Category: Sanity Savers

“I Want What’s On TV!”

 
IWantThatonTVMy 4 year old son wants everything he sees on TV so the other day when he said “Mom, I want that!”  I used my “brain dead skills” and replied, “I know.”   He finally stopped asking after 4-5 times of me saying “I know.”

Then Daddy came home from work and my son looked at his daddy and said “Daddy, I want that on TV!”

My husband replied “I know, buddy.”

My son looked at him with wide eyes and said “Daddy, you can’t use the same words Mommy uses!!”

I guess he’s figuring out that limits are getting firm around our house with both Mom and Dad!  It felt good to set the limit in a loving way and I didn’t have to hear him whine about it!

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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And Then My Daughter Said.. “You’re Not a Rock Star!”

I started using my new Love and Logic® skills of empathy and going brain dead.  My 4 year old daughter wasn’t too happy when I set a limit about eating snacks before dinner.  She started arguing back and I calmly said “I know.” 

I could tell she was trying to figure out a way to get me to engage with her.

You had told me in class that kids would escalate their comebacks to new levels, but when she said “You’re not a rock star!” I burst out laughing as I agreed with her saying,  “I know.”  

It was great, it broke the tension and she laughed too.  The argument was over and we hugged and went on with our day.

In addition, I now know that when she tells me “I’m not a rock star” after a couple of “I knows” that she will soon give up and we will move on to other things.

–Katie K

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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This Little Song Stops My Toddler in Her Tracks!

Ice Cream coneDear Kerry,

We used to have 5 tantrums a day with my 2 1/2 year old little girl.  After switching from time-outs to  the Love and Logic’s “Uh Oh Song” we maybe have one a day.

The best part is that now that I can redirect her behavior with just the words “Uh Oh.”  It was really a life saver when we were at a wedding and she was starting to misbehave I just said “Uh Oh,” and she stopped and said “I promise, I promise, I will listen.”  

My husband is wanting to learn more Love and Logic skills because he sees that this is working so well.   I now feel like we can have more joyful days again!!

Thank you for all the amazing parenting tips! We hit a really rough patch for a while and I feel like we finally have the tools to take on the issues when they come up!

 —Jodie

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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I’m Running Away!

IWasGoingtoRunAwayThe other night my 7 year old son kept trying to argue about something.  I used my new Love and Logic skill of not engaging and calmly replied “I know.”

He ended with “What is wrong with you!!”

I replied again, “I know.”

He yelled “Ugh!” and ran off.

The next morning he comes down to breakfast with a fully loaded backpack, suitcase, and pillow in hand.

“Mom, last night I was going to run away.”

“Oh, I replied, “Thanks for telling me.  Let’s talk about it.”

I realized that this was the time to discuss what was bothering him since she was calm and I was calm.  We had a great talk and he felt understood, loved and secure and I felt peaceful and logical. It was clear that talking it out in the heat of the argument wasn’t as effective as waiting.

— Stephanie
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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Success Story: I Didn’t Say “Good Work”

Didn'tSayGoodWorkMy 3 year old son was struggling with a Buzz Lightyear puzzle.  It was one that didn’t stay together well and putting in one piece would dislodge another.  He’d get frustrated, but I had just read a Love and Logic article about the gift of giving our kids a chance to struggle.

I said “Keep at it.”

He worked for several more minutes and succeeded.

“Mom,” he proudly said, “I did it!

Instead of saying my normal, “good work,”  I used what Love and Logic suggested and asked him “Why do you think you did so well?”

He looked at me confused and I said, “Well, did you work hard, keep practicing, or keep trying?”

He said, “I kept trying and I did it!”

–Jeni

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 Enforceable Statements Work for Picking Up Toys!

Getting Kids to Pick Up Their ToysI needed my 2.5 yr old daughter to pick up her toys. 

She ignored me so I said “I only read stories to girls who pick up their toys.”

She still didn’t do it and got distracted putting on dress up gloves.

I thought I’d give her another opportunity and said “I have pumpkin bread for kids who pick up their toys,” and she still didn’t pick up toys. 

So I was really really sad for her when the rest of the family sat down for our pumpkin bread without her.   She was crying and I held her empathetically.  When it came time to get her ready for bed, we kept our regular routine, I gave her a back rub and cuddled, but no stories. 

The next morning she woke up and said “I’ll pick up my toys, mommy.”

Following through with a consequence and letting our beloved children be uncomfortable is painful for us parents, but it is worth it in the long run as we raise kids who are responsible.



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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Success Story: I Want It!

After leaving our first Love and Logic class we picked up our kids from childcare.  We got some animal crackers from the vending machine and were on our way to the car.  Our 5 year old ran ahead of us and we asked her to come back several times.  She ignored us.

When I was buckling her into the car seat I said, “Poor thing, you didn’t listen to daddy, so you don’t get to eat your animal crackers now.”

She was very upset and started screaming “Daddy, I want animal crackers!”  

I responded, “I know.”

As she screamed it louder and louder each time and I calmly responded, “I know.”

Her mother had to hide her face in her scarf because she started to giggle.  After about 10 minutes, my daughter stopped yelling and started giggling too! 

We were thrilled that we stayed calm through the tantrum and happy that we were strong enough to hold the limit 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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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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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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Want to Stop Yelling at Your Kids?

Bless my kids and their cranky days.

If my 3 boys were perfect and delightful all the time, I’d have no credibility as a parenting instructor. Lucky for me, I don’t have that problem!

Just the other morning, I was tempted to yell. I came right to the brink when two of them were participating in their well-loved sport that I call “Combat Brothering.” I was so annoyed.

It started with little snide comments….under the breath criticisms about how the other breathes or chews or feeds the dog or blows his nose. Then it ramped up to yelling and tattling. That day’s round involved throwing gumdrops at each other and leaving them wherever they fell, mostly on the carpet where I almost smashed one into my newly cleaned rug. Irritating. After screaming at me about his spelling words, one son got himself sent to his room to “get sweet.” He came back down too soon, still slinging word-darts at me. By this time, I was fed up. I felt the irritation rising. I know my pattern and I could tell I was on the road to yelling at my kid.

I knew that I had to head this off then and there, before I raised my voice and sentenced myself to a day of mommy-guilt. I remembered my friend’s technique for getting kids to cool down and I told one son to go run around the block. Ya, right. He said, “You come with me!” I looked down and saw that I still had on running shoes and workout clothes, so I said, “Fine!”

As we both ran outside on a beautiful spring morning, I realized something: If we parents want to stop yelling at our kids, the most important thing to focus on is preventing the escalation. When we’re not yet at “the edge,” our brain functions better and is more resourceful. When we are calm we can remember to use the parenting strategies we already know. But once we reach that explosive point, it’s really, really hard to rein it in, kind of like the BP oil spill. Once the pressure got to a certain point, there was no stopping it until it had spread sludge everywhere and coated everything with muck. Isn’t our parental yelling pretty much the same?

It takes a lot of work for some of us to stop yelling. One technique that can help is going “brain dead” (a Love and Logic™ idea) when our kids argue and yell. The trick is to keep ourselves from getting engaged in the fight. After all, as Hal Runkel says in Screamfree Parenting, “parenting is about parents, not kids.”


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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