problems need to be addressed.  Choose one solution to try that meets everyone's needs.  
5.  Review the calendar for the week - who is doing what and when.  Discuss any transportation related to these activties.
6.  Close with a fun activity or a snack. 

It's helpful to have a notebook where someone records what is discussed and decided at the meeting.  This makes it easier to review any action items from the previous week's meeting (step 3 above).

You may want to limit the meetings to a certain amount of time.  If you aren't able to get through all the agenda items, those can carry over to next week's agenda.

The goal is to keep the meeting positive and constructive.  Ideally everyone should leave the meeting feeling like they were heard. 



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Avoiding Your Kids Responding "You're Not Listening!"

Listening is one of those skills that really doesn't seem like it's all that difficult. Why then do so many children report that their parents don't listen to them?

Maybe it's because there are many ways to unintentionally stop conversations with your kids. These traps are so easy to fall into that you may not even realize something has gone wrong until your child walks away in a huff.

Saying Things That Stop Conversation

It’s easy to respond to your children in ways that shutdown the conversation. In his book People Skills, Robert Bolton identifies 12 conversation roadblocks.

Being judgmental:
  • Criticizing: "That wasn’t a very smart thing to do."
  • Name calling: "You are such a brat!"
  • Diagnosing: "The reason you drag your feet on getting your chores done is that just you want to upset me."
  • Praising Evaluatively: "You’re the best player in the school. The tryouts will be breeze for you."

Avoiding the child’s concerns:

(Read the rest of the article on Priceless Parenting)



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shaming Kids is Hurtful, Not Helpful

Sometimes parents or teachers turn to shaming kids in order to try to get them to improve their behavior. They may say things like:
  • Shame on you!
  • You should know better than that.
  • What were you thinking? 
  • Everyone else is doing what they are supposed to be doing, why can’t you?
  • You’re a bad boy!
Shaming kids makes them feel bad about themselves. Shame researcher BrenĂ© Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”.

The biggest problem with using shame as a way to try to change kids’ behavior is that it destroys the part of them that believes they are capable of changing. A much better approach is to describe the child’s behavior and then guide the child to fixing the problems caused by this behavior. For example, “You’ve left candy wrappers on the couch.” or “You hit him and now he is crying.” Focusing on your children’s behavior instead of your children’s character, will help them make better choices in the future.


Friday, May 17, 2013

DANCE Parenting Classes - 3 week class starts June 3rd


Parenting is a dance you do with your kids. If you don't like their moves, take this class and learn how to change your lead!

Discover your children's strengths and increase their competence

Aim for high expectations based on your children's developmental level

Notice misbehavior and respond with reasonable, valuable consequences

Control your reaction to stressful parenting situations

Enjoy your children and take time to renew yourself
parents dancing with little daughter

Priceless Parenting classes are grounded on decades of positive parenting experiences from real life situations and backed by the latest scientific research in child development. The DANCE Parenting Class combines the powerful online parenting classes with discussion and questions/answers with the class author, Kathy Slattengren, M.Ed.

Space is limited. Register today for one of these classes.



Register by Monday May 27 for $199 $149!

Yes! I want to join this parenting class. I understand that I will get:
  • 11 audio/video parenting lessons, June 3rd - June 24th
  • Interaction with the instructor, Kathy Slattengren, on each lesson
  • Certificate of Completion for 10 hours upon finishing the course and filling out a questionnaire
  • Participation in weekly conference calls
  • I can share this course with my spouse or partner
  • BONUS: a signed copy of the book How to Parent In Ways That Are Truly Helpful, Not Hurtful 
Learn more and register for one of these classes:






I hope you are able to join me!

     Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed.
     President, Priceless Parenting

P.S. If you know someone who might enjoy taking this class, please do me a favor and share this with them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Responding to Misbehavior with Fight or Flight versus Pause and Plan

How do you feel when your kids misbehave? When I ask parents this question during classes, the most common responses are feelings of anger, frustration and discouragement.

If you're like most parents, when your kids misbehave you experience powerful, negative feelings. If you choose to act in the moment, you are likely to come up with your worst parenting responses. You may find yourself:
  • Yelling at your kids - "I'm never taking you here again!" (even though you probably will be going back to the grocery store at some point)
  • Threatening them - "I'll just leave you here!" (even though it is actually against the law to abandon your kids at McDonalds)
  • Saying things you soon regret and they don't forget - "You are a disgrace to our family!" (even though you really don't mean it)
  • Hitting them (even though you swore you'd never do that)
angry mom
Ouch! Why are these types of responses so easy to fall into?

Responding with Fight or Flight

When you get upset with your kids, your body is triggered into a fight or flight response.

(Read the rest of the article on Priceless Parenting)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Using Punishment Versus Discipline for Misbehavior

Punishment and discipline represent two very different beliefs about how to best respond to children's misbehavior. Punishment focuses on suffering or pain as retribution, versus discipline that focuses on natural or logical consequences. With discipline it isn’t the severity of the consequence but rather the certainty that matters.

Priceless Parenting focuses on using discipline for misbehavior with the goal to help children learn from their mistakes. Eventually this discipline will come from inside your children so that when you’re not around they are still making good choices.

If you'd like to show your support for not hitting kids, please print and sign this pledge to never hit kids. Feel free to print copies for friends, family and teachers too!

If you want to learn more about how to use discipline with your children, check out our online parenting classes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Could it be autism?

Autism now effects one in 88 children. Researchers are trying to figure out the factors behind the increase in the rate of autism. While parents, child care providers and doctors are more vigilantly looking for possible signs of autism in their children.

For those not intimately familiar with autism, the line between normal and autistic behavior can be hard to see. The Autism Speaks organization has put together a series of videos showing normal child behavior and autistic child behavior in these areas:
  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Repetitive behaviors and restricted interests
  • Regulatory and sensory systems
The videos are well done with accompanying explanations about the child's behavior. There are also videos showing treatments used in helping autistic children. You will need to create a login to access the Autism Spectrum Disorders Video Glossary.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When Your Kids Make You Feel Extremely Angry

Before I had my own kids, it was hard to imagine how parents could spank their kids. Those sweet, innocent little kids! How could anyone feel like hitting them?

It dawned on me as to how this could happen when my 3-year-old daughter helped me get in touch with my own anger. I actually didn't think I had that much anger! She would look me straight in the eye and do exactly what she knew she wasn't supposed to be doing. She directly challenged me ... I'm doing this and what do you plan to do about it?

I was so tempted to spank her to teach her that I was stronger than her and she had better not be doing this again. Yet I had promised myself that I wouldn't hit my kids. I needed a better approach and so my husband and I took parenting classes. We found that there are many better approaches ... we just needed to learn them and use them.

I founded Priceless Parenting 6 years ago to share these ideas with parents everywhere. April 30th is International SpankOut Day. If you are ready to learn alternatives to spanking, take one of Priceless Parenting's online parenting classes - Ages 5 and Under, 6 to 12 or 13 to 18. Start today!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Teaching Your Child Friendship Skills

It's painful if your child is struggling with friendships. Your child might be shy and easily ignored by other kids, overly sensitive, intimidating other children, or be the vulnerable child who is continually being picked on. What can you do to help your child develop the skills needed to make good friends?

Many of the rules of friendship are unwritten and some kids catch on to those rules while others do not. In their book The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends, Elman and Kennedy-Moore define the characteristics of 10 types of children who often have problems with friendships. They describe the typical behaviors that these kids exhibit that turn their peers off. They then list the unwritten friendship rules that this type of child is missing and how you can help your child develop those skills.

Some of the unwritten rules include things like:
  • There is no such thing as a perfect friend.
  • If you hit someone, odds are they'll hit you back harder.
  • Dwelling on bad feelings makes them worse.
  • When someone says "Stop", stop.
  • Staying out of harm's way is wise.
  • You don't have to stay around people who are unkind to you.
The book provides excellent ideas for guiding your child to learning these rules. If your child is struggling with friends, this book may hold the key to helping your child figure out how to successfully navigate friendships.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Answering Kids' Questions on Global Climate Change

Today is Earth Day and there are certainly many concerns your children may have heard about regarding global climate change. If you'd like help answering their challenging questions, check out the question/answer section of the recently released draft of the National Climate Assessment report.

Scientists pulled together answers to some of the common questions raised about climate change. These are the first five questions answered:

How can we predict what climate will be like in 100 years if we can’t even predict the weather next week?

Is the climate changing? How do we know?

Climate is always changing. How is recent change different than in the past?

Is the global temperature still increasing? Isn’t there recent evidence that it is actually cooling?

Is it getting warmer at the same rate everywhere? Are these trends likely to continue?

The scientific answers to these questions are accompanied by charts and graphs. These complex ideas are explained in an understandable way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Take a Quick Parenting Quiz to Consider How Things Are Going for You

Parenting is full of challenges. Each age and stage of your children's lives brings new joys along with new things to learn. All parents struggle at times with their children's behavior.

If you're interested in some questions that will help you consider how things are going for you, take this quick parenting quiz.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Protecting Your Children from Sexual Abuse

One of the most important responsibility you have as a parent is to keep your children safe including being safe from sexual abuse. Unfortunately too many children experience being sexually abused, most often by someone they know and trust.

Sunday April 14, 2013 marks the first annual The Innocence Revolution - A Global Day to End Child Sexual Abuse. Their mission is to "is to unite and mobilize societies worldwide to end child sexual abuse".

In order to protect your children, it's helpful to know who are the most likely perpetrators. Men and teen boys are the perpetrators in 94% of the cases against girls and 86% of the cases against boys. They also report these statistics:
  • An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, childcare providers, neighbors.
  • About 30% of perpetrators are family members, e.g., fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins.
  • Just 10% of perpetrators are strangers to the child.
How can you help protect your children from sexual abuse?  This one page summarizes 10 steps you can take to help protect your children from sexual abuse.



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kids Complaining About Being Bored Without Their Digital Devices

Do your kids ever complain that they’re bored especially if they’ve used up their screen time for the day or can’t have access to their favorite digital device? Digital devices are terrific at providing dopamine rushes that are extremely enticing. However, kids benefit greatly from time away from their digital devices.

What do you do when your kids complain they are bored? One idea is to have them write down on slips of paper things they like to do which don’t involve TV or digital devices. Put these slips in a container and the next time they complain about being bored, they can draw a couple slips out and choose which one to do.

You can print a blank My Boredom Busting Activities page that your kids can fill in. For ideas, check out the boredom busting activities other kids have written down.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How to Help Kids Overcome Their Fear and Anxiety

Childhood is often pictured as a fun, carefree time of life. However, children also have many worries and concerns. Having some anxiety is part of normal life but it becomes a problem when that anxiety starts interfering with children's daily activities.

According to Dr. Donna Pincus author of Growing Up Brave, "one in five children today suffers from a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and countless others suffer from anxiety that interferes with critical social, academic, and physical development."

Feeling Anxious in Different Situations

Feeling anxious isn't fun for anyone. It's natural to want to escape whatever situation is creating the anxiety. However, running away only reinforces the negative feelings associated with it and makes it even harder the next time.

There are also many anxiety producing situations which simply cannot be avoided. For example, everyone must sleep even if going to sleep is difficult due to worries.

Below are some common situations that make children anxious:
  • Going to bed, sleeping alone, sleeping with the lights off
  • Separating from parents for a play date or being left with another adult
  • Encountering animals like dogs, snakes or bugs
  • Going to school, taking tests, speaking in front of the class
  • Performing in a sport
  • Striking up a conversation with a peer, joining in playing
  • Being in an enclosed space like an elevator, subway or airplane
  • Earthquakes, storms, nuclear war or other catastrophic events
When your children are feeling anxious, it's natural to want to reassure them and make things better. Although some things that you may do can actually make things worse like:

(Read the rest of the article on Priceless Parenting)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Following a Positive Path along the Parenting Journey

Parenting is a long journey, a little like going on a long hike through the mountains. There will be ups and downs. There will be many paths to choose from some which will ultimately lead to beauty and others which are a dead end. How do you know where to go next?

People who have been through this valley or up this mountain before can provide incredible help. When hiking through an area without a clear path, the path is often marked by small piles of rocks called cairns. You can make your parenting journey easier by looking for the cairns along the way.

For general information parenting classes and parenting books can be wonderful resources. When you are dealing with a very specific issue, the internet allows you to find people who are also dealing with that same problem. What have you found to be the most helpful for your parenting journey?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Using Filtering Software to Protect Your Kids From Internet Porn

Shelly lamented to me about her 8-year-old son losing his innocence after going to a web site his school buddy gave him which ended up being a porn site. This was not at all how she wanted him to be introduced to sexuality. What he has seen cannot be taken away and she truly regrets that the computer wasn't set up to prevent him from going to that site.

This is an all-too-common scenario. If you have young kids at home, be sure to use internet filtering software on all your digital devices.

You can read more about internet filtering on Common Sense Media's site. For reviews and customer comments on various internet filtering software, check out Top Ten Reviews.