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Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting author Nöel Janis Norton: live webchat on Monday 11 June, noon to 1pm

(72 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Jun-12 11:19:59

Do you feel that you need to shout, nag or lecture in order to get your children to do what you ask? Do you wish your children would bicker less and get on better? Are your mornings stressed as you rush to get your kids to school on time?

Nöel Janis Norton is an internationally renowned authority on children's behaviour and learning. She runs a parenting centre in north London and, in a career spanning more than 40 years, has helped tens of thousands of families.

Her parenting techniques are designed to quickly improve children's cooperation and self-reliance. Within weeks of putting her parenting strategies into practice, Nöel says you will feel calmer and more confident because life at home will be much less stressful. Typical family flashpoints, such as mealtimes, homework, computer use, chores and bedtimes, will all become calmer, easier and happier.

Nöel's new book, Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting, is aimed at helping parents with children aged 3-13 years old.

She is joining us on Mon 11 June from noon to 1pm. If you can't join Nöel on the day, please post your question for her here.

Sunflowergirl2011 Tue 12-Jun-12 20:53:11

So excited to have got a question answered on the web chat for the first time! Thanks smile
Now off to remember and put into action the advice...

morecoffee Tue 12-Jun-12 13:26:17

it's so, so true that time for yourself can have a seriously positive impact on controlling your emotional responses to tricky/stressful everyday family situations. try these? - getting up extra early to have a cuppa in peace before the house awakes, taking five minutes to take some deep breaths outside, (or some yoga) and (try to) switch off... if dh or someone handy available(!) a quick evening walk or run - ten minutes is totally better than nothing. however I'm not so good at practicing what I preach as I know this works for me, yet everything else seems to take higher priority! I just keep on reintroducing it and ALWAYS feel better. the effect is immediate and 100% positive every time without fail. I think we all need to get rid of the guilt for doing something that we feel is indulgent yet is really essential to our mental survival!!

Lovefruitsandvegs Tue 12-Jun-12 12:48:50

swanthingafteranother, nothing to be horrified about. He is not a toddler and they expect quite a lot at school.

cybbo Mon 11-Jun-12 22:34:14

Nosleep everyone can make time for themselves. You've just got to cArve it out from somewhere, even if it's before everyone else gets up or after they've all gone to bed

swanthingafteranother Mon 11-Jun-12 18:44:22

Am I the only person who is struck by how some people aren't listening to the essential message. Stop trying to get your children to do what YOU want, and blaming Them for everything.
Listen, think what they need, get them on your side, and they will want to please you.

Zaksmum your little boy is obviously frustrated by not being potty trained, and needs a proper bedtime (he sounds completely overtired and confused by what is expected of him - no wonder he is resorting to "stories"

Lovefruitandveg - I am horrified that you think a little boy of six should be "serious about his studies". Write a whole page shock "Compliance"

There are people here who just think their children ought to "obey" them regardless of the context or developmental stage. Not surprisingly the children feel pretty cheesed off and defiant.

I think the "making time for yourself" is not about going to spas, eating cake - it is more the message of approaching your child in a positive way, not as a scape goat for your own bad feelings. So if you are cross about something already, don't blame your child because they made things worse..

I dunno, but this has made me feel a bit ashamed of the way we expect our children to be "good" without really showing them how to behave at all sad

JustFab Mon 11-Jun-12 17:38:10

"What is not widely understood is that parenting is not instinctive. For example, mother gorillas don't know how to take care of their babies unless they have seen other mother gorillas taking care of babies."

This really hit home. Not because I am a gorilla <eyes unshaved legs> but because I was abandoned by my mother so didn't have one to show me how to take care of my own children. What has thrown me with my children is I used to be a nanny and did really well with those children. Instinct really kicked in. With my own children I don't seem to have it as lack of confidence has really taken over along with other issues.

ZaksMama Mon 11-Jun-12 14:19:20

Hi Noel,

I need to stop yelling for my sanity, my husbands & most importantly my 3 1/2 yr old son. Every day we wake up and he now asks that it be a no yelling day, which speaks volumes.

Yelling mostly occurs because I ask 1, 2, 3 times I raise my voice, 4 & 5 I am shouting and make go to bed threats. Most of the times, he will do as requested. The handful of times he hasn't, I have followed through with my threat.

He has also been a crier/whiner, which drives me nuts. He also does not do well with transitions, and we manage this by timing things and giving minute reminders. This usually works well.

However, diaper changes, eating, picking up toys, and a variety of other daily occurrences are met with resistance, he will run & hide, kick & cry or just plain say never. This leads to lots of yelling, an occasional smack. He will eventually calm and apologize, but this routine cycle is not how any of us want to live. There has got to be a better way to have him listen, do what needs to be done and move on to better things.

He has also taken to telling stories, say after kicking Dad when trying to get changed. He'll get yelled at, and he'll say there was a bug (he needed to get so that's why he hit). I didn't know 3 1/2 yr old could come up with such stories already.

He is not a good eater, he won't potty train and he still will not fall asleep in his bed. He falls asleep with us in living room and we bring him in to bed. Or we will read in bed with him, and only when he is sound asleep can we leave.

I feel like a failure as a Mama, as every turn is met with resistance and often times lose my voice because I am constantly yelling about something. School mornings are the worst, trying to get changed, dressed, brushed, nourished, and out the door... every moment met with resistance.

Help, please...

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Mon 11-Jun-12 14:14:57

Not sure how useful the 'make time for yourself' strategy is. Great in theory, but in practice, with 3 dcs and a stressful part-time-plus job, it's never going to happen!

Inedit Mon 11-Jun-12 13:27:16

me too
very sad

Rindercella Mon 11-Jun-12 13:22:56

Oh, really disappointed not to have got a response.

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 13:21:54

I hope you've found my responses useful. I'm sorry that I couldn't get to every single one of you. But many of the questions covered the same themes, so I'm hoping that by reading some answers to other mums you may hear some information that is useful to you.
If you live anywhere near London you might want to come to the free Introductory Talks that we give at our centre every fortnight. If you send your email address to admin@calmerparenting.co.uk, we'll put you on our email list, and you'll receive updates about our free talks and other events and resources.
Do feel free to visit the website www.calmerparenting.co.uk

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 13:13:32

maples

Hi Noel, I haven't read your book yet and I am sure it is full of useful strategies. I look forward to learning more by reading the webchat.

My question is this, do you feel the plethora of parenting books is undermining our ability to trust our own instincts with our children?

I must admit to having wept when reading the Baby Whisperer when DS was small - it has not been retained smile

What is not widely understood is that parenting is not instinctive. For example, mother gorillas don't know how to take care of their babies unless they have seen other mother gorillas taking care of babies. In previous generations, parenting knowledge was passed down within families and passed around within cohesive communities. Sadly this is no longer true. So we need to learn in other ways. Parenting books can be very helpful, particularly if they go into enough detail so that a parent really knows how to do what the author suggests. That's what I have done in my book, which is why it's more that 400 pages long!
If you happen to have a child who is by temperament relatively easy going, you may find parenting advice useful but not essential. However, if you have a child who is naturally more sensitive, more intense, more impulsive or more inflexible, you are likely to find that parenting advice is a life-saver, or at least a sanity-saver.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Jun-12 13:13:18

Thanks so much to Noel for joining us today. Noel is going to be appearing at several book shop events in the South East just before the school holidays talking through her techniques. We'll be posting up details of where she'll be appearing later today. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions today. If you weren't lucky to get a copy of Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting in our giveaway, you can buy for £8.99 at Amazon.

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 13:07:44

gazzalw

Hi Janis

A source of tension in our household has always been homework - at least for DS anyway! In Year 6 homework has eased off probably because a lot of the children were doing selective school exams and SATS and the teacher felt (rightly) that they had enough pressure. Needless to say there have been a lot fewer arguments which has made after-school time a lot more harmonious.

However, DS will be starting at one of the super-selectives in September and I can imagine that the battles will start again. He has already been warned that a lot more will be expected of him when he does homework at grammar school but we are already dreading the battles - a leopard doesn't change his spots overnight methinks.

How would you recommend that we tackle this?

In my book I have a whole chapter on how to make homework enjoyable as well as productive. I can give you a few tips now but there are more in the book. Make sure that screen time comes after homework and is a reward for homework done to your satisfaction. Find out from the school how long homework should take in your child's year and set a timer for exactly that amount of time. With this strategy your child will soon be taking responsibility for doing his homework within that time, rather than it being your job to drag him through his homework. I'm assuming that your son can do his homework well. If he can, it's his job to do it. If he can't, then you need to talk to the school rather than you re-teaching it to him. If you do that the teacher won't know what your son is actually capable of and will continue to set him work that's too difficult. Children need a healthy snack before they settle down to brain work. But of course the snacks they want are high fat, high salt and high sugar. Those snacks will undermine your child's ability to concentrate, to learn and to remember. If you're wondering how you can wean your child off unhealthy snacks, you will find the answers to this question and to many others in my book. I wish I had the time to answer in more detail and to answer more of the questions that have come in.

Am I allowed to say "Yes, but"? That may work in general, but I'm talking about the specific moment.

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 13:01:35

BlueEyeshadow

Hi,

I haven't seen an answer about how to calm down enough to use these strategies when hopping mad! Any tips?

As I responded to Ishoes, we will be less angry when we are making a point of taking care of our own needs. One way to do this is to take some time for yourself every day. Another way to help yourself be less angry is to stop doing things for your family that they can do for themselves. Not only will you have more time and energy, but your children will become more competent and confident. And they will respect you more, nobody respects an unpaid servant smile

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 12:58:00

Sunflowergirl2011

Hi
My question is about night time. My 3.5 yr old wakes up most nights sometime between 1 and 4, often for an hr or so. Invariably we end up going into her room and one of us will lie on the floor until she goes to sleep. Obviously this is pretty exhausting but if we don't she will scream, cry and refuse to stay in her room. Any ideas? I don't like her to be upset, but I am getting fed up of falling asleep on the floor!
Tia

Part of the reason she's waking up is probably because she's getting a lot of attention for it. It doesn't do her or you any good when you lie on the floor till she falls asleep. Sleep is a natural function and doesn't require you to do anything special. During the day do Think-throughs with your daughter about what will happen when she wakes in the middle of the night. What I recommend you do is take her by the hand and walk her back to her bed, without talking to her, without making eye contact, without picking her up, without asking her what's the matter, etc. You may have a few nights of her testing you by getting up many times. But because she's tired, her natural bodily reaction will be to fall asleep. Make sure to give her some special time alone with you every day so that she doesn't need to misbehave to get your attention.

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 12:50:48

Mushi44

Noel,
My grandson doesn't alwys go to the loo, even though we can see he desperately needs to. He giggles around and says he doesn't need to - until it's too late. We use DP and RL, tick charts and think throughs, but haven't cracked this issue yet.
What would you advise?
Suzanne

Star charts and sticker charts can be very motivating, especially if you are Descriptively Praising at the same time. Specifically for going to the loo, in addition to rewards I recommend that you start the habit of taking him to the loo and having him sit on the loo for a minute numerous times a day, for example every hour. Tell your grandson that he doesn't have to produce anything. He just has to sit there until you tell him to get up. This routine will result within a few days or a few weeks in him going to the loo. You haven't said how old your grandson is. If he;s old enough to answer questions, do several Think-throughs a day about this.

Hi,

I haven't seen an answer about how to calm down enough to use these strategies when hopping mad! Any tips?

HRHOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Jun-12 12:49:45

Many thanks. Have downloaded your book and look forward to the calm <positive>
grin

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 12:46:50

HRHOliviaMumsnet

Hello there
Am a bit late to all of this <fluster> but last week my DS1 (4y/o) told his friend off in addition to me (I was explaining he mustnt take his seatbelt off until we arrive at our destination) but DS1 used my voice and words.
HAve heard him doing the same (on safety issues, mostly) to my DS2. (19m)
Any tips on reprimands that wouldn't mortify when repeated by a 4 y/o?

Actually would love to be calmer and happier so all tips welcome....
Many thanks

It's embarrassing when our children copy our worst traits. The more you Descriptively Praise, the sooner you'll hear your son saying nice things to his friends. A way to avoid many reprimands is to use the strategy called Think-throughs that I explain in the Chapter on Preparing for Success. Often we are so busy and distracted that we wait until something goes wrong and then react to it. That tends to cause resentment in our children as well as ourselves. A Think-through, however, gets the same point across without any annoyance or telling off. A Think-through happens at a neutral time, not right before or after the prblem behaviour. A Think-through takes one minute at the most. In a Think-through, instead of the parent lecturing the child, the parent asks the child what he should do about something, and the child has to answer. As he answers, his brain automatically creates a vivid mental image of himself doing whatever it is he's saying he should do. This mental image is very powerful. And the more often you're willing to do these one-minute Think-throughs the sooner your child will remember what he should do, will want to do what he should do, and will actually do what he should do. Think-throughs can be used for new rules and for existing rules tha have become fuzzy because you haven't been following through consistently. Think-throughs are also useful for preparing children (and teens) for whatever is about to happen. Remember that the key is the parent asking and the child telling.

Solo Mon 11-Jun-12 12:42:53

Thank you for your answer. So you feel that it'll be worthwhile if I save up to buy your book? My Dd is only 5, so maybe it'll do good for her ~ even though she copies him and his ways...

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 12:38:30

Solo

What is the reason the books age aim ends at 13?
My Ds will be 14 in August and I sometimes feel that either he wont see it or I wont (his next birthday) as he is a very difficult child to get to do as he's told. He wont help out at home, he's rude, his tone of voice toward me is increasingly unpleasant (not even sure he knows he's doing it) and his 5yo sister is mimicking him, so I need to nip hers in the bud, but I feel his will be more difficult. He doesn't get pocket money, so I can't stop that and he doesn't have the latest gadgets ~ which is a bone of contention for him, so I can't really confiscate anything. He's very intelligent, at a grammar school (could that be a cause?).

I'm a lone parent and have no real support, so feel like the good guy/bad guy and everything else in between. I get very shouty and stressy and have to get out of this seemingly vicious circle or I might just end up doing something regretful.
Any tips or ideas please?

The reason that the book says ages 3-13 is that teenagers need a slightly different approach. The same strategies work with adolescents, but because they are so easily embarrassed and desperate to be seen to be cool parents need to modify how they talk to teens. But teens still need all the strategies I mention in the book: Descriptive Praise, Preparing for Success, Reflective Listening, Rules and Routines, Rewards and Consequences etc. Left to their own devices many teens opt for a very unhealthy lifestyle: Too little sleep, too much time in front of the screen, not doing their best on their homework and revision, too much junk food, not enough exercise, not enough time with their family etc. As parents, we need to be firm in order to guide our teens into good habits. Sometimes parents are afraid of their teens reactions when the parents try to get back in charge. Remember that you have more experience, maturity and wisdom than your teenager! You can help your teen to become more cooperative, more confident, more motivated, more self-reliant and more considerate.

HRHOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Jun-12 12:36:18

Hello there
Am a bit late to all of this <fluster> but last week my DS1 (4y/o) told his friend off in addition to me (I was explaining he mustnt take his seatbelt off until we arrive at our destination) but DS1 used my voice and words.
HAve heard him doing the same (on safety issues, mostly) to my DS2. (19m)
Any tips on reprimands that wouldn't mortify when repeated by a 4 y/o?

Actually would love to be calmer and happier so all tips welcome....
Many thanks

NoelJanisNorton Mon 11-Jun-12 12:30:59

Lovefruitsandvegs

Dear Nöel,
I am desperately looking for a book which would have information on how I could manage my children especially the older one who is 6. I do not know how I or my husband could talk to our son to increase his compliance. For example:
1. I often have to call my son more than three times for him to respond. His hearing is fine (e.g. he responds pretty fast to other things). I know that he ignores me and this irritates me as I have to do it many times a day. I have to remind him to eat, to continue eating his lunch/dinner. I want him to sit down and eat without me constantly telling him to do it. He is a skinny boy and I cannot take his food away if he had not finished within 10 or 15 minutes. While other children would eat almost anything he is very cautious about the food he eat. There is some phobia when it comes to trying new food as he will not even try it even if you give him presents. He eats what I cook but often it would take him "ages" to finish his plate mostly because he distracts himself.
2. This also happens if he is a little bit naughty with his younger brother and I need his attention to stop him doing certain things. I would have to call him many times before he responds.
3. Another thing is that he is not concentrating on his studies unless he will be reminded about the task. Not always but when it comes to writing he would try to write the story using as few words as possible when other children would write the whole page.

I do not know but may be his behaviors is normal for this age but I often get tired when he is not serious about food or studies.

With many thanks!
Mum

There seems to be several issues that you're asking about here. One is how to guide your son into the habit of doing what you ask the first time. In my book I have a whole chapter called Never Ask Twice. This is a six-step strategy but most of the time you'll only need the first three steps. The first step as with many new habits is often the hardest. The first step is to stop what you're doing and go to your child and stand and look at him. This is the opposite of what we often do, which is call from another room or fling an instruction over our shoulder as we are leaving the room. When we don't seem to be taking the instruction seriously, it's not surprising that often our children will not take it seriously either.
The second step is to stand and wait until your child stops what he's doing and looks at you. Only then do you know that you really have his attention. Once he's looking at you and listening, the likelihood is that he's taking you seriously. You may be wondering how long you would have to wait in step two. Let's remember that children want to please their parents. Let's also remember that most children behave much better at school than they do at home. This proves that they know the right way to behave and that they can do it. They just don't think they have to do it at home. The six steps show your child that instead of shouting or nagging or giving up, you'll follow through. Rather than my trying to explain the remaining steps to you now, I recommend that you read my book!

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