To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit – by Rachel Macy Stafford

A well-thought out article by Rachel Macy Stafford, the author of “Hands Free Mama”, with great ideas to be mindful of when “teaching” our kids… I for one am going to try to remember these! 🙂

Kindness Blog

To Build (or Break) a Child's Spirit - by Rachel Macy Stafford If you needed to lose weight, what would be most motivating?

You’ve put on some pounds. I’m not buying you any more clothes until you lose weight.


Let’s take a walk after dinner.
I’ll let you make the salad.
I love you just the way you are, exactly as you are.

If you needed to learn how to swim, what would be most motivating?

I don’t want to hear your crying. Get in the water and swim! Don’t be a baby!


I’ll be right by your side.
You can do this. If not today, we’ll try again tomorrow.
I love you just the way you are, exactly as you are.

If you needed to practice better hygiene, what would be most motivating?

What is that awful smell? It’s a wonder you have any friends.


Let’s go to the store and pick out some deodorant.
Your hair smells…

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Active Listening: How to Master the Skill That Will Make You a More Effective Parent, by Malinda Carlson.

middle aged mother and teen daughter chatting on bed

middle aged mother and teen daughter chatting on bed


The scream echoes through the house. As does the slam of the bedroom door.

Have you been there?

It’s an all too familiar family scene. It’s after dinner, homework isn’t even close to being done, and a mild reminder about finishing up a book report has turned into WWIII.

My husband and I look at each other. I have steam coming out of my ears. He looks as if he’s witnessed a car crash.

“I just wish he’d listen to me!” I fume as we straighten the pictures on the walls sent rocking by the shockwaves.

Meanwhile my son sulks in his room. “I just wish you guys would listen to me!” he vents.

But I AM listening!

Then again, am I really? 

While I was in grad school where I was getting my Master’s degree in organization development, I learned that not all listening is created equal.

(To read more follow the link below…)

10 Ways to Enjoy Your Child Today


This is so very awesome and has given me some great ideas for tomorrow (which I am spending with my 4 year old). Upbeat, positive and inspiring 🙂

It’s messy.

It’s chaotic.

It’s exhausting.

It’s tears mixed with laughing while negotiating about why shoes need to match.

It’s beds with too many tenants that leave pee stains on sheets and give kicks to the face.

It’s requests to watch Elmo and Frozen everyday. All day. Over and over again. Then again.

It’s spilled milk and crunched cheerios. All over your van. And couch. And crevices of your purse?!

It’s everything you love. Mixed with every kind of stress. All day then all night. No breaks in sight.

It consumes your mind. It fills your heart. It exhausts your body. It grows you like you never imagined.

It’s parenthood.

The one time in our lives where we have kids in the home. Littles (and not so littles) that need us. That love us. That we LOVE from head to toe while simultaneously draining us from head to toe.


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Positive Parenting Isn’t Perfect Parenting and That’s OK, by Nicole Schwarz

positive parentingReblogged from:
As a mom to three girls and as a child therapist, I’ve read piles of parenting books. My parenting philosophy has changed dramatically over the years. When I landed in the realm of “Positive Parenting,” I was hooked. I knew instinctively this was how I wanted to parent.

 Unfortunately, putting the methods in place was a different story.

There are days that I speak calmly, kindly and lovingly to my children. We share hugs, stories and laughs. But, there are days when I overreact to a spilled bowl of cereal, impatiently rush people out the door to school and forget everything about responding positively to my tantruming four year old.

After these negative interactions, I criticize myself as a parent. It’s as if I expect immediate positive parenting perfection.

It was only recently that I started to see that the road to positive parenting is not a smooth, paved path. Instead, it is rocky and uneven. There are days it will be easy and days when I’m exhausted from trying to stay on track. And, that’s ok. In fact, there are some advantages to traveling this rocky road.

Benefits of Imperfect Parenting

  • We can be intentional. In order to stay on the right track, we need to pay attention to every step. We can’t just skate through this parenting gig. Having a mantra such as “Hug first, then correct” or “I can be calm” can help us stay focused.
  • We are not stuck in old patterns. When our kids see us learning and trying new skills, we can inspire them to be learners too. We don’t have to be tied down by the ways we used to parent. As we come across a new technique, we can put it into practice.
  • We can struggle. Instead of being superheroes to our kids, we can be super-normal.  We can show that even grown-ups mess up and then we have an opportunity to show them how to apologize and repair a relationship.
  • We can feel tired. Trying something new takes time, patience and perseverance. Rather than feel guilty or frustrated, we can admit our exhaustion and do what we need to do to get back on track. Self-care is not always easy, but it helps us be better parents.
  • We can ask for help. Acknowledging that the road is difficult gives us permission to ask for help along the way. Other parents have struggled with the same stages, behaviors and challenges. Seeking out support can help us feel less isolated.
  • We can offer help. Since we already know how rewarding positive parenting can be, we can walk beside other parents who are struggling, confused or frustrated. It doesn’t mean we have all the answers or do it perfectly, but that we can relate and empathize.
  • We can feel proud. Offering our kids a listening ear instead of a critical lecture or making the choice not to yell is a huge accomplishment, especially when we’re feeling stressed, tired or alone. Let’s celebrate our successes!

Smoothing the Path

Shifting my focus from expecting perfection to expecting challenges, the path has actually seemed a little less rocky. While I would love to implement patient, consistent positive strategies all of the time, I realize that I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. My life is not perfect. I’m not giving up, I’m just exchanging my roller skates for a good pair of hiking boots!

positive parenting child

A Video Clip about “Positive Parenting”:

Links and information about “Positive Parenting”: