Children and Play – past, present - and future?

Larissa Dann  

One of the best aspects of being a parent is reading to my kids. As a family project, we decided to  read some ‘classics’ together.  Which meant me reading out loud to my children.  The books we chose were from bygone days, timeless in their description of the human condition.  To my surprise, I discovered the tales were also beautifully illustrative of a life that, to today’s child, is almost as alien living on Mars! This set me to reflecting on the differences in the way our children play today, compared to the way children occupied themselves in the not-so-distant past.

To Tell or Not to Tell: Discussing Your Parenting Skills with Your Kids.

By Larissa Dann.  Posted February, 2015

As a parent educator, two common questions that participants ask during a course are: “Should I tell my children I am doing a parenting course?” and “Should I tell my children about the things I am learning in this course?”

Every parent who reads a parenting book, or attends a parenting class, will have their own thoughts and feelings on whether to share what they’ve learnt with their children.  Their decision will be based on their experience, their family, their children, and their level of comfort with the new skills they are learning.  But what do the kids think? Read on at

When a Choice is Not a Choice

When children are encouraged to make choices, it can help them feel empowered - that they have some control over their lives. However, are all choices really choices? Do we, as parents, grasp for the ‘choice’ parenting tool because it is quicker and easier than the alternatives, and because we feel better about offering our child options, rather than look for a reason for their behaviour? Is giving a child a ‘choice’ the same as giving them a ‘say’ in their lives?

This article focuses on those times when we offer our child a choice as a means to end a conflict .  At these times, choices may not work.  Read the full blog:

Secrets to Sorting Sibling Squabbles

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.

Why Doesn’t My Child Like the New Me: Why Our Children Might Resist Our New Parenting Skills

Are you a parent (or carer) who has just read a new parenting book, or completed a parenting course such as Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T)? You may be full of ideas on implementing the new skills you’ve just learned. You’re hopeful that things will change immediately: that the household will become calmer; that you’ll yell less; that the kids will respond positively to your I-Messages; and you have a new way to encourage self-discipline. What you don’t expect is any resistance from your child when you apply these skills.

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?

Parenting Upwards – What We Say to Our Parents Affects our Children

Blog post by Larissa Dann.  10th September 2014                    Image used under license from Shutterstock

The respectful communication skills taught in Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) are universal, and can be used in a range of interpersonal encounters – work, friends – and family.  This article reminds us to use these communication skills with our parents, and is a reflection of my own experience - including a story of dementia.  An uplifting observation by my daughter illustrates the importance of setting the example (modeling) for our children.

Three reasons to avoid saying "I'm proud of you".

Larissa Dann     

"I’m proud of you!"  How often do we utter this common parenting phrase, in moments of pleasure at our child’s latest achievement? With the best of intentions, we want to let our children know of our pride in them.

However – what messages might our children actually hear? What do they perceive - when a parent (or teacher) says "I’m proud of you"?

Can a Respectful Parenting Approach Help Immunise Children Against Narcissism?

by Larissa Dann 

Narcissism seems to be the topic of the day.  But what is narcissism?  And (the big question) - can this personality disorder be prevented?  Could a mutually respectful parenting approach reduce the prevalence of narcissism in our society, and instead help our children grow up as empathic, nurturing human beings?

In the thought-provoking book The Life of I – the New Culture of Narcissism, the author, Anne Manne, explores theories and history around narcissism.  Within the many  take-home messages threaded throughout the book, it is parenting practice, and the prevailing society in which that practice takes place, that Manne identifies as the primary influence on whether a child becomes narcissistic.

Here, I try to summarise her conclusions, then look to possible solutions to prevent children becoming narcissitic adults.

Grandparents and P.E.T. courses

For an updated blog on Grandparents and Parent Effectiveness Training courses, please visit Never Too Late:Grandparents Enhancing their Parenting Skills


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