5 Powerful Parenting Skills You Can Learn in 1 Minute

As a working mom, I'm always looking for simple ideas to make life easier and more fulfilling.  These sorts of quick and easy tips have come to be known as “hacks.” There are life hacks, cooking hacks, cleaning hacks, etc.

With that in mind, here are 5 parenting "hacks" that take less than 1 minute, but have powerful and often immediate results.

These skills can help you sidestep power struggles and encourage kids to listen and cooperate, while also improving your relationship with them.  

1. Pivot

Pivoting is the art of saying 'yes' instead of 'no', and meaning the same thing. 

So instead of saying: “No, we can’t go to the park until after you have a nap,” pivot and say: “Yes, we can go to the park as soon as you’re done with your nap.”  

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3 Essentials for Parenting in Turbulent Times

Wherever you may be on the political spectrum, if you're a parent in these turbulent times, you're probably wondering how to help your children become confident, kind, and respectful citizens of the world.

Here are 3 essential things you can do:

1.  Teach kids to disagree without being disagreeable
Show kids how to disagree and state their own opinions without disparaging those who hold different views. 

Remind kids that considering someone else's perspective and actually agreeing with it are not the same thing.  (Note: This valuable skill will also serve them well in the workplace).

2.  Teach kids to be media literate
In this era of click-bait, a recent Stanford study showed that most kids are unable to assess the credibility of information they receive online. 

Talk to kids about the differences between news, editorials, and sponsored content, and show them how to evaluate the credibility of online information before sharing it.

3.  Expose kids to diversity and find common ground
Seek out community events or watch shows about people from different traditions and backgrounds, and emphasize shared goals and values.


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How Focusing on Grit Can Backfire

The Washington Post recently published an article I wrote with information every parent and teacher needs to know.

The big idea?  Focusing on grit can undermine kids' achievement.  Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post:

Jennifer and Doug were in my office to talk about their 10-year-old son, Jason. Jason had tried (and rejected) more than half a dozen activities that his parents had tried to interest him in. Dad had been an avid baseball player, but Jason tried it and quit.

Soccer? No. Gymnastics? No. Piano? No again. Jason’s parents were deeply worried about his apparent lack of grit and had consulted me for guidance.

They were loving parents who wanted the best for their son, wanted him to excel and be happy. They had tried almost everything: encouraging, cajoling, rewarding, bribing and eventually insisting that he pick an activity and stick with it.

They read about grit, talked with Jason about grit and reminded him that failure is part of the journey to success. Nothing seemed to work for long, and Jason was now starting to withdraw emotionally from his parents.

Everyone seems to be talking about grit these days. From best-selling books to popular TED talks, grit — “the tendency to sustain perseverance and passion for challenging long-term goals” — has been making headlines. According to Angela Duckworth, the psychologist and researcher most closely associated with the concept, grit is a better predictor of success than intelligence or talent.

It sounds like we should all get more grit, doesn’t it? But our collective emphasis on grit is causing us to overlook other critical skills, and that oversight is having real consequences for our children.

Kids like Jason remind us that focusing on grit alone is not the recipe for success, and may even backfire.  Continue reading....

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Two More Weeks!

After many years of work, my first book--WHAT GREAT PARENTS DO--is going to be published in two weeks!

And I'm thrilled that the book has received early reviews from many folks whose work I greatly admire:

"Packed with useful, practical advice and how-to's, this book promises to be one that every parent will wish they had from day one."
—Madeline Levine, New York Times bestselling author of "The Price of Privilege"

"'What Great Parents Do' is the only parenting playbook you need. No book has better distilled, science-based parenting tips than this one! If you have only two minutes a day, you have time pick up a quick strategy for parenting with more joy, skill, and ease. A must read!"
—Christine Carter, author of "The Sweet Spot" and Senior Fellow, UC Berkeley, Greater Good Science Center

“Erica Reischer offers a 'cheat sheet' of best parenting practices. Equipped with her wisdom, we all have the potential to be ‘great parents.’”
—Peggy Orenstein, New York Times bestselling author of "Girls & Sex"

"An essential Rules of the Road for would-be parents."
—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, New York Times bestselling author of "Flow"

"With oodles of great scenarios drawn from real life, it’s like she hits the pause button and whispers a key piece of advice.  Reischer may be offering simple strategies, but the wisdom behind them is incredibly deep and profound."
—Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of "How to Raise an Adult"

If you're thinking about buying the book, I hope you'll consider pre-ordering it.  Pre-orders are a big boost for authors and can really help a new book gain momentum.

The first 500 people who pre-order WHAT GREAT PARENTS DO before Aug 16 will also receive a free copy of my how-to guide: 

5 Simple Steps to Get Your Kids to Listen *Without* Nagging or Yelling

This bonus gift is a convenient tool to have on hand when those sticky situations arise--when you need to reinforce a bed time, turn down a request for a new toy, or transition out of play time.  Here's how to get your bonus gift.

The Sad Reality of Publicly Shaming Our Kids

This morning I got a call from a reporter at SFGate asking for my comments on a story she was writing about a mother in Georgia who recorded herself beating her daughter and posted the video on FB, apparently with the intention of publicly shaming her daughter. 

And I suppose that the mother's intention behind this public shaming was to change her daughter's behavior.  This makes me so sad. 

You won't be surprised to hear, as I told the reporter, that I think shaming children affects not only their well-being but also our relationship with them.  There is a better way.

I think (hope!) that this is an extreme example, but it did get me thinking about the ways in which we parents can sometimes shame our children in more subtle ways, without even realizing what we're doing.

For example, when we're feeling incredibly frustrated with our kids and we say, "You're making me crazy!" or "What's wrong with you?!"

As I write in my forthcoming book, using shame to try to change our kids' behavior will backfire because these strategies don’t focus on the real problem (behavior) and imply instead that the child herself is the problem.

This is a recipe for impaired well-being.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that parents shouldn’t feel angry or frustrated when our children misbehave, just that we shouldn’t act on those feelings impulsively. We can feel angry without yelling or withdrawing. We can feel angry and still respond matter-of-factly.

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All I Really Need to Know I Don’t Learn in Kindergarten Anymore

Guest post by Kristy Roos-Taylor (Director, Menlo-Atherton Cooperative Nursery School)

Many of you may be familiar with Robert Fulghum’s, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. For those who aren’t, I’m sharing it below to illustrate how our children’s school experience today differs from the kinder, simpler and saner days of the not too distant past.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:

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