In My Ideal World, This is How I’d Like To Communicate With My Teenage Daughter.

Blog post Larissa Dann.  17 October 2016                                  Shutterstock

Parenting a teenager can be tricky. On the one hand, there is the excitement, humour, passion and freshness of the emerging adult living with you.  On the other hand, there are the eye rolls, the ‘go away’s, (followed immediately by the ‘come here’s), and the silences.  How do you guide your teen gently to adulthood, when inside you might just want to scream?  How do you maintain a relationship of mutual respect?

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

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

Larissa Dann                                                                                

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’.

Three Ways our Assumptions Affect Relationships with Children

Larissa Dann.                      

Here is a challenging idea: the way we think about children, and the assumptions we make about their intentions, will shape our response to them.  Ultimately, our presumptions influence our relationships. 

Secrets to Sorting Sibling Squabbles

by Larissa Dann                                                                                                  

Is sibling conflict and rivalry one of the constant stressors of your life as a parent? Do you tear your hair out with frustration as you hear your children yell at each other, yet again?  Are you overwhelmed by the thought of holidays, and the seemingly inevitable squabbling siblings?  Or perhaps you simply wish to enhance the relationship your children already have, to enable them to love and support each other throughout their lives?

Read on to see how you can assist your children to resolve their own conflicts, and help them develop a sibling relationship of respect and empathy, using effective communication skills. The article includes an example to help illustrate the steps being put into practice.

How to Take Your Child Seriously and Enrich your Relationship Forever!

Blog post by Larissa Dann 7th October 2014 (updated 24 May, 2016)             Image: Shutterstock

Three words: take them seriously - could provide your parenting (and relationship) foundation for life.  Being taken seriously is a fundamental human need – adult and child.  Hugh Mackay, respected Australian social researcher and author, states in his book The Good Life: “the desire to be taken seriously . . . is the most pervasive of all our social desires”.  He says, “We each want our unique role . . . to be recognised.  We each want our voice to be heard" (my emphasis). Children want, and need, to be heard too - as much as adults.  How often do we hear the voice of our child? And how would they feel if we took them seriously?

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