No Such Thing As The Perfect Parent

No Such Thing As The Perfect Parent

      Let me say, firstly, that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. I bet before you became a parent, you had all sorts of ideas about the kind of parent you were going to be. You were going to be patient and thoughtful, even after being woken up at 3 a.m. […]

4 Parenting Styles were just the start

4 Parenting Styles were just the start

I often hear parents discussing their parenting style like a badge of honour, but have you ever wondered where parenting styles come from? It all started with the four parenting styles of authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parenting and their impact on children, which were developed in the 1960s by Diana Buamrind. She was a […]

#1 Biggest Parenting Mistake

#1 Biggest Parenting Mistake

Seeing an article with the words “#1 Biggest Parenting Mistake” has got to be scary. Suddenly you think, “Yikes! Am I doing that?” Maybe you rush to click on the link, or maybe you don’t, scared by the real possibility that whatever it is, you might be doing it. Maybe you’re afraid of waking up […]

How to Build Climate Change Resilience in Children

Posted by on Jul 5, 2021 in Articles, resilience | No Comments
How to Build Climate Change Resilience in Children

Take a look at this lettuce.  Growing against all odds in a less than easy environment.  If you want to learn how to build climate change resilience in children, then you need to teach your children the skills necessary to adapt and thrive in what looks to be an increasingly hostile world.  We’ve all had […]

My Sons Keep Fighting

My Sons Keep Fighting

Hi Annie, My sons keep fighting! We have a six-year-old and just-turned-three-year-old pair of boys. We are at our wits’ end trying to stamp out their extremely physical play and interactions. Our six-year-old will quietly provoke our three-year-old until there’s a flurry of hitting, kicking, and throwing of objects. Our six year-old then tries to […]

My Child Keeps Interrupting

My Child Keeps Interrupting

Hi Annie. My child keeps interrupting. Have you got any ideas about what to do with a child that interrupts all the time? I’m a foster mother, and I have a three-year-old girl that never lets me have a minute on the phone without her constantly pulling at me and interrupting. She shouts or screams […]

My Child Feels Left Out

My Child Feels Left Out

When any parent says my child feels left out I feel for them.  Theres no doubt that watching your child being left out of the play is heartbreaking.  All parents want the best for their child and when your child is purposely left out by others, it reminds us of our own painful experiences that […]

The Key To Parenting Is To Keep It Simple

Posted by on Sep 8, 2020 in Articles, Child Development | No Comments
The Key To Parenting Is To Keep It Simple

I’m sure you’ve heard the KISS principle, and yes, it certainly applies to parenting. In fact, I’d have to say that the key to parenting is to keep it simple. However, trying to keep it simple often presents us with a problem because it seems as if society at large likes things to be complex. […]

Is Democratic Parenting Good?

Is Democratic Parenting Good?

Is democratic parenting good? Today we’re going to ask the question, “Is democratic parenting good?” Well, I love democracy. In fact, I’m a huge fan. I cannot imagine not having any input into what goes on around me, even though that input seems to effect less social change over time. Well, to answer that question, let […]

4 Parenting Sentences You Should Watch

4 Parenting Sentences You Should Watch

In this article, I’ll suggest 4 parenting sentences you should watch in terms of whether or not it’s a good idea to say them. That’s because the sentences I’m going to draw to your attention are very easy to say. In fact, they’re so easy to say that you probably say them all the time […]

I Can’t Get My Toddler To Sleep

I Can’t Get My Toddler To Sleep

Dear Annie. I can’t get my toddler to sleep! Our 13-month-old son started at a day home 3 weeks ago when I went back to work, and he does not seem to be adjusting very well. He cries and cries, and he won’t take any naps there, so he is exhausted when we pick him […]

How to deal with aggression

How to deal with aggression

Hi Annie, I’m wondering how to deal with the aggression on the part of my son. My 9-year-old son came home today with a note from his principal and teacher. The teacher listed four aggressive episodes that my son engaged in in the last week and labelled them “violent acts.” I know that every parent […]

The Secret To Getting Your Kids To Listen

The Secret To Getting Your Kids To Listen

Would you like to know the secret to getting your kids to listen? Isn’t it funny how words like “ice cream,” “park,” or anything else that strikes kids as fun are heard right away, yet anything boring, like “it’s time to clean up your toys” or “go to bed,” can sail right over their heads […]

Where You Choose To Bring Up Your Kids

Where You Choose To Bring Up Your Kids

Where you choose to bring up your kids, matters a lot. That’s probably not a popular thing to say right about now, as so many of our cities and other living spaces are often, from a kid’s point of view, mind-numbingly boring. Where you choose to bring up your kids: Your environment impacts your children. […]

Parenting The Strong Willed Child

Parenting The Strong Willed Child

Would you like to know how to parent the strong-willed child? Parenting a strong-willed child is not easy, but I’m going to tell you something wonderful. Even though you may not feel it at times, you’re lucky. You see, I understand. If you’re the parent of a strong-willed or otherwise challenging child, it’s easy to […]

How To Handle A Temper Tantrum In Public

How To Handle A Temper Tantrum In Public

Would you like to know how to handle a temper tantrum in public? Let’s first acknowledge that there is nothing worse than having to handle a temper tantrum in public. All those judgmental stares and half-whispered comments just as you’re standing there with your toddler’s arms and legs flailing all over the sidewalk. So if […]

Parent With Confidence Not Fear

Posted by on Nov 2, 2019 in Articles, Child Development | No Comments
Parent With Confidence Not Fear

I have a great job though sometimes I have to confess to feeling as though I’m swimming up stream.  The reason I often feel that is that my way of helping parents differs somewhat from the prevailing North American parenting philosophy that’s currently in favour.  What that ideology is we’ll get to later, but one […]

Do Parenting Tips Work?

Posted by on Oct 22, 2019 in Articles, general behaviour | No Comments
Do Parenting Tips Work?

Parenting tips are everywhere, but the question is: do parenting tips work? All around us, they fill magazines, the airwaves, and the internet, and many parents rely on them not just for little snippets of information but for their wholesale parenting approach. Which begs the question: do parenting tips work?  And, if they don’t, why […]

Child Behaviour Solutions that Actually Work

Child Behaviour Solutions that Actually Work

Are you looking for child behaviour solutions that actually work? As we approach Thanksgiving, I’ve no doubt there are parents out there trying to drift off to sleep at night with their calm thoughts being interrupted by visions of their preschooler screaming their head off during Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of enjoying warm fuzzies and thoughts […]

My Son Hits My Daughter

My Son Hits My Daughter

Siblings fighting usually drives most parents up a wall, and getting a question like “What do I do when my son hits my daughter?” is an extremely common parenting question. Usually it’s an odd hit or push there, but sometimes the behaviour becomes extreme, and then it becomes a far bigger parent problem to solve. […]

Teaching Gratitude Makes for Happy Kids

Teaching Gratitude Makes for Happy Kids

Why Teaching Gratitude Makes For Happy Kids:  It’s all in the brain. If you want to know why teaching gratitude makes for happy kids, let’s start with the inner workings of the brain. You can think of it like this: All of us have our “big brain” and then our “reptilian brain.” Our “reptilian brain” […]

Toilet Training Troubles

Posted by on Jan 7, 2019 in Behaviour advice column, Potty | No Comments
Toilet Training Troubles

Is your child having toilet training troubles? This letter is from a mom in Spain who is having toilet training troubles with her two-year-old and asks what to do with her son, who won’t ask to use the potty on his own. I’ve been on the road to potty training my 34-month-old, and it’s taking […]

The Trouble with Online Parenting Advice

The Trouble with Online Parenting Advice

So what’s the trouble with online parenting advice?   Looking for online parenting advice?  Sounds fair enough.  So what’s the trouble with online parenting advice? After all, what’s wrong with reaching out for guidance at the end of a night with the kids and looking for help, particularly when any parent I know would much […]

My Son Won’t Sleep!

My Son Won’t Sleep!

Hi Annie,  My son won’t sleep! He’s 3 1/2 years old and gets up 1–4 times a night, comes into our room, and says, “Mom.” I go back and tuck him in. Sometimes it’s that easy; other times it’s a battle, and he shouts, “I don’t want to go to sleep.” Sometimes he says, “No, […]

Want To Be Your Child’s Friend?

Want To Be Your Child’s Friend?

Do you want to be your child’s friend? All parents love their kids, and pretty much all of us, I’m sure, have wonderful dreams of doing things together and getting along well as adults. But just as we recognize that it may be great to be your child’s friend when they’re an adult, is it […]

Child Says Hurtful Things

Child Says Hurtful Things

Would you like to know what to do when your child says hurtful things? One mom below contacted me to tell me that her child says hurtful things. Words can be hurtful, and none more so than when you’re called mean or kids say they hate you. So, if any parent reports that their child […]

Should You Give Toddlers Choices?

Should You Give Toddlers Choices?

One of the first big questions of parenthood is: Should you give toddlers choices? The answer to that question is yes and no. What do I mean by that? Well, read on, because the answer is two-fold, and getting it right is extremely important to both your peace and that of your toddler. Firstly, if […]

How To Teach Resilience

How To Teach Resilience

Resilience is a very “in” word, but the question is, how to teach resilience? As a word, it’s quoted frequently, largely in response to the link made by experts and parents alike about how those who won’t let their children experience failure end up impacting their child’s ability to deal with the bumps of life […]

What To Do With Peer Pressure

What To Do With Peer Pressure

As a parent, I’m sure you’ve wondered about your child and what to do about peer pressure and the need they have to be like everyone else. As you know, peer pressure can make many kids—and adults, for that matter—do things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. As humans, we want to fit in, and that can […]

The Problem With Parenting Today

The Problem With Parenting Today

I made a post on Facebook the other day alluding to the gigantic North American industry known as the “parenting industry.” I call it the problem with parenting today. I bet you didn’t think of parenting as an industry, but it is, and it’s huge. As I alluded to in my post, though, it’s not […]

How To Build Your Child’s Self Esteem

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Articles, self esteem | No Comments
How To Build Your Child’s Self Esteem

If you’re sitting out there wondering how to build your child’s self-esteem, I want to start with a joke. One of George Carlin’s more endearing moments, language aside, was when he made fun of the parental obsession of refusing to look reality in the face and say those all-important character-building words to your children, along […]

Free Range Parenting

Free Range Parenting

I’ve always loved the concept of “free range parenting.” But I recall one trip a while back when I went skiing for the weekend. I actually went to the ski resort, did a few runs, managed not to kill myself, handed in my equipment, and did what I really wanted to do, which was relax, […]

Defining Risk

Defining Risk

I heard about the story that defines the state of risk in our society. Cardel Place, a fitness facility in Calgary, has been forced to be part of the “defining risk” agenda, and I feel sorry for them. Cardel Place used to “rock” literally. Kids climbed, balanced, and jumped all over the rocks and turned […]

My Child Is Narcissistic

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Articles, Being mean, narcissism | No Comments
My Child Is Narcissistic

Are you sitting there in a quiet moment, worrying, “My child is narcissistic?” If you are, you’re not alone, and please don’t feel bad. Narcissism is pretty much everywhere you look. Sometimes we even look up to narcissistic people. They’re the go-getters with high self-esteem who take no prisoners. But is narcissism all it’s cracked […]

Everyone Wants To Be A Star

Everyone Wants To Be A Star

I love humble, don’t you? There’s nothing nicer in the world than meeting someone who is just terrific in whatever way but doesn’t really know it, or at least if they do, they’re humble about their abilities. The trouble is, that’s not what I see. Instead, everyone wants to be a star. A case in […]

What To Do When Your Child Is Bored

What To Do When Your Child Is Bored

Ok, so what to do when your child is bored? Your child is hanging out whining at you and saying, “Mom, I’m bored.” You were having a good day, but now you’re just looking for an answer, any answer. Maybe you’re googling fun games to play or calling a friend over for a playdate. It’s […]

The Sexualization Of Childhood

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Articles, Child Development | No Comments
The Sexualization Of Childhood

The other day I was blown away by a CBC documentary called “Sexted Up Kids,” which, as the title suggests, is about the sexualization of childhood. This was no gentle prod about the state of the world, but instead an “in your face” account of the sexualization of childhood and how horribly pervasive it is […]

What’s Wrong With Education?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Child Development, Education | No Comments
What’s Wrong With Education?

What’s wrong with education? Well, first let’s look at report cards as an indicator of the health of the system in general. Report cards that dispense with actual comments and instead replace grades with some lovely politically correct words, like “evident” and “emerging,” Words that are pretty hard to understand but certainly don’t hurt anyone’s […]

How To Stop Being A Hovering Parent

Posted by on Jul 26, 2015 in Child Development, handling risk | No Comments
How To Stop Being A Hovering Parent

If you asked a random group of parents in a room, many, if not most, would admit they hover. They’re often uncomfortable doing it but feel they have no other option. So the question is, “How to stop being a hovering parent?” A lot of hovering is actually motivated by fear. Fear of condemnation by […]

Is The Education System Failing Us?

Posted by on Jul 26, 2015 in Articles, Education | No Comments
Is The Education System Failing Us?

There is a lot of discussion society-wide at the moment with regards to the question of education, namely, is the education system failing us? A while back, Margaret Wente, one of the columnists for the Globe and Mail, was on a roll. First, she lamented our children’s seeming inability to grasp the concepts of math. […]

Ways To Make Your Child Happy

Ways To Make Your Child Happy

Like any parent, I’m sure you want to know ways to make your child happy. The answer is really quite simple. It’s actually one simple secret, but let me set the stage for you. Recently, I came back from holidays in Europe, where I went to Holland to see and be with all my husband’s […]

Is Risk Taking Good?

Is Risk Taking Good?

Asking the question, “Is risk-taking good for kids?” is critical to changing our society’s paranoid perspective on risk. The bottom line is that if there’s something in our society that we need to change quickly for the health of our children, it’s our perception of children and risk. I don’t know about you, but I […]

My Child Is Special

My Child Is Special

Is Your Child Really Special? I have to say something scary is happening to words, and it’s already having a big impact on our kids. If you’re a mom or dad, you’re probably saying it to yourself many times each week. What is it?  Well, you’re probably saying, “My child is special.” Whispering to your […]

How Do You Stop A Child Interrupting

How Do You Stop A Child Interrupting

Dear Annie, I am looking for some advice or suggestions on how to teach my 6-year-old about personal space. He is a very social child and enjoys being around kids, adults, etc., but he always seems to need to get the attention of others. When he arrives at school, he yells, gives hugs, and just […]

How To Handle A Child That Screams

How To Handle A Child That Screams

Annie – I’d like to know how to handle a child that screams. Specifically, my 19-month-old niece has a screaming problem. She will scream for no reason, and it is a piercing scream, and her parents don’t know what to do about it. It is very disruptive, and when we are all having dinner, she […]

My Son Won’t Do As He’s Told

My Son Won’t Do As He’s Told

Hello. I have a four-year-old son who is in preschool and has a VERY dominant personality. The bottom line is that my son won’t do as he’s told. He has trouble listening and following the rules. He wants to do things his own way. He has this problem at home as well. He bosses his […]

How Can I Help My Child Overcome Fear

How Can I Help My Child Overcome Fear

Hi Annie, I have a question. How can I help my child overcome fear? Recently, my son has started to get really worried about me. I had to help clean up after a party the other night and left after the fireworks, and my husband put him to bed. He cried for two straight hours, […]

My Child Is Mean To Others

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Anger issues, Being mean | No Comments
My Child Is Mean To Others

Hi Annie, I don’t know what to do because my child is mean to others. Today the teacher pulled me aside and told me that my three-year-old son was taking toys away from other kids and that every time this one little girl would make something out of play dough, he would smash it. She […]

My Child Lives in a Fantasy World.

My Child Lives in a Fantasy World.

Dear Annie,  My child lives in a fantasy world. She’s five years old and a very cute and adorable girl. I love her so much and treat her as a princess. She was fascinated at first by going to school. However, after a couple of months, she started hating school, and her teacher called us, […]

I Can’t Potty Train My Son

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Behaviour advice column, Potty | No Comments
I Can’t Potty Train My Son

Dear Annie, We have a wonderful 3-year-old boy that we are at odds with over potty training. The issue is that I can’t potty train my son, or at least both of us are having difficulty. Both my husband and I have been watching for the typical signs of readiness and thought we were ready. […]

I Have An Unhappy Baby

I Have An Unhappy Baby

Hello Annie, We have 17-week-old fraternal twin girls, and I have an unhappy baby. We recently relocated the family to Calgary, where we have no support network or friends, and we appear to be having issues with one of the girls. While twin A is always content and happy (and easy to pacify), twin B […]

How Do I Stop Siblings From Fighting?

How Do I Stop Siblings From Fighting?

Hi Annie. I am a mother of three children, a five-year-old girl and twin three-year-old boys, and my question is, “How do I prevent siblings from fighting?” They are busy and a handful on the best of days. But lately, the boys are wrestling and are now fighting (punching) each other constantly. I don’t know […]

My Child Won’t Go To Sleep

My Child Won’t Go To Sleep

I have a problem in that my child won’t go to sleep. We have a 15-month-old who suddenly started hating to go to sleep and won’t stay asleep. He wakes up wailing and distraught, throws his soother and zebra blanket, and reaches out of his crib. He then squirms in your arms to get down. […]

I Don’t Want To Yell At My Child

I Don’t Want To Yell At My Child

    Hi Annie,  I don’t want to yell at my child, but I’d like to know how to get my eight-year-old boy to do things without me having to yell at him. It’s not like he didn’t hear me the first time. Hi Lesley, I know what you mean. Many parents say to me, […]

How To Help My Child Deal With Change

How To Help My Child Deal With Change

I’d like to know how to my child deal with change? It is soon summer camp season, and my five-year-old son is excited to attend. Last year we found while he LOVES camps, he is always sad to see them end and becomes anxious about the next one- he really likes routine and for things […]

My Child Won’t Sit On The Potty

My Child Won’t Sit On The Potty

Hi Annie, My child won’t sit on the potty. Jade is terrified of the potty and the toilet. If I ask her if she wants to go without a diaper, she has a meltdown. She is genuinely scared, and although I am in no immediate rush to potty train, I would like to try and […]

My Son Has Low Self Esteem

My Son Has Low Self Esteem

Hello Annie, My son has low self-esteem. He’s eight.  I always try to tell him how well he does things, yet he does not believe me. He constantly thinks he has to do everything perfect the first time and melts down if he doesn’t. Do you have any solutions or recommend any good books I […]

My Two Year Old is Out of Control!

My Two Year Old is Out of Control!

Hi there, Annie. My two-year-old is out of control, so I’m seeking help for my boy, who will be 3 in April. I feel like he’s totally out of control, and I have tried everything I can possibly think of to get him to change. It seems as though he spends most of his day […]