By PaisleyJade - Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sometimes, a parent needs a little bit of help when it comes to parenting.

Last week I had the awesome opportunity of hearing Diane Levy speak about the very topic of parenting, in her very humorous and straight to the point way. If you haven't heard of Diane, she is a well known and highly regarded family therapist and bestselling author in New Zealand, and around the world. 

Her three books are very popular (Of Course I Love You... Now Go To Your Room!, They Look So Lovely When They're Asleep, and Time Out for tots, teens and everyone in between), and although I have read them in the past and been greatly helped with some of her tips, by child number four, I definitely needed a refresher course.

There was so much covered on the night, but a few friends have asked for me to share some of her tips, so here are a few - I hope they help!  

Firstly, take the time to learn about your child's personality.  Everyone is different, and although I don't believe that you can put everyone into a neat little box, each of us have different needs depending on our personality type. When you take the time to get to know your children (and spouse), it can make parenting a whole lot easier - believe me!

Secondly, remember that every child needs emotional support.  The basics are rest, food, and a warm space... but they also need our empathy and physical love (i.e. cuddle).  What they don't need when they are frustrated/upset/angry at a sibling or friend, is our mini-lecture/problem solving ideas/criticism/explanations and blame (Diane does some really really funny examples here of our little ones coming to us after fighting with a neighbour and us giving them big lectures or ideas of how to play nicer, when all they need is some emotional support before they handle the situation themselves).

If  we want to raise healthy and balanced children that learn how to solve their own age-appropriate problems, we need to give them space and support to make their own decisions when issues arise.  p.s. I am so good at giving mini-lectures and wearing myself out with suggesting other ideas, when all my kids need is a boring cuddle of support before they skip off again to play.

Thirdly,  I love Diane's simple steps for teaching our children to do as they are told.

Ask - Tell - Act

When you ASK a child to do something (i.e. pick up the toys on the floor), if they do not do it, you move up close to them and with a firm but quiet voice, TELL them again, if they still don't, ACT.  This can be taking them to their room to have time out until they are ready to comply with your request, or other options like not allowing they any other goods or services until the job is done (i.e. you can have your afternoon tea once you have done what I asked you to do). 

When you ask a child to do something, anything other than compliance is really a big fat NO.  My Miss 3 has a habit lately of lying on the floor and wailing "but I'm too tired" or "I can't" - she is really just saying "NO, I don't want to", as I know for sure that she isn't too tired!

Anyway - overload of information - but I hope something helps.  If you haven't read her books, I would definitely recommend them! 

Happy parenting! 

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  1. I've read "Of course I love you now go to your room" and it's definitely one of the best parenting books I've ever read!
    I'm a big advocater of the boring cuddle, works so well for me!
    she sounds like a neat lady. Would be so awesome to meet her in person!!

  2. haha this couldn't have come at a better time. Elijah is also one to complain he's too tired to pick up the toys BUT he actually has picked them up tonight because I told him he could have a tick on his chart - of course he's still not 100% sure what a tick is so I think he thought it was something like a treat. (Don't worry I explained that after 12 ticks he gets a treat)

  3. Oh now I remember. I have so let the ask. tell. act sequence become ask. ask. ask. ask. then yell and send them to time out.
    Such a good reminder. I also forgot about the boring cuddle, I am so going to re-read the book!

  4. I love Diane Levy, she rocks. I have been to her workshops a couple of times and was very impressed (the first time was about 5 years ago before my youngest - doesnt time fly!). I might have to get my book out and have another read! we are just starting school holidays and its already going downhill fast!

  5. Her Ask-Tell-Act approach has been a real winner for us - straightforward, portable, and it's dead easy to get across to anyone else who cares for him at any time. Ace.

  6. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Great tips. I couldn't agree more that each child is so different from another. And parenting is definitely not for wussies!!

  8. Anonymous7:03 am

    i am off to order her books from amazon now...!

  9. great tips PJ.. Having major issues with Mr 7 at the moment, he turns into a monster and seems to think turning his room upside down is the answer. This may very well help.

    BTW was there any tips on what to do when your 7 year old threatens to throw the play laptop at you?? (I convinced him that if he did that it may kill me so he made the correct choice in not throwing it so maybe I solved that one...maybe....) Oh what joys of parenting....

    Thanks PJ! xxx

  10. Anonymous10:29 am

    Great thoughts here PJ
    definitely will be referring to them with the boys!!!

  11. She's fabbie, I am working through one of her books right now and it's great! I am using the boring cuddle a lot

  12. That's great...wish I could have attened. I saw Diane Levy once before when I was in New Plymouth and she was awesome!! Thanks for the "overload of info"...I don't think it was overload at all actually...it was awesome!
    Cheers x

  13. Awesome post! I studied Family Studies in school, so I LOVE hearing and reading about parenting. I'm definitely going to check out these books. Have you heard of COOL parenting? It's great!

  14. Thanks so much for this! I needed some tips like this. Right now.

  15. Great post Kristy! Thanks for sharing, and reminding us (ME!) about ask-tell-act.
    I love Diane Levy.

  16. Anonymous2:51 pm

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  17. yes.
    this is what i need.
    i will get the book.
    i need a refresher coarse on mommying a naughty three year old.


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