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Category: OurSolutions

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, the soup or the sandwich?”

This can work really well, especially for children under six or so.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest

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…”.… Read the rest

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!… Read the rest

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.… Read the rest