There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

close directions

It’s Not Working!

One week brought three emails all dealing with the same issue: “It didn’t work, Dr. Heins! What you told us to do sounded good but my child is still—-” tantrumming, or hitting or whatever.

Without sounding defensive let me remind readers what I said in the epilogue of my book, “ParenTips.”

“I don’t have all the answers. And child development research hasn’t even asked the right questions or designed appropriate research to find answers for us all. So we–parents as well as advice-givers–muddle through the best we can….I’m a pragmatist who tries to do what works, do as little harm as possible, act as kindly as I can to those I love and am responsible for, and comprehend the imperfections of every human being including myself….Yes, I have tried to make things simple for my busy reader but parenting is NOT simple. We all struggle with the parenting process and we all have bad days. And nothing I have taught you will work all the time. Also, dealing with the so-called “difficult child” is beyond the scope of this book so there are parents out there who need more than I can offer.”

Bottom line: my parenting advice only works for MOST children, MOST of the time.

Before you give up, though, and label your child “difficult” or hyperactive, let me make some suggestions. First of all, GIVE IT TIME. It takes time for a child to learn what is expected, what behaviors are acceptable, what on earth parents want. It also takes time for the child’s development to run its normal course.

We are all living in a sound bite world which has made us the most impatient people ever to occupy this planet. We want instant results like when we click on a computer icon. There! That’s done! But kids don’t work like computers do.

Second, REVIEW YOUR PARENTING TECHNIQUES. Are you reacting too strongly? Are you talking too loud? Are you saying too much? Are you in charge or is the child running the show? Modify your parenting. My parenting strategies may work for you the second time around.

Third, do not strive for PERFECTION. Improvement, getting the rules straight most of the time is a good goal.

I once observed a family with a VERY difficult (head-banging to the point of bleeding in response to frustration, physical aggression toward his parents and sibs, screaming for hours when he had a tantrum) child. His mother treated him with infinite patience, spent hours with him speaking very softly and calmly. The more out-of-control he was, the calmer she was or at least she behaved that way. But she never caved–if he hit a sibling, no matter how much he screamed or banged his head, his mother would not let him out of time-out. It worked! He is now a preteen with excellent manners who does wonderfully at school, is very creative, and has outgrown the old ways he dealt with frustration.

I think problems can arise from the fact that a child happens to be born with a difficult temperament. The parent, for reasons of his or her own temperament or upbringing or values, cannot figure out how to deal with it and therefore reacts much too strongly. There is too much antipathy toward the child’s behavior and toward oneself for not handling things better. If any of you struggling parents could go to acting school and learn how to SEEM cool and collected even if you don’t feel that was, I bet things would work better!