elevating child care

Becoming a Peaceful Leader for Your Strong-Willed Child

In my quest to convey ideas and advice that make raising children both easier and more enjoyable, I rely on feedback. The questions, comments, and personal experiences parents and professionals share help me learn how to communicate respectful care practices more clearly and effectively. I’m guided by hearing what resonates, shifts perspective, and what helps people get unstuck or turn a corner. I recently had the...

The Secret to Setting Limits (Without Bribes or Threats)

Hi Janet, Please help! I’m having to rethink my strategies with my 4-year-old.  Normally bedtime is effortless — a great routine, quality time, and straight down. The only caveat is that I’ve used TV as an incentive and threaten to cancel play dates the next day if she doesn’t stay in bed (and have consistently followed through). Now that I’ve removed this “motivation,”...

Confident Momentum: How to Stop Battling Your Toddler’s Resistance and Defiance

Raising our children with love and respect requires us to take on a role that might not come naturally: leadership. Without the security of unflappable, empathic leaders, children are less able to focus on the work they need to do – growing, developing, playing, exploring, and ultimately, flourishing as self-confident, content, successful people. One of the not-so-fun duties of our leadership is handling our...

6 Helpful Things to Know About Your Strong-Willed Child

Hello Janet, I write to you wondering how to deal with my very strong-willed and independent 5-year-old.  As a toddler and emerging preschooler, she would express very large emotions.  I would try to help her name and accept them by saying calmly, “You are feeling frustrated.  Would you like to take a break?”  If she felt angry or frustrated, she would yell at me, “I’m NOT...

Why Timeouts Fail and What to do Instead

Timeout is a temporary, artificial, and inadequate solution to a real problem. Worse, it actually prevents us from seeing the real problem, because when kids feel judged and rejected, they tend to clam up (as we all do). Timeout closes the door on communication in the misguided hope that children will think about their behavior and, shamed, resolve to do better in the future.  The problem with this logic is that it...

Stop Being So Stern (What to do Instead)

Whether our child’s temperament is placid and agreeable, strong willed and intense, or something in between, all children have one need in common: our respectful, confident leadership. But with the dearth of respectful care models in our society, it can be tricky to grasp what confident leadership actually looks and sounds like. One of the common misunderstandings I’ve noted in my work with parents is that being...

Putting an End to Power Struggles with Our Kids

With the knowledge that it almost certainly takes two to tango, it should be easy for us to avoid engaging in power struggles with our kids, right? Um… not always. Here are some of the understandable reasons we might get caught in a battle of wills: We want our kids to be well-behaved, respect our wishes, do as we ask. (And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with any of that, so don’t ever let anyone make you...

When Children Lie

Hi Janet, how would you handle situations when a 6-year-old lies? What consequences would you implement? Honestly, if my 6-year-old out-and-out lied to me, I would wonder what I had done to cause that. As the leader in our parent-child relationship, I would take it upon myself to discern how I had made the truth feel unsafe or uncomfortable for my child. Then I would do all in my power to repair this rift between...

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