Mom Tip Monday: Positive Advice in a Pinch

by Heligirl on April 25, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles

With my daughter in the throws of the 3 ½ year old disequilibrium, there are days I am at my wits end trying to keep my cool and put positive discipline to work. My fuse is getting shorter and shorter. Yet, when I calm myself down, count to 10, and tune out the whining, screaming, little brother beating, and nonstop “no” shouting, I often find something that will break through her displeasure.

One tool I’ve found immensely helpful is the Positive Discipline Tool Cards by Jane Nelsen, which I’ve downloaded to my iPhone. These cards, or the downloadable app, provide 52 reminders of positive discipline principles. You don’t have to be versed in the basics to use them. I’ve found they provide me with valuable reminders of things I can try in a pinch.

Today, Sweetness started whining and crying from the moment she got dressed. After two hours I was about to run screaming from my house. I fired up the app on the phone and shook it (shaking activates the card randomizer). The app reminded me first:

Kindness & Firmness

Some of us have a tendency to be too kind. Some of us have a tendency to be too firm.

Dignity and respect is created when you are kind and firm at the same time. “I love you and the answer is, ‘No.'” “I’m sorry you didn’t get ready for bed in time for a story. I have faith in you to be ready on time tomorrow night.”

When I get mad, I’m way too firm. I dig in. I need to remember to pick my battles and be kind when I’m being firm.

The next card gave be an action:


Children do better when they feel better – and so do you. Hugs help us feel better.

1)    When your child is having a tantrum, try asking for a hug.

2)    If your child says, “No,” say “I need a hug.”

3)    If your child says no again, say “I need a hug. Come find me when you are ready,” and then walk away. You might be surprised at what happens.

I sat down on the couch next to my crying, kicking, upset girl. I asked if she wanted a hug.


I told her I needed a hug.


Then I stood up and told her when she was ready, I really needed a hug. Just let me know when she’s ready.

I didn’t have enough time to fire up the computer before I heard a very whiny and rather demanding “Hugs with Mommy!”

She was clearly needing to feel in control of something so I let the demanding attitude go (even though it really annoyed me) and went to her for hugs.

You know what? Having that little girl wrapped all around me and hearing her say “I love you too,” in response to my profession of love made the last two hours worth of stress melt away.

Thanks again, Jane.


Susan April 25, 2011 at 11:25 am

That is my favorite tool in my toolbox. I think of it as random hugs. Just when my son is ready for me to get frustrated or angry, I surprise both him and me by giving him a big, huge hug. Does wonders for both of us.
Susan recently posted: Do Over Day

Twitter: Heligirl
April 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

Thanks Susan. You’re right. After a trip we took the last several days, during which Sweetness practically drove me to run screaming from her, I really needed to find that hug card. Sometimes I think of the app as God’s way of sending me the message of what I need to do right now that’s best for both of us. I’ll even offer up a little prayer when I’m at the end of my rope before I look down at the card that is displayed. 🙂

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