Three Parenting Tips to Childproof Parenting

By Melissa Benaroya

Parenting is a tough job and requires lots of on the job training. We only become better parents when we take care our ourselves, stay open to learning, and practice parenting tools that are in alignment with our values. There are lots of things we can do to be the parents that we want to be. But it is usually best to only focus on two or three areas of improvement at a time. Here are a few reminders that will not only help make parenting feel less stressful, but also make parenting your kiddos more enjoyable.

Take care of yourself first! If you are not fueled you cannot be the parent, partner, friend, employee, etc., that you want to be. I love to use the oxygen mask analogy. When traveling on an airplane, they always review the safety procedures. They remind you that in case of emergency you must put your oxygen mask on FIRST when traveling with a small child. WHY? The reason being that if you put the child’s mask on first you risk not being able to get yours on in time. You could potentially lose consciousness and then be of no use to that child. Nobody survives!!! The same is true in parenting. In order to continue to care for our children the way we want to we MUST care for ourselves first!

Listen. Listen to your children. What do they really want, what do they really need? Many times children are expressing their needs through their actions or inconvenient behaviors. If we listen more we can better understand our children and what they need. Many times what we hear is the nagging, crying or whining that is on top, but if we take the time to really listen we can usually hear a yearning for attention and connection. And when we have a greater understanding of what they want or need, it can decrease the frustrations that we have with our children and ultimately decrease some of those behaviors.

Ask questions. Children use their behavior as a way of getting their needs met most of the time. Underneath these behaviors are needs of wanting attention, to be connected to you, to feel a sense of belonging or significance. It is hard to see this most times when they are yelling, throwing, kicking or even ignoring us. Asking questions can help our children to better understand what they want and need and can also help us to better understand our children. Simply asking, “sweetie, what is it that you need right now?” when there is a meltdown or blow up, can de-escalate the situation, help your child to feel heard and also help your child to get clear on exactly what it is they really want.

If you are interested in learning more about Childproof parenting you can find the book The Childproof Parent written by Benaroya & Dowdy here. You can also sign up for one of the Award Winning Mommy Matters eight week workshops offered in Seattle online at or email Melissa directly at The next Mommy Matters workshop begins January 25th!


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