Sibling conflict can really leech the fun out of family time. A day of constant mediation between bickering children sends the best of us running for the wine feeling like a battered referee after an ill-tempered football match rather than the nurturing and wise moral guide we aspire to be. We tie ourselves in knots trying to be even-handed (how do you know who started it?!), desperately garnering wellbeing for all sides, with usually only guilt or despair to show for it.
So what can we do to survive and minimise sibling conflict? Here are my top tips for staying sane and reducing the bickering. Continue reading →
Triple P® Online is a fantastic solution for busy working parents who can’t make it to a parenting class. It’s interactive and easy to use and you can log in whenever and wherever it suits you. The eight sessions are a lively mix of video clips, online worksheets and personalised activities covering all the same parenting tips and strategies as an 8-week parenting group. Plus, you can also sign up for podcasts, emails and text reminders.
The Triple P online parenting course come is two versions – one that is suitable for parents/carers of children aged 1-11 years and one for parents of tweens/teens aged 10-16 years. Here’s a sneak peek of the course relating to younger children:
My four-year-old son wakes up at night and comes into our room. I’ve tried taking him back to his own bed but he just comes back again. If I let him sleep in our bed he wriggles and keeps me awake. My work is suffering, I’m utterly exhausted and desperate for him to sleep through the night! What can I do?
It’s hard to focus at work and enjoy life’s challenges when bedtime battles leave you drained. Lack of sleep can make children tearful, relationships tetchy and spreadsheets incomprehensible. The good news is – if you want to – this is a battle you can win.
All children have periods of restlessness at night. The goal is for your child to roll over and put himself back to sleep without seeking your help. So make sure you incentivise this behaviour. Continue reading →
Last week, one of the mums I was working with repeatedly burst into tears as she described her 8-year-old’s low self-esteem. He was reluctant to try anything new, gave up easily in the face of failure and struggled with friendships. She could already see him falling behind his potential and was scared for his future. As a mum, she felt utterly powerless in the face of his relentless negative thinking and no amount of praise or encouragement (or anything else) seemed to make any difference. It is an all too common story.
The Optimistic Child is a book which will give hope to parents of children with poor self-esteem.
Right from the start it makes crystal clear the links between pessimistic thinking and low self-esteem and it is packed with practical exercises for parents to use to recognise and tackle their child’s negative habits of mind. It is immensely readable, cogent, inspiring and practical. And most importantly, because it views pessimistic thinking as a ‘learned helplessness’ it offers the possibility that new ways of thinking can be taught. Continue reading →
Toddlers’ brains are only half-finished. As a result, toddlers think in fundamentally different ways from adults. For toddlers, the impossible is just as likely to be true and the laws of the physics don’t exist. Interpreting toddler behaviour according to adult logic is therefore pointless – and it sometimes leads us to draw conclusions that aren’t always helpful. Toddlers make much more sense if you step inside their heads and try and see the world from their level of development.
So here’s a quick guide to what every parent needs to know about toddlers’ brains in order to interpret toddler behaviour accurately.
Why can’t toddlers walk from A to B without being distracted by a leaf?
The part of the brain that enables adults to focus on a task and resist distractions is called the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is involved in thinking, planning and focusing and it isn’t well developed in toddlers’ brains. Continue reading →
“He’s got toddler OCD” is a phrase I’ve heard countless times from parents of 2 and 3 year-olds. Sometimes said with a laugh, sometimes with real concern. My response? “Excellent!”
Why “excellent”? Well, in crude terms, repeated actions are the foundation of abstract thinking. A toddler who is obsessively moving toy cars from one place to another (to the exclusion of all other children or activities) is well on the way to building an advanced conceptual model of the world. Frustrating for his parents (and for any other child who wants to play with those cars) but usually simply a sign of intellectual development.
Young children don’t learn about the world by sitting back and contemplating it – their brain structures simply haven’t developed to do that. Young children learn about the world through physical and sensory experiences: touching, tasting, throwing, jumping, and climbing into things. Continue reading →
It’s no fun living in a war zone. Children fighting can really take the joy out of family time and make the most saintly of us wish to be elsewhere. Sibling conflict is a common family problem most families will experience children fighting, arguing, bickering, teasing, and refusing to share at some point or other.
Some squabbling between siblings is to be expected, but it becomes a problem if it is the usual way children treat each other. If not dealt with effectively, arguing often gets worse or escalates into aggression and physical fighting. Brothers and sisters need to learn to resolve their disagreements and behave in a polite, co-operative and caring way with each other (see Managing sibling conflict: why siblings fight).Continue reading →
There are certain battles that grown-ups will always lose if they go head-to-head with children. Toileting is a classic: there is absolutely nothing that a parent can do to force a child to produce wee or poo when commanded. You can beg, bribe, shout, cajole and even strong arm them onto sitting on the toilet, but unless they choose to relax their muscles and let it out you aren’t going to get the result. You simply can’t make it happen.
Toddler food battles are a similar power struggle. We can’t force children to eat – fact. But I have met plenty of parents who try to do exactly that, meal after meal, and then beat themselves up for failing (and for trying). Why? Continue reading →
When parents call me up for support, they don’t say “I’m having problems with my parenting.” What they usually say is “I’m having problems with my child.” Even when they have several children, one particular child is usually identified as the problem. And when I ask about the other children in the family, the answer tends to be that the other children are really different from their brother/sister, they are co-operative and easy and do what they are told, they are ‘no problem’.
Parents in this situation often have very difficult feelings towards their ‘problem’ child. The fact that they feel effective in parenting their other children can confirm the idea that it is the problem child that is ‘causing’ the problems.
As parents, we tend to expect that we will (or should) feel the same about all our children. But, just like with every other individual in our lives, in reality we have a different relationship with each of our children. And sometimes we can can find it harder to get on with one child than another. Of course, with that comes a huge helping of guilt… Continue reading →