Why I Don’t Force Confrontation with My Children

Last week I wrote about the importance of getting down on your child’s level to interact with them face to face. Several commenters noted that as children they had sometimes found it scary or uncomfortable when an adult got down on their level, especially if it involved forced eye contact or interaction they couldn't choose to avoid. This brought up something I didn't discuss in that post---namely, that I try to avoid forcing interaction---and especially confrontation---with my children.I thi … [Read more...]


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Let’s Talk Parenting: Size Matters

I remember when I first realized that, from my children's perspective, I was a giant. It was that moment that I fully understood how important it is to get down on my children's level when speaking with them. Like, really really important. If you talk to your children without getting down on their level, you're usually talking down at them rather than fully talking with them. Understanding why size matters---and how our relative size should effect my interactions---has become central to my par … [Read more...]


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In Defense of Letting Kids Talk Back

I grew up in a family where "back talk" was not allowed. The result was that I often felt muzzled and suffocated. For example, when I was in trouble any attempt to explain what actually happened or to disagree with a selected punishment and suggest an alternative resulted in more "spanks" being added to my punishment total. I often felt compelled to say something---to speak out in the face of what appeared to me to be clear injustice---but any words I might say were silenced, replaced by incre … [Read more...]


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Lying to Children Is Not a “Joke”

I recently saw the above cartoon shared on Facebook. Bizarrely, I saw it shared by progressives, and "liked" by progressives---and not just any progressives, progressive parents who embrace positive parenting.  I was surprised and taken aback. Sharing cartoons that turn child abuse into a joke isn't okay, and this isn't okay either.When did it become okay to joke about lying to children? Make no mistake, that is what this comic is talking about. What does it say about us, as a society, that w … [Read more...]


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What Happened to Teaching Kids to Respect People’s Name Preferences?

When I was in middle school, I briefly tried out the youth group at my family's evangelical megachurch. I was homeschooled, and wasn't used to being around so many public schooled kids, and I had no idea how to fit in or even identify with any of the kids there. But the real problem I ran into had to do with the youth group leader. See, he wanted the kids in youth group to call him Andy*. My parents forbade me from calling him that, and required me to call him Mr. Jones*. And because I refused … [Read more...]


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When Positive Parenting Doesn’t “Work”

Last week I wrote a post about struggling to convince my three-year-old son, Bobby, to take a nap while on a camping trip. I thought about how my parents would have handled they situation---by spanking the child refusing to lay down or stay still---and then about the problems with punishing children for age-approripate behavior that they will grow out of in time. I ultimately solved the situation by suggesting that Bobby and I pretend we were hiding from dinosaurs, a game that he engaged in … [Read more...]


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Child Development, Jumping Frogs, and Evading Dinosaurs

We went camping earlier this year. You know, the lovely peaceful sort of camping at an out-of-the way campsite, with hikes, 'smores, and afternoon naps in the tent. Well. Sort of. One afternoon as we all lay down in the tent for a nap, three-year-old Bobby decided he was a frog. He had walked quite a bit on our hike that morning and ought to have been tired out, but kids are nothing if not unpredictable. Six-year-old Sally decided she would take a nap, but Bobby? Nothing doing!Sean and I … [Read more...]


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