Letting Go of Controlling Kids

As Dr. Jean Clinton* so succinctly put it: “you can’t make them eat, poop or sleep.”

Our children are not ours to control or change. They are little people with individual needs, thoughts, and feelings all their own that deserve our respect. We need to listen to, support and encourage them. We need to learn to let go…and let go…and let go…again, and again 🙂

*Dr. Jean Clinton is an Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience at McMaster University, division of Child Psychiatry. She is an incredible speaker, if you ever get a chance to attend one of her presentations.


Be Inspired

I came across this quote by Virginia Satir that is consistent with my approach to working with children and their families:

“I want you to get excited about who you are, what you are, what you have, and what can still be for you. I want to inspire you to see that you can go far beyond where you are right now.”

Children Learn What They Live

Children Learn What They Live

By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Children meet our expectations

I received this excellent blog entry  from one of my clients (Thank you, H!).


Children do meet the expectations we set for them, feeding and otherwise.  In a supportive  environment, when you are sending  messages such as:  I know you can do it,  I know you can handle it, I respect your feelings about it, you will do it when you are ready,etc., children thrive.  Their feelings are validated, you do your part to provide opportunities for growth, and then you wait with patience and full confidence that they will get where they need to.  This can be applied to toilet teaching, sleep independence, feeding and eating, swimming lessons, being “left” at school or daycare, any new situation where a child is feeling challenged in some way.

What is especially important for us parents to be mindful of is to try to keep the worry factor down, as children are sensitive to our worries and then begin to doubt their own abilities.

For more on sending  important “life messages” to a child, see Barbara Coloroso, “Kids are worth it!”  An excellent book and a resource that you will go back to on many occasions.