Liking the Child You Love

How to build a better relationship with your kids—even when they're driving you crazy.

Creating a Powerful, New Connection With Your Child

Change Your Thinking to Get Closer to Your Child

It's New Years. This is a time to reflect and take inventory of what works in our lives and what could work better. To ensure that we give our very best to our children, it is incombent for us to do this in our role as parents as well.

Years ago I yelled at my kids--a lot. I am beyond grateful that I was able to change to become a "yeller in recovery." The only perfect people are in the cemetery. So, no I am not perfect. Especially now as I am teaching my youngest daughter to drive. That said, I hardly ever raise my voice to my three teens.  

I am not being haughty or supercilious in sharing this with you. Rather, I am excited to share that by replacing my yelling with the skill of being Calm, Firm, and Non-Controlling, I learned, as have my parent clients, that I do not need to yell anymore. Below is a brief description of Calm, Firm, and Non-Controlling and I fully discuss this in my book, 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.

It is not fair to ask parents to yell less if they have nothing to replace it with. Calm, Firm, and Non-controlling is a wonderful mindset to replace yelling. So be calm in your tone, express what you approve of or not approve of, but don't get sucked into those fruitless power struggles. This new powerful parenting mindset will help you bypass your own (and your child's) emotional reactivity. Calm, Firm, and Non-Controlling allows you to be engaging and create understanding instead of ego driven, destructive power struggles with your child or teen.

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In addition to being calm, firm, and non-controlling, which truly works wonders, I suggest the following:

  • Catch your child doing more right than wrong behaviors.
  • Remind yourself that kids make mistakes--and so do you.
  • Remember that understanding your child is just as important as loving him.
  • Listen to your child for solutions that she may have for problems you both encounter.
  • Laugh at your self more often so your children will laugh with you instead of at you.  

Wishing you all the best in 2012.



Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., has authored four books, including 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.


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