Do You Resent Your Family Because They Aren't Helpful on Thanksgiving?

Do you already resent your kids and your spouse a bit because you expect them to be less-than-helpful on Thanksgiving Day? If so, here is a strategy that will help you alleviate some of this resentment now, and for all future holidays and celebrations ... 
 
Call a family meeting in advance and let your children and your spouse know what you need from them so that the day feels good to you. 
 
However, instead of lecturing them about how they have failed you by being less-than-helpful and inconsiderate in the past; how you are always responsible for both the cooking and the cleaning; and how you have already planned the menu, done the shopping, and timed the delivery of appetizers, turkey, and all side dishes, use this formula for communicating your needs ...
 
1. Start from a place of self-care and describe (in positive terms) what you want the day to be like for yourself. 
 
2. Without blaming, lecturing, or bringing up past infractions, state...
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Tired of snapping when you need your kids to HURRY? Try this …

Instead of feeling guilty for snapping at your kids when you need them to HURRY, try this …

Communicate to them in advance about your need to be on time.


Say something like:

“I have a lot of things on my plate. Sometimes I feel anxious about getting places on time, and I worry that if I miss a deadline, the entire day will fall apart. Getting places on time helps me stay in control of all the balls I’m juggling. When I feel anxious about getting places on time, I tend to snap at the people slowing me down. That’s why I sometimes yell at you when I am trying to get you to move faster to get out of the house. I am working on staying calm. You can help me by getting dressed and out of the house quickly.”

Even if you do snap at them later (after all, most kids don’t exactly have a sense of urgency), you will feel better about how you have communicated with your children. And as they grow older, they will better understand you, and they will be more...

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The Ten Words to Stop an Argument

When you find yourself trying to resolve a conflict that seems to be spinning out of control, stop and ask the other person this question ...

"What do you need so that this relationship feels good?"

You know what it feels like to be in a conflict that is heading south, or spinning out of control.

It turns into a he said/she said. One person says, “You did this,” and the other person says, “Oh, well you do this.”

You can feel it when it happens.

To stop this downward cycle, ask this simple question: “What do you need so that this relationship feels good?”

It’s likely that the other person will respond with something like, “I need for you to stop being a jerk,” or some other insulting statement that blames you.

Instead of retaliating, take a breath, and clarify by speaking about your needs with non-blaming “I-statements."

Say something like,

“I need security in my life. I need to feel stable. Sometimes when you spend...

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What to Say When Your Kids Are Rude

We recently received some pushback about an article in which we advised parents to set boundaries around the way they let their children talk to them and behave toward them. We appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to clarify our advice …

In this article, we gave parents advice for addressing children who are rolling their eyes or generally being rude and snarky. We suggested that parents can say something like ...

“I don’t know if you realize this, but you have been rolling your eyes at me a lot. It doesn’t make me feel good, and you should know that it makes me want to stop spending time with you. What exactly do you need from me that would make our relationship work better for you?”

Some readers worried that implementing our advice could make their children feel abandoned or cause them to become “people pleasers.” 

Our response is this: We are inviting you to disengage from disrespectful behavior. We are not...

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Get Your Family a "Jar of Funny Consequences"

Are there certain little things around the house that just grate on your nerves? They aren't a big deal, really, but you get tired of hearing yourself nag your family members. Maybe your spouse leaves the sponge in the sink, and your daughter never closes the door when she's chatting (loudly) with her friends. 
 
Truth be told, there are probably a few things your family members would prefer that you stop doing, too. Maybe they don't actually like it when you scream, "Mommy and Daddy love you!" at the top of your lungs when you drop them off at school. 
 
In general, we are big proponents of eliminating artificial reinforcers and consequences and, instead, allowing people to develop real-world incentives for positive behaviors and experience real-world consequences for negative behaviors. This is how we raise resilient kids with self-efficacy. We don't want kids doing things just for the treat, nor do we want to scare kids into...
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When Children Have Big Emotional Outbursts

It's hard for anyone, much less a child, to take constructive feedback and listen to reason or act in a way that is logical when they are flooded with negative emotions.

You likely have personal experience with this—when you've been so upset that you just couldn't think straight.

There is science to this—a reason you cannot think straight when you're flooded with emotions.

The part of your brain that is emotional and reactive is very different than the part of your brain that is systematic and logical. You cannot tap into the logical part of your brain when the emotional, reactive part of your brain has taken over.

Your thoughts and your emotions always match.

When you are experiencing a huge, negative doomsday, destructive emotion, you are naturally flooded with equally catastrophic thoughts.

When you understand that it isn't possible to have a reasonable discussion when emotions are running high, you can change your approach...

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