Parent Coaching Blog


There is No “I” in Parent

There is no I in PARENT…


When you are talking to your child about their behavior, try to avoid the following  “I” statements…

I don’t like it when you scream in my face.”

I am going to take away a toy.”

I want you to make a good choice.”

I am going to put you in timeout.”

All of these statements put you (the parent) in the driver’s seat.  You will spend your day regulating their behavior instead of encouraging them to be in control of their choices.  We want them to recognize the benefits of their good behavior; the ways that good choices influence their lives for the better.  So next time you find yourself in a tug of war with your child try statements that give the ownership back to them like these:

“When you scream in my face you are telling me that you are too angry to a make a good choice.  Take a break and come back when you are ready to talk nicely without screaming.” (The child should find a spot to cool down and take enough time to get their anger under control.  They should return on their own time but only when they are ready to talk nicely without screaming)

“When you play with your toys too roughly, you are telling me that you aren’t taking care of them and you need a break from the toy.” (The child will have to put the toy in a break because they did not play nicely with it.  The point is they caused it to be taken away and they can also cause it to stay put if they turn their behavior around).

“If you make a good choice you can stay at the park. If you do not you will have to go home.  I bet you can make a good choice that will turn your day around.” (The choices they make affect their day.  When we act “non affected” by their choices then it is the child’s problem to turn it around so they can get the positive consequence they desire).

Once we take the “I” out of the discussion with our children, they have to take the behavior on themselves and not wait for us to reprimand and deliver consequences. It becomes their problem to fix, not ours.  When we allow them to have the power to change their own behavior, we have helped them to see that they can control their responses and therefore control their day.  By taking ourselves out of the equation it allows us to be less emotional about the choices they make. 

Then the only “I”statements you will have to make will be positive reinforcement statements like these:

I am proud of you.”

I love you.”

I knew you could do it.”

I noticed you turned your day around.”

I caught you making a good choice.”

I like how you are playing nicely with your toys.”

Obviously all this is easier said then done.  Here are some quick steps to better parenting…

1.Start out by paying attention to your responses to your child’s behavior.

  2.Begin to put them in the drivers seat when it comes to regulating their behavior.        

3.Choose positive reinforcing “I” statements that let them know you have faith that they can turn their day around on their own.

 Give it a try!  I know you can do this!


Message for Moms

It is your day!

Celebrate… Acknowledge…Forgive…Remember

Celebrate the fact that you don’t have to be perfect at parenting. 

Celebrate by finding your own inner kid…

 Laugh !  Leap !  and  Learn! with your children.

Acknowledge the sacrifices you have made to make your child’s life more complete.

Acknowledge the smallest things you do daily to make your family complete.

Forgive yourself for the mistakes of last week.

Forgive yourself for overlooking that one thing on yesterday’s “to do” list.

Remember that you have support all around you waiting to give you a lift when you need it most.

Remember that you are not alone!

Remember that these crazy days soon will pass.

As Moms together in this most important job of parenting let’s:

Celebrate!  Acknowledge! Forgive! Remember!

Laugh! Leap! Learn and Love!

It’s your day!


Say “Tootles” to Tattling

  If your house is anything like mine, you have children who spend their days tattling on their siblings and you spend your day refereeing the arguments.

When we acknowledge the tattling the accusing child gets two bonuses:

First: They reported a negative behavior and “saved the day”

Second:  They feel like they have moved up in the ranks of rivalry because their brother or sister will surely move down after being caught red handed. 

Here’s a typical tattling scenario: 

  • The children are playing a game nicely.
  • All is good in the home… Mom and Dad are smiling… Ahhh!
  • The parent gives no attention  to the children because they think: “Why mess with a good thing?”
  • Suddenly the climate of the play changes…
  • Something is unfair and the dice get thrown across the game table.
  • A child yells, “I quit.  Mom and Dad,  Josh  cheated!” …
  • Momand Dad are  forced to pay attention.
  • Mom and Dad have to weed through the sequence of the showdown.
  • Mom and Dad have to figure out the consequences of the actions.
  • Mom and Dad have a headache. 

What if the scenario went a different way:    

  • Mom walks by the table where her children are playing nicely, and makes a specific comment about something positive she sees them doing. “I noticed that you let your brother go first.”
  • Mom reinforces that they should try to “work out” their differences as arguments come up and make it fair so everyone can continue the game. “What is your plan if someone thinks something is unfair?”
  • Mom mentions she wants each brother or sister to catch their siblings doing something good during the game and report back to her when they are finished.
  • The children’s focus will turn from personal gain to group gain.  They will be able to report how well the game went, how well they worked together to solve problems and Mom no longer has to be the referee. 
  • They will work through problems as they come up and focus on the positives instead of the negatives. All the while they will be noticing their siblings strengths.

This is called positive peer reinforcement, and it is something that teachers are trying to do more and more within their class settings.  Some people call this tootling because it causes children to focus on the positive instead of negative behaviors replacing tattling with “tooting some else’s horn” .(Skinner et al. 2000) You can try this in the home setting too. 

Here are some steps to make it a success: 

  1. Mom and Dad specifically call out positive behavior when they see it and clearly state the positive behavior they would like to see.
  2. Children focus on catching each other making the good choices that match Mom and Dad’s plan
  3. Children report the good choices that others made (instead of tattling on the “bad choices”)
  4. Positive Behavior increases as children work to get the positive attention of their siblings and parents
  5. Shift happens from personal gain to group gain
  6. Children team up to be good
  7. Mom and Dad cease being the referees
  8. Everyone is a little more positive and peaceful

As parents, you might want to tally up the “tootles” at the end of the day and acknowledge the positive choices made.  You could even have your children work towards achieving a certain number of tootles for a family surprise. 

Studies show that the rate of positive behaviors go up when positive behaviors are emphasized, recognized and acknowleged, and likewise, negative behaviors increase when we continue to recognize, emphasize and acknowledge them.  So focus on the positive to get a peaceful home.

Toot your child’s horn today!

Skinner, C. H., Cashwell, T. H., & Skinner, A. L. (2000). Increasing tootling: The effects of a peermonitored interdependent group contingencies program on students’ reports of peers’ prosocial behaviors. Psychology in the Schools, 37, 263–270.



Rules Rules Rules…

Rules for your city

Rules for your church

Rules for your library

Rules for a classroom

Rules for a school

Rules for eating

Rules for traveling in a car

Rules for riding a bike

Rules for…

The list of rules in our world could go on and on, but the rule of thumb is that every part of our day runs smoothly when there are expectations set up in advance and when everyone knows what is going on.

What if a library did not set up rules to govern how we borrow and return books?  What if once we get food was on the table there were no rules that labeled how and where you were suppose to eat it?  What if when driving in our car we did not clearly know the rules of the road?  There could be utter chaos, no one would feel safe and there would be no order.

The same chaos and mess could end up taking over your home if you do not begin to take a step in the right direction and devise a list of your house rules…

If using the word rules bothers you then simply call them systems, expectations, boundaries or your house motto.

Start with what you expect.  These should be the three basic over arching goals for behavior such as: be nice, be a good listener, and be honest.   You should then detail what this does and doesn’t look like. Next you should identify a system as to how these rules will be followed and how mom’s and dad’s responses will try to increase positive behavior and decrease negative behavior.  

Give your child a clear list of zero tolerance behaviors including basic statements that cover a lot of territory…

There will be no: hurting, fussing, or fighting

Then give them tools to work through the inevitable mess ups… 1. Allow them to rewind when they feel like they want to retell something in a nicer way, or when they want to redo an action or word that came our of their mouth.  2.  Tell them that taking a break and coming back ready to make good choices is what adults do all the time when they say things like… “I will be taking a quick walk and then I will be right back to talk this through”.  Let them know it is a possible way to help them get their behavior back on track. 3.  Alternative ways to solve the problem.  If you are fighting over homework, allow the child to decide where they will do their homework… Inside the play tent in the basement or at their desk in their room. 

By giving them tools for success that could help them turn their behavior around, you are giving them a chance to redo the behavior and  learn from it.  They will begin to repeat the positive behaviors and omit the negative behaviors once they know the systems, consequences, expectations,and rewards of following through on your house rules.