On Communicating with Toddlers

toddler tears

Bobby recently took a three hour nap, and when he woke up, he was inconsolable. He came down the stairs crying, upset, and I had no idea what he wanted. Bobby will be two this summer, so communication is still a challenge. I tried picking him up and asking him what he wanted, but he cried and thrashed, so I put him down. I tried offering him all the things he usually wants---his pacifier, his sippie cup, a snack---but he rejected all of it.Having failed to console him, I decided to let him … [Read more...]

Solving Sally’s Meltdowns (Together)

TANTRUM

Even as a big girl of four, Sally still sometimes has meltdowns. A few weeks ago, she shed loud and angry tears and created a bit of a scene in the middle of a store because I told her I would only buy her one set of princess jewelry, not the five sets she had picked out. (It may be easy to laugh at the seeming absurdity of the situation, but those five sets of princess jewelry were very important to Sally at that moment.)Generally, Sally's meltdowns start with simple disagreement. She wants … [Read more...]

Respecting Every BODY

spinning bucket

Today I was pushing Bobby on the swing at the park. Each time his swing came toward me, I reached forward and tickled him. He responded by smiling and laughing, leaning forward and grinning at me. Each time as he came toward me he became excited, anticipating my tickles. Then something changed. Bobby still laughed when I ticked him as he came toward me, but he did so in a forced, annoyed way, and he leaned away from my touch. He managed to get out an "uh-uh" in the midst of his laughter. And so … [Read more...]

Just a Story

Wedgits

This evening I was sitting with my laptop, working, when I vaguely noticed a commotion behind me. Sally was playing with WEDGiTS, and Bobby was butting in. He wasn't trying to be mean, he just wanted to play too, but the result was that he kept knocking over Sally's creations and she grew upset. She tried to elbow him out, to surround the toys with her body, but it didn't work. Bobby wouldn't be put off, and he couldn't play with the WEDGiTS with her without getting in her way. Finally, she ran … [Read more...]

“Don’t Lie to Me, Mommy!”

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Sean and I have a bit of a habit of "kidding" each other, and it's something we've carried over to how we interact with the children. To explain what I'm even talking about here, I'm going to have to give an example. "Mommy, are we rich?" Sally asked me recently. "Well, we have plenty to eat and a safe place to live and lots of friends, so I'd say yes, we're rich," I responded. This was not the best answer, maybe, but I wasn't exactly in the position to explain things like global inequalities … [Read more...]

Emotion Control

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Michael and Debi Pearl's five children are now raising children of their own. Each says they are following the same methods their father laid out in To Train Up A Child, which he first published in 1994, and several of them have begun writing regularly for the No Greater Joy newsletter. As I read their articles, I often wonder whether they are adding their own spin to their father's childrearing methods.The Pearls have begun applying this three-part personality system to children. A recent a … [Read more...]

And Then She Called Me “Libby”

mother and daughter

Over the holidays my preschool age daughter Sally started calling me Libby. For a couple of days, it was all she used to address me. "Libby, can you get me a drink of milk?" "Libby, can I have a snack?" "Libby, is it okay if I go play in the basement?" I think I can now understand why some parents go by their first names with their children. There is definitely something leveling about it.Sally has long occasionally called Sean and I by our first names. For instance, I'd say "Sally, could … [Read more...]


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