Browsed by
Category: OurSolutions

The Passive-Aggressive Cycle or: How to Disapprove Without Bullying

The Passive-Aggressive Cycle or: How to Disapprove Without Bullying

Does your five-year-old run up and punch you in the gut instead of saying “Hello”? Does your daughter insist that she can only eat dinner while watching television? Do the cookies hidden on the top shelf disappear much quicker than you dole them out? We assume the majority of readers here are not the militaristic authoritarian type, quick to crack the whip and bark orders. Most of the parents we meet spend too much time on the opposite end of…

Read More Read More

You Can’t Take What’s Already Earned

You Can’t Take What’s Already Earned

So many of these tips simply require imagining a role reversal. To put yourself in the child’s shoes, just picture whoever is an authority/provider to you. For most of us, this is our boss. They tell us what to do, we do it, and then we get paid. We often use the analogy of “the boss” to compare the parent-child relationship. When condemning spanking, we say “What if your boss hit you because he didn’t like how you did the…

Read More Read More

Giving (Reasonable) Choices

Giving (Reasonable) Choices

Here’s a tip that most parenting books and experts recommend, but which is often perverted, like anything, when not grounded in an ethical framework. The idea is to give children choices, which allows them to enjoy some autonomy. For example, when a child is avoiding bedtime, instead of making demands or punishing, we say “How many more minutes would you like?” or, if it’s time to eat, we ask, “What part of the meal would you like to start with,…

Read More Read More

Fines and Fees in a Voluntary System?

Fines and Fees in a Voluntary System?

Sometimes an agreement just can’t be made. You’ve insisted that the child refold the stack of laundry that she pulled down into a pile, and she’s just not going to do it. In fact, she’s already run out to play, and you either step over the mess in the hallway, or clean up after her. You might be thinking “So, the logical consequence is what? Take her clothes away? Take her bed away since she doesn’t respect the sheets? That’s…

Read More Read More

Trick-Or-Treating the NAP Parenting Way

Trick-Or-Treating the NAP Parenting Way

Here we’ll share how we use three important tools of NAP Parenting: negotiation, the idea of strict property rights, and contracts, to make sure that trick-or-treating is not a one-way ticket to the dentist. There are other concerns around the holiday, like safety, but we’ll just talk about candy here. If you’ve never done things like this in your home, our approach may sound complicated, and maybe a bit cold. Cold because we would all prefer being able to share…

Read More Read More

Step #0-1 Listen and Validate the Emotion (and Watch the Problems Disappear!)

Step #0-1 Listen and Validate the Emotion (and Watch the Problems Disappear!)

This may be the most important “solution” to common problems that we have to offer. I find that many major arguments and hurt feelings can be traced back to a failure to follow these steps (hence the label “Step #0”). If you’re not in the habit of doing this, you’ll have a harder time connecting with your child. Unfortunately, if this type of response was not modeled for you in your childhood, it may not “seem right” or come naturally….

Read More Read More

Pointing Out Problems

Pointing Out Problems

Summary: Use language that is neutral, informative, and concise. Living with kids is like piloting some ancient, exotic car across country, with no map: the problems just keep coming. Especially with elementary-aged and younger, we often need daily, or hourly course correction. A lot of these problems are extra infuriating because we solved them for ourselves so long ago. It’s hard to empathize with a kid tracking mud into the living room, because we stopped doing it eons ago. Sometimes…

Read More Read More

The power of “I” statements

The power of “I” statements

I learned about “I” statements as a teenager. I couldn’t believe that such a simple tweak in my communication could be so effective in so many situations. “I” statements almost always start with “I…”, such as “I feel…”, “I think…”, “I see…”, and “I wish…”. What’s so great about “I” statements? Well, the way I like to think about it, is you can never be wrong if you use an “I” statement!  It’s logically safe, but also assertive and honest….

Read More Read More

Put It In Writing!

Put It In Writing!

Kids have a lot of requests: “Will you take me to the circus?” “Can I have this giant basket of candy?” “Will you take me for horseback lessons?” I used the above examples because they are difficult questions to answer. The circus is sixth months away, he can get a much better deal on bulk chocolate in aisle 12, and you don’t even know if there are horseback lessons in your town! So how should we respond? We know what…

Read More Read More

Always Say “Please”!

Always Say “Please”!

In my early years of working in a middle school in the rough part of town, my colleagues and I did a lot of de-briefing. Every day there was a new slew of problems, and we often felt like we were losing the fight for these kids attention and respect. I complained one day that I couldn’t even get my kids to sit down, let alone read or do anything else on the curriculum. I knew a lot of tricks…

Read More Read More