The parent lottery

Happy Wednesday!

Recently a parent I work closely with mentioned:
“It would be interesting to hear some data/facts on how harmful NOT disciplining your kids can be.
So many times we focus on the negative effects of discipline – spanking, timeouts, etc., but what’s easy to forget is just how dangerous it is to take a backseat to parenting your children.”

(NPC members: click here for the video training module I just posted in our community, in direct answer to this member’s comments and questions. If you are not a Ninja Parenting Community member but would like to become one, click here.)

The short answer is, NOT disciplining your kids is every bit as harmful as using negative discipline (spanking, verbal threats of aggression, etc.)

Both are forms of neglect.

Not disciplining – failing to establish any boundaries or communicating any behavioral expectations – is neglectful because the parent fails to share a clear understanding of what behavior is okay, and what is not. This is frightening and makes the child feel unsafe.

Negatively disciplining – implementing the rule of law, without taking into account any of the child’s thoughts, abilities, or preferences – is neglectful because it contains no warmth or loving kindness.

There are three styles of discipline:

  • Passive, in which there are no boundaries and no expectations
  • Authoritarian, in which all is cold control, with no sense of loving or acceptance, and in which the child has no say in their own decisions
  • Authoritative, also called Wise, which sits somewhere between the poles above, bringing in loving/acceptance, and firm limits/behavioral expectations

Which was used most by the family into which you were born?

To me, this is the absolute bedrock basis of whether a child wins “the parent lottery,” or loses in that lottery. Continue reading “The parent lottery”

Is it ADHD or normal behavior? Podcast Episode 299

“I am still just so scared these challenges are going to last forever, and school and daily life will always be a struggle. It’s so hard to see the stuff other kids can do that [my three-year-old] just can’t.”

If this lament – if these fears – sound familiar, I hope today’s episode will help.

Raising children is a hard job, especially when you’re worried about a child’s behavior, and if it’s normal or not.

In this episode we’ve got 5 ways for you to feel better about the bad behavior, and how you’re doing as a parent!

Plus in Parenting News:
A wonderful, funny, sweet TED talk by comedian Julia Sweeney on her chat with her eight-year-old about the birds and the bees.
Watch it – without the kids around, at least at first – to determine if it might be useful to you, when it’s time for you to have that same talk. And also to smile.

Join us!

Sign up for my Weekly Parenting Newsletter

Read more about the 5 ways to feel better (mentioned above), and check out the links for this episode, by clicking

Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, who has created a great resource to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.

Continue reading “Is it ADHD or normal behavior? Podcast Episode 299”

When you feel like you just can’t win at parenting

Happy Wednesday!

Reminder: Through 9/30/19 I’m offering the Friends and Family membership rate to join the private coaching community I host online for parents! I would love to work with you closely, helping you enjoy this parenting journey.

Read more about this below.


Recently a mom in my private coaching community posted in our forums: “I feel like I just can’t win.”

Maybe you know how she feels. In the previous week her child:
– Ran from his childcare classroom multiple times
– Slapped a teacher
– Spit, kicked, and hit multiple people, multiple times, including the mom herself
– Shouted, screamed, and melted down, mostly in public
– Bit a child at the playground

In short, her three-year-old had a tough week. As a result, so did she.

There was real despair in her writing, and my heart just went out to her. Continue reading “When you feel like you just can’t win at parenting”

What America’s messed-up healthcare system means for your family, with An Arm and a Leg Podcast host Dan Weissmann | Podcast Episode 294

Are you, as a parent, coming to view American healthcare as a soul-sucking showstopper of happiness?
Don’t despair. Today’s guest, Dan Weissmann, has some great ideas and advice!

Dan sparked a movement when he began a podcast about the many ways average Americans – confronting a healthcare system that can be ruinous both financially, and healthwise – think of and approach family health and happiness.

The Arm and a Leg Podcast dives into some crazy stuff!
Listening to Dan’s show you can learn about:
A couple who discovered that their healthcare had unceremoniously dropped them just a few months before that child was due to arrive
The story of how we got insulin, and how, due to high cost, people who rely upon it are becoming modern-day rebel cowboys, figuring out how to create it themselves
Traveling Renaissance Faire folks who can teach you how to resolve disputes with your healthcare provider
Dan stops by today, to talk about how we got here and the true state of healthcare in America today.

Plus in Parenting News: We discuss the work of friend-of-the-podcast Devorah Heitner regarding what kids are really watching on YouTube, and how you can deal with it, in this article on her website. I also read her words from a recent Parenting Newsletter that I wrote on the dangers of YouTube for kids.

Also in the preshow I share that friends-of-the-podcast Jessica Lahey and KJ Dell’Antonia invited me onto their show, #AmWriting, to discuss what it’s like to overcome difficult circumstances and achieve your goals.
If you’d like some insight into your host, and why we have the show at all, this conversation is a great starting point.
Click here to listen!

And thanks for being here!

(Click for show notes, including a complete transcript of our conversation today.)

Sign up for my Weekly Parenting Newsletter

Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, and an incredible resource she has created to help your child handle even the biggest feelings!
Click to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.

Continue reading “What America’s messed-up healthcare system means for your family, with An Arm and a Leg Podcast host Dan Weissmann | Podcast Episode 294”

5 Ways to help your child feel safe (amidst news reports on gun violence) Bonus Podcast Episode 290.5

We have all been hit hard by the news recently. And if we, as adults, are feeling the strain and stress, it’s a safe bet that our children feel it too.
How can you help?
In this bonus episode I offer five ways.

Helpful links:

Click here for episode 261 of We Turned Out Okay, my conversation with Maureen Healy (whose Bubble Breathing exercise I suggest in this episode.)

Click here for the link to the Eckerd College article about Marjorie Sanfilippo, whose study about kids and guns I talk about in this episode.

Click to sign up for my parenting newsletter, which right now (in real-time) is an in-depth, 4-part series on how to handle overwhelmed at the start of the school year.

Click here to read this post in your browser.

Remaining calm, even when they are throwing dirt at each other

Picture this: your children are facing up across the topsoil mound in your backyard. And they’re throwing dirt at each other.

You have no idea how it started, or who started it. All you know is, you sent them outside to play and here they are, hurling dirt.

Perhaps your first instinct is to lose it, and fly off the handle.
To shout, to send them to their rooms, maybe even to spank them.
It would feel so good… To show them who’s boss, and to make them listen to your authority.

And, maybe that would work in the moment. Maybe you’d end up with more obedient kids – in the short-term, at least.

But when a coaching client of mine experienced this exact scenario, she did something different.
She did something that, together, we had been working on:

A method to keep calm, and help her 4-and 7-year-old girls resolve the conflict that started the dirt-throwing. Continue reading “Remaining calm, even when they are throwing dirt at each other”

YouTube is a dangerous place. Here’s how to protect your child.

YouTube is simply a tool.
Tools can be used for good purposes – like learning how to knit using short rows, or clean the inside of your car’s windshield. But tools can also be used for nefarious purposes.

During a discussion in the private coaching group for parents that I run, one mom questioned my idea of focusing on YouTube as one of the most dangerous places on the Internet.

In response to an Educating Happy Kids advanced chapter, she wrote into our forums: “I think “YouTube is Dangerous” was well done, but you neglect to explain that your example is just that, an example. It’s not the only place where those problematic algorithms live.”

This mom has a great point.
Probably like you, I love YouTube and use it frequently. But it does have its dangers, and they are problematic for this very reason: just about everyone uses YouTube.
Including our kids. With so many millions upon millions of children using YouTube, it represents a huge danger, and thus is worthy of consideration all by itself, in a blog post like this.

YouTube is also all about rabbit holes. In the last few weeks I have been pulled down a rabbit hole of investigating YouTube as a tool. Continue reading “YouTube is a dangerous place. Here’s how to protect your child.”

One word

Usually on Mondays I teach a quick phrase – this week it was supposed to be just one word – in the WTOO Facebook group, but instead I was getting an MRI and so couldn’t get in there.

So I decided to use this space to teach it to you (many of you are in the Facebook group already, so this week you’re getting this here, instead of there: )

A few weeks ago, we Kolps had a problem.
Continue reading “One word”

When Your Spouse is Not On Board | Podcast Episode 274

As life partners, we all have some disagreements.
But what if you feel like your disagreements are interfering in family life?
That’s what this episode is all about, so if you’re worrying about any of this you’re in the right place!
I’ve got 3 ways to get your spouse on the same page as you are.

Plus: in Parenting News, we consider coding as one of the academic 3Rs.
Join us!

Go to for:

  • A cheat sheet of the 3 ways discussed today
  • Links to a whole bunch of good stuff, including the key links talked about today and free potty training and temper tantrum free guides
  • The video of the week: “My spouse isn’t on board with how I’m raising our kids”

And thank you so much for listening!

Live Q&A and Open House Tour

Ever wished you could check out the private coaching community that I run for parents of young children?
Do you have questions about if it could work for you, even in your busy, insane life and with whatever technical skills you possess (especially if you feel like they’re not very good)?
You’re in luck! On Thursday, April 25 at 1 PM EST I am throwing open the doors to the Ninja Parenting Community!
I’m taking you right inside, and showing you:
– What our members love about it
– How the community helps parents turn family time into “the best time of the day”
– And I’m taking questions too!

It’s free… I’m so excited to bring you in and show you around!
It’s live… But even if you can’t be there live, signing up gets you the replay so you can rewatch as many times as you like.
It’s where my heart and soul is… because I get to work closely with so many amazing parents.

Don’t miss out on discovering this secret to happy parenting…
Click to sign up!

Continue reading “When Your Spouse is Not On Board | Podcast Episode 274”

How do my relationships with other grown-ups affect my kiddos? | Podcast Episode 265

What difference, you might be wondering, can it possibly make to my kids if I have good relationships with other grown-ups?

Actually, it matters quite a bit.

In this installment of the Raising Successful Kids series we talk about the impact of our relationships, including with our spouses and life-partners, on the eventual fulfillment and happiness of our children.

Join us!

Go to for:

  • A cheat sheet on the ideas in this episode
  • Key links from our conversation, including the resources I share, to help you understand this idea and move forward with it
  • The video of the week: “How does my relationship affect my kids?”

And thank you so much for listening!

Temper Tantrums and Potty Training:

During today’s break I share about two helpful free guides I offer.
While the podcast is long-form – your opportunity to look into the mind of a child development expert – the free guides are super quick.

You can watch the video, read the checklist, and immediately handle the temper tantrums or get started with potty training (depending on which guide you choose : )

  • Click here for the FREE video and checklist to handle every temper tantrum
  • Click here for the FREE video and checklist to successfully potty train your child
  • Want to receive valuable ideas and tips on parenting, without either free guide above? Click here for my weekly parenting newsletter!

Continue reading “How do my relationships with other grown-ups affect my kiddos? | Podcast Episode 265”