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Category: Words to use in the Heat of the Moment

Girl crying over spilled milk

Perhaps it was the foot stomp punctuating the shrill rebuttal to your simple question that caught your attention today.   Lately, it seems “normal” for your child to scream every time you ask her to do anything.  How did this happen?    

February 18, 2024

February 12, 2024


Tips for Halloween, Ghosts, Goblins and Emotion Coaching:  Building the Relationship that Keeps Your Child Working with You

October 23, 2023

September 18, 2023

January 10, 2023

October 5, 2022

June 16, 2022

“It’s time to do your work.” Whether it is time to begin schoolwork, practice an instrument, or simply play independently, these may be fighting words at your house. But they do not have to be. When “getting started,” is an on-going issue, you can utilize the problem-solving skills Lynn and I introduced previously.  

October 13, 2020

September 17, 2020


Quick Tips from Mary's books "Raising Your Spirited Child", and "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles" 
Developed by: Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Ed.D and Lynn Jessen, MA.

September 3, 2020


How do you respond when your child refuses to go upstairs by himself, cries if you attempt to leave him before he’s asleep at bedtime, or doesn’t want to go to an activity you know he will love once he gets there? When a child is experiencing anxiety, he demonstrates it in his behavior. Often that behavior is a vehement protest, but sometimes, it is a complete “shut down,” in which he is incapable of doing things he could do just yesterday. No matter which response, it is tempting to simply avoid the difficult situation, but anxiety increases when situations are avoided. Instead, it is important to gently nudge your child forward, empowering and supporting him to take on this challenge. Your words and actions make a difference.

August 31, 2020


If a behavior is unsafe, hurtful, or disrespectful to self, others, or the environment, it’s time to step in and set a limit. A limit tells the child what needs to happen. Why it needs to happen. When it needs to happen and what you will do if it does not happen. A limit can be used to either stop or start a behavior. 

August 20, 2020


The day is full of transitions. A transition is defined as a shift or change from one place, thing, condition, or activity to another.  Whether it is getting dressed in the morning, turning off electronics, stopping play to come to eat, getting in or out of the car, or leaving a friend’s house your words can help your child shift smoothly – at least most of the time. WORDS TO USE TO SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITION 

August 14, 2020


Your response changes your child’s. A slight adjustment in your words and actions can make a huge difference in whether your child escalates or calms. For example, you are trying to make dinner when your child insists, she needs you to help her put a shirt on her bear. If you say, “You need to wait!”  Odds are your child will meltdown on the spot. But if instead you say, “I will help you. What would you like to do while you are waiting for me to finish this?” Your child may surprise you, at least for a few moments, by demonstrating patience you never realized she had. 

August 6, 2020


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