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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.

ElizabethSwann Thu 07-Jun-12 11:34:41

Hello Noel,

My son is autistic with ADHD. I struggle at times over issues such as computer and bedtimes ( he has real difficulty settling so that 1am is not uncommon).

For the past few weeks I have been using a sticker chart for specifics like bedtimes ( and an extra sticker if he sleeps there all night) which is working well with him. He is 9 and responds well to stickers etc.

How does this fit in with your parenting advice as I've not read your book. Things have settled here but I'd love to tackle the computer issues (rages coming off when I ask him). Any suggestions? I had planned to add it to the sticker chart once sleeping in his own bed every night was well established. Thank you smile

maples Thu 07-Jun-12 11:36:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gazzalw Thu 07-Jun-12 11:49:10

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?

Rindercella Thu 07-Jun-12 12:52:21

Hi Janis

I try and remain calm when dealing with my two DDs (2.2 years and 4.10 years), but sometimes I find it very difficult with my older DD as she can just be soooo contrary. For example, sometimes at bath time she will scream that she doesn't want a bath, so I say, fine, don't have one. Then she will screech back at me that she does want one. Then she will scream that she wants me to put her in the bath. And then when I go to help her she will screech that she'll do it herself. Sometimes I can hold it together and deal with her calmly (which obviously I know is the absolute best strategy), but other times it just gets me and I shout at her. I hate, hate, hate shouting at her. Another example is that sometimes she will refuse to leave school, saying she hates coming home which makes me feel terrible and very, very sad.

DD1 can be absolutely amazing and nice and calm and helpful. But she will then get these moments described above where she seems to get to a point where nothing I do or say will help her. She has had an awful lot of change in her short life - new sister, moved house, my father died and then my husband died all within a year of each other. But I really don't know how much of her behaviour can be attributed to that (especially losing her father) and how much is within the boundaries of normal for a nearly 5 year old.

I guess I would just love to hear any coping mechanisms you may have around behaviour such as this.

UntamedShrew Thu 07-Jun-12 14:38:56

Hi Noel - I'm really enjoying your book, I'm currently half way through my 2 weeks of descriptive praise and.. It appears we are turning a corner!! even if sometimes I catch myself sounding like a right twat in the shops with the boys

I just wondered if you had any twins specific advice about sharing? My boys are just 3 and we either have 2 of everything or they get a 'turn' after a set period of time on an egg timer which they can hold while they wait. This is on but a) makes the day pass very slowly and b) is really hard at a playdate.

Also any views (I'm canvassing all and sundry) on whether twins (non ID but both boys) do better in same or separate classes at school??! They are best friends but do squabble over toys occasionally as above.

ohforfoxsake Thu 07-Jun-12 18:32:28

Lots of books deal with younger age children - I need one that will cure my 9 yo DS's selective hearing and my 10 yo DS's delayed reaction of a 30 minute minimum between being asked to do something and actually doing it. Will this book do this? (If it does it may well work on DH as well).

I have an entire shelf of parenting books from when they were younger, all gathering dust. Instead I opt for instinct. When that fails I adopt the "nagging til it's time for wine" approach.

Ishoes Thu 07-Jun-12 19:05:43

My question to the author-

I find it very hard to control my temper with my dcs-especially when they are all bickering or fighting for my attention-I have 3 dcs btw!. I find myself all too often losing control and shouting/screaming at them. I have also been known to swearblushwhich I am ashamed of.

What can I do to stop myself losing it?

porridgelover Fri 08-Jun-12 13:13:06

Hi Noel...I won a copy of your book from MN (thank you grin).
My question is: as a lone parent any advice on how to juggle when two kids simultaneously need your attention. For instance, at night, we have a cuddle in bed after lights out Sometimes, whoever I choose first, the other will have a melt-down about waiting- this is generally when we are tired or had a stressful day.

Also wanted to ask, (I havent finished your book and you may have covered it in there) how much were you influenced by Haim Gainott's work (Between Parent and Child) and the much cited 'How to talk so kids will listen' books?

VenetiaLanyon Fri 08-Jun-12 18:58:35

Hi Noel,

Can you talk me through your approach to punishments? I know that in an ideal world these won't ever be necessary, as I will have calmly, easily and happily guided my DD's way through the day grin, but in the real world I sometimes reach the stage when I've given DD enough chances to do something (nicely), and she still won't do it.

At this stage I will usually threaten a punishment which is related to the crime e.g. at bedtime say that she will lose a story if she's mucked about so much with her bath that it's now too late to read, but I always feel like a mean old bully doing this. What is your approach?

Thanks smile

Sunflowergirl2011 Fri 08-Jun-12 20:53:17

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!

MarkGruffalo Fri 08-Jun-12 21:10:20

Well - have just read six glowing reviews on Amazon and therefore I am going to take a punt and order your book now. I scare myself with my shouting sometimes and something has to change.
Sadly I don't live in the UK so won't get it in time for Monday (Kindle schmindle I am too old for new gizmos and gadgets! wink) but if I have survived the school run without a meltdown then I will tune in for the webchat.

My core problem is that my eldest really really doesn't seem to have anythng she is so enraptured with that she is sad about having it taken away or confiscated.

Seriously - she can go without dvds, trips to cinema, tv, wii, treats, playdates etc without turning a hair. Which leaves you with less to bargain with it must be said.
They say the opposite to love is indifference. It isn't that she is indifferent but she would rather lose an item than lose an argument iyswim.

That was more a vent than a question. Anyway wish me luck. smile

Turniphead1 Fri 08-Jun-12 21:34:21

Hi Noel. I have read the first three chapters of your book ( having heard you on Women's Hour and then been reminded by this thread!) - so I am going to implement the Descriptive Praise section before moving on to the rest as you advise.
My parenting is rather like Isshoes (poster below) which makes me feel very sad. I seem to spend my entire life in varying degrees of irritability.

I have two questions:
- you mention different types of children ( those that are more sensitive , impulsive etc) - but surely there are different types of parents too. Does this impact upon success. I worry that I am just the type of person who finds small kids quite irritating. ( I have three - 3,6&8)

- Do parents in your experience "fall off the wagon"? I often start new parenting approaches like sticker charts etc which help behaviour only to find that they are unsustainable (or rather I fail to sustain them them...)

That said - I am excited about your book. Now to break the habit of either " over -praising " and superlatives or cross words & critism.

Inedit Sat 09-Jun-12 11:24:05

Am always looking for a good child behaviour book!
My DS is 4.5, very challenging.
Whenever I discuss with anyone(friends, family, his pre-school teachers) I feel like they are dismissive. E.g" Testosterone surge, he's just being a boy, it's because he knows he is going to school, it's the age"

I feel like I am constantly correcting, chastisting, asking him to ask nicely, don't do that, it's dangerous. He's just started arguing back!!

"No, it's not. I can do that. I will just lock them up in jail. "

What can I do to make it easier? Or is it always going to be like this?
Are there children out there who will always be very challenging?

He also seems to be having some sort of separation anxiety. He says he wants to be with me always, last night, in the middle of the night, he insisted on coming to the loo with me!

Solo Sat 09-Jun-12 14:38:15

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?

Nosleeptillgodknowswhen Sat 09-Jun-12 15:10:33

I got one of the free books grin. but i have to say after a particularly stressful week my first reaction was 'oh god, 400 pages!!'. Having said that it is easy to read and at least you get the excuse of pausing for 2 weeks of positive praise. I've found it works much better on non-hot spot issues (like getting ready) but i still struggle when they are in full blown squabbling mood and making my blood boil (dcs 2, 6 and 8).

My question is: when you are concentrating on descriptive praising, how much telling off should/ can you do? I still have to do something about all the times they are squabbling/fighting/winding each other up, but it feel it goes against the whole positive reinforcement. Should i just be ignoring the squabbling all together?

And please can you answer Ishoes' question as that is a big problem for me too and makes me feel like a rubbish parent sad.


Solo Sat 09-Jun-12 15:15:02

Yes, I'd like to hear an answer to Ishoos q? too.

Turniphead1 Sat 09-Jun-12 18:38:23

Yup lots of us feel like Ishoos!! I started today. My DD (8) asked me why I sound so weird & odd. Luckily the book prepares you for the fact that an older child will notice!

RaPaPaPumPumBootyMum Sat 09-Jun-12 22:26:41

Hello Noel!

If there are any more free books going I would love one! <shameless>
But seriously, I saw you speaking about your book a while ago on breakfast tv and thought your approach sounds very interesting.

I wonder if you might have any advice about potty training. My son is 3.2yrs and is still not potty trained. I have been 'training' since he was just over 2 yrs old.

He was initially interested in trying to use the potty but had no success [no wees or poos in potty] and so became disheartened. Now he has finally been getting some wees and a couple of poos in the potty - but this is only when he sits on it for a length of time and I suspect he is catching them accidently rather than with intent. He doesn't seem to recognise the bodily signals that indicate that he needs to wee and poo, and in fact if he is running around with no pants on he seems completely surprised when he does wee, as if he was not expecting it to happen.

So, do you have any advice on how to keep him motivated to keep trying and to build his confidence to keep giving the potty/toilet a go?


Kindling Sun 10-Jun-12 05:48:51

Hello Noel

My DD has just turned 3. The tantrums have really ramped up since the arrival of DD2 and she sulks if she thinks she is being told off (even when she is not). I am not over-critical and try to use positive language to guide her eg. "We have to be gentle when cuddling DD2, don't we, as she's just a baby, that's right" etc.

Reactions vary from sulking, shouting "go AWAY mummy" over and over, throwing herself on the floor in a pique and if DH is around, going off to find him for a cuddle. She will often will then refuse to let me near her or do anything for her as she wants DH to do everything instead.

I am really looking forward to your thoughts on how to teach resilience but more specifically, my question is what techniques should DH and I use to support and stop DD 'playing' us off against each other?

clippityclop Sun 10-Jun-12 11:09:55

Am I too late?! My dds are older than those of the other posters,10 and 8, bright, popular at school, lots of interests and others say they are great to have around. We have a great life, good family. When we are alone however the the girls fight and squabble over the slightest thing. I try to 'praise the good', encourage them to deal with the problems themselves,treat the other as they would like to be treated etc, but really get sick of saying the same things over and over, and although I have the luxury of term time work am starting to dread being at home with them between activities in the holidays and the constant stream of complaints "she said to me, she did such and such". I sometimes feel I am more bothered by the situation than they are because they can equally be loving and have huge fun together. I find it hard to understand because I am an only child. I have lost my temper with them several times and confess to smacking and shouting at them out of sheer frustration which makes me ashamed, as this is what my mother did to me. My husband tends to leave dealing with it to me because I have more time with the girls, but he does when the squabbles happens in front of him How can I undo all this?

MsMarple Sun 10-Jun-12 17:57:38

My DS (4) is generally a lovely boy and fun to have around, until it comes to doing something he doesn't want to do...

So, when its time to leave someone's house he wails and kicks until we are half way home, and when I ask him to tidy up his toys at the end of the day he completely ignores me unless I put them in a binbag and am actually about to throw them out of the door. I've tried staying quietly calm and resolute, and I've tried out-screaming him too blush but neither has much effect. Frankly I just long for a little less drama and a little bit more doing what he's told the first time.

Have you got any strategies I could try?

LittleBugsMum Sun 10-Jun-12 20:40:30

Hi there Noel,

To be honest, I'm only a few pages in but I'm very excited to be a calmer and less 'shouty' mummy! I'm sorry if you cover this but what is in your opinion, the best approach to violence in a (nearly) 3 year old boy?

It doesn't seem to always be triggered by anger but I react the same way, telling off/shouting then the naughty step. It's really upsetting me and therefore affecting our relationship somewhat. He says sorry immediately after he does it (unless he thinks I haven't seen him) and he sees how upset I am but it doesn't change his behaviour.

Any advice? Thank you.

veritythebrave Sun 10-Jun-12 21:09:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

missorinoco Sun 10-Jun-12 21:38:36

Hi. I'm trying to be a less shouty parent, using a variety of techniques.

I struggle especially when the children play up at times at which they know they have you, so to speak. I have three aged five (just) and under. I realise part of the reason they play up at such points is to test you will stay firm, but I usually end up shouting, although not necessarily at the misbehaving child.

For example, my three year old had a tantrum today whilst the playdough was out. It coincided with the one year old having just woken, whilst I was trying to make lunch. I ended up running between the step, the grill, and eventually moved the five year old from the kitchen where he had finished with the play dough, and stuck him in the sitting room with the now crying one year old. My attempt to not shriek and sing loudly in the kitchen was met by a look of horror by the five year old.

Sorry, that was long and waffly, but it's the home front that gets me, when it's all going off at once.

Any suggestions for such times? Advice would be appreciated.

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