How Does Your Family Practice Gratitude?

by CMHines4 on November 18, 2015

Maya Angelou quot

Photo courtesy: Jean Fitzhugh, Dreamstime Stock Photos

The ability to show gratitude helps us combat cynical thoughts that can trample our personal happiness. By fostering a conscious practice of gratitude, our children begin to see that outside of their inner world, people are generally kind, thoughtful and helpful.

How do you practice gratitude in your home? Please share your tips, ideas, photos and stories in the comments below.

Thank you for being part of my community! I love sharing what I learn with you and hearing what you have to say about ways we can all relate to one another in a more mindful, meaningful way.

…Because better communication really does build stronger families and communities.

Wishing you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! 


How we dress and present ourselves to the world can have a significant influence on how confident we feel and how successful we are interacting with others. 

As part of my monthly confidence series, I consulted with Anna McConnell, a gifted Kansas City wardrobe stylist and image consultant, and asked her to share her thoughts on how appearance can affect self-confidence and perception and how we can use our assets to step out the door feeling our best. 

Anna McConnell Quote

CH: How much can appearance impact a persons self-confidence and how others perceive her?

AM: Appearance affects a persons self-confidence greatly.

Women have a lot of pressure from the media as well as from their peers to look better, younger, thinner. Designers use models with a rectangular figure weighing 130 lbs and are 5.10 when reality is much different. The average size in the US is a size 12.

We already have a tendency to see our perceivedflaws instead of seeing our assets. This is human nature.

When you feel attractive, well-groomed and put together, your self-esteem and confidence lifts. Not only do you carry yourself differently, but you interact with others in a different fashion.

Have you ever had a bad hair day and everything goes wrong and you just dont feel right? Or you walk into a restaurant inappropriately dressed for the event. You feel awkward and certainly not willing to be the life of the party!

Looking polished and put together implies to the rest of the world that youve got everything in your life under similar control, career, family, finances..The contrary also exists. If you go to a business meeting or interview with an unprofessional appearance, for the outsider, your skills will seem unprofessional as well. Perception is reality!

We are judged by our appearances within three seconds. It is our first tool of selection. We tend to go towards like-minded people or people who look similar to us.

CH: What are simple, quick ways that we can appear and feel more confident through our appearance whether we work outside the home or stay home with children?

AM: Anyone can look great regardless of where you live, what you do, how much you weigh, size or budget. We can change our attitudes by becoming aware of our self-image and taking control of our emotion.

Knowledge is key. Here are a few things that can help:

  • Know your body type and what you can or cannot wear (according to your body type). For example, if you are a long lean rectangular figure, you do not want to wear long, straight shapeless garments.
  • Understand your clothing personality. Are you a romantic, classic, sporty..? If you are sporty and spend your time taking the kids to the soccer field, you may not need 5 pairs of heels and pencil skirts in your wardrobe.
  • Does your wardrobe suit your lifestyle, personality and activities? Can your wardrobe take you to all your activities, events? Does it really correspond to my personality? Am I making the most of my wardrobe?

CH: What advice do you give women who are on tight budgets or simply dont want to spend a lot on clothing for themselves? 

AM: Once youve answered the above questions, you can organize your closet with the clothing you really need and discard the rest.

Shop in your closet first and try to build a wardrobe that can fit your activities and lifestyle. Make a list of items that you would need. This is essential to stay on track with your budget.

You dont need an extensive wardrobe, but good quality items that you can wear in different options. On a tight budget, stick to classics that will always be in style.

Consignment stores are a great place to start.

AnnaMcConnellAbout Anna McConnell:

Wardrobe Stylist and Image Consultant Anna McConnell helps men and women create and maintain an efficient and functional wardrobe to suit their lifestyle, body type, personality and budget.  Also discover Anna and the KC Glam Squad for their fabulous makeovers. For more information on the services Anna provides and how she can help you, visit

For questions and consultations contact her at or call 816-582-2550.


A Prescription to Prevent Holiday Blues

by CMHines4 on November 3, 2015

Screenshot 2015-11-03 08.41.36


Put your seatbelt on. In case you haven’t noticed, the jolly jingle of the holidays has begun buzzing across airwaves and into stores (some since August). For many of us, the holidays add urgency to an already burgeoning to-do list. Some people thrive on it, others experience a spiritual dive.

A few years ago, I pledged to myself that I wouldn’t allow the obligations of the holiday season to trump my sense of inner peace. Admittedly, every year my personal pledge is a work in progress. One thing that makes a difference is consciously eliminating some of the insane rules I was putting on myself like:

  • Must find the perfect gift for every single person (causes major headaches and frozen indecision).
  • Must take on the responsibility of ensuring my family’s happiness during the most magical time of the year (causes anxiety and frustration for all involved).
  • Must dutifully create a picture-perfect memorable and/or crafty holiday activity each day during the Advent season for my children (causes a sense of failure by the third day).

Here’s the prescription I’ve come up with for decreasing stress, preventing the blues and taking a more mindful approach to how I orchestrate the holidays.

Please read instructions carefully. Potential side effects include: A subtle shift in mood. An immune system that fights a tougher battle against potential invaders. A more playful, loving attitude. Increased empathy toward yourself and others. A contented smile on your face that confuses others.

  • Listen to your intuition. Traditions that work for some families, simply don’t for others. Consciously decide what you won’t do this year. Avoid turning a meaningless tradition into your annual jailer.
  • Lower your expectations. Martyrs are no fun. Vow to have a perfectly imperfect holiday season. Write your pledge down. 
  • Schedule an outing with a friend. Keep it simple – coffee, shopping trip, lunch, glass of wine or a movie you both want to see.
  • Clear an evening. Bake or cook a surprising and delicious meal just because. The smell of good food warms a home and a soul.
  • Get some fresh air. Invite a friend for a walk or a run. Exercise will clear your head and push stress to retreat to that tiny chair in the corner.
  • Plan a Sunday Fun Day with your family. Play a board game, watch holiday movies marathon, bake and decorate cookies or have a gingerbread house decorating contest. Check out these cool gingerbread houses that you don’t have to bake.
  • Be spontaneous and a little sneaky. Did an extra 30 minutes pop up unexpectedly? Stop at a cozy coffee shop with a novel and read, but don’t tell anyone. Running errands? Take a detour to that boutique you’ve always been curious about.
  • Treat yourself. Get a massage or a manicure. When we feel good on the outside, we feel better on the inside.
  • Make an artist’s date. Grab your camera and snap some shots of nature. Visit a museum. Paint a coffee mug at your local ceramics shop. Color in an adult coloring book. Explore a home decorating shop. Gather other artist friends. Take turns teaching each other different artistic techniques or simply work on your projects together.
  • Honor those you miss. For those who grieve the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be incredibly challenging. Honor your loved on by telling stories; hang an ornament in their memory; light a candle and put it in your window; make their favorite meal/dine at their favorite restaurant; or engage in an activity they loved to do during the holidays.

Want more? Check out my article Tips to Tame the Holiday Circus, in this month’s Space City Parent magazine (Houston, Tex.).

What do you do to ease the stress of the holidays?


Heading back into the workplace after either staying home with kids or working from home can cause no shortage of anxiety, fear and lapses in confidence. Continuing with my monthly series on building confidence, I asked award-winning humor author Lela Davidson if she could share a few of her insights with us.

Lela’s newest collection of inspiring, relatable and hilarious essays about the collision of motherhood and work, Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Lifelaunched in September. 

5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Going Back to Work

Layout 1 (Page 1)by Lela Davidson

Going back to work is exhilarating and wonderful, but also scary and stressful. Heading back to a work environment means you’ll be expected to shower, get dressed, and show up with a smile on your face each and every day. It’s exhausting. But it’s also so very worth it when you’re sure it’s the time to return to work, or when the cash is going to make a significant impact on your standard of living. From fast track to mommy track to yoga-panted freelancer and back again, I have been all kinds of working mother. Two years ago I left my “life of leisure,” or at least the luxury of wearing yoga pants to the office down the hall. Going back to work was the best decision I made this decade, but it was still a rough transition. Here are some things I wish someone had told me.   

Relationships take time.

I went from working at home with my dog, or in a coffee shop where the extent of collaborative human interaction was limited to my coffee order, to working in close proximity with dozens of other people. I had to interact with these people on a personal and professional level every day. All of the days. Even the ones when I didn’t want to talk to the dog, much less another person. In the beginning I would come home with zero energy beyond that required to eat dinner and crash onto the couch in front of the television. I wish someone would have reminded me that it takes a long time to get to know people. I wish someone would have told me to give myself the space to be myself and the time to get to know others and let them get to know me.

Motherhood builds marketable skills.

When you stay home with kids you acquire superpowers that you may not be fully aware of until it’s time to apply them in another environment. Arbitrating sibling conflict? Awesome training for getting your team to work together. Coordinating Thanksgiving plans with your parents, spouse, and in-laws? Super preparation for salary negotiations. I wish someone would have told me that my parenting skills were valuable in the marketplace.

You get used to the cash very, very quickly.

So much extra money! Yay, right? There’s going to be extra money for better groceries and eating out and clothes and extras for the kids and friends and family, not to mention that vacation you’ve been dreaming of. All true. Extra cash is real. However, the weird thing about money is the more we get, the more we think we need. That extra cushion, or extra disposable income, quickly becomes absorbed into the budget to the point where you cannot fathom how you once lived without the additional paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, extra cash is fun. Just know that it doesn’t feel like extra for long.

Getting dressed is hard.

For six years I wore my most comfortable jeans with a top that may or may not have highlighted my mama-muffin-top, topped with a raggedy cardigan. (Nothing beats the comfort of a ratty pilled-up cardigan.) Being required to look presentable and authoritative every day is an ongoing challenge, especially because I work in a very casual environment. It’s counter-intuitive, but looking pulled together and casual is a lot harder than just dressing up. I knew how to look like a CPA. Looking cool, trendy, trustworthy, smart, and like I’m not trying too hard? Still working on that. I wish someone would have told me about the capsule wardrobe sooner. I’m still a student of closet skills, but at least now I’ve got a system.

You are probably going to cry.

Maybe a lot. This is okay. It’s alright to cry– remember that song from “Free to Be You and Me”? But crying doesn’t feel great, especially when you’re hiding in the bathroom at work. But some days are going to be cry days, especially in the beginning. By no means does the occasional breakdown stop you from accomplishing your goals. You just pull out your Big Girl Kleenex and deal with the frustration that’s causing you to lost it. I wish someone had told me that the crying is simply a symptom of the overwhelm of change.

Bottom line is, when you know that going back to work is the right thing to do, you can power through the challenges and feel successful. You don’t have to lean so far in that you fall over, and you don’t have to max out your life. You do have to be patient with yourself and your family and your newly acquired work family. I wrote Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Life to highlight the choices working mothers face every day. Through my own journey into and out of the workforce, I encourage you to celebrate the smallest wins and laugh off the rest–because in the quest for work life balance, we’re all faking it.


LelaDavidsonHeadShotAbout Lela Davidson:

Lela is the award-winning author of Blacklisted from the PTA and Who Peed on My Yoga Mat? and Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Life.

Lela speaks nationally about working motherhood, marketing, media, and faking balance. Her work as a freelance journalist has appeared in print, web, video, and television. By day, Lela is VP of Media & Entertainment at Acumen Brands, a widely recognized leader in social commerce and parent company of Country Outfitter.

For those of you in the Kansas City area, Lela will be speaking and signing books at the Junior League of Kansas City Missouri Holiday Mart this Sunday, October 25 from noon to 1 p.m.

The Holiday Mart runs from October 22-25 at Bartle Hall. The event supports the Junior League’s many community-focused projects that benefit women and children in the area. Get your tickets today!



5 Questions to Ask Your Hyperconnected Kid

by CMHines4 on October 15, 2015

Screenshot 2015-10-15 10.06.35Kids are naturally impulsive. Part of the reason boils down to basic biology. The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is in charge of planning, decision making and moderating social behavior doesn’t fully develop until we’re 25 years old. (That explains a few things, doesn’t it?!)

Living in a plugged-in society, instant gratification is more the rule than the exception. No wonder parents seek ways to control or at least curb rash, emotionally driven decisions that can spin into a life of their own online.

A recent study found that one in three kids will experience cyberbullying or be the subject of lies or vicious gossip. These situations can affect reputations, sometimes with disastrous, devastating results, including legal ramifications.

As your kids begin to engage with friends online via text or social media, casually discuss the following scenarios which can fuel big drama, emotional reactions and plenty of headaches if not handled well:

What would you want to do if your best friend shares a secret online that you confided to her?

Hurt, angry and embarrassed, your child might like to do all kinds of vengeful things to get back at her traitorous confidant. Empathize and then talk about how she should respond….

What should you do if s/he betrays you online?

Talk to someone you trust. Depending on what was said, the best course of action might be to call her on it. Avoid putting anything in writing. Pick up the phone and say, “I told you that in confidence. Why did you post that about me?” Ask her to remove the post. If she refuses, take the higher road by ignoring the post. If you continue to maintain the friendship, be careful about what you share in the future.

How would you react if a classmate sends a sexually provocative picture? Would you share it with your friends?

Delete the images immediately. Not only could sharing the images victimize the person who sent it by making them vulnerable to bullying and severe emotional distress, there have been several cases where teens were criminally prosecuted for sharing sexually explicit images of an underage peer. Even having the images on your family’s devices can result in criminal charges of child pornography. Read more here

How would you handle it if someone spreads a hurtful, damaging rumor about you online?

If others ask you about it, firmly deny the rumors. Avoid retaliation and don’t let on to the person spreading the rumors that you’re rattled. Unfortunately, if you go out of your way to raise a defense online, people assume you have something to hide and your reaction can only serve to fan the flames. Stay confident, positive and upbeat in all of your communications. Continue maintaining a strong in-real-life network. Live your life in a way that would make people question the veracity of the rumors. Your friends might even speak up in your defense.

That said, if posts become threatening, save the evidence and show it to a parent. Contact appropriate authorities, including the other child’s parents, school administration and/or police.

What if you see a rumor posted online about a classmate you don’t like or who has hurt you in the past. Do you think that makes it okay to share with your friends? 

Take the high road. You may not realize it, but when you take part in spreading hurtful gossip, you’re participating in bullying. Try to empathize with the person.

When talking to your kids, use real-life examples that appear online or in the news. Bring up how these situations make people feel and healthy ways to best manage high-charged emotions. While you won’t be able to stop every impulsive decision, by having conversations around these issues you’ll at least get your kids thinking about them. Hopefully, when they understand that you’re clued in, available and won’t come unhinged the minute a problem arises, they’ll come to you first if a problem arises.

Check out for more ideas for handling gossip and cyberbullying. To receive a free digital citizenship contract, sign up for my monthly e-newsletter.


2015-10-08 18.11.28One of the best ways to help your child develop language and reading skills is to tell stories. But those aren’t the only reasons to nurture a storytelling tradition in your home.

Young or old, we’re all inspired and entertained by stories. We intuit valuable life lessons from the tales handed down from one generation to the next. The family lore that parents, grandparents and other relatives pass down become interwoven into our own life stories.

Unlike lectures, stories compel us to listen. We develop compassion for others and learn important family values. We gain respect and admiration for the generations who came before, who blazed trails and faced unimaginable hardship. Studies, in fact, find that children who are part of a storytelling tradition are more confident, have higher self-esteem and have a stronger understanding of who they are in the world.

With the holidays steadily marching closer, there will be plenty of opportunities to tell and listen to stories as families come together.

Here are just a few ways to begin nurturing a storytelling tradition in your family:

  • Share your heritage. Cook the foods you grew up with that were part of family celebrations or that represent your family’s culture. If you didn’t grow up eating the traditional foods of your ancestors, borrow an ethnic cookbook from the library and together with your kids, try making a recipe or two.
  • Breathe life into old photos. Weave old photos into your family decor to invite questions and discussion. Look through photo albums together and share what you know about different family members. If you have them, read old letters and postcards. Do a little historical digging by checking out books or going online to learn more about the time period you’re discussing. Talk about what life was like when your ancestor was alive.
  • This reminds me of the time… Kids love hearing stories from your past, especially your funny and harrowing antics. Tell them about your first job as a teenager, your first dance, challenges in school or sports, what your best friend was like and your childhood adventures. Also encourage your kids to ask grandparents and other relatives questions about their lives as children or young adults.
  • Tell your child her birth story. Every child wants to hear the story of the day he or she arrived into your loving arms. Look at baby pictures together. Kids love to hear how you and your spouse chose their names. What foods did you crave? What excited you most about their impending arrival? How did their older sibling(s) feel? What was it like bringing him home from the hospital?

What are your family storytelling traditions? 


null (1)Do you often say demeaning things to yourself that you wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else? The self-critical statements we make to ourselves have a way of worming little holes in our spirits that bleed self-worth. Over time, negative self-talk not only harms our self-esteem, it hurts our relationships with others, our confidence in forming new relationships and our ability to reach our dreams.

Whether you’ve always struggled with self-confidence or you’re enduring a a self-confidence crisis brought on by an emotionally traumatic event, Shan White, a certified life coach who works with divorced women, shares advice for recovery.

You work with women experiencing major life transitions, particularly women who have gone through divorce. How is self-confidence impacted during a traumatic life event like divorce?
Shan: Self-confidence becomes eroded, especially during divorce because the one person who was supposed to love you unconditionally has withdrawn that love. It is therefore human nature to assume you are not worthy of love and therefore void of worth and value. When you feel unworthy, self-confidence goes out the window. But consider a new perspective. Renowned family therapist Cloe Maddanes says, to remember the love that you had inside of you when you first met your spouse. That loves that grew in you still resides – it still resides in you and cannot be taken from your spouse. And here’s the best news, the love that still resides in you can be re-directed towards yourself.

What strategies can you suggest to women to help them build self-confidence, whether they are recovering from an emotional blow or simply struggling to reach their goals due to a low self-image?

Shan: Learn to become your own best friend. Make a choice not to say anything TO yourself ABOUT yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend. Do you love, nurture and encourage your friends? Then, why wouldn’t you do the same for yourself? Would you condemn, discourage and abandon your close friend? Then, don’t do it to yourself. Be kind, gentle and soothing to yourself as you would do for others.

Self confidence can dip for any of us on a bad day. What are tactics you use in your own life to boost your confidence when you feel it slipping?

Shan: I rehearse all of the intangible qualities I have that give me a sense of worth. Not external things like a nice car or home or wealth. Instead, I focus on those internal qualities like generosity, and kindness, compassion, loving, forgiving and being merciful to those who are not to me.

Any other comments, thoughts or resources?

Shan: Yes, Nathaniel Branden has some great books and exercises to build self-esteem.

Thank you, Shan!

Do you have a question or comment for Shan? Please post in the comments section below or you can contact her directly.

FB photo of Shan WhiteAbout Shan White, Women’s Peak Performance Coaching:

Shan is a certified life coach from the Tony Robbins School, Robbins-Madanes Coaching Training. She specializes in helping women thrive after divorce, as opposed to merely surviving. Divorce affects every area of our lives – financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and the family dynamics. Our lives feel shattered and we need someone to help put the pieces back together again. 

Shan is an expert in providing guidance, support and direction. She does this by designing customized tools, techniques, and strategies in order to help ease the difficult challenge of change and uncertainty. Her mission in working with women recovering from divorce comes from having struggled with it herself. As a result, she became committed to first bringing wholeness and happiness to herself. Subsequently, she became certified in order to help other women avoid the unnecessary pitfalls that inevitably come from going through a divorce without working with a trained professional.

Daisy illustration courtesy of


An Age-Proof Beauty Secret

by CMHines4 on September 18, 2015

It's what we believe about ourselves thatThere’s no question that our culture values a certain kind of beauty often based on whomever is gracing the cover of the latest fashion magazines.

Next time you pick up your favorite magazine, take a closer look at the cover, past the clothes, makeup and photoshopped body. Notice the power postures – hands on hips, body taking up space, arms out or calmly in a lap. Eyes looking out warmly toward the reader. Their body language practically shouts, “I’m in charge!” 

We’re attracted to the confident, empowered look. Have you ever noticed how some people, who may not be considered beautiful or handsome in the traditional sense, are attractive simply because they exude warmth, friendliness and confidence.

Self-confidence is truly an attractive, ageless trait, but it can be fleeting and tempered depending on how we feel in any given situation. So how do we gain more confidence, especially in the areas where we feel most insecure?

What self-confidence looks like. Unlike arrogance or narcissism, people who are self-assured show interest in the world around them, but are unlikely to compromise their values to go with the crowd. They trust themselves.

People who are confident stand up straight. They look others in the eye. They are comfortable with their outlook on life without feeling the need to bully others into their way of looking at the world.

They are strong enough to admit when they are wrong. When confident individuals make a mistake, they own it and apologize or seek ways to make amends.

Self-confident individuals speak decisively rather than making statements that sound like questions with the tell-tale upward lilt at the end of the sentence. For example, “I liked that movie. It was different, but I thought it made some interesting points.” versus “I kind of liked that movie? It sort of made some interesting points? Don’t you think?”

Whether you are facing a difficult parenting situation or heading into a networking event, self-confidence can wax and wane.

Beginning next week, I will begin posting helpful, proactive tips each month that we can all use to boost our self-confidence. I plan to include advice that I gather through my research, as well as tips from communication experts, authors, coaches and whoever else has great advice for boosting confidence every day.

Whether you’ve recently experienced a major life transition, such as relocation or a divorce; you’re looking for a new job; or wondering how to nurture more confidence in your kids as they begin facing increasingly serious small decisions (that can have big consequences), you won’t want to miss these tips.

The truth is when we have faith in ourselves, we’re more likely to feel empowered in our lives and more deliberate in how we connect with others.

Tell me what areas of your life that you struggle with confidence.


8 Signs You’re Raising a Thoughtful Communicator

by CMHines4 on September 10, 2015

Engaging with the social world isn't just1.) You teach manners. Even before your kids learned to speak, you taught “please” and “thank you”. You know that manners are the first step toward helping kids learn to treat others politely and respectfully whether they are interacting online or offline, with friends or individuals they don’t know.

2.) You nurture empathy. Empathy plays an enormous role in reducing the chances that a child will bully others. When we empathize we’re able to put ourselves in another’s shoes and understand how they must feel. Read books and watch TV or movies together – check out the Pixar movie “Inside Out,” which characterizes emotions. Highlight real-life empathy building opportunities by labeling emotions. For example: “Ah, poor guy. Jimmy has a pretty bad cold, doesn’t he? I bet he feels miserable. Maybe we can make him a card to cheer him up?”

3.) You take a mindful approach to technology. While technology is a major asset for learning and connecting, it’s no longer beneficial when it distracts us from engaging with those who need our full attention and when it is used to screen out life going on around us. Kids watch how we use technology and follow suit.

4.) You nurture listening skills. You know that a thoughtful communicator listens attentively without allowing screens to distract her from the conversation. You teach listening through role modeling and practice. (For fun ideas on how to tune up listening skills, check out my article in this month’s Kansas City Parent magazine.)

5.) You set boundaries. Too much technology can increase anxiety, depression and even affect sleep. Whether you require a 9 p.m. sign off on all electronics in your home, tech-free dinner time or even reserve an entire screen-free day every week, you teach your family that it’s perfectly acceptable and healthy to have time to yourself away from the distractions of other people’s lives and/or demands on your time. In this way you create sacred space for creativity, reflection, real-time connection and solid sleep!

6.) You model attentiveness. You encourage your kids to notice and experience the world around them. You visit museums/zoos, attend plays/concerts, picnic at parks, ride bikes, play, explore nature, and interact with people in your community.

7.) You’re raising a problem-solver. You allow your child to learn to manage problems like conflict with a sibling, friend or a classmate. Before you step in with solutions, you ask your child to problem-solve ways to handle the situation. While they aren’t fun to sort out at the time, over time kids learn what works and what doesn’t which will be an asset in navigating professional and personal relationships throughout life.

8.) You talk together. Believe it or not, conversation skills are negatively affected by an over-reliance on digital communication. Small talk is challenging for many people and it only gets harder when we don’t practice it. Take opportunities to chit-chat with your kids. Teach them to engage with others. Encourage their curiosity. Share stories with each other. Repeat their favorite stories if they ask. Ask them questions that require reflection and thought or are just entertaining and fun. Want conversation starters delivered to your phone every Monday morning?  Sign up for my weekly conversation starters!

Looking for more ways to raise a child who is both a thoughtful and confident communicator? My book Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World can help.


Navigating the Tumultuous Toddler Years

by CMHines4 on September 1, 2015

Blog photo:Serge Bertasius

How can a person be so sweetly adorable one minute and so completely exasperating the next? Toddlers may have small bodies, but anyone who has ever parented one knows they have voluminous, moody spirits that can cause tremors in a room and test the most patient parent.

Toddlers are fascinating creatures who love to test our boundaries, wherever and whenever the mood strikes. (I admit it. It’s easy for me to say “fascinating” because I no longer parent one!) At what other time in a child’s life does she feel completely free to resist and retaliate against social/cultural norms without worrying what peers, parents or anyone else will think?

In one of my most popular articles to date “When Toddlers Say No,” which appears in this month’s issue of Central California Parent, parenting expert Laura Murphy shares a few best practices for managing our young, free-spirited naysayers while still giving them some sense of control–and saving a frustrated parent’s sanity in the process. Below is a short excerpt and a link to the entire article.

When Toddlers Say No!

The moment your child utters her first word, you’ll probably want to announce it to the world, while quickly marking the occasion in her baby book. You probably won’t be so thrilled, however, when her word of choice evolves into the very opinionated word “no.” Read more…


How do you or did you handle the “No” phase during toddlerhood? Help other parents by commenting below.