How To Avoid the Terrible Twos

Everywhere you look, the message about toddlers is that they are “terrible,” that their favorite word is NO, and that they’re using all of their energy to become independence from us.  However, this cultural paradigm has gotten it all wrong!  Toddlers and parents are not going from connection to independence.  Rather, they are transitioning from one-sided relationships (where … [Read more...]

Why Explaining and Convincing Don’t Work with Young Kids

When we ask a child to do something, and they say no (or ignore us), the option of explaining why we're asking them to do it, and inviting discussion, is so attractive.  It's what most parenting books suggest, after all.  And research shows that explaining and discussing ARE useful tools for helping to get buy-in from children: when they're adolescents. In early childhood, … [Read more...]

What To Do When Your Kid Says NO!

When I ask the question, “Why do toddlers and preschooler say no to us?” in talks and workshops, the answers I get tend to run along these lines: • They’re differentiating themselves from us. • They’re testing boundaries. • They’re expressing their individuality. As sensible as these answers sound, I’d like to suggest an alternative perspective that has the ability to … [Read more...]

Why Turning Requests Into a Game Is Not “Tricking” Your Child

When I ask the question, “Why do toddlers and preschooler say no to us?” in talks and workshops, the answers I get tend to run along these lines: They’re differentiating themselves from us. They’re testing boundaries. They’re expressing their individuality. As sensible as these answers sound, I’d like to suggest an alternative perspective (or mindset) that can … [Read more...]

Healthy Parent-Toddler Relationships

            With babies, the route to a secure bond between parent and baby is relatively clear: it’s the baby’s job to let his or her needs be known, and it’s the adult’s job to respond as quickly, lovingly, and effectively as possible. But what happens when those sweet babies become demanding toddlers? How does the nature of the parent-child bond shift, and how does it stay … [Read more...]

Silly Defiance

Dear Miss Faith, My 3.5yo son used to be very helpful,  but lately when I ask him to do things, he deliberately "misunderstands."  For example, if I ask him to bring me my purse, he'll look around and bring something else.  If I try to correct him, he just laughs and brings me something else again.  What's going on? Dear Mama, My experience is that when kids do something … [Read more...]

Dinner Prep with Preschoolers

Success!  One mom shares: "When I get home from work I’m usually rushing around trying to get dinner together and end up feeling guilty because I’m not giving my boys attention after I’ve barely seen them all day. My 3.5yo used to be a bit more interested in helping me in the kitchen, but I think I turned him off by being too results-oriented. Lately he’s been saying no every … [Read more...]

Peaceful Car Trips

Dear Miss Faith, My 3.5 year old son gets upset when we're driving and I turn or even change lanes, but he has decided that he doesn't want me to.  I've tried being light-hearted and turning it into a game, and I've tried "I'm the driver and I'm in charge," but nothing seems to be breaking the pattern.  What can I do? Dear Mama, This definitely sounds like a who's-in-charge … [Read more...]

Collecting & Dumping Toys

Dear Miss Faith, My 2.9 y.o. girl loves to make "nests" in every room of our house. This is something I would normally be fine with, and in fact I recall doing something similar as a child, but my darling girl likes to pile all her puzzles, wooden food, toy trains, stuffed animals, pillows, books, and even the comforters off our beds! I love that she's engaged and playing by … [Read more...]

Integrate Your Kids into Adult Activities

Dear Miss Faith, My husband, two boys (ages 3 and 4.5) and I recently moved into an intentional community where there are no other children. The other adults are welcoming but generally don't know what to do, and my boys have started becoming more and more disruptive. I have turned to a very reactive way of parenting, always getting annoyed and whisking them away from adult … [Read more...]

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