What if parenting was easier and more fun? Allow yourself to imagine life with your kids without constant arguments, stress, or negotiations.
There would be lots of laughter and affection.
You’d share in the joys of your child’s explorations, easily navigating life’s ups and downs.
You’d delight in your children, their sweet or quirky personalities and their unique view of the world.
And they would see you as their safe harbor—the one to turn to when they needed a cuddle, or were hurt or troubled. They would confide in you—because they trusted you with their innermost struggles and their happiest successes.
Your children would come to you for guidance, when they were confused or scared, to pour their hearts out in your loving presence, because you would know just how to make them feel better.
Licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist, author, and speaker
Your children would want to please you, not because it was expected of them or because they feared punishment, but because they felt deeply connected to you.
Even when they were tired, cranky, or upset, you’d have the emotional resources within you to help them become calm.
Family life wouldn’t always be perfect or uncomplicated, but the sweet times would far outnumber the not-so-sweet ones. Ordinary family life would be an ongoing adventure, a gift you weren’t expecting that you couldn’t wait to open.
You’d worry less, relax more.
In time, your children would blossom into compassionate, confident adults. Their unique gifts and talents would contribute to a more beautiful and kind world.
As they moved into adulthood, they’d stay in close contact with you because they enjoyed your wisdom and company.
One day, you may even hear them tell you:
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? It’s certainly the picture of family life you might have imagined you’d have, before you had kids.
But for most of us, parenting can feel so the opposite of what we had imagined and hoped it would be.
For most of us, parenting can be bittersweet.
Yes, there are the occasional tender moments where your children are happily playing and engaged, and cooperate on chores without too much resistance.
But too often, you’re scrambling to deal with the latest meltdown and tantrum.
There are days when your children seem to fight you on everything…getting up for school, cleaning up their mess, eating their dinner, brushing their teeth, doing their homework, or playing nicely with their siblings.
When you’ve had a long and exhausting day, the last thing you want to deal with is whining, combative, uncooperative children.
So, you put up sticker boards and bribe them with screen time, treats, and later bedtimes—anything—if they would please, please just listen, stop grumbling, and for pete’s sake, pick up your toys!
You feel like you’re going lose your mind sometimes.
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There are punishments and time-outs and the endless taking away of privileges, until they’re complaining and crying about how boring it is, and there’s nothing to do.
Those are the times you tell yourself you need to…
Keep your cool.
And don’t give in!
But they push and push and push. They know just how to push you, too. Like no one else!
You try to hold your ground but you feel yourself unraveling by the second, and then it happens…
They blurt out, "I hate you!"
That’s when you lose it. You yell, you scream, you lash out.
And those are the times when parenting feels like the hardest thing in the world.
You love your kids so much, but you can’t stand the person you become around them sometimes. You feel like you can’t do anything right, and nothing you try works for long.
The majority of us never had formal training on how to parent effectively. We just do what was modeled for us by our parents, caregivers, our friends’ parents and maybe a little bit of what we saw on TV growing up.
We may even catch ourselves saying the same things to our kids that our parents said to us.
“Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about!”
“Stop whining and do what I ask.”
“I know it’s not fair. Life’s not fair.”
“Keep it up and I’m going to stop the car and you’re going to walk home.”
“Why? Because I said so, that’s why.”
And maybe when we hear those familiar words slipping off our tongues, we may wonder:
Yet, here we are, repeating what we grew up with.
We can’t help it. It’s almost impossible to do things differently unless you are shown a different way, or are taught better tools.
For most of us, however, the approach we take with our children when they’re misbehaving or acting out doesn’t always work.
Instead of fostering cooperation and positive feelings, we do and say things that make our children more upset.
When our children are happy and calm, we are happy and calm. But when they have meltdowns or act disrespectful, it’s normal for us to feel ungrounded and upset.
We want to get the situation under control as soon as possible. We want our children to see us as the authority with the final word. At the same time, we want them to like us, too.
It’s because of this soup of conflicting needs that we fall into one or both of these modes of parenting when our children act out:
Our child wants something or is doing something we don’t like. We try to gain control of the situation with logic and reason, hoping that will convince our child that their behavior is unacceptable. This is using the “Lawyer” mode of parenting, and a typical conversation may go something like this with your child:
“Daughter: I want ice cream.”
“You: Not right now. After dinner.”
“Daughter: But I want ice cream now!”
“You: If you eat ice cream now, you’ll spoil your appetite and won’t want to have dinner.”
“Daughter: I promise I’ll eat my dinner.”
“You: You say that, but remember last week when I let you have those cookies? You didn’t eat your dinner afterwards.”
“Daughter: But I want it!”
The problem with Lawyer Mode is that using logic and reason rarely works on a child, especially one who is upset, tired, or cranky. Children don’t operate in logic mode, they operate from their feelings. They want what they want because they’re feeling something.
Therefore, using logic, especially on a young child, only makes her more agitated and defiant. She isn’t listening to your logic and reflecting on its merit. What she experiences is your “no” when her entire body and mind is telling her “yes” (or vice-versa).
Dictator Mode kicks in the moment you sense that Lawyer mode has failed. Explaining things to your child isn’t working. Now, you just want the whining to stop. You switch to Dictator Mode to try to gain control of the situation, thinking that your authority will make her comply:
“Daughter: But I want ice cream now!”
“You: Ok, that’s it. You need to go to your room right now.”
“You: Yes. Right now, or else there’ll be no more ice cream, ever!”
Uh oh! it’s not working!
Dictator Mode only escalated the situation and made you and your child more upset. She’s hurt that you’re not listening. She’s frightened because you’ve not only stopped listening, you’ve changed your tone and are angry. She may cry, stomp her feet, tell you that you’re mean or even go to the refrigerator to help herself to that ice cream you told her she can’t have.
At this point, you’re no longer interested in trying to appeal to her logic or her respect of your authority. You see her defiance as a personal affront. How dare she?
You get so angry that you lose control. Something else takes over.
You yell and scream. You call her a brat.
Maybe you even spank her.
And you feel terrible about it later. You feel guilty, remorseful, and ashamed of losing control.
What can we do instead of devolving into either of these two modes?
What is a more effective way of being so that our child calms down, listens, and cooperates with us?
I have the answer…
Neither the logic of Lawyer Mode or the heavy-handed approach of Dictator Mode works to get you the household harmony you want. Yelling and spanking obviously doesn’t work, either.
These modes don’t work because your child intuitively senses that you are not steadily in control. You’re trying to coax certain behaviors out of them and the energy you’re putting forth is either desperation or neediness.
When you’re being the Lawyer or the Dictator, your child senses they can ignore, resist, or manipulate you.
So, if those two modes of parenting don’t work, what does?
The parenting mode that has the power to make you feel the most calm and centered and inspires your children to relax and cooperate is the mode I call being the Captain of the Ship.
When you take on the persona of “Captain” with your children, they know there’s a grown-up in charge. They get the sense that in every way—bodily, intellectually, and emotionally—their caregiver is sturdy enough to manage and contain whatever storms of childhood they are passing through.
The Captain is calm, present, engaged in whatever is happening, but unwavering as to the course he or she has decided upon.
The Captain is deeply attached with the child—meaning, they can sense what the child is experiencing and have empathy.
The Captain isn’t needy or desperate. The Captain never loses control even when the child does.
The Captain doesn’t need the child to behave a certain way in order to feel like they’re succeeding as the parent. The Captain has confidence in their ability to navigate the unpredictable seas of childhood, allowing the child to feel protected and safe.
The child experiences the Captain as sturdy, loving, alpha-energy. Nothing can faze the Captain.
The Captain doesn’t have to resort to bribes or engage in battles to get cooperation. Children look up to the Captain as the leader, not the feared tyrant or the disrespected pushover.
The Captain is loved, respected, and honored and therefore inspires cooperation, respect, and loyalty.
The Captain creates the conditions that make it possible for a child to have joy and fulfillment, so his or her unique gifts can always shine though.
It is the one approach to parenting that is a game-changer.
How do I know? Because I’ve taught this approach to thousands of clients over years and I’ve seen it bring parents and children on the same page to create functioning, happy families.
I understand the frustrations and joys of parenthood. I would sometimes lose my cool with my son, even though I had plenty of tools at my disposal. Kids push our buttons, no matter how well prepared we may think we are!
What I’ve learned through my own parenting journey, as well as my own research and feedback from parents, is that trying to change a child’s behavior through coercion and punishment rarely works. It doesn’t work long-term to garner more harmony in the house, and it doesn’t help you develop the kind of relationship you want to have with your children.
There was one thing that did have consistently positive results, and that was knowing how to be the Captain.
When I showed parents how to become the Captain, it miraculously altered their relationship with their children for the better. Not just in the moment—but for many years to come, well into adulthood.
Parents reported that family life was more enjoyable. Their children got better at solving minor problems on their own. There was less backtalk and fewer meltdowns.
Over time, they saw their kids grow up to become well-adjusted adults with healthy boundaries.
These strategies were so successful and popular with my clients, that I decided to develop a program that could be accessed online so parents anywhere could learn this approach and enjoy the same benefits with their children. I call this program Parenting Without Bargains, Battles or Bribes.
This video program will show you how to stop relying on ineffective negotiations, rewards and punishments to change your child’s behavior, and instead learn to become the Captain and inspire their trust and cooperation naturally.
In Parenting Without Bargains, Battles or Bribes, you’ll learn the counterintuitive approach to parenting that will amaze you with how quickly and easily you get your child’s attention and cooperation in tense moments, with the added benefit of strengthening your relationship with them for the rest of your life.
You’ll learn the 6 ways to change your child’s behavior through building the bond you have with your child first, so no coercion or threats are necessary.
Your child will feel more loved, understood, and seen than ever before, and you will feel calmer and more present with each interaction you have.
You’ll also be thrilled to discover a 3-step approach that will stop whining and outbursts in seconds so you can get your sanity back. This isn’t about indulging your child or being a pushover, either.
Instead, this approach allows your child to experience healthy emotions and boundaries, so they grow up to be empathetic, responsible adults.
You’ll also learn “Act One Parenting”—a non-traditional, counterintuitive approach to parenting that allows you to calmly get to the bottom of what your child is experiencing, so you can parent more compassionately and effectively.
The approach to healthy, balanced parenting contained in this program will show you how to heal the relationship with your child, no matter how many tears have been shed, and how many sleepless nights you’ve had.
You’ll enjoy parenting again, and it will feel magnitudes easier.
It’s all possible with my Parenting Without Bargains, Battles or Bribes program, which contains:
You’ll also receive ongoing support and inspirations through our Free Flourish Newsletter. It’s packed with advice, insights and practical strategies from our curated community of experts.
Place your order and be watching Parenting Without Bargains, Battles or Bribes in a matter of minutes. Take a full 7 days to watch the entire video, participate in the exercises, and try out the process of Act One Parenting and the Captain of the Ship method with your children. See for yourself how much calmer, kinder and more centered you feel as a parent and how much happier and more cooperative your children become.
If, at the end of the 7 days, you decide this isn’t the right solution for you, simply let me know and I’ll refund your investment in FULL, no questions, no hassle. This is my promise: You’ll find outstanding value from this program after putting it into practice for a full week or pay nothing!
Once you place your order, you’ll also begin receiving the Flourish newsletter—which means even more advice from our curated community of experts. We’ll send you articles with eye-opening insights and practical strategies you can put into practice right away. It’s completely free, and it’s our way of helping you flourish in every area of your life.
You’ll be able to access the program within minutes of purchasing.
7 full days of unlimited access before deciding to keep it.
Not 100% thrilled? Let me know and I’ll give you a full refund.
I’ve always believed that it’s important for parents to nurture their children into becoming who they’re meant to be.
That’s why, as a family therapist, I wanted to show parents how to really listen to their child, get to know their child deeply and completely, and accept her for all her sweet, quirky, and crazy-making qualities. This way, your child never feels abandoned or rejected, even when she’s fundamentally different from you.
By fully knowing and accepting your child, you can help her grow up to be a happier, fulfilled adult who has healthy, loving relationships—not just with her own partner and children, but with you as well.
Here’s the thing about being a parent: For a very brief time, we have our children under our roof and get to influence who they’re going to become and how they’re going to feel about themselves and treat others. This time is as PRECIOUS as it gets. We must do our best to be the most enlightened parents we are capable of being, so that our children have the best opportunity to become the enlightened adults they are capable of being.
Just because you practice balanced parenting doesn’t mean that your children will always be obedient and compliant. There will be challenging times, but holding steady in the face of those challenges doesn’t have to be a struggle. Parenting should mostly be about joy and play and fun and connection, not about yelling, coercion, bribery, and regret.
With Parenting Without Bargains, Battles or Bribes, you’ll learn how to weather the storms of childhood with grace and sanity. You’ll feel good about yourself as a parent and you’ll have confidence that you’re doing your best, no matter what.
Ultimately, this means that you’ll be able to shepherd your child’s light and gift forth for whatever purpose it’s meant to serve, so that their talents and contributions can flourish.