All For Your Family

new book

All For Your Family

The fol­low­ing arti­cle in Huffington Post high­lights 26 things good par­ents should not do to avoid screw­ing up their kids. Today’s par­ents tend to dote, con­trol and live through their chil­dren. I just hap­pen to have a new book, hot off the press, which explains how par­ents can make these changes and why it is so impor­tant. It makes a per­fect present for new and not so new par­ents. I think you will all love the cover 🙂 

All For Your Family, by Sharon Youngman

Available on Amazon


Learning from Mistakes



Learning from Mistakes

There is a fine line between pro­tec­tion and con­trol. As a new mom, I had this over­whelm­ing desire to shield my baby from pain, sad­ness and any­thing else that was less than won­der­ful. Babies require 100% pro­tec­tion, how­ever babies grow and our expec­ta­tions need to grow accord­ingly. As new par­ents, my hus­band and I catered to our child’s whims and wishes a lit­tle too much because we didn’t like to see him sad. Before we knew it, we were entrenched in bad habits that led to giv­ing in to their demands, help­ing too much and mak­ing excuses for bad behav­ior. We par­ented too much from our hearts.

A nat­ural con­se­quence occurs nat­u­rally. Touching a hot stove will pro­vide an imme­di­ate con­se­quence. That is guar­an­teed. Of course we don’t want to let our chil­dren get hurt phys­i­cally.  However, there are many sit­u­a­tions or choices chil­dren make that result in sad feel­ings rather than phys­i­cal injury. In those sit­u­a­tions, it may be wise to allow nat­ural con­se­quences to unfold

I can’t imag­ine a par­ent not show­er­ing their child with love and praise. There are many times that par­ents will con­sciously choose to pro­tect their child the con­se­quences of their mis­takes. When you are faced with a choice between pro­tect­ing your child and let­ting them expe­ri­ence the nat­ural con­se­quence, it is help­ful to think about what is in your child’s best inter­est in the long run. What would be gained from step­ping back as com­pared to shield­ing them? You want your child to feel loved uncon­di­tion­ally, but you have to be care­ful to clearly com­mu­ni­cate your expec­ta­tions for respon­si­ble behav­ior. A child that feels they are free to make mis­takes and get away with­out con­se­quence may not work hard for good grades, may not learn to be finan­cial respon­si­ble, and may also engage in activ­i­ties that are dan­ger­ous.

Allowing nat­ural con­se­quences to occur in every­day life can be far from auto­matic. It may actu­ally be more nat­ural for a par­ent to pro­tect their child rather than see them suf­fer. It is my phi­los­o­phy that there are many times par­ents should allow mis­takes in life to teach impor­tant lessons.  As a par­ent, you get to make those deci­sions as the sit­u­a­tions arise. While eval­u­at­ing your options, I encour­age you to con­sider long term rather than short term goals.


Please Stop Whining!


Whining (verb)

To give or make a long, high-pitched com­plain­ing cry or sound.

Complain in a fee­ble or petu­lant way.

Please Stop Whining!

If you are a par­ent there is no need to read the def­i­n­i­tion of whin­ing. It is some­thing chil­dren do nat­u­rally and par­ents seem to just get used to…. and yes, we often get annoyed or VERY annoyed. Some par­ents learn to deal with this and almost tune out the sound. Others find that it intol­er­a­ble and can lose their tem­per and see things spi­ral down­ward.  

Learning to con­trol our reac­tion is not the only way to go. If your chil­dren learn to wine it can become an issue for them as teach­ers and friends may also find it an irri­tant. Whining becomes an impor­tant issue if it causes us, as par­ents, to behave in a less than accept­able way.


Recognizing the need to decrease whin­ing is the first step and it is a giant step. This arti­cle will help you to under­stand how whin­ing orig­i­nates and will pro­vide spe­cific steps to dimin­ish it. It will make a huge dif­fer­ence in your lives.


1.       Evaluate.  Is there any­thing spe­cific that brings out the whiner in your child? Take notes about the time of the day, their phys­i­cal and emo­tional state and the kinds of things they whine about. Don’t just take men­tal notes, write it down. You may gain a great deal of insight.

2.       Understand.  What does whin­ing accom­plish?  It is usu­ally a learned behav­ior from a child that is used to hav­ing to beg r make repeated requests for what they want. They are feel­ing pow­er­less and defeated and there­fore resort to whin­ing. Pretty soon it can become their main way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing or request­ing.

3.       Model and prac­tice.  Your child is prob­a­bly unaware of their whin­ing and will require time to replace this behav­ior. Ask your child to prac­tice ask­ing for things in a reg­u­lar voice and then when whin­ing does occur, ask them to use that reg­u­lar voice.

4.       Praise. Catch them speak­ing in a non-whin­ing voice and praise them by say­ing how nice and sweet their voice sounds. Be care­ful not to give a “back handed com­pli­ment,” by com­par­ing it to the neg­a­tive.

5.       Awareness of YOUR behav­ior. Are you part of the prob­lem or solu­tion?

Child: They get frus­trated and then they start to whine.

 Adult: Be respon­sive to their frus­tra­tion level and inter­vene before they start to whine. If they are ask­ing you for some­thing be aware of a ten­dency to ignore and only respond when they whine. Respond ear­lier, even if it is to say I heard you and you need to wait.

Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: You ignore the whin­ing and respond to them. If they whine ask them to please repeat their mes­sage in their reg­u­lar voice.


Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: Gets angry.  A child that can make a grown up lose con­trol has learned a pow­er­ful tool. React calmly and your child will respond in kind.


Congratulations for read­ing this. It shows that you want to ele­vate your par­ent­ing skills. Stick with it and you will see the results you want. Remember, revers­ing bad habits may be a lot of work in the begin­ning but care­ful atten­tion to these areas has big pay­offs in the end. Teachers and other adults will have a more pos­i­tive view of your child if they com­mu­ni­cate well. Confidence is boosted and so is per­for­mance. It’s HUGE and there­fore well worth your time.






Addicted To My Phone


I admit it. I am addicted to my phone, Facebook, emails, and my guilty plea­sure: Bejeweled.


There are many rea­sons why my addic­tion con­cerns me but what if I were a par­ent? There are so many more issues at stake.

Modeling obses­sive screen time use, lack of atten­tive lis­ten­ing and prob­a­bly the most dis­con­cert­ing, poten­tial dan­ger from cell phone radi­a­tion to our most pre­cious babies.

Modeling Obsessive Screen Time or “I Need to Respond to This Text.”

If you are con­cerned with the amount of time your child spends on a a screen, look first at what behav­ior you are mod­el­ing. If your child is old enough, and you are brave enough, ask them what they think about your screen time. We all get impor­tant mes­sages but how often do we check our phone because of our com­pul­sive nature rather than true need? Is every thirty min­utes too infre­quent?


Looking At Our Phone During A Conversation or “I Heard Every Word You Said.”

What mes­sage do we give our chil­dren when we engage in phone use while inter­act­ing with them? Are we say­ing they are not impor­tant enough to get our com­plete atten­tion? If you think look­ing at your phone while con­vers­ing has no impact then try a lit­tle role play­ing exper­i­ment. Evaluate how you feel when some­one looks you in the eye when you talk as opposed to down at their phone. We have all grown accus­tomed to being par­tially ignored. Is that a good thing?


Are There Effects of Cell Phone Radiation? or We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

What are the effects of cell phone radi­a­tion on our chil­dren? Parents carry their babies and talk on the phone. Where is that phone in rela­tion to the baby’s head? We know that an infant’s skull is not even fully sealed. Should we place any poten­tial dan­ger in close prox­im­ity? Why would we take that chance?


Cell phones are a part of our lives and most of us love them.  They also often allow us to be rude, unsafe, unpro­duc­tive and dis­tracted. I hope you take a moment to exam­ine your cell phone use and make informed choices for how they can best fit in your life.

Related links within links:

Cell Phone Radiation: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure

Quality Time With Your Children VS Your Phone


The Vaccine Debate


I feel com­pelled to write this.

My hus­band and I have great respect for our nat­u­ra­p­ath. His name is David Getoff and he has a very extreme atti­tude about health. He often appears a bit extreme, but most of the time his opin­ions become well accepted.

The first time I met him was 28 years ago when he was on his way to Colorado. He was of the opin­ion that the mer­cury in his fill­ings were dam­ag­ing to his health and there was a den­tist who would remove them. This was a painful and expen­sive process but he was deter­mined to get it done. Of course now we all know to avoid ingest­ing mer­cury.

He is also against chemo ther­apy, mam­mo­grams, soy by-prod­ucts, genet­i­cally man­u­fac­tured food, flour, sugar and vac­cines.

Recently I crossed paths with a mom who refused to give her 4 year old most of the vac­cines that are rou­tinely given. She is con­cerned about the bom­bard­ment of chem­i­cals on a young child’s brain and men­tioned that it has been linked to SIDS.

Since I will be a grandma soon I paid atten­tion and did some research. My con­clu­sion was to talk to my son and daugh­ter-in-law and sug­gest they look into it. My hus­band and I would be happy to bring our grand­child to the doc­tor more fre­quently in order to spread out the shots and there­fore les­son the neg­a­tive impact.

A week later we received sad news. My daughter-in-law’s niece had died from SIDS. She was 4 months old. I looked up the sched­ule for vac­ci­na­tions and saw that the sec­ond round was at 4 months. Last night  I had a chance to talk with my son about my con­cern. He looked at me with dis­be­lief. He told me that the lit­tle girl had been vac­ci­nated the day before she died.

please, please, do your research.


Jane Nelson on Empathy or Sympathy

Empathy or Sympathy?

by SoundDiscipline

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

Last week I wrote about empa­thy and the prac­tice of see­ing the world through “their eyes” with­out judg­ment. That is the first part of empa­thy. The sec­ond part is being able to “get” the other person’s feel­ings and com­mu­ni­cate to that per­son that they are under­stood. This is hard – and some­times really uncom­fort­able. There is a nat­ural urge to “help,” to “fix” or to “feel sorry for” the other per­son.

Sometimes it is uncom­fort­able enough that we resort to sym­pa­thy instead. What is the dif­fer­ence between empa­thy and sym­pa­thy? The dic­tio­nary doesn’t help much but they feel dif­fer­ent. Brené Brown (of TED talk fame) helped me under­stand the dis­tinc­tion in a use­ful way. She paints a pic­ture. Imagine your friend is hav­ing a hard time. You could pic­ture her as being in a deep dark hole. If you were using empa­thy you might down into the hole with her but with a lad­der in your back­pack. Words are not as impor­tant as your pres­ence. You are not stuck there, but for a while you are with her. You can relate to your friend, but you also can eas­ily climb out of the hole. Sympathy in con­trast, she says, is like stand­ing on the edge of the hole, look­ing down into the deep, say­ing some­thing like, “I’m so sorry you feel so bad.” It main­tains a sense of safe sep­a­rate­ness that might eas­ily invite the per­son “in the hole” to feel more, not less, alone.

Empathy con­veys con­nec­tion; it invites us, accord­ing to Brown, “to access our own expe­ri­ences to con­nect with the other per­son.” It is about “being with” instead of “fix­ing” or “mak­ing the other per­son feel bet­ter.”

The chal­lenge for week:
Practice “get­ting” the other person’s feel­ings and com­mu­ni­cate to that per­son that they are under­stood with­out fix­ing or feel­ing sorry. This is par­tic­u­larly hard with our chil­dren. One rea­son is that our mir­ror neu­rons are par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive around those we love. When our child is mis­er­able we feel that pain too. Of course we’d rather not – so our response is to try to fix the sit­u­a­tion for our child so that we can feel bet­ter.

Tools for con­nect­ing with­out fix­ing or feel­ing sorry for (part two of empa­thy).

• Use your body. Take a breath, slow down and be with your child. Your mir­ror neu­rons can give you a sense of what he or she is feel­ing. Don’t do some­thing, just sit there.

• “It seems like you feel _____ because_______ and you wish______. (The wish can either be quite real­is­tic or a lit­tle bit humor­ous – trust your gut to see which will fit.)

• “I notice that you look like you are feel­ing ______. Want to talk about it?”(Then zip your lips and lis­ten.)

• Reach back to your own expe­ri­ences – with the intent to con­nect not to fix. “It seems like you feel_____ because your friend was mean. I can remem­ber how awful it felt when my friend Carol said things behind my back. No fun.” (Then lis­ten.)

Notice: None of these ideas indi­cate that you are “sorry” that they feel that way, that your child needs to “snap out of it,” or that you are sure he’ll feel bet­ter soon. Instead they con­vey that a vari­ety of emo­tions are a nor­mal part of the human expe­ri­ence, and they are not alone.

Share what you learned. Leave a com­ment here or fol­low us on Facebook. We share other’s great par­ent­ing tips there as well.

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Photo credit: Josstyk




Positive Time Out


Another gem from Dr. Jane Nelson



Parents and teach­ers who use time-out as a pun­ish­ment do not under­stand child devel­op­ment or brain devel­op­ment. (See Understand the Brain Tool Card.) They do not under­stand that chil­dren are always mak­ing deci­sions about them­selves (am I good or bad, capa­ble or not capa­ble, etc.), deci­sions about oth­ers, (are they sup­port­ive, friendly, etc. or not), and then deci­sions about what they will do in the future.

These deci­sions are not made at a con­scious level, but they help cre­ate a child’s per­son­al­ity (even though these deci­sions are made at a sub­con­scious level).

Parents say really silly things when send­ing a child to puni­tive time-out such as, “You think about what you did.”

Try imag­in­ing what your child is feel­ing, think­ing, and decid­ing while in time-out.  Is she think­ing, “I appre­ci­ate this so much. It really helps me real­ize the error of my ways, and to think about how to mend my ways.” More likely she is think­ing, “I won’t get caught next time.” “I’ll get even.” Or, worst of all, “I’m bad.” This is why the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) is very much against time-out.

Positive Time-Out

Positive-time-out is totally dif­fer­ent. A child (or stu­dents in a class­room) designs a “pos­i­tive time-out area” filled with pleas­ant things to help him calm down until he can access his ratio­nal brain and “do bet­ter.”

After he has designed his “pos­i­tive time-out area.” he gives it another name such as “my space,” or my “my cool off spot.” Giving pos­i­tive time-out another name helps elim­i­nate the neg­a­tive feel­ings of puni­tive time-out.”

Then allow your child to “choose” to go to his pos­i­tive time-out instead of being sent.  During a con­flict you might say, “Would it help you to go to your ‘feel good place?” If your child says, “No,” ask, “Would you like me to go with you?” (Often this is encour­ag­ing to a child and helps increase a con­nec­tion, as well as calm­ing down.) If your child still says, “No,” (or is hav­ing such a tem­per tantrum, she can’t even hear you,) say, “Okay, I’m going to my time-out place.” What a great model for your chil­dren.

Go to your own Positive Time-Out

Going to your own pos­i­tive time-out is often the best place to start dur­ing a con­flict. Instead of ask­ing your child if it would help her to go to her feel good place, just go to your own. Your time-out could be a phys­i­cal place. It could also take place by tak­ing deep breaths, count­ing to ten (or 100), med­i­tat­ing on how much you love your child, etc.

Not for Children under the age of Three to Four

If a child isn’t old enough to design his own pos­i­tive-time-out area, he is not old enough to under­stand any kind of time-out—even pos­i­tive time-out.