About us

Welcome to our page. We are moms, educators and therapists who hold a firm belief in gentle, mindful parenting. We hope to empower you with current research, personal stories, and inspired readings to help you approach parenting through a mindful awareness of how your connection to your children affects their present and future behaviors and emotional intelligence. When children are treated with kindness, respect and unconditional acceptance they have the freedom to grow in to healthy, compassionate and responsible adults.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Giveaway: The Conscious Parent Program

Hello to everyone who entered the Conscious Parent online program Giveaway!

Thank you for participating in our giveaway. We hope you found a helpful resource for bringing a sense of connection, collaboration and energy to your family.

And because we want everyone to win, here is the link to the FREE Connection and Collaboration teleconversation introduction series: healing anger and guilt through the parent-child relationship.
You can learn more about the free teleconversation by clicking here.

Listen and Enjoy!
Parenting Beyond Punishment

P.S. The winner of the giveaway was contacted by Connection and Collaboration to set up their account. We used the List Randomizer and Random Number Generator on www.random.org. Thanks again for participating!

Connection and Collaboration is offering 1-month access to Part 1 of their 6-module program. Each of these flexible, self-paced program modules are designed for the myriad of busy parents who struggle with personal upsets (overwhelm, anger, guilt, frustration, disappointment...) and everyday parent-child issues (eating, bedtime, sibling rivalry, hitting, power struggles...). The goal is to help you parent from a place of abundance, so that you can parent joyfully and with ease and energy.

In this program you will...

identify the parent you want to be

discover and fulfill your own personal self-care needs within your current life circumstances

cultivate self-compassion as a way to create more energy for yourself and more patience with your children

learn practical parenting tools focused on connection and collaboration with yourselves and your children

release yourself from the sole burden of responsibility

help your children develop a sense of self-responsibility, capability, belonging, significance



Share this giveaway in as many fun and creative ways you want, then comment on this blog and tell us all the creative ways you shared...and how many times!

Your Facebook page, a friend's page, your blog...(tag PBP!)
Play groups, FaceTime, Email...
Shout it out your window to neighbors and friends!



LIKE the Connection and Collaboration Facebook page, tell them you want to win the giveaway, and tag Parenting Beyond Punishment!



 To learn more about the Conscious Parent online program visit their website:


The winner will be chosen at random and notified on
4/30 by 12am EST.

*** This giveaway is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Facebook***


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Parenting From a Place of Abundance

We've been working with parents online for over two years now via our Parenting Beyond Punishment Facebook page. We understand the struggles facing parents intimately. And in the face of so many stories of struggle and disconnect we learned to take breaks to replenish ourselves.

We've come up with a number of ways to reach out to parents who desperately want to parent with love, respect and connection: blog posts, pictures with quotes, individual messaging, book recommendations, status updates, educational articles, etc. And our readers continue to request online workshops, mp3 recordings, online chat sessions, and other ideas that we continue to consider. When it comes down to it, parents face a number of obstacles on their parenting journey which we simply can't help them address through articles, quotes, blog posts and online learning sessions that only address the behaviors of children. Sure, those things help, but there's more to what's going on than behavior.

We find ways to write the same basic principles in order to help parents better understand the specific behaviors of their children:
  • Children communicate to us through their behavior
  • Children's behavior reflects their needs - when they "mis-behave" it is because they are behaving in ways they "mis-takenly" believe will get those needs met.
  • Children are communicating their needs in the only ways they know how.
  • Once we meet the needs behind a child's behavior we can then guide them toward more pro-social ways to communicate with us, and we can help them learn to meet those needs themselves.

The thing is, children aren't the only ones whose needs aren't being met and who are communicating those unmet needs through their behavior.

Many parents feel...
...overwhelmed, unfulfilled and disappointed
...guilty for needing a moment to themselves
...out of control
...disconnected from their children
...resentful, frustrated, and angry, and feel guilty for feeling that way
so they...
 ...get angry and lose their patience with their children
...remain stuck parenting in reaction to their own childhood experiences
...struggle daily to parent respectfully
when they actually want to...
...set boundaries that support themselves and their children
...feel a sense of connection with their children
...parent from a place they fills their heart
So how do we apply our understanding of needs and behaviors to truly empower parents?
Maybe if we start with the basics: every human needs to feel a sense of belonging and significance no matter their age. Humans are biologically wired to long for emotional connection, to have a sense of power over their own lives, to be capable, and to make meaningful contributions. A child will show her need for belonging and significance isn't being met in the same way a parent will shows her need for belonging and significance isn't being met.

But here's the thing...

The hardest thing we have to learn as parents is that it's no one else's job to meet our needs.**

When we become parents our own needs grow exponentially because we are giving so much to our children. And for those of us whose intent is to parent from a place of love, respect and connection, it is essential for us to learn to meet our own needs, to replenish ourselves so that we can live the life we want, full of connection, meaning, and joy.


 So, we need to figure out what it is parents really need in order to move from a focus on their children's behaviors to a focus on the child's unmet needs.

I believe in order to truly parent from a place of love, respect and connection we need to parent from a place of abundance. And to do this we to nurture ourselves in many of the same ways we nurture our children: empathy, compassion, self-care....

To this endeavor, I've been gathering data and working with two amazing colleagues to develop an online program to help people who are looking to approach parenting from a intentional place of love, respect and connection.*

We started with a free introductory course in April, Healing Anger and Guilt Through the Parent-Child Relationship, where we asked people to join our conversation on navigating the personal struggles we face as parents. In addition to addressing some specific behaviors in our question and discussion sessions, we focused on 3 main points:
  • Using anger and guilt as an internal GPS
  • Ways to reset ourselves when we're triggered
  • The freedom found in collaborating with ourselves and our children

Now we're offering The Conscious Parent Online Program - a 6-part workshop series to help parents learn to bring greater ease, freedom, and fulfillment into their parent-child relationship. We created the program with a couple of things in mind: family counseling is expensive, and parents are already busy, stressed, and juggling multiple schedules! So we wanted to provide an affordable service that was also convenient.

In this program you will
Identify your personal parenting goals
Identify your self-care needs
Increase your confidence as a parent
Reduce distressing emotions
Free yourself from feelings of shame, criticism, overwhelm and hurt
Decrease the friction and stress between you and your children
Create the freedom you want inside your busy day
Empower your children to be active willing participants in family life

As a participant you...
Have community support in a private forum where participants share their struggles and successes;
Have professional support from the collaboration team;
Bypass traffic, babysitters, and additional schedules to juggle;
Engage in a personalized parenting consultation that is only 25% of the cost of traditional modes of consultations and family counseling*.
If you're ready to have support on your parenting journey please join our community today!
Need a reason to invest in yourself and your children?
Mother's Day
Father's Day
Your parent-child relationship
Your sanity
...the list goes on and on...
I hope you'll join us on the Conscious Parent journey
beginning on May 6, 2013.
*For more information about my colleagues Neca and Francoise click on their names.* 
**I read a version of that quote from "The Organic Sister," also on Facebook, and it landed right inside my heart**

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bathing Struggles

Bath time and washing is a real challenge for some children and their parents. Children may resist taking a bath for many reasons: it's not fun, they don't like the feeling of being naked, they feel unsafe while washing their hair, they don't like being cold afterward, etc. Our job as parents is to discover why they don't want to bathe, and then begin to help them work through their resistance.

Here's a few questions to ask ourselves (especially if we're trying to discover why our very young children resist bath time):

Do I rush bath time?
Am I patient during bath time?
Is bath time fun or a chore?

Then take the time to understand your child's perspective; find out why they don't want to bathe, "I notice you really don't want to take a bath. Let's talk about what you don't like." Listen without interrupting, correcting, or trying to fix the situation. Remember, they are simply trying to explain their point of view, which is equally as valid as our own point of view.
After they come up with some things they don't like, invite them to collaborate with you in finding ways to fix those things, "let's think of some ways we could keep the water out of your eyes when we wash your hair." Let them come up with some ideas...and try their ideas even if they seem odd!
It's always good to offer children information, so talking to them about why they need a bath is important, "I know you don't want to take a bath. So I thought we could chat about why everyone needs to get clean. Have you ever noticed animals cleaning themselves?" Let them try to come up with some animals...if they don't you could point out the birds bathing themselves in the birdbath or in puddles, or cats licking their paws. "All animals clean themselves in order to keep their skin healthy and clean of bugs and dirt. Just like we do as humans." Leave some room for them to talk about animals and how they might get clean. Let it be a fun way to connect with each other. Invite them to pretend to be those animals in the bath!
It's also important to offer them choices, and remember to keep the choices within the realm of the task of getting clean:
Do you want to take a bath or a shower?
Do you want to wash your hands first or your feet?
Do you want to wash your hair or do you want me to wash your hair?

 Finally, set up some agreements. It’s really not important to bathe or wash ourselves every day (see articles here and here). So guide them in a discussion on how many days to wash their hair each week (1-2?) and how many days to bathe or shower (2-3?). Let them talk while you write down what they say. Remember to use curiosity questions such as, "what happens if we've had a really fun day painting outside in the mud and we get particularly dirty, but it's not a bath day?" And let them come up with solutions - maybe they just want to run in the sprinkler! You will have to navigate your values in helping them in these agreements. Finally, post the agreements where you all can see them so when your child decides not to bathe on a bath night you can refer back to them, “we made some agreements, let’s go look at them. Where are we in our bathing agreements?” Then you can give some empowering choices, "do you want to bathe in your bath tub or mommy's bath tub?" or "Do you want bubbles or plain water?" "Would you like to use those glow sticks tonight?" Remember, the agreements are always open for revision if you or your child discover they aren't working out as planned, "I notice our agreements aren't really working for us. What can we change to make them better?"

Finally, a word about bathing and the parent-child relationship. If you've had a tough day, your child is particularly resistant toward bathing and you simply can't be patient, consider skipping the bath. Be sure to acknowledge what's going on, "I am really tired and I am concerned that I just don't have enough patience for us to enjoy bath time tonight. If you decide you want a bath, let me know, otherwise let's have your bath tomorrow night when we're both in a better space." You could also offer the sponge-bath option.


 Simple Steps to Creating Positive
Bath Time Experiences
  1. Go Slow. Don't rush bath time. If you are in a hurry, consider a simple sponge bath, or even waiting until you have more time. When kids feel rushed they feel stressed. This is especially true when it is time to wash hair. Go slow, try to keep the water out of their eyes, keep a washcloth handy or let them hold it over their eyes, etc.
  2. Be Present. There is nothing more thrilling for a child than having their parent's undivided attention, no phone, no computer, no distractions. When they're bathing it gives us the opportunity to connect with them and to let them know we value them. And it's a beautiful opportunity to listen to them talk about their day, their dreams, and to generally get a sense of what's going on in their world.
  3. Empower them. Let them make some decisions about what to wash and when. Ask if you can help, rather than just reaching in and taking over. Use questions to remind them about where to watch, rather than instructing them on what to do, "I see your face is clean, what else needs to be scrubbed on your head?"
  4. Play. Children who have time for free play are less stressed, and bath time can be a wonderful time for free, creative play. Play At Home Mom has loads of creative and fun bath time ideas. And if you click here it will take you to a list of fun bath toys on amazon. But you don't have to get fancy; children are happy to splash around and create their own worlds of fantasy, especially if you're there giving them your undivided attention.

Note: When my own daughter feels resistant to washing her hair I sometimes let her wash my hair, then we switch. When I was a nanny one of the girls didn’t like washing her hair either and she would put a dry washcloth over her eyes while I very slowly rinsed her hair out without pouring water over her face; it really helped her feel safe and remain calm. And inevitably there would be those times I hurried, her face got wet, and it would set us back.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Helping Older Children Who Hit

My 7-year-old, who never hit, now hits out of anger. No one in our house hits, but all of the sudden she hits in a rage, and it hurts! If you have any ideas on how to address this behavior peacefully without punishment I would love to read them. Thank you!
We want to approach our older children in the same gentle way as our younger children (see this article here), while also using more age-appropriate collaborative conversations.

It's important to invite her to talk about what's going on and work with her on what you two can do together to help her work through her feelings of overwhelm and express herself without hitting. So, sometime when you're both calm, cuddled up and connected you might have a conversation that sounds something like this...
"Sienna, I’ve noticed you’ve been having some big emotions, and sometimes it seems you feel overwhelmed. It's important that each of us feel safe in our home, both physically safe and emotionally. I thought you and I could talk how you can let me know you're having big feelings in ways that are safe, maybe we can have a special word or hand signal, kind of like when we high-five when the kitchen is clean. Do you have any ideas?"
Then it's important to listen to your daughter without interupting, correcting or attempting to "fix." Hear what she says, and when she has an idea for how to tell you she's struggling, try to figure out how to make it work. If she struggles to come up with an idea after several minutes, then you might suggest something like this and practice it with her:
"Mom, I'm having a tough time, can you sit with me."
Hand signal: lightly tapping her head.
Write a note or draw a picture.

Sometimes children act in these aggravated ways when they're experiencing a developmental change. And while this could be the case for your daughter, it sounds like something else may be going on with her causing her to feel overwhelmed and unsure how to ask for help. So it's also important to asking yourself some questions:
  1. Have there been any changes at home?
  2. Have there been any changes in the family?
  3. Have there been any changes in her community (school, friends, etc.)?
Changes can come in the form of life, death, moving, sickness, a new bed, etc. And if she’s reacting to change you’ll want to center your conversation with her around those changes…
“Sienna, I know it’s a big change to move to a new bedroom. I’m wondering how you’re feeling about it?” (Listen to her, empathize, and allow her to feel/think these things without trying to fix anything) “Is there something we can do to help you feel better or less overwhelmed?” (Try to implement her ideas if at all possible no matter how improbable they may seem to you. Listen to her, empathize, and allow her to feel these things without trying to fix anything).

Also, I can never emphasize enough the importance of connection. When our children feel disconnected from us they often show us through their behavior. And, of course, the best way to connect with them is to play with them. I wrote an article about play here, and you can get lots of creative play ideas at Play At Home Mom (our sister blog/site) and other online child-centered creative play sites. The important thing to remember is to have uninterrupted time with just her, even if it's only for 30 minutes a day where you do what she wants to do without a cell phone, computer, or other distractions. One woman told me that she used bath time to focus on her child, play, and connect. Use whatever time you can!

Finally, it's important to pay attention to the environment of your home, the rhythm and scheduling in your family, and the amount of adult media your daughter may be exposed to. You can learn more about the effects these factors have on children's emotions and behaviors on the Simplicity Parenting website, or in Kim John Payne's book, Simplicity Parenting.

Here are some book recommendations for working with children: