Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids | How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting   by Dr. Laura Markham

pg. 23 

" Consider that this thought that's driving your upset almost certainly comes from fear.  That means it isn't as true as the interpretation of the situation that comes from love. "

- This is part of Dr. Markham's Minute 1 of 3 in the Process to Shift Yourself From Upset to Peace.  When our children's actions trigger something in us that causes fear (fear they aren't respecting us, fear they won't ever get it, fear they are going to be that mean kid), she suggests that our reaction then may be lacking the love that their behavior actually needs/deserves/is yearning for.  In other words, try to react with respect and kindness to your child's needs.  


pg. 24

" Most of us learned as children that our feelings were unacceptable, even dangerous.  So when our child has a meltdown, the little one inside us gets triggered.  Danger signs flash.  As always when danger looms we feel a sense of panic.  We just want to get away (that's flight) or we feel a sudden rage -- we want to make him shut up (that's fight) or we go numb (that's freeze). "

- She goes over this point, again and again in the book.  So I think I finally came around to understanding this concept by its end.  The word "dangerous" is what I had to wrap my head around.  Don't stifle their emotions, they might learn that they shouldn't feel those emotions, that they are "dangerous" emotions to have. Instead, help them through their (scary, to them) feelings.  See pg. 111 below


pg. 26

" Once he feels his emotions, they'll evaporate. "


pg. 28

" The number one resolution of parents everywhere?  Be more patient.  But having to summon up your patience is a signal that your cup is already dangerously empty.  Willpower takes us only so far.  The real job is keeping your cup full so you have plenty of joy and presence to share with your child.  Kids love our joyful presence and bcome happier and more cooperative. "


pg. 33

" The most important parenting secret: Discipline, despite all the books written on it, doesn't work. "

- HUH?  WTH?  So, as I read on, it doesn't mean that you don't have guidelines, that you don't set boundaries.  But when they overstep those lines, Dr. Markham recommends empathy and guidance/limits instead (see below).  This one will take me some time to digest.


pg. 39

" And as for Regulating Yourself, your own emotional wholeness will determine how deeply you can connect with your child. "


pg. 40

" In fact, your ability to enjoy your child may be the most important factor in his development. "


pg. 45

" Your patience with his emotional meltdowns is the key to his overcoming any earlier hurts.  It just becomes even more important to remember that his challenging behaviors are a red flag that he needs your emotional help.  The understanding you give your child is always healing. "


pg. 58

" Play is one of the most reliable ways to smooth the tensions and build trust with your child. "


pg. 61

" No one can take your place in your child's heart; you will always be her parent.  She may seem to have hardened her heart to you, but your sweet little girl is in there, waiting to be reconnected with you. "

- in talking about rebuilding connection with your child.


pg. 64

" But try as we might, all of us sometimes have less than optimal interactions with our children, and our relationship balance dips into the red.  That's when children develop attitude, whether they're two or ten.  So if you notice some friction with your child, it's time ot check your account balance.  Do this even if you think your child is just going through a difficult stage. You might be surprised by how much easier that stage is once your child feels more connected to you. "


pg. 67

In suggesting ways to have Special Time with your child, "Give your child 100 percent of your attention with no agenda and no distractions.  Just follow his lead…Resist the urge to judge or evaluate your child.  Don't suggest your own ideas unless she asks.  Refrain from checking your cell phone.  Just show up and give your dhild the tremendous gift of being seen and acknowledged. "

- this one spoke to me on many levels!


pg. 72

In suggesting daily habits for strengthening relationships with your kids, " Don't let little rifts build up.  Your relationship with your child should feel good.  Children need to know deep in their bones that their parents adore them and take delight in their company.  If that's not how you feel, get whatever support you need to work it through positively.  Chosing to withdrawl (except temporarily, strategically) when your child seems intent on driving you away is always a mistake.  Every difficulty is an opportunity to get closer, as you extend understanding and your child feels truly seen, heard and accepted. "


pg. 74

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- another reminder


pg. 81

In giving advice on how to get your child to listen to you, " Don't repeat yourself.  If you've asked once and not gotten a response, don't just repeat yourself.  You don't have your child's attenion.  Go back to step one. " (step one: Don't start talking until you have your child's attention).

- GUILTY. Yikes.


pg. 88

" Most parents think it's our job to control our children, but when we try we're bound to fail.  We find ourselves being powerless, casting about for a bigger stick or carrot to persuade our child.  We respond to our child's behaveior with force or threats to gain compliance ("Don't ou speak to me that way, young lady!"), leaving her to figure out for herself how to learn self-management skills. "

- Yes, I have said, something very similar.  Several times.  


pg. 92

She talkes about what an EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is comprised of: the ability to self soothe, emotional self-awareness and acceptance, impulse control and empathy. 


pg. 93

" But sometimes we neglect two more important lessons all children need to know: how to manage their feelings (and therefore their behavior), and how to understand other people's feelings.  These two skills form the core of what psychologiets have come to call EQ, or the emotional intelligence quotient.  It's a core part of human devlopment, and while it sounds complicated, it's important for parents to wrap their arms around it. "


pg. 108, 109, 110

In talking about Elementary schoolers (6-9 yrs): Emotional Self Awareness 

" The kids who aren't sure they can count on adults to help the self-regulate have "big feelings" that burst out easily.  The kids who are now quite sure they can't count on adults may seem more controlled, but they're more fragile than they look: their hearts race even when they act nonchalant.   The lucky kids who've had responsive parenting have become conversant with their own emotions and are able to regulate them much of the time, which means they can now often regulate their own behavior. "

" These years are often easier for parents.  After age six, the brain confers much better impulse control.  Because of this improved emotional control and the focus on school, many parents doen't even notice their child's inner emotional struggles … Unfortunately, rather than seeing off-track behavior as a cry for help, most parents discipline with 'consequences' and other punishment.  They miss the opportunity to help their child process the fears and unmet needs that drive 'bad' behavior and build EQ. "


pg. 111

" Most of us were brought up thinking that emotions are dangerous.  If we can't tolerate our own sadness or anger, we can't tolerate our child's.  And if we can't accept our child's disappointment, or anger, or greif, we give him the message that his feelings are too dangerous to allow. "


pg. 113

"Your acceptance and understanding of what he's feeling helps him recognize and accept his own emotions.  That's what allows the feelings to lose their charge and begin to dissipate.  We don't have to act on emotions or even like them; we need merely to acknowledge their presence to liberate ourselves from them.  

"Your acceptance of his emotions teaches your child that his emotional life is not dangerous, is not shameful, and in fact is universal and manageble … He learns that he isn't alone to cope with the crush of his powerful emotions. "


pg. 117

A great bulleted list of some signs that your child needs help with emotions (hint: when they are constantly doing things to get on your nerves or annoy you!).


pg. 119

" One of the most important messages we can give our children about emotion is that anger is a universal human feeling that can be managed and contorlled.  How do we do that?  By acknowledging and responding to their anger, rather than ignoring it or punishing it. "


pg. 123

In meeting your child's deepest needs : " Children can't name these needs, but when they're not met, they dont thrive.  They seem unhappy, uncooperative, insatiable.  Nothing feels like enough to them.  So they demand more, more and more.  More time before bedtime.  More treats than their siblings.  More material possessions. "


pg. 131

In emotion-coaching your child through a meltdown, she recommends choosing a scheduled meltdown.  

- I don't really understand this concept.  Would love to ask her! 


pg. 148

" If you want a cooperative, ethical, self-disciplined child whom you can trust to do the right thing, even as she becomes a teenager, you should never punish.  No spanking, no time-outs, no yelling, no parent-contrived consequences.  Really.  No punishment of any kind. "

- if this blows your mind it did mine too.  

" The word discipline actually means 'to guide' but virtually everything we think of as discipline is punishment.  And punishment erodes your relationship with your child, which destroys the only motivation she has to behave as you'd like. "


pg. 153

" Punishing our child discharges our own frustration and worry, and makes us feel better. "

-yikes.  wow.  okay.


pg. 154

" Your goal in disciplining your child is actually to help him develop self-discipline, meaning to assume responsibility for his actions, including making amends and avoiding a repeat, whether the authority figure is present or not.  Isn't that the lesson we're hoping to teach when we punish?  Loving guidance actually accomplishes this goal better than punishment or discipline. "


pg. 161

For the preschool years age 3-5, bulleted list on how they are learning self management

- a good reminder and reinforcer for some of the things May is going through right now.


pg. 165, 166

Good description of Authoritarian vs. Permissive vs. Neglectful vs. Authoritative* parenting styles and their effects on children


pg. 184

" When your child defies you, focus on the relationship, rather than on discipline. "


pg. 187

Twelve alternatives to wean off consequences are listed. 


pg. 193, 194

How to empower kids to make amends with the 3 Rs: reflection, repair and responsibility. 

" Unlike punishment or forced apologies, the three Rs of making amends give your child the foundation to manage both her emotions and her behavior.  Worried that your hild won't learn to apologize?  If you apologize to her, she'll learn from your example how to apologize to you and to others. "


pg. 211

In laying down a foundation for your child to acheive mastery, she recommends " Don't rush to teach.  Instead, let your child learn by experimenting. "  She goes on to quote Jean Piaget, "Every time we teach a child something, we keep him from inventing it himself. "

- goes a bit against anything I had thought prior…maybe there is a happy/healthy medium between teaching and allowing them to invent/experiment?


pg. 228

She quotes Peggy O'Mara of Mothering Magazine,          " The way we talk to our child will become their inner voice. " 


pg. 231

"…praise as we usually offer it to children is not unconditional at all.  Conventional praise -- 'Good job!…I'm proud of you! … Beautiful painting!' -- evaluates our child agains standards that we determine.  Studies show that children who are frequently praised in this way conclude that someone is constantly evaluating their performance.  They become more insecure about expressing their own ideas and opinions, worried about whether they'll measure up.  Instead of taking pride in their own behavior and achievements, they look outside for affirmation.  Praise kills the joy we take in our own accomplishments and makes us dependent on emotinal handouts from others. "

--  Um.  WOW.  Trying new ways to encourage my girls has been a struggle and a challenge!!

-- Also, I'm not sure I think traditional praise is horrible, either.


pg. 232

" Instead of labeling or evaluating our child, what if we simply connect with him, using our empathy, our willingness to be fully present and notice him, our joy in the relationship? What might we say? " 

- she goes on to list some good suggestions, including "you must be so proud of yourself!"  I can do that. 


pg. 241

In creating a no-blame household, " Blame is simply anger looking for a target, and it never helps us toward a solution". 

 © Houseman 2013