All posts by The Attached Family

Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters

By Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW, parent educator, Originally published on on May 4, 2012.

“What’s for dinner?”

“Ugh, I hate green beans!”

“Can I have dessert yet?”

“I’m not hungry (but I will be as soon as you clear the table)”

The list of mealtime complaints can go on and on–not to mention the mayhem that may ensue before your little one can even talk. Not many parents can forget the frustration of thrown food, the mess of the yogurt in the hair, or the game of “watch Mommy pick up my bagel over and over again.”

Food is a huge part of human life, and most parents I meet cannot wait to dive into the world of food with their babies. I am the wife of a food blogger and chef, and we must have spent weeks talking about what our first food would be! Little did we know we were in store for a whole lot more than the idyllic family meals of The Cosby Show.

Clearly, Americans seem to have a love-hate relationship with food. Scan the headlines in just about any newspaper, and it’s filled with what to eat, what not to eat, who should eat less, who should eat more. It’s enough to drive an anxious parent to confiscate Halloween candy, only to wallow in chocolate when no one is looking. Continue reading Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters

Making Time-out Positive

By Kelly Bartlett, author of Encouraging Words For Kids, certified positive discipline educator and Attachment Parenting International Leader (API of Portland, Oregon, USA),

Photo credit: Penny Matthews
Photo credit: Penny Matthews

In parenting, time-outs have an important and effective role. A time-out is a chance for children and parents to pause, regroup and collect themselves. Though time-outs are an often-used consequence for tantrums, outbursts or fits of anger, they are ineffective when used punitively. When a child is sent away to “go to time-out,” she not only learns that her emotions are unacceptable but that she must also learn how to deal with them by herself. Punitive time-outs tell a child: Your feelings are not OK.

Time-outs are most effective when they are about feeling better as opposed to being used as a “thinking tool” or a punishment. Rather, when they are used in a proactive way—much like those taken in sports games—time-outs teach a child acceptance and self-regulation of strong emotions and are a very effective discipline tool.

When emotions are running high, everyone needs time to calm down and feel better so that we can “improve our game.” Dr. Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Time Out, advocates that children have very immature levels of brain development and need a lot of help in regulating their emotions. “Where in the world did we get this crazy idea that in order for children to do better, first we have to make them feel worse?” says Nelsen. “Children do better when they feel better.” She says that the way many time-outs are implemented only serve to make a child feel worse, ashamed or isolated when they could be opportunities to help children learn how to handle strong emotions.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that time-outs are positive, helpful experiences for your child.

Talk about feelings. At a time when no one is currently distressed, talk to your child about moments when he’s been really upset. Let him know that everyone gets angry, sad and frustrated sometimes. Make sure your child knows that feelings are always OK. But some emotions sure don’t feel pleasant, and it helps to know what to do then.

Designate a feel-good spot. Ask your child’s input on where the two of you could create a “feel good” place. It might be in her room, on the couch in the living room or in another spot. To some children, going into a bedroom might seem too isolating and they would prefer to be able to see a parent, while other children might choose their room because it can keep out younger siblings. Whether it is a bedroom, bathroom or a spot in the kitchen, allow your child to choose an area that will be designated as her place to regroup and calm down. Have her create a name for this special spot.

Create a comfort basket. Certified positive discipline trainer Glenda Montgomery advocates the addition of a “comfort basket” in feel-good spots. “If a child has any special toy or stuffed animal that he likes to hold when he’s upset, definitely add it to the comfort basket.” Blankets, books and music are all excellent items to put in comfort baskets, as are lumps of clay to pound, exercise bands to stretch and squishy balls to squeeze. Older children may like to keep a journal or sketchbook in their basket or even a bottle of bubble bath to use. If you’re using a large area or a whole room as the feel-good spot, you could also include bigger items such as a punching bag or trampoline. The idea is to fill the area with items to help your child relieve stress and begin to calm down. Some children benefit from a physical outlet, while others prefer emotional outlets.

Ask about preferences. When your child gets emotionally overwhelmed and upset and it’s time to put the feel-good spot to use, ask if she would like to go by herself or if she’d like you to come, too. Children have different preferences for this; some kids may feel “banished” if they are expected to go alone and would feel more secure if you’re there supporting them, while others need to be left alone to decompress. It is important to respect their preferences and understand that these may change over the years.

Deborah Thompson, a mother of three and an administrator of an online parenting forum, finds that she is able to adapt the positive time-out techniques to each of her children in various situations. She says, “I have used the car, a bathroom, even an out-of-the-way spot in the grocery store when I’ve needed to take a cooling-down moment with my child.” She also says that the most important element of positive time-out is the ability to focus on reconnection. “Once my children have had some time to cool off, I always make sure I reconnect with them afterwards.” That may be in the form of a loving, wordless hug, an empathic conversation or a cooperative activity like playing a board game or cooking together. It’s a gesture that tells your child, “You were mad, and that’s OK. I love you no matter how you feel.”

Teaching children to calm down after being in a highly aroused emotional state begins at birth. Arlene Raphael, author of Positive Discipline for Children With Special Needs, says, “Whenever a parent picks up a crying baby with the intent to help calm her, she is experiencing a positive time-out.”  Holding and comforting an upset child stimulates calm-inducing brain chemicals that help regulate emotions.  As a child grows, he can become a more proactive participant in deciding how a time-out will look and feel.  And parents can ensure that time-outs are truly in their child’s best interest if they ask for input, work together to understand everyone’s needs, remain flexible and keep in mind the big picture–that a time-out is just a way of helping a child feel better so he can do better.


Attached Family: Parenting Support Issue 2013

The Attached Family 2012 Issue on Parenting Support is full of what every parent needs — support. This issue features articles on why TAFAPM2012it’s important, how to get it, and why API is so dedicated to providing it to families.

Access to the online publication is free of charge!

In addition to highlighting API support groups and AP Month partners local support, the Attached Family goes into:

Refocusing our perspective as a new parent
Breastfeeding on demand
Q&A: Separation anxiety in preschoolers
Benefits of touch
Cosleeping with older children means letting go
Q&A: AP-friendly childcare when giving birth
Q&A: Messy rooms & not wanting to clean up
Children learn from how parents handle emotions
“Ask a Leader” with Leyani Redditi & Cason Zarro
on handling criticism & newborn demands
“Becoming Parents” with Rita Brhel on cosleeping expectations
“Respond with Sensitivity” with Kelly Bartlett on listening skills
“Forget Me Not” with Patricia Mackie on loving your partner
“API Reads” with Stephanie Petters on Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham
Are Support Groups Relevant in the Internet Age?
Parenting Support Survey
Calendar of Support
“The Support Group Experience” with Kathleen Mitchell-Askar & Bonnie Coffa
AP Month 2012: “Who Needs Group Support?” with Artimesia Yuen
Dear Readers
Thank You to Our Donors
Welcome to API
What is Attachment Parenting?
API Support Group Directory
Notable Resources Beyond API

Journal of Attachment Parenting Vol. 1 No. 1

AP JournalAPI debuts the new Journal of Attachment Parenting
The Journal of Attachment Parenting is an annual review of the most eye-opening research in sensitive responsiveness. For this debut issue, the Journal of Attachment Parenting highlights 41 studies selected through a review process that evaluated articles published in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals from around the world. An additional 324 studies have been recognized for their contributions to the Attachment Parenting community.
Access to the online publication is free of charge.

API Reads Nov & Dec 2013: Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

Do you know what Emotion Coaching is?Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child book cover

Have you heard of the “scaffolding technique”?

Do you know the role of the father in our children’s lives?

How can you bring more empathy into your relationship with your children and partner?

We’ll be discussing these and other topics in the API Reads book club discussion of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, PhD. Come join the discussion at GoodReads during November and December.

Spotlight On: You Are My World

An interview with author Amy Hatkoff about her book You Are My World.

Tell us about your book. What was the inspiration?

Today, more than ever before, there is a burgeoning body of scientific research confirming that babies develop on every level through the give and take of relationships. And the science is telling us that babies with secure attachments have the best outcomes in life. Study after study shows that attuned, sensitive and responsive parenting leads to optimal development.Small_you_are_m-210

I have always felt that parents were the last to receive critical information about babies and often make decisions based on cultural myths and misconceptions. It seems that child development is one of the best kept secrets in America! I wanted to synthesize the research into a language that was easy for parents to understand and apply to everyday interactions with their babies. I wanted to “picture” what attachment parenting looks like and communicate what it feels like from a baby’s point of view.

You Are My World provides an opportunity for parents to visually, emotionally and intellectually experience the impact they have on their babies. I also wanted to give a voice to babies and celebrate all that they do, know and are–right from the start.

How will this book benefit families?

The book is meant to resonate with the wisdom of a parent’s heart. We know how important love is for a baby–it is everything. But so much can stand in the way of our accessing or expressing our love. In my years of working with parents, I realized it takes more than information to help people make a shift or to really integrate a concept. I had been looking for a way to bypass the defenses of our minds and untie the knots created by personal experiences, cultural beliefs and historic ideas. You Are My World uses the voices and beauty of babies themselves to speak directly to our hearts.

I also believe that less is more. I think people can glaze over with too much information. I was trying to distill the information into its simplest and most readily accessible and absorbable form.

I hope the book will help parents feel more confident and empowered. You Are My World celebrates the power of a parent’s love and portrays the extraordinary impact of the ordinary acts of parenting. Every parent can hold, soothe and smile at their baby. The book shows that it is the seemingly insignificant moments with the significant people in a baby’s life that shape who that baby will become. I hope the book will encourage parents to listen to their hearts.

What are your views of Attachment Parenting International and what API is doing? How does your book work within our mission statement?

I think API is essential and doing a fantastic job of encouraging Attachment Parenting, which is known to be so critical for healthy development.

The dedication in the book is: “To parents everywhere, whose love has the power to change the world.” While I believe this intuitively, I thought I might be going a little bit overboard in making this statement. But the more I read, the more research I find that makes a connection between Attachment Parenting and peaceful children–and ultimately, the hope for a peaceful world.  My hope is that we can all continue to find ways to free our hearts from the confines of culture, history and our personal pasts and become free to truly nurture our children.

Where can readers find out more about the book and your work?

People can go to my website: For  nonprofit discounts on bulk orders or to obtain a PowerPoint of the book, please contact me at or at 347-949-3919.

Be sure to check out the upcoming “Loving Uniquely” issue of Attached Family for a chance to win a copy of the book.


Spotlight On: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

An interview with Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids author, Dr. Laura Markham.

Tell us about your book. What was the inspiration?PeacefulParentHappyKids_FINAL.indd

Most parenting books focus on changing the child’s behavior. But when you try to control another person’s behavior, they resist. Kids only accept our guidance to the degree that they feel connected to us. In other words, our influence with our children and our ability to guide them as they grow comes from their connection to us.

So Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids is designed to help parents stay connected as their babies grow into toddlers and then into children, and to give parents best practices to guide and coach kids, rather than control them.

Finally, this book is designed to foster emotional intelligence in both parents and children. When humans–both parents and children–are in the grip of strong emotions like anger and fear, we disconnect from each other. So one of my goals in writing this book was to help parents learn to regulate their own emotions. That enables them to stay connected even in the face of their child’s upsets and to support their child’s healthy emotional development.

What inspired you to write the book?

There are lots of good books about babies written from an attachment perspective. But once babies start to assert themselves as toddlers, parents are often challenged to stay connected and foster healthy emotional development as they set limits. The parents I work with kept asking me for a book that elaborated on what I was saying to them in coaching sessions–a blueprint for raising a happy, connected, emotionally healthy child!

How will this book benefit families?

Parents do the hardest job there is, often without the information and support they need. This book gives parents that information and support, with hands-on tools that are easy to put into practice. Parents learn to regulate their own emotions to stay calm, they learn how to stay connected even while stressed, and they learn how to help kids want to cooperate even as they grow into strong, self-directed people.

Because I’m a mom, this book is completely practical, focusing on how to transform your daily interactions with your child. Instead of tips to control or manipulate behavior with punishment and bribes, there are step-by-step recipes to coach your child’s development into a more confident, resilient, self- disciplined, emotionally intelligent person.

What are your views of Attachment Parenting International and what API is doing? How does your book work within our mission statement?

My training is an attachment theorist, so I’m a big fan of API. I love that API makes attachment parenting accessible for all families. API’s Eight Principles are brilliant because they succinctly introduce parents to the needs of children for optimal development. And, of course, since parents can only offer children what they have inside themselves, the eighth principle–balance and taking care of yourself–is critical to our ability as parents to respond with sensitivity to our children’s needs.

Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson’s book, Attached at the Heart, explains the Eight Principles in depth. Some of these principles, like responding with sensitivity and using positive discipline, can be hard to put into practice as your child gets into the toddler years and beyond because we as parents are only human and we get emotionally triggered. So my book gives parents the tools to put the Eight Principles into practice by regulating their own emotions and by staying connected as their baby grows into a child.

In addition, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids extends the discussion on discipline. API advocates for loving guidance that strengthens the connection between parent and child, just as I do. Often positive discipline approaches don’t address emotion sufficiently to “work,” especially with more difficult kids. My book goes into detail on how to address the emotions that drive “bad behavior” so kids stop acting out. (“Acting out” just means acting out a feeling or need that can’t be articulated.)  I know that “discipline” comes from the same word as “disciple” and means “to guide,” but any dictionary will tell you that the word has come to mean punishment. The research shows that children do need guidance and limits, but that those limits need to be set with empathy if the child is to develop self-discipline. So Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids gives parents both the theory and the practice of how to set limits with empathy, so the child WANTS to cooperate and has the self-discipline and emotional regulation to do so. With this approach, discipline is never necessary.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

As parents, we raise the next generation. So parents deserve the support of the entire society. As Charles Raison says, “One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world.”  I wrote this book to help all parents who read it become the mothers or fathers they aspire to be for their children.

Where can people find more information?

People can visit my website,

 A limited number of books can also be purchased from the API Store.

How to Parent with Attunement and Creativity

By Brooke Campbell,  MA, Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, Registered Drama Therapist and Board Certified Trainer, founder and director of Creative Kinections LLC, Originally published on, reprinted with permission.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis article was challenging to put into words because parenting is not easily definable. Once we accept that there are no “perfect parents” and we all are in a process of learning and discovery, we will grow alongside our children’s development.

1. Be present with your presence. Parenting is messy and involves a continual process of being present. Parenthood is an act of doing and a state of being. Being present requires us to feel our own presence. This takes courage as we navigate through the inner landscape of our strengths and shortcomings. Those challenging parts of ourselves that are difficult to accept need our full attention like a crying infant or tantrumming toddler. When we neglect or avoid doing the hard “internal” work on ourselves, areas in our home and family life suffer. If we avoid the chaos within ourselves, how can we tolerate our own child’s chaos, struggles and problems?

Our children are astute creatures and experts at reading our non-verbal cues. When we are suffering, our children empathically know and sense it. If we are not able to role model our own set of ways to peacefully problem solve and use emotional intelligence, how will they feel safe enough to show us their pain? When we are not present within our daily lives, it delivers the message to our children that we are not capable of being able to handle their struggles.

State your feelings to your child and the reasons behind the emotion in an age-appropriate way. Empathy is learned. This doesn’t mean you can emotionally burden your child or use your feelings to manipulate or victimize. Your ability to name and express feelings safely is a powerful teaching lesson for your child.

2. Do your internal homework. Children are conditioned to complete and hand in their homework for a teacher to grade. As parents, we must initiate completing our own internal homework, including asking ourselves questions like:

  • Would I want to be parented the way I parent my own child?

  • What messages (spoken or unspoken) were sent to me during childhood from my family of origin? For example, some adults I work with share that they felt neglected, not good enough, ignored, misunderstood, silenced, abused, controlled, manipulated and isolated as children.

  • How are the messages I learned from childhood shaping my role as a parent?

  • Am I parenting my child the way I was parented? If so, was this a conscious or unconscious choice?

Your responses will serve as a guide on your parenting journey.

3. Envision yourself as your child. Parenting can be frustrating. Here is one activity to use for grounding your stress. One powerful and effective drama therapy intervention I use involves “role-reversal.” When we put our agendas aside and shift our perspective by thinking and feeling as our children, we gain a powerful amount of empathy and insight. Imagining yourself as your child can provide you with specific answers about his or her worries, concerns, struggles, frustrations, needs and wants. It is then your job to tune into what makes your child tick to inform your decision-making as parents. Instead of being influenced by outside forces, such as your own parents, in-laws, neighbors, friends and parenting books, when you imagine yourself as your child you will gain confidence in knowing what is needed to shape your child’s development.

4. Practice mirroring in movement and sound to create attunement. No matter what our child’s age or stage of development, he or she will alter negative behaviors, moods and attitudes when we reflect his or her body language and speech. Consider times when we become highly in tune during conversations with people we value. We begin to model their body language, repeat similar themes and words, and we may laugh at the same time. When our gestures, thoughts and feelings are mirrored back to us, we feel validated. Our children have a deep need to be validated and witnessed by us. It’s our responsibility to do so.

5. Develop a practice of action. Our children are always in action, even when they’re still.  When we develop a practice of action, we allow moments to occur which bring our focus onto something outside of our child’s behavior and ourselves. Pass a ball, break out into song, get on the floor and play, turn the radio up, dance at home, read the book your teen is reading, play cards or your favorite board game. Even if your child’s action is slight, such as tapping a fork on the table or looking outside, take their cues so you can follow through with a seamless response.

You can also name what your child is doing and serve as a “double” for him or her. Doubling is a term that is used in the action-oriented form of psychotherapy called psychodrama, in which an individual communicates on a deeper level what the protagonist is experiencing, thus voicing the protagonist’s unspoken words. In this case, the protagonist is your child. Validate your child’s actions by naming them and the motivation behind them. Then follow up your validation by responding to the action in an intuitive way. Responding to your child’s actions could include mirroring, singing a song about the action, doing a dance inspired by the action or creating a character who would engage in your child’s same action. Be creative by taking your child’s cue to enter his or her world in order to develop a deeper sense of attunement. This shows your child you are listening, you understand him or her and you care.

6. Bring creativity and imagination to your parenting practice. Children, no matter the age or stage of development, are wired to think and behave outside of the box because of such intense levels of imagination and ability to express themselves. But they may experience periods of feeling helpless and powerless. They can’t make all decisions on their own or be fully independent. Experiences of powerlessness and helplessness have a vital need to be expressed. The expression needs a safe place to land. This may mean blowing bubbles in your house, ripping paper up to get frustrations out, or you enacting your child’s feelings in an emotionally intelligent way, such as, “I’m so mad my toy broke! Now I can’t play with it.” To foster your child’s ability to express, try enrolling yourself as a clown or a child, or gather leaves to create art. Your children will thank you because you gave them the gift of expression.

7. Break out of your patterns. Children do thrive on routine, but they also need us to break out of ours in order to witness their needs and challenges. In my ten years as a drama therapist, I have encountered parents who kept forcing their children to fit into squares when the children were clearly circles. This analogy is used to inform us that we need to break out of our patterns and ways of operating, behaving and thinking to be attuned to our children. Parenting is not about convenience. It’s about commitment to positively shaping their development. If our pattern also matches our child’s pattern of operating, then what we’re doing is working. If we are imposing our control on our child to meet our needs at the expense of our child, then we need to make some important changes and make them immediately.

8. Imagine fast-forwarding your life: Picture your children as adults. Children grow before our eyes, and I know how challenging it is to accept our child’s fast-paced development. If, for a moment, you imagine your children as adults, what kind of life do you envision them living? Do not imagine how you want them to live. Base your child’s imagined future on his or her strengths, skill set, personality and temperament. How do you picture them as adults? Do they feel competent? Are they independent? Are they happy? The information you have now about your child will guide your ability to envision your child’s potential future as an adult. If you have a strained relationship with your child now, how will that affect his or her future as an adult? You are laying the foundation for the house of your child’s life. Is your child’s foundation built on quicksand or steady ground?

9. Imagine your daughter/son wrote you a letter. If your child were to write you a letter about how he or she experiences you as a parent, what would it say? The thing is, you know the areas in the way you parent that need work–the parts that you may be ashamed of or feel out of control about. If your child wrote about your need for control, your shame, your fear, your anxiety and your rage, how would it feel to have someone know your truth? What changes would you make as a parent now to work through your parenting challenges?

10. Imagine your child becoming a parent. When your child becomes an adult, segueing into parenthood, what kind of parent will he or she become? Our children most likely will take on qualities of how we parented them, since our treatment toward our children is a learned behavior. Yes, we as humans are imperfect beings. Where can we make positive shifts in our own parenting choices to implement a strong framework for our children for when they have a family of their own?

11. Develop adaptability and accept change. One tip for parenting and for coping through life’s struggles is developing an open approach to adapting and accepting change. Parenting, like childhood, is about fluidity, flexibility and change, which also mirrors the ebb and flow of tidal waves.

Practically speaking, this means that we may need to alter our behavior, approach, communication style, actions and life choices. When children enter our lives, they metaphorically hold a mirror up to us and encourage us to change, just like they transform as they grow.

12. Take your child’s lead. Children are born innocent, curious and creative. When you accept that children have equal rights as adults, you will notice positive shifts in your parenting approach. Be curious about life, people, experiences, textures, colors, problems, seasons, etc. Activate your sense of touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell. When we jump into our child’s world of imagination and curiosity, we heal our wounded child within, and we strengthen our relationship with our child. The message here is take your child’s lead. Usually when we take our child’s lead, moments transform and negative behavior and moods shift.


Spotlight On: The Power of Parenting

API: Can you tell us about your book? 

The Power of Parenting is a motivational parenting book designed to help parents instill infants and children of all ages with positive beliefs, self-esteem, focus and a successful mind-set so that they can face the challenges life throws at them with confidence and a smile.power-parenting-kindle-96

For years, I have been studying motivational and self-improvement sciences. I’ve transformed my life, and through the life coaching programs I’ve developed, transformed the lives of thousands of other people around the globe, helping them to realize their potential and lead successful lives. We’ve turned our lives around, but I’ve always wondered how some young people manage to succeed so naturally and easily at an age much younger than most. I studied their cases, and after a period of deep research confirmed the idea that the building blocks for their success were instilled in their minds long before they were conscious of them. And that’s where the idea for The Power of Parenting came from. I wanted to give parents that opportunity to build strong, positive, healthy and successful beliefs in their children to give them the best possible chance of reaching their full potential and succeeding in every aspect of their lives.

API: What inspired you to write the book?

A lot of people think that self-esteem, confidence, positivity and success can’t be taught, that some people just have them and others don’t. I completely disagree. By feeding your children positive values and beliefs, you can give them the mental strength to take on any challenge life throws at them. My inspiration for this book is not just to help parents raise strong, happy, confident and successful kids, but to help the parents themselves, giving them the tools they need to turn their lives around so they and their children can grow stronger together.

API: How will this book benefit families?

What parent doesn’t dream of their children growing up to be strong, confident, happy and successful adults? I believe this book will give families the confidence to raise the kind of children who turn around and say, “Thanks, Mom and Dad, I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for you.” That’s the gift I aim to give parents.

The principles taught in The Power of Parenting are very easy to absorb because they’re written in a very fun, light and easy-to-read way. I’ve gone to great pains to explain complex techniques in the simplest possible way because I know that parents are busy, and I want them to be able to absorb and apply the information quickly and easily without having to read and reread difficult passages.

API: What are your views of Attachment Parenting International and what API is doing? How does your book work within our mission statement?

I really admire the principles of Attachment Parenting International and believe that many of the core values expressed in my book align with those that API disseminates. I encourage positive parenting, as well as the strengthening of the parent-child relationship through shared growth and self-improvement. The Power of Parenting is primarily focused on the mental and emotional health and well-being of children, training them for success in a positive, nurturing and natural way, and in this vein aligns very closely with API’s mission statement to educate and support parents in raising secure and joyful children.

API: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

A lot of what I teach in my book is quite new. I call it a revolutionary way of raising children, but really the ideas and techniques I describe have been around for centuries. If you read the works of history’s most successful people, such as Olympic athletes, billionaires and world leaders, you’ll hear them echo exactly what I teach in The Power of Parenting. With the right mind-set, positive beliefs, a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence, there’s no limit to what a person can achieve, so why shouldn’t we be nurturing our sons and our daughters with empowering thoughts and building them up to be the best they can be?

My aim with this book is to help parents raise confident, happy children who see possibilities where others see problems, who learn and develop talents quickly, and who grow up to face life with a winner’s mind-set.

API: Where can readers get more information about you and the book?

People can visit the website at

A limited number of copies of the book are available in the API Store.



Discipline for Young Children: 12 Alternatives to Time-Outs

Attachment Parenting Month 2013 is here! With this year’s theme of “Parenting Creatively: The Art of Parenting” in mind, we are pleased to share this article by reader Ariadne Brill, who blogs at

980545_20424464If you have read about the benefits of skipping time-out in favor of other ways to guide children but are not sure where to start, here are 12 alternatives to time-out  that give parents and children a chance to address choices and situations with the intention to offer guidance while maintaining a positive, respectful and peaceful connection.

These alternatives are mostly geared towards children aged 1 to 6 years but also work well beyond that, too.

1. Take a break together. The key is to do this together and before things get out of hand. So if your child is having a difficult time or making unsafe choices like hitting a playmate, find a quiet space to take a break together. Just five minutes of connection, listening to what your child is feeling and talking about more appropriate choices really helps. This is similar to a time-in.

2. Second chances. Ever made a mistake and felt so relieved to have a chance at a do-over? Often letting children try again lets them address the problem or change their behavior. “I can’t let you put glue all over the table. Do you want to try this again on paper?”

3. Problem solve together. If there is a problem and your child is acting out of frustration, giving him a chance to talk about the problem and listening to a solution he has can turn things around for the better.

4. Ask questions. Sometimes children do things but we don’t quite get it.  We might assume incorrectly they are doing something “bad” or “naughty” when, in fact, they are trying to understand how something works. Ask what they are up to with the intent to listen and understand first, then correct them by providing the appropriate outlet or information that is missing. So try, “What are you trying to do?” instead of, “Why in the world…ugh!!! Time out!”

5. Read a story. Another great way to help children understand how to make better choices is by reading stories with characters that are making mistakes, having big feelings or needing help to make better choices. Also, reading together can be a really positive way to reconnect and direct our attention to our child.

6. Puppets & play. Young children love to see puppets or dolls come to life to teach positive lessons. “I’m Honey Bear, and oh, it looks like you scribbled crayons on the ground. I’m flying to the kitchen to get a sponge for us to clean it up together. Come along!” After cleaning up together, “Oh, now let’s fetch some paper, and will you color me a picnic on the paper? Paper is for coloring with crayons!”

7. Give two choices. Let’s say your child is doing something completely unacceptable. Provide her with two alternatives that are safe, respectful and acceptable, and let her choose what she will do from there. By receiving two choices, the child can keep some control over her decisions while still learning about boundaries.

8. Listen to a song. Sometimes taking a fun break to release some tension and connect is all that children need to return to making better choices and all that parents need to loosen up a bit and let go of some stress. Listen to a song or take a dance break!

9. Go outside. Changing locations often gives us parents a chance to redirect behavior to something more appropriate. “I cannot let you scale the bookshelf. You CAN climb on the monkey bars. Let’s go outside and practice that instead!” Or, “Cutting the carpet with the scissors is not acceptable. Let’s go outside and cut some grass.”

10. Breathe. A big, deep breath for both parents and children can really help us calm down and look at what is going on with a new perspective. Take a big “lion” breath to get out frustrations or short and quick “bunny” breaths to feel calm and re-energized.

11. Draw a picture. A wonderful way for children to talk about mistakes is to make a picture of what they did or could have done differently. It’s a low-key way to open a window for talking to each other about making better choices.

12. Chill-out space. For a time-out to work, it needs to be something that helps everyone calm down, not something that makes children frightened or scared. A chill-out space is an area where children can go sit and think, tinker with some quiet toys, and have some space alone until they feel ready to talk or return to being with others. Using the chill-out space should be offered as a choice and not a command.

Every child and every situation is unique, so these tools are not one-size-fits-all but rather a list of ideas to lean on to expand your parenting toolbox. I find that striving to use proactive tools like these to respond to and to guide children towards better choices works far more positively than having to react when things have gotten out of hand.