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35 Comments

  1. Great story, thanks for sharing this!

    1. Leah, I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. :-)

  2. There's Just One Mommy says:

    Thank you for sharing this tip! Going to try it with my daughter!

  3. Thank you so much for this. Our 7 year old doesn’t always bail, but often enough that it concerns me. I’ve started saying “don’t turn into a puddle!” because he usually ends up in a little heap on the floor or his bed somewhere – and sometimes that gets him to laugh a little bit and shake himself out of it but not always. Really appreciate having a new idea for an agreement to make with him about handling this.

    1. Skye, it touches me to hear this may be helpful to you when your son “shuts down.” The image of turning into a “puddle”…vivid! I may use that line myself with our 6yo, if you don’t mind. :-)

  4. Sue Lively @One Time Through says:

    Just found this book myself and it’s been a revelation. Included a bunch of Dr. Cohen’s ideas in my latest post too. Really find these ideas are helping me connect better to my son. Pinning this to my attachment parenting pinterest board. Great post!

    1. Sue, so good to hear this resonated with you! And thank you so much for pinning the post. :-)

      I’m off to find your recent post about Dr. Cohen’s ideas!

  5. NewNormalAdventures says:

    Awesome thoughts and examples in this post! I especially loved the part where she wanted to role play. :) That is a very special young lady (not “little” like I mistakenly said in my last comment! Hehe)…but I know you know that already.

    1. Amanda, I am sitting here grinning after reading your comment, thinking of that special young lady! I’ll be sure to read your comment out loud when I get home. :-) Thank you for the sweet comment!

  6. She’s a child…a parent should a disciplinarian!!…the second kick would have been an automatic timeout until they apologized! You should have “talked to her” the first kick saying that was rude and uncalled for if your trying to get mommy a attention you say mommy excuse me or can I cuddle to…if they did it purposely a second time your teaching them that it’s ok to be rude cause your still giving her what she wanted…your attention whether that is positive or negative…then your not paying attention to the other child!! Which is exactly what she wanted!!!!!

    1. I think it was the one year old who kicked. Accidentally while nursing… I truly hope you misunderstood that.

      1. Nicole, yes that is correct!

        Bailey is 1 year old and is incapable of sitting still…EVER! We’re working on getting her to be more aware of what her body is connecting with, but obviously no timeouts and forced apologies for a 1-year-old! And actually, we have never done timeouts or forced apologies with our 6-year-old, and it’s worked very well for us. But that’s a post for another day… :-)

        Thank you for helping to clarify the post. I’ll read through again at the beginning to make sure I explain who is who. Sometimes I fall into referring to Abby and Bailey without ages!

        1. NewNormalAdventures says:

          I had NO problem understanding who was who in this post.

          And while everyone has different parenting styles, I for one totally agree with this approach because it was tailored specifically for Abby (not the one who did the kicking). I’m sure as Bailey grows and more and more of her own personality becomes clearer, Kelly and her husband may have a slightly different or totally different method with her depending on how different she is from her sister.

          1. NewNormalAdventures says:

            Clearly the method Kelly wrote about has been very positive for Abby and their relationship as well.

            On a side note, when my siblings and I were growing up, my older brother and I were polar opposites when it came to discipline/correction. My parents had to be very strong with him because he was so stubborn. I on the other hand was a sensitive kid and all it often took was an unhappy or disappointed look on my parents’ faces and I was broken hearted, or a “puddle” as someone aptly put it. For me, that was usually punishment enough. Different kids, different needs.

      2. It wasn’t an accident but at that age they don’t get the bigger context of things, they only know they want moms complete attention, not to share it and that’s how Bailey got it. I do think Mom should have chastised Bailey and instructing her to not kick or hit. A firm but loving “NO” should help. The older sister laughed because Mom behaved as if it were no big deal when it was done to the older sister. Children have a sense of what is just and what isn’t. When an older child is always is expected to be understanding, or to be receiving less attention, they become resentful and sulky. It also depends on the individual – some kids take everything in stride and others are more sensitive.

    2. First, you misunderstood the post (see others’ comments if you need clarification). Second, discipline (which can be authoritative without being authoritarian) can be more about discipling/teaching/helping a child to do better — it still has boundaries but seeks to connect and to teach. We don’t all have to agree on parenting, but please be more respectful of those with whom you disagree (which starts with seeking to understand).

  7. What a great experience! We visit the golden rule of behavior toward others frequently. Usually when play time with the boys gets too rough. When my daughter takes pouting there’s usually a lot of drama. I direct her to her room work it out and return when she’s calmed down. Returning to reconnect is vital.

    1. Teresa, I love how you summed it up: “Returning to reconnect is vital.” Yes, yes, yes! When we don’t do that with Abby, it throws her off the rest of the day, if not more. And heck, it throws ME off too!

      Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective and approach. The golden rule RULES!

  8. megangelic says:

    I love this. I have a two year old who is just starting to flop on the floor and pout when she’s upset (puddle is an apt description) and I’m never sure how to handle it. I’m grateful that she’s not a screaming kicking tantrum thrower (yet) but I still want to teach her that we need to talk to each other when we’re upset instead of just shutting down. I realize that it will probably be on a simpler level with a two year old, but I also feel like it’s never too early to really TALK to your child and explain why you expect them to behave a certain way, even if they don’t get it yet. This gives me something to work toward.

  9. This is a REALLY cool concept and I look forward to trying it out in the future. I was raised in an environment where conflict resolution was completely nonexistent. I am curious to know if you have had any negative results from dropping what you are doing to listen to your daughter. In other words, did she become demanding in other ways once she learned that you would drop everything to listen or did she understand the difference well? I am asking this from an animal training background, please don’t think I’m being critical, I’m genuinely curious.

  10. I am a live in caregiver for a family that is raising four grandchildren. One of the middler’s, the oldest girl at age 8, , is really good at just this very thing. She runs away and pouts. I am like a surrogate grandmother to her, not the real thing. So asking her to “time in” on my lap is out of the question–she would never go for that. I have tried putting whatever I am doing aside and having her sit by me and talk. No matter what I have tried…she sits and pouts. She will not budge an inch out of her “pout”. I love this little girl as if she was my own grand daughter but I’m at my wits end trying to help her through this phase, a phase that has lasted for over four years now. Help!

    1. How about some kind of craft/physical/tactile activity that is reserved purely for this kind of needed time in to talk? I don’t know, like a tin of buttons to sort into colours/shapes/sizes, ribbon off cuts to sort or post into something? Something which is tactile may help relieve the stress and frustration she is feeling, allows the connection and closeness at a pace she can cope with and allows the proximity to be able to start to talk things through.

      1. Wendy Gassaway says:

        My son will often calm down if he can focus on a creative task or an outdoor chore. It’s hard to get him to get started if he’s already lost it, but we do talk a lot with him about how much better he feels once he’s done something positive and physical for awhile.

  11. Lisa Bailey Bates says:

    I am so excited to try this! Our girls are 5 (almost 6) and 7 months old, and we have constant meltdowns about the baby kicking or pulling hair, then the oldest retaliates, and of course we have to have a discussion about it, which almost always leads to the oldest pouting and shutting down… Thank you so much for this!

  12. Dee Gormly says:

    You came up with a great solution! Pouting is non-verbal communication that begs for someone to give you attention to find out what is wrong. In your scenario, you gave her the attention she craved and the okay to do it in a positive way in the future! Awesome!

  13. I had a sister growing up that was just like this, she was always a pouter and would storm off and never want to talk about it again but I partially blame that on our father who don’t get me wrong I love very much but he never seemed to have a real connection with us girls (there are 3 of us) growing up and was very much to the point discipline and often didn’t want to discuss what happened, we often got in trouble for things we didn’t even do. I feel like maybe if our mom or dad would have just talked to us rather than yell and send us away maybe I would have a better connection with them now. It always made me feel like I was walking on eggshells in my own home, even now when I go home as an adult I still feel weary about things that happened and my parents often wonder why I don’t talk to them about well anything really. I felt like I never could growing up so why should I change how I feel now. I’m glad you take the time to talk to her. I think it should happen more often.

  14. Wendy Gassaway says:

    Just saw this, and really appreciate it. My 8 year old daughter gets very ashamed of herself when she is caught being naughty and will go hide between her dresser and the wall. She is also angry at the same time, as we often are when we are in the wrong. I think some lap time would really help her to get regulated and ready to talk about what happened.

  15. Darcy Nestler says:

    Thank you for this! I am definitely going to try it with my 9 (almost 10) year old. We have battled her for YEARS with pouting and fits. Nothing has seemed to work or leave a lasting impression on her. She was also the youngest child for years, then I had 2 more babies AND got remarried, so she has had a lot of changes to deal with. She just shuts down when she gets in trouble and has ALWAYS been like that.

  16. this is such a great post! wow. i will certainly be trying this the next time my 5 year old gets pouty (he’s a lot like your daughter). i love him to bits, but he can be super stubborn, so this article is *great*.
    i think the only thing i’d have done differently is: i’d have said something to the 1 year old, as well. not scolding, per se, but a gentle hand on their little leg, “hey, i think you hurt your sister. be careful, ok? love you.” sometimes the child who was hurt (abby, in this case) feels like there has been a lack of justice because while she’d probably called out for kicking, etc, the younger sibling was not in this case. my kids, 13 and 5, have expressed these feelings to me. i know at a year old it seems pointless, but i truly believe small children can understand things like that to a degree. they’re smart!
    anyway, thanks again for the article. i look forward to implementing it, and also to checking out your “playful parenting” board (and maybe that book). :)

  17. I am a 28-year-old who still has issues with pouting. growing up, my feelings were never considered, and I was often sent to my room for hours to “think about what” I did. My parent and guardians didn’t seem to care about what I had to say. Even now, I pout occasionally, resorting to the silent treatment sometimes.

    Sometimes, my friends don’t let me express my feelings because they feel like I’m just being negative or just complaining or being negative. I don’t know how to address this myself.

  18. Thank you for this. I have been having troubles with my 7 yr old daughter. She used to bail and sometimes still does when she’s upset. But we’ve had a lot LESS battles in our household when we do emotional coaching versus punishments and stern reprimanding. She has come to me a lot more when she’s upset vs. running away. I will use this technique as well to encourage it more. Any ideas on how we can reinforce it or techniques for them when they are in school?

  19. I Like your post. Thanks

  20. Excellent article! I’m an Auntie & my nephew is training to run to his room & throw a fit “outside of the main areas of the house”
    but anytime he’s corrected or doesn’t get to watch or eat what he runs away pouting & sulking. He does this almost every 5mins.
    I had to figure look up something to do!
    A “Time-In” is excellent!