Cracking The Parenting Code


Before becoming a parent I had many questions. How could I bring up my child to be happy and well-adjusted when at least 1-4 adults will have a mental health problem in their life? How could I ensure that she wouldn’t have to spend her adulthood trying to recover from her childhood?

After becoming a mum my list got much longer. Why is my child crying when I have met all her needs? Why is she not sleeping through the night? Why is every parenting book telling me something different? If I want to be a peaceful parent how on earth can I get my daughter to ‘behave’ if I’m just nice to her all the time?

Then I discovered Hand in Hand parenting. I must admit that since then my capacity for reading parenting books and articles is seriously diminished. I don’t spend all night scouring the web trying to find solutions to my problems.

Instead now I have internalised a simple universal code that I can apply to almost any situation. Here it is:

  • Children are born naturally, joyful, loving and co-operative. They don’t want to try our patience with challenging behaviour.
  • Children will be their naturally loving selves, when they feel well-connected to the adults around them.
  • When children experience stress and upset they often feel disconnected from us even when we are right there with them. Cue lots of off-track behaviour to try and reconnect with us (so-called ‘attention seeking’).
  • We can help our children release their upset feelings with laughter and play. Laughter causes a reduction in stress hormones in the body, and promotes endorphin release. When children feel better they will behave ‘better.’ (Giggle Parenting)
  • We can listen to our children’s emotional upsets. Tears have stress hormones in, so we shouldn’t try to stop them. They are nature’s way of healing and restoring emotional equilibrium. (Staylistening)
  • We can set limits on behaviour that allow room to empathise and listen to our child’s tears, or laughter.
  • Special time, (1-1 time spent with our child doing something they love is a powerful way for children to soak up a deep sense of connection to us and prevent ‘misbehaviour.’

Okay, so that’s the code you need for bringing up happy kids!

However, there is one thing that makes applying this code a little challenging and that’s our own feelings. Few of us were brought up by parents who listened to us and understand that there were emotional reasons behind our behaviour. Every day, I still struggle at times to apply this simple code.

That’s why we also need to apply this code to ourselves. To know that when we aren’t the parent we want to be, it’s because we have upset feelings clouding our thinking. To get support so we have somewhere to take our thoughts and feelings, to get them out, so we can get back to ‘behaving well’ with our child. Listening time is a tool to support us to be the parents we want to be.

You can learn more about how to apply this code by checking out the archives on my blog. Hand in Hand’s online Parenting By Connection Starter Class also helps as you can learn and connect with other parents to get the listening you need.

Have you got a parenting challenge you’d like to crack with this parenting code? Leave me a comment or contact me via facebook, and your challenge could be the subject of my next blog post! 

Cuddle Fairy
Two Tiny Hands


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25 thoughts on “Cracking The Parenting Code

  1. I really love reading your blog as your advice and recommendations fits perfectly with my natural instincts as a parent. It starts as soon as they are born when people ask ‘Is he good?’ About a tiny newborn – as if he is deliberately being ‘bad’ when he is awake at night or cries. I will definitely do some further reading about some of this – I am halfway through the playful parenting book you recommended and I love it. It makes so much sense. #BloggerClubUK

    1. Hi there, I’m so glad you’re enjoying Playful Parenting. I love Larry Cohen’s work, and he learnt everything from Hand in Hand parenting, so our approaches are quite similar, but he has some wonderful games and suggestions. I always hated that ‘his he good?’ thing too. Thanks for reading!

  2. This is so beautiful and that list made me tearful – so many children aren’t brought up that way and it’s so sad. But I love the twist that you make – apply these to ourselves – and you’re so right. Such an interesting thought provoking post that will certainly stay with me as I continue to parent my teens – this can equally be applied to them too so thank you #BloggerClubUK

  3. thanks so much for your lovely comment justsayingmum. Yes this definitely applies to teens. The trick is just to remember it in the heat of the moment when we are feeling stressed and losing patience ourselves.

  4. Just YES! So fab to have this ‘go-to’ list for mindful, empathetic, gentle parenting. Sometimes it’s easier said than done so I may be sticking this on my fridge. Thanks so much for putting this together for us all. #ABrandNewDay

    1. Thanks so much mindful mummy. That’s a great idea to put it on the fridge, I think I’ll do that too!

  5. That’s a really interesting post with some really fab tips, that I will be taking with me. You also make a great point about applying it to ourselves, certainly something we should do. Brilliant post, thank you for sharing xx #Bloggerclubuk

  6. It sounds so easy, and every single statement makes perfect sense.

    Still I have to remind myself to breathe in and breathe out, when I feel he’s pushing my buttons, and I don’t have time to laugh and play because he needs to put on his shoes and leave for school five minutes AGO 😉

    1. Yes, I forget this sometimes too. I I’ve realized my daughter would rather be woken up really early and have time to play in between the getting ready process. That has helped us a lot.

  7. Every week you bring me a blog post that makes my head nod in approval. I’ve certainly been applying these techniques each week and even at 11 months old I can see how it helps him. He is such a happy little soul. Thank you for sharing this with #abrandnewday

    1. That’s wonderful. I’m always so happy to hear parents applying these tools early on. It helps so much when you get to the toddler stage!

  8. I think the first point on this list is the most important – no baby is born bad! I think this is a lovely approach to parenting, but whether or not it would be easy to follow is open to debate lol. Like you said in your post, I think it would be really difficult when you’re having a bad day yourself
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

    1. yes it can be hard randommusings. Learning Hand in Hand parenting has helped me decrease my bad days, but they happen to all of us!

  9. “Few of us were brought up by parents who listened to us and understand that there were emotional reasons behind our behaviour.” I feel this sometimes when I hear words coming out of my mouth that I can hear my parents saying and I remember in that moment just how frustrating it felt to be dismissed or ignored. As always, great post, Kate.

    1. thanks Tara, it’s good to know where that voice comes from, and there is another way. Self-control is not always easy though!

    1. thanks Crunchy Mummy, yes I think it helps to be confident in our choices, and know that we’re doing the best we can.

  10. I feel like I had a pretty happy childhood in general but I’ve still ended up with some emotional issues. Who doesn’t have these? I think that’s just being human. So I try not to worry TOO much about “messing up” my kids… knowing they’ll turn out to be flawed humans in an imperfect world, like all of us. That said, I really love your tips for coping better with kids’ (and our own) emotions and I do try to follow a lot of the gentle parenting stuff.

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