Keep Your Cool Excerpts

Below are three excerpts to give you a taste for what’s inside my digital book, Keep Your Cool- How to Stop Yelling, Spanking & Punishing: what to do instead. This guide is considered a bit of a workshop you can do in the comfort of your home at your own pace.

All the details and buying options are here.


Excerpt 1: Conflict, Kids and Growth


We can find ourselves head-to-head with our children. Individuals have differing points of view, ideas, desires, personalities, plans, expectations, goals, abilities, preferences and timelines. With all of that going on we’re going to disagree sometimes. But it doesn’t have to be a screaming match or a power struggle. We can handle situations with a calm demeanor and have peaceful resolution. As a parent, you are in a position to model honorable behavior and problem solving skills. If we want our kids to develop listening skills, negotiation and critical thinking, conflict provides the perfect opportunity to practice. If we shut them down with a punishment or an order to be quiet, we’re robbing everyone of an opportunity for connection and learning, including ourselves.

Giving children room to experiment with their growing minds and bodies is critical.

As they begin to make friendships and find their place in the world, they will meet a variety of options. They will have their own ideas. You will have disagreements. This is a time to work together not against each other.

Honor their individuality by recognizing it and not punishing them for it. Don’t they deserve that much? Commit to taking responsibility for yourself while you guide your child with sensitivity as he or she slowly learns to take his or her own. It’s a process that does not happen overnight. Rushing it will only set you all back.

We can’t force an outcome or control the way people behave but we can decide how we will approach situations. We can decide what kind of mom we want to be; how we want to build our relationship with our kids; and what they will be learning about problem solving, conflict resolution and positive communication. As parents we wield great influence. Let’s make sure that it’s a positive, nourishing one.

It doesn’t mean that you are failing if you are struggling. It just means that every child is different and you have to open yourself a little wider. This isn’t a time to quit or give up or accept a hardship. It certainly isn’t a time to be harder on your child or tighten your control of them. It’s time to admit that you need two things:

1. Time and

2. New approaches.


As hard as it can be, occasionally all you can do is wait. Growth happens. Bodies and brains change, life experiences shape our understanding, maturity moves things along. Nothing you do can make that process faster. Have patience and know that time itself will smooth many bumps. While you are waiting you can build your relationship rather than damage it. And what time can’t help, you can by integrating some new thoughts and actions.


Excerpt 2: Conflict, Kids and Letting Go of Fear


We’ve taken on a lot as parents. It can be so scary to feel responsible for this life we’ve been entrusted with and we wrap ourselves in worry over our performance. Are we doing enough or too much? Am I preparing him properly for a secure, successful adulthood? How can I make sure she doesn’t get into trouble and make life-altering mistakes? What can I do to make sure she is a productive member of society? If I don’t get this under control now, what’s going to happen? I need to get her to not behave that way or she’ll never get anywhere. If he doesn’t learn how to focus and work hard, he’ll always struggle. We have such deep concern and love for our kids. We have so many insecurities about the future and we are so certain we know what’s best. We’ve been there, right? Maybe.

But what if all of that fear and preconceived notion is getting in the way of our ability to interact with the moment in which we are standing? Is it possible that we are manipulating the present with an unpredictable future? Our inability to know what will happen drives our attempts to bend future events to our will.

It’s not wrong to look ahead. Knowing your destination is very useful and helps you know what steps you need to take to get there. However, trying to control the future is another concept entirely. There are twists and turns around every corner and considering that your child’s life is not even yours, it’s going to go places you can’t predict. Ultimately we know this and the anxiety it causes motivates us to do all we can while we still have the opportunity. Unfortunately, it creates a snowball effect and before we know it we can lose touch with reality. We begin to invent scenarios and what-ifs that clearly demand we do even more to ensure they never happen. Our well-intentioned efforts can morph into unnecessary harmful control. Happily, most of our fears are never realized, so know that you can let them go without any unfortunate effects.

If you want to work through difficult situations with your child or avoid them altogether, let go of your fear of what is happening. Try to stay in tune with what you are actually seeing and hearing. Don’t project your ideas of what this may lead to. Just let it be what it is right now. Don’t give it any more power than that. If your child refuses to brush her teeth, acknowledge that she just doesn’t want to brush her teeth right now. It doesn’t mean she never will and her teeth will fall out. It doesn’t mean that she won’t ever listen to you. It doesn’t mean that she is testing your limits. It might mean that her teeth are sensitive right now or she doesn’t like that toothpaste or she’s too tired. It might mean a lot but all you know for sure is that she doesn’t want to right now. Keep your fear and your stories and your own experiences out of it because you are better served by the love you have and the best intentions your child has in this very moment.

Surrender whatever is happening. Fighting it will only escalate your actions and amp up the intensity. See it, acknowledge it, and let it go.

Don’t give it any more power by being swayed by its intensity or over-thinking it’s characteristics. “This is just something that is happening now.” The ability to see very clearly the truth of the moment, without any filters or screens or overlays, will reveal your heart and the best way through it. Fear is an emotion best kept out of problem-solving because it does not contribute to a level-head. Learn how to focus and stay in the present and you will increase your chances of a peaceful resolution.


Excerpt 3: Conflict, Kids and Ideas to Try


In the midst of a conflict with our kids, it can be so difficult to know what to next. Especially if our emotions are high and interfering with our ability to think clearly and calmly. The last thing anyone wants to do is get stuck in a downward spiral so prepare a toolkit to help. Parents need to have tips and tricks at the ready to shift the mood, find common ground or find a resolution.

Here are three ideas to help you move from a place of arguing, frustration or losing your temper with each other:



Tap into your maternal instincts and look at your whole child. You know them. Find a way in through a crack that shines their light. What do they enjoy? Can you use that as a way to get their attention, to take their mind off the trigger? If they like to run, challenge them to a race to the car. Make it fun! Humor? Exaggeration? Movement? This is a great chance for them to get to know you behind all that seriousness. You don’t have to just be the large and in charge Mom. Let them see the person that you are. Share yourself with them and watch them open up as well. When you engage them on common ground, it’s an experience they want to share and they relax into it.

Mantra: What does he/she like to do?

Try this: Play truth or dare.

Avoid: Being too authoritarian.


Give It Time

Don’t rush it. Emotions can be big, scary things. Just as we get stuck there, so do our kids and they can’t process as quickly as we can. Having a dose of patience while they get their balance and recover from the intensity and confusion of the situation goes far. Simply hold the space for them to move into a receptive mode. It will come, even if it’s painful for you to watch or hear. Don’t leave them alone, stay close. Keep offering your lap or your attention but be ready to wait a little bit longer. A good cry can be very cleansing when the child is supported and feels safe and loved. Can you create that environment while she processes her emotions?

Mantra: Just give her/him a little time.

Try this: Sit on the floor and wait.

Avoid: “Just stop it!”


Build Up

When your child is having a tough time, lift them back up. He may get stuck in negative feelings or thoughts, unable to see the light. From that place, he needs you to remind him of his worth. Tell him how wonderful he is. Remark on his good qualities, the unique traits that he brings to the world. Make it easy for him to bounce back because he sees the positive value of his participation. Your child has wonderful things to offer. Help him operate from those gifts by reminding him he has them. He may fail but you can show him his footing again.

Mantra: You are so good at…

Try this: Recall a good deed.

Avoid: Letting him/her feel like a failure.

If you want more, including 66 actionable ideas from my workbook, Keep Your Cool: How to Stop Yelling, Spanking & Punishing, it’s yours. Available now at the price you choose.

Comments on this entry are closed.