Category: Common Problems

Success Story: “I’m Not Going to Kiss You Anymore”

We always discuss in class about kids who will escalate to test the new skills mom and dad are using.  It’s the old “short term pain for long term gain” adage.

This mom thought it would be something only older kids would do, but preschoolers know how to escalate with hurtful words too.

Luckily, this mom knew to stay her course and not react.  Read what happens…

Using “I know” really started working for me with our 3 year old daughter.  I was surprised when she escalated her response to “I’m not going to kiss you anymore!”  I was shocked and heartbroken, but I stayed brain dead and said, “I know.”

Just 20 minutes later, after things calmed down, she came to me and said “Mommy, I want a hug.”

Shelly Moorman
©2010 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Success Story! Love and Logic® Works with 3 Year Olds

This mom shares her success story using the  brain dead statement “I know” over and over again…..

My 3 year old didn’t want any of the two choices I gave him for breakfast, so I picked one for him.  He was not happy and kept throwing a fit.   I empathetically used “I know” about six or seven times before he finally took a deep breath, slumped his shoulders, and started eating quietly.

Going “brain dead” began to work faster and faster the rest of the week.  It only took saying it 2 or 3 time for him to chill out and do what I said!

Shelly Moorman
©2010 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Waking Up Too Early? Teach Your Child to Stay in Their Room

Here’s a great idea shared by one of the parents in my Love and Logic Early Childhood Made Fun! parenting class:

How do you teach your child to stay in her room when she wakes up too early?

 

Teach Me Time Alarm Clock
This alarm clock will glow green when it’s time to go or orange when it’s time to stay.

Set the limit by saying: “Sweetie, you’re welcome to leave your room when the light is green. If it’s orange, feel free to play quietly in your room until it’s green.”

Then be sure to remember the most important step: when your child DOES stay in the room until the light turns green, get very excited and celebrate with hugs, kisses, a happy voice, eye contact and smiles.

When he doesn’t stay in his room, say in a loving voice, “Oh, that’s so sad. It’s not quite time to come out yet” and walk him back to his room with little eye contact, little talking, no intensity whatsoever. Tuck him back in bed for more sleeping or help him figure out what he can do quietly to entertain himself. Ask him if he’d like a few kisses or hugs to make it until it’s time to get up. Double check that he’s had enough kisses to last until he’s allowed to get up. He may not thank you. He may protest. If he learns that loud protests get you fired up and intense, he is quite likely to decide that your drama is more interesting than being alone in his room, so don’t take the bait. Have compassion that it’s hard for a little guy to stay in his room when he wants to start his day.

 
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Three Different Parenting Styles

Drill Sergeant | Helicopter | Consultant

Different Parenting StylesWere you raised by a “Drill Sergeant” always telling you to “Jump,” and you asking, “How high?” or were you raised by a “Helicopter” always hovering, ready to swoop in and rescue?  Did you ever think about what kind of a message these parenting styles send to your kids? Drill sergeants are communicating these messages:  “You can’t think for yourself.  You can’t make it without me.”  Helicopters send these messages: “You are fragile. You need me to protect you.”

Are these the kinds of messages you want to send to your precious children?  If not, what can you do instead?

Consider adopting the “Consultant” approach to parenting.  Consultants send this message to their kids:  “You do your own best thinking.”  How do consultant parents do this?  One way is to offer choices and alternatives instead of giving orders or commands.  Commands give something for the kids to fight against.  Choices keep kids in thinking mode.  Here are some guidelines for giving choices effectively:

Give only 2 choices, either of which you are happy with.

“Do you want to do your homework before or after your snack?”
“Do you want me to change your diaper over here or over there?”

If the child doesn’t decide in 10 seconds, you decide for them.

Only give choices when things are going well and before any resistance.

Build up your choice savings account so you can make a withdrawal.

“Sweetie, don’t I usually give you choices?  It’s my turn now. Thanks for understanding.”

Kids Cooperate Better When They Have Choices

Many of the parents in my classes have been happy when they report how they’ve gained their child’s cooperation by giving choices.  Parents report their toddlers successfully choose which bib to wear or which shoe to put on first or what song to sing when getting into the car seat.  Parents share that their school age kids choose between washing the plates or the glasses first, going to bed now or in 10 minutes, or brushing their teeth before or after putting on their pajamas.   Adding the tool of choices to your parenting toolbox can be just what you’re looking for to adjust your parenting style to the more consultative approach.

Shelly Moorman
©2010 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Sometimes Parenting With Love Hurts

Kerry, I just had to share a story about my little Tate having the opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

I had found some recipes to help the boys use their creative juices and love for cooking to actually contribute to our table this week. Today was our third recipe. Apple turnovers.

They sat complete and delicious-looking on the stove. Around dinner time, as I was finishing up my baby daughter’s bath, the older boys had started eating their meal, and I hear my husband Matt say, “Tate, you need to go upstairs and ask Mommy what the consequence should be. And if she doesn’t have one, I will give you one, but it won’t be a nice one.”

Our three year-old Tate came upstairs, and told me that he had peed on the wall that holds up the table. (Translation: the wall under the island in the kitchen.) As he said it, he kind of looked sad, then he kind of looked happy… it made me think he wasn’t exactly sorry. At this point, I was glad that Matt wasn’t giving him a consequence, that it was someone who could be slightly more emotionally removed from the incident. Because if it had been me watching the peeing, I would have been furious!

Calmly, I told him he needed to sit on his bed and put his underwear on, I’d be back in 5 minutes when the timer went off. Five minutes went by, I went to get him, he ate dinner, etc. At the end of dinner, I dished out servings of apple turnovers, minus one for Tate’s poor decision. I even put a little Cool Whip on his brother’s portion. Tate sauntered over and said, “Mommy is this one for me?” with a smile on his face. Matt and I looked at each other and braced ourselves for what was about to happen.

“Tate, I would have loved to give you an apple turnover for dessert, but only little boys who don’t pee on the wall get apple turnover.” Immediately he was defeated. He started wailing. He fell on his bottom and just cried. I went over to him, feeling very sad myself, and picked him up. “Oh buddy, I am so sad.” And this is the thing that I did not expect: In between his sobs, he cried, “Me too…maybe next time…maybe next time…”

I broke down crying! I couldn’t help it! He knew he had made a bad decision and he was so sad. He couldn’t get that decision back. He told me he was sleepy and wanted me to take him to bed. Crying, crying.

Sometimes parenting with love hurts.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2013 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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How Many Ways I Can Be Naughty at Bedtime?

Putting Toddler to Bed

Three year old Wes used to play his favorite game at bedtime. It was called, “See how many ways I can be naughty.”

He was the only one enjoying the game. His single, working dad certainly did not. Wes was very creative in how he played the game: he ran away when it was time to put on his pj’s. He clenched his jaw when it was time to brush his teeth. He screamed and threatened to wake up his baby brother. He jumped on the bed when it was time for tuck in. Sound familiar? It’s a very popular game amongst the little people. It’s a game though, that doesn’t usually end well for either the child or the parent.

Wes’s game ruled until Daddy came up with a better game called “Earn a Minute.” This game starts at the beginning of bedtime when Daddy whispers to Wes, “For every step of bedtime that you do cooperatively, you earn a minute of You-n-Me time. If you get enough, we might be able to read a whole extra book!” “Game on” for little Wes. He might as well wear a sign that says, “Will Cooperate For You-N-Me Time.”

Here’s how the scoring works
Brush teeth: earn a minute.
Go potty: earn a minute.
Wash hands: earn a minute.
Get undressed: earn a minute.
Get in the bath: earn a minute.
Cooperate with being washed: earn a minute.
Get out of the bath first time you’re told: earn a minute.
Hold still while being dried: earn a minute.
Put on PJs: earn a minute.
Climb into bed: earn a minute.

Wes has mastered this “game” and he savors his ten minutes of special Daddy-time before going to sleep. Dad is happy because the extra story time takes less time than all the hassling did, and father and son both get happy snuggle time instead of exasperation and negative attention.

Every now and then, Daddy mixes things up and says, “We’re not playing tonight, so you might as well be a rascal.” Well now, when Daddy invites Wes to misbehave, it’s not as much fun for Wes and the power struggle is over.


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Little Kids Want to Be Big Kids

Little Kids Always Want to Be Big KidsLittle kids want to be big kids, and parents can leverage that desire to get cooperation when behavior problems arise.

In one example, 4-year-old Emma’s mom asked her to blow her nose. “No!” Emma shouted. Remembering how important it was for Emma to feel like a big kid, Mom said, “Oh, that’s right, I know that only big kids can blow their noses by themselves.”

Emma grabbed the Kleenex from her mom and said, “I can too blow my nose! I’m a big kid,” and proceeded around the room showing everyone in her family how she was a “big kid” and could blow her nose.

6-year-old Jack’s mom told him it was time to take a shower. He yelled, “I’m not doing it!” and ran out of the room. Mom’s Love and Logic parenting skills sprang into her mind as she called out, “That’s okay, I’ll run a bath for you because I know that only big kids shower.” She laughed when she told me this, “I hadn’t even finished my sentence and he was in the shower. He was showing me he was ‘big’.”

This parenting strategy also works when you’re dealing with a toddler who is a picky eater. Make a big production out of how you and your spouse are eating “adult food” and how your child is eating “boring little kid food.” As you eat, talk to each other about how tasty your food is. Really “Ooooh,” and “Awe,” over it. Ask for seconds.

If your picky eater’s curiosity gets peaked and he asks, “What’s that you’re eating?” respond, “Oh, this is big people food, you won’t like it. You only like kid food.” If he asks again, one of you say, “What do you think, should we let him taste it?” and have the other answer, “Nooooo, he’s too little, he won’t like it.”  Keep this up and pretty soon he’ll be begging for a taste.

This parenting strategy might not work with every kid, but it’s sure fun to experiment with it. And isn’t it better than the lectures, threats and bribes that you’ve tried before?


Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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What If You Have A Strong-Willed Child?

One couple had a hard time with their 3-year old daughter in the beginning of the 5-week class.  It seemed that nothing worked with their strong-willed little girl.  Read below to see how things worked out…..

Hi Kerry,

Thank you again for all your help and advice about parenting. Below is a testimonial from our parenting experience.

After attending 2 classes of Love & Logic we had enough information to be dangerous. We had been practicing some of the principles for a while on our 3 year old, but now we had a better understanding of what we should be doing. Our next week was HELL!! Looking back, our daughter was testing us, pushing us to follow through with consequences, and was surprised when we did. The big plus for us, was since we were using Love&Logic we didn’t get upset or drawn into battles, we just sang the little songs or went ‘brain dead’ as we carried her to yet another time out.

A week later it was heaven, now she understands the consequences are coming and is actually starting to respond the first time. With so many choices she seems to feel like she has some control over events and doesn’t mind conceding things that a while ago would have been a huge battle. ‘Toy jail’ is finally hitting home, and we now have a 3 year old who, with a little supervision, cleans up after herself before bedtime.

Thanks,

Dave and Heather
Kerry Stutzman, MSW
©2012 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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How Do I Get My Preschooler to Stay in Bed?

Question from a Mom:
“My husband and I are disagreeing about the best way to get our three 3 year old to  stay in bed. I wonder if you can point me in the right direction to find information from Love and Logic on bedtime struggles with young children.” 

Answer:
Use the Love and Logic skill of choices to handle the bedtime issue. In the parenting classes that I teach, there are a few rules.  Only give 2 choices, make sure you are happy with both options, and after 10 seconds, you choose for them with empathy.

Here’s an example of how to use them to keep your child in bed.

1. Give lots and lots of choices while getting ready for bed to build up your “savings account of choice deposits.”

2.   When it’s time for “lights out,” try these choices:

Do you want 5 kisses or 6?  Do you need another hug?  Is that enough hugs and kisses to get you through the night or do you need a few more?  Do you need another kiss on your nose?  On your hand?

Do you want me to check on you in 2 minutes or 3?  She’ll probably choose 2 minutes, so set the timer (bring it with you – don’t leave it in the room) and let her know you’ll be back to check on her so she doesn’t need to get up.
In 2 minutes, go back in and ask her if she wants to be checked on in 4 or 5 minutes.  Let her choose, then leave again with the timer.
In 4 minutes go back in and ask her if she wants 8 or 9 minutes before your next check in.
Repeat as necessary. She should be asleep by the time you go back in the 3rd or 4th time.

After a few days, you can start with a longer initial time interval, like 4-5 minutes, but in training, start with small increments to build the trust.

If she gets out of bed, make a withdrawl from the choice bank,  “Didn’t mommy give you lots of choices?   It’s my turn, you need to stay in your room, thanks for understanding.  Good night.”  Be loving, but firm.
Shelly Moorman
©2010 Shelly Moorman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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Temper Tantrums Aren’t Just for 2 Year Olds

This year has brought a new experience for John and I …temper tantrums.

That moment when Hailey clenches her fists, shakes uncontrollably, and squeals like a pig…randomly throughout our day.  Tantrums could be triggered over a number of different things in her “high-stress” day.  As adults, we talk about temper tantrums like they are a phase and disregard any logical explanation for why they happen.  Personally, if someone twice my size deprived me of another serving of ice cream or tore me away from my favorite show to go grocery shopping…I’d get pretty upset too.  I might even shake uncontrollably.

We often say, “Oh well, whatcha gonna do? It’s the terrible twos.”

We recently took a Love and Logic parenting class (highly recommend this) and it has helped immensely.   Temper Tantrums for adults and kids are mainly caused by our lack of control.  Give a child or an adult a choice and they feel more in control. Hailey now gets several choices a day regarding everything she does…”do you want to wear pink shoes or red shoes…pants on first or shirt on first…dinner in this chair or that chair…”  It has added a lot of humor to our day and keeps things in perspective.  She also has “a calm place” where she is instructed to go if she “loses it.” It’s an area in her room with pillows and stuffed animals.  Now that she knows how to use it, she will frequently go there on her own after “losing it.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have a “calm place” at work after a bad meeting? How about a “calm place” at the airport?

Shelly Moorman
©2009 Kerry Stutzman, Head & Heart Parents

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Head & Heart Parents is owned by Kerry Stutzman, MSW, a Marriage and Family Therapist and certified Love and Logic Parenting Instructor. In addition to private therapy and parent consulting services, Kerry offers parenting classes and workshops in Denver and the surrounding areas for toddlers, elementary, and teenage children.

As author of the easy-to-read “Save Your Sanity” series, Kerry helps parents save their sanity and sense of humor while raising young children with love and laughter.

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