Help Your Child with ADHD or Autism to Cooperate and Connect

PRESENTER: Aaron Weintraub, MSregister for free parenting class

Why does my kid act this way? Many parents try punishment or persuasion to help misbehaving or withdrawn children improve their behavior. This online class will help you achieve the stronger connections and positive behaviors you are seeking.

Whether children are acting out or withdrawn, the root cause is often anxiety. Participants in this live online class will be able to:

  • Recognize the need that your child’s behavior is communicating
  • Identify ways your own anxiety may be effecting your child
  • Apply and model self-care methods to reduce anxiety in your home
  • Identify root causes of anxiety in yourself and your child
  • Identify and practice sustainable healthy habits to stay calm and happy

This live online parenting class is designed for parents of children ages 2 – 12.

Following the class you will be invited to join our private Facebook group in which you will have access to a community of caring parents like you, working to apply new parenting approaches. Our Peace At Home Parenting Facebook community will be a place to share challenges and successes. You will also have ongoing regular contact with Ruth Freeman, webinar trainer, through the Facebook community.

In addition, you will receive access to free monthly “Question and Answer” sessions in which you will be coached in applying the skills you learned in Peace at Home webinars and again you will connect with other parents working to improve skills.

FREE Live Online Parenting Class: Intro to Peace at Home Parenting

register for free parenting classChildren are more cooperative when they feel positively connected with their parents. This live online intro class will help you understand and apply:

  • Communication skills that build strong parent-child connections
  • Parent behaviors that help kids cope with stress so they can develop self-control
  • Effective discipline that reduces misbehavior and increases positive behavior in the long run

This FREE 30 minute live online parenting class is an introduction to Peace at Home Parenting Solutions. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and get answers on the spot. You will also receive helpful cheat sheets to remind you about important practices you will want to try after the session.

2 Infant Specialty Online Classes This Summer with JoAnn Robinson

Peace At Home Parenting welcomes our new infant/family specialist with two new online classes this summer – “Eat, Play, Sleep” parts 1 and 2. Part 1 is this Wednesday at 10 AM. Parents will hear about how to create family routines that work for parents and meet infants and toddlers needs.

Infants and toddlers are learning everyday what to expect from us and from the world around them. It helps when parents recognize what they want to teach their young children and how to do it. Babies’ brains are prewired to enjoy rhythm and melodies and these can be used to teach children positive behaviors and how to connect in positive ways. Participants in this live online class will be able to identify and apply easy, every day practices that:

  • Strengthen positive connections between parents and young children
  • Help babies and toddlers learn the ways you want to do things in your family
  • Create family routines that both work for parents and meet the needs of infants and toddlers

This live online parenting class is designed for parents of infants and toddlers.

JoAnn Robinson, PhD is a new member of the Peace At Home Parenting teaching and coaching team. JoAnn is program director for early childhood teacher preparation at a major northeast state university and a member of the Board of Directors of the CT Association for Infant Mental Health. She is also a mother and grandmother.

Following Peace At Home Parenting classes you will be invited to join our private Facebook group in which you will have access to a community of caring parents like you, working to apply new parenting approaches. Our Peace At Home Parenting Facebook community will be a place to share challenges and successes. You will also have ongoing regular contact with Peace At Home Parenting teachers and coaches through our private Facebook community.

In addition, you will receive access to free monthly “Question and Answer” sessions in which you will be coached in applying the skills you learned in Peace at Home webinars and again you will connect with other parents working to improve skills.



or Register for Our Summer Special Membership only $37

you will have access to both Part I and Part II plus all additional webinars.


When should I praise my kids?

There are actually helpful ways to praise children and ways that might produce “praise junkies.” You know – those kids who bring every drawing to you and say do you like it? Is it pretty? Those kids who can’t seem to be pleased with themselves without some kind of external pat on the back.

For the most part, praise about the child as a whole – you are so smart, you are so pretty, what a great kid you are – tends not to be so helpful and indeed, runs the risk of inspiring that praise junkie. Also those kinds of global adjectives about kids can create pressure for them to live up to these wondrous descriptions. It can actually feel stressful when mom says how terrific you are when just a few minutes ago you were mean to your little brother away from mom’s eyes. Those descriptions can cause stress since no one is always wonderful and can inspire a touch of perfectionism as well. Kids who are often told they are smart may not want to try things that don’t come easily. Of course there are moments when your kid accomplishes amazing feats and you just have to say, “What a terrific kid you are!” but be sparing with those accolades based on global adjectives.

So what kind of praise is useful? Actually there is considerable research on what is called “effective praise” and that is the kind of feedback that actually helps to decrease misbehavior and increase cooperation. A foundation of positive discipline, effective praise can change your relationship with your child. Identify 1 or 2 misbehaviors that you want to change, and then take off your misbehavior glasses and put on your positive behavior glasses. Let’s say you have a child who doesn’t follow directions. Every time your child follows directions, even partly (you ask them to get dressed and they put on their socks), you use effective praise. It has certain characteristics:

  • You are close to the child when you give it
  • You are extremely enthusiastic (Research indicates that the more enthusiastic you are for the opposite of misbehavior, the sooner you will get it again and the longer that positive behavior will last.)
  • You describe with positive words exactly the behavior you are praising (“Alison, you got your socks on the first time I asked! Yay!”)
  • It helps to accompany your praise with a happy touch or gesture (high five or do a daddy dance!)
  • You provide that praise every time you get the opposite of the misbehavior you are trying to change

This is the kind of praise that has been identified by Dr. Alan Kazdin at the Yale Parenting Center and I have heard from parents that it not only  increases cooperation but strengthens the parent-child relationship and calms the household down considerably. Your brain is built to notice negative behavior much more effectively than it notices positive behavior. Looking for the opposite of misbehavior will take effort for most us and actually change the way you think!

There is one circumstance in which you do want to use adjectives about your child to help shape positive behavior. One way to increase children’s compassionate or helping behavior is to describe them as kind or helpful. When trying to increase service to others, those words describing the child seem to strengthen prosocial behavior. Like this: “You’re such a good friend, Sarah, when you help Juan put away the blocks.” Or, “Sammy, you are such a kind big brother when you get the diaper for your baby sister.” Calling our children kind or generous or helpful will inspire them to be just that.

Some of us grew up with too much praise or too little so consider these simple reminders:

  • Refrain from lots of global adjectives about your kid except for truly exceptional moments
  • Choose 1 or 2 misbehaviors and use effective praise when kids give you even a little bit of the opposite positive behavior
  • Be generous with praise about being kind or helpful or generous to increase compassion in your kids

Remember, the way you speak to your children will become the way they talk to themselves when they grow up. And maybe take a little time to reflect on how that inner voice is functioning in your head as well!

7 Ways to Appreciate How Dad is Different than Mom

Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers — especially biological fathers — bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.

– David Popenoe, Life Without Father

A columnist recently quipped that, “In 50 years, our society has gone from ‘father knows best’ to ‘father knows nothing’ to ‘who needs a father?’” While both research and the feminist movement suggest that children raised with just mothers (or just fathers) thrive well, let’s take a look at the unique contributions that father make to our children’s lives:

  1. Fathers engage in more rough and tumble play. Children may seek out fathers more than their mothers for physical fun and activities.
  2. Fathers engage in more ‘“unexpected” behavior with kids.
  • When fathers surprise young children, children tend to be frightened and then laugh in delight. As young as six weeks old, babies “prepare” for interacting with moms and dads differently.
    • When mothers reach for them, babies calm down.
    • When fathers reach for them, heart and breathing rates increase, as if knowing interaction will be high energy rather than relaxing.
  1. father with his daughterFathers tend to use humor more than mothers even when disciplining kids.
  2. Fathers are sometimes more likely to build confidence. Mothers may tend to protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits
  3. Fathers communicate differently
  • Mothers will use simpler words and speak at child’s level which facilitates immediate communication.
  • Men are not as inclined to change the way they speak – father’s adult way of speaking may challenge children to expand vocabulary and linguistic skills, important building blocks of academic success.
  1. Fathers prepare children for the real world.
    • Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences.
  • Fathers more likely than mothers to tell children that if they are mean to others, kids won’t want to play with them. Or, if they don’t succeed in school, they won’t get into a good college or secure a good job. Fathers often tend to help children prepare for reality and harshness of the world.
  1. Fathers tend to be less patient with children’s dependent behaviors like whining for help doing tasks they are able to do. If done in a positive way, this may contribute to child’s independence.

Keep in mind that these differences are trends and not hard facts. There are plenty of mothers who encourage kids to explore limits and support more independence. And, I have observed that in many same sex couples each parent may take on some of the differences described here.

Finally, while I see more moms in parenting classes than dads, over the years fathers’ participation has increased significantly. When only mom comes to class however, I am sometimes concerned that she will go home and try to transform dad into parenting more like a mom. I hope this list will help you appreciate dad’s approach and recognize how the interaction of the different perspectives will benefit your child most.

As you celebrate dad this week you might also remind him that in spite of getting up at night and coming home to more tasks at the end of the day and striving to be the best dad he can be in a world that might favor mom’s parenting style, fathers live longer than non-fathers! Here’s to a serene and joyful Father’s Day to you all from Peace At Home Parenting!

Summer Plans with Kids: Make it Easy and Happy This Year!

Happy summer familyYou know the song, “Summertime and the living is easy…” It sounds so inviting but that isn’t actually what I hear from parents. We envision relaxed time, more family connection and more fun. In reality, parents say there are lots of conflicts about screen time, hassling kids to read more, maybe play outside more and in the end feeling like you somehow missed out on what seemed in June to be a wonderful opportunity.

Ironically all that “freedom” can be confusing and even stressful. Working parents feel there isn’t enough time and at home parents feel overwhelmed with possibilities. This summer consider a new approach – make a big, positive PLAN with your family.

Start by scheduling a few family meetings right now – choose times everyone can be there. If you are a single parent with one child, make a schedule of those meetings anyway. A schedule emphasizes the importance of the process of planning. And all families may want to include other regular and close family supports like grandparents or childcare providers in the process.

Before the meeting talk with your partner or other adults participating and think about what you need to get done this summer and be sure those obligations are included in all planning.

Some steps to help the planning process:

  • Invite each member of the family to describe what they really want to happen over the summer – especially any particular trips, adventures or activities. Let kids know in advance that you will be asking this question. Invite younger kids to draw pictures of what they are dreaming about for summer. At the meeting make a list of everyone’s wishes. Put check marks on those that are repeated by more than one member.
  • Discuss daily routines and how they might be the same or change once school is out. These might include family play time, screen time, reading time, other activities.
  • Together create a big calendar that indicates special events and activities, camp time, etc. Be sure to include rain dates for outdoor events. Post the calendar and revise it as time goes along.

Thinking and dreaming together as a family about how your summer will unfold will make all the difference. Don’t assume you know what your kids or others in the family want. Be open and curious in this process and negotiate agreements about behavior, daily routines and big events.

For more ideas about making this a truly easy and happy summer, join us for “Spring into Summer: Make this Summer a Happy One for Your Children and Family” at:




7 Ways to Avoid Asking Your Kids 100 Times to Follow Directions

A parent recently asked me how to stay calm when asking her child to do something 100 times.

calm parentShe made me laugh, but this question really deserves a complex answer – the entire theory behind how to win cooperation. But here is the simple answer.

  1. Don’t ask your child to do anything more than two times.
  2. Set kids up for success by having a daily routine that includes important tasks taking place at the same time on a regular basis – such as clearing up public spaces, putting away toys, preparing meals and getting ready for transitions (morning and evening routines, departing for sports or other outside activities). This might mean that 15 minutes before dinner each day is pick up time for the whole family – except the cook.
  3. Try to organize more challenging tasks to take place before more pleasant activities and use the “When, Then” format. “When you get dressed and have your backpack ready, then we will sit down to breakfast together and I am looking forward to that!” “As soon as your room is picked up, we will go to the park.” “If your homework is done by 7:00 we can watch that TV show together.” And then refrain from nagging, coaxing and reminding. Allow natural consequences to occur. Use enthusiastic praise as soon as task is completed.
  4. Consider family meetings to talk about weekly chores and plan fun times together. Use family meetings to address chronic challenges, come up with solutions as a team and rotate leadership of those meetings.
  5. Make sure that you spend positive, fun time with your child every day, just enjoying time together. Fill up their attention bank – so they don’t have to use misbehavior to get attention.
  6. When your child follows directions use effective praise – describe the behavior in positive words and express yourself enthusiastically.
  7. Remember that compliance is not really an important measure of your success as a parent. It is often overrated and leads to too much parent-child conflict. You want a child with strong self-worth, confidence, compassion and curiosity. 100% compliance isn’t necessary for all that.

And perhaps most important, reflect on your own ability to manage stress. It is called self-regulation. Most parents want their kids to develop self-control but that only comes when kids can regulate their own internal stressors – self-regulation. And they learn that essential skill from our modeling and their relationship with us. If you are wired, reactive or overwhelmed, it will be difficult for your children to calm down enough to follow directions and more importantly to develop internal controls.  Learn ways to bring your brain back to calm and in the long run it will help your child’s capacity for following directions.

Join us for “Spring into Summer” at 8:15 PM, Thursday, June 8th for more reminders about keeping cool, developing positive routines and having fun with your family this summer.

Summer Webinar Series

Happy summer familyChoose to make this a summer of positive change for you and for your family. Discover simple ways to:

  1. Apply effective discipline that will improve cooperation and your connection with your children
  2. Add simple practices to your day that will decrease chaos and tension and create real peace at home
  3. Create family routines that will strengthen emotional intelligence for all and build lasting family ties

Your Summer School subscription will provide:

  • Access to all live, interactive online parenting classes in June, July and August 2017
  • Access to recordings of all classes
  • Subscription to private Peace At Home Parenting Facebook community including comments and answers from Peace At Home Founder Ruth Freeman and her expert colleagues who specialize in Infants and Toddlers and in Autism, Anxiety and Attention issues
  • Access to monthly Q&A sessions to get answers to your questions and support to reduce barriers in applying new strategies

Summer School classes will include: Continue reading “Summer Webinar Series”