I'm hoping for some Gentle Discipline book recommendations to help me figure out a better way to deal with my 5.5 year old.......obviously what I'm doing (flying by the seat of my pants) is not working. I know I need to take a new approach with her. She's always been a bit high strung and deals with anxiety.......her Dad recently left us and she's going through such a hard time. Thanks in advance!
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk is an excellent resource for dealing with a child whose difficult behavior is mostly due to managing difficult feelings. It's packed with examples of how to say the right thing to help the child feel heard and express herself in an acceptable way, instead of saying the wrong thing that shuts her down and increases frustration. Many of the examples are illustrated in a comic-strip format that I like to read aloud with my son; we can talk about what's the right way and the wrong way, and it's especially informative when he feels that both options illustrated are wrong--what he tells me about what drives him crazy helps me to understand him as an individual. I think it helps too for him to know that we parents are trying to do a good job and sometimes need help deciding what to do--we don't have all the answers, but we are working on it!
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 10 years old and a girl EnviroBaby 1 year old!
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I recently read Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting by Noel Janis-Norton and really liked her approach. She emphasizes a set of practical methods that you can start using right away -- descriptive praise, reflective listening, think-throughs, etc. I like that the book is so clear, and that its methods are so positive -- at its core it seems to be about using these tools to break through the communication barriers and miscommunications that cause so much of parenting strife.
My daughter's only one, so I'm not really using all the tools yet myself, but I've already seen some encouraging results from starting to use them now that she's old enough to understand simple language -- when she's learning a new skill, for example, I try hard to descriptively praise every tiny step in the right direction, and when she's upset, instead of just telling her "it's okay," I work on really making it clear that I empathize -- (sad face) "You really wish you could go outside with Papa, huh? It's so frustrating to have to stay in here when you want to go outside." It's amazing how quickly she seems to rally when I do this.
Is your 5.5 year old a read herself already? Maybe you could begin introducing her to books that are of easy stories and may begin growing her interest in cerain topics or do some excellent preparation for the primary school reading challenges. I found this list of books picked by children of similar age themselves, maybe you will find something that she can enjoy too.
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