That Time I Put Myself in a Timeout

Sometime last year, shortly after Bobby was born, Sally had the worst temper tantrum she has ever had. Sean was working late and I had the kids. Bobby was fussy and I was trying to cook supper and I don't even remember what set Sally off. But she wasn't the only one who got mad---I got mad too. Really angry, and not just at her. My evening was not going as planned. Sally was lying on the ground, screaming and kicking things. So I chose a course of action and took it. I turned off the stove, … [Read more...]


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Sally’s Emotions Are Hers, Not Mine

"I'm really angry with you, mom! I don't like you right now! I don't like you!"I don't even remember what I'd done. I think maybe I told her that no, we weren't going to get ice cream while we were out, or maybe I told her we really did have to go inside because I had to make dinner. Whatever it was, my preschool-aged daughter Sally was very upset with me.But you know what? I didn't try to stop it. I can't control Sally's emotions, and I'm not going to try to. I can't force Sally to feel … [Read more...]


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Dear Pearls: Crying Is How Babies Communicate

I spent an hour this evening at the park with Sally and Bobby. I put Bobby in a swing, and gave him a good push, and you should have seen his face---it was like he'd just realized he had wings! After he'd been in the swing for about fifteen minutes, I took Bobby out to take him to play with something else. He immediately stiffened and started screaming, bucking and thrashing until it was all I could do to hold onto him (he's getting big!). So I put him down and watched him crumple, collapsing on … [Read more...]


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When “I’m Sorry” Means “Please Don’t Hit Me”

Yesterday I finally brought a Christmas mug I was given a couple months ago home from the office. Sally was playing with it in the car, and when I opened the car door it fell out onto the pavement and broke."Oh, I'm sorry, mommy!"Sally was heartfelt and genuine, and that took me aback, because I realized something in that moment. I realized something that hit me in the gut.When I was a child, "I'm sorry" meant "please don't hit me."Reeling from this realization, I queried Sally about … [Read more...]


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Why Sally Doesn’t Have a Bedtime

Would you believe that Sally doesn't have a bedtime? Well, she doesn't. She used to. We tried to put her to bed at 8:30 each night, and each night turned into a battle. "If you don't go to bed when it's your bedtime, you will be tired in the morning," we told her. "No I won't!" she insisted. So we would let her stay up, figuring that the next day she'd be tired and learn her lesson, and then she'd finally understand why she needed to go to bed at 8:30 each night. Except that it … [Read more...]


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The Problem with Punishing Children

[Image eaten by the internet] [Text: What bothers me so much about punishing children is that it is a conscious effort to hurt them . . . . The question that must be asked is why we are, and have been, so willing to hurt our children in order to get them to behave---to treat them as criminals, slaves, and animals. ~ James Kimmell] I love the above image and feel that it really encapsulates a lot of my thoughts. I personally left off punishing my daughter Sally about a year or so ago. And you … [Read more...]


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Critical Thinking and Compromise: Sally Strikes a Deal

"Sally, it's cold outside and we're about to go out. I would like you to put on some warm clothes.""No mommy, I want to wear this."Sally was wearing her sarong, a Christmas gift. It was light, colorful, and silky, a rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around her body and tied behind her neck. Outside, though, the snow was almost six inches deep and still coming down."I know you love your sarong, but we're going out and it's winter and it's cold and there's snow outside, so you really … [Read more...]


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