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Early childhood and parenting experts agree that parenting really IS hard today; it’s not just your imagination! Parents and children are inundated with media messages (did you know that studies show that the media has more influence over our children then we do?), families who are extremely busy, school pressures, economic challenges and more. It is no wonder that everyone is stressed out and unfortunately, all of this stress can create misbehavior in children and a lot of anger and resentment in parents.

So how do we as parents combat this crazy world? What can we do today to make parenting easier? Here are 3 simple tips:

1. Hug More- We all know we feel better when we give or receive a hug, and studies have shown that hugs are one of the most amazing and effective parenting tools out there for a child to feel belonging and significance, but researchers have also discovered that hugs lasting longer than 20 seconds have an amazing effect on the body and mind. These longer hugs lower blood pressure and anxiety, stimulate the “love hormones” oxytocin, boost self-esteem in children, and balance out the nervous system. These are benefits not only for our children, but also for us! Are you giving/receiving enough hugs today?

2. Listen More (and talk less)-In our fast paced society it is just natural for a parent to want to “Tell” our child everything. After all, we know way more than they do, right (sometimes!)? J In order to give children an opportunity to explore options and decisions on their own, try asking and listening. Asking develops a different part of the child’s brain; it invites in more cooperation and gives them some wonderful life skills. Listening develops connection, a feeling of understanding and that someone really cares. I often suggest to parents to keep 3 pre-formulated questions in their “back pocket” for use in “typical” situations rather than trying to think of one in the heat of the moment. Examples are: “What is your plan for your homework?” and “How can you and your brother solve this problem?” After asking your question, really listen to the answer and then ask another.

3. Relationship = #1 - Yes above grades, above chores, above bad behavior, above everything. I often struggle with this with my younger child, who is a real challenge when it comes to doing much of anything besides what she wants to do. J I have had to literally stop and ask myself, “Is it worth sacrificing my relationship with my child for a clean room?” And, I have told my daughter, “I love you even if you don’t do your homework.” Honestly, these words are tough for me to say, especially being the daughter of two educators, but I know sometimes I have just got to let it go for the sake of the relationship.

I hope this helps you on your parenting journey.

- Paige

p.s. Don’t miss my upcoming class series on Parenting the Positive Discipline Way starting April 8th in St. Petersburg.

About Paige Michaelis: In 2008, Paige was really struggling with her two and three year old daughters who are 16 months apart. In order to empower herself as a parent and be the best mom she could be, Paige began educating herself on various parenting education programs. She came across Redirecting Children’s Behavior and subsequently Positive Discipline, both of which are based in Adlerian Psychological principles, and both of which are proven to build long term traits in children such as Self Esteem (one she definitely wanted for her girls), self-reliance, empathy and problem solving capabilities. She is now a Certified Positive Discipline Educator and member of the Positive Discipline Association, has training in the Nurturing Parenting Program, plus over 100 hours of additional training in parenting education. She is also an ACPI Certified Parenting Coach & Consultant (ICF Affiliated), and a Parent Aide with Suncoast Mental Health where she provides one on one parent coaching to parents in need. Most importantly, she is real parent, with real experiences and struggles, just like you, and her passion is helping parents move from parenting struggle into parenting power.

Most importantly, Paigeis a real parent, with real experiences and struggles, just like you, and she is passionate about helping parents move from parenting struggle into parenting power. You can contact her at or

Paige is a guest columnist and contributor to and one of our amazing members! To learn how to become a contributor to our site please email!

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