Children

The Hardest Lesson: Helping Our Young Ones Learn From Their Mistakes

Larissa Dann 28 May 2017

How often have we found ourselves gritting our teeth when our child says:

‘It wasn’t my fault’?

‘It wasn’t my fault that the last piece of chocolate smeared itself all over my face.’

‘It wasn’t my fault that those pretty pictures suddenly appeared on the lounge chair’

'It wasn't my fault that the dishes piled up in my room - you just expect me to do everything!'

Frustrating, huh?

Parenting Without Rewards or Punishment. Podcast with Larissa Dann.

Wondering whether it really is possible to bring up responsible, caring children without using rewards and punishment?  Or what you can do to help you and your children have a mutually respectful, peaceful relationship? Listen to this podcast by Casey O'Roarty of Joyful Courage, where Casey and I discuss practical parenting skills and examples, and why avoiding punishment and rewards is beneficial in the long term.

In this podcast, I share my experience of raising my children with the skills and principles of Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), supplemented by feedback from parents who have attended my PET classes.

Five Reasons I Won’t Virtually Track My Child

Larissa Dann 6th March 2017

One balmy summer evening I sat amongst other parents in the blue school library, fanning my face as I cooled myself physically - and emotionally. I was attending a high school information night, and my blood was boiling.

I learned that our school had a virtual system that would allow us, as guardians, to sign in to view our children’s work – to prowl through their essays, make edits, monitor progress, look at their emails.  And we could do this all without our children’s agreement.

Teaching Children Skills to Peacefully Resolve Conflict

by Larissa Dann Blog post 10th November 2015 (updated 6th December, 2016).  Adapted from ‘Sorting Sibling Squabbles

At the end of my son’s pre-school year, his teacher came up to have a chat.

“Larissa” she said “Normally, my assistant and I spend a lot of time in the cubby house sorting out squabbles between children.  This year, we spent much less time dealing with fighting children.  We discovered that your son was mediating the arguments.  We watched him say things like “Do you have any ideas about how you both can be happy?” and then the children would get on and play”.

You could have knocked me down with a feather!  At that time, my son was the only child of a single mother.  I was a big fan of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.), and was attempting to use these gentle parenting skills with him, as often as possible. The skills included no-lose (win-win) conflict resolution.

This blog helps you develop the peace making capacities of children. 

P.E.T on a Page: a Summary of the Skills and Principles of Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).

Larissa Dann 4th September, 2016

Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) is a gentle, peaceful parenting approach that helps develop a relationship of warmth and respect, between children and their parents or carers. Importantly, P.E.T does not use punishment and reward to change a child’s behaviour. In my opinion, the skills and philosophy of P.E.T underpin many modern parenting practices, including gentle, peaceful or attachment parenting.

The positive outcomes for children, parents and families who adopt the skills taught in P.E.T. are now, I believe, strongly backed by research and evidence. You can read more in ‘How the Evidence of Today Supports the Wisdom of Yesterday’, and read real stories from parents putting P.E.T into practice here.

The Danger of Taking Your Child’s Behaviour Personally.

Larissa Dann Blog Post 16 May 2016

My journey as a parent has required openness to new ideas, learning from my best teachers (my children), and a lot of personal reflection. Sometimes, the most unlikely of situations can offer opportunities for discovery.

My most recent light-bulb parenting moment was recognising the strong connection between me taking behaviour personally, and my anger.

The Moment I Missed My Son’s Graduation - Because I was Too Busy Recording It

Larissa Dann Blog post 6th May, 2016

Do you find yourself whipping out your phone or camera at every opportunity, ready to record those myriad of unique events in your child’s life?  I did. Now my child is a young adult, I look back and reflect. I love the memories that my photos evoke. At the same time, I am reminded of what I missed.

Fear or Regard – Why Do Our Children Respect Us?

Larissa Dann blog post 26 April 2016    Image courtesy Shutterstock

“Shouldn’t we be teaching our children to respect us?” said a father in a session of my parenting class.  “I certainly respected my father – I always did what he said. How can you get a child to respect you if you don’t use punishment or rewards?”

Whoa. A parent was confronting me with a question that had hovered in my sub-conscious for years, but which I had not examined because it was too difficult, too challenging.  What was ‘respect’? How would I answer him?

I teach, and try to live by, an approach to parenting called Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.).  When I write or speak about P.E.T., I summarise the course as ‘helping parents and children to develop a relationship of mutual respect’.  I emphasise that P.E.T. differentiates itself because it helps parents avoid the use of rewards and punishment.

Now I was faced with a vexed question: “Are there different types of respect, and why do I think it is important in parenting?” .  Read on for the full article.

Avoiding the Phrase 'Makes Me', and What to Say Instead.

Blog post by Larissa Dann 17 November 2015, on Gordon Training International         Photo courtesy Shutterstock

We use the phrase “makes me” in situations where we are impacted by things our children do – by their actions, or their behaviour.  Often, we’ll say, “makes me” with the best of intentions – we just want our children to know how we feel.

My question is: does my child’s action make me feel something? Or do I feel an emotion in response to my child’s behaviour?  Am I a passive victim of their behaviour, or will I actively own my feelings about their behaviour?

I think there can be hidden consequences when we use “makes me” with our children. Read on for the full article.

Saying “I’m disappointed” can Damage Relationships: Children and Adults

Blog post: Larissa Dann 13 August 2015  (updated 21 June, 2016)                           Image used under license from Shutterstock                                                        

Respectful communication is the life-blood of all relationships. A subtle choice of words may either enhance or diminish family connection.  In my efforts to improve my relationships, one word I’m trying to avoid is ‘disappointed’.

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