On Parenting: Special guest Shefali Tsabary, author of 'The Awakened Family'

Shefali Tsabary
Jun 01, 2016

In this special edition of the On Parenting chat, editor Amy Joyce hosts "The Conscious Parent" author and clinical psychologist Shefali Tsabary and parenting coach Meghan Leahy. Tsabary's new book, “The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting,” explains how and why parents need to change themselves, not their children. They'll talk about parenting children of all ages.

We have such a fun chat ahead of us today. Meghan Leahy and Shefali Tsabary will take your questions and comments about changing our parenting paradigm.

Dr. Shefali, as she's known, has a wonderful idea: How about we give ourselves a break, and especially give our kids a break, and let them be THEM. We had a great Q&A with her yesterday at On Parenting with so many great thoughts. Like this one: "The predominant parenting paradigm has developed into a model where children are no longer allowed to be children enjoying their childhood. Instead, they are to become super mini-adults rushing to produce more, achieve endlessly and race to adulthood. What we don’t understand is that these years from 0-18 are the incubation years where the identity is not formed — nor does it need to be. This is meant to be a time for reckless abandon, lazy ordinariness, and simple enjoyments."

I hope many people read and re-read her important insight into parenting today and her calls for a parenting revolution.

Dr. Shefali's new book (out yesterday!) is called "The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting." Also, for those of you in the D.C. area, Dr. Shefali will be at Politics and Prose Saturday at 3:30.

Lots of questions await, so let's get started.

I have a wonderful son. And yet, there are times that I feel he's acting younger than his age. I'm no way way a neanderthal parent, but I'm wondering about toughening him up. Specifically, I'm really concerned that one of his crying fits might take place in school, where he'd be teased for the next 10 years over it. (That's what the boys I grew up with would have done.) I've said, gently, to him that it's definitely alright to cry, especially when something hurts but that if he's upset, he needs to find a way to deal with it other than crying. Am I going about this the wrong way? I feel like protecting him from things that would make him a target of bullies is part of my job.

Your desire to "protect" your kids is a well-intentioned one and a common desire in most parents. Yet, as you say, there is some "old" stuff being projected here where you experienced boys teasing one another growing up and you fear that this will happen to your kid. While this "could" happen, it is based on an anxiety that is future-oriented. So to truly help your kid, you first need to move away from the idea that you need to "toughen" him up. Instead, he needs SKILLS to handle his overwhelming and genuine feelings. Boys are taught that they are "wimpy" if they have feelings but we have to stop this idea - they are not "wimpy" - they are "real." However, they can certainly learn effective ways to handle feelings. NOT FEELING Is not the path. My book: The Awakened Family helps parents navigate this with their children. There IS  a way to help them -- just not "toughen" them - because that is not going to help them long run... Thanks for the question!

My 11- and 8-year old boys ask for things/to do stuff (often for things that are against rules or the like) and when i say no, they keep asking. I give a well-reasoned 'no,' but still they are relentless. Things usually end up with me angry and them saying I am mean. It's infuriating. (Conversely, they listen and don't talk back to my husband). Summer just started here--helppppp!

This is stressful and all the more infuriating if you DON'T see it happening with your hubby.

I am thinking about a couple of things:

1) Make sure you are saying YES to some stuff, and make sure you are saying it first. Too many no's, too much of the time makes for MISERABLE family dynamics. Do you REALLY feel that all of the no's are needed?

2) Call some family meetings to reassess the rules of the house. Make sure everything is clear and agreed to (mostly). Your children are not little anymore and have the right to a voice and some power. So, be a strong leader here. And don't be afraid to negotiate a little (when in the meeting). It will lead to easier boundary-holding later.

3) Stop reasoning with them. When you are say NO, that is a complete sentence. They can be angry. They can push back. They can throw fits, etc. That is all NORMAL. And since you have been in this dynamic with them for a while, it is not going away. So, you gotta get brave and hold your no if you really believe in it. You hold the boundary, they throw the fits. It WILL get better as continue to find your "yes's," have loving family meetings, and keep your no's!

My child speaks a lot at home but not in the classroom. Any suggestions ! And I see a lot of my family members teasing my child. How can I help without offending someone & still encouraging my child to not be teased ?

Why are these family members teasing your kid? What is it about THEM that allows that? I don't think you need to worry about "offending" them. Instead, you need to lay firm boundaries with them that they need to back off your kid and take their negativity elsewhere. Your kid needs you to be his/her advocate so that he/she sees that there is nothing "wrong" in who it is they are. A lot of kids don't speak up at school and may be more introverted, shy, anxious etc. Being told that this is wrong or that they need to be "more this" or "more that" is harmful for their psyche. In my book: The Awakened Family I talk about the Tyranny of TOO - which is what plagues us as parents. I teach how to step away from these toxic ideas and instead teach our children to be resilient and empowered in who it is they are! You can do this! Let go of your need to "please" these relatives:)

My son will be turning four this month and I'm wondering about consequences for his actions and if he cognitively understands. For example, no cake if you don't eat dinner first. If you splash water again you are getting out of the tub. If you whine, no toy at the store, etc. These seem like sensible things to me. How far out can the punishment be? For example, no dinner no cake all happens in the span of 20 minutes. Can I say, if you fight getting ready for bed, only books and no made-up story from Mom if the punishment would be 45 minutes later?

Let's take a piece at a time:

1) 4- year old are not aware of their impulses fully and haven't developed impulse control (neither have 40 year olds actually:)

2) Your child doesn't need punishments at all - he needs consistent and compassionate empathy and boundaries - which come from us as parents 

3) No cake if you don't eat dinner is fine. However, he should not be forced to eat dinner. This forcing that we do as parents creates negative relationships and dysfunctional addictions to food later on. Food is there. Eat what you can. And then, eat a piece of cake. No extremes either way:)

4) Every kid will splash in the bath tub. That's what baths are for that age:) Let him splash. Let go of your need to control it all. Shut the bath tub door; take out all your expensive things that may get destroyed. Trust me, my kid is 13, and stopped splashing by 6 or 7 and I miss those innocent days of fun. Let your kid enjoy.

4) Every kid resists going to sleep. It is up to US as parents to make it loving, creative, consistent and fun. And don't take away made-up stories from mommy! I think mommy must make up great stories.

In my book: THE AWAKENED FAMILY - I show parents HOW to create consistent boundaries and which boundaries to have and which to throw out. I offer many alternatives to punishment. Just like we don't like to be punished, neither do our children. THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO TEACH... go grab my book:) Thanks for allowing me to help!

I have a 6-year old daughter who, in the past, has been prone to major outbursts of emotion. When told no or faced with something she doesn't want to do, she often would hit and tantrum, always in the house but never in public. While my response at times was good (such as naming her emotion and having a "time in" together or reading books together to help her calm down), often I felt so overtaken by my own anger or frustration I would snap at her or just leave the room and go for a walk or lock myself in a room until I cooled down. She would chase me, bang on the door, scream, throw things. I always tried later to reconnect and talk to her about it. 

In the past few months, this just stopped. When she's angry or upset, she stomps off to her room for a few minutes.  She won't allow anyone to talk to her when she's upset. But then she reemerges happy as a clam after a period of time alone.

I want to feel glad that she seems to be handling disappointment in a calmer way, but now I'm worried she's stuffing her emotions rather than processing them. She almost never wants to talk about what made her mad or what we'll do the next time the same thing happens. I'm afraid I've given her a contrary message by walking away from her tantrums so many times. Does her behavior sound like a normal 6-year old? How can I do better? Thanks in advance for your response.

Wow, she sounds like she is learning to self-regulate. What you described - about your lashing out - has happened to me and every parent out there. Totally normal...we are good..until we go ape on our kids. You sound like you are an available and attuned parent so I would not worry too much. As long as she knows that you are non-judgment zone, a safe and unconditional space for her. If you are worried about her clamming up, be conscious of how  much advice you give, and try to watch your ego in the moment with her. Allow her to lead and express herself as much as possible. Don't probe or over-question. In THE AWAKENED FAMILY I teach parents to take a vow of silence so that they stop over-talking and over-controlling their kids:) Thanks for the great question.

My six year old wakes up whining /complaining and continues throughout the day until she's asleep. We've tried ignoring it, asking her to say it nicely, asking her to be quiet but thus continues. It's so unpleasant. What do we do?

Oh dear. This IS hard.

It is also made harder b/c each technique you are using is going to make is WORSE.

I know. I am sorry.

Here's the thing:

There is something she wants to tell you. There is something at the root of the whining. She WANTS to connect with you, she just doesn't know how. And when she tries to connect (albeit, annoyingly, you ignore (making her feel unimportant), ask her to say it nicely (essentially, to earn your attention), or to outright be quiet (which is completely dismissing her).

All of these behaviors from YOU are growing the whining, and I am glad she hasn't given up.

This child is whining for your attention, so LAY IT ON HER.

BEFORE she whines.

Don't be afraid she will get worse, that's not how children work.

Find small and loving ways to connect with her. Have the ideas come from you. YOU make the first effort. YOU gather her in with smiles and affection.

And if you REALLY want to make an impact, go ahead and tell her, "you can whine. I still love you. I am listening to you. I am not going anywhere."

Let her get it all out. LISTEN. I mean REALLY listen. What is she saying to you? What is she needing? Wanting? What can you give her? What can't you give her?

So, if you do ANYTHING, stop doing what you are doing. It isn't working, it's making it worse, and don't be afraid to just love her and listen. She needs it.

How effective or how much can you get into conscious parenting with a 3 year old? When I sympathize with him when I set a boundary and try to tell him that I understand he wanted to watch the tv show but we have to go to bed, he tells me not to say that or stop talking. It is almost as if he is too young to "reason" or understand my empathy. I keep doing it so as to lay the ground work now as he ages. Thoughts?

You are doing great. You keep laying the boundary with love and compassion. Of course he will protest. That is his job. My 13-year protests till this day. Of course they will. They are being kids as they need to be. You just keep re-inforcing the same boundary, "I love you. I see you are upset. But this is what we need to do right now because X is now going to be bad for your eyes/tummy/body etc." And keep doing it over and over. In my book, I call it "the power of holding a limit" We don't know how to do this - but it sounds like you do. Don't worry about his reaction:) 

My daughter just finished Kindergarten. It amazes me how early kids start to attack each other! What is your best advice to help my daughter defend herself against "mean girls" as well as helping her not become one? I try to talk to her about it, but I think I end up a bit too preachy and turn her off.

Yes, be careful not to turn them off too early because they will stop revealing and confiding to us. I would just listen, offer indirect assistance, as in, "Oh, I wonder if X felt bad when Y did that..hmm" and just throw a seed in the mix. Don't lecture, admonish or judge her or she will stop telling you things. You cannot avoid or protect her against the inevitable social politics within girls. It is deadly (my daughter is 13, trust me, it gets worse) - all you can try to do is model your own worth, your own lack of care about mainstream acceptance, don't care about weight/appearance/social status yourself and plant her with a firm sense of self. This is huge - if you do this. I show parents how in my book: THE AWAKENED FAMILY! Thanks for the question.

My seven year old daughter still sucks her thumb in public and at home. We've tried the "ending thumb sucking" party but that was not enough of an incentive. We haven't done anything else. What should we do?

There isn't much else you can do.

I mean, you could give her gum or something else oral to busy her mouth (thumb sucking is a soothing mechanism), or you could try that nail paint that tastes horrible, but the truth is she will stop as she gets older.

On her own.

If it makes you feel any better, I would catch my brother sucking his thumb (sorry, Hughie) while he watched ESPN highlights in high school.

And he did eventually stop.

I think...

:)

I just wouldn't make a big deal of it...

I am very strict with my 6 year old on eating sweets as he is a very active kid. Have met a counselor. He does not have adhd but is advised no cocoa and keep his sugar to a minimum. My family thinks I'm crazy. Should I be so controlling about this?

Well, if you see a direct correlation between his consumption of sweets and his distraction, then you are trying to serve his best interests. However, if you are trying to control him out of an anxiety based within you then you may want to look at that. It sounds as if you are trying to serve HIS interests - so that is wonderful. The question is: how can you keep your vision on this wonderful service to HIM, but also not ruin it by driving him crazy and being over-bearing, over-managing and overly-anxious. Not easy, I know, but after all, kids are kids. They are going to start sneaking things if we don't ease up. EDUCATION, MODELING, and keeping BAD FOOD AWAY is the best course of action. However, if bad food is there and he happens to eat it, relax. Don't over-panic. You can only control what you can control...and let go of the rest. I teach parents how to lay firm boundaries when needed and when to surrender in my book: THE AWAKENED FAMILY.

How do you manage temper tantrums in a toddler without some form of discipline?

Oy.

There IS discipline, LOTS of discipline.

IT just all belongs to you...

You must discipline yourself to not take it personally.

You must discipline yourself to recognize the signs of a meltdown BEFORE it goes nuclear.

You must discipline yourself to learn what is developmentally appropriate for your child.

You must discipline yourself to not react in shame, violence, anger, or fear.

You must discipline yourself to apologize when your anger has overtaken you.

You must discipline yourself to keep forgiveness as priority...for you and everyone in your family.

You must discipline yourself to know that others are not really judging you and if they are, ptttht to them.

You must discipline yourself to know that the tantrums WILL subside if you discipline yourself.

You can do this.

:)

We have wonderful twin seven year old boys -- both are smart, creative, and athletic. One loves to be independent - getting dressed by himself, getting his own milk, etc. The other seems to be a bit stuck: He won't even try to dress himself -- not even easy to pull on sweats or shoes with velcro straps. It's becoming a bit of a problem at school, since we're not there to help him and all his first-grade classmates appear to be able to get their own shoes on. He won't tell us why he won't try -- and he gets defensive and sarcastic if we try cajoling him. Any ideas for helping him get past this stage?

Aah, twins. There is always  a more dominant one - always. And another who feels like they need to slow it down in order to almost get their own identity. Be watchful of your own frustrations and fears around him. How can you enter a state of presence to best guide him without getting your fears that he will be compared, put down or ridiculed? How can you help him feel as empowered as the other one? How can you give him opportunities to lead and not be over-powered by the other? The more you help him discover that he is fully worthy and amazing in his OWN IDENTITY, the more he will flourish. Yes, he may take his time to do things - but how about we celebrate that he is more relaxed about things? How about we reframe the whole thing? In this way he will not be as anxious about it and not fight you back so much. Great question!

I am the mother of a 3 year old and attempting to consciously raise my children. Can you speak about being too over-protective with our children? I find myself saying "be careful" a lot to my son, but feel, in my mind, it is warranted as I obviously want to keep him safe and teach him safety. However, how do I know if I am stripping away at his natural carefree nature? Is there a guideline you can offer? Thanks for all you do!

When we over-protect, it is often coming from our own anxieties and fears and have little to actually do with our children. Instead, when we check in with our own anxieties and ask, "what good will come from saying BE CAREFUL?" and realize that the only child it will help is our own INNER CHILD, we can then surrender to the present moment. We are constantly trying to avoid anxiety and that is why we over-protect. If instead, we allowed ourselves to deal with our anxieties and understand that anxiety is a part and parcel of childhood, we will let our children go a bit. In my book, THE AWAKENED FAMILY I show parents how to do this. Great question! 

What is an effective way to set boundaries and limits without punishment? My children are 6 & 3 and I'd like them to listen/follow directions and cooperate more.

My favorite question. There ARE so many ways to set boundaries and limits WITHOUT punishment. Punishment doesn't even have to EVER feature in the equation. NEVER. The more clear we are about our boundaries, the better our children will be about following them. In THE AWAKENED FAMILY I show parents how to create boundaries, follow through and have consistent limits. Become clear about your own boundaries and start from there. Define what boundaries you want to have. Out line them. And then find ways to be present to institute them in the here-and-now. Thanks for the question.

What can we do to help our children have good friends? I mean, the ones who are positive and not the controlling ones.

We cannot control which friends our children will veer toward. The best thing to do is teach our children to have goo d boundaries and not be afraid of creating them. Teach them to NOT want to fit in. To NOT want to be one of the crowd. To DARE TO STAND UP when things don't feel right. To honor their bodies. And voila, they will naturally take care of those times they have negative influences. We cannot manage their friendships. All we can do is teach them to stand up, speak up and hold a boundary. Great question. I talk about friendships in my book, THE AWAKENED FAMILY where I teach parents how we actually mess our kids up by over-controlling their relationships.

My daughter will be two in a few weeks. Up until a month ago I was working part-time – 3 full days a week with Mondays and Fridays off to spend with her – but recently switched to working full time, which my husband does as well. She’s now with her same nanny five days a week instead of three. Each night when either my husband or I come home the transition from the nanny doesn’t go well – she gets fussy, there are meltdowns, she’s upset when she can’t do whatever she’s asking to do (e.g., go for a walk outside when it’s raining), says “no” to all of our suggestions of what to do, doesn’t want to sit in her high chair for dinner, etc. – behaviors she didn’t exhibit moments earlier when she was with the nanny. So far, the weekends seem to go much better. It’s been discouraging for my husband and I since that’s the time we get to spend with her on the weekdays. Could this behavior be a result of my change in schedule or is this common for almost-two year-olds? What can we do to help her through these transitions? Thank you!

Dr. Neufeld calls this mess  "the polarity of attachment" swinging back and forth

What does that mean?

It means that your daughter is still very very young...and when she is with her nanny, she is REALLY attached to her nanny. She relaxes, enjoys her, all is well (even though she still is deeply attached to you.)

When you come on the scene, you are so happy to see your child! You want hugs and smiles and cuddles....BUT. The child is still on the attachment side of the nanny and there  needs to be some transition time there.

Just because you come home doesn't mean your daughter just BOOM, switches.

This does not mean she loves the nanny more, it is just how attachment works in the younger years.

So, some ideas:

Try to get home a tiny earlier (if you can) and let there be some puttering time. Don't go in too directly. Instead, laugh and talk with the nanny. If you can hug her, all the better. Stay close to your daughter, but don't push anything. See if you can ALL hug the nanny.

And if you daughter cries, it is okay. And say that! "Oh, we DO all love nanny. She's the best."

See if the moment gets easier as you DON'T PUSH. Don't ask your daughter a million questions, don't expect too much. Just let it be chill and know that the attachment will swing back to you in good time.

Tears are okay. Just make room for all of the emotions.

 

My ten year old often will talk back with a disrespectful voice to me and his teachers. What should we do?

All negative behavior stems from a dislocated sense of self. Why is he behaving this way? Does he like the negative attention? It gives him power? Have you been either too wishy-washy with your boundaries at home OR too controlling? When we are one or the other in the home, our children feel the need to act out against authority. These questions will help you understand his behavior from a developmental perspective. It may be that he is just trying to find a way to meet his needs - but in a negative and sabotaging way. CLEAR BOUNDARIES at home- NOT CONTROL OR PUNISHMENT is the only way to re-align him back. 

My daughter will be two in a few weeks. Up until a month ago I was working part-time but recently switched to full time, which my husband does as well. She’s now with her same nanny five days a week instead of three.

Each night when either my husband or I come home the transition to us from the nanny doesn’t go well – she gets fussy, says “no” to all of our suggestions of what to do, doesn’t want to sit in her high chair for dinner, etc. – behaviors she didn’t exhibit moments earlier when she was with her nanny.

Could this behavior be a result of my change in schedule or is this common for almost 2-year-olds? What can we be doing to help her during these weeknight transitions?

YES TO BOTH questions. It is not an easy transition and she is having a hard time with this sudden change. TWO is the peak of separation anxiety any way so having  you both switch schedules on her is not optimum and she is showing that in her struggle. Give her time to ease into this new schedule. It is going to take time. Make sure you give her your undivided attention once you return (but be careful not to over-indulge her out of guilt) - this means, be present and attuned with her so that she gets to fill her inner cup again. She needs you desperately at this age. No guilt intended. Just creating awareness around WHY she is acting like this. GIVE IT TIME. EASE INTO IT. Don't have the nanny leave right as soon  you walk in. Give it a 30 mins overlay so things are not switching up on her drastically. Hope this helps:)

Do you have any suggestions for how to handle a situation in which a ten year old brother and 8 year old sister a fighting -- either verbally or on occasion physically -- and they refuse to be separated? My son is extremely big, and extremely provocative of both his younger sisters, the 8 year old in particular. They have a love hate relationship that is so unbearable to live with. When they're in the midst of a fight (4 times a day at least) I just want to escape. I've tried coaching my daughters on how to ignore their brother which they manage to do once in a while but it's extremely difficult. Help!

Ah, they both are getting some sense of negative attention out of it. They are old enough to know how to stay away. It is clear your son is desiring attention and loves needling his sisters. Not easy for a parent to navigate because you don't want to pitch your son as the "bad" guy. I think you are right - the only way out is for your 8-year old to move away. But she may more enjoy this scuffle than you do. In which case, YOU need to learn to tolerate it. I see that it causes you anxiety and frustration. What if you shed that? And said, "this is their way of learning how to relate, to work out the kinks of their relationship." and try ignoring it? As long as no one is getting hurt...OR teach your 8-year more to stay away. She may be as provoking of him - and you may not realize it....

We moved out of the house my husband and I owned for 12 years 3 months ago. The house is sold, we close next week. My 4 year old son wants to go see the house one more time before we turn over the keys and I'm torn. On the one hand ALL his childhood memories were made there. On the other, it's empty and rather sad and I'm not sure I want that to be the last image in his mind. I know to most this is a silly problem, but I'm seriously at a loss and dealing with my own sadness (we didn't really want to move but finances made it necessary) My husband is leaving it to me to decide. Thanks!

You are caught up in your own feelings around this transition. It is good you are aware of this. If your son wants to go he should go - let him go with his father if this is causing you too much anxiety. You don't want to project your anxiety on him. Let him have his own experiences without your influence. This may be his way of saying good bye. Maybe he could write a letter and leave it in the house? And teach him that transitions are GOOD. But of course, you are having a hard time seeing this as GOOD...

Thank you for this thoughtful discussion with both of you. My childhood was intensely dysfunctional. I have had years of good therapy and feel like I have overcome this past and that I am a healthy parent to my 10 and 8 year old children. But I struggle with how to be the compassionate and very nurturing mother I want to be, and how to still have firm boundaries that they also need.

My son has diagnosed ADHD, and my daughter may have this as well. Both children are very intelligent and articulate, spirited and intense, and they have been challenging to parent in ways that make me question myself frequently.

Do you have any thoughts on how to best use your parenting philosophy (which I love) for someone with my past, so that I have a good balance of warmth and love, as well as good boundaries for children who are great but exceptionally challenging?

Well, firstly, congrats on working on yourself.

You looked squarely at your past and decided to not turn away from the pain. That right there says a lot about your courage and willingness to do hard things.

Also, know that raising one (maybe) two bright, ADHD, intense children is challenging for any parent. Seriously. I do not believe, in my heart, that you are handicapped for this.

And I also think that by holding on to your past, you are holding on to the handicaps (rather than the strength) and may use them as excuses.

So, go ahead, acknowledge your strengths, your lacks, and move forward.

If you KNOW you want more support, don't wait to get it. From therapy to parenting groups to coaching to ADHD internet groups...it is ALL out there for you. While the internet age is wild, it also affords us more connection than we can imagine. So, don't be afraid to reach out. You have many years left to parent these children, give yourself all the love and support you need.

I would warn against joining too many groups that highlight being a victim.

Not that you were not victimized (I am certain you were), I just don't think that that is a position of strength for your parenting life.

When you are sad about your past, be sad. When you are strong, be strong. When you love your current life, LOVE IT. When it tires you, rest.

Just keep on, keepin' on.

;)

 

Definitely talk to the family members about this. I was a very quiet child. I got teased endlessly about it to the point where I developed an extreme shyness problem. When people are constantly pointing out how quiet you are, or make a big deal when you DO say something, it makes you want to be even quieter. I went from just being myself, happy in my own thoughts, happy to talk when I felt it necessary, to someone who found being around others just painful. I actually think people mean well with the teasing. They are trying to draw the child out. But it backfires. If I had been allowed to develop at my own pace I think I would have naturally become less quiet. This doesn't mean ignore the quiet child. Just don't go out of your way to single out and point out in front of others that the child is quiet or shy.

This reminds me of another good book out now called "Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts." I hope more people read your comment and listen to the fact that introverts are *allowed* to be that way.

Help us, please. Our dd can intently focus on things that she is interested in - and completely ignores what her parents ask--or makes excuses. "I'll just do x first." "I need to do y." Hubby and I both find ourselves getting into power struggles about stupid things like leaving shoes at the door, or getting hands washed "now, already." In so many ways, she is sweet, smart, observant, and frankly, eager to please, but as her parents, we are REALLY struggling with frustration (and my husband is super patient normally). Plus, she's slept through the night like 11 times in her life, so we're both chronically sleep deprived.

Ugggg.

I don't know what to tell you about the sleep (look at that), but STOP talking to her.

She is, for whatever reason, not heeding you. So, when it is time to get shoes on...go get her shoes and begin putting them on her feet.

When it is time to move along, bend down, get her face, smile, tkae her hand, and lovingly move her along.

Your talking is adding to the mess. So stop.

I say all that with love. :)

That does it for today, folks. Thanks for joining us, for the thoughtful questions, and for the compassion. We need it all.

For more information on Dr. Shefali and her parenting theories and advice, visit TheAwakenedFamily.com.

Go, relax, enjoy your kids and watch as they do their thing. It's an amazing thing to usher, not to dictate.

Meghan and I will be back for our regular chat next Wednesday, ready for more.

Thank you all, especially Dr. Shefali whose advice and wisdom this week have been welcome relief.

In This Chat
Meghan Leahy
Meghan Leahy is a D.C.-based parent coach.
Amy Joyce
Amy Joyce has been at The Post, well, for a long time. Her first foray in to online chats were related to work. Now she's happy to chat about fun (but would like to believe the two can be one). She has been a Business reporter, editor for Weekend and the Going Out guide, and is now editing and writing for OnParenting. When not at work, she can be seen unsuccessfully dodging wiffle balls in her front yard.
Shefali Tsabary
Shefali Tsabary is a clinical psychologist and author of “The Conscious Parent.” Her new book is “The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting.”
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